Living To Love…

Family 2010 /

An Oldie But a Goodie! Olsons 2011


Yes, my friends, I have another book for you. I never tire of reading. My interest is in business, memoirs, historical fiction and pretty much anything Lysa Terkheurst writes. I have several books going right now, one on my kindle, one on audio and one or two physical books. The one I am enjoying the most is, Love Lives Here by Maria Goff. In it, Maria talks about her life, her family and what is important to her. I am about half way through and I have two favorite parts.

The first, is where she discusses her life’s greatest ambition… being a wife and a mom. I don’t know about you but in my neck of the woods, no one talks about this being their greatest ambition. There is always something else, usually a career or a cause. I was taught to have a career because of the underlying fear of death or divorce. Living in fear means that all women need to, “have something for yourself in case something happens.” Which is code for,”make your own money so you never go without.” There is absoutely nothing wrong with having a big career or fighting for big causes, but not all of us are wired this way.

I found it refreshing that Maria shares her joy of being a wife and mom because I struggle with guilt for feeling like I should be doing more. Maybe not more, but it’s hard when none of the things I do for the family or for our business can be quantified with a financial contribution. Nothing I do helps us financially. I never had a career. I went from college to ministry to marriage to helping run a business. I have a few licenses which I have done relatively little with and I help with the business but I am not the one on the front lines helping people with their taxes or finances. I am in the background working on the website, keeping the books in line, updating processes, processing paperwork for our financial clients and providing laughs for the amazing team of people we work with. This sounds like a lot but it’s actually pretty low-key. I work from home as well as from the office and I shut it down in the early afternoon to go get the kids, run them to their various events and get dinner on the table.

I am aware that the contributions I do make at the office would need to be hired out if I wasn’t there so yes, it’s helpful but sometimes it feels like not enough. Reading Maria’s words reminded me once again that my life does not need to look like everyone else’s to have significance and meaning. I like what I do and it is both helpful to the business and to our family.

My other favorite part? This…

Dating Mr Wonderful /

This silly picture of me was taken right after I had, finally, begun dating Mr. Wonderful. I detailed the particulars of the photo here. The best part about this photo in relation to Maria’s book is that I am at a camp on Catalina Island on the top of a mountain with a cross on it. Several other counselors and I had taken our tired group of Jr High girls on a hike to see the sunrise. Maria accepted Jesus into her heart on that very same mountain, right in front of the cross. When I read her story I felt like I was right there with her because I have been there. It is a special place with special memories.

What I am enjoying most about the book is that it’s about love. Maria’s husband Bob is a trial lawyer who looks like the Grandpa from the movie UP. He travels all over the world bringing balloons, justice and love to impoverished people in refugee camps and war-torn countries. Maria, for the most part, stays home and makes sure that Bob and their 3 grown children have a soft place to land when they return from their various adventures.

I have been on a quest this year to learn to love better, to remind myself that love is a verb and not a noun. Love isn’t about what you say but rather what you do. Honestly, I have a long way to go but finding words to read which remind me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, help me to press on to continue to become the woman God has created me to be. I constantly remind myself not to feel guilt over the decisions I have made and that the contributions I make are enough. In the end, the most important thing to me is to love and be loved. If this is my end goal then I am on the right track.


Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!



An Undivided Heart

My New Hair /


Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…  Matthew 6:24

When I was diagnosed with cancer I became immediately aware of the things in life that were no longer in my control. For those 9 months of treatment, I went where I was told to go and did what I was told to do. I endured the coldness of some medical staff who had forgotten or had never known what it’s like to be scared and vulnerable. And to be fair I met some really awesome people who love what they do and the people they serve. I took the medicine I was supposed to take and I allowed an ungodly number of people to see me disrobed. Honestly, if I had a nickel for the number of medical staff I have paid …PAID in the last two years to see my naked body I would be a millionaire.

Most people it seems become great researchers once they have been diagnosed with something unfamiliar and scary. I am no exception. Along with studying about the type of cancer I had I also began to educate myself about nutrition and healthier eating because with everything that was being done to me, I wanted to learn about something I could do for myself. I wanted to learn about how food was affecting my everyday health and what I could do about it. I won’t go into great detail about this as I have posted on this subject before here and here …It went quite well for a while. Fear and control were great motivators. I could control what I put into my mouth.

