The Announcement.


You’re probably thinking this is another Mother’s Day tribute to my Mom, and you’d be right. However, this is bigger than any tribute I’ve ever paid her, but I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

I started this blog years ago and deep down I’ve always had one purpose in mind. That purpose was summed up in a quote I heard in church recently.

“As we realize our own healing, we become more in tune to the way God heals others.”

I live my life as an open book, and I’ve always done so in an effort to find healing for myself, but also help heal others along the way.

In my last post, I expressed a feeling of complacency after my genetic test results. I struggled for a while to feel like I was feeding that need in my heart to heal myself and help heal others. I have a longing to devote my own passion towards something positive, rewarding and powerful. I call it “The Cause.”

When my mom became very sick, and had to face the reality that she wasn’t going to beat cancer, she asked her best friend to help her write letters to my family. I often quote my favorite part of the letter she wrote me where she says,

“Meet me outside by my flowers and open, sunny places.”

Being outdoors and gardening was her biggest hobby, and it brought her so much joy. When she says to meet her by her flowers, this was her way of saying, “When you miss me and need to talk, you always know where to find me – in a place I loved where my spirit will always be.”

It wasn’t until this past Thanksgiving when I was reading my letter again that something stuck out to me. I wanted to start a charity or do something to help others and share my mom’s story at the same time. I’m my happiest when I’m getting to do that. I wrestled with a few ideas, but after talking with my family and a few friends, I knew exactly where I was being lead.

That leads me to why I brought you all here today…

I’m so excited to announce Blessing Books!



 Blessing Books are custom designed books of letters from your loved one. Just like my mom left us with letters, I want to help others do the same for their family. I work with you every step of the way to include everything that’s most important to you. Whether it’s advice they want you to always remember, the happy memories they want you to hold onto in their absence or letters for you to read in the important moments that they’re with you in spirit. I design the book and send it off to be printed. There are various sizes and packages available to make it as custom and enhanced as you’d like!

My letter is the most important thing I posses. I think about these last ten years without my mom, and I think about whether I’d feel as connected and at peace with sharing her story if I didn’t have my letter. I can confidently say that I would not. It’s where I turn when I need to read her words, for comfort in the sadness and to know without a doubt that she’s still with me every day. My desire and hope for Blessing Books is to be able to offer other people what my mom made for us.  It’s a forever thing to be able to pass this down to your loved ones.



I can’t wait to be able to incorporate my love for design with my even greater love for “The Cause” and to honor my mom in this way.

I’m currently still working on getting the site ready, but Blessing Books will be available for purchase come June 1, 2017.


The last time I wrote on here was to share some big news. After months of genetic testing, I received totally clear test results. People have been asking me a lot since then what my next move would be, what my next post would be, etc. Initially, I sought out the company that handled my genetic testing. I wanted to be a brand ambassador or lobby on behalf of them. I reached out to Color Genetics and immediately got in touch with someone there who handles their media relations. Unfortunately, the way they’re media outreach is set up, didn’t accommodate for anything I could help with.

I felt stuck. I felt complacent. I felt like I was on this high from the news I had received, but I wasn’t able to put that high towards anything productive. Being stagnant wasn’t enough for me. It never will be. 

With that being said, I’m excited to give a little teaser into something that I’ve been working really hard on for the last several months. While I’m not able to share many details about this yet, I can give a few teasers. This new venture that I’ll be embarking on soon is a culmination of a lot of aspects I’ve very passionate about. It combines design work with my passion of using what I’ve been through for something greater than myself.

I’ve always said that everything happens for a reason. I’ve always believed that losing my mom at a young age had an important purpose in my future that I wasn’t able to see yet. I’m hopeful that this is a big part of that purpose…

That’s all I can say for now on this, but stay tuned and in a few months you’ll be seeing a lot more.

This Just In.

Have you ever begged for a miracle? I have. Twice now.

