Change can happen for you too

In May 2013, I purchased a new bed after sleeping on memory foam for 3 years and having 3 miscarriages. We also purchased a Berkey water filter (after learning about toxins in drinking water). And we tried essential oils from Young Living.

Did we have the money for all of that? At the time we had a roommate to help us pay rent for our 2-bedroom apartment. So no, we didn’t have the money. But I was convinced we needed something to change.

Did we have the money for all of that? We had a roommate to help us pay rent for our 2-bedroom apartment.

My husband and I both loved the new healthy bed, water filter and were surprised by the essential oils! Who would have thought? As I dug into Young Living further, tried a variety of oils and helped others do the same, I received a check from the company, for my referrals. That was cool.

Then it happened: three years ago my check climbed to about $1000. We no longer needed a roommate!

What led me to this new freedom? A serious hustle. The need serious change.

Hustle: A lot of hours helping a lot of people help a lot of people help a lot of people. All while I was getting a healthier lifestyle!

I didn’t help everyone all at one time.

It started with one. It always does.

One person: Who called the memory foam company and to find out which chemicals were in our bed. (Thank you, honey!) We hopped off that bed immediately and began sleeping on the living room floor.

One person: Who told me about Young Living.

One person: Who told us about Berkey water filters. Actually, that was the same person. (Forever grateful, Courtney.)

One person: Who said yes to all of the above. (Okay, two. Thanks forever, honey.)

And then……

One person: Who said yes to listening to my stories.

One person: Who said yes to Berkey or to essential oils.

And then as we all helped people get results and helped others get results… I made about .047 cents per hour for that first year. Haha!! But…

Was it worth it? YES. Many would say no. And quit. They’re not looking beyond now. I HAD to look beyond now, because my NOW was not working.

Listen. I’ve failed at a lot of things. And really well too. Jobs — I’ve been fired a couple times. Relationships — I broken several, almost single-handedly.

But when it comes to hustle, that I could do. I didn’t do everything right, but I kept getting up and trying again. I still messed up, but just kept hustling. Learning, sharing, trying to help people.

The magic hustle recipe for change was (and is) for me, at least, a combo of equal parts NEED, BELIEF and LOVE.

1. I needed the money.
2. I believed in the oils and in Young Living
3. I love people.

I would love a YES from everyone. I have a desire for change, for anyone who needs it.

My Young Living check is far more per month now, because I’m currently a Royal Crown Diamond. But I keep working. Every work day I’m helping make new Diamonds. The need for money for ME may have disappeared, but desire to love and help people with all of the above (change) remains the same.

This recipe means constant change and growth and I love it!

I will keep sharing and loving on people. Showing heart. Being honest. Opt in to humility. Keep on reading and learning. Listening. It’s simple but not easy. But I love it. And won’t stop.

Be your own hero. You are the only one who can change you and your life and your future.

Please say yes. It’s not about you starting a Young Living business (the business is optional and may not be for you). It’s because I know what it feels like to need change desperately, and to be almost completely hopeless.

If you want to go for it, I’d absolutely love to help you in ANY way. If you’re not “oily” yet, I want to welcome you to our warm, loving, fun and brilliant community. Just grab a Premium Starter Kit, and let’s roll. If you want to learn more about going chemical-free, click here or enter your info in the form below:

Happy, happy 2017!

It will be a good one… I’ll share my “word” for the year soon! xoxo

Montana: Our First Family Trip to the Big Sky State

It was just a typical weekday morning…

That’s when I sprang the question. You may not know, but travel and me are oh-so-happy together. My hubby? Let’s just say he’s…not. So I have to get creative. One thing he loves is fly fishing, and a place he’s never been is Montana. So after breakfast one morning, I just said it… “What about a trip to Montana?” Literally three days later we were on our way — with one-way tickets to Missoula!

The Last Minute Plan

We decided to focus on Western Montana. Fish a few famous rivers. See Glacier National Park. Maybe even Yellowstone? One thing is for sure: One way tickets take much of the time-pressure stress off a trip. You don’t feel like you’re “wasting time” as you figure things out, and if you wanna hit a spot again, guess what? You can.

The cabin we stayed, right on the edge of Rock Creek.

Philipsburg, MT

We started our time near a quaint town an hour and a half south of Missoula — Philipsburg. We really feel like we were stepping back in time. No chain restaurants. Nothing really at all except a single street, western feeling town.

There’s a blue ribbon trout stream in the area with cabin rentals (way far out of the tiny town) so that’s where we spent a few days. It was magical. Our cabin was literally a stone toss from the creek (more like a river) and within minutes of getting on the water, Kyler caught a beautiful brown and cutthroat trout. Let’s just say… Kyler was in Heaven. We all were.

A gorgeous Montana Cutthroat from Rock Creek.

What We Liked About Rock Creek…

The area was more lush than some other areas of Montana by the end of a summer. Tall, gorgeous pine trees were everywhere. Later in the season, Rock Creek is much lower than in the spring (snow melt / runoff), which made it a haven of fun for our big five-year-old who loves to explore while Daddy fishes. Another plus is that this area of Montana doesn’t typically see any Grizzly Bears! Up north, you can’t even go to a river or on a hike without taking bear spray.

Beautiful fields, trees, mountains and creeks made this a wonderful place to visit.

Glacier National Park

After a few fun days at Rock Creek, we drove up to do some glamping just outside of the Glacier National Park. We’d never done glamping, and the Under Canvas setup looked amazing, from their website.

When we pulled into the glamping site, we were shocked to realize it was a stone’s throw from the highway. So instead of birds and nature, we heard the constant sound of cars whipping by. Honestly, that was a pretty big let-down. But we focused on the cool tent experience (which was truly so much fun!) and had a great time anyway. It was very well-done — just the location was a shocker.

Ennis, MT

Next on our newly-formed bucket list was — fishing the Madison River. So we drove to the quaint riverside town of Ennis, and loved the experience! Ennis exists solely because many fly fisherman come to fish The Madison. It’s crazy to think about. But seriously, the town has almost more fly shops than restaurants.

We ate good food, watched wild deer roam through the town, fished on the Madison river, and saw more mounted game and guns than you’ll find anywhere else in the United States! It was free, open, and a literal breath of fresh air from typical 2020 madness.

We Want to Go Back

All in all, the trip was so much fun, relaxing, filled with nature. We all wanna go back. I personally caught my first cutthroat trout, all on my own, with my very own fly rod! Kyler knew how to hook me up with the best of the best. New reel and all. We also saw old cabins, antelope, bison tracks, and some of the most beautiful streams and rivers probably on the planet.

I’d Like a Water. Light on the Chromium 6 Please.

A Huge Victory, Right?

Yes and no. Erin definitely scored an incredible victory, and halted the poisoning of an entire town. But the very sad news is that Chromium 6 is still present in tap water, and not just in California… it’s just about EVERYWHERE. Around 240 million Americans are affected.

The really bad news? Chromium 6 is just the beginning…

Many other pathogens and environmental pollutants have made their way into our water supplies. This includes not just public utilities but wells, bore holes and even springs.

The Chromium 6 Map will show if the water in your home town is affected by this toxic chemical.

The Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply. … standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water.

However, only 91 contaminates are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. And according to the New York Times, over 60,000 chemicals are used in America today. What a drag… Want some better news? I’ve discovered a way to have healthier drinking water! Purchase a Berkey Water Filter.

A picture of the Big Berkey water filter.

Berkey Water Filters

You can go to any grocery store or Target and purchase some type of water filtration device. But these devices are not made equal. Berkey leads the way in water filtration, and guess what? Not only do they remove contaminants like arsenic, chlorine, but you guessed it… Chromium 6 too!

We clearly taste the difference in water from the tap that’s gone through our Berkey. We can even smell the chlorine while adding tap water to the top to be filtered. After filtration, the smell is gone.

How Berkey Filters Work

Berkey filters are made up of two canisters. The top canister hold tap water waiting to be filtered. Gravity brings the water through two sets of filters (black filters in the top, white in the bottom) and the filters are capable of filtering thousands of gallons of water.

What’s the advantage of a Larger Berkey?

A large Berkey not only stores more gallons of filtered water, but it can filter faster. The reason? It has space for additional filters. The more filter sets you have installed, the faster the gravitational filtration can happen.

Our Berkey filter on an issue to move roller stand.

Make the Investment in Your Health

Go purchase a Berkey. You’ll NEVER regret it. We keep ours on a handy roller stand in the kitchen, which makes moving it to the sink for a refill as easy as pie.

And if you use Young Living Essential Oils, using a few drops of Lemon Vitality Essential Oil in your bath (disperse in a half cup Epsom salts first) or a drop in your water glass will do wonders for your body. Absolute WONDERS.

I have a whole load of benefits I could share with you. And I know hundreds of families (thousands) who are experiencing better health and reaching their wellness goals with essential oils! Contact me to learn more.

Cheers to a NEW and Healthier YOU!

