Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Little Birdie Told Me....

So I found this little guy in my yard the other day.  To 'hear' my personal story and to find out why I believe this guy is a loving guidepost on The Juice Box's journey, read on....

About 10 years ago I started on my own personal journey towards health.  What started out as an effort to lose weight turned into a few years of obsessively researching and reading about different diets which evolved again, into starting a blog which was starting to spread its wings.  During that time my mother was having severe complications from dealing with her type 2 diabetes which she had been suffering from for over 30 years in addition to multiple other afflictions as a result of her poor eating habits.  Despite my persistent and downright annoying pleas, she was reluctant to change her diet.  That was until she was hospitalized for complications from diverticulitis and precancerous polyps.  Rather than being the good daughter and visiting her in the hospital (I leave my sister to be the good daughter), I was at her house raiding her pantry and tossing EVERYTHING in a fit of rage and tough love.  Maybe it was self-serving; Maybe it was out of love.  Whatever it was, I didn't want it on my conscious that I didn't do everything I could to help her.  By the time she got home I had replaced everything with organic, plant based food and after my parents got over the initial shock of my defiant rebellion, my mother made her New Years Resolution to finally change her diet.  Her doctors begrudgingly agreed to give her 30 days to ‘magically’ change her levels and by mid-April that year they were in disbelief and removed the last medication she was still on.  💊

That was then.

In May of 2015 I opened The Juice Box, the ultimate culmination and manifestation of everything I had been working toward: a place where I can make it easy for other people to realize similar health victories.  Everything was going fine at the JB for nearly a year when my mother’s doctor informed her that her kidneys were starting to shut down due to a prolonged battle with diabetes.  Ironic, because she was actually born with 3 kidneys, only 2 of which were ever functional though.  She may have ‘cured’ her diabetes, but the damage had already been done.  That same time, my husband was diagnosed with a brain disorder that tore my soul to shreds.  My mother was on dialysis.  My husband was in and out of the hospital.  I have 2 children so I was barely keeping it together and The Juice Box fell by the wayside in terms of my priorities.  

I have always been blessed to have some great team members at the JB who proved early on that they could handle it in my absence, which they did well and have continued to do.  The team at The JB is nothing short of amazing.  Truly.  My dream, though…my ambitions and goals to move the JB forward, lagged.  I just couldn’t be present to take it to the next level.  To see my new ideas  flourish. 

This past September, mom passed.  Her kidneys failed. Her dialysis caused muscle spasms which caused her to fall and then made it impossible for her body to heal itself from the injuries.  Slowly, for 2 years, we watched her suffer and fall apart.  

They say…whoever ‘They’ is... “Better Late Than Never”, and during those couple of years while she suffered, I couldn’t have disagreed more.  She changed her diet.  Late, but she did.  She did all the right things.  It still wasn’t enough to save her.  Sure it was after 3 decades, but during those few years where she focusing on her health, she was vibrant, energetic, healthy, happy and my biggest supporter.  She even ran a 5k with me in the height of her journey towards health and couldn’t wait to take any of her friends who visited to the juice bar to brag about her daughter and her newfound health!  I have come to realize that its true though, even though we ultimately couldn’t save her, it WAS better late than never because had she not changed her diet/lifestyle, she wouldn’t have had those few amazing years to really shine more brightly than she ever had in my lifetime.  We may have lost her sooner had she not changed her diet and her quality of life would have paled in comparison to those few spent in high-spirited energy.  I guess it was better late, than never.

She was always a crafter, so she enthusiastically spent those few years crafting, attending craft shows and teaching my daughter to sew.  This may seem like an irrelevant part to this story, but for this to make any sense whatsoever, it's important to know that her LIFE was crafting.  She defined herself as a crafter.  

Long story…..well, still long, my grieving was followed by an urgency to make sure that my mother did not die in vein.    Juicing and changing her diet did, in fact, make a HUGE difference in her quality of life.  

Life around me has simmered down enough to allow me to spend some time focusing on the ‘little juice bar that could’ and as we sashay into our 5th year in business, I am finally filled again with the motivation to spread the word about how important it is to take control of what you can with regards to your health and to take action to improve and evolve the JB.  Just over the past couple of weeks I have been studying, brainstorming and writing.  Ideas, improvements, blogs and ways to help educate…reading self empowerment books, listening to teachers spill their wisdom all over me and working actively towards getting myself Back To Healthy because I let myself go the past 2 years and I may have been talking the talk but I sure as hell wasn't walking the walk…

Not everything happens for a reason, but good can come out of everything.  If anything good is to come from losing my mother, it will be that the memory of her will be the catalyst to help as many others as we can to change their lives before it's too late.


I found this little artificial cardinal made for crafting in my yard.  In the middle of my fully fenced...FIVE. ACRE. YARD.  In the midst of my pursuit to finally, after years, focus on my passion of making healthy food an easy option….out of nowhere, appears this little bird.  Bright and red and demanding attention, just arbitrarily sitting in the middle of acres of grass.  A cardinal, often believed to be a messenger, an angel, a visitor, the soul of a loved one passed, and in its physical form is a CRAFTED cardinal, sitting.  In.  My. Yard.  Maybe someone jumped my fence, walked directly into my yard and placed this bird there.  Or maybe, just maybe…mom’s spirit energy is still alive and well and still, my biggest supporter.  

We are super excited for what The Juice Box has in store.  We will continue to evolve and serve up fresh juices and we also look forward to growing, offering more specials, more raw food, more blogs and posts filled with informative content and possibly….maybe….some more big news to come in a few months.   How do I know big things are coming and that our dreams to help others boost their health like my mother did are not for naught?  A little birdie told me…

This was taken just weeks before beginning dialysis, while her light still shone bright.

*** I'd like to invite you to join us on our journey.  Even if you don't live in Lakeland and are unable to be a guest at The Juice Box, if you have any interest in following my personal journey or the journey of the 'little juice box that could', join our mailing list on the right side of this page.  In this blog I plan to talk about my own health journey....there and back and nutrition...maybe fitness when I am comfortable calling myself 'fit' again (that may be a little while to get back there), body issues, motivation and lots more.  We have guest bloggers lined up both locally and others considered experts in their fields.  Join by entering your email to the right where it says: Follow By Email.  Feel free to follow shorter stories also on Facebook or IG. (@thejuiceboxlakeland)

Peace, Love, Light & Juice to You All. <3

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