Where Have I Been?


My poor blog has been neglected for the past year, but I'm not beating myself up for it. How can I, when I have neglected myself. Today marks the one year anniversary of the day that changed my life forever. 

Things were going great. I had worked hard and persevered to take my business to the next level. I was on top of the world and was coming off a successful launch of Crystyler by Norma Rapko.

I had worked 5 long years to bring Crystyler to market. We had just wrapped multiple shows on HSN that had sold out on my product and had launched a national informercial with one of the most successful companies in the country. I was also celebrating on a personal level. My son, Andrew, had been accepted to CalState Northridge. He is the first in our family to be accepted to a university. I was riding high!

On a cold, cloudy morning all that changed. 
The phone rang and it was my husband’s doctor. I had my suspicions when we’d gone in for a checkup and this call proved my suspicions right. A tumor on his left cheek in the parotid gland was a concern and needed to be removed immediately. The procedure would require high risk surgery. The news shook me to the core, knocked the wind out of me and brought me to my knees. My thoughts immediately circled back to his mother who had passed away of cancer when he was 10 yrs. 

The news was devastating, and I struggled to compose myself. I had an impending meeting scheduled 10 mins after the doctor’s call. It was a big meeting. The kind that is a game changer in the business world. It took everything I had to pull myself together for it.

The meeting brought more bad news and not the outcome I was hoping for.  FAILURE! That was the only thing I could think of. You FAILED! I am a failure.

There were a hundred moving parts to my husband’s procedure, so I had to keep moving. He needed a team of experts and extensive care after the surgery. My son also needed support as he transitioned into college and my daughter was panicked at the thought of her father’s diagnosis. My family required my full attention. I was so overwhelmed, but I stepped into this new chapter with my whole heart.

In the following months I made the decision to pull back on my business. My family has and always will be my #1 priority. I stopped traveling, no longer did appearances and dropped anything else that would take time away from those I love the most. 

During the next four months I helped nurse my husband back to health. The day he returned to work I could't get myself out of bed. I sobbed all day. I allowed myself to release the pain, grief, stress and failure I had bottled up inside of me. I was exhausted and burnt out. I had completely neglected myself and was feeling the effects of that. I come from a long line of women who taught me, “Keep going. Be tough. You'll get through it and it will all be ok.” But it wasn't ok. I had fallen apart. I was broken, hurting, grieving, and depressed. Ultimately, I had lost myself. 

I knew in that moment I needed a drastic change. I began to practice self-care through meditation, mindfulness and prayer. I started writing, reading, painting, and cooking again. I went back to all the things I loved to do but had been too busy to do. I slowed my world down completely. Looking back on it now I call it, My Year of Silence.

In this silence I was able to take a really good look at my life and discovered what is most important to me, who am I and what my purpose is here on earth. 

I had gotten on a roller coaster and didn't even remember when I bought the ticket. On top of that, I had never gotten off! I was living my life in the past and in the future while racing through the present.

On the morning of October 26, 2014 God made it loud and clear that living in the past is painful and worrying about the future is too time consuming. What matters is this present moment. The here and now. The love we experience and the people we share it with. That day I got off the roller coaster and changed my life forever. I am a different person now, with a different purpose full of beautiful and rich experiences. God has given me the power to 'see' and has breathed new life into what he intends for me. 

These days I am excited about exploring new opportunities and sharing my story.
God answered my prayers and my husband has made a full recovery. My son is enjoying his days in college and my daughter is a senior in high school and loving every minute of it. 

So, live in the moment. Be present. It's all we have. As for me, my spirit is not broken and I am moving ONWARD!


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  1. You are a beautiful, wise inspiration to those of us who yearn for rest, renewal, and to get off the rollar coaster! Thank you for your amazing words.

  2. Incredible journey. So glad to read that your husband is better. Tragedy and suffering brings along with it incredible blessings we could have never known otherwise. Time to enjoy those blessings and take care of Norma.

  3. Hooray! On all counts, your year speaks of faith, hope, and love, most of all love. There are times in our lives that we look back on as a pivotal moment, and this past year sounds like such a year for you, Norma. Thank you for sharing about your past year, the screeching halt of the roller coaster ride, the stress, the praying, the faith, and the love. I am so thankful your husband is better, and that you had a year to regroup, and take care of YOU. I love you friend. ❤️

  4. God bless you and your family Norma!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I am going through a similar situation and you have given me hope and strength. Thank you!!

  5. Love's blessings dear heart. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  6. Everything happen for a reason!! Thanks for sharing your journey!! Como siempre fuertes como latinas!!
    Magda Cortez


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