Welcome to Book One of the Sophie Lee Trilogy, The Key. It’s a story that I started in middle school and was encouraged by a friend to bring back to life….
From an early age, Sophie Lee Harris was chosen to be the keeper of the key without any choice. Designed to survive anything thrown at her, it’s a challenge she’s able to keep. The only problem is, she can’t remember where she hid it after a traumatic car accident leaves her with amnesia..
James Moore loves his best friends, Tina and Ben, like family. It’s time for their yearly trip to his parent’s house. Despite Tina’s determination to get him to settle down with a woman, it is the chance meeting with a strange girl running from a group of thugs with guns that is about to change his life forever.
Will they be able to recover her memories before the man with the cane closes in? Is the key to her survival lost forever? Together, they scramble to put the pieces in place, but time is running out, and lives are being taken. Who will be sacrificed next?..
I’m very excited to be on this journey. It is my first time writing a published fiction book AND even a trilogy! Although it has been a challenging and completely different process then writing a nonfiction book, it is a great learning experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world! I have completely bawled when killing off some characters, and dancing in my living room for others. I’ve been exhausted after each epic fight Sophie encounters as if I fight it myself! And I have warned my father which pages to skip for a love scene that I think would make us both uncomfortable to have him read it…HA! But I wanted to share the cover with you. So stay tuned for more sneak peeks on GoodReads and follow me on Instagram!
Help! I’ve been kidnapped! Not literally, but my badassary definitely feels like it gets kidnapped from time to time. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded “Funk”…
When you are single and in your forties, it becomes a lot harder to call your girlfriends for an emergency get together. Long gone are the days where we could drop whatever we were doing to go to our girlfriend’s need. Now there’s kids, significant others, and the list of adult responsibilities that forever multiplies every time you blink! But being stuck in the “Funk” helps no one especially you, so here’s some of my favorite tips and tricks to get yourself out.
1. Charcoal mask. Yep, the best place to start is detoxing the “Funk” out is your skin. Follow up with a moisturizing mask. Give yourself some TLC.
2. Badassary playlist. Play those songs that put the fire back in your soul. A few of my current ones are You Can’t Stop The Girl, The Comeback, Good As Hell, Sit Still Look Pretty, etc.
3. Phone a friend. Just because you can’t get together in person doesn’t mean reaching out to check in on your bff won’t lift your spirits.
4. Get out of the house. Go for a walk if the weather permits. Or go to the mall and take a couple of laps. Exercise releases those feel good chemicals from our brains and help rid us the doom and gloom brought on by the “Funk”.
5. End the day doing something you love. Whether you’re curling up to read a good book while petting a needy fur baby, or dancing around your livingroom rocking to your favorite 80s soundtracks, end the day giving yourself some much needed self love.
So even though people have more responsibilities as we age like fine wine, know that doesn’t mean that the “Funk” has to win. It just means that we have to help rescue our own badassary selves a little more often so we can continue to conquer those personal storms.
Before, I was so addicted to making other people happy thinking it would bring me true happiness. After all, helping others brought me so much joy! However, that quickly became an addiction as I struggled to find the thing that I wanted most. A love that I truly deserved….the ability to love myself for who I was, weaknesses and all. I didn’t even realize what I had spent my whole life chasing until 3 years into my journey of breaking my People Pleasing Addiction. I thought I was just trying to get “uncomfortable” and “expand my comfort zone”. But what I was really looking for was to find myself before all of the toxic relationship marathon began, and learn to love her for all that she was, strengths and weaknesses alike.
I bought Groupon after Groupon as I struggled to find out what I liked and what I didn’t like. I started taking myself out on date nights to do things I actually enjoyed like treating myself to dinner and a movie. Although, now I’m super picky about who I let go to the movies with me, because I actually prefer to go alone now…ha! With each adventure, and each blog post, my confidence, empowerment, and self-worth began to grow.
But the adventures didn’t matter if I didn’t hold myself accountable. That’s why I started the blog in the first place. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stick to even a 5 step program if there wasn’t a way to hold myself accountable. By writing about the adventures and my life experiences as I continued to grow on this journey, I was able to not only change my own life for the better, but I began changing other women’s mindset to be more positive and provided motivation to expand their own comfort zones.
But the blog didn’t seem to be enough. Mostly because I was only sharing part of my journey in reality. I was only telling part of my story, which was no better than all of the lying I had done for the last several years on Facebook and being in the “best relationship ever!”….So it was time to get honest with myself. It was time to tell the truth. So the last 1/3rd of Surviving the Storm was the first time I admitted to the world that I had been in a toxic and abusive relationship. I put it at the end because I didn’t want to be labeled as a victim and gain pity. I simply wanted to let people know that it was a part of my journey, but not an event that defined me. No one could truly define me but myself.
