Love that matters

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My husband made me write tonight. I just didn't feel like it. I don't feel like I have anything to say at the moment, and I had to clear a spot on my desk to put my computer because my office is so messy.
But my commitment to write everyday is not just about checking off a box, it's about writing down the bones about what really happens in life. Not scripted. Not planned. Not always edited. Just real and raw and honest.  

That's usually where the best stuff comes those moments where I sit down to write and have no idea what I'm going to say, that's usually when the Lord shows up to remind me of something that I need to remember or write on my heart. 

Tonight I can't stop thinking about the amazing friends and family I have. I am so grateful to have people who love me and give of themselves so selflessly to do so. 

My husband is one of those people. He is my rock, and he has been the strongest I've ever seen him over the past few days. He has served my family and me in such a beautiful way. And I'm crazy about him. 

But I also have these friends who send me things in the mail. Things that somehow always come at the exact right moment. 

I received two necklaces in the past 3 days from two very dear friends. The first came on the day that I found out I was BRCA 1 and 2 positive. A small, silver circle, with an A in the middle of it and Jeremiah 1:5 attached to it: 

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. 

The perfect reminder that He knows my name. 

Then, just 2 days later, I received a necklace from a dear friend with a picture of my three babies on it and the words, with brave wings she flies. {And these beautiful and encouraging notes.}

Neither of them knew how timely their love mail would be received. Neither of them knew the impact the words attached to those necklaces would have.  

Here's what I know. I wanted to bawl when I opened that "A" necklace. The reminder that the Lord knows my name and knew me before I was born, makes me want to drop to my knees in praise.....gene mutation or not. I was no mistake. 

And when I went to the mail and found that necklace with my babies picture on it, I was on the phone with that very same friend who sent it. {We've talked on the phone maybe 3 times in our friendship.} It was a simple reminder that I am not alone; that I have friends and family who love me and will fight for me and support me no matter what decisions I make in the future. 

I tell you all this not to merely brag on my awesome friends, but to encourage you. When you think of someone, drop them a note, give them a call, send a text. Your words and your love are incredibly powerful in the lives of others. 

I know that there are days when we feel like we'll never get our own lives together, but there is joy that comes from encouraging someone else. Your words and your ideas do matter, and so often the Holy Spirit uses us to encourage others in only a way that He can understand. So no matter how silly it may seem, or how much it may not make sense to you, send the text, write the card, make the call. 

Your words matter. They truly, truly do.

Coming Soon.....

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thursday we hosted a wonderfully successful Last Chance/First Glance Open House. It was a great day with tons of excitement over our new Scentsy and Velata catalogs. 

We've welcomed 3 new team members to our Scentsy Family this month, and we're flying to Pittsburg next month to launch 3 new team members (1 of whom we met in the Bahamas!). I love the excitement around being a part of this amazing business and working for yourself. My favorite part of this "job" is getting the opportunity to show women that they can run their own business and be their own boss. 

I'm also crazy excited about these new catalogs, so I thought I'd take a minute to showcase some of my favorites coming on Monday.....

Ribbons of Hope 
Our Fall Charitable Cause Warmer

Our Harvest Collection

Our September warmer of the month 
 Stella the unicorn and Scout the dragon

Amber and Seafoam Fluted Lampshade Warmers

Oh I can't wait! 


Friday, August 29, 2014

It's been quite the 24 hours. I'm still processing yesterday's phone call. It's not the best news I've ever had, but not the worst either.

My mind usually runs a million times a minute, and today it has literally felt empty. It's a strange feeling. Almost numb. 

Brian has been incredible.....wanting to tend to my every need and feeling. I think he's been waiting for me to break down. I haven't yet, but maybe I will soon. I don't really know what to feel. Maybe that's why I feel numb.

My family is here this weekend. My mom, my dad, my sister and brother-in-law all gathered around our dining room table tonight to eat and laugh and play and celebrate, and that's a good feeling.

Luckily, I'm not the first person to face this hurdle, and have had many people step forward with encouragement and an ear to listen. For that, I am grateful.

