I Want A Daddy

Ellie's school picture 2014 in color

Hi Friends! I hope you all are doing well and getting excited about the fast approaching holiday season. Although I do look forward to the holidays, there’s always a layer of sadness that comes with them. Mostly because a big part of the holiday season is being with the ones you love, and when you lose someone that was such a big part of your life, the holidays seem to highlight the gaping hole inside our hearts. With that being said, Christmas is such a fun time because Ellie is at the perfect age to be excited about Santa, although already at three she’s a skeptic. She asked me the other day, “How did Santa get that huge trampoline in our backyard last year?” along with a long list of other questions as to why Santa might not be real. Sometimes I envision Andrew in heaven, laughing at the thought that I didn’t escape his skepticism. Ellie is so her daddy’s daughter.

 

Last night, I had a conversation with Ellie that literally broke my heart, but also gave me a glimpse into her reality. We were watching the 1998 movie, Jack Frost, starring Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston. In the movie, the dad (Michael Keaton) dies in a car accident and leaves behind his wife (Kelly Preston) and son, Charlie (age 12). In one scene, Charlie and this bully are talking about how much it stinks to not have a dad. Ellie was lying on my chest and said, “I want a daddy.” Her words crushed me. I saw this as an opportunity to connect with her and also to apply what I’m learning as a coach, as well as what I’ve learned from child therapists that I’ve worked with. I want to share some of these tips with you in the hope that when you find yourself having intentional conversations with your kids (or anyone, really) these tips might help you to better connect and bond!

 

  1. Listen for the feeling. After Ellie said she wanted a daddy, I asked her, “What kind of daddy do you want?” She responded by saying, “I want a daddy that fights off dragons.” Inside, I kind of laughed, but when I asked myself what the feeling was behind what she was saying, I realized exactly what she was wanting. My intention from this conversation was to connect with Ellie, so I thought back to a time when I wanted to feel safe and protected. I completely understood where she was coming from because I slept in the middle of my parents until my little brother was born (we are 7 years apart) and kicked me out of the bed (still a little bitter). When I slept in between my parents I felt invincible, like no one could hurt me, and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Remembering this experience, I said to Ellie, “So you want to feel safe and protected?” She beamed when I said this and I could tell she felt understood. Remembering this time in my own life put me in the right frame of mind to be able to decipher what it was she was wanting.

 

  1. Put the ball back in their court. At first, I found myself starting to make her promises about what kind of dad that she would have one day: one that loves her like his own, plays with her, teaches her about God, etc. Then I realized that was the opposite of what the child therapist told me to do. She told me to not make promises I couldn’t deliver. The truth was, I wasn’t sure that Ellie would have another man in her life that would be like a dad to her. Seeing how excited she got about the dream of a dad just made me want to fill her with the hope that one day that would happen, but honestly, I shouldn’t have promised what I have no ability to truly know at this time. After feeling guilty for making these promises, I remembered what I’ve learned in coaching, and that is to allow the person to take responsibility for their dream. I said, “Ellie, why don’t you talk to your daddy in heaven and ask him to help find you the best daddy he can think of.” She smiled and said, “Yes, Mommy.”

 

  1. Stay out of judgment and into curiosity. I learned this one from my mom. She always told me this when she thought I was being judgmental. I find it hard to not get emotionally wrapped up and project my judgments when I’m talking to my daughter and I can tell that she is really hurt and there is nothing I can do to fix it. I’m not perfect at this one and fail a lot at it, but I know it takes work. What I’m learning, however, is that just being present, listening, and asking curious questions usually leads me to my ultimate intentions, which are for her to feel loved and understood by me. This leads to one of my most important values, which is genuine connection to people.

 

I hope you don’t find yourself having to have this particular conversation with your children, but I do know that all of these tips can help to enrich any conversation you have with anyone. I would love to hear your tips and advice for having intentional conversations with your children and others. Please leave your suggestions in the comments. Thank you so much for following my blog and I wish you the happiest of holidays! Blessings and Love.

