Moving Forward After Loss

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(Me and El looking through The Ellie Project in 2013 )

Hi Y’all!

First off, I just want to thank you all so much for your support of The Ellie Project! If you bought a book through www.ellieproject.com by May 1st you will get a signed copy by me and El! I’ve been so blessed by your genuine love and support of the book and for our family. Thank you for sharing our story and The Ellie Project with your friends and family. It means so much to me and I know it would mean so much to Andrew! Next week, I leave for New York to share The Ellie Project, stationary, and other related products with retail stores across the country. I’m still a little in shock that this is all happening and so quickly. I’m so excited to be apart of the journey.

It’s crazy to think that July will be the two-year mark of Andrew’s passing. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and other days it feels like another lifetime. While it’s been mountains and valleys, my biggest lessons have been in my own personal growth. After some life experience and reflection I want to share some tips and stories that have helped me to move forward after loss and toward creating this next chapter of my life.

  1. Grief therapy – After Andrew passed away and I moved back to Dallas, I made the choice to work through my grief with a trusted therapist. When I was a senior at Baylor, I was experiencing a quarter-life crisis and wanted to see a therapist. Luckily I found out Baylor had affordable therapists on campus, so I went and it was the best experience. After Andrew passed away, I reconnected with my therapist from Baylor, Dr. Rod Hetzel (if you are looking for a great therapist in Waco, I highly recommend him). I drove to Waco every couple of weeks for a year and a half to work through my grief. This was a time for me to express my emotions in a safe place and gain great coping mechanisms for how to work through the pain.
  1. Daily Motivation – One of the most significant things I’ve done toward giving me motivation every day is choosing to focus on the inspirational parts of my loss journey. By shifting my focus to the positive, I’ve been able to harness gratitude instead of bitterness. I’ve been able to take the parts of what happened that motivate and inspire me and use them as fuel to motivate and inspire others. For example, instead of focusing on how sad it was that Andrew had to go to M.D. Anderson all the time and how sick he was Monday through Friday, I’ve chosen to think about how he would stand up on a stage each weekend and share what God was doing in his life, how excited he was for the next adventure, and how he wanted to inspire other people with the time he had left on this earth.
  1. Finding My Big “Why” – One of my biggest “aha” moments occurred when I realized the power of intentional thinking. Because I had been dealing with my grief in a safe, healthy, and caring way, and because I was choosing to view what had happened to our family through an inspirational lens, I realized I was in the perfect place to start building the life of my dreams. I had found my big “Why”. After bearing witness to the way Andrew used his precious remaining time with us to impact others, I became determined to make his legacy known and felt it was my calling to help other women who had experienced loss reconnect with their true selves, and to guide them in allowing their own journeys through loss to be used as the blueprints for creating the next chapter of their lives.
  1. Ellie Grace – When I look at my sweet Ellie Grace, I see a little girl who has been through so much and I see a little girl who is being prepared for such great things to come. The compassion Ellie has for others— I have to believe is in part due to helping take care of her daddy when he was fragile and sick. I’m getting emotional writing about this because a big part of me hates that my sweet baby has already experienced so much pain in her short lifetime. However, knowing this has motivated me as a mom to create more joy in her life by being the best woman I can be and thus the best mom for Ellie. Last week she gave me an invite for a Mother’s Day tea at her school and told me that only mothers were allowed, not daddies because her daddy died. Moments like that cut me to the core and motivate me to live to my fullest potential because I want to set that example for my baby girl that no matter what your circumstances you can choose to focus on the good.

These are just a few things that have helped me make progress toward creating this next beautiful and exciting chapter of my life. If you’ve experienced any type of loss and want to take this conversation to a deeper level I would love to support you through one-on-one Next Chapter coaching sessions. Feel free to email me for more details at baileyheard@gmail.com

It is my passion and love to support women who want to create a better and more fulfilling life for themselves and for their families. If you’ve experienced any type of loss I would love to hear some tips that have helped you to make forward progress in your life. Please share your comments below so that we can all grow and learn together. Thank you for spending time with me today! I’m so blessed to have you in my life.

Enjoying Life

with Pecks at ACMs

(ran into my dear friends (mother daughter duo) Lauren and Chandler Peck!)

Hi There! I’ve missed you! The past couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind! From The Ellen Show to vacation time with my family in San Diego to getting invited to the Academy of Country Music awards (ACMs) this past weekend, it’s been non-stop fun! I especially cherish these fun and exciting seasons in life because I’ve experienced the heavy and difficult ones. Honestly, part of my journey has been learning how to relax and truly enjoy life. I’ve always seen myself as an intense and purposeful person in everything I do, which can be both a pro and a con. However, there is another side of me that can be funny and goofy. Usually this involves occasional solo dance parties, singing loudly and passionately in my car, making witty comments, and talking in different accents (hey, the performer in me has to come out to play every now and then).

