Faith

WHO AM I?

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I don't know about you, but I've wrestled with the very idea of "Who am I?", and "What's my purpose in this world?" I have memories as a kid where I would stare strangely at my arms, as I moved it around, and wiggled my fingers back and forth. I've wondered how is it that with an inhale and exhale, I'm alive. I didn't know that every bad thing that I experienced as child, was going to try to stop me from achieving my full potential....or become all that God had designed me to be.

You see, I've been on this journey of healing....not the physical kind of healing....well, kind of. But more the emotional kind of healing. I've been chatting with a professional for over a year, and through her I'm experiencing such freedom in my thoughts, and in who I've believed I am.

I'm learning that my dad leaving our family before I was born played a greater part in my emotional health than I thought. Abandonment has a way of rewiring the brain to think, believe, and process life in ways that was not originally intended for us. Friends, don't miss this. God's original intent was not for us to experience disease, pain, suffering, absent parents, abuse and more.

Now allow me to clarify, I've had an amazing healing process of reconciliation with my dad. My dad is present in my life now. But friends, the long term of effects of abandonment are in fact still present. I'm talking about my core beliefs. What I believe to be true about myself. Which was hard for me to admit, but after my first session with my therapist, she said," Well, I think it's best that we dig deeper into your abandonment." I looked at her confused, as I didn't understand how that was an ongoing issue. Now 18 months later, I do.

So how does one find healing?

Well, for me I've been doing what's called inner child healing! I'm learning to connect with my little girl, and see how she's feeling, and with someone who has used dissociation as a way to cope with life is no easy task.

Here's the 3 steps I use when I'm having all the feels, also known as triggers.

 

Step 1. What am I feeling?

When I'm triggered (having all the feels), I take a moment to pause and ask myself, "What am I feeling?" This is when I take the time to connect with my inner self, my little girl. At first, she didn't feel really safe to share herself with me. But now, it's almost instant that I can know what is actually going on with me. Why? Because the more I get healed, the more she gets developed and can process things in a way that's much healthier. When your inner self helps you to see what you're feeling....

Step 2. Identify the lie!

It's going to reveal a lie.

For example, yesterday we found out our budget for the firehouse has doubled, with all the extra work that needs to get done in order to get the building up to code. This overwhelming feeling of being suffocated overcame me, and I immediately began to feel anxiety. I asked myself, "What's going on. What am I feeling?" You see, in the past I would have binged on food, which I'm not going to lie, I wanted to do that last night. But now I'm learning how to cope with my real feelings. So, I stopped what I was doing, and immediately connected with myself to identify the lies, I"m always going to be broke. Our finances will never be enough. I'm always going to be in debt." flooded my mind. You see at my core, I believe that I will never amount to anything. I won't be successful, that all of my peers will but me. This is called "Failure to Achieve" according to Schema Therapy.

Step 3. Ask Jesus, "Is this lie true? Is this what you have for me, or how you see me?"

Friends, this next part is so crucial, because it's not just identifying the lie that's going to bring healing, it's asking Jesus to come into the lie, where He can reveal the truth for and over you. Scripture describes the enemy as the Father of Liars. And if he's the father of liars, then God is the father of truth.

For example, when I was able to identify my lie, I asked him is this lie true? And immediately he spoke John 10:10 to me, "A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

I may have cried a little.

Why? What does this mean?

Well, I'm able to now see that my broken childhood was the way the enemy tried to destroy all of who God made me to be, and all that he put inside of me when I was being formed in my mother's womb. The enemy tried to kill my identity, and my dreams by feeding me so many lies that I believe are truth, but really aren't.

My worth, and success isn't tied to my bank account, it's not based on where I fall on the economic social ladder. And God is definitely not out to get me or make my life more difficult. He wants nothing but good for me, and for all of us. He wants nothing more than to give us every single dream of ours and make it a reality, more than we can ever have imagined or dreamed of. Friends, this is the truth!!!

I pray that in the moments where you find yourself triggered, or having all the feels, that you would connect with yourself on a deeper level, find the lie, and let the truth flood in such a way that you sense nothing but love from our heavenly father.

