Authentically Me

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may have read the series on my first marriage. In that, I talked about how I shoved memories of that experience into a place in my mind and boarded it up. Over the years, some of those memories have slipped out from under the barricaded door and have seemed to pull me back into that place in time. This scenario has gone on for years, even decades. Then BOOM!! Feelings and emotions from those memories came out crashing, all at once. This experience led me to get out words of what happened during that spousal relationship, called marriage.

Earlier this year this played out again with me hitting a proverbial brick wall. I found that this wall was retaining things I have repressed for 58 years. Using the coping mechanisms that life has given me, I quietly (and in some ways not so quietly) had a mental breakdown. A flood of primal emotions washed over me and I had no way to contain or control them. I could no longer keep up the barricade. The flood created a wave that I was compelled to ride or lose my sanity.

I ended up in a counselor’s office with the sound of artificial rainsong and the calming mist of essential oils from a diffuser. Across from me sat what I didn’t expect. A guy young enough to be my child. My first impression was “How is this kid going to relate to a 57-year-old woman?” I decided to give him a shot and see what happens. He had a degree and training after all. Maybe he could at least supply me with some tools that would enable me to cobble myself back together.

It’s a funny thing when you’re suddenly sitting across from a licensed counselor. You wonder how you ended up in this place that you had no idea you were going. After the preliminary introductions and getting comfortable, he asked me “Why are you here Anna?” Without hesitation and without any thought, I said “I’m a fake. I want to be the real me.”

He asked me what I meant by “fake and real me.” In an avalanche, it tumbled out of me. “I feel like I’m wearing masks with just about everyone I know. I say what people want to hear.  I want to truly and authentically be me. I want to be me without worrying about what someone else thinks.”

I added, “I have a tendency to agree with whoever I’m with to simply avoid conflict.” I’ve been truer to myself as I’ve gotten older; nevertheless, there is a lot of resentment and anger pushed down inside of me from wearing the the mask that I present to the world.

The reality is, there are lots of rooms in my mind that have experiences stashed away with the doors locked tightly. Some of them have been there so long that I really have no idea what is behind the door. Sometimes the feelings associated with those boarded up rooms make themselves known in the form of anger, sadness, or feelings of inferiority. This isn’t unique to me. Everyone I know has issues that relate to trauma or issues from their past. Most likely, multiple things in their past. Things from birth right up until this very moment in time.

I think we all wear masks from time to time. I’m not saying that I need to speak my mind in all situations. Sometimes silence truly is golden. The reality is that there are times that I am not true to myself. Frankly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt safe enough to be my true self. But at this point, I’ve promised myself that I will be the real me. And it is hard.

No one is completely free of baggage. We’ve all experienced trauma and disappointments. How have you coped? Do you struggle with being the authentic you? Do you act or react? I’d like to hear from you. Comment below or email me.

Brene Brown Quote

The Day the Jelly Turned

This has been the year of revelations for me. The year my heart was split open and everything that I’ve packed away and shut the door on came tumbling out. Some of it was just too much. But the reality is I’m nothing special.

I find it curative to open myself up to those I’m close to. I’m surrounded by friends that share with me stories from their pasts that leave me dumbfounded. Consistently it’s never a tale of a huge clash, it’s always a subtle slight. A slight that you try to overlook and you push it away into the corner of your heart, until one day it comes tumbling out.

Those special ones know that this blog is open to them to share a story if they feel sparked to do so. Today I share with you one of those stories, exquisitely written by a very dear friend.


The Day the Jelly Turned

When I was down in South Carolina working at White Hall Plantation for a client recently, there was one afternoon where I took a trip down the highway to a great little jelly store about 20 minutes north, toward Savanah. It’s called the Carolina Cider Company.  I’ve been there a few times during other work trips to White Hall. The shop has added a much-needed coffee shop. The barista made the most delicious Amercano for me. While the coffee was prepared; I perused the jellies. I found a jar of Apricot jelly. Mom loves apricots and I was excited to find this. I grabbed it along with a jar of strawberry basil and a jar of peach mint. All for mom.

