Friday, June 2, 2017

Two and a half weeks ago my mother-in-law, Belinda, went in for a CT scan to address nagging stomach pain that she's had for the last year.
One day later we sat in her doctor's office and heard the news that there was a large mass on her pancreas.
Three days after that we received news that blood work indicated that spots on her liver were tumors.
Three days later we sat in the office of the chief oncology surgeon at UNC Chapel Hill and listened as he explained to us that he thought it is most likely stage four pancreatic cancer.
One week ago today she underwent a biopsy of the spots on her liver that would confirm his suspicions.
And on Wednesday we received the news we didn't want to hear. The cancer has metastasized. It is stage 4. It is in her bloodstream or lymph nodes. It is terminal.
It's almost impossible to put into words what we are feeling. To explain what she means in our lives sounds too much like a eulogy. And I can't go there yet. 
But her importance to us, her value, our love for her, is inestimable.

I've been asked over and over (we have amazing friends) what we need. Right now we need prayer. For wisdom for next steps. For peace when we want to scream. For comfort for Belinda's hurting body. For our kids who can't yet understand.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Ok.  So maybe I know what you are thinking.   First oils, then jewelry, and now skin care???  Bare with me.  Please.

In case you quit reading early I'm going to jump to the good stuff! Recently I’ve become SO passionate about a new opportunity that has been on my radar for a long time but never felt right, until now.  

I first, half-heartedly, tried Rodan and Fields a few years ago.  I didn’t really give it a fair shake, I didn’t take the time to really understand the product line, and so when it didn’t immediately work I gave up.  Fast forward a year and a half and I was seeing so many people around me with great results (and after 25 years of acne I was desperate) that I gave it another shot. But this time I looked further into which regimen I should try, I asked more questions, I took the time to understand the cost involved (i.e.just because it’s a monthly auto-ship doesn’t mean the products only last one month (hint, they last WAY longer) and it also doesn’t mean you have to get something every month) and I gave it a fair shot, and in 60 days I’d seen enough improvement in my skin to convince me to keep going.  As issues popped up we fiddled here and there and found just the right combination to keep me clear.
Then, about a month ago I bought the Amp MD roller … after about a week of using it, Ryan looks at me one night and says “your skin looks really great”.  I almost fell over.  He didn’t know I had been doing anything different but here he was noticing.  Then my mom noticed.  Then I knew that I would be crazy not to jump on this opportunity.

I loved (and still love) Young Living oils.  I think they can do amazing things.  I use them all the time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to the education or training I felt was necessary to make it a realistic business model for myself long term.  And it was not the easiest direct marketing business.  While the product line was awesome, the support for becoming a successful distributor was not.
So then, I found Stella and Dot where, again, I loved the products, I felt confident in my ability to style people without lots of training, and I knew the support would be great for a new stylist like myself.  And it was! I had a great 2 years doing it and I have nothing but great respect for the company and the people I worked with there…but lots of people (myself included) only need so much jewelry and I have no desire to be in a business where I have to pressure to be successful.

Rodan and Fields has been changing skin across the US for years but, really, they are just getting started.  Have you seen the new Lash Boost results?  Oh my gosh. I cannot wait to get my hands on that stuff.  And the expansion potential is crazy. 
My SOLUTION TOOL on my website will help you know for sure which to use!! Just go to my website and click on CUSTOMIZE and then SOLUTION TOOL in the big blue box!!  Let me know if you want to check it out!!!

Do I know a bunch of people who sell with Rodan and Fields? Yep.  And you know what, there is enough opportunity out there that every one of them is successful.  And I know that I can be to.  Really.  I’m doing it because its exciting and I BELIEVE in it.  And I love a challenge.  And I’m ready.

Intrigued?  Let’s chat!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Again, with the flipping knee.

A couple of weeks ago I was in hot yoga (like any self-respecting housewife should be)  when the instructor started the class with the usual spiel about setting your intention for the next hour and a half. I often tune that part out because I can only take so much of that kind of talk but that day I must of been feeling particularly compliant and so I let my mind participate. Three words came into my head as I knew we were diving full force into the holiday season. Joyful. Heartfull. Grateful. You can argue with me about whether that middle one is a word or not. I'm sure it's not. But it kind of went with my theme so let's go with it.

As excited as I get about this time of year I know that I have a propensity to get overwhelmed and let the stress of the season steal my joy. And it all goes down from there. I came home and told Ryan because I wanted him to keep me accountable. He's done a pretty good job although some of the times when he reminds me I want to throat punch him...

