My Bariatric Surgery Journey…episode 1

As most of you know, I’m on a new weight loss journey.  I have been in battle with weight for as long as I can remember….it’s been a losing battle unfortunately.  So I have finally decided to take the plunge and go for gastric bypass.  I hope that sharing my journey can help break the stigma that surrounds bariatric surgery and obesity issues.  And if it doesn’t, sharing my story helps me heal so I’m ok with that outcome too.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations!  You’re the lucky winner to enter into my mind.  Haha!  Seriously though, I’ve been on a weird roller coaster since beginning the journey in early June.  The way the program is set up, you have to do support groups.  It seems a little overwhelming at first to commit to this while we all have so much on our plates, but I’m learning so much!!!  Obesity isn’t just something that happens.  There’s a reason why I am where I am at.  Emotional eating has been my biggest downfall.  Food genuinely makes me feel good or feel better….until it doesn’t.  When it doesn’t, it’s usually after I’ve binged on something to soothe my soul and then rolls in the massive amounts of guilt, shame, and feeling of failure because I’ve over indulged to heal rather than dealing with whatever issue was at hand.  So my first support group was all about emotional eating and how to overcome it.  It was such a revelation to me that it is OK TO FEEL things…even bad things.  You have to go THROUGH things to get OVER things.  That’s been a hard hard road for me.  A lot of journaling went into healing past hurts, and I’m probably not 100%, but I’m much closer than I used to be.

Next step was visiting the dietician.  I explained that feeding a family of 8 while owning a business and having a spouse working or in school full time makes cooking dinner more of a luxury these days.  I just don’t have time.  So she gave me a list of things that I could grab and go and whoa.  Do you know how many foods (and they’re healthy foods too) I’ve not been allowed to eat in YEARS because of some fad diet restriction?!  I was really stoked when I sat with Lindsay….she validated all of my stresses about food and made me feel better about being in that office.  Because truthfully I’ve struggled with second guessing myself at least once a week if not more.  I get scared about not having my go to comfort of food and sweets to deal, I stress not being able to drink as much, or I’m  scared I’ll be the outcast at gatherings because I won’t fit in anymore.  She calmed all of those fears for me in such a loving way.  I will learn new ways to cope.  I’ve been using alcohol to mask who I am to fit into the crowd or as a tool to drown stress.  These are not healthy habits…these are crutches.  I also realized that I’ve relied on being empathetic as my best quality, but truly feeling for other people is so much easier than feeling for myself, and now I need to change that.  That is absolutely terrifying, but I’m ready for this challenge.

Today’s support group was focused on including your family and letting them in on how to help support me throughout this entire process.  It was really comforting to know that I’m not just crazy and the things I think about as far as my fears are concerned are things other people think about too!  I was shocked to find out I wasn’t alone in my thinking, mainly because obesity isn’t viewed as a disease.  It’s been viewed as just laziness and overeating.  My weight is truly due to an addiction to food.  That’s hard to even verbalize because it isn’t taken seriously.  I use food and alcohol as a tool to deal with life and anything hard that may be thrown at me.

I’m really excited to be on this journey of self healing and finding who I truly am.  I’ve defined myself as “the big girl” for so long that I don’t know my true identity outside of her.  I will keep you all posted on how it’s going!  Currently it looks as though surgery will be around September/October, so for now I’ll just be soaking up all the classes I can!  Also, here’s is my starting picture.  Can’t wait to watch the butterfly transform!


I love you guys, and appreciate all of your support ❤


Mama H




You Say…

A couple years ago, a good friend of mine sent me a link to “You Say” by Lauren Daigle and asked me to blog on it.  I listened to the song and it’s beautiful, but I really didn’t have much to say about it blog wise.  I just let it go.

Recent months my life has been totally flipped upside down.  Mostly good things of course, but some really really hard times have hit me like a train.   Friday I was feeling very down on myself.  Totally overwhelmed with everything going on around me, I was a puddle of tears by the time I got into my car that morning.  I fired up ol Betty and hit the road anyway.  Do you know what was playing on 102.5 of all channels?  You Say….the song sang straight to my heart and the tears flowed without any sign of stopping soon.  For one, I rarely listen to the radio anymore…I get so sick of Jay Gilstrap! HAHA, and for two I was really shocked a christian song was being played on a “regular” channel.  God was speaking to me and I felt it in a huge wave of love and peace.

