My Past Revealed!

Sunrise - Look back for clarity on your strength

Happy Fall Victory Chicks!

Last year, just before lockdown, I got new carpet in my home office. Doing it meant dismantling my office, which motivated me to declutter. Reams of paper got trashed and the rest was boxed and moved into a small, mostly unused bathroom – supposedly for just a couple of weeks. It didn’t turn out that way.

I know I should have unpacked during the lockdown. However, I was too busy watching Netflix and eating popcorn and animal crackers. As 2020 rolled into 2021, Joseph had the defining cancer biopsy which was followed by stress-filled months of appointments to determine the best treatment. In the spring, to distract my mind from cancer talks with Joseph, I got some motivation to unbox.

A Surprising Discovery

I say “some motivation” because I didn’t knock myself out doing it. I did a box at a time before and through Joseph’s (successful) surgery in July and his continuing cancer-free recovery from surgery (which included a vacation in Maine). That’s why it took me until mid-August to get to the last box: my stack of old journals. Some journals date back to my early 20’s. And WOW!

IF THESE BOOKS COULD TALK

You know the saying “if these walls could talk?” Well, my old journals do! Some of them recounted silly “is he going to call?” stuff and they made me laugh. Then there was the journal that detailed my first meeting and subsequent short-lived engagement to Jimmy. As I read that year’s entries, I was reminded about how girlfriend Stephanie asked me to go out with Jimmy, her then-future brother-in-law, who was home on leave from the Navy. My recounting of the first date was fun to read.

journaling - empowering you through challenges

Reminiscing About the Good Times

Also during that time, Steph found out she was pregnant. Remember when getting pregnant before marriage was a big deal? Steph and Bobby were engaged to get married “some time” but hadn’t set a date. The pregnancy would change that and I wrote that Steph, “called me up around midnight to tell me. These midnight calls are getting to be a habit.”

I got a kick remembering the fun I had at Steph’s “shotgun wedding” a few weeks later and the joy of the baby’s birth later in the year. Then the excitement and happiness faded as I wrote about her break up with Jimmy.

Reliving the Sorrow

In the next year’s journal, I wrote in great detail about the sadness I felt when Steph and her baby boy died in a house fire on Memorial Day Weekend. Her spouse, Bob, was understandably devastated. My journal entries from that time are heart-wrenching and made my heartache.

Life is Full of Ups and Downs

However, it wasn’t all sad. The following year I hit a hot dating streak. I penned names and places and even a conversation with my mother who laughingly told me she couldn’t keep up with the guys. I’m glad I wrote about that conversation with her.

Is Everything (even the crappy stuff) Really for Good??

My spiritual mentor used to say things like “everything works together for good,” I always wanted to believe it. However, many times I wondered if it was a crock. Now I can see that – at least most of the time – it’s true. I even admitted to myself, “If I never broke up with Jimmy, look at all the fun and good times I’d be missing now! Who could ever pass this up??”

Also, a few months ago, through the magic of FB, I found out that Bob, Steph’s widower, eventually remarried and had several children. Their daughter married a few years ago and she posted a video of Bob’s toast to her and her new spouse on their wedding day. It was beautiful and made me cry. Hard to believe any good could come after that tragedy, but it did.

A Walk Down Memory Lane for Persepctive

Reading my old journals took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, from cringe-worthy drama to sadness to jubilation. It was like going out to lunch with a long-lost friend. You know…you start going back over old times and, before you realize it, you’re laughing and crying. You feel the warmth and happiness along with sadness and pain, all intertwined in the memories. You realize the things you documented are important and, in spite of some crazy stuff, you were strong then, and still are now…and even stronger and better.

WHAT’S NEXT? FINDING A NEW GOAL

I don’t know what I’ll do with my old journals, but reading them, especially the ugly parts, made me think. I realize how, at the time things happened, I didn’t think about anything but getting through that challenge. I also see that I was stronger and more victorious than I ever would have thought at the moment.

I’ll bet you can say the same thing about what happened in your life too.

Now we’ve got covid variants, booster shots, Afghanistan, inflation, and more cluttering up life. BUT in another day, another month, or another year, when you and I look back, even those things will be no more than journal entries. What will matter is what we did in spite of those challenges to move ahead.

