Sunday, August 18, 2013

National Conference 2013

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams". How true this is! If we didn't have dreams that turn into our personal missions in life, where would we be? Believing in your dreams and turning those dreams into your reality is one of the most amazing things we can do!

Just a few weeks ago, I spent five days in Atlanta for our Thirty-One National Conference! To sum it all up, it was a fabulous experience that left me even more motivated to grow my business for so many reasons! My "why" has always remained the same for the most part, it's been my family above all else! Following that, has been my personal health, Kevin's injuries, and giving me some much needed girl time. While my reason for continuing with Thirty-One the past eighteen months has remained close to the same, it has also changed and developed into more - on a personal and business level. Which kind of makes me grin, my SED, Amanda told me a year ago when I set larger goals that My Why would changed as I developed into leadership and I would change with it. Today I look back in awe at how right she was.

In the beginning my reason was about me and my family and today it is about so much more. Yes, it helps pay bills and take care of my family, but it has brought me back out. I lost myself in the mix of things and lost who I was. During this time with Thirty-One, I have developed so many amazing friendships and have been able to find me again. I have let go and moved on from a lot of things and people this past year, but that's okay. It's part of  growing and changing and despite not having certain people in my life as they once were I am learning to be okay with that. People come into our lives for so many reasons, some good and some bad, but always for a reason. We may not know what the reason is at that time, but when we look back later in life that reason is so very clear as to why we crossed paths with those individuals. I would never regret someone that has been a part of my life and what I took from knowing them. It builds character to be honest and allows us to become better people if we let it! Being a consultant with Thirty-One has allowed me to let go of so much and to be happy again with me... it allowed me to find my way back to God, which I had lost between my own battles and Kevin's injuries. Many will understand that, but many won't. If you don't, please don't judge. It's hard to have faith when I have been through the things that I have been through and when I know the details of what Kevin endured while in war, as well as his battles now. However, I am back on the right road and love it!

When I first enrolled to be a consultant, I did it because Kevin was retiring from the Army and I needed an outlet in life. I needed something that would take my mind off of everything we had going on and something that would allow me to have girl time! Thirty-One did just that. Yet, I never imagined that a $99 Enrollment Kit would actually change so much in my life, including my family life! So, thank you Thirty-One!!!

Last year at conference, I was a consultant with only five months in the business! I had no idea what I was doing or why I was even attending conference, except that Amanda told me on the phone one day that I couldn't afford NOT to attend... Really??? Wow, was she ever right on that one! At the end of a few days, I told Amanda and a few others that I would attend the next conference as a Director. I even wrote it on a business card and gave the card to a friend! I set a goal. In May I promoted to Director and on July 26th I walked across the stage as a Director. Accomplishing this goal has changed my Why and has made me aim for larger goals in the near and far future! And just so you know, when I started with Thirty-One I never even thought about Leadership because I never thought I would truly enjoy Direct Sells. It's so much more than a purse!!!

Conference was amazing! I arrived on a Tuesday evening and stayed at the Omni Hotel with Amanda. We had dinner with some wonderful leaders that night. The following day we relaxed, had lunch, and checked in at the Congress Center and I checked into the Hyatt before attending Directors Day that night. Directors Day was entertaining and full of information!

View from our balcony at the Hyatt Regency - fabulous hotel!!!

After Directors Day Training on Wednesday, I headed back to my hotel room to take it all in and relax before the chaos of conference really kicked off. I loved our room at the Hyatt. We had a balcony overlooking some of the city - which was perfect! Sitting on the balcony was such a great way for me to enjoy a bit of downtime.

Hottie Directors with Natalie

On Thursday, we started the second part of Director's day at the GWCC and had a real good time! After the training and during lunch, we received a neat little surprise from Cindy Monroe - the founder of Thirty-One. Each Director received a charm that had Faith on it! Beautiful!!!

Between sessions on Thursday, Glenda and Natasha arrived and checked in to our hotel room. We all met at the Meet and Greet area at the congress center for quick chats and photo opportunities! After that, we each headed to grab a bite to eat then to our next Super Thursday Sessions. Can I just say - I loved this day and all that it entailed!!! It was wonderful!

Just a tiny amount of the ladies at NC!!!

