Life is about taking chances and really following your dreams.
It's easy for someone to say, "Take chances! Follow your dreams!" The hard part is YOU are the one that has to take those chances and YOU have to follow your dreams! It truly is easier said than done! I am not going to sugar coat it for you! I know, I am bubbly, happy and hyper but I am still real. I hope you read this and take something away from this that inspires you and moves you to follow your own dreams.
I have never felt more alive than when I started following my dreams. Honestly, it wasn't my choice. I was forced into a fight or flight situation. When you lose almost everything and hit bottom, there is no where to go but up!
Here is my story (I'll give you the shortened version to save you days of reading):
I have been divorced for two years now. Prior to my divorce, I was living happily in Franklin,TN as a stay at home mom. At that time, I had around 10,000 followers on Instagram, that I had grown organically. I was my first follower and just started marketing myself by sharing my family, my art and farmhouse furniture. I had to teach myself everything and, after a while, realized I might be onto something. However, my life kind of flashed before my eyes when I found out I was getting a divorce. I felt like my life was destroyed at that time. The word "divorce" never crossed my mind, ever, but it was happening.
I had no idea what I was going to do. I was a mother and I was jobless. Thankfully I had a degree in Communication Studies that I earned several years back. I was truly devastated and cried for weeks. There was no way around it, the more I cried, the more I knew I was going to have to make a choice.
THIS is where the chance happened. There I was, out there on Instagram, everyone saw my family pictures and how I tried to post inspiring quotes to uplift others and follow their dreams. At one point I was going to delete it all. It was just so embarrassing and painful. Weeks went by and I decided Forget that!! I am going to push on. I worked so hard and I was not going to give up on myself or Harper, or the connections I have made. Instead, I was going to show my baby girl to BELIEVE in herself and FOLLOW her dreams!! I was going to make my daughter proud!!
I decided to move back home with Harper so that I could be with my family. I stayed up for days packing up all our things by myself, waiting for my brothers to arrive. The large moving truck sat there in my driveway, while I loaded every memory that we had. Fortunately, the house sold quickly and I was able to have some money from that. I recieved child support and a few months of alimony (for those single moms asking). I had no idea what kind of job I was going to have, what my life would look like, if I would ever love again and how I would turn it around. There were just so many variables that I needed to be surrounded by family. We moved back to my parents house in a beautiful small town in the country. I honestly didn't know what home was anymore but knew I needed to make one for H and I. My parents did not live there because my Mother is a Presbyterian Minister and served a church in Virginia at the time. My youngest brother lived upstairs, my oldest brother lived right beside us and my middle brother lived a mile away. They supported me unlike anyone else ever could. They helped care for us while I was a mess of sadness. Meanwhile, weeks went by...
This was the real moment! Fight or flight!
I knew I was going to keep my IG but how could I go on? What is my story now? What will it look like? What can I do to give Harper a better life? A life where she believed in a strong Mother that never gave up. I was bawling one night and holding Harper tight, I asked God to please help me. All I have is my faith and my baby girl, but that was all I needed! That night, I promised God and Harper I was going to turn this around. She just turned two and had no idea what I was saying lol!! Still I knew I was NOT going sit around anymore and feel sorry for myself. I started coming up with a plan and putting my goals on paper. I applied for several jobs and three months later I started working at a graphic design studio and then received a job offer as a Communications Coordinator for a utilities company. Meanwhile, I was messaging companies to work with on IG and staging products in my bedroom, which was full of boxes not shown in the pictures. This is what kept me going. I worked hard all the time and still tried my best to keep Harper first! I made sure every day we did something fun because I wanted to make up for all the lost time where I had to work all day. I also wanted to make her feel special and loved. Although I do want to say, she has a Father that loves her very much, too.
One of my goals is giving Harper the best life possible, full of love, kindness and happiness. Placing my baby in daycare was the hardest. I kept sharing pictures of her standing on the front porch and her out in the country. She had no idea her life had changed. Now, I realize it was such a special time because even though I was in pain, Harper and I created a beautiful bond. A bond between a mother & daughter and now, best friends. It was this love I can never explain and I now have hope for the future.
Companies started pouring in and I received my first paying job. I was blown away! Thank you God! I was working with some mobile app companies here and there, which I was grateful for. Then I received a message back from Crate & Barrel! My dreams had came true!! I was honored. They asked me to do a blog post for them and share their products. Honestly, they are an incredible company and helped us in more ways than one. I appreciate them all SO much and to this day, I still can't believe I work with them. My following continued to grow. At this point I had around 40,000 followers or so. My new job was going very well and Harper seemed happy as ever. I told everyone on IG once I moved that I was a single mom. October 24th 2014, I wrote an IG post about how things don't always go as planned but you are sometimes given another chance for a new beginning. Suddenly people realized I was divorced and I feared people would judge me. To my surprise, they still supported us! Single mom messages came pouring in and we were receiving SO much love and support. Everyone told us how they are praying for us. It was truly the most beautiful thing. God turned my worst nightmare into something beautiful. I continued to work with several companies and one day Country Living asked me to take over their Instagram!! I have always loved them and was thrilled to work with them. Still continuing to share and put myself out there, opportunities continued to surface themselves.
By this time, I had spent a substantial amount of the house settlement from my divorce on living expenses but I was able to begin saving to buy a home. I saved an extra $4000 to put towards a house. I had always dreamed of living in the country someday, barefoot and chasing babies around my farmhouse. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I started looking for houses. I had my heart set on a house near my parents but it fell through. One day I was driving down the road and saw this gorgeous farmhouse for sale. I was speechless. I was like, dear LORD! This has our name all over it! We scheduled a time to go see it and almost everyone thought I was crazy to buy a farmhouse as a single mom! They tried to talk me out of it, including my family. I know they were looking out for our best interests but sometimes you HAVE to take chances!! We walked in and my best friend Crystal was holding Harper. My jaw hit the floor. Once we set foot in the back door I knew instantly, it was made for us and we had to buy it! I put an offer in and it fell through. Still I held on tight to the belief it would be ours! Somewhere deep inside, I knew it would work out. Three months later or so, we heard back from the owners and they were interested in making a deal! I signed all the papers on my own, with my oldest brother by my side and cried once I had the keys!
THANK YOU God!
We bought a farmhouse! God answered our prayers. I believe it happened through faith, hard work, setting goals and never giving up. Harper was my driving force! I actually have a furniture line now with White Shanty Design (they are so amazing) and get to work with so many incredible companies. I continue to take chances. Through all of this, I refuse to give up on love. I have always tried to be a loving and positive person. Recently, I met someone amazing. Even though, it's been a couple of months, I feel hopeful for our future. I am grateful to have met such a kind hearted and loving person. He is wonderful and shows Harper so much love, it's truly beautiful.
So here is my message for you:
Don't give up on love and don't settle. Get up, put your big girl panties on and do your very best each and every day. Push hard and keep your head up, SURROUND yourself with loving, positive people. With hard work and a dream, you can do anything. Even if you feel no one believes in you, hold tight to your dreams. Always remember, sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place.
I just want to say thank you to my family and all my wonderful friends that stuck by my side this entire time. I love you all. Thank you to each and everyone of you that follows and believes in us. We love you all too. Thank you to all the companies that gave us a chance. We are honored and forever grateful.