Erica’s Story

Today I’m living The Real Simple Good Life, where I call my own shots and live life on my own terms, but it wasn’t always like this. My version of The RSG Life has been years in the making. It has happened slowly over time, like a force building momentum, the kind of momentum I plan to carry into the future. And I get real excited about it because I know you can find your own version of The RSG Life, too! 

But first, let’s go back because, like I said, it wasn’t always this “easy.” Because if you just popped onto our site, you might think we make living The RSG Life look easy peasy. Yes, I would say it is simple, but definitely not always easy.

Like Justin, and you can read his inspiring story here, I went to school for business and during the trough of the recession settled on accounting as my major and graduate program because it was safe, and I knew I’d actually have a job when I graduated. I had my doubts about me as an accountant, but I went with it for practicality and stability sake because at the time stability was exactly what I needed.  

You see…just a couple years prior to graduating from college, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that results in neurologic degeneration. I was right in the middle of trying to navigate what felt like a scary lifelong battle ahead of me and becoming an adult all at the same time. It was a messy several years that followed – marriage, divorce, new career. It felt like life was closing in on me. I felt like I had been living based on circumstances and settling for a life that didn’t feel like me. I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t being true to myself. And that was hard. Hard to break someone’s heart, hard to break my own heart and hard to start over from scratch, all by myself. But that’s what I did. 

The next many years were spent working my way up the corporate ladder, trying to fight my diagnosis and proving, mostly to myself but also to whoever else was paying attention, that I could do it for myself. I needed to go through these things, but man did it suck! Like really, really suck. Bad relationships, bad jobs, with some good stuff sometimes mixed in there.

At a low point, when my health was really starting to deteriorate – in a way that became visible from the outside – super tired all the time, brain fog, low energy, just going through the motions in life, etc. I got a wake up call from Justin and another co-worker – yep, that is how we met! At work. They called me out on not looking like I felt well and asked if everything was ok. Gut check for you, if I ever got one. I thought I’d been managing well, but clearly not. And that is when I changed my diet…and my life. 

Justin and I started dating shortly after I changed my diet and after some big life changes of his own. And quickly it was clear that we were on the same page in a lot of ways. We dove into our new diet lifestyle and from there things really began to take shape. Not easily, but looking back I can see that things were falling into place whether we realized it or not. 

As a married couple, we’ve built this business. We’ve built a life together that we both love, and we’ve continued to struggle through some heavy things. After a couple years of infertility we sought professional help and ended up going down the path of IVF (in vitro fertilization). Our first attempt landed us pregnant, but much too soon our little one lost her heartbeat. Her name was Elliott, and we loved her very much. This next phase of our life and business is honestly a gift from her. Her loss nudged us into digging deeper than ever before to work on ourselves.   

Grief is a crazy thing. I didn’t know it, but somehow, life had already begun to prepare me to fight to live, to fight to be better, more resilient and to love deeper. It was the hardest fight I’ve had to date. Yet, I got back up. It probably wasn’t pretty or graceful, but I scraped my way out of the dark and got back up and Justin did, too. 

We both grew stronger individually and together, and our love for one another grew deeper, and the life we are building together became more powerful. We refocused on our business and figuring out how we could reach people in an even more meaningful way, and that is how The Real Simple Good Life began to take form. 

You see, life really hasn’t gotten easier at all. And I don’t think easier really is the goal either. The point is that I’ve intentionally changed my outlook and approach and my life has changed, too. As I’ve shifted my mindset and internal beliefs, opportunities and people have come into my life, presenting so much more than I ever could have planned on my own. I don’t have it all figured out (not even close), and sometimes it’s just one day at a time, but I have learned that we all need to find our voice, find our passions, and build a life worth living. And we have to do it with intention and conviction. 

Everyday I strive to do a little better, become a little better and live better. We don’t often get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose how we handle them and most importantly, how we grow from them. I hope I am able to touch people’s lives in a way that inspires them to find their own voice and helps them start to live better and create a life filled with substance and purpose – their own version of The Real Simple Good Life. 

Are you in?!

12 thoughts on “Erica’s Story

  • I love your story and your passion.
    I also have an auto immune disease, I have Crohns Disease. Because of years of steroids I have terrible pains in my feet, back and knees. I have done the Whole30 several times and I love it. Actually I have literally done every diet out there. I do really well for a while, and then get frustrated because I have picky eaters and have to make different meals for dinner. One for my husband and one for my grandson.
    I want to find a happy medium for everyone. My grandson has ADHD, and would love if he ate better, he actually is not much of an eater unless it’s junk.
    Thank you for your emails, I feel personally connected with you.
    Look forward to your future emails.