Coffee in hand at the counter and jelly lined up, I ask the girl behind the counter if they could ship for me. She lets me know that they no longer ship but that there is a post office up the road a bit. I ask her and the other girl working there, the barista, how long it takes when they drive to the post office. The two girls in sync respond, “we don’t drive”. I smile and ask, “do you not know how to drive, or do you choose to not to drive?” They both respond again with “we choose not to drive”. These girls are very friendly and cheerful; they seem to enjoy their work. I respect their choice and am impressed with their demeanor. We chat some more, and I blurt out that the jelly is for my mom. And I added “even though we don’t get along”. The girl behind the counter responds with, “who does?” and smiles.  She helps me package the jelly, I pay, and I am off down the road back to White Hall, the opposite direction to the suggested post office. I knew there was going to be another trip to Walterboro at some point that day or next. Walterboro is the small town that I run to for supplies and sometimes lunch. Walterboro is in the opposite direction of the coffee shop and on the other side of White Hall.

The next day I am off to Walterboro for indeed lunch and to mail the jelly to mom. The day or so gave me some think time. How many times had I done very thoughtful things for my mother in my lifetime and I ended up feeling empty or not appreciated? I had to remind myself of this and mostly I needed to ask myself why I was sending her the jelly. I wanted to make her happy, to connect with her, to show her that I was thinking of her, to show her that I care. Old empty feelings came flooding in. I was reminded that a one-sided relationship only serves one person. In sending the jelly, I was again seeking connection with my mother. I was seeking a mirroring back. Not a mirroring back of I expect you to send me some jelly sometime, but a mirroring back of sentiment. A connection. A bonding. An understanding that is supportive. I was seeking for example, perhaps, that at some point a reaching out on her part, without the prodding of a sibling or insincerity on her part, to just let me know that she read something that she thought I might be interested in or something of that sort. I was reminded of the deep sadness that I have with my relationship with my mother. There just is no connection. My tap dancing prettier just doesn’t work.

At the post office at that very moment in time, I realized that I was yet again setting myself up for disappointment. The under 25-year-old girls at the jelly/coffee shop had sparked in me to yet again to go along with that ole if you can’t beat em join em attitude. Send the package to mom. Make her feel good. It will make you feel good. Humans at an age of something under 25 had chosen to limit their lives by not driving; intentionally holding themselves back in life. I respect their choice with my limited information of them and I needed to respect a healthy choice for me. I reminded myself to be grateful for self-awareness, and I changed the address on the box to me. It felt good for me to catch myself repeating old toxic patterns and for me to do something for myself instead. To stop doing things with unhealthy expectations of my mother. She just doesn’t have the capacity to be genuinely supportive, interested, protective, or thoughtful. And her not doing these things instinctively as a mother, makes me sad. There is nothing that I can do to change this. She is who she is.

I was reminded of when I lived in California, and occasionally, during the first few years that I lived there, mom would send me a fruit cake at Christmas time. I have never liked fruit cake. I love banana bread. Thoughtful would have been banana bread. But fruitcake gave her a comical narrative for her to share with my siblings and others in the family regarding her gay child who now lives in California. A sister in law, let it slip one time that she knew mom was sending me a fruitcake.  She seemed to think it was funny. It took me a while to figure out, but I eventually let mom know that I didn’t like fruit cake and reminded her of how much I loved banana bread. She immediately responded that banana bread would go bad in the mail. The message was: banana bread too much trouble, too much time and expense. The ultimate message: you are too much trouble, go along with what I want. Fruit cake gave her a conversation that was indirect to have with other relatives. I mean, how could a loving mother be disconnected to her child, just because they are gay? She wasn’t disconnected, she was sending a fruitcake and the offspring just didn’t appreciate her thoughtfulness. This added to her narrative. There are countless little shorts like this over the last 35 years. Remembering this and other instances gave me the strength to turn the jelly around.

