141 Transcript: Finding Joy After Tragedy (with Lisa & Scott McGrath)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 141. We're talking all about choosing to see the good. This is so important in our families and in our lives because when we see the good, we have more dopamine, more serotonin, more endorphins, and more joy; stay tuned.

J: Hey, my friends, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm Dr. Jen Riday and I'm here to help you choose happiness, to take your power back and no longer have to say, “Hey I'll be happy when XYZ,” or, “When my husband does such-and-such, I'll be happier. When my teenager finally starts acting kind,” you know, all of these excuses we give ourselves. But in the end, this show is all about grabbing your happiness by the horns and saying, “Hey, we're riding out, we're heading out on the trail and we're going to be happy right now, no matter what's happening around us.” And I hope you like my analogy because I like analogies lately.

Well, anyway I want to share our review of the week from Amber Fit Fox, and she wrote, “I found Jen's podcast a year ago when I was in a place of feeling overwhelmed and tired. I so related to Jen's personal story of overwhelm and felt like I was hanging out with girlfriends when I listened to her podcast. With all the things I have learned from her podcast and Time Mastery for Women, I feel like I'm in a much better place in life. I recommend the Vibrant Happy Women podcast to every woman I know.” Amber, thank you so much for leaving that review, I really appreciate it; I love validation as much as the next girl. And everyone else listening, if you receive any value at all from the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, do me a favor and go to jenriday.com/itunes, i t u n e s, and leave your review; I just might read it on the air.

Now, before we dive into this episode, before we dive into this week's episode, I want to tell you about something very, very special that I released just last week. But it's not over, it is a 3 part video training, all about increasing your self-love. Last week's video was ‘Why self-love?’ Listen, all the success that you need or want in your life starts with loving yourself, knowing your value on this planet, your value in this universe, your value in your relationships, but knowing it for yourself, no longer needing to get that validation, no longer needing other people to tell it to you but to know it from the inside out. When you have that, every single desire you have for your life starts to be realized. When you love yourself, it's easier to have a healthy body because you'll eat healthier foods and you won't sabotage yourself. When you love yourself, you can show up in your relationships from a position of strength rather than being needy for that approval or needy for that appreciation, you come into the relationship giving and feeling good already, taking charge of that. When you love yourself, you realize you're here on this planet, on this earth to make a contribution. And you can show up and do so with confidence not doubting or worrying that you're not good enough, not wondering if there's something else you should be doing because your neighbor, Betsy, is doing that one thing, and your other neighbor, Sarah, she's really fit, you can get clear on what your purpose is on… what your purpose is on this earth, how you're going to grow, how you're going to contribute.

Oh, all of it feels so amazing, but we have to go back to the beginning and learn to love ourselves, learn to understand, “Hey, what is important to me? What value do I bring to the show? What gifts and talents do I have? How did my upbringing influence how I show up in the world today? Who do I need to forgive so that I can truly show up with a position of strength and let my light shine for everyone around me?” Healing your heart is a part of this self-love journey. Anyway, I want you to check out my video training; it's free. I created it for you. It is not live, it's pre-recorded so you can watch it at any time. All you have to do is go to jenriday.com/loveyourself. In the training, I talked about why a journey of self-love led me to this podcast. The… I share some stories of some of the women who I have witnessed on their own journey of healing their hearts and building self-love and how they have changed. And you'll learn some of the steps for that process, the blueprint, if you will. So definitely go check it out, I think you'll love it, I think it will enrich your life and give you some ideas on extending what you've learned on this podcast and enjoying your journey of self-love, your journey of healing your heart so you can show up strong and joyous and full of light for your family, for your loved ones, for yourself, making a difference and feeling so good, getting that sparkle back; it all starts with self-love. So again, go check out that video, it is free, it is at jenriday.com/loveyourself; jenriday.com/loveyourself. This is my little Christmas gift for you. If you celebrate Christmas, consider this an early holiday gift from me to you.

Self-love is what I'm passionate about. I love talking about it, I love talking about how it helped me to change my life from the inside out and how it changes so many women's lives from the inside out. It all starts with knowing your worth eternally, intuitively, divinely. And so again, check it out, get on the… that is… there are… there are 3 videos in this series and the first one is available now. Again, that is at jenriday.com/loveyourself, go get it now, you will thank me, your kids will thank me as well. Your kids will thank you because you're going to pass on a really cool legacy by figuring this stuff out now and then your kids can figure it out earlier than you ever did or I ever did; jenriday.com/loveyourself. The second video comes out soon so go watch that one today so you'll be ready. You can enter your information to receive an email to notify you when that comes out or you can just check back at any time.

Alright, for today's show, we are talking all about seeing the good. When a tragedy strikes, sometimes life spirals down, down, down and we don't know how to get out of that pit. But there is a way out to find that joy and our guests, plural, our guests, Lisa and her husband, Scott McGrath, are talking about that in this episode, talking about the tragedy they both endured which was, wow, a tear jerker, and then where they are today, how they turned that tragedy into a really amazing blessing for themselves, for their children. And I love their story, you're going to love it too, especially, you know, to have Lisa and her husband together; it's so fun to hear them talk as a couple. So that is our episode for today and I want to go ahead and jump right into that because it was so much fun to talk to them; let's dive in.

I'm talking with Lisa McGrath today and she's primarily a stay-at-home mom of 5 busy kids, part-time mammographer at her local hospital, and most recently the author of for her first published book, ‘The Journey Between Us’. Her book tells the story of how her faith not only helped her overcome the trials and tragedy in her life, but also grew tremendously as she learned to trust God's plan and perfect timing. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, cooking and baking, attending children's activities and being involved in numerous women's groups, and spending time with family and friends. Lisa is married to Scott who is also going to be on the show today and they live in Kansas. Scott is the president of his family-owned publishing company, and when he's not managing numerous parts of their small organization, he's attending or coaching his kids activities or enjoying a number of outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, biking, skiing (wow, you are outdoorsy, Scott). He feels blessed that Lisa and his paths crossed 10 years ago. Being a blended busy family of 7, they never see a dull moment but they wouldn't have it any other way. I want to welcome you both to the show, thanks for being here.

L: Hey, Jen, it's an honor to be here, thank you for having us.

J: Yeah, this is great. And Scott, don't be shy, let's hear your voice.


S: Thanks for letting me get involved.

J: Yeah, I'm so glad you did it. I mean, it probably sounds really intimidating to be interviewed on Vibrant Happy Women, but you're not the first man who's been on the show, so thanks for doing this.

S: Well, thank you for having me.

J: So let's start out with each of your favorite quotes and then we're going to go into your story. And everyone listening out there, it's such a cool story, I'll just preface it that way. But Scott, let's start with you, what is your favorite quote you want to share today?

S: Oh, wow, I get to begin. Oh, first thing that popped in my mind, I just… and before well, about the time Lisa and I met, I just kind of always went with, “Live each day one day at a time,” and also just kind of, “Live more,” is always pretty much what I've always gone by.

J: Ooh, I love that, “Live more,” so like, “No excuses, no regrets.”

S: Right.

J: Oh, that's good. How about you, Lisa?

L: Well, this is a tough question for me because I struggle with favorites. I have a hard time pinning down 1 favorite anything, and so I often have multiple favorites. And so I hope it's okay, but I have to share 2 quotes that came to mind because I could not decide which one I liked better. But the first quote, and I use it in my book and it kind of is the center for my life it’s actually from the Bible and it's Nehemiah 8:10 and it says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” And then the second quote is something that a friend and actually a fellow Vibrant Happy Women club member of mine shared a while back when we were talking. And she commented the following Swedish proverb and she said, “Worry shared is halved and joy shared is doubled.” And I have just used that and reflected on that so much since hearing her say that.

J: Ooh, that's cool. So explain how it helps you in your life that one, “Worry shared is halved and joy shared is doubled.”