 I pray that you would be wrecked by His perfect love. That you would walk through your own emotional healing journey in whatever way that looks, and know that every piece of your story can be turned around, and reformatted for something good. Your past does not dictate your future. Your mistakes doesn't make you a failure. Your brokenness does not make you unworthy!

Until next time,

Jasmine

DREAM AGAIN

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I'll never forget the time when I was dreaming about purchasing a vintage trailer. It was almost 4yrs ago, I was walking through a dark season of depression. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, and felt a sense of uncertainty in my identity and purpose. As a result, my depression led me to closing my photography studio for a week, and diving into deep intimacy with God through silence, exploring nature, mediation, prayer, reading, and so much more. It was during that week, where I became aware of the lies I had believed about myself, dived into His promises for me, learned what it means to be vulnerable, and so much more.

I remember on the 4th day, God pressed in my heart and said, "Write the dream down. I want you to dream again," and so I did. As I wrote, I began asking all the "how's," and with a gentle conviction, He whispered, "I didn't ask you how, I asked you to dream."

So I scribbled over the whole page, and started fresh. I drew a trailer with a truck hitched to it, which at the time we didn't own either. I dreamed of using the trailer as a way to further my heart for giving back through Click For Hope. I dreamed of traveling nationally to photograph and share inspiring stories. I dreamed of teaching, and sharing why as entrepreneurs we should give back.

During this time, I also felt I needed to let go of my studio. Everything in me was reluctant, lets just say, I let weeks pass by. It was so hard to let it go because I dreamed of having my own photography studio for so long, and I had finally gotten one all to myself. I perceived letting it go as failure. But out of my obedience, I turned in my 30 day notice. The day I was approved, also happened to be the day where I was hosting some Click For Hope sessions. My last client for the day walked in, and shared how much they loved the space. I don't know why, but I felt inclined to share that I was moving out of it, and began to share this new vision.

And as I shared, the mom looked at me wide eyed and said, "You know what?!? My parents are selling a trailer. Can I call them?!?"

As she was chatting with her dad over the phone I remember telling God, "Is this really happening?"

She begins to say out loud the kind of trailer they are selling, and I'm freaking out all the more. You guys, it was the exact trailer I had written down, but thought it was out of reach due to how popular and expensive they were. After some negotiation, the couple met me at my budget. They loved my story and what I wanted to do with the trailer.

Now I just needed to figure out a way to pay for it. In some crazy ordained way, a friend offered to borrow me the money interest free, and said that I could pay her back over the next 6 months. This provision was so baffling to me, because at the time I barely knew her.

In Feb of 2015 we found ourselves packing up the kids, and traveling to Colorado to pick up Hope, our 1961 Shasta Airflyte.

It was during that time, that my husband said, "Honey, I love how much you love to giveback, but we need a way to fund it," as the light bulb goes off in his head, he continues to say," Why don't we put a photo booth inside of it."

I immediately said no, but after pondering on it for several weeks, I finally said, "Let's do it!"

I had no idea that a year later since launching our business, we would go back to Colorado to pickup a 2nd trailer, Faye, because our vintage trailer photo booth experience would take off.

It's a year later since picking up Faye, and now we find ourselves in a Firehouse, that can safely store our trailers. This firehouse, is a dream within itself, and I'll be sharing more of that later, but we see it being a space where we will be able to host events, and have community with our neighbors, friends, and clients. We long to be a light in our village.

It's crazy to see it all come full circle. I now have a studio again, all to myself, well kind of....as Jeremy and I will be sharing it, but this time it's SO much bigger! Renovations should be starting soon, but until then I sense God just wants me to sit in His goodness, to marvel at all how He did it. It was all because I dreamed again, because I chose to partner with him, trust him, and let go of whatever had to be let go of, so we could enjoy what He had for us.

I share this friends, because I wonder in what ways is He asking you to dream again? In what ways is He asking you to open yourself up, and let him in just enough to trust him, so you can hear His voice. He longs to share how much He deeply loves you, and in more ways than you can even fathom. Friends, I pray that you would feel His overwhelming perfect love right now as you read this. It's okay.....take a deep breath, and as you inhale, and exhale let him whisper all that He sees and dreams of for you.

Alrighty friends, that's it for today!

