Planning to Swim

So I have been talking about taking out the sinking option in our lives but what does it really mean to learn how to swim figuratively in life? I am not saying that you jump into a lake without prior swimming knowledge and just expect to survive.  There are steps that one should remember.

Step 1. Research and Plan

You can’t just one day decide to be an Olympic power lifter and compete. You need proper training and good coaches and a great team. Before you attempt anything, research and plan. Know the waters you’re jumping into. Understand what you need to take, what level of proficiency you’re gonna need to swim. If you’re starting that business, have a business plan and talk to experts. The amount of preparation that goes into these things are important.

Step 2.Have a fantastic team

I have my mom and dad, Alex & my sons, friends who would encourage me and hold me accountable to my progress and make sure that I was still working towards my goals so I don’t get sidetracked. Their support is invaluable and will help you stick to your vision. When someone crosses the English channel there’s always a boat right next making the journey with them. It always helps to have a life raft of people around  you.

Step 3 Focus

Once you get in you have to focus. Focus on where you’re going. If you look around too much, you get distracted and its harder to keep yourself afloat. It takes more work pushing forward. When I teach kids in Martial Arts, I aways tell them that when you ride a bicycle and you keep looking around, most likely you’re gonna crash. You have to keep your eyes on the track or you won’t succeed.

Step 4 Have Confidence

About 15 years ago I took a Lifeguarding course with my coworker who was a six foot 2 fellow and I had to mock save him . While other kids had hundred pound partners, I was lugging across a man who was 75 pounds heavier than me. When I thought about how much he weighed he really got heavier and made it hard for me. But when I had confidence that I had the skills to save him,I was able to succeed. You see, you don’t always get to save hundred pound kids, sometimes you have to lug around a man twice your size. Just like our problems, sometimes they are more than we think we can handle but if you have the confidence to face them and you know that you have the skills then its winning half the race.

Some Diamonds Go On Rings, Some Dimonds Dominate Them. Will You Join Me in Dominating the Rings of Live? A. img_0102

TIps on how to be the best mom..like me.

Me with my sons on Mother's Day
Me with my sons on Mother’s Day

Being a Mom or Dad isn’t easy. It seems like it gets even more challenging with things like facebook, instagram, pintrest where now you get to see how amazing all the other mom’s are and all the areas you are not. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel down on yourself when you see how outstanding other mothers are.

Here are 4 mom’s that I just “idolize” in how amazing they are.

Sue.

Sue has 2 jobs and still finds time to do it all. She never misses a teachers birthday or special Holiday. She makes sure her kids have amazing lunches, snacks and meals planned. All healthy, I can’t walk into her house to pick up my son without something simmering on the stove. She makes a priority to be at as many of her kids games as possible. All the people who are part of her boys life she shows appreciation too and brings in special treats for special days – even St Patricks Day. It amazes me how she has time for all these thoughtful things. My son always talks about how much he loves his #2 mom and her great food and of course the pool!

Monique

Monique and I have been friends for years before children. I recall she became my hero they day she found out  she was having twins. Monique is another one who seems to do it ALL. She homeschools her 3 while owning her own business. She is an artist and always has the most creative projects. She has so much detail to everything she does. Her children do Karate, girl scouts, cheerleading, football, youth group, homeschool co op and more. Most of which Monique still finds time to volunteer and help in the success of.

Francine

Francine has 4 children. Whom she also Homeschools. She always has great detailed lesson plans. Plus her children have many allergies so she makes so many things from scratch, including her own laundry soap. I am always blown away by how much she does and how clear it is her husband and children are her # 1 priority.

Bethany

Bethany's beautiful family.
Bethany’s beautiful family.

Bethany has 3 amazing children also. One of her sweet children has a as she refers a special brain.Brogan Jack was born on August 3, 2011, it wasn’t long before we found out about his special brain!
Brogan has been diagnosed with Microcephaly, Polymicrogyria, a malformed cerebellum and a gene deletion. He had a large brain tumor removed in January.” 

Bethany has spent weeks at a time in a hospital with her sweet boy. But has always had the most positive posts. She makes sure to prioritize her time so she spends time with all of her children. She is one of those people no matter what always looks amazing in pictures. Her sweet children always look like they stepped out of a catalog their clothing is always so perfect! Her courage and determination inspire and humble me.

