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Beauty from Ashes

Our (court) order includes a holiday schedule. We get our little buddy on Christmas, they get him on Christmas Eve. When you say it that way, it seems so, oh, I don’t know, legal. Which it is and it isn’t. Anyways, a few weeks before Christmas I felt it in my spirit to invite them (his other grandparents) over to open presents with us on Christmas Day. And they said yes!!! It was everything I hoped it would be. Tom and I, our two boys (one of them is the daddy), my dad, our little buddy, and his other grandparents […]

Mugs Matter

I love a good mug. Handle has to fit at least two fingers. Three is even better. Purple takes it to another level. However, what makes this mug my new favorite, besides the fact it was gifted to me by an amazing mentor and friend… Is that the purchase of this mug provides 56 meals for those who might otherwise go hungry. You see, extremely poor families in Haiti mix clay with water, oil and salt to create a clay cookie to fill stomachs of their desperately hungry children. By transforming the clay into mugs that can be sold, Haitians […]

Just Say No

As of late, I’ve had several conversations with friends who are so overwhelmed because they can’t say no. I get that it feels good to be needed by others. However, saying no to one thing, actually means you are saying yes to something else. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Thanksgiving Blessing

On Thanksgiving, it’s only appropriate to share my favorite mealtime blessing, courtesy of my dad. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost, bless the one who eats the most.” Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Lady Lumberjack

Finished out our fall axe throwing season tonight with a third place win in our region and top 50 in the nation!!! Who knew I had a little lady lumberjack in me!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Goin’ to the Chapel

Or should I say courthouse and we’re gonna get married!!! Yes, we did. Fifteen years ago, Tom Nikkola and I (without telling anyone) got married at the courthouse. With our witnesses, Best Man and Maid of Honor, and wedding party, Ken and Kim Wallisch, by our side we said, “I do!!!” Thank you, Ken and Kim, for standing up for us and your friendship that has stood the test of time!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Sunsets are Proof

It’s been cloudy and raining pretty much every day since we moved into our new apartment. Which made last night’s sunset even more special, being it was the first we’ve seen. The sun moved quick as it was setting, but I think I caught a pretty good shot!!! “Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” Kristen Butler Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Twenty-One Months Ago

On Tom’s 40th birthday, we learned of a little boy named Asher. We knew he was our grandson the moment we laid eyes on him. He came to us as if he knew too. In the past twenty-one months, we’ve become family, not only with Asher, but with his great-grandparents, who he lives with. Today, we entered the courtroom together, and our temporary order was moved to permanent record. We feel incredibly blessed and honored to be part of this little guy’s life. It goes without saying…we love him soooooo stinkin’ much. Thank YOU to everyone who has prayed for […]

Lesson Learned

I just realized that Facebook has deleted all of my FB Live videos from the past few months. My #keto Costco haul is gone. My Mother's Day message is gone. My Wild Blueberry Scone recipe is gone. Coffee talk with Tom & Vanessa is gone. Along with many, many, more gone. Lesson learned. Always download your videos after posting if it's content you want to keep. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on Facebook. What You Need to Know About Keto Ebook   The keto diet has attracted many followers for good reason.  It's an effective tool for blood sugar management […]

Someone Helped You

Tom and I were recognized for achieving a new rank at our company's annual convention last week. It felt weird to me for two reasons, one, he wasn't with me to walk the stage and two, the recognition really belongs to our team (not us as individuals). Every member of our team matters and adds value. Whether they are a rockstar recruiter, happy product user, powerful prayer warrior, or a leader themselves. I thank God for blessings us with an amazing business but even more so, for hand picking each one of these beYOUtiful people to be part of our HLWEO […]

Flying Trapeze

They say you should “do one thing every day that scares you.” Surely this counts for a year of fear because this scared the shizzz out of me!!! My final swing from our 90-minute lesson today at Twin Cities Trapeze. P.S. I apologize for the butt shot climbing the ladder. Tom was recording. Go figure. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Quiet Please