Check it off

intotheblue

Hi Friends,

I hope you are all having a great start to your week! This week is a little strange for me because my little buggy bear (aka my daughter Ellie Grace) is visiting my in-laws (Andrew’s parents) for the entire week. It’s been eerily silent in my house this weekend, but I’m adjusting to it. I wanted El to get some time with her grandparents since they live so far away, and I also had several major projects to finish. I’m completing deadlines for The Ellie Project and working with my web designer to complete my new website! I’m also doing a lot of other things that revolve around starting your own business and, of course, buying and wrapping Christmas gifts. In the past, I would plan to do all these projects and then let my schedule fill up with lunches with friends, extra rest, reading a good book, etc. All fun things, but they were not helping me reach my goals.

This weekend as I was creating momentum in my projects I wondered if any of you struggle with the same distractions and frustration towards completing projects? I am always growing and learning in this area, but here are some tips I’ve come up with to help us really complete the many projects going on in our lives:

 

  1. Make sure you time block each task. For example: if I’m working on building my database, I will give myself one hour to work on that. After one hour, no matter how much I’ve accomplished, I will stop that task and move to the next one.
  2. Throw in some exercise. I like to start my day off with some movin’ and groovin’, because a.) if I don’t do it then, I probably won’t do it at all and b.) it gives me a sense of accomplishment, not to mention an energy boost. Sometimes in between projects I will take a lap around the block or hit a yoga class. It’s really important if all of your projects are inside to make sure to get outside throughout your day. Just make sure your exercise is time blocked, too, so you can get back on task toward achieving your goals.
  3. Vary your tasks from mindful to mindless. So for me, one of the projects on my list was wrapping gifts, which is pretty mindless, so I made sure to schedule creating content for my website right after. I do best when I switch back and forth between the two because I can’t personally do mindful tasks all day long, it burns me out. Another fun tip: listen to some upbeat music when you do the mindless activities. I’m currently listening to “Justin Bieber Holiday” on Pandora (don’t judge :) ). I will occasionally have a little dance party for myself and bust a move if I’m really feeling it. This keeps my energy high and my mood positive.
  4. Eat for fuel. Make sure and eat foods that are going to give you energy and not make you crash. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  5. Make time for YOU. If you have a project that will take several days to complete, make sure to time block for personal things you like to do (like read in the bath, watch E! news, catch up on people magazine— those are some of my favorite things). I find that if I don’t make time for me, I get burned out early on and lose momentum.
  6. Cut if off early. Pick a time that you want to stop working on your projects and do some wind-down activities like taking a bath or reading a fun book. I don’t recommend doing anything on your phone or computer. At least for me, it’s too much stimulation. Also, if I read one of my fave kinds of books, like a business book, I get all pumped and my mind will go crazy all night long. So keep in mind that you want to do things that will calm you down because getting a good night’s rest is really important toward helping you accomplish your goals.

 

These are all tips that I’ve found to help me stay in the game when it comes to completing various projects in my life. I would love for you to leave a comment on what tips help you to accomplish the many projects in your life. I hope this post helps you stay focused, have high energy, and build momentum as you knock out your projects over the holidays. Blessings and Holiday love.

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

30 bday

(Me and 5 of my besties at my surprise 30th b-day party)

One of my favorite movies of all time is 13 Going on 30. In the movie, a young thirteen–year-old girl, Jenna, hates being a teenager and makes a wish in her closet to turn her ideal age, 30! As she is making the wish she keeps repeating, “Thirty, flirty, and thriving, thirty, flirty, and thriving.” The next shot is of Jenna at thirty-years-old (played by Jennifer Garner), laying in her bed, and waking up to this new wonderful decade! I’m going to jump on that train and go ahead and welcome my 30’s as an opportunity to take everything I’ve learned thus far and to THRIVE (less emphasis on the flirty and all emphasis on the thriving).

So far, so good. Last night, one of my best friends threw me a surprise 30th b-day party with five of my besties! We had a blast catching up, eating sushi, and rocking out to T-Swift’s “Shake It Off” in the parking lot (I opted to bust a move while poking my head out of the sunroof of my friend’s car)! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much love in my life. I did, however, have a meltdown a couple of days ago about being alone on my 30th b-day. I was struggling with the thought that usually, if you were married, your spouse would plan something special for your 30th and feeling sad because he wasn’t here to do that. I took it out on my parents who thankfully forgave me. After allowing myself to cry it out and talk it through with my mom I felt so much better. Doing that enabled me to shift from victim mode to empowerment. Since then, I’ve planned a wonderful day for myself filled with all the things I love to do. I don’t have to have someone with me to enjoy my birthday, I have all the love I need inside of myself!

