You may have heard some rumors about Brave Girls Club….(and they just might be true)

So….there are little teaser photos and messages showing up all over the place about some big stuff we have going on…some awesome collaborations with incredible people….we’ve been INCREDIBLY busy the last few months…working on the most amazing projects. It’s not quite time to tell you about the biggest one of all…but we wanted to tell you about what’s been going on around here…

First…we had a big feature story in Boise Urban Magazine…which is a huge honor because we are native Idahoans…5 generations deep. We love Idaho and we love doing business here. We are so honored to have been featured in our home state…
Boise Urban Magazine Brave Girls Club

 

Today, I found a couple of 4 leaf clovers in my great big Idaho lawn……..such a picture of just how I feel……and I know Kathy feels this way too…

4 leaf clovers

We have hosted 3 camps so far this year…we have 2 more this Fall. We completely renovated the Art Barn…where we have our classes and make art and just have all sorts of life changing fun…..

Brave GIrl Camp Summer 2015

 

We’ve been spending LOTS of time behind the camera filming for our upcoming projects….

kathy and melody filming by firepit

…one of the great honors of my career was being invited to speak for the Boise TedX event…….

Blog Post - Ted Talk

 

 

…in our “free time” (ha!) we have been renovating our new world headquarters, room by room…..an amazing historic home in the town where we were born! Here’s just one of the gathering rooms where we meet as a team each day to plan all of our Brave Girl fun….

livingroom-before&after

…and then we keep adding new and amazing touches out at Brave River Ranch, where we host our retreats….this summer we added a new sign to the outside of the barn and a few incredible chandeliers to the inside (plus new paint colors inside too!)

brave girl camp new sign

art barn doors
The photo shoot for Boise Urban Magazine left us with so many incredible photos that capture the life we feel so lucky to live…doing this beautiful work alongside our family…..here’s my husband and I with Brock and Sabrina….Brock is a huge part of Brave Girls Club and Sabrina is too….and 
Boise Urban Magazine BGC

…and speaking of family….whether we are at the Clubhouse (our name for our office/world headquarters) or we are at the ranch…..our children and grandchildren are always welcome…so we get lots of visits throughout the week….lots of baby holding….here’s Kathy with her newest granddaughter, Kate….

kathy and kate

 

…and I get to see my grandson and granddaughter many times a week too….(so lucky)….

melody ross with grandchildren

Marq and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary…and if you know our story….you can imagine how thankful we are….

marq and melody ross

I’ve even been able to fit in some time to paint and have painted some of my favorite pieces I have ever done (and our new headquarters has a beautiful new studio with tons of windows!)…

melody ross stewards of the truth painting melody ross flying birds painting

……and I was honored to have a book published with Andrews McMeel this Spring!!! It is such a beautiful little book and I am so happy and proud of it….I hope you will check it out…..

Blog Post - Choose Happy

My family helped me when I signed almost 2000 books for the release….. (moral support) :)
melody signing books

Then we decided to throw a big project into the middle of all of it (we sort of have a habit of doing that)….after learning about ancient cultures who have special tents for the women to gather and take care of each other…we decided to build a gorgeous red velvet tent at the ranch……we wish EVERY woman could come and be in the tent with us. At our last camp, about 30 of us gathered inside and shared an unforgettable evening of sisterhood….it’s going to be a huge part of every camp we have moving forward…..it’s even prettier at night because the ceiling is decorated with lights and lights and lights……absolutely magical…

Blog Post - Red Tent


Blog Post - Red Tent at night

yep…..everyone in this picture gathered in the tent…..(don’t you love the new chandelier in the barn?)

Blog Post - Brave Girl Camp

We LOVE camp…and all of the places we get to gather together…

Blog Post - Brave Girl Camp Tables
…and we have been celebrating the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SOUL SCHOOL!!!!! Soul School has grown to include thousands of subscribers….and we have some HUGE NEWS about the future of Soul School…so stay tuned. Soul School keeps us hopping, with new lessons every month and a new box of goodies every month. We would sure love to have you if you haven’t checked it out yet!!!! We are so thankful for everyone who comes together every month for Soul School!

Blog Post - Soul School 1 year later

And one of the really fun parts of my job is that I get to go to really great locations to film new classes. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity to connect with all of you!

melody ross filming by waterfall

….and we LOVE packing up your SOUL SCHOOL boxes every month…here’s Lynette and the gang packing everything up beautifully to be sent out to all of the Soul School subscribers! (we love these amazing women!)

brave girls club packing brave box

Not only do I love to do the retreats here….I also love to go to other retreats. This Spring I got to go and teach at Handmade U in Nebraska with our friend and fellow Brave Girl Rachel McGough…it was so much fun and I loved every minute of it…melody ross handmade u

…and I also got to go to a beautiful retreat in Washington hosted by another fellow Brave Girl, Serena Berry…..where we learned from Misty Mawn, a master artist and very special friend and sister. I love gathering as women and sisters!

