I kept seeing videos of families playing the Saran Wrap ball game a few weeks ago and decided to try it out myself. From what I’ve heard, there are several versions you can play. The gist is that you wrap up small gifts in a Saran Wrap ball and take turns unwrapping it to reveal the prizes inside.
A few nights ago, Aaron and I played this when we had Christmas with some of our good friends. It was a BLAST! It took my friend, Laura, and I over two hours and almost 300 ft of Saran Wrap to prep the ball. To start the game, we rolled a dice and the person with the highest number started it off. While the starter tried to find the edge of the Saran Wrap, the person next in line used two dice and tried to roll doubles. Once they got doubles, the ball passed to them immediately. The person unwrapping the ball before the next player rolled doubles got to keep any of the prizes revealed during that time. If anyone ripped the Wrap (accidental or not) had to pass the ball immediately.
We posted a video of our game and I’ve since had several people ask what kind of gifts to include. I’ve included a list of ideas below. I think some people assume you have to include only flat, flexible items so it does seem limiting. However, after actually doing the wrapping, we figured out that you include all kinds of odd shaped items and it all evens out in the end if you are strategic about how you place them. And if not, is anyone going to really care about a lumpy ball?! 🤣🤷♀️
Another tip… it may seem like some of your layers of Saran Wrap aren’t wrapped tightly enough. It’s hard to get some of it to lay flat. However, once you keep layering stuff on top of it, it compresses down and all works out fine. When we played the game, I don’t think there were ever any obvious edges.
Games (fidget spinner, dice, deck of cards, etc…)
Travel tissues or wet wipes
Small toys (yo-yo, slinky, etc…)
Mini bottles of alcohol
Car air fresheners
Hot cocoa packets
Flavored water powder
Unique ice packs
Instant coffee packs
Make a roll of toilet paper the center gift
Throw in something funny like XXL underwear or a diaper in the layers
Include layers of Saran Wrap that have nothing in them
Hide layers of the ball to keep the inside a mystery! After you’ve wrapped several layers, cover the ball in colored tissue paper, tp, or a large flexible gift like car towels or a scarf. Pictured below is an example of a scarf layer:
There are SO many options. This is definitely going to become an annual game for our friends and family!
Do you ever look at someone and think…. “wow – if you could only see yourself through my eyes!” Do you ever wonder who is thinking the same thing about you? This may never cross your mind. Some of you may be so far down the rabbit hole of self-doubt that you can’t imagine anyone noticing anything special about you. Some of you may think you know yourself so well that there isn’t possibly anything new that someone else’s insight could offer. Still others may actually hear those words out loud from a loved one – maybe you hear them. Maybe you believe them. Maybe you don’t.
Today my friend, Jessica, gave me a note with a quote on it that she said reminded her of me – something she had saved specifically for me. I read it on my own later and was totally stunned. No one has ever shared such words with me before. I’m not sure anyone has ever looked at me and saw what those words conveyed. I think it’s built into my DNA to work hard to make sure people don’t notice this about me actually, but she did. She saw through it. She saw me.
My whole life has been a story of holding back. Don’t say the wrong thing. Don’t say anything. Don’t do anything to rock the boat at home. Don’t approach that person because they won’t like you. Don’t be competitive so you’re not let down. Don’t even try so you don’t fail. Don’t be proud of yourself because what you did wasn’t that great. Don’t give anyone a reason to make fun of you. Don’t try something new in case you are bad at it. Don’t say what you think because it’s stupid. Don’t say or do anything that might make someone have a bad day. Heck… don’t publish this blog post because it won’t speak to anyone.
Just re-reading that last paragraph is exhausting. I often wonder what the last 27 years would have looked like had I not been so careful. And what would life look like today? I’ll never know. What is there to do but look to the future now? I’m not really sure how to overcome a way of being that is now so part of who I am. It’s scary to admit your shortcomings… your weirdness. It’s scary to think about how it might impact your children. It’s scary to think that other people may know things about yourself that you don’t even really understand yet. It’s all just… scary.
