2019 A Year in Review

When I reflect on 2019 as a whole I can’t think of anything else to describe it other than Transformational Growth.

 

The beginning of the year was full of pain and grief. I was an emotional wreck and my entire life was in complete disorder. I was reeling from heavy grief, in the middle of a painful lawsuit, barely talking to either one of my kids, in the process of having to move for the second time in 8 months, my finances were pitiful and bills were piling up. I was also lonely, sad, depressed and felt like there was not much to live for. 

 

There were days I could hardly get out of bed, I had little to no focus and I could not wait for the day to end so I could take a hot bath and go to bed. I would wish my life to end on a daily basis. I would wish for a car to run me off the road or an accident of some kind to just happen. I was not motivated, I had no joy and in a deep depression. 

 

As I moved through the next few months I found that life was...

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A Metaphor for Life

This Summer I had the privilege of hiking, backpacking and camping in the Chicago Basin. The Chicago Basin is the upper portion of Needle Creek which is a subrange of the San Juan Mountains and the San Juan National Forest in Colorado.

 

Besides an occasional overnight in a tent next to a bathroom and running water when I was in college I have never really camped.

 

Let me first say it is truly God’s country and the beauty can’t be described by my photos. Second, I am going share a list of takeaways from the trip:

 

  • Never buy hiking boots the week before you’re going hiking and not train
  • Soap, shower and shaving are over-rated
  • Who needs toilet paper
  • Water from a mountain stream tastes delicious and it’s cold (we filtered it)
  • A two-man tent really means ONE small human
  • It’s hotter than you expect
  • Its colder than you expect
  • It’s harder than you expect (especially if you have never been) aka ~ ME!
  • You burn up an obscene amount of...
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My favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin Bread 

Pull this delicious bread from the oven, slice a piece off and top it with a dollop of creamy honey butter and you won't be able to resist.

I created this recipe by taking bits and pieces of other recipes that I liked but didn't really have exactly what I was looking for in flavor. I have a hard time writing recipes down because I don't measure anything but this time I wrote it all down so I can share it here.

One trick to baking perfect cakes and breads is to use a convection oven. It spreads the heat evenly and gives it that perfect rise.

Heat your convection oven to 325, grease two 9x5 loaf pans and add a few spoon fulls of sugar to the bottom and spread around to sugar the pans.

Blend the following in a mixing bowl on low:

  • 1 can pure pumpkin - 15 oz
  • 1 can evaporated milk - 12 oz
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs

Slowly add the following as you are blending:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2...
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Reflection and the road ahead

As we prepare for a new year with goals, resolutions and renewed spirit, it is also a time for reflection and introspection. This past year was filled with complete and utter joy and happiness as Tony and I got engaged, purchased and renovate a house, blended our families and our lives and shared our love with those around us. This past year was also filled with tragedy, loss, grief, tremendous pain and heartbreak in losing my love. However, through that pain and grief I have learned to live, love and cherish every precious moment God has given to us. I have had some tremendous blessings bestowed upon me and opportunities that I never imagined possible.

 

In my season of grief if I allow myself to be stuck in the past and what should have been I am only holding myself back from an opportunity to grow. Approaching each day with Gratitude, however, does not happen overnight. It’s a work in progress and comes in small doses through daily reminders, reflections, and...

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What a difference a year makes!

  

There are two pictures of my daughter Callie and I posted below taken about a year apart. We seem happy and joyful in both pictures but what you don’t see in the first picture is the pain and suffering we were going thru at the time. What you don’t see in the first picture is although we love each other unconditionally, we certainly did not like each other very much. As a matter of fact, we were hardly speaking at the time.

 

She was a few months into her freshman year at college. She had graduated a year early at the age of 17 and received a nice scholarship to a private college. What I could not focus on at the time was the grief and pain she was going through. Daily functioning for me was a chore and I could not be there to support and help her move through the grief and we both were falling apart inside. There were ugly fights and epic battles that lasted sometimes for weeks. We could hardly be in a room together without fighting.

 

You would...

