Saturday, November 23, 2013

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Snakes, Alligators & More!

Well today I had the absolute fun of visiting Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park! It was a special treat to go, a gift from others who are proud of how far I’ve come. To be honest, their proudness in itself would be enough for me – but I’m still a huge animal lover and can’t turn down the offer to go see some!

It was a lot of fun, because while we did arrive bright and early – we got to be the first ones inside the park. We also got a private reptile show, where we were all able to pet various lizards and things. As you can see in the photo I’m including on this post I held a boa constrictor! The lovely young lady who was showing us the reptiles, asked if anyone wanted to hold the snake, I put my hand right up as bravery took over. LOL! It was kind of weird feeling the boa actually begin to constrict on my neck a little. I wasn’t nervous about it though, to be honest. I know it sounds silly to say, but I felt totally in control of the situation with the snake. And yes, that is a screen capture from a video – because the lovely lady accidently hit the record button on my camera, but that’s okay. It gave me a whole one second video to put up on my YouTube channel. LOL!

So on top of holding the boa constrictor, I also held a baby alligator. I actually asked to hold that one. It was so adorable and seemed quite content in my hands. If you want to see more photos from the day, check out my Facebook Page and go to Photos – I got a publiclyopen album there. In the album you will also see photos from me facing one of my personal fears – birds! I actually went inside the Parakeet Avery and held a little stick with seed-stuff on it. I had birds all over my hand and on my feet – nipping at my shoelaces. LOL! I admit I was really nervous all throughout it, especially when they would all woosh around flying together, but I’m really glad I did it!

Hope you all have had an amazing Saturday too!

--XOXO, Jane

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Spoke Today

Today was… well incredible. I was asked a few weeks ago, to be a guest speaker for the Disability Advocate of Kent County’s fundraiser luncheon today. To be completely honest, I was a little hesitant – as public speaking is really not my forte, but I accepted it. After all, my experience with them definitely helped bring me to the place I am today. So instead of going through the motions of writing out a new version of my speech today, I am just going to continue this blog post with my actual speech from the luncheon today (with minor edits for privacy sake).

Hello everyone, my name is Jane Ridgewood and I would like to start this off by saying thank you to Disability Advocates of Kent County. Without your services I truly don’t know where I would be at this moment, it’s an absolute honor to be able to stand here in support of all of you right now.

I would like to share a little piece of my story with all of you. Prior to my experience with Disability Advocates, I was, like many around us, one who suffered from severe depression and anxiety. I often found myself preferring to sleep all day avoiding running into others I lived with. They hadn’t done anything wrong; I just was feeling too anxious to be around even those closest to me. This included friends. Despite how much time I spent with them, I would always feel that inner bubble of anxiety rise up inside of me. It would feel as though my throat was trying to close up and a sense of nausea would wash over me. On top of that, I always felt inferior around others. Like I didn’t matter and was a waste of space.

People had often told me how much potential I had and I couldn’t believe them. I used to think quite harshly of myself. There were never any positive notes to think. No encouraging words to myself as simple as, “I can do this”. It was all pretty negative, which put me in a dark and lonely place. I spent more time hiding in my bedroom than anywhere else. Avoiding others had become a fulltime job. My depression left me to feel achy and tired constantly. As much as I wanted to do certain things, I felt no inner motivation to actually get up and do them.

It was one day though, that it dawned on me. How I was feeling wasn’t right. How I was behaving towards myself, wasn’t healthy. I feel so fortunate to have come to that conclusion and even more fortunate that my next move brought me into connection with Disability Advocates. You see, upon my realization I turned to my father whom I live with. I was able to muster up the strength to admit I needed help. From there, my father reached out to those he knew. I was able to start seeing someone to talk to and even further, I was able to be introduced to the lovely Denise B. by a mutual friend in the process of seeking help.

At that first meeting with Denise, I felt as if I was talking to someone who understood my language. She may not have gone through the same things as me – but she got it. She got me. It was, refreshing. I was able to share three big goals I had for myself at that time, get my license, my GED and a job. I craved each of those things badly, but still had no inner motivation to truly try for them. I let myself use my disabilities as a crutch not to progress. When our first meeting had wrapped up, Denise encouraged me to attend the Skills Exploration Workshop class she teaches, that Disability Advocates put together.