melody ross art friends

….and that leads me to the tiniest little teaser about what we have going on. I have been teaching my courses through Brave Girls Club for 6 years now. It has been such a joy and such an honor. And I have had teachers too. I have so many incredible friends who teach incredible courses….and so many more who have so much to teach about but who don’t teach courses yet. So……….our hearts here at BGC have longed to bring all of them together…and bring all of you together…so that it is then all of US…….so…..stay tuned for a huge announcement in the next few weeks about the big sisterhood of learning that will soon be available through Brave Girls Club….not just Soul School….but SO MUCH MORE….lots of you have seen pictures like the ones below on social media…….pretty soon you will know what it’s all about…and it’s all for YOU.

angelas bgu invitation

So…..we are just joyful and content around here. And thankful…….thankful thankful thankful. We feel so very lucky. We feel so very fortunate. We have worked so hard and it has been worth every minute, every tear, every long day and long night. Big things are happening around here to grow this worldwide sisterhood.

 

….and I LOOOOOOOOOVE doing this with my real flesh and blood sister…….and all of the thousands of sisters we have hugged virtually and in person over the last 6 years. Can’t wait to tell you all what’s next.

 

melody and kathy brave girls club

 

We love you all SO MUCH.

xoxo

melody and kathy and the awesome BGC team

Stay with it, Brave Girl…your courage does not go unnoticed

Dear Sometimes Tired Girl,

It’s interesting how the last leg of a journey is often the most difficult, especially when we don’t even know how close we are to the finish line.

Very often, the biggest most incredible breakthroughs happen during this last leg, and so often people quit JUST before it’s over…just before the luck would have turned…just before everything would have started to make sense…just when the difficult stuff beings to turn to beautiful stuff.Brave Girls Club - You will get through this

Stay with it, Brave Girl. You are courageous, strong and beautiful. People are watching…your courage does not go unnoticed. You are touching lives as you are becoming a woman of character and strength and depth.

…and quite possibly your next finish line is just around the bend.

So proud to know you.

You are loved loved loved.

xoxo

(…pass it on…)

 

I made some art for you….step by step….so honored to be a part of THE DOCUMENTED LIFE PROJECT!

colored lovers

So….I worked on this art journal spread this week, it was so very very fun…and let me tell you why I have put a step by step tutorial about how I did it…. (and if you are coming over here from the Art to the 5th blog…WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME!!!)lorraine and us

This is a picture of Kathy and I with one of our dear soul sisters…Lorraine Bell………we met Lorraine wayyyyyy back when we first started Brave Girls Club…she came to one of our first camps and became a friend and sister for life (just like everyone does!!!) …..Lorraine came by herself, and then later brought her dear friends,  Sandi Keene, Rae Missigman and Barbara Moore. I bet all of these gals sound familiar!! They all teamed up with their dear friend and incredibly talented artist, Roben-Marie Smith to start ART TO THE 5th….and let me tell you, my friends….this is something that you need to check out!!!

www.arttothe5th.com

www.art5academy.com 

They asked me to be a part of their wonderful and very popular Documented Life Project 2015 as a featured artist!! So, my prompt is “The Fabric of Your Life” and I am challenged to work with TOUCHY FEELY fabric in my art journal. This is perfect for me because I use fabric as a texture all the time!! CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CHALLENGE

and here’s my project!!

colored TWO page spread

I have been working in an old LIFE Magazine annual…it’s a perfect art journal with thick pages and lots of amazing photos…I just use them as a starting point for my journal layouts…..here’s how the page started…

1 the book BEFORE

and I gathered some fabrics from my life! I always save old clothes that I love but I am done wearing…and I search out clothing at thrift stores, etc that have beautiful trims or lots of texture and embroidery…..here are a few of the things I gathered…2 clothing fabric

Then I started painting the background with some turquoise paint. I thought I might save part of the words so I didn’t paint over that…..I just scraped the paint on with a drywall scraper….

3 scraping the paint on

I also dropped some alcohol ink for extra color & interest…

4 painting the pages

then I scraped on some white paint…

5 painting the pages

I LOVED the poses of the people……but I wanted it to look more hand drawn…so I just wet my Stabilo pencil and started roughly sketching over the photo…

6 drawing over the photos

7 drawing over photos

and I decided why I loved the photos so much….because they are full of love…and they inspired me to love even more…and I love when LOVE inspires more love….so of course, I took my wet stabilo and wrote…LOVE…

8 writing the words

and I thought about how cool it is that those photos inspired me to feel love and to want to create more love and have more love….and so I added the words PRACTICE THE KIND OF LOVE THAT INSPIRES MORE LOVE…and then I thought…wow, that’s going to be my new mantra! :)

9 writing the rest of the words

and then I started adding the fabric :) When I put fabric in my journals or on my art….I soak it in collage medium…I am loving Collage Pauge but I also use Mod Podge and when I’m doing a piece for the wall, I use gel medium….but the important thing is that you soak the fabric so it sticks down and becomes part of the page….10 adding the lace

One of my favorite things to do is to dress my people in my journals and art! So I started crafting some sweet fashion out of the fabric…

11 adding skirt fabric

and again…had to really soak the fabric to paste it down…

12 adding more fabric

then I started adding trim…..the photo of her dress already had such fantastic trim that I just added to it…

13 adding lace trim

then I decided to put lace all over the word LOVE…

14 adding lace to the words

…and I LOVE how it turned out! So much beautiful texture!!!