Am glad I did. It was delicious this morning.

Nina Shaw

August 4, 2019

Apricot Jelly

“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people”

Beginning Again

I’m learning to listen and to say less. Why? There are many times that I feel disconnected and adrift from friends, family, and society in general. The root cause is all this baggage that I carry. We all carry baggage with us. How we handle day to day life determines how much baggage we carry and how it affects our life in the future.

Maybe you’ve learned how to unpack your baggage and move on. All the places in my mind where I’ve shoved the baggage over the years recently exploded and presented itself in very disturbing ways. I really felt as if I had ran into a brick wall and I couldn’t move forward until I learn how to handle the anxiety and even anger that seems to spring up out of nowhere and over the simplest things. The feeling of being overwhelmed, adrift, and fake was constant. I could not resolve those feelings on my own. Sure, I could go to my doctor and probably get a pill to numb those feelings. But in my view, that solves nothing. So I’ve sought out a professional to help me sort out all of those feelings and emotions.

I thought I might be overreacting by seeking a professional. After all, I felt my life was rather ordinary. Actually stepping outside of myself and looking at my life, it is very good. But I do have all these many feelings and even memories that seemed to suddenly need attention. I can’t shove them back into the closet. So I guess it really is time to deal with them.

My goal? Authenticity, connection, and living my life with no regrets. We all know that we are responsible for our own happiness. But sometimes that knowledge gets lost in the moment and in the emotion. I bounced from anger to deep sadness to despair and finally a deep depression. There were times that I simply sat and stared into space. Sometimes with no thoughts at all and sometimes thinking of just running away and even at one point simply ending it all.

So the last couple of weeks I have learned to take a moment and just breathe. When the emotions bubble up and bring the anger and anxiety, I’ve learned to take a moment and just breathe. I’m practicing mindfulness a few minutes each day, maybe with a walk or a quiet mount to really become aware of the world around me. And most importantly practice gratitude. It’s hard to stay unhappy when you sit down and think about the things you are grateful for. Sometimes it’s as simple as closing my eyes and being grateful for the cool breeze on my face.

On Friday I felt like I made a real connection with someone that I see somewhat regularly. How? I shut up, looked him in the eye and really listened to what he said. The guy even smiled! Why! I think he might have felt that the information he was sharing was actually being received. I had my own opinions, but to be honest they really weren’t important. Just the old ego wanting to let him know that I was smart too. So I bit my tongue and let him take center stage. I left feeling good about our conversation.

One of my faults is taking on the responsibility of others. Not because they asked me, but I sometimes insert myself into situations or think I need to fill the silence. Sometimes I feel the need to explain myself when no explanation is necessary.

So my goal for this week is to listen, to just answer the question, breathe in and breathe out, and close my eyes and feel the breeze on my face.blog post 7-21

Mama’s Big Girl

I have been my mother’s helper for a very long time. She is 78 now and I will be 58 at end of the year. She has told me before that when I was very small that she felt like I knew more than she did and that I was even judging her. She said as she tended my little sister she would glance over at me and I would be looking at her as if I were thinking “that’s not right.” She laughed when she shared this. After all, we’re talking about a toddler. Maybe all mothers feel this way. Since I am not a mother I guess I’ll never know.

Sometimes when I try to remember life before dementia the memories do not come. I either draw a blank or it feels like a story that belongs to someone else. That girl whose best friend was her mother. That laughing teenager. That first job. That first kiss. None of it seems real. Is that right? Do you feel that way?

Several years ago Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A Couple of years later her diagnosis was changed to Vascular dementia. Regardless of the label it is heartbreaking and hard. So very, very hard. I had absolutely no idea of how hard it actually would be.

Nothing can prepare you for it. You can read all the articles you want. Talk to a multitude of people who have walked the same path. But until you are in the middle of it, you just don’t know. Earlier this month it became so hard that I wanted to just give up.

