*The following post is sponsored by Maurices. All views and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting a brand who makes this blog possible!*
A shero is undoubtedly a brilliant inspiration to those around her – in her own beautiful, divinely created heart and spirit. When I think of sheroes in my life I can name many:
My mother –
She left her job of several decades working for our family business and went back to college (over the age of 50!), graduated with her teaching degree and now works with young children at an under-privileged school. She exudes kindness and unyielding love to children who often don’t get that at home. I can’t even fathom gathering my bravery to go back to college at that age, surrounding by young 20 somethings and feeling out of place! She did it with such grace and courage – and landed the honor roll. She might be my momma, but I feel like the proud momma!
My kindergarten teacher –
My teacher’s name was Mrs. Stonner. I know she was amazing because I CRIED on the last day of school. I couldn’t understand why she would no longer be my teacher! She taught us the ABC’s using the Letter People – did you ever meet them when you were young? I still have my Mr. T with the Tall Teeth book! She made us all mixed cassette tapes of the songs we sang in class to take home. I remember dancing around the classroom with green pieces of yarn singing “Sally the Swingin’ Snake.” We also went on a school-wide hunt for the runaway gingerbread man – who we made together as a class. She still writes me letters and words of encouragment, and beat breast cancer like the marvel she is. She’s now retired, but I know so many students cherish their memories with her.
My cousin *Jane* –
Most people wouldn’t understand why I chose this one, but *Jane* and I grew up together. Her father and my mother are siblings, and we grew up living one street over from each other. We are about 5 months apart in age and were inseparable in our youth. Our lives have grown drastically different, each choosing extraordinarily different paths at differing critical junctions in life. *Jane* was hit by a car in high school, nearly taking her life. I sat with her in the emergency room as she clung to life while the doctors worked effortlessly to put her mangled body back together. A little over a year ago, she lost her younger brother to suicide via PTSD – a death much too young and that took a little of each of our own souls with it. *Jane*, despite her troubled past and choices, is still here – a mother, a daughter, a survivor of more things than I can really put into words or share beyond this. I often think about the moments we began to grow apart as preteens and how choices can shape or break a future. She teaches me about compassion, loving someone despite their crippling addictions, and continued sisterhood throughout life. Love, is not black and white. Love is grace, even in the hardships.
Now, I’m delighted to partner with Maurices to discuss sheroes and #servicewithstyle. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, Maurices is a women’s clothing retailer dedicated to making a woman feel beautiful while maintaining a hometown feel. I actually used to shop at Maurices in the next town (Lawton, OK) across the river with my mother when I was a young teen. It was WAY cooler than the stores in our local mall. Do you remember the lace overlay dresses with a gathered bust, spaghetti straps? I can still picture the dress I begged my mother to let me have but didn’t get – black, with black lace overlay with turquoise embroidery/stitching in the overlay. It was such a dream – total late 90’s fashion. Anyway, back to the point – which is the sense of “home” I get when thinking of Maurices. Does anything remind you of your youth or home? Any certain brands or pieces of clothing?
One thing I really love about Maurices is the affordability that doesn’t compromise quality. It’s super disappointing to find a 30$ dress only to have it fall apart after one wash. In all the photos you see here, I’ve worn and washed the items (and pressed) without an resulting flaws. I won’t lie and say I don’t splurge on certain items in my wardrobe, but every day wear that is both stylish and eye-catching doesn’t have to break the bank. Rather, it’s all about the styling and your sense of self that makes the outfit!
#Servicewithstyle is a campaign Maurices has launched to celebrate all sheroes in our lives, near and far. You can nominate your sheroes for a chance for you both to win a $500 Maurices gift card and a chance to be featured on their Instagram – giving your story all the glory it deserves! Nominate those incredible women in your lives! Go on!
People often ask what’s my day to day like or even what motivates me in both healthcare and the blogging world. While I’m not currently practicing in the hospital because I’m pursuing my doctorate degree – I miss it more than I anticipated. My love for my transplant patients goes beyond the clinical work – they became part of my life, part of my family. It’s such an honor to walk someone through one of the most frightening experiences of their lives – teetering on the cusp of death waiting for an organ that may never come only to finally receive that organ and literally blossom back into life. Many of them still stay in touch and update me on their lives. They’ve been able to go to graduations, weddings, births of grandchildren, etc. Giving someone a longer walk in life is powerful beyond measure, and one of the greatest experiences of my professional healthcare career thus far. I’ve no idea exactly how I want to apply my doctorate, but I do know it’s in some form of making patient’s lives better – less worry and more time spent enjoying life.
As far as blogging, it’s been an adventure in more ways than one. I tell people the best part about blogging is the amazing followers I’ve connected with. From the brave woman who shared her own experiences with PTSD in her family, to the beautiful young lady who shared my love of wigs and SHAVED HER HEAD (she looks freaking gorgeous btw) and also now wears wigs, to the extraordinary young woman who went and bought herself the 21st bday dress she was first hesitant about but now has because she LOVES her curves – that is the joy yall. Selling dresses isn’t the business, it’s making women love themselves in those dresses – every curve, every freckle, every single inch of their uniquely created bodies. Making an impact like that in someone’s life, even if we’ve never physically met, is the biggest sense of accomplishment I could ever know.
So that being said, take a moment to look in the mirror – pick out something you usually critique yourself on and learn to love it – learn to show yourself grace and kindness. Be your own version of a shero! Because after all, sheroes ain’t got no time for negative self-image or struggling self worth! Go out in the world with your boldness and kick some serious bootay! Who would you nominate as a shero? What is their role in your life?
Shop my looks: Off the Shoulder Top (sold out) | Metallic Rose Gold Sandal (also comes in Cognac) | Frayed Denim Jacket | Yellow Stripe Tie Front Dress | Grey Mesh Sneaker | Floral Button Down Maxi | Faux Leather Cut Out Lace Up Heel
Photography by Megan Weaver