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I’m All In but Not All at Once!

I am an idea person. I can come up with hundreds of ideas of things I want to try or start. Business ideas, exercise classes, fad diets, etc. The list could go on for pages. I am a queen of good intentions. I get these ideas and then I run full force into them.I don’t think them through, I just bolt and try all of them.  I get so excited about these grand plans that I have conceived and how wonderful my life would be when I succeed but the only problem is, I don’t succeed. I get a few weeks in, sometimes only days in, and it becomes hard or I get bored and I quit. I have lost count of how many times this has happened.

When I started on this health journey, I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I did know that I had to do EVERYTHING different. I had to figure out my “why” and then I had to go slow. One of the first things I realized was that I had to be All In. That means that I needed to do whatever it would take in order to succeed. I couldn’t quit.

With this goal in mind, I started thinking about what needed to happen in order to succeed. The first thing I realized was that I could not go full steam ahead like I have so many times before. I did not have to try everything all at once. I needed to take things one step at a time. I soon realized that this was the key.

When I decided that I needed to make changes in my life, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, it was important that I look at my past, my history. I needed to look at what has NOT worked for me in the past and figure out WHY it has not worked. In my case, one of those things was feeling the need to try everything at once. I would go full steam ahead and give whatever I was focused on at that moment, everything I had. The problem I ran into was that eventually I became overwhelmed, bored, it became too hard and I would quit. I had to figure out how to avoid that this time if I was going to be successful. So I decided I needed to take my time.

So that is what I did. Once I decided on the lifestyle change that I was going to make, I decided I needed to take some steps in order to insure my success. Now I want to pause for a second to make sure you understand how hard this was for me. I am in instant gratification kind of girl. I don’t like taking my time on anything. I want to take off and go! I had to be super intentional about the steps I took to make sure I avoided the same pitfalls that I always fell into. Being intentional is the only reason I can proudly say that I am on week 10 of this journey and I have learned so much! The even better part is, I am not done learning. There is so much more for me to learn and I am up for the challenge.

I decided that I couldn’t be the only one that has had these issues. There has to be others that have had some of the same struggles with trying to change some life habits. So I thought I would share some of the things that have helped me so far on my journey. Who knows, maybe one of these things could be helpful.

So here are my 5 ways to help you be successful on your health journey:

  1. Write down your goals: Whatever your health goal (or any other goal) is, write them down. Losing weight should NOT be the goal, it should be a product of the goal. For example, one of my goals is to get rid of my migraines. That means to cut out sugar and processed foods. Because of this, I am having less migraines AND I am losing weight. Your goals should have some depth to them. Challenge yourself!
  2. Focus on one thing at a time: When I would change my diet, I tried to do everything the diet required all at once. That was overwhelming for me. This time I have taken one step at a time to focus on. For example: I am on the Keto Diet. The first week I focused on Carbs. I read all the labels and all the ingredients. I focused on figuring out what foods I needed to stay away from (that was high in Carbs) and what foods I could eat. This released me from worrying about all of the other things and trying to figure everything out. Then the next week I focused on Proteins. So now I had the Carbs down and I was able to focus on the next step. Then the next week I focused on fats. Each week I focus on something different. Week 9, I added exercise. So I set a goal of walking at least 3 days a week. Week 10 (this week) it is walking 3 days and trying to get 10,000 steps per day. Doing this has allowed me to make sure I am doing everything correctly and allowing me to pay attention to how food makes me feel and how exercise makes me feel. It is helping me meet each of my goals.
  3. Be aware of how the your choices make you feel: I had sugar on Friday night for the first time in 9 weeks. I woke up on Saturday morning with a horrible migraine. I realized that the little bit of flavored popcorn, cotton candy and cookie dough that I had was NOT worth how I felt. I had been feeling so good and I undid that all in one night. I have been able to pay attention to how some of the foods I eat makes me feel. I am now able to make an easy decision to stay away from some things because I choose the foods that are good for me because of how they make me feel. Know what helps as well as what hurts your body.
  4. Celebrate each victory! One of the things that I have been intentional about is not really paying attention to the scale. Remember, my goal isn’t to lose weight, it is to be healthy and get rid of migraines and fuel my body correctly. So I celebrate when I have gone a week with no migraines. I celebrate when I can put on a pair of pants that I haven’t been able to wear in years. I celebrate when I have an abundance of energy at 2:00 in the afternoon when I used to wanted to curl up under my desk and take a nap. When you start to see a change, celebrate! THAT is transformation, my friend!
  5. Give yourself permission to mess up: We are not perfect and we never will be. I have messed up too many times to count. Don’t let the derail you. Part of the journey is about messing up and learning from that. So give yourself permission to start over. It’s easy. Tomorrow is a new day. You won’t figure it all out overnight. Transformation takes time and patience. When you decide you are All In, that means you don’t give up. So hang in there and start over.

