Sunday, April 19, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind

What an unbelievable week I've enjoyed.  I was asked by Renee Olson (Chief Leadership Officer for Nerium International), to speak at Nerium's semi annual national convention.  It was held at the SAP center in San Jose, a sold out crowd with thousands of people. I was hesitant in actually following through with this great honor.  I am so transparent in so much of what I do, but often do not allow other's to see the delicate, emotional roller coaster I've endured. The ache's have been real for me. The weight of this responsibility became so heavy, knowing my face would be on huge jumbo screens for all to see,  gave me tremendous anxiety. This past year there have been times I've just wanted to hide. Hearing the reality of an innocent child ask their parent "mom, what's wrong with that ladies face?" has been difficult to process, usually I reply before the mother or father has a chance "I just have a boo boo" the parents usually apologize and walk off, saying they are sorry.  That is my reality, that has been my life for a year now.  I realize no one can truly understand what I am feeling, so I usually just say "I'm fine"  when truly my heart is weak, struggling to be brave and strong. Just when I've started to heal and feel like life is taking a turn, another trial comes.  I was so amazed while I poured out all my feelings, I felt loved. I prayed for the right words to say. I felt this peace come over me before I went out on stage.  I really opened up and let Him guide me.  I could not read my notes, I resisted putting on my glasses to read them, I had to condense 5 and a half years into 10 minutes--I knew there was no way I could convey all the emotions we've lived through in that amount of time. I decided before I went out, I would meet Him where he needed me to be and that maybe in someway this would bring me full circle and heal my insecurities.  This experience helped me to be one step closer to being whole again.  I prayed that whatever I said would touch at least one person and help them to understand that at times we all feel broken in some way or another, but not giving up is the secret power we all have inside of us. We all want to feel valued and important, I've learned this through living it personally.

For those who have followed my blog, I don't really talk much about Nerium because I didn't want my blog to turn into a platform for advertising.  This is a sacred place where I go to get away from the world, I am alone and listen to uplifting music when I write.  I've always wanted this to be an authentic reality of who I am.  This is a place my children will be able to go long after I am gone to laugh, cry and remember who their mom was.  With that being said, I do have to add I know without a doubt Heavenly Father led me to this incredible company.  I was not looking for anything,  still involved heavily in health issues.  The confirmation I felt when I said yes to Nerium was so overwhelming at the time I didn't know why. Now I do, within a few months of joining with my friends, my facial paralysis happened.  If it was not for the self development I've gained from living in the culture of the Nerium Family, I don't think I could have made it through this past year.  I highly recommend to anyone READ THE SLIGHT EDGE by Jeff Olson.  It has nothing to do with Nerium, it has to do with a philosophy of life.  Even through my breast cancer journey, losing my hair, my uterus and both breasts I still felt I was ok. My perspective on life has changed, I learned that nothing in life is worth anger, hate or malice.  Seeing the world through different eyes lightened my heart and soul.

The Villain had taken from me everything that the world defines as "feminine" it was difficult to process, and I relied on the Lord to get me through it. However, when the facial paralysis came and a doctor said to me "Your face will never be the same again" those words penetrated deep into my mind.  I cried, my husband cried for me.  I was depressed and sad, I took so much of it out on my family, and never wanted to be seen in public again.  It has been a slow process and one that I cannot say I have fully conquered, but I can honestly say without hesitation no where, except for my church congregation and family, have I felt true unconditional love, like I have with the Nerium family.  Jeff Olson has taught me true happiness begins from the inside and manifests itself to others when you are genuine with thoughts and feelings of yourself. Success is not a car, or a home.  So many people think "well when I lose weight, or I get a new job, or I blah blah blah......I will be happy"  Nothing can be further from he truth, being authentic and happy with yourself under any circumstance is what success is, it's what attracts people to you and it is what helped me to live through this year.  Be patient with me I'm still under construction.
Speaking in front of a sold out stadium--ummm..kinda overwhelming
I had to lean on the spirit and speak from the heart.

Nerium and CEO Jeff Olson know how to throw a
white party--so much fun
It's was badge of courage and bravery for me to expose myself to such a large group of people.  Over the past few weeks as I traced the steps of where I've been,  it was overwhelming even to myself to process my journey.  I have wrestled with shame and discouragement, feeling as if I have let people down.  I've wondered at times if my own children are disappointed in me. This life changing alteration in my life has really brought me to my knees.  Starting anything is always hard, a diet, an exercise program, a new job and even a new life.  Trusting in myself to fight through this last year has been empowering. It's been worth the sorrow and pain I've felt and feel.  As I give up my pride and begin to give in to the fact, this is the life I am intended to live, I'm beginning to believe I can move mountains. I have felt the changes inside of me. I'm beginning to realize I'm me because of where I've been and the experiences I've enjoyed and endured.