But I feel like my good intention has been taken as a challenge to the Devil. And yes I actually mean the Devil because I believe that there is one. But if you can't wrap your head around that you can just go with whatever evil force you want. It started with a family trip to Williamsburg that  had its fair share of bumps and ungrateful children. The next week brought lice. Yes you read that right. Lice. My ultimate worst parenting fear realized.  All the while also trying to juggle the usual December hoopla and events which now includes Ainsley's basketball schedule and Jake's choral performances.   And an unusually high number of difficult people in my life.  That, yes, I want to throat punch.  

Then to top it all off yesterday I hurt my knee while I was running. That always ends up being a very dark place for me. I start to fear the worst and this time is no different.  I love cold winter morning runs with my crew. I love the crazy plans they/we come up with (like the annual Christmas run - a 19 miler to the 5 "boroughs" of the Sandhills).  Its hard to explain to someone who hasn't known me a long time why anything to do with my knees will bring me down so hard and so fast.  You see, I lost soccer when I was 19 years old and that was, by far, one of the most difficult times in my life up to that point.  I identify as an athlete. Its just always been part of who I am.  Saying goodbye to soccer meant becoming an outsider (in my mind) to my group of friends, my roomates, my "place".  And the pain. OMG the pain.  Sometimes I'll get little inklings of the pain I had post ACL repair and it makes me sick to my stomach.  The thought of going through all that again ... well. I can't.  I did it three times and it never got easier.

For the first couple weeks of December I fought back to remain Joyful, Heartfull and Grateful when those tough moments arose. But I kind of feel like I'm being swallowed up by this knee thing.  I go into see the Ortho today and maybe he will be able to drain it and shoot me up with Syn-Visc and I'll be on my merry way until the next time.  And I will be very happy.  But how many more next times can I do?  

So, if you see me out and about and I seem to lack some holiday cheer, please forgive me. I'm trying. I'm really trying.  And as terribly trite and small as I know an injured knee is in this world of so much hurt and pain, just know I'm doing my best to take on the right perspective.  And pray for me that I would stop letting the Devil win in my mind and let the joy of Christ's birth take over. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The night the walls came down

My last couple posts have been kind of heavy so hopefully this one will lighten things up a little bit.  While it is not a happy story exactly, I can laugh about it now that its all over!

Yesterday the guys were here doing the sheetrock work out in the old garage conversion.  I was very excited because the girls are so ready for their new rooms.  I've been busy finding cute things to decorate and I wanted to go ahead and get Ainsley's bed ordered before a sale I'd found ran out.  So I went to her new room to measure.  There was some sheet rock in the way of something I wanted to see so I tried to pull it out and peak around.

Well, I don't know if you have much experience with sheet rock but it is heavy.  Very, very heavy.  So when I pulled these 7 sheets out a bit to peak they fell over.  Thankfully I jumped out of the way.

I didn't want to leave them like this for fear they would go through the wall so, while pouring sweat, I managed to get one sheet at a time back up, only smashing my finger once.

But the other end was still unstable so keeping my hand on it, pushing against it, I moved down to try and fix the bottom which was at an odd angle.  At that point the seven sheets started to come down and I had nowhere to go.  Well, nowhere to go but through the wall behind me.

Here is where words fail me.  As it came over I screamed.  My children all came running to find me trapped with 7 sheets of sheetrock sitting on my stomach and legs with all  while my butt and back were wedged into that hole.  I couldn't lift them off of me and it hurt.  A lot.

My kids absolutely freaked out.  I think they genuinely thought I was dying.  I had been texting with my friend Kacy a second before and somehow my phone was still in my hand so I texted her that I needed help right away.  Then I realized that text probably wasn't going to be effective so I called her and asked her to send her husband right away.  They live a couple miles away and I don't know how well I communicated the gravity of what was going on ... but they came as fast as they could.  After 10 minutes I started to have what I can only assume was a panic attack.  I was trying to hard to be calm but I was scared and in pain and my kids were so scared too - I know we were feeding off each other.    Finally it occurred to me that maybe a neighbor could help so I sent them running down to our neighbor who I knew would be strong enough to help.  They all took off running and I can only imagine the scene that landed on Frank and Wendy's doorstep.  About 15 minutes after I became trapped help came all at once and Patrick and Frank came in and were able to bust the sheetrock off of me.

I cannot describe the feeling when I was freed.  My legs were so weak that Patrick pretty much carried me to the living room.  I was trying to keep my teeth from chattering.  Thankfully Wendy is a nurse and Patrick is a doctor so I was in good hands.  Patrick ran home for his bag because he wanted to be sure I hadn't done any internal damage.  My right side is very, very tender (more so this morning).  He checked me all out though and we agreed I was ok.  Just terrified.  They stayed for a while to watch over me and be sure I was really ok.  I'm so thankful for friends like this.

