Friday, June 1, 2012

Six months In Six Months To Go

Well I knew when I began that 60 goals in one year is A LOT! I have met quite a few, I have totally missed on a few, and with half of the year left, I am more than determined!

Every month on the first day of the month I have toasted mom and reviewed the list. Unfortunately, I haven't been diligent at blogging my progress. That is about to change. It is still difficult for me to accept that I cannot call mom to ask her advice. It is especially difficult as the boys age, and I grow into a new phase of parenting. However, I am driven by my promise to her that I will have the GREAT life she prepared me for. I will not only have it, I will enjoy it and share it with others! SIXTY...She would have turned 60 this year. OK, I will not write the entire list each time I blog but since it has been six months I think it is appropriate...

So, momma here is what I have accomplished so far...

1. Nope, I didn't win the 2012 Pres Club, so that means I am earning the 2013 trip to Kenya! Working on it! 2. I have started to speak publicly a little bit more. The response has been positive and I need to step out of my comfort zone a little bit more often. 3. We have been given opportunities to give in big ways, and God has provided funds. 4. Nate and I are planning a trip to the Holy Land in February. 5. Yikes---I'm still drinking Diet Coke...

6. Hawaii is planned 7. Lake Michigan in the fall 8. We go to Cali July 16 to see Vicki John Shannon Dylan 9. Still need to plan the SC trip 10. Nothing spur of moment has taken place yet

5 New Things
11. June 9th we are doing Feed My Starving Children Event and later going to Chicago mission with boys 12. No play yet 13. Haven't made your pie crust yet 14. Journals start this summer 15. Dance to Diana Ross -- not yet


16.Made noodles once 17. Been really bad at taking vitamins 18. WOW I REALLY MESSED THIS oNE UP 19. Yay I have been writing notes and texts but i could be a lot better at this! 20. I have been researching the awful disease abut more importantly the people that seem immune! 

21. We have 5 verses we all know and we are starting on our sixth! They are all the verses highlighted from your Bible. 22-25 Nate and I have faithfully prayed for the boys' health, each other and the prayer of Jabez everyday! 26-27 I have not read the WORD everyday But we are getting much better. I always think of you in your chair with your coffee on the screened in porch reading your Bible and praying. 28. I actually joined two new small groups 29. I have calendared time to serve others into my week each week. I remember you always meeting, cooking or helping someone. 30. You would be cautioning me about saving for the I think this one is good:-)

 31. I toast you each would say my wine tastes like juice:-) 32. I haven't found anything strikingly red yet! 33. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the memorial yet. 34. On Saturday at our work convention I trained all day wearing black and white polkadot dress 35. I'm trying to seek intelligent people --- but you are hard to reach! No, really trying to be specific with my mentoring time!

 36. Nope to exercise 37. So close 5 lbs away from 125 38. Sometimes is it on an exercise ball. 39. Getting better- how did you train yourself to become such a morning person? 40. Yay-YES

 41. In October 42. Yes photos in frames! 43. We need to work on family games- do white sox games count? 44. Nate and I are dating learned that from you and dad:-) 45. None yet- just like the videos of me 46. Jer/Raelenna are great went there plan to visit again soon 47. Yes 48. Yes 49. We haven't done this as much... Need to start this summer 50. Yes!

51. I have read about 9 so far, my favorite being RESONATE! 52. I need to work on this a little more, but I have definitely increased mentoring time. 53. Yes better calendar! 54. Yes I hired Candace! 55. Wow, definitely didn't make 3 hard calls a day Jan-April but I did in May, and I will continue 56. Yes, I've completely changed connection to computer 57. Yes, I have made a lot more face/face connections 58. Working on this:) 59. I do pray for local leaders everyday. 60. Yes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One Week Down!

It is wonderful to have 60 goals. It keeps me focused on the many things I want to be. I want to be a supportive wife, loving daughter, giving mother, successful business woman, encouraging friend, lover of life, and most importantly--I want to be PRODUCTIVE with each breath I take.

So, this week I worked hard EVERYDAY on our memory verse, prayers for and with the kids, prayers for and with Nate. I failed at being in the Word everyday for a period of time. Yes, I said the memory verse, but to read to learn, I failed. I hope to be better this week.

Other goals were started, and work has to be a huge focus for the next 10 weeks. It feels so refreshing to start each day already knowing where I am headed this year. It feels wonderful to mark things off, make big plans and feel "organized" in my thoughts.