There is also research and books and options. I've already bought several books, including Previvors. 

So while there is a lot to process and think and pray about, I'm grateful to those who have gone before me. Here's to another adventure. 

The things we inherit {A BRCA1 and BRCA2 diagnosis}

Thursday, August 28, 2014

We recently inherited a set of copper lined pots and pans that were my grammy's. They are pots that fed my family, pots that my mom remembers her mom cooking out of. And they are a treasure to me. I've come to love washing them in the sink every night. A simple act of daily living that has suddenly brought me great joy.

Today I learned that I inherited more than just copper lined pots and pans and serving dishes from my grammy. Today I got the call that told me I was BRCA1 and BRCA2 positive. 

I hesitated to share here, but I don't know why I wouldn't. The truth about my DNA doesn't change who I am. I was the same person yesterday that I am today and the same person that I will be tomorrow. Mutation and all, I was made exactly the way that I was made by the creator of the universe and placed in this tiny spot in history to tell a story only I can tell. 

I believe that I am equipped with everything I need to overcome the overwhelming odds that I could develop ovarian or breast cancer. I am grateful to live in a time in history where we know what these mutations are and how to proactively decrease the risk associated with the BRCA 1 and 2 mutations. 

More to come....

About Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome (HBOC): 
HBOC is a genetic condition that increases an individual's lifetime risk for cancer. HBOC is caused by mutations in one of two genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes make proteins that are important in keeping tumors from developing. Mutations (or changes) in either of these genes allows cancers to develop in certain areas of the body.  

A Night in the ER

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I have friends who regularly spend time in the ER. I hate that they are familiar with the ER scene, but I love that they are my friends. They have changed me so much.....made me look at the world in a totally different way.....made me love the Lord in a way I didn't know I could. 

And tonight, I got a tiny, itty bitty glimpse of what they deal with. 

None of our kids have ever been to the ER. We took one of our foster babies for stitches in the ER once, but our kids have never been....until tonight. 

Around 5:00 pm tonight, Luke started complaining of a tummy ache. I am the mom who used to over react every time someone said their tummy hurt. But now I'm the mom who assumes that a tummy ache is nothing at all. 

So, that's what I did tonight. I assumed he was tired or hungry or needed to poop. I mean, what else could it be? 

But within minutes he was really complaining, and it wasn't like tummy ache complaining, it was something else. Addy and Brian were headed out the door for church, and I told them to go ahead. I was thinking that maybe he caught a bug at school. No biggie. 

Not 15 minutes after they left, he couldn't stop crying, and my momma gut told me that something else was going on, so I loaded both boys up in the truck, and headed to Urgent Care. 

{On a total side note. We have the most amazing Urgent Care center in Edmond called Edmond Urgent Care. The staff there is incredible. We never have to wait, and I trust them completely. If you live anywhere near 178th and Western in Edmond, this place is amazing and open 8-8 7 days a week.} 

When we walked in the door, I was carrying Luke and holding Wyatt's hand because Luke said he couldn't walk. They asked what was going on, and I explained that Luke was having acute pain in his lower left abdominal. They didn't even check me in or ask our name. They just said, "let's just put you in a room and have Dr. Tommie look at may be in the wrong place." 

And that's what they did. They put us in a room, and Dr. Tommie was in the room within minutes. He checked Luke out, and told me that we should really go to the ER. 

So I drove right down the street to church where Brian and Addy were. We decided it would be best not to take Wyatt to the ER. Luke wanted his daddy to take him, so we switched cars, and I took Wyatt home. On the way home, Brian called to say that Luke had thrown up in the car and could we bring everyone some clean clothes. So we got home and packed up clean clothes, and headed to the ER. 

Wyatt and I stayed for a bit. Luke was already in triage. They were talking about a CT scan and labs and all the mess that comes with an ER visit. 

They really wanted to rule out appendicitis even though his pain was on the opposite side, they were still looking at it as a real possibility.  

