Archive for December, 2008

28 dec

Finding Peace Within for 2009

If you’re feeling anxious about the changes that will come your way, here are a few things you can do to welcome in the New Year with a sense of peace and calm.

* Write a letter to yourself, and have it come from your Higher Self. Go through what happened this year, and let your wiser self give you advice.

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 28th, 2008 in Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in

22 dec

A Mother’s Battle for Her Boys


When the doctors diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.), I was 25 years old. I was supposed to be in the prime of my life. Not to mention, I had three small boys, ages 7, 5 and 2. My illness put a big strain on my marriage also. Sometimes I think it was actually harder on my family, than it was on me. My boys didn’t understand what happened to their mommy, my husband didn’t know how to deal with it and my parents were in denial of the whole situation.
I wasn’t glad that I had M.S., but it did explain some of the odd things that had been going on with my body: numbness and tingling in my legs, blurred vision, lack of bowl and bladder control and the weakness and fatigue. M.S. described my condition perfectly. My physical symptoms were difficult to manage, but my emotional state of mind was even worse. I had always been such an active mother. The boys filled my days with all kinds of activities. Going to the skating rink, the park, ball games and being room-mother, were just a few things, that we were used to doing. When the M.S. flared up, this put a halt to some of these activities. For one thing, my vision seemed to be affected more than anything. When this would happen, I wasn’t able to drive. During these times, we couldn’t even leave the house.
My boys wouldn’t let me give up though. They pushed me to keep going. They weren’t about to let their mom give in to this horrible disease. I remember when my youngest son, Kyle, would come in my room in the mornings to wake me up. He would lightly pat me on the cheek, as he whispered, “Mama. Mama.” When I opened my eyes, he would give me the sweetest smile. He would give me a little hug and then he’d yank back my covers and say, “Get up, Mama. I want some git-gits” (biscuits). Those words actually saved me. That little boy needed his Mama. If I was using crutches, he would even hand them to me, to speed up the process a little. He was very persistent and he really liked his biscuits.
My friends and family were very supportive with my illness. Some of them, brought over dinner for us or took my kids to school for me in the morning. Sometimes they even helped me with my housework. Many of them told me that they were sorry it happened to me, especially while my boys were so small and they needed me so much. Those words would play over and over in my mind. Yes, my boys needed me, but I needed them just as much. They made me keep trying and they gave me a reason to get up each morning.
Even though, I learned to live with my sickness, and my boys adapted to it just fine; this whole thing really put a strain on my marriage. Some people have a hard time dealing with a sickness. When I think back on it now, I really do understand; yet at the time, it didn’t make any sense to me at all. Not only did I have to fight a terrible battle, but I had to deal with it on my own. Just a couple years after my diagnoses, my husband left us.
Trying to find a job was another obstacle I had to overcome. Since I was a stay-home mom for eleven years, I didn’t have experience at anything except for changing diapers. Unfortunately, that was not needed in the office place. Finding a place to hire me with no experience was one thing, but having an illness that could hurt my attendance record was a whole new issue. I wouldn’t miss just a day or two at a time, I would have to miss several days or weeks at a time when the M.S. flared up.
Somehow, I always found some kind of a job though. I learned to keep my illness a secret until after I was hired. Any place that I mentioned M.S. in my interview, never called me. The jobs I did have, I learned on-the-job training. I felt like I had to work harder than everyone else, to compensate for my illness. It paid off most of the time. Many of the places worked with me and helped me through my bad times. I found that the smaller offices were much more tolerant. One of the offices didn’t have any patience with me at all. It was a big corporation and the first time I was out for a few days, my boss reprimanded me in front of everyone. He had no compassion at all. I went in the bathroom crying and then I called a place that I had worked for before to see if I could come back to work there. When they agreed, I gave my notice the next day. I didn’t get paid enough to put up with that.
There was a certain amount of things, of course, that I did have to put up with. There were mornings that I really struggled to just get to work. By the time, I got up, got myself ready, helped my boys get dressed and get them off to school, I was exhausted. Fighting the traffic and dealing with the aggravation at work, was sometimes too overwhelming. Some days were a little more than I could handle. Each morning, when I got up and seen my boys’ faces, it reminded me why I had to keep going. They kept me strong. For some reason, I kept pushing myself.
As the boys got older, our life became more and more hectic. There was baseball, football, hockey, basketball, band, choir, boy scouts and I even played room mother on my lunch hour when it was possible. I wanted my boys to have a good childhood, even though they had to deal with some unusual circumstances.
As I watched my boys grow up, I felt bad sometimes that they had to grow up faster than normal. However, I realize now, that it probably made them stronger. I am only about 5′ 3″ and all of my sons are about 6′. Luckily, I had their respect, and they always looked out for me. There were some nights, when I would come home, after having a bad day at work, and my oldest son, would actually pick me up, put me on the couch, and tell me, “I’m cooking dinner tonight and you’re not getting off of the couch.” Then he would cook dinner and clean up afterward. He loved experimenting in the kitchen and even to this day, he is a wonderful cook. He felt like he had to step in and be the man of the house, when his dad left. He did a fantastic job of taking care of his brothers and I. However, at times, he took things a little too far and I had to remind him that I was still the parent. Just like the time when he called into work for me, to tell my boss that I was too sick to come in. I told him that he couldn’t be doing that. I remember he got so upset and said, “You don’t have any business going into work in your condition!” He cried as he hugged me. He was so afraid that something was going to happen to me. I felt so sorry for him. He wanted so bad to take care of me and he did a great job of it.
I waited until my oldest two sons moved out before I got remarried. I knew that there couldn’t be two men of the house. My husband now is a wonderful man. He knew what he was up against when he married me. It hasn’t been easy for him, I know, but he has still stood by me through some pretty rough times. My youngest son just moved out last year, so now it’s just him and I. My illness has progressed in the past few years. I have to give myself interferon shots (Rebif), three times a week and I am on disability now. I wondered what would keep me going since my boys have moved out. However, my family is only growing now. Not only do I have my husband, but I have a daughter-in-law, two grand-daughters, my other boys’ girlfriends and even a puppy. Her name is Angel and she truly has been an angel to me. My boys are still a big part of my life and they are still very protective of me. They also make me keep trying. We have come this far, so why would we give up now? We have too much to live for – we have each other; and that’s a lot!