It has only been one week, but I can already feel a difference in my outlook because if something pops into my head and I think, "Oh I should do that..." I have great confidence in not being sucked into guilt or putting it on my to-do list if it doesn't fall in line with one of the 60 goals. Having a clearer mind has resulted in something I didn't expect. It actually allows me more time to reflect on my blessings and truly have a spirit of gratitude at all times.

Thank you God for my mom. I am thrilled to spend her 60th year bettering myself in her honor. Here's to another week!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's been awhile!

Wow, it has been almost two years since I have posted on this blog. After my mother died suddenly in 2009 it served as a great part of the healing process.

While there will always be a hole in my heart, I have truly learned to live with joy. This year I hope to post with tales of joy and triumph through the journey of becoming a better person in 2012. Here is to a year of HUGE STRETCHING!

My mother had so much to offer life. She lived fully and without reserve. I have made my list of 60 tasks in honor of mom's 60th birthday year. I invite you to join me with your own list of action items for the year. Without goals, we often find ourselves year after year in the same place with the same issues and sadly, the same unmet dreams.

Here is to a FULFILLING 2012!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One Year, One Minute, One Woman

It has been one year since I last held my mom's hand, kissed her face, felt her touch. It has been one year since I last watched my dad comb mom's hair and apply her lip gloss because she hated chapped lips. It has been one year since I literally watched the spirit, the essence of who my mom is actually leave her shell that we call a body.

It has been one year.

Minute by minute since those last moments, my soul has been on a journey to learn how to to live a life without her on this earth. Minute by minute I have grieved and pushed to live a life that would honor all that she taught me. Grief, unimaginable pain is measured more in seconds, but minute by minute we (those that loved and were loved by her) have toiled to find joy because she would desire only that in our lives. My soul has missed her every minute.

Minutes are a better measurement.

This one woman made me laugh so hard I would literally pee my pants (even before having children). One of my favorite memories is of mom and I dancing in the living room at our house in Oblong. We had this old stereo, and dad had his deer head hanging on the wall by the wood stove. We were dancing crazy and we started jumping. The deer head fell off the wall, and we both looked at each other -- scared to death of what Dad would think. She turned the music down, looked at the deer, and then said, "I hate that thing anyway..." and then she turned the music back up full blast! We danced until we were laughing so hard we fell down. I can still see that room, feel that music and experience that love. She taught me to live life. PS Sorry dad--I know this is a new story for you.

One GREAT Woman!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time Away

So, I just got back from a beautiful resort in Boca Raton, Florida. It is owned by the Waldorf Astoria but it is known as the Boca Raton Resort. Wow! I love my company. I really am learning to love every part of my life.

It was a hard trip. Last year, everything was wonderful. I was at this same conference for my work, mom and dad were watching the boys, and life was blissful. Funny, though, is that I didn't recognize how blissful it was. Last year I was winning awards with my company, laughing with my mom by text and phone, and everyone was healthy, yet I was feeling like I should do, be and accomplish more. I wasn't content or even satisfied with who I was or what I was doing.

This year, I'm went on this same trip. Throughout this year of turmoil, my life has changed drastically. Friends, trust, character and significance all becomes more evident in the face of adversity. This past week, I didn't win any awards, I didn't get to hear my mom's laugh, my husband wasn't able to be with me, and I spent my week in such a different way, and yet I am more content and definitely more satisfied with who I am and where I am going than I have been in years.

I thank mom for that. I thank her for giving me a life worth striving for and admiring. I love what I do, I love my family and I realize that God is my ultimate provider.

I noticed more the look of happiness (or lack thereof) in people rather than what they said or did. I talked deeply with others and truly listened to their stories from home and there hopes and dreams. This has been a trying year to say the very least, but I hope that I can honestly say that I am a better person this April 1 than I was a year ago.

As the day approaches when mom left this earth I am left with anxiousness. I do not know what I will feel or what I will do, but I know that I am more aware of those who love me, I am sure of my blessings that surround me, and I know that my mom continues to teach me strength and kindness even in her death.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

When Your Soul Cries

There is something so unique about sharing so much in common with another human being. I think couples that are married for decades become friends on a soulful level, the best of friends that weather life's storms can share that, and sometimes, when you're lucky, family members that share that same type of intimacy seem to connect on that soulful plane.