We decided that I should take Wyatt home and get him to sleep. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law came over to sit with Wyatt and pick Addy up from church so I could go back up to the ER to be with Luke and Brian. 

By the time I got back, Luke had had 3 x-rays, had thrown up again, had started an IV with fluids and been given zofran. And right before I made it back to the room, Brian sent me this picture with the words "he just passed out." 

Excuse me? 

He immediately sent another text that read "sleeping."

Oh good. 

That's better than passing out. 

As I walked into the triage room, the assisting physician had an x-ray on her phone of a very giant piece of poop stuck inside my kid. 

Poor guy. 

We had originally ruled out constipation because he pooped just last night. The kid is the most regular pooper I've ever seen. Turns out, that mess can get stuck on the side wall of your intestines and the other poop can go around it for as long as it can, until eventually it gets so compact, that nothing can pass by. 

Who knew? 

So the poor guy was just severely impacted. That may be too much info for a blog post, but I'm writing it anyways. It's real life people. 

But before it turned out to be a not too huge deal, it was scary. My mind goes to the worse case scenario. They made it sound like appendicitis was a real possibility, or worse than that, it could have been something with his pancreas or colon.  

I am so grateful that our 1st ER visit turned out to be relatively uneventful. Now we just pray for poop. 

{AND....our Last Chance/1st Glance Open House is still on for tomorrow from 1-3 or 7-9. Stop by for the best goodie bags I have ever made!} I'm just saying : ) 

Scentsy and Velata Goodies

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oh good's been busy around here. And I think I like it that way...mostly. I have to be careful not to overbook myself and most importantly, make sure that I'm spending time with my hot hubby and taking quiet time for myself. 

There's a chance I overbooked myself this week. We are making lunch tomorrow for the 15 employees at our foster care center and hosting our Last Chance/First Glance open house on Thursday. We're pretty excited, and I may have gone overboard on the free goodies I'm taking them. I really, really like to spoil people. 

Here are the 15 bags I've been working on for the past couple days.....{there is a very chance that these bags will be very similar to the freebies my Last Chance/First Glance attendees will receive for stopping by.} 

Each gift bag has a catalog sack on the inside with free samples from both Scentsy and Velata, and a personal letter inside each one. 

I made Landry Liquid and Washer Whiff samples tonight, and they turned out so cute! I found plastic test tubes on amazon that I used for the laundry liquid. 

I also included a new Fall and Winter catalog, a Harvest collection flyer, a September monthly flyer, and a couple wax samples. 

For Velata goodies, I added one of our Artisian Rub samples, a recipe card (to match the rub), and a dark chocolate sample along with a current catalog. 

I'm thinking those are some pretty amazing freebies, but our case worker (and all her friends) definitely deserve it. 

I thought you might like to see what I've been up to. I'll let you know how lunch goes tomorrow. It should be lots of fun. 

Santa Maria BBQ Chicken Chili

Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm a huge fan of all things crockpot. This is my latest creation, and new favorite chili, featuring my favorite Velata Artisan Rub, Santa Maria BBQ.

4 chicken breasts
Santa Maria BBQ rub
1 chopped onion (yellow or white) 
2 cans stewed tomatoes
4 cans beans (pinto, kidney, dark kidney, white kidney beans) 
Chicken stock

Placed chopped onion in the bottom of the crock pot. 
Sprinkle Santa Maria BBQ rub on chicken breasts and place in crock pot. 
Add tomatoes (undrained) to crock pot.
Drain and rinse beans and add to crock pot.
Add chicken stock until beans are covered. 
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. 

Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, and green onions. Enjoy! 


Driven Dreamer Planner Winners Announced!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

One thing I know for sure is that you people LOVE planner posts. Some of you are as crazy about finding the perfect planner as I am! 

You guys have stuck with me through so many planner loves! The current love, as you may have read, is the Driven Dreamer from An Organized Girl. I hated sharing with you though because I knew you couldn't get your hands on one, since it's sold out! 