It’s been 15 months since my last treatment and life has settled back into somewhat of a normal routine. I have done a good job with not allowing my schedule dictate my life and recreating the hecticness of my life pre-cancer and have kept the demon of “busyness” at bay. I have done a good job at scheduling my time but I have not done a good job of watching what I am eating. The sugar and simple carbs have reentered my life, I feel fluffy and weak and I find myself a bit out of control again but this time I am willingly choosing the misery by choosing not to keep certain foods out of my life. I still spend a lot of time looking up healthy recipes and reading about the effects of sugar on the body and how incredibly addicting it is. I know how bad it is and what it does to your body but I also find a lot of ways to make excuses about why I am eating unhealthy foods … “just this one time.” My “just this one times…” have allowed me to make excuses for bad decisions just about every day. My favorite jeans no longer fit and I am desperate to find a way to be rid of sugar for good.

There is a book that came out in 2010 by Lysa Terkhurst called, Made To Crave. I knew it was about eating and the struggles the author has had in her life in regards to food. I also knew that it was about God creating us to be people that crave… people that crave Him. I put off reading it for quite some time but I finally checked the book out at the library the other day and oh, I am so glad I did. I was expecting to feel convicted and lame about not doing what I know I should be doing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.Made To Crave /

I didn’t feel convicted, instead I began to feel empowered with verses like 1 Corinthians 10:23

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.

Permissible but not beneficial…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Made anew so I can do the things God has planned for me… I was made for more.

The truth is that everything in excess is sin. God wants more for me. He wants more for you.

We are knee deep in baseball at the Olson household right now and I likened this whole food thing to Mr. Wonderful the other day using a baseball analogy. Choosing to indulge is like hitting a home run and stopping at third base. A triple is soo cool! All the way to third base! Wow, what an amazing accomplishment. But the problem is that I had actually hit a home run! Why do I continually stop at third when I could be experiencing the full glory of running ALL the bases! People clap and cheer for you at third base but when you choose not to stop at third and instead go all the way home all your teammates come out screaming and yelling and jumping up and down. The crowd goes wild and the thrill is so much bigger than the third base feeling.


At Lysa’ s suggestion I have started to talk to myself every time I am tempted to eat in ways that don’t serve my purposes. I say to myself, “You were made for more. God has bigger plans for you, do not give in to the downward spiral that this one decision will create. It’s permissible but not beneficial.” I have spent most of my adult life choosing food over God so armed with this truth, I am doing better. My jeans are not fitting any looser yet but I am going to keep doing the things I know are good for me and press on.

Have a fabulous day my friends!





Recital 2016 12 yrs old /

Me -n- My Girl 2016

Last month I turned 47. Forty-Seven! I have already voiced the good the bad and the ugly on this situation so I will move on. But what I didn’t mention, was the gift I received from my 13-year-old daughter.

Nat Gift to me1 /

I am a sucker for gifts. In Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, he discusses 5 ways people give and receive love. In a nutshell, the Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service.  I am squarely in the Receiving Gifts and Quality Time categories. The reason I love gifts doesn’t have so much to do with the gift but rather the fact that someone took the time to make me feel special. I will keep this card forever because she made it especially for me. Natalie communicates love through Acts of Service and Gifts. I don’t think I have heard her say I love you audibly since she was a little girl. She has her own ways of expressing love and I have worked hard to learn her language.

Nat 2017 13 yrs /

Natalie – Gettin Ready For Sheep – Winter 2017

At first glance, the gift might seem odd. She gave me the gift of Self-Control and then added a box of Milk Duds because those are my favorites. Why self-control? Well, I spend a fair amount of time talking about eating healthy and chasing my running dreams. I move the needle forward a bit every day but I slip up sometimes too. She’s letting me know she’s listening. She hears me. She watches me. Natalie wants me to know she desires to see me succeed with the dreams and goals I have set for myself.

Nat gift to me2 /

Happy Birthday Mom!!! I love that you are my mom (even if you are loud☺)

The “even if you are loud” part is our thing. I am very outgoing and expressive, she is not. I check in with her now and again to make sure that my over expressiveness isn’t embarrassing for her or making her uncomfortable. There is a difference in trying to embarrass her (which is fun) and doing it unintentionally (which is not fun) and causing undo harm. She’s like Mr. Wonderful in that they find the antics of expressiveness amusing but would not ever consider being that way themselves. So I check in because I don’t ever want me to damage, us.

and I hope that one day you will be able to run your marathon and enjoy it and I hope that you are having a wonderful day.