Live Longer: The Health Benefits of Raw Veggies

Veggies Make Help Your Body Work

Vegetables make things in the body work as they’re supposed to. One study found that people who ate 7 or more servings of fruits and vegetables were 42 percent less likely to die from any cause over the next eight years compared to those who ate less than one serving a day!

Leafy vegetables are also ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories. Our bodies were created to be fueled by leafy greens. Just a few of the benefits include:

  • Helps body stay youthful
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Preserves vision health
  • Fuel for optimum function
  • Boosts bone health
  • Prevents cancer
  • Prevents heart disease

Greens are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals.

Additional Facts & Benefits

Greens are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene.

Heart Disease & Diabetes

One study showed that an increment of 1 daily serving of green leafy vegetables, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease. Others show an increase of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of diabetes.

Bone Health

The high level of vitamin K in greens makes them important for the production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone health. The risk of hip fracture in middle-aged women was decreased 45% for one or more servings/day of green, leafy vegetables compared to fewer servings.

Cancer Prevention

Green veggies contain a variety of carotenoids, flavonoids and other powerful antioxidants that have cancer-protective properties. Making these a part of your diet can be transformative for your health.

Our Dismal Reality in America

Wanna hear something sad,? Less than 9% of Americans eat 2-3 cups of vegetables every day as recommended to reap these benefits. In fact, the 2005 US Dietary Guidelines recommend only 1/5 cup of dark green leafy vegetabls a day for 9-13 year old kids; sadly only 1 in 500 kids eats even the equivalent of a single leaf of Romaine lettuce a day in the US.

And we wonder why our health is in the state that it is…?

We’ve drastically upped our vegetable intake with the purchase of a Vitamix blender.

Let’s Talk Easy Solutions

One of the single most impactful decisions we made for our raw vegetable intake has been the purchase of a Vitamix blender. You’ve heard the name, right? There’s a reason you have. These machines take even hard vegetables like beets and carrots and make them easily drinkable.

Below is a daily drink that we like to have with breakfast and dinner. All ingredients must be organic if your goal is a healthier body.

Our Vitamix® Routine

  • 1-2 cups of spinach or kale
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • 1 beet
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil (melt this before adding)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup of frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup of Young Living Ningxia Red
  • Filtered water

We use four mason jars, and do the shake in two batches. Vegetables, oil and water first (half fill the jars) and then fruit, ningixa and water to finish. When you add ingredients, place the easiest to blend first. So start with spinach or kale and end with carrots and beet.

MultiGreens is made with spirulina, alfalfa sprouts, barley grass, bee pollen, eleuthero, Pacific kelp and Young Living essential oils (these all help the body do what it was created to do).

Young Living Multigreens™

Another item we make part of our daily diet is MultiGreens™. It’s an incredibly nutritious chlorophyll formula designed to boost vitality by working with the glandular, nervous, and circulatory systems.

MultiGreens is made with spirulinaalfalfa sprouts, barley grass (natural liver detoxifier and helps stimulate the waste system), bee pollen (immune system builder – rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants), eleuthero (an adaptogen, which can boost the body’s resistance to stress), Pacific kelp (help fight against disease-causing free radicals), and Young Living essential oils (these help the body do what it was created to do).

Find the Rabbit in You

As you can see, raw veggies in your daily diet shouldn’t be an option for any of us. It should be a priority! Why throw health and years to poor diet? Our bodies were designed to be healthy, to fight off disease. But we must give our bodies the fuel to do these things. I sure hope this information motivates you like is does us! Here’s to healthier living for your family.

Killer Combo for Home Business — Mic, Tripod, Lights, Stand

These tools will help you do it right:

1. A Nice Tripod.

This stand can be positioned really high, to give you all the angles you might want. We’ve had cheap tripods before…not worth it. Get this tripod. It’s the best I’ve ever used. Absolutely worth every penny: Manfrotto MK290XTA3-BHUS 290 Xtra Ball Head Kit (Black)

2. Secondly, a Good Light.

Proper lighting can make or break your home videos. Just one compact light can keep you looking fabulous any time of the night or day. I like the Dracast LED 500 Pro series. They’re light, small and can do either cool or warm tones, making it a great choice to match any other interior light you have going on!

The Dracast LED 500 Pro Series Light

*Tip: Be sure to get the Dracast Softbox to diffuse the light.

3. A Shotgun Microphone

The mic on your phone will do, but picking up a Rode shotgun mic will make a massive difference. A shot gun mic captures sound in a “shot gun” type pattern. Which means it helps amp your voice and cut down on surrounding noise. Invest in this one. It’s the best: Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone with Rycote Lyre Shock Mount

4. A Flexible Phone Mount

This is probably my favorite piece. This shoulder pod is incredible. It attaches to the other pieces above and to the tripod — but can easily be removed if you want to transport it easily and shoot while walking, cooking, demonstrating how to blend your essential oils or other items.

Lastly, I love this laptop stand. I can have my mic / tripod set up right next to it, and refer to my laptop for notes, etc.

My Trailer Park Story

I’ve never shared this before, but feel inspired today. As an adult in my twenties I found myself moving back in with my mom. The trailer had holes in the floor. One day a baby raccoon snuck in through a hole under the bathroom sink and hid under my bed!

I had no full-time job, no clear purpose. I remember my future was completely dark. Depression was my normal state. I had believed a lie that I had no future. Of course it didn’t seem like a lie at the time.

My Train Wrecked Life

One night I drove my musty old car I’d bought for around $2400 over to the railroad tracks. I had to go somewhere to cry otherwise people would hear. Not because the windows were open, but because walls of a mobile home are thin. And don’t forget the holes in the floor — Gotta have a little humor! This is kinda heavy!

I sobbed that night at the tracks. Considered ending it all. Felt so completely broken and misunderstood and lost and hopeless. And in the darkness I couldn’t figure out why in the world I was alive. I tear up going back to this moment.

A Decision to Change

I went back to school, finished my degree two years later, got a job, reconnected with the best man I’d ever met (10 years earlier). Since 10 years later he was still the best guy I’d ever met, I married him.

After a couple years, I lost 3 little babies via miscarriage. I felt lost and hopeless and the lies crept back in. I felt like a failure.

I started making changes during that third miscarriage. We got rid of our memory foam mattress first and replaced it with a bed not made of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde. We also started with Young Living. We began eating better and switching out toxic products for healthier ones.

Sharing Change With Others

I decided to share about these changes with others almost immediately. It was not hard to make that decision. I loved what I was learning and experiencing and loved helping people. My name means helper, in fact. And when I was little I wanted to grow up and be a…maid. It was fitting for me to dig in and clean up the mess of my own health and life and then help others do the same.

That’s all I needed. I needed someone to offer it to me. Thank you, Courtney. Forever grateful you showed me Young Living. Glad I asked for your referral number since you didn’t give it to me. *haha* Love you.

Anything is possible if you’re willing to push forward and change.

A Blessed Life

Anyway, here we are. I am blessed beyond measure to be a wife and a mom to Journey Rose. Best job. We get to live for a season on Kauai and work our jobs from home. My main “job” w/Young Living gives me the opportunity to help and serve and be a conduit of all God gives, and work with the most incredible life-giving people.

It should go without saying, but my life isn’t perfect. It still rains here. I still have trailer park days and nights. We run out of toilet paper. I burn the toast. I still have entire seasons of valleys. But in every valley, there’s a climb. And in every climb we can choose to look up.

If you’re in a tough place KNOW that clarity and direction is coming your way.

If you’re in a tough place KNOW that clarity and direction is coming your way. Ask God for it. When you see it, run toward it, grab it and don’t let it go. If you’re ready for a healthy change in some area of your life, Young Living is the simplest option. Already a member? Dive into it. Switch out all the things. Get that chemical filled hormone disrupting makeup switched out. Ditch your cleaners. Know better. Do better.

Whatever area you need change in, have hope. But don’t just sit. Must move. Don’t just stay where you are and hope for change. Make a choice. Commit. And if you need change in some area, and you keep doing the same things…stop. Don’t keep doing the same thing. Do something different. Step out in bold faith and confidence and belief and change your story.

You’re not at the “The End” yet. So what’s your next chapter?

My story is mine. You have one too. You know it’s not over, right? You’re not at the “The End” yet. So what’s your next chapter?

I see what can happen. I’ve experienced it. My trailer park past is a gift. Why? Because it shows me anyone can transform their life. Anyone. It is a gift because it helps me believe in YOU. And that’s probably the greatest gift I can give you. Thankful for those who have believed in me. It’s truly one of the very best gifts we can give others. And it’s free!

Tips for NICU Parents

Our NICU Story Began October 5, 2014

I was 23 weeks 2 days pregnant, after several losses and what was a near-perfect pregnancy turned into a long journey. I began experiencing severe back pain so we went to the ER — thinking I’d need a quick check and we’d head home. But I was quickly moved to L&D and placed in the Trendelenburg position for what would be 11 days. Many shots of magnesium, terbutaline, steroids, antibiotics, and dealing with shock, unexplainable emotions, hormones, and of course physical pain. Later I realized even PTSD would be an issue.

