The past few months, a transformation has happened in myself and my family. I quit my gym and began working out at home. I was inspired by transformations that I saw in the mind and body of people I knew that were doing P90X. My husband started working out, and I started a small little neighborhood workout group. At 6am one morning, I met with a neighbor was already a friend, and 3 other neighbors that I had never met. Over the months there have been friendships formed. I am inspired by each woman in different ways. When I invited the women in my neighborhood to workout, it was more for accountability. Little did I know that each woman would be a big part of my transformation....
- My lovely dear friend/neighbor across the street: A working mom with a girl in middle school, a girl in elementary, and a 1 year old would get up and work out before her crazy day began. She not only shows up (of course when she can, life happens) but she would kick butt and take names. She keeps me laughing. I dearly love her and her family. She also attends the same church as the next lady I will talk about.
- My sweet new friend, mom of 3 boys. She encouraged and inspired our group to kick it up a notch. She is a very cool, chill, and encouraging woman. One day she invited me to her church. I said I would try it one day. We did, and we loved it. The kids felt at home there and my husband even went by himself last week with my son because my daughter and I were sick. Good stuff.
- My inspiring new friend, also a mom of 3. She has helped our group so much. She teaches group ex classes and more. I love sharing clean eating recipes with her and natural living type of stuff. She also started a Power of a Praying Wife Facebook page that I joined last month. I began praying for my husband and I have seen God at work in not only him, but in me. This beautiful woman helped my marriage in a big way.
- My amazing new friend, a mom of 7 equally amazing kids. There were several days that it was just the two of us who were able to meet up, and we truly got to know each other. She has inspired me in more ways than she probably knows. Her gentle soul, sense of humor, and views on relationships and parenting are pretty awesome. She is the mom I want to be.
During all of this, about 2 months ago, I called a very sweet and gentle soul of a friend. Even with working out, I still did not feel my best. She is an Advocare rep and I know she did not take it for weight loss (she is naturally thin), but for her HEALTH. Which was my inspiration, since I was already beginning to lose a little bit of weight. Since I was leery and did not want to dedicate myself to the full 24 Day Advocare Challenge, I started the 10 Day Cleanse. The first few days were not fun. But by day 6, I was feeling way better. More energy, cravings were going away, and I was seeing the difference in my body between the cleanse, my diet, and my exercise. By day 8 or so, I called my friend/rep....and asked for more information on the 24 Day challenge. I started that and loved it. Really loved it. Although we ate well to begin with for the most part, I really stepped it up and the family supported it with no resistance. Making menus was fun and challenging. It made me get creative and really think about what I was putting into our bodies. During this time I stopped craving things that I NEVER thought I could give up (which I have not given up completely, but they are now occasional treats instead of a daily staple). My love for milk, twizzlers, bread, and cheese kind of went away. I have never in my life wanted to sell things like Scentsy, Avon, etc. Never wanted to have parties or anything. I just never wanted to spend that much money on such things. Advocare truly made me want to tell the world about it. It changed me that much.
During ALL of this, I ran across a website that a friend posted. This crazy sexy cancer survivor (she still has the cancer 10 years later and has never been healthier or looked better) inspired me even more to do all I can to make sure my family is given the best possible chance at a healthy life (hehe,as I type this two of us are recovering from the flu and I have a newly sick son on the couch with what I guess is the flu, things happen no matter how healthy you eat, huh?). I began juicing on most mornings, my family loves getting that cup of juice in the mornings, even though it is loaded with kale, spinach, and all kinds of random stuff and it is the color of baby poop. We eat a lot of vegetables to begin with, but this gave that extra kick that we needed. Juice is like my coffee. It starts my day.
Ok, so with alllllll of this came in just 2-3 months:
- 20-25 lb weight loss in me (depends on the day), about 15ish for husband.
- For the 1st time since before kids, I have a waistline.
- Although I have weighed less that I do now since kids, this is a healthy weight loss and my body looks leaner and feels stronger. I don't feel almost 40
- Energy, much more. Even with getting up and working out so early.
- A stronger relationship with my husband, physically and mentally.
- Other than the recent sickies, my kids are healthier than ever. My son's normal allergies and asthmatic tendencies are reduced by at least 50% so far.
- What we believe to be our home church.
- A husband that has really nice arms and a leaner body ;-)
- More confidence and an inner peace
- A lighter and more forgiving heart.
- A gorgeous and colorful fridge and island loaded with lovely fruits and veggies.
This is the next part of my journey.
The hours upon hours spend on my butt:
- Editing (which takes way longer than most realize)
- Marketing (creating my own logo to keep costs down, creating ads, etc)
- Running my website
- Emailing back dozens of clients a day
- Answering calls from clients
- Sending Invoices
- Sending Sneaks
- Sending Previews
- Creating Mini Sessions
- Prepping Taxes
That being said: God, my family, my marriage, my home, my health, my childrens' education, and my dearest relationships come first.
I have a few weddings booked for next year that I can not wait to do. I have a couple lovely clients who have paid for sessions next year that I will ask to go ahead and book a month in advance. Those clients will get more of me, my talent, and will keep me inspired. The wedding clients will get non hurried Kandi....they will get happy, chill Kandi. For those, I can not wait.
Then when those are done, I am going to capture my own life, my food, my family, my fundraising, my newest passions. Kandice Ray Photography will be no more. I may get a wild hair from time to time and want to photograph for various reasons, and I will share that with you when I do. I have loved my years of photography, yet I want to bow out before it becomes a "job".
8 years ago, when my husband and I sat down and decided for me to become a stay at home mom, we did so without wanting me to need a job. My business grew out of love and passion and many very faithful clients. Creativity and inspiration is vital in the arts....photography, acting, art, music, etc. When it is treated as just a job, that spark goes away. Right now I see my spark fluttering off in a new direction.
That spark is aiming towards my relationship with God, my husband, my family, our health, my closest friends and my childrens' education and personal growth. I want to inspire people in new ways. I want to see those around me want to be the best them they can be. I want to have time to treasure this life. I want to live to see my great grand kids grow up.
Sitting and editing and running a small business for hours upon hours every day for 7 years while still trying to be that "stay at home mom" I promised my kids and husband I would be, I realized something: life was passing me by, my kids were growing up, my laundry wasn't doing itself, my husband was sleeping in an empty bed, I was too tired to take care of me, and I was itching to evolve.
And evolve I shall.