P.S. I was tired and feeling a little nice.

The postscript is her explaining why she’s communicating affection. It doesn’t come naturally for her like it does for Bridger and me.

Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.♥

2 John 1:8

My heart melted. She all on her own looked up a scripture on Self-Control and wrote it out for me. For a girl who spends very little time communicating her heart, this was huge. I love that Natalie took the time to tell me in her own unique way, how much she loves me. She gave me something tangible to hold on to on the days when her feelings might not appear so obvious. For this, I am forever grateful. No, I didn’t save the Milk Duds… I polished those babies off before the weekend was out.

This gift was a great reminder to me of the responsibility I carry as a parent. My kids are watching to see if I am going to put in the work to fulfill my dreams. Nothing worth having in this life comes easily and although I blow it at times and down an entire box of Milk Duds in two days, I also go running in the early morning hours no matter what the weather is doing. The Oregon Coast provides ample opportunity for one to skip out on a run because of adverse weather conditions and they are watching me get it done anyway.

As they get older and begin to pursue their own dreams I want them to look back and have the courage to face challenges that will come. Hopefully, they will do this because of the example they were given of someone who didn’t give up no matter how many times she was knocked down. I ran a 4 miler on Sunday. Only 22.2 more to be ready for my fall marathon. Lucky for me I have a family who wants to watch me succeed.

Bridge n Me /

Bridge – My New Speed Coach

Have a fabulous day my friends!


Not Chasing Perfect

Mammoth /

Mountain Biking at Mammoth Lakes

It seems there are a lot of recovering perfectionists out there. Several books have arrived or will be arriving on the scene which all have to deal with the idea of giving up their perfectionist ways. A short list includes, Shauna Niequist’sPresent Over Perfect, Emily Ley’s, Grace Not Perfection, Lara Casey’sCultivate What Matters (coming out in June 2017) and recently I read Unashamed by Christine Cain which wasn’t about perfectionism but touched on problems it has caused in the author’s life. The one issue I do not have in my life is chasing perfect.

My house is clean but not immaculate. I am not big on clutter or dirty bathrooms but I have to admit, the blinds in my dining room window haven’t been dusted since we moved in last August and we are now in the month of March. I probably shouldn’t mention the half wall which was removed in this room which spread sheetrock dust everywhere. I opened those blinds the other day and winced. But there are books to be read and blog posts to be written along with laundry, dinner, kids sports, helping at the office and runs to be ran, so to this day, the blinds in my dining room have not been dusted. And although it bothers me when I open and close the blinds, it obviously hasn’t bothered me enough to do something about it.

It’s funny to ponder on this idea of perfectionism because no one is or ever will be perfect until we get to heaven. Unfortunately, the antithesis of perfect is flawed/inferior/second rate or incomplete. I don’t consider myself inferior or second rate because my blinds are dirty, I do, however, wonder if I had the desire to be a little more put together then things would be different. It is not lost on me that these recovering perfectionists are all authors, speakers and or thriving entrepreneurs. Their perfectionist ways have driven them to various levels of success which I have yet to achieve. Even with this knowledge and as much as I desire to make my mark on the world, I am not willing to give up my current season of life to chase it.

I didn’t get married till I was 30. We began having children when I was 33. Our eldest is now 13 and we only have 5 years left till she spreads her wings and leaves the nest. 5 Years! I don’t want to miss it. I would rather do less, have less and be less in the world’s eyes than to chase the idea that we have to have it all together.

On the flip side there is guilt associated with not desiring perfection because as much as I don’t want to take the time it’s going to take to make life perfect I love how I feel when everything is in order. What is a girl to do?

  • Decide what is important.  Do those things. For this season of life, important to me is God, Mr. Wonderful, Natalie and Bridger (our kids), running, writing and reading.
  • Let go of commitments that don’t help you achieve what is important. I am shedding off all things which hinder what’s important. Time is short, whatever I commit to needs to center around what I care about most or I will inadvertently miss out on what brings me joy.
  • Focus on little things each day to help life feel orderly. To ensure my house isn’t a total disaster or to keep the other necessities of life in order I have made a commitment to tackle one small thing done each day. (ie. wipe down bathroom counters and swish out the toilet before I leave the house in the morning.)