Shared by sherristanczak.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 22nd, 2008 in Personal Stories | 5 comments

22 dec

Guaranteed Ways to Succeed at Resolutions

I am often asked why so many people don’t change and don’t reach their goals in the New Year. Here are my top reasons why people fail and my very best advice for beating the odds. These are all tips I have used personally and have recommended to folks who have gone on to make all the changes they ever wanted! Give it a try.

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 22nd, 2008 in Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in

18 dec

Redefining Life

I was divorced some day in January 2008. I don’t remember the actual date and I know it’s on the divorce decree, but it’s not an event I want to celebrate, relive or even remember.

I sometimes have moments of clarity of why I had to go through it; problems still surface with the X that remind me why it happened. During other moments, I completely forget the pain, the struggle and the scars that still exist on my soul. Those moments are actually becoming more frequent as I move forward and try to figure out who I am, what I want and where I am going at the tender age of 41.

I found a tangible way to help me deal with the emotional ride I am on, and to hopefully spread joy to other single moms (I have two beautiful daughters, ages 9 and 6).

I was picked up and brought back to life by a wide group of very good friends. Some are single, most are married, and they stood by me during a devastating period of my life, and continue to do so even though I am definitely on the road to recovery.

I am a photographer by trade, working full-time on staff at a major city daily, where I have been for nine years. The economy has been particularly rough on my industry and this summer, I decided to officially launch my own portrait business. It’s my “Plan B,” and it is going really well.

Through a series of events, including divorcing, meeting other single moms, joining a new church, establishing relationships with other divorced men & women, I realized the “revival project:”

Becoming a single mom comes with many challenges.

