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Call Her Blessed

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and ca

Updated: 2018-03-08T09:01:45.339-07:00


From the Mouth of my Babe

2015-04-29T08:20:08.870-06:00 my world rocked this morning!

I sat with my kids during breakfast and we read a kids' daily devotional.  Today's reading was all about worry and how it's a form of unbelief....unbelief that God is with us, cares about us personally, and is able to handle our problems.  The reading encouraged us to express our worries to the Lord so He can carry them for us.  It seemed logical to ask my kids what they worry about.

"getting good grades"
"what people think of me"
"puking on the bus ride for my field trip today" (haha!)

But then Thomas shared his little heart, and I almost cried!

"Mom, I worry about losing you and Daddy.  I'm afraid you'll get sick and die.  I'm afraid someone will hurt or kill you.  I'm worried that maybe you and Daddy won't want to be married anymore and one of you will marry someone else - that happened to a lot of people in my class."

Oh....felt like a gut punch!  I had no idea that my rambunctious, loud, silly little baby boy was carrying such a heavy burden!

I reassured him to the best of my ability...but ultimately...he will lose us.  Hopefully not for a very very long time.....but we will die.  I can't really tell him that we'll be here for him forever if we won't!

What to do but encourage him to turn his eyes to Jesus?  Jesus will never leave him.  As we sat with waffles and juice before us....we prayed.  We prayed for safety, for Luke's and my marriage, families that have been broken, friendships, bus rides....all of it.  We imagined putting all of our worries in a big box, closing the lid, and handing it to Jesus to take care of for us.

Ultimately though, my prayer is not to avoid the inevitable of death and loss.....instead, I pray that my kids all know and trust the Lord so they can get through the hard stuff with, even.  I pray that they know Him and how much He loves them.....that they grow to only care about what HE thinks of them.

I'm just their earthy parent - boy, I feel small this morning - I can't protect and guide them their entire lives.  I'll do my best, of course....but I'll screw up, miss things, give bad advice, and eventually have to leave them.

Feeling overwhelmingly thankful this morning for Jesus....who is ready and able to fill the God-shaped hole in my babies like only He can.


God's Daiquiri Story


I was raised to know God and the story of this Jesus who came to save.I was "saved" as a young child of about 9 years old, one night after praying "....if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take..."  After uttering those words, I felt that still small voice speak to me and say, "Do you?  Do you want to be mine?"  I whispered back a heartfelt, "yes"....and He moved into my heart that quiet night in Iowa as I lay under the covers of my little yellow Holly Hobby blanket.  I proceeded to live a mostly fruitless life, but I tried really hard to be "good".Many years later in 1998, I began a painful and beautiful journey.  It felt like I was being bombarded by so many different "truths" could I really know what IS true?  If there is just one God, surely there must be one standard of truth....God's Truth.  I spoke to a  Catholic priest, a Lutheran minister, my parents, a Mormon from work, and an Evangelical Christian friend.  At one point or another during our conversations, all these different people mentioned one book at least once...the Bible.How could this be?  The Bible was just a book of stories....hard to understand, seemingly contradictory....and the few pieces I could understand didn't make me like or trust God very much!So I did what any self-respecting intelligent person would do....I se out to prove that the Bible couldn't be true.  That way, I could simply live my OWN "truth" and all would be settled.I read.  I gathered piles of info (thank you, internet).  I talked.  I studied.  This went on for YEARS.  Five years.  I had reams of documents printed up.  I compared the Jewish holy book to our modern the Catholic the Mormon books....To my utter frustration, I was not finding much success in disproving the Bible.  But I still wasn't really ready to accept it at TRUTH.   After all, it was so HARD to read....confusing...frustrating....made me angry every time I tried to read it!And then one day, that still small voice spoke to me again.  Only it wasn't quite so still and small.  I envisioned myself at a crossroads.  I was perfectly free to choose either path I wanted, but those paths were headed in opposite directions....there was no "medium" or "sort of" middle road.  And that voice said, "Daiquiri, you know enough.  It's time to choose."  It was gentle, but it was firm.I broke. My pride, my "intelligence", my knowledge, my self-righteousness....all of it fell away and I got real with God.  Heart to heart."God, I don't understand you.  I don't understand this book of yours.  The pieces of that book that I do understand, make me feel like you're not very nice.  But I know this...there is a God, and I am not that God.  YOU are God.  I am not.  I don't know who you are or what you want with me, but I want to be yours.  I want to know you.  I want my life to have purpose and meaning.  Help me understand the Bible if that's how you want me to know you.  I give up.  From this point forward, I will stop fighting and just be all yours.  I'm scared of you and what you have for my life.  You, God....I want you to be my Lord."There were no fireworks or thunderbolts.  Just an ocean of peace in my heart.  And love.... oh, God... it's as if God is a vast OCEAN of love, and He took one minuscule *drop* of His love and put it in my heart and mind.  For weeks, I was nearly crushed by the enormity of that one small drop of God-love in my heart.  I spend a lot of time praying and a good way....just trying to build up the muscle required to carry that little drop!Needless to say, I've never been the same.  And thank God for that!My first Easter after being "born again" (I can't think of a better way to describe it) was OVERWHELMING.....oh, this Jesus of mine!  What he did for me!  How much he loves me!  At the ti[...]

Face In the Son


He called to me this morning...."choose me, precious daughter."I didn't want to.  I wanted to grab my phone, cruise social media, and eat my breakfast mindlessly. Choose me....Ok, Lord.  I choose you.  I'm sorry, really I am.  I like you a whole lot - why is it always so hard for me to choose you?The feathery pages slide open to the Psalms, and I read aloud.  I like filling my house with His Word. I feel safer with His living Words vibrating the walls, if only with my small voice.  It's my way of saying, "Get away, Enemy.  You have no place here.  This home, this heart, this mind is filled with The Son."My family is at school and work, so I am free.  I grab the speaker that makes the big chest vibrating sound, and crank it up.  Worship music fills the room....fills my heart....I choose you this morning, Lord.It's a frigid winter morning, and I've fought a chill since shivering my way out of my warm covers.  As the music plays, the sun finally blazes through the morning haze and through my back window.  It feels amazing and warm and consuming.  It warms the right side of my body, the side facing the window....but I want it on my face.  I scoot my chair a bit closer to the window, and move around until the sun shines past the edge of my house and onto my face.  There....this is my warm place...right here with the sun on my face.And then it hits me....the physical position required for me to get the sun on my face was a strange one...I had to sort of hunch down, bow my head, and turn my head toward the window.  It's the only way the sun could reach around the gutter on the outside of my house to find me.I had to bow my head.I've often wondered at the fact that we call that big bright thing in our sky "sun".  Is it coincidence?  If so, it's a mighty one!Our entire being on this planet circles that sun.The sun gives us heat and energy.No single thing could live without it's rays.Even when we can't see it, not a person on earth doubts that it's still there.It is our center, our source of energy and sustenance, our light.Our light.Our light that must sometimes reach around the dark edges to find my face.  Our light that drives out the chill and darkness just by being present. And today....the light that required me to bow my head.No - I don't believe in coincidence.  I can't help but think of how all of this physical creation reflects something about God. Sometimes it's hard to see because of the filth....the brokenness...the litter....the can be hard to see God in creation unless you're really looking for it.  But not when it comes to the sun.  Could there be a more pure unadulterated piece of creation? It's maybe the one piece of creation that wasn't damaged by the Fall...the sun...another coincidence?  Ha!Today I will seek another Light....The Son.My entire being revolves around Him.He is my life's force and energy.Without Him, I am gone.  He holds me together with a thought.Even when I can't see or feel Him, He is there.  He never leaves me.He is my center.My sustenance.My light.I choose you, Lord.  I bow my head and long for your light on my face.  Meet me here, Father and be my everything."For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20[...]

