Monday, November 30, 2015

A Month of Thankful Pictures

Of course I had the best intention when I started out on a 30 day journey of blogging thankfulness pictures this month...

I made it almost half way through the month! Do I get extra credit for posting a recap and transferring my facebook list over here (I did better there than on this blog!) before the month ends? I truly am thankful, for ever so much! I'm just a sadly undisciplined blogger! #30DaysOfThanks

I already linked to days one and two above, in short I shared thankfulness for Christian freedoms, fellowship and worship in our country, for my strokes and all God's teaching me as a result, for ministry opportunities.
So thankful I have a new body coming!
Day 3 was all about my Daddy.

On Facebook, I also shared, I'm so thankful for my Kathy who gives up a day of her life every two weeks to come help me clean house and invest in friendship! 
heart emoticon Tomorrow is a Kathy Day!

On Nov. 4 and 5 I shared exciting news about our 12-year-old pilot daughter and about my slowly improving post-stoke voice control.

Days 6 and 7 were thankfulness for a recent health scare that turned out not to be a problem after all, thankfulness for our homeschooling years, and an extensive, specific list of many people, ministries, authors and organizations who have profoundly touched my life. 

Day 8 was a celebration of my precious husband!!!

9 was thankfulness that I've recovered from surgery and can return to water therapy to get my body functioning as well as possible again. 

Day 10 brought praise for a snow delay and also amazed wonder about Rick's grace.

Day 11 briefly acknowledged our veterans (with a promise to go into more depth later in the month), and was unfortunately the last post I managed to get up on the blog, but a fitting one to revisit on this Cyber Monday, a thanks tribute to small business women in my life and links to lots of businesses, a fantastic shopping guide!

OK, now to grab the ones I missed here off of Facebook: Some silly and small, all important to my heart!

12 -  I'm thankful for our pastors/church family.

13 - I'm thankful for writing progress this week (this is still such an agonizingly slow process this time around!).

Three generations of Camp/Saake women. Community Bible Church, November 2015, Reno, NV.
November 14 offered prayers for all impacted by the Paris attacks  and, "I'm thankful for the rare treat of getting to attend a lady's tea at my mom's church today. Great fellowship, sweet speaker, beautiful decor, yummy food (though I didn't stay wheat free today!)."

15 - Not written in sarcasm. A true praise after one of my worst stroke symptom days in two years! "Thankful that every day isn't as physically nasty as today has been!"

And my Mommy brought me a warm, yummy pot of soup to feed my family that night!

16 - I'm back to the basics today. I'm thankful for clean drinking water that I don't have to walk 3 miles for with a jug on my head each day!

17 - Thankful that I got one load of laundry and one dishwasher load done today. Tomorrow I hope to do more!

On a side note Rick Saake took this picture in Reno, Nevada tonight:
(c) copyright Rick Saake, Reno, Nevada, 2015
18 - I wasn't able to read Rick Saake's updates as they unfolded 4 years ago. I only, last month, figured out to enable the "on this date" look back feature on Facebook, not specifically for any reason or awareness of dates, just because I occasionally saw friends posting what had happened on various dates in their lives, so I figured it would be fun. 
Each day this month has been filled with Rick's recording of our lives unraveling 4 years ago. The medical as well as peeks into the emotional and spiritual struggles and questions too. So often my throat tightens and my eyes get hot as they prick with un-fallen tears (I wish they would fall - I hate the way my emotions are still so messed up!) both from the flood of my own memories, but also to read the events through his eyes, the love and grief poured out. heart emoticon Thank you for loving me well when I could only TAKE and not give back, Sweetheart.

