07 October 2015

Everything Is Spiritual

Several years ago in what feels like a different life, I dived heard first into a journey with reading Eat, Pray, Love. And now, at this point in my life, I literally feel my heart about to pop out of my chest when I'm scrolling my Facebook feed and Elizabeth Gilbert's name pops up. She is a breath of fresh air. Her words always inject such hope and pizzaz into me, even when the day might not be the greatest.

Back in August, when she posted about Rob Bell and I realized his Everything Is Spiritual Tour was actually making a stop in Salt Lake, I jumped on the chance to attend. It was a refreshing change of pace for a date night out. We do like going to movies of course, but sometimes we need to change things up. And what better way to do something different than to spend time bettering yourself and the way you look at life?

Some of my favorite things Rob Bell says: Sometimes you have to reboot everything so you can see things in a whole new way. There is how the universe is, and then there's how your heart works. And what if you could make all sorts of connections between the two? It might just change the way you experience your whole life.


Really, what if we were all embraced the notion of moving beyond yourself? Our universe is expanding, all the time. And don't you feel at your best when you're moving beyond yourself? I let all of this sit with me for a day or two and realized how right he is, and how simple it is. I've also been implementing this notion into our parenting, reminding our girl to look outside of herself if she is having a bad day, to find a child at school who could use a friend. When we extend a welcoming hand to someone else, our world is suddenly opened up. It works!

Rob Bell also discussed how to recognize the moments when you are most at peace, and how in that space you are expanding; opening your arms wide and letting people in, letting the world be a part of you, letting love in, letting hope in, letting life in.

It all sounds so simple, but it has the potential to have such a huge impact on your life if you put it into practice. I notice that when I'm overwhelmed I very often tend to shut down and shrink into myself, if you will. Since we saw Rob Bell speak I've really been working on putting a conscious effort into making that choice to make myself available and open, and it has been such a beautiful and refreshing change. I challenge you to start doing the same today in your own life!

18 September 2015

Medisafe App Medication Reminder

I received compensation for my work on this campaign. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

Several weeks ago, I made the silly assumption that our lives would slow down once our daughter started kindergarten. I think I'm realizing that it has been quite the opposite. As I'm juggling writing, teaching, and running my Today Is A Miracle shop, I'm always on the look out for tools to help streamline our days and assist in making our lives easier.

As I am in my early 30s now, it is hitting me as clear as a bell that everyone in our family is happier when momma is happy and taking care of herself. Sometimes that is more of an effort than I would like to admit though.

Most days my life looks like this, in a snapshot. Messy, chaotic, happy, busy, free.

What you don't see is me setting our oven timer for roughly every thirty five minutes or so when we are home so that I can aim to get at least ten doses of eye drops in a day. I don't like to take them with me everywhere and do my best to get a bunch of doses in when we are home, instead of every hour on the dot. Sometimes I'm running around, trying to remember what supplements I still need to take in the morning, in the midst of getting water bottles ready for kindergarten and jackets, shoes, etc, etc.

And here is where Medisafe comes in!

The Medisafe app was created by people who actually have experience living with chronic health conditions and seeing how complicated it can be to stay to a strict schedule while still living your life. The founders created this app to help their father better manage his diabetes on his own. You can read more about the story behind the app on their website. It has even been featured in the LA Times! So you know many people are trusting this app with staying on top of their health and wellness! They have many great posts on their blog full of inspiration and motivation!

I loved many aspects of this app! Including the fact you can connect friends and family with it for encouragement, or if you want a backup of a real person reminding you to take your meds. Something that makes this app unique is that you can truly personalize it to fit your own unique medical needs. It is so much more than simply a pill organizer!

Because Cystagon, my main medication for treating Cystinosis and basically the most important medication in my arsenal, is a speciality medication and not something I can simply run to the store to get, it was refreshing that it pulled right up when I started typing it in and I didn't have to add it manually. This was a big suprise for me and a huge plus if you have rare medications that aren't usually included in the norm.

Cystinosis is a complicated disease and while I am on the least amount of medication I have ever been on in my life, I really liked that this app can grow and change with you as your healthcare life evolves over time.

Another bright point in my experience is that Medisafe is user friendly with a crisp layout, including nice colors that aren't obnoxious.