L: Right, right. So I am very passionate about people not only sharing their story but sharing their joys and also sharing their struggles, their worries. And that just quote just reiterates to me that, especially like in the setting that we have with our women's groups that we meet with, when we get together and we share our struggles and we share our worries, it's as if they diminish. But then when we turn around and we share our joys, we're just all so happy for each other and it just doubles. And that… that is just such a wonderful thing to see.

J: Yeah, like community I guess, friendship; it's so important.

L: Exactly, you just feel so loved and support it, no matter what, whether you're having struggles or whether you're having joys. But the nice thing is for the struggles to feel lesser and the joys to feel more.

J: Yeah, exactly. Well, let's go all the way to your struggles. I mentioned in the bio that you shared with me that, you know, you've had some struggles so…

L: Yes.

J: Lisa, kind of take us back to what happened for you and Scott and how the 2 of you met. This is a long story but I bet you've shared it before and you probably have all the nuances, you know, figured out how to tell it in what order, but I can't wait to share this with our listeners.

L: Sure, sure. Well… and, you know, we do like sharing our story. You know, I read a book in the last year that really encouraged people to share their story. No matter where they feel like they are at in their life, by sharing your story, it can be healing for you but it can also help other people just to feel like they relate or that they're not alone or just to be inspired. And I guess I'll start back with where struggles first started to come into play in my life. I really feel like growing up and then as I went through school in college, I didn't really feel like I struggled per se with a whole lot. And so I felt like, you know, life was just pretty good. I kind of had these visions and goals for my life that, you know, I wanted to go to college, get a degree, find a husband, get married, have kids, that was kind of my, you know, dreams and goals for my life. So I kind of did that, kind of check those off my list as I went. I went to college, got the degree, got a good job, met a nice man, got married. And then the first struggle I was faced with was I had a miscarriage; my very first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. And that was really hard because you find out that something you want is there and you feel like it's within reach and then it's like it's taken away. And so that is very difficult to deal with.

But fortunately, I was able to overcome that and we were able then to have a successful pregnancy and our son was born. And not long after, well, I guess he was about a year and a half, and a job opportunity came up for me near where I grew up in a small western Kansas town. And so the opportunity to live near my family again was very appealing to me. So my husband and I decided that we would move there so that we could be closer to family and raise our children close to family. And while we were living and working in that community, we decided that we were ready to add to our family. We then spent 2 and a half years trying to conceive with no luck and that became really the second struggle that I would say that I was faced with within… in my life. We did finally decide to seek fertility treatment and that did in fact work, and so I did become pregnant. And we had found out that it was going to be a little girl so we were really excited about that. And because our first child was a boy and our second child was going to be a girl, some friends of mine wanted to throw a baby shower for me. And so we went and had this wonderful baby shower and I got all these fun little things for this… for a little girl.

And then as we were leaving to travel back to where we lived, which was about 24 miles away from where the baby shower was located, we were involved in an accident. I was actually 8 months pregnant at the time and our son was 4 and we actually were traveling on a highway and there was a deer standing in the road and the car coming toward us hit the deer and the deer flew through our windshield injuring my husband very badly. It was then a very difficult situation that I found myself in because the impact of the deer did not stop the vehicle the vehicle continued to travel even though I was not aware at the time that it was still moving because I was so shocked by the actual impact of the accident. But realizing that my husband was unconscious, that I needed to figure out how to stop this runaway vehicle, I was able to eventually get the vehicle stopped and then from there, move on to calling emergency personnel and getting an ambulance there for my husband. Unfortunately, my husband passed away, the impact of the accident was too great and he suffered a very tremendous head and neck injury and he passed away. And I found myself a widowed single mom, pregnant, and with a 4 year old son.

J: Hmm.

L: And, yeah, yeah, so that became obviously the most monumental struggle that I had been faced with up to that point in my life.

J: So, Lisa, walk us through the next week, the next 2 weeks, just kind of the feelings you had at that moment. I've heard it's very numbing or maybe it's after 2 weeks when it gets even more numb because people forget about you. What was that like to be struggling so much emotionally and you're pregnant and this horrible thing just happened, what were your feelings through that time?

L: Yeah, numb is a really good word to use. At first, obviously I was in shock, I didn't really even know how to feel. It just felt like I was just in this horrible nightmare that I wished I could have just, you know, woken up from; it was just very difficult. You know, it seems like the time from when someone passes away up to the time of the funeral, you're in such limbo because there's always something to do, you know, you have to plan the funeral and then there's always family coming and things like that so you feel like your life just kind of in limbo. And… and you really don't have a lot of time to really process what is actually going on.

J: Ah.

L: You know, and so all of that took place and I just tried to go through the motions and get all of that done because you just kind of want, you know…

J: Closure, yeah.

L: … to almost feel like you have some closure.

J: Yeah, yeah.

L: Exactly, exactly. And so then, you know, I found myself, you know, once we made it through that and then there was a funeral and then it's like, “Now, what do I do?” you know, I had no idea what to do. I was so lost, I was broken, I didn't even know what to do.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: The pain is almost indescribable, I don't even really know how to describe the pain. I think it's one of those things that unless you've experienced it, you can't know. You know, unless you've gone through what someone else has gone through or… you can't know exactly what they're going to through.

J: No way, right.

L: So it's hard to describe but it was very numbing and it was just very, very difficult. And so, yeah, the first few weeks, I was kind of in… in a daze. I was kind of in my own world, I was trying to survive, I was trying to get through the daze. And, you know, thankfully, I had family close by and, you know, I had my son and I had my pregnancy, and those things kind of kept me going but it was very, very difficult and the pain was hard to describe.

J: Mm, wow, that's horrible. I'm so sorry, I'm sure you've heard that so many times but I'm… you know, I'm just so sorry you had all that pain.

L: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

J: So we're going to go back to Scott's story in just a minute, but fast-forward to, you know, how you met Scott.

L: Well, I like to joke now that we met on the internet.

J: (Laughs).

L: Because the way it came about is that, my first husband, his name was Jason, and his sister was also pregnant at the time and so she and I would visit frequently after Jason passed away. He was her only sibling and so it was very difficult for her as well. But regardless, we were both pregnant and due around the same time so we would visit frequently and just kind of, you know, try to encourage one another and be there for one another. And a couple weeks after Jason passed away, Linda called me one day and she was very upset. She had received word that one of her good friends from college, her name was Carrie, had passed out at home in her bathroom and her husband had found her unconscious and not breathing. And they were able to revive her at the time, but when she called me, she had told me that they had flown her to a larger facility in order to, you know, improve her chances of survival but they didn't think it looked good. And I was just… I just remember being so completely devastated for this man and I told her, you know, “Just keep me posted.” And then a couple of weeks later she called me to let me know that her friend had passed away, and she had told me that, you know, she was very worried about her friend's husband and their 2 children, they had 2 children, a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old, and how worried she was for them.

And, you know, something just… I think because of everything everyone had done for me in my time of need and my time of loss, I felt… I just felt compelled, I felt called to reach out to this man and send him a sympathy card, and so that's exactly what I did. I got his name and address for my sister-in-law and I wrote him a sympathy card and I just explained to him that, you know, I felt horrible for him and that we were traveling this path along, you know, at the same time and that, you know, I… I didn't know how he felt but I could relate. And I invited him to contact me if he ever felt like talking to someone who was maybe going through some of the same situations. And a couple weeks later, I received an email from him and that is how Scott and I first met.

J: Okay, so you met over the Internet. (Laughs)

L: Yeah, exactly!

J: So much more, so much more.

L: We met over the internet.

J: (Laughs)

L: Yeah, that’s the easy way of putting it.


S: Yeah.

J: Oh, that's funny. Okay, well, first off, Lisa, how many weeks was that after Jason's death that you sent this card?

