To say that it’s THE most important thing to me would be an understatement…..because it’s truly so much more than that.
It is my big WHY.
It was my why when Cowgirl Dreams Co. began. It’s my why behind Reckless Grace Boutique. It’s my why behind Her Confident Life. It’s my why that I get up every single morning and keep going.
If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know that this whole journey began with a horse and a blog…with no intentions of ever becoming anything more than that. It began as Cowgirl Dreams Co. because that’s what I had – dreams of being a cowgirl.
It grew as I grew. What started out with just my friends and family following this Facebook page I had created just kept growing. And as I was posting inspirational quotes and blog entries, I was also getting so many DM’s coming at me from people of all walks of life confiding in me their own struggles. In all honesty, for a long time I was feeling a “thank God I’m not alone” .
And it continued. The DM’s kept coming and blog and Facebook page grew. Honestly, it took on a life of its own.
Behind the scenes I was doing my own soul searching. My own self-discovery. At one significant point I had learned that most of my life was a lie, things weren’t really as I remembered them (and sometimes even made my mind believe them to be by creating my own memories) and the real struggles for me began.
Who the actual F*** am I? What is my story? More than that – what the F*** is my truth???
My blog allowed me to be very open and real. It was “safe”. Most of the folks reading what I wrote were people I didn’t have to face in real life! They were all off somewhere in cyber land and that made it easier for me to really dive in and share.
It got really raw after I shared my story of what I call an “intervened suicide attempt”. Divinely intervened, I should add.
My life was full of anxiety, depression, abuse, bullying, loneliness, hiding, and absolutely no self-esteem + self-confidence anywhere.
And all those revelations began a whole new journey in finding ME.
I soul searched. I did the work. Hell, I’m still doing the work because do we ever really stop???
And through it all, there was one constant being that never EVER let me fake it. There was no pretending. That old Buck Brannaman quote “A horse is a mirror to your soul…sometimes you might not like what you see…sometimes you will” couldn’t be more true.
I had been pretending my whole life. I honestly had no idea who I was. I had no idea what was real and what was make believe……so when I tell you that Ryleigh saved me, I’m not exaggerating. He made me look inside myself. Deep inside myself. He made me face truths and learn to be gentle with myself. He made me live my truth.
Over the course of the years we spent together – he taught me who I was.
In the meantime, Cowgirl Dreams Co. was growing and changing. Through all of the growth and changes I never ever wanted to lose my why. It’s always been the most important part of this whole journey. I. Had. Plans. They may not have been completely clear in my mind but I had plans.
We re-branded the boutique and even when we did that, the new name HAD to fit. It absolutely had to mean something. Reckless Grace comes from the parable that in part reads “Jesus leaving behind 99 to find that 1 seems reckless…..unless you’re that 1.” And I was. I am living proof of God’s reckless grace. (In truth, I think we all are.)
Cowgirl Dreams Co. was supposed to turn into a brand. That was my plan. A brand to sort of represent anxiety, depression and suicide awareness/prevention and work towards ending the stigma always attached to mental health……a brand to lift up, inspire + empower women that were facing their own struggles…..but I was finding that it just wasn’t going to work for the same reasons the name wouldn’t work for the boutique – it was limiting.
So that was put on the back burner for most of 2019. I was busy with the boutique and couldn’t give it the attention that I so wanted to.
Until a couple months ago. That’s when I really started thinking about it.
Have you ever heard that saying that God puts people into our lives for either a season or a reason? Sometimes people show up because there’s a specific thing they’re going to help you through and then the disappear almost as fast as they came….and sometimes people show up in your life because it’s a perfect fit.
Chelsie is a “reason” friend. She can listen to the words I spew outta my head that make absolutely no sense at all (always when I’m stuck on something) and come back at me with exactly what I was searching for. She took my idea for the wings on my boutique door and suggested my most meaningful quotes pertaining to this journey go inside each little feather area and then brought the whole thing to life for me.
Most people might think those wings are because of my love for Miranda Lambert……and in part, they are. But mostly they are all about Ryleigh and his white spot. If you haven’t noticed, it’s in the shape of an angel wing.
And while Chelsie was out in my driveway painting those wings, we talked about my vision. Ry was still alive then and those wings were so important for me to get on that door while he was still with me. We talked about the vision I had for “eventually”……although I had no idea when “eventually” would be.
Okay…..fast forward to a couple weeks ago. Again, I was stuck. I knew WHAT I was doing. I knew WHY I was doing it. I knew what I wanted it all to mean. To be about. But I was so stuck on what I was going to call it.
And I ended up right back at Chelsie. A simple text message to tell her (because life gets busy and we hadn’t talked in a minute) that I missed her and was thinking about her led me to tell her this big plan I had but I was stuck…………and I swear within 24 hours she came up with THE PERFECT NAME.
It’s a play on his name.
Ry + Rise……which is the most important gift he taught me. RYSE™. I can RYSE above it all. Accompanied by that angel wing.
It represents anxiety + depression + mental health struggles + never giving up on you or life and bringing awareness to suicide prevention. Ending the stigmas that accompany mental health issues, knowing it’s okay to not be okay and to talk about it until you are okay. It also lifts up every single woman that is out there facing her own battles and learning to love herself through all the noise – whether her own noise or the noise of society.
The Webster’s Dictionary defines LEGACY as: the story of some ones life, the things they did, goals they accomplished Legacy is something that a person (or horse) leaves behind to be remembered by. Legacies are pathways that guide people in decisions with what to do or what not to do.
Ry’s life impacted my life so profoundly. He taught me to be patient with myself and to give myself grace. He taught me to fight through my struggles and helped me discover my truths.
The lessons + experiences Ry blessed me with saved me.
I got lost in all the shiny things of the boutique world for a while. And by getting lost, I mean I strayed from my original intentions and followed the path that just kept appearing before me. The boutique. I’ve said it a million times but I’m saying it again – I never ever meant to have a boutique. I’m the classic story of “it just happened”. But along came 2020.
We all know what 2020 had most in business doing – pivoting. Everyone had to. If you wanted to survive, you had to pivot. Including me.
2020 and all its chaos forced the mobile boutique to get sidelined to my driveway, which led me to put all my focus on creating more of a presence online. And thankfully, my customers pivoted with me. But not having to prepare + shop for events gave me so much down time and had me flirting with anxiety, depression and a giant “wtf do I do now???”
I wound up pivoting more. I started helping friends launch their own businesses, helped friends re-invent + re-launch their brands, started writing more, started designing courses + workbooks to tackle mindset, anxiety, depression, branding…….and finally got back to focusing on my original intentions when all of this began years ago – my own brand.
With all my heart, I hope you love it as much as I do. And I hope you will get behind me in bringing the RYSE™ brand to the world
The biggest heartfelt thank you to Chelsie for not only giving me exactly what I needed when I needed it, but for a friendship that I cherish with all my heart. The girl just gets me. And a big heartfelt thank you to every single one of you that have been along with me for this ride……it’s been the absolute most rewarding journey of my life.
My hope is to gift you the gifts Ry gave me.