A Gift of Gratitude For You-(Gift Inside)


So Thanksgiving is in just a few days, and what better time to warm our hearts with stories of gratitude than now.

I am over the moon excited to share with you our new e-book, A Gift of Gratitude, a community book project, just released on Amazon. A book of authors sharing their thoughts and experiences with matters of thankfulness.

With help from fantastic editor Donna Kozik, this book has become a fabulous melting pot of gold, offering appreciation, love, perspective, smiles and hope.  I am so honored to be a part.

As a special gift for all our loyal readers and supporters, A Gift of Gratitude is free all this week! So all you need to do is purchase it for free and it’s yours to download and read on whatever device you’d like.

Here is the Amazon link.    http://bit.ly/gratitude–book

Do you know someone who could use a little uplifting this holiday season?  Heartwarming and soul touching, this is the perfect gift! Did I mention this inspirational book also contains the favorite causes of all the authors? How cool!  I’m a big fan of philanthropy and always love hearing about how people give back to organizations dear to their heart.

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What are you waiting for? Go get it while it’s still free and enjoy!


With that, I pray you all have a Thanksgiving filled love, family and friends. As you gather around the table or reflect on your own, may we all take a moment and remember everything we have to be grateful for.

On the journey with you,



P.S. Stayed tuned next week for another special announcement!


The Gift of Grief: How to Embrace Peace When You Feel Overwhelmed

Sharing my post today, published by a wonderful online site, Having Time, on finding peace and the gift of grief.

“It’s not the events of our lives that shape us but our beliefs as to what those events mean.” – Tony Robbins

She stretched her growing legs out, shoving back the pile of blankets that were keeping me warm.  Her leg then moved outward and kicked me just as I was falling into a relaxed state after a long and demanding day.

Grrrrr.  “Stop it,” I said sternly.  “Move it….’get out of here, go to your bed.”

I could feel my anger escalating. My tired self had no patience for wild antics of my children as all my body craved was sleep.

Her six-year-old, sixty-pound body was too much to move compelling me to bite the bullet and tough it out. My energy was depleted. She had won…

As a busy mom of four lively and spirited children, I yearned for sleep.  To sleep in my bed, without children, without unruly octopus legs interrupting my peaceful slumber would sure be amazing.

Wishful thinking. Was this too much to ask?

I can’t remember the last time I had a totally restful night’s sleep or five minutes to myself.  Just as my negativity began to creep in, it hit me.

What was I complaining about?  That voice became louder.  Stop it, remember, you have so much to be thankful for.   Your daughter is here next to you. Alive, healthy, sleeping in safety next to you, her mother who she loves with all her heart.


Reality check.


One would think that after having my oldest daughter die at the hands of a tragic accident and facing a life of torture and persistent heartache, would make me immune to such selfish behavior.  Guess again.

Had I forgotten? Absolutely not.  Most onlookers would think that someone like me wouldn’t need frequent reality checks.

Well, that’s the bold truth of this fleshly world we live in. I’m human just like the rest of us. I get worn-out, grouchy and take things for granted. I fail to see the beauty in mundane daily tasks at times and succumb to guilt, regrets and a serious case of bad attitudes.


Conversely, I know how awful it could be. I have experienced the worst and at times still, relive those gut wrenching soul-killing sobs and accompanied sharp pains. However, instead of that initial blanket of hopelessness, these intimate moments are followed by an overwhelming peace that embraces me, bringing comfort and healing.  This is the gift of grief.

I can honestly say that having lived through the trauma of the death of my child, my eyes have been opened to a new world. Initially, it was the world full of sadness and unending pain. It was struggling with heavy doubt and perpetual what ifs.

However, eight years later, it has evolved into a world of deep introspect and life lessons.  Grief is constantly developing and growing my heart of compassion while pruning my spirit and blossoming my faith.   Grief causes you to become authentic to yourself as you walk that fine line between past and present, delicately balancing the dynamic emotions that flood your soul, while reflecting on yesterday and pondering what the future holds.

I have learned that I cannot only survive this, but can thrive.  It humbles me to know that without grief, my life would have been entirely different and I would not be the same person I have become today.  For that I am grateful.

So, for now, I think I can handle a few more kicks and sleepless nights if it means I’m able to hold my precious child, feel her warm breath upon my face, and absorb the true blessings that life gives.



