Back in December, I celebrated the launch of my first book, Unveiling Ellie. I shared the magnitude of that celebration previously. Seeing my book on display, hearing the laughter and chatter, looking around the room seeing unknown faces scattered between the faces of loved ones. It was wondrous. Little did I know, it was just the beginning.

Amongst those unknown faces was a young couple who approached me while I was signing books. We began to chat. After about four minutes the woman purchased a copy.
How great is that? A stranger buying my book!
No.
That’s not the part that’s great.
It’s what began to transpire after.

This same woman reached out to me online recently and shared this story with me…

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After reading Unveiling Ellie she immediately thought of her aunt Ann and wanted to share it with her. She mailed her copy from Connecticut to Florida. A few days later her aunt called her crying.

You see, Ann and her husband Adam were expecting their first daughter on April 26, 2016. Everything went well; the pregnancy, the labor, the delivery. But their time with their little Amy was brief. She died only hours after she had arrived.

“I knew that day would be the worst day of my life but now I know better, now I know that I was wrong. That day wasn’t the worst day. The days after became the worst days. Feeling my body recover from a pregnancy, walking by the pink nursery, holding the blanket she was wrapped in for just a few hours. That was worse. But when Alex asked for his baby sister that crushed whatever was left of me.”

Depression quickly became her companion. There was even a season she struggled to enjoy her son or connect with her husband. She sought help and she is gradually getting better. But her life was changed forever.

Two weeks before receiving the book from her niece, Ann found out she was expecting again. She said it was bittersweet. Ironically, the poem that moved her the most was the one titled Bittersweet. It gave Ann just a bit more hope.

Now that, that is great.

Honestly, there are days that I doubt my abilities as an author but then I remember that there is someone, somewhere waiting for my words, waiting for my stories to invade their innermost space and show them that they are not alone. So, what other choice do I have than to continue connecting with them?

*Photo captured by ZaiPhotography
**names and dates were changed to protect the privacy of the family

Originally, I had intended to share this on New Year’s Eve yet here we are eleven days into January and it was just sitting here, unfinished.

Does this happen to anyone else?

Our minds are everywhere all at once, ALL. THE. TIME.
We constantly find ourselves feeble, worn out, weary and ready to throw in the towel.
We literally watch time slip through our fingers and we still hadn’t gotten that thing done; the thing that actually brings us joy because it was lost amongst the chaos of our complicated lives, amongst our mundane, neverending checklist, amongst all the other things that require our attention before we give it to ourselves.
I believe that’s because our time and energy are on the wrong things.
Okay, maybe not wrong.
But definitely not on what should take precedence.

What do you aspire to accomplish?
Do your top priorities line up with that target?
If the answer is no, what can you do to change that?

I’ve been reading this book by Emily Ley and within the first few pages she says,

“When we pare down life to its simplest, most beautiful basic parts, we’re left with room to enjoy each other, to rest and to truly savor life with all our hearts, minds and spirits.”

 

This year my top priority is to live an intentional, simplified life; to choose less so I can have more, to eliminate the excess and enjoy the extra, to take every aspect of my life and analyze it.
Does this thing bring me joy?
Will this person or place bring me closer to a peaceful life?
Will saying yes to this task force me to say no to another that deserves my yes?
Does this take away from me?

I don’t have all the answers.
Not yet.
But I believe if I’m intentional with each and every step I take, the path I am paving will be fluid and full for years to come.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “A new world…breathing dreams like air…” I certainly felt like I was breathing my dreams like air this past weekend.

And it was wondrous.

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About three years ago I wrote a blog about a woman named Ellie who was tormented by nightmares of her childhood sexual abuse. I ended this particular blog admitting that Ellie was me. A whirlwind of comments and private messages followed. Women I had never met before began opening up about their own trauma. I was immediately moved to continue sharing Ellie’s story. Ellie (although originally stemming from my own suffering) became a name to bear the burdens, the scars and secrets, of ALL women.

This past Sunday I celebrated the first installment of my Ellie’s story trilogy called Unveiling Ellie.

With the help of an amazing friend, Zaibel Torres of ZaiPhotography, a special edition was created. As you flip through the pages of this version of Unveiling Ellie you will see 17 women of different ages, races, shapes and sizes. Each one representing Ellie.
Why?
I want women to open this book and see someone that looks like them, someone with the same scars and secrets. I want to provide hope to the hopeless and light in the darkness. I want others to know that they are not alone.

Becoming a publishing author has been a dream of mine since childhood and seeing that dream come true still feels so surreal. Maybe that’s because I created more than just a book. I created a movement. You see, we are all Ellie.

If I’m honest, I tried to cancel this celebration, twice. But my husband said and I quote, “You’re not stopping me from celebrating my wife dammit!” I will always be thankful for those words because it was indeed a ravishing gathering.

So much laughter. So much love. So much joy. So much breakthrough.

Unveiling Ellie is my ode to every woman, everywhere who has ever felt she needed to keep her scars and secrets hidden from sight.

Order your own copy of Unveiling Ellie today.

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xo,
Kimberly Cruz-Lopez

P.S. Please enjoy this beautiful promo of the second installment Ellie Exposed courtesy of another dear friend of mine AJ Lovelace

“The wind grows cold and with each blow, the leaves fall fast yet somehow still slow. Creating colorful pavements beneath the trees and with a new breeze, they start to flee. Swirling, searching, settling somewhere new but we cannot see this journey, we’re distracted by their hues.”

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I jotted this down in my journal just yesterday while watching the leaves dance in the breeze. When I read what I had written I realized how much it reflected my own life. The past few months have been miraculous but even in the midst of the miracles, they’ve also been messy.