    Diana Yates

    • Hi Diana, thanks so much for taking the time to share a bit of your story with me. It’s great to connect, and I hope our website and recipes help you and your family feel well fed while enjoying healthier food! You’ll have to keep us posted and let us know how you’re doing. Thanks for being here. 🙂 <3

  • Hi Erica: Just came across your site through a Google search of “Best keto recipes.” I live on Congress street in Bend. Hope to see you around downtown sometime. Like you, I’m planning to wind down my corporate career and become a full-time artist. Won’t pay as well but I know it will be more fulfilling. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out. Glad you found us, and I hope you find some new recipes to love. We just moved from Bend back over to the valley about a month ago, a little outside of Salem. After having a baby and the pandemic, and having no family support in Bend, we decided to relocate back to the valley to be more central to our families and help. We miss Bend and hope to be back in town for visits often. 🙂

  • Hi Erica,
    My name is Julie. You and your husbands stories are very inspiring! So very sorry that you guys had to go through what you have to get where you are now. I guess we all go through stuff. Some definitely more than others. But it does make us stronger towards the end. I am really happy to have found a recipe of yours online. I needed a recipe to use some leftover coconut milk for. I was trying to make grain free tortilla’s. They didn’t turn out like I would of liked, but hey, it was my first time making them LOL!
    So then your recipe for Coconut Lime Chicken popped up. It looks and sounds so good! I can’t wait to go to the store to buy the rest of the ingredients I need for it and make it for my family. And I can’t wait to explore the rest of your website and your recipes. I definitely need help!
    I’m tired of feeling tired all of the time. And when I get up in the morning, I don’t want to get out of bed. I hurt. I’m 47, but I feel much older. I know the foods I’m eating has a lot to do with me feeling like crap all of the time and I’m ready to change that. For the last week, I’ve changed what I’ve been eating and I can honestly say that I have been “wanting” to get up in the morning now and with minimal pain! So I am looking forward to changing my lifestyle in how I eat food. And hopefully I’ll lose some weight too! My husband and I want to travel a lot later in life, so I need to start now changing my life style so we can do that together.

    • Hi Julie! It’s so great to connect with you, and we’re so glad you found us! Hope you love the Coconut Lime Chicken, and hope you find lots of other new favorite recipes too! It’s really amazing how much food plays a role in how we feel. It’s exciting you’re already starting to notice a difference. Keep it up! I promise the lifestyle changes you’re embarking on are so worth it! Stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing, and let us know what recipes you try. We love to hear about what you’re making and enjoying. Thanks so much for taking the time to connect! 🙂

  • Hi Erica,
    I have stumbled across your website while trying to find recipes for my 18 year old son who has recently been diagnosed with MS. We have been told he needs to go on a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free diet.
    He wont eat majority of the foods we have been told he needs (avocado, mushrooms, venison, game.. just to name a few) and so I am so overwhelmed on how to structure this diet for him!
    I am hoping some of these recipes can help me

    • Hi there – Glad you found our site, but sorry to hear about your son’s diagnosis. I was only 21 when I was diagnosed, but 18 is even younger. I’m sure it’s a lot to process for all of you. The fact that you are working on diet right out the gate is really amazing though. It took me several years to really figure out that what I was eating wasn’t serving me well. There just wasn’t much about the connection between diet and autoimmune disease at the early stages of my diagnosis. I hope you find some recipes on our site that keep the family happy and help you all to thrive. A book I always recommend to learn more about diet and MS is The Wahls Protocol. It’s approachable and has lots of helpful info. It made me feel motivated about changing my diet. Stay in touch, and please let me know if I can be a resource in any way.

  • Erica, as you know I’ve known you through your grandmother, and what I’ve seen over the years is reflected in your story: a woman with a beautiful soul who listens to her body and her heart and strives to live the best life possible. With God’s help you have showed all of us to live with grace and courage. Each of us needs to hear encouragement when facing challenges. You’ve shown us how our lives can improve and flourish. Bless you always!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, support and encouragement! I appreciate it more than I can express. Just being here, being heard and seen has been a very healing part of my journey. I’m grateful for the friends, family and online community we’ve built to support us and help us along the way, too! I’m glad I’m able to share my own story and help others in return.

  • Erica – Your story moves me…to tears, for sure, but in so many other ways. I enjoy so much following your blog and I’m excited to see your baby girl (probably not as excited as you and Justin are, but still).

    You are such an inspiration…to so many people and I’m so glad life is working out better for you now! Keep on truckin’!

    • Aaaw thank you, Donna! I so appreciate that you are here and that you continue to follow along with us, years after this little blog of ours began. It’s such a pleasure getting to know you through this online community we’re building and to get to grow and thrive together across the distance and miles. Thank you so much! 🙂

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