30 bday with Linds

 (Thank you Lindsay for making my 30th so special.)

So if you will allow me to be a bit nostalgic, I would like to take you back 20 years and introduce you to a younger me. I want to share some memories and highlights over the past 30 years. When I was little, you could say I was a bit of an attention hog. Not sure if that was middle child syndrome or genetics, but I was always putting on performances. It’s a huge joke in my family that if there was ever a camera, my face was in it. At one point, I would put on ballet shows for my parents, and somehow my adorable little brother ended up dancing and the camera angle went from my head to my legs (aka my little brother’s height). I would have to get their attention and remind them that this was my performance and that they were supposed to be shooting me, not Pres. Haha. Looking back, I can’t blame them because he was so stinking adorable, but at the time I wasn’t having it.

I decided early on that I wanted to be a singer. My dad owned a nightclub so I would go with him on Saturday mornings and dress up and pretend I was a professional singer. My dad’s side of the family are singers and I remember going to the Wylie Opry with my grandmother to watch my cousin sing and realizing I wanted to do that, too! There was one song that I particularly loved singing, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Not by Mariah Carey, but another song with the same title by Vince Vance and the Valiants. They used to come to my dad’s club and preform, and I would get on stage with them and dance and I loved it. I’m not sure how it came about (my dad probably asked Vince if I could do it), but I got asked to sing their famous song at one of their shows at my dad’s club. I practiced and practiced and practiced. I had three of my best friends as my backup singers. When the day came we preformed and it went so well, I was for sure this was what I wanted to do with my life. I think I was nine or ten-years-old at the time. This opportunity led to me getting to sing with Vince Vance at the Denton fair. It was all so exciting and I felt right at home on the stage.

Years went by and my love of performance never went away, but it ended up taking on different forms. Throughout the years I did ballet, gymnastics (which I loved the most and practiced four hours a day, five days a week, for six years), track, cross-country, and cheerleading.   I’ve always been a big dreamer and a multi-passionate person. Of all the loves in my life, finding Jesus Christ has impacted me the most. What it’s done for me is given me an example of how to live my life. It gives me purpose and meaning in my relationships and in how to treat others. Jesus is love and to embrace His love for myself, to show that love, and to be that love to others is what has made me who I am today. Here is to turning 30 and thriving! Love each one of you! Blessings.

Happy 32 Andy Roo

updated engagement photo

(one of our 2007 engagement photos by Joseph Mark Photography)

Today would have been Andy’s 32nd birthday! Ellie and I plan to celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese, sending dad a present (Ellie’s artwork) via a balloon and a birthday cupcake where El plans to blow out the candle!

A couple of days ago, I spent Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family and it was there that I was surprised with the most incredible gift. A couple of months ago, I sent Andrew’s favorite high school, college and tribute t-shirts, along with my Baylor Chi Omega and coed cheer shirts, to Andrew’s 96-year-old grandmother and asked her if she could make Ellie a quilt out of them. When I arrived at Thanksgiving I was immediately taken to a room where I got to see the finished product. (insert picture) I don’t know that I’ve ever cried when I received a gift, but I couldn’t help the tears from coming when I saw the quilt. My heart was flooded with emotion as each t-shirt brought back beautiful memories of Andrew. I love that Ellie has so many wonderful presents to reminder her about who her dad was and how much he loved her.

thequilt

Yesterday Ellie and I were in the car listening to a song by Taylor Swift. The song is called “Last Kiss,” and it’s about a relationship that ends and not being prepared for it to be over. I looked at Ellie through the rearview mirror and saw she was listening to the words of the song. I could tell she looked sad. I asked her how she was feeling and she told me in a sweet and solemn voice, “I miss my Daddy.” Once I listened to the words of the song through Ellie’s lens, I realized that she could have been feeling like she, too, hadn’t known when her last kiss or last moments with her dad would be. All she knew now was that he was gone. It broke my heart. She is such a deep thinker and is so sensitive. Sometimes I forget that even though she’s young she feels her loss so heavily.