If you are interested in downloading the app for yourself, here are the links! Two million people are currently using it, so you know it is useful and can be trusted!

Android users can download HERE
iPhone users can download HERE

I received compensation for my work on this campaign. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

23 August 2015

On The Eve Before Kindergarten

From that second you slipped into this world and immediately grabbed my finger tightly with your tiny perfect fingers, I've wondered what this day would look like. I've thought about where we would be in our lives, what incredible teacher would find their way into your world, your favorite things you would have discovered about this earth, and the quirks that would have imprinted their marks on our days together; these five and a half years of being your momma bear. These days with you are precious to me beyond measure.

And yes, there were times I might have doubted if we would be here together. Things can be so unpredictable and no one really knew how my body would handle pregnancy with you, on top of everything else. The past version of myself lacked faith in my health and my own strength. Perhaps not so much doubted if I would still be here with you, but played that wicked what if game that is oh so dangerous in the depths of the heart of a momma. However, the fact remains that your love has been the best healer there could ever be. I believe your amazing soul is just as potently powerful as modern medicine.

From that extreme, I have gone far to the other end, speculating if you would be a big sister by now, by some unexpected avenue. While this isn't the fact right now, and I am the first to admit I have no idea what the future holds for our family in that aspect, it is okay that we are somewhere in the middle of these two vast circumstances. More than okay really, because the place where we actually are is an extremely beautiful one.

Right now my dear? Oh honey, right now we have three crazy cats in our family, you love to sing, your bike makes you so happy, you are a fabulous friend to many, your creative brain astounds me, you are more passionate than most, and you are healthy. Busy, inquisitive, kind and brave. Every single day you wow me with your take on things. Your endless questions and thirst for knowledge remind me that we should never stop learning or inquiring. And that love is always the solution to the problem.

I hope I have shown you how to find magic in whatever comes you way, and that you remember fairytales are true because dragons actually can be defeated. The three of us have already defeated so many together.

14 August 2015

Look Outside Of Yourself

It can be so easy to fall into the trap of getting lost in your own worries in your own story that you are living out, every single day. Lately I've felt a lot of worry on my shoulders, and when I get caught up in my own world, it can be a dangerous place where I lose my perspective too much. I don't like it. Honestly, is there anyone that does?

I feel like at the ripe old age of 31 (well alright, 32 next week!) I'm coming to a place where I recognize you can be grateful and you can still have obstacles that wear on you. It isn't an either or type of thing. Is this a revolutionary notion? Not exactly, but when you give yourself permission to feel all of your feelings, even the ones that conflict with each other? That is where big changes start to brew and real growth has the chance to come to fruition.

A few nights ago I could feel every single emotion of the past few weeks bubbling to the surface. It was around 6 p.m. and my to do list was still a million miles long while my house really did resemble the middle of a Jumanji game I was not winning. (Loved that meme, by the way.) There were other things weighing me down and I felt like it was all simply too much.

I stopped. I put on the John Mellencamp song, Save Some Time To Dream. I took some deep breaths. I stood in the middle of my life and I said thank you. I kneeled down to my daughter's level; my darling daughter full of mischief and wonder. I played with her. (She is pretending to be asleep in the photo above.) We went through baby clothes to send to a dear friend with Cystinosis who is expecting twins in the fall (!!!) I helped another friend with Cystiosis create a page on Facebook to further assist her search for a new kidney. She is in desperate need of a third transplant. The thing is, you always have something to offer someone else, even when you're feeling a complete mess yourself. And it isn't about doing things for others because it makes YOU feel better, it is so much more than that. Take some time to sit outside of your own mess and give where you can. You will be amazed at how a light inside of you will spark with the magic of doing something for someone else. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture either. Simple things to let someone else know, hey, I see you. You matter. You are enough. I have found that it often sheds a new perspective on my current obstacles, and when I come back to them all, I am reenergized and armed with a fresh approach.

03 August 2015

Hello August

Joining up with Lisa Leonard again this week for the Hello Monday blog prompt! I love this series and the bold inspiration behind beginning each week with crisp motivation and hope.

Hello Monday, hello August, hello rainy morning with Nina Simone crooning into my bones.

