Setbacks and Comebacks

By September 23, 2014 Uncategorized

Sometimes the comeback takes longer than the setback.

Have you experienced a setback in your life? A break up or a breakdown? Have you traveled down a path you never saw coming only to find yourself far off course from the live you imagined yourself living?  Two years ago almost to the day, due to a health crisis my life was in a downward spiral; a total train wreck. Coming back from this setback has been the biggest challenge of my life. Two years later  I’m so far from where I want to be. From who I want to be. I fear I’ll never make my way back. The detours of life offer the chance to shape our character. Our past can refine us, but it doesn’t define us. Remember that great comebacks take time.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV

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Yellow Conference Recap

By September 4, 2014 Uncategorized
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 Photography by Brienne Michelle

“Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism.” ― Brené Brown

Truth is, I was pretty anxious to tell my story at the Yellow Conference last week. Prior to two years ago, my story fit in a nice, safe little box. I just struggled with depression — it was simple and relatively easy to understand. But I haven’t opened up much since two years ago or spoken out about the struggles I’ve gone through since so it was frightening to say the least. But at the Yellow Conference, I opened up about it – I shared nearly all of it. My talk didn’t go perfect as I wished I had – my hands were shaking, I had to read from some of my notes, but I did it. I showed up. I was vulnerable. God carried me through. And hopefully lives were touched.

I’m realizing it’s okay sometimes if things are messy; if things aren’t perfect. As I like to say, there is beauty in our brokenness. As someone wise once said:

“brokenness is a will always be a willing canvas for beauty.”

Sometimes it hurts to become real.

If you missed the Yellow Conference this year, I encourage you to attend next year! The speakers were inspiring and their messages were transformative. Joanna Waterfall, the creative visionary behind the Yellow Conference and her entire team did a phenomenal job. The details were exceptional and so well thought out. A highlight was having my two best friends to soak it all in with as well as meeting so many incredibly talented, kind and interesting women. You can follow the Yellow Conference on their website or Facebook page. Also, check out this year’s speakers through their website and social media sites, you won’t be disappointed.

Hannah Brencher
Caitlin Crosby
Natalie Warne
Lindsey Eryn Clark
Carlos Whittaker
Sarah Dubbledam
Caroline Howard
Promise Tangeman
Ashley Howell

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Overcoming the Shame and Stronghold of Depression and Mental Illness

By August 13, 2014 Uncategorized
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“It’s not your fault,” my dad said in his wise, loving voice, as we drove to the pharmacy for my first prescription of Prozac.

“Yes, it is,” I said with assurance. “This is my fault. I’m a bad person.”

I was eighteen years old and had just been discharged from the behavioral health partition of the hospital and diagnosed with severe depression. Deep-seeded insecurity, stress, perfectionism, and grave hormonal and physiological imbalances collided, shattering my picture perfect world into bits of broken pieces.

I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t talk. My body was alive. But there was no life within me.

My parents did their best to help me understand the diagnosis I had been given, which they too were just coming to grips with. I wasn’t buying it—I didn’t believe I was depressed, just that I was a horrible person who deserved to die and there was absolutely no hope for me.

Mental illness has been misunderstood and mistreated for so long because of its relative obscurity. An x-ray can show the exact fracture point of a broken bone, but without brain scans, which are expensive and difficult to do, you cannot see the physiology of a brain struggling with depression or anxiety. This leaves at least part of mental illness as somewhat intangible. And because we cannot see the source of the brokenness, we believe as a whole we are broken. We judge our character, when our chemistry, circumstances, or a number of other factors may be the problem.

Depression and mental illness remains a part of my story as it does for so many people, many of whom suffer in silence out of shame. Shame of being labeled, Shame of being ostracized. Shame of being misunderstood. Of being abandoned by friends.

If you are a church going person the shame factor is often magnified. You feel like if only you prayed harder, sinned less, read your Bible more, memorized scripture more your mental challenges would diminish. But that’s often not the case because they’re often not a spiritual issue. I personally liken my depression to an onion that had many layers: physiological and chemical, spiritual, and hormonal. As each layer was accurately addressed, so was my depression.

I believe God heals but sometimes it looks like doctors and medicine to get our brain chemistry right and we have to be okay with that. Clinical depression and mental illness is not a sin. It’s not your fault. You are wholly and dearly loved by God. Turn to Him. There is hope for you.

 

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Catalina Island Biking and Snorkeling Trip

By July 1, 2014 Uncategorized
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For our pre-anniversary celebration we headed over to Catalina for a three day adventure. We biked the entire island. We stayed one night with our friend Rodney at a Boy Scout camp who was a student in our youth group and who is now a senior leader. He set us up in an awesome tent cabin. The next morning we started our 27 mile trek to Avalon where we met up with Rodney’s family and our friends the Richmonds. We spent the next day snorkeling in the crystal clear waters and biking throughout the enchanting town of Avalon. It was an epic adventure and one I highly recommend, though the bike ride is definitely a challenge!