Fear…a Message from God?


I've been thinking a lot about fear and doubt lately. It seems that it's a common stumbling block….I've talked about it a lot lately with people in business and in my personal life. The trend seems to be like this:- a seed of an exciting idea starts to take hold- a persons steps forward in faith and pursues it- it's scary- that person starts to think that their fear and doubt is from God- thinking the fear is a message from God, the person is completely sidetracked or stopped all together from pursuing the good thing they set out after. They start thinking "maybe God doesn't want me here, and that's why I'm afraid". Or they think, "Oh no, God is preparing me for something terrible!"My personal "trick" for fighting through the fear (not around it or running the other direction….STRAIGHT THROUGH) is to have a verse or two that I repeat to myself until it becomes my new truth. I've been known to go on a run and say "I can do all things through Christ" for the entire 2.5 miles But here's the thing….GOD DOES NOT LEAD US WITH FEAR. God leads with peace and courage and hope and love. Does debilitating fear sound like something from a loving Father? Does it make sense for our God to lead us with fear after He's told us, "I have a plan for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." ?NO….this is precisely why we must focus on the truth of the Word…right there in black and white….vs our feelings, which are soft and squishy and change with every passing moment.In fact 1 John 4:18 tells us "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment."God is love. God casts OUT fear.Another good one to meditate on is "He who is in me is greater….greater than the enemy….greater than my fears….greater than my doubt."Or, before I pick up the phone to talk to someone who feels scary to me, I say "I trust you, Lord."I can do all thingsMy God is always with meMy God is greater than ALLI trust you, LordPS. This is a continuous battle. There are days when I feel crushed beneath the fear and doubt and ugliness. In fact, I sit here right NOW feeling vulnerable and afraid and nervous about hitting that 'post' button! So here we go….stepping out in faith and hope...[...]

The Big Fat "No" from Heaven


I'm writing over at Life Verb today.  Here's what's on my mind:
Praying this for my team today.  I’m so thankful that we have a Living God who sees us, hears us, and cares for us.  Sometimes the very best and most loving answer to our prayerful petitions is a big fat “NO”….but at the end of the day, if we know that God is FOR us and wants only the very best for us, I love hearing ‘no’ from Him!
Wait….”no” is a good thing?  Well, think about it.  I see something I want.  I want it badly enough that it makes my chest ache a little bit thinking about it.  I’m emotional enough to pray for God to intervene on my behalf.  But He says “no”.  The question we ask now is “why?”, right?  And here’s where it gets really interesting…..  CONTINUE READING

God's Story - the Starting Place


It all started right here.  In the middle of this lake….well, maybe not the middle exactly….but the deep. It was early July 2013.  We were at the cottage for our annual July 4th summer trip.  Wisconsin.  Heat.  Humidity.  Fresh air.  The smell of water and trees….the sound of breezes whispering in the trees and little critters making their homes in the canopy.  Cracking fire to warm chilled bodies.  Towels hanging over chairs.  Children giggling….covered in dirt and sand and smiles.  Fish flopping about at the end of a line.  Splashing and swimming and sunshine making skin golden despite my attempts to keep it covered with sunscreen.It was late afternoon, after 4:00.  This little lake has a "no wake" time after 4 pm, so that's when I like it most.  I'm a peace and quiet sort of girl.  I put my life jacket on, and swam out deep enough that I couldn't touch the bottom and I couldn't feel the weeds tickling my feet -- always gives me the heeby-geebies! Deep…deep….deeper…I turn over so I'm facing the sky, and I go completely limp.  My arms and legs dangle….my head floats back….the water covers my body except for my face peeking out of the water and the front of the lifejacket bobbing at the surface of the water.  All I can hear is water, my heart beating, and the sound of air in and out of my lungs.  A cloud drifts overhead.  A bird flies by.I pray.  I praise.  It's almost an out of body experience.One word drifts into my mind….HOME.I feel a shift in my mind, my soul.  Home.I'm uneasy and a little scared. Home.I doubt it.  I second guess it.  All in those 20 minutes on the water with God.  Home.We travel to Wisconsin a lot. My folks live there, one of my sisters and her growing family lives there.  My extended family lives there.  But we don't just travel there….we grapple there….we struggle and seek and try there.Every single time we go to Wisconsin, we ask ourselves the same question:  "Do we want to live here?"Sometimes Luke says "yes" and I say "no".Sometimes I say "yes" and Luke says "no".Sometimes we both say "no".Sometimes we both say "yes", but for all the wrong reasons.  We can't move our entire family….our entire lives so that we can please someone else.We can't move for the cottage.We can't move for the economy.We can't move for the beauty of the place.We can't move for the guilt of being away.We can't move because we're running from something.We can only make this move for one thing….A Calling.There is One who knows us.  One who has a plan for us.  One whom we serve and honor with our lives.  It has to be for Him, and Him alone.So this shift in my heart and soul….scared me.  For the first time since we've been contemplating and debating and striving…..I felt a Calling…. a whisper from Heaven that this place is Home.The practical side of me gets snarky…."well that's just great, how the heck are we supposed to pull this off?  The job, the house, the kids….I don't see how we can do it!"The emotional side of me needs my other half.  I tell Luke, "I think something is different.  I want this place for our family like I've never wanted it before.  It feels like home.  It feels like a calling.  I don't know what to do next."Luke, in his wisdom, says what any man would say…."I can't think about this right now."Ha! But I'm excited.  I see it.  I feel it.  I love this place down to my bones….but I can't talk about it, and it's making me crazy.  I slip and jabber on about it a time or two, and I'm met with "Daiq, I know you're heart's in this right now, but I'm not there.  I really can't even give it any thought for some reason.  Let's let it rest until we get home, ok?"Sigh.  Ok.The waiting begins….[...]