It was hard to sleep last night. I think I still had crazy adrenaline rushing through my system.  This morning my ankle hurts, my side hurts, my elbow is pretty scraped up, and there is sheet rock all over my house.  But I'm ok!

Now that I've written that I realize it isn't as funny as I'd hoped but seriously, can you not laugh a little at my dumbness.  At least laugh at this picture that Jane Dare tried to take of me

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I'm struggling with the thought of writing and then posting this particular post.  But its been on my heart since church this morning and I think I need to be obedient to that.

This morning I got all dressed and then snapped a pic of my new jewelry because I love it and wanted to use it on Facebook later ... today's the last day of the month and I'm just shy of my goal so every little bit helps.  Which is not the point of the story.

The point of the story is that in the picture everything looks good.  My hair is good, my dress is cute and my jewelry is on point.  Picture perfect.

But the background in my home this morning was anything but perfect.  I have truly tried to be honest and transparent in my humanity and my failings.  I want to encourage others as they walk beside me.  But I think sometimes people laugh at my quirky stories but then actually think that behind closed doors I have my shit together.   And I do not.

This morning the downward spiral began when a child sold another child a few last bites of their candy for $3.  A candy that they paid about $1 for.  I kept it relatively together and told my kids that they had lost the privilege (?!?) of buying/selling/trading amongst themselves without management pre-approval of any transactions.

This was followed by the guilty party from story above following me into my bathroom and telling me I am a liar.  Because one time, long ago, I said I would take them to a store and I did not.

My level of "lose my shit" rose slightly but I remained semi-calm-ish (see what I did there) as I explained that this argument was ridiculous, unjustified and aimed at getting out of being in trouble.

I was then informed that I am never home.  Because I work at the running store.  Again, deep breaths, raised voice, explaining that out of the 50 or so days of summer I have worked 3 so far.  Which was met with an argument about being "sent away to camp" last summer.

At this point I banished said child from my sight while said child sprouted tears from his/her eyes like a cartoon character.

I came into the office to sit down and write Ryan an email about this ridiculousness to feel better when my hands happened upon a sticky substance on my desk, and on the floor.  I yelled for children to come immediately in and explain this.  A child explained that they had sneezed snot everywhere and then forgotten to clean it up.  A child who, at least age-wise, should know better. It was at this point, with snot on my fingers and bottom of my shoes that all shit was lost.  Completely and utterly lost.  In ways I am not about to explain in detail.  Just imagine it.  And then multiply it by 2.  Or more.

I watched the kid clean it up and then came back into my office to write that email feeling utterly broken.  I wrote to my husband of how ashamed I was.  How ugly my anger is.  How one of my biggest fears is that my kids won't like me when they are grown up.

I gathered them into the living room to apologize.  The snot-responsible child had written on a piece of paper "Sometimes I think my mom hates me".  Utter devastation.

I apologized for my anger. I hugged them and cried.  We got ourselves together and to church.  I walked in feeling so raw.  I saw no one I really know to talk to so I got them dropped off and went to sit.  We started to sing and I felt like such a fraud.  I just wanted to go home.

Then THIS started.

If you don't want to listen just read.

My hope is built on nothing less, then Jesus blood and righteousness

Christ alone.  Cornerstone.  Weak made strong, in the Savior's love.   Through the storm, He is Lord. Lord of all.

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace.  In very high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.  

CHRIST ALONE.  Cornerstone.  Weak made strong, in the Savior's love.  Through the storm, HE is Lord.  Lord of all.

Then He shall come with trumpet sound, may I then, in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.  

I know I've talked about my faith here and there before.  But today I felt that I needed to make sure that I am being absolutely clear.  Who I am, what I have, the good in me is solely because of what Jesus has done for me.   And what He has done for me is to die on the cross for my sins.  Which are many.  There is nothing I could do, no way I could be a good enough person, or give enough, or be kind enough to be good enough that I would deserve Him and the eternal life that He gives. I know that some of my dear friends who are reading this right now are shaking their heads at my naivete to believe in God.  To believe that there was actually this Jesus character who died for our sins.  But I do.  I know its true and I love you and want you to know the peace and love that I know as a result.  Because without Him, the ugly above, would win.  It would swallow me whole.  But because of Him, it doesn't.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

It Is Well

I don’t believe in coincidences. 