When Sheldon died, I wanted to give in and give up, now I see the Lord has been waiting for me to do my part.  To fulfill a promise. I'm finally beginning to understand I don't need all the answers right now. It's never too late to start all over on a path that will move you forward.  Step up to the starting line and run, run as fast as you can, tomorrow may not come. This is the time to love others, share a kind word and be true to yourself you will find the strength to pull yourself out of any situation.  There are days when I have to remind myself of who I am, convince myself once again I have the power within me to be happy. True happiness cannot be given to you, it cannot be bought and it certainly cannot be faked.  When you are completely happy, you live with no regrets, you are at peace with who you are and most of all your spirit illuminates and becomes contagiously beautiful.

Tonight, Eric and I went to see the new version of the animated Disney movie Cinderella. As I watched I was engulfed in the story, so many paralye's to my own life. It  gave me a picture of the unparalleled beauty of courage and kindness in the face of humiliation, suffering, and shame.  I watched thinking sure, Cinderella looks stunning. But it’s not her ball gown or glass slippers that first catch the Prince’s eye.  It’s her inner beauty that captures his attention—her courage and her kindness.  Kindness isn’t weakness; it’s strength. Submission isn’t pitiful; it’s beautiful and courageous.  We all have the power within ourselves to make our lives happy, it is a CHOICE.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hilary Weeks my new BFF

Lunch with Hilary-😘

A few months ago, Hilary Weeks emailed me to set up a time for us to meet and go to lunch.  With so much going on it was difficult to make that happen until now.

Everyone knows I fly for free, so I got on a plane flew to Utah stayed with one of my oldest and dearest friends Teri Padovich.  We had so much fun catching up, laughing, actually laughing a lot.  We talked a lot. We haven't seen each other for so long.  I was a little worried about her reaction to my face.  She didn't skip a beat, we hugged and off we went.  It was like old times, I really needed this time away from Arizona.

While Teri was working I met Hilary for lunch, good thing I knew what she looked like, because we hadn't at that point exchanged phone numbers.  I just knew I was supposed to meet her in Harvest restaurant at Thanksgiving Point.  I immediately recognized her and apologized for being late, those darn GPS's don't always give out the correct directions.

I have to say, meeting Hilary was wonderful for me, what a rey of light she gives out.  Her spirit is inspirational, I could feel her sincerity.  It's rare to find people you can truly connect with on a spiritual level.  It felt like we'd been friends forever, she is beautiful inside and out.  Just as I love the Live Happy campaign, Hilary has her own called Live Positive.  If you haven't gotten the app on your phone you are truly missing out.  Keep track of happy thoughts,  type journal entries, make goals and earn inspirational quotes.  You can even form groups of people to do it with.

I loved talking with Hilary, she has 4 daughters, met her husband while he was on his mission in Alaska --she thought Elder Weeks was pretty cute, and pretty inspirational himself.  A few years later she was walking on the BYU campus when she saw him for the 1st time since Alaska.  She said she yelled "Elder Weeks" he turned, saw her, ditched his friends and the rest is history. I love her music, I've heard her speak and for so many reasons my heart has been drawn to her.  Now I know why.  She is so positive, loves her family and has a burning desire to make the world a better place.

After lunch we exchanged phone numbers, and to my surprise she text me and invited me to attend the Women's broadcast with her and 3 of her daughters.  Teri dropped me off at Hilary's house I met her daughter's and her husband (Elder Weeks) what a great family.
I love these cute girls....❤️👀

Sitting the woman's broadcast with Hilary and her girl's was so fun. When it came time to sing, my natural instinct was to pick up the hymn book and sing....all of a sudden I realized I am sitting next to Hilary Weeks.  Her music has inspired me and helped me through some incredibly rough times...this was really surreal. I wanted to close my eyes and just listen to her voice sing to me. Janice Kapp Perry also in the congregation--I was surrounded by inspiration.

 Of course I wished my daughter's could have been with us too.  I am an avid note taker. I have stacks of journals and note pads full of the notes I have taken from special talks and thoughts I spontaneously have while visiting Mayo Clinic.  Some of the most important life's lessons I've learned are written down and journaled.  I sometimes go back and review them and often I am so surprised at the words I have written.  How easy it is sometimes to forget the lessons we learn at poignant times of our life. I'm so grateful for having those detailed memories to look back on. This visit with Hilary and her family will always be one of those memories.  The Lord has truly blessed me with good people in my life.  Hilary and I will be forever friends now.  
This is truly a beautiful woman inside and out.

Notes from Conference