Into the Deep


Where does one start when about to cast into the deep? I've been sitting here looking out the window for 40 minutes, watching it rain.  A drop falls from the sky and joins her sisters in the puddle accumulating on my patio.  It feels like winter is breathing a deep sigh as it releases it's grip on the earth.  The ice is melting.  The giant snowballs that used to be in the shape of a man are disintegrating before my eyes.  I hear the water gurgling it's way down the gutters.  It it otherwise silent and peaceful….except for the words tumbling in my mind. This verse….this message….has burned itself into my brain in the past few days.  There's something here.  There's something I'm supposed to know….to share."Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Jesus, Luke 5:4The beginning of chapter 5 tells us that Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people, and they pressed in around Him.  I can see it, can't you?  He's talking and his words are life changing….life giving….cutting like a sword and filling empty places at the same time.  The hungry, thirsty, empty crowd presses closer to get more….more….more.  Jesus looks around for a better place to stand so he can be heard and seen by everyone. He sees a couple of fishing boats at the edge of the lake….the fishermen are done with the night's fishing.  They have an air of frustration about them….they fished all night long and came up with nothing to show for it.  They're cleaning up….rinsing out nets, putting things in order for their next fishing trip.  They're probably looking forward to going to going home, putting on some clean clothes, and getting some rest.Jesus walks right up to one of those boats, climbs in, and sits down.  The boat rocks a bit as he adjusts himself.  The boat belongs to a fisherman named Simon, who I imagine is looking at Jesus and thinking something along the lines of "what does he think he's doing?" ha!Jesus asks him to put the boat out into the water a bit -- that boat on the water will be his stage….his podium.  He speaks….he teaches….from his place on the boat.  His voice bounces off the water, and everyone on shore can hear him perfectly.Have you ever heard how sound bounces off water?  I was at the lake last summer with my family.  One of our favorite things to do when the water is calm is to drive the boat out to the deepest part of the lake, put life jackets on, and just swim and float around.  My husband and I were floating about 100 yards away from the boat.  My dad stayed on the boat to make sure it didn't drift away.  It felt like Luke and I had privacy because we were so far away and the little waves were splashing around us.  But something about dad's body language told me that he could hear us talking.  In my normal voice, I simply said, "Hi dad, can you hear me?"  Without even turning my direction he said, "Hi.  Yup."  It was the strangest sensation to experience how the water carried our voices!That's what I imagine it's like as Jesus speaks to the crowd from his perch on that fishing boat.  He finishes his teaching and then...That's when he said it.  "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."I love Simon's response:  "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets."And I love the result:  "When they did this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them.  And they came and filled both of the boats, so they began to sink."And I love Simon's conclusion: "he fell down ant Jesus' feet, saying 'Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!' For amazement had seized him and al[...]



Well, this is just surreal.  I'm looking at my brain on this screen, and discussing options with my neurosurgeon.  Wait.  What?  Did I just say that?  Is this my new normal?Actually, I'm feeling really good.  Positive.  Happy.  Hopeful.  Peaceful. Safe.  I can't tell if I'm in a thick fog of protective denial....or if this is that "Peace that surpasses understanding".Whatever.  I'll take it!Here's what we learned today: -  There is risk in not treating my aneurysm.  The risk is that it can burst and kill me.  Given it's small size however, the risk is also quite small.-  There is risk in learning more through an angiogram study of my brain (inject dye into my blood, and then take more defined pictures.  The risk here is GREATER than not treating such a small aneurysm.- There are 2 surgical options:  "coiling" or "clipping"- Coiling is risky with the small size of my aneurysm.  There's a decent (enough) chance that the lump of coil they'd fill the aneurysm with would break loose and cause a stroke.  The risk here is GREATER than not treating the aneurysm.- Clipping involves cutting into my skull, folding back the orbital bone around my eye so the doctor can basically lift my brain up and get to the aneurysm to clip it off.  This is the easy way to clip vs. going THROUGH my  brain to get to the problem area.  The risk here, again, is GREATER than not treating it. Can we all just take a moment to close our eyes, breathe deep, and *shudder* with the horror of this thought....because, really, holy sh*#!!  So, my path forward is to wait and have another MRI in 6 months to see if the aneurysm is growing (and if so, how quickly) or staying the same. If it's growing quickly, then we'll fix it.  At that point, coiling would be a better option too because with a bigger aneurysm, the coil is more likely to stay put. If it's not changing or changing very slowly, then we can avoid or further postpone surgery.When I first learned of this time bomb in my brain, my immediate and consuming thought was GET IT OUT.  NOW.  I just couldn't fathom waiting around for the thing to blow.But now, especially after learning more about the torture treatment options and their risks....I'm pretty darn happy to wait.No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety.  Psalm 16:9****************PS.  A side (and possibly entirely inappropriate) note.  The guy on the right is my neurosurgeon.  Now you tell me....does he not look like Dr. McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy?! I've been cracking up this afternoon because after the appointment,  I just couldn't stop smiling.  I'm SERIOUSLY relieved to not have brain surgery!  But when I said, "Why can't I stop smiling?!" to my dear Luke, he said"Maybe Dr McDreamy cauterized and healed your aneurism from the outside with his studly hotness!"  LOL![...]



There's nothing like a week spent contemplating and preparing for my own mortality to help priorities come sharply into focus.  To be perfectly honest, when I first heard the news, I didn't know how this would shake out....would the things I've been focused on still be important to me?Sometimes, husband, my kids, my parents, my sisters and their families, my friends.Sometimes, house, wondering what people think of me, losing weight.Sometimes, surprises....I've spend the last week being intensely aware of how physically far away I am from my folks....I HATE that.Sometimes, more, I thought it might be one of the things that I would no longer care so much about.  But nothing could be farther from the truth.I even had a friend ask me (after I shared my news with her), "do you still feel compelled to work your business, or have your priorities changed now?" Without pause, I answered "More compelled than ever!"As I think about why this is, I realize the reason is my mission.  If I were only seeing to make money for money's sake, I'm sure this wouldn't be a priority for me.  If I were only seeing status or recognition or fame, this wouldn't be a priority for me.But I'm seeking freedom.I'm seeking abundant life.I'm seeking to help other men and women build something that will bless their families for generations.I'm seeking freedom and abundant life for every person who partners with me.I'm seeking to be used by God to change people's lives.Until now, I believed all of this was possible.  I was seeing things changing in my own life, and I know I can help others too.  But now?  The rubber is hittin' the road in my life, friends. And all my big talk in the past 3 years about time and financial freedom? I'm here to say with 100% certainty....IT IS POSSIBLE....and it's been so precious to me during this tough time.I mean, LOOK AT MY LIFE! This business......Provides for my family of six. And it will continue to provide for them if something happens to me....Allows me the financial freedom to go to a specialist wherever he/she may be....Allows me to be with my family and do what is most important to me. ...Makes it possible for me to go to the doc at any time, without asking for medical leave or taking a cut in pay. ...Is the reason for my life being filled with supportive and encouraging and praying friends.I can't imagine NOT having this freedom, meaning, and joy-- life is too dang short!Bottom line:  THIS IS LESS ABOUT BUSINESS, AND ALL ABOUT MAKING THE MOST OF LIFE. And right now, while I'm acutely aware of how precious and short life is....making the most of it is my top priority.[...]