In this new chapter of my life I am learning how to co-exist and appreciate both parts of my personality: the part of me that is intense and the part of me that just wants to be funny and enjoy life. As a single mom, sometimes I feel guilty if I’m not always super focused on all of the major responsibilities in my life. I’m learning this mentality is not healthy or sustainable for the long term. Burn out will happen. So lately, I’ve been paying more attention to how I can embrace my intense side with my fun side so I can ultimately add more balance and enjoyment to my life. If you can relate to what I’m saying then read on for some tips I’ve been applying these days to help me create a more enjoyable life!

  1. Say “yes” to a new experience: So a couple of weeks ago I got invited to the ACM’s! I was a little unsure if I should go because I didn’t really know the person who invited me and at one point I backed out, because my intense side was coming out and trying to convince me it wasn’t a responsible use of my time. Once I realized I was becoming too extreme in that direction, I decided to do the opposite of what I would normally do and I re-accepted the invite, fully committing to going and having a great time! And yes, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget!! I encourage you to say “yes” to something that is a little out of your comfort zone you think would be fun to do. Don’t allow your intense responsible side to tell you you don’t deserve to have a good time.
  1. Check your ego at the door: When I was chosen as one of 10 people to possibly be picked for a game on The Ellen Show, I almost had a legit panic attack. Growing up, I was so afraid of playing games in PE because I didn’t want to be yelled at for making a mistake that I didn’t participate. As I got older, I realized it was my ego trying to make sure I always appeared in control and stayed safe. When I was picked to possibly play a game on national television, I freaked out, thinking I would look stupid and humiliate myself. I normally would have backed out, but instead I decided to allow the possibility of looking silly and just having fun, and checked my ego at the door. Even though Ellen didn’t choose anyone that day, I was proud of myself for putting myself out there and not taking myself so seriously.
  1. Face an old fear: While on vacation in San Diego my family went to a carnival on the beach. My sweet new sister-in-law, Anna, is a risk taker and has added so much spice to our family. She of course, tried to talk me into riding the roller coaster and some swinging ride I never would have done. Growing up, I threw massive fits when my dad tried to get me to go on a roller coaster. I was terrified. I would get to the top of the ride, look down and say “peace out” while walking back down the stairs. As small as it may seem, I pushed myself to face an old fear of roller coasters and heights and just did it. I laughed and screamed the whole time! The best part was the feeling afterward of realizing facing my fears is fun!

All of these experiences are part of my growth and learning as I shift away from the things that held me back in the past, big or small. In this new chapter of my life I’m inspired to try things I’ve never tried before, think differently than I’ve thought, and challenge myself to be open-minded to new adventures. I trust I will learn from each new experience and it will all be part of creating my most authentic self.

Have you ever challenged yourself to try something new and been pleasantly surprised by the outcome? I would love to hear your story in the comments below! If you have experienced any kind of loss – loss of a dream, spouse, marriage, whatever it may be, and want to spend some focused time creating the next chapter of your life, reach out to me for a complimentary Next Chapter coaching session! Also, don’t forget to purchase your pre-order of The Ellie Project, coming soon. The first 1000 books will be signed by Ellie and me (she’s been practicing her signature). http://www.ellieproject.com Sending you all so much love and light! Blessings.

baby girl signing her name

Dancing With Ellen

better pic of Ellen show

(My Aunt Betty, Me and my sweet mom at The Ellen Show)

Hi! Happy Friday! Ok, are you ready to get the juicy deets about The Ellen Show!? First off, thank you so much for all of your encouragement and support! It was a shot in the dark that anything would happen! Here goes…

So, I get to the show and I’m standing in line for the VIP section with my adorable Ellie Project box filled with the original manuscript of The Ellie Project, our documentary, some stationary, and a note thanking Ellen for making me laugh during a really challenging time in my life. One of The Ellen Show employees announces if anyone has a gift for Ellen to come put it in the box next to her. I go up there, wondering if Ellen will actually receive this gift, but hopeful because only one other person brought one as well (which was a letter).

While waiting in line, another Ellen employee approaches my family and tells me she saw my smile from a mile away and figured we were some of Ellen’s biggest fans. Heck, yes, we are! She asks us some questions and I get the opportunity to tell her how Ellen has impacted my life and how I brought her a gift box to thank her. She tells us to meet her in the back of the room, along with about 30 other people. She takes us outside and has us line up, then picks only 10 of us to go back to the “bungalow.” When she gets to me she tells me she loved my story and picks me as one of the 10. Once all 10 of us are in the “bungalow”, she informs us if Ellen plays a game or does a giveaway, one or two of us will be chosen from the audience. Inside I was freaking out. I could not believe this was happening!

Before we start the show, we fill out a questionnaire about The Avengers and Chris Hemsworth, so I figure he is going to be the guest that day. Little did I know, I was in for a huge surprise! When I get to the VIP waiting room, my mom tells me she heard Reese Witherspoon is going to be the guest for the day! I about died, because Reese Witherspoon is seriously my all-time favorite actress. We are the same height and I’ve been told she is my doppelganger! I felt like this day couldn’t get any better!