So let me tell you a really great story.  Three years ago, God gave me a vision for Steel Magnolia.  It was big and scary and my heart was set on a different venture, so I pushed Him aside.  At the end of last year, He started pushing me. “Jump child…now is the time to jump”.  Finally I said ok.  I woke up and said if it really isn’t Him, none of it will work out.  Boy.  Before I knew it the ball was really rolling.  I had the funds, though very small.  I kept trying to back out because my funds weren’t enough…He said no maám.  I started telling my circle….the ones meant to be on my journey were all in and super supportive.  I started losing close friends…I wanted to back out.  He said no maám.  I started making calls to secure a building…every call I made was a dead end.  I wanted to say nevermind.  He said no maám.  I stumbled upon my landlord, Dan.  We met and I told him “Listen, God put this thing on my heart and I have no clue what I’m doing.  I have no stylists, a super small budget, and no idea where it’s going, but I know He’s leading it so here I am with my business plan.” That evening Dan emailed me back and said “my wife and I have prayed about it and we really feel like God wants us to make this thing go.  We will do whatever you need us to do to help make this a success.”  I sat and cried.  Cried tears of joy because FINALLY someone said yes.  Tears of joy because I could SEE God moving in my life.  Tears of utter FEAR.  I have no clue what I’m doing remember?

As things got rolling, I made some very poor business decisions.  I found myself barely keeping my head above water.  Some weeks I wasn’t bringing home a paycheck at all.  I was at the new shop 24/7.  I was (and still am) trying to juggle a new baby business as well as a home full of 6 children.  My body was/is physically/mentally/emotionally drained.  One of my poor decisions was taking on a loan that drained me.  Nearly 20% of every day’s sales went to paying off this loan.  I kept pushing through, trying to make ends meet at work and at home.  My home and business bank accounts were empty.  Somehow I pushed through.  I included my team on my poor decisions.  I let them know that things were hard for a minute but we’d figure it out.  We paid off that loan in THREE MONTHS!!!  I was allowed to pay it in 18 months, but because of business booming and the loyalty of my team and loyalty of my clients, I managed it in THREE months.  I am blown away!

But Friday I just found myself so down.  I was heading to meet my kids at Chuck E. Cheese and all I could think of was how this spring break must have sucked for them.  They don’t have their mom around, Brett’s still finishing school, and their dad is too busy.  Liam hates being at the shop anymore.  I literally thought to myself, this was a horrible time to start a business…my kids are too young and I’m missing everything…I’m not strong enough for this.  I was really beating myself up for everything.  Then You Say started….”you say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing, you say I am strong when I think I am weak, you say I am held when I am falling short, when I don’t belong oh you say I am Yours, and I believe oh I believe what you say of me I believe.”  And those words just comforted me so deeply.  I am His.  The truth of the matter is, He is steering my ship for me.  He has carried me financially in my business and in my home life.  He has provided me with the love and support I needed when I lost my friends.  He has helped my marriage grow 1000x stronger than it ever was before.  He is with me every single step of the way…I only need to seek Him.


If you’re struggling in life, I get it.  We are pushed so much harder than generations ever were before.  Give yourself some grace.  God has you…stay the course and know you are loved beyond measure.


Love always,

Mama H


Highlights in the midst of lowlights.

Been a minute since I’ve shared my thoughts and I think sometimes I’m just waiting for the perfect story to write. I’ve noticed lately that many of my friends are suffering from anxiety and depression due to social media. So many people are taking breaks from being connected so they can regroup. And quite frankly, I’m envious. My entire business is run on social media so taking a hiatus is not really feasible.

I’ve been considering sharing my lowlights because I feel like it could truly help someone, but last time I did it backfired. Big time. I lost a client because she mistook my lowlights as me needing a handout. So here is my disclaimer…WE NEED NOTHING (unless you wanna get in my chair). Please don’t read this and donate to us. We are always ok!!