In honor of Andy Roo (my term of endearment for Andrew), I would like to celebrate some special memories of him from over our six years of marriage. Where do I begin? I’ll never forget the time I really upset him (can’t even remember what I did), but he was so upset he locked me out of the house and I was forced to drive to my parent’s house. I was really angry that he locked me out, and my parents were kinda confused as to why I was hanging out with them in the middle of the day. When I told them what happened (which, by the way— one of the many lessons I’ve learned over the years is you don’t need to tell your parents about every fight; some things are better left to work out together. Learned that one the hard way) my dad texted Andrew and said, “Please call Bailey, no take backs!” Andrew thought that was hilarious and called me to come home!

One of the many things I loved about Andrew was that he could be super smooth, athletic, romantic…and then he could be kind of dorky and clumsy. I think the day I decided he was the one for me was at my nephew’s b-day party. He was trying to impress me with his roller skating skills and decided he needed to skate backward because of his pulled groin. I thought that was a load and that he just wanted to show off. At one point he started going pretty fast backward and as he dodged a couple of kids he lost control of his skates, his long legs flew into the air and he landed flat on his back. Then, as the high school student that worked there asked him if he was ok, he got back up and immediately the legs flew right back up in the air! There he was again, flat on his back. My brother, dad and I all saw this happen and laughed so hard we almost cried.  I knew right then and there, This is the man for me. It just cracks me up when someone tries to act so smooth and cool and then something like this happens. Maybe it’s because I have a goofy and silly side, too. Whatever it was, I found it extremely relatable and attractive.

Lastly, I’ll never forget going on road trips with Andrew. It was just him and me in a car with his scary brilliant and beautifully creative mind. I’ve never met anyone that thinks like Andrew. He was intriguing and had so much depth. I loved listening to his big dreams about leaving a legacy on this earth. I cherish those conversations and to this day when I take road trips by myself, I feel a sense of freedom, awe, hope and wonder because that’s how Andrew made me feel when we were dreaming together on the road!

Andrew, Ellie and I love you, and we are doing our part to keep your spirit alive. Your dreams of leaving a legacy are still being fulfilled through your books, your blog (andrewbheard.com) and through the lives you’ve personally touched. Thank you for teaching me how to live a life of purpose, meaning, substance and service to others. You are my daily inspiration. I love you always!

 

Food to my Soul

Fotolanthropy event

(That’s me hugging the incredible photographer Taylor Lord (who took our family photos) at the Fotolanthropy event.)

Hi There!

It’s been a little while since my last post, but there is a lot to catch you up on.  First off, this past Tuesday I was invited to be honored at a Fotolanthropy event of the screening of Travis: A Solider’s StoryFotolanthropy is a non-profit organization that chooses inspiring families’ stories and creates a photo album and documentary for the family to keep.  They created this amazing documentary for my family (along with the incredibly talented photographer Taylor Lord and the amazing videographer Claire Huntsberger) . Check it out at www.fotolanthropy.com/agrayfaith/

The event was held at The Majestic Theater in Dallas, TX. I got to stand on the stage with other families that have inspiring stories that have been documented by Fotolanthropy.  This event couldn’t have come at a better time as I’m going through a sad breakup.  I had no idea what this night would do for my soul!

The event was on Veteran’s Day and the man being honored was a Veteran and a quadruple amputee.  His name is SGT. Travis Mills (check out Travisthemovie.com).   Travis was married and had just become the dad of a beautiful little girl when, after dropping his backpack on a land mine received severe damage to both of his arms and legs. After serious medication, surgeries, and coming to the realization that he had lost parts of his legs and arms, he came to the conclusion that his family needed him and he wasn’t going to let this challenge define him.

I watched as the video took us through Travis’ time in physical therapy.  He talked about how his physical therapist told him that she would work as hard as he would and she wasn’t there to babysit him. He took her words to heart and instead of working out for his daily 1-hour time slot, he worked out for 4 hours a day.  We all watched as he learned how to sit up, walk with his new prosthetic legs, and learned how to use his prosthetic arm all while laughing, cracking jokes, singing, and dancing.