15 lace on LOVE

yum!!

16 love lace closeup

 

I also added white pen to the outside of the letters!

17 practice love angle

then I just kept going with dressing the lovers….so fun!

18 texture on people

19 clothing closeup

20 people closeup

 

and I added a few flowers and stems…

21 people closeup angle

22 people closeup angled

then I took my Inktense blocks and colored some of the areas that I wanted to have more color. I LOVE these…they are like pastels, but when wet, they become permanent INK. Really awesome. They also have Inktense pencils…

with inktense

I just wet my paintbrush and painted the pigment where I wanted it…where I had colored it…

colored lovers

and voile! it is done!! I love how it turned out!! I hope you will try out using some fabric in your art….and that you will start saving old clothes and other fabrics from your life to put into your art stash! It’s so much fun!

colored TWO page spread

Hope you loved it!! And I hope that you will check out our monthly Soul School class, CHOOSE HAPPY! Premium subscribers get this BRAVE BOX full of beautiful treasures…this is a great month to try it out because you will receive the gift of a free signed book in your box this month only!!

soul school box

Along with SUCH wonderful treasures! Check it out in this blog post HERE ABOUT SOUL SCHOOL >>>> and make sure you check out Art to the 5th!!

I’m so honored to participate in this wonderful challenge!! Thanks for sharing this time with me!

Have a beautiful day!

xoxo

melody

Live big in your own skin and take charge…

Dear Steadfast Girl,

One of the most powerful thing we can do it is to stand in our very own skin and proclaim out loud (even if we are our only audience) what we will and will not allow…what we will and will not believe in…what we will and will not fight for, or fight about….what we will and will not accept as truth for our life or ourselves.

Sometimes we think things…but we never claim those things powerfully, or proclaim them. Sometimes we know something is not right…or we know something is very very right…..but we never stand in our own power and make it real.

Beautiful friend……try it. Try to stand up tall….get your big beautiful soul into your own skin…and say some things out loud that you believe….that you may have been afraid to say out loud before. You will find that it will be incredibly amazing to hear your own beautiful self say things with such power and conviction…and you will find that your actions will follow your proclamations….come on, just try it.

Brave Girls Club - DECIDE to live an extraordinary life!
You have the right, you have the choice…you even have the responsibility to live big in your own skin and to take charge of what you will and will not do..will and will not believe…will and will not allow…….let yourself hear it from your own mouth…..miracles will happen.

Come on…be brave.

You are so very very very loved.
xoxox

Want a better world?????????? PRACTICE what you want the world to be

Want a better world?????????? Seriously…..we all need to PRACTICE more….all of us.

Sometimes it all makes me tired…makes me sad what is going on in the world. Holy moly there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world.

Here’s what I think………………….if we need more love in the world (and we do)….then really the only effective way to have more love in the world is for each of us, individually, to practice PRACTICE practice the kind of love that inspires more love.

If we want tolerance, acceptance, equality……we each, individually, need to PRACTICE the kind of tolerance, acceptance and equality that inspires more tolerance, acceptance, equality.

If we want strong, good values in the world, in our communities, in our families……then each of us, individually must PRACTICE the kind of strong, good values that INSPIRE more strong good values.

Because the rest of it is such lip service, you know? You can’t preach or beat or fight goodness into people…..you can’t convert others to your way of thinking by telling others that their way of thinking is wrong.

The only way to create change is to INSPIRE others to want a better way….and the only way you can inspire others to want a better way is to PRACTICE THAT BETTER WAY YOURSELF……..and let others be inspired and choose that better way.

Love and then love more….take responsibility for your own self and your family…….968983_10151865697671410_1667711035_n (1)BE what you want the world to be. Know what I’m sayin’?????

xoxo

melody

You get to decide….

Dear Brave Girl,

Sometimes, beautiful friend, things happen in life that make us forget that we get to decide. Sometimes we just put ourselves on autopilot and take whatever comes along, thinking that we have to put up with all sorts of abuse, neglect and yuckiness…whether we are doing it to ourselves or letting others have that kind of influence in our lives.

Did you know that you have the right to make rules for your life? Did you know that you are the ONLY one who can make soul deep rules about what you want, how you want to feel, who you want to be with, what you want to spend your energy on and in what ways you want to contribute and give back to the world? Do you remember that you are the only one who can decide what YOU will tolerate and put up with?
rules

Decide today what you want your life to look like, and then start living in ways that point only to that plan. Make some rules…you are worth the time it will take. You are worth the sacrifices it will take. It is entirely possible to live the life that your heart yearns to live, friend!! And it is never too late.

You are so very very very loved.
xoxo

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All about May Soul School…CHOOSE HAPPY….plus I want to gift you a signed copy of my new book!!! We’ve never given away this much stuff before!