Upon arriving to that first class I was feeling a little apprehensive. My anxiety was doing its best to creep up and all I could do was slink my way in and take a seat, alone. I kept telling myself it was important, I needed to be here. I also told myself, it was a five week course and I only had to show up one day out of each week. However, by the end of even that first class I attended I felt something spark inside of me. I felt something that I had never really felt before, a sort of “I can do this” moment… but it wasn’t with doubt. It was with an actual positive feeling attached to it. I was able to meet others with disabilities as well, and while class-wide there was a variety, it was as if I stepped into a place where we all spoke the same language. It didn’t matter where anyone came from or what anyone did, that class was a safe haven for all of us. It was a place where we could learn and support one another.

As much as I did learn about seeking job opportunities and focusing on my skills and rights on the workforce, I learned a lot about myself as well in those short five weeks. I learned that not only can I be around others – I can do things. I found something in myself that I had needed all along, that self-motivation I required. I truly walked into that first class feeling as though I was a shell of a person and by the time I walked out of the last, I was not only socializing with my classmates, but with others around me. I was finding a piece of self-confidence and I was feeling as though I could really do something with my life. Because of one class that Disability Advocates provides, I was able to find a spark of life in myself. It was a spark that craved me to live, to get out and to truly, finally go do what I’d been saying I wanted to do for so long.
People around me began to see something that they hadn’t in quite a while, a smile on my face. There was a sincerely chipper outlook on the big picture of my life suddenly. So I continued on my journey to wellness after I finished the five week course. A journey in which I am happy to say, that this past January I finally obtained my driver’s license. I also got over a personal anxiety with riding the city bus, and not only am I attending a GED Preparation Program, but I am also looking forward to starting my new job within the next few weeks.

Every morning that I wake up now, I breathe. I smile and I face a new day – granted, with a cup of coffee in hand, but I do it. I am getting out there. I honestly believe if it had not been for the assistance I received from this organization, I would not be able to stand here in front of all of you today. To show you a living example of someone who could break through what was holding her back. To be able to stand here and thank these wonderful people who make such positive effects on the lives of others. Who aid and assist to the best of their abilities and who teach those of us who need to learn the lessons, that yes we are worth living and yes, we can live life in spite of our disabilities.

I could sit here and ramble out all the details of how I journeyed on and accomplished these things, but for the sake of time I just want to say again, thank you to Disability Advocates of Kent County. This organization provides so much support and care for those who need it. It’s not easy going through life when you have something that puts a disadvantage to daily living. After all, like in my case, can you imagine ever having a panic attack at just the mere thought of leaving the house? Thanks to this wonderful organization I was able to attend a class that taught me so much more than the subject material. It was just five weeks, but it was five very powerful and impacting weeks that I am so grateful to have had in my life. It was a real stepping stone for me to be able to progress as a person and to break free from my shell of depression and anxiety.

Thank you all very much for your time and again, thank you to Disability Advocates of Kent County for all that you do for others. 

There we go! That’s exactly what I wrote and said today at the luncheon. I had a lot of people tell me that I should be proud of myself, that I inspired them and I even had one lady give me a hug. She admitted with didn’t know each other, but she ‘couldn’t not hug me’. I hope you all have a blessed day and if you would like to learn more about Disability Advocates of Kent County, I definitely encourage you to check out their website –

--XOXO, Jane

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Been A Long Month...

As I gently blow the dust off, while I creep back to
Aunt Pam (May 12, 1957 - April 08, 2013)
[ photo from Jane's Instagram page ]
my blog I feel I need to hang my head low. I did not mean to disappear for so long, but life has been quite… trying over the past month or so. On April 08th of this year I lost my Aunt Pam. She was one of my mom’s baby sisters and she was a woman, who I spent a good portion of my childhood years with. Her death has taken more of an impact on me than I like to admit – publicly or privately. Part of me feels as though I do not deserve to grieve her, as silly as that may seem, while the other part of me is still in shock over her sudden death. It feels so surreal to know that she won’t be calling or that I can’t simply pick up a phone and call her. It haunts me truly that I didn’t take more time to call her over the more recent years. Oh the joys of dealing with guilt when someone we love passes, eh? I feel it though. I do. I admit it.