There are two things at which I can admit I am unapologetically good. The first is being a mom. That’s so funny for me to say because I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a mom period for the longest time. But… I kind of rock at being a mother. The second is being “the nice one” which my friends like to remind me of to the point of annoyance. 😊 I know that’s the yearbook equivalent of “don’t ever change” but damn it, I am really freaking nice. A lot of that has a lot to do with everything I’ve explained about myself thus far. I’m really sensitive to how others feel. I want everyone to be happy and have a good experience in every situation which I realize is often out of my control (but that won’t stop me from trying!) And you know, at the end of my days if kindness and motherhood tell the most accurate story of my life, I would be far from disappointed.
I didn’t wake up this morning thinking that I was going to write a thing today! But, in my experience, the best stories come from real life. Real life is unpredictable and sometimes hands you a gift at 5:30 in the morning.
I’m going to work on embracing the gifts I’ve been given and use them shamelessly. I hope you will too. Marianne Williamson is right; we all have some gift to offer others. Maybe you’ve already identified yours. Maybe you’re still waiting on a sign from the universe (or a friend) to point you in the right direction. The one thing I can tell you most certainly is that you DO have a gift. There IS someone out there who sees you. That someone may not be a person that you even realized was looking so close or clearly and that gift may not sound all that interesting or glamorous – but believe in its existence.
I still cannot believe I ran 13.1 miles just a few days ago. Well… the top half of my body can’t believe it. The bottom half winces every time I move my legs!
To be honest, I’m not even really sure why I signed up for the Urban Bourbon Half. Some of my Fit4Mom friends had completed their first half a few months earlier at the Derby Mini. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life thanks to two rounds of Fit4Mom Louisville’s Body Back program. I was ready for a new challenge, saw an ad on Facebook for the UBHM and the next thing I knew, I was signed up! I started training the last week of June and ran over 145 miles throughout the weeks leading up to the race. (This was about 65 short of what I’d planned for due to some hip pain but more on that later.)
I researched training plans online and found one through Pinterest that went all the way up to 13 miles. I’m a planner and like to do my homework so it felt like the right one for me. Here is a link to the training plan I followed by Chrissy Carroll:
It basically instructs you to do two short runs and one long run per week. I was amazed at how little increases in distance built my stamina from week to week. I followed the plan pretty religiously until about a month before the Urban Bourbon. I started experiencing pain in my hip that progressively worsened. Admittedly, I hadn’t been doing a great job of cross training up until that point and figured out later that I hadn’t been stretching appropriately.
I sought advice from one of our good friends that is a DPT at Synergy Injury Care, Simon Hoehn, and totally revamped my stretching routine. He analyzed my running posture and gave me some tips on how to alleviate the pain. Lyla is one day younger than the Hoehns’ little one, Elliana. My whole family loves the Hoehns and we basically will make up any excuse to hang out with them but I swear the hip issues were real!! 😝
Things seemed to begin improving until I got a little overzealous one morning a couple weeks before the race and I began really hurting again. I think I pushed myself a little too hard that day; with race day quickly approaching, I was really feeling the pressure to knock out the long training runs. So many of my mama buds were training as well and it was so hard to watch them keep right on trucking with their training while I had to rest. At that point, Simon suggested I get my hip x-rayed. Bad bones run in my family but thankfully, the results were good! I should point out that my experience at Synergy Injury care was great. Everyone there was super nice and I felt like I was treated like family.
The week before the race I also tried out acupuncture for the first time. I have several friends that attribute great success with different pain or infertility issues to acupuncture. I saw Robert Gittli at Meridian Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine. Acupuncture is something I never thought I’d try but I was grasping for anything at that point that might expedite the healing process. Meridian is beautiful and has a super neat vibe. After the acupuncture session, Robert gave me some practical tips for prepping for the race at home.
I followed all of the advice I’d received religiously up until race day. I was extremely nervous. In the three weeks leading up to the race, I ran less than ten miles total. The night before the race Aaron surprised me with flowers and a sweet good luck card. His confidence in me never waivered and I remembered thinking that I couldn’t let him down!
The next morning I had monster butterflies. I road downtown with some of my friends. Terri Tinnell drove us down after she’d already been up leading Fit4Mom Lou’s run club before the crack of dawn. She was cool as a cucumber and I was hoping her mindset would rub off on me on the drive down. I had no idea what to expect. I was pretty sure that I’d have to walk more than once during the 13.1 miles and I’d made peace with that.