Looking at my highlights from an outsiders point of view may seem like we are loaded and living the high life. We have a great house, nice cars, adorable children and a couple million dollar dogs. Ok one million dollar dog, one pound puppy…but she’s needy. We manage our money well, we go on vacations, we shop, we date. The list is endless. And don’t mistake my words…sometimes we are able to splurge. We have a great life.

But sometimes my highlight reel is deceiving. You see I struggle some weeks. Most weeks we live paycheck to paycheck. School and football has maxed out my credit cards that we’ve worked so hard to pay down. Some weeks, I only have a handful of clients that literally only pay daycare and booth rent. Some weeks we eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly…My kids have eaten sandwiches every day this week. Some weeks I’m so stressed about bills that I’m sick to my stomach and so anxious I can’t breathe. I cry a lot during those weeks. I’ve pushed out treatment for medical issues because paying the deductible doesn’t seem possible. I need to replace my sons car because I trusted a friend to do me right. I wean myself off of medicines so I can skip paying the copay. I scream and yell at my family when I feel like everything is out of control. I beat myself up and feel like I’m losing the game of life. I struggle just like everyone else does. I am human.

The point of my rambling is this…every single person on this planet is going to struggle. I don’t know of many people that would share with the world that they are struggling. I know when people reached out to me about their bill boards, many didn’t like the idea of displaying it because someone may see. Couples on Facebook look to have the perfect life but I assure you they’ve fought about money and/or children at least once in their marriage. We hide behind a screen because we want so desperately to “fit in” with those that are making it in life. We don’t want to be the “loser from high school that failed.” But they’re not always living the best life either and they damn sure won’t have the guts to tell you in a Facebook post.

At the end of the day, life is hard. We struggle greatly, but God always pulls us through. Brett carries me over the finish line more often than not because I’m just too weak to run the race. We are an excellent team. I am grateful beyond measure to be able to work my dream job even when sometimes I’m more of a struggling artist. Sometimes you just need to be thankful for peanut butter and jelly because He always provides exactly what you need. Don’t let comparison steal your joy…the grass isn’t always greener on the other side…water your own grass! Take care of you and become so in love with your own life that others highlight reels don’t even phase you. Enjoy the moment, because these days go so fast.

Much love always,

Mama H

Living lonely in a social media run world.

Today was different than others. I called my mom to take the boat out. We loaded up the kids and lunch and hit the water. I threw my phone in the bottom of the bag. Not a single photo was taken. Not a single selfie. Not a single post was made. I spent the day off the grid. And that’s abnormal for me. I threw on my bikini, messy bun, no makeup. It was so freeing.

I recently talked to a client about social media and how it’s become such a distraction. We are so caught up in sharing our lives, we forget to live our lives. We are living in an age where communication can happen at a simple tap of the finger. It’s so quick. Yet we are the loneliest and most depressed of all time.

How is it that we are so lonely when we are so easily connected? We’ve replaced human contact with scrolling a page. I’m so guilty of allowing someone’s fb post to be an acceptable form of keeping in touch. I’ve lost touch with so many friends because I don’t pick up the phone or schedule the outing. If we are allowing this with our friends, are we disconnecting our immediate family? Likely yes. Divorce is on the rise. More lonely. More depression.

I took my daughters phone away for a week. She was so withdrawn and quiet and just not part of life. In that week, I noticed a much happier child. I noticed a child that played with her siblings. A child that was eager to help. A child that was 10x happier than the week before.

So I challenge you. I challenge you to make at least one genuine phone call this week. Next week, make a call AND set a timer to turn your phone off. And keep snowballing it until you’re off the grid a little more each week. I can almost guarantee you’ll see a decrease in anxiety and depression.

So many of you keep in touch with me for your appointments through my phone. And I’m totally ok with that. Please understand that I’m disconnecting for evenings and weekends. Give me 24hours to get back to you so I can continue to dejunk my brain and enjoy this oh so short life.

I love you guys!