I will leave you with this…

I wrapped a gift for our daughter’s friend the other day.  It was her 12th birthday. As she opened the gift she looked at how it was wrapped, giggled and asked if Natalie had wrapped it. I chimed in and assured her it was me. The edges were rough and not folded smoothly, scotch tape was everywhere. Yes, I would love my gift wrapping skills to mimic those I see on Pinterest, but in the moment I had a choice to make. Am I going to sit here for a half hour and try to make this wrapping job look perfect or am I going to slap some tape on it and call it good? Tape slapping always wins because I don’t have the patience or the skills for smooth corners and the truth is trying to get it perfect stresses me out. I would much rather laugh at myself later in front of a group of people than sit at home and sweat over the imperfect creases in my wrapping paper.

Now, I will go clean the blinds…

Have a fabulous day my friends!!






rod-n-tiff-winter-2017 /



Have you ever been at the grocery store or the mall or anywhere and saw someone you knew but felt so overwhelmed by your life or circumstances you quickly ducked or walked away? The desire is not to be seen so you would not have to talk about your life… or theirs. Sooo hoping that I am not the only one in this category. How many times have I seen someone in public who could have used an encouraging word or even just a smile but I was so consumed with myself and my issues that I turned and went the other way? Too many to count. To be fair when life is continually kicking you in the face you get to a point where you don’t know what to say to others and you are terrified about the questions they are going to ask you. I am not great at being evasive and I have little to no ability to tell someone everything is going fine when it’s not. I have discovered that I have a two question limit. I can beat around the bush for two questions but once the third pressing question comes around I run out of pleasantries and the truth gets vomited all over the asker.

When I was going through chemo and had no hair my mom had gotten me this great wig. This wig is so great that people stopped me everywhere I went telling me how great my hair looked. I’m not kidding I won more attention wearing that wig than I have ever received in my whole life. (I am wearing the wig in my blog photo) But here’s the deal, no one ever stopped at saying, “I love your hair!” They kept going… “No seriously, I love your hair!” “Where do you get it done?” “How do you make it look so great?” In the beginning, when I still wasn’t feeling great I would say thank you a few times. By the third question, however, I would just tell them that I had cancer and it was a wig. A smarter person could have kept the charade going and relished in all the compliments. But the reality is I am just not that smart and I had no energy to fake it beyond a few questions. When I was feeling better and a bit more like myself, at the third question I would just take the wig off and tell them for $200 they could go buy themselves the same hair. Nice, huh? You can imagine how uncomfortable people felt and the blank stares I received after these encounters.

The other night Mr. Wonderful and I ran into some old friends, Tim and Jessica, in Eugene. We were in town because I had developed an infection from my most recent surgery and I was getting it checked. When we began chatting with our friends (Tim’s a pastor and I used to work for him) he began asking me how I was doing, I said fine. He said, “No really,  how are you doing? I smiled and said, “I’m good!” He then looked at me and said, “The look you are giving me says, stop asking me questions, I don’t want to talk about it.” It was then that I blurted out, “Well I have an infection and the Dr. is worried about it, but it’s Christmas and we are going to grab a drink and go watch a movie and pretend that everything is fine.” Tim laughed and said, “That’s what everyone does at Christmas!” (ps. the infection cleared after antibiotics (-: ) The restaurant was crowded,  Tim and Jessica would have never known I was there had I not walked up to their table. But I made the effort, made it through the awkward moment and ended up having a good laugh.

I am reading a book by Michele Cushatt, called I Am, A 60 Day Journey To Knowing Who You Are Because Of Who He Is, in it, she points out that Jesus never shied away from the hurting or the afflicted. He never thought to himself that their burdens were too big to add to his own. Instead, he came over for dinner and spent a significant amount of time with the lost and the lonely and brought peace and restoration to their lives.

The same is true for you,  you know. Regardless of your bruised and battered soul, Jesus welcomes you without condition.


Are you weary? Weighed down by  your life’s story? Overwhelmed by unknowns? Come. We’ll carry it together.

This world is not an easy one to weather. We will not always be able to carry another’s burdens along with our own. But when we find our rest in Jesus first, we’ll have far more strength to welcome the Dianes (friends) we meet like He does.