Aneurysm Details


Of course, the brain is a busy place....lots of blood and electricity flowing through that crazy mass of grey matter at any given moment.  According to my medical records, "A 1.5 mm diameter aneurysm is suspected at the anterior communicating artery region."What does that mean?  Well....not a whole lot by my layman's interpretation.  It's just a basic description of the general place in my brain which contains the ugly little SOB.  It also describes the aneurism by size.  1.5 mm is TINY.  So the good news is that this was caught very early.It's also interesting that I had an MRI 3 years ago after a family member was diagnosed with an aneurysm.  That scan was completely normal, so this a new development in my head.I can not find a description of the shape, which seems pretty important.  There are a couple of different types of treatments, and shape plays a factor in deciding which direction to take.  I imagine the specialist I'm scheduled to see this coming week will be able to tell me more.The family member who had an aneurysm, had a berry shape.  It'll be interesting to see what shape mine is.As I've been sharing this news with people, a common question is "Why did you have an MRI in the first place?"Good question - MRI isn't exactly a small deal!  The answer is I was having insane headaches when I tried to exercise.  As in drop me to the floor, I would cry or puke if I could move, hold a pillow over my eyes and moan.....insane pain.  The worst headache I ever experienced.  The first time one of those headaches happened, I thought it was a fluke.  Then it happened a second time and was even more excruciating than the first.  I made a doctor appointment to ask what she thought it might be.  Given my family history, she ordered an MRI....and here we are.Another common question is "What's the worst case scenario?"Well....a rupture would be the worst.  Only about 50% of people survive a rupture and a very small percentage of survivors escape without long term brain damage.  It's impossible to know when an aneurysm will rupture.  There is no set size at which there is most commonly a "blow-out", as I've been calling it.  Some people are walking around right now with a 6 mm aneurysm and are not having problems (although, they should get to a doc asap!).  Like I said, mine is just at 1.5 mm.  It's a pretty decent assumption that I'm not in immediate danger.  But who knows?  Mine could be on the verge of rupture and we'd have no way of knowing. I don't share that doomsday scenario to be scary or morbid....thinking like this helps me keep perspective and reminds me that I don't have the luxury of sweeping this aside to deal with later.  And believe me....there are lots of times I'd like to just pretend this isn't happening.Another frequent question is "What's your next step?"My next step is to see a specialist this coming week.  That doctor will give me his opinion regarding next steps.  Like I said, I also have a copy of my records.  I got those documents so I can send them to a couple other doctors for their opinions.  I'm especially interested to get feedback from the rock-star who repaired my family members' aneurysms with success. And, of course, people want to know, "How do they treat this?"From my limited research and family experience, there are 4 options.  One - wait and observe.  If they check again in 6 months or a year and this thing is still at 1.5 mm, that would tell us a lot about the speed at which it's growing.  Two, Three, & Four -- surgery.  I won't go into details about surgery until the doc gives me advice about which surgery he'd recommend.  Needless to say, I'm not real crazy about the ide[...]



I was awake because a little girl snuck in my bedroom, gently put her arm across my chest and her head next to mine, and said "I love you, Mama".  The sun was up.  The kids were watching cartoons.  There was the smell of fresh coffee and french toast coming from the kitchen.I sat at the table and sipped coffee from my favorite new mug, given to me by a sweet friend for my 40th birthday.  I felt the warmth of the cup in my weak morning hands and I smelled the steam coming from the brew.  I was awake.  Awake and alive.Not long after breakfast, we decided to take a family walk.  The kids got on their bikes and Luke and I walked.  Thomas reveled in his ability to go "super fast", but still stopped once a block to stomp in the crunchy leaves or pick a lingering dandelion.  I enjoyed every moment.  We made a wish and blew the dandelion together.I just had to take a detour to photograph these beautiful fall....berries?  cherries?  They glowed with the joy of fall and crisp air.I felt like I was moving in slow motion.  The green grass....the blue sky...the smell of leaves....the red skin on my cold hands.  At one point, Thomas came running up to me and said "Mama!  Did you see?  I was going SO fast!"  Then he ripped open his coat and said, "wanna feel my heart?  It's boomin' SO loud!"YES.  YES, I REALLY WANT TO FEEL THE POUNDING OF YOUR HEART. I looked in his eyes as I felt his strong and joyful heart beating away under my hand.  "Thomas, you are so strong and good!  I love you very much!"He replied with that wide-eyed smile and dashed off to find his bike.Yes, I want to feel your heart. I want to feel the pounding of MY heart. I want to hug and inhale the scent of my love. I want to crunch the leaves. I want to knead the bread and wipe the extra flour from my hands as I enjoy the smell of sourdough. I want to chop the onion and fry the meat. I want to season the pot of simmering tomatoes and run the noodle dough through the press. I want to feel how my whole body cools as I clip my hair up off my neck. I want to nibble the extra crumbs of cheese left over from assembling the lasagna. I want to feel the little girl silky hair under my hand. I want to admire the dimpled chin of my handsome oldest child and the wide eyed smile of my youngest. I want to feel the rhythm of the music down to my bones. I want to feel the heat of the fire on my shins and enjoy the smiles and giggles of my children as they munch their toasted marshmallows.I want to take long walks while we talk about our dreams for the future.I want to feel his hand in mine and see the tender green-eyed smile of my forever love.I want to enjoy the relaxing soft glow of candles on the mantle.I want to sit on the front stoop and watch the sun set.I want to lay my head on my pillow at night and feel the silence and rest and safety of my house settle in around me.I want to open my eyes countless more times to a little girl's arm across my chest and a gentle "I love you" whispered in my ear.I want.... to live. I really really REALLY want to live.And right now, that's exactly what I'm doing.  I'm awake and alive and my senses are on fire with all there is to soak in.News that I have a brain aneurysm wasn't exactly on my "wish list" for a birthday gift.  But today?  It feels a whole lot like it's the best gift I've ever been given.[...]