Mama H ❤️

Finding Security in an Insecure World

I share my life with Facebook and blogs. It has positive rewards to doing so, but comes with a lot of negativity too. Recently I shared our new puppy joy and I was hesitant to do so. Something that makes me so happy is quickly met with negative feedback and made me feel insecure in my decision. MY decision. Isn’t that funny how that works? Let me give you some examples of how life has turned me into an anxiety ridden insecure mom, woman, and wife.

I met Brett and suddenly here comes Liam. I was faced with “just what you need is another baby”, “how are you going to be able to take care of another kid”, “what will people say?” All of these remarks made me totally insecure…how the hell was I going to make this happen?! I was already raising three kids alone. But it happened and we made it work.

I decided to marry Brett. “You sure this is a good idea?” “Look at his past”. “Look at YOUR past”. This is never gonna work. Now I’m questioning my decision to marry my soulmate.

We rent a townhouse. “This is a horrible neighborhood”. “I don’t want my child there”. “How do you live in a place like this?” “Why aren’t you getting out of here”. Well it was what we could afford at the time. And Brookside was good to us. The staff was great, we didn’t have issues with our neighbors. It was a place to call home that wasn’t my parents address.

We take our honeymoon to Jamaica. “How can you afford THAT?!” “Must be nice to be able to take a lavish trip like that”. “Where do you get all of this money?” “What kind of mother leaves their baby behind for a week?” Now I’m a long plane ride away questioning my qualifications as a mother.

Buy a house. “My God that’s far away.” “How can you afford that?!” “What kind of Mom moves her kids that far away at the end of the school year”. Geez…is it too far? How will I make this payment? Are my kids scarred for life???

Puppy. “Just what you need is another mouth to feed”. “There goes your carpet.” “Poor Maddie is gonna get forgotten.” Great. Did I make a mistake? What about Maddie?? Can we afford this?

Society has gotten to a place where people freely give their opinion no matter the consequences. Doing so has created a community of people wondering how the hell they’re surviving or if they will make it through another day. Sometimes I have to sit down and give myself a good pep talk….

1) my children are very well taken care of

2) we’ve asked NO ONE to help pay our bills

3) sometimes money is tight and we CAN’T afford things. Sometimes it’s not.

4) our situation will never compare to someone else’s bc we live totally different lives.

5) we’ve worked our asses off for every single purchase we’ve ever made and it’s no ones business if we can afford it or not.

My advice if you’re struggling with insecurity? Stop worrying about what people think. Most times their questions come from the fact THEY can’t afford to do the things you’re doing so it’s impossible to see how someone else can. Often times people would rather complain about their situation than change it. So it is what it is.

The challenge here? Try and catch yourself when someone is sharing their joy with you. Are you responding out of love or jealousy? Is your thought going to help that person in any way? Think before you speak. If we all work together to start celebrating each other then maybe some insecurities will start to be buried! Every person you meet is on a different journey than you. It may be similar, but it’s different nonetheless. Celebrate with your friends in their joy. It is ok!!!

Ps. I share my life with you all to inspire. I’m not trying to brag or be boastful. I am very proud of what we have worked for but not naive to the fact that it could all be gone tomorrow. Take it for that. Not for a weapon to use against me.

PPS we are working on budgeting. If you’re in a place that you would like to be on a budget and would like a partner for accountability, hit me up! I’ve found budgeting is like dieting and accountability helps in both scenarios! It is my goal to have a Maserati and pay my house off. I’m staying focused!

I love you all. I hope you enjoy reading about this crazy Helmbrecht life!

Love always,

Mama H

Home Sweet Home 🏠

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve had writers block. Or maybe I was holding out for this story. Who knows. Either way, I’d like to share with you our long painful journey to home. It is my hope that someone reads this and is able to persevere and stay strong because it isn’t an easy road.

Two years ago, we were ready to leave my parents and fly out on our own. Brett’s court battle was semi won…enough so that we could at least live off of it anyway. I reached out to a lender that was recommended by a friend in hopes we could just buy something. I knew in my heart it wasn’t the right time, but reached out anyway. She basically laughed in our face. His credit score was ridiculously low and a loan was no where in our near future. So we found Brookside.