I’m glad I did not shy away from saying hello to Tim and Jessica. They are much better at holding life’s challenges closer to the vest than I am but it was great to laugh with some old friends in the middle of a room full of strangers on a hard day.

Step out and say hello to fellow weary travelers that you see in the grocery store. It’s hard but in the end, both of you will feel a little less alone.


Have a great day my friends!


Marching Around The City…

And So We March /

The kids and I at the “wax museum”

I am going to put as positive a spin on this as I can and just say that life is sure adventurous. There is an old saying that goes something like …

You are either in the midst of a problem, coming out of a problem or heading into a problem.

I can with all certainty say that there are a lot of people in this world that suffer far worse than me. But I can also say that since 2011 there has been a constant barrage of pain, grief, strife and heartache in my life and as we wage the newest battle (well, its actually been going on for quite some time but I let it fade to the background during cancer) I find myself questioning if all the tears that I am shedding mean that I am not trusting.

God has a plan, a plan for good and deep within my soul I know this. It’s on the surface where I fall apart. When the waves start rolling and crashing down on me, I kind of freak out. I am going through a bible study called Unglued by Lysa Terkhurst with some of my girlfriends. That 1st week I had yelled at my son a few times so I thought to myself “this study is going to teach me to control myself in regards to my emotional outbursts in parenting and wifing.” (I know wifing is not a word but I was having this conversation with myself in my head.) It’s an area where I need work so it just fit. The second 2nd week into the study I realized that God wasn’t challenging me on my emotional outbursts in regards to my family but in regards to Him.

This first section is centered on the story of Joshua and the city of Jericho. Joshua and his army were to take the city. Conquer it. One problem. No weapons to speak of and the walls surrounding the city of Jericho were at least 30 feet high and well reinforced to protect the city from such an event as this. So what does God tell Joshua to do? He tells him to have the people of Israel march around the outside of the city once a day for 7 days and on the 7th day march around the city 7 times and then shout and blow some horns. Really!? Marching and horn blowing, that’s it? Not only that but as they were headed off to do what they were asked an angel of the Lord appeared to Joshua and Joshua asked him “Whose side are you on?” “Neither One.” … “Take off your sandals for the place where you are standing is holy.” So now not only is Joshua not going to fight but for all practical purposes he is asked to step aside altogether and just march.

Interestingly enough Mr. Wonderful happened to read the same story with our son that same week during their breakfast bible reading time. Coincidence? I think not. I think that we were both being told that it’s time to put the swords down and let God do what he is going to do. We have prayed, we have sought counsel and we have done everything to the best of our ability to seek resolution to this situation. Over the last two weeks God has basicly said, now, let me.

I did it during cancer. I laid there on my couch and let God take care of everything. I couldn’t do anything else, I was physically and mentally incapable of doing anything but stare at the wall. Now that I am healthier I want to pick up that sword and start swinging. I forget that we didn’t go under when I was sick. I forget about the provision that took place. When you are in a zombie like state you don’t really care what is happening around you but when you are coherent you see all the many ways that things can and do go wrong. So you fight and you swing that sword again and again because your afraid that if you stop swinging  you will be defeated. There is a time to fight, don’t get me wrong, but there is also a time to step aside, acknowledge that you have done all that you can, lay down your sword and march around the city.

Do you think that Joshua after his encounter with the angel, marched around the city with slumped shoulders and uncontrollable weeping? I don’t think so. He still had the warrior mindset, he just relinquished control of how he thought the battle should be won. So maybe my tears don’t mean that I am not trusting but rather are a part of the process of letting go and letting God. And who knows maybe Joshua did shed a tear or two but then girded up and moved forward.

So, we’re marching. What about you? What kind of season are you in? In the middle of the battle? Just on the other side? Basking in the glory of a few moments of peace? Or like me, have you been asked to lay down your sword and march?

Books … Jan 2016

I read /

Throughout my posts I have mentioned books that I have read or am currently reading. I love to read and I read a lot. I pretty much never have just one book going but rather have several going at one time. I read to gain perspective, I read to learn new things, I read to escape reality and I read because I really enjoy it. At this stage of my life 95% of the books I read are non fiction. I do however like to throw fiction ones in there every now and again to give my brain a break and read something just to enjoy the story.

