I grew up in a loving home. My mother was the one who ran the house, and she ran it much like a corporation. Often, out of little, she would have a 5-course meal that was to die for, like Martha Stewart. Mom really was an organizer, like a corporal in the Army. My dad was just the opposite. He woke up every morning with a smile on his face and a whistle, just happy. He loved to work. These are great memories of my mother and father, our beautiful home, our material well being, and many opportunities.
Years later, two weeks before my Dad died (he lived to be 86), I had a great conversation with him. I asked him, “You acted throughout your life like you never really worried about things – was that just a cover up?” He replied, “Linda, I’ve never worried. I always knew God has a plan for us and we don’t have to worry; that’s a waste of time and energy. You just go out every day and do the best you can and leave it for God to finish up what you are unable to do.”
One of the things that shaped me was experience with my dad when he was a Chamber of Commerce Manager for 22 years in our small town – Dad knew everyone. At 6 years old, at a 4th of July celebration, everyone dressed up. My dad and I walked down the street and dad shook every hand of the people he greeted. I began doing the exact same thing, put my hand out and introduce myself. At this very early age, dad taught me how to interact with people and greet and meet and love that process because we did it so much. That felt so good. I never stopped doing it. One of his expressions was, “Attitudes are contagious; is yours worth catching?”
As a young woman, I went on to graduate from Junior College and then Mississippi State University. I had lots and lots and lots of fun. I was very studious, made straight A’s. I wanted to be like my dad with a career, a profession. I never thought about getting married and having children. I just knew I wanted to be a leader doing something. I knew I had this seed inside of me that God planted, where one day I would lead other people. I wanted to influence lives but not in a traditional way. After graduation, I went to work with IBM for 5 years, and loved every minute of it. I had learned that when you want something and you know that you want it, you need to communicate to other people what you want and then go to work. I was hired by IBM and the new hires all did well and had fun. I made the 100% Club and was financially secure. I was blessed to work around the finest and the best, the greatest and most successful people. Everyone was the closest friends, and I loved them to pieces.
At that time, I experienced one of the most successful businesses we ever did financially with my good friends Kevin and Johnny. Everybody in the Delta knows Johnny Jennings, and they love him. He is a very special person, and I loved him dearly but I wasn’t meant to marry him. He calls me his “other wife.” His wife is lovely and wonderful, and they have two precious daughters that are super successful. Everyone was so much fun, and we did lots of great things together.
I married Kevin in our group who was an entrepreneur. I did not understand entrepreneuring and I had a great fear of the risks and uncertainty of entrepreneuring, and that life style just about sent me over the edge. I had much stress living like that. I didn’t have the faith that Kevin did. Kevin always believed, no matter what, things would come through. For some reason, even though I thought I had faith, I didn’t have faith in Kevin, even thought he was my Prince Charming. I didn’t have faith in us. I didn’t think God would care about us making payroll. So, our early years in our marriage were very fraught with anxiety and distress at not having money and the stress of all of the debt. I didn’t understand, if we have money in the banking account, how can we have debt. It took me years to understand the differences in debt and cash flow and money. Kevin instinctively understood that.
Having our own business and having those ups and downs and those things that caused me great anxiety, fear, and turmoil, caused us to have arguments and heated discussions. Many times, I became resentful because I didn’t understand. The kids were in high school when, finally, I exploded like a volcano, erupting, because I was so worried about the finances and money. I had this picture of being successful and I felt like I had the skills, like I had the talent and wherewithal to do what I needed to do to be successful financially. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to have the success that I wanted if debt and that kind of pain came with it. Our house note was so high, as we had borrowed money against it, so it was a high monthly commitment, not to mention all of the other expenses, with our son in private school and both sons having cars, and just all the expenses that came with it. Our overhead was very high, and every month facing that debt was very tearful for me.
So, one day, I got this half-baked idea to go to an attorney and start the process of understanding what I needed to do to get a divorce. I just wanted so badly out of the pain, and I thought a divorce from Kevin would solve that. So, I got the paperwork drawn up, but Kevin was unaware that anything was going on. However, something happened, I don’t really know why it did, I came out of the attorney’s office with the divorce paperwork in hand, all folded up. I got in the car, and it was like a lightning bolt hit me. I thought, you know, I don’t need to do this. This is the wrong direction. I don’t think this is the right thing for me to do. I need to try to make one more phone call to see if we can really get at what is causing the problem with our marriage. Actually, I was about to pickup the phone when Kevin called me. I said, “Kevin, I need to talk to you.” He knew by the sound of my voice that it was serious and that he needed to stop whatever he was doing and we needed to really talk. From that point on, we started rebuilding our marriage. We went from not really communicating at all to talking more, being less resentful, less angry, more hearing one another. We had to learn again to love one another, to be intimate again, as that too had suffered. It took several years, maybe three to five years before I really felt like that love, that spark had come back.
