family

Revisiting the Gifts of 2017--Starting in the Toilet

What? Yeah. 2017 started in the toilet at our house. Literally. Approaching Christmas in 2016 with both of us having some time off, a long-discussed, highly-anticipated bathroom remodeling project got under way. It was not pretty. On Christmas Eve, our elderly neighbors (who don't hear well) called to inquire what was going on because they heard a lot of noise. Sledgehammers were broken. Curse words were shouted. Ugly yellow tiles and a gross little vanity were hauled away. Plumbing was reconfigured. By the time the new year rolled around in 2017, things were looking a lot better. The first gift of 2017 was to have gained a sparkling clean, fully-functional bathroom that is easy to take care of and makes life in general much easier. Big props to my love, who made the cabinetry himself. Check out those lines in the wood--he's amazing.

IMG_5296.jpg

In 2017 I made great advances in my work with Life's Abundance. I joined the company in late November, 2016. I confess that at that point, I totally didn't know what I was doing, but with a commitment to learn as much as I could and put it into practice, and accepting the guidance of others, I advanced in the company from the entry level (1 star) to four stars pretty quickly. I developed the brand Happy Valley Healthy as my business name and launched it in the spring. Since then I have added one team member and I have been steadily growing my client base. I consider my work with this company a gift because it has helped me develop more confidence and helped me find my passion for working with others towards their optimum health and the health of their pets. I am inspired by the steady, ethical leadership of Life's Abundance and the other representatives around the company with whom I regularly interact and consider my friends.

IMG_5875.JPG

2017 also gave me the gift of a major turn in my self-acceptance. Some of this I attribute back to Life's Abundance--because I feel that in a big way, my feeling GOOD--both mentally and physically--is attributable to the nutrition products that became part of my life. With my self-confidence on the rise, I also decided that 2017 would be the year that I stopped coloring my hair. I can't describe the sense of freedom I have felt since making that choice. Silver is sexy, yo! 

One of the best gifts of 2017 was certainly unexpected. I've told this story in other venues and in another blog post of its own, but it bears repeating. We started casually looking for a second dog in the spring. Wilbur is six and we thought that if the right dog came along, either in the form of a Boston Terrier puppy or a rescue, we'd go for it. We didn't share that information broadly, just agreed between ourselves that we'd keep an eye out for a little brother or sister for Wilbur. In May, my great niece Cathy got married in Pittsburgh. We took Wilbur to be boarded for the weekend and off we went to enjoy a weekend away. The wedding was on a Sunday, so we were driving home on a Monday. Norm was driving and I got on Facebook, where I found a message from our friend Lori, saying that a local rescue was desperately looking for a foster home for a Boston Terrier. She thought of us. Would we consider taking a foster? We talked it over for a few minutes. Messages were exchanged, and in a fairly uncharacteristic moment of spontaneity, I called the rescue and asked more questions. We talked a few more minutes and I called back to say yes, we'll take her. All we knew was that we were getting a 5-year old Boston who had been used for breeding at an Amish puppy mill. We knew things could go either way but we hoped for the best. And the next day, the best thing happened. We were brought a scared, dirty little dog with a crooked lip. And we loved her from the minute we laid eyes on her. This sweet little girl who would have been destroyed (I mean literally, with a gun) had she not been surrendered to the rescue organization One Dog at a Time, has become a cherished part of our family. She's taught Wilbur a whole lot about dog-dog interaction, and she teaches us something every day about the capacity of our hearts to give and receive love. Literally, every day, it's a question of "who rescued whom" with this one. She is a gift!

IMG_6111.JPG

The gift of friendship and love of family was not lost on me in 2017, from seeing my beautiful great niece marry in May, to re-connecting with decades-long friends and family during a trip to North Carolina in November, to visiting with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and his wife and their two spunky (and hilarious!) kids at various times throughout the year. I don't see my family enough and if I can have a wish for 2018 it's that we will all make more time for occasions to be together.

IMG_6234.JPG

I've never been one for resolutions, so I'm not approaching 2018 with a long list of "I'm gonna's". What I am approaching the new year with is a heart full of gratitude for the gifts of 2017 and an optimistic spirit that tells me that if I stay true to myself and honest with others, I'll end 2018 somewhere other than the toilet. Love you all, and thanks for reading this to the end! 

IMG_6822.JPG