UPDATE: This post will show you EVERYTHING that’s in May’s Soul School class, Choose Happy! So if you’re wondering what the online class is all about, or you want to see what’s in the Brave Box that Premium Subscribers receive, or you want to see how you can get a free signed copy of Melody’s new book CHOOSE HAPPY, you’ll find it all right here. Read on! ….

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We want to give you a beautiful and signed copy of my new book, CHOOSE HAPPY, which was just released and is already getting rave reviews! melody ross with choose happy book

We also want you to try out our SOUL SCHOOL and our BRAVE BOX..we usually don’t have extra BRAVE BOXES but this month, we ordered extra so that we could give away more books…..so, this month only, you can try out the Brave Box (you get this with Premium Subscription) and in addition to all of the amazing gifts you will receive in your box….you will receive a signed copy of CHOOSE HAPPY. (everyone who is already subscribed or subscribes now to our Premium Level of Soul School gets a Brave Box with the book inside) If you are brand new to Soul School….you will also receive a WELCOME BOX. All in all, if you are brand new…you will receive about $80 in beautiful gifts just for signing up this month at the $45 subscription price. CLICK HERE TO LEARN ALL ABOUT SOUL SCHOOL AND READ TESTIMONIALS And…you can cancel at any time, but we are sure that you won’t want to….because every month is a new trove of treasures for your soul…..

choose happy book angle

Soul School is a monthly offering of short little classes that are good food for your soul. This month, the theme is CHOOSE HAPPY and there are 7 little mini lessons that center around making the daily choices that lead to your happiest life. These lessons have video instruction and downloadable PDF worksheets for each of these possibly surprising, definitely thought-provoking subjects:

1. Accepting That Which You Cannot Change
2. Letting Go and Removing Toxicity From Your Life
3. Remembering How Far You’ve Come
4. Honoring Sadness
5. Taking Responsibility for Your Happiness
6.The Power of Words
7. Choosing Happy Your Own Way

And…..with the Brave Box…you get a whole box of beautiful treasures that will reinforce and spotlight these lessons…including affirmation cards, journaling prompts and worksheets and pretty little things with beautiful messages on them……check this out….IN ADDITION TO YOUR GIFT OF A COPY OF THE BOOK…you will receive…..

-MAY COVER SHEET rgb

 

We have a new little affirmation card every month. They make quite a beautiful little collection…..this month’s is CHOOSE HAPPY….here’s a photo…

choose happy affirmation card

Starting this month we have a little deck of bigger affirmation cards called “BRAVE GIRL FLASH CARDS” there are 7 premium quality cards….one card for each of the lessons included this month in soul school……..7 brave girl flashcards

 

Also included are worksheets with journaling prompts to do at your own pace. These classes are incredibly meaningful and soul restoring…but also really fun and simple. You can do as many of the little mini courses as you have time for…and at your own pace.

4 worksheets MAY

 

We also like to include lots of pretty little things……like this stuff….

 

May flair buttons

 

And to support our mantra of “let’s be good to each other”…we always include 2 beautiful greeting cards and gorgeous kraft paper envelopes so that you can send notes of love to the souls around you…..here are the cards in this month’s Brave Box…..

2 greeting cards MAY

 

Every month we also include a new collectible woven patch……isn’t this month’s patch so pretty??? (this is just the proof that the embroidery company sent to us…)

may patch

 

You’ll also receive 2 beautiful sheets of patterned paper to use in your art journals, collages, etc….

2 sheets patterned paper

and  beautiful stitchery pattern!!!choose happy stitchery

 

Because we are well known for our delicious food served at Brave Girl Camp…we also include a delcious recipe each month….brave girl recipe

 

we love to share wonderful projects with you so also included are project sheets with step by step instructions to make gorgeous things for yourself and those you love…..this month we have a few projects….paper rose wreath

 

May project & recipe sheets

Finally…this month you will receive a little kit of goodies in your Brave Box to make a pretty little banner that either says HELLO or HAPPY……..

happy hello banner kit

hello banner sample 1

may banner 2

 

Everyone who joins Soul School gets a Welcome Box full of goodies for yourself and to give to others….it’s a bundling of goodies to give a hug to your beautiful soul and also a hug to others……among a whole bunch of other little treats, you’ll receive TWO COPIES of our best selling book “YOU ARE GOING TO BE OKAY”…one to keep, and one to give away…..check out the lovelies in the Welcome Box….

 

blog-welcome-box-640x809 soul school welcome box

 

So….will you join the thousands of other Brave Girls who are enjoying Soul School every month?? We’d love to give you all of these beautiful gifts!!!!! This is the only time we will be giving away CHOOSE HAPPY so we hope you will take advantage of this offer. We KNOW you will love all of this…especially Soul School!!! And we want you with us!choose happy book angle

Here’s a little video about the book…….sending you all SO MUCH LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Check out SOUL SCHOOL here! Hope to see you in the classroom soon!!! I know you will LOVE everything you find in SOUL SCHOOL….there is so much to see and learn.

xoxoxo

melody

Listen to your heart messages…

Dear Fantastic Girl,

If you’re thinking, dear friend, that you are not nearly enough qualified, or deserving, or “right” to be the one with the big huge dreams….the ways to fix things…or the beautiful wisdom……….sweetheart, it’s time to change your thinking.