 

So my point is – as a parent – I have often compared myself to these amazing mom’s and gotten down for not being as amazing as they are. I am sure many mothers and fathers have felt the same way at times.

Letter written by my son for Mother's Day
Letter written by my son for Mother’s Day

But the point is being the best parent YOU can be for your children. Using your skill sets to help your children. I am not going to be making amazing crafts with my boys – it’s not what I am gifted in.. but I will take my boys out 4 wheeling or create workouts with them to prepare them for their said sports. I will teach them how to run a business and make the healthiest meal choices.

I can though be inspired by these amazing mom’s every day. Seeing the focus they have the determination and applying it myself. Asking myself everyday – what have I done today to invest into my children.

That’s really how to be the “perfect” parent. Invest. Time, resources, love. Be their biggest fan. Every day – ask yourself – how have I invested into them today – how have I let them know I am their biggest fan.

So who is to decide what a perfect mom or dad is? All I know is I can be the most perfect mother for my children possible.

Family Day walking tour in Providence
Family Day walking tour in Providence

*To be on “Team Brogan”  and find out more about Bethany and her family visit www.TeamBrogan.us Find out more about Brogan and ways you can donate to help the family afford items that will improve Brogan’s therapy and quality of life.

You can Also follow them here on Facebook

When a friend breaks your heart.

Me with one of my lifetime friends after getting my fourth degree
Me with one of my lifetime friends after getting my fourth degree.

So, I was just scrolling through my Facebook. I happened to see a post from someone I used to be incredibly close to. Then another from someone else who I had once considered a very close friend.

Right away the pain, the feeling of rejection, insecurity, like I must be broken or not good enough hit. Why don’t they like me – why don’t they want to be my friend?

I was once what I thought very close to both these woman. Then one day it just stopped. Communications ended, they were always “busy” or they “didn’t” get the text. They had moved on, had new friends, a new life.

I recall they pain. Crying, hurt, broken, confused. Wondering – was I to needy? Pushy? Overbearing? Maybe I just wasn’t cool.

Have you ever felt that way?

Those of you who know me would be shocked to hear I am incredibly insecure and awkward in social situations – well social situations that are not martial arts/business orientated or something I am personally hosting. I have a hard time connecting with new people, I fear opening up and yet again finding myself “rejected”.

But here’s the thing about other people’s rejection – it usually is more in my mind the in theirs. It is usually a fabrication of our own insecurities.

An example, I was bullied horribly all through my school years. I recall a girl in 5th grade I thought was super cool but I KNEW hated me. I remember her making fun of me after a science fair and being heart broken because of it. As an adult I reconnected with her and was joking about our school years and how she didn’t like me. She had NO IDEA what I was talking about. She recalled us being good friends and spending most of our time together.

See my insecurities created a false reality. My fears created a paradigm in which I assumed her reactions.

The woman who “rejected” me as an adult…Could it be that their lives have just taken a different direction? Their schedules be opposite of mine making it difficult to follow up? Maybe our interest are just not the same any more, maybe we just have changed and that’s ok.

How many times have I sat feeling left out? Wondering why I wasn’t “invited” or “thought of”. What about you? have you ever felt left out, unloved, forgotten? If someone didn’t acknowledge your birthday or special event have you felt betrayed?

It also makes me wonder if I have ever inadvertently made someone else feel that way? I have an incredibly busy schedule between my husband, children,business, schools, homeschooling, working out, training, etc. before I know it days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into years. Maybe as my life has changed I have also lost contact?

Its important to realize…it’s not all about you. When you lose contact with someone or it seems like they never have time or always “already had plans”. It probably is just that, they are pursuing their goals, dreams, hobbies and families just like you pursue yours. Heck, even the popular show Friends had to end as they went different directions.

Don’t allow yourself to decide your worth, value and relationships based on a false paradigm. Live your life with focus and passion. Make new friends more friends with similar interest and goals.