Brookside wasn’t horrible, but it certainly wasn’t a place I wanted to be long term. The kids ran the neighborhood all day long. They also acted like they had zero sense whatsoever. Property was destroyed, kids were bullied, and lawd the words my children learned from them. I am no saint when it comes to curse words, but never did I imagine a six year old had a better vocabulary than me! We were in the neighborhood that was labeled “trouble” and I didn’t like it. But we made the best of it. We loved on those kids to the best of our ability. We played soccer as a family and always ended up with 10 or more extras. We had bonfires with them. A boy about 15 or so couldn’t believe we (the parents) sat outside with the kids together. He said to Cody “my dad would never spend time with me like this”. Heartbreaking!

After a year, it was time to renew our lease. We tried again for a loan since we’d spent the year racking up the credit card then paying it off. His score was in the 500s now! We reached out to at least three more lenders. One said our score wasn’t high enough. Another said our score and his job wasn’t good enough. MAU was considered a temp agency and they wouldn’t loan for that. Another offered a loan to just my name but for only 80k and couldn’t be a mobile home. Defeated yet again. We did get a few tips from one of the lenders and got to work cleaning up more of his report. August came and I saw an ad for a lender that allowed for lower rates. I decided to reach out and just try. He had a system that would tell us exactly what we needed to do to get to the 580 range. We did the things, got his score up, but they still weren’t budging. It was so frustrating. I reached out to yet another lender. His advice: call national credit care and they’ll be able to get some of this stuff off for you.

We started with the company to clean up our reports. We got a lot of stuff removed and his score shot up rather quickly. I called one of the lenders that help us get to 580 and he got to work. But it seemed to be so painfully slow, like we were basically begging for a loan. We’d get the requested documents and they’d ask for more. They still weren’t giving a preapproval. Every Friday they’d give us a “we will know something by Monday” response. Those weekends were LONG! In the meantime, I got a letter stating we were preapproved with Quicken. That should be easy right?! No…I called. They convinced me to let me run my credit. And the answer is……no. I cried.

Eventually I convinced my husband that we could do a mobile home through Clayton because their rules were less strict. We went there, picked out a home and filled out the app. Seven lenders. All said no. They referred us to a guy that could lend to us if we paid 5% down and 18% interest. We actually considered it! Well I did. I wanted a home already!!! Thankfully that guy never bothered to call me back because that would’ve been a horrible trap to get into.

One day I got a friend request from Victor Rogers. We had some mutual friends and so I accepted noting he was a realtor. I continued working with the lender that kept putting us on hold as he was the only one answering my calls. One Friday I got a message from Victor that basically stated “I’m a realtor if you ever are in the market to buy or sell”. I was sitting in the school line (I know bad Mama) and text him back…”hey I’m in the market and waiting on my preapproval, I should hear by Monday and then I’ll give you a shout. Especially if you promise to call me back!” (For some reason NO ONE CALLS BACK in this business.)

Victor urged me to call his guy. I was reluctant because they all wanted to run your report even if you could tell them verbatim what was on it, then tell you no. Our reports were probably run at least 20 times. He was persistent though and seemed to be genuinely concerned with my story. So I figured what the hell, and called Shawn anyway. I told Shawn our story and he basically said yeah yeah yeah let me run it. I really expected another run around. Within an hour he had us preapproved for well over what anyone else could even guesstimate giving us. I was shocked!!! That evening I was scrolling realtor and our house was just reduced to our price range! It was the home I’d always dreamed I’d live in. As a young girl, I imagined THIS house. We made an offer and they accepted. Closing date was set!

Little did I know, I’d still be running around chasing a golden hair off a leprechauns butt. Seriously it was that silly the stuff I was having to find. Closing didn’t happen by the date we set, but it did happen within a few days of it. Our dreams came true.

The thing is, God promised us a house. Even in the very beginning He promised. I knew there was a reason for His plan. I knew all the numerous times I applied for loans, He wasn’t going to allow it. I knew it had to be in HIS time. While I trusted Him and knew he’d be faithful, the imperfect human in me pushed and begged and whined and cried anyway. I was like a two year old crying to her daddy. At closing He told me THIS was worth waiting for. God lead us to this home for a great purpose. We are so thrilled to see what unfolds here. And we appreciate this home so much more because it was worth fighting for. We fought for and earned every single inch of this house.