Yet the burden does not rest entirely upon my shoulders. Fortunately my mother is surrounded by others who also see to her needs And are concerned with her well being. They also ask the same questions as I do. Is she safe? Is she happy? Does she have all that she needs?

And that’s why we had to move her. Because those basic questions were not being answered in a positive way. She was not happy. Who would be happy if they are just warehoused away? Cared for by an army of ever changing, revolving door of caregivers? A company filled with untrained and uneducated employees. I would not call them caregivers because they did not care. Care is shown in your actions. I could care less about what you say. But I will sit up and listen to what you do.

So that brings me back to the darkness that descended on me from seemingly out of nowhere. The burden became too much. I felt I had completely failed my mother. I also felt I had made huge sacrifices to other things that are important in my life, including my marriage and my job.

But I’m back on the path of sanity, at least I think I am. All the proverbial balls have crashed to the ground. Some of those I have thrown in the trash. Some I have lovingly laid aside and may pick them up again some day.

One thing I have picked back up is this blog. I’ve been told that it would be helpful to either journal or blog. So blog it is! I’m not afraid to drag my dirty laundry and darkness out for all the world to see.

But most importantly I have to remember that I am still Mama’s little helper.

Mama

Darkness

This post might deal with a difficult subject for some. So before I start let me say this

If you or someone you know is going through something difficult, or struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you’re not alone. Helplines can provide free, confidential and immediate support.
 
Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
Darkness can descend on me at totally unexpected moments. Call it having a heavy heart, sadness, down, moody, melancholy or even depression. We all have those moments. Sometimes they are brought on by things that are reasonable. Death, loss, remembrance, etc. We can look at our life and the “reason” for our darkness makes sense.
 
When those times come, I usually recognize it for what it is and roll with it, knowing in my heart that it will pass and the sun will shine again. To be perfectly honest in the past I’ve had a difficult time understanding people who regularly suffer from depression. I always thought “Why can’t they just decide to be happy?” I’ve listened with an open heart, held their hand, and gave them a hug with the requisite “It will get better.” Then I walked away and thought “They just need to make up their mind to be happy. Life isn’t perfect.”
 
At this age I know that my life is good. I have a home, food, and money in the bank. All my basic human needs for sustenance are met.  On the emotional side I’ve always thought I had it all together. But lately I’ve discovered that that isn’t exactly true. I find myself falling apart at the most inopportune times and seemingly for no reason.
 
We all have things happen over a lifetime that we push aside and decide to worry about them “another day”. I guess you can push them aside and push them aside until something final breaks. It’s a lifetime of disappointments, perceived slights, fading into the background, trying not to draw attention, trying not to “rock the boat”.
 
I share the following not for sympathy or attention. I don’t need phone calls or acknowledgements or understanding. But the darkness has been following me for weeks, even months. I feel it gaining on me at times. I spin around and say “Boo!!” hoping to make it go away. I’ve found that as the darkness gets closer and closer it’s much harder to will it away.
 
It’s a deep deep emotion that doesn’t go away, no matter the number of caring people you are surrounded by. It’s more than sadness. More than depression. It’s a feeling of abandonment and loneliness that can not be expressed to anyone who has not experienced it. It’s totally different than a loss of a loved one. I’m not sure there are even words to explain it. Now I understand the people I have sat in judgement of and wondered to myself “Why can’t they just be happy?”
 
Twice in the last three months I have been at this point. Once I sat next to my husband and mapped out my plan in my head while we watched tv. He even held my hand. When morning arrived I knew I was not ready and there were still things that needed to be done. My mom’s house sold and arrangements made for her. I felt the weight of the guilt my husband would have if I did what I felt needed to be done.
 
Oh but this week was a whole new level. A dark dark place that I hope not to see again. Monday a level of aloneness and emptiness that I had already mentally prepared for before. My first thought was to wake my husband. But no, I didn’t think he would understand the depth of the despair. I thought about calling someone, but I couldn’t think of one person that I wanted to share this burden with. I know I have friends that would totally get where I am. But that night, I couldn’t see putting that burden on another human being.
 