L: Jason passed away July 30th of 2008 and Linda would have called me around August 15th, somewhere in there. So a couple weeks later is when she first called me when Carrie had her episode. And then Carrie actually passed away on August 29th, so one day shy of… of a month from when Jason passed away.

J: Whoa, that's so weird.

L: Yeah, yeah. And then I would have sent the card a couple weeks later because the first time Scott emailed me was on September 22nd.

J: Wow, you still remember, that's crazy.

L: Well, I just wrote a book and put it in the book, so…


J: Okay. Okay, so thanks for sharing that, Lisa. I know it's hard to be so vulnerable but we appreciate you painting that picture for us so we can feel what some… a small portion of what you felt there.

L: Sure, yeah, absolutely.

J: So Scott, let's hear your story, however you want to tell it.

S: Okay. Well, I guess I, you know, kind of from the beginning, I never really had many challenges thinking back on my life. I just kind of did kind of that ‘live more’ kind of attitude and did things as I felt comfortable with. And I lived in a lot of places, I think I went to about 3 different colleges before I finally got a bachelor's degree.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: But I just lived in Colorado, did the things I wanted to do as a young man. And Carrie and I, we started dating in college when I came to move back to Kansas from Colorado and met her in one of my classes and we started dating. Actually, that didn't go very long, and then about a few months later, met up again walking down through the quad at campus and decided we would try it again.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So we kind of met up. And as we dated the second time around, we grew quite close. And we actually are found out we would be having a child together, so through that, we had our son, Benton, and got married that same year.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And never really looked as a challenge, just looked at everything that it like this was what is meant to be.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And we had our daughter Lillian then. And so probably about the time Lillian was 2, so Carrie had episodes where she kind of felt like she was blacking out and then they got to where they were… she was having fainting spells. And there were just a probably about 5 of those episodes and finally we decided we'd probably try a different facility in Kansas City and see if we could figure things out. About probably… we had celebrated would have been our 6th wedding anniversary, we came back from it and about probably 10 days later, I was trying to go into the bathroom and she had fainted again, and this time did not have a pulse and wasn't breathing. And so tried to do CPR and had to wait for EMTs to come and assist there. And they were able to revive her but I started to learn a lot during that moment about how long, what your body goes through at those times and stuff. And once we battled about a week trying to… about 4 days finally got a report from neurologists, “Because of hypoxia to the brain, we weren't able to… there probably would be less than a 1% chance that she would ever have the kind of life like she had.”

J: Mm.

S: So we had to make a quality of life decision and removed her from life support. I always kind of… around that time was to be our daughter's 3rd birthday and Carrie was pretty big into that, even still had the invitations in her purse when I had taken her purse to Kansas City with me. And Lilly's birthday we've been August 23rd or 22nd, we celebrated her birthday and Carrie hung on until August 29th. So I kind of say, “Well, she wasn't going to miss that 3-year-old’s birthday,” but…

J: Aww.

S: So we sat a long time and during that time with her struggling moving forward. And so yeah, we then came home. And I always just remember one of the doctors there telling me to go home and just keep everything rout… the same routine. And I remember just kind of looking I haven't given that look like, “How is this ever going to be the same routine anymore?” so…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So I was a single dad taking care of a 7-year-old son starting second grade and taking care of a 3-year-old daughter and those struggles. And, yeah, like Lisa jokes about meeting over the Internet, but it was pretty much a card that changed my life. I happened to… I actually didn't have any… at that time had removed employees from my office where I was at in Hayes, I still… we have multiple other offices, but I just kind of stayed in there always myself. And I opened up the card at my desk and read it. And actually, kind of a rewind a bit, I didn't know Jason and I didn't know Lisa, I knew Linda because of college and I was actually told about Jason's death. The night before Carrie's episode, she had came into our living room and told me about the accident and about and how… and she knew Jason and they were friends and told me about it. And we actually had visited a little bit about things like that and didn't realize the next day I would be faced with those challenges. So I felt a connection right away to Lisa and she had had her email address put on the… on that letter and I just emailed her that day right then and just started communicating after that.

J: So it's such a miracle story in some way, I mean, a miracle out of a tragedy, a double tragedy, horrible. So you're a single dad and I can imagine you're completely overwhelmed, but tell us some of the thoughts you had as your son’s starting school and you have this daughter and you still have to maintain this business. I mean, if you can… how did you feel inside? You know, I can't imagine.

S: You know, that feeling like Lisa mentioned, overwhelmed. I actually just kind of fortunate enough that I was able to step back a little bit because of my father and I had explained that to him. I told him all and employees that, “Don't expect much from me right now.”

J: Wow, yeah.

S: “And so I will take care of some things but I will let you know when I am uncomfortable and don't want to take care of that.”

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: And so everybody that, you know, they are, you know, small company so that's nice because it's… it's like a big family so…

J: Yeah, yeah.

S: But, yeah, it was hard.

J: Yeah. Well, so you opened the card and there's this woman reaching out, what were your thoughts? You know, “Oh, wow, someone gets this. This is probably the only person on the planet that probably gets it a little bit,” you know?

S: Yeah. Well, yeah, you feel kind of… you feel like… I mean, you do, you feel alone and then you finally have somebody there to… And probably the first 2 things I did was cried, but then also there was a check there for a memorial, so then I felt like, “Boy, I better write a check then,” but…

J: Aww.

S: But it was just kind of…


J: Did you write a check back to Lisa then?

L: Yeah, I think we did kind of like…

J: (Laughs)

L: “What was something special to Jason?” so…

J: Aww, that's so great.

S: So actually, I’ve kind of donated back into my… now my kids as college funds.


J: That’s so funny. (Laughs)

S: I know. But yeah, I mean, it was just… and it's always kind of felt that way, it was… you know, it was like, “Wow, there's only 1 other person in this world now that I can relate to, communicate with,” and it's kind of just that, you know, meeting on a lonely dirt road and there's somebody, you know, to kind of hold your hand kind of feeling. And didn't know each other at all but our emails seemed… you know, I think right then just that day, I think we emailed each other about 3 or 4 times that day.

J: Uh-huh, uh-huh. Aaw, that's such a good story. Well, Lisa, let's jump back to you. What was it like to have a courtship that was also doubled as grieving time, you know? Because you were essentially each other's shoulders to cry on but also it became a courtship, so what did that look like?

L: Yeah, well it was a little awkward at times to say the least because you start to have these feelings and you just question them. You know, we questioned ourselves constantly because, first of all, before we even met and our spouses passed away, I mean, we felt like life had ended basically. Like you love this person so much and then all of a sudden, they're gone and you think, “Oh, I'll never love anyone again,” or, “I'll never love anyone the way I… I love to this person.” And so, you know, at first when we met and became friends, it was such an amazing feeling because we had… we considered each other friends and we had this connection of being able to talk about anything and everything and just… and be there for each other because we felt like no one else really understood. And so it really did start out as a friendship, but then the feelings were almost awkward because you were like, “Where are these feelings coming from?” you know? It's like we almost tried to talk ourselves out of the feelings because we felt uncomfortable, we felt like… first of all, we felt it was too soon and we worried about what would people think and we… we questioned, “Are these feelings actually genuine or are these feelings trying to fill a void?” And so we just questioned ourselves constantly until, you know, we finally just decided, “There's no rulebook for this, you know, no one ever wrote a book on how we're supposed to cope with this, this tragedy, how we're supposed to cope with this grief. And if we're truly having these genuine feelings for one another, are we supposed to ignore them are we supposed to act on them?”