On the final day of the convention, we had an impromptu gathering at a local SLC restaurant before the closing party. We initially made the reservation for 10, then called and made it for 20. When I arrived, the dining room was empty with the exception of those from our team who got there early. Within 10-15 minutes we had +50 gathered around several tables we pulled together. We filled “almost” the entire space. At our member appreciation dinner the night before, we introduced everyone to a fun dice game. As we ordered and waited for dinner, we decided to […]

Man Up

When Tom and I met in the fall of 2002, Jacob and Brodrick were six and eight. In our almost 15 years of marriage, he has never referred to them as “my” kids. He has always loved them as “our” sons. Tom has been their rock, raising them to keep their word, be responsible, show respect, have integrity, use discernment, and be disciplined. He has shown them daily how to be a man of great character, a father, and a husband by loving, respecting, and sometimes even defending their mother. Our boys are beyond blessed to call Tom their dad. He didn't […]

Social Media Break

I took a social media break while at our company's annual convention. Which may seem weird all things considered. With four workshops to teach over three days, I found myself in a place where I needed to just be present. I spent a lot of time with friends who fill me up and not with the masses. Can you say introvert? Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Just Say No

My middle name is perseverance. Actually, it’s Rae after my father and grandfather. But, that’s neither here nor there. Growing up, any time I asked my dad for something, didn’t matter what it was, his first response was always NO. It was often his second and third response too. I had to work for my yeses. In our business, many people take the noes they receive personally and quit. Not me. Every no I get means I am one step closer to a yes. And for that, I thank my dad. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Stretched & Scared

I'm sitting in a fancy hotel room in Park City all alone. If I weren't holding them back, tears would be falling down my face. Tom and I just got back from a beautiful hike, he ordered me coffee, then went to the gym. Tomorrow, we head to Salt Lake City as our team members arrive for our company convention this week. We are being recognized this year on stage for a new rank and I am a workshop presenter. Only, Tom won't be by my side. He's flying home on Wednesday to hang out with our little buddy, our grandson, […]


We've driven under this pedestrian bridge countless times going in and out of the city. It is “the” place where photographers hang out to take skyline pics of our beautiful city. And last night on our evening bike ride, after “missing” a turn on our path home, we ended up going over it. This morning, we found out the bridge is being torn down. It was more than worth carrying our bikes up several flights of stairs to get across the freeway. I mean…LOOK AT THAT VIEW!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Basic Black or Navy & Lilac

…that is the question??? Black is 99% of the time my color of choice. It’s classy and elegant. The navy and lilac is FUN and a little less modest than I prefer, with it being low cut and some air vents on the side. And I am 47 after all. Help a sister out!!! P.S. Don’t mind my hair, I’ve had a hat on all day. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on Facebook. P.S. I went with the Navy & […]

Let Your Light Shine

When I started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. I just knew I had a passion for helping people and I had value to offer. I loved on my readers, and they loved on me back. That is until I got my first mean comment. And then another. And another. At some point, when your online presence grows big enough, mean people will find you and, well, be mean to you. To say, “I wasn’t prepared,” is an understatement. I had to decide how I would handle the mean people on the internet when […]

We Got Into a Fight

…and everything is alright!!! I get upset when I feel I am not being understood. Tom gets upset when he feels he isn't being respected. I talk louder and he shuts down. When it comes to fighting, what we've learned after almost 15 years of marriage is the issue is never really the issue. This weekend we went for a bike ride, out and about exploring new bike paths around Minneapolis. As we navigated around a local lake, we got off the bike path and got on a busy street to go a different direction. Since I am slower than Tom, […]

Two Things

1. Good morning The sun woke me at exactly 5:59 am. The earth is tilted in just the right position so that when the sun rises it shines right on my face. Not a shabby way to wake up I say. Much better than an annoying sounding alarm clock. Yuck. I love the morning hours. It’s often my most productive and creative time of the day. That is as long as I get enough sleep. Mornings are like a clean slate. And we get a new one every day or is it everyday? Love it. 2. I love this hat […]

Sounds of the City

“Some people” might consider the sounds of the city stressful. As I sit here with my coffee, I hear… the light rail dinging its bell, the engines of buses and cars revving, sirens from emergency vehicles, construction workers pounding, the whir of air exchange systems. I am not “some people.” This is my peaceful and happy place. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Dine & Dash