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Moving Forward

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2019

One year, 365 days, 12 months, 52, weeks, 8760 hours since I have seen your face or heard your voice my love. I can still hear your boisterous laugh and feel your gregarious spirit every day. Not a day goes by that thoughts of you don’t cross my mind. I hear a song, or see a picture or go to a familiar place. I am so blessed to have had that time with you, those sweet moments that will forever be engrained into my subconscious. I re-live every last minute of that day in my head many times over. I go through our conversations and our text messages and listen to your voice mail. I can still see you standing there that fateful morning as I kissed you goodbye and heading out the door for work, neither of us realizing it would be the last time we saw each other.

 

The natural thing to do in a season of pain and suffering is to find a way out, to mask it, to work around it, to hide it, to drink it away, drug it away, or wish it away. The most difficult thing to do is face it...

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Growing thru Grief

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2019

I really have never heard the term Post Traumatic Growth until a few weeks ago when I was at an International Conference for John Maxwell. I met a physiologist that works with the military to help them through PTSD. In talking with her and doing some of my own research I discovered there is a science behind PTG (post traumatic growth).

PTG is defined as the experience of positive change resulting from the struggle of a major life crises. In PTG you are looking for the following:

 

· new opportunities or possibilities in life

· increased sense of personal strength

· change in relationships with others

· greater appreciation for life in general

· deepening of spiritual life

 

Losing Tony took my world off its axis, it shook me to my core and the aftershocks continue still today nearly 10 months later. However, I have experienced tremendous personal and spiritual growth with a far greater appreciation for life. In healing myself I have...

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Closing a Chapter

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2019

One year ago this weekend my life was forever changed, my love took me on a Bucket List trip to San Fransisco and Napa Valley. It was a trip of a life time: we took a helicopter ride over the Bay and flew under and over the bridge, we had drinks at the top of the Hilton Union Square that has a 360 degree view of the entire city, we took a wine train through Napa, and... He proposed to me at the top of a castle in a 13th century style winery! It was magical, blissful, and spectacular in every way! We could not wait to combine our lives and immediately came home and started planing for our future together home. We loved one of the first homes we looked at but spent another month searching before coming back to this one. We spent weeks making it our own and could not wait to move in.

 

Now, the time has come to move to a new home and allow a new family to enjoy this house. I have not been able to enjoy it and utilize it the way it was meant to be used. I know the new family moving...

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Shock & Grief

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2019

 

Definition of shock

(1): a sudden or violent mental or emotional disturbance

(2): a disturbance in the equilibrium or permanence of something

 

Unadulterated shock and sudden bereavement are the only words I can use to describe the intense physical, emotional and spiritual pain I felt after Tony’s death. When a devastating event such as a sudden and tragic death happens unexpectedly to a loved one, your mind has no way of processing except to go into shock.

 

I could not eat, sleep, concentrate, or remotely think about anything other than his death. I ended up losing 12 pounds and could barely take care of myself. It consumed my every waking moment for several months. Eventually the minutes, hours, and days that I was counting turned into weeks and now months since his death. I hated that time was passing without him because it meant that it was a day/week/month since I last saw his face, heard his voice or felt his touch. I now reside in a place of comfort...

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My Dream

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2019

It has been a dream of mine to start this blog, business, podcast and website for years. Several years ago, my work involved traveling all across the great state of Texas. To fill my time on the road I started listening to podcasts. I could not get enough of them! I would listen to influencers like Lewis Howes, Michael Hyatt, Chalene Johnson, Ted Talks, Tony Robbins and many more. I was so enamored with the podcasts and would drive around thinking I want to do that! Every day I would research and google how to podcast. I bought a mic, designed a logo, created a website, and started writing down topics I wanted to talk about on my podcast.

 

Then... my life fell apart, my marriage fell apart, and my dreams of creating a business fell apart. I was married to an abusive alcoholic for 19 years. Not all 19 years were abusive and I have learned through lots of therapy that alcoholism is a progressive disease. I am sure he was an alcoholic long before I wanted to believe it or...

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