What Goal Will You Go After Now?

What do you want in 2022? Will you start a business, spend more (or less) time with children and grandchildren, find new love, revive or reset the relationship with your sweetie, get more physical (like swimming regularly or learn to play golf or tennis)…or do you have some other fabulous dream?

How do you want to be doing and feeling this time next year? 

Whatever it is, I’ll help you get there! Here’s how:

  • A complimentary 20-minute coaching session to help you get some clarity. As you read this I’m probably still somewhere in New England driving south toward West Chester (the picture above is sunset on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine). BUT, if you send me an email at Annmarie@AnnmarieKelly.com with “yes, I want that free coaching” I’ll get back to you with some dates…and I’m looking forward to it!
  • An action-focused workshop starting online in November: Savvy Sizzle. Learn more here: https://annmariekelly.com/victorious-woman/savvy-sizzle/ I hope you’ll join me!

The past two years have been challenging for sure, but it’s getting better! Let’s make the next year fabulous together!

SUMMER FOLLOW UP: VICTORIOUS TOMATO PLANTS

Besides a summer pruning potatoes and paper, remember my tomatoes? All that pruning a few months ago paid off. All 10 plants survived in spite of their tight quarters and produced fruit. Some did better than others and, honestly, the tomatoes weren’t flavorful like the fabulous Jersey tomatoes (what tomatoes are?).

Still, they were great in the tomato-basil-cucumber-caper salad. And playing with them all summer – watering, pruning, and smelling the luscious scent of tomato leaves – they put a smile on my face every day!

It goes to show that when you cut back the excess, the unnecessary bulk that is filling up your life – or the life of your tomatoes – you get positive results! (and a delicious dish! Yummmmmm….!)

Did you Enjoy the 31-Day Romance Challenge?

Did you join us for the 31-Day Romance Challenge? It happened during the month of August on AnnmarieKelly.com and on FB at FiveYearMariage. The idea is to take a little time each day to show your sweetie – and your relationship – some love.

The “challenges” aren’t hard and don’t take a ton of time. Here are a couple of examples:

Love Challenges 4 examples

Quick and Easy Ways to Show Love, Right? 

Joseph and I did them and “reported” about them on FBLIVE. It took some time to figure out how to do it – and it’s frustrating to know that 10-year-olds are posting on TikTok and grown adults like us struggle with that same technology. But we got the system down eventually. 

Plus we used this challenge to step out of our comfort zone. Joseph and I aren’t so comfortable sharing, or being on camera (especially Joseph), but we got better each time. Here are the first two weeks on FB:
Romance Challenge Week 1
Romance Challenge Week 2

Now, if you think you missed out and it’s too late – I’m happy to tell you it’s not!

You can still go and download the calendar and pick a challenge to do this week. These small efforts make a big difference, so select a few favorites and mix them into your schedule this month!

Take Your Relationship Even Further with the Five-Year Marriage®

Feel like your relationship needs a bit more help? You and your partner CAN LEARN how to solve problems and adjust to life’s changes together!

I explain, step by step, how to do exactly that in my book The Five-Year Marriage® – grab a copy from Amazon to learn how.

this will change everything you thought you knew aobut marriage

OR, if you prefer a more guided approach, I’m offering the Beginners Guide to the Brilliant Bad-Ass Marriage  starting October 5 – stay tuned for more info. You can also check out the 30-Day Relationship Reset Class that is currently live on Thinkific.


I know how the past year has challenged you – body, mind, and soul. But there’s good news – the future is what you make it! So it’s time to look forward to better days. And you can start RIGHT NOW. 

Did you enjoy this article? Please SHARE it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

What is the Victorious Woman Project?

The Victorious Woman Project is an empowerment resource for midlife women looking to make a change in their life or their relationships. Check it out…it’s full of helpful and inspiring articles, interviews with fabulous women who have been there and done that, and also classes and other tools that will help you find and nourish your inner spark.

And that’s also where you can get one of these inspiring and motivating self-help books: Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal VictoriesVictory by Design, and marriage game-changer, The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm.

blog: Victory Tips

Featured On

amk featured on marie clair magazine
philly inquirer logo
pbs logo
five year marriage featured on growth marriage podcast