Once we get into the studio, we are seated in the third row!! I sit on the end. Twitch (from So You Think You Can Dance?) is our DJ for the day. He gets us pumped up by throwing down on the dance floor and then teaching us some dance moves! Now, you might think since I was a college cheerleader I can bust a move, but you might be wrong. Never in public, only in the privacy of my house ☺ So I’m a little embarrassed about what you might see because I let loose and fully committed to the experience that is The Ellen Show!

Jason Derulo performs, Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara are the guests, and Ellen gives away a living room makeover to a sweet family going through a challenging time. Not sure if it is because we may have been running behind (she had two shows to film back-to-back that day and we were the first show), but for whatever reason no one gets chosen to play a game. The show ends and I am left feeling so blessed for the incredible opportunity to come to the show, see Reese Witherspoon, and of course, Ellen! About five minutes into the car ride home I get a call from a Los Angeles number. It’s someone from The Ellen Show! I was so excited! He tells me he got my email (an email I sent prior to coming to the show) about being at the show today and wants to know more about my email and my story. We have a great conversation and he tells me if anything moves forward with my story, he will be giving me a call!

Honestly, this was above and beyond what I could have hoped for! I would love an opportunity to carry on Andrew’s legacy through sharing The Ellie Project and A Gray Faith with as many people as possible, as well as the opportunity to inspire hope in others going through challenging circumstances. I’m not usually one to ask for favors, but I would be beyond grateful if you would help me by clicking on either of these links:

Dear Ellen:   http://www.ellentv.com/be-on-the-show/10/

Woman who has inspired you:  http://www.ellentv.com/be-on-the-show/889/

…and sending Ellen a note about The Ellie Project. Please title the e-mail, “The Ellie Project/Bailey Heard”. If you have been touched by our story, please write your experience to Ellen. I really appreciate you helping me keep Andrew’s giving and inspirational spirit alive through the books he left behind! You are the best! I will keep you posted! Blessings.

P.S. The show airs on Monday, April 13th!!

P.S.S Ellie asked me today if she was going to meet Mrs. Ellen. So cute!

Being Heard

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

 Hi Ya!

Have you ever been afraid to fully be yourself and show the world who you really are? I sure have. I can remember two years ago, on a sunny day in Cuero, TX, walking into this adorable boutique called “Be” and being drawn to these trendy leather bracelets with quotes on them. One of them had the quote above by Anais Nin and it resonated with my soul, so I bought it and wore it everyday. Not wanting to be fully seen for fear of being judged has been a painful and personal part of my journey.

When I was in college, I had dreams of becoming the next Beth Moore (she is a Christian author and speaker). I even applied for an internship with her that didn’t even exist (I figured she’d create one for me, didn’t happen #entitlementgeneration). One of my first speaking events was at Denton Bible Church for a mother-daughter conference. I was not the keynote, but a breakout speaker for the event. I spent so much time preparing for my topic– I practiced at a Bible study with my Baylor cheer squad and put a lot of stock in public speaking being my dream career. When the day came for me to speak, I looked around the packed room, took a deep breath, and just went for it. Time flew by. It was one of those moments where I felt like I was meant to do this. It was a “too-good-to-be-true” moment and it scared me to death.

Shortly after that experience, I met Andrew, who happen to be an extremely gifted author and speaker, all by the ripe age of 22. The first time I heard him speak, I was blown away because I thought he was the most talent speaker I’d ever heard. What also went through my mind was sheer comparison. I thought about the talk I had recently given at Denton Bible and started comparing my talk to Andrew’s and decided his was hands down the best. I figured I’d never been as good at speaking or writing as Andrew, so I just gave up. Andrew always encouraged me to speak, but I was resentful that he was a better speaker.

When we decided to get married, I thought for sure I couldn’t be an author and speaker if that’s what Andrew wanted to do, too. I had a fear I would be compared to him and I knew he was more advanced (if you can’t tell, I’m just a little competitive). This was the beginning of me shoving my deepest desires and dreams into the depths of my heart. Just because we sweep things under the rug doesn’t mean they disappear. The emotions we hide are bound to come out one way or another. Mine came out in the form of jealousy, resentment, and blame towards Andrew (God bless him, he’s a saint for putting up with what I call my “delayed insecurity” years).

One of the life altering experiences that occurred for me while watching Andrew battle for his life was realizing, Now is the time to take responsibility for your dreams and start making them happen. I saw God gave Andrew unique gifts to use on his journey and God has done the same for me. It was time for me to stop making excuses and comparing myself to others and start taking action. When it comes to Time, Now is all we have.