The nurses in the Santa Monica UCLA hospital kept me going, hour by hour.

Eleven Days in Labor & Delivery

For over a week I wasn’t able to even sit up fully even one time. Sleep was difficult due to near constant pain. Baby had moved very, very low….so much constant pressure but my body (and my heart) wasn’t ready. The human body is not designed to lay flat for 11 days straight! The nurses at the Santa Monica UCLA hospital were truly incredible. They kept us going. And gave me hope. They said that every day our baby stayed inside was a massive victory, and encouraged me to just make it to the next nurse’s shift.

After eleven days, and at 24 weeks 6 days, our baby GIRL (surprise!) was born via emergency Caesarian. She was 1 lb 11 oz and 12 inches long. After stabilization, she was taken to the NICU. She stayed there for about 4 months (117 days). Each nurse and neonatologist who worked there loved on her at some point.

I held her for the first time at 26 days. Before then I “held” her through the sides of the incubator.

The NICU Roller Coaster

They told us the NICU would be a roller coaster, and that was in no way an exaggeration. Journey had heart surgery (PDA ligation) at three weeks old, several severe bacterial and/or viral infections, quarantined with Infection Disease concerns, many antibiotics, IVIG transfusions, many pricks/IVs/blood draws, a Grade IV, Grade II & Grade III brain bleeds, PT, OT, and more. The main picture at the top is her at 21 days old.

After 117 days, our Journey Rose was discharged. We said goodbye with love, tears, gratefulness. Thousands of people prayed for her. The nurses and doctors worked 24/7 to save her life. During Christmas 2014, she was fighting an infection and we feared for her life. Now she’s walking, talking and drawing on the walls!

Sandi, Journey and Kyler. We are so grateful and blessed for our little fighter!

While in the NICU

Every NICU journey is going to be different. Here are some things we experienced, and wanted to pass along:

1) Nurses Are Life-Savers

Before our time in L&D and the NICU, my husband and I did not truly understand the role nurses play. They do so much for you. Both doctors and nurses are crucial, but the nurses will see you through every minute, hour and day. They’re the ones who see the details, give the recommendations to the doctors, come to the defense of the patient (and the baby’s mom/dad), and help explain over and over.

2) It’s Okay To Have An Opinion

Our experience with NICU nurses and doctors was phenomenal. But there were times we had to have uncomfortable conversations. Once we had to request a different nurse, and that was difficult. But trust your instincts. Protecting the life of your precious little is your top concern. You’re their best advocate. Trust your gut. You as a parent are under undeniable stress — you need someone you click with, you trust, you understand, and who actually listens to you.

3) The Vaccine “Schedule”

This point isn’t a debate about vaccinations. It’s a warning about the schedule. When we were in the NICU, we were pressured in big ways to vaccinate Journey according to “schedule.” One time CPS (child protective services) was even mentioned (threatened)! The argument was, “We go by chronological age for vaccination schedules.” (Everything else was adjusted to due date.) But guess what happened as soon as we were out of the NICU and with a pediatrician? He told us that if they had vaccinated her in the NICU, they probably “wouldn’t have taken” and he’d have to re-administer them anyway. We were shocked. And our pediatrician was part of the same UCLA hospital and recommended by the NICU. Plus, there are no studies that prove scientifically that vaccines are safe for micropreemies. It’s worth considering to delay, decline, wait until the science proves safety. They’re already high risk…

4) You Will Not Be Yourself

Nobody understands the pressures of the NICU until they’re there. For me personally, I was recovering from shock, 11 days in L&D, a caesarian and pumping around the clock. My husband was tired and stressed from being with me through it all 24×7, and still working full time outside the home. We were afraid for our daughter’s life – the outcomes were unknown due to the severe brain bleeds, infections, open PDA… the list goes on. Every single hour of every day was a challenge. Sometimes we both were just overwhelmed. So tired. That’s normal. Just love each other through it. Know you’ll come out stronger! Try to give patience and grace. Think on what is TRUE about your relationship.

5) Medela Pump & Extra Pump Kits

I will never forget the hours after my emergency birth. My baby girl was rushed away, and I was taken to a tiny hospital room, and told that I would need to pump milk around the clock. After a few weeks, I was told I could skip a session and get a segment of 5 hours sleep in the night.

That turned into 14 months of pumping! A mom’s going to do what she thinks she should do. But it was brutal. It was made easier by purchasing multiple pump kits and renting a quality Medela pump. Spend the money – it’s worth it. You can let the extra parts build up in a container (take them apart) in the fridge, and then wash and steam them all at once.

Don’t put the load of cleaning every time you pump on yourself if possible. You even might get your husband, or a neighbor or friend, to help with the daily wash routine for you! You need your rest.

6) Miracles Can Happen

The NICU is a home to grief. But it’s also the home of miracles. We asked our friends to pray, and pray and pray. And we saw miracles. When a doctor told us her brain bleeds “self-resolved” we knew more was at play. Always hope. Speak LIFE to your little one when you’re doing kangaroo care. Speak strength. Our little Journey fought through so much. Your baby can too. Speak words of affirmation to them. Sing to them. It will help their spirit and your bonding.

A few shots of our NICU departure and Journey at home!

Favorite Items for NICU Parents

I’m sure I’ll update this as time goes on, but here are some of the things that proved to be life savers for us as first time parents and first time NICU parents!


Our baby came home on O2 and had that support for 3 months after returning home. She was also on a monitor the insurance covered. So at 7 months old, for the first time, we wouldn’t be notified if she wasn’t breathing. We bought the Snuza and it immediately gave peace of mind. You attach to the diaper and if baby’s breathing stops, it vibrates to stimulate a breath. If that doesn’t work, it beeps and wakes up the parent. This happened multiple times and we’ll be forever grateful we invested in the Snuza.

2) Bambo Nature & Water Wipes

The human body is sort of like a sponge. You don’t want your little one absorbing chemicals from diaper wipes or diapers — They’ve had to endure enough during their NICU stay! We’ve used Water Wipes ever since Journey came home. They’re effective and flawless. Bambo Nature diapers are awesome. Not all “healthy” diapers are created equal. For Journey’s entire time in diapers, I can’t remember a single time Bambo Nature diapers even leaked! Now, Young Living has Seedlings Sipes, so we recommend those too. I can help you with your wholesale account if you don’t have one yet. You won’t those on your monthly subscription order, along with the Seelings Diaper Cream. We also love Young Living’s Tender Tush.

3) Nose Frida

Let’s hope your baby never gets sick. But if that runny nose hits with a small cold or teething, a NoseFrida is worth it’s weight in gold. It sounds gross, I know. But once you try it, there’s no going back to little ineffective suction tools. They need to breathe freely.

4) Ask for Mama’s Milk

Even though I was pumping, my supply was low, especially the longer that time went by and since she was never able to latch consistently. But, guess what? I found loving moms in California, and later wherever we travelled (KY, TN), who brought milk they had pumped — and gave it to us for our little girl. It might sound weird, but it’s actually VERY common. Mother’s milk is SO GOOD.

5) Panasonix LUMIX Camera

This is a bigger spend, but we were taking all of our pics through zip lock bags with our phones. The lighting was bad, as were the photos. We invested in a Panasonic Mirrorless camera, and the change was night and day. We wish we’d done it sooner. They’re easy to use and do great in low light. Don’t forget to get really good pictures AND videos in the NICU. The videos will help later when you forget (and you will) so many of the details or even how small their tiny toes and hands are.

6) Sprout Food Packets

There are quite a few organic food packet options out there. Sprout is different in that they bake their fruits and vegetables instead of boiling/pasteurizing. They do this to preserve more nutrients. Get them at Whole Foods and!

7) Burts Bees Baby Clothes

Burts Bees makes (or used to) organic all-cotton baby clothes. We LOVED them. They aren’t the cheapest out there, but they aren’t crazy expensive either. Our little Journey has definitely enjoyed a lot of her babyhood in Burts Bees pajamas especially. You can get them at

8) Baby Signing Times

This DVD series has been HUGE for our little girl. One reason babies/toddles fuss before they can talk is because they’re frustrated. They don’t know how to tell you they’re hungry without screaming. We let Journey watch the Signing Times DVDs (that’s all we let her watch at first) and the results were AMAZING. She was able to communicate with us – tell us she was all done, hungry, wanted up or down and wanted more. The instructor is Rachel Coleman. Best investment ever. And don’t worry if your little one doesn’t seem to get it right away. They are… and suddenly you’ll be scrambling to watch the DVD to see what they’re trying to tell you! If you want to check it out first, just go to YouTube.

9) Medela Travel Pump

Don’t limit yourself. We even travelled by car from California to Texas to Kentucky to Tennessee to Florida and then back through Alabama and all the way up to Idaho — while I was pumping. The pump is pricey, but it was WAY better than a hand pump, and let us be free with our new baby when she was ready and off of Oxygen.