You can do this, my friend! It will not be easy all the time. It will require sacrifice. A journey is all about learning, struggling, trial and error, but the destination is oh so worth the pain of the journey.

So decide to be All In but don’t do it all at once. Make those changes! Start your journey! I would love to hear about what changes you want to make. I would love to encourage you along your journey. Tell me about your struggles or your current journey in the comments. There is can be Joy in the Journey!

My Journey to a Healthy Me

There is that word again! The one I really don’t care for but I know is necessary for change. Journey. I have been taking a lot of those lately. It’s funny how once you start embracing a certain journey, other journeys to change seem to follow suit. When I decided to embrace the journey of change in my life, I never expected I would notice so many things that I need to change; things I need to improve or begin, but that is exactly what is happening. God is beginning to work in my life to mold me, improve me and turn me into the women that He needs me to be. One of those things that I have started paying attention to is my health. I have never had issues with my weight until after I delivered my first child (21 years ago). Since that time, I have never been able to get back to down to the weight I was before I had her. Now I make that statement like I had tried everything and had been doing all I needed to but nothing worked. That has not been the case.

Now don’t get me wrong. There has been plenty of diets. Fasting, Weight Watchers, Anti-inflammatory, some diet from Dr.Phil that I don’t even remember, a soup diet and diet pills. I was willing to try anything that would get the weight off quickly and magically without me really having to do any work for it. I didn’t want to go on the journey that was needed in order to understand the meaning I had placed on food or why it was necessary for me to eat better or take care of myself. That required hard work and bringing up some feelings or emotions that I didn’t want to deal with or “I didn’t have time to deal with them”. So on to another fad diet or just skip the diets, eat what I want and complain some more about how miserable I felt. That has been the song and dance for the past 21 years….until now. When I decided to go on this path of discovering Joy and creating purpose, that has made me start re-evaluating a lot of things in my life. One of those has been my health.

Five years ago, March 4, 2013 I got a call that a suspicious mole that was removed for a biopsy came back positive for Melanoma. I had just turned 40 years old a month before and now I am hearing the word cancer. It as immediately labeled just below stage 3 but I would need to undergo major surgery a week later to remove a large portion around it as well as some of the nearest lymph nodes to determine if had spread to the surrounding area or lymph nodes. If they found any trace, it would automatically been categorized as stage 3 before they even looked at how deep in it had spread. THAT was a wake up call. Thankfully they were able to remove it all and no traces were found outside of that area and  I have been cancer free for 5 years now. When I hit that 5 year mark, I realized that I cannot take anything for granite. Complaining about how tight my clothes are will not suddenly make me thinner and my clothes fit better or ward off any diseases that are lying in wait. I realized that it was time to take control of what I put into my body. It was time to take control of taking care of myself. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 it talks about how our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, that came from God and it doesn’t belong to us. How we use our body and how we treat our body is important. This starting weighing on me. I have not been a good steward of my body. I have been filling it with things that are harmful and not helpful. So that set me on a new journey.

I started on a new eating lifestyle 4 weeks ago, exactly. I have started paying attention to the foods that I am putting into my body. I am reading nutritional labels (boy has that been a wake up call). I am not eating grains or wheat. I am trying not to eat anything with sugar in it. I am eating whole foods, not processed and meats that are grass fed, uncured, and wild caught fish. I am eating more veggies and getting plenty of good fats. I am following the Keto diet, right now but that is not what this post is about. This post is about finding my way back to health. I am paying attention to how foods make my body feel. What makes me feel tired and sluggish? What hinders my thought process? What gives me energy? What triggers migraines? I am learning so much about myself and how food should be used as fuel. I am now starting to incorporate exercise/activity into my daily routine. I feel like a different person. I am able think clearly, I have a ton of energy throughout the day, I am motivated to get things done and I am enjoying life. I like this new me.

