Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Many of you helped in the money-raising efforts, too, and we wanted to thank you once more for your generosity. And, we wanted to give you an update on Lori and her recovery. Many of you ask me on the road how she's doing, so I was so happy to see another article yesterday about her on http://www.connectsavannah.com/. (link to article is below) And, I personally went to see her while visiting my brother in Savannah last November. I took pictures of them & sent a framed one to Lori for Christmas. Pictures just make life happier, don't they?!?
Thank you for being our customer. Thank you for caring beyond measure for others who are struggling. Thank you for letting me continue in this job that means the world to me.
Read the full update on Lori here:
And, thanks to my brother for being such an amazing guy!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
It’s been a while. It’s been too long.
Yes, we’re still here. Yes, we’re still in business. Thank you for the emails & messages checking on us.
Where have we been?
It all started with my crazy schedule. Then, email problems. Then, missing packages. Add employee issues. Mix in discontinued papers & ordering nightmares from paper companies and you have my life for many months of last year. I knew it was time for a change.
Mid summer last year, we began making serious changes. We started making our own papers, in an effort to be less dependent on other companies, who were having issues of their own. We made every technical change possible…well, as much as we could possibly afford…if I ever win the lottery, we will have an email system like Google! We also changed…and changed… and changed again they way we ship. And, we had employee changes.
Lastly, I made the difficult decision in the fall to scale back, wwwaaaaaaayyyyy back, on my show schedule. I cut from over 30 shows a year (37 was my high) to just 16 conventions for 2011, teaching exclusively for CK. My reasons were to continue to work on the making all the changes listed above, as well as be around more to keep an eye on a teenage kid named Keller!
I knew this business would kill me if it continued on as it was. So, I made the decision and stuck to it, not knowing that God had an even bigger reason for me to be home more.
As many of you know, I have quite a small family. There’s me. Keller. My brother, David. My mom, Gail. And Papa, my stepdad.
In the fall, Papa began ‘just not feeling himself’, if you know what I mean. He wasn’t hunting, which was a huge red flag. He would tire out easily when outside. He was moving much slower. In December, he started having some back pain. He tried chiropractors. He tried pain pills. He tried physical therapy. He and mom got a new mattress set. No relief. He had an MRI. He had x-rays. By February, he went for an epidural to block the pain in his back, and God made sure someone noticed that his back pain was just the symptom ( as mom and I suspected by that point) ….Papa collapsed at the doctor’s office before they could do the epidural. They admitted him to the hospital & started tests. By morning, they had ordered a CT scan. By afternoon, we had our answer.
Pancreatic Cancer. Stage 4. Metasticized to the liver and lungs.
Our world stopped.
Keller needs his Papa. He’s the closest thing to a dad he’s ever had, definitely a grandpa to him.
Mom needs Papa. He’s her one true love.
I need Papa. He loves me unconditionally. Very rare in my life.
His kids need him. His grandkids and great-grandkids need him.
The world needs him. He is the sweetest spirited man who just exudes love and happiness.
We were sent home to wait for him to die.
I now knew why I needed to be home.
As we rallied around Papa, God sent us friends in the medical field, who put us in touch with doctors who said there were a few things to try. But, first we needed to know where else the cancer was. They suspected the brain and stomach. After a couple more invasive procedures, we were shocked, yet thrilled to learn that there was NO CANCER in the brain and NO CANCER had broken thru his stomach wall. Thank you, God! This meant he could eat and might be with us a little longer than they we initially were led to believe.
Then, they said there was one chemo to try, that would not only manage his pain & increase his fluid levels, but would give a slim chance to slow the growth of the cancer. Well, to quote Papa’s oncologist, ‘we won the lottery’! He was one of the lucky few that the chemo seemed to be shrinking some of the numerous tumors!! His blood work went from off-the-charts-terrible to just-plain-terrible. We might make it to another football season for him to see Keller play!
That’s where we are now. He is getting weaker. Every day has a new challenge. Not one day has been easy. We still know every day is precious. We may have him a week. A month. A year? Wow, that would be beyond amazing. For today, we are just thankful to still have him and it’s June already. We never thought we’d be here now.
In the last year, I have learned so many lessons. I am more present each moment when I’m with family and friends. I had begun learning that lesson last March when we unexpectedly lost my dear friend, Debbie Williams. When life is taken in a moment, you learn to value the time you have. And, Debbie’s death made me realize what a true gift we have with Papa, the gift of more time together.
And, I learned to work smarter during my work hours, dedicated more than ever to get systems in place to get our company to the level it needs to be. I learned to call on other business owners from all industries to learn new ways to do things.
I have learned to delegate. I have hired and fired and hired some more…determined to get the best team I can for you, our customers. I now know that I no longer can say, ‘I’ll just do it myself’…I can NOT do everything myself. I’ve learned to accept volunteer help from family and friends.
I’ve learned that we have the best customers in the world! As each of the shows draws near & I’m wondering if I will make it there, I ask Papa & he tells me to go. It’s so hard to leave now, but once I get in the classroom, I’m surrounded by the BEST people in the world. You all lift me up more than you know. You remind me how lucky I am to have this job. Thank you!
I have learned to trust my creativity…which has led to more fun ideas than ever before!!! And, now that we are back on track in so many areas of our business, we are now ready to bring them to you.
For starters, we have a new video for you! Remember our webisodes back in 2009?? Well, we’re finally able to bring you the kind of teaching in video format that we dreamed about back then when my crazy brother did those for you. It’s me now, not D doing the teaching, but we still hope you love it J .
Just click this link to watch the first of many of these project-filled videos. You might even win something for watching!!
(contest mentioned in video ends 6-30-11)
If you’re new to our circle of friends & customers, we’re glad you found us. If you’ve been with us since the beginning, the best is yet to come. If you’re someone that we have let down in the last year, stick around….we will make it up to you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support,