How can that be?
How can someone have both delight and distress?

Well, I’ve been in a season of creating new ‘colors’ and while most see the beauty of what’s before them, only a select know the shedding (removing, discarding, replacing) that had to happen in order to create it. Seeing how my description of these leaves paralleled so perfectly with me, it was evident that I needed to be more tactical with my thoughts.

Why?

Almost one year ago, I vowed to voyage down a path of positivity. A path of love and light, a path not of perfection but of peace. And in order to stay on this path, I need to do things differently.

How is this shedding process shifting the way I see things?
How is it affecting my actions?

It’s easy to see the negative and I think it’s because we’re all a little pessimistic; pointing out what’s wrong with this or that, focusing on all the worst case scenarios, immediately finding ourselves disillusioned before even beginning. But on a path of positivity, there’s no room for pessimism. Positivity promotes optimism. Positivity shifts the way we see. So, positivity tells me that shedding trees represents the start of a new season.

Share some ways you stay positive with me!
Then take a look at these other noteworthy November blogs 😉

How many times have I sat down at my laptop to write only to stare at my screen making a mental checklist of all the things that need to get done in and for the house, wondering what activities I could be doing with my BabEs or how I could help my husband?
But none of these things are for me.
Writing – that is for me.
Yet somehow it’s usually put at the bottom of my list (if it even happens at all).

Today a dear friend of mine pointed out that this is something I struggle with. Actually, his exact words were, “You’ve forgotten how to put yourself first, which you should. The better you are, the better your family will be.”
Upon reading that text, my eyes watered.

There’s an immense difference between selfish and self-care.
I have a hard time remembering that.
Today I was reminded.
And tonight I’d like to remind you.
Take the time to do something for yourself this week.

Don’t wash those dishes and dive into that book you bought months ago that is now collecting dust on your nightstand, say yes to that friend who’s been wanting to meet for coffee and chat, try that new yoga class or whatever it is that you haven’t been able to enjoy doing in a while.

Now, this part is important…don’t feel bad about it!

As for me, I have this beautiful new journal just waiting to be written in.

xo,
Kimberly

Today, like most mornings, I sat at my dining table with my cup of coffee and Five-Minute Journal. As I struggled to scribble my thoughts onto the page I could see my oldest son across the table writing away. He too was scribbling his thoughts into his Five-Minute Journal. But he was writing with certainty and confidence. Two things I was clearly lacking today.

Most days there is this false perception of perfection that lingers – daunting me, filling me with doubts. Taking a small, simple task and turning it into something super strenuous.

Elijah had already completed his page and ran off to play with his brother. Still I sat staring at the same page. What should have taken five minutes or less was quickly becoming ten minutes or more.

Suddenly, my phone vibrated. Ahh yes – a distraction from this now tedious task. It was a text from a friend. Eager to evade my current mission I opened it. She sent me a picture. But not just any picture. A picture with words. A picture with these exact words…

“Perfection is annihilation. It paralyzes us from working from the heart. Humans by nature are not perfect and imperfections are what make the world beautiful.”

On this beautiful, brisk Monday morning I’d like to remind someone that perfection is an illusion that seeks to distract us and defeat us. This week when that false perception of perfection starts to linger – remember that imperfection is beautiful.

I thought about killing myself yesterday
I thought about leaving it all behind
I thought about walking away
I thought about how much better the world would be
How much better it would be without me
I thought about grabbing a knife
I thought about slitting my wrist
I thought about pulling the trigger
Maybe then it will be over quick
These thoughts come and they come quick
So fast in fact, I never expect it
It’s debilitating
Sometimes I can’t breath
Sometimes I’m screaming but no sounds come out of me
Where will I go?
What will I do?

Get a grip! They can’t see this side of you.”

 

 

break the S I L E N C E 

You know that thing called family

Yeah that word doesn’t mean much to me

And I’ll tell you why

They love my kids differently

I’m not a lion but hear me roar

Because there’s nothing that frustrates me more

Than seeing favoritism right in my face

To see the ones that I birthed less embraced

To protect them

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do

Even cut off those they have blood ties too

You know that thing called family

Yeah that word doesn’t mean much to me

And if my words offend you

Then you’re guilty

Some of us struggle in silence
Afraid to allow the world to see
All the broken pieces we hide underneath
Underneath our laughter and our smile
While deep down, we’re wailing like a child
Kicking and screaming, making a scene
Yet we don’t say a word because the world is so mean
They call us too sensitive
They say we’re too weak
These are the reasons we choose not to speak
To not say a word, to let it all fester
Instead of fighting we choose to surrender
Some of us struggle in silence
Afraid to allow the world to see
All the broken pieces we hide underneath
We keep them hidden
We keep them out of sight
So don’t always trust us when we say we’re alright

Did you know she smiled through the worst times of her life
Did you know people left her, left her all alone
Did you know that she wasn’t safe, even in her own home
Did you know that she was bullied
Did you know they took her stuff and threw it in the trash
Did you know they spilled cold milk all over her head
Did you know they tried to jump her, seven girls to one
Did you know one girl even filled her hair with gum
Did you know someone pushed her up against the wall
Did you know that same someone spat at her in the hall
Did you know that she reached out, asked someone for help
Did you know that person told her to help herself
Did you know she didn’t want others to hurt so she reached out to them
Did you know that after she comforted you, she went home to be sexually abused
Did you know she tried to kill herself
Did you know she tried three times
Swallowing pins, drinking Clorox, cutting with a knife
Did you know that she struggles, even to this day
Did you know