Much love,

Jasmine

 

I SEE A BRIDGE

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Friends, yesterday I had my therapy session, and it was so good. I'm finding such freedom and healing, and this past week, God has just been revealing such truth to me, and for my family which is so opposite of how I felt last week.

My session ended with my therapist saying, "I see a bridge. And on the other side, it's your destiny. In the middle of the bridge is your adult-self, and at the start of the bridge, is your little girl. I would like for your adult self to begin to prophesy to your little girl all that you see that's in your destiny. Can you do that?"

I instantly said yes, and now as I'm typing this, there's such excitement for me to open myself up to see what God shares with me. I'll be sure to share it with you too.

If you didn't know, or are new to following me, I've been on a mental health journey for over a year now. We've been doing some hard inner child healing work, where I've been able to identify the lies I've been believing about myself for all these years, like how I'm not good or worthy of good things happening to me. That everyone else around me is meant to succeed but not me. That I'm suppose to live a hard life, and so much more. All of these lies stem from being abandoned, and being taken advantage of as a small kid. But God....he is not only healing me, but taking such ugliness, and perversion, and is making something new and purposeful out of it. Even as I type this I feel a confidence in who I am as a daughter of God.

I share all this, because I don't want to keep it to myself. I long to share what I'm learning through my sessions, so that it would encourage or inspire you to take the steps to talking to someone professionally, especially if you've been feeling that nudge to do it, but fear or the unknown has stopped you. Or maybe begin to open the door to exploring what your story is. Maybe there's some pieces that you've hidden or haven't shared with anyone before because of shame or guilt.

I'm sharing this because I want you to find freedom, joy, and belonging in a way you've been searching but just can't seem to put your finger on it.

I'm sharing this because man, life is HARD! And we can't do it alone....in fact we weren't created to. You, my friend, are so deeply loved, wanted, and accepted.

I end with this, He can't heal what we don't own! Our stories matter to the heart of God. He wants to take all of what you have experienced, and begin to reveal truth,  and partner with you in fulfilling your God given purpose.

Okay friends, that's it for today!

Until next time!!!

Jasmine

WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES TRIGGER YOU!

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“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3

It's been a few weeks since I've blogged. I had to take a break due to Jeremy getting in a head on collision, that thankfully left him some what okay (no broken bones) but our car was totaled. Needless to say these past 2 weeks have been quite challenging, and triggering for all of us, and all for completely different reasons.

I have to admit that I didn't realize that when circumstances came, I'd have feelings about it, but didn't dig deeper to see what the lie was that's tied to the feeling.

Yesterday at therapy we were able to dig deeper, and for me, it all boils down to TRUST.

Trusting that God will provide, that He's really with me, and that He would choose me and so much more.

Everything in my adult self as I'm typing says, "How can that be?!?"

But my inner child is scared, all alone, and thinks everyone will leave her. So she pulls in to avoid feeling, and then my outer child is left acting all wild, and out of my normal character.

But yesterday's session brought such a sense of hope and freedom. Because now that I'm aware of my survival/coping skills, I'm at a place of accepting that I want nothing more than my little girl to find her freedom, to heal, to grow up and become fully developed.

So I want to share what I learned with you guys:

1. When circumstances come, they will bring forth feelings. We have the choice to feel or shut down.

2. Feelings are different than beliefs, and we need to be able to identify the difference. Naming the feeling, will help lead you to discovering what the core belief is. For example, "I'm feeling angry and frustrated because......, (you won't provide, you left me, I'm alone.)" Allow yourself to answer that question.

3. When we identify the belief (which is usually rooted in a lie) is when Jesus can come in.

4. Ask Jesus a question about the belief. Like, "I believe I'm so alone, am I really alone?!?"

5. Jesus begins to heal us. It's in that moment where He will reveal His truth.

For me, He showed me I'm not alone, and that indeed I can trust him. My little girl embraced Him ever so tight, and didn't let go. I felt instant comfort, and peace.

I pray that this helps you to see just how much you are loved by the Father. I hope that when you are feeling something, that you would dig deep, and identify really what's going on.

Thanks friends for reading!!!!

-Jasmine

 

 

 

CLICK FOR HOPE | JACOB IS GOD'S DAILY MIRACLE FOR ME.

