Looking back in life at 54 is an interesting opportunity. First, I thank God for having a life to look back on at all. Each of us has our stories. The road that is paved to the present moment is paved with joy, tears, fears, friendships, and family. To each of us individually, our stories matter. We must look always with gratitude at our life, for all the things we have experienced, good and bad, have created who we are. We are each inspirational and wonderful beings.
I was the oldest of four children in my family and was always prepared to take care of myself, not realizing that real joy was found in taking care of others. My life has had three distinct chapters, almost like three full lives rolled into one. The current aspects of my life are the beautiful culmination of all three.
I was married in May of 1988 in Helen, Georgia, to the love of my life at that time, at a young 22, but determined to be a grownup since I was 12. Still a best friend today, the father of two of my children and I found ourselves in Nashville, Tennessee, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the County Music World. This left me as a single mom, but married, relying on forged friendships in a strange place with no family. What excitement! Always surrounded by famous people and backstage events, bars, planes, and busses. Grand Ole Opry and the Wildhorse Saloon. I left a very indelible mark in all those places. It wasn’t sustainable. … married and lonely, 10 years later I called it quits.
In 1999, I found myself remarried to a wonderful man, who immediately scuffled off to foreign lands to work with my stepfather’s business. After many years without any family around, I found myself back in my mother’s arms so to speak and living with my family all around, now with three children. Giving birth to my sweet youngest child months after moving from Nashville to Florida. Once again, a single mom, but married. Soccer, volleyball, newborns, back to school for mommy. A new career, new life, then I become a real single mom two years later. How’s that for practice makes perfect? Luckily, I had taken time while at home to go back to school and then get my Personal Training License. I had the opportunity to build a new career on the new fitness lifestyle I had created while at home taking care of three babies.
I packed up my house, three children, two cats, and a dog. I bought a house on my own after my second divorce and a failed relationship of three years and off I went. In 2005, my new adventure began. The Clampets move to Georgia … I faced the biggest battle of my life to date, getting custody of my youngest as I moved my family to safe ground.
After committing to being single and loving it, focusing on my children and my career, Prince Charming came along in the form of a close friend and quite honestly a savior. It’s 2006 and I have finally found my person and my home. Building a business and a new life again at 40 never even appeared to be daunting. It was what I had to do so I did it. Welcome to Gainesville.
One beautiful spring day in April of 2011, my life changed forever once again. … My beautiful middle daughter, Savannah Leigh, strong, wild at heart, a bit of a troublemaker, finally in her first year of college. … Car wreck? No. … Cancer. Along comes leukemia and if that wasn’t enough, a stroke due to leukemia within 24 hours of that diagnosis. Was life testing my resolve? Let’s throw cancer at her … and if that’s not enough, send in a stroke for this act.
I never had time to think those things through really. I discovered what it’s like to start working from a higher place very quickly. I walked with the angels every day, an opportunity not given to everyone in this life. When you are faced with the potential loss of a child, or any loved one for that matter, your perspective on everything changes drastically and time becomes a bendable and very flexible thing.
Looking out the windows of a house I was not supposed to have, to the most beautiful landscape on earth, surrounded by amazing friendships with my neighbors and close girlfriends. I can only smile and relax into this chapter of my life. My children are grown now and need me less, but I have a barn full of babies who call out to me every morning. My heart fills each day to overflowing. My business is thriving and I appreciate the hearts of my team, supporting my vision to educate and support our community relative to caring for the temples that they walk around in each day. Encouraging people to take the time to stay well rather than losing time to illness. The culmination of my experiences leaves me passionate about waking up as many people as possible to the importance of controlling those things which are ours to control, and relinquishing those things that are beyond our control. Finding time for self-care, meditation, and contemplation. Make the best choices for your body, mind, and souls every day. Write, read, play, laugh, detox your body and find balance. Seek professionals to help you stay well and make a plan. It’s all worth it.
The road to happiness is paved with family and friends, the first lines I wrote in my daughter’s caring bridge site … but it is also paved with experiences that move us of any kind (terror, passion, love). Feelings are signposts that remind us we are given the greatest blessing available to us. Life … be grateful for each breath you take and each beat of your heart, because life is fragile. Let’s meet each moment in the best possible place within ourselves … filled with gratitude, providing the best care possible to our temples … the place that houses the holy of holies … our spirit, our being. Be deliberate about that which goes into your body and be mindful of what goes out. All are capable of creating or destroying. Which do you choose?
Yes, we are also human, fallible and capable of falling in expression and deeds, but the gift is that we can change our minds at any given moment and create anew.