So after realizing that I had no one to call and as my husband slept and I sat alone in the living room, my plan came back to my mind. It made sense to me in the moment I moved money between accounts so that my mom could be taken care of, I sent a text for someone to check on my husband in the coming months, and I wrote a note. Then I proceeded with my plan.
 
About 45 minutes into my plan my husband came looking for me. He found the note and pulled me back into the house. The how of it doesn’t matter. He was shaken. I was sobbing. We talked and talked and talked. I am still in a very dark place. But I see a tiny sliver of daylight.
 
Please…………I’m not seeking sympathy, conversation, or anything else. I simply felt the need to share.
 
Darkness

Mid Year Check In

I started 2019 with the mindset that this was going to be the best year ever!!! I had goals!! I had plans!! I knew I had work before me, but I was ready, willing and able to get this show on the road.

Then my mom fell and broke her femur. Alright, a stumbling block for sure. But I’ve got this. It’s only January, there’s still plenty of time for a great year and time to meet the goals I’ve set.

Mom did so well in rehab, that our family decided that now was the time to transition her into memory care. A lot of things needed to happen and I mean a lot of things. Mom receives her social security and a pension from her former employer. So we knew what we were working with. It was a simple but complicated plan. Move her into a memory care that was affordable but one we felt comfortable with. We found that fairly quickly thanks to one of the online services that will assist you in finding a place for mom.

Then the plan was to sell her house. The proceeds from that would help with her continued care into the future. Because we all know everything goes up! Right? My parents bought that house in 1963. So you can imagine the “stuff” and memories that was packed into it. Selling that house took a lot out of me emotionally and spiritually. It brought up issues that I had locked away in my head for decades. I’m still working through those emotions with a professional. It’s a process I just started and I’m not sure how long it takes to make peace with myself and others. But I’m in it for the long haul.

Mom’s transition into memory care was hard emotionally on all of us. Except mom of course. She lives in the moment. But we, her family, are looking towards the future. During the month of June she was hospitalized with a TIA. At least that’s their best guess. But it was the catalyst that brought us where we are today, at this moment. Finding another place for mom.

I know that no place is probably going to be perfect, but things have happened that we can no longer overlook. Thankfully, we can look for something beyond her monthly income. Hopefully a place where we feel she is safe again. A place that will enrich these final years of her life. As a family we don’t want her warehoused away. She was a vibrant, loyal, loving daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend. I know that she would do all that was necessary to see that her loved one was taken care of to the very best of her ability. And that it what we hope to provide for her.

But in the meantime, my plans for the year have been set on the back burner. Sort of like the eggs you boil for Easter. You have great plans for those eggs, but they have to wait until the main meal is well on it’s way to being prepared. And that’s the great idea about “plans”. The bestlaid plans of mice and men often go awry.

So my plans may have changed. My priorities may have change. My family dynamics may have change. But my goals and dreams have not changed. So at the beginning of July, I still say “It’s going to be a GREAT year!!!”

Keep Going

Ambushed

Narcissist. I hear that word thrown around a lot. I think it gets used a little too often. Is it a personality disorder or are they just an asshole? I’ve had friends that were romantically involved with what they called a narcissist. Judging from what they told me, a narcissist they definitely were. I have one family member that is not only a narcissist, but probably has about 3 other personality disorders as well. But enough about me! (I’m joking!)

But I do think there is a huge difference between someone who might be a little self centered and a narcissist. Until a friend became involved with one I equated a narcissist with someone who loved himself. You know, liked what they saw in the mirror and liked compliments. I’ve had someone come into my life who I believe is a true blue narcissist.

Fortunately, this is not an important person in my life. This person only operates in the periphery of my world. But I do have to interact with them on occasion. Actually, someone else used the term “narcissist” when referring to this person. That’s when I started paying more attention.