By the grace of God, I am blessed with friends and family whose generosity and selflessness have made my life easier as I transition into a new phase of my life. My very own revival.

Now it’s my turn to give back.

For a few hours a month in my home studio in Mokena, IL, I will photograph single moms and their children for a nominal fee. Whether divorced, widowed or never been married makes no difference.

For a $25 sitting fee, single moms receive an 8×10 portrait, and a chance to view and purchase additional photographs through the revival project.

$10 from each revival project portrait is donated to the Crisis Center for South Suburbia, a local organization that offers shelter and assistance to battered women and children.

The project has been well-received, with plans in the works to photograph families in their transitional housing.

By working on something meaningful, I have been able to direct my time, talent and energy in a positive direction. It benefits my soul and hopefully the souls of other women, too.

Shared by jeaniel23.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 18th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 2 comments

18 dec

My Loss, Change, and Outcome??

On August 3rd, I received the worst news I could have imagined. Both my mom and dad were found at the lake. Cause of death: Drowning. This was their first time having the boat out. Determined to get it out at least one time before summer was over. I spoke with my mom the night before and she was so excited.

My parents were my world. Yes I have my own family but I felt as though I didn’t need anyone other than my parents. They were my inspiration and my bestfriends. I am truely devastated without them. I have a 2 and 4 year old so they keep me busy so when I do break down it is not good. I have resentment towards my husband because he doesn’t understand why after 4 months why it still upsets me. We have been together almost 10 years and I find it very inconsiderate that he doesn’t understand how this has affected me. I talked with my mom every morning through email to decide where to meet that afternoon for lunch. She would either pick me up and we would go eat somewhere, or meet at the park to walk, or she came to my house those last few weeks to help me do dishes and straighten up. I miss the encouraging phone calls every evening from both of them. My mom would be on the phone but you could hear my dad in the background saying ” Everything will be okay sis. You are an awesome mom and have two wonderful, respectful boys.”

I don’t see where this tradegy will take me or what the future has in store for me. I do believe that God took two wonderful people, for what reason I am still not sure. I have experienced a lot of loss over the last few years. 2001 was my biological dad, 2005 was my Grandpa, 2007 was my Grandma, and now 2008 both my parents. My parents met when I was one and my brother five. My dad (step-dad) was only 19 when taking on the responsiblity of two kids. Ever since he raised us as his own and we treated him as our own.

I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions. I understand that the whole grievance will take some time. I just wish I had the support to get through it. My husband and his mom are so selfish that I don’t think they really understand what I am going through. Since their death I have had to put my emotions to the side in order to carry on with raising my two kids and doing the routine things I did before. Which I know is good to keep me busy, but I am afraid of the day it sinks in I do have a breakdown because who will be there to hold me up…not my mom and dad anymore.

Shared by lost_unsure.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 18th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 4 comments

17 dec

Your Personal Year In Review

It’s that time of year that everyone is making lists, talking about who’s who and sizing up everything that happened in 2008. At the end of a year, your mind can also feed you some pretty tough questions about yourself.

Why didn’t you lose the weight? Why did you not sell those stocks and get into cash? Why are you still single?

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 17th, 2008 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in

12 dec

Love Lost Love Found Love Lost

I married my high-school sweetheart in the 60′ and we where married a short five and ahalf years before we divorced. I was devestated because he had been unfaithful and at the time could not get over it.

We when on with our lives in different parts of the country. Each of us raised a child through yet another divorce.

I on my part decided marriage just wasn’t met to me after my son turned eleven and therefore spent the next twenty years alone….we’ll not alone because I had and have my family, friends and faith. However, I was perfectly contented without a spouse. Oh, there was the occasional time when I would think, gee it would be nice to have someone to share my everyday with or go to dinner, a movie. But for the most part I kept my life full and could never say I was bored or lonely.