A New Day, A New Hope


I woke up this morning feeling so strange.HopefulJoyfulSAFEI just keep thinking, "God sees me. He knows me.  He knows the number of breaths I have left in this lifetime.  He's got me!"  Those prayer warriors friends of mine?  They're doing a good job!No matter what happens to me, God is still on His throne.  And I am His beloved and cherished daughter.  Joy!!My Sammy turns 8 next week - so hard to believe.  Today was her "Fabulous Friday" - an early birthday celebration for just the two of us.  We painted ceramics, browsed the bookstore, windows-shopped at the mall, had frozen yogurt treats, ate giant burgers for lunch (with HUGE rootbeer floats!), and even had her ears pierced!It was a beautiful and wonderful day.  I can still feel her soft little hand in mine.  She's such a contradiction right now - wanting to be a big kid and to be treated as such.....but still wearing a sweet little ribbon in her hair and holding my hand.  I'm soaking up this little girl as much as I can. Although it's not entirely fun, this aneurysm is a good wakeup call.  The leaves feel more crisp.  The coffee is more comforting.  The hugs linger a bit longer. The friends and family are more dear.  I do a better job of looking and listening and HEARING my kids as they tell their stories and share their hearts....because, really.  What if today is my last day?We really can't ever know if this is our last day, can we?  It's a wise thing to live like it is.I also decided to tell my business partners today.  Partly for practical reasons - there will be a time when I'm out of commission for a bit (and really, with social media being what it is, I didn't want them to hear from someone else).  But mostly because they're my friends.  I care about them and their success with such passion....I just wanted them to know that I hold them dear, that I'm fighting, that I think I'll be just fine, that I really just want them super focused on what they're trying to do, and that I covet their prayers.  I have amazing people in my life.  So blessed.The other big decision I made today was to transfer my thoughts from my private journal to this blog.  To live this thing out loud.  Why?1.  Aneurysms are more common than you might think.  They can be devastating, but they are also detectable and treatable!  I want to be a voice for the prevention of this disease.2.  I want to document this journey for my children.  Unfortunately, this is a genetic thing for my family.  If one of my kids has to face this for themselves in the future, I want this to be a resource for them....maybe even a source of comfort.3.  This blog is my story.  It doesn't seem right to omit such a big piece of my experience.4.  I've spent this day with a tangible feeling of being cared for and protected by God.  I simply can't keep Him to myself.  If there's any part of my story that people remember, I hope it's the thread of love and hope that's been woven throughout my life.  I hope it's Jesus.  God willing, even this scary time in my life will be used for good and for God's glory. That's how I feel today, anyway.  Tomorrow I might be back to sobbing uncontrollably and fearing for my very life.  Promise to hold me up?[...]

The News


Well, I turned 40 yesterday.Luke was so sweet to take the day off of work to spend it with me.We enjoyed a nice breakfast and cruising the isles of Costco.We test-drove a Lexus.We learned that I have an aneurysm in my brain.It was a helluva day.I'll never forget where I was when I got that phone call from my doctor.  Luke wanted to make a phone call, so he sat in the car while I went into the giant Barnes and Noble bookstore with the coffee bar in it's center.  I smiled to myself as I picked up a book about heaven and went about the business of choosing which fall-flavored sugar bomb disguised as coffee I would have.  I went for the salted caramel mocha.   This is the life!, I thought to myself.I found a seat that would allow me a view of the front door so I could see Luke when he came in.  After about 10 minutes, he came walking in the store.  I could see his green eyes seeking me out.  His broad shoulders seemed heavy on him - it must have been a stressful call.  He smiled and sat across from me.  "I didn't know what you wanted, so I didn't order you a drink.  Want to share this one with me?", I offered.  "Naw, I'm not big on the salted caramel."  Sweet smile from favorite...face.And then the phone rang and I saw my doc's name flash across the caller ID.  I thought two things....first, I'm glad I switched to the more subtle ring tone - I could even get away with having it ring in a bookstore and no one gave me a cross look!  Next, I was surprised that I was hearing from her so quickly.  It had only been a couple of hours since my MRI that morning - just enough time to enjoy ourselves while test-driving the new Lexus GX.  "Hello?""Hi Daiquiri, this is Dr. I-come-to-deliver-bad-news.  I'm calling because I have your radiology report sitting on my desk.""That was fast!""Yes.  It was.  Looks like you have an aneurysm.""What?  No.  Wait.  Ok....I....wait...I don't....I can'""The good news is that it's a small aneurysm and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-referral-blah-neurosurgeon-blah-blah-tomorrow-blessing,really-blah-blah-blah...."Spinning.  Is there something in my drink that's making me sick?  Why am I so dizzy?  Hold on to the table.  Where are those green eyes?  He's watching me.  Don't panic.  This will be scary for him too.  Oh God, I don't want this.  Oh God, please.  Thomas wouldn't even remember me.  Oh God, oh God, oh God."Daiquiri?  Are you there? Daiquiri, can you sill hear me?""Yeah, I'm...yeah...I'm here.""Are you ok?""I....I...wait...I don't....know.  I don't know.""Are you breathing?"Am I breathing?  That's a good question.  Deep breath.  Yes, that's breathing."Yeah, I think I am.""I'm so sorry to have to give you this news.  Can I answer any questions for you?""No.  I....I just...I don't, no questions.""Ok, well I'm sure you'll come up with lots of questions.  Remember to write them down so you can ask the surgeon, ok?""Ok. Questions.  I'll write them down."I hung up the phone and looked at Luke.  I smiled Why am I smiling?  Is this what a mental break feels like?   "I have an aneurysm in my brain."  I smiled again.  Giggle.  WHY THE HELL AM I SMILING AND GIGGLING?  Did that damn bubble in my head just burst causing this ridiculous behavior?!I relayed what I could remember of the conversation to him, and we sat there for a long time holding hands and staring into space.  We eventually decided to find somewhere to eat for lunch.  The rest of our day went something [...]