When I saw how brave Andrew was in facing his greatest fears while speaking and writing in regards to saying what he felt called to say, despite the judgements of others (and he did get some nasty messages), he created courage inside of me I didn’t know I had! For the first time he seemed lighter and free from the burden of trying to be someone he was not. He allowed himself to be fully seen and heard. For the first time, I decided it was ok to show the world me– all my quirks and all my faults, regardless of who likes me and who doesn’t. I thank Andrew for showing me how to play big, listen to my own intuition, and follow the path God has set out for me no matter what.

In a couple of weeks (April 9th), I’m headed to LA to watch The Ellen Show. My mom got us VIP tickets, so I’m hoping to meet her and share A Gray Faith and The Ellie Project with her. I also want to thank her specifically for making me laugh my ba-donk-a-donk off one of the times I was driving to M.D. Anderson for one of Andrew’s chemotherapy appointments. I was listening to her book and it was the first time I laughed (really laughed) in a long time.  I would have never considered reaching out to someone as famous as Ellen a few years ago, but doing this is a reflection of my new journey of being courageous and not being afraid to be heard.

I want to know what your dreams are and what you have overcome to make your dreams a reality. If you can’t tell, I love talking about dreams and one of my favorite kinds of coaching sessions revolve around helping my clients get clear on what they are. If you would like to spend some time getting more clarity around your dreams and how to make them a reality please shoot me an email at baileyheard@gmail.com.

I am so thankful for your love and support. Each week, I tap into my inner Baylor cheerleader and jump up and down and thank God for every time I get off a coaching call or get to connect with one of you via email or phone, that this is my life. You truly do bring me so much happiness and I can’t thank you enough for following my family’s journey! Go live your dreams and be heard! Blessings.

 

 

 

 

Begin with the End

Heard Family-144 (1)

Hi There!

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to an impactful book called, The One Thing, by Gary Keller. In the book, Keller talks about polling people who were at the end of their lives and asking them what a life worth living meant to them. Practically everyone said, “Live your life to minimize the regrets you might have at the end.” This statement got me thinking about what it was like to walk with Andrew from the moment he was given an earthly expiration date through to his death. It then got me thinking back to when I read Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (it’s a must-read) in college for an Entrepreneurship class. There is a very famous statement in the book that says, “Begin with the end in mind.” I can remember not being able to connect with the vastness of that statement and how to apply it to my life at the time. Fast forward 10 years, and I have a much better understanding now of what that advice just might look like in my life.

One of the many valuable gifts Andrew gave me through his final months of life was a clear example of how to spend my time on this earth. Today, I want to share my observations on what seemed to matter the most to Andrew once he neared the end of his life. I often think about his actions when I need to re-prioritize my own life, especially when I say “yes” to things and make commitments that are not in alignment with my true values.

  1. Helping Others – One thing that really blew me away once Andrew was diagnosed with cancer was how much energy and focus he spent on doing for others. Honestly, there is a part of me that thinks if I had the same diagnosis I might feel entitled to be a little self-centered. One of the things Andrew did to serve our family was to start doing his part to raise money for us, because he knew he didn’t have life insurance (it was too difficult to get since he already had cancer when he was 18). He raised awareness through his blog (andrewbheard.com) to start a fund for our daughter and help with our medical bills. He wanted to make sure Ellie and I would be taken care of financially. He also gave of his time when it came to his co-workers— I watched him spend time coaching, training, and helping other people develop their greatness.
  1. God-given gifts – Andrew spent much of his time confined to a hospital bed, but he did not let that stop him from using his God-given gifts. As I mentioned before, Andrew wrote a blog reaching out to thousands of people (he had over 300,000 views before he passed away) who had doubts and questions about their faith. He, too, had struggled with this and craved an open, non-judgmental space where he could share, connect, and inspire others who wanted to be heard and understood. He was also, hands down, the best public speaker I’ve ever listened to. Each weekend he stood on a different church stage for an hour (which was a miracle considering how sick he had been from chemotherapy treatments the week before) sharing a message God had put on his heart to encourage others going through various life challenges.  I’m getting teary thinking about this because as his wife, I was in awe of his incredible heart. As he was fighting for his life, what was most important to him was inspiring others. He was purely selfless.
  1. Leave your Mark – Andrew’s dream was to be a writer, speaker, professor, world traveler, and to make an impact. He had all the talent and heart to do that, which makes his death even more devastating. Andrew wrote several books before he passed away, most notably:

A Gray Faith: A chronicle of Andrew’s life journey, how to navigate the gray areas of our faith, and how to trust and make peace with God, even when we aren’t clear on all the answers.

The Ellie Project (due out this May): An alphabet book Andrew wrote and illustrated for our sweet daughter, Ellie, about the important character lessons he wanted to instill in her. I remember them sitting on his hospital bed drawing and coloring animals together for the book. El loved spending whatever time she could get with her daddy.

Bottom line, Andrew wanted to share his heart and the message of his life with the world. He wanted his life to count for something— he wanted to leave his mark. I believe he did, and continues to do so.

