156 Transcript: Gratitude in the Midst of Tragedy (with Stacy Nehring)

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J: Stacy Nehring is from Rapid City, South Dakota and she's married to her wonderful husband, Josh, and she has 5 beautiful children, Lilli, their angel in heaven, Isabella, age 12, Tallmadge, 9, Benson, 7, Nelson, 5, and they have one on the way in June. And besides being a busy mom, Stacy helps her husband with his periodontal office and runs their nonprofit, Live Like Lilli, where she and her family spread the message Lilli lived by, “See good, do good, share good.” Stacy loves to exercise, she says it's for her sanity and is cheaper than meds. She enjoys being outdoors running, hiking, camping, and biking, and she also loves to read. Welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, Stacy.

S: Thank you, I’m so happy to be here.

J: I’m so glad you're here, fellow Midwesterner. And, you know, I don't really meet very many people from South or North Dakota, so I’m glad you can be here and represent your state. (Laughs)

S: Yeah, me too.


J: Well, we always start off the show with a quote, and I’d love to hear your favorite quote today.

S: My favorite quote is, “Be grateful in any circumstance,” and, “Gratitude is like magic.”

J: So how have you been applying those in your life?

S: Well, different low points and trials in my life. I broke my ankle when I was… just had my youngest boy, he's now 5, and there was just such outreach of love and service to our family. So that meant I couldn't exercise, which is like my sanity, so going into it, I was really sad and mad about it that I’d broken my ankle and… But I found myself at night, rather than saying, “Why me?” just thinking about those people that had reached out in love and done so much for our family, and just so grateful for that and for all that I had. So just gratitude really is like magic, you can change a bad situation. Any trial that you're going through, if you look for the good it just… you see that and you just sort filled with gratitude. So…

J: And those families who helped you during that time, do you feel like a different kind of bond with them because of needing to be in that vulnerable position of receiving service?

S: Oh yeah, for sure, they're just always on my heart, and the little things like the bringing groceries or a simple meal or just even a text, those things, they're small, but they're so big to me. So…

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, awesome. Well, let's dive in and hear the story of your low point, and I bet this theme of gratitude will be woven in there as well.

S: Yeah.

J: And I think it's important because it just helps us see the good, it brings so much happiness to…

S: Mm-hmm.

J: … have gratitude. But a lot of people think, “Oh, it's not possible when life's hard,” but…

S: Yeah.

J: … yeah, tell us your story.

S: Okay. So August 2017, my family, we headed to Florida where my sister lives and we were going to do a family reunion, and my parents had been on a mission for our church for a year and a half in St. Lucia. So it was a family reunion, definitely excited to see them, the kids hadn't seen them for a year and a half. So we spent an awesome week at the beach and just being together. And then my husband headed home early to go back to work and I and the kids headed back a few days later. We flew to Denver and then drove home to Rapid City, South Dakota, so it was about a 6-hour drive. And I’d started out, I was… you know, anytime you go on vacation you're tired, and I was driving and going through Wyoming and I… all of the sudden, I had hit a side rail, and I had fallen asleep just momentarily and swerved because I was going off the road. And we rolled probably 3 times and then landed in a ditch.

J: Mm.

S: And I thought I had been awake for the whole thing, but my kids said that the man that came and helped our family was shaking me to try to wake me up. So I came to and I was upside down in my seatbelt, I got out of my seatbelt and the man was like, “Are you okay? Are you okay? I’m going to help your daughter.” And so I got out by myself and I went up, I got out of the car and I saw my 4 children, I was going to stand up but then everything went black. So I laid down on my side and my right side felt really heavy, so I knew I had broken something. So I just laid there and I was conscious for all of that, but just kind of just coughing up blood and just… and then I was looking around…I was searching for Lilli, she's the eldest, and I could see her from the chest down across from where I was and I could tell that she wasn't… she had really heavy labored breathing. And anyways, there were many people who came and helped. It was really sunny, there was someone who's holding up a blanket, bringing me water. There was a priest that prayed with me and said that he would pray with Lilli, my daughter, and then they told me that they were going to Life Flight myself, Talmadge, my oldest son, and Lilli to a hospital in Nebraska, and then they were going to take my other 3, Isabelle, Danson, and Nelson in an ambulance to a hospital nearby there.