Hello pasta salad with fresh veggies. One of my favorite things to throw together in the summer! I've been making it a lot lately.

Hello date night at home last week when we finally watched Wild. I was a bit disappointed in the movie because I simply fell in love with the book so much. I felt like we were pausing it every ten minutes or so in order for me to explain to Rory what was happening. He didn't read the book and it seemed like they made the movie for those who had already read the book. Who knows! I still love Reese though!

Hello Disneyland daydreams. This photo is from our trip in February when we went for a little belated 5th birthday adventure for Sookie. My cousin is there right now and I've been texting her a few times a day with different food recommendations, drooling in jealousy. Ha! I could eat a Disneyland churro every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of them!

Hello sweetest kitten in the land. If you follow me on instagram you've seen Lucy around lots lately. She is so curious and quiet, yet reaching that playful stage that is so fun. She is definitely bringing some much needed sunshine and giggles around here. She has been such a fun surprise!

Hello to loving the new Alicia Keys single, 28 Thousand Days. There is nothing like fresh motivation from music! I'm still a little thrown off that new music release day is Friday.

Hello mountain adventures with family last week. Delicious onion rings, a gorgeous hike around the lake, and giggles erupting from Miss S as she chased my cousins dog around. Nature has this heavy way of letting you know everything is going to be okay, no matter what happens from here on out.

Hello super productive morning! In the few hours Sookie was preschool today, I went grocery shopping, wrote this blog post, indulged in a good workout, made pasta salad, did a load of laundry, and managed to get 4 doses of eyedrops in.

Boom. Monday, I'm coming for you!

30 July 2015

The Fairy Forest Of Utah

Some of my favorite days ever are simple ones spent in the mountains of Utah with my little family by my side. Our family adventure days are precious because I look forward to losing myself in nature while my worries seemingly float away for the day, or for the afternoon at least. ;)

Last year was when I first heard about the fairy forest up in the Uintahs. There is nothing like it and something you need to experience to truly appreciate it! It will forever be included as a must do on our summer bucket list!

Do get there, use the directions found HERE.

1. Head to Kamas, and get on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.

2. Look for mile marker 17. There is a little parking lot on the side of the road.

3. Look toward the forest, there will be a path on your right. Walk down that path.

4. You will come to the campground. Cut through the campground and continue on the path.

5. When you come to the dry creek bed, cross it. Be careful because some of the rocks may be loose and there may be a little bit of water as well.

6. After crossing the creek bed, walk up the hill. When you step over a log, take about 5-10 more steps, then head down to your right. You will see the Fairy Forest there.

On a random note: Sookie has decided rain boots are perfect for our mountain, fishing, exploring days. Bonus? They were perfect for walking across the river to the fairies. :)

I have to admit, I cry every time we go. The wonder in Sookie's eyes is priceless. The memorials make my heart catch in midair and inspire me to craft something for my sister. I think it is simply a special place to enjoy with people who are dear to you.

I love that there is no sign on the side of the road to alert you that you are there. That there is no official entrance. Once you cross the river, you simply find yourself in a place that evokes laughter and whimsy. What is better than that, really?

Be safe and have fun when you go! If you've been this year, what were your favorite parts?

21 July 2015

Summer Reading

Ah, summer. All I want to do is play with our girl, write, sip Dirty Diet Cokes, and read!

I've said this before, but words are my drug. Books and music are my preferred methods of indulgence.  I don't know if there is anything better than losing yourself in a book. I am grateful for other people crafting their stories to further fuel me in my own. Inspiration is everywhere and I never know what type of book will motivate me next, or give me a fresh perspective on an old obstacle.

Here is a stack I'm working my way through on these long and hot days.

Kayla Aimee - Anchored
I've followed Kayla and Scarlette's story since the very beginning. I don't know her personally, but I am unbelievably proud that she was able to take such a tumultuous time in their lives and turn it into such an uplifting tale of finding hope even in the most hopeless of days.

Jessica Turner - The Fringe Hours
I've been wanting to read this since it was first released. As a woman, and a mother, I often feel tremendous stress in aiming for balance in all aspects of my life. I've heard such excellent things about this book and I can't wait to implement Jessica's tips!