This journey is showing me that God can use me so much more if I take care of myself. I am a better mother, wife, friend, coworker, daughter and most of all, a better child of God. This has started getting me to look at other areas of my life that have been slacking. I have felt like my life has been just a whirlwind of chaos for a long time. I have just been juggling to keep all of the balls up in the air praying that none of them fall. Because of this, I wasn’t able to give any full attention to anything. This journey has caused me to slow down and pay attention to those things that matter. I’m looking at my life and getting rid of the things that don’t matter, nurturing the things that do matter and investing in the things that will help me grow. I am not perfect and definitely don’t have everything figured out but God has reminded me that I am worth it. I am his creation and I am special. YOU were created by a loving God who loved you so much that he created YOU for something special. He sent his only son, Jesus to die for you! He has a purpose for both of us. He wants to use us but we have to be willing to be used. Part of that willingness is taking care of our bodies so that we can do whatever it is that he wants us to do.

I feel like I need to remind someone today how special you are. I need to tell you that there is a God and he loves you so much that He created you and no one like you. You are an original. You were created for a purpose and He would love to show you what that purpose is. You are important. So treat your body the way God sees you. Take care of your body. Take care of your health. Pursue God. Read his word. Search for truth. Jesus makes all the difference. You don’t have to do anything alone.

We are all worth it! I am going to be posting some videos soon to try to encourage you and motivate you, so that we can do this thing together. So if you are interested in starting a journey to find overall health and be better, stay tuned!

I Love to Travel but Getting there Stinks!

AmsterdamI love to travel! I love the excitement of exploring a new place. I love the memories that are created; meeting new people; experiencing the culture. I love it ALL, except…..traveling. The time that it takes to get  to the destination is not my favorite. The long journey sitting in the car, not moving, stuck in traffic, having to find a bathroom that won’t give me some rare disease. I hate all of it!  Then there is the journey of flying! Standing in lines, feeling like you are being herded like cattle, sitting in cramped seats beside a stranger who could care less about your personal space and of course there are the bathrooms!!

The actual journey to get to the destination is NOT always fun. There are so many things that can go wrong but just when you are asking yourself if it is all worth it, you reach your destination and  WOW! You forget about all the travel pains you just went through. You discover this amazing place with amazing food and fabulous people. If you had avoided the car ride or flight you would have missed it all.

I have found that I have the same problem within my life. I love getting to the purpose that God has for me but I HATE the journey it takes to get there. Do you ever wonder why you have to go through so many painful things while you are trying to obey God and what he is asking you to do? That stepping out on faith thing is HARD! I always have more questions than answers. I always want to know what the end looks like or at least some of the major details.  The thing is, God doesn’t work that way. How many times have you told yourself, “if I had known I would be where I am right now I would not have believed it”? That is kind of the point. God doesn’t show us the end because there is a metamorphosis that has to take place in order to become whom God wants us to be. If he did show us the destination, we probably would say, “there is NO WAY that I will be able to do that, or move there, or do that job. To follow through with the purpose that God has for us. The journey is necessary. The journey is where we learn. The journey is where we gain confidence and he educates us.

A few months ago I was introduced to something called the Enneagram. It is a personality test that really explores what things in your life helped create your personality and the motive behind why you do the things you do. There are 9 types. You can see they 9 types here. I am a 7. A 7 is The Enthusiast“. I can be fun, busy, spontaneous, scattered and distracted. All of those things I knew. I am like the dog, Dug, in the movie, Up. I can chase a million squirrels because I can get a million ideas, at once. So that was not enlightening to me. The thing that I learned about myself of being a 7, is that I tend to compartmentalize my emotions. I just plain avoid them if I can.

