From Fear to Fearless: This is YOUR year!

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When Amy was alive she always told me, “Be fearlessly you!”  She was a woman who lived by her words and yet for all the years she told me this, I never grasped it.  I lived constantly in my own self doubt.  The shadows of all my mistakes and shortcomings over-rode any light I thought I might possibly have buried deep down somewhere.  No matter what I tried to do, whether in career or relationships, it seemed like I was a vacuum sucking people dry because I hungered so much for validation.  I never stood independent of how I thought others thought of me.  So how could I change that?  What could I do differently this year?

What could I do so that when I looked into my children’s faces I didn’t see all my regret that I could have done it better before they left home?  What could I possibly change to see my husband take  a sigh of relief that he no longer carried all my pain or purpose?  My friendships, how could I operate in love in such a way that did not demand reciprocity?  How could I possibly be independently fearless and stand in my truth that while I’m far from perfect, I’m a beautiful being with something to offer?

I think we all struggle with this at one time or other in our lives.  We look around at those closest to us, those we’ve lost through filters through the years, and those we hope to become closer to in the future and we wonder … do I have what it takes?  Am I good enough?   Do I have value?

Fear.  Fear of being wanted, loved, and liked.  Fear of loss, fear of gain.  Fear of failure and success.  We become stagnant in our doubts, almost sometimes to the point of being frozen in it.  We stop going out, we are isolated with work and friends.  We shy away from socialization.   Then the voices really start up, man, they can be harsh.  See?  I told you, no one cares.  See?  I told you, no one notices you.

How do we overcome that kind of fear?  I went to my bedside one day and knelt, shaking, on my bedroom floor and I prayed, “Lord, my precious Father, you did not have this in mind when you created me, did you? With Amy gone now, I feel lost to courage and bravery.  I feel lost to me.  Help me to see myself as someone who can love as you love. Change my heart.  Mature me.  Please, give me opportunities to shower my world with faith and friendship and love and laughter and not do so with a selfish heart.  Train me up to stand in the gap for those I love, rather than whine about being the gap myself.  Let me be the light.”

After I was done praying I heard the word, “Act.”  Then, from Scripture, “Do not be afraid.”  In my mind I could hear the trumpets of Jericho.  Bring the wall down.  The wall of insecurity, fear, and doubt.  Shake it to its core so it has no hold over you.

I heard Amy, “Be Fearlessly You!”

I’m determined that this will be a year of letting go of fear and falling fearlessly in love with my life, my family, friends, and the path I am so blessed to be able to be on.

I pray, for all who read this and can relate, that you have the courage to stand on your knees, be humble to God, and become an action person verses a reactive person!  This is going to be a great year.

 

 

 

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Retail New Year Confessions

 

She seemed to be somewhere around 75 or so, her white tipped grey hair thinned over a paled, wrinkled face that told stories I’m not sure I am worthy of hearing.  Her back was bent slightly and her knuckles clung to the cart, white as she wobbled forward. I watched her for quite some time over near the necklaces and earrings.  Then, feeling I should check on her, I meandered over and asked, “Is there anything I can help you with?”  She didn’t smile at me but more kind of oomphed and huffed, “No one can help me,” she gruffly spoke under her breath.  I reached out, put my hand on her cart, “I can.”  She stopped, looked up at me and laughed.  Not a small laugh, but a big, hearty laugh like when you survive the big roller coaster and realize you loved that feeling of almost puking your guts out.  Then she handed me the necklace and said, “I don’t even need this.  I just get out to prove to them I still can.”  I told her the necklace was cheap anyway.  We laughed for a long time.

He was upset that no one was in jewelry to help him when he hollered at me from across the way.  I ran over quickly, helped him pick out a watch.  It was between the silver diamond watch or the gold plated watch and I asked him, “Is this for your wife?  Which color does she wear more often?”  He lowered his head, “I’m not sure she even knows anymore.”  I held the silver one close in my hand and moved it towards him, “I like silver.  I think it reflects the light well.”  His eyes misted up.  He reached into his front pocket and slowly pulled out an old handkerchief, gently wiping his nose and dabbing his eyes before returning it, “She used to be filled with light.  Before I had to put her in that God awful home.”  I took the watch, put it into the box, and smiled, “Then silver it is.”  He thanked me.  As he walked away I saw my own husband, possibly many years from our own blessed time now and wondered … would someone comfort him too?