After I put those words into the universe, I was eager to see what the response would be. After the first person through my job at the time had finished reading it, I eagerly asked if it encouraged her to step outside of her comfort zone. Her response initially broke my heart after hearing her say, “No”. But it didn’t stop there. “It actually showed me how negative I have been view life lately, and that I’m not in a relationship worthy of myself. I’m in a relationship that I know understand I need to leave. A relationship I will be walking away from later today after I get off work.”
“Whoa”, was about all I could muster as she threw her arms around me, hugged me tightly, then walked away. I was completely blown away by this! It was not expected at all, but then and there I knew that my mission of Chasing Stormi LLC would change forever. It was time to help other women like myself find self love and gratitude after leaving toxic relationships for good. It was time to do what I was clearly destined to do…share my story and inspire others to do the same.
Now I do just that! So if you’re wanting to break your people pleasing habits, find inner peace, and leave toxic relationships behind you for good simply go to www.chasingstormi.com and book a call today!
Chasing Stormi LLC originally started as a blog that was meant to help hold me accountable while I worked to break my people pleasing addiction. However, shortly after I started I realized that it was going to be something so much more….
I started by getting some coupons off of Groupon to try new things without committing to year long contracts that I knew I wouldn’t complete. I wrote about my success and failures as I learned what I liked and didn’t like. I also found a few things that I was better at than expecting, and certain things that should never be done again. One thing I did was a yoga class. The instructor, Sue, said she was going to Belize and I needed to come with her to write for the blog. After three days of it weighing heavily on my heart and mind, I decided to jump. I didn’t plan anything, I threw caution to the wind for the first time, and I packed my new knapsack and got on a plane to go to a country I had never visited, with a group of people I didn’t know. Only, she left out one tiny detail….it was a couple’s trip.
Yep. I was the only person not in a relationship, in a country I knew nothing about, with 15 strangers, alone. So I had a choice…I could try to figure out how to crawl back to the safety of the USA or I could take advantage, and REALLY hold myself accountable about breaking my people pleasing habit and facing my fears. I had World War III within me as I fought the “Flight” of “Fight or Flight” and had to remove myself to stop hyperventilating. I dug deep, told myself that I was drawn to this experience for a reason, and it was time to find out what that reason was.
I was proud of myself for seeing what happened, because those 15 strangers became a second family. Sue had told everyone about my blog and purpose which led to me hearing, “Stormi! You’ve got to try this for your blog! I’ll take your picture!” Before I knew it I had bear crawled and butt scooted down the tallest Mayan temple, faced my fear of water by going snorkeling, and even ate a termite in the middle of the jungle. (It taste like a peppermint breath mint if you were wondering…)
When I went snorkeling, I actually had a full one panic attack that included hysterical, ugly crying, and hyperventilating. It was the girl that told me that it was my writing and my bravery that was keeping her going while she, too, stepped outside of her comfort zone during that trip that reminded me of my purpose and why I had to push through. It’s the trip that changed my life personally and professionally, and was the inspiration to share my abusive relationship with my ex-husband in my book that came out later that year, Surviving the Storm.
But if I hadn’t made the choice to take the leap, Chasing Stormi LLC wouldn’t be what it is today…an inspiration to help women leave their toxic relationships for good. There also wouldn’t have ever been the original spark for Camp Storm Stompers Inc. to help our youth stomp out bullying. So sometimes we have to have a leap of faith that the Universal Intelligence (UI) has our back and knows what’s best for us. And if you’re needing help taking your first leap then simply go to http://www.chasingstormi.com and book a call today!
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re on the right track or not. I mean, let’s face it…some days you struggle to keep your head above water and wonder if anything you do even matters any more. It can be impossible to see the signs from the good old Universal Intelligence (UI) when you’re in the thick of the storm. So here’s 10 signs that you know you’re on the right track of achieving your goals!
You strategize instead of sulking and hiding when trouble arises: Have you found yourself actually being strategic when a problem presents itself? Or are you ready to throw in the towel before you even begin? Part of this could be that you haven’t set yourself up with S.M.A.R.T. and realistic goals. Another part could be that what you’re fighting to accomplish really isn’t your heart’s desire. If you’re stuck in the latter of the two, I would take another look at your goals, and make sure they’re even what you actually want to achieve, or if they’re just not specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, or timely.