There were images of his daughter lying on his chest looking up at him, not knowing there was anything different about her dad, just content that she had him there with her! This brought up a lot of emotion for me, because even though the circumstances are way different than mine, Ellie was about the age of Travis’ daughter when Andrew got sick, and she was often laying on a hospital bed with him. Mostly it made me sad because the one thing Ellie wants is her dad and I can’t give her that. I could have cried for days, but instead I cried a little and allowed my heart to be inspired and encouraged by this man’s will to not just live, but to live life to the fullest.

The film showed him joyfully doing household duties. You could tell he loved his family so much and that was one of the motivations for him to keep going. At the end of the video, he told us to Never, Never, Never Give Up. I thought that was such a relevant message to all of us in that room, because whether it’s cancer, another illness, losing someone you love, or taking care of a sick child, what we all had in common was that we aren’t giving up. We will keep going for ourselves, for our loved ones.  I was so blessed by this video and it was just the reminder I needed to keep going, keep trusting God’s plan, and keep being of service to others.

Also, on my “what’s new” list this weekend I am starting a 7-month coaching certification program through The Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). I chose this company as opposed to others because it came highly recommended by my life coach and I connect with IPEC’s style of coaching. I’m always looking to sharpen my skills as a coach and to learn how to better serve my clients.   I’m also excited to share that since launching my life coaching business, I’m finding so much joy and fulfillment through connecting, coaching and inspiring other people going through various transitions in their lives.

I’m looking forward to this new chapter! I’m ready for the time and space to continue the grieving process of the loss of my husband, to truly connect with myself and what I want and where I’m headed, to grow in my skills as a life coach, to learn how to provide for my family through pursuing a career I’m incredibly passionate about and to be in a place to fully trust God to take care of us.  It is when we stretch and challenge ourselves that we see the most confidence and growth in our lives. Thank you for being on this journey with me! It’s easier to go through the ups and downs when I have your love and support. Blessings.

What Might Have Been

AndyandBayweddingday

Today would have been seven years that Andrew and I would have been married. Sometimes I like to think about what our relationship would have looked like had he survived cancer for a second time. I truly believe those would have begun the best years of our marriage. If you’ve read Andrew’s book, A Gray Faith, or some of my earlier posts, it will come as no surprise that we had a rough start to our marriage. The odds were not in our favor.

I was young, insecure, and felt totally out of my element as a wife and as an adult. Andrew was still trying to find his path and wrestled with doubt and questions about his faith (which was a big deal because he had recently graduated from seminary and was looking to serve in the ministry). The combination was pretty turbulent. Add in some depression on both sides and a lot of sleeping on the couch and you’ve got two pretty unhappy people. Part of the reason I believe our relationship struggled was because our personalities were polar opposites. I think it’s what initially drew us together, but it’s also what drove the other one crazy. Many times our communication toward each other was lost in translation. It didn’t help that we were raised in a completely opposite way when it came to money. We felt like we were from two different planets, which made it nearly impossible to understand where the other person was coming from.

After Andrew passed away one of my initial coping mechanisms was to focus on all the reasons we were wrong for each other in the relationship. How frustrated we made each other feel and how we always wished the other person would change. Needless to say, my initial reactions to his death were denial and anger. It somehow made me feel temporary relief to focus on the negatives or the hard parts of our relationship. I guess I convinced myself it would make me miss him less. Well, that worked for about a year, but now all I feel in my heart for Andrew is love. I feel a profound appreciation for his caring heart and deep soul, and all of the other reasons I was drawn to him in the first place. As I’ve shifted my thoughts toward love and gratitude for Andrew I’m finding that, yes, it does make me miss him more, but in feeling the pain of missing him I am on the path towards healing and acceptance of our loss.