People speak of this connection in different ways. It is easily recognized. It shows unconditional love, this type of connection does not know boundaries that typical relationships know. For instance, there is no level of hurt that this connection cannot overcome, there is no distance that separates it, there is no joy that will ever be more blissful.

It is not a blood connection. It is TRULY a soulful connection. I believe finding that AWESOME connection with your mother is a remarkable rarity. I commend her for being able to do that. On her part it took control and selflessness and bravery to let me lead my life, make mistakes, take risks and become a woman of my own. Being her only child after losing her second child and having a hysterectomy at age 23, she could have been protective, mothering, and selfish. SHE REFUSED to be any of those. She fought it everyday, and told me of her battles years after I would make a mistake, suffer a terrible hurt or celebrate a HUGE accomplishment. She would tell me what she wanted to say or wanted to do, how she wanted to caution me or protect me. A funny side note is that in High School when a boy hurt my feelings and made me cry she told me years later that she wanted to run him down and leave tread marks on his face. Funny as that sounds, she was a woman of great temper, so it was remarkable that she kept her calm.

It was in those recapped moments. The confessions of her desires and wishes and sweet conversations that she taught me what selfess love was all about. It is never about being right, getting what is owed you or proving your point. Love is about making others look good, enjoying someone else's smile and working tirelessly while others relax.

Through those life lessons we grew to be friends. We shared and laughed like girls, and cried and shared as wives, and prayed and protected as mothers.

One of the things I have yet been able to write about was some of our last conversation. Daddy had gone somewhere and Vicki was not there yet, and obviously she had not been put on the ventilator yet, but it was to happen very soon. I had her Bible in my hands. I had been reading, she motioned me to stop and come close to her face. She was holding my hand and caressing my face, and I said, "My Spirit is at rest mom." She looked at me with a little despair and said, "Oh honey I can't seem to hear or feel my Spirit." I looked at her and tears began to stream and knew what she was saying..... she knew. Her soul knew.

My soul began to cry that day and it has yet to stop. That is not to say I do not feel joy or laugh out loud or celebrate an NCAA upset, but when your soul cries for one that it loved I believe it is only healed and whole when it is reunited with the one you lost. Your soul can cry while you smile. Your soul can cry while you work. Those that know you sometimes don't even detect your soul crying. BUT, those with whom you have a soulful connection sometimes know before you do.

I know as people read this they must think, "For crying out loud, Rachelle, it's your mother. Everyone loses their parents sometime." I agree. I so agree, but I also believe a soulful connection with someone is a rarity.

As a friend recently pointed out to me, the depth of my grief and the importance of her presence is something to be proud of. It is something to embrace with a smile. So few people are blessed with that type of connection with anyone in life, and I was able to share it with my mother. She was my best friend, she was my mentor, and she was my biggest cheerleader. So, when my soul cries, I've learned to smile because the memory and the relationship is definitely worth the pain.

I wish for everyone reading this that you have several relationships in your life that are soulful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I feel all out of words.

My grief, heartache and overall desperation feel the same. As we approach the year anniversary, it seems that it is harder rather than easier. It seems I am on a hamster wheel of emotions.

I miss MY mom. I miss MY best friend. Everyone else's world just keeps going, but she's gone. Never to return.

I'm just all out of words. As my cousin used to say, "I've lost my talking."

Friday, March 5, 2010


I don't know why it is, but everytime I go shopping I think of mom the entire time. I can hear her and remember her so much then. I think it is because that is often when we were completely alone, and it is also when we were friends and not necessarily mom/daughter.

We laughed all of the time. When I think of my mom, I think most of her smile. I think of her saying funny things to get a rise out of me. Today I was looking for a dress for an event I have for Melaleuca. I saw one with Polka Dots. I could just hear her say, "Oh Rachelle, you would look so cute in that."

I hate polka dots. She LOVED them. Funny, I'll probably start liking and wearing them.

It's almost been a year. I keep thinking, "Last year this time everything was normal." I wish I could go back in time so bad. I wish I could have one more long talk, one more belly laugh, one more hug. One more shopping trip.

Oh to have her pick out an incredibly geeky outfit just one more time. Love you mom.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lots to Celebrate! Lots to Miss!

What a month for Kaden!

He turned 10. He was baptized into Christ!

Mom and I talked and talked and talked about the day the boys would turn their life over to God. I really do not believe that people that are in heaven see our daily happenings. I just think it would be too hard on them to watch the suffering of others, and God promises heaven is a place of no tears.