The woman had been seen putting a shirt up her shirt, after trying to rip off the security tag.  Managers were called to monitor the customer, to carefully and without being too obvious, watch from a distance until security could be called.  She went from one department to the next and I could hear her cursing other employee’s for “stalking me because I’m black,” and I anticipated her coming into cosmetics.  She went to the men’s cologne counter.  I stepped gently towards her, “M’am, is there anything I can help you with today?”  She reared back, knocking several bottles over, “No you can’t f&*(ing help me you sorry stupid white girl, what do you think, I’m stupid?  What do you think, I’m an idiot?  Can’t even come into a white girl store without being accused of stealing.  F&ck you and the horse your shi&t rode in on.”  She began to come at me.  I put my hand up and said, “I am not doing anything but asking you if you’d like some help with cologne.  I do not deserve this.”  She walked to the make up counter and knocked over several bottles of make up, throwing my brushes, “Bullsh*t, b(tc&, you are accusing me like everyone else.”  I wondered, was I?  I didn’t see it, only heard about it.  Now, this enraged woman was coming at me and throwing my stuff everywhere.  Was it my fault?  Did I do something wrong?  Wow.  This sh*t is really real.  The security guard was called and she made her way out of the store, security blocks beeping like crazy as she exited, screaming profanities and giving everyone the bird.  And I thought to myself …. “I wish we could just all be kind.”  One of the employees made a comment afterwards about that customer having “gone bi-polar” and I whispered, “I’m bi-polar.”  And then, that was the end of all of that.

My best friend died this year.  Her favorite color was purple and her favorite family symbol was the tree of life.  A customer came up to purchase a lot of items and I admit I was upset because none of it was anything I could get commission on.  She piled my counter high and then handed me five jewelry boxes that I had to, one by one, open and price.  I opened the third one and lost my mind.  Crying – not the kind where you slowly get the sniffles and your eyes barely tear over and drip slightly like in the movies but the kind of gutteral cry that comes up and out from a place in your soul you didn’t even know existed.  The tears fell hard and the snot followed fast.  I felt bad for my customer who was leaning over the counter, “Are you okay?  Do I need to call someone?”  I finally got myself gathered and though I debated telling her why I was crying, I felt her.  I felt her hard, fast, and gently all at once.  She said, “Hi Corky.  I’m here.”  I told the woman.  I told the woman why her purple stoned bracelet with a tree of life symbol in silver shook my world.  She smiled, “Well, we have to get you one!  C’mon!”  She led me to the place in the store where they were but sadly, it had been the last one.  Back at my register, she whispered, “Take it.”  I didn’t want to put her out but she said, “If I take it and wear it I’ll only feel guilty.  Please, take it.”  I did.  Later than evening driving home with the bracelet I heard Amy again, my Angel.  She whispered, “Will you please give that to my mom for Christmas for me?”  So I did.  Thank you customer.

Retail New Year.  It’s not always good but when it’s good its great and when it’s bad it’s a reminder of how much better we can truly make our world if we care enough.  Be that next customer.  Be that next person that someone goes home and tells their family about. Or their blog.

Happy New Year Retailers!

 

 

 

2016 I hate you. I love you.

You took my best friend.  This a year I will never want back, except maybe the parts when we laughed as she garnered the strength to get up and out of her bed and pretended to me, well, to most of us, that yes, she was fine.  Just a little heartburn,she’d whisper in between smiles.  The cancer never took her spirit.  I remember telling my boss at the time when I needed to be back to work, “I can get another job, I can’t get another best friend.”  Needless to say I have a new job.  I still don’t have another best friend, not like Ames.  Not ever.  Irreplaceable.  She is with me, I know this to be true.  I still rely on her.  As always.  But F U 2016..  Not fair.

And thank you 2016 for my husband.  The deployment two years ago and the one we face that lies ahead this year … can all go to h. e. double l. hockey sticks.  This year though, this year I watched him drink his bailey’s and coffee while he opened up his nascar driving experience and shook his head, “NO WAY!” He exclaimed.  Oh, that smile.  That smile I love even more since the first of the 22 years I’ve been seeing it.  Next year he won’t be here.  Thank you 2016 for him this year.