And so we just felt, you know, the whole time we felt like it was just divinely guided that, you know, God had brought us together, had crossed our paths, that this horrible tragedy although, you know, it was awful, you know, for whatever reason, our paths crossed. And… and so we just, you know, at one point, we just decided that we just needed to embrace it. But it was awkward because dating is just… it can just be awkward especially when you're 30. And for me, a mom of 4 and a baby; I mean, I had a baby. And so it was just… it was a little bit awkward, but yet on the flip side when we were together, it was so comfortable.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

L: Like it was… it was not uncomfortable at all. The connection was just, again, I use the word indescribable, but it just kind of is.

J: So what was it like to tell your families that you'd decided to connect and maybe even date and all of that?

L: Well, as with a lot of things, I think the anticipation was the worst, you know, just wondering how are they going to react, what are they going to say. But honestly, my parents and Scott's parents were relieved and very happy. They both witnessed their children be in such horrible pain that, you know, as a parent, you just… you can't hardly stand to see your child be in pain and you want that pain to go away and you want to be able to fix that for them. And so… and knowing both of our stories. And they both knew, even when we just 2 become friends and we're talking and they could see the change in us that we had… you know, we had someone to visit with that understood. And they just… they saw us both get a little bit of a spark and feel hopeful again, you know? And so our families were very happy for us and very supportive. And then there came the challenge of, you know, telling Jason and Carrie's families and we were nervous about that, but again, they were so supportive too and just… it gives me goosebumps honestly to think about how supportive our families have been throughout this entire journey. I mean, it's just… it makes me emotional, but it's just the support that we received from our family was… it was just amazing. And Jason's family has welcomed Scott and his children and Carrie's family welcomed me and my children, and honestly, we are just one huge big happy family and…

J: Aww.

L: My kids have 4 sets of grandparents and it's just… you know, it's just… the support that we received through the entire journey has just been amazing.

J: Wow, wow. Well, how long did you guys date before you decided to just jump in? I mean, there's no rulebook so no judgment here, right? (Laughs)

L: Right, yeah. Well, what’s funny is we both question back and forth, you know, “He doesn't have feelings for me,” and he would question, “She doesn't have feelings for me.” And… and so we had met through email in September and then, in November… actually November 16th, we met in person for the first time. Scot was traveling to Colorado for a birthday party for his grandma and he offered to come back through where the town that I lived in and meet us. And so he and his kids and me and my kids met for the first time in November…

J: Whoa, wait…

L: November 16th in fact.

J: … you met each other with your kids along, holy cow! No pressure!

L: Yeah.


J: No pressure. (Laughs)

L: I know, right? It’s just, “Let's just put it all out there,” you know?

J: Right, right.

S: We were at the time.

J: Exactly, yeah.

L: Yeah, we were just friends.

J: Okay, okay.

L: I mean, still at this point, obviously there was no talk or even thought of anything romantic whatsoever.

J: Okay, okay.

L: Yeah. And so this was in November and then after that… actually, the first day that we met was November 16th, the next day, November 17th, would have been mine and Jason's 7th wedding anniversary and so it was a very difficult day. And I just remember, you know, Scott reaching out that day to me and just giving me some encouraging words and it just… it was nice. I felt so supported and it was… it just helped me get through that day honestly.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And we just kept doing that for each other, we just kept providing just the right thing that one of us needed to hear or just knowing that we weren't alone and had that support. And then, you know, by December, that was when the more we talked and we had been able to get together a couple other times just to visit in person, that's when it started to feel like, “Whoa, something… you know, something feels like it could be brewing here,” you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And it just came down to, I remember thinking that if he were to… I remember feeling a pang of jealousy because I thought, “Well, what if he would start dating someone? Then I wouldn't have anybody to talk to that understood anymore and I would just be devastated.”

J: Aww, yeah.

L: And so still not knowing, you know, I remember one night asking him if he'd ever thought about dating again.

J: Ooh. (Laughs)

L: And he just acted like, “No, no.” And I… you know, I don’t know if I was… if I was just, you know, trying to get information out of him or what. I don't know what I was feeling. I still, looking back, I don't know what I was feeling or doing half the time. But, yeah, I had invited him to a party there in Hayes and he went with me. And it was funny because I took him home and we were just sitting there in my vehicle talking and he said, “Well, like I better get in,” and… and he reached over to give me a hug and I just planted a kiss on him. I tell you what…

J: (Laughs)

L: … I don’t know where it came from.

S: Now she takes ownership of it.


L: Yeah, I don't know where it came from because I am not very forward like that. But… and then so I can't imagine him… it was probably a good thing it was dark because I can't imagine the on his face when that happened. But he left and I drove back over to my friend’s house where… where I was staying, and I get a phone call and he says, “Can I talk to you?” and I thought, “Oh no, here we go.”

J: Ooh! (Laughs)

L: I made this awkward, now I'm going to lose his friendship. What did I do? And so I said, “Sure,” and so he said, “Okay, I'll be back over there in 5 minutes.”

J: Uh-oh.

L: And he… yeah. And so I’m like, “Oh my gosh, what is he going to say?” So I go out on the driveway and I'm waiting for him and he pulls up and he starts to walk toward me. And just picture this like in a scene of a movie, and he starts to walk towards me and, you know, by the light of the moon.

J: (Laughs)

L: And I say… I start to open my mouth to apologize and he says, “I can do better than that.”

J: (Gasps) No! (Laughs)

L: I’m like, “What?”

J: Way to go, Scott! Oh my gosh.

S: (Laughs)

J: Okay, keep going, this is too good. (Laughs)

L: Yeah, yeah. And so… and so he plants this like super amazing passionate kiss on me and I'm just like melting and I'm like, “Okay, well, so maybe he does have the same feelings that I do.”

J: (Laughs)

L: “So this is good, we’re on the same page.”

J: (Laughs)

L: You know, it’s just one of those things like we were just… throughout the whole entire time, we were just always on the same page and it's just… looking back obviously, it's kind of… you know, it's fun to get a little bit humor out of it but it just… and that was when we knew that we both had developed these… you know, these feelings more than just friendship.

J: Uh-huh.

L: So really technically, December was when we started to date. And then, you know, by that next spring, long-distance relationship was really… on top of, you know, everything we'd been through the, you know, the loss and then the single parenting, having a long-distance relationship was just adding to that, it was just more stress. And so, you know, we then decided that we really had to stop and think about what we saw a long-term, you know, what were we going to do here. And my son was getting ready to start kindergarten and I decided that, you know, it would probably make more sense for me to move, for one reason, Scott had his business established, and for the other reason, I just felt like the memories that I had where I was living at the time, you know, they were with Jason and our life there and I needed a fresh start. And so I had, you know, let Scott know that I would be willing to move my family back here, and so that's what we did. That next summer 2009, we bought a house in the community that Scott was living in and my kids and I moved. And then Scott and proposed to me in September of 2009, and boy, howdy, I planned a wedding in a month and we got married October 24th. So our wedding anniversary is actually coming up so we will have been married 9 years.

J: Wow!

L: Yeah.

J: Did you just say, “Boy, howdy,” Lisa? I liked that.

L: I did.

J: I like that! That's my new phrase now, thank you.

L: (Laughs)

J: Okay, Scott, let's go back to you, how did you propose? What did that look like? I mean, like if you can go in the driveway and say…

S: Oh, that was a nightmare actually.

J: Oh no!


S: That was very stressful.


S: Another challenge.

J: Ah, so… so, okay, we don't want that story, alright. So…

S: No, no, it was good.

J: It was? Okay.

S: Quite comical too.

J: Okay, let's hear it, let's hear it.