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Please share your story:

My name is Jazzmine and I am a single parent to my son Jacob. I don’t like the stereotypes of a single mom, because there are so many negative connotations associated with the term “single mother”. I am a mother first and foremost to an amazing child who has Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS). SWS is a congenital, non-familiar disorder caused by the GNAQ gene mutation. It is characterized by a congenital facial birthmarks and neurological abnormalities. Other symptoms associated with SWS can include eye, endocrine and organ irregularities, as well as developmental disabilities. Each case of SWS is unique and exhibits the characterizing findings to varying degree. Jacob has SWS, facial Port Wine birthmark, seizures paralysis, glaucoma, developmental delays, murmur, Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), and auditory processing disorder and sensory disorder. I claim my son’s healing in the name of Jesus.
I got pregnant early in my relationship with my son’s father. It seemed like from the moment I found out I was pregnant; everything in my life seemed to fall apart. I lost my house, I had to declare bankruptcy, I instantly became a step mom, “wife” and expectant mother all while everything I worked so hard for was lost. I fell into a depression and it just was not what I imagined becoming a mom should be.
When my son was born, he was born with a birthmark on his face. I had a very hard labor and the doctors thought that it might be a bruise caused from me sitting on him. My son truly is an amazing child because of what he endured during the labor. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and his heart kept dropping. This was just the beginning of his challenging life.
Jacob had his first MRI at 10 days old.
The results showed he had Port Wine Stain. At 6 weeks old he had his first surgery for pyloric stenosis, which means his stomach was not connected to his intestines. It was during the ultrasound that was done to confirm this in Jacob that I knew this was going to happen. At 7 weeks old Jacob had another MRI which was requested by Dermatology and Neurology. By this time, I had just returned to work and I received the call that changed mine and Jacobs’s life in a big way. He was diagnosed with SWS. My heart dropped; I was so devastated. I had so many questions and concerns running through my mind. I had no clue how I was going to handle a work-life balance. After looking up his condition I felt it was a life sentence with no chance for a normal life.

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His first 3 years were very challenging. He had 7 pulsed dye laser surgeries done on his face to help remove the birthmark. Two sets of ear tubes (he had multiple ear infections), Adenoids and tonsils removed and he was hospitalized four times with seizures. He had to see various specialists including neurology, dermatology, ophthalmologist, otolaryngologist, gastrointestinal and cardiologist. At the same time, Jacob was also receiving various therapies such as occupational, physical, speech, and developmental therapy (eyes).
In March of 2011, my life took another turn when I was laid off. I took the opportunity to go back to school and get my Master’s degree. I completed this program in 10 months. However, those 10 months were not easy; my son was hospitalized twice for seizures and diagnosed with a heart murmur and Bicuspid Aortic Valve. To add to the challenges I was facing at that time, my son’s father also decided to move to Arizona to pursue his career. Again, I was heartbroken, I did not know how I was going to handle all of this alone. I had completely lost myself. I did not like the person I had become. In 2012, I made the decision to become a Christian. I knew I could not continue this journey without Jesus.
I finally landed a job in September 2012. I thought all my trials and tribulations were over. Boy, was I wrong. In April of 2013, the city of Chicago froze my bank account, my wages were garnished and my son’s dad was fighting me for custody. To make matters worse, in July 2013, my job did a massive lay off and I was one of them. In the middle of all this my son still had many doctors’ visits and weekly therapies. Even though I was going through all of these problems, I made a huge effort to make sure my son was not affected by any of it. My job as his mother was to provide him a stable and loving home. Jacob was and is still my motivation to wake up every morning and not crawl into a dark hole and forget about all my problems. I could honestly say that in the middle of my circumstances that the Lord gave me peace. He never left my side. In October 2013 the Lord blessed me with another job. Things were starting to look up. I had found a job that allowed me to have a work-life balance. The issues with the city and custody were resolved.
 