You’re willing to step back, assess the situation, ask questions, and say that dreaded “no” if it’s not a part of the end goal: When you have a S.M.A.R.T. goal set up, a game plan, and a visible end goal, it’s quite easy to say “no” when they don’t line up with your final destination. Again, if you can step back, ask questions, look at the situation from all sides, then you know you’re on the right track. And if it doesn’t make you at least a little nervous, then it’s just not that important to you.
When you talk about your goals, you light up like a kid on Christmas morning: Nothing’s more enjoyable than watching a little one open up their presents on Christmas morning with so much anticipation and excitement! Unless it’s an adult talking about their latest projects, work, or life goals. A good friend pointed out that even though I enjoy helping women leave toxic relationships behind for good, I light up when talking about the bully prevention summer camp for kids that I’m setting up because she said she knows that’s where my heart is. That also helped to get the fire going to keep both alive and fight for them both, but which needs to be prioritized at the moment.
When you don’t let fear paralyze you, but rather push you to success: Like I said before, if it doesn’t scare you then it’s not important to you. We all have fear. The things that scare us most are the things that matter the most to us. Worrying if a friend is alive or dead when battling cancer. Not wanting to jump out of a plane because you value life and know you’re not that lucky to not have some sort of complications. Being uncomfortable about starting a business because you fear you might fail. I mean, these things were very important to me….my life and the life of loved ones. So it’s natural to have fear about the things that matter most to us. It’s what we choose to do with that fear that defines us. Do we let it overpower us? Or do we push through to do something amazing like start a bully prevention camp for kids and help save women’s lives for the better?…
You can see hope, change, and the possibilities the future holds for you: It’s amazing how positive your outlook can become, even in the most negative of worlds, when you know you’re working on something that matters to you and are taking the proper steps to make your dreams a reality. That’s why if entrepreneurship was easy anyone really would do it. Or why you are a destined Storm Chaser, because not everyone was designed for greatness quite like you are.
You stop letting other people define who you are: This one is a personal favorite of mine. Once I saw clearly what exactly I was destined to do, people’s opinions stopped mattering to me when it came to achieving my destiny path. I didn’t care about the people that try to convince me that I should just get bigger bullies to beat up the original bullies, which quite frankly just spreads the problem. I didn’t care that not everyone cared for how much I “shared on social media” or anywhere else. I have had 4 women already tell me that they actually appreciate my honesty and truth, and 3 of them are leaving/have left a toxic and abusive relationship. To me, that’s more important than being prolonged to finding a 2nd job. I may not be a doctor, or a fireman, or any other life-saving career path, but I am making this world a better place one person at a time. That’s what defines who I am and determines my success. Not the rest.
You stop comparing yourself to others: We know we’re all unique, yet, it can be difficult not to compare yourself to others that seem to have the life you want to live. You can either sulk and play the “it’s not fair” game, or you can choose to admire those a few steps ahead and start taking notes to make your life a whole heck of a lot easier. Either way, no destiny path is the same. No journey is the same. That’s why no one can ever walk in anyone else’s shoes. They don’t fit. It’s about the time that you realize that there’s many Storm Chasers, but only one of you that you see the greatest success.
You begin to see the difference between long-term and short-term: You know you’re on the right track when you can categorize your goals and your steps to achieve them into long-term and short-term goals.
You know your worth: The day you figure out that your minimum bid is nothing less than a million dollars is the day that your goals become clear as day and something you have no problem worth fighting for. The feeling is exhilarating, and you will come to recognize that it crosses over into both your personal life and your professional life alike. You will be able to set healthy boundaries and hard limits that you’re not willing to sacrifice.
You are able to let the past stay where it belongs…in the past: Depending on how hurtful tends to depend how soon you can let the past be just that, the past. However, once you can reach the freeing stage of forgiveness, you’ll find you can forgive across the board on a lot of things. You’ll find inner peace, and your heart and sole will fly like never before!
So if you ever wonder if you’re on the right track, if you’re experiencing any of the ten signs listed above then you’ve got this girl! If you are experiencing more than one then you know you’re “Feeling Good As Hell” as Lizzo says! And I couldn’t be more proud of you! But if you’re still on the struggle bus, then go to http://www.chasingstormi.com and book a call. Let’s get you to the full 10 signs today! What do you say?…
When we’re “people pleasers” by nature it may feel like you can’t be honest, even with yourself, and admit you’re having a rough day. You fear the backlash of actually stating that you’re struggling. Maybe you don’t want to worry anyone, or be a “Debbie Downer”. Maybe you fear that people will judge you as a “drama queen” for not being your typical “sunshine” self, so you bottle up how you feel and try to keep pushing through.
