Welcome to Midlife Monarch episode two. Thank you so much for joining me. Just getting this podcast off and rolling and we are going to be focusing on things that a midlife woman would encounter.
Also, men are going to be able to relate to some of this for sure, or being married to a midlife woman, right? But my focus definitely is on being a midlife woman and on all of the things that come along with that, including empty nesting and parenting still of a high schooler.
I want to talk about everything from time management and travel and hobbies and business and pets and just kind of whatever it is that is happening. Some of you guys have been following me for a while.
I’ve been a trainer in the marketing space for many years and I have catered specifically to real estate agents because that was my first business where I began training others how to grow.
I still have a real estate license and a real estate team in Las Vegas, Nevada. So we’ll talk about some of that. And over time I began blogging and creating videos and webinars and tutorials and training courses.
And so some of you guys may already know me from that space over LoriBallen.com – but now I’m excited to have been branching out into a couple of other niches.
One of them is affiliate marketing and I love to share and teach and train how I earn six figures passively [when it comes in]. Obviously, it’s not passive on the front end and I do all of that at the7thtream.com.
You’re welcome to check that out. But the midlife thing is really cool because I can actually just talk about life and whatever it is that I happen to be going through. And I’m hoping that this is more of a storytelling podcast and something that you can personally find inspiration in.
I love to empower people even more than I love to inspire people. And we’re going to talk about everything from marriage to divorce, to dating, to finances, investing taxes, credit debt, just all of that. And I’m in an interesting phase in my life because I went through a divorce two and a half years ago.
I’ll be 48 this summer. And this is a shock to the system to be single again. And I’m going to be talking about that path and you’ll be able to follow me through that journey.
I’m not yet dating and that’s very on purpose. While I still have my teenage daughter at home, I’ve just been really focused on her and on making some major changes in my business that would help set me up for the future and for retirement and just for the quality of life, to be honest with you.
My teenager, Tabitha, we call her “Tabs”, she prefers Tabs, is going to be going into her junior year this year and will be driving. There’ll be more opportunities for dating later Should I decide it’s time for that, but for today I’m not. And so I’ll share when I do go down that road. I was debating on what topic to talk about today.
This podcast contains talks that are designed to be 20-minute talks. So just enough to get you feeling good and inspired. Some of the talks will be more serious and probably a bit on the darker side when we dive into real life stuff I’m sure. I am a very positive, optimistic person.
You’ll find that I focus on the positive and at this phase in my life I just don’t take life all that seriously.
I do work the majority of my time (at home and by choice) and I’m very passionate about my business. I’m also passionate about a new hobby that I started a few years ago.
And that is what I have decided to talk about today because we will get into divorce and we’re going to get into things and probably bring me to tears. And I thought I would keep it a little bit lighter as you figure out who I am and if this is a podcast you want to listen to before we get into those kinds of discussions.
Eventually, we’re going to talk about divorce and addiction, and Depression, mental illness, some of those kinds of things. So today I’m going to talk about my hobby and I’m going to tell you a really cool story.
A few years ago, not long before my divorce, (and I really believe this hobby has been one of my saving graces through all of this. ) on a whim, I got a DNA test. I’m believing, I saw a post on Facebook that inspired me to do this.
A friend of mine had gotten her DNA test and I think that is what actually sparked my curiosity if I can remember right. And she was talking about the percentages that showed up and that she was surprised to have a little bit of this or that, you know, and I thought, well, you know, that would be interesting.
My biological father has been absent from our lives. I know who he is and I know where he is now. I didn’t always, but I do now. I actually reconnected with him several years ago and actually got to see him in person for the first time in 30 + years which was nice because now I’ll never have that lingering curiosity.
I have the answers that I wanted and that’s great. But of course, there’s always that “wondering” like “am I really his kid, or are there others of us that we may not know about?”
I look like him. I did not expect there to be any secrets uncovered, but it was just kind of, you know, I wonder. I didn’t know anything about my mother’s father’s side of the family.
My mother’s father actually committed suicide when she was just five years old and there wasn’t much known about his family. We’ll talk about this on a later podcast but His siblings also did or were rumored to have committed suicide as well.
And so no living relatives really to plug into and the offspring just don’t know a whole heck of a lot about the family. They knew their grandparents when they were kids. They’re gone now. So I was curious and I was kind of curious about the suicide thing and wondering.