So through this, I look back and I think, “This is just such…” it was just chaos, but at the same time, I felt peace. It was like this just overwhelming peace and I really felt like there'll be a miracle and I thought, “Well, it has to be Lilli,” because all my other kids, they were walking around and they… I could tell that some of them had bruises and different things, but they were okay. And I guess at some point, they thought that Talmadge's injuries were a lot worse because they took him on that a helicopter. So they had 3 helicopters, we're all in a separate one, and I got to the hospital and they told me I had a broken collarbone and shoulder and a broken toe, but I'd be alright. And I was there they had me on painkillers. And someone called my husband and he just… a friend of his and him, they just got in the car and they raced to Wyoming to pick my other kids up and then came to meet me that night, and he's the one that told me the news that Lilli didn't make it. She had hit her head, I guess, so hard when it happened that she didn't make it. But that… I was in shock, for sure…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … and on meds so I was kind of out of it too. But I guess the coming home from that, we had one guy that works in our town, he's auto body guy and he came, he just hopped in his car and he said, “I’ll tow your car,” because it obviously was demolished. And then there was… when we got home, there was notes and there was food in our fridge. They'd cleaned my house, like friends had come and done this, and there were friends there in the driveway when we pulled in.

J: Hmm.

S: And just leading up to the funeral, it was just… oh, I get teary-eyed because it's just so… the outreach of love and support was so amazing during this time. There were friends that… I had bruised my face really bad and we're going to get ready for the funeral, and I said, “I need something that's going to cover up all my bruises,” so they went and got makeup for me that would help with that. And they had to shave her head partly, and I was like, “Well, I would like a wig for that,” so there were friends that went and found a wig. And there's a group of men that we had been in the process of finishing our deck, and so they said, “Well, we'll buy all the lumber and we're going to finish it for you.” And it was like every nail that went in… that they pounded into that deck was just a touch of love from them. They had set up meals for our family for 2 months. We used to live in Richmond, Virginia and there was a GoFundMe that got started and they wanted to provide house cleaning because I obviously couldn't do it with a broken collarbone. So they raised enough to provide house cleaning for 3 months. And so from all of this, I think… and then just cards and cards that came in and just the constant love and support that we felt, we started… Well, Josh asked… my sisters asked what they could do for us, and Josh just said, “Live like Lilli,” because Lilli really was the happiest little girl… well, she wasn't little, but when she was younger, she won… I put her in a baby contest and she won best smile and happiest.

J: Aww.

S: And that really like… what kept going throughout her life. She was the one that smiled to everyone, she was the one that said, “Hi, how are you?” even if she didn't know you. We always said it was like she gave us 10,000 hugs in her 13 years, because every time we would leave the house, she'd have to give us 20 hugs; like joking.


S: And she always just told us how much she loved us and…

J: Aww.

S: … was always so positive. And she was the one that… and you don't really realize the impact of someone's life until they're gone.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Just the many people who reached out to us and told us how Lilli impacted their life for the good, and so that was such a neat thing. And so I think just from all the wonderfulness that everyone gave to us, we just wanted to have Lilli's legacy live on of doing good. And so we started Live Like Lilli which is a non-profit. And like you said, the motto is, “See good, do good, share good,” and we just want to help spread that. Some ways that we've done, that she loved to dance, and so I contacted her dance studio and said, “I would love to give some dance scholarships to girls who can't afford it.”

J: Hmm.