I remember the first time like it was yesterday. I was twelve years old and had just sneaked into my mom’s email only to read the single most painful email [I hope] I’ll ever read with information my parents had not shared with us yet. I can still see the words that read, “There’s nothing else the doctor can do.” A memory I would give anything to erase. I immediately ran to my bedroom and sobbed into my pillow as I begged God for a miracle, as I begged for my mom. I didn’t get that miracle…

It’s been almost seven months exactly since I began this genetic testing journey. A journey filled with fear, uncertainty and the most support I’ve ever felt in my life.

I received my results on Friday afternoon. I didn’t immediately open them; a decision i contribute to fear. I’ve never felt lonely in this journey, but as I was driving home from work thinking about how my life would drastically change in a few moments, lonely is all I felt.

Who could understand the decisions I would have to make to ensure I wasn’t a third generation of women in my family to die from ovarian cancer? And all at 22 years old. Loneliness is a scarier feeling than fear.

I sat down at my computer, and with the curser on the link to my results, I prayed…

“Lord, help me to be okay with whatever results you’ve chosen for me. Help me to trust that this is the path my life is meant to go and this is Your perfect plan. Your will be done, in Heaven and on Earth. [Queue the begging, with tears streaming down my face] But God, I really need a miracle here. I really need to not have this gene.”

Begging anyone, but especially God, is a humbling experience. To beg is to give up all control.

I took a deep breath and clicked the link… I wasn’t at all prepared for what I saw.

“No gene mutation identified.” 

God gave me a miracle!

I immediately started sobbing. My face in my hands, full ugly cry. I couldn’t believe it. I instantly grabbed my tattoo on my wrist for my mom as though I was grabbing for her.

What this means is that I don’t have the BRCA 1 & 2 gene mutation that can cause Breast and Ovarian cancer. I also don’t have the gene mutation for 14 of the other most common cancers. And I have no idea how other than God. There are no 100%’s in this, but my chances are drastically lower. I used to think I was ticking time bomb for this cancer, and now I know that I’m not.

Shortly after my mom passed away, her best friend came to the hospital. I was cleaning because I needed to distract myself and not think about what had just happened. Her friend grabbed me, hugged me tighter than I ever have been and said “She always said you were her miracle baby and you are.” Every day since, I’ve chosen to believe that everything happens for  reason and God will show me my reason one day if I pursue it. I think I’m starting to see it through this journey.

I say start because I have no idea where I’ll go from here, but I know I need to do something to use my life and this miracle. If you’re wondering if you should get this test done, the answer is yes. Seven months ago I posted the verse below and prayed it continuously.

I encourage you to do exactly what these words say; have no fear of bad news, but trust God. Even if the results aren’t what you want, you’ll have answers that could save your life.

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

Psalm 112:7

For now, I’m going to continue to celebrate and be so thankful for these results. When I figure out my next steps, I’ll post them right here! Thank you for the prayers, the kind words and everything in-between throughout this process! You will never know what it means to me.



I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it was five months ago that I posted about starting my genetic testing… Oops! To say I was overwhelmed by the support and outreach about this testing would be an understatement.

Y’all have taught me so much through this. I’ve enjoyed hearing your stories, your fears and your questions. But what I’ve loved, is that they mimic mine throughout this whole process.

As you can obviously tell, my testing didn’t work out. Testing can cost up to $1,500 per gene (testing 24 -30 genes) and even though I qualified for the testing, my insurance wanted to charge about $3,000… Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly sold on that option.

To be honest with you all, I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that I’d written about this, talked with so many of you and yet had no answers for you or myself. I was discouraged to say the least. All of my fear and anxiety built into that moment and I was stuck with no answers.It felt like being at the top of a roller coaster waiting to fly down and then you wake up from your dream and feel empty or let down. You’re not scared or excited; you’re just there.

Five months later (and several vague snap chats), I’m so happy to share with you real updates. I was introduced to this company in California called Color Genetics. It’s an independent company that works with skilled physicians to do genetic testing. If you’re like me, words like “independent” in the world of genetic testing made me think $$$. Wrong. The test was $250.00. [By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post.]