#alifeworthliving

#liveitloveit #blackbeltlifestyle

4 Ways to make your interactions more powerful

Worcester SharksThis weekend my Rock star staff and I had the amazing opportunity to perform on the Ice for the Worcester Sharks. 125 of our members came – had an amazing time ABD style.

 

Sometimes one person tells you to...
Sometimes one person tells you to…

When we finished performing – waiting by our table was a young man and his mother. He was so excited to see me he ran over and gave me a huge hug. He then began quickly speaking about how good it was to see me again, how much he had missed me, and how excited he had been when he realized it was me on the ice.

He shared how he would soon be 18, how time flies. He shared how the last few years had been incredibly challenging for him. He had gotten himself into some bad situations, but he was turning his life around. He shared how much I had inspired him. He even commented how close we had been. How excited he was to be back, and get back to our relationship.

 

The thing is, I hadn’t seen him in at least 6 years, so I didn’t recognize him (12 & 18 a lot of growing happens). I have known him for about 15 years, since he was 3, But I only saw him a handful of times between the ages 3 & 4. Then again years later when I visited his school for the ABC of success seminars I do for school children.  He then took martial arts classes from us for a while.

 

What amazed me is in that 15 years the few times we interacted had such a powerful influence on him. It got me thinking, you never know how powerful your impact is on people. You don’t realize how giving positive encouragement that 1 time could drastically affect the influence how people see things. As I thought on this I recalled being in 5th grade and a science teacher who’s 2 minute chat and 5 second praise changed how I saw my potential as a student. See the teacher I had the previous year always noticed everything I did wrong, every mistake, every short coming. Entering 5th grade I fully believed I was a “bad” student and not very smart. We had just had our first science test of the year, the class did not do well. The teacher discussed the importance of studying – how it makes all the difference, then said only one student in all of the 5th grade classes got a 100 on the test. She then pointed me out and comment that I clearly was a smart student and was going to have a very successful school year because of my work ethic. I did, I had my best school year ever…because she took a moment to praise my success.

 

I promise, that teacher probably does not remember me, or that day, but I do. I remember and it had such an impact on me here I am sharing it now. Just like the young man I saw this weekend the positive energy she fed into me had a massive effect.

 

So how can you change someones outlook?

1. Point out the positive, in everyone you come in contact with. 

 

Yes, even your coffee barista should hear how much you appreciate their energy and passion.

 

2. Don’t harp on the negative.

 

My teacher the year before only cared about everything I did wrong.. I don’t ever recall her saying anything positive about me.

 

3. Make the praise public.

When ever public “brag” on those around you.. children, friends, spouse, coworkers, employees. Don’t keep their victories a secret. Just like my teacher that day – she highlighted me to all my peers.. boosting my confidence and helping to bring the best me to the surface.

 

4. Never Assume it doesn’t matter.

I never would have thought my interactions with this young man would have been so intense, the was clearly a major influence and after many years he still saw me as someone he could trust and rely on. It does not seem like this young man had very many positive people in his life who poured into and cared about him. My few interactions showed him a life worth living.

 

So every day, be a positive encouraging force..its not always easy, BUT ITS ALWAYS WORTH IT. 

 

btw you can check out the video of the instructors performing last saturday at the Worcester Sharks here,

 

ABD Team at Sharks game

#liveitloveit #alifeworthliving

I Knew They Were Christians..

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I knew they where christians shortly after I first saw them. The family of 4, 2 young boys..father and mother. What gave it away, where they carrying their bibles? Was their joy overflowing? Did they have their I love Jesus tshirts on? Maybe bible verse bumper stickers? Did the Holy Spirit jump when i saw them?