So upon her sudden death, I had to spend a week with my mom to take care of her. As I said this is one of my mom’s baby sisters. She is the first of my mom or her sisters to pass away. My mom, who has heart issues, was told in person. One of my older brothers broke the news, but it was him, a sister-in-law and I who were right there together for her when she received it. So I called my GED Prep Instructor, and explained to him what happened, as it was I had to rush out of class for this family emergency. He understood the situation and fortunately I was able to stay with my mom through the funeral. We did end up in the Emergency Room and she (my mom) says I saved her life, I just say I wasn’t messing around and giving her the option – she started having problems with her chest, therefore I called 911 to get her help.

The rest of April seems like such a blur now. After the funeral I had come home and sort of found myself going through the motions. Monday through Thursday I just woke up at my usual 7:00am, got ready and headed out to my GED Prep Class. I didn’t study as hard as I had been prior to my aunt’s death. I’m not blaming her for the sudden slow-down, but in time of grief we all tend to get a little spacy with ourselves. And I sure as heck did. I didn’t realize it right away; in fact, it was only towards the end of last week that I realized within myself that I’d been struggling. While I’ve managed to get on my third subject (out of the five) to study for, I find myself still floundering around a little. I’ll get there. I know I will. I do know that mourning a loved one’s death takes time, but I think I’m still floating off in denial to some degree. Not wanting to accept she is no longer with us in this life.

My days have not all been somber however, as I did mention I have been keeping up (for the most part) with my GED Prep Class. I’m currently studying my third topic – and I hope to be going off soon to start taking the actual tests. I am sincerely trying to get myself back in gear and re-prioritize myself again. I actually have a lot going on this week (including giving a speech at a fundraising luncheon), but I will be doing my best to keep up better with my blog from now on.

I thank all of my dedicated visitors/readers and friends for your continuous support of my blog! Your patience and understanding in my down times, goes so far beyond words of appreciation. Thank you all again and I do hope you’ve all had a good month!

--XOXO, Jane

Friday, March 29, 2013

3 Negs & A Strong Positive!

Where to begin? Well how about the beginning. As you see at first, I had a laptop issue arise. Now granted there is a very good chance my laptop has just recently shown me that I am on the verge of a dying hard drive. However, with the wonderful skill and knowledge of my amazing older brother Tim, my laptop has been fixed from its error. Or at least the error I was receiving. So fortunately, that problem was squished pretty quickly, but still I went a couple days with falling behind on things as I had to re-install certain programs and such.

The next dilemma came when I seemed to have caught a sinus infection. So many things have been floating around, that I’m personally glad that’s all I caught. Still though, it was pretty nasty, but I focused (in-between classes) on getting rest and doping up on some cold medications. Unfortunately in a way, I had to learn the hard way that certain cold remedies apparently do not mix well with my anxiety medication. As you see, I ended up having a panic attack out of the blue. The fortunate side to this was that I was able to tell what was going wrong with me when it started. I knew what it was and while I did have to leave class early that day, I was able to assess it might have been a medication mixture. So for that day I took no more cold meds and the next day I felt just fine again. Also, bonus plus side to feeling and knowing what was wrong with me, I didn’t freak out in front of others and was able to leave early with (what I hope) was discreet grace.

Now for my third negative encounter. Last night I went to unplug my laptop and I was met with a large spark and a puff of smoke. My eyes widened as I looked to my cord to see the plug part actually broke off from the cord. Fortunately there was no fire or electrical problems due to the sudden breakage. I also, have already ordered myself a new adapter for my laptop – as without one, I can’t charge the battery on it. The fortunate side is that while I’ll have to wait till Monday (thank you overnight shipping) for my new cord to be here, I am indeed getting one! I’ll be away for the weekend as I’m spending Easter with my mom, so it’s not like I’d be on a whole lot over the weekend anyways. I may still manage a bit of poking around the net, but in the meantime of Monday I’ll happily be occupied getting in some much needed mother-daughter time.

Okay folks, now it’s time for my big positive note! Even though yes, throughout each of my negative ones I have easily found an upside. Anyways, the positivity is that just three weeks into my GED prep class I think I’ll be getting sent to do my first GED test. I have taken three practice social studies tests thus far and my last two were above the average scoring. Not to toot my own horn as I don’t think I’m some genius suddenly, but I am getting more anxious and excited about taking the actual test. Next week is spring break (yep, I actually get one), but here is hoping that in the following week I’ll be able to wrap up one of my tests!