S: Because I had the… well, leading up to that, yes, we had bought a home together and there were lots of questions about, you know, Scott was going to ask Lisa to marry her… and marry him and so I said… and I just kind of, I don't know, it stuck with me once I read a book and during my grieving process and all that and it was, you know, “Don't make any major decisions and, you know, until one year out.” I… I don't know, I always just kept saying that to myself or, you know, and that, “Live one day at a time and do what was comfortable.” And so we had bought a home together, we were living together. I… you know, when September came long and I we went to… decided our very first kind of outing together was in Kansas City and had gone and stayed at a hotel there down on the plaza. And so I kind of thought, that was kind of my time where I was like this was going to be something serious feeling. So I thought, “Well, we're…” I booked actually the same room (I tried) and at the same hotel we stayed at for the very first time. And so I was… and I had everything planned, a ring and all that.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And we get there they over booked the hotel, so…

J: Oh.

S: But they told us they put us in another place down on the plaza.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: In a much nicer place.

J: Oh nice.

S: I didn't have to spend extra money. So we show up and bellhop comes and grabs our bags,, and I really didn't give that much thought. And we went in and got our room settled up in our room, he said he would bring the bags up. And when we got up there, just took a while for the bags to get there. Well, I got awfully nervous because I had the ring in the bag and…

J: (Gasps) Oh no!

S: So I paced around a lot and Lisa was getting hungry, wanted to go to dinner and, “Are you… where are we going to go?” and, “They'll just bring the bags of the room.”

“No, no we got to stay. Let's wait until the bags get here.” So we went in or got the bags finally and still tipped the guy too. But I… we went down into the plaza, and in my head, I kept thinking the whole time, you know, “I'll do it down here, I'll do around a crowd or something,” and I still just kept talking myself out of it. We got back to the room and right then, it just… it's kind of like how Lisa's always made me feel. When it's just us and it's, you know, we're in our own little world together, it's just comfortable, there's no other place I want to be.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And that's kind of what, I did I just hit one knee, and I think she kind of teases me about that but she was wondering what I was up to. And she was laying on the bed and I just kind of right there and said, “This is what I want, this is what I want forever,” and, “Will you marry me?”

J: Aww.

S: And so luckily, she said yes.

J: Aww, that’s so fun.

S: (Laughs)

J: That’s so fun. Well, gosh, what a story! So what was it like to, you know, get married and then you'd already been kind of blending your families, but how did your kids handle all of this?

S: Is this me?

J: Sure.

S: Sure.

J: Go ahead, Scott, yeah.

S: I… you know, actually there were lots of moments that I just knew all that was going to be great and, you know, work out good. I mean, ever since the Benton, when he was a 2nd grader had to… you know, they did a Mother's Day thing and, you know, Lisa didn't even have to be asked and she showed up. You know, we were dating, she came from her community to our community and, you know, went to his, this little 2nd grader’s, you know, and he had to make her a card and he put, “I love you, Lisa,” on there.

J: Aww. (Laughs)

S: You know, and all the other kids have ‘mom’ and things. But, you know, the kids they just… and I think it helped, you know, of course Lindsay at the time was a baby, but Gerund, he… you know, I… it always sticks with me to this day that, you know, when we were getting dressed for the wedding and we involved our kids in the wedding and they were our, you know, ushers and ring bearers and things like that and all of them were involved. And, you know, he just kind of looks at me in the mirror and he goes, “After today, do I call you dad?”

J: Aww! (Laughs)

S: I was like, “Yeah, you do. You can if you want,” he's like, “Yeah, yeah.” And it's just our family just, I mean, right then just blend it together. And I don't think anybody's ever thought different, we're just, you know, all love each other and…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … that's how it was to be.

J: Oh, that's awesome. And, Lisa, how both of you honored, you know, Jason and Carrie and honored their memories as you continue to go forward as a blended family?

L: Sure, yeah. Well, you know, we've always made it a point to not avoid it, obviously we talk about them. And since we do have such a good relationship with Carrie’s parents and Jason's parents, I mean, it's just… it's always talked about. And, you know, there for a while, we would release balloons on their birthdays and things like that. But, you know, we just… we have some pictures, but we also just… we know that life went on and we had to do what we had to do for our family. And so we don't dwell on it and we don't… you know, we've learned that we don't look at the memories and be sad, we look at the memories and be happy.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And so that's kind of what our kids do too and they have pictures. And I think sometimes they wonder, you know, what might have been because they were so little, you know, Benton was 7 and Gerund was 4 and they remember some things. Lillian was… well, she was just turning 3 so she doesn't remember a whole lot, and obviously, Lindsey doesn't know any different. But, you know, I think as they've gotten older, they've had more questions and they've wondered. And so we just… we don't avoid it, you know, they… they have every right to know and remember and… and know what kind of people their, you know, mom and dad were. And… you know, and luckily, a lot of times, I think their grandparents talked about them it's just… we use it as, you know, remembering is a happy thing, remembering is not a sad thing, and it just… we try to encourage them to feel blessed that we have the family we have because they kind of do remember what it was like to, you know, have that single-parent situation at the time. And… and so we try and just be thankful that our paths did cross and we were able to blend our family and so, yeah, but we do, we remember them. You know, their memory is… they live on through the children and through pictures and through stories. And so…

J: Mm, that's so good. And how old are your kids now? I know you have another one too, yeah.

L: Yes, yes, we did, that is a whole other story in and of itself. But now our kids are… Benton is 17 and he's a senior, and Gerund is 14 and he's a freshman, and Lilian is 13, she's in 7th grade, Lindsey is 10 and she's in 4th grade, and then Lacey is actually Scott and my daughter together, and she is 4, so…

J: So what's that like? You know, you have a couple of kids who are yours genetically, some that… you know, do you ever look at them and say, “Oh, they got better genetics, I like Carrie’s genetics better,” or…


J: … you know what I’m saying?

L: Yeah.


L: No, sometimes we joke. I mean, maybe it’s not nice but sometimes we joke that the undesirable genetic qualities are from, you know, Jason or Carrie.

J: (Laughs). That’s funny!


L: Yeah, no, no, it’s all in joking.

S: And sometimes, we take ownership of it too.

J: Yeah, right.

S: (Laughs)

L: Yeah, and sometimes we do take ownership. Sometimes, it’s very, very blatantly obvious, but…

J: Right, right.

L: But, yeah, it's… you know, blended families have their challenges; all families have their challenges, you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And I think that as parents, we read more into it than what the kids do, you know? I think, especially as a mom, I've spent a lot of time worrying about treating everyone fairly and equally and making sure that no one felt less loved or more loved or, you know, I've put a lot of pressure and myself for that and especially in the beginning. But, you know, what I finally decided is, you know, love is not one-size-fits-all. You know, just because I didn't give birth to 2 of these children, I still love them with, you know, all of my being and it's just a different kind of love and that is okay, you know? I don't… I stopped feeling guilty that I didn't give birth to them and I didn't know them up until they were 7 and 3, you know, because that's just how it was meant to be. And so, you know, admittedly, there is a different connection that you have with children that you've given birth to, but love is love and it's not one size fits all and it's… you know, you can grow to love someone and you love them for different reasons and you love, you know, their qualities and you just… you know, you just… you love them no matter what.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And it is different, but I think that I was feeling more awkward about it than the children were, just because I was so, you know, worried about them not… you know, worried about if they didn't feel loved enough or something, you know, or resenting that, you know, now I was their mom and, you know, that I wasn't the mom that they wanted or needed or wished they had.

J: Mm.

L: And, you know, what I finally just…

J: There you go.

L: I just finally had to decide, “You know what? I love these kids and whether or not I gave birth to them, they are mine and that is how I'm choosing to view it.”

J: Mm-hmm, that's awesome. Well, let's take a really quick break for our sponsor and then come back and talk about things are learning now. You know, you've blended your family, but what's happening in your life now? And I know, Lisa, you have a great story about, you know, burnout and then finding yourself again because you gave a lot for all of those kids. So we'll be right back.

Okay, welcome back. So Lisa, let's hear more about, you know, you put all that pressure on yourself to show equal love and be a good mom for everyone, and what was the journey like for you to let go of all of that pressure and start taking care of you in the process as well?