10) Stroller with Large Undercarriage

We purchased a stroller that could easily be taken apart, had an adaptable car seat and most importantly, had a HUGE storage area under the seat. This has been SO nice. Many strollers, even pricey ones, don’t have storage! We purchased an UppaBaby.

11) Toxin Free Baby Products AND Furniture

Many nursery manufacturers are offering chemical free furniture now. Pay attention to the disinfectant cleaners, bedding and other items you place your little precious in. You’d be surprised how many things are toxic, and we don’t even know it. We love all things Young Living….I highly recommend setting up an account. That’s my side gig so please contact me and I’ll set you up on all your baby (and personal care and home products!

first update from journey rose

From Journey Rose:

Mom and Dad said I could give the update tonight. I have 3 things to say…

  • No one better take my doll. She’s so tiny. Makes me feel big and strong. I love her. (Thanks, Elizabeth Blumin!)
  • Thank you for praying for me! I feel so much better every day. They’re feeding me 18 ml mommy’s milk every 3 hours, so I’ve been sleeping like a baby! I look completely different every day, but that’s just how it is at 32 weeks gestation. (Had to ask Mom how to spell that word.)
  • Best news of all, my brain scan last night showed “no change” from before, so everything is moving along how it should. Please keep praying. But Mom and Dad are SO happy! Happy tears feel precious on my head.

twice her birthweight

Today Mom left the freezer slightly open for a few hours. Dad had to throw away 40 bottles of thawed milk. Mom cries. Dad makes dinner.

Praises: In addition to her growth, her culture Monday came back negative for the staph! So she currently has no MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus). After several more consecutive negative cultures, we are praying the new non-contact isolation (“gowning up”) will be lifted and skin time can resume. She’s also tolerating her increasing breast milk feeds very well, so as of last night she’s off the TPN fluids!

Prayers: Clear results on future cultures so skin time can resume again soon. Also, Journey “failed” the one-hour CPAP test last night, so they just switched the settings back to give her more pressure support. She needs to be able to “inspire” more (breathe in more deeply) on her own. They said they just wanted to see how she’d do, even though it’s early, and we’ll just try it again soon. Continued request for prayers for strong, healthy lungs. She’ll have another X-ray today to check them.

Thanks for all your love and prayers. God is always good and we are so grateful for each day with our Journey Girl.

back to isolation

Well, I just moved back into my own room, an isolation room, due to positive test results for MRSA / staph infection last week. But they’re growing a follow-up culture now to confirm the antibiotics killed it off. Brand new hospital protocol requires it. I’m changing things around here, people.

They said everyone has to dress up in gowns to see me now, and wear gloves too. I’m liking beautiful girly things so far, but these are not the gowns I was imagining. They’re yellow and thin and they wear them over their clothes. And the gloves are not white and dainty. They’re blue. Disappointed! And for now, this all means no skin time either. But Mom just finished holding me anyway, in a soft blanket. I got to lie on my back and look up to her.

Bright side to this change? Safety for others and for me, more privacy, extra space (Dad’s family is coming to town next week!!), it’s darker, changing hospital policy is surely resume material, and I see plenty of room for an 8-foot Christmas tree, a few presents (all I want are hats), wall space for stockings… If you know my Mom and Dad, you know they’ll do something. Thanks for your love and prayers!!

P.S. Mom just left and I did so good with her they decided to wean me off my breathing machine settings a little more. I’m on a one-hour CPAP trial! Go me! Thanks for praying I can do this!

first baby doll

Kyler here. Baby Journey loves snuggling with her doll (thank you Elizabeth Blumin). It smells like Mom. She sleeps with it and brings it back to the NICU.

Praises: Today’s X-ray for her lungs showed they’re continuing to improve! She’s also getting off the IV food today, because she’s up to a whopping 18ml mommy’s milk every 3 hours! This is the most she’s ever had and the limit for her size right now. She’s too little to handle more. She grew out of the tiniest diapers, so now she gets swallowed up in the next size for a while. We think she’s going to hit 3 lbs again today and stay there. Big girl!!

Sandi here: She has a lot of hair on her head. It’s red like my Dad’s. So very VERY special to me. And look at all the lanugo all over her body. She’ll lose it all but it’s precious for now.

tiny hats

The only clothes she can wear are hats, because of the cords and the need for quick access should something need adjusting. This was given to Journey Rose by my high school friend, Ashley Meyer Radack. It meant the world to me and made me feel like I had a little baby. Another one she wears often is from Jami Marstall, long-time friend and prayer warrior.

Journey Rose wearing one of her first home made hats.

To understand scale, our fist is too big to fit inside these micropreemie hats.

Speaking of gifts. I can’t explain how much they mean to me. People are sending little cards and gifts that make me feel very loved and very much like she’s going to be okay. She can’t fit into anything clothes-wise, but to know there are clothes waiting for her means more than almost anything. Thank you forever for her baby gifts. It’s been the most loving act of kindness, and I don’t think it’s something I would’ve ever known or thought to ask for…

raw post

Raw post. Sorry. Lots of tears shed over this precious one today. I sometimes feel panicky about the future, and I just ache and miss her being with me all the time. It catches up to me in my sleep. Nightmares. Then the tears just fall. Sometimes it’s out of nowhere. I don’t often post about the sad and hard times, not because we don’t like negative, but it’s been way too raw and painful. I haven’t returned phone calls or many messages or texts.

I can’t talk. Other than repeating “my baby” to no one around over and over. Just breathe. Hope. Pray.

Maybe I’m getting a little stronger now. I do want God to use me however he wants to, and if that’s by sharing about the hard times too, I will try. To cope with the nightmares, I cry it out, pray, write some, stare at her pictures or watch her videos a hundred times, repeat “my baby” to no one around over and over, hold her when I can, and/or let my husband hold me.

The pain is there, and I am up and down, no matter how she’s doing. And she’s been doing so very well the last two days and this morning. Up to 12ml mommy’s milk every 3 hours, and tolerating it super well! I miss her so much when I’m not with her, but (because I feel like I always have to find something positive) am SO grateful for each time they let me touch her. Here now and waiting.

As I’m feeling the pain today I’m praying for other hurting mommy hearts. Just breathe. Hope. Pray.

Introducing Journey Rose Boudreau

Baby Journey was born 1 lb 11 oz (765 grams), and 12.25 inches long, during my 24th week of pregnancy (24+6).

We had no idea what we were getting into when I went to the hospital at 23 weeks 2 days. What followed were (and still are) many days and months of great fear, hope, faith, tears, uncertainty, courage and love. I delivered via emergency c-section 11 days later.

Our little 24-weeker baby girl changed our forever on October 16, 2014. What a gift!

After about 2 months of posting on my personal Facebook page for friends and family, I felt emotionally ready (and needy) to create a place to share publicly. I desperately wanted anyone who would be willing, to pray for Journey, and I also hoped that somehow our NICU journey could encourage others in their own. I didn’t know anyone who had been through this before, and there wasn’t much out there in terms of hope. Being hopeless is a terrible feeling. and I didn’t want anyone else in our shoes to feel that.

Mommy and Journey Rose in the NICU.

The micropreemie path is a unique one. They told us no one would understand unless they’d been there. We wanted to bridge that gap and help people know how to help us. Desperate for hope, we started the My Preemie Journey page. I’ve since begun moving all the posts here to my blog for easier reference.

Thanks for visiting! I hope you’re encouraged here, no matter where you are in your journey.

Leading up to our baby’s early arrival

This blog post is one that will include all the Facebook posts written on my behalf, by either my sister or husband, starting October 15, 2014. I was on heavy drugs and in some shock but wanted people to know and pray. They posted on my behalf for a few weeks.

October 6, 2014

[10:30 am] Hello friends. This is Kyler. Last night Sandi went into premature labor. We are just over 23 weeks. The doctors are trying to stop the contractions. Baby is fine right now. We need our baby to stay inside. Sandi is on strict bed rest as we weather this. Please pray for our family. We would deeply appreciate that. We do as much as we can as humans, and then God has to take care of the rest. Thank you so much for your prayers.

[Post by my sister, Cara Lee] “Please, please cry out to our Lord for His mercies for my sis, Sandi, and brother in law, Kyler, and their precious Baby Boudreau.”

[3:55 pm] Kyler here. Update on Sandi and baby: The hospital staff couldn’t be happier with strength of baby’s heartbeat. Sandi is at peace for the most part. Exhausted. Contractions have slowed down but due to other progressions in the labor process, the likelihood of delivery on the much sooner end is the greatest concern. Your prayers are making a difference. We believe with God all things are possible. Comments of hope are more than welcome.