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A few years went by and my life was great. I had an amazing relationship with Jesus, I had accepted that I was a single mom, and Jacobs’s health was stable. I had a work-life balance. On September 30, 2016, my life took a turn again. I was laid off by my employer. I knew God had a plan for me because I was at peace about it. I did not expect, nor was I ready for the news I was about to receive two months after my getting laid off. Due to Jacobs’s conditions he has to be examined every year. During one of the visits to his Ophthalmologist, Jacobs’s doctor that he was seeing for a few years now, he told me that he was moving to a different state and referred me to see another doctor. (Back in 2015 Jacob was diagnosed with elevated pressure in his eyes -liquid build. They were giving him drops to control the pressure). I went to see her in November 2016. She examined him and told me he had glaucoma and he needed surgery. I was shocked because I had just been at the previous doctor’s office a month ago; he never mentioned glaucoma.
The real journey came on December 14, 2016; it was surgery day. Jacobs’s dad and Godmother were at the hospital with me. We all received the news at the same time. Jacob had 80% optic nerve damage on the left eye and 70% optic nerve damage on the right side. His doctor told us we needed to prepare ourselves because he is going to go blind. My life came crumbling down. I could not stop crying. I remember driving Jacob home after the surgery and I was asking God if it is his will for Jacob to go blind please give me the strength and allow us to lead as normal life as possible.


The next day we went back to the doctor and we received the news that we had to go back into surgery. His eye was rejecting the tube-shunt they placed in. I was crushed. I had no idea how I was going to explain to my son we had to go back into surgery. They needed to remove the tube and allow scar tissue to grow on the plate. He had his third surgery on February 8, 2017. They were going to put the tube back in his eye. I remember this day like it was yesterday. My son made me so proud. They were about to take him into surgery and he told the lady that he was not ready yet because he had to pray. His prayer was “I am healed in the name of Jesus." We were all crying and everything was a success.


The surgery for the right eye was scheduled for March 2017. The day of surgery he was sick so they canceled the surgery. I started panicking. Remember, in December of 2016, he already had 70% optic nerve damage. It was becoming very difficult to control the pressure and every day that went by more optic nerve was being damaged. We finally got rescheduled for March 21, 2017. His doctor gave me the option of performing his surgery in parts or should we take the risk of putting the tube and hoping his eye won’t reject it. I told her to take the risk. We went to the doctor the next day, surely enough the eye was rejecting the tube. As I was in the doctor’s office with Jacob, I got a call that my mom was in the hospital. Again, I felt the world crumbling and I was torn between my mom and son. I wanted to be there for my mom, but my son needed me. At this point I knew I had to reach out to my praying community/friends to pray for Jacob, my mom and I. I was getting very weak and I was not sure how much more news I could endure. I just remember telling Jesus to please give me the strength to continue. I was praying over Jacob telling his body that he is healed.

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We went back to the doctor, now for his fifth surgery. Jacob and I were extremely anxious. I had to explain to my son that the purpose of this surgery was to help him not to go blind. Only by the grace of God the tube in the right eye did not have to get removed. The doctor actually took the opportunity to fix both eyes. She kept telling me this is a miracle. Since both eyes were operated at the same time, we had to spend the night at the hospital. Jacob was not happy to wake up with both patches in his eyes. He was so upset. He kept telling me “Mami, why would you let them do this to me?” He was so miserable. He kept crying out to God to help him…that he needed him. We were discharged the next day. These surgeries have been very difficult for Jacob. He is scheduled for one more surgery in March 2018. He hates waking up from surgery with the patch on. He gets very upset with me because to him I allow this to happen. He dislikes it when I give him his eyes drops. (4 different drops, twice a day in both eyes. At one point it was 10 different drops per eye, twice a day.) When they finally took off his patches he was so emotional. He kept telling me “I just missed seeing you, Mami!”


My trials and tribulations did not end. Five surgeries later and going to the doctor almost every week for 6 months, my unemployment was finished and I prayed “Okay God all I have is you. I will trust you.” In June 2017, my previous employer called me back to help them temporarily. Little did I know my child support was stopped due to an error made by the state. God knows all things because if I would not have come back to my previous employer, I would not have had any income. I knew that God was there with my son and me the entire time. I have seen God’s hand move in my life. I have been praying for a career and was recently blessed with a new job opportunity. This is just the beginning of what God has in store for Jacob and me.
The reason why I share my story is because of the great lesson God taught me through it all. God blessed me with the greatest gift anyone could receive and that is being a mother to Jacob. In Hebrew his name means: Holder of the heel; sub planter; may God protect. Jacob has met all odds. He has endured and survived 16 surgeries all by the age of 8. He may have many of the traits and symptoms of a child with SWS, but he is the strongest, most courageous, amazing child I have ever known. He has taught me compassion, patience, sympathy, empathy and appreciation for the smallest things in life.