From my observation, Andrew did want to minimize his regrets. He was such a dreamer, a multi-passionate and multi-talented man, but like many of us he did have beliefs that held him back from taking action on the life he always wanted. Once his time was limited, those beliefs that held him back seemed powerless in comparison to the legacy Andrew wanted to leave behind. I can’t say it enough, but even with all the pain associated with Andrew’s diagnosis and his death, I am beyond honored to have been on this journey with him and to always be connected to him through our beautiful daughter. His spirit has given me life. The lessons from his life and death have inspired me to fully live by taking risks, not being afraid to use my voice to be heard, and to value my unique God-given gifts to make a difference in the lives of others.

If you were told you only had so long to live, how would you spend your time? How would your life be different than it is today? I would love to hear your answers in the comments section. If you want more accountability to help you create the life you really want, feel free to set up a complimentary exploration call with me to see if we might be a good coaching match. You can connect with me at baileyheard@gmail.com. I hope you were inspired and challenged by this post today! I’m looking forward to reading your answers to the above questions. I value your time so it means the world that you would spend some of it with me today! Sending you a Texas-sized hug and smile :) Blessings.

EGP

(Coming this May!!!)

Ellie Bonus Story:

ELLIE: Aunt Betty can we listen to music on your phone like my mommy does?

AUNT BETTY: I don’t know how to do that Ellie. I guess you go online and pick out a song.

ELLIE: I’m going to tell my mommy to get online and pick me out a daddy!

Little Interruptions

Keller meditation

(Me meditating in my fave Andrew sweatshirt with my new favorite “interruption”)

Hi There!

I’m curious. Have you ever made a decision to stick to a plan and then a few days into implementing your action steps for the plan, something interrupts and distracts you from it? This happens to me all the time and while I find it extremely frustrating, I’m shifting how I react to interruptions. In fact, one of those “interruptions” is cuddling on my lap while simultaneously chewing on my hand as I type. This is a moment where I can admit the interruption is a blessing in disguise (see, I kinda like having a little furry buddy with me at the house). A dear friend of mine was sharing about a similar experience she was having and she came up with the phrase that I kindly asked her if I could use: “Life is all about interruptions.” Have you ever noticed those interruptions seem to show up at the most inopportune times? You will be on your way up to a metaphorical mountaintop, then some distraction will show up and take your attention off of the good progress you’ve made and bring you back down. This has played out in my life over the last couple of weeks in the forms of getting sick right as I was gaining momentum on a new at-home exercise routine, gaining a surprise puppy (aka- sort of like having a small child) right as I was getting into a routine around the house with Ellie, and dealing with challenging conversations, right before I was about to speak at the Women of Faith Conference, which was a proud moment for me to feel like I’ve come full circle since Andrew’s death. In the past, I would allow those distractions to completely take away from my experiences and consume my thoughts, but I didn’t do that this time, which shows me I’ve grown. Today I want to share with you some of my tips and tools for not letting life’s little interruptions keep you from accomplishing what is most important to you. If I can do this, so can you!

  1. Jump back in – I used to think if I committed to something and didn’t implement the plan for one day then I had to start completely over, which was really discouraging. For example, when I would be doing my workout videos in the morning and Ellie would wake up halfway through I would just throw in the towel and be done. This is where it all started going south. Instead, I’ve challenged myself to jump back into the workout routine. Just keep moving. Interruptions are inevitable, but don’t allow your mind to tell you that you should quit because you got interrupted. Just jump back in as soon as you can and FINISH. If you are trying to eat healthy and in a weak moment you are distracted by a sweet treat, just start back on your plan immediately. Our minds are going to tell us to keep making poor choices since we already got off the plan, but don’t listen— get right back to it.
  1. Stand in your power – I shared this before in a previous post, but it’s during moments of interruptions when it’s really important to have a big WHY: why are you wanting to stick to this plan? For your family? What is this plan going to do for you? Find out WHY you really want to make the commitment to yourself to stick to this plan. Because when moments of temptation come to throw you off course, being anchored in your big WHY is going to keep you motivated through the times of weakness. One of the things I did during my weeks of interruptions was to remind myself why I’ve made the choices I’ve made and to stand in my power and own my choices. That helped anchor me to why I was not about to let someone or something distract me from my course.
  1. Celebrate you – It’s so important to show yourself compassion when you are committing to a plan. We are human and there will be distractions, so there’s no use in beating ourselves up over it. We will have more success with finishing our goals when we are kind to ourselves then we ever would have by beating ourselves up when we make mistakes. Being able to make and keep a commitment we’ve made to ourselves is so important because integrity starts with keeping our own commitments and that’s something to celebrate. So don’t forget to celebrate every little victory you have along the way, because the journey is just as important as the destination. You are creating a relationship with yourself where you are following through with what you say you’re going to do and that’s no small thing.
  1. Blessings in disguise – Not all interruptions are bad. Some, if not all, come into our lives for a reason and they all teach us something about ourselves. When I got sick for a couple of weeks, I was really frustrated at first. Then I realized I don’t get sick often, so what might this interruption be teaching me? I took it as an opportunity to do the opposite of what I wanted to do, and I rested my body. I thought about Andrew and what it must have been like to be sick day in and day out for 10 months, practically confined to a bed. At first thinking about this made me extremely sad, but then the sadness turned into gratitude because even though I wasn’t feeling well now, I knew I would get better. I felt grounded because no matter what we’ve gone through, we can always use a little reminder that we aren’t guaranteed anything. Remember to be present and grateful even for the things to which we might feel entitled.