S: And so they performed for a group called Girls Inc., and these girls come from hard family lives and they provided kind of after-school support system and different programs for them, and it's also a non-profit. So they perform for them every year and so the… we did that the December after Lilli passed away, we were able to give away a scholarship. And Prima Dance is her dance studio and they said, “Well, we would like to do one too,” and then it kind of trickled down to her point teacher who said, “Well, I would love to provide one too.” So we had planned for 3 scholarships that night. And after the girls danced, we presented the story of Live Like Lilli and what we were planning to go forward with. And by the end of the night, there were 3 more families that were parents of the dancers that came up to us and said, “We want to provide scholarships too.”

J: Aww.

S: So that was such like the best Christmas present ever, because just what we… “See good, do good, share good,” they saw the good and they wanted to do good and they shared it with those girls, and it was just such an amazing night and event. So we have done that this year again and we were able to give away 8 so…

J: Aww.

S: … just awesome.

J: That’s great.

S: Yeah. So another thing that inspired the Live Like Lilli foundation was an essay that she wrote for her advanced reading class and it was sponsored through Rotary Club, and it's called, “How can I apply the 4-way test to my life?”

“The 4-way test can be applied very often in our daily lives. Our lives are so undoubtedly busy and fast-paced, it can be hard to even remember what we ate for breakfast. When we are continually moving, it can be difficult to remember to think about the 4-way test questions, ‘Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned.’ Try to pause and think a moment about what the impact of our words and actions can have on people. Whether it be texting, commenting on social media, on the phone, when you email someone, or talking to a complete stranger that you will never see again, or a loved one that you will see in 5 minutes, remember your words have power. They can be used to build someone up if they are having a bad day or it can do the complete opposite. It can tear them down, even lower than they were before. If someone is not having a good day and taking it out on everyone else they see, try to think of the 4 way test. Ponder on something you could say that is truthful, fair to everyone that would build goodwill and friendship, and something that would be beneficial to all concerned. Even a smile can change their entire day. A quote by anonymous, ‘Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’ Our words can spread light and hope, they can infiltrate despair and darkness into the hearts of others. We must use our words carefully as we go through our daily lives. My dad asked my siblings and I one simple question every day, ‘What did you do today that was nice for someone?’ I always look for service I could do for someone every day so I can make the people around me happy. Sometimes, we focus on the big services and we should be doing and think, ‘How can I do all these things when I am so busy, or I am too busy I can't even think straight right now, much less with more things to juggle?’ Think of little acts of kindness that you can do that would make someone happy. Perhaps a smile, and offer to help someone with their groceries or hold the door. They can all make a difference in people's lives and help us to apply the 4-way test. Think about it, holding the door open for someone would be something that you could use the 4 way test. It would be truthful, fair to everyone, build goodwill and better friendships, and would be beneficial to all concerned. We can apply the 4-way test in our lives. Let's spread the joy of doing good for others. ‘You had the power all along, my dear,’ Glinda, the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz.- by Lilli Nehring.”

J: Aww. (Laughs)

S: Yeah.

J: Beautiful.


S: Yes.

J: Aww, no wonder she won, I love that; awesome.

S: Yeah. So last year, we did a Live Like Lilli gala. We had a white party where everyone comes dressed in white; that was one of her favorite colors was white. And so we had some of her friends just talk about the impact her life had had on them, and we had probably around over 100 people attend and an auction for bidding and just a fundraiser for the foundation. But my favorite part, and it made grown men cry, was one of the girls that received the scholarship, the dance scholarship, she got up and talked and it was truly just from the heart, and just she said, “I wish I would have known Lilli because she just seems like an amazing girl, and I am thankful for this scholarship because I wouldn’t have been able to dance if I hadn't had it.” And just… it was just a really, really neat night to celebrate Lilli and the good that we're trying to do.

J: And I love that, I mean, you know, you get to see the good on an individual level, each person and see how you're just touching lives. And we can all do this in small ways.

S: Mm-hmm.

J: Holding doors, helping someone who needs help, listening, I love it.

S: Yeah.

