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Thankful Me – Ode to “My Guys”

FriendshipI write this the day after Thanksgiving, 2013.  I would have posted on Thanksgiving Day, but I was too swamped with cooking, serving and cleaning up (plus I was stuffed and almost in a turkey coma :)   I’ve actually been writing this in my head for the better part of a week, and so today, I’m putting my thoughts into words.

The past 12-14 months have been some of the most amazing and difficult I’ve ever experienced, except perhaps 1989, when I walked (limped) through divorce, a cross-country move, empty nest and the death of my father, all within a 3 month period.  I also met my sweet Leon in the middle of all that upheaval (silver lining, for sure).  But, back to my story…

In October of 2012, I met some men at a conference in Las Vegas who changed my life.  When I consider this conference, it seems almost unbelievable they were all there at one event, in one room.  I’ll just go ahead and tell you who they are:  Mario Brown, Brian Anderson, Jack Mize, Mike Cooch, Costas Peppas, Derral Eves, Jeff Smith, and Syd Michael.  WOW!  They were all so gracious, so real, so talented, and I fell in love with each of them for different reasons.  I’ve met  most of the wives (except Syd…LOL). Having met these amazing women helps me understand why their husbands are successful.  I knew when I left that conference that my life and my business had taken a turn, but I wasn’t sure exactly how.

Almost 6 weeks later, I found myself absolutely devastated with a loss and a grief almost too big to bear.  Completely brokenhearted.  The pain was so deep and the grief so raw, I could only process it with a few close friends and my precious children.  But, I’ve always looked at the proverbial glass as half full, not half empty.  So, I dug deep, leaned on God for strength I knew I didn’t have, and I decided to heal.  The holidays were a blur.  Most mornings found me sitting outside weeping, reading my Bible and gathering strength for the day.  It came.

A few weeks later, in  January of this year, Sue (my business partner) and I were invited to Ft. Lauderdale for a marketing conference. I got to see many of my new friends again – Mario, Brian, Jack, Costas, Syd (Jeff…were you there?  Sorry, I can’t remember)  Derral and Mike were missing at that one.  I was invited to share on stage what Sue and I were doing with our educational marketing to the Chambers of Commerce and SCORE.  Mario and Brian suggested that we should be sharing that training with other marketers, and with some apparent enthusiasm from other attendees, we began coaching with Mario to help us build a training product to help other marketers.  What a ride that was for the next few months!

I’m diabetic, and high stress always sends my blood sugar out of control.  Still reeling from the personal grief I was dealing with, I found that the only way to control the blood sugar while in Ft. Lauderdale was to go out in the parking lot and jog around the building several times.  Yep, it worked!  I’d come back in, check it, and see it had dropped 50-60 points.  So maybe people thought I was just big on exercise, but that wouldn’t be true.  I’m incredibly lazy about real exercise.  (Maybe there’s hope in 2014?)

Mario held our feet to the fire, and our product, Success With Webinars, launched on Valentine’s Day.  And it was SWEET!  I remember being out to dinner with Leon and I could hardly pay attention because my cell phone kept dinging with each new PayPal notification.  But he understood…we had worked hard for this, and he shared the excitement with me.  Next came launches with the other guys…Jeff, Jack, Mike, Costas, Derral, Syd…and other new friends we met along the way.

Leon has incredibly good humor about my reference to “my guys.”  If I mentioned a name he couldn’t remember…I’d say, “You know…they’re one of ‘my guys.’ ”  Oh yeah…one of them!
The great news is that during this past year, Leon has been able to meet many of you, and that has made me so happy.

About halfway through the year, Leon decided to do a couple really special things for me…so he booked a cruise in early May, and bought us a new RV on my birthday at the end of May.  But his timing was pretty bad because unbeknownst to him or me, his health was in jeopardy and he almost died the day after we took delivery of the RV.  Geez…could this year get any more weird?  Yes, it could.  After 7 years, I had to deal with breast cancer again, and I missed Mike’s conference in Denver in Oct.  All is well on that front, (Big sigh) and Mike promised to catch me up on the event.

So, the RV sat there all summer; but, in October we took it for a trial run and things went well, and we just got home a couple weeks ago from a 30-day cross country trip.  On that trip, Leon and I were privileged to spend time with Derral and his family in one of the most beautiful places in the country – Zion National Park.  Then, we discovered the night we would be in Memphis, Mike and Sarah were there at a conference – so we had dinner together and a night out on Beale Street.  Way cool!  And the best thing was meeting Sarah.  Mike, you married UP!  Sarah is beautiful, articulate, and smart. After leaving Memphis, we found ourselves in Atlanta the next night, where we were graced with the hospitality of Brian and Rebecca. After experiencing her home cooking, I don’t know how Brian will ever lose weight easily.  That gal is charming, a great cook, and a real winner.

Jack, I know I threatened to come park the RV in your yard, but we never made it that far south.  Maybe next time, but I promise we’ll find an RV park nearby and not alarm your neighbors.  Thank you for straightening out Nanacast for us on the eve of our launch.  And for those coaching calls you didn’t send me a bill for.  Costas, sorry we missed you in Memphis, but next time Nashville will definitely be on our route.

So, here I am, a year later, a different person with a different business than I ever expected.  Knowing all of you has, indeed, made my year rewarding and special in ways that cannot be counted.

I remain grateful.  Here’s my short gratitude list:

I’m grateful for:

A relationship with my Heavenly Father, without Whom all else would be pointless.
For my children – two of the finest adults on the planet, whose lives honor me as a mother and now as friends.
For my husband, with whom I am privileged to share my life, with all its twists and turns, ups and downs.  My love for you is boundless.
For a business partner like none other – Sue White
For my health – I didn’t get the good genes, and I’m grateful that through heart surgery, diabetes, and cancer…all is well at this time.
For my naturally optimistic spirit – a gift from dear old Dad.
For the unconditional love of my mom and my extended family.  Life is never boring.
For my business skills, and mostly for my unquenchable thirst for knowledge (again, thanks, Dad!)
For my friends.

I’m also grateful that I’m naturally a “People Person,” and relationships bring me joy.

I’ve always said that I’m a rich woman, regardless of my bank account. I’ve been content with far less, and I’m grateful for the financial success I’ve enjoyed.

I am SO grateful for all of you.  Your friendships are one of my greatest blessings, and you were instrumental in my survival and success in ways you could not have known in 2013.

I wish you all the best, and I’m looking forward to 2014.