Someone’s got to dream the big dreams…or the big stuff won’t happen…..someone’s got to fix the stuff that’s wrong, or it will continue to get worse….someone’s got to be wise and experienced…or there will be no one to turn to when the wisdom is needed. Who will it be?

The world needs those gorgeous ideas brewing in your mind, or who else will make them happen? The world needs all of that passion that goes along with the burning desire in your heart to make things better and to fix what is wrong…or who else is going to do it? And…..honey…..all of those hard things you are learning…those lessons, those trials…..ALL OF THEM….those are the things that will bring the wisdom and the experience that is so needed in the world….because, if not YOU…who else will have it?

Brave Girls Club - listen to your heart messages listen to your heart messages

Get ready, sister……..there are big things planned for you. Keep dreaming, keep fixing, keep helping, keep learning, keep sharing.

Keep with it.

You are needed.
You are loved.

xoxo

 

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Every age has its gifts…

Dear Just-Right Girl,

Every age has its gifts. Every decade brings new opportunities. Every season of your life has its own purpose.

Try not to wish your years away, wishing you were younger, or older, wishing the signs of aging would go away, or wishing you could get through this phase of your life in a flash.

The world needs more women who embrace their wrinkles, or who love their time at home when their children are small, or who know the power of wisdom gained through being alive for so many years, and who are absolutely comfortable in their skin. The world needs more women who sing through life’s winters, who dance even though their bodies jiggle, who count the laugh lines as decades of wonderful memories.

We are women. We are brave and we are beautiful and we are real. Let’s be happy exactly where we are, now and at every age. When we can adore each phase of our own life, we give each other encouragement to do the same–wrinkles, cellulite, crying children, loads of laundry, bifocals, and all.

self

You are absolutely gorgeous and your heart is even more stunning. Don’t ever forget it.

You are so loved.
xoxo

I love myself enough to do what it takes (to get well)- PART 2 of a series about adrenal fatigue, chronic hives, hormone imbalance, weight gain, emotional healing, etc. etc. etc.

I love myself enough repeat brave girls clubHi Friends…I’m going to keep writing until I tell you everything I know…

This part is about what has worked for me physically on this journey…(the physical part is only a small portion of the journey, and this blog post is only one part of the physical part…so please come back for the future installments about more of the physical parts, as well as the mental, emotional, spiritual and relationship parts of my healing journey)

I continue to feel better and better. I want that for you too. This is the second installment in this series…HERE IS A LINK to the first part…..and again I have been reluctant to publish it because this has been such an intense, complicated and personal journey….and mostly because I know for sure that each one of us needs to get a professional opinion before entering into any kind of a program that involves supplements, medicine, etc……so, be sure you do that, ok? I am just going to share with you what I have done.

I want to help you so much if you are where I was. I want that so badly…that is why I am writing this all out. Please keep in mind also, my friends…that I am still a work in progress. I have to be so careful every day or I backslide….and that happens!  I know this is going to be a long journey and a complete life change that has to be permanent. I am still learning. I still have really hard days and I still make really big mistakes. I still get lazy and careless about what my body needs. I am only an expert at this to the extent of what I know and what I have tried.

Here’s where I am today…..I don’t have hives anymore….it’s been 6 months since my last outbreak. I have lots of energy. I feel good. I am losing weight. My hair and skin is healthy and glowing. I don’t have mood swings. I am sleeping. I am HAPPY. I am at peace. I love life. This is all VERY DIFFERENT than how I felt a year ago and two years ago.

melody ross brave girls club yellow

If you are like me…you want to see sort of a list of what is working. I will put that at the end. I can’t just start there because it is so much more complicated than that…and it would be cheating you out of what this is really about, as well as minimizing what it really takes. But…if you just have a little bit of time….I have listed my daily regimen at the end of the post.

OK, so let’s talk about the physical parts of this journey. I’m going to discuss my physical body…what my body has gone through and what my body has needed. Currently I am down about 17 pounds I most days I feel fantastic. That is a miracle to me after how I have felt the last few years. When this all started, I took the health of my body for granted. Our bodies are just such fine mechanisms….miracles, really….and they just breathe and pump blood and distribute chemicals that we need when we need them. They work so perfectly….until they don’t. But when my body was working… I never thought too much about it. It was fairly easy, if I was careful, to stay at the same weight I’ve been at since my twenties. I had a lot of energy. I slept well. I have always tried to eat right, for the most part…so I was pretty healthy all along. However, I consumed a LOT of caffeine….and artificial sweeteners. I went on lots of crazy diets when I wanted to lose a few more pounds. I had no respect for my body’s limitations and when I was tired, I just consumed more caffeine.

important things take time brave girls club

I also worked too much and played too little. I said yes to just about everything that was ever asked of me. I didn’t make time for rest, recuperation or self care. The thought of self care never even entered my mind except for maybe a pedicure here and there….some spray tanner…maybe even a massage once a year or so……that’s what I thought self care was.

