As the years have passed, Francine’s look has changed, her thinking has changed, and her life condition has changed. What has not changed is her powerful message of hope. Her ability to dig deep into our souls and have us relate—regardless of who we are—is a testament to the power of her honesty and authenticity. As a young woman, her riveting rags to riches story inspired us. Now as a mature woman who has experienced many of life’s challenges, her story is more compelling. In her own words, Francine says:
- At 18, I thought I was invincible.
- Yet at 25, I didn’t think I’d live to see 26.
- By the time I turned 30, I was in the middle of a significant life change.
- Then by 40, I was living my dream.
- At 50, I couldn’t believe how awesome I felt. 50 rocked!
- Then I hit 60 and I felt my life was over. I cried for days and weeks at the thought of being old. I was probably watching way too may television shows, where 60-year-old people were in rocking chairs.
- By 61, I started to appreciate the gift of a long life.
- This year I turned 69 and loving every fabulous moment of it.
Life is not a destination, it’s a journey. The power of the journey depends on our attitude. The true test of a successful person is their willingness to weather life’s “inevitable” storms. Everyone has their turn in the barrel. Aging is one of life’s storms. Loss is one of life’s storms. Unexpected experiences, like a pandemic is a life storm. If we are lucky, we GET to experience all with room to spare. I speak from experience.
The past two years have been challenging. Two years ago, my husband passed away after a long battle with esophageal cancer. Richard and I had been together almost 24 years. Then Covid hit and my mom passed away. They say when it rains it pours. The gift for me is that not once during that time did I give up on life. What’s changed? My attitude. I stopped seeing the world in terms of what I could not do and focused on all that I could do.