On Thursday, January 27 Categories:

I am thankful for challenges of life. Yep, thankful for all the horrible, no good, terrible, very bad times in my life. If it weren't for all those times in my life, I couldn't be who I am today. I can say and appreciate that now. I didn't think so then.

From the time I became a teen, times were rough. I didn't know it back then, but years would go by that my family suffered greatly. Having a survivor mentality, I was certain at 13 years old, that I could fix everything. Today, I know I can do anything I set my mind to.

My father lavished us greatly while I was growing up and the more he gave, the more we wanted. So he began to embezzle from the county. The family really. The family owned the county. In my 13th year, he was caught. My family, practically aristocrat by then, did the only sensible thing....we fled. My brothers, sister, nor I really understood what was happening, it just seemed like another family vacation that summer.

But the fun eventually wore off and the weeks stretched into months and then turned into living in my mom's 1976 Datsun B-210 Hacthback...for years. Seven of us in that thing. My mom, dad, three brothers, one sister, and me. Eventually my father was caught as he began his alcoholic induced stupor which would last for the remainder of his life. The fleeing stopped back home in California, dad was convicted, paroled and returned to us...the family.

Our lives were shattered and ruined. My parents then broken and embarrassed, gave up. My dad has a triple heart by-pass and disabled from ever working again and my mom's lifelong dream of being a housewife destroyed. They sunk deeper and deeper into depression and we, the 5 children, left to live in a car at night and parks by day.

I got sick of it. I began working at anything I could do and during the course of the year, went from park to motel to 5 bedroom house. That house were my mom got a job, my dad got on social security, and we would begin to repair our lives.

I am thankful, each and every day, that I did not continue down that path. I don't know who she would have grown up to be, but I know two things. One, it wouldn't be me and two, I wouldn't have liked who she was growing up to become. Those were horrible, terrible, no good, very bad years of my life. One of many in my life, I admit. But I am thankful for those days nonetheless.

Those years were the kind of years that a teenager makes terrible choices. Drinking, drugs, prostitution, pregnancy.... none of which I chose. I could have sunken into the depths of darkness that plague our teenagers today. The choices they feel they are pressured into making. I am here to say, it doesn't have to be that way. I know. I was there. It is tough, homelessness as a child and an adult, it is hard. But it doesn't have to be there forever. I made a choice and I fought to get out. I wouldn't leave my family behind or compromise on principles to do it. I just fought and I fought hard while trusting God to show me where to go.

That doesn't mean that I just sat back and said "okay God, get me out of this..." NO!!! He was showing me what I had to do. I had to do the work, not Him. I was the one who had to grow, not Him. Dear people, don't sit on your ass waiting for a miracle when God is showing you how to take it. Get up off your butt and work for it. You are only a "poor me" victim as long as you have made the choice to be. Screw that! Work hard for it and the rewards are tremendous.

Thank you God, for rescuing me from a life and a shell of a person that I was then. Thank you so much for the challenges that prepared me for my entire life and made me a strength for my children and their children (if they ever have any).

I love who I am today and love the life I have. None of this would have been possible without You. You have given me all I thought I had ever lost and overflowed my cup with abundance. I am so very grateful today as I was then, for the lessons you taught me. Thankful for the things I got to do, the work ethic you instilled in me, and the protective qualities and instincts that would serve me for my entire life.

I am eternally grateful for the challenges I have had and the love You have shown me.

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Hi, I am Ginger Rockey-Johnson, THE Spice Girl of Tampa Bay. We provide remarkable marketing solutions to independent entrepreneurs, small to medium-sized businesses in Florida. As one piece of an overall strategy, I provide word-of-mouth marketing, Social Media, & Internet Marketing Concierge services catered to meet the individual or small businesses.

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