I need to tell you upfront that although this part of the series is about the physical side…..in order to start addressing the physical side, I have had to have a complete and total change of heart and mind. When I sit down with people and tell them what it has taken to get well….some are just honest and flat out say that it sounds too hard to do all of this. Then…they come back months later because they are getting sicker. I guess when you get sick enough, and you get tired of living your life as a sick person, you will do anything. If there was anything that I know for sure that you absolutely NEED to have to be able to get well and whole in life….it is a new frame of mind about it…the willingness to do whatever it takes. The change of heart required to love yourself enough to finally begin to take good care of yourself might be the hardest part of all of this…..and I promise you that I will be writing SO MUCH about that….but I am starting with the physical parts.

Over the course of a few years, as I look back…..my health started declining gradually in almost every area physically. I started losing energy. The caffeine stopped working and only made me nauseous and jittery. I lost my ability to cope with stress the way I used to. I became very sensitive and allowed my feelings to get hurt a lot….I took things personally. I felt wired and exhausted at the same time. My heart raced almost all the time. I would get surges of massive anxiety and adrenaline just as I was trying to go to sleep that would keep me awake and exhausted for hours….then, once I finally did go to sleep….I would awake in a panic, heart racing…massive anxiety that kept me awake for the rest of the night.  I started getting social anxiety and I became someone who could hardly be around people, especially if I had to have a conversation. The thought of having to have a conversation scared me so much that I started to hide out so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I started to gain a few pounds…then  few more, even though I wasn’t eating any more than usual and even when I tried to limit my calories….I still kept gaining weight. My skin and hair dried out. I was either really cold or really hot. I felt humiliated and angry about all of it. I didn’t want people to see me like this. I berated myself and beat myself up over my lack of ability to control it….I beat myself up over my limitations. I was really mean to myself when this all started….and for many years into it. I didn’t want to be the way I was, and I let myself know it.

When I ran out of energy…even from caffeine….I started eating the quick energy that my body craved…sugar and simple carbohydrates…bread, white rice, potatoes……that accelerated my sickness and my weight gain. After a while, I didn’t even have enough energy to care what I put into my body.

Then the hives started. The welts. So…..not only was a getting chubbier, none of my clothes fitting…but I was also covered in hives that hurt, itched and made me look scary. The energy that my body was using the fight the histamines that were invading me made me even more exhausted. This was a miserable few years.

THEN NOW 1 melody ross

I was completely out of energy….but I kept working just as hard. I worked myself into the ground. I felt resentful about everything that I had to do every day…but I never told anyone how bad I was feeling so of course I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and self loathing at the same time…..being a martyr. Being a damsel in distress. Waiting for someone to rescue me. Feeling powerless. Feeling angry. Blaming situations and people and relationships and circumstances for the way I was feeling. None of that did my body any good at all….and kind of took me to rock bottom. Part of getting well has been taking 100% responsibility for my actions, my emotions, my thoughts and the part I’ve played in life that has gotten me to where I am. One of the first and most important parts of healing is admitting our own part in our sicknesses. Being a victim, a damsel, a martyr…..those are some of the most common places are where sickness lives. My physical body needed me to believe the truth that I am not powerless and that no matter what was happening in my life….it was my choices that got me there. It hurts to admit that!!!! And you have to forgive yourself for being someone whose choices and thoughts you no longer respect or want to be part of. You have to meet yourself with mercy. Once I did the very hard work of owning that…….I got my power back.

THEN NOW melody ross 3

Knowing your power…stepping into your power…..accepting your power….taking responsibility for your power…appreciating your power and the source it comes from…AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE….It is SUCH a long process, my friends. And it hurts. It hurts to admit that we are hurting our own selves, that the abuse that led to our destruction was by our own hands. It is scary to not be able to blame anyone else for where we are. It is also the most powerful and freeing secret to good health and vitality and heart and soul peace that there is. My physical body is so thankful that I have taken responsibility for everything. I am not powerless. I am powerful…..and I have physical limitations because I am human. I have to eat, I have to drink, I have to sleep. I have to love, I have to accept love. I have to create. I have to think. I have to pray. I have to ask. I have to give. I have to connect. My body needs these things. I have the power to make sure my body receives these things. I also have the power to protect my body from the things that hurt it. It is my responsibility to make sure all of this happens. It is not anyone else’s responsibility….because I am a grown woman. I am not powerless.

I am not powerless brave girls club

So….this means….

Today I sleep…at least 7-8 hours every night. I am so incredibly protective of my sleep. I take a LOT of supplements every morning and then some more in the afternoon and evening. I do not eat sugar. I do not eat grains. I try to eat as much food that was grown in the ground as possible. I limit how much meat I eat.  I drink a lot of water. I have a timer set on my phone for every 2-3 hours and I make sure that I eat something when that alarm goes off so that my blood sugar stays level. I do not consume caffeine or rely on caffeine. When I run out of energy every day, I have to rest. I go to bed earlier. I had a lot of expensive tests done to find out where my body was lacking….and I have had to sacrifice a lot of things that I really want to be able to and have right now to be able to spend money on the supplements and help that my body needs and was completely out of. I still don’t have a lot of energy to exercise…so I just walk. I order salads at restaurants or I don’t go out. I carry food that I can eat with me everywhere I go. I don’t make excuses about why I can’t take care of myself. If I am not taking good care, I own it.