On Mother's Day, Tom and I rode our new bikes to Uptown Minneapolis to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. As we approached, it was evident by the line out the door, there might be a wait. To our surprise, we were seated almost immediately on the patio. There was a young family behind us, mom, dad, two children. I'm guessing between 4-6 years of age. It was very clear, based on their very loud conversation, they were not happy with the service or the food. Shortly after we were seated, the woman called the server over and […]

You Matter

You matter even more than you know. And someone, somewhere, is waiting for you to show up today!!! It’s not the whoIt’s not the doIt’s not the where, what, whyIt’s what you believe And this is what I believe. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

A Poem About Lilacs

Tom and I went for a bike ride this afternoon and came upon the most beautiful lilac bushes at a local park. I was inspired to write a poem about them. Stop and smell the lilacs.Count your blessings along the way.Stop and smell the lilacs.It will bring joy to your day.Stop and smell the lilacs.There's time to work and time to play.Stop and smell the lilacs.Take pause and pray. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Use Your Words

In the heat of a meltdown, tantrum, or overwhelm, three words that mommas everywhere have said to their whining toddler, “use your words.” Words carry meaning, express emotion, convey a message. We teach our children from the time they are little to “use your words.” Then school comes along, and they learn how to put their words into writing. To tell a story, share an opinion, sell an idea. Now, I am not a good writer or even a gifted writer. In fact, writing is a laborious process for me. It can take me days to craft a paragraph that […]

Rest in Peace

It doesn't matter how you use them or if you diffuse them. If essential oils are in your home, then you have benefited from Gary Young's vision and relentless drive to heal the world. And while many have hopped on the bandwagon for profit, his was a higher calling. One of purpose. He isn't my father or even my friend. He is the man responsible for the modern day essential oil movement. A movement that has provided my family with the freedom to live life by design and not by default. There are no words for the gratitude that fills […]

Give Up Being a Caterpillar

I am reading a book called Secrets of Six-Figure Women. The author interviewed women who make six-figure incomes (or more), in different industries with various backgrounds, and shares seven success strategies that are common among them. Strategy number one is that of INTENTION; a determination to act in a certain way. While most of these financially successful women denied money was their end goal, they also knew it would take dollars to make their dreams possible. And were DETERMINED to do so. When I started my business, our youngest son was a senior in high school. I graduated from college […]

When You Have a Bad Day

Every once in a great while, I wake up with this weird feeling. My body is overcome with fatigue, it’s usually accompanied by a tension headache and my right eye gets watery. Always my right eye. When it occurs, I immediately know when I wake up. I get “the feeling.” Today, was one of those days. It started with my right eye watering. I chalked it up to sitting outside this morning and drinking my morning coffee. Only by mid-afternoon, the headache was in full swing. And at 5 pm instead of going for a bike ride as planned, I […]

New Bike

I am pretty sure my mom was about my age when she decided she was going to take up bike riding. She went and got herself a nice 3-speed bike and then shortly thereafter my dad got one and they would go bike riding on the Gateway Trail. Today, I officially became my mother. Although my bike has a few more speeds and a basket to boot. Oh yeah, and Tom got a bike too!!! Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

Pout Pout Fish

Listen, we all have pout pout fish in our life. They bring us down every time they swim around. I’m here to tell you, boundaries are a must with this type of fish. It’s not your job to change them or cheer them up. Join the Conversation Join the conversation over on […]

How To Have a Good Day

Over the weekend Tom and I stopped at the bookstore to peruse books (one of our favorite things), drink coffee (another of our favorite things), and do a little work (yep, we like to do that too)!!! Anyways, this is the book that Tom got. Fitting for him, wouldn’t you say?!?! This morning I picked it up…to see what the meditation is for today. It’s a good one. Real good. May 7th. Here’s how to guarantee you have a good day; do good things. Any other source of joy is outside your control or is not renewable. But this one is all you, […]