It simply isn’t compatible with my faith.  And I could go into that (and am more than happy to with anyone who’d like to grab some coffee) but that isn’t really the point of my blog.

A couple of weeks ago I ordered my newest Stella and Dot engravable. I asked for advice for what to get but I think God had it on my heart all along which one was right for me. 

It Is Well.

The past week has been rough for me.  Well, its been longer than that but I can’t really pinpoint when it started.  What’s made it rough?  Me.

I think most people who know me would agree that I’m outgoing, and friendly and generally happy.  Actually very happy.  But as opposed to being one of those people who is just inexplicably always happy I am one of those people who has wonderful highs but then swings the other way to deep lows.  All of the reason and truth speaking in the world sometimes can’t bring me out of these lows.  And when I get them I want to just crawl into a cocoon and shield myself from the world.

Because the world hurts.  It’s the hurts that I can’t do anything about (well, not really, I understand there is always something small to do) like poverty, sex trafficking, terrorists and those that I can, like feeling like an outsider.

Please don’t think this is a cry for you to invite me to things.  It really isn’t.  My mind makes no sense.  On one hand my heart is hurt when I see thing after thing (always on damn facebook) that I wasn’t included in.  On the other hand, I am a homebody in many ways.  I love an occasional night out but there is nothing I love more than being with my husband and our kids.  I can’t do weekly girls nights.  It always sounds like a good idea in advance but in the end I really just want to be with Ryan. 

So then why does it hurt? I guess because we all want deeply to be wanted.  To be included.  Even when we don’t want to be included.  Does that even make sense? I know it doesn’t on so many levels.

But this morning as I felt sad, and dragged down, I looked down and realized it was no coincidnce that the words It Is Well hung around my neck. 

It is well.  My family is wonderful and they love me and I love them.
It is well.  I have special people in my life who know me and get me and a special very few who have walked through my darkest times with me and know all my shit but still love me.
It is well.  I have a home. And food.  And a car.  And healthcare. 
It is well.  I have a husband who is truly a dream.  He is literally perfect and I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to make anyone else sad.

It is well.  My Father.  He is enough.  And He has pursued me for 30 + years now reminding me of this.  And even though I’m constantly searching for other things to fill me up He keeps reminding me that it is Him.  

PS - after re-reading this blog many times (and having 2 of my most trusted advisors sign off on it) I'm laughing because there are so many off-shoots from this topic that I could blog about.  I don't think I would want to pursue me as a friend after reading. #highmaintenance
PPS - I realize that I am an extremely sensitive person.  While I used to see this as only a drawback I think it is both a strength and a weakness.  My sensitivity makes me pause before I post things on social media that would cause someone to feel sad or left out. I hope I succeed at this more than I fail.
PPPS - The Lord is always just what I need and gives me just what I need.  Today that was a small miracle that my bestie Redonna's cell, which has been on the fritz all week, was not on the fritz when I needed her. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Don't do it. It's a trap.

Dear new mom,
Let me do you a favor here. You're young and fresh and all excited about motherhood. It's an amazing ride and it's so much fun to watch your little ones eyes light up as they discover the world. So when you're scrolling through Pinterest or "networking" on Facebook you are sure to come across a cute idea to implement on some random upcoming holiday. 
There are many. In fact you never realized how many there are until you become then all of a sudden St. Patrick's day is a thing, Presidents' Day is a thing, Dr. Suess's birthday is a thing even Valentine's Day is more of a thing. Obviously this is on top of the actual things like Christmas, Easter, Halloween. You see where I'm going with this. 
So young, new mom you're going to think to yourself "how fun I'm going to surprise my little darling with leprechaun tracks in our bathroom or green eggs and ham for breakfast or a Valentine's Day scavenger hunt."
And you'll do it, and it will be a great success, and your child will think you're the greatest mom ever. You'll pat yourself on the back with a feeling of great satisfaction. Until 364 days later. when it all of a sudden is hits you that, oh shit, tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I don't have any freaking gold coins to sprinkle around their bedroom.
Or you've misplaced your food coloring. Or, to be honest, you're tired and cranky and on your second glass of wine and you frankly don't really feel like building a flipping leprechaun trap!
Oh, but my friend, it doesn't work like that. Therein lies the trap. Because tomorrow morning your little cherub will wake up expecting magic. And if it's not there there's a good chance that little cherub will turn into a little demon in two seconds flat. And trust me, it's not fun to start a quasi-holiday with beatings. Not that I know from personal experience or anything.
I urge you, new mom, take my advice and resist the urge to give in to the Pinterest pressure. Start out mediocre and you'll never disappoint.  One day you'll thank me.