If something emotionally difficult is happening or emotionally tough, I will take that and put it in a “box” and set it to the side stating that I will deal with it later. That I have more important things to do first. The problem is that I never get back to it to “deal with it”. I just move on until too many of those boxes are stacked up and they topple over and I am in the middle of an emotional mess that my body makes me deal with. I tell you all of this because I learned that I don’t like the journey. Journeys are hard and can be difficult. They can be messy and they make me work hard on emotional things. I am not an emotional person so it is very uncomfortable for me to be emotional. I have learned that I have to go through the journey if I am going to grow and be a whole, healthy person. I’ve learned that I cannot experience true joy unless I go through the hard stuff, sometimes. Finding the purpose that God has for me requires me to go on that journey to learn what He needs me to learn so that I will be ready when it’s time for me to do what he wants me to do. So the journey may be hard but every time I have reached the destination I am never disappointed. So it is worth it!

There are so many people searching for their purpose. Everyone (including me) wants there to be this instant revelation of what they are supposed to do and then just blink their eyes and expect it to happen. Problem is, it just doesn’t work that way. We have to be willing to put in the work. We have to be willing to experience the pain that sometimes comes with the journey. We have to be willing to experience setbacks and failure. Then we get back up and start working at it again. We have to be persistent and disciplined. This goes with anything that is worth doing. If you want to lose weight, you have to go through the journey. If you want to start a business, you have to go through the journey. Every thing worth doing is worth the journey because that is where we learn.  God has this amazing thing that he wants to do in your life, but he will not do it FOR you. YOU have to do the work. You have to experience the journey and all the things that go with it. It will be hard but it will be worth it.

There will also be more than one journey. So let’s make a deal that we will embrace the journey knowing that the destination is out there.  I will share ONE of my current journey’s I am on right now. I am on a journey for my health. (This will be another post for another time) This journey will not be easy but I am committed to the destination.  I would love to hear what journey you might be on! Leave your comments below and let’s encourage each other as we go on our journeys so we can share the amazing destinations we accomplish!

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How to Conquer Monsters

When I decided that I was going to follow through with this little idea I had, I didn’t realize that I would need to put on my warrior armor and get my sword ready to slay monsters, but that is exactly what happened. When we have an idea that we feel passionate about and we decide to follow through on that idea, we don’t realize it, but we set off a set of alarms, bells and whistles. These alarms go out and wake up these awful monsters that are named “fear”, “doubt” and “anxiety”. These are horrible monsters that always know when to pounce. They lie waiting for whom they can devour. Hmm, I have heard that before (1 Peter 5:8).

It isn’t by accident that you start feeling overwhelmed by those feelings of fear, doubt and anxiety. These monsters are master liars and they are LOUD! They try to drown out any sense of logic or truth. Their only job is to stop you from moving forward with the plans that you have made to grow, become a better person and do something good for the world. The best way to do that is for them to tell you these lies. Lies like, “you are not good enough”; “you will fail”; “no-one will take you seriously”; “you don’t know how to do that”; “no-one will want to hear what you have to say”; “you will never amount to anything”, etc. Do any of these sound familiar? ALL of these are lies that I have heard at one time and sometimes I hear them ALL IN ONE DAY. These monsters don’t just pick men or women, they target both genders. I am finding though that women tend to give in to these monsters more than men do. It manifests itself different into another monster called guilt. Especially if you have children. These monsters make you feel like you are not a good mom. That you are “neglecting your children” if you follow these dreams or calling.

While on this journey that I am on, I have found that these monsters have been even bigger and louder than usual. They almost won. They almost paralyzed me. I decided that I was not going to let them win. So I came up with a battle plan. A plan to fight these monsters BEFORE They start and then how to dig in and FIGHT when they feel like they are taking over. After I came up with this plan and then realized that I cannot be the only person that deals with these issues. There has to be others out there that feel the pressure of these monsters hovering over them. So it’s time we stand up, stick together and remember that there is strength in numbers.

GET THE FLASHLIGHT OUT

The first thing you need to do when these monsters start attacking is to get your flashlight out. What? What does that mean? It means to call out those fears. Bring them out of the shadows. Monsters hide in the shadows. We give them more power when we tried to ignore them or hide the fact that the fears are there. That never works. So when you feel those fears, doubts and anxiety coming at you, write them down. List them out. Shining a light on them takes power away from them. You are acknowledging that, yes, this is a fear but it will not stop me! So make those lists! Look those fears, anxiety and doubts in the face and then tell them they are not true. Tell them that they have no power over you. That brings me to the next step.