Is this inherited? My mother suffered with it her whole life. My siblings and I have had bouts with it. So, you know, I’m curious for the sake of family health and just for curiosity sake.
Were they cursed? I mean, what happened, right? Why did all these people commit suicide? So I got curious and I went ahead and took the DNA test, and sent it in.
I did ancestry.com to start off with and the test came. I don’t know anything about anything when it comes to genealogy, DNA, nationalities and so forth. I like to think I’m a smart girl, but I did not do well with geography or history, so I’m not really familiar with countries.
It came back that I was primarily European, German, Irish, British American, not a whole lot of secrets in there.
We did hear rumors like most families that there was Native American, but we did not pick that up in the DNA tests. After looking at it, I got really, really intrigued by what I was seeing with the cousin connection.
Ancestry starts revealing that I all of these fourth cousins and third cousins and a couple of second cousins popped up on there and I started thinking about a couple of things.
My younger brother had a different father and so he had a couple of sisters that I met when we were all really young. So these would be his half-sisters like I am. And I was curious if I could find them for him. We had found out that his father had passed away. He never knew him and we were curious about the sisters.
And then my oldest daughter was from a previous marriage. I was only 17 when I got married believe it or not, and I was 21 when I had Sabrina and after our divorce, her father had a string of daughters and I was curious, you know, can we find them? Do they look like her? What are they like?
So I went ahead and paid for the subscription to build a family tree because they’re separate things. You buy your DNA test and then there’s a family tree thing. And at the same time, just to let you know, I also went ahead and DNA tested with 23 and me and I wanted to upload my DNA to gedmatch, which is another whole thing.
So I went ahead and got that and I got the health report also from 23 and me that talks about potential disease traits you have that indicate you could have such and such disease.
And I really liked that report. Overall, I liked the DNA and health report better from 23 and me, but I liked the tree much better from ancestry.com and the way they do hints and paper trails and all of that. So I went ahead and paid for the subscription and I got super involved with building this tree.
And I guess my years of loving logic puzzles when I was a child paid off. Logic puzzles being “14 people get on a train and this half are male, this half is female. Jimmy’s wearing a blue shirt. If they had four stops who does Jimmy end up exiting with?”
You know, all of that kind of stuff. Process of elimination. I loved that stuff. If I had money, I was picking up a brand new logic puzzle book and a new pencil and eraser. I just loved that as a child, a teenager, and a young adult. So this is kind of similar. And I just got super excited about it.
Well, I did wind up finding all the sisters that I was looking for. My daughter knows her sisters now and how to connect with them and my brother knows where his sisters are. And then in, in this exploration, which again I’ll talk about on a future podcast, I actually found dozens of suicides, which was fascinating.
On my grandmother’s side, We found out that we are descendants of the Mayflower and that’s gotten me very into the hobby pursuing the Society of Mayflower Descendants, the daughters of the revolutionary war(DAR) and all of that.
I’m getting the New England ancestry magazines and others. I’ve got a nice stack of genealogy books now that I’m studying. We’ve got royalty and a lot of it.
One day last year I got a message from a guy and he said, “hey, this is going to sound strange, but I’m adopted and you are popping up as my cousin and you’re the first person I’ve ever known that’s my blood relative (other than my son) and I don’t have any questions for you.
There’s nothing I want to know about my family. I just wanted to connect with the only living relative (other than my son).”
And I said, okay, great. I’m happy to know you and am here if you have questions. At the next family gathering, I kind of asked a couple of questions to the group. My grandmother was still living.
Nobody knew anybody that gave a baby up for adoption. So I dropped it. I didn’t want to get nosey. He didn’t ask for help or details. So I completely just let it go.
After some time went by, he reached out again and said, now I would like your help. I would like to know more about where we came from. Of course, he had his DNA results from his test. So he knew genetically where he was from. But, obviously, he was more curious still about the people.
So this was so funny. I had appointments at work at this time. I had a major payroll, I had employees, I had a lot of moving parts going on, but I still had earned into this position of freedom where could make my own choices of what I wanted to do with my day.
So I messaged my assistant and I said, “hey, take everything off my books today and tomorrow, no appointments. I’m going to help this guy find his parents”.
And I was so excited about the project. Anyway, it’s like a logic puzzle, right? I love this. So I got out my tree and I got out my spreadsheets and I put it all together and I basically narrowed it down to this set of siblings.