19 - God know best - 

20 - Where we were 4 years ago. I actually remember this conversation (or at least one like it), where I turned my head toward Rick (couldn't see well enough to actually focus on him, but I remember knowing he was standing between my bed and the bright spot that was my window) with tears in my eyes and told him that I was scared and that our kids were too young (5, 8, 11) for me to leave them yet. I don't think the forward will show up for everyone, so I'll paste.
My friend Stephanie Shargel Bishop wrote, "It's official; I'm a wreck tonight. While I've shed tears for my friend Jenni Saake over the last several weeks, tonight it's progressed to me sobbing and crying my eyes out. If you can walk; if you can hold your children and raise them at home; if you can speak and hold your head up on your shoulders; will you please, in gratitude for these little blessings that we all take for granted, stop what you're doing right now and pray for my beautiful friend Jenni. Here's the most recent update from Rick:
Update 11.20.11:
We just got back from visiting Jenni in the Rehabilitation Hospital, it was a pretty solemn time. We received confirmation that she has had a/an additional "event or events" in the last 3-4 days that has effected an additional 2 parts of her brain. Currently, unless she is lying down, she has no control over the muscles in her neck, and her head bobs back and forth, and she is having difficulty with short term memory. Both Jenni and I are concerned, but have both come to the realization that we have no control over these "events".
We know that she is being moved back to the neurological floor at the main hospital, and that they will most likely be recommending us having a stint put in the ventricular artery, where the damage from the chiropractor happened. 
Jenni's greatest fears right now is that she will never make it out of the hospital, and that the kids are too young to be without their mother. I am at a point where I don't have the answers for her except that God is in control.

21 - I'm thankful for page numbers on my manuscript. Yes, I do the bulk of my writing on the computer, but some things can only be edited or worked out on paper. I would be SO lost without these little numbers!!!

22 - I'm so excited for my friend Shelly Benoit Hendricks is the release of this book. The cover is perfect!!!
Give the gift of HOPE this holiday season!!!
I had just gotten down to from size large to size small before my strokes. Even went out and bought a new jacket to celebrate my weight loss just DAYS before the strokes. By the time I regained enough dexterity to put that jacket on again, I had dropped an additional 15-20 pounds, put all that weight back on, and was well on my way up into larges and XLs again with post-stroke weight gain, so it hangs in my closet nearly unworn still. Today, Mom and I finally had a chance to take my birthday (nearly 4 months ago) shopping trip with the gift card she gave me clear back in July (I'm sick, she is sick, I have sick kids, or something else unexpected happens each time we have tried to go before). I got some cute deals like a hat with patriotic bow and scarf with BUTTERFLIES all over it. 

Just as we were headed to check out, I found an adorable top on clearance for 90% off, but the only size they had was medium. For the price, I added it to my purchase thinking I might be able to use it some day. Guess what? Today is some day! The medium fits me just fine! My ‪#‎30DayOfThanks‬ praise for day 23 is that my new diet lifestle choice is showing encouraging results on nearly every level! Weight is VERY SLOWLY creeping downward, but inches of belly fat dissolving is the real tell!!! ‪#‎NoWheat‬

24 -  I'm not in surgery this morning. (4 years ago today's date, though it fell on Thanksgiving Day that year, I spent the morning in two back-to-back, life saving surgeries.)

25 - My Most ‪#‎TreasuredGift‬
Christmas Eve, 1999, I came home from the hospital with a tiny two-day-old baby. Sweet story. Rather unremarkable sounding. Folks bring home babies every day, year round...
What made this event unique was the years of ‪#‎infertility‬ that had proceeded his birth, all the yearning and striving and longing and heartache and tears and doctors visits and surgeries and losses (of dignity as well as of chances to parent), exchanged in a moment by the wonder of this child the hospital literally placed in a Christmas stocking for me!
It had been 5 years since the Christmas we thought his big sister would be joining our family, a Christmas subdued by pain and grief and numbness and tears. A new child would never "replace" the one who did not come home, but his addition to our lives certainly brought a level of healing previously unknown in our hearts.
And now this perfect living, breathing, miniature (less than 5 pounds, a whole other aspect to the miracle journey!) infant wriggeled beneath the lights of our Christmas tree, mirroring the wonder of the Christ-Child whose humble birth we celebrated from 2,000 years prior.
And the best "thing" I ever received? Several years (and two more losses and two more living children) later, one Mother's Day, my husband presented me with a beautiful gold mother's necklace with a charm for each of our six children, the three treasures I am amazingly blessed to hold in my arms as well as the three blessings I forever hold in my heart. I added our first daughter's baby ring to the chain and wear it on special occasions, but hang it where I can see it daily. (Thank you for sharing the journey Rick. You are an amazing Daddy.)