CALL EACH LIE OUT

After you have pulled each monster out, it’s time to face each one with truth. After I wrote out each lie, I had to remind myself of the truth. Make the truth bigger. So there are two ways you can do this. The first thing that I did was remember how God has proven that those fears where lies. I am a Christian so the Bible is very important to me. It brings me comfort, guidance and truth. So as I read off the fear, I immediately remembered scripture that told me truth. That reminded me of God’s promises. It reminded me that fear does not come from God, 2 Timothy 1:7. Just that verse alone help me to identify that these monsters are out to keep me from moving forward. That they are up to no good. So I am able to call them out as liars. Then I remembered verses like, Psalm 23 and Jeremiah 29:11.

The second thing I did was write down beside each lie how circumstances and situation from the past and present refuted those lies. Examples of things I have done that show I do have what it takes to follow through, etc. So for example, if the lie is, “You don’t know how to ______”.  The truth: “I also didn’t know how to be a mom but I learned”, etc. You get the picture?

Once you have written these out, keep them out where you can go back through them regularly. You WILL need to be reminded of these daily. You will need to be reminded that they have NO power over you and they are lies. You will need to remind yourself of the truth.

GET OUT YOUR MONSTER REPELLENT

Once you have identified the lies, taken the power away from them by proving them wrong, you need to surround yourself with constant protection to keep the monsters away. I do this by reading books that help encourage me and keep me aware. I also talk about it with a community who can help encourage me and whom I can help encourage. The Bible is the number one place I try to go daily to help keep me aware. I also have read Alli Worthington’s book, Fierce Faith: A Women’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry and Overcoming Anxiety. This is an amazing book that made me feel like I was normal and helps me stay on guard to recognize when the monsters start creeping in and reminds me to start fighting. Another gem that I recently read is a book by Rachel Hollis called, Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Are Meant to Be.  This is a well written book that had me calling out those lies and ready to get down to the business at hand.

Both of these books I listened to through Audible and I will confess I listened to both of them more than once. I listen to them in my car on my way to work and on my way home from work. I also listen to them in my office. I found if I read things that helped me identify those lies quicker and surrounded myself with positive influences, it becomes easier to do what you are meant to do without giving in to those monsters who are out to harm you and paralyze you.

I have found that if the lies are getting louder in my head then that must mean I have something that is going to make a difference and the enemy does NOT like that and will do whatever it takes to keep me from moving forward. I am not willing to give in to that. I am not willing to let the monsters win. It’s time we stand up and fight. So be very intentional about your plan to fight these off. You can’t go to battle without a plan. God has some great things planned for me and I will not allow those monsters to steal that joy from me and I don’t want you to allow them to steal that joy from you either.

I hope that some of this has been helpful for you. I hope some of these tips will help you shine a light on some of your monsters and take the power back and start working on that dream or calling that you have felt. You can do this! WE can do this! I would love to hear from some of you. I would love to hear what fears you will call out and take the power away from. It’s time for you to take control and follow through with that dream, calling or goal that you have felt you should start. It’s GO time!

 

I’m Up and Running….sort of.

In February, the place where I work challenged us to participate in the St. Jude’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Nashville races. We could be in the cheering section, run the 5K, half marathon or the full marathon. I completed the half marathon last year. (Now let me clarify something on this. I only “trained” up to 4 miles and that race just about killed me, BUT I completed it.) I decided I would run but just could not decide if I wanted to go through the training AND going through all it took to complete the half again. The week before the race, I finally registered for the 5K. (I also signed up my family….SURPRISE!!) We had over 500 team members and their family members to sign up to participate. IMG_4707.jpg

I decided to do this as the first step of this journey I am on. It was time that I quit holding back and take a step to DO something to better my health. This 5K was it. This was going to initiate me taking control of my health. Now I want to fill you in on a few things. First of all, I am NOT a runner. Meaning I do not run, did not run to train for this and did not intend to start on this 5K. (I walked the entire thing). Secondly, I am NOT a morning person. I LOVE my Saturdays, especially because I can sleep in. So early morning Saturday races do not get me excited. For this race we had to be up by 4:30 and out the door by 5:00 am. The sun isn’t even up at this ungodly hour, but we were. I tell you this because I want you to know how much of an inner struggle I had to actually go through with this and to show you that if I can do it, so can YOU!