Hope For Spring and Introduction to The Compassionate Courier

I hope you have all been well and sorry for the lack of communication recently. I haven’t had much spare time it seems. My little three-year old has literally kept me cleaning up his disastrous behavior every time I turn around! The terrible twos morphed into the horrific threes. He takes the cake out of all five of my children at this age.

If he’s not decorating the living room with toilet paper when my back is turned, he’s throwing bologna at the television, peeing on the dog bed, dumping dog food into the dog water or drawing on the walls. It’s incredibly how instantly his personality can transform from mischievous monster to a loveable and precious little guy.

I’m having a hard time keeping up with his crazy antics as it seems I’m cleaning up one mess after another! I guess my age is telling of me. When Lydia was only three, I was a young 29 years old and able to keep up no problem, however, over ten years later let just say my reactions have slowed immensely!

Well after three months of snow, I am anxiously awaiting the onset of spring and warmer weather. I do love springtime although it’s not quite here yet. A little teaser of some warmer weather melted the snow, just in time to bring a freezing cold snowstorm to remind us what March is really like around here!

This happens to be my second favorite time of year, (next to fall which means hunting season!), because I get to witness the miracle of new life. A new hope…These little cuties can’t help but make you smile and fill your heart with joy. Aren’t they adorable!


However, let us not be blinded. Just when we were admiring their cuteness and getting ready to bottle feed a bummer lamb, my little first grader got mowed down by a mad mama ewe. Upon opening the gate to the pen, she charged through the door taking him out in the process throwing him into the nearby boards. I rushed to his side. After seeing him tossed like a rag doll by a big powerful mama four times his weight, let’s just say I was mortified. Afraid of his injuries, my mind automatically thinks the worst. Thankfully, after a few deep bruises later, he escaped without lasting harm.

So amidst all the chaos lately, I have managed to neglect my writings and reading of others, but have been avidly working on another project close to my heart. In partnership with another trailblazer in the grief and trauma field, we have opened up a passion that has been tucked away, deep in our core just waiting to come out and reach the brokenness of those with heavy hearts.

Our business, The Compassionate Courier, stemmed from our own personal experiences with grief and loss. I thought to myself, looking back seven years, what was it that I really valued most after Lydia died? Was it the flowers, the plants, the food, the gifts, the books, etc.? http://thecompassionatecourier.subscribemenow.com/

While all that was wonderful, what stood out to me most were the little things. The thoughtfulness, the kind gestures, the people. Those friends old and new, family, strangers, neighbors, who took the time to stop by, to sit in silence with me, tell stories, hold my hand and spending their time just being there.

Although there is no replacing the presence and impact of a live body, their thoughtfulness and acknowledgment of my grief was the next best thing. It was increasingly painful knowing that after the memorial was over, the phone quit ringing, and people continued on with their lives when my nightmare was just beginning. Those early months and years were terrifying and ever so lonely. With grief, the hardest part is after. Angie Cartwright, founder of The National Grief and Hope Coalition says it well.


Those first weeks, months and even years, I wasn’t one to reach out to anyone. I stayed curled up on my couch in a ball, waiting for the world to end, day in and day out, secretly longing for someone to sit next to me or call me just to talk. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen often enough.

The thought of being blessed to have comfort, hope and thoughtfulness, coupled with encouraging stories of others to come to my doorstep every month, seems absolutely incredible.

So here it is. Our landing page… The Compassionate Courier. A place to enter your email to keep updated on our launch at the end of this month. A perfect gift for you or someone you know.

Here are some quotes from our last newsletter.

“Through products tailored to comfort during grief and loss, our monthly delivery aims to nourish the soul giving the feeling of genuine comfort while acknowledging the difficult times that come with loss.

As you open the soothing package, we want you to be embraced by comfort as your gifts radiate meaning, compassion and presence. With our packages sprinkled with a dusting of spiritual encouragement, it is our goal to ignite sparks of hope along the journey of grief.

We are excited to announce that with each box shipped, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to an organization that helps support the bereaved, choosing a different recipient each month.

Hand picked and sometimes handcrafted, you will find between 5-7 comforting gifts to sooth the soul letting you know you are remembered.

In addition to giving back, each box will also contain a personal message from us, Sandy and Daphne, the founders of The Compassionate Courier. Each message of encouragement will include uplifting thoughts, quotes, tips and suggestions on navigating through the unfamiliar journey of grief.”

So I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, ideas and what the best gifts were that you had received during your grief. I hope you’ll all join me in helping spread the word of this valuable gift we can give those in need. Together we can leave a positive and lasting impact on grieving hearts.

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