L: Sure, yeah. Well, you know, obviously going through that tragedy, the whole loss and having your life just turned upside down and changing so drastically, you know, things are not what you were used to them being. You kind of get, you know, into a normal routine and then all of a sudden, one day you wake up and everything has changed, that is huge and that is what had happened. I had a career and I was a mom and it was a wife and then all of a sudden, one day I… you know, I'm a widowed single mom still trying to have a career. And I love my career, I loved my career, but then, you know, after everything happened and Scott and I blended families, I just knew that it was my calling to, you know, put my career on hold and focus on our family, and that was what my purpose was at that time and I was fine with that. And I… you know, I enjoyed it. I missed my career but I enjoyed, you know, that time that I was able to have just to get acclimated to our life the way that we found it to be at that point, and I was fine with that. You know, here I went from a mom of 1 to a mom of 4 in less than a year.

J: (Laughs).

L: And so it was to say the least, but it was a good challenge. You know, I like a good challenge every now and again.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: So it was a good challenge and, you know, I feel like I've always kind of placed the standard to myself in almost to the level of perfectionism. So I felt like I needed to be the perfect mom, I needed to be the perfect wife and make sure that I was just doing this awesome job and everyone was happy, and I wasn't doing it. I did not enjoy it. I… you know, I joke that I gave up my career to be a domestic goddess and then I'm like, “Yeah, it's…”

J: (Laughs)

L: “It’s nowhere near goddess. No, being a stay-at-home mom is not goddess status,” it wasn't for me anyway.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And, you know, I thought… I was just always, whatever I did, I had to be the best at it, I had to do that, you know, this amazing job, well, I wasn't doing an amazing job. And I decided, “You know what? I… it's okay, you know? So I'm not a great stay-at-home mom,” you know? I just really had to then evaluate what was going to make me a better mom, what was going to make me a better wife. And so I did, I went back to work part time and that was great because I just… I enjoyed that. You know, and so I kind of now have the best of both worlds, I get to be that stay-at-home mom and be involved in my children's activities and, you know, schedule things for them and be available, and then, you know, I still get to go and work at, you know, my job that I was educated for that I draw a lot of satisfaction and passionate about. So I kind of have the best of both worlds. But nevertheless, I found myself in a place of just burnout, I think because I was placing these expectations on myself. And I finally decided that, you know, enough was enough. I was trying to function on an empty cup and I… you know, I was not doing a good job. I was just constantly telling myself, “Life is hard, you know, and I'm a horrible mom, I'm horrible wife. Why does it have to be so hard? We've been through hard, we've seen hard. You know, losing your spouse and all of everything we'd been through, that was hard, now why does this have to keep being so hard?” and that's just where I was at. I was just like, “This is so hard. Life is hard.”

J: Ah, interesting. So you were really… so Scott, what did you notice in Lisa during this, you know, phase? It probably went on for a while, but what are your thoughts or what did you feel like would help her at that time before she's, you know, shifted things a little bit?

S: I guess I just… I was supportive for her finding, you know, things that made her happy. And, you know, of course the kids were and stuff but you could see that it takes a lot of work and then, you know, keeping the house in a certain way, you know?

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: That's little stuff. I mean, we finally all agreed that, you know, we would much rather have a home that looked like it was lived in then had looked like a maid had to be picking it up every day or something.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so lighten up on that kind of stuff. But, yeah, you could tell with, you know, her position that she had before she moved back here to Hayes and we started our lives together, you know, it was important, and that relationship with patience and things like that. And so… and, you know, even in our lives, she's a caregiver so she, you know, needed that. And so just providing support with that, and that's helped and…

J: Awesome. And so Lisa, you went back to work, how did that start helping you feel better about, you know, those little phrases you told yourself, “Life is hard. I'm a horrible mom, I'm a horrible wife,” or what else helped you stop thinking like that?

L: You know, I think just finally realizing that I am not the only one in the world that feels that way, that, you know, I started to surround myself with other women that we could support each other and tell each other, “You know, that's okay, I felt like that too,” or, “I feel like that too.” And I have the best coworkers, I mean, I love my coworkers. And, you know, they would be supportive of me and not as well and, you know, say that, “Yeah, we love our job too and we wouldn't be able to be a stay-at-home mom,” and it's your personal choice, it's whatever works, you know, whatever makes you happy and whatever works. But, you know, just feeling that separation from I'm doing this thing that I don't think I'm good at, you know? And I'm not saying I'm not, I mean, I think I do fine, but I had allowed myself to convince myself that I was not doing good at it, that I was failing. You know, whether it be because, you know, my house wasn't picked up or clean or my kids were misbehaving, that was what was contributing to my feelings of failure, you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And I have always felt like I was good at my job. And so I… here I could go to my, you know, job and feel that satisfaction that I was helping someone and I was doing a good job. And, you know, I'm a words of affirmation person so… and I am a social person. And, you know, to be around people and patients and have them express their appreciation to me and have my co-workers express their appreciation to me, that was filling my cup, you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

L: So then that was making me feel better to where then I could come back home and I could… you know, I could then do that, turn around and do that for my family.

J: Mm, that's so cool. And, yeah, a lot of times, moms don't get those words of affirmation and certainly not always the social piece.

L: Right, yeah.

J: Hmm, that's awesome. Well so, I guess, what are the biggest lessons you guys have learned in the last year or 2, just from life in general, the ways you're growing now as people and as a couple?

L: You know, I think that something that I just really try and focus on is gratitude and just being thankful. And, you know, practicing gratitude and consciously choosing to see the good and find the joy and focus on those things that you love or that bring you that happiness. And, you know, another thing is just love in general, you know? I mean, if you view people or circumstances, you know, in a loving way, it can just totally shift your perspective, you know, whereas if you're going to shift things, you know, fearfully or view things fearfully or a view things in a negative light, that's how you're going to feel. And I think just, you know, having… trying to see the good and not be perfect and know that it's okay to not be okay, it's okay to have tough times, it's okay to still have struggles, and just, you know, be in those struggles, allow them to pass and move on, you know?

J: Mm-hmm.

L: And I think that's one of the greatest things I've learned lately is to feel it, not try to minimize your feelings, just accept them and deal with them and then, you know, turn around and find something that you're grateful for. And that has really helped me, I think.

J: That's great. How about you, Scott?

S: Well, I’m…

J: Oh, go ahead.

S: And Lisa and I, we've talked about this and over the past year or now that you kind of get stuck into a routine of believing you can control things that you obviously can't. And we had had those struggles and challenges in previous life that we, you know, didn't have control over and we kind of… I don't know, as our life moved on, we kind of lost that again. And I think now we've kind of started that again, I think, you know, then even the last couple of months and then I've expressed how much happiness there is in our home when we focus on the joy of the others that's going on like Lisa’s launch of her book, you know, focusing on that joy, it changes the energy of all of us. Or even when your children succeed in something and focusing on that energy instead of focusing on something so negative that our family seems to be meshed together so much now that we feed off of each other's energy.

J: Mm.

S: And it's like, you know, if one is down, it's all of us are down.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so we try to focus on finding those ones that, you know, picking, lifting them up, “Hey, that was a…” you know, we all feed off of that. Put less focus on our struggles than the things that we can't control.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Oh, and I love that, so focus on the good things and then you feed off of that, hmm.

S: Yeah.

J: That's great, great. Well, let's talk about some your favorite things. So Scott, what's your favorite book?

S: Well, I was asked this question last night and then I just threw out there, but I like ‘The Journey Between Us’ is probably my favorite right now.


J: Good answer! That’s Lisa’s book, everyone, ‘The Journey Between Us’.

L: Yeah.


J: Well, so what's your favorite part of Lisa's book, Scott?

S: Oh, besides the parts about me?