I’ve seen this person in action. Putting people on the defensive. Somehow the conversation, event, or problem always comes back around to them. Even when it seemingly doesn’t have anything to do with them. I read an article that said: If it seems that they can only talk about themselves, even at the oddest of times, it is not your imagination. Narcissists can only talk about what they value most — themselves. That is their nature. When I read this statement I actually thought of one incident in particular. It was very strange and I wish I could share it, but it would only identify the person and that is not my intention.

In all the time that I’ve been observing this person, never once have I heard them apologize. Not a true apology. Faultless….that’s the word that comes to mind. Not that they are, but that must be how they think of themself. Wound collector, that’s another phrase that I think of when I think of them.

They seem to like to belittle others. They pretend that their intentions are good, but I would question that presumption at this point. Recently their attention was placed on me. I guess because I was not worshipping at the feet of the mover and shaker.

I was not really prepared for the rage that was heaped upon me. It wasn’t anger, it was rage. I felt attacked actually. But I was really please with my reaction. Usually when faced with hysterics and everything but the proverbial kitchen sink being thrown at me I will react emotionally.

Fortunately I had been observing this person and somehow I responded automatically in what I thought was an appropriate manner. I will now remove myself and not allow myself to be treated in such a manner again.

I feel empowered and in control. I have no emotional ties to this person. I can not imagine having to spend my life with a narcissist.

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Yes! Another Birthday Blog

b14619b0e4b3be74cace3a8760a81448Well, I wasn’t going to do it. It’s sort of cliche to do a birthday blog. Especially if you’ve neglected your blog for so long. But here it is, my birthday blog.

I guess it’s just normal to reflect as your birthday approaches. Especially as you get older. People have always said that time flies as you get older. I’m here to tell you that that particular phrase is 100% true. It’s seems like I just blinked my eyes and December is almost over and 2017 is coming to a close.

This year I turn 56. I’m finding that as each year comes and goes (in a flash) that aging really doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m kind of enjoying it. The filter has been turned way down and the blinders were torn off long ago.

I vividly remember turning 18. Wasn’t that like, just a couple of years ago? 38 years ago? Are you kidding me! I remember it was icy. How exciting to turn 18. I was never thinner. So young, so innocent. Well, a little innocent. I was officially an adult.

I don’t remember turning 20. I was married to my first husband. (You know…..I did a whole blog series on that.) I guess I’ve blocked all of that out. I really have no memory of it. That’s when I started building my wall. You know, the proverbial “wall” of protection we erect to let our soul heal. Yeah, that took some time. During my 20’s I received a long letter from a suitor who talked about my “wall” and how he was tired of trying to get around it.

I vaguely remember turning 30. Things were better then. I was independent. I was surrounded by friends. But I remember turning 30 and thinking “I better get this show on the road!” I wanted a family. Children of my own. You know, the white picket fence.

40 was bad. I had Doug, but I didn’t really feel safe yet in that relationship. When I turned 40, I felt like a failure. I felt like life had passed me by. I looked at my life and wondered “How did I end up here?” I started my series of “what ifs” What if I had finished college? What if I had gone away to college? What if I had gone to the South campus and not the Northwest campus? The Northwest campus of TCC was were I ran into an old boyfriend and then ended up marrying him. What a wasted effort. That bad marriage affected me for years. If I was honest, I would admit that it still affects me.

Then I turned 50! 50 was AMAZING! I loved 50!! I finally felt like ME! I was me and I was happy with me. Yes, I had made some major mistakes in my life. But who hasn’t. During my 50’s I have learned to let all of that go. (Ok, occasionally it bogs me down.)

Today I am 56! I know that I have more life behind me than I do before me. But what a great 6 years it has been. It has been amazing! I laugh loudly! I speak my mind. (Maybe more often than I should.) I live with the love of my life and my soulmate. I am 100% comfortable in my relationship and know that I am right where I need to be. If I need a little push, he is there to push me. If I need a hug, a kiss, or a pat on the back, he is there for that as well.