October 7, 2014

[3:44 am] Update on Sandi: My wife is being brave, but she’s exhausted. Literally exhausted, and struggling with a range of emotions. Our baby’s heartbeat is great, but mommy needs prayers to be calm, trusting and to be able to rest. We have a crucial meeting with a specialist this morning that is skilled at helping moms in our situation. Please ask God to calm my wife, and give not just us, but our doctor a very strong hope for our baby. Please pray that Sandi’s body relaxes, so whathas happened can be reversed and stabilized. We’ve made it this far with no delivery, and every hour, every day matters. Thank you friends and family. We are deeply grateful for your love and your requests to God on our behalf. Your notes of hope are so valued and appreciated. Sandi loves them. Special thanks to Deleese Weldon Pryor for dropping everything and flying in yesterday.

[6:32 pm] Hi friends, Deleese Weldon Pryor here with a brief update. Sandi and Kyler want to thank you all for the encouraging comments, emails & messages, though they hope you understand that they are not able to reply to each one personally right now. Sandi’s had a MUCH better day today. She’s been able to get some good rest throughout the day, even with the normal hospital interruptions. The contractions have eased from every 4-6 minutes, to only 4 today. This is a HUGE improvement & specific answer to prayer! She’s at 23 weeks 4 days and at this stage every single day counts. The staff appears MUCH more optimistic than before, but have stated that Sandi will be on strict bed rest, for the next many weeks – however many we can get. We are expecting a visit from one of the nation’s leading perinatologists who just so happens to practice here. When the nurses sing a doc’s praises, you can just relax & know you’re in good hands. Of course, we are ultimately trusting the hands of the Great Physician, but we’re super happy to have one of his best protégés here in Santa Monica! Thank you again for your prayers – they are so very appreciated!

October 8, 2014

[1:28am] Deleese here, with another update. We were finally able to consult with the specialist a little before midnight, and the news was different from what we were expecting. We learned that Sandi’s uterus is shaped abnormally, and also that she appears to be dilated more than what they previously thought. The doctor did not do an internal exam because he doesn’t want to disturb baby’s environment & risk rupturing membranes. A cerclage is not an option, so it will truly be a day-by-day effort to keep baby happy inside Mommy’s tummy. Sandi has been moved to a larger room that is specially equipped for when baby decides to be born – which we still hope will be a long time from now. Every day matters. Sandi is doing well – baby is very strong – and we are all optimistic and confident that the God who has our days numbered also knows the end from the beginning. We are living in hope with peace that passes all our own understanding – thanks to all the prayers that you continue to faithfully offer on our behalf. Thank you so very much from us all!

October 10, 2014

[9:56 am] From Deleese: Friends and Family, yesterday was a nice, uneventful day for the most part. No news to post equals good news. Last night, that changed for a while. Sandi began having contractions that increased in both frequency and intensity. These, as you can imagine, are both painful and alarming to Sandi. The doctor increased her IV medication, and they gradually subsided for the most part. Kyler has been amazing, and we continue to support her & baby with the goal of “one more day.” Please continue to pray that our sweet baby stays safe inside Mommy’s tummy – and that Mommy’s body remains calm and relaxed. Thank you for praying and for all of your kind words of comfort and support. They are felt in Santa Monica!

October 11, 2014

[1:11 pm] Kyler here. We are 24 weeks and one day! Last night Sandi was able to grab a little more sleep in between shots, blood tests and everything else. Her contractions are not as often as they were Thursday night. Her doc, Yashari, and the specialist doctor, Tabsh, stopped in to see her today. They seem to like Sandi. He said every day our baby waits, it increases baby’s chances by 2%. So praise God our little baby has stayed in there. The nurse last night said our baby’s heart rate pattern is more like a 32 week baby as opposed to our 24 week little squirt. Sandi is really trying to be positive and brave through all of this. Please keep asking God for the right timing for baby, and strength for my sweet Sandi. We so appreciate it.

October 12, 2014

[1:59pm] Quick update from Deleese in Santa Monica: Sandi and baby are still hanging in there – 24 weeks 2 days today! The doctors have told us that each day baby stays in utero gives baby an extra 2% push toward favorable outcomes. So we celebrate every shift – and every day – as another milestone in baby’s favor! Please continue to pray for Sandi to have the endurance & patience that she needs to remain on strict bed rest, in an upside-down slant. You just don’t realize all that you take for granted until these kinds of restrictions are put in place. Simple things like going to the bathroom, taking a shower, even just sitting up and looking around – are not options for Sandi right now. Kyler had a great idea & gave Sandi a Facetime tour of the hospital room by walking around with his phone aimed at different areas so she could see on her phone. That abruptly concluded when Sandi told him he needed to put a towel away, ha! (Hey, keeping a sense of humor is kinda important these days!) Love & gratefulness from all the Boudreaus…

October 13, 2014

[3:14pm] We’re celebrating “24 and 3” today! Deleese here still, with Heather Gobin Tibbits, who flew in to help the last few days. What a treasured friend to Sandi and Kyler, and a tremendous help. We’re taking one shift at a time and are still so very grateful for your prayers and support!

October 16, 2014

Kyler here. So many times I’ve wished for a Baby Sandi, and today at 1:30PM our tiny girl was born. She is about 12 inches long and weighs 1 lb 11 oz. She’s expected to be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a few months. We are confident and hopeful, but ask for your continued desperate prayers for our 24-week baby. Mommy is recovering, and our baby is strong. Baby has a long road ahead, and we’ve been told there will be ups and downs. Your loving support has been an absolute, tremendous blessing, and we want you to know that God, without doubt, answered your prayers. He worked out many details for us, including those surrounding the rapid, unexpected events leading to our baby’s birth today. Sandi started preterm labor on Sunday, October 5th and she was at 23 weeks 2 days. God allowed our girl to stay inside Mommy for an additional eleven days, which made a massive difference in her well-being. Please continue to ask God for his power and blessings, as our girl braves her way through the next few months.

My Mother’s Birthday

First of all. I realize lots of people don’t have a mom. Very sad. No matter when/how that loss happened, emotionally or physically, I recognize it’s a huge loss if you’re missing your mother. I guess I wanted to start with that.

It’s awkward, writing about something you know could cause someone pain. So please understand that I speak from a heart of gratefulness, and realize it’s a massive blessing that my mother is still with me, here on this earth and not just in my heart and memory.

I could really speak for a very long time about all the things I love about Mom. I’m amazed. Well, today’s her birthday.

In addition to my husband, she’s one of the hardest working people I know. Yet she insists that each birthday she’s going backwards and that one of these days we’ll be the same age. I love that.

Mom is a P.E. teacher. At Rock Prairie Elementary School. Full-time. She teaches like 60 kids at a time. And they are not always quiet… Kyler and I went to visit her school bout a month ago. Wow, is she ever the best P.E. teacher. They love her. She loves them. It’s amazing to watch. I’m so happy my husband could see her in action. Oh! She was MY P.E. teacher like decades ago. No kidding…

Me and my mom at Rock Prairie Elementary.

My Mom is also one of my best friends. I think I can tell her everything. I’ve told her about the times I snuck out in high school. The times I lied in junior high. Of course I told her years later. And she already knew. I mean, it’s not like you can really MISS the slash in the screen on the window. In the Texas country, the wind doesn’t help.

We’ve laughed a lot over the last ten years as our relationship has grown very strong and deep. Mom and I can be a lot alike, which of course spells T-E-N-S-I-O-N. She has been patient and forgiving, and let’s me be her friend too. I’m grateful we are best friends. She has wonderful other best friends too.

Mom has twelve grandchildren and several in heaven. She’s the best “MeeMee” there is. She’s housed her adult children in times of desperate need. She’s learned along the way. We all have. She’s amazing. We love her.

My Mom is also one of my best friends. I think I can tell her everything. I’ve told her about the times I snuck out in high school. The times I lied in junior high. Of course I told her years later. And she already knew. I mean, it’s not like you can really MISS the slash in the screen on the window. In the Texas country, the wind doesn’t help.

We’ve laughed a lot over the last ten years as our relationship has grown very strong and deep. Mom and I can be a lot alike, which of course spells T-E-N-S-I-O-N. She has been patient and forgiving, and let’s me be her friend too. I’m grateful we are best friends. She has wonderful other best friends too.

Mom has twelve grandchildren and several in heaven. She’s the best “MeeMee” there is. She’s housed her adult children in times of desperate need. She’s learned along the way. We all have. She’s amazing. We love her.

My Mom is the most teachable person I know. She’s not one of those people who has become set in her ways. Even over the last decade I’ve seen massive transformations in her. She delights me. She pleases God. And when she doesn’t, she pleases Him by acknowledging a fall, but accepting his mercies and grace. Thankfully, they are new for us every single day.

My Dad is no longer able to say “thank you” or do much of anything for himself. Though I found out late last night that he still wants to feed himself. Sassy. I love it. She still serves him, and loves him more than ever before. I’m so proud to see this love. And grateful.

I love this woman and am so proud to have her in my life. Thank you, God. Happy birthday, Mom!! I love you!

New Year, New Beginnings: 2014

Fresh starts are fun. We’re all given them. What are you going to do with yours?