--XOXO, Jane

Friday, March 15, 2013

Re-hauling & Updating

Have you ever just sat back and felt the urge for change? Recently I have updated my site’s overall appearance. I’ve made new social buttons, updated the color scheme and spread it as best I could throughout my social media pages. I very much love my new color scheme on here, not that I didn’t love my old one – but it was time for a change. I’m actually slowly working on updating a lot of things regarding this blog. Including my “about” page. I’ve just added today a “links” page and will be adding more to that as soon as possible! Soon however, I will be losing the “community” page. I’m quite sad to have to lose that, but for those of you who aren’t on BlogFrog (where my community is hosted through), they are shutting down communities on all bloggers. I am not completely clear on why they are they doing this, but sadly on May 31st all communities that they host will be shut down.

Aside from the pages, I will be going through my blog (all 80+ posts thus far) and adding a tag system. This is more for a help to add to my organization around this site. I will also be finally incorporating some a couple weekly posts. Get back into the swing of “Thankful Thursday” as well as add on another. I may even start doing a guest blogger of the month post; permitting that I can find bloggers who would like to participate in that. If you’re reading this and you are interested, then head right on over to my contact page and drop me an e-mail!

Of course, I plan to share more of my writing as well. Not just these personal blog notes, but some actual writing. I have a few things I would like to review and share on, as well as some other things. So… another thing that can be expected is more writing from me on here! I literally write every single day, even if it’s not on this blog. Rest assure though dear readers and supporters, I will become more active on here. My goal is to get back up to at least 3 or 4 posts a week – if not more.

--XOXO, Jane

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Week Down!

from Jane's Instagram page
Oh my goodness! I swear I have not fallen off the face of the earth again. I’m around; life has just been rather chaotic these past few months. Dealt with a basement flooding, which let me tell you it’s not fun walking out of your basement bedroom stepping down onto the carpet and having water rise up around your feet. After that there was a dryer issue – which fortunately appliance insurance covered. Beyond there have just been a few family emergencies and me enrolling for GED classes.

I am excited to say that today has completed week one of attending. It’s really nice being in the class. It’s been so long since I have been in school – let alone, actually applied myself. So a lot of what I am looking at is information that was either not covered before I left school, or has just been a long time since I looked at it. My first subject to study for is Social Studies. The instructor for the class provides a pop quiz everyday though. On one side it’s math and on the other grammar. Okay… clearly one side of this daily pop quiz I adore. Not to say I pass every single bit of it, but grammar and writing are (no surprise) something I’m rather passionate about. However on the other side of the pop quiz… well, let’s just say talk about new information.

See I dropped out of school before things like Algebra and Geometry were gone over. Fortunately at class there are a couple guys who’ve helped me out a lot! Slowly, even just after a week I think some of this is actually clicking into my brain and making more sense. Now I still firmly believe math is a pretty evil subject, but none the less I embrace learning it as best as I can. LOL!

No matter I have awhile before I will be studying for the GED Math test. Social Studies is indeed my first subject to study for and I think I’ll move onto Science afterwards. Another evil topic, but I’m going to take this one topic at a time. I just pray I am able to accomplish my GED by the end of the year, because come 2014 they are changing the GED program and I would have to start all over if I’m not done.

Well aside from feeling like a zombie, I do believe this week has overall gone okay. I’m just such a night owl by nature and flipping up to waking at 7-7:30am four days a week is a big change for someone like me.

Alright folks, that’s it for me today. I hate to end this abruptly, but there is a lot to get done today. Hopefully I shall be back tomorrow with more information – like the changes on the blog. LOL!

--XOXO, Jane

Monday, February 18, 2013

Three Year Anniversary

As I sit back and attempt to blow the dust off this blog, let me assure you I am not blowing it off with smoke. Today (February 18th) marks the three year anniversary since I quit smoking. It still amazes me to think I went from a pack a day to absolutely nothing. Oh yes, I quit cold turkey. It helped that at the same I was dealing with a severe sprain, was on crutches and the outside world was a little too nasty out for my clumsy butt to even attempted hobbling up to a store to buy a pack of cigarettes. I regretfully smoked off and on for ten years. More on than off, naturally as I can say from experience it’s a rather difficult habit to break.