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Marvelously Made Vehicles for Living

By June 17, 2014 Uncategorized
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I guess I’m a slow learner, but lately on my HEAL Journey I’m having to remind myself of these truths I wrote for the first issue of Darling Magazine. I went stand up paddling last night and then for a jog with nothing but sand and seaweed under my toes. I was grateful to have air in my lungs and sea breeze in my hair.  It hasn’t been easy to honor my body the size that it’s at in this season, but I’m choosing gratitude. I’m choosing adventure. I’m choosing to see my body as a vehicle for life, not a project to be fixed. Here is a quote from my article “Your Personal Body Project” from the inaugural issue of Darling Magazine. I hope it encourages you as it continues to challenge me.

One day if you and I are lucky, we will be dripping with wrinkles from head to toe. Our days left on this earth will be close to none and for those of us who spent our lives in constant body angst, we will finally realize our legacy is not measured by the size we wear, but by the lives we lead. We’ll come face to face with the truth that we are not our body. We are a soul in a body that is perishing.

Our bodies are not broken; they are not projects that need fixing. They are marvelously made vehicles for living.

Allie Marie Smith, “Your Personal Body Project,” Darling Magazine

Do you struggle with seeing your body as a project that needs fixing rather than a beautifully complex vehicle for living?

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To Guide the Reflection {Darling Magazine Full Article}

By June 14, 2014 Uncategorized
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Hi Girls, For those of you who didn’t get a chance to buy or read issue 7 of Darling Magazine, I’m excited to share my full article “To Guide the Reflection” with you. To read it more clearly, simply click on the image of the article and it should appear larger. To make it even bigger, click “view” and “zoom in” on your computer. Happy reading! xo

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Photo-shoot Fun!

By May 28, 2014 Uncategorized
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We recently did a photo-shoot for Wonderfully Made with my friend Julia and I had some photos taken for fun. The last time I had photos taken was in my twenties and well, I no longer look like I’m in my twenties so I figured it was time for an update! Our photographer Lauren Porcher was so much fun to work with!

What I’m wearing:

Hat: Target
Top: Free People
Necklace: Raven + Lily
Boots: Frye

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New Darling Article: A Guide to the Reflection

By May 18, 2014 Uncategorized
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The Spring issue of Darling recently hit the shelves and mailboxes. I was honored to write my third print article for the magazine. You can purchase the magazine online, at Anthropolgie and now even at Nordstrom (go Daring team!). My article is titled “A Guide to the Reflection” and is about learning how to not only make peace with the mirror but how to be in charge with the relationship you cultivate with it. Here are a few short excerpts from the article:

Excessive and lengthy periods of mirror-looking tends to breed self-objectification — thinking of oneself as an object first and a person second. Self-objectification can lead to low self-esteem, self-loathing and body image issues.

“Men at themselves in mirrors. Women look for themselves,” said Elissa Melamed, author of ‘Mirror, Mirror.” We have made the mistake of allowing the mirror to tell us who we aren’t (thin, beautiful, attractive, etc.) instead of telling the mirror who we are (courageous, loving, intelligent, compassionate, etc.). Mirrors are a reflection, a picture of our outer selves, yet they don’t tell the whole story of who we are in one glance. As women it’s imperative to our joy that we learn how to respond to our reflection in a way that supports, not threatens, our self-esteem. At some point we are forced to deal internally with what we see externally.

…know what the mirror doesn’t tell you. We are conditioned to believe our reflection determines our worth, but a mirror doesn’t tell you your character or how well you love the people in your life. Your reflection is a shallow, ill-fitted measuring stick when it comes to capturing the story of your life. You are more than your reflection.

All quotes are copyright Allie Marie Smith and Darling Magazine.

What is your relationship with the mirror like? Do any of these excerpts resonate with you?

 

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The Yellow Conference

By March 13, 2014 Uncategorized
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There’s something happening August 28th and 29th I’m so excited to share with you girls. It’s called the Yellow Conference and it’s a gathering of creative women, like you!

The Yellow Conference is a gathering for creative women who desire to ignite passion and bring goodness to the world through everyday living.

Created by graphic designer and branding genius Joanna Waterfall, The Yellow Conference is for women who know they were built for a greater purpose. The earth shakers and ground movers. It will inspire you and leave you with practice advice on how to make your dreams a reality as a woman living in today’s modern world. I still don’t know what Joanna was thinking when she asked me to be one of the speakers which includes my dear friend Sarah, the Editor-in-Chief of Darling Magazine and other creative masterminds such as Promise Tangeman, Aja Brown, Hannah Brencher, Lindsey Eryn Clark, Carlos Whittaker, Caroline Howard, and Dale Partridge — the Founder of Sevenly! The conference will take place at Smoky Hollow Studios in El Segundo, California right near LAX and the beach! I hope you’ll be able to join me and lots of amazing women as well as Carlos and Dale!

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Giveaway: Darling Magazine {Issue 7}

By January 23, 2014 Uncategorized
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Hi Girls!

Most of you know how much I love and adore Darling Magazine by now and if you’re not an adoring fan yet I’m sure you will be once you get your hands on your very own copy (available online and at Anthropologie). I was honored to write another article for the upcoming Spring issue of so I thought it would be fitting to share the Darling love and give away a copy. Enter below and good luck!

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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