I believe that no matter how many times we’ve failed in our past new year’s resolutions, we still make them. Even subconsciously. Most of us want to “get better, do more.” Most of us want to become a better person. So here’s my take on this new year…

I’ve chosen a few words to be my ‘theme words’ this year. I’d like to continue a slow morphing change, and to become more of who God wants me to be.

1. Intentional: I’d like to be more intentional with my choices in all things — my personal life and with my business. Ultimately I’m not in control of all life will hand me, but I can take responsibility and do my best.

So far, I’ve got a little momentum already. I’m being very intentional with at least five minutes a day right now. I stop everything and practice Spanish (I’m using the app Dualingo. My intent in that goal is already in motion. Momentum. Key. I’ve not missed a single day of practice. It’s given me fantastic momentum going into the new year. I’d love to be fluent by the end of 2014. (Read: That’s one of my goals.)

2. Consistency. This is a tough one for me because I like to do whatever I want to do, when I want to.

I’d like to become more consistent in fitness and in waking up at the same time each day, generally.

3. Discipline. Without discipline, I can’t do one and two. I’d like this to filter into every area of my life. We just don’t know how much time we have and I want to make the most of it.

One way I’m building discipline into my life is having weekly goals. In September 2013, I started a group and had about 125 people join me. We have 4 goals we reach each week. They’re not hard, but they’re just challenging enough to keep a healthy perspective. We’re taking that momentum into 2014. You are welcome to join us.

If you’d like, I’d really enjoy hearing three “theme words” for your 2014! Write them in the comments below. By the way, I know this probably goes against all three theme words above, but I may change my theme words! I’m kind of just the type who likes to always have an “out.” Ha! Gotta allow flexibility for my imperfection…. <smile>

So no resolutions for me. Just theme words. That I may change. Ha! Move along if you wanted something more hardcore.

I’m VERY pumped about what God’s going to do in 2014. Just be open and willing, you’ll see him do above and beyond what you could ever imagine.

Cheers to a New Year, New Beginnings: 2014!


Holidays and Loss

Yes, I can acknowledge loss, and it’s healthy to mourn. And I do and I have. But I encourage those of us who’ve had time to mourn, and have experienced some healing, to refocus on what we do have. Maybe that will help us avoid drifting into the abyss?

Gratefulness Can’t Fix Everything

But I want to add: If you’ve lost someone and are still mourning, I feel for you. I fight back tears thinking of you and your pain. No one has a right to tell you to ignore the pain or “Just be grateful for what you do have.”

No one has a right to tell you to ignore the pain or “Just be grateful for what you do have.

I’m sorry for the pain the holidays can bring to your ears, eyes and ALL your senses, every single day. Smells, songs. It feels like it’ll never end. I want to honor you for surviving your pain each day.

This post wasn’t written for you. It’s written for me and I’m just sharing where I’m at in my journey. Just hope it helps someone. May God bless you and comfort you. As I refocus my heart today, my prayer is that God would have mercy on my ever-wandering heart. Thank you, God, for new mercies each day. You are all I need and more than enough.

Dad, Mom, Alzheimer’s & Love

Today I talked to my Mom. We facetimed so I could see Dad. He rocked back and forth and she told me he’d had a rough week. This means he fell a few times, and is weakening overall. Luckily, Dad’s always been a slow mover, so I think his falls are somehow in slow-motion. <smile> But truly, I think that’s kept him from breaking any bones.

I realized something obvious today. The Alzheimer’s battle isn’t really his anymore. It’s hers. She cleans, leads, makes tough decisions, and has had to learn how to manage someone who used to be strong, but is now like a 10-month-old baby. Best guess. This means there’s not much control on his side, and there are lots of messes and fits.

He rests well and he isn’t in pain. Mom somehow maintains his health with amazing food and nutrition…and he’s able to rest at night and avoid sickness. I cannot imagine her having to deal with a stomach flu (or any other sickness) on top of his Alzheimer’s. Grateful he’s healthy in that regard.

I sometimes wonder what people think about Alzheimer’s, if they haven’t dealt with it in their own family. And I’ve had to deal with a sliver of resentment when people say, “I understand, my grandmother had it” or “My great-aunt has it – I know how you feel.” I’m not belittling anyone’s experience, or maybe I am, and I apologize for doing that. Because it’s just so hard, no matter who you know who has it. The resentment is there because I don’t know that they can truly understand and relate. Because when it’s your Dad, it’s just different.

This is the man who taught me to read. I remember running to the door when I was about 5 to greet him when he got home from work. I wanted to show him I could tie my shoes. I wanted his praise. He gave it often. All my life. Except the times he caught me sneaking out of my room at night in high school. Those weren’t his best moments. haha!

Dad is also the man who taught me how to sing, love, laugh, tease, look at things differently.

He took us four (all daughters) camping (without Mom! hello crazy vacations!), and each trip deserved its own medal. He timed us each time we set up the tent. Thank you Dad for building my competitive nature. It’s worked very well for me. Except when I’ve lost anything.

When he first was diagnosed, about 9 years ago in 2004, he struggled with frustration and facing the future. He didn’t research it much, to my knowledge at least, maybe because that was too painful for him to face. I get that. He’d already dealt with suffering and pain and I think it was just hard to face. Normally a man with a great sense of humor, this wasn’t something he knew how to joke about very well. That’s how I knew he was probably fearful of the future. He could usually handle anything with his fun outlook. He did make a few jokes, but he usually didn’t want to talk about it. He did compensate very well with his humor. As he started to forget names, we didn’t know it. I remember the day I realized he didn’t know my name. He knew I was a daughter, but not which one. That was a painful slap. A life with Alzheimer’s is a life with many painful slaps and stabs.

Honest Truth? Sad Tonight.

Honest truth? I’m sad tonight. We ‘should’ have a 5-month-old goo-goo-ing while we decorate for the holidays. And every day. No doubt, I am beyond grateful for my family of two. We feel our family is complete, most of the time. And yes, I’m happy for all of you and your littles.

Yes, I know all the words of consolation about miscarriages. Those sting less than hearing nothing from those who never say anything. (Why can’t people address pain? It’s reality.) And yes, I know I have so much more than 99.99% of the world. Yes, I’m grateful for my life. Yes, I know the scripture and I know the options. But at this moment I’m just missing our little one and am sad. I know there are people worse off than I. I know there are those suffering agonizing losses right now. Do I want to trade places? No. Does their pain make my pain unimportant? No.

Tonight it’s the big kind of sad that’s too deep to ignore and demands attention.

If I didn’t address it I’d quickly shut off contact, and curl up until I feel too guilty for focusing on death and for ignoring life. And life’s given me a lot of good things. Yes, I do believe life is beautiful. But it’s ugly sometimes. Or at least I am. I’m not perfect over here. Sometimes my faith is weak. Sometimes I’m jealous of you. Sometimes I’m angry.

But then I (gradually) come around and remember God’s great love for me. His gifts. And the gift of his son. And the great sacrifice at age 33. And I remember that God works all things together for GOOD. When I remember these things, it is well with my soul. And then I feel better. Sometimes it takes a while to feel better. Like tonight.

If someone close to you has experienced loss(es), say something. They haven’t forgotten.

May God bless and comfort us all!

Value of Senior Citizens

My Dad’s been a senior for over half my life. Being a senior himself, that’s likely why he took his four daughters to sing at nursing homes from a very early age — for as long as I can remember.

Either way, he taught us to value seniors when we were young. Apart from my selfish teen years, I’ve always had a soft heart for the elderly. Surviving life for 55+ years is a feat. Seniors have learned valuable lessons through loss and pain, success and failure. The wisdom they can share is invaluable.

Pictured above is my Dad (far right) and his siblings and their spouses. This was the last time all four siblings were all together, due to his Alzheimer’s and all of them not being able to travel.

What else do seniors bring to the table?

1) Recipes

It’s a shallow example, but good food can’t be forgotten. I’ll never forget “Granny Toast.” As simple as it is, it’s still the most delicious toast one could ever have. When you have a big fam and want everyone to eat at once, you can’t stand by a toaster for long. What do you do? Butter a bunch of bread up, place them on cookie sheets and throw it in the oven. After waiting until it’s perfect, and you’ll know when that is, you all have your perfect Granny Toast. Recipes are the best from our elderly family and friends. Sausage gravy cooked in bacon grease. The real-deal Thanksgiving meal. Meatloaf with that added splash of what-have-you. (You didn’t really think I’d give away all these recipes, did you?) Food is one of the keys to a healthy heart and home.

Seniors give us much more than just the recipes. They give us the memories associated with them.

Sitting around at Thanksgiving, sharing our hearts. Learning how to bake and decorate the sugar cookies at Christmas. Then carrying on foodie traditions long after they’re gone. My Dad has late stages Alzheimer’s and I’ll always think of him when I eat a t-bone steak, medium rare, seasoned with only salt & pepper. Thank you for the memories, Mom and Dad, and all my senior relatives and friends.