Me and Amanda

Home Office brought some of the embroidery machines and allowed some consultants the opportunity to use them.(This photo was not taken by me)

Directors from Becky's downline
Me and Becky

Friday was so busy! Glenda, Natasha, and I all woke up early to get ready for a busy day, beginning with General Session. All almost 20,000 consultants were in a large area together to experience Product Revel and learn a lot of great things. I won't say much more than that because there are things I want to go over with my team that I don't want to post here!

Me and Ansley!!!

(I cannot take credit for this photo, but want to share because it looks awesome)

Following General Session, half of us were released to get ready for Dinner and Awards that night. I am excited to announce that Kevin did attend the dinner and awards with me because I walked across the stage and was recognized as a Director!!! He met me at the hotel and made it through everything, though at one point he did tell me that being surrounded by a bunch of women wasn't too threatening to him! LOL, WWW's will appreciate that one!

Honestly, to share such a defining moment in my life with my husband, who smiles and cheered me on, made me realize that Thirty-One really is much more than a purse! It's more than home parties, catalog parties, and vendor events. It's a company that is changing lives and families moment by moment. It is answering prayers and making dreams turn into goals and those goals becoming a reality for many. Having Kevin by my side meant more to me than words can describe because he had to face something he struggle with daily and he did it for me. That alone meant more to me than anything else. 

Glenda getting ready

Me and Kev... Love this man more than words!

Me and Glenda... Love her!
Me and Amanda
Me and Becky

 Truth be told, I was SOOOOO nervous about walking across the stage! I mean, seriously nervous. Yet, when it was my turn, all the fear eased up and I made it to the center of the stage for a photo opportunity with Natalie and down the steps at the other end WITHOUT falling on my face!!! I won't even lie, my biggest fear was that I would trip over my dress or a heel would break! Y'all I can't make that fear up!

Hugging Amanda! I was greeted by Amanda and other SED's as soon as I walked off stage!!! What an amazing feeling!

Me and Amanda after I walked across stage

Hugging Becky

I did it!!! I cannot even describe how thrilled I was and still am!
My new Cindy Tote for promoting to Director!!!

It even has my name and Est date on it!!!

Once the awards wrapped up, we all headed out to the upper level. Little did we know that we would spend another thirty minutes or so chatting and laughing! We all had a blast!

Amanda, Me, and Kimi

Me and Glenda

Jenny, Natasha, and Me

Me and Glenda

Natasha, Glenda, me, Natalie, Amanda, Kimi, and Jenny

Amanda, me, and Kimi

Stephanie and Me

 On Saturday, we had General Session again, followed by training classes. During our GS, we learned that our Thirty-One Gives Foundation is doing wonderful thanks to the awesome customers we have! To all of mine, thank you so much for donating to Gives!!! You truly make a difference! Last year we partnered with Girl Talk, which is based out of Atlanta but nationwide! We are still partnered with Girl Talk, but we also added a new partner this year!!! I am excited to announce that the Ronald McDonald House is also one of our partners and am thrilled that we are giving back to them! This is amazing to see our Gives foundation growing as it is and that it allows Thirty-One to do so much!

After our General Session and Training, many of the Hotties met up for dinner at Taco Mac, where we laughed and shared tips and stories from National Conference. We were able to catch up before we said goodbye. Glenda and I left and headed to the hotel for our last night in Atlanta. I know I for one was sad to leave the city, but ecstatic to get home to Kevin and the kids!

Conference is an amazing thing to attend that truly opens our eyes to our business and gives us knowledge on how to do better. It opens doors that we did not realize were closed. If you are on my team, I truly encourage you to attend next year and experience this! If you are focused on your business, you honestly cannot afford not to go!