Remember please that I am only speaking about the physical parts of things…..and honestly I think the other parts are even more important….the mental, emotional and spiritual parts…the relationship parts. If you are reading this series…please make sure you come back for the rest because these physical things are such a very small part of things.

this is worth it repeat brave girls club

Before I tell you my daily regimen, I want you to know that I had blood tests done for everything and a saliva test for my hormones and adrenals. I needed to see where my levels were. When I started I was stage 3 adrenal fatigue. My cortisol was incredibly low, as was my adrenal levels. I was high in estrogen and low in progesterone. My vitamin d was low, my cholesterol was low…everything was low. I was depleted in every way. I could not have known all of this without the tests. Please go get the tests if you possibly can.

So….here’s a little list of what I do for my physical body every day (unless I am being lazy….and then I don’t, and I wish I had) If you are wanting to go this route…please go and see a Functional Medicine Doctor, that is my advice to you. Many times these doctors are also chiropractic doctors. You can work with my doctor over the phone if you don’t have one…she has changed my life…I told her you might be calling :)… and her link is…DR. SHAMANIE HANECA

Here’s my daily regimen……..

  1. I wake up after having at least 7-9 hours of sleep and take my thyroid medicine…it has to be taken on an empty stomach…I take Armour Thyroid and I have been taking it for 13 years.
  2. I wait 30 minutes before I eat. At this time, I drink a big glass of water…and I try to have at least one glass of water with fresh squeezed lemon. I try to drink as much water as I can in the morning.
  3. I eat a breakfast that has some protein and a bit of carbohydrates and fat. Usually, I have a shake mix that is already mixed up with all of this stuff in it. A protein shake. There are a million different kinds of these out there and so just talk to your doctor about what is right for you. I don’t eat sugar or gluten so I have shakes that are sweetened with something other than sugar.
  4. I take my supplements. Most of my supplements are from Metagenics….a company that makes pharmaceutical grade supplements that are checked and regulated and distributed mostly by health professionals.
    1. I take a supplement that is a combination of many things for my adrenals (Adrenogen)
    2. I take an adaptogen (Adraset)
    3. I take a multivitamin with Iron (PhytoMulti)
    4. I take vitamin D drops
    5. I take a histamine helper for my hives (although I have not had hives for 6 months now!) (Peramine)
    6. I take a high quality probiotic (UltraFlora Balance)
    7. I take tumeric (I buy it at Costco)
    8. I take fiber pills (I get them on Amazon)
    9. I take fish oil (Omega Genic EPA-DHA)

5. I eat every 2-3 hours….a mini meal. With protein, carbohydrates and fat….no sugar, no grains …meat, vegetables, nuts….or a prepackaged meal that contains what my body needs. There are a LOT of diet programs that offer prepackaged food that works great when you need to eat little meals every few hours.

6. I have an infrared sauna. I try to use it 3-4 times a week and I really should do it every day. I stay in it for 45 minutes after drinking a ton of water. It has changed my life…honestly. It was very expensive and I had to save up for it. It is made by Sunlighten Saunas and I urge you to do some research on what these saunas can do for you. I have the Solo and it was worth every penny. My skin is so healthy….my body is so detoxified. It makes me feel so good.

7. I don’t eat dessert with everyone else. I don’t stop for fast food. I don’t have sugary or salty snacks. I eat cut up vegetables, pickles, nuts. I find other things to do with my time than eat…because I used to eat for the fun of it.

8. I have a bedtime routine that does not include my computer. I slow down and spend time with my husband. I try to be asleep by 11pm no matter what….so THIS MEANS….I do something that I really needed to do. I spend time with him til then, and then I sleep in the other room. This may sound crazy or even controversial….but my wonderful man loves to watch TV late, and loud…and then he snores. When I was very sick, my doctor told me I had to give up caffeine and I had to get very good quality sleep. We set up a bed for me in the den. I made it beautiful and cozy and happy….I call it my sleep sanctuary. I sleep ALL NIGHT now…..it is one of the most important things I have done for my health. My bedroom is still my bedroom. My marriage is stellar. It is for sleep and I have fallen madly in love with sleep. If you are ill….I urge you to spend 30 days getting the best, most quiet and cozy sleep you possibly can every night…even if it means moving to another room.

9. I drink freshly pressed green juice. I stopped drinking caffeine by drinking pressed vegetable juice…it helped me quit and it helped me stay off. 1-3 times a day, in a masticating juicer, I juice 3-4 carrots, a slice of ginger, a whole peeled lemon, 3-4 cups of greens like chard or kale, some celery, cucumber…anything green. When I am trying to release weight, I don’t include fruit….but when I am not…I will put an apple in it. It is mostly about the greens for me. It makes me feel fantastic. I actually crave it now. It doesn’t taste like a fruit smoothie……it’s not what I would call delicious….and it’s hard to get used to at first…but now my body craves it the way it used to crave caffeine. It takes a lot of discipline to juice….but it is so worth it!