These are some of the tools I use to help me stay the course and jump back on the horse after I get bucked off. I hope these tools will be a support for you as you face the many interruptions life brings. If you resonate with what I’m sharing in my blogs and would like to do an exploration call with me to see if we are a good fit for coaching, feel free to email me at baileyheard@gmail.com.

PS – I want to encourage you with one more thing before I go: I often hear, “You are so strong, I don’t know how you do it,” and, “I could never do that.” To that I say, “Hogwash.” I am not stronger than you, you could get through what I’ve come through. I allowed the experience of my husband’s life and how he faced his final days on earth to inspire me. It is by tapping into this knowledge on a daily basis, as well as my belief and trust that God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives, that I find my strength. You can do the same! Sending you so much love. Blessings. – Bailey

Loving Those Who’ve Lost

ABHpm123

(Some of my besties, loving on me at Andrew’s evening memorial service 2013)

Hi There!

I just got back from an incredible weekend in Cuero, TX. I can remember just a short year ago driving into Cuero and feeling overwhelmed by the loss of my husband, Andrew. Everything about Cuero reminded me of him. I remember having a breakdown walking through Andrew’s parent’s house, where we lived and where Andrew passed away. I could feel the heaviness of what life was like not that long ago. This time driving into town felt much different. This time, I felt like I was coming home to family. I credit this to the people who live there and in the surrounding areas, because they have gone above and beyond to take care of our family. To this day they are some of our biggest supporters. If you ask Ellie where her home is she will tell you it’s in Cuero. So it was no surprise that getting up to speak to over two hundred women at The Women of Faith conference felt as comfortable as sharing with family. One of the most rewarding parts of this experience was hearing childhood stories about Andrew, listening to other inspiring life experiences, and just connecting through a hug or word of encouragement.

The excitement of this weekend had my creative juices flowing and I had a topic I wanted to explore with you, but since receiving some news today about a dear friend who’s just experienced a loss, I feel compelled to share something else first. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spouse, child, family member, friend, etc., loss affects us all at one time or another. Even if it’s not directly us, we feel the effects of the loss of others and in our spirits we want to help. I can relate with being on both ends of the spectrum, from the one who needed support to the one who wanted to support. Today, I want to share some of the ways I felt most supported during my season of loss. Everyone is different in how they want to be helped during this time, but I hope this post might give you some direction and insight into what the person experiencing loss might be needing.

  1. Just Do It” – I appreciated when people just took the lead. If you’re thinking of doing something, just do it. You don’t need to ask, just make it happen. A lot of times you’ll get a text or a call saying, “Let me know if I can help.” Most people aren’t going to let you know, because when you’ve just experienced loss, you’re disoriented and you don’t know what you need. Think of the basics: food, childcare (if they have children), cleaning, etc. These are just a few things that need to get done daily that are hard for the people who’ve experienced the loss to actually think about doing. I really appreciated people bringing us meals, mowing our lawn, cleaning our home, sending flowers and gifts, and helping to watch Ellie.
  2. Less is More – When it comes to talking to someone who’s grieving, less is more. Let me help take some possible weight off your shoulders— there is nothing you can say that will make them feel any better, so just sitting with them is enough. Let the one who’s just faced loss talk. You can ask them questions, but don’t try to fix it, just listen… really listen (as in don’t listen to share, listen to understand). I personally didn’t care to be quoted Scripture at the time of my loss, but I was not offended by anyone who did share this with me. I knew that everyone meant well. Honestly, you’re just so overwhelmed after the occurrence that just having someone by your side is enough.
  3. Family Time– A lot of people want to be with their loved ones during a loss, so letting someone know you care, but also that you respect their space was really important to me. I always appreciate that those who stopped by seemed to have no expectation of us entertaining them or expecting to stay long. They all wanted to show their love and let us be together with our family. I can remember feeling overwhelmingly loved after getting over 100 plus Facebook messages, plus flowers, gifts, etc, after Andrew passed away. Immediately, I put the expectation on myself that everyone expected me to write them a thank you letter or personally respond to every Facebook message. My heart wanted to do this, but I was emotionally wiped out. Thankfully I released that expectation of myself and knew that the ones who were there to give without expecting anything in return would understand and not hold a grudge. Being with my family and taking care of family matters were my top priorities both during and after Andrew passed away.