Next year we will have two conferences... where will I attend? At this point, I have no idea other than knowing I will be in either Columbus, OH or Denver, CO!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Three Years Ago

I have been all over the place a lot lately...more so than normal. I suppose that is bound to happen with the roles I take on as a wife, caregiver, mother, Director, and much more though. It's crazy how things can seem to be under control once a system is developed, then almost spiral out of control at the most minor thing. What can I say though? This is my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Speaking of my life, last week was a tad emotional for me in the sense that I reached the three year mark of my first battle with kidney failure from a surgery and then the surgery that saved my life. If you are not familiar with this situation, click HERE. I sat down last week and spent some much needed time thinking about it all, which there is so much more that I wish I could publicly share in regards to this, but can't. However, it all weighed so heavily on me. As a million thoughts rushed through me, I also thought about the phone calls that were made, the conversations with my dad, followed with talking to my 3:30 in the morning their time. We were in El Paso, TX and they were both in north Georgia. I kept a strong front until I heard my dads voice, then I lost it and admitted that I was scared. Would I ever see my children again? Would Kevin and I have more amazing memories to make? The "What if's" and "should have beens" rushed through me like never before. I was terrified and knew that my only option was to be strong and fight like hell...which I obviously did. Surviving this was the start of a "new" me and a new life, one that I have learned so much from in a short time.

Everyday I find myself so incredibly thankful that I pulled through not only that bout of kidney failure, but the second one as well that occurred two and a half months later. I feel blessed to still be here, despite the way that so much has changed in my life and how I have to monitor things or admit that I can't do as much as I once could. So many people began praying as soon as we announced my situation and so many prayers were answered. I have never looked at life as I did back then and never will.

To this day, I still find some anger and resentment in me, especially being only thirty with three children and a husband. I become frustrated because unlike so many other moms that I see, I can't work out like before, I can't stand for a long period of time as once before because the pain kicks in and takes over, going and having a few drinks is now out of the question, and at times playing sports is a no go for me. I still feel a good amount of pain in my kidneys and unfortunately, it may always be like that. It is what it is. As frustrated as I want to be, I find it most difficult to complain because I am still here and breathing.

Of course, the kidney issue isn't the only thing that takes a toll on my body. The Adhesive Disease I have does it as well. I have had multiple surgeries on my abdominal/pelvic area due to the adhesions. Sadly, they lead to an intense amount of pain, which many know about. When it gets real bad, it limits me on things, which means that another surgery is near. I meet with my surgeon next week, the same one that performed the one last year. I am a bit overwhelmed thinking about it because it just seems never ending. I have no idea what to expect out of this appointment or what the next steps will be. I just know that I cannot in any way continue on the 1-2 surgeries a year thing that we have going on now! This is just insane! There is no other way to describe it, other than insane and a total pain! But, for now, I will do what the doctor advises and pray this time the procedure holds for more than nine months, which was the last surgery I had to undergo.

Through all of this, I admire the strength in Kevin and the kids. With Kevin having his own battles, he helps me get through it all. The kids keep me smiling and remembering to cherish the small things in life, because they are kids. These moments with them are ones that we will never have again, so why miss out. None of us are promised tomorrow. Even the healthiest of people lose their lives because something didn't go as it was planned out. So, why wait until it's too late to live in the moment we have right now...a moment that we will never have again?

I do have a few more things that I will be posting soon in hopes of actually catching up on here and updating with photos! So, stay tuned!

The whole point of me writing leads to one thing! Life is so short! Don't wait until you're fighting to live to start living! Live now and appreciate the finer things in life that you are so blessed to have upon  you! Too often that second chance isn't available, so don't let the one that you have now pass you by. You can never get the moment you are now in back, so cherish it and enjoy it!

Many of you know I LOVE to challenge people with certain things, to push them out of their comfort zone because I know what they are capable of. So, dear friends, my challenge to you:
Get out there and live in the moment! Step away from your computer and take the time with your kids and spouse. You will NEVER have the moment you are in again, don't waste it! Let your kids play in the rain, hell get out there and dance with them in it! Stay up late on a Friday night with some popcorn, junk food and a good movie with the little ones. Before you know it, these days will be gone and that kid that you once had will be a teenager, wanting to go out with their friends, then an adult living out of your house. You will look back and miss those moments you could have spent with them!

Find that one thing that you have been too afraid to do, such as sky diving, skiing, snorkeling, or whatever it may be and do it! Conquer that fear! If you're like me and were terrified to fly, find a reason to get on an airplane and enjoy the ride! I did it back in February and mastered somethings that scared me - flying and having to switch flights!

When you do these things, come back here and comment below! Share what you have done and how it changed your perception on things! I can't wait to hear how you have spent more time with your families and done things you would never do before!