Now to this day, three years after I stopped smoking, I still have the occasional craving. Sometimes bad enough that I almost want to climb a wall. I also still have the occasional dream that I am in fact smoking again. Sometimes those dreams will be so vivid that I wake up smelling my hair, just to make sure I didn’t actually smoke. It’s amazing the kinds of tricks our minds can and will play on us when we’ve let go of a filthy habit.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t sit here and preach about how everyone should quit. Come on, we all read the labels and warnings with smoking. It’s your choice if you want to harm your body. I will sit here though and say it’s simply amazing how much my own personal health has improved over the past three years. It’s quite nice being about to move around more without getting winded so easily. I could go on, but then it might very well seem I’m border lining preachy and that is far from what I want to do here.

I will end though, on a little message to any potential smoker. I don’t care how young or old you are… if you are thinking of starting or just started up? Stop. I know it’s the cliché thing to say, but seriously stop while you are ahead. It’s considered one of the hardest habits to break and it really can cause a lot of major health issues and illnesses. I thank God every day that I do not have lung cancer, emphysema or anything else along those lines because of the years I spent smoking.

--XOXO, Jane

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh Television...

I cannot be the only one who gets into a show post production. I don’t mean shows from before my time that I’ve grown up watching reruns of like I Love Lucy. Although granted, that is indeed my absolute favorite show – that is not my point. So staying on topic here, I’m talking about shows that were perhaps made just a few years ago or so like Sex and The City. When that show was in a current run on HBO I could have cared less. I never watched an episode, but I was so over it just from the hype the show received. Everywhere I went I found shirts that said “I’m A Carrie” or other various forms of merchandise that related to it. I didn’t get it. So during its original run on television I ignored it. it wasn’t until after Sex and the City was being shown on other networks all cutup and edited that I actually took the time to watch an episode…then another and another. I got so into the show that I now own all six seasons and both movies on DVD. I even got Candace Bunshell’s book the series was based off from.

These days I find myself, yet again getting into a series that is no longer in production. Enter, The L Word. It originally aired on Showtime from 2004 to 2009. Again it was another that only lasted six seasons and again, it was another that I did not watch until catching a cutup edited version on another network. Presently I have the first two seasons on DVD. I finished season one just the other day and have officially begun onto season two. I’ll admit it here and now, I’m hooked. This show has made me laugh, gasp, yell at certain characters and even nearly cry! And that was just my experience with the first season. Already just a few episodes into season two I am cheering on for a certain pairing and still feeling the loss for another. The show has definitely captivated my attention and best believe I shall soon have to be investing in the rest of the seasons!

So tell me, what shows do you like that you could have watched when it was in production, but didn’t get into until after?

--XOXO, Jane

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Shaking off the negative, as it’s time to embrace the positive once again! Oh yes, taking a page from There’s Just OneMommy once again for a ‘Thankful Thursday’ post! Life is full of ups and downs, but it’s important (at least in my opinion) to take the time to remind ourselves of all the little things we have to be grateful for. Now I do swear this week has flown by. I swear it was just yesterday I wasn’t writing about yoga, but my last ‘Thankful Thursday’ post, but that is not going to slow me down from counting my blessings this week.

My friends are what I am thankful for today. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows, so it’s good to have people you can lean on when it all gets cloudy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed in the family department as well, but this week it’s about my friends. My four core friendships that keep me going. They keep me motivated and let me lean on them when I need it. Of course they also know they can lean on me as well. Its equal opportunity friendships with these ladies and I couldn’t feel luckier with them.

Granted we all hit our ups and downs with one another, hello being human, but really if not for my four core friends. I can only hope that others out there have the sort of friendships I do. The kinds you can feel secure in and relax in. The kinds that you can let all your walls fall down when you are with them (be it one or four or more) and just be yourself completely. Embrace your best friend(s) today. Embrace them for all they are and give them a hug!

--XOXO, Jane

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

No Yoga = No Food

Sometimes in life we have to learn the hard way. That was such a case with me today. Prior to doing a yoga session with one of the DVDs I’ve got, I had nothing to eat. It wasn’t that I intentionally starved myself or anything drastic, I simply hadn’t gotten around to it and well… didn’t think eat before yoga. Also, I made the mistake of only drinking a little coffee. You see, as much as I love my coffee I have to admit it’s not always enough to make my body go. However prior to doing yoga today I didn’t think it would be horrible. So with practically nothing in my system, I went on and rolled out my yoga mat. I popped in the DVD and began my yoga workout.

It was strange because while this was only the second time I’ve attempted yoga, I struggled from the beginning. It was not like the first time through at all. About midway through the hour long workout I found myself getting a little dizzy and even nauseated. I actually stopped moved into a “childlike” stretch pose and concentrated on my breathing. I had to move a little bit from that pose and sit up and just really concentrate on breathing for the dizziness and nausea both to pass. When it came close to the ‘cool down’ portion of the yoga session, I slowly began to participate in the moves again, but I was moving at a slightly slower pace.

As you’ve likely gathered here, my lesson of the day was to make sure I am well-nourished before doing yoga. No I don’t plan to eat right before, but I will have more in my system then a spot of coffee!

--XOXO, Jane

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Alright peeps, I am taking a page out of There’s Just One Mommy’s book and linking up on this ‘Thankful Thursday’ theme of things! I love the idea of sharing something to be thankful for. I also want to encourage others to go ahead and do it as well. It’s always good to kick the negative in the butt, by simple kicking back and thinking of something you are truly thankful for in this life. So here we go with my first post for this weekly themed post!

Since I don’t have my hard copy yet or a photo with my passed certificate, I am sharing a non-related photo to what I am thankful for this week. You see, if you’re a long time reader of this blog than you know from previous posts that I have dealt with plenty of troubles on the depression and anxiety front of things. With that, there were plenty of things that I did not achieve and get handled when… they may have been more age appropriate. Included in that is my driver’s license. In my youth I never really learned to drive nor had I ever got my permit. Here I am though, today, a licensed driver!

One year ago today, I would have laughed and not believed for a second I would have come this far. Seriously. So while it may seem silly to some that I am 28 and just now licensed for the first time, I am excited. I also feel accomplished that I got it done. My driving instructor was a true friendly spirit. When he first approached me he greeted me by my first name and I just knew from the vibe, this was going to be ace. Of course I had a few mess ups – hello testing nerves – but overall I did a good job overall and I passed! Though I admit there are things I need to work on, I passed and I was like beaming from ear to ear. I even hugged my instructor… okay I asked him if it would be totally inappropriate if I hugged him and he sort of sideways leaned into it and said I could hug him that way. LOL! What a good sport putting up with my excitement! LOL!

Anyways, I went straight from the testing spot and right on over to the secretary of state. Now I have my paper license until the real deal arrives in the mail to me. I am excited and I feel like I really accomplished something. Also here’s the fun kicker, I didn’t tell anyone except for my therapist/friend whose been teaching me to drive and brought me to the test. We set up the appointment yesterday and I just told people I was going practice driving with him. So when I got in, I got to surprise my family and friends with my exciting news.

But yes, this week I am thankful that I got my driver’s license! That I passed the test and all went as well as it did. Sure it could have gone better, but hey I was nervous and at least I still passed. LOL! So watch out roads of Michigan, Jane Ridgewood is on the loose! ;)

--XOXO, Jane

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Time To Get In SHAPE!

Have you ever felt like you not only got a sign, but you got slapped in the face with it? All throughout my two week getaway out of town where I first house/dog sat then spent the holidays with my mom I was going on and on to her about how I want to start Yoga in the New Year. It was an encouraged suggestion for me to do from one of my best friends’ ages ago, but now I’m ready to give it a shot. How I fully intended to get with one of my other best friends at least once a week to work out together, but I’m really going to learn to take care of myself better this year. It’s going to be a year of incorporating more health and fitness into my regimen. So I ordered a couple of DVDs for beginners and a Yoga mat to get me started. – Which I’m still anxiously awaiting to arrive in the mail to me.

So with that all settled as the friend I shall be working out with is all on board for Yoga, I came home yesterday evening to discover that I’ve somehow managed to acquire a subscription to SHAPE magazine. How on earth I got signed up, I have no clue. It’s been suggested I could have purchased something awhile back that came with a subscription and I didn’t realize it. It’d be far too soon of an order for my start in Yoga supplies as I have both the December and January/February issues here. Truthfully regardless of how I came into the possession of having this magazine subscription, I’m looking at it as a sign I’m on the right path. A very loud sign indeed, but definitely taking this with great optimism and encouragement of what I’m about to really embark on for myself. After all, what are the odds that I would have a mystery subscription arrive to me when I’m finally really feeling ready to take charge and make a difference in my health?

I’m definitely looking forward to reading each one in its entirety. I’m also looking forward to seeing if more end up arriving in the mail as time goes by. I’ll be sure to soak up the health and fitness information I can get from those. My health is something serious for me to get on track and in order. There’s a lot of diseases and illnesses that run in the family line (on both sides for me really) and I would like to avoid as many as possible. So here I go, starting off my true healthier lifestyle, but cracking open the pages of a magazine geared towards such a thing.

--XOXO, Jane

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Twas A Spicey Surprise!

Who was your hero when you were a teenager? For me it was five ladies that hailed from England. Five pop singers who while weren’t everyone’s cup of tea, were quite the worldwide phenomenon. They spread the message of ‘Girl Power’ and stole the hearts of many – including mine. The Spice Girls were everything to me. I like to say I had a “mild obsession” back in the day, but my family and friends beg to differ on that one.

Back in the day, I was all about collecting anything I could get my hands on when it came to the girls. I joined a club with some friends…where, prepare to roll your eyes, we were each our favorite girl. We learned the lyrics; we sang the songs and even at times came up with our own dance routines as well as mimicked the ones of the ladies. I made a scrap book that contained several clippings and images – including the newspaper clippings out of the Grand Rapids Press when Victoria and Mel B both first became mommies. My four fellow Spice fanatics and I would rush to the store to get the dolls, the other merchandise and any VHS (you know the thing before DVD) of the movie and any other official tapes we could get our eager hands on.

The Spice Girls inspired me in many ways. They were really, the first official introduction to feminism (little did I realize at the time), as well as the ones who made the music I turned to the most in those years. I was not a popular kid in school – quite the opposite and while I’m fortunate to have never been physically bullied really, I was verbally attacked quite often by my peers. It was the positive tunes that I could escape into with the message of Girl Power that kept me from turning to darker vices of release from my pain. Really I still consider the five girls as part of my niche of heroes in this world. Though I can’t say I’m as wild about the movie as I once was (even though yes I occasionally watch for nostalgic purposes), I still love them. I was truly heartbroken when the end came for them as a group, but still I flat out loved them and followed along with their solo careers. Perhaps not as closely to when they were a group, but still I followed them. To this day I proudly call myself a fan and even when I was more self-conscious and not as self-confident, I would declare myself a fan of them.

Recently my mom and I had a pretty open conversation about the girls. About my continued adoration and it came about how I want to recollect the dolls. As back in the day I only had two of the Geri (a.k.a. Ginger Spice) dolls and one group set. However, when we are young we don’t always properly care for things and it’s possible I took them out of their boxes to play ‘concert’ with my friends. So truly I want to get them all over again. But not just the ones I had already, all of them. To have them sealed in their boxes to be put on display in my home to cherish completely. Well fast forward that conversation that took place weeks ago to Christmas morning. Imagine my surprise when I opened up a large box and one by one, unwrapped each Spice Girl from the ‘Spice Girls On Tour’ set. All I remember saying was “OH MY GOD!” Then… then there they were. Some extra goodies from the wonderful person my mom purchased the dolls from to add to my own Spice collection. There was a set of magnets, playing cards and a candle. All of it was in beautiful pristine condition and will definitely be displayed!

Needless to say, I was in complete shock as I opened each item in the box. Heck, I’m still in shock! It’s hard to believe I actually have one complete set of the few the girls released back in the day. I do feel the biggest need to give a special shout out to Roxanne, the lovely and beautiful individual who sold the dolls to my mom and included those extras for me after hearing of my enthusiasm for the Spice Girls. I swear I am going to cherish these dolls and extras forever!

Included on this post (forgive the makeup free shot) is me posing with the dolls Christmas morning! As you can also see at the bottom of the pic are those awesome extras as well. I am so excited still and just in complete awe of it all. The thoughtfulness my mother put into this for me and the kindness of Roxanne to include the magnets, playing cards and the candle!

You know though before I officially end this post, I’ve got just one thing to say… GIRL POWER!

--XOXO, Jane