John Green - Paper Towns
What can I say? Last summer I sat in a theater and cried with my best friend while watching Fault In Our Stars. I saw the Paper Towns preview and was instantly intrigued again. And again, made the mental note to read the book before I see the movie.

Alice Hoffman - The Red Garden
Alice is one of my favorite authors. While I'm waiting not so patiently for her next book, The Marriage Of Opposites, to come out, I'm re-reading her other creations. When I'm attempting to describe her style to people, most of the time I end up saying "She writes fairytales for adults."

Jodi Picoult - The Storyteller
Piccolo and Hoffman both rule my world. I'm always in awe of how Jodi can present a plot where you think you know what you want to happen, but it ends up a completely different way that what you ever envisioned. I admire the research she puts into her storylines and her characters come alive, they are so real.

What are you reading this summer? What is on your list?

08 July 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom where you are planted. This is a new tote in the shop! The saying makes me think of many things. This summer before me looks very different than what I envisioned in my heart. I'm making peace with that. My whole life I have worked to maintain that bloom where you are mentality, making the most of the hand I've been dealt. As I watch others who are brave with their lives, grasping the good and hanging on tight, I am so inspired and refreshed.

I hope this summer is being gentle with your heart! 

13 May 2015

Another Miracle Day

Three Saturdays ago marked 20 1/2 years since my kidney transplant. Twenty and a half years since my momma gave me life for a second time. I was still getting used to saying twenty years ago. A whole new chunk of time has passed! It is refreshing for me to pause for a few minutes and reflect how hard I've fought to get to now. Even if I don't dwell on all of the battles. Amid the whirlwind of motherhood and businesses and tee shirts and fundraising and living and being and dishes and laundry and cleaning and playing, to remember I cannot take another miracle day lightly. I don't want to brush off a day as ordinary and that is something I'm realizing I need to work on. Up against everything that has occurred in my life, I can sometimes get discouraged by the normal stuff. Which is beyond silly! My story has ups and downs like all of ours, and the ups definitely need to be embraced.

We are in a good, chaotic season of our lives right now. These are the days. Truly. I get giddy going to pick Sookie up from school because I miss her so much while she is there. She has the most incredible teacher. I adore the animals and art and plants and projects that have been a part of her world since August.

This week I'm taking a breath of recovery after chaos from last week, getting ready for more craziness when June hits. Our family laughs at how hustle and bustle our Junes have become. I love it though. So many chances to do good and make memories. How can I be stressed about that?

16 March 2015

Hello Monday: Wherever Is Your Heart

Joining up with Lisa Leonard again this week for the Hello Monday blog prompt! I love this series and the bold inspiration behind beginning each week with crisp motivation and hope.

Hello Monday!

Hello matching pink marker heart tattoos to ease preschool separation anxiety for both of us. Motherhood cracks your heart wide open, vulnerable to everything doesn't it? I am grateful for this brand of love she has tattooed all over my soul, the kind where watching her blossom causes me to regularly cry happy tears of loving her so much it makes me ache.

Hello new Brandi Carlile album, The Firewatcher's Daughter! My ears are in heaven. I have loved this girl for 11 years and I think this piece of work is some of their best yet!

Hello Waffle Love over the weekend! Can they park outside my house every day? Ha.

Hello realizing when you have hope, you have everything.

Hello picking grass this morning for leprechaun traps at preschool. They could bring anything they wanted to lure the leprechaun and she was adamant about grass!

What are you saying hello to this week? I want to hear about it! :)

11 March 2015

The Wholehearted Life

My stress levels these past few months have been outrageous. As a result of this, and in my quest for finding the best way to do it all, I've been thinking a lot about intentional living, mediation, and showing up with all my heart ready to experience this thing called life.

I'm thrilled to be a part of this fabulous blog tour! I'm honored to be sharing an exclusive excerpt from Susyn Reeve’s The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week!