J: Really great, cool. Well, thank you. So if people listening wanted to donate or help the cause, what would they need to do?

S: So there's a link it's, bitly.livelikelilli.

J: .livelikelilli, oh.

S: Yes, and Lilli’s L i l l i.

J: Aww, that's so great.

S: Yeah.

J: And so 8 girls get to dance, I think that's…

S: Mm-hmm.

J: … such a legacy, I love that you're doing that in her name.

S: Yeah, it's awesome. And then a really cool story was, the director over there, she just told us that one of the girls, she didn't have support from her family, and for the recital, they weren't going to do anything about it. So the director, she took her to Girls Inc., fed her dinner, did her hair and makeup, and took her to the recital and watched it. So it was just like that kind of thing, for these girls to have even an hour a week to just be in dance and do what they love, and it's just such a gift for me to know that they're able to do that.

J: That's beautiful.

S: Yeah.

J: So going back to the time after Lilli's funeral, tell us more about your ups and downs personally and how you came to that decision to turn it into something good.

S: I think for the first bit, I was still like just in shock and the hurt was so overwhelming like, you know, it like hurt to touch her things and it hurt to think about memories and different things like that. And it was… I think just talking about it really like even on Instagram, when I first posted pictures of us traveling home, like that was one of the hardest things but it was also healing for me. And I started journal writing every night just thoughts that came to me and miracles that have happened.

J: So you would write things about hurting and the miracles you saw or were you focused more on just the good things to help keep your mind where you wanted it to be?

S: It was both, it was, “This is how I’m feeling, the lowest, you know, I’ve ever been,” but also looking at the miracles. Because I really felt like, yeah, it's okay to be discouraged and obviously hurting as much as I did, but you can't stay there for very long or else it's just not a good thing. So…

J: Mm-hmm. And what beliefs do you hold that help you to cope so well with her death?

S: So I believe that there is life after death and she is alive in spirit, and definitely God has definitely helped me through this. It's his love and his peace that you can't find anywhere else. And it's not like it automatically would happen quickly because this last year-and-a-half, there has been… you know, I think being involved with this nonprofit has definitely been…

J: Therapeutic?

S: Therapeutic, yeah, that’s the word. (Laughs)

J: Oh, good.

S: It's been very therapeutic, yes.

J: Aww, that’s beautiful.

S: And I will tell you, and I know not everyone believes life after death, but Lilli, she's been very close and there's been lots of neat experiences where I felt her. Like, the first time I went for a run, I felt her so close and it was sobbing, it was… and she was like, “Good job, mom,” you know, I like heard that and it… just to have her close and… and it wasn't all the time but it was just little things. So just knowing that she was close was a great comfort too.

J: Yeah, that's beautiful. Did your husband have similar experiences?

S: Yeah, it was interesting. It was like the day after she had passed away, he woke up, you know, and you're like, “Okay, this really happened,” and he was just really, really sad, and he heard Lilli's voice and she said, “Dad, I’m not dead, I’m alive. Everything you taught me, it's true.” And so… and then he just called me and he was all happy, and I’m like, “Why are you so happy?”


S: But he told me that experience and so that's been… that was a turning… just, you know, your perspective really changes when you have that.

J: That’s so beautiful.

S: Yeah.

J: I’m being quiet because I’m actually sitting here just bawling.

S: Oh.


J: Oh my goodness, okay. How about your kids, what was it like for them?