In January, I started and finished 3 books. Only two are pictured as I took the third back to the library before I got a photo of it. The book was called The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Our daughter is 12 and had asked me a few years back about reading the Hunger Games series. A few years ago I thought she was a little young for it so I asked her to wait. Over the holidays I picked up the series at the library and we spent two weeks plowing through the three books. I got a bit behind so the third book carried over into the new year. I enjoyed the series. It was entertaining but I don’t get why others loved it so much. What I really enjoyed was reading it alongside my daughter and comparing thoughts and ideas and having that connection with her. Being 12 is hard so I will take any opportunity I can get to connect.

This brings me to the second book I read in January and that is Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Natalie was reading it for school and writing a report on it. I had always wanted to read it so when she finished I picked it up. As I have looked around a bit I think that this version of the diary is fairly edited but I still really enjoyed it. It is the third book I have read in regards to WWII in the last year and it did not disappoint. I have such a hard time fathoming all that took place during that time but when you read about the suffering of others it helps to put your own suffering into perspective and gives you the courage to fight on.

The third book I read was Lara Casey’s Make it Happen. I liked it because it was not only a book about living on purpose and setting goals but it shared a lot about the author’s personal story and how she has overcome the battles in her life in becoming who she is today. She has two rules that she lives by in regards to social media that I am working on implementing in my life. The first is that she puts nothing out on social media that does not glorify or honor God and secondly no social media on the weekends. I have to admit that I pride myself in not being a TV watcher but the reality is that I use up a lot of time that others use for TV, checking my phone. So, I have some changes to make and I am ready to make them.

Currently reading /

This second set of books are all the ones that I am currently reading. I need to finish them up so that I can move on to my third set of books which are the ones I want to read next…

Will Read /

Okay, I have read Entreleadership before but it’s been a few years and I need a refresher course as we head into a new year. The Dale Carneige book I picked up and started just before cancer. I wasn’t much interested in winning friends while I was laying on the couch last year so I set it aside. But things are different now and I’m beginning to emerge from my cocoon so I will forge ahead.

My list of yet to reads is long and getting longer by the day so I need to get crackin…

What about you? What do you like to read? I’m always open to suggestions!

Have a great day, All!

Beginning Again… (Part 1)

Family 2005 /


We all have different phases or seasons of our lives. Some of these seasons are brought on by choices that we make and others are brought on by circumstances beyond our control. When our kids were little they were my thing. I didn’t enter into motherhood until I was 33. (Hence the high level of estrogen in my system and the subsequent bout with cancer, but I digress) I was so ready to be a mom and I jumped in with both feet. I had worked for our church for several years in the youth department and knew with all my heart that upon the arrival of our daughter that I wanted to stay home and be with her. So I did. Two years later our son came along and our family felt complete. Oh we had our issues, don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of life being lived in those years including a couple of miscarriages and the sudden passing of my brother in law, Tony. But overall I felt comfortable in my role as mommy and tender of our home.

When we moved to Coos Bay my world got a little bigger as we got involved in a new church and made new friends. This is when I met Aimee. We were just beginning to get to know each other when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I had never known anyone with cancer so I wasn’t real sure how to proceed but we just hit it off. In the end our families kind of adopted each other. For two and a half years we did everything together. Friday nite pizza nites, birthdays, holidays, fishing, boating … you name it, we did it. But again there was reality mixed in as there were surgeries, treatments, and a gazillion trips to Portland for various tests and checkups. In the end God chose to heal Aimee by bringing her home to him. That was a huge blow as my desire was for earthly healing and for us to raise our kids together and hit the road proclaiming God’s grace and mercy and provision to anyone and everyone that would listen. It also marked the end of another season for me.

At this point in our lives the kids were now in school and Mr. Wonderful needed more help in getting our business off the ground so I entered the world of business owner and set myself to the task of relieving some of the pressure from his shoulders as well as educating myself in ways to become a successful entrepreneur. This was also the season when we discovered Dave Ramsey and his principles on debt free living as well as a book he wrote called Entreleadership. Mr Wonderful describes our little world as a ship. Our ship had been sailing in the wrong direction and was in danger of running aground. In the proccess of learning how to more effectively run our business and to immediately cut off going into more debt, our ship began to get further away from the shoreline and in fact began the slow process of turning around and heading in the right direction.