S: You know, there's so many parts to that and, you know, it says so much about the things that we were going through. And, you know, there's so many things that we didn't touch on today… you know, the having a child together, I mean, that's a big part of us now. And I didn't realize how more important our lives together were after we had Lacey and, you know, it's just and the struggle to that, the scares of that with Lisa's health and the, you know, not even knowing if we were going to even be able to have Lacey. And so, you know, and then the joys after that, you know, those things that we couldn't control, you know…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: They weren't even an issue, and that was a big joy. So, yeah, I mean, there's so many parts I couldn't even pull one thing out because, I mean, the whole thing has just been a joy.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: And I've read other books… well, I do have a stack that I get through about halfway through them and then I lose interest, so there's a big pile on one side of my bed.

J: (Laughs). Oh, that’s funny.

S: But I like… you know, there’s one thing that Lisa's brought into my life and that is faith. I had a hard struggle with that, you know, how could I be going through all this and have, you know, faith with God and my Lord. And she's brought our whole family to that, you know, the kids are so involved with that stuff. And so it's a blessing but, you know, I read a book not too long ago and had, you know, I had different pieces to, you know, write into it yourself and that was ‘Stop Behaving’ by Jarrod Lopez. I like that book, I related well to it and it kind of… you know, and letting God take a little more control of those things that I'm trying to control.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so… but yeah, those are it's kind of where I've been at.

J: Awesome. How about you, Lisa, favorite book?

L: I tell ya, there again, you know, me and favorites, it's like I never can just have one favorite. And so, you know, I have read so many books this past year, I think I've read more books this past year then I probably have read in my life. And I think it was just because I've been on such a journey of trying to find myself and feel better about myself and my purpose in life. But, you know, I feel like it depends on which hat I'm wearing at the time of what the book is I'm reading. So I read books either as a parent standpoint, as a woman standpoint, as a wife standpoint, and so I kind of have favorites in all those categories unfortunately so it's hard to narrow it down. But I will say that ‘The Child Whisperer’ by Carol Tuttle is a book that I've read most recently about children and there are different energy types. And it is probably the most fascinating book that I have ever read because having 5 kids obviously and each energy type that she talks about in that book is represented in my home. And so it was just very fascinating to read about that. So anybody with kids, works with kids, actually anybody who's even human and interacts with other humans should read ‘The Child Whisperer’ because it is so interesting. But then from the standpoint of anyone, men or women, I read ‘The Big Leap’ by Gay Hendricks and it was an amazing book too. So, yeah, I think those 2 just really stand out to me. I mean, I have a whole list of favorite books, but I think as far as impacting me the most in my journey this past year, I would say that those 2 books are my favorites.

J: Mm-hmm, cool, thank you. We'll have links to those on our show notes page and you could check that out at jenriday.com and then / the episode number. So what's your favorite easy meal, Lisa?

L: This is a great question because I'm all about easy meals. I have decided that anything that you can put in a tortilla is a great meal.

J: (Laughs)

L: I like to make tortilla pizzas or pizza quesadillas, either one, whichever the mood strikes me. And my kids love these 2 because they're… you know, they can make whatever they want, you know, we just… we put out a tortilla and I put out the sauce and then all the various topics and everyone can make whatever they want. And you can make them on the healthier side of the spectrum, you can make them on that, you know, pepperoni and cheese side of the spectrum, but they're very, you know, easy and then we just throw them in the oven and they're just quick. And so I just always keep everything on hand that we can make pizza quesadillas whenever or tortilla pizza is whenever so…

J: Mm-hmm, easy.

L: Yeah.

J: So what about life hacks? Scott, do you have a favorite life hack, something that a little trick you have or do or think that helps you in life, maybe might benefit someone else?

S: I don't know, I usually… I got to get away and I… I like to find workout routines that are just a little challenging, they kind of make you, you know, makes you feel like you're going to fall and not be able to stand up.

J: (Laughs)

S: And if I can complete it and I'm still standing there and able to walk out of the gym, it just… I don't know, makes me feel good. It is challenging and I made it through it and I guess that's just how I need to view life too in a way, but so usually makes me feel a lot better when I get it accomplished something like that.

J: Good for you. And, Lisa, you work out as well, right?

L: Yes, yes.

J: Do you work out together or do you have different time so you do it?

L: You know, sometimes we do and we enjoy that, but with our schedules, it really doesn't really work very often for us to do that.

J: Mm-hmm.

L: That and he's so competitive like he, you know…

S: (Laughs)

L: He's always making sure that, you know, I'm lifting the proper weight in the proper…

J: (Laughs)

L: … form and all this. So, you know, and so I don't like to be supervised.


S: I say she breaks my concentration.


L: Yeah, yeah.

J: That’s funny.

L: But no, we… yeah, we both really… and that's how we kind of got into working out so regularly is we booked this beach vacation to Mexico a couple years ago and we decided that we wanted to get in great shape for that. And so we did kind of hold each other accountable and we've just kept with it. It's a great stress reliever and it, you know, helps us feel better about ourselves, get those endorphins moving and… and, yeah, so…

J: Awesome, good for you; both of you. I know Lisa, you're so fit and you like to wear your gym clothes.


J: Well, Lisa’s been one of my Heal Your Heart students this year and so that's how I know this because we meet over video and she always shows up in her gym clothes.

L: (Laughs)

J: So I always think, “Oh, man, she's so fit! I want to be like Lisa!” (Laughs)

L: Oh gosh, no, you only see about 2 inches of me on the screen though.


J: But anyway, good for you. What about at your favorite kitchen gadget, Lisa?

L: Oh, this is a funny one. So if anybody's familiar with Pampered Chef, I love this little tool called the Mix ‘N Chop. And it's kind of a little tool that I can use to take out my regret… aggression sometimes. If I'm feeling just a little bit stressed, I’ll make something that requires brown hamburger and I will use this tool. And what it does is it chops up the meat while it's browning and makes it really fine. And so sometimes I just… I'll be standing and my kids and my husband can tell when mom's been a little stressed because I'm making something with the Mix ‘N Chop and I'm just like chopping away at the hamburger.

J: Oh yeah.

L: But yeah, I have 2, I keep 2 on hand at all times and I've broken a couple…

J: Wow!

L: … and so they have to be replaced.


J: Yeah, yeah.

S: That's when, you know, you just need to leave; just leave the room.

J: (Laughs) She’s chopping.


L: She’s making… she’s using the Mix ‘N Chop.

J: Yeah.

L: Yeah, no, it's my favorite kitchen gadget, that and my KitchenAid mixer, I would be lost without it.

J: Yeah, yeah. I have a Mix ‘N Chop, I didn't know that's what it was called but I do have one.

L: Yeah.

J: Yeah.

L: Yeah.

J: Cool.

L: It's great for taking out aggression, yeah. (Laughs)

J: So let's go to our final big question that I love about the happiness formula or being a vibrant and happy woman/man for you Scott too but… and then we'll have a challenge. So Scott, what does it mean for you to be the most vibrant and happy version of yourself? How are you doing that and getting better at that?

S: Oh wow. Probably just, you know, communicating with my spouse, communicating with my children. I usually like to just contain things and, you know, just get in my own space. And I've noticed that the more I just kind of sit and communicate and then also listen at the same time, but it helps me, I, you know, build a better relationship with everybody around me and, you know, that's a goal of mine. And so yeah.

J: So I'm from southwest Iowa, and I know you guys are from Kansas, and somehow you remind me of my dad, but I know your more rural area, how do you think… you know, random question, but how do you think you're breaking some of the molds that might have been modeled for you by other men in your community by doing that?