2) History

When I was little, I was fascinated with the history of the Titanic — the boat, the heroes, and the victims. I was fascinated with the stories from those who were old enough to remember it well. Over the years, I’ve learned that history is very easily forgotten. I interviewed my Dad while he could still talk, and before he lost his memory. I heard so many stories about him, his family, his teen and college years. Stories I’d never heard before. I talk to his siblings now and learn even more. Every single time I talk to one of his old college buddies, I learn something new. History is easily forgotten. Who records the simple stuff…

Seniors bring it to life again, with every conversation. It’s beautiful. Talk to them. Record it. I urge you to start journaling (publicly or privately). It’s a way to honor them, by remembering all the little (and big) memories you shared. Teach your children to journal now, so you can all reflect later. It’ll be worth it!

3) Respect

As mentioned earlier, when we were little, Dad taught my three sisters and I to sing four-part aca pella harmony to the “oldies but goodies.” These were REALLY old. Like from the 30’s and 40’s. Like, “Jada Jada Jing Jing Jing.” (I’ll bet you’ve never heard that one.) When we were super young, we had no idea we were “missing out” on current pop culture like Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Bon Jovi. We were proud of the McGuire Sisters, Lennon Sisters and other big names none of our friends knew. I remember realizing in about 8th grade that I wasn’t as cool as I thought. I didn’t know all the songs everyone else knew. I was busy singing “Goodnight Sweetheart” and “You Are My Sunshine.”

Because we sang either aca pella or with Dad’s ukelele accompaniment, we were able to easily travel all over our little area in Texas and sing for nursing homes, at malls and even the Texas Opry Jamboree. When I think back on the times we went to nursing homes, I remember the great joy on the faces of the elderly, who were then confined to a 12 x 12′ bedroom and a community living room. No real kitchen. They loved seeing young people. Some never had family visit at all. They seemed lonely and angry. I learned a smile and a yessir/yes ma’am softened hearts.

I learned to respect their lives, hearts, their knowledge and experience.  I learned to look them in the eye. To not be afraid. To speak to them. To speak up when they seem frustrated that they couldn’t hear me. To think of them. Not myself. When I was in my 20’s, I thought the decade would never end. I was the most selfish and disrespectful in that decade. I’m grateful for my 30’s. This past decade included living with my Dad for four years as he began the Alzheimer’s battle, living with Mom as she served him. Getting to know their siblings as an adult. I’ve learned to respect their lives more, even as they fade.

The value of seniors can be found in history and in learning respect, and even in food/recipes.

But learning to LOVE ALL PEOPLE (especially the oft-forgotten elderly) is likely the biggest ‘value’ I learned from my Dad and Mom, my two favorite senior citizens.

I would absolutely be THRILLED to hear what you value in senior citizens. Share in the comments below if you’d like!

Cleansing for Better Health

(How would YOU title a blog post about a colon cleanse…?)

Okay. Who’s ready to lose some WEIGHT? Have you asked yourself, “Should I do a colon cleanse?” Do you want to feel better overall? Have you eaten crappy for too long and need to get rid what’s stuck?

Are you hung up by what you think a colon cleanse will be like? Wipe away your fears, because this is a very gentle colon cleanse. It’s detailed in depth by Dr. LeAnne Deardeuff in her book, “Inner Transformations Using Essential Oils.” Who can do it? It’s never too late to cleanse…

The protocol listed in the book is simple, clear, and extremely informative. I highly recommend you purchase that book. Buy it on Amazon.

Throughout the cleanse, each product is used (orally) to slowly, and increasingly, fully cleanse the colon. You can eat normal healthy meals, as you already do. I’ve created a private Facebook group for those joining. In it I can offer some smoothie recipes & some tips & encouragement. We’ll also be joined by professional chef, Jane, from Jane Casey’s Kitchen. Jane will share tips on menu ideas and suggestions about healing w/specific superfoods! Also, feel free to start eating healthier right away, by replacing one meal a day with a smoothie. For my free smoothie recipes, just click here.

Who doesn’t want cleansing-camaraderie? (This is the only way to make a colon cleanse fun — joining a party/group!) The FREE private, secret Facebook group is for those who buy the kit from me, or from someone in my group, and want to join us on Dec. 2. You can do it!

DO I HAVE TO BUY ESSENTIAL OILS? No, but this cleanse kit DOES incorporate essential oils, because each item in the Cleansing Trio kit includes oils. No oil purchase is necessary.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Everyone’s different, so this would be impossible to say. It could be a couple weeks, or for some, a couple months. Dr. Dearduff’s book explains more.

HOW MUCH IS IT? To buy the Cleansing Trio kit, sign up for your wholesale member by clicking here and then before check-out, also add the Cleansing Trio Kit. As a Retail Customer it costs $115.46. As a wholesale “distributor” it’s $87.75 (24% off). Again, if you become a wholesale member to get the 24% discount, you need to buy a premium starter kit also. Best choice!!!

If you want to lose weight, clear out the crap (toxins, that is), and just get on top of your colon health before the year’s over, this cleanse is for you. We start this week in December 2013! (You can join late — everyone will be on a unique schedule since we’re all different.)

I lost about 7 pounds the first time I did this cleanse, without changing up my eating habits. I didn’t drink smoothies or use a meal replacement shake (I recommend the one from Young Living called Balance Complete.) So, if you want to go hardcore and lose 10-20 pounds at least, let’s do it! By the time everyone else is making their New Year’s resolution health goals, you’ll be way ahead!

After you purchase the kit (and/or the meal replacement), let me know so I can add you to the private group. We have 10 11 13 15 already in the group! Share this with your friends (um, come on, it’s a colon cleanse party – it’s a once in a lifetime chance!). It’s recommended that everyone do a true colon cleanse at least once a year. See you soon!

NOTE: All information on this site is for educational purposes only. Please consult your personal health care professional before making changes to your diet or exercise plan, or when doing a fast, detox, or cleanse, or when taking any vitamins or supplements. Only your personal health care professional can advise you as to what is safe for you. All individuals are different. Any information provided is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, nor to diagnose, treat or cure any illnesses.

Joy from Sorrow

By the way… this is long. Thanks for reading.

For me, it’s helping people. I love people and I find great joy helping them. (I’m not always good at it, because I also find great joy in people helping me!) But that’s how this website came about… I want to help people any way I can, by sharing who I am and what I’m learning.

Anyway, this summer, I wasn’t in a position to help people. At all. And since my passion is helping others, this meant my joy was gone. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep. And eat food that rhymes with chocolate. Why?

Major Surgery Required

After several doc appointments, I finally found out about a health issue I didn’t know anything about, and was overwhelmed. I’d actually never even heard of it. Two docs said, “Unfortunately, major surgery is the only option.” This surgery wasn’t like a mole removal surgery. They described it, “like a C-section.” Well, I don’t want a C-section unless I’m having a baby.

Upon hearing the news, and talking with my husband, I wiped up my tears enough to semi-coherently talk to an acquaintance who shocked me with her calm, and said major surgery may in fact NOT be the only option.

A Life Changing Alternative

Let me say right now up front, I believe western medicine has provided much hope for the past century. I’ll never discourage anyone from seeking professional help. However, when she said she knew people who’d been helped with my specific type of situation using more natural options, I was interested.

This isn’t something I’ve written about publicly until now. Time makes it a little easier. (Tears are still welling.) The health issue I have is “fibroid tumors.” There are multiple fibroid tumors in/near my uterus, and at least one was measured at 3cm x 5cm. We found out these were the likely cause of our multiple miscarriages.

Fibroid Tumors

Fibroid tumors aren’t usually scary. Many women have them (40% of all women). Often they’re benign and don’t cause pain. But sometimes they’re serious and debilitating, resulting in a wide range of issues, from pain to miscarriages to hysterectomy. They’re annoying and cause frustrating scenarios like frequent urination, back pain, constipation, etc. All of these were issues I experienced. I had no idea why.

So, I’ve had fibroid tumors for years, and didn’t know it. And don’t know where they came from. 

I just really wanted and needed to feel better. My body, mind and emotions needed to heal from another lost baby. When you don’t feel well, and you have no desire to do what you love, you feel empty. You certainly aren’t full joy. The losses, the pain. And now this news. It was overwhelming, honestly. I ended up being more depressed than I already was.

My husband, Mom, sisters and closest friends were solid and supportive. But no one could fix it. It was just a really hard time and things were spiraling. Thankfully, I’d just wrapped up a contract job, so at least I was able to rest my mind. And pray. And sleep. And grieve. And think. And cry. And start using some natural products. During this time, I also spoke to a doctor who used these same natural options for the same reasons I did, after being told she needed a hysterectomy. She declined that surgery, and ended up having five more children…

Essentail Oils

Back to my friend who mentioned a natural option: She told me to try Frankincense Essential Oil. What? But I trusted her, and gave it a go. I didn’t just try that one, but decided to get several oils.