26 - Thanksgiving Day - Also Ralph Camp (my dad)'s 73rd birthday! - 
Dad saluting in the blue Navy cap, just home from a veteran honor flight this month!

27 - I'm thankful to live in a day, and country with access to amazing medical know-how and ability.

28  - Posting this verse specifically for our youngest. "They will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord." Jeremiah 31:12
heart emoticon

After a good but physically long holiday weekend where I had several food issues due to my picky body needs, "I am home. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight and eat my own food again and get to return to my regular therapy schedule my body likes best! "

29 - Our house has great windows that don't let in the damp cold!

Love these thoughts on choosing your priorities. Maybe you love The Elf, or Santa Mouse or... Great! Joy, not stress! -
First Sunday of Advent
Today. day 30, I shared, Here's my Cyber Monday contribution to the economy. My friend Tami sells these adorable LuLaRoe Tami Majtan "butter leggings" (butter referencing softness) and I've already had her keeping an eye out for anything (she sells a great line of dresses, tops and skirts too!) in a butterfly pattern for me. 
Today she posted these bears. If you know me, that's about as good as a butterfly, my pre-stroke favorite animal! I'm so thankful for the trickles of book royalties fom Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake that let me make fun little splurges like this occassionally! ( ‪#‎30DaysOfThanks‬ )
Can't wait to see Tami later this week! smile emoticon I don't know if I will quite fit the leggins yet (maybe?) but they are good inspiration to keep fighting to move that scale downward! ‪#‎NoWheat‬

Final praise to post this month, I finally got all these thankfuls and pictures listed together in one place! For this fact-keeper with poor memory, that is important and has been concerning to me for days now! Joyful relief!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Small Businesses #30DaysOfThanks 11 (Shopping Guide)

I'll be doing a whole post about vets on my Daddy's birthday (Thanksgiving Day this year), but couldn't let today pass without at least some mention.

I'm trying to get really creative with "thankfuls" that benefit and bless others as much as I have been blessed. With holidays coming, it is my hope that I can help boost business a little for my courageous friends, many of whom have been part of my own journey for years. Thus today's post about small business women in my life and their books, curriculum, art, music, family businesses, etsy or eBay pages, or other business affiliations. I thank you each for the long nights, tears, family stress and long hours you put in to make your businesses both emotionally and financially profitable. Thank you for sharing your help, lessons, tips and encouragement along the way!

Christmas is nearly upon us already! If you are looking for gift ideas, please support a family business this year! In a moment, I'll be sharing a wide range of resources you may wish to choose from! (Please note, company/product names are the clickable links, so touch the name of the goods and services to go to owner websites.)

Over the years I've tried all kinds of home-based business from cleaning supplies and vitamins/nutrition to 
gift wrap to dolls and stuffed animals to a couple lines of mineral makeup to some jewelry. Basically, when I found products I loved, I bought in, to be able to purchase for myself at consultant discount and to make a little money as well! A couple years back, I wrote about the process of God pruning me. Just before my strokes I had felt God firmly guiding me to resign from all but one business I was involved in. It made no sense to my mind at the at the time, but after the strokes, I was so thankful for His wise leading!

I do still have my Lilla Rose hair clip page as the maintenance of this page takes little to no ongoing effort on my part  - figure 8 or Flexi clips, AMAZING little gadget that actually holds your hair, doesn't slip and doesn't pull!!!. (See YouTube to understand what makes them so unique! And here is sizing help.) 

Two friends who are more actively selling Lilla Rose are my friends Kendra D. and Kristi Bothur (who does the whole inventory-on-hand, shows, parties, etc. thing). Kendra, my stroke buddy, learned this great tip for left-handers, if you want the pin to slide in from the left side on any pin that has a clear top to the design, "after you place the order, immediately email them with the order number and item number and ask for it to be made left handed.".