I hate you. I love you.  You gave me the worst and the best.  You gave me a reality that I often detested but a truth that I couldn’t avoid.  You taught me to stand strong, to be courageous, to fight for what I believe in, and to be forgiving and accepting of other’s in their fight as well.  I have learned much, cried often, laughed hard, grieved more grief than I ever thought possible, and heard the whispers of a beautiful fighter angel.  I hold my husband and my children close and pray prayers of gratitude because I am blessed.  And I don’t deserve it.

As my father said to me after my bestie went on to Heaven ….

“It is what it is and will be what you make of it.”

Dear 2017 …. Here I come.  And I’ve got an Angel at my back so watch out. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Day 1 Arbonne Cleanse!

For about 39 years I never worried about my weight.  In fact, unless I was pregnant or nursing, I didn’t even have to watch what I ate. (what a $(@&* …. I know.)  I was a comfortable size 6 at about 5 foot 6 inches.  I always felt sorry for overweight people.  I felt sorry for women who were losing their hair.  I would be comforting and say, “No, you’re fabulous!” But inside I was feeling, “Please God, don’t let that happen to me.”  Truth.  Ugly, but true.

I didn’t want to get “old” – not that at 41 I am but let me just say ladies …. at 40 the tides become to come in and they just aren’t soft and subtle.

So here I sat, a 41 year old who suddenly weighed 234 pounds YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT.  I went from a nice steady 140 to 234 pounds …..and had lost some height and stood at 5 foot 5 inches. I’d lost so much hair that from any direction you can see how white my ugly scalp is.  I was miserable.  What happened to me?  Life I suppose.  My medications for anxiety and depression had some to do with it (Weight gain side effects are for the birds, and my husbands 4th tour overseas with the military didn’t help).  But then, I quit smoking on top of everything.  I was a smoker, yes.  For 28 years.  Two packs a day.  Until Pneumonia nearly killed me about 8 months ago.  So instead, I ate.  Ugh.

Skinny girl in a fat body.  I mean, for those of you that have known me through the years thank you, thank you, thank you for not mentioning WTH has happened to me!  I sware to you ….. just last week I was walking by a mirror in a department store and I thought, “Oh, gosh, that poor girl.”  Holy crap.  That girl was me.  ME.  The girl who can’t get up the stairs without stopping to take a break.  My ankles feel like they’re breaking, I eat fifteen tums a day, and my bowels?  Oh TMI.

So …. when my co-worker started feeling healthy and losing weight on a cleanse of course I wanted to hear about it.  Then, I learned it was an MLM.  The Arbonne Cleanse. Ugh.  Not my first rodeo here folks.  Been there, done that.  However, she was so excited about her own success I couldn’t help get excited with her.  I don’t have to sell it, just use it, right?

My husband was leaving for two months for Leadership training with the military and I knew, if I was going to make a move on my health and weight …. now was the time!  How fun to surprise him!  Hmmmm …. how to really stabefore-fronty motivated?  My son!  I have a 21 year old son in the military also who happens to be living at home right now (no pressure from me to move in whilst dad is gone. lol), and I wanted to see if we could do the cleanse together.  Mama and son.  He was in.  Not just in.  He was helping me afford it.  *insert tears.

We met Heather on a Thursday night in her new home, she was literally just moving in.  She was friendly, open, warm and inviting.  She also had a military background.  She explained the product, let us try some stuff, and then stepped back.

I told her and my co-worker we would think about it.  But, we were in.

Hence the food prepping tonight and the preparations to start this 30 day journey.  Here, you’ll find my “Before” picture.

 

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Here were my top 3 requests:

1.)  It’s gotta be easy.

2.)  It’s gotta be easy.

3.)  It’s gotta be easy.

Then, I learned I have to give up coffee AND martini’s.  Holy smokes.   So, tonight, I’m getting ready to dig in tomorrow.  My meal prep’s are all done for the next few days and I’m about to embark on a new journey for 30 days to change my eating habits and begin to develop a healthy lifestyle.  Please, don’t ask questions tonight ……. I’ve got a full martini and I’m enjoying the living heck out of it!  🙂  Love you all and I’ll keep you posted!

If you’ve done the Arbonne http://www.arbonne.com/pws/homeoffice/tabs/home.aspxcleanse, let me hear about it!

