Not sure if this is going to work but I made a small collage of a day spent last spring with my roommate on the North Shore (see link above). Every now and then I like to go back to where I grew up, see my old house and just breathe in a memory or three. Lived in that house from the age of three until I moved out shortly after college.
Without question the events of this past year have made such a huge impact on me - I should have been dead in May when my Blood Pressure was 277 / 177 I was a walking stroke waiting to happen. But I am not dead - in fact more alive than ever. My body had grown to a massive 345+ lb (estimated) - by New Years 2012. Now one year later, 219 lb by my scale this morning - haven't been this weight since I lived in my old house. Nice Segue - right?
Now that I am spending more time alone, I am really allowing my mind to remember all the good times, weed out the bad memories, and make room for my best days yet to come. I coined the term "Brain-Farming" in an earlier blog - I think it is a great name for healthy recall.
So I have lived and lost more in my first 47 years than most, three houses lost, three great careers, amazing cars, the best of everything. I built a nearly million dollar gourmet store in the middle of central Illinois - Pontiac, IL - former home of my 4,000 sq foot anchor store on the old town square named -"PICKLES, PEPPERS, POTS & PANS" Cute name right? Within five years I had served 13,000 customers and was shipping cookware and gourmet food nationwide and occasionally overseas. Then the Black Monday of 1999 when the Internet exploded, my web orders went from 10-15 a day to 150-200, my store took a delivery of three truckloads of Calphalon Cookware 10 days before Christmas - every bit of it shipped out. But with that sudden upturn in volume, I failed to satisfy 80 (of over 3000) online customers orders and was immediately pulled from Yahoo's Shopping Site. Ask anyone that worked for me, the place was magic. My success in sales was simply because I was only interested in selling customers cookware that they would use every week. Don't want all 8 pieces, I'll sell you the two you're going to use and maybe a third later.
Customer Service got made the name famous - no questions asked, if a customer wasn't happy or using a pot or pan or knife they bought, or they just didn't like it, no hassle returns for the life of the product. I let every customer taste anything in the store before they bought it - guaranteed satisfaction when they got it home and used the gourmet spice or food for a meal.
Get this, I was asked by the state of Illinois in the summer of 1999 to make a presentation on how to build an online store to help small business owners compete against the mega-stores. Somewhere in my storage area I have a book where I was published for being a pioneer of online marketing for a small business. In 2000, the Pontiac Area Chamber named me small business person of the year, and I rode on the back of a convertible in the Thresherman's Parade Labor Day Weekend.
My success gave me the courage to come out of the closet in 1999 - for the first time I felt "free" to be me, although I wasn't sure who "me" was - but I was proud of what I had accomplished. During this time I was blessed with the opportunity to raise someone elses' child through grades 7-12 - God let me be a parent - even if only for five years. His favorite meal was pan fried pork chops, real mashed potatoes, and corn (which I threw a stick of butter and handful of sugar to make it sweeter). He chose not to move back to Chicago with me in 2000 after I lost the store. It was hard to let him go his own way - but I knew that I did the best that I could, his calls to me on Father's Day bring me to tears. I miss him so much.
Tonight's blog is about as honest and real as I get. I am hyper-manic so I am just letting my fingers type as fast as I can remember those days. They were up until now, my favorite years. Until I began my new journey into a healthy body and lifestyle, I never thought I could feel that good about myself again. You my SparkFriends, through your comments, blogs, and unselfish sharing have given be that feeling again a thousand fold from back then. A feeling that this is where I belong, right now, in this moment, letting you deeper into my life, and for the first time in ages, giving myself credit for the things I have done.
The teachable moment for me in all of this, is that nothing happens by coincidence - and that putting it all into perspective, I can understand that what I have lived through made today possible. Had IndyGirl not sparked Effieannie who in turn sparked me on May 25th, my life would be much different. Being able to share honestly, exchange ideas and support each other has taught me more about life than the first 47 years I flew through at light speed.
Thank you for letting me introduce a part of myself to you - this has really helped my overall mental balance. I have no regrets looking back - and now know with certainty that God's will is what I shall do as it is revealed to me. I have a home here on SparkPeople - a voice - a feeling that if just one person benefits from my sharing my journey - then the world is alright by me.
"With honesty, sincerity and deepest care, my life with you I share" (Prince)
Your friend - "Sprink"