After the race started and I’d reached one mile, my Strava app told me I was running at a 9 min 30 sec pace which I knew was too fast for me to maintain without hurting. At that point, I fell behind some of my friends and my heart sank a little. I kept reminding myself that they’d trained more than me and I couldn’t reasonably expect to keep up their pace. There was a dull ache in my hip and a side stitch creeping up around mile 4. I prayed that God would get me through and the song Priceless by King and Country suddenly came through my headphones. It was a sign from above and literally every time I talked to God during the race, a Christian song came on next. I stayed focused on myself and before I knew it, I’d made it to Cherokee Park (around mile 6). I really hit my stride at this point and all I could think about was how thankful I was that the majority of my training had been in my hilly neighborhood. I was more than prepared for that section of the course and that gave me a major confidence boost that propelled me the rest of the way to the finish line.
Not too long after I exited the park, I got to see Aaron and Lyla cheering me on with the cute little poster they made. It was really exciting to see them after seeing so many family and friends of other runners with their signs and words of encouragement.
I hadn’t walked up to that point and knew it was downhill from there. I had already performed so much better than I’d imagined. I knew that if I had made it that far, I had to keep going. Around mile 11, I’d made it back downtown and happened to catch my reflection in the window of a building as I ran by. Out of nowhere, I started tearing up because I couldn’t believe that I had almost pulled it off. I knew that I was in really great shape other than my hip issues but my confidence was just not there leading up to race day. It all hit me at once. I swear the last mile was the longest but it was so worth it when I got to see Lyla and Aaron again at the finish line. I couldn’t believe it was over. It took me two hours and 13 minutes to finish the race which was even faster than I had planned to shoot for back when I originally started training for the race. So many people told me that the adrenaline and excitement on race day would make the experience easier. I didn’t believe them until I experienced it for myself.
At the beginning of this year I’m not even sure that I could’ve run one mile without stopping for a break. It’s amazing how much we are capable of with some practice and faith in ourselves. I didn’t have much of either towards the end of my training but thanks to a lot of encouragement from my friends, family, and most of all my husband… it all came together in the end.
Congrats to these strong mamas that crushed the race and supported each other for months leading up to this day. You guys are amazing and inspiring and I’m lucky to know you! 😘
Listen to your moms…. when they warn you against over plucking your eyebrows, LISTEN to them. I don’t care what is currently trendy!
I definitely over-plucked my eyebrows when I was in high school. Two years ago, I started really trying to regrow my brows. Up until that point, I’d never even had my eyebrows waxed. Starting In January 2016, Leah Gerstoff, owner of Sei Bella Waxing, helped guide my regrowth effort and maintain the proper shape. She is fabulous at what she does and she took into account all of the changes my body was going through with pregnancy and nursing at the time when she was giving advice. When several months had passed and the growth was happening super slowly, Leah suggested I use Castor oil. It definitely thickened my existing hair. While I did see more growth, I realized after some time that my eyebrows were just never again going to be as full as God originally intended.
This is a close up of what I had to work with starting in July 2016:
And a year later… you can see little progress 😞. (I don’t know why I look so forlorn 🤣… maybe I was tired haha).
At that point, I’d been trying to regrow my eyebrows for a year and a half. I did make quite a bit of progress from where I started, but I decided to accept that this is as good as it was going to get naturally.
When I found out that Sei Bella Waxing was going to begin offering Microblading, I jumped at the opportunity. For those that don’t know, microblading is a semi-permanent method of drawing individual hair strokes with a microblading pen on the skin. I was pretty nervous because the portion of my eyebrows (or lack thereof) near my nose was extremely sparse. I wasn’t sure how it would look for that entire area to basically be pigment. I was also pretty nervous about the procedure and the aftercare. Not to mention, I went into the process knowing I was basically going to be a guinea pig for the newly certified esthetician! I’ve had so many people ask me about this process that I wanted to share my experience here.
I had my first microblading appointment on June 12, 2017. First, I had to read and sign a lot of paperwork. Next, we went through a color matching process. My esthetician, Summer Whalen, narrowed down her recommendations and then showed me several options. She actually swabbed several patches right above my brows so that I could really evaluate how closely the colors were to my actual hair. Together we made the final selection. After we settled on a color, she cleaned off my face and sterilized the area. Then, we moved onto the shape. This portion took more time than any other part (or so it seemed to me)! Summer used various measurements and tools to draw on the initial shape. She then took photos and used technology in an app to get the brows as symmetrical as possible. A lot of time and care was taken to make sure the shape was appropriate for my face. After we were done with the shaping (about 1.5 hours into the appointment), we took a bathroom break. I snapped this photo in the bathroom and was really glad I didn’t run into anyone in the hall!