I want to make clear that these are just my personal experiences and do not hold true for every single person. In fact, I would love to hear from those of you who’ve experienced loss. What did you really need from others during this season of your life? How were you and your family blessed during your time of need? The more experiences we share the more ideas we will have to help those going through this difficult time. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you personally want to connect with me about the loss of someone you loved, please reach out via email at baileyheard@gmail.com to set up a complimentary coaching call. We are all in this together and can all learn from the stories of other’s who’ve experienced loss so that we might be even better supporters to those we love. Blessings!

Then There Were Three

Ellie hugging KellerEllie cuddling Keller

(If you can’t tell she’s pretty stinkin happy) (Ellie loves her new cuddle buddy)

Hello There! We’ve had some thrilling things going on in the Heard household over the last week. First off, you can end the petition for Ellie to get a dog, because surprise to both you and me, my parents bought her a 10-week-old Labradoodle named Keller. If I was feeling overwhelmed before, having a new puppy has taken that feeling to a whole new level. However, the excitement in Ellie’s eyes is worth every bit of cleaning up poo, pee, the bite marks, the chewing on everything… you get the picture. I haven’t seen Ellie this happy in a long time, and as a mommy, nothing feels better than that.

Last week, I got the opportunity to speak to a small group women’s Bible study in Denton and the experience left me feeling connected, loved, grateful, and on purpose! I enjoy speaking and especially love making connections with other women. We all have our own incredible life stories and getting to listen, share, and encourage each other is one of my favorite parts of being a speaker. The whole experience reminded me why I started my blog, why I started speaking, and why I started coaching. I value the connection to others, as well as being authentic and vulnerable, because in doing so we all begin to realize we are more alike than we are different. Something amazing happens when we make this connection: we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be like someone else or to be perfect and we just allow ourselves to be.

This Saturday I’m speaking at an event that is very near and dear to my heart, the Women of Faith conference in Cuero, TX. Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a special relationship with the people in Cuero and surrounding areas. Whether it was bringing us meals, painting our house, taking care of our yard, raising over $100,000 for our family’s medical bills, buying Andrew’s book, praying over us, etc., they have all been there for my family through the most difficult time in our lives. I feel a deep sense of loyalty toward these incredible individuals, because they have shown us the power of LOVE. I’m honestly praying that I can hold it together emotionally, because my gratitude overflows for them. I will never be able to repay them for everything they’ve done for my family, but this weekend will be one way that I can say thank you for all that’s been done.

I also wanted to make a shout out to each one of you for following our journey, supporting my family in so many different ways, and for encouraging us when we need it the most. I consider each of you a gift and I’m grateful for all of the love I feel from you, and as Ellen DeGeneres says, “I send it all right back ‘atcha.” (By the way, I’m pumped to go see The Ellen Show live on April 9th… more on that later!) I would love to come share our family’s documentary (beautifully created by Fotolanthropy) and inspirational story at your small group, event, meeting, etc. Feel free to email me at baileyheard@gmail.com for more details. Have a wonderful rest of the week! Blessings and Love from Bailey, Ellie and Keller!

kinda like this dog

(Me warming up to the idea of our new adorable puppy)

I Forgive Me

Bay

 (Me and my lil bro in San Diego 2014)

Hi Friends!

Have you ever gotten stuck replaying poor choices you’ve made over and over in your head? You can’t seem to shake the images or your own interpretations of what happened. The things you’re telling yourself about those choices borders on verbal self-abuse. You’re so disappointed in yourself, embarrassed by what you did, and just plain wondering if you were even in your right mind at the time? I go through phases where this comes up for me and my initial response is to beat the heck out of myself, which leaves me feeling defeated. This messes with my self-confidence and ability to trust that I can and often do make great choices most of the time!

I am naturally a perfectionist and often don’t try new things for fear of failure. In this new chapter of my life, I’ve given myself permission to try things and be ok if they don’t work out. The hard part has been when I make poor choices (and I’ve made my fair share), allowing myself to focus on what I learned about myself from the experience, instead of honing in and beating myself up about what I think I did wrong. If this scenario sounds familiar to something you’ve experienced, then here are some tips to move past this destructive thought pattern and back to a healthy mindset that serves us. This way, we can keep making the incredible difference in this world that we are meant to make!

