A New Chapter: Why I Decided to Re-Brand

If you’re reading this, then chances are that you’ve seen my re-brand announcement video on IGTV. (@letterstomylittlesisters)



I tried to keep it light and funny and simple but in doing so I completely neglected to talk about the catalyst of this whole decision. And as someone who is normally sharing her process with the internet, I figured I should share the thought process of one of the most important pieces of my journey thus far.

AND even in the 2 months that it took me to actually edit and post that video (lol I know it’s ridiculous) SO much has been refined, and now I actually have a small team of people in my corner making this happen with me. So with this blog post, I’ll be able to go into more detail and answer some questions you might have about this new adventure.

First, we have to pause and rewind a little bit.

In preparation for the website re-modeling, I had to go back through ALL of my blog posts and re-categorize them. (The main topics for LTMLS will be “Healing”, “Pursuit of Purpose”, “Leadership”, “Self-Discovery”, “Love & Relationships” and “Feminism is for Everyone”)

In doing so, I ran across a post from 6 years ago titled “The Power of a Name: Annabelle Finds her purpose” that I wrote + published in 2014.

In it I wrote:

“I will be successful in lifting up and supporting others in the pursuit of their dreams….I am the woman that makes things happen in creative ways. I connect people, imagine things, and inspire others to put their best foot forward and do what they love.”

I started calling myself an “Opportunity Producer” for a while after that – which I still think is a pretty dope title.

And when I read it, I threw my fists into the sky and shouted internally “YES!!! OH MY GOD I’M DOING IT!!! FINALLY!!”

In truth, this “re-brand” has been the climax of 7 years of dreaming to make a difference. A dream to connect with people who had similar hopes, motivation, and dreams to me.


The catalyst was slowing down.
The catalyst was being totally broken open.
The catalyst was my dad’s death.


I’ve talked A LOT about it and the grieving process on this blog and online, but what I didn’t share was the secret promise I made to myself a few months after he passed.

I promised that since it seemed like God hit a reset button on my life, that I would take the opportunity of a new beginning to ACTUALLY REALLY TOTALLY follow my heart. To see this vision through. To take a leap and allow the ground to appear underneath me. My dad was an entrepreneur and an artist, and he had really encouraged those traits in me, so I took a small amount of money he left behind to hire a few people to help me get started.

If we’re being honest, it’s all perfect timing. I couldn’t have started this one minute earlier, even if I wanted to.

The 8ish years of dreaming and scheming allowed me to experience, to grow, to heal things, to learn things about myself (mainly how to take care of myself) that I NEEDED to find the clarity and make this happen – I’m only 25 and still have A LOT more growing to do, but now I can really say….

I’ve been there, I’ve pulled myself through the mud and now I can walk alongside you.

Which is the whole point of LTMLS. To walk together, grow together, learn together, and create a more passionate world, together.

As I’ve moved through the planning and the creation and now the announcing of this new business, I’ve had to overcome fear after fear after fear. And I expect for fear to be a constant companion for me on this new adventure.

I’m grateful to my close friends for the continued encouragement and to YOU for showing up, reading this, and letting me know that this is important to you too.


Okay so, here’s what to expect with the new re-brand:


THE NEW WEBSITE – exciting, yes! However, it will take a few months to come together. Rome wasn’t built in a day ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

COMMUNITY – Also known as “The Virtual Big Sister Network” Scheduled to launch in June! More about that VERY soon!

PROGRAMS – We have 2 programs coming soon, the first one is our “Lead with Light Program” for any young woman interested in developing her leadership skills. This will be open for registration in late June/July. (If you’re a member of the network you get a 20% discount on programs!) The second will be a self-discovery program, which is still in development.

I’ll be posting again soon about the new logo (revealed May 19th 2020) and the meaning behind the design and the brand, so drop your email in the contact form on the contact page to be alerted!

2019 kicked my ass.

Not an Oak Tree (my 2020 theme) but close enough.

Apparently, the internet elves have been stalking me long enough to know I love planners and goal setting because this past week I have been hit with more Instagram ads for planners and intention setting workshops than I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

I’ve been just scrolling through so many beautiful, perfect-looking people and their big hairy-ass goals for 2020.

I actually began to resent all the goal-setting this year because I have been feeling so lost, and so unworthy of making plans. I got so turned upsidedown this year that I didn’t feel like I even deserved a new planner to schedule my time with.

Lucky for me, I have great friends that quickly told me how stupid that was. I, just as much as anyone, deserve to have dreams and goals. So after I shed the excuse of being undeserving, I was left with the fear that formed that belief.

The fear was that I have been taken so far off of my intended path that I’m not even sure I know how to dream anymore. *dramatic*

That is a lie.

Of course I know how to dream! and Of course I am deserving of those dreams!


The truth is that the guidance towards our purpose or intended path lives inside of us. And no matter how far you wander from your life’s work, the path back to it can always be found again because it is inside of you. You just might have to wack away some of the weeds to see it again.