Before I delve into the actual microblading process, you should know that I was under the impression that my eyebrow area would be numbed during the procedure. After asking Summer about how much I’d feel, I quickly realized that assumption was incorrect! She explained that the best results and most precise lines are possible if you can at least get through the first microblading pass without numbing. She also told me that no one else she’d done previously had needed the numbing so that made me feel a little better. If you know me, you know I hate seeing my own blood and have been known to faint. If I even think too hard about myself bleeding, I start sweating. I have a really weird thing about my skin staying intact. Needless to say, I was pretty anxious!
I want to point out that Summer was great about explaining exactly what was happening and what to expect. I definitely felt like I was in good hands. She showed me the tool she was going to use and explained how it would be used. I was really pleasantly surprised by how little pain was involved. The first pass on both brows really just felt like someone was scratching me with a pointy toothpick. I definitely wouldn’t have thought it would break the skin. After the cuts were complete on a brow, she would put a mask of pigment over the entire area and let it sit while she moved to the other brow. She warned me that the mask would sting for several seconds and it did but was totally bearable (although she still fanned my face to minimize as much discomfort as possible). She is just the sweetest person.
She ended up doing three passes on both brows. By the time it got to the third pass, my brows were starting to get a little sensitive and the pain was more noticeable. I never felt the need for numbing medication but I was relieved when she said we were done after the third round! Here were my brows immediately following the appointment:
I was shocked that the area wasn’t really red or inflamed. Summer warned me that the color would fade 40-60% over the next few weeks but I was super pleased with the shaping and technique of the esthetician. It was really odd to see my eyebrows so close together but I knew that initial reaction would fade as I got used to my new look.
The aftercare lasted for ten days. Sei Bella gave me instructions and all of the materials I’d need to care for my healing brows. The process was actually REALLY easy. I’d pictured giant scabs pealing off of my face but there was none of that. I actually didn’t even know when the scabs fell off! For me personally, it was extremely hard to not sweat (one of the many aftercare requirements) during this period because I tend to work out almost every day but it was worth it!
Here is a photo showing my brows 5 weeks later (right before my touch up appt). Obviously, the pigment faded quite a bit. Summer had explained to me beforehand how everyone’s skin can take differently to the pigment. I’ve seen many pictures of the other client’s they’ve performed microblading on and I’d definitely say mine faded a lot more than others. I’d committed to trusting the process though and was confident that my touchup session would correct the shape and fading. Summer explained how she would adjust the blading depth (which sounds awful, I know). Honestly, it really didn’t feel any more painful. She was confident it wouldn’t fade as much after has second round! (Spoiler alert…. she was right!)
Photo update immediately after my touch up:
And one month later…
Sorry the angles aren’t quite the same… not a pro photographer with the smartphone here 😜. (Also… please excuse the plucking that was needed. I don’t want that to reflect on Summer’s work… that’s just me needing to tweeze the crazies!) I was SUPER pleased with the outcome. Summer had asked me to share some pics with her a few weeks out to make sure I was healing well and didn’t need a third touch up. After sharing these photos with her, we both agreed that my left brown needed a little more work toward my nose.
I just had a quick third touch up session about three weeks ago. Please note that a third session is NOT typical but totally a testament to Sei Bella’s commitment to making their client’s happy! I truly think my skin was just a little more resistant to the pigment than the average person PLUS I had so much more to fill in than most of their client’s probably do. Summer definitely had her work cut out for her but she did SUCH A GREAT JOB. I honestly can’t believe she was even a newby at this. I’ve had so many compliments on my eyebrows even during the process when they weren’t done yet! The estheticians at Sei Bella seriously are masters at browshaping which is key for microblading. I would honestly trust Summer to do this to me all over again without her ever even showing me the shape until it was already on my face!
If you are interested in microblading, I would highly recommend Sei Bella and obviously, Summer specifically since she did my brows! She’s super sweet and will make you feel very comfortable.