None of the above, I knew they where christians by their scowl….
We had taken the family to Lake George and the Shcroon lake area. We where excited from the break of the hustle and bustle to spend time with our boys. We decided it would be fun to visit the caves near Schroon lake. Clearly we where not the only ones, the caves where very busy that day. I had first noticed this family in the gift shop prior to starting our hike… I noticed them because it appeared the father was scowling at me.. the wife glaring. I looked around and noticed nothing amiss…assumed it was my imagination and went back to my family to enjoy our hike.two adults
This family started before us and we ended up running into them again at the first look out point…. this time they again glared, but at my whole family. It was then I recognized that look and was transported back to my teenage years…………
I grew up in church. I loved being a christian, I was homeschooled, as where most of the people my age in that church. I recognized that look, because I had been on the receiving end of it all of my teenage years. I thought that was how christians greeted each other, with a look of disgust as if you where not worthy of their time…. you had to climb the christianity ladder to be noticed.judgemental1
During those years I cried myself to sleep in pain and  heartache almost every night because I wasn’t good enough. I recall an announcements that a leader was needed for children’s church, when I volunteered I was told someone else had asked to do it.. I found out this person didn’t want to but was told they where the only one who was available. I was no longer allowed to sing solos in church after singing Petra & Dc Talk ( not even the raps etc.. ballads!!) I received letters from “concerned woman” about my tight clothing ( I was a size 4 wearing size 12 hand me downs…not sure how that could be considered tight…skater/baggy was the style) My pain at that point was overwhelming, the hurt overbearing.
cranky
I didn’t see at that time that it wasn’t me that was broken, but the lens in which those people where using was.
Then at 16 I was at the breaking point, the starts of an eating disorder, suicidal, severely depressed……. I started martial arts. There from the first moment I was accepted by all the cool kids and all the not cool kids lol. Kids-adults instantly welcomed me into their “family” loved me for exactly who I was, even though our style was different, liked different music, had different interest. I was loved, for me. No need to prove myself, or “earn” a place…ironically the place where rank matters on the floor, it did not matter in real life. But this was “the world” I had been warned to stay away from. The “heathens” who did not attend my church and homeschool like me. The wicked ones who wore the wrong clothes. Why then could they love unconditionally?
I knew they where christians by the way they judged us. Then, I noticed the cross he wore.
The rest of our hike we passed them countless times, each time being treated as if we had leporasy or something. I did a “check up from the neck up” –we where not being rude, we where patient, quiet, respectful, no inappropriate joking, everyone was dressed appropriately. I am not sure what we had done to offend them. My son finally asked me, “Mom, why do they keep looking at us like that?”
cranky-calvinists
I am blessed to say after my teenage years I have been part of 2 amazing church families who have loved on us like Christ commands. This small experience brought me back, made me think- If that is how my faith is represented, no wonder people would not want to be a christian. As I thought of it at this park, I was almost ashamed to have the same faith as this family who would, without knowing anything about us (even if they did know anything about us) treat us in such a cold fashion. I confess that at a point I was guilty of   the “scowl” to those who had not yet “ranked” as a christian.
“My son finally asked me, Mom why do they keep looking at us like that?”
I  believe it breaks our saviors heart that our churches do not love as he commands. That a teenage girl can find unconditional acceptance in a sport, but not in her church family. I strive to love, even when it isn’t easy. even when I don’t understand. When I find myself starting to cast assumptions or judgement – I recall that girl and her pain.
Whether you are a christian or not, I think the importance here is to remember, what we say and how we treat people can have an even deeper impact then what we see. Instead of pouring coals of judgement onto those you interact with, pour into them instead and help them to develop into the person they can be.
If you are searching for a church home that doesn’t judge and rank, I would love to have you join us at mine! http://www.fellowshipne.com is warm and welcoming and ready to get to know you….and not talk about you.

Perspective on the Recession

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I met a fellow martial arts school owner at a friends house the other night. The friend mentioned to me earlier in the evening that his guest owned 4 other schools on the south shore. I made introductions and we chatted a bit about his school. He was incredibly respectful, but he also had tunnel vision. I have met many school and business owners like that over the years. They just “know” what does and does not work.

We first started discussing the styles we taught, he told me about his school and how great his style was. He wasn’t arrogant about it, just confident and specific. He asked how my school was doing. I told him great.IMG_2966 The topic came up, kid students adults etc. He then told me “the economy sucks, so adults don’t want to take class now” When I shared we have over 250 adults training in Spencer, he explained his schools where in high end areas so the recession has caused more problems with wive’s having to get jobs now.

I mentioned how we also offer ilovekickboxing..started to ask if he had heard of it. He told me how he did kickboxing in the 90’s “When it was hot” but “NO ONE” does kickboxing anymore..nobody is going to join that program.