I realized that after living through some major life-altering events this year, this season was going to be more about integration than trying to set and achieve new things. I have experienced SO much intense change this year that has forced me to leave the weeds to grow wildly unattended. So now it’s time to clear the way again with a big ass weed hacker and get back to my path, with my newly-learned life lessons on my back.

So I returned to what I love: introspection and reflection. I put together a few of my favorite exercises and created the 2020 Vision Journal. This journal isn’t about setting lofty goals or building businesses or creating new years resolutions. This year, it is a tool to clear away the weeds and come back to center. It’s supposed to be a mirror to hold up in front of you to see the path you’ve walked and how it has influenced your growth as a human being. After learning yourself again, you’ll be able to look forward to the future and dream of what you might want to do next.

TLDR; This Vision Journal isn’t about DOING more things, it’s about integrating the experiences you’ve had over the past year and taking responsibility for your future to make a greater impact in the world.

2019 has taught me many valuable lessons and now I’ve been able to wack away the weeds. Now I can see my dreams with 2020 vision 😉

WE FREAKIN MADE IT! (click the photo to check out the 2020 Vision Journal)

Nuevo

October 9, 2019

This is a photo of me outside of the restaurant I inherited from my dad.

I haven’t talked about it at all because I’ve felt so incredibly incompetent.

Yes, I’ve studied business and worked in marketing, but I know NOTHING about what it takes to run a restaurant. Literally nothing.

I, somehow, never had the typical “coming of age” job of working a waitress like everyone else. The only time I ever step inside a restaurant is to eat.

And now I am responsible for the success of one and the livelihoods of the 12 people whose work I literally know NOTHING about.

Fuck.

Every week for the past 4 or 5 months, the manager has given me a folder with bills and receipts from the week that I’ve just been stacking in a pile in the corner of my bedroom because I don’t know what to do with them. I write checks when people tell me to because I don’t know better. I have no idea if I’m getting ripped off or what to budget or plan for in the coming months.

This mode of operation is EXTREMELY dangerous because it’s SO easy to STEAL cash from a restaurant. I know that. Needless to say, I’ve been very overwhelmed.

I have felt inadequate.
I’ve felt like I need to ask for permission to do anything because I don’t want to mess things up.
I’ve also felt like I’ve needed to puff up my chest and flex my muscles around staff so that they don’t think I’m as stupid as I feel. (Which actually probably makes me look a lot more stupid than I am LOL)

But then, this week, something happened. We got a bill for something that didn’t feel right to me. I followed my gut, and for the first time told the Manager that I wasn’t going to write the check.

I immediately went home to tell my mom about the situation and sought her advice.
She told me I did the right thing.

I made the right choice.

And I remembered, that even though I don’t know anything about restaurants, I DO know something about business. I DO know something about Leadership.

I have always believed that successful business owners and successful leaders become successful because they make decisions based on STRONG VALUES. This allows them to be consistent by creating a solid foundation for every decision they make.

I also realized that I have a specific role to play in this business, and in that role I don’t have to know very much about restaurants, because I’m not running day to day operations. That’s not my job. Yes, it helps to have a gist of what is going on, but I’m running the business and handling the money. And THAT I can do.

The next day, a bigger problem came up. Someone on staff began to make demands in a very unprofessional way and walked out on us. Quit, right there in the middle of the workday and left.

Last week I would have had a meltdown.

But this week, I remembered my role and my values, and I knew exactly what to do. I talked to the manager. We established what our values were and from there, decided how to handle the situation.

The difference between today’s success and yesterday’s failure is my own attitude.

Realizing what I am ABLE to do, what I am ABLE to learn, and how I am ABLE to grow, has made me more confident and positioned me to be a lot stronger and also a lot more relaxed so I can handle situations as they come up.

4 Months, a New Journey Begins.

Today marks 4 full months since my dad died.

Since he killed himself. And left us behind.

I’ve spent the past 4 months floating through a range of challenging emotions and although it was evident yesterday I am not done grieving the loss of someone I love, I’m ready to share my story. Our story.

I’m back in L.A. this week, for the first time in 4 months.

I keep telling people that I don’t feel like it’s been that long. In my head, it feels like I was only gone for a week… so when I saw that my neighbor’s puppy was a grown-ass dog now I cried.

This past month has been so strange because I decided to start living again. I’ve been working with a therapist that encouraged me to start working out again and reaching out to old friends. But it’s strange to live with death. So tears of grief still roll down my cheeks, while I walk down the sidewalk even though I’m feeling more alive than I did before.