 

 

Book Review: 360 by Vicki Drane

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If you’ve ever looked around at your life and thought to yourself, “Is this what I really want?  Is this who I really am?” Then Drane’s novel, 360, is for you.  Vicki exposes us to the life of Jessica, a beautiful young woman who has found herself at the cusp of desperation.  Lost and isolated in the throe’s of an abusive relationship, Jessica feels fear, insecurity, and is unable to escape from her own denial.  Drane exposes physical abuse in her novel and courageously speaks, through Jessica, on the painful and horrific ways in which women can often get stuck in negative patterns.  Jessica, a full time social worker whose job is to support, hear, and enable young children as they go through crisis, excels at helping others but fails to see how much self-care she herself deserves.

Your heart will break as you get to know this young woman, full of such potential with a selfless, giving spirit.  She seeks to serve others and to ensure their happiness but her efforts continue to be thwarted by those who do not appreciate her or see her value.  Drane however does not create a character who needs pity, or a woman who is completely oblivious to the reasons she acts the way she does.  Logically, Jessica is able to see – almost as if looking from the outside in – that she is stuck in a dead end and needs to escape.  As always however, even though we know the logic and reason of our situations that does not always mean our heart is in tune.  Jessica simply wants to love and to be loved.

Drane introduces Ruby, one of the little girls that Jessica nurtures at work.  Ruby, a precious and wise little spirit, endures so much pain and rejection from her mother but yet fights to find the positive in her life.  As their relationship grows, Jessica begins to see how she can give Ruby advice on letting go of the past- but she isn’t taking her own advice.  It is ultimately her relationship with Ruby that inspires her to finally take a stand.

Jessica’s revelation comes on a single day when she realizes, enough is enough.  Her ability to self-talk and see the light at the end of the tunnel pushes her forward to do the one thing she had needed to do all along.  Get out of her abusive relationship.

You will find yourself cheering Jessica on, desperately wanting to reach into the pages and offer her encouragement and hope.  You will feel, as the author does such a beautiful job, her pain and her loneliness and her struggle to let go of everything holding her back.

She is each of us.  She is the innate desire we each have to love and be loved in return.  She is the whisper we tell ourselves, that we deserve to be happy.  She is the pain, confusion, and insecurity we each feel when our past creeps in on us and our futures seem bleak.  She is authentic, truthful, and powerful in her quest to find her true self, escape from denial, and finally emerge the beautiful and inspired Jessica that was always there.

If you’re looking for an inspirational, heart-felt, authentic motivational book on conquering your fears and unveiling your true potential; this is it.  Drane does an amazing and fantastic job leading us down a path of hope.  GET YOUR COPY NOW!

Book Review: As Life Goes – Elementary

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Jason Zandri’s novel, As Life Goes – Elementary, whisked me away into blissful nostalgia with words that remind me of my own father.  This novel, endearing and wise, is a must read.

Zandri details the life lived of a father and son who face adversity hand in hand, soul to soul, and with a priceless conviction of truth and honesty.  Mark Sanford, Mathew’s father, picks up the pieces left from his wife leaving him and their son with an honor and dignity that makes you fall in love with him; both as a father and as a man.  Woven so perfectly throughout the pages, and throughout his life, are words of wisdom so poignant that at times I highlighted them, to make sure I could recall them for myself as a mother.  Not only does Zandri create a character who overcomes adversity with sheer will power, but he adds compassion, wisdom, and enlightenment.  I found myself cheering Mark on in the early pages as he begins to create a new life for himself and his son, Mathew.

Add in a beautiful younger woman, Diane, in need of work but more so, in need of a hero, and her little sister and mother and you embark on several relationships that blossom and bloom in glorious new colors.  Jason’s novel couples coming of age, love story, parenting, and insight  with genuine, real life inspiration and as the relationships ebb and flow through travesty, hope, and trust one cannot help but want to read more.

Growing up, and even now into my forties, my father has always bestowed pearls of wisdom unto me.  It has been and always will be one of my greatest blessings, to have a father whose words guide and support.  Zandi’s novel made me pick up the phone and call my father after having finished reading it, just to remind him of how much I love him.

If you want a book that eloquently reminds you of what it means to lead an honorable life, without being preachy, this is it.  You will fall in love with all the characters, each in a different stage in life, and even have some amazing life lesson take-aways.

For so many reasons, this novel is a treasure.   Five stars.

Get your copy NOW!