So here is a full before (meaning before I ever became a client at Sei Bella) and after photo. This really shows how far my brows have come with their help! They are taking microblading appointments now so give them a call!
I’m obsessed with all things baby denim or chambray especially if it has a little personality (i.e. patches, special hardware, distressing). However, these types of clothes new from a store tend to be pricey. Since I’m cheap and pretty crafty, I figured I should try to distress a pair of jeans myself.
I found this pair of jeans at a consignment sale for about $4 (along with probably four other pair of jeans). Did I mention I like denim? 😝 This was my least favorite pair so it got to be the guinea pig!
I used a pair of really sharp fabric scissors, safety pin, and a Ped Egg foot file to do the distressing. The Ped Egg has both a smooth and micro plane file.
I started off just experimenting with the tools to see what look different techniques gave the jeans. Since the jeans were thickest around the pockets, I figured that was a safe place to begin. All of the distressing you see below was done with the smooth file. It takes a little bit to get the area you are working on worn down but once you start to see the white threads poking through, I figured out that you really have to proceed carefully from there. Once you reach that point, it doesn’t take much pressure to tear a hole right through the pants. I wasn’t going for holes in this part of the pants so I had to be careful.
I did want some larger holes in the knee area of the jeans. To do this part, you’ll need sharp scissors, the safety pin, and possibly tweezers. You’ll want to make straight cuts across the denim where you want to create the hole. Ideally, the cuts should be parallel if you want the white thread to remain intact (which I did). You can see that my cuts aren’t quite parallel below. This was my first try and I didn’t learn that I needed to be more careful until after the damage was done! Live and learn, right?
After you’ve cut the jeans, use the safety pin to begin pulling the white strings out so they are exposed. You’ll notice the blue jeans will begin to fray.
Once you’ve pulled several white strands out, you can use tweezers or just your hands to begin to pull the short blue strands out between the cuts you made earlier. As you can see below, you will expose even more of the white thread during this step.
I used the cutting and thread pulling technique on both knees and then in a small spot along the side of the pants. All of the other distressing was done with the files. Below is the before and after. I used the smooth file sporadically all over the jeans just to give them a more faded and worn in look. I actually used the micro plane file a lot less than I thought I’d need it. I did use it on some of the thicker portions of the jeans like the waistband to rough it up a bit.
I probably spent an hour on these total since I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out! For $4, it was totally worth trying it out.
I’m the type of person that wants to document everything so I won’t forget anything. I’ve kept journals as long as I can remember. I’m fairly certain Lyla may have one of the most documented childhoods known to man thanks to the videos, baby book, detailed daily first year calendar, blog about her arrival, pregnancy scrapbook…. need I go on. And don’t get me started on all the pictures I have of her. After she was born, my husband actually bought me a new phone with a “mega brain” as I like to call it’s memory capacity so I could take as many pics as I wanted! However, most of the ones on my phone tend to be of just Lyla and not our family.
I love when we get photos including all three of us and our good friends at JJHuff Photography captured some super sweet ones just recently. Owned by John and Jackie Huff, JJHuff Photography, is based in the east end of Louisville but they will travel throughout the surrounding area to accommodate the needs of their clients! Our photos were taken in The Parklands where there are no shortages of prime photo backdrops! Here are a few of our photos:
A lot of times Aaron and I feel awkward when we get family photos taken because we never know how to pose. John and Jackie helped us through the posing for both the more traditional and candid shots. They were also super patient with our little lady. A one year old can be a bit unpredictable after all. We felt super relaxed which translated into wonderful, very natural pictures of our family.
We would definitely recommend JJHuff Photography for your future photo needs! You can check out their website here:
Many of you know that I just completed my second round of Body Back Transformation with Fit4Mom Louisville. Several other moms in the program this round were also repeaters and to add a little extra something to the 2nd experience, our coach would send us an additional weekly challenge. Last week, our final full week of the program, we were asked to take some time to write a letter to ourselves about our journey.
I shared my letter with the fellow BB repeaters. Their response and encouragement led me to share it here also. I wish you could read all of the letters that were shared among us. The impact this program has had on the lives of the women involved reaches far beyond their physical appearance.
But here is mine…
You’d told yourself many times before that you would get serious about making healthier choices. You’d imagined how you’d feel once the hard work paid off. You’d fantasized about all of the things you’d be confident enough to do once you were skinny… like stand next to your super tiny sister in a bikini, not worry about the lighting in a dressing room, hell… have sex totally naked with the lights on.
