SLZ Rebels 4-ever; the power of friendship.

There are a group of ladies that have been my friends since high school (and before.)  We lived in a much simpler time.  If we wanted to get together, we used the one telephone in the house that all 9 of us shared and we called our friend hoping they would be home OR we hopped on our bicycle and rode to their house to see if they wanted to hang out.  We went to high school to learn, but also to have fun – so much fun.  We did not have AP classes, we did not compete for valedictorian, we were not constantly testing; we weren’t competing to get into the BEST colleges in the land; many of our siblings had not even gone to college.  Tech schools were big as was community college.  Many of our mothers had been stay at home moms for most of our lives and were just starting to go back to work.

1977-78 Cheerleaders

Our football team made headlines in 1978 and we were all cheerleaders, song girls (yes that’s right – they were called song girls), and one of the girls was Miss Southern Belle.  We were the Rebels, which today is no longer politically correct and the school is now the Grizzlies.   And something special to me is this is a group of friends who actually knew my father.  My own family never got to know my dad; actually no-one in my life from 1981 on got to know my dad; but these ladies knew my dad.  Life was simple and fun!

That’s nice, Patty.  What has that got to do with weight loss?  Well, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the chronological happenings that got me to the right place at the right time to meet the right person to begin changing my life and these ladies are a big part of that story.  If you read the blog post, Alive at 55 – you’ll see that in 2011 I realized it was time to begin unloading things.  Then I was hit with Rheumatoid arthritis and spent the entire year of 2012 getting that under control (while still unloading things.)

In 2013, one of my friends invited all of us girls to her house in CA for a weekend get together.  (Not all as in that picture above, but 11 of us.)  Some of them still lived in CA and others of us would have to travel from out of state, but all of us went.  I hadn’t seen these ladies for years, yet it was like we had never been apart.

I think this was after prom.
Our 2013 get together – in front of our high school.

I had a lot of anxiety in the past and I would usually say no to a trip like this, but my friend Lisa agreed to pick me up at the airport and bring me to her home and then I knew I’d be right at home with my friends.  I also had been unloading responsibilities for about a year now, so I felt like I could be away from home for a short time.  I was messaging many of the girls before the trip and I was so excited that we were going to be together.

Yet, the unthinkable happened!  Just weeks before we were to get together, one of my friends died.  I had just been messaging with her and we were so excited to see one another.  And for goodness sake, we were only 51 years old.  We weren’t supposed to be dying.  It was a sobering moment for me, especially since I was nearing 300 pounds after a year of Prednisone and I was having no luck getting any weight off.

We still got together as you can see in the photo above.  We honored her memory while we were together.  But I went home with an urgency for answers for my own life.  I began to pray a little harder and try a lot harder with my diet.  In the year to follow, two of my good friends pictured above had major heart attacks – the kind I believe that are called widow makers; however God had them in the right place at the right time and they are doing great today.  But again, I said to myself, “I was clearly the person who was in the worst shape at that get-together.  I feel my time is coming.”  And again all I knew to do was pray more.

2014 I was ready.  I had unloaded so many things and it was MY time and then my son was diagnosed with scoliosis and it was severe.  That took the rest of 2014.  However 6 months after his surgery is when we walked in the doors of the gym again and eventually met the people who helped me change my life.  But it was a process; it took time and it took prayer and it took believing on my part.  And then once I met them, it took action from me.

Tomorrow, I go back to CA to see some of these ladies and to give them a big hug.  They have all been my biggest “cheerleaders,” and I am so thankful for them.  Theresa, Cindy, Cherisse, Lisa, Liz, Donna, Bonnie, Robin, Carrie, and Sari as well as all my other high school friends that cheer me on – thank you!  Your lives have made a difference in my life.  Rebels Forever!

On the left, me at our 2013 get together.  On the right, me today.

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