S: Well, yeah, because even growing up with a father, I mean, if you wanted to hang out, you just did… made… you know, you did their interests and stuff.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

L: And having this many children, I've just I've gained a lot more interest, which is kind of my personality too, I like to pick up things and do something new. And so, you know, I didn't have a… my dad was awfully busy too… wasn't able to coach sports and stuff and I've coached a lot of sports now, sports I didn't even know anything about, know more about them. And girls that was… I had a sister but she was a lot younger than me so I didn't really know much about them, but I've learned a lot in communicating with them. But yeah, you know, I was growing up with other men in my life, it's kind of breaking a mold, trying to do some a little different. I, you know, respect all of them and but I just noticed, you know, I'm involved in their lives and their joyful for that, it makes me happy, so…

J: Nice, awesome. How about you, Lisa, what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?

L: I think just, you know, keeping love at the center of everything that I do. And, you know, I love to interact with other women and other people and I love to do things for people, you know, to try to encourage them and make them happy, and that in turn makes me happy. But this last year, I've also learned that in order to be a vibrant happy woman, you have to love yourself and you have to do some things for yourself that fill your own cup. And so I think that loving yourself and accepting yourself for who you are and being grateful for that and wanting to set that example and be that light for others is what helps me to be a vibrant happy woman.

J: Awesome. So you said you have to love yourself and do things that fill your own cup. So that's easier said than done, so how have you, you know, learned to do that without guilt?

L: Right. Well, I just know that it makes me a better person and I learned a long time ago that guilt is an emotion that is not healthy and that we just need to realize that we can be better wives, we can be better mothers, we can be better friends if we take care of ourselves and not feel guilty about that. And it just becomes a mindset, it has to become your perspective and how you look at it. And I just know that if I do something for myself, it makes me happy, and then when I'm happy, those around me are happy. And so I just have made the conscious choice to not feel guilty about that and it’s really shifted, like Scott mentioned, the energy of those around me, especially in my own home.

J: Hmm, that's awesome. So, Lisa, I mentioned you're one of the Heal Your Heart students in my Heal Your Heart program, and we talk a lot about all these topics so I'm so excited to hear they're really integrated into your thinking. But share a few thoughts about what you've learned through that program and how it's helped you with this process or the women that you've met there.

L: Oh my gosh, the Heal Your Heart program and the women that I've met have just changed my life. You know, I've talked about my struggles and I've talked about where I was in a place of just feeling like I was burned out, like I was failing at everything, like my… I was questioning my purpose. And, you know, I think the thing that I've noticed first off is that amongst the Heal Your Heart women, none of us feel alone anymore, we all felt like we were going through those same feelings. And now we just know that we're not alone and we are learning these tools that we can use from the lessons that, you know, help us and that we're just there to love and support each other no matter what. I mean, we have developed such amazing friendships just in, you know, the last few months of being in this group and we just… we all kind of accept one another, there's no judgment, we feel like we can be completely vulnerable, which I think is… there's been a huge change and shift in my life as because I think, so often, we get to a place where we are embarrassed or we're fearful of being judged and so we don't share what our struggles are. And through this group and through this group of women, we have learned that that… that is not necessary, that you should be able to feel and share and not be judged and feel supported. And that is how we grow and that is how we change that is how we shift is by being vulnerable and opening up and having that love and support. And that's what I've received from being involved in Heal Your Heart.

J: Awesome, thanks for sharing that.

L: Sure.

J: So Scott, let's have a challenge from you to our listeners from the male perspective, the supporter of a woman or for anyone who's listening, but I know most of our listeners are women so…

S: I guess, I mean, if I was to challenge most men, one realization that I had the last couple of weeks is, you know, to be, you know, supportive for your spouse to, you know, find that thing that they're joyful about and just, you know, be there along… you know, even if you're kind of struggling maybe that day or something, you know, your energy will increase if you are just there for them. And I expressed that to her the other day when, you know, we had an awesome week and it was mostly just she was feeding all of us. And that was because we were focused on, you know, the one person that had a lot of positive energy and, you know, and it kind of changed all of our days, so yeah…

J: Oh, that’s great. So that saying’s true, “If mom’s happy, everyone's happy.”

L: (Laughs)

S: That’s right, that’s right.

J: “If mom ain’t happy, nobody happy.”


L: Right.

S: And it goes for a lot, it goes for our children too. You know, we're focusing, you know, around the table and we try to, you know, stress that to our children. You know, one’s and they're joking around, you know, not don't try… or they're having a good time, you know, one's a little grumpy, you know, he’ll usually get somebody that's, you know, trying to bring down the other person. But we try to point that out, you know, that positive energy.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: You know, feed off of that, go do something to that it's positive for yourself, you know?

J: Nice.

S: So your cup, you know, like Lisa says.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, oh that's great. Okay, how about you, Lisa? A challenge to our listeners in them we'll say goodbye.

L: You know, I'm going to share the challenge that I have had for myself this past week and that is, if I'm faced with a difficult situation or a difficult person or, you know, someone in my life is doing something that's frustrating to me, I try shifting the way that I view them. Instead of viewing them in frustration or, you know, a negative emotion, I try to just look at them with love. And I choose one positive, just one, just one positive thing that I love about that person and I feel the frustration and just kind of melt away. You know, maybe it's something your kids did or something your husband did, you know, just pause and consciously choose to look at them and recognize just one thing that you love about them; that's my challenge.

J: Yeah, consciously choose to see something you love and it dissolves the frustration, that's awesome.

L: Yeah, yeah.

J: Thanks, Lisa. I will remind our listeners that we'll have links to everything we talked about on our show notes page at jenriday.com/142. And I want to thank you both for being on the show, this was fantastic, your story is beautiful, I love hearing how you're moving forward even today. And thank you so much for being on the show, Scott and Lisa.

S: Thank you.

L: Thank you, Jen.

J: Amazing story, right? To think that they both experienced the greatest tragedy of their lives and then magically, amazingly found each other and built something from the ashes, like the Phoenix from the ashes. They have this great relationship they are working every day on seeing the good and building further joy in their lives. So I love Lisa, and Scott, love you too, man; even though I haven't met Scott (Laughs). Lisa is a member of my Heal Your Heart program and she has become one of my dear friends. She even is on my Jen Riday Team now and helps me with the Vibrant Happy Women Club. So Lisa, thank you so much for letting me interview you.

Now, remember, that video training is free, that self-love video training that I created is available now. And if you haven't seen the first video, you need to go watch it. It's all about building that foundation of self-love which leads to a healthier body, way healthier relationships, and then being able to show up and live your purpose with confidence because you feel it from the inside out. You know, you have worth and value and gifts and talents and you are here on this earth to share that goodness to make a difference, not only in your families, but in your communities, at work in your career, whatever you're going to do. And the best part about that is, when you love yourself, when you heal your heart from those past hurts and those resentments and those grudges, you let a little more light in, let a little more goodness into your life, and then you can radiate even more of that love and light to those around you. And that is what this Vibrant Happy Women movement is all about. So definitely go watch my video, it is pre-recorded, and you can access that at jenriday.com/loveyourself. It is the first video in a 3-part series and the second video is coming later this week. Just go to jenriday.com/loveyourself to watch that and to sign up to get notified when the next one is available.

Well, my friends, I thank you so much for listening. Thank you for showing up and striving to be the best you, to grab your happiness and ride that happiness trail (pulling back on my analogy from the intro) and choosing your best life, a life of positivity, joy, vulnerability, authenticity, all of the good things. I appreciate you all so much, sending you my love, and please watch that video, let me know on my Facebook page what you think or let me know on Instagram, DM me, private message me, whatever, I want to know what you think of the video what would it look like in your life to apply some of that blueprint that I'm talking about, that journey of healing your heart and building self-love. One last time, you can watch that video, it won't be available forever but it is there now at jenriday.com/loveyourself. This is your first step in making 2019 maybe a journey of self-love for you. Thank you so much for listening, I will be back later this week with a Happy Bit, and until then, make it a vibrant happy week. Take care.