But eventually, those buried emotions come to the surface at the least convenient times. Sometimes it’s a complete, ugly cry melt down. Sometimes it comes in the form of a depressive episode. Sometimes it comes as the crud that you have so successfully been battling for months, but due to continued stress you have lost your battle and become sicker than a dog.
I know how you feel, because I am having a “rough day” myself. I have learned that when you surround yourself with the proper support system you can be honest about your struggles, and find a positive in a dreary situation a lot faster. Even as a Recovering People Pleaser, I too, have moments of weaknesses. I have found that when I’m first honest with myself about what’s taking place, I’m able to bounce back much faster. I will call Nana and check in on her so I can get my “I’m so proud of you” wrap up, and I will reach out to the few that I actually trust to have my best interest at heart basically confirm what I already know…I’m a survivor, designed to survive any storm, and it’s okay to have weak moments. By recognizing that you are having one and getting help just proves how strong you truly are. I also know that we can trick our brains into knowing it’s true by hearing it come from someone else’s mouth, so I utilize this tactic often.
The fact remains, it’s okay to have “rough days” as long as we don’t camp out and refuse to put our shoes on. Even if we only lace our shoes that day, it’s still better than not trying to put them on at all. Get out of bed. Face the “rough day” and embrace the lessons of your current struggles, because the day we stop trying to conquer our personal storms is the day we stop truly living at all.
Then try to manage your day into smaller sections. Celebrate each task you accomplish. Don’t beat yourself up for not being quicker, and know that all you can ask of yourself is to give your best for that day, hour, or even minute by minute. Walk or take the stairs whenever you can. Moving gets our serotonin going, which is our saving grace. Know, that you are a fabulous human being, and no matter how long this storm feels like it’s going on it IS just temporary. For you are a Storm Chaser. Designed to survive, and this, too, shall pass….
There’s certain things one should NEVER tolerate in a relationship. Here’s a quick list of the 10 biggest DON’Ts to have in yours….
Depreciates Your Goals – They don’t have to have the same dreams you do, but it is certainly NOT okay to crush yours just because they don’t share them. I get asked way too many times what people are supposed to do if their partner or spouse doesn’t support their dreams, and my answer is always the same, “They’re not their dreams. They’re yours. And if they can’t at least support them, then maybe you should consider who you are currently partnered with.”
Speaks Over You – Pet Peeve 100%! I’m not talking about the cute “finishes each other’s sentences” kinda of thing. I’m talking about blatantly cutting you off to talk over you without a care about what you were trying to say. This is NEVER okay, and should be corrected immediately. It’s not cute. It’s rude and abusive.
Guilt Trips You Into Doing Things – If you’re never getting to do what you actually want to do because your partner is always guilt tripping you into doing whatever they want, then it’s time to get a new partner. Relationships are about compromise. Not one side always getting whatever they want.
Bans You From Family and Friends – If they can’t trust you enough to be around your own family and friends, then they need to go. Period. I don’t care how cute they are, or how much you think you love them. If someone’s trying to control who you can and cannot see simply smile, wave, and tell them “bye bye” and walk your happy bottom off to have fun with people that love you for you.
Criticizes You In Front of Everyone – If someone is putting you down on a regular basis, especially if there’s an audience then they need to go. There’s a time and a place, and in front of everyone is neither. You don’t always have to agree with your partner, but if you’re being belittled whenever there’s a crowd then they need to go. Seeing a theme?….
Doesn’t Inspire You to Be Better – You can’t grow if you aren’t with people that inspire you to do so. You should ALWAYS try to inspire your partner to be the best version of themselves they can be for that given day. If they’re too busy becoming a permanent part of the couch and never holding down a job while you do all the work, then you will never grow into the Storm Chaser you’re destined to be. And the world becomes a much sadder place for it.
Treats You Like a Child In Front of Everyone – I’m pretty sure you’re not 2 years old any more. However, if your partner continues to forget that you graduated from high school and are legally an adult and should be treated and spoken to as such, well I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now….they need to GO!
Has Wandering Eyes – Girl, your minimum bid is at least a million dollars. If your own partner can’t keep their eyes on you, then they don’t respect you or value you and are most likely cheating on you. Now a guy’s gonna take a quick look. Let him. Look with him. But if that look last more than 3 seconds, it’s a complete sign of disrespect and you deserve better. Period.