This is a passionate issue to me as my husband and I owned a small store for the first few years of our marriage. That business failed. I want the best for my friends. If you are putting yourself out there into the competitive world of commerce, this is my token of support and thanks today. Every woman listed here could really use your support and encouragement! I've tried to cover lots of friends, but am sure I left many good friends off, so I ask for your forgiveness if you should have been included and I accidentally left you off this list. Please reply in the comments with an explanation of what you do and your link!!! 

When I think back over my own years of business ventures, it was the message boards at Christian Work At Home Ministries (CWAHM) where I made many of my connections. Thank you Jill Hart!

Women like Carissa Wooten Fulkerson (now) of Stone Street Soaps (amazing soaps and body products, both in look and feel, hand crafted, family made, packed and shipped, including specialty items and special orders) is the first to come to mind, for we entered so very many business attempts together before she invented her own fantastic business!

Yes! These are soaps!!! I gave several as gifts last year and everyone raved!

Leesha Heins sells Pampered Chef. I am currently hosting a party for her. Orders may be placed through Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (If you are on Facebook, please join the show page. While you don't need to "be there" at any set time, Leesha will be posting information, specials, and answering questions there!)

I am also hosting a Perfectly Posh event for Kathy Owens, open through noon this Saturday, November 15, with fun pampering products like "The Caffeinator" skin stick to "Wake up sleepy eyes and tired skin with a perky jolt of caffeine." Karen shares a promotion from corporate, available on purchases of $25 or more (excluding perks and other discounts) and only while supplies last:
Perfectly Posh
So far, neither of these shows have any orders placed, besides my own, so please grab your favorite drink, then drop by and take a look!

The following loved ones aren't posted in any kind or order, neither alphabetical nor by business/product type. As friends sent me links, I added them. With brain injury, this has become a full 3-day project, so I apologize to my fellow OCDers but this is what I could manage, so please see my heart in seeking to share these girls and their enterprises with you! I also see I got some of the background messy with all my copy/pasting. I've fixed as much of this as I can figure out how too. I'm sorry it still looks messy in places!  If I got anyone's details wrong or messed up links, please let me know right away and I'll be glad to edit in changes.

If something interests you, even a little, please visit the link. And if you can find it in your heart and pocket book to make a purchase or three, even better! Don't forget to open the comments to either add your own business or check to see what other links might already be added there for you to visit! ;) 

Shelly Benoit Hendricks has just published 3 beautiful new books on living with chronic illness (or with someone who is ill) including So You're Chronically Ill, Now What (look for a more in-depth review, information, links and give away upcoming on my illness blog, hopefully next week).

Bethany sells Jamberry "Gorgeous nail wraps that last up to 2 weeks on fingers, 6 weeks on toes. Latex-free, vegan, gluten-free, made in the USA. Less than $4/mani or pedi! Over 300 designs, so there's something for everyone."

Mandy Forster Stevenson also sells Jamberry. :)

My dearest friend, Susan, introduced me to her friend Laura Mizzell Baker and Paparazzi last year. I was HOOKED quickly. All necklaces come WITH matching earrings for the single price of only $5! Kids jewelry is only $1. Let's just say this makes for some great gift giving!!! For anyone on Facebook, Laura has also teamed up with Theresa Daniels to launch a private, invite-only (I have permission to invite my readers ;) ) The Sparkle Boutique, a WIDE variety of inexpensive jewelry, and they will research your interest to find exactly what you are looking for! Much there is in the $5 (or less!) to $12 range as well.

My friend Tammy sells an adorable clothing line called LulaRoe. I plan to do an in-person pop-up boutique with her once I loose more weight and am excited to see my living room turned into a clothing boutique for a few hours while friends visit and try on favorites! Until then, or if you don't live near me, order through her facebook page at /groups/tamimajtanlularoe/ or visit the main company page at then email her at In the Reno/Sparks, Nevada area, Tammy invites you to "stop by [her house] and shop, which has a much larger variety then the website. But if they see something online they want, they can use this code for free shipping: TAMIMAJTAN."