I do, however, believe that when a child of God makes the decision to be baptized that the heavens know and rejoice because it speaks of it in the Bible. That made the day of Kaden's baptism so incredibly joyous. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that mom was present and watching and rejoicing with us last week.

Since that day though, my heart has been heavy with sorrow that I have not felt in a long time. It is just an ache that the soul feels and the body does not know how to respond to. Grief is a real event. It is not a choice or a reaction, but rather God's way of helping our bodies deal with the overwhelming emotion of our soul.

I have learned to embrace it rather than push it aside or pretend it isn't happening. I have learned that crying or yelling or smiling or laughing are all positive actions to dealing with this immeasurable loss. It is denying, ignoring, busying and pretending that all is well that cause me the greatest pain.

Understand that I am not dwelling...on the contrary, I am living and enjoying. I am working, moving forward, and loving. Yet, when that horrible tsunami of grief ignore it is danger. To prepare, embrace and repair is to live. Today I am hunkered. Today I am missing. Today I am crying and laughing and watching and remembering, so that in a few hours I can work, and live and laugh and play.

I love you mom. I love the grit you passed to me. I love the hope I have to see you again. I love the character you taught me, and more than anything I love the zeal for life that your short-lived life taught me to embrace all the more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

He's Beautiful

Those were mom's words. She just kept saying, "Oh Rachelle, he's beautiful."

Today is Kaden's 10th birthday. Oh how I miss mom today. Dad is driving up, we are heading to Wisconsin Dells tomorrow, and I can't seem to find a way to make myself get through the day. I just keep thinking of mom.

Her biggest delight in this world was loving, spoiling and seeing the boys. I took Kaden to breakfast this morning, and he said, "I bet Gaga is happy I'm 10!" I managed to smile eat, and hold back the breakdown.

Again, I wouldn't trade the time I had with her for the world. I don't let the grief stop me from embracing the joy and living each day, but this wave of TREMENDOUS longing will surely need to pass soon.

I will "suck it up" as mom would say because if she found out that I was crying on this beautiful boy's big day, she would hit me with some kind of force from above for sure.

Oh mom, another birthday party without you. I just really can't stand it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Network With Mom

So today for my business, I attended something called EWomen's Network. It is just a group of women business owners that collaborate to network, share and grow. I sat at a table with a woman about 5 years older than mom that said, "I'm 60 and just beginning my life." Immediately tears flooded my eyes. I had to gain my composure.

I have come a long way in my grief. However, I still want to scream, "ITS NOT FAIR!"

Mom was just beginning her life too. We had so many plans, so many dreams, so many things on our bucket list. The week before she died, she said, "Honey you better hurry up and make a lot of money because I'm not gonna live forever and we have a lot of traveling to do."

Oh mom, why didn't we just do it? I watched this woman today say how happy she is. I thought, "I hope her daughter realizes how lucky she is."

Life is so short. There are so many experiences and I intend to live it. I miss you so much that I could crumble today, but I won't because that grit you gave me is strong and real!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Perception is an interesting concept. Someone's perception is their reality. Right, Wrong, Indifferent it is theirs.

As 2010 approached, I looked at it as a fresh start, a new beginning, a way to release myself from all the hurt and disappointment of 2009. I still look at it this way. The sting of missing mom still takes my breath away. The shock of picking up the phone to realize, no I really can't call her still catches me off guard, but the hope of life with joy is in my future.

Funny though, my boys perceived 2010 completely different. They both took mom's death hard, but as all children, they bounced back quick and only occasionally showed grief-filled emotion. I assumed that was just the way it was for children.

A couple of nights into our new year, our boys came downstairs after bedtime. It was an unusual event in our house, and I was the disciplinarian. Scolding Carder and telling him to return to bed before I saw the tears. He simply looked at me and said, "I...I...I...just miss GaGa." He hasn't stuttered in a long time. I realized the depth of his hurt, and scooped him into my lap.

We sat for about 2-3 minutes talking about what we missed, when Nate heard something. He walked to our stairway to find sweet, 9-yr old Kaden sobbing silently on the steps. Kaden explained to us, that we were starting our first year without Gaga. We huddled as a family and wept. Laughing, crying and sharing our favorite mom moments.