Recital 2012 /

With new vision there is hope of what can be. I had a role in our business but it was one that kept me behind a desk all day and working with forms and documents. Well, I am not much of a forms and documents kind of girl and I was so on fire with the improvements that we were making that I just wanted to share it with others and see if what we were learning could benefit them as much as it was benefiting us. It was about that time that I read a book by Jon Acuff called Start. It was all about stepping out and doing something, anything that gave you momentum. The idea is that once you are moving in a direction, the way you should go becomes more clear. I wanted to make a bigger impact. I wanted to affect change in peoples lives and the most obvious thing at the time was to join my husband at the helm and get certified to be a financial advisor. So I began with life and health insurance licensing and went on to study for and pass the series 7 exam. I was flying high at this point because the series 7  was the biggest challenge I had ever taken on and I won.

Family 2013 /

I began devouring everything that I could get my hands on as far as becoming a successful entrepreneur was concerned. Good To Great by Jim Collins, podcasts by Chris Locurto (which eventually led to a coaching session with him), Michael Hyatt Andy Stanley and of course the Entreleadership podcast. I was a sponge and I wanted to be the best we could be so that we could effect the most change in peoples lives and help them to become the best they could be. We hired a business coach and created a strategic plan to move the business to the next level. We implemented the plan, remodeled the office and then got diagnosed with breast cancer.



To Be Continued….



Choosing Joy…

Zion /

One of the things that has been nagging at me for the last year or so is how much stuff we have accumulated and how much of it we are not using. When I 1st got sick I thought, Oh wow! I’m gonna have all this down time to finally go through all the closets and cubby holes in this house, scan the thousands of photos I have into the computer and when all this sickness stuff is over I will  have a clean and  organized house! Yeah, not so much. I have definitely made progress however and while there is less clutter than before there is still quite a bit to go.

I have been following a few bloggers that post stuff they are reading. One book kept coming up over and over again and since it goes right in line with what I am attempting to do right now I bought it the other day. The book became popular last year so I am a touch behind the times in sharing this with you now. But since I spent most of last year laying on my couch staring at the wall, I decided to cut myself some slack and own that this is where I am today… pretty much a year behind everyone else, and tell you about a book that was popular last year that I am just now discovering. It’s called the life changing-changing magic of tidying up the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. I am one quarter of the way through it and what has struck me the most is how she connects the feeling of joy with stuff.

I am not a big shopper but I have a lot of stuff. I think somewhere along the line stuff began to equal security. Mr. Wonderful and I didn’t get married until I was 30. (this was sooo not my desire as I had liked him for 4 years … but this is a whole other story.) Anytime previous to this date all of the stuff getting passed down for future generations was getting passed right on by me. My siblings were married and therefore would likely have heirs for which to pass on such things. I wasn’t married nor did I live in the same state as the rest of my family so, no stuff for me.

Boy did that all change after I got married. All the parental units in my life started downsizing and we were dragging uhauls all over the place to pick up stuff that was either sentimental to me or just newer than what we had at home. It turns out that I have a huge sentimental gene in me so pretty much everything was a must have, including all the family photos dating back to the 1800’s. When I got sick everything began to close in on me. I just so desperately wanted all of my spaces to be clean and tidy and uncluttered. I realized that I have storage closets with boxes in them that haven’t been touched in 7.5 years. If I haven’t seen it in 7 years do I really need it?

So this is what Marie says in her book. Go by category beginning with your clothes, pick up each article and look at it, touch it, feel it and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If the answer is no then you can get rid of it, if  you are having a hard time disposing of it because it was a gift or you have some other sentimental attachment to it then look at it, thank it for bringing  you joy for a season and then let it go. I love this! I love this question of bringing joy because it corresponds to so many different areas of life. What attitudes, thoughts, dreams, ideas, relationships am I holding on to that no longer bring me joy? When you walk through something hard, I don’t care what it is, illness, death of loved ones or tragedies of any kind what really matters to you comes to the surface pretty quickly. For me it’s faith, family, friends, wisdom, growth and expressing myself through the written word. These are the things in life that bring me the most joy so my desire is that anything that creeps into my life that forces me to ignore or walk away from those key areas needs to be discarded.