Kim, mom of twins with a degree in Childhood Development and a preschool teacher in a classroom setting for 12 years, is the author of LessonPlansPlus, where she has "taken our expertise in planning preschool lessons and shared it in an easy-to-follow format.  Our goal is to provide you with fun, flexible, educational preschool lesson plans for use in any setting.  Whether you want a few extra ideas to freshen up your current preschool lesson plans or you need an entire curriculum from scratch, we have what you need..."

GratefulfoodieCaroline Moassessi, is a personal friend and hero of mine (and she car pools my kids every afternoon too!) food allergy and asthma blogger.  I'm excitedly watching for more news from

Conny Hutchinson is a consultant with Mary & Martha (a faith-based company, related to DaySpring)

Terryl Hicks sells Thirty-one.

Suzanne Anderson Boyd has Anderson Square Jewelry Studio or

Abby Morton is the owner and designer behind "Mavora" Art and Design, started in 2006, offering custom stationary and supplies (like custom bags) and party invites (showers, weddings, etc.). The company is named after a group of lakes in New Zealand where Abby met her husband Tim. Abby is a real-life friend who greatly gave of herself and blessed me after my strokes, but has since moved. I miss her! 

The gift Abby made and brought me in the hospital. (Please forgive my poor photography.)
She also designed the header on my Given Me A Thorn blog.
Melissa Bogue writes, "I promote and sell an incredible, life changing line of products by LifeVantage! Protandim is an incredible all natural health supplement. We also carry a few other lines including an awesome skin care line called Life Science and a supplement for dogs called Canine Health."
"You can learn more about Protandim right here: www.abcliveit.comIf you watch the first video that comes up (just push the PLAY button in the middle of your screen, you'll have the chance to watch a short 12 min. video that explains about a truly phenomenal product that was featured on ABC's Primetime Investigation. Please message me back if you have any questions about this, as I will be happy to answer any questions, or help in any way possible."

Melissa Bogue also says, "I am a single Mama of three young children and am providing for them 100% on my own. I am an associate with Legal Shield and sell very affordable pre-paid legal plans and Identity Theft Protection that covers each member of your family. I am here to help, so please contact me today with any questions!"

Lisa Copen of Rest Ministries has created (and makes) her own line of inspirational jewelry,

Nancy Peters is a Beachbody coach. Please join her at Getting Fit with Nancie and you are welcome to message her on facebook with any questions.

My friend Kathy (who helps clean my house ever since my strokes) sells Amway. She asks that you help support her son, Justin, in his new Amway business.

Julie Ann Farmer Anderson sells Usborne Books and More.

Mel Vogt sells Arbonne.

Stephanie Ross sell Norwex.

Stephanie Glayton Burrage is a friend an incredibly talented photographer. To order a 2016 calendar of beautiful central California in the spring (pictured below), paypal $20 (includes shipping!) to via Paypal. You may reach Stephanie via facebook at /stephanie.burrage.

Barbara Burke Vandervort owns Vintage Rose Fashions and is just getting started again after several years off caring for a family member.

Jennifer Davy Cameron selsl handmade greeting cards. - "I will post Christmas cards after Remembrance Day. Here is a link to my Facebook page: "

Michelle Clausen Glassmaker owns and makes adorable hair fashion (even custom requests) at Cotton Candy Bows.

Michelle Glassmaker also sells Plexus.

Jennifer Smith Adams owns

Sharon Hope Betron Delabar sells affordable headcoverings and much more at NOVEILNOEVIL.COM "I'm still adding inventory!". 

My friend (and former writing group leader) Jeanette Hanscome, already has a few published books (including co-authoring of RUNNING WITH ROSELLE, and the writer of GIFTS, Volume 12 of The 12 Days of Christmas series), but I would especially like to highlight her upcoming devotional, Suddenly Single Mom:
Suddenly Single Mom, Jeanette Hanscome

And once again,