All my life, I have been very strong and independent, but now I can add to it faith filled and courageous because Jacob is God’s daily miracle for me. He is proof that God exists. I have worked hard for everything in my life from an early age. I believe I have set realistic goals, and have met most of them already. But you are never really prepared for those extras that hit you unexpectedly. You just go with the flow and hope for the best. I know that many women who are raising their children alone never planned it that way. I know I didn’t, but it happened just the same. One major thing I have realized is that, without faith in God, my family, and the support of great friends, I know I could not have made it this far. Everything I do is because God gives me strength and Jacob gives me purpose.

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WHAT I LEARNED FROM MY FRIEND, MELISSA.

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It's crazy to think that it's been one month since my friend Melissa passed away. Grief as a way of coming in moments not expected, where all of sudden, I find myself crying. I think of her often, and how so many miss her too, especially her family and husband. If you don't know anything about Melissa, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer a few years ago, after treatment she started a shop called Hope 25. Her dream was to grow her photography business, and continue to inspire the cancer community through her inspirational t-shirt designs, and then her Breast Cancer Metastasized rather quickly taking her independence.

Our friendship started at the time of her first diagnosis. We first connected through Facebook, and then started getting together for coffee dates, and if not coffee then it was tacos. We talked about photography, family/marriage, Jesus, and how we wanted to impact the world. We were also accountability partners at the beginning of 2017 for our businesses, and would text each other often. Needless to say, while we weren't  friends for lots of years, she was a very dear friend to me and greatly impacted my life. I'm grateful that she allowed me to walk along side her as she battled Breast Cancer. As a way to celebrate her life, I wanted to write a blog post on how Melissa left an everlasting fingerprint on me.

So, here's 6 things she taught me.

HOW TO PUNCH FEAR IN THE FACE.

This was her mantra. When she was first diagnosed, she told me that this was her season of punching fear in the face. I saw this girl use her story to help and inspire so many. She didn't allow her insecurities, or fears to stop her. While she may have been soft spoken when meeting new people, she was bold and courageous on social media. Now punching fear in the face didn't mean she didn't have fears, because she did. It was through her vulnerability that encouraged so many to know that it's okay to have fears, but to stand in truth, and to overcome those fears.

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TO OPEN UP MY HEART FOR FRIENDSHIP AGAIN.

I went through a major loss of friendships before Melissa entered my life. Her friendship helped me to open up my heart, and allow myself to befriended, and loved.

HOW TO LISTEN.

Melissa was a great listener. Sometimes she'd let me just talk, while she listened. One thing she didn't want was to constantly talk about her cancer and treatments. She wanted to feel normal, and did that by wanting to know what was going on with me, which was extremely hard for me, but wanted to honor her wishes. Other times, we just watched random TV shows together, like CatFish.

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TO JUST GO FOR IT.

When Melissa shared her shop idea with me, she was a little hesitant in how to do it and make it all work, and then I kid you not, a week later she launched her website, and Insta. I was like "whoa".....She just went for it. She may have not had it all figured out, but she was going to, and that determination led her selling over 1,000 t-shirts.

TO LAUGH AND DANCE MORE ESPECIALLY WITH THOSE YOU LOVE.

Melissa had the sweetest laugh, she did this thing with her nose where she would scrunch it and giggle. She taught me to laugh and be silly. I also loved watching her IG stories when she would laugh and dance with her husband. It was so inspiring to watch the love she had for him, and for her family.

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CHERISH YOUR FAMILY

Melissa had this amazing connection with her family. She loved spending time with her mom, and sometimes when we went to events together, her mom would come along. I loved it! Their bond was truly special, but this wasn't just with her mom, she had this bond with her brother too. As a matter of fact they did their photography business together. I loved watching how her family loved each other so well and deep.

I'm sure I could write a ton more, but I end with this! Melissa, I miss you friend. But I can imagine you dancing and laughing with Jesus right now, and that gives me peace, knowing that I'll get to see you again.