It is amazing how freeing this is! There is freedom in knowing what brings you joy. I don’t think a year ago I would have had an answer to this question of joy. Life is really hard. I don’t need to tell you how hard or go into details because you already know. Your story is different than mine but you have a story. Interestingly enough not one of the things that I have decided that bring me the most joy in life is a material possession. Don’t get  me wrong I love a new pair of shoes but they are not what bring me the most joy. So I’m going to keep reading my book and get rid of more stuff and really begin to look at my life through the lense of joy.

Have a great day , All!


Bridger Reading1

Bridger with his favorite book, Where the Red Fern Grows.

Over the last several months I have been reading a lot about story, calling, passion and the art of being who you are. One of the most recent books I have read on this subject is a book by Donald Miller called, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It’s kind of an older book and he as written at least two that I know of since then but I loved it because of how he explained story and what it means to live your story. You see, a good story has to have adversity, conflict, an antagonist, protagonist, adventure etc. to make the story interesting. You want the main character to overcome something against all odds. One of the illustrations in the book was the fact that you would never go to a movie about a guy buying a volvo. It’s boring there is no challenge, no reason to root him on or a desire to see him succeed.  I loved that because it reminds me that in order for my life story to be interesting and worth telling that I have to go through stuff and so do you. Think about all of the great books you have read and the movies you have watched. Why did you like them? What made them great?

Now take a step back and look at your life. It’s the, grief, adventures, failures, funny moments and disappointments that have made your story unique and worth sharing with others. We all have a story. Where have you been? What have you walked through? In my 45 years here on this earth I have walked through the loss of loved ones, parental divorce, miscarriages, financial troubles and now breast cancer. Those are the things that happened to me. I won’t even begin with the long list of choices that I have made in my lifetime that have created the adversity that I had to overcome. I also took off on my own when I was 20 and lived in Mexico for a year. I learned Spanish by just talking until someone figured out what I was trying to say. (I hate to be left out of a conversation 🙂 )  In the end each one of those things as well as many others has shaped me and molded me into the person I am today. Fortunately, I also asked Jesus to live in my heart at a young age and although I spent my teens and early twenties pretending that I didn’t know Him, he  has never forgotten me or failed to welcome me back when I decided that it was time to come home. Because I have Jesus I have never been alone in any of my struggles or adventures and I also know that my personal story is a small part of the bigger story that He is playing out for the whole world.

My story, your story, our lives are in the midst of a bigger story and we all have a role to play. God uses our stories to help others along in their journeys. Now I am going to admit something here that is not very Christian like or even biblical… I think the suffering part sucks. In the book of James, chapter one, verse two it says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it opportunity for great joy.” I can assure you that I was not joyful when my brother in law died, or when Aimee died or when I lost my babies or when I was diagnosed with cancer. I can even say with a fair amount of certainty in my heart that Jesus was not joyful when he was hanging there on that cross. The difference is that he could see the other side of his circumstances and because of that made the decision to suffer and we in our humanness cannot see the other side of suffering until we have walked through it.

Fortunately life isn’t all about suffering, we have all had adventures and great experiences that we can weave into our hard times and these are what make life worth living and your story worth telling. There are the funny moments as well, like when my wig blew off my head and out of the car window a few weeks back and we had to flip a U Turn on a busy road to go back and get it…  Each experience good or bad makes us stronger and better equipped to handle the road ahead.

A month or so ago I went to an open house for the new cancer center being built here in our town. I was introduced to some ladies from the American Cancer Society and I got so excited about volunteering to help newly diagnosed cancer patients to navigate the system and get plugged into the right places. I was surprised at  how passionate I became over it. I haven’t felt passionate about anything in so long that I was beginning to fear that I would never have the ability to be passionate about anything again. I met a lady named Mary at the fair last week while we were there with my daughter’s 4H animal. She is a 10 year breast cancer survivor and shared a bit of her story with me. There is an instant connection with someone who can relate to what you are going through even if your experiences are a bit different. My sister emailed me a few days ago and wants to connect me with a lady she knows who went through this and is now a counselor for breast cancer patients. These things are so encouraging to me because it means that I can help. I have a story. I can use it to help make other peoples  lives a little easier. Am I glad I got cancer? No. Has it changed me? Yes. Am I sooo over being bald? Yes. One day at at time, I keep telling myself. My story is continually unfolding. As is yours…