  1. Forgive YOU first– So often we are told to forgive others so that we can be free. I totally agree, but I’ve also experienced that sometimes I’m more upset with myself then I am with anyone else. It can be really hard to forgive myself, because just saying, “I forgive myself,” doesn’t seem to make it go away. I have to start with giving myself compassion. I go back to thoughts of the poor choice and try to see why I made the choices I made through the lens of compassion. Almost like a friend is observing and saying, “I can see why you made that choice when you did with the best information that you had at the time.” It’s funny how easily we can show compassion and understanding to others, but when it comes to ourselves, we struggle. When I see my situation through the eyes of a friend, I see my choices from a different perspective, and that enables me to forgive myself for making the decisions I made.
  1. Lesson Learned– Another thing that helps me rise above my negative self-talk is asking myself what I learned about myself from this experience. What would I do differently next time? How can I make better choices in the future? This process helps me to be better prepared should I be faced with a similar situation again. When I trust that it’s all part of the learning and growing process, then I can accept myself and the experiences both good and bad as experiences to be learned along the way!
  1. Focus on the bigger plan– When I notice I am stuck cycling through the story of what happened, I will stop, bring my thoughts to the present moment, and then think about times in my life when I made mistakes, but God ended up working them all out for good. After Andrew passed away, I could see a bigger picture of what God had been doing in our lives, and how He was ultimately preparing us to go through one of life’s biggest challenges. Thinking about this reminds me there is a bigger picture at play than this choice I made that I’m beating myself up about. I can see how God could use my poor decisions for a bigger purpose to move me closer to who He has created me to be.

How do you move yourself through destructive thoughts about yourself when you think you’ve made bad decisions? What do you do to keep yourself from getting stuck? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below. I truly believe that God has a unique plan and purpose for each of our lives, and that it’s important to be willing to work through all the negative thoughts we create about ourselves. By doing this, we can step fully toward doing the things God has created us to do! If you want to talk through creating more positive self-talk in your life email me at baileyheard@gmail.com for a free coaching session. Thank you for spending time with me today! Blessings.

I Still Get Jealous

Heard Family-026

Hi There!

I have a confession: I still get jealous. Especially lately, the green monster of jealousy has been rearing its ugly head. First, let me back this train up before I dive in. Seven years ago I was the pioneer for my friends in regards to marriage. I lead the way, learned a lot of what not to do, and passed that along to my pals. Then, as if that wasn’t enough pioneering, I paved the way for motherhood. I shared the good, the bad, and the ugly to help prepare them for becoming mommies. Then all of a sudden, my world came crashing down through the loss of my husband, right when my life seemed to be getting started. Now, fast forward to the present and I’m watching my friends’ families continue to grow while knowing mine has dwindled. It’s a strange place to be in. Of course, I am happy for my friends and I am one of the first ones to celebrate, bring them meals, and volunteer to help, but if I’m honest, I have to check myself before I wreck myself. By that I mean I need to put the green monster in its place by controlling my thoughts about feeling jealousy toward what I perceive my friends have that I do not. I want to share a couple of tips I use to help me contain the beast when it’s dying to come out and play.

 

  1. Observe and forgive: It’s really important to stay in a mindset of curiosity when we find ourselves starting to feel jealous so as not to awaken Jealousy’s mean cousin, Judgment. Just start to notice when the feelings of jealousy are coming up and ask yourself what specifically triggered those feelings? Then forgive and be kind to yourself.
  2. Get really honest with yourself: Sometimes I get caught up in the idea of what life seems to be like for someone else. I will catch myself fantasizing about how wonderful their life must be, until I stop myself and realize that’s my perception and not reality. The truth is I do not really know what their life looks like. My mom always told me, “Don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides.” (tweet it out) When I get really honest with myself, I realize what I’m imagining I want isn’t really what I want, it’s what I think society tells me I should have or be wanting.  The honest truth is I can barely handle one child right now, much less two. And truth be told, I’m not ready to be married again.  Doesn’t mean I won’t be one day, but for now it’s a “no.” So ask yourself: is this what I really want or I am just idealizing the thoughts about what society says I should want?
  3. It’s back to gratitude: I said it last week and I’ll say it again, gratitude is the key to a healthy, thoughtful life. Once I begin focusing my mind on all of my blessings, I’m able to take my attention off the feeling of jealousy and onto feeling thankful. I also remind myself of all the things I’m able to focus on because of being in this particular phase of my life, such as building a special bond with my daughter and creating and building a career I love. My career challenges me to use my gifts and passions to impact the lives of those I get to speak to and the clients I get to invest in. When I think of all the pleasure associated with where I am at in my life, then gratitude trumps jealousy.

 

Have you ever struggled with getting the green beast of jealousy under control? What did you do to work through it? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below. Feeling jealous is a real part of being human, but there are ways to acknowledge it and then work through it. I hope these tips will come in handy whenever you need to snap out of comparing yourself to others and get back to enjoying the unique life that has been given to you. Of course, I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for my life to turn out this way, but I realize it is my one life to live, and I am learning from all the ups and downs. I will be better because of my experiences, because of Andrew, and because of God’s gifts in my life. If you are dealing with any kind of loss (spouse, dream, job, etc.) and want someone to talk to e-mail me at baileyheard@gmail.com for a free coaching session. Hope to talk to you soon! Blessings Friends.

Bonus material:

Two great books I read last week:

Taking the Lead by Derek Hough – great advice for being a leader in life

The Everyday Supermodel by Molly Sims- I love a great lifestyle book with pics!

 

 

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