Goes Through Your Phone Only To Use It Against You – If they’re stealing your phone, deleted text messages out of jealously, or keeping track of who you’re talking to so they can start the whole, “Why do you talk to ________ so much? YOu wanna get with them or something?” and it’s your boss at work, then save yourself some grief and send them on their way.
Has Secret Conversations with Ex’s – If someone is having regular conversations with their ex without at least telling you about it, then that’s just stupid shadiness that only leads to trouble. You should have open communication. Not an open relationship. Especially if the same person is banning you from your family and friends and simply wants the whole dessert buffet and tries to eat it too.
This was an ongoing theme in my most toxic relationships, and I can promise you personally that they never end well. I always end up coming to my senses, and now that I have broken my People Pleasing Addiction it’s absolutely unacceptable. Mostly because I know my self-worth and I know what are my hard limits and what I deserve. If you struggle with any of these, be sure to join my FREE facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ChasingStormi where we’re loving ourselves back to health! See you in there!
“Sometimes you have to go backwards in order to move forward”, were the words that came from Pastor Craig’s mouth as I sat reflecting on the fact that even though my current struggles remain fierce, I had survived much worse. You see, this is a picture of two days worth of alcohol consumption from my #FallenSoldier ex-husband, which always led to the pesky #VodkaFlu that he seemed to suffer from more and more.
But this story isn’t about his demons. This story is about the process I went through walking away after 5.5 years of abuse. They weren’t all bad. They weren’t all good. People often asked me after why I even bothered to stay as long as I did. My answer is always the same…At first, you dream hopefully that it’s just a phase and they will choose you and go back to being the person you fell in love with. Once reality kicks in, you’re in so deep that you feel like being the responsible party in keeping society safe. I had gotten really good at lying for him, hiding his keys so he wouldn’t accidentally kill anyone, playing submissive to tell him what he needed to hear to keep him behind locked doors, and spent a lot of time secretly praying that he was already passed out by the time I got home since I was the only one able to hold down a job. My soul and spirit were MIA, and I had even gotten to the point where I didn’t care if I lived or died. So I finally gained the courage to walk away in order to save myself this time. Everyone else would have to be on their own for a little while. I had to put myself first, or I was going to be lost forever. This much I knew.
As I secretly made arrangements, and packed up what I could get away with taking, I was flooded with emotions. Heartbreak as I mourned for the man I had originally fallen in love with, and saying good-bye to the relationship I was never going to receive. I was scared to be alone. I worried if I would actually be able to survive on my own. I was embarrassed for people to know what had been going on behind closed doors. Some suspected because I’m a terrible liar, but no one knew the physical and emotional abuse that took place because nothing seemed to leave a visible mark. However, there was plenty of invisible marks left behind. I had to make a choice to let go of the toxic relationship or be consumed by it forever. I finally found my will to live again.
On New Year’s Eve about five years ago, I packed what I was able to behind the locked bedroom door as quickly and quietly as I could. Shortly after, a friend came to help me move. Embarrassment consumed me as strangers hired to help me tripped on the empty vodka bottles that fell out as furniture was moved, but I couldn’t focus on that. I didn’t have time to break down. I was in the middle of survival mode.
Once everything was on the truck or in a car, I slowly walked around collecting the empty bottles and quietly lined them up on the couch that I left behind for him. I stood and silence, with my head tilted, surprised at what emotions were swarming around me. My friend watched me cautiously before gently whispering, “Are you ready?”
“This is why I am leaving,” I said matter of factly.
“Yes,” my friend whispered, “and now it’s time for us to go.”
“I know,” I said without emotion. I turned my back on the empty bottles for the last time and walked out the door. My friend locked up, and we headed to my new place. My place, that was all my own. I silently cried as I drove away. Not because I felt bad. Not because I felt guilty. I was mourning…the relationship that I would never get, and the man I had fallen in love with that was gone forever. But I was also relieved. I inhaled air like I hadn’t been able to for the last several years. Freedom was mine for the taking. For the first time in a long time, I was actually excited for the unknown.
It’s never easy to walk away from a toxic relationship, but five years later the only thing that I would have changed is I wish I had done it sooner. Unfortunately, for the #FallenSoilder he did end up finding peace and is hopefully with his brother and other missed loved ones. Occasionally, I come across something that makes me have to deal with a ghost from the past. However, I can happily got forward and backwards often with a lot less anxiety and emotional breakdown. I had to lose him to find me. I had to hate him to love me. Two choices I would gladly make again and again, because even if he couldn’t always see it….I am worth it.