The practice of mindful breathing may be very simple, but the effect can be great. Focusing on our in-breath, we release the past, we release the future, we release our projects. We ride on that breath with all our being. Our mind comes back to our body, and we are truly there, alive, in the present moment. We are home.
—Thich NhAT hANh

Breathe. Breath is life. Consciously focusing your attention on your breath is the most powerful and potent natural resource you have for being awake in the present moment.
Right now, stop for a moment and turn your attention to your in-breath and out-breath.
Do this five times. What do you notice? Are you more aware of your body? Are you feeling quieter? I notice that when I focus my attention on my breath—actually following the path of my breath as it enters my body through my nose, circulates throughout my body, and leaves my body through my mouth—I feel a deeper sense of relaxation and calm, and am more fully present in the moment. This is the power of focusing on your breath.
We are connected with all beings, all that is, through our breath. We are inhaling one another’s exhale all the time. Although it looks as if we are separated from others by the space between our bodies and the objects of our world, we are actually connected through our breath. As you exhale, your breath is charged with the emotional frequency of the thoughts you are thinking at that moment. Your emotional frequency, in each moment, contributes to the collective consciousness with each exhalation. Thoughts are real things, and what you think therefore makes a very big impact in the world— you pass your thoughts around through your breath! What do you contribute to the world through your exhalations—love, fear, happiness, anxiety, heaven, or hell?

How to Do It
Day 1: Become aware of your breath. Create a Breathe screen saver on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Put sticky notes around your house, workplace, and car as reminders to you to Breathe. When you see these reminders, stop and Breathe. Take full, deep breaths, using your diaphragm: when you inhale, your belly expands, and when you exhale, it contracts. Experiment with simply focusing on expanding and contracting your diaphragm, and notice how breath is automatically drawn into and expelled from your body; play with having your breath breathe you. Do a search on the web or in your local library or bookstore or ask a yoga teacher to give you suggestions to experiment with different breathing exercises.

Day 2: Meditate for at least ten minutes, focusing your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath, your inhalation and exhalation.
Day 3: Meditate for at least ten minutes and focus on moving your breath through your entire body. Start at your feet: Inhale into your feet and feel your feet relax as you exhale. (To use your breath to enhance your body awareness even more, you can focus on one toe at a time; one finger at a time, etc... After each exhalation, focus your attention and breath on another body part: your knees, your ankles, your liver, your heart, your ears, your eyelids, your lips, etc.)

Day 4: Anytime your feel tension in your body, breathe into that part of your body, and as you exhale, allow the tension to leave your body and breathe it into the Earth. (The Earth has the powerful ability to take whatever is given to her and transform it into support and nourishment, as long as we also give her love and care.) You can also do this exercise when worrisome and fearful thoughts have captured your attention.

Day 5: Once an hour, for five consecutive breaths, imagine that God is gently blowing breath into your being and that each exhalation is your gift to the collective consciousness. One of the ways I play with this is on my morning beach walks: When the wind is blowing, I stand with my mouth open and allow the air to fill my body, and then, as I exhale, I give to the wind the air that is moving through my being.

Day 6: Meditate for twenty minutes, following the instructions of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, contemporary meditation teacher, and author: Breathing in I calm my mind and body. Breathing out I smile.
Breathing in I dwell in the moment. This is the only moment.

Day 7: Reflect and write your response to the following questions:
       What have you learned this week by focusing your attention on your breath?
       How did focusing your attention on your breath contribute to greater peace of mind?
       How can you use your breath on a daily basis to nourish wholehearted living?


Next stop on the blog tour is http://jenniferwolfe.net for her post on March 18th. Definitely check that out!  

09 March 2015

Hello Monday: Be The Heroine Of Your Own Life

Hello daffodils in our Be the heroine of your own life tote in the shop. How much do you love it?! My spring fever got the best of me last week. This has been a favorite quote of mine for over half my life. I teamed up with the lovely Ann Shen for this one and I am thrilled with how it turned out. Perfect for spring!

Hello miracles! Remember my friend Shea? He received his third kidney a few weeks ago and was involved in a 70 person chain that consisted of 35 donors saving the lives of 35 other people. I get goosebumps whenever I think about it. What a beautiful world we live in!

Hello card games! Our girl is obsessed with every card game under the sun these days. I love it. So fun and one of my favorite things to do lately. She is ridiculously good at memory and wins all the time.

Hello love! I want to love everyone better, exactly where they are. Including myself! It is too hard to love people when you are trying to change them.