10. I don’t drink soda or any caffeine. When I want soda….I drink soda water. I miss the bubbles sometimes….so I drink it with ice. I even have some natural flavorings that are sweetened with Stevia…so I can have cream soda with vanilla, etc. When I go to restaurants, I order soda water or sparkling water with lime.

11. I stop eating a few hours before bed….at least a few hours. I drink a lot of water before bed.

12. I was using progesterone cream for a while, but I don’t need it so much any more. It really helped for a while as things were getting evened out…so ask your doctor about that.

13. When things were very bad…I did a lot of things outlined in the Gerson Method. It works!  Google that if you want to know about it. There are things in there that are hard to discuss in a blog post :)

14. I don’t let food pushers get to me. I am firm in my decisions and my boundaries. This is my life and my body! You are worth it!!!

What I want you to know is that I am feeling good……quite good. I also want to remind you that I am taking time to write all of this out because I love you and I want to help…and I can’t stand the thought of anyone being where I was and not knowing what to do. I want you to have hope!!!  My heart and soul and mind are in a very good place…so is my body. I am down about 17lbs currently….so I am not even halfway to where I want to be…and I am kind of at a standstill currently because I haven’t been trying very hard to release weight for the last few weeks during camp and staying out of state with my daughter after she had a scary delivery of our first granddaughter.

melody ross brave girls club grandchildren

 

Sometimes I have to put my focus on other things. My relationships are all more peaceful, happy and wonderful than they have ever been in all of my life. This part might make me sound like I am on drugs…but I am truly happy. I am at peace. I feel so good about life because I am taking responsibility for MY own life and allowing and expecting others to take responsibility for theirs…I am trusting others to do that..and knowing that others are wonderful and capable and so am I…and we all get to be in each other’s lives as we do that…I can show up and love and love and love and love…and I do, but I still know that I can not force any other person to live their life journey in the way I think they should. (and why am I even thinking that I should know the exact way another should live their life?) I can teach what I know, and what I believe…..but I can not make another person know or believe anything…even my children!

melody ross and sons brave girls club

 

So…I just love and offer what I know…and I show up to my most important sacred relationships with love and no expectation. JUST LOVE.  With boundaries for myself but without manipulation or expectations.  I got to this place by working through my anger, my resentments, my disappointments, my hurts and my expectations. It was hard work!

My body thanks me for not trying to hold the very heavy weight of being responsible for any other person’s journey. I teach and love and trust my children. I help them when they need help. I do the same for my husband. I do the same for my friends. My body also thanks me for not expecting any other person to rescue me, or love me to wholeness, or save me or complete me. My body thanks me for not expecting others to change to suit my own needs…but to work on changing myself to suit my own needs and desires. I have so many wonderful people in my life…we all love each other so fiercely. I am a mother and a wife and a grandmother. My relationships are the best part of my life…my joy!!! We can allow those roles in our lives to be heavy weights around our neck, or knives in our gut with all of our expectations, though….can’t we? Let’s let others off the hook when it comes to our happiness and health. Even our partners. Silly guy down there…love him so much…..

melody ross marq

For the sake of my body (and my soul, and my mind, and my relationships and my spirit) I have chosen to not have detailed expectations of others anymore and certainly not to have conditions for the love I feel for them. My body thanks me for that. I have boundaries and I enforce them…but those boundaries have to do with me and what I can and can not tolerate…what I choose to tolerate or not tolerate….what I want and do not want to surround myself with…not with me judging another human as being lovable and worthy. We all get to decide for ourselves what our boundaries must be!  I have learned to let others off the hook when it comes to their responsibility to do things so that I can be happy….to be things so that I can be happy. I love them, support them and help them wherever I can….I do all that I can and I let that be enough. I let others show up exactly as they are. My body thanks me for that.  I  do all that I can to teach and love my children and then allow them to learn consequences of choices they make and help them with all of that.  I let who they are and what they are be enough. Is there a better way to love than to just love another without expecting anything in return? They are fantastic and miraculous and wonderful as they are…when we expect others to be something else…we miss out on what they are.  I am in a place of gratitude for everything that life has and is.  I am in a place of total forgiveness toward myself for everything…I am in a place of total forgiveness for others about everything. I forgive life for everything. I trust God. I know that God loves me. I know that God loves you. My body thanks me for that.  I love life….even on the hard days. All of the work I have done to get to this place has been worth it….and every day I choose to stay in this place of peace and truth….then I choose it again. And…it is not easy. And sometimes I mess up and get angry and blame…and feel sorry for myself….and tell myself it’s too hard. Then my body reacts by losing it’s vitality. This is hard work….hard work that reaps incredible rewards….but the alternative is out of the question for me these days. I don’t ever want to go back to being a damsel in distress or a victim or a martyr. I don’t want to be sick. I want to be alive…fully and full of light and alive. I want that for you too!

melody ross i love you brave girls club

Next up….some more information about the physical side of things…I will tell the whole journey about my hives….and my hormones…..this is all going to take a long time to write out…I’m sorry it’s taking so long. It’s just SO MUCH STUFF.

Sending love to you all.

xoxo

melody

life is good beach