I imagine had he lived, he would have found his true calling. I envision us at Oxford University (one of his dreams), Andrew pursuing further education, writing fiction novels, and speaking all over the world. I’m pretty sure I would be on the same path as I am now (coaching, writing, and speaking) and that Ellie would just be happy to be with her mommy and daddy. I think the cancer would have been a wake-up call for both of us to not waste another day just merely surviving, but living each day with purpose, meaning, and impact. I think our love would have grown closer knowing that we had come through one of life’s greatest challenges and that we stayed by each other’s side.

Since that dream will not become a reality, I will continue to live my life with purpose, meaning, and impact regardless of the naysayers and negativity of others. Because my heart is filled with the inspiration and the love of a man who changed my life by being true to who he was. A man who always sought truth regardless of what anyone else told him. He was brave and his bravery changed my life. I will thrive because of his love. Blessings.

prayerwithrooonweddingday

 

Sweet Moments

McKissack2014-171bw

Last night I had the sweetest moment with Ellie. I was telling her a story as she lay in her bed. After the story, I hugged and kissed her goodnight. As I was getting up to leave she said, “Mom, can I pretend Daddy is here with me?” My heart just broke. I told her that he was here with her and he was always in her heart. “I miss him,” she told me. “I wish he could come back.” For the first time, I cried in front of Ellie. I just put my head on her bed and let go. Tears started streaming down my face. She wrapped her little arms around me and just hugged me as she wiped the tears falling down my cheek. She looked into my watery eyes and asked me, “Why won’t God let Daddy come back?”

Through sobs I told her it didn’t work that way. She replied, “ I know Mommy, if Daddy comes back he may be sick again.” I said, “That’s right, baby, and we don’t want him to be sick do we? It’s better that he’s in Heaven and not sick.” She agreed. Then she grabbed her Bear Bear (stuffed animal) and wrapped his arms around my body to give me a great big hug. I smiled through the tears. She then pointed to a picture of Andrew and asked me, “Mom, is that what my Daddy looked like?” Still crying I nodded my head and said, “Yes, baby, that is what your Daddy looked like.”

She watched me as I sobbed and then started making funny faces at me so that I would laugh and stop crying. It worked. I was able to laugh at her sweet attempts to soothe my broken heart. Before I left her room, I told her that it was ok to cry and that sometimes you just need to cry. She then asked me, “Mommy, are you going to finish my book tomorrow?” I said, “Baby, I’m going to work hard to finish the book your Daddy made you (The Ellie Project, coming out May 2015) and then you can share it with the world.” She said, “Thanks, Mommy.” I then gave her a big hug and kiss and said, “I love you, baby. Sweet dreams.”

This moment was so raw, vulnerable, and beautiful. To watch my little girl comfort and love on me when I was hurting for her and for us was priceless. She has the most empathetic heart and it made me so proud to see her caring heart in that moment. I realized that although she’s experienced so much pain at such a young age, God has preserved her tender heart through it all.

I’m so grateful for sweet moments like these with Ellie, because they ground me and they remind me of what is truly important in life: The fact that everything else around me could not be working out, yet I have this beautiful little life that inspires me, keeps me going, and fills my heart with so much love. These moments are timeless and fill me with strength to keep moving forward. Onwards and Upwards.

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Best Investments I’ve Ever Made

me, mom and dad

I’ve admitted to you in recent posts that right out of college I had no concept of money. No concept of how to save it, spend it, make it, or even the value of it. This makes for a rough start to marriage. Luckily for me, my husband had a better grasp on how to handle money. We were both teachers at the time and quickly realized we were draining our savings account each month. Andrew went to my parents (who know a thing or two about how to make money) and asked for advice. They gave him a list of books to read. Two of those books were Rich Dad Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant, both by Robert Kiyosaki. The books were life-changing for Andrew and he quickly continued devouring more books in this genre.

Linda and Jim McKissack (my parents) started out as individual real estate agents, then built their own team, and then began owning Keller Williams offices. My mom is now in charge of opening offices in her own assigned region of the country by Keller Williams. My dad has over 100 rental properties and continues to hold and flip houses. They are also #1 in Keller Williams for profit sharing. If you can’t tell, I’m a pretty proud daughter.