But lucky for you, I snagged a couple extras (mostly because I hoard planners, and sort of because I love you). Tonight we announce our Driven Dreamer winners.....yep, 2 of them! 

I used to generate 2 random numbers to correlate with the comments on the post Planners, Planners, and more planners from last Sunday. 

Congratulations to Natalie Espinoza who was our 2nd comment on the post. Natalie will have 1st choice of color. 

Natalie EspinozaAugust 17, 2014 at 12:04 AM
I love this!! I have been researching planners and this helps a lot!! Love them all but I can't ever make a decision. Look forward to your next post!!

And congratulations to Angie who was our 57th comment on the post.

Guess what?!! I too, love planners!! Hahaha, planner lovers unite! ;) I attempted to get on the electronic calendar/planner wagon but just couldn't do it. I LOVE paper planners and don't think I would have graduated nursing school without mine, it was my lifeline. For the last year I have been using a May Designs planner, and while I love that it's customizable, I'm not a fan of the layout. Thanks for the chance to win! :)

I'm so excited for both of you to get your new Driven Dreamers! Send me an email to with your address and it'll be in the mail. 

Happy planning! 

Love and Marriage

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Brian and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss at the end of July. Everything about that statement is true except for the "bliss" part. 

There is nothing blissful about marriage. Marriage is work. It's good and honorable and wonderful work, but it's work. 

In ten years, we have had our share of highs and lows. I don't think any strong marriage can claim that it hasn't had highs and lows. 

Tonight after a full day of family and fun, I sent Brian a text from across the house asking if he wanted to escape for a walk. Both of our moms are here (which we love) and Brian's baby brother (Brad), and we had a dining room full of men drafting their perfect fantasy football leagues for most of the afternoon. My introvert self needed a little escape from the crazy. 

So we set out. To do nothing but walk. Quality time and conversation are what I need for our relationship to feel healthy. Respect and physical touch are what he needs for our relationship to feel healthy. And that is true for most couples, but those are the easiest things to let go of when life gets busy. 

Brian and I recently each read a book called For Women Only and For Men Only. Not only did it completely change our relationship, but it opened each of our eyes to the way the other sex thinks and functions. 

I just thought you might like to know. I believe that every person should read these books....married or not. It is enlightening to understand how a man thinks and how incredibly different it is from the way that a woman thinks. 

Our relationship is not perfect. Perfect relationships don't exist because perfect people don't exist, but I really believe these books can help your relationships with the opposite sex be much healthier and fulfilling. 

Happy reading! 

Preparing to be Full

Friday, August 22, 2014

We are definitely in a season of transition. My brother-in-law moved in last week to spend his senior year here playing golf. He's a good kid, and we love having him here. It's going to be a great year. Our kids love having him here despite Wyatt's face in the picture below. {I think he was concerned about the candles Brad had just blown out...ya know...our kids never see real candles.} 

Not only did Brad move in, but my kiddos went to school this week! I won't pretend I didn't cry on the 1st day. I lost it, and wanted to go back and pick them up, but it only lasted a day. After that, they were happy, we were happy, everyone was happy. What's not to love about happy? 

Plus, they only go to school Monday-Thursday. It's pretty much perfect {except that I thought it was Saturday all day today, and I took 3 kids to Target....who does that?} 

So I'm here, preparing for this house to be full. Full of family, people, kids, and love. Oh and food. Lots of food. 

As I've been looking through my journal from our Italy trip, I found a page full of a list I titled, "How I want Italy to change me." On that list was fullness. To be full of life. Full of love. To have a house always full of people. 

We are definitely getting that. My in-laws will be here this weekend and my mom, so I get to practice that full-house thing this weekend. 

Part of "preparing to be full" has meant that we're intentionally working through each room of our house to make it more functional to serve, host, and love others. Systems, a place for everything, a plan, if you will. It's all there. 

Even tonight, I sit here thinking about how we have a couple weeks to get in the groove of school and activities and business before Brian and I head out of town for almost 2 full weeks. We're headed to Boise for the 1st ever Velata convention. We are elated. Plus, we're meeting our friends there, and we'll spend a few days with them camping and dreaming and catching up. 