We began rebuilding. We ultimately sold that business that was always so fearful for me, and we made a great profit on it, and that went extremely well. It was just pure luck that we sold it the way we did. We got more money than we thought we would get. We sold our business and our home for way more money than we ever thought, and, literally, two weeks after we sold our home, the real estate market began to go crazy and everything dropped to half. So, we were very blessed. Financially, we were able to get out from under our business debt and able to pocket the proceeds from the sale of our home. So, the next three months, I was having fun writing the bills to pay off the people. We weren’t going to the office any more. We had time to take a breath and say, “Oh, what will we do next.” We had time to think about it because we had money in the bank. This was the first time EVER for us to really not have any debt, with money in the bank. We rented a beautiful, a gorgeous home instead of buying. I was able to be with my friends in Jackson and Madison. Our home was on a beautiful estate, with a lake and easy access to anything. Just a haven or heaven right there. And most of all, this freedom meant that I was able to return to my decorating skills, as I did a complete renovation of our rented home.
Our landlord was very well known in the community and people loved him, and he was very good to us. No debt, a beautiful home to live in, lots of fun, and I was able to enjoy decorating and making the home beautiful. It was a home that we really, really loved. I was able to pull everything together in renovating the home with great ease. So, it was a lot of fun.
With our marriage back on track, we had this new future ahead of us, which we were so excited about. We were enjoying a freedom from financial worries, a freedom to able to pick and choose whatever we wanted to do. This time was really exciting for us.
Then, an unexpected thing happened. Our son who was in college during this time, just had a sort of a break in his health and with us. From that point on things kind of went downhill for a while for us as a family. We did everything we knew how to help him. We do know he has lots of hurt feelings and pain, but we were unable to really help him. Still, he is not willing to accept that we love him and will help him. That was a very confusing issue for us.
Then, after seven to eight years, our money ran out. We started doing odd jobs to make income happen. I was definitely going strong with the decorating. I had gone through a class in Atlanta and learned the skills that I needed to go along with my God-given talent that I had in my brain all along. I loved that class, and I came home from Atlanta armed and ready to decorate any room. It started out as something fun to do, but then, with the money gone, it became our income. It was what paid our bills, paid our rent, our car. I still loved it, but it became very, very taxing physically even though financially it was rewarding, which helped us out greatly.
We still were struggling because we wanted residual income as we had experienced early in our lives. We knew from previous experience how networking marketing direct sales could really give us the life we wanted, the time freedom, the financial freedom. Although I loved my decorating, it was very time consuming and physically and emotionally detrimental, as I never dressed up and looked like a washwoman, as my mother would say. My feet began to hurt tremendously. I ate a lot of junk food. I would stop at McDonalds and have a huge Coke with animal cracker cookies and French fries and burger. That was what I lived on. I refilled 24-oz. and 36-oz Cokes twice a day. My feet were a mess, with so much inflammation I could hardly walk. By 2:00 every day, my feet hurt so badly I could not even walk. I was taking 4-5 Advil a day. I had one time played tennis at least once a week with my girl friends on a tennis team, and now I could not do that because I could hardly walk. And I could not afford the time or the money to play tennis. I had to decorate. It was our livelihood.
All the while Kevin was trying to find a business that we could do in network marketing. We were not finding one that we could promote, that we really loved. We tried lots and lots of products and services. We even had a couple of companies pay us to promote their product and still we couldn’t get people interested. We just could not find a business model out there that fit us. No system out there that we really loved to do.
And, I found with the economy, the home decorating business was tied to market and personal forces I could not control. It was all dependent on whether people could afford luxury. If the economy was bad, then it affected my business. I went into decorating as a hobby, never dreaming that we would have to live on my labors and income, ultimately, forever.
In this stressful state for us, I think it was almost a divine intervention that a company came along. My friend Gloria had been a great success in direct sales for years and years. She was into health and wellness for over 25 years. However, she found herself floundering. The company she had been successful with faltered, and a rash of owners out there in network marketing couldn’t bring their products to the market. Then one of the owners of a new company sent her their product. She tried it and liked it. It was this product that she called me about and recommended that I try.
This invitation to try the product came at a crazy time for me. Mother had been very sick, was in and out of the hospital, bleeding internally. They would give her blood and she would be great for a short time, then she would have to go back in for more blood. I was in the hospital for weeks with her, and I was exhausted and tired. When Gloria offered me the product, I found myself ready to get my life back on track. I wanted something. I wanted to do something I could enjoy. She sent product, and I tried it. I was scheduled to play tennis with friends, and I put the product patch on my skin. I had an unbelievably positive response. The product worked, I felt great. I played the best tennis ever. I went afterwards and did my decorating with customers, rugs, lamps, accessories, bed linens, hung drapes, pictures, all day. At the end of day, I cooked a great dinner. I was feeling tremendous energy. At night was thinking about going out and washing the car.
Gloria asked me, “Is that normal, everything you did yesterday?” Absolutely not, I answered. This was quite a different day. She helped me realize that I was taking a product with great nutrients in it, great nutrition, and I could feel the difference.