Gotta Have Faith

Truth. I've been on day fifteen of my #100daystobrave since last Friday. I didn't want to post…just to post. I needed to ponder. So, day fifteen is about being BRAVE and not being afraid to ask God the things you really want to know. I couldn't think of a single question. Not on day fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen. I like to think I have a gift from God and what call a “child-like” faith. I trust He has me on the path I'm supposed to be on and my job is to not ask questions but to be obedient. So, […]

Keep a Firm Grip

I know at least one of my friends needs to hear this today!!! I hope this verse blesses you as it blessed me last week when I was sick in bed. It won’t last forever. Join the Conversation Join the conversation on […]

Cinco De Mayo & My Mom

Today has me thinking about my mom. I don't know anyone who wished they were Mexican more than her. She married a Mexican, had four Mexican children, loved Mexico and everything about its culture — the people, especially the people, the food, the history. For their 25th wedding anniversary in 1994, my parents took their very first trip (of many) without kids to Zihuatanejo, Mexico. It would end up being their last trip, without kids that is, for we crashed it the next year and then every year after until my mom was too ill to travel. Mexico made my […]

Sunsets & Superpowers

I put myself to bed tonight around 7:30 pm. With it being my first day back in the land of the living, I found myself pretty pooped. We live in a high rise apartment on the 26th floor with a partially obstructed view of the skyline. Which means I gotta get out of bed to see the sky in all its glory. Anyways, as I was lying here tonight, with our slider door open, listening to the sounds of the city, I could see the sky changing color. I was feeling extra warm and cozy and went back and forth […]

I Like Big Butts

A few weeks back, shortly after picking up our grandson, he burst out into song in the car. “I LIKE big butts and I cannot lie…” He sang it with confidence, over and over and over. At three, he has no idea what he's singing, only that he LIKES to sing 8 words from the song (it's in a movie he watched). If only we would remain so innocent and LIKE what we want to LIKE, without caring what others think or say about us. Instead, we alter our LIKES to be accepted by or to impress others. Being BRAVE […]

Do More

I've been pretty much laid up in bed since Saturday with an upper respiratory virus. Believe you me, this is NOT how I wanted to close out my April. At first, it made me quite mad actually. Mad, because I have a few projects that I am working on that need me to be at my best — like my workshop presentation for our company convention in June and the re-launch of our business resources. I had to quickly re-channel that anger into GRATITUDE though, because, hello, I am able to run a multi-million-dollar business from my bed between hacking my […]

Free Advice

Friend, stop saying mean things about yourself to yourself. Seriously, stop it. If we are going to do BRAVE things together and encourage each other with our uplifting words, we can't be hating on ourselves. Mmmkay?!?! Yes, I know, it's easier said than done, but guess what, you can do hard things. You are BRAVE. If I tasked you to make a list of everything about yourself that you LOVE alongside a list of everything about yourself that you loathe, which list would be longer??? If you're anything like me, this type of exercise makes you uncomfortable. I mean, it's […]

Stinky Feet

Feet. Most of us have two of them. I despise them. I guess you could say I have the opposite of a foot fetish. You want to make me squeamish – put your feet on me. My feet are not little or cute. They're also not thaaaat bad either. I mean, I've seen some of the feet that come into the nail salon. Yikes! I take good care of my feet by getting regular pedicures and I always tip generously. Oftentimes, as I'm reclined back in the massage chair and Amy (she's the best at DK Diamond nails) is working […]

Trust the Sparks

I recently came home from a conference FIRED up. I had pages and pages of notes that I had whittled down to ten ideas to pray on and implement. I put my blinders on and GOT. TO. WORK. Then boom. I get sick. I mean, I haven't been this sick since before we started our business in 2014. I don't have time to be sick, I have work to do!!! You see when God gives you an idea, it SPARKS something inside. And when you act on it, chances are pretty good the devil is going to attempt to stop […]

Messes and Messages

The enemy loves to use our mistakes and torment us with feelings of guilt and shame. If you let him, he will remind you of every mistake you've made since you were like seven years old. But God. God wants to use our messes and make them our message. One of the biggest mistakes I made was getting married to an abusive man. I thought I could change him. All the signs were there before we walked down the aisle. I got myself in a huge mess that God and my family got me out of. Not only did this […]