In my limited perspective, I had just looked to begin this year with the hope of 2009 being past, in their perspective we were just beginning the grief. I think both perspectives are absolute TRUTH. That is what is so interesting about perspective, it can only change when you do.

I miss mom today as much as I did on April 2nd --actually probably more. I was still the same person then, and there wasn't that much to discuss. Now, nine months later, I have experienced so many joys, so many hurts, so much growth that I'd just like to share it all with her. However, I know that she still teaches me the right direction and choices and whispers she is proud of me when I need it most.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Today there was another celebration of life. Unfortunately, I could not be there to celebrate the life of the man that forever changed our family's life, and my hope in the Lord.

Rick Starr was a man, a dad, a granddad, and he was normal. He had the most amazing gifts and heart, and he also had faults, was human and super competitive in sports. That may not sound like the best eulogy, but you have to understand that it really is.

You see, Rick taught our family that real people can do amazing things for God. Before Rick, we assumed that you had to be perfect, know the Scripture inside and out, and walk a perfect Christian life to change the world, be worthy of a miracle or have real relationship with God. Rick showed us the other side of Christianity - FAITH. He showed and taught us that our God is a POWERFUL GOD of miracles. He taught us that with the faith of a mustard seed we could really move our own mountains.

My mom's mountain was breast cancer. We were not given a good diagnosis. Sarah Sutfin's mountain was brain tumor. They were not given a good diagnosis. Rick prayed with us. He taught us to believe our Father's promises. He stood in the gap for us.

I firmly believe that because of the power of prayer, my mother survived not only breast cancer but a horrible car accident and brain injury. I thank God for Rick Starr his influence in our life, and his legacy of faith that he has left. He taught us to trust God in all things

I only wish that God would give those of us left here a glimpse of the glory in which people like Rick, mom and Ross are experiencing. I can only imagine the great days of talks and enjoyment mom and Rick are experiencing.

I pray for my dad and Debbie. I pray for Sara, Bethany Jake and Josh. The hurt is so raw for them right now. My hurt is still so deep and dark. Yet, because of Rick's way of explaining Scripture, I know there is amazing hope and power in prayer despite the outcome of his battle with cancer.

After struggling so deeply when a friend of mine lost his mom to cancer in college, I asked Rick, "Why did she die, I prayed the same way as I did when I prayed for mom, and I REALLY believed."

Rick said, and I'll never forget, "Rachelle, do you think you are God? Do you think you learn a magic prayer and everyone is healed?"

He went on to explain that our God is The Mighty Healer. He is capable. He can. That is all we have to believe. When we believe that, miracles can and often do occur. But God, is still God. He knows what is best in ALL situations, and our will must always surrender to his.

I only wish I could be a better person on this earth. So many that have invested in my life deserve for me to live with more intention, more passion and more love for others. Thank you Rick, Thank You Ross, Thank You MOM!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

3 Days Left

I smile as I write that. Mom would be saying and thinking the same thing....WHEW! This year is almost over! HALLELUJAH! I am sitting down to my computer without a list of to-do's a mile long for the first time in months.

I simply cannot wait for a New Year! I am fully aware that each day brings its own troubles, but there is something so peace-giving to think of starting fresh.

The boys are healthy, dad is safe and healthy and Nate and I are looking forward to a year of intentional time spent together, with our kids, our family and on living out each day in the way that God would have us use our talents. A high order? Absolutely. One worth striving for though.

May God bless us with a fabulous new 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All Snug In Their Beds

It is Christmas Eve. I can hear my dads voice as he tells the boy's bedtime stories to go to sleep. I can see by the light of the Christmas tree, I can smell the cookies that are sitting on the plate for Santa. I can feel the cold from the front door where the carrots are placed for the reindeer. I can picture the wonder on Carder's face, but...

I miss the long talks with mom, the fright in her eyes as we make too much noise filling the stockings, the sheer delight in the last minute trip for the toy just announced as most important, the roll of the eyes as I say the boys have too much. I miss EVERY part of her tonight.

Her spirit truly is here. We went to lunch with Grandma and Popsie today, and on the way out the boys asked for a gumball, with a HUGE smile we dug for quarters, and Kaden said, "In honor of Gaga."

Christmas will never be the same. Yet, it is our job to make the new memories ones that she would be proud of. Dad and I tear up, exchange glances and know what the other one is feeling, but it is a choice to have a good Christmas, and WE ARE. Off to be Santa!