Hello post Disneyland life! We drove done to the happiest place on earth Valentine's weekend for a belated birthday celebration for Sookie's 5th. Coming home was an adjustment, but something I adore about the post Disneyland vacation mentality? I find myself searching for magic, wanting to capture that spark, extend that wonder, and chase after adventure here, in our own little corner of fun in Utah.

05 March 2015

The Beauty In Honoring Your Non-Negotiables

Let's talk non-negotiables, shall we? What are yours? Water, sleep, time with your loved ones, creative time? Do you stick to them no matter what? Do you cling to them above all else? Do you honor them in the day to day hustle and bustle?

A few years ago I took an end of the year Holiday Council class (Which I completely recommend! Such a marvelous way to wrap up your year and prepare for the one ahead! It has become a tradition and my gift to myself!) from the ever lovely and fabulous Molly Mahar of Stratejoy. It came up during those interviews and calls the importance of finding your non-negotiables and honoring them. And for the life of me I cannot remember who exactly introduced me to this notion, but I want to hug them regardless! It makes sense. It gives you something to focus on. I think sometimes it can be a habit to fall into putting too much of your energy into what you don't want in life, as opposed to making a list in your heart and honoring it. When you take the time to pinpoint your non-negotiables, it frees up space to let all of that other stuff go.

My non-negotiables lately? (And this is key! Your non-negotiables will ebb and flow like the different seasons of your life sweet one!) Sleep! Shut eye is a huge one. My whole body functions better when I'm well rested. I find that if this one facet of my life is taken care of, so many other aspects fall into place. Or if there is tough stuff happening? I'm better equipped to tackle it. Connecting with Sookie and Rory is another crucial non-negotiable for me. Love is what life is all about. My family is the core of my story and making memories with them is an extremely massive chunk of my heart.

Obviously my eye drops and other medications are on my list of non-negotiables. I wouldn't be here or have my eye sight without them. Two major things. ;)

Music. Ah, where would we be without music? I'm listening to Patty Griffin as I write this and I'm always comforted by her voice. Also, see that gorgeous black planner up there in the photo above? It is from Danielle Laporte and you need one. No, this is not an ad. I simply adore this planner. It is unlike anything you've seen before. It does have space for to do lists, but it assists you in focusing on how you want to feel, goals, gratitude lists, monthly checks, things that felt good, things that didn't go so well and how to grow from these lessons and move forward. I'm telling you...GOOD STUFF.

If you're feeling pulled in a million different directions lately (Who me? No way! Ha.) You might find it helpful to sit down and really take a look at where your energy and time are going. Pick 5 to 10 ideas that are non-negotiables that are critical to your happiness. Then, start working on shifting little pockets of your day to honor them. It truly works!

This post brought to you by organic sour gummy bears and my writing mix on Spotify. ;)

What are your non-negotiables that you stick to in order to live your best life? I want to hear about them!

25 February 2015

DIY Kids Puffy Paint

Our girl is such a blur of energy these days! I'm grateful for her health and her boundless zest for life! Also for when I find activities that entertain and inspire us both. Yesterday afternoon I found this idea for DIY Puffy Paint and we jumped right into creating.

This puffy paint activity? Loved it. So simple. So fun. So easy. So inspiring. Just up her alley!

You probably have the ingredients already handy in your kitchen. :)

Now make some of this fabulous stuff and have some fun with your kids! 

Happy Wednesday! :) xoxo.

25 January 2015

The Future Is Wild. And It is Ours.

On her last Sunday as a 4 year old, the training wheels came off the bike. I was beaming for her and with her, as the glee in our eyes matched, the tears came unexpectedly and oh so raw. Once upon a time I didn't know if I would be here to see such milestones with her. And now that I am? The future is wild. And it is ours.

14 January 2015

Create Your Own Sunshine

Winter blahs? Sometimes this post holiday time of year can be a little bit of a bummer. The other day we were out running errands and Sookie said, "I miss Christmas mom." I do too Sook, I do too. So, I thought it would be fun to have a sale over in the Today Is A Miracle shop! Today only, get 20% off your entire purchase with code WINTERYAY

Sale does not affect donation amount. $5 from each item sold will always be donated to cystinosis research. We have a brand new tote design and a new Alice In Wonderland inspired tee in honor of a very special anniversary of my sweet friend Laura's kidney transplant. I'm so excited for it all! :)