How does it work?

You order the kit that includes a sample tube. You provide a saliva DNA sample in the tube. Activate your kit online and provide a family history of cancer. They provide you with a pre-labeled box to ship it back in. They test for 30 genes, including BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 (the breast cancer gene). They also test for the Ovarian Cancer gene — which if you know my story at all, you know that’s the most important one to me.I sent in the package this morning and once it’s been analyzed, they’ll email me my results.

As I type, I remember that last time I was writing about this. I remember the waiting room at KU Cancer Center. The people in there who reminded me so much of the battle my mom bravely fought but gracefully lost. I remember the feeling of pure fear at my core and the panic attack I had in the waiting room while my eyes filled with tears; and it still brings tears to my eyes. To know that these results could change how I see my future… How do you even begin to describe that? Powerless is a start.

But then I think of why. Why I’m doing this, who I’m doing this for and the impact this can have on my life and those around me. Through her own life, my mom taught me to use what I’m given and to never be a victim of what life throws your way. If I’m not doing that and talking about it, I’m just existing.

As soon as I have my results, good or bad, I’ll fill you in. Until then, prayers, well wishes or whatever you wish to send my way would be amazing.


Every Little Thing is Gonna be Alright.

Two weeks ago I met with my doctor to begin my genetic testing. So many people have come up to me saying they want to get this testing done or they know someone who wants to. I had a friend tell me she wants her mom to get it done, but her mom doesn’t want to know bad news might be coming her way. And I think people like her mom are exactly why I’m doing this. It breaks my heart that people feel scared. Fear is a terrible thing to live with, but fear of the unknown is unbearable. We convince ourselves that our “worst case scenario” is our “only case scenario,” and it’s not…

My appointment for my testing was at 9:30. I arrived early, and for 30 mins I was sitting in a waiting room that was packed with patients. Oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, face masks and bandannas to cover what chemo had taken from them. Badges of honor, I like to call them.  I’d been in a million of these waiting rooms before… but not for almost 10 years.

Grief may get better with time, but at what cost? Is it “better” because you start to forget the bad memories? Or is it because you start to forget what it was like to have them in your life? You never forget the person, what they mean to you, how much your entire heart loves and misses them. But if we’re being honest with ourselves… Do we really remember the sound of their voice, their laugh, their handwriting after 10 years? I listen to recordings and read old notes to still feel connected in a way different than “I miss you.”

I’m sitting in this waiting room with floods of memories from 10 years ago pouring out of my brain and into my heart. I started to panic. I was tearing up and feeling like a fool for having a panic attack in a waiting room with people who have actual battles they’re fighting every day. But even so, the painful memories were coming back, and I couldn’t block them out with the good ones. I kept thinking, I will do absolutely anything to not be sitting in this room in 10 years.

[And then they called my name.]

“So, what do you know about all of this so far?” my Doctor asked me.

“That I’m going to have the cancer that my mom died from,” I answered with tear-filled eyes.

She looked at me (after pointing to the tissue box on the window sill), let out a sigh and said, “No…not necessarily and we’re going to figure all of that out.”

Here’s the power that her knowledge gave me that day:

  • It takes 5 – 10 years for the blood supply and cell reproduction to malfunction and result in cancer. Cancer doesn’t show up over night.
    • THIS is why yearly check ups are so important. You’re not going to go in for one and 3 months later all of sudden have Stage 4 cancer. If they see something weird at the yearly check up, then they’ll monitor you closer than yearly.
    • This is also why they recommend testing you 10 years before you’re likely to get cancer based on age or family history. They’re trying to catch the cancer when it probably started to grow in that person.
  • The ovarian cancer gene is 5 – 10% hereditary.
  • If I have the gene, I have a 50% chance of getting the cancer, not 100%.
  • Having one person on each side of my family with this cancer doesn’t increase my chances. I’m still at 50%. Since I don’t have multiple people on one side of my family with ovarian cancer, it could mean that it’s not necessarily hereditary.
  • If I have BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 (gene names), my chance of breast cancer is 40 – 60%. My chance of ovarian cancer is about 40 – 50%.
    • There are several genes that contribute to ovarian cancer, but BRCA are very prominent.
  • There are a million other facts and figures she gave me that made me feel incredibly reassured.

My mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer when I was 8. They gave her 6 months to live and she fought for 4 years. That day, my doctor said to me, “You will never be in your mother’s situation. You will never be at Stage 4, because you’re doing it right. You’re starting so young, and we’ll be monitoring you so closely to make sure you’re okay, to make sure you have a long life.”

I couldn’t have paid her to say more perfect words. My greatest aspiration is to be like my mom, but my greatest fear is to fight her same battle.

I won’t know my results for 2-3 more weeks. But my “full body fear” is so much less. I know that the power of my future lies with God, me and my doctors,  not cancer.

Proverbs 16:9

“In their hearts, humans plan their course,

but the LORD establishes their steps.”

A friend surprised me the day of my testing with a note and a beautiful painting of my mom’s final words to me (below). In her note said she was praying for my test results, but that I would have faith in a good God rather than good results. I know that this journey probably isn’t one that I would’ve “planned for my course,” but it’s the one God planned. And that’s enough for me…

The Storm. My Purpose.

In forty-eight hours, I’ll be sitting in the waiting room to get my genetic testing done (see previous post to catch up). This testing will give me a lot: fear, worry, anxiety but most of all, it’ll give me answers. Answers that I’ve been waiting on for ten years now.

My last post on this received an outpouring of support from friends, family and people I never would’ve expected to pay attention to my words. I’ve been asked a lot about the process, my fears, my thoughts. And even though tears often fill my eyes when I explain my answers to their questions, I still feel as passionate about this as I did two weeks ago and ten years ago when I began this journey.

Every morning I listen to the radio as I say my prayers on the way to work. I find that starting my day like this gives me peace and purpose for my day. Purpose is something I think we all search endlessly for, in all aspects of our lives and the lives of those we love. Do we not pray for good jobs, good health, and if you’re like me, to just do something that matters? I think most of us have this longing to make a difference and have a meaningful life.

One explanation that I’ve always used when talking about losing my mom, and how that impacts my life, is that if I can change the life of one person because of her journey and her fight, then that’s why it all happened. Everything happens for a reason, for a bigger purpose. I have to believe that. I choose to believe that every day because I absolutely refuse to accept that my mom’s (and my own) journey is for nothing. It’ll change lives because she changed lives and because I will always fight for her story.

…And then I heard this verse…

II Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

 I’ve never quite understood the why’s and the how’s of my journey; however, I knew in my heart I wasn’t meant to dwell on them, but to overcome them and help others. I could read that last part over and over again, “… so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

I titled these posts “The Calm Before the Storm” and “The Storm,” but this isn’t a storm, it’s a story, it’s my story. It would be dishonest to say that I’m not terrified, but there’s a calm that comes with knowing there’s more important things than our fear. So… as scared, worried and anxious as I am for my testing (in now 47.5 hours), I know that my purpose is as clear now as it always has been; it’s not fear and it’s not anxiety. My purpose is to live my life, to share my journey and to help others find the comfort to weather their storm (story).

The Calm Before the Storm.

The fear and uncertainty are the hardest parts. Although I don’t remember the words, I remember the day my parents told us my mom had cancer. When you’re eight years old, death is something that happens in old age or by a terribly sad accident.

…It wasn’t until years of seeing her fight that I realized

it wasn’t that far off from any of us…

As a sophomore in high school, I did a research report on Ovarian Cancer, and it was then that I realized the danger I was in of getting this disease. 50% was the number I saw. Fifty percent of women with a relative diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer will also be diagnosed in their lifetime. At fifteen, or any age for that matter, that’s a scary number to see. Your heart drops, your chest sinks, and at fifteen, I began to try to plan my life around the fear and panic of this disease in an effort to avoid the pain I witnessed as a child. I desperately don’t want to be a third generation to have kids who grow up without a mom.