“If there is a recession, I refuse to participate.” Master Paul Garcia

We opened our school right as the recession started. I heard the news and media every day talking about how bad it was. I started feeling afraid, and doubting our decision to open a school. These where the worst conditions, in a small farming community. I heard the locals talking about getting laid off, I saw house foreclosures on every corner. My own home was behind now.  I had been running a school for the 8 years prior in the same community in a great economy, how on earth could we succeed in a failing economy.

Then one day I sat in Master Garcia’s training and he said the quote above, “If there is a recession, I refuse to participate”. I realized I had allowed the mindset of what was in the media etc. affect my own behaviors. I realized then I had a choice on how I was going to respond to the things happening in our community, I Could jump into the doom and gloom boat, or I could paddle against the stream.IMG_3105

We doubled the size of our school that year. We have continued to grow every year, in every program. We surrounded ourselves with like minded individuals and stopped spending time around those negative nellies. I have watched all of the America’s Best Defense Schools (even those in well to do communities grow like crazy year after year).

Please understand, I am in no way down playing or sweeping under the rug the fact that there have been some very had times in our country for families. I am rather encouraging to choose how you work with the cards you are dealt.

Did you know that the game Monopoly was born due to the Great Depression? Charles Darrow found himself out of work after the crash of ’29, he then spent years perfecting the game and became the first millionare by creating a board game.

Check out these 5 stories from the great depression,

Monopolyhttp://mentalfloss.com/article/20837/5-great-depression-success-stories

Then of course, you can check out why so many adults choose our schools at http://www.abdspencer.com or http://www.abdshrewsbury.com

I was in an Abusive Relationship

in scripture

Not all abusive relationship are what you first think. When you hear abusive, you assume violence to a woman, from her boyfriend or husband. We also would assume the same of an emotional abusive relationship. The truth is any relationship that is destructive can be abusive. It can be a teacher, parent, friend, coworker, employer. These types are often referred to as bullies.

Now most of you who know me or have taken class for me have probably yet to wrap your head around how I could have been in an abusive relationship. Someone tear me down, or talk down to me? Not happening. That’s the thing about these kind of relationships, they are subtle..they creep up. the highs are high and the lows are low. But you cant picture yourself able to function without them in your life.Pain to myself

This was not a romantic relationship, and I was not the only victim. We had a “friend” this friend was so cool, they where very charismatic and seemed to know everyone and everything. They had things in life we thought we wanted and we “knew” if we hung around this friend life would be awesome. They where so much fun to be around. They planned the best trips. We couldn’t wait till the next time we all hung out.–I never experienced any physical violence – although i witnessed many explosive outburst and destruction of property when my friend would get mad at me. There was one occasion that one person in our circle was physically attacked– and yet, we stayed in this relationship, knowing it would “get better”…. I mean the friend did apologize.

I recall the first emotional attack. I recall, because I fought back. I was a strong, confident, confrontational  individual who would not take nothing from anyone. This “attack” like most, was public. That day I got toe to toe with my attacker and told them under no circumstances where they ever to speak to me that way again. If they had an issue or concern they could address me privately, and we would determine what needed to happen.

It was many years before my attacker or bully, some might say ever spoke to me that way again. But by then, the smaller attacks over the years had torn me down and destroyed who I had once been.

cycle_of_abuseAn emotionally abusive relationship is when someone tears you down, then builds you up, only to tear you down all over again. Its a cycle and when they build you up, they do so well you “forgive” everything else that happened because you are so excited by what they have promised or the compliments they paid etc etc. They have everything you want, life will be perfect, you will be the best of friends. Its a viscous cycle. One you may not even know you are in.

I didn’t have any idea. I thought the problems where all in me. I began to believe what they said. I even began to think I had or had not done things based on what I was told, not what

am I crazyactually had happened. I was going crazy, It was all in my head, I was a failure. It was at that point, I was on 2 different anti depressant medications and anti anxiety.  I also began looking forward to my Friday nights at the local bar  for “stress relief” I lost myself, who I was, who I wanted to be in that relationship.

