“Life has its ups and downs. When you are up, enjoy the scenery. When you are down, touch the soul of your being and feel the beauty.”
This year was certainly full of ups and downs for me. How about you? Was 2019 a crazy roller coaster ride? Smooth sailing? Full of milestone events?
My #Gr8Blogs writerly pals and I are diving deep into a special year-end blog hop, to look back at the ecstasy and agony of our year on the writing road and in our lives. Stay tuned as I remember the happy moments as well as lessons learned from challenges this past year.
My Book, I’m Your Daughter, Julie, Wins Grand Prize!
It was a definite high last month when my book, I’m Your Daughter, Julie: Caring for a Parent with Dementia, won grand prize from Royal Dragonfly Book Awards , an international competition that “honors excellence in all types of literature.” According to their site, the grand prize winning book “must be outstanding in content, readability, entertainment value and overall production.” I’m truly honored. My book not only earned this year’s $500 grand prize but also won first place in the aging/senior living, how-to, and self-help/inspirational categories.
This book was written from the depths of my soul during one of the lowest periods of my life. As I write in the book, “Sometimes you lose a parent in death suddenly. What you don’t realize until you have a parent with dementia is that sometimes you lose a parent excruciatingly – a little bit at a time.” I’m so thrilled that this book, dedicated to my mother who bravely fought Lewy Body dementia, was recognized.
The book has received several five star reviews on Amazon and many people have sent me notes, emails, and messages telling me that my book helped them through a difficult time. I received even more messages after Next Avenue published an article based on a chapter from the book. If I have helped even a few people cope with the many challenges of caregiving and provided a bit of comfort to those losing their loved one a little bit at a time like I did, then I am fulfilled.
Losing Weight – And Writing About It
After indulging in a lot of stress eating while caring for my Mom and then consoling myself with comfort food after her death, I found myself at the top of the “overweight” category and creeping ever closer to the “obese” level. I weighed 174 pounds to be exact. Of course, everything was rolling and sagging. At my check-up, my doctor informed me that I had put on 10 pounds since my last visit. Like I didn’t already know that.
Let’s just say, I wasn’t happy. Not only was I getting fat, but my muscles were noticeably weakening. I couldn’t stand up from a squatting position without holding onto something. Painting my toenails was becoming a challenge as I lost flexibility.
In a panic, I started dieting and exercising. But as a post-menopausal woman in her 50s, methods that succeeded in the past no longer worked. My attempts at losing weight failed dismally. I felt frustrated, hopeless, and ready to give up. Does this sound familiar to you?
Through extensive research and trial and error, I finally unlocked the secret of losing weight after the mid-century mark. No dangerous surgeries, diet pills, expensive weight loss programs, pricey supplements, crazy fad diets, expensive gym membership fees, or personal trainers involved. You can lose weight after the age of 50. I’m proof it’s possible and I’m ready to spill my secrets.
My new book, Ten Secrets to Losing Weight After 50, will be released on January 1rst, 2020, just in time for New Year’s Resolutions. Have you tried countless diets, but nothing seems to work anymore? If so, this book is for you and available for preorder on Amazon now.
The photos below show me before and after my weight loss. You can do it too!
An Amazing Trip to Africa – But Not a Great Homecoming
Another high point last year: I fulfilled a lifelong dream and finally visited South Africa. I was moved and inspired in a way that is hard to describe by this untamed, beautiful land. I went on two safaris, a river cruise, and even went shark cage diving. You can read all about it in my blog.
Now for the downside. Unfortunately, I got sick the last couple of days of my trip and thought my eardrums would burst on the 25-hour flight home. The next day, I broke out in a rash all over my stomach. My doctor thought I may have parasites from Africa. Eeeew! Now, I was definitely creeped out. He ordered a blood test and prescribed antibiotics along with an anti-fungal creme. Thankfully, the blood test came back negative for major diseases transmitted by mosquitoes like malaria. And the topical creme seemed to work, which led my doctor to think it was a typical skin infection. But two weeks later, the rash came back with three enormous, bright red welts on my right leg that were not only itchy but extremely painful. Another two welts developed on my left arm. Now. my doctor was puzzled and sent me to a dermatologist who told me the rash was a “mystery,” Oh well, maybe the mystery will be solved in 2020. I still don’t regret going to Africa and refuse to give up my passion for traveling to exotic places and experiencing exciting new cultures!
Now that I’ve shared my memories of 2019, if you’re so inclined, I’d love to hear about your ups and downs in 2019 in the comments below. But before you go, find more smiles and inspirational recollections at these #Gr8blogs below: