by Laura Howe
I joined the Body-for-LIFE community several times since the summer of 1999, when I married and felt like I needed to take control of my life after a lumpectomy. I had turned a corner in life with my commitment to my long time soul mate, Scott Howe, and we got married June 19, 1999. My grandfather, Ronleigh B. Jenkins, walked me down the isle at 97 years of age. He had character, spunk and so much pride.
I have always tried to walk in the shoes of my grandfather. They are solid soles to walk in and considering he worked at the Whitman Shoe Factory most of his life making solid shoes where years later he constantly complained they did not make good shoes anymore, I figure these are the BEST shoes to walk in.
I differ in some beliefs of my grandfather and still we share unconditional love which is the key to all peace on earth. Over my lifetime I received unconditional love from my grandfather which helped make me a better person in the long run even through many hardships.
With each obstacle I faced in life which expanded beyond foster care, homelessness, physical or mental abuse and too many more life situations than I care to bore you with, I somehow became a stronger, more enlightened person, believing in myself more in some ways that the life event itself had actually brought out. The mystery of the Universe solved, I think… we are all on a chosen path no matter if we like it or not, but our actions and reactions are the steering wheel to how fast and easy we get through and our growth is the gasoline that powers us to keep going.
My reaction to the lumpectomy was to get healthy even though it was found to be a cyst. I was getting healthy for my husband and our children. I found the BFL way of eating and meals to work and the community’s support crucial to everything going right. I joined the BFL challenge over and over during those years, never getting past the first twenty pounds of the 80-100 pounds I actually wanted to lose. Maybe twenty challenges I might have entered, perhaps more. Each time the support of beautiful people was there. Each time, I never failed. The community felt like home.
My latest time was with Transformation in 2007. It was as if I was sent there. It was PERFECT. Everyone was like an angel and I was able, after several struggles, to realize all the crap that happened in my life was not all my fault. Although I had known that, I had never felt it truly in my soul. I grew over a long course of time and never once did I give up, but instead flourished with the beauty of the bright souls in the community. My lack of an education even started to dissipate as I found myself able to do things or know things many college graduates could not. They even started giving me kudos and respect and I grew out of the love from them. I had an extended family. Life was perfect
For someone who grew up mostly on her own and through the traumas of dysfunction, these “gifts” from God do not go unnoticed. The community of now Transformers had shaped my world from 1999 to 2007 in some way, shape or form. Every time, it was the people there that made me proud. They are all winners and the yin and yang of prizes or five minutes of fame seemed to always pull in my heart. For me, life is simple and we all have our own paths. My path is to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and brighten the path with a light for my children.
My banning from Transformation.com two days before Christmas 2008 after no fault of my own was devastating. Not just to me but to my countless friends who supported me and I them through many loving days, months, and years, emails, pictures, calls, face-to-face, love shared for no profit but for goodness and for kindness …for a better world, a deeper understanding of unconditional love.
My emotions were deeper than any hurt I personally have ever experienced and my lack of support and/or understanding left me with a desperate call, a call directly to GOD. This was my plea: “God please, please, please show me any good left in this world.” That was December 26, 2008.
My pleas were heard right away as God gave me a strong sense of self. He had prepared me for this journey, my hardest, longest journey yet. He also prepared me with friends, friends that are there until the end. Those friends helped see me through times of great sorrow and emptiness of a void that felt more like a black hole. Those friends listened to me vent on my BlogTalkRadio show, “Don’t Buy Into That” or the Soul Project, both ideas that arose from the hurt I experienced, a voice to yell back, “Hey, you are wrong.” It was a voice that many times still felt unheard. I was never really a “somebody”. I was just ME. I never really mattered or so I felt, still needing growth obviously.
I struggled through 2008 and most of 2009, not realizing my most rewarding hour was near. I had felt a failure again because even with the weight loss of 30 lbs and the Soul Project, I had become pregnant which I was personally thrilled about but afraid I had let people down. I was taking on weight loss and a vision and weeks into it learned that, at forty two years old with kids graduated, I was pregnant.
On December 26, 2009 at 9:11am, Nevaeh Noelle Howe, 6 lbs 13 oz, was born. She was born a Gift sent directly from God on a day and a time I could not have picked by chance. Again it was a sign. I went on to live my life, kind of dropping out of the Soul Project as our daughter’s needs and my healing from a c-section at forty two years old took over. Then three special needs foster children with demanding schedules ruled. My life had become unbalanced and I was not sure I would have the energy to continue.
It all then hit me like a bolt of lightning: The Soul Project and my friends could help me. I enlisted the help of Dianne Orwig as I knew I needed an overseer as I lose myself in the needs of others, something us women or caregivers are quite accustomed to. I felt GOOD, but still troubled in some ways by past events not yet healed.
I had taken to Blog TalkRadio long ago and sought out lost friendships almost like an addict looking for crack. I still needed something. Shortly thereafter I was told about the Be Your Own Oz site. I read the blogs. I felt their pain. I knew it was my own. I was not alone. It was not just me. It was ok.
The people that have passed my heart on the way through to my soul will be forever there, their footprints will remain. I have proof and I will remain living proof. With The Soul Project restarting, the addition of Nevaeh Noelle and our newest puppy, Chloe, and with Dianne Orwig helping keep me focused, I move forward.
I recently received the Julie Whitt Inspirational Award for 2010. This award was better than any prize of monies or fame ever could be. It is the ULTIMATE prize to me as it stands for CHARACTER and PRIDE and a little added SPUNK. It stands for my grandfather and all the angels I have been blessed to call friend along my path. To you all, I say Namaste and God Bless.
Love and respect always,
Laura Howe & Baby Reggie