Then one day I was on and there was a message from my ex-husband, my lost love. Of couse I had thought of him over the years and wondered how he was fairing and longingly wondering at time whether we could have work out thing if we had sought out councelling, etc. Anyway, we started email and calling each other and decided that we really would love to reconnect. He had kept all of the album of music we loved, my love letters from his Marine Corp. day, video tapes of our times at parties, etc., etc. I really fell into the trap of thinking, gee maybe we could make a new and better life together. Mine you I am now sixty two and he is now sixty three and so we thought for the rest of our lives let just reconnect and start all over again, so to speak.

I little problem, he does not and will not except the fact that I have a grown son that is living with me. It doesn’t matter why at this point, but this was the reason everything started to unravel. I tried reasoning with him as to why and so on and so forth but he was adamant about the fact that I needed to kick my son out of the house. I have no reason to do that he isn’t disrupting my life. There was a need and I would care who asked, if there was a need and I could help I would. I feel the same why about someone stopping my at say dinner time. You can always make anything stretch to another one or two. It’s a blessing to be able to share with less fortunates.

Anyway, we have had probably our last conversation last evening. I know I’m going to be ok but after so many years along a really let myself get caught up in the belief that you can go back and of course we are alway taught you can go back.

Any advise or comments is appreciated. I know this is going to hurt for a long time.

Shared by arabrab.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 12th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 8 comments

11 dec

First 30 Days an Inspiration for a Long Awaited Change

Thank you! Thank you Ariane for writing this book for it has obviously been such a powerful tool for thousands upon thousands. Personally, it was the catalyst and ONLY CHANGE CATALYST that allowed my sister to make a the big step to stand up for herself in a verbally abusive relationship. For over decade she has not found the strength or courage to stand up for herself and move to a positive journey of change. It was through your book, so easily understood, so unassuming and non judgemental that inspired her to finally take the steps to stand up for herself! We are so grateful to you for nothing else in over 10 years has made her want to change until your words, your research, your sugesstions in the First 30 Days gave her the tools to do. Thank you again and best wishes for a great 2009! And please keep on giving the expert advice!


Shared by bethmooney.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 11th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 1 comment

10 dec

Lessons from the Rat

Right now, I am in Boston for the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Tomorrow, I’ll be leading a workshop on New Beginnings. It’s the perfect time of the year for this theme! I think we all feel it’s time for something new, something positive, something uplifting after a challenging year.

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 10th, 2008 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in

10 dec

Loss of a Friend

I lost one of my closest friends recently.

Simon and I were together since October 2003 when I salvaged him from a shelter in Montana. He had been abandoned early in the summer that year and because a previous accident left him with an injured right front leg, no one wanted to adopt him.

When I walked through the kennels that fall, he was the only one of 60 dogs not jumping up and down and barking like mad. We immediately connected and I knew he had to come with me to his forever home.

His health recently declined to the point where moving on from this life was the best thing to do.

Davis, my 9 year old nephew, knows about dogs and knows about life. He and his family came by that day to visit one last time before we went to the clinic.

Upon learning that this was Simon’s last day with us, Davis cheerfully stated, with no hesitation, “Oh, then he will go meet Sale’ and Pepe’ and be friends with them.” Those were the dogs who left his family several years ago.

I would like to think that all three are together at this moment doing what Dalmatians do best.

I am sad, but that too will pass with time. Not completely, but for the most part. The sting and subsequent numbness will fade and eventually only the pleasant memories will remain.

These last five years have been a delight. He was already 6 years old when I found him but we made the most of the time we had been given.

Dean Koontz is an author who has made a living telling stories that can be un-nerving at times. He is also a lover of dogs. One of his more recent novels includes several golden retrievers and in it one of the human characters says the following:

“Dogs lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with them, never failing to share in their joy or delight in their innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and for the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”

My life is a bit empty as I move forward from here, but I can’t complain. I enjoyed the companionship of one who looked at me as his hero.

I only hope that in the future I am capable of actually behaving like the person he thought I was.

Shared by glennmagyar.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 10th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 4 comments