I didn’t see until after I was out of that relationship, I recall the day I realized how much I had changed. I was at a new job, on my team conference call and I didn’t talk, I didn’t  say anything. Another manager was sharing a challenge he was having and I knew exactly what he should do, but I said nothing. I called my manager after the call to share what I thought should happen, She asked, why on earth didn’t you share? She gave me a great “pep talk” on not being shy etc. The whole time she was talking I couldn’t understand how on earth she thought I was shy and quiet. It was after she hung up and I sat down that I realized how different I was. That was the day I started rebuilding me. It was much harder then one could imagine and the damage was very deeply rooted .

I wish I could say what would have made me recognize the issue while I was there, so I could get out, but I was so blind. I spoke with one of the other victims the other day, the one who had been physically attacked, neither of us could comprehend why we did not end the relationship that day. Why did we consider that ok?

An abusive relationship, physical or mental, can happen to or with anyone. Sometimes referred to as a bully. Noticing the signs or changes in yourself or a loved one can help you recognize and remove yourself from the destructive cycle.

If you find that you relate, and are in an abusive relationship it is important to get out, be free. Find a trusted friend or family member and share with them what is going on and have them help you end things and make the necessary changes. If you don’t have a friend you trust, you local church pastor will have the resources to help you. If you are unsure of churches in you area, I know you can contact my church at http://www.fellowshipne.com and they will connect you with the best people to find yourself again.

I Fired My Doctor

donald trump fired

In Fitness for Life, I shared that people in my life’s attitude about aging and what you can and should do influenced how I thought my years would be. One of the major influencers during that negative time in my life was my Doctors and his team.

To give a little back story, I struggled with post par tum depression after the birth of my second son. I ended up needing a prescription to manage it. After a while my doctor successfully weaned me off of the prescription.perscription But, 6 months later I was again in a very bad place, and although I didn’t see it at the time, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Let me clarify, It wasn’t my husband. See my next blog, I was in an Abusive relationship. My doctor prescribed a new script for what we thought was depression(this was a new doctor due to an insurance change).

That medication caused me to gain 20pds in just 6 weeks. I was very frustrated, and made an appointment with my doctor right away. I sat down with the on call doctor who was a woman, and explained what was going on. I told her my activity level and diet had not changed. It was then she added to the mantra I had heard many times. “honey, woman our age” (mind you I was 25). bathroom scaleShe basically told me to be happy with what I had but try weight watchers if I was really worried, but in her opinion I was still in a “healthy” weight range (this still horrifies me)

My primary care doctor was constantly putting on weight. It was hard for me to trust my health to someone who clearly didn’t value his own.

I only saw him when I had no choice.

A couple year later a severely sprained my ankle and was on crutches for 3 months. When I shared my activities, which now included Krav Maga, grappling and running 5-6miles, and asked how soon I could get back to that.. my doctor said I shouldn’t plan on it.  Plus at “my age” I was at higher risk for injury. I got a second opinion and she gave me exercise to strengthen to prevent those injuries.

The final straw came 9 months later. I had totally changed my lifestyle. Eating healthier, working out more and my ankle was doing great. I had ended the destructive relationship a couple years prior and was emotionally healthy. I had gone 30 days with no caffeine or an processed food and I felt amazing. Then I started having these bizarre heart flutters. They lasted less then 20 seconds and happened every 1-2 hours.dont get sidetracked I continued with my normal activities including exercise as it did not seem to be affected either way. But after 3 days it was still happening. I called my doctor assuming, being heart related he would have me come in and get it checked. NOPE. First he told me stop consuming caffeine, when I explained it had been a month he said oh, good keep doing that. Then he said stop exercising. That I must just exercise to much.That there was no need for me to be exercising. Just like that, over the phone.

Your doctor is part of your support team to a healthy lifestyle. If your doctor is not living a healthy lifestyle, how can he direct you?  Zig Ziglar said “If you have a fat doctor fire him” ….the same apply’s to a poor accountant… My doctor did not have any interest in helping me be in the best shape of my life. He had no concerns at my sudden weight gain, because I was still under the national average.