We arrived at 5:30 am and started walking across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and that is when things started to change. I love that bridge and while walking    5k.jpg

over the Cumberland River with the beautiful downtown Nashville view, along with all of these other “runners”, I find it is quite intoxicating. I can see how people are enamored with running these races. There tens of thousands of people there to run either the 5K, half marathon or full marathon. Everyone was there to cheer each other on. The weather was beautiful and I was with my family. Life was good. (even at that early in the morning)

The race started and we walked the entire 3.1 miles. We enjoyed walking around different parts of Nashville and just talking and taking in the beauty of Nashville. I love this city. Being able to experience it without the cars normal hustle and bustle of everyday downtown Nashville sites was awesome. (My hips also remembered how many hills downtown Nashville has!)

58 minutes later we crossed the finish line and we all four received our medal. Now I want to confess something. I caught myself telling others, “I ONLY did the 5K this year”. It was like I had to explain why I didn’t measure up to everyone else’s half marathon successes. That night I realized that I had nothing to be ashamed of or needed to justify to others. I got out and did something. I wasn’t at home sitting on the couch watching television. I was also able to spend a few hours of quality time with my family and I will never regret that.

This journey is all about realizing what true joy and purpose is about. It’s about being intentional with what you do with your life. It’s about creating moments that mean something. Saturday, I was able to do something that was good for my health. I was able to contribute towards helping St.Jude’s hospital. I was able to spend some quality time with my family. None of that was wasted. We made memories. We made a difference.  That is what I want you to do. I want you to take control of your life, one memory making opportunity at a time. It doesn’t have to be a big, grand gesture. It can start with something smaller and you can gradually take bigger steps and try bigger things. So this year it was the 5k for me that started off my journey. What is something you can do to start your journey?

I’m thinking I might actually start training for a half marathon. I hear there is one in Dublin, Ireland or maybe Madrid, Spain. Now that is a half marathon I would LOVE to make a memory at! I would love to hear how some of you are going to be more intentional about your Joy Journey. Comment below. IMG_4711.jpg

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Melissa’s Joy Project

It is so easy for us to get lost in things that steal our joy. We can get caught up in the day to day of life and before we know it, we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore, much less know what our “interest” or hobbies are. I always hated the question, “what are your hobbies?”. HOBBIES…..what is that?

I have decided to take back the joy in my life. It’s easy for me to point out the negative things that happen each day but it is harder for me to focus on and point out the things that have brought me joy throughout each day. Why is that? Why do I always seem to go to the negative things first? So I am going on a journey to create joy and to find the joy in realizing and fulfilling my purpose. I am going to spend 2018 on this intentional, joy seeking and purpose driven adventure.

I am going to blog my way through experiments of embarking on different experiences that will help me in my quest of bringing joy back. Some of those things will include the journey of  experimenting with different types of exercise. This could be hilarious in and of itself! I want to travel more. I want to eat better and try cooking dishes I have never tried to cook before. I want to try different types of foods I have never tried before. I want to get together with different types of people and experience different cultures. I want to volunteer more.

You will get to laugh with me and probably AT me. You will get to experience my victories as well as those times that I might fail. You will see me when I am loving what I am doing and when I try something that I find out does NOT bring me joy. You will probably see my at my best and definitely at my worst but that doesn’t bother me. I am not just doing this for me. I am also doing this for YOU!  I am hoping to create some wonderful joy filled experiences. I am hoping to find some things that I can become passionate about that I had no idea I would love so much. I am hoping to find a joy in creating and fulfilling my purpose in life. That calling that God has created for me. I am also hoping that I might gain some new friends who might want to go on this journey with me. I am hoping that this may motivate and encourage many of you to go on this journey to find your joy and purpose in life.

So I want you to follow along with this entertaining adventure that I am going to embark on as I become more intentional in creating joy in my life. I hope you will participate in this experiment and we can all share our adventures together and the things we are learning through this process.  You can also follow along with me as I vlog my experiences. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel (link coming soon) so you don’t miss anything! Are you ready? Let’s do this!

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