Life truly did begin for me at 50. I’m looking forward to seeing what the last 4 years of this decade holds for me. Then I’m going to buckle up and hold on for the ride to come when I hit 60!!

I’m on the hunt for who I’ve not yet become.

2018 – Under Construction

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Wow!!! 2017 passed so quickly!!! I guess it really is true that time flies faster as you age. Lots of things happened in 2017. It was sort of like a roller coaster ride. My spare time is limited. So I’ve done a lot of weighing my options during the month of December.

I’ve spent a lot of time doing different things over the last few years. Genealogy and crochet to name just a couple. I still spend way too much time in my car. A total of 3 hours a day. Man! What I could do with those 3 hours every day! It’s not really dead time. There are lots of things I can do on my commute. Most of them involve either audio books, soundclouds, or podcasts.

I discovered a new genre of books in 2017. Personal development.  I wish I had discovered it decades ago! Nothing I’ve learned is really earth shattering or mind blowing or even revolutionary. Just simple reminders of what it takes to be a better, more productive you. The main thing I’ve learned from these books is it’s the little things. Doing the small things every day will lead to a better, more productive you. Need some motivation? Ask me for a recommendation.

I’ve laid the genealogy aside for now. I’ll probably pick it back up when I retire. There are letters that need to be written and forms to be filled out for documentation. I had given some thought to joining Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Republic of Texas. But the more I think about it, the less interest I have in it. I’m happy that I did the Ancestry DNA. I would like to travel and meet some cousins I’ve only just found and reacquaint myself with cousins from my childhood. I’ve got a laptop and a scanner. In this day and age, it’s easy to tote this stuff along and scan pictures from other’s collections.

I still find satisfaction in crocheting. But with no babies in the future, I’ve kind of lost interest. I made Henry a sweet toddler sweater and Lila a beautiful poncho. I made a cousin a couple of baby blankets for her little one that arrived this year. But I’m really uninspired. I may pick it up again in 2018. I’ve seen some beautiful patterns for scarves, ponchos, and wraps. I got rid of my stockpile of yarn. So I’ll start fresh. One of the things I loved about crocheting was finding the textures that really spoke to me. I think at this point in my life I’ll go for quality rather than quantity. Maybe it’s time to log back into ravelry.com.

One major accomplishment in 2017 was my health. I’ve lost weight and improved my health. By simply trying a new skincare line in 2016, I stumbled upon a life changing adventure. The skincare line led me to a makeup line that led me to a superb spa line that led me to an amazing, life changing nutrition line.

So at the age of 56, I’m on an amazing journey of health and fitness. In January of 2017 I weighed 215. My liver enzymes were through the roof (and had been for years), my cholesterol was elevated, and I had GERD. Because of the GERD, I’ve had to have my esophagus stretched twice. The last time they thought I had Barrett’s Esophagus. But fortunately that came back negative.

At the end of December 2017, I weigh 185. My liver enzymes are normal. My cholesterol is lower. I haven’t had to take an acid reducer in months. It hasn’t been easy, but to be honest it hasn’t been all that difficult either. I have more energy. My brain fog is gone. I sleep better. I’ve still got weight to lose and miles to go. But I am on the right path and look forward to getting serious again in January.

It may not sound like a lot to say I’ve lost 30 pounds. But considering that I didn’t really get serious about this program until about May I think it’s spectacular!! I’ve tried different things for years to lower my liver enzymes and nothing worked until I started this program. The support and education that I’ve been provided is priceless and the supplements are premium blends of vitamins, minerals, botanicals, antioxidants, enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics for maximum product effectiveness.

I was so inspired by all of these amazing products that I signed up to be a consultant in March. To be honest, I only signed up for the discount. However, I loved the product so much and talked about it so easily that I found myself sharing and then selling the products. I love seeing others benefiting in the same way that I have.

Why not make 2018 YOUR YEAR?? I’d love to talk to you about what I’m doing and share some samples with you to try. You have nothing to lose but weight and EVERYTHING to gain!