For those who are not in Ben and I’s closest inner circle, you are probably not aware of the huge changes that have transpired in our lives over the past year, and especially the past seven months. We have made some decisions that were easy to make and clear as a bell, and others that were extremely difficult to make. We have had to take many leaps of faith and go back to relying on God and allowing Him to guide our paths.
Each day that passes shows us with more and more clarity that every step and choice we have made has been the right one. And not because we are doing what we want to do or what we think is easy, but because we are doing what God is telling us to do. For that we say:
The first and most difficult choice was to completely take ourselves away from a social organization we had been involved with since the first year we got married. This was excruciating. It was excruciating because we truly love so many people who were part of this organization and still are. It was excruciating because Ben had become a leader within this group and did not want to let the group down as whole. The unfortunate reality was that this group’s leadership had gone in a direction we were not comfortable with morally or ethically and felt that the best interests of the group were not being seen to. Ben was being forced to participate in things we did not approve of, and we were being forced to spend time and money on people who did not know anything about ethics or loyalty and were as fake as a three dollar bill. What to do? Our fear was that the people we loved would not ever understand or know the truth and would hate us forever, and that the people who were fake would only tell even more lies about us. We prayed and prayed and finally God gave us a sign that it was time to move on. I had spent countless nights crying over this decision and asking God why people I had never done anything but try to be nice to hated me so much. People who knew me and loved me and loved my husband kept trying to tell us these people were not worth my precious tears. I did not get it. Finally, last summer, after one insane event after the next, and after finding out people we thought were real and genuine were actually as fake as could be, and after my husband being forced into participating in something that went against every fiber of our being, we had enough and we left. Important to remember that the MAJORITY of the people in this social group are truly remarkable people. Had we not gotten involved in the inner working and learned the politics and the ugly parts, we would likely still be involved. But then our time and money would be going towards something that had ideals we could not represent or believe in, so God took care of that for us.
It was hard. I cried, and prayed, and hoped that I would still get to be friends with the people who I truly loved from this group. God has a way of blessing us when we make hard choices. It has been months and months and guess what? People we thought were our friends, turned out not to be and we have not heard one word from them. I am so grateful to God for showing us how badly our time and money was being wasted. The majority of this social group are amazing and wonderful people with no clue as to the inner workings, and we love them and would never judge them for continuing to participate. Will I miss seeing the beautiful people we adore from this organization? Of course, I miss them daily and get to keep up with them on Facebook thank goodness! Do I miss the fake people, constant drama, politics and discourse? NOT ONE BIT! Do I miss seeing the same group of grown people get so intoxicated at every event at the same time like clockwork that their friends have to help them up off the floor? NO WAY- seeing that always made me sad. For every fake friend who we have never heard from since, or who runs the other way when we see them in the grocery store, there are ten more that we still speak to daily and many are even business partners with us in our Plexus business. Ben and I have never been happier and never felt more clarity about our decision to leave. Never again will we be part of a party where our closest friends would not be welcome to join the party. Never again will we compromise our beliefs and morals to be accepted and to be part of a group. Newsflash- and these three facts will NEVER change- 1. I am the only woman my husband wants to see naked and any social organization that tells you you HAVE to participate in an event with strippers to be a leader is no organization we want to lead. 2. I have very dear friends who are of different races- we do not see color in this family. 3. I have very dear friends who are gay. I would lay my life down for all of my friends and do not dare judge them by who they choose to love . My Jesus died for ALL. PERIOD! Listening to God has brought about so many blessings with this decision. This Friday and Saturday, instead of watching the insanity and fakeness, and the thousands and thousands of dollars being spent on well, getting wasted, we will be in Birmingham educating others on the dangers of and the treatment of obesity. I will be thinking fondly of all of the wonderful people who are having a good time and looking beautiful in their gowns! Our life has meaning and purpose and instead of feeling anger and hurt towards those few who were so nasty to me for two years, I literally pray for them daily and feel pity towards their mean and fake and ugly hearts. It also makes me sad to realize that there truly are people who have nothing in their lives worthwhile except this social group. It makes me thank God that I have a real life with real meaning. No amount of makeup and no pretty clothes, masks or costumes, can ever change or cover a person’s soul and insides and I am SO GLAD that we chose to follow God and not try to fit in and pretend we were okay with the bigotry and insanity. For every person in that group who has deleted us from Facebook, we have ten more true friends who know us and love us for who we are. Lesson learned- hold true to your beliefs, and do what God is telling you to do regardless of the fear of the consequences. There is NO SOCIAL GROUP OR EVENT THAT IS WORTH GOING AGAINST YOUR BELIEFS OR BEING FAKE OR UNTRUE TO YOURSELF OVER. This photo says it all:
THANK YOU GOD for the blessings of doing what we knew to be right regardless of how hard it has been! The payoff has been priceless! The people in our lives now are people who are true and real and love us for us, warts and all. I consider my friends more like family. This is the truth. I am one blessed woman! And the thousands of dollars we spent on this social group are now going to our non profit and to help others. Now THAT has meaning!