Over time, I looked at all products, tried them all, shared them, and got positive results. Kevin said, “Linda, you’ve been on 3 months, you look good physically, you act differently, you think differently, you are emotionally better, mentally better, you just have that spark back that I haven’t seen for a very long time. Why don’t we look at the reward/compensation plan and let’s see if that might be something that can help us get out of this financial ditch we are in right now. Even if it is temporary, let’s look at it. As long as the product is good.” So that’s what we decided to do.
After six months, I began searching out people older for health and wellness, maybe people going through similar things, maybe their job played out and they were laid off – whatever reason, I began looking for people who were looking for financial security or extra income.
Three or four of my friends tried the products and decided to go in with me as well. So, we began with a core group of three to four ladies, and we began building a business.
And now, here we are, about 2 ½ years later, so many things have changed for us. We have our groove back. We live in Kevin’s grandfather’s home on 200 acres on hill with a 200 acre lake. I had the dream of my life, which was remodeling the home from top to bottom. We live a life we never dreamed of. Our beautiful home is in the middle of nowhere in north Mississippi, near Pickwick Dam and Pickwick Lake. Beautiful, million dollar homes are built around there for second homes for people to be around the gorgeous, gorgeous huge lake.
We are out of debt and enjoy financial freedom. Truly we live a life that over the hard years I never expected again. I really do have a life every day full of friends, not business associates, really my friends. Great life. A calling, passion, want everyone we know to feel better, have energy like we do, mentally and physically. Divine calling that we now have by going online.
With our new online business, I love that I have a way to attract people to us that are interested in feeling good. People that want to feel better, look better, and then do better. If I can find people that are like me, who, when they find something out there that helps them, buy it, take it correctly, and take it long enough, then I can build a business. More importantly, I can build a network of friends that I can visit all over the country or talk to on the phone no matter where they are. I really have this neat, unique, special, group of friends that will be my friends forever. I think that is what we are all enjoying most now. With what I am doing today, I am learning about myself, learning better about who I am and what I want and what I can bring to the table to help others. Other people on my team are really making me whole.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I believe so strongly that we will build a business easily for our associates. As I tell them early on, if you can bring the people to the table that are somewhat interested or qualified, then we know exactly what to do with them. We know how to hold their hand, we know how to help them. That is what we have today is a system of helping us find the people who are interested and then allowing them to try our product, see how they feel, and decide if they want to continue taking the product, or decide if they want to take the product into a business. So, we are really excited about that. It’s fun to see that we can do this. I hope it gives hope to a lot of people, a way to see that your life does have ups and downs, almost like a rollercoaster – it can be such a high to know that things are going great and you think your life is going down this track and then all of a sudden it takes a detour and you are in a ditch and you don’t know how you got there and you don’t know how you are going to get out. It is such a fearful place to be.
I really thought I would never get “me” back, I was so afraid, I was so scared, I just couldn’t find an answer. I couldn’t solve it. It was so frightening to me. I know other women feel that way. There is a lot for single women to go through, so much pain of divorce and being left alone. I know that our team of ladies can help them feel better and know that we can help them go in a positive direction.
I think this is the place that God has finally prepared me for. I think He has really had me go through so many good and bad experiences, fearful experiences, things that have shaped me, through other people, to what I am today. I don’t know what the future holds. I do think the rollercoaster of things being good and bad are always going to be there. I think having the perspective that God is placing me in situations where I can learn from the things I have been dealt and had to overcome. I think it gives me perspective so I can help other people, to be comforting to them, because I have been through what they might be going through or about to go through. I know how that feels to feel burned or feel isolated or scared or frightened, or angry, resentful, mad, just crazy, almost. I know, after these 58 years, that God is taking me somewhere else, to a new calling. I hope that will be where, more than anything, I get to lead other women to financial freedom, time freedom. Having the time to be with their children, to travel to go see them wherever they are, to be with them when they are sick, hurting, or feel bad. Be with them when they are happy, joyful and experiencing great things in their lives. That is what I hope I bring to the table, as I continue to better myself, to develop personal skills, and also help others, mostly women, see a way out, whether they are married, not married, single, young, or old, to be able to see a way that they can really live the life that God has planned for them and enjoy the process.
I am really blessed that He gave me my husband Kevin who many times I didn’t understand, many times I found fault with him because I didn’t get what he was talking about. But, bottom line, he has always wanted to have time freedom, he’s always wanted to determine what he did every day, and as a result, he fought very, very, very hard for that. And, because of that, I now have that same freedom. I can get in my car any day of the week, go where I want, do what I want, or stay at home and enjoy my beautiful home and pet all my puppy dogs.
I am very simple but I enjoy an extraordinary life. The fairy tale, I do have the slipper and it does fit. I do feel like the princess who at one time was not the princess and now that has really happened for me. I don’t know how and why all of those things happen, I just know that I’ve come out from under it, and I am very happy about my future. Happy about where I am today, so blessed and happy to have the people in my life that I have. This is an ongoing story that will continue to weave, but the patchwork of my life up until now has been pretty amazing. Again, all the people who have been a part of my life have really made an impression on me, and I look forward to the future, meeting lots and lots and lots of new people through my online business, where I can impact the lives of many other people.