Just Look


I've been absolutely consumed by Luke 24:36-39 lately.  It describes the scene as Jesus appeared to his friends after his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection:"While they were still talking bout this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."  They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.  He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I myself!  Tough me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."Of course, it's important to look at Scripture in context.  The people in that room were rightfully startled and afraid....they had seen Jesus die with their own eyes, and now he stood among them?  How could this be?But for me, there's a broader reach to "You were dead, how can you be here?!"Look at the words.  Jesus stands there and says, "Peace".The reaction is quite the opposite....instead of peace, they are afraid.Jesus then says, "Why are you troubled?....Look at me."Oh boy.  This just grabs my heart and draws me in.How many times have I had this very conversation with the Lord?  He lovingly embraces me....whispers love and peace and a bright future into my heart....and instead of yielding and being still in his presence, I resist.I tremble.  I fear.    I doubt.      I worry.        I fret for my future.          I wish things were different.            I don't understand.               I worry some more.And what is His reaction?  Is it rebuke?  Is it frustration?  Is it anger?  After all He's shown me, spoken to me, and blessed me with....a harsh reaction would certainly be fair.  But that's not His nature.  He is eternally gentle with me.  "Your gentleness made me great." Psalm 18:35No.  Wonder upon wonders....He is still gentle with me even though I fight him in so many ways.  I fight him as if I know better.  As if I need to understand.  As if I'm entitled to understand.  He sees this heart of mine....this heart that still has so much work to be done in it....and is still patient and loving.  Incredible.Instead, He simply says,"Look at me."Oh Lord, help me put this in action in my life!  Instead of focusing on what's in front of me - the obstacles, the struggles, the me do the most basic of things....lift my eyes to simply look at You!It reminds me of the simple task of walking down the sidewalk.  There are cracks in the sidewalk, and sometimes even buckles and bumps in the concrete.  Bugs.  There are probably even bugs skittering along.  An occasional gob of sticky gum.  A dog barks from the window.  A car drives by.It's my job to walk one block.  Seems simple enough - and it is, if I keep my head up and just WALK. Or, an alternative way to walk the block, is to look down and worry about every single step.  Will I step in gum?  Will I trip?  Will the dog get out and chase me?  What are those people doing in the car?  Silly  fretting about every single little thing that doesn't affect my ability to walk to the corner in any way. Getting from here to there. Through this day.This week.This life.It can be torture....if my eyes are down fretting about every little thing.Or, it can be joy.....amazement....PEACE. But only if I'm looking in the right direction.So friends, let's do this!  Let's have the courage to look up from our stumbling feet and every little distraction that could trip us up.[...]

Meet Buster


Well, the little bird finally came down from the attic.  And it turns out, she is a indicated by the blue crest above his beak.

He didn't come down because he wanted to, that's for sure.  He was perched on a rafter in the attic, where Luke captured him gently in a pillowcase.

The girls and I ran to the pet store for the basic supplies.  Thankfully, we found a $30 cage on sale for $5.  

We'll hold on to him and take good care of him until an owner surfaces.  I have to believe this little guy is missed!  But....I have a little secret....the rain ruined our "found parakeet" signs yesterday....and I'm sorta glad.  I'm hoping little Buster is here to stay.  My kids agree.  My husband?  Not so sure :-)

Our only hesitation about keeping him?  All the reviews I've read about birds say they can be "noisy and messy".  Luke and I laughed out loud about that....He should fit right in!

**UPDATE**  Buster was a sweet and peaceful bird....for a couple of weeks.  Then, tragically, he decided to screech at us.  All day.  Every day.  He literally made Thomas cry with frustration.  I was hoping it was just a phase, but his tenacity won out.  He wouldn't stop, and I didn't want the poor guy to live the rest of his days with a dark towel over the cage (the only thing that would calm him).  So...we found him a very nice home.  Turns out, when you post "free parakeet" on craig's list, you can get rid of a bird pretty darn quickly.  I hope his new owner is enjoying him! **


The Edge Between Darkeness and Light


I plopped down in my lawn chair in the backyard.  Wine in hand.  Jammies already on.  Sitting next to my favorite guy and holding his hand as we watched the fire flicker in the fire pit. Marshmallows on sticks....sqishing out between the crackers and all over little fingers and pink cheeks.   "This is quite the life", I said.  "Not bad", was his reply.   I love his smile with the smile lines around his green eyes.  I wonder if I'll ever get tired of loving this man?  I don't think so.I love spring and the freedom it brings.  Windows flung open and breezes floating in with their sweet scent of backyard flowers.  Heavy coats and clunky shoes abandoned to flip flops and bare feet.  Taking our evening walk around the yard to inspect the garden.  Kids running around catching bugs and making "nests" of grasses and twigs for the birds.  Dancing and running and giggling.  I can't help but think this is the way kids are supposed to and messy and wild.The kids came dashing over to us, "There's a bright yellow bird in the tree!  And not a yellow bird like the kind that comes to the feeder.  More like someone's pet bird!"We get up to inspect, sure that it's a finch and we'll be sitting in our chairs again in a moment.  But no!  It's a parakeet!  Surely, someone is missing this beautiful bird.  We pluck the twig the bird sits on, and transfer the bird and twig to a cardboard empty beer box.  Ha! I close up the box, slide it under my lawn chair, and we both hit social media sites with our discovery....hoping someone raises their hand to claim our new little friend.  No luck.Before bed, I get the bird to take some water with a little medicine dropper and deposit the box in the garage.And what do we find this morning?  A little yellow bird on the garage floor....looking at us catiously. What in the world?  HOW did that bird escape? No matter did.  And now it's free.  As we approach, it flutters up to the edge of the attic opening, keeping a wary eye on me as I approach.I gently climb the ladder.  I talk to the bird, trying to reassure her.  As I put my hand behind her to encourage her to escape me in the way I want her to fly....she flies the exact opposite direction.  Into the darkess of the attic....and she disappears.Now I don't know what to do.  I can't get in the attic - I'll have to wait for Luke to come home so he can either heft himself up there or give me a boost.  And then what?  Catch this scared little creature? In the dark?  While trying to avoid the rafters with my head....but being sure to step in the right places  to avoid coming through the ceiling?I decide, instead, to try and lure her out with food.  I put a little bowl of apples and strawberries on the edge of the attic opening. She's watching me, I can feel it.  When I poke my head into the attick, she chirps at me and flutters about.We must get her out.  She's doomed up there with no water or food, and temps that will get too high in the next couple days. So I sit on the edge.  I offer her food.  I'd never hurt her....but she doesn't know that.  She's comfortable in the safe darkness, even though she's probably hungry and thirsty.  But trusting me?  It's just too much to ask.  I try to lure her into the light, into my gentle hand.....I lure her with a quiet voice and sweet treats.  I imagine her sitting on a rafter, watching me.  Measuring me up.  Wondering if she stands a chance of surviving if she comes[...]

I'm Back!


Whew - it's been a Loooong time!!

I could tell you all about the conflicting email accounts and account administrators and....oh never mind.  I'm so happy I can finally get back on here!

Life is full
Life is good
Life is BUSY

Turns out, 4 kids is a LOT!  AWANA, soccer, track, softball, birthday parties....I feel like I live in my car.  And, of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Well, I don't have a whole lot to say today.  I just felt like writing something because I CAN :-)(image)

It's My Birthiversary!