This experience has stripped me down. Completely. It has uprooted everything.
I ended my relationship.
I quit my job.
I put down my life in California to pick up responsibilities as the Executrix of my dad’s estate + to run his restaurant in Texas. A business I’m truly not interested in and know nothing about. #awesome

This week I came back to L.A. to pack up my car and drive it back to Texas. God only knows how long I’ll be there. The few days after my plane landed in LA I felt so angry at my dad. I’m so mad at him for making me leave everything behind. And so grateful at the same time because I’ve learned more about BEING instead of DOING. I’ve learned about the importance of legacy, and community, and grieving. I can feel the shift inside me, the ripple effect of this tragedy is redirecting me to a deeper purpose and deeper growth. And I have chosen to go with the flow.

In short, this time has been confusing and challenging and frustrating and fucking weird. It has been beautiful, and painful, and life-changing. It has been big, and made me feel small, completely worthless, and so held and loved and supported.

I’m excited to come to the page now to share the writing that the journey so far has inspired. I’m excited to evolve, for the change in direction, and for the hope that I may honor my dad’s life by growing up and passing his love and creativity forward.

The Power of Prayer

The first time I saw this post, my soul raised her fist up in the air and said
“YES!”
but then the next minute she lowered her head and said
“Wait a minute… no! We are losing something so valuable here…”

I came across this post for the first time after the Parkland school shooting, which was the event that sparked March for Our Lives. And then I saw it again… and again… and again.

The atmosphere that encompassed the image as it moved through the internet was filled with the huffs and puffs of people who were tired of watching horrible things happen while waiting around for someone to DO something. Myself included.

However, this image gives a visual to the fact that “thoughts & prayers” are now seen as a passive way to deal with the trauma our country faces today.
It completely frustrated me.

 
Thoughts & Prayers are anything but passive. 
Thoughts & Prayers are the first things you do before you stand up to fight.

The truth is that our thoughts and prayers should be the starting place for policy & change.
When prayer is intentional, clear, and direct it helps to mobilize our souls to make the biggest impact, & reach our ultimate potential.

I mean honestly, I hope future change makers take a minute to reflect and ground themselves before deciding on policy that impacts hundreds and thousands of people. Just like how students took time to organize themselves to march. (Just imagine how much stress would be saved if Trump decided to reflect before he tweeted lol)

I know, in the midst of hardship, it’s easy to turn to prayer as an emergency escape button…
but in my experience, it has NEVER worked that way.

Prayer does not give you superpowers and approaching spirituality with the expectation to get a quick fix to a problem that might have been developing for a long time doesn’t make much sense. To treat it this way will lead to constant disappointment. 

Instead… let prayer be the starting point.
The fuel to the rocket.

Let me explain the way it’s worked for me…

When I first started coming into my faith, I was surrounded by Christian friends who liked to pray for me out loud.

Instead… let prayer be the starting point.
The fuel to the rocket.

Let me explain the way it’s worked for me…

When I first started coming into my faith, I was surrounded by Christian friends who liked to pray for me out loud.

“God, redeemer and gracious king, thank you for my friend, Annabelle. Thank you for bringing her to my house tonight to spend time together. Thank you for gifting her with her love for people and her openness to learn about you. I ask lord, that you surround her in grace as she moves through these struggles, open her eyes to see you when things get hard. Give her strength to move forward in her journey, and remind her that she is loved. Amen.”

It was a really weird thing at first
but now I love it because every prayer looked something like this:
– Acknowledge who/what God is (which is awesome)
– Acknowledge what you are grateful for
– Acknowledge what you ask and how you know God will show up.

* Newsflash * none of the stuff my friends would say was crazy or outlandish (except for maybe the language – Christian lingo still weirds me out sometimes) and it certainly wasn’t passive.

It was simply a reminder.

After hard conversations about my healing, this prayer reminded me that I was loved and that I had the choice to show up, and the choice to accept the strength to move forward… a strength I would later realize was inside me all along.

Another Example…
Last week, I found out that my dad had attempted suicide. I shared the news with my mentor and in the middle of my tear filled text, I started to pray. My prayer was this:

“… I’m not waiting for God to show up because it is already here. & that is a beautiful comfort. God is all the good in the darkness & it is faithful & it is relentless. & I already see good coming from this.”

You see, prayer is different than what we think.

Prayer is not asking for something we don’t have…it’s not asking for a miracle. Prayer reminds us that the battle has been won, that the power of light & good is on our side, and that we already have everything we need to get through this moment. Prayer is a moment to reflect and express gratitude for the strength & gifts within you that were created to overcome this specific hardship.

The deeper your pain, the louder your worship.

It’s important to call upon this type of prayer in the midst of chaos because this is what grounds you. Prayer reminds you or truth & because of that, it will give you the clarity needed to move forward.

They key is, that you MUST move forward. Nothing will move through you if you sit still and do nothing.

Water won’t ripple without the stone.

so next time you pray…
pray with conviction
pray with hope
pray with expectation
pray with gratitude

and then go out there and be the conduit to manifest epic goodness in midst of darkness.

because God has already given you the answer to your prayers.
In most cases, the answer is YOU.