I pretty much could tell that he must have come from one of this set. And I will tell you the world works in such mysterious ways. God, Universe. Out of all of my family members, when it comes to anybody that would be a second cousin, third cousin, first cousin, once removed, distant uncles, aunts. I’m not connected to them.
I know one aunt and we don’t talk on Facebook either, but I’m not connected to any of the others. And definitely not my mother’s cousins before now. I haven’t met most of them. They live in other states. But for some reason, I happened to be connected to this one cousin of my mother’s. I don’t even remember making the connection on Facebook.
I don’t know why, but there he was on my Facebook friends list. Well, he happens to be one of the three siblings that I narrowed this down to.
So I messaged him and I said, this is going to sound bizarre. I don’t know how much you follow my page. Somehow we’ve gotten connected and I’m just gonna tell you straight up that there’s a young man that messaged me and said that he is adopted.
Based on my genealogy research, I believe you or one of your siblings would be his father.
And he messaged me back right away like he was sitting on Facebook and he messaged me back and told me a really sad story about his own children that had passed away when they were children, and that I didn’t know anything about.
So, of course, that was an incredible story and very sad and I appreciated him sharing with me. And then he said, you know, Lori, my brother did give up a child when he was a teenager.
And so I’m thinking, this has got to be it. I said if you’ll reach out to your brother and ask him if he wants to know any about this and wants to be involved, if not, I’ll leave it alone.
But if he does, let me know. Well, the brother messages me back the same day and says, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I want to know him. I reached back out to the adopted son and suddenly he was a bit scared and wasn’t sure what to do and he kind of doesn’t respond for a little while.
And then he finally says, okay, you know, how do we do this? And I said, well, how are you comfortable?
They don’t live in the same state, but they’re not far from each other. And he says, well, let’s start with texts. So I help them each get their phone numbers and they started texting each other.
Eventually, I offered to pay for a DNA test for the father and we were able to prove certifiably that they are father and son. And then they ended up hitting it off over text and the son ends up going to mee the Father. And they met and they’re in touch and they’re father and son.
And it’s just this most amazing, amazing, wonderful story to actually see this unfold. And what’s crazy about it all too is that the father even still knows the mother. And she also wanted to know him.
It’s such an amazing outcome. Obviously, when you watch these stories on Netflix or Hulu or whatever it is on these adoptee stories, they don’t always turn out that great.
And a lot of times the parents aren’t living anymore or they deny it or don’t want anything to do with him. So to see this unfold has been pretty incredible. And I’ve actually been able to match up several people based because of the DNA in my tree.
My daughter’s father was adopted so we didn’t know anything about his trail. And Man, if you could see the stuff I’ve uncovered there, it’s crazy. But I was able now to tell my daughter where she’s from and trace her grandparents all the way back on both sides.
And I was able to help one of the other adopted family members connect the dots and now he knows who his father and his mother are, even though the mother had passed on.
So it’s been a really cool thing and I feel like this hobby has given me a purpose. I’ve been able to present this to my entire family and show them slideshows and pictures of who we are and where we came from and family members.
We are related to Harry S Truman and, and several others that I’ve been able to show. I was able to give my grandmother before she passed away, a family book. She’s the only one I’ve ever made one for so far. I was able to show her where her father came from, and a picture of her grandfather and aunt.
And it’s been incredible to say, here’s who your great grandparents were and here were their kids. Then I gave her all the way back to William Brewster of the Mayflower.
And she was just tickled. And then I was able to take her to the Mayflower descendants society luncheon, where she got to hear a bunch more and see presentations and see Scooby Manor and where Brewster came from and that was all before she passed away. And that just felt so good to be able to give that to her.
I think genealogy has helped me in my divorce to stay focused on something positive and something outside of work because I am such a worker. It’s nice to be able to go,” okay, I’m not going to work for a couple of hours.
I’m going to go work on my genealogy” and sink into that. I was able to go travel to Boston and see where the Salem Witch Trials were. We are related to 22 of the accused witches. I was able to see where the trials were, the cemetery of Brewster and other relatives. And it’s just been incredible and I cannot wait to do more.
So thank you so much for joining me today on this podcast. I look forward to the next one where we’ll be telling more stories and sharing more on The Midlife Monarch Podcast.