This started way before you had a baby. It started before you got married. It started while you were still wearing size 4 jeans. It started back when other people desperately wished they had a body like yours. Of course, the reflection in your mirror told another story. Those seeds of self doubt were planted long before you were even an adult. You’ve been vainly obsessing about your appearance for years.
So, you’d promise yourself you’d lose more weight. But, time and time again that vacation, party, or other deadline would roll around and nothing changed. Your body may have stayed the same but your opinion of it got even worse. Then you got pregnant and for once, had weight to lose that other people noticed. That was hard. You’d failed to live up to your own standards so many times over the years but up until then, it had all been in secret. Your insecurities were more visible and self esteem was at an all time low.
It was time to make a change (again). Fast forward a few months and it turns out…you did it!! The thing is though…. you didn’t do it for anyone but yourself. You came to terms with the changes your body went through to have a baby before Body Back ever started. You faced the reality of the situation and didn’t make excuses for it. It was hard to accept at first but you finally gave yourself a break…. something you’d never allowed yourself before. And that internal grace fueled the self love youneeded to finally believe in yourself. You embarked on the Body Back transformation with a fierce dedication unlike anything you’d experience in the past.
I hope you will carry that sense of compassion and kindness towardsyourself through all stages of life. Allow yourself to be human and that means not getting everything right all the time. You may be a perfectionist but you CANNOT be perfect. Don’t waste your time pursuing the unattainable. Focus on what you CAN do because you are capable of SO much.
At the start of this 2nd round of Body Back, my friend Courtney mentioned that this program was teaching her how to become her own friend. Thinking back now, I guess that’s what happened with me as well. I’d never be as hard on a friend (and certainly not my own child) as I was on myself. So, why was a treating myself so differently? I don’t have this whole self-acceptance thing totally figured out yet but I do know I’ve never been more at peace with myself. You can give yourself a break but still hold yourself accountable.
MY ROUND 2 RESULTS:
I’m pretty nervous to share some of these pictures. Even with all I’ve said previously, my eyes immediately go to everything I still see “wrong” with my body. I hope that my doing this encourages someone else to take that step in the direction of bettering themselves (in whatever way they need). And I’m reminding myself that the only person looking at this likely to pick it apart is me!
This round I specifically set out to lose another 7(ish) pounds, do 15 push ups in a row with good form, and hold a 3 minute plank.
I lost 9.6 pounds and 5.25 inches. I’ve lost 23.8 pounds total during my two rounds of BB and 29 total since January 1, 2017. I conquered my push up goal and surpassed my plank goal with a total of 3 minutes and 8 seconds. I wanted so badly to give up during the final plank assessment… there was sweat dripping in and burning my eyes and every muscle in my body was screaming but with lots of words of encouragement, I stuck with it!
(Gulp)….. so here’s the first transformation pic. First pic is from Jan 20th. I wish I’d taken one in December because I’d already lost 7 pounds at this point. The second pic is Day one of Body Back Round 2. And the third pic is from yesterday, after final assessments! I still wish I could get rid of that roundness that developed after I had Lyla but I’ve definitely made huge progress!
Below is my arm before (bottom) and after (top) but you can also kind of see a difference in my upper abdomen. This “before” is from the start of BB Round 2. I wish I had a good one from the same angle from January because that would really tell the full story. My arms have by far been the area I’ve been most self conscious about. They arent perfect but much improved.
And here is my leg before and after… again, I only have it from beginning of BB Round 2 to the end (bummer). I was just so self conscious before the first round; there are not a lot of pictures of me period during that time let alone very revealing ones! I don’t notice a huge change in size as far as my legs go but I can definitely tell you they are A LOT stronger. I also feel like I can see places where my skin is more smooth (i.e. Less cellulite) but maybe it’s just the lighting. Trust me, I’ve analyzed every pixel in these pics and have gone back and forth on posting so I may be seeing things.
I wish every woman could go through this process. You go into it focusing on all the things you want to lose… inches, weight, dress sizes, “tent” clothes, etc… and you will lose those things if you give yourself to the process. But, you come out of it having gained things like confidence, strength, new friends, willpower, education, and a wonderful support system. The losses are good but the gains are great!