I fired my doctor, and interviewed and found one that I knew would put my health and fitness as his priority. I got references from people who trained like I did. I want to know if I go to see my doctor for a concern, he will take me seriously, as an individual, not a statistic.IMG_3855

What about your doctor? Would you consider him part of your health and fitness “support team”, or just a necessary evil? Have you had an ailment or injury that hasn’t improved and your doctor hasn’t made it a priority? Your health is with you for life, just like in any professions, you will have doctors who are passionate about their career choice, health, and their patients. You will also have doctors who are just going through the motions, meeting their statistics and making the insurance companies happy. Don’t put your health and lifestyle in someone life thats hands. You deserve to live life to the fullest and have each day count, and be better then the day before. Don’t let anyone hold you back, especially the Doctor who should be moving you forward! If you don’t have a doctor that will put you first, find one who will!

Weathering the Storm

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Weathering the Storm

I sat in the hot tub last night. 19 degrees out and I was outdoors nice and comfy in my hot tub. I thought kind of crankily how with the big storm coming in I was kind of upset my fireplace wasn’t fixed yet. I am not a fan of this weather, but a nice cozy fire and glass of wine makes it bearable. So not having my fireplace was quite the inconvenience.

Missed My Fireplace Over the Holidays
Missed My Fireplace Over the Holidays

It hit me how much has changed. Just 5 years ago Corey and I were getting ready to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. But everything around us was falling apart. We had just opened our school, and our only source of household income was my job as a store manager. I had broken my arm and had been out of work 2 months with a possible 3-6 months more out.

Needless to say, we were in financial crisis. We were now 2 months behind in our mortgage. For Christmas, we had nothing. We were blessed that someone close to us had an idea of how things were and the local police dept dropped of to huge bags of wrapped gifts for my boys. Even though it was a huge blessing, I still was feeling a failure.

Then we ran out of oil. It was one of the coldest spells in years, some schools closed due to the sub zero temperatures. We lived in a house that was 200 years old and very drafty. We didn’t tell anyone. We asked Corey’s parents because of how “busy” our work schedule was that next couple days if the boys can sleep over their house.

Huddled around a space heater.
Huddled around a space heater.

Then we closed of the rest of the house and huddled around a space heater and wore 5 layers! We bought a cheap electric blanket.

I became very discouraged. I started doubting if we had chosen the right path. Maybe a martial arts school in Spencer MA was not a good decision. Such a small farming community surrounded the area. Maybe, when I go back to work I should focus on finding a district or regional management position. I mean, I really did enjoy that kind of work and I loved to travel. Maybe Corey should look into a full time career outside the school also. Nothing was going the way we hoped it seemed like we would forever be stuck in this place unless something changed. I was facing a wall of discouragement, I began to feel foolish in my goals and worry what others where thinking of me and my failures. Real Mistake

Corey had been doing some side work and we had oil again within a couple days. I did return to work and we were able to tread water and make some serious changes, but not the kind that forced us to give up on our dreams.

I would like to say after that winter it was all better. It wasn’t, we faced many more challenges.

A little over a year later our electricity was turned off for non payment,  I owed over $2000. We went a week with no electricity. We told the boys it was an experiment to understand what real farm life used to be like. It was summer so we didn’t freeze, but all of our food spoiled.

This time though my attitude was very different. I understood in the long run this was only a few days. It was not going to destroy my life or even seriously hold me back. I didn’t need to abort my goals. I could see progress happening and knew we would overcome.

When challenges come your way you need to step back. You need to ask yourself, will this matter in 5 years? How will it affect me in 5 years? How old will I be? How old will my kids be? What do I want my life to be like in 5 years? How will I  get there? As awful as that year was, it was a small part of a big life. I had the opportunity to be blessed by my amazing community, who helped us survive during a challenging time. I got to find out what was really worth it. I got to learn that success isn’t sprint, but a marathon. Just like a marathon, sometimes you want to give up and take the easy way. Stay on the path, don’t give up, don’t life’s discouragements stop you. It’s your life, don’t let it happen to you, create the life you always wanted.

Follow that dream

My dream grew into http://www.abdspencer.com — now we also have http://www.abdshrewsbury.com, http://www.ilovekickboxingspencer.com,

http://www.ilovekickboxingshrewsbury.com