I’ve always known them as Mom and Dad, but Andrew saw them as brilliant business minds and realized early on that he wanted to learn as much as he could from them. Andrew and I started going with my dad on the weekends to look at foreclosed properties. We then started going to the monthly foreclosure sale with my dad to learn and observe the process. After months of learning and building a relationship with a bank, we bought our first foreclosed property with the hopes to flip it. The experience turned out to be a nightmare because there was a lawsuit going on between the bank who mortgaged our new property and the “home owners,” and so now we too were stuck in a lawsuit. I wasn’t sure we would recover from this financial set back. People told us this was a sign for us to stop investing, but instead we thought it would make a great story for not giving up. It took a couple of years to bounce back from that first experience, but we finally did. When Andrew decided to be a youth pastor in Dallas, we moved to Dallas and we turned our first home in Denton into our first rental property. A year later we bought another house and turned it into our second rental property. A year after that, Andrew decided to make a career change and we moved to Cuero, TX. We put our Dallas home up for lease and it became our third rental property.

While Andrew was sick, we saved our money and poured it all into paying down the mortgages on our rental properties. By the time Andrew passed away, we had two houses paid off. This may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was everything. The passive income generated from those two properties gave me the freedom to take a year to heal, get my affairs in order, adjust to being a single mom, and get some therapy, instead of having to worry about finding a new job immediately after everything we’d just been through. The passive income now gives me the freedom to write, to speak, and to coach. It allows me to create the life of my dreams.

Many of us think we can’t invest in real estate because we don’t have the money, the right connections, or the time. There are a million and one excuses we can make for not taking action, but if I can do it, so can you. With that being said, I want to create an opportunity for us to learn more about investing in real estate. My parents are the authors of the New York Times best-selling book, HOLD, and they are going to join me on a free group conference call to share their experience with us on how to buy and hold real estate. If you are interested in jumping on the call please shoot me an email at baileyheard@gmail.com or leave a comment below. I will send you all more details once I get the date and time nailed down.

I’m excited to share more about my investing experience with you and for us to learn more from the pros. Blessings.

Called to Coach

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Have you ever had a common thread in your life that seemed to connect you to almost every success (by success I mean achievement) you’ve experienced? For me, the common thread’s been having a coach or a mentor. When I was winning medals in competitive gymnastics I had great coaches and when I won the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleader’s individual cheerleading competition I had a great coach. When I was successful in a certain class it’s because I hired a tutor. When I was feeling most connected to God I was being mentored through books and devotionals by Beth Moore. I could go on and on. I didn’t actually see this thread until I graduated college and realized that for the first time in my life, if I wanted a coach, I was going to have to pay for one. I don’t think at this point I realized how much having a coach pushed me and motivated me.

Straight out of college I had a serious quarter life crisis and felt so inadequate to be considered an adult. I didn’t know the first thing about cooking, cleaning, working, or any of the skills I thought were necessary to being a successful adult. I was completely overwhelmed and discouraged. So I went out looking for a book on what was wrong with me and to see if anyone else felt the way I did. At the time, it seemed like some of my other friends were coming into their own after college. For me, I thought that my best years were possibly behind me. I was floundering. Then, I came across a book called Twenty-Something, Twenty-Everything by Christine Hassler. I devoured the book and read her second book Twenty Something Manifesto. I thought this author was the only person who could truly understand how I was feeling so after finding out she was a life coach, I eventually reached out to her and asked her to coach me. That was four years ago and ever since that life-changing experience, I realized that not only did I find a great coach, but quite possibly my calling in life.

Over the past four years, I’ve been taking courses such as Mentor Masterclass by Jeannine Yoder (a year long mentorship which prepares you to be a life coach), getting coaching experience, and being coached. Little did I know that all of my training would benefit me in going through one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and although I can’t make sense of Andrew’s death, I realize that all of my training and personal experience has built up to this moment where I am ready to coach and share my experience with others. This is my intention as a coach: to help people not just get through the difficult seasons in life but to also help them discover their unique purpose on this earth.

I’ve received feedback from people wanting to know how they can work more closely with me, so this is what I’ve come up with: You all are the first to know that I am offering a 9-session (45 minutes per session) package for $1000.00. This includes 6 over-the-phone coaching sessions. If you are interested, but not 100% sure if it’s for you, I will do a free 15-minute session over the phone to help give you an idea of what coaching with me looks like. 10% of the $1000.00 goes toward the charitable program Stand Up to Cancer (http://www.standup2cancer.org/) If you know of anyone who might benefit from my services, please pass this information along.