I used a citrus essential oil daily (usually Lemon) from Young Living. Citrus has very uplifting and I absolutely LOVED it. Exactly what I needed. I also used Frankincense, Valor, Peace & Calming, Purification and Angelica. My husband stole the peppermint immediately, so I missed out on that.

One day, within weeks, I woke up happy.

For the first time in a very long time I actually felt genuinely well. I stayed that way all day, and day after day I continued to feel better. Started feeling whole. Happy. Grateful. And I was comparing this recovery to my previous miscarriages – AMAZED at the stark difference. I obviously started recommending several of these products to friends and family. And as I began to learning more and sharing with friends, I was slowly starting to help people again. And JOY returned the instant I heard someone (whom I’d shared the oils with) was starting to feeling better! Tears… And that’s happened over and over and over again.

We have been making other changes as well. We started drinking filtered water from a Berkey filter. We also exchanged our chemical-laden bed for an organic mattress.

I started using essential oils out of desperation. What was once only loss and pain resulted in joy. I was helping people again.

I knew that even if we never conceived again, I still wanted my body to be healthy. No matter what. One day recently, something else hit me. If we adopt (which we’re both super excited about, whether we ever conceive or not), we both need to be working — to more aggressively pay off debt and save up for the adoption costs. So, either way, God is going to use the oils to build our little family. (Stay tuned.) Here’s how. Since this Young Living is a commission-based (network marketing) company, when the oils help people I share them with, they are blessed tremendously, and I am blessed financially. Then they share with others, and it just keeps growing.

It’s been fascinating to me to hear the success stories of others, and I love that these oils are helping so many people. It’s incredible. I LOVE the testimonials! I LOVE helping people!

Be Cautious About Memory Foam

You Are What You Sleep

What comes to mind when you think of memory foam? Probably words like “comfort” or “dreamy” right? That’s exactly how we felt at a showroom in Austin, TX ten years ago. We were trying out the king-of-memory foam brands, and they had us sold.

We dropped nearly $3700 on that mattress and box spring set! Oh my. Such a big purchase. I’d never even owned a new bed before, so this was an exciting experience.

How Memory Foam Felt

Our memory foam mattress was a little stiff at first, but then felt wonderful. Some chemical smells too, but those seemed to dissipate. The bed turned out to be so comfortable… almost addictive!

After three years with that bed, I realized I’d had some issues only since buying it. Rashes, itching, extreme fatigue, sleep issues and the resulting frustration, and three consecutive miscarriages. Some or all (or none) of these issues may or may not have been caused by our memory foam mattress. I’ll never know. I do know ALL of the issues have either resolved themselves since we got rid of it, or have become significantly better. And they had only become issues DURING the time I had this bed.

“What the heck IS in our mattress?”

On our health journey we changed diet, went to doctors, changed supplements. But we hadn’t really thought about our bed. One day, we heard something about memory foam being toxic.

We did brief research and were scared so much we literally slept on the living room floor that night! We read that the bed releases toxins (VOCs). These are volatile organic compounds. Yes, our skin, being the largest organ of our body, was spending 7-8 hours lying on a mattress that “off-gassed” chemicals — from 60 to over 100 carcinogens. One specific memory foam mattress model was found to emit 61 chemicals, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.

  1. benzene
  2. naphthalene
  3. polyurethane
  4. formaldehyde
  5. antimony trioxide (arsenic)
  6. boric acid
  7. silicon (silica glass) (not to be confused with silicone)

My husband, Kyler, decided to call the manufacturer of the mattress and get straight to the point. And this is where things got a little strange…

We Called The Company Direct

He got a rep at the company who was a grandmother. Claimed her family all used this brand of mattress. So Kyler simply asked her what the mattresses were made of. She said they’re not even allowed to know. Wait… what? Then how are you okay with your family sleeping on them? Kyler actually didn’t ask that. It was kinda obvious.

Kyler then proceeded to tell her we’d heard/read some scary stuff. She resisted until he mentioned we’d been to the doctor for my health issues, tried everything they said and didn’t have any relief. When the woman heard those words everything changed…

Will We Promise Not To Sue?

The rep said she’d send a document over to sign. The doc stated that we could never sue them for any medical condition. Weird. We ran it by an attorney who was also surprised. He was like, “Do you have cancer or anything serious?”

Since we weren’t dying, we signed the agreement. The company then came and picked up the mattress, and gave us a check for $3700. Crazy!

But Don’t The Chemicals Off-Gas?

A common argument you may hear with memory foam and/or foam related beds and furniture products is this: “The VOCs aren’t bad because the off-gassing is done after a day or two.” Unfortunately, the initial off-gassing is the least of your worries.

Why? Foam deteriorates with use. Even commercial grade foam. When that happens, small particles laden with chemicals are released into the air. Some of these chemicals will end up in your lungs (for starters) and it can take up to 7 years for them to go away.

What’s The Answer?

An organic mattress is what we decided on. Specifically, organic latex. And keep in mind, there’s a drastic difference between organic latex and chemical laden latex used in things like dish washing gloves.

With better stress point relief and no toxic chemicals, you can’t lose with organic latex.

Organic latex is pure, from rubber trees. It’s better at relieving pressure points than memory foam. It’s naturally resistant to mold and dust mites. And best of all, it doesn’t harm your body! We’ve been sleeping on one for 7 years and LOVE it.

What Brand is Best?

We’ve used two different brands of organic latex mattress, but owned by the same parent company. The company name is Lifekind®. They make online only mattresses and then showroom mattresses under the name of OMI®. We currently use an OMI Organicpedic™ but also have another we really like from Lifekind called The Trio™. You can read more about them on their respective sites:



I hope this helps you on your path to healthier sleep! Remember, your skin is your largest organ. Don’t underestimate what you breath and absorb while sleeping each night. Here’s to pleasant, healthy dreams!

Can’t get your bum out the door?

I’m a kinesiology major. I get the importance of exercise. But that doesn’t make it easy to do! Maybe you started a hard and consistent workout plan, became consistent, lost the belly fat and several extra inches, then you just STOPPED?

It’s like we sometimes think we feel so good we’ll just stay that way. (Guilty!) Muscles aren’t dedicated friends. They go away as soon as you stop giving them attention.

Even just 20 minutes a day will keep the muscles happy and working on your behalf.

Walking is Wonderful Exercise

Walking is the most wonderful exercise for those who have been off of exercise for any length of time. It won’t strain or pull muscles, and the gravitational pull on your body requires just the right amount of resistance to be beneficial to both your bones and muscles. No strain to the ligaments, no stress fractures, no pain. Just good ol’ resistance. SO good for you.

Weights & Speed Not Required

You don’t need to carry around weights, or run, or speed walk. Just get up off your bum, walk out the door, and start walking! Go for 10 minutes, then turn around and walk back. Enjoy what you see. Leave your phone at home. Stop to smell a flower. Look at someone else trying to get healthy, in the eyes, and smile!

If you stop exercising after a decent length of time working out, it only takes a few days for your muscles to start screaming for attention. The aches. This is when your body’s saying “don’t forget about me!”

Do these 5 things, 5 days in a row, and you’ll be very pleased with yourself each day, and happier and healthier when you’re done.

  1. Drink lots of water. Men should try to drink at least 13 cups a day. Women, at least 9. More if it’s hotter outside. This is just a baseline. Every body type is different, but the bottom line is, stay hydrated.
  2. Stretch after your walk. The muscles are warmed up so stretch while they’re hot. Don’t go crazy, just stretch until it feels good.
  3. Breathe. Sometimes people hold their breath when they walk or do other exercises. I have no idea why, but I catch myself doing it too. It’s not good for you… Let that oxygen get all over your body and into the brain.
  4. Walk more than one day in row. Don’t be satisfied with one walk a week. Just get up and go. You can do it! Five days starts with one.
  5. Good shoes. Don’t walk in flip-flops. Make sure your shoes fit well and aren’t too tight.

Have issues with tight toe boxes? Altra running shoes. My husband swears by them. Their “foot shape” can’t be beat. Check the Torin or Escalante.

Peppermint Spritz

A suggestion to get the oxygen flowing is to spritz some water that has peppermint oil drops in it, all over your body. You’ll be amazed at the difference this could make in your workout. It’s been said that Jillian Michaels from “Biggest Loser” even puts peppermint oil on her wrists before a workout. Try it! You can put Peppermint on your feet too.

Just get up and GO. Let me know in the comments if you did, and what you enjoyed about it! You can do it. Keep ‘Healthy’ simple!

Lavender Lemonade

Here’s a promise. You will fall in LOVE with this Lavender Lemonade!

Tip: Only add 1 drop of Young Living’s Lavender Vitality Essential Oil. Otherwise, it’ll taste more like lavender plant lemonade than lemon lemonade!

New to essential oils? I only recommend Young Living essential oils for ingestion. I’ve personally been to several of their farms and witnessed their Seed to Seal process first hand!

Sandi Boudreau