November is a big month for me -- it's my birthday month (it's my first 39th birthday this year!) ;-), and it's my anniversary month with Rodan+Fields. This business changed EVERYTHING for me....not only our finances, but my friendships, my sense of purpose and wholeness, my family's dynamic, and my skin.  I'm a new person since this business, and I'm so thankful for this blessing in my life.Meeting Dr Katie Rodan and Dr Kathy FieldsAll that to say....I FEEL LIKE CELEBRATING! I try to not post too much here about this business, because you've come to know and love me for sharing other parts of my life.  But how do I not share when I'm giving away freebies?   If you'd like to know how to have your name tossed in the hat for this one, visit my Skin, Beautiful Skin blog for the details: In other news, I'm feeling so blessed and loved.  All joking about aging aside, I love having my birthday.  And I really don't mind aging at all.....would I rather be here and now with my wonderful kiddos and a full, happy life?....or 5, 10, 15 years ago with my perkier T&A?  It's a no-brainer.My birthday was filled with phone calls from loved ones, hugs and kisses and crayon drawings from my kiddos, and a general feeling of...I'm aliveOn purposeI LOVE this!Life is good, friends.  It's not perfect.  It's not tidy.  But, it is good, and I'm so happy to be here!I'm not the only one with a recent birthday though.  Remember that tiny little bundle who kept me hopping when I started this blog? He just turned FIVE!I am head over heels in love with this little boy, and I take every possible opportunity to hold his little hand in mine and to kiss his soft cheeks.He is the very definition of "little boy"....loud, rambunctious, messy, funny, exhausting....and I wouldn't have him any other way.He has the craziest ability to stop, drop, and sleep wherever he is:And he just generally spreads joy and smiles everywhere he goes!  I can't imagine life without my Tommy!We had a fun little party for him.  Let's see if I can get some YouTube videos linked up here: allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"> allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"> allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640">I love you, Thomas!  You're extraordinary and wonderful!![...]

Can't Keep Up!


I have the happy problem of having so many fun and wonderful things going on in my life that I simply can not document them all.  I know, you feel terrible for me, don't you? ;-)Let's seee....First and foremost, we have a very full house right now!  My husband's brother and his family moved in with us.  Yes....moved IN.  They're going to be here for about 6 months while they purchase a piece of land and build a house.  Thankfully, I love them to bits, our kids love each other, and we have a big house!  They've been here about a month now, and I'm loving it.Sorry for so many blurry pictures.  I've definitely gone over to the dark's just so much easier to shoot a quick photo with my phone than it is to lug my big camera around, then transfer everything!  Just another reason I really want that new phone....better camera resolution. Here are some snapshots of life at our house lately....notice the love busting through every picture :-)Nick and EstherSammy with StellaThomas and Milo - good buddiesThomas's 5th birthday (!!) was extra fun with family to celebrate with usCracking up!And YESTERDAY....a new little addition....Meet Sadie Lynn:So this is who's living at our house right now:4 adults7 kids ages: 10,9,6,5,5,3,one dayW.O.W. :-)Let's see....what else?My kids are all doing wonderful.  Ben has started the cello, which I'm loving.  Here's a video of him tinkering around even before lessons began: allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"> Ben, Clara, and Sammy are all excellent students -- learning and growing and just happy busy little people.  I'm so proud of them all!Thomas -- my baby -- turned FIVE!  Unreal!We had a wonderful time celebrating our spunky little joyful man!  First, we had a celebration with his friends....homemade power ranger pinata, cupcakes, gifts, and games.My Luke is such an amazing Daddy -- eternally patient and alwayslooking for fun things to do with the kids :-) Movin' on up from the scoot bike to a big boy bike with pedals!  Then, on the actual day of his birthday (which is a school and work day for the rest of our family), Thomas and I had a sweet day of fun and snuggles.  We spent 3 hours building a Lego space shuttle in the morning (I love that he still has his chubby little baby boy fingers and cheeks):Then we met Daddy at McDonald's for lunch....of course, as always, the box is the best part:And then we went to the Boise Aquarium for an afternoon of petting sharks and "oohing" and "ahhing" over all the amazing creatures we saw:This little boy of mine is such an incredible joy.  I sincerely don't think there's been a day since he's been on this earth that I haven't smiled and/or laughed out loud.  He's busy, joyful, affectionate, smart, and thoughtful.  Thomas.....I love you to bits, and I'm so very proud of you!!A snapshot of my Thomas as a 5 year old:See why I'm always smiling? :-)Whew....this has been a marathon post....and I've barely caught up!  'Till another day...If you'd like to be in touch with me on more of a regular basis, Facebook is where I'm at most days.  You can find my personal page here:  Daiquiri FacebookOr you can find my business facebook page here:  Daiquiri Biz Facebook[...]

First Day of School Already?!


Wow -- I'm sitting here in my home office and the only sound I hear is the dog "talking" in her sleep.  No screaming.  No bickering.  No stomping.  No pretending.  No TV.  The silence is making my ears ring!I dropped my little Thomas off at school this morning.  He'll be going to 1/2 day preschool 3 days a week.  The older three are in full day classes -- 5th grade, 4th grade, and 1st grade.Where have my babies gone?!  Incredibly surreal. And NICEAnd quietAnd a little bit sadHere's my favorite picture of my little Thomas this morning before school:And my favorite quote from him as we got him ready: "Mommy, it's my first day of school, so make my hair as handsome as possible, okay?  And I also have my nice handsome shirt, and my handsome pantses (love this word), and I'll wear my super-fast shoes."Here's a pic from last week's first day of school for the older kids -- much more representative of our, horsing around, teasing, noisy, wrestling, giggles:I love these little people!!  Those sparkly eyes, crooked and missing teeth, and soft skin....I just *crave* their little arms around my neck after school.Sammy has ZERO front teeth, Ben is learning the cello this year, and Clara has the same sized feet as ME.  Crazy how these kids are growing!  I'm so blessed to be their mom, and so very proud of them :-)I like to think about what I remember from my childhood when I was my kids' ages.Let's see ----4 years old?  I don't remember much of anything.  My little sister Tiffany was about 2.  I'm thinking we lived in Oshkosh, Wisconsin?  I'll have to ask Mom and Dad.6 years old -- 1st grade?  We were in St. Louis, MO I think.  I went to 1st grade at Seven Holy Founders Catholic school.  We had to wear uniforms, and my teacher was Mrs. Mater.  The only school experience I remember that year was picture day.  Picture day was the only day of the year that we could wear "real clothes" instead of our uniform.  I forgot and wore my uniform....and was devastated.  My teacher let me borrow her navy blue sweater, so my picture wouldn't be a "uniform picture".  It was a sweet gesture, but you can still tell in my picture that I'd been crying.9 years old -- 3rd grade?  We were in De Moines, IA.  I was at Clive Elementary, and I had Mr. Sweeney as my teacher.  I did NOT like having a male teacher (this is Clara's first year having a male teacher too!).  I was convinced Mr Sweeney didn't like me at ALL.  But we had a "menagerie" complete with hamsters, gerbils, salamanders, and even a tarantula.  Loved that :-)  My best friend was Ellen Burger....and we're back in touch now thanks to the miracle of facebook!  This is also the year that my youngest sister, Megan, was born.  Man....I remember poking at her when she slept because I wanted her to wake up so I could play with her.  You're welcome, Mom and Dad :-)10 years old -- 5th grade?  My family had just moved to Williston, ND and I was starting school there.  Lewis and Clark Elementary.  Mrs.  Lobsinger didn't like me one bit, and I never really knew why.  I liked to play marbles and tetherball at recess.  And the cool girl of the school, a 6th grader named April, wanted me to "follow" her at recess.  She would literally strut around the playground and demand that people walk behind her....her own little fan club or something.  But not me.  I don't play[...]