I’m excited about using the tools and experiences in my life to help inspire hope and make a difference in the lives of others, the way my coach has done for me. In life, there is no manual on exactly what to do, so it makes sense to me to call upon the support of a coach to help you navigate through the ups and downs of life. Knowing we are in this together and having someone to share with and encourage us through the good and the bad can be one of life’s greatest rewards. My mission is to help other’s who are going through difficult times and to inspire and encourage them to discover their unique purpose in life.  If this connects with you or someone you know please feel free to shoot me an email at baileyheard@gmail.com Looking forward to connecting with you soon! Blessings.

That’s My Kind of Barre

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(My friend Lindsay and her adorable son Rise modeling his Pure Barre t-shirt)

If you know me well, then you know I have no interest in the bar scene. This is fairly shocking considering my upbringing. As the daughter of a nightclub owner, I spent a lot of Saturday morning’s, during my early childhood, at my dad’s night club (The Texas Star) playing dress up and singing on the stage. I loved making him turn on the smoke machine for a more dramatic effect, and I loved mixing the one drink I was allowed to drink—a Shirley Temple. I even had my 6th grade birthday party at The Texas Star, which some kid’s parents wouldn’t let them attend, understandably. I, nonetheless, thought it was pretty cool. I guess I got it all out of my system really early on because now going to a bar is the last place I want to be on any given night (no offense if that’s your thing).

I did however find a bar, or should I say “barre” that I enjoy. It’s called Pure Barre. After Andrew passed away, my dear friend Lindsay (that is her in the picture with her adorable son wearing a pure barre shirt—obviously she’s been drinking the Kool Aid, too) introduced me to this new workout class called Pure Barre. It took me awhile to grasp the techniques, but once I caught on, I was hooked. Thank you to some special people (you know who you are) for blessing me with free and discounted classes since then.

I’ve always been extremely active, I was a competitive gymnast, competitive cheerleader, college cheerleader and distance runner growing up. But after I got married, I gave myself a break. And boy did I feel the repercussions of that decision. My energy plummeted, I gained the freshman-15 that I never gained in college, all of which probably didn’t help the depression I was experiencing at the time. Really, not until Andrew got sick did I start getting serious again about exercise. I would do my Tracy Anderson DVD’s (Hollywood trainer) at the house, and I started watching what I was putting in my mouth. It was extremely hard work, day in and day out (mostly because I was so out of shape), but slowly it began to pay off. When Andrew got sick, I was just so grateful for the opportunity to exercise because I knew that’s what Andrew wished he could be doing; that perspective completely changed my attitude about eating healthy and exercising.

The home DVD’s got me on the right track, so when I was introduced to Pure Barre, I was in a good mental place to keep the exercise going. I loved that after working out I wasn’t so hungry like I would have been after a boot camp or after running. Because of that, I was able to make healthier eating choices. I started eating My Fit Foods meals (a store that makes ready-to-eat, high-protein, healthy meals) to help teach me about portion control. Quickly, I started seeing positive results. I heard Pure Barre was supposed to help create more of a dancer’s body (long and lean), but I wasn’t sure if that was a possibility at first because I am short and because of the muscle structure I developed as a gymnast. But, contrary to my predisposition, I was able to create more of the long and lean look than I ever imagined possible.

Pure Barre has also been a way for me to have me time, to focus on my health, and to build my confidence—resulting in more confidence. That confidence has had a domino effect that has truly affected other areas of my life. I feel blessed to have found an exercise routine that I truly enjoy going to and that yields a great return, especially because I remember the dread of going to the gym to lift and run on the treadmill and the eventual boredom I experienced from years of pounding the pavement.

If you are wanting to shake things up a bit and try something new, I highly recommend giving Pure Barre a try. It might not be everyone’s thing, but I can say that my experience has been transformative. I would love to hear from you about what workouts you are loving and that are working for you! If you’re ever in the area, you should join me for a Purre Barre class! Love and Blessings.

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