Having faith and believing in God doesn’t mean we will never suffer. He isn’t a genie in a bottle. He’s a daddy providing for His children. Sometimes daddy’s have to let you stumble and fall, but the good ones are always there to comfort you during the storm. That’s exactly how God operates. He has held this family through many storms in the last 3 years, but we always feel His love surrounding us.

I hope if you’re in waiting, you cling to your Father in prayer. He has a great plan for you!!

Love always,

Mama H

My personal battle with depression.

I really haven’t known what in the world to blog about. Depression has been weighing on my heart significantly. I debated on sharing a post because I really didn’t want the I’m sorrys and sympathy that comes from sharing hardship. Unfortunately for me, God says otherwise and has been pushing me to share my story.

I have been so down lately. I’ve been diagnosed with PMDD, pre-menstral dysphoric disorder. Let me tell you…it’s a whole new level of crazy. I honestly thought I must be bipolar or schizophrenic, which is terrifying. Bipolar because for two weeks of the month I’m great, then for two weeks I’m anxious, depressed, sleeping all the time, and miserable to be around. I thought schizophrenia because in those two weeks, my brain does not shut off. It’s a constant battle of beating myself up. Are these voices real?! I can’t even explain it. What I do know is that the beating myself up consists of belittling myself, convincing myself I’m a total failure, creating scenarios in my head that consist of my husband leaving me and my children wanting to live as far away from me as possible. Feeling so completely worthless that I question why I’m even on this earth. And on top of this constant berating, I’m in a significant amount of pain that literally makes me want to be in bed all day every day.

The struggle has been real folks. I started by trying out birth control to regulate these hormones that trigger PMDD. It’s helped somewhat, but after a few months it comes back. I decided I can’t handle this anymore. I went to my doctor and sat totally embarrassed, in tears, and begging for mercy. She was so kind to me. So reassuring. I needed that gentleness desperately. I am now starting Wellbutrin and waiting on a referral for a therapist.

My reason for sharing my story is for one I’m mortified. I cannot even believe I am this incredibly weak. I really need to just snap out of it. I’ve got a great life and nothing to be so depressed about. But the funny thing is, I’m not weak. I’m incredibly strong and have crawled out of the depths of hell numerous times. Getting stuck in a rut does not make you weak. It makes you (ME) human. It’s ok to stumble. It’s how you get back up that determines your character. So I’m focusing on taking this one day at a time. Staying positive. Taking care of myself.

I also wanted to share because depression is different for so many people. I don’t wear my depression for the world to see. I keep it hidden and try desperately to stay so busy I never have to sit alone with myself. The thought of being alone is so scary for me and intensifies my symptoms. I’ve created a bigger mess because now I’m so busy I can’t manage it all and my anxiety levels are through the roof trying to accomplish all that I’ve taken on. It’s a double edged sword. I also have put too much expectation on my husband by avoiding being alone. It isn’t fair to put that burden on his shoulders. It’s an impossible load to bear.

This story is an excellent proof of why it is so important to be kind to people. At the mention of being depressed, I’ve gotten responses of “but you look so great”, “I never would’ve guessed”, and “what do you have to be depressed about?” You never know what demons someone is battling. I look so great because I was taught to hide my crazy. I don’t know what I have to be depressed about, my brain isn’t working properly. The good news is I’m seeking help. And I strongly encourage you to do the same if you’re in a bad place too. My angel of a doctor knows my fears of not being on meds and needing meds for life and is working with me to make sure we have an effective game plan we both can manage. It’s hard talking to someone about issues like this…DO IT ANYWAY. I honestly would not choose suicide, but I can see how it can happen. It isn’t a selfish act. It’s an act to make it stop….a person can only be beaten up for so long. You don’t have to choose that route. Help is out there!!

Remember, you are strong…you are beautiful…you, WE, are going to be ok!

I love you all and Jesus loves you too…you are not alone in this. ❤️

Mama H