With all that said, and being that my mom and my dad’s mom both passed from Ovarian Cancer; I’ve decided to undergo genetic testing on February 19th and share my journey with you all as I suspect I’m not the only one who’s undergone (or wanted to) this testing. The process is easy; a simple DNA sample will determine if I have the genetic mutations that Ovarian and Breast Cancer derive from.

I had a friend ask me last week what this test would mean to me and how I’ll feel about my results. My mom used to call me her “miracle baby.” In the deepest part of my heart and soul, I pray every day that I’ll be that miracle and not have the mutation. But as someone with so much family history, I feel as though it would be irresponsible for me to not know for sure whether I do or don’t have the gene.

– Hearing that I have the gene would be like hearing that I have cancer –

It’s a crippling fear.

As I began to explain that to her, tears filled my eyes like liquid memories of the hardest battle that I watched the bravest woman fight; my mother.

So I’m asking you all to join me before, during, and after my testing as well as any prayers you’d wish to send my way. Everyday I pray and focus on a verse my friend shared with me,

Psalm 112:7

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”



losing touch.

Last week, SnapChat removed the option for users to be able to see who their contact’s “best friends” were. People were outraged, girlfriends were jealous, cheaters felt free and I began to question…

If a friendship that I valued or loyalty that I trusted was based upon SnapChat best friends was really loyalty at all. Or friendship at all.

We live in a world where we validate ourselves, our looks, our bodies and our being based on likes and followers. Our generation longs to feel connected, but we don’t understand why we feel more disconnect than ever.

This video says anything and everything that I feel about the subject, and he does an incredible job appropriately shaming us.

it’s easy to fall in love with a memory.

The desert is a beautiful place to the untrained eye. Until a shift in the sand glides past you. It’s a snake. More than that, it’s a warning. Danger is coming.

I miss you already. I like you. I have no reason to lie to you. You have every right to ask. He’s a beautiful thing to the untrained eye. But his texts are a warning. Danger is coming.

And yet you don’t move. You don’t leave. You don’t save yourself. Something about the curiosity keeps you there. Curiosity killed the cat. But did it? Because, curiosity implies unknown. But we know danger is coming. We choose to embrace it. We choose the consequences.

We feel a part of us has broken off, is missing. Because we so deeply long to roll over and crash into their embrace and heartbeat, and not the empty pillow with the trace of their scent.

“I’m fine” spills out of our mouths before we can say what’s really on our brain. Because “I’m fine” is so much easier than “I miss you.”

The heart may want what it wants, but it craves what it cannot have. Craves what it knows will never fully belong to you. Craves what knows is no good for you. Craves what won’t come easy. We’ve trained it to be this way, to want these things. And yet, these things are the ones that leave girls falling asleep in the tears on their pillows. They chase these tears with vodka or Xanax and cover them with short dresses and higher heels. We sweat them out to prove something.

Prove something to THEM. When the only thing we need to convince is our heart. That we deserve more, need more, are more. Deserve more than once a week visits. Need more than “I miss you already” and “babe.” Are more than the girl waiting around for someone to realize.

So breathe and move on. Because the only thing more exhausting than his constant explanations, waiting on him to step up, and the one sided effort you put in… Is you trying to convince yourself you deserve more, when you already know you do.

Say a Little Prayer for You.

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray The Lord, your soul repeat

Within my heart, throughout my life

In your image, I pray I’m like

Uniquely beautiful was her spirit

This prayer I pray, I hope you hear it

I hope you see me when I stand tall

And though I can’t see you, catch me when I fall

To fight your battle, I’d given anything

To feel your hug, see your smile, hear your laugh and to hear you sing

Sing me to sleep, like when I was little

You showed me pure love when you were your most brittle

And though you no longer walk among us

In the flowers we feel you sprung us

Sprung us from our mundane lives

We remember your strength and inspires us to thrive

Your mercy, your kindness, your grace

Are just just three of the beautiful traits we see, when we remember your face.