Immediately after that, we get to spend several days with Scentsy's top leaders at our annual SuperStar Director Summit. It's a time to re-charge and collaborate and learn, and it is sweet food to my soul. 

Brian and I will fly from Boise to Pittsburg to help launch the business of 3 new team members. 

To say it's going to be a busy week-and-a-half is an understatement. In addition to all that, when we come home from Pittsburgh, there is a very good chance that our home will officially be open as a foster home again which means, we will very likely welcome a baby into our home the middle of September (that's less than a month away folks!). 

When I say we're preparing to be full, I mean it. But full is good. Empty is bad. 

I want to be full. I want my home to be full. I want my heart to be full. So we're preparing over here to be full. Preparing to be full of love, full of Christ, full of community, full of good. 

Italy...Day 1...Rome {Part 1}

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We snapped this selfie on the plane right before we left D.C. on our way to Rome. 
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I remember how the Rome airport smelled of cigarette smoke. Distinctly and undeniably. 

I remember how narrow the streets were. Our cab driver drove fast and unconcerned about anyone in his way. {I would soon learn that this is how all Italian drivers drive.}
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I remember the apartment balconies. Nearly every balcony we passed had flowers on it. I found so much simple joy in the flowers on the balconies. I don't know why, but I did. 
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A lemon tree on a balcony. 

The streets, the buildings, the architecture. The things that were here and have been here long before America was ever America.
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I couldn't help but wonder who had walked those streets....the wars they've seen, the heroes and the villains they have lived through.

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And as we neared the building we were staying in, I so vividly remember this man and his dog and that newspaper stand. He reminded me so much of my Pa. My heart was already in love with Italy after a single cab drive through the streets of Rome. 
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We arrived at our building and were escorted to the top floor. Our bags took the lift, we took 6 flights of stairs. 

It was only 9:00 am. We had flown through the night from Washington D.C. into Italy's capital city. We had no idea we were arriving on the soon-to-be-historic day that two Popes were canonized by two living Popes at the Vatican. There were an extra three million people in Rome that day, and we were two of them. 

It was overcast and cloudy that morning. From the rooftop deck of our building, we could see and hear the Pope's helicopter flying over the city. 
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We enjoyed a simple Italian breakfast on the rooftop of Nutella toast and cappuccino, cheese, ham, and yogurt. Brian had a bowl of cornflakes and milk too. 
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We met Nancy and Art from D.D on the rooftop that morning. They were celebrating 35 years of marriage. We talked Scentsy and real estate and children while listening to the birds and enjoying our view of the spot where Julius Caesar was killed. 
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We got settled into our {tiny} room and spent some time simply basking in the fact that we were actually in Italy. We had a little tiny, private balcony off our room that I adored. 

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Later that morning we would venture out to explore Rome.....more coming soon. 

Remembering Italy

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One of the reasons, I need to write everyday is simply to document. I have the worst memory in the world and I have yet to find a better way to remember it all. 

Since I wasn't writing everyday when we were in Italy, I feel the need to catch up. I wrote everyday in a journal while we were there keeping track of where we went, who we talked to, and most importantly....what we ate. 

I love that my handwriting is in a book. When I blog everyday, I don't always do that. 

As we were going through my Pa's house, I found a few things with my Grammy's handwriting on them, and they are treasures to me. I hope one of my kids or grandkids treasures this one day. 

 I also have handfuls of corks from the wine we drank while we were there. As I look back through my journaling tonight, I'm so excited to make the pictures match the words and re-live it all over again. I have over 675 pictures that I took on my real camera that I haven't even really looked at. 

Here's to knowing that more goodness from Italy is coming here soon. I miss it. Italy was truly magical. It'll be a great story to tell. Re-living it will definitely make me want to go back. I want to take my kids there desperately. A culture, a people, a place that needs to be documented and remembered and re-lived over and over again. 

More on Italy coming soon.......

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