Quite the Father!


When some of our girl cousins came to visit recently, they camped out in the play room.  This was the sign they made to claim their territory:If you can't read it, it says, "WELCOME to the sleepover if you are Stella, Sydney, Clara, Sammy, or parents come on in!!!!  No coming in if you are not a girl."Ben was not impressed.At all.I was grinning from ear to ear as I listened to Ben and Clara bicker when Ben tried to enter the forbidden territory.  They were both so self-assured and logical in their arguments.  There was just a (sort of creepy) calm boldness from both of them.Ben, "Let me in.  I need to get something out of there."Clara, "I'm sorry Ben.  You can't.  You're not allowed in this room.  This is the girls' room.""I can come in.  Step aside and let me through.""But it's against the rules.  See?  Is your name Stella, Sydney, Clara, or Sammy?""No.""Well then....the sign says you can't come in.  You have to listen to the sign.  It's the rule.""Yes, but the sign says parents can go in.""Well yeah....but you're not a parent, so you can't go in.""I AM a parent.""Ben....No you're not!""I AM a parent.  I am the Father of AWESOMENESS.  Now move.  I'm going in."Clara's reply was the appropriate shocked look of awe and wonder.  With an argument like that?  Right off the top of his head?  He just might be right....he might be the Father of Awesomeness.Step aside, ladies ;-)[...]

Are You Ready for the Sun??


I've been learning a lot about the sun's rays and sunscreens lately.  Think you're ready for the sun?  I though so....but I was wrong!

You might not be interested in R+F products, and that's okay.  But please get informed and choose a broad spectrum sunscreen.  IT MATTERS.  And here's a little tidbit....bottles labeled "broad spectrum" are not all that they claim!  That's why the FDA is forcing a change in labeling.

The hitch?  It's not going to be enforced until December!

I wrote more about this issue at my skin blog, Skin, Beautiful Skin

Have a fun and safe summer, friends!


Hello, Summer! (recipe and an update)


Welcome, seems I've been waiting forever for you!PopsiclesSprinklersLittle gigglesCool breezesThe smell of sunscreenSleeping in (a little)Throwing the ball for the dogsFlowers in bloomand FLIP FLOPS!  Oh, how I love flip flops!!(all pictures taken with my iPhone and the Instagram app - look me up on Instagram!  my user name is daiquirifouch)One of my favorite things about summer is the FOOD.  Our garden is in (our Mother's Day tradition):And WOW, I can't believe how much the garden has grown in just the couple of weeks since I took this picture!I can hardly wait for tomatoes still warm from the sun, fresh basil plucked from the pot, a bit of mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of oil and vinegar!  It's what I live on all summer!But that's not the recipe I planned to share.  In fact, the summer dish I've been craving isn't something I can take credit for.  I'm thinking about orzo pasta with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil.  You can find the recipe here (I substitute basil for parsley):  Lemon Orzo Salad at "ABig" (how fun is that web name?!) :-)  I think I might try this recipe with quinoa instead of orzo too...a bit of extra protein....what do you think?  Photo from www.abigmouthful.comThis summer got started right with an INCREDIBLE spring ....when I learned that I'd qualified for an all-expenses-paid trip to Sonoma and San Francisco for 5 days!  I got to meet our Doctors, tour the Corporate Offices, go to the spa, give wine tasting a try, and more -- unreal!  I blogged about it at my "Skin, Beautiful Skin" blog, if you'd like to see more pics:  "Big Time Perks"  But I can't NOT share one of my favorite pictures here.....I got to meet the doctors who changed my skin and my life!And finally....big Fouch family news....Sammy lost her first front tooth!  She's impossibly cute with her sweet little missing-tooth-lisp!Be blessed, friends!![...]

It's a Sweet Life


Woke up this morning with a sweet little 4 year old boy patting me gently on the cheek as he murmured "mama" and nestled his warm little body next to open and birdsong drifting in with the breeze. Life is good. It's going to be a great day!

Be blessed friends...(image)

Reality Check


I haven't *really* written here in a long time.  I've been so busy living and enjoying life, that I haven't wanted to take the time to really think about it....never mind talk about it.  What is there to talk about anyway?  Who wants to hear from someone go on and on about how wonderful everything is?My business is a big part of why I'm so happy -- fulfilled and challenged and rewarded.  It's revolutionized my hope, something of value to offer people, and the joy of helping to provide for my family.  But with this type of business, it's hard to talk about it without the listener thinking I want something from them.  So I live my life out loud, and talk about business when friends ask how it's going, but otherwise....try to keep my tendency to gush on and on to a minimum.  I like my friends, you see.  I'd like to keep them around ;-)It also keeps me busy.  I stay home full time with my kiddos, which is my main passion....keeping my home, being wife to Luke, and loving on my babies is my full time "job" (talk about a great job!).  And in my spare time, when I used to blog, I now build my R+F business.  So it's a time issue too.But I'm starting to see that there's another reason I haven't been's how I process.  And I haven't wanted to let myself process.  Why?  Because I know I've gotten off track a bit.Not a lot.But a bit.I know this because under all this joy and contentment, lies a twinge of fear.  That little twinge has taken root, and has been growing.  I feel it creeping in.  Distancing me from the Source of Peace and Joy.  Trying to keep me from really turning around and looking it dead in it's ugly face.The fear of loss.  The fear that comes when I love temporary things too much. Tears of fear have been choking me too often lately.  Swallowing them back down has become harder and harder.Luke left for a trip this past week, and I cried when he left.  But I wasn't crying because I would miss him....although I really really miss him.  I was crying because I was AFRAID.  I was certain that I was saying goodbye to him for the last time....that his plane would go down.  I know - morbid.  What is wrong with me?!I visited my parents recently, and I cried when I got on the plane to go back home.  This time, a lot of the crying had to do with missing them desperately....feeling like they need me and I need them like never before...and feeling helpless to do anything about it.  But part of it was that fear again.  What if something happens to one of them and I'm so far away?Clara was up in the middle of the night last night with a fever and sore throat.  I had nightmares of her having some terrible disease, and when she was the last one out of bed this morning, I had to go check on her to make sure she was still breathing.Sammy has a field trip today, and I've seriously considered keeping her home.  Surely, her zoo trip will result in her being abducted or maybe even attacked by a loose lion.I have some minor out patient surgery planned for this month.  It's scheduled for the day before the one year anniversary of Bernie's death.  It's a sign.  I'm going to die too.Business is booming.  Our future is bright and my partners are building thriving businesses.  Surely it will all come [...]