For many reasons, but especially health reasons, Ben and I made the choice to no longer drink or have alcohol in our home. We both know the dangers of cross addiction that can come with people who have had weight loss surgery and with me being a trainer and also with this population being a large part of our following, it had to be done. How could I tell someone that they were hurting their health to consume a donut or a piece of cake because of empty calories but then have a martini in my hand that likely had 200-300 calories in it at least? I felt like a hypocrite and knew that as a personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach this had to change. God had it on our hearts for a long time to change this area of our life. Ben had some health issues with his liver and of course liver problems and alcohol do not mix, and so sign after sign came about during this past summer and the drastic choice to no longer partake was made. Now do not get me wrong- we do not and would not ever judge those who have a drink. I am not saying I will never again have one of my martinis that I enjoy, but just like a piece of cake, it is not something I will do on a weekly or even monthly basis. On a cruise or on vacation, sure I may have a glass of champagne etc. and I have no moral issues with drinking. I think we just have to start looking at drinking the same way we look at ANY AND ALL empty calories. In many cases that yummy cocktail actually has more calories than a MEAL and sometimes I would have 2-3 martinis in an evening, and knew this was not good for me. Oh but it was fun and tasted so good! I have not had a drink since I went on a cruise with my mom last July. Do I feel deprived? No of course not! I feel vibrant and strong and have never been healthier. I was famous for my martini bar, and now it is a gorgeous coffee bar and my hubby is the best barista ever! If you ever come to my house, Benjamin Akey will make you a KILLER latte, cappuccino, or flavored coffee! This is my favorite part of the kitchen!
We decided that since we are both people of great faith and devout Christians it was wrong to have God so present in every aspect of our lives and not prominent in our business. Being truly healthy involves body, mind and spirit. We felt God calling us to have a daily devotion in our nutrition and fitness group and to make spiritual health part of what we do daily. Of course there was the initial thought of “what if this offends current clients?” That thought was instantly replaced with the knowledge that God would bless our efforts and if anyone was offended by our faith, then that was their issue. We have friends and family and clents of many different faiths and that is a beautiful thing! We love and respect and appreciate them all and would never force our faith on anyone, no true Christian would, but we also will never ever deny or faith or hide it. My entire life is a testament to the power of God and faith in Christ and I am proud of that fact and happy to share! We did not lose a single client and actually gained more and learned that many of my current clients were Christians too but it had just never really come up in conversation. God has a way of working this stuff out! We have so many amazing things going on with our Plexus business and the radio show and the tour! God is good!!! This photo says it all and is often the cover photo on my Facebook page:
Going public about our Plexus business was the hardest business decision I have ever made. First of all it took me a year to even agree to try a sample. I have a radio show about health and fitness as most of you know. Ben and I speak on obesity and healthy weight loss all over the country. I knew my reputation within weight loss and anti-obesity circles was very good and I wanted to be sure I never did anything to tarnish this. This is why I stay out of the catty online dram so many see in this community and am careful about what organizations and groups I devote my time and dollars towards. If something is not right with a group or product or individual,I back away. I knew nothing about network marketing, thought it was a joke, and I hate diets. Diets do not work. I hate diet pills and would never promote one. I really thought this is what Plexus was. I was TOTALLY uneducated. Even after two nurses, an internist, and two dietitians tried to tell me this was a great product, I still said no for a year. This blog explains my thoughts on network marketing. I just had no clue. Then after my broken back, use of steroids, I was desperate and tried it and it worked amazingly and so Ben tried it also and next thing we knew, we were dropping weight and feeling great. We signed up as distributors for the discount and had no idea it would take off as it did, but that is the beauty of Plexus, it really works and so people want to know and so we share! This blog talks about why we finally knew it was a God thing that we go public. God has blessed our Plexus business every step of the way and it has allowed my husband to retire from the medical marketing field and be home working with me full time on the things that we are passionate about- FIGHTING OBESITY at the top of the list right after family. He can be my logistics manager for the 2014 Winning Against Obesity Tour, he can help develop the programs for our non-profit foundation that is all about fighting obesity, he can spend more time with our kids and grandbaby, and he can continue to help others get healthy through this amazing tool of Plexus. We give God all of the glory for the health and financial freedom Plexus has brought!
Those four choices have brought about so many incredible blessings that I truly cannot name them all. My initial idea to sign up as a Plexus Ambassador has now turned into a team of nearly 150 people who are all paying the gift of health and prosperity forward just as we are and they are like family to me. The 2014 Winning Against Obesity Challenge is going to give thousands the tools they need to live a healthier life and is the first huge project for our non profit and we could not be more excited about this series. The clarity and sense of purpose we currently have is astounding. Our lives are surrounded with people who are real and genuine and we would not trade that for the world. Our business partners are people of integrity and people who make us happy and like us have a passion for helping others.
God took these tough choices, and all of the sleepless nights and tears and turned them into nights where sleep is still hard to come by, but because my mind is racing with happy thoughts and ideas of how we can do even more to grow this network of health. And we still cry tears, but they are tears of happiness because of something great happening to someone we love or because someone else was able to experience the joy of weight loss or was able to say no to the cookies and junk. I look back and laugh at myself for letting simple minds and simple people make me cry or doubt myself.
I have truly never been happier or healthier and I owe it all to God and thank Him daily for the changes in my life! If you want to get serious about your health and about helping others do the same, we wold LOVE to have you in our network of health! Just shoot us an email and we will be happy to share! God bless and good health to you all!
Please, if you take ONE THING ONLY from this blog, I want to tell you to NEVER EVER compromise what you think and know is right, NEVER be ashamed of your faith, and NEVER be afraid to share something you know is good and can help others!
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO MAKES LIFE SO SPECIAL FOR US EVERY DAY!