S: So Lilli was 13 when she passed away and Isabella, she's our second, and so 2 years, she was 11 when it happened. And she… Lilli was always the outgoing one, you know, Isabelle's more quiet and reserved. And so for her, I was just so worried because I just said, “If you need to talk, I’m here, and you don't need to be strong and it's…” you know? And she didn't want to talk about it at first, she said, “I’m never going to talk about it because it hurts too much,” and I just said, “Okay,” and I gave her her space. But she did… she's into art and so she was able to express her feelings through that. She would, you know, paints like really uplifting quotes like, “It's going to be okay,” I have this… it's on sticking note here on my computer, and she wrote that. And she's written things, painted on canvas, “More scriptures, more prayer, equals happiness.” And so I was comforted by that.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Because I thought, “If you keep it all in, then it's not going to be healthy and…” but for her to express through that, I was like, “Okay, we'll just give her her space.” And as time has gone on, she has talked more about it and she's been open and we've cried together. And the boys, they're younger but they too have felt her close and had some neat experiences, and we've just been really open, “If you need to talk about it, then we will, and well, if we need to cry about it, we will,” and it's just been… and still we… you know, they'll come to me, “I really miss Lilli,” and we'll talk about memories or just how they're feeling or I’ll just hold them. And so they all are very happy and it seems to… and my husband, he lost his oldest brother when he was younger, and I remember him saying before this all happened, he said, “Us kids, we looked to our parents and they handled it so well, you know, they… you heard and there's moments of whatever,” but he said that, “We just kind of followed their example,” I don't know if that's the right word. But… and so I just remember that and just tried to…

J: Taught them how to mourn. And I love how you said, “If you need to talk about it, we will, if you need to cry about it, we will.”

S: Uh-huh, yeah.

J: Yeah, wow, that's amazing. Do you still feel Lilli sometimes?

S: Yeah. I don't feel like it's as much, I really feel like at that time, I needed it more and she would, you know, come, she will be there when you need it, you know what I’m saying?

J: Yeah.

S: And some really cool things is her friends actually have had experiences too.

J: Wow.

S: Yeah, where they've actually seen her.

J: Wow!


S: Yeah.


J: That's neat.

S: It was… it's really neat. And I think, you know, that's what they needed at that time, so I’m grateful for that.

J: Oh, so good. So going forward, what are your goals for the Live Like Lilli nonprofit?

S: So our goals is education and helping those less fortunate youth. A lot of it is centered around the youth, so we have the dance scholarships.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And then as I was really like thinking about what the purpose of this nonprofit should be, I was just, you know, really thinking and what came to my head was just research and read. And so one day, I was looking at Facebook and something popped up about ‘iGen’, I don't know if you've heard about that before.

J: I haven't.


S: So it's a book that Jeanne Twenge she wrote and she just talks about, “This is the generation that has grown up with internet, they've never had any time without internet,” and talks about the epidemic of digital addiction and different things like that.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And Lilli, she never had a phone and she never had… like this doesn't really… a lot of nonprofits, you know, “My daughter died of cancer so I’m going to start a non-profit to help cancer.” And, for me, it's just more she was a youth and so I’m going to try to help youth and carry on her legacy. So this digital epidemic is just the rise, you know, we've seen it of suicide and depression and anxiety and how it correlates a lot to social media and video games and just different things. So she just talks about how there's a concern and this is our like the first generation that's ever had to deal with this. So we're kind of in the middle of it and we have to figure it out while it's going.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: So I wanted to start service clubs in the middle schools to help combat that in a sense. So I approached her middle school principal, Lindsey Rummel, and said I wanted to start one and she said, “Well, that started builder's club with Kiwanis.” And so we started that and there's youth that they planned their own service projects they carry them out and just get together and serve. So…

J: Oh, neat.

S: Neat, yeah, this is our first year obviously doing it, but it's been neat. They've raised money for UNICEF, they're making blankets for a children's home for abused children and given… you know, done a warm clothes drive and different things like that. So…

J: And so this is kind of presenting them with a non-phone alternative to do something else with their time, yeah.

S: Yes. (Laughs)

J: Oh, that's good. Do you ever plan to expand it and start educating them about phone use or, you know, where do you see it going?

S: What we're working on right now is having Collin Kartchner, he has been traveling nationwide talking to youth about this epidemic. And he isn't an expert, he's not a psychologist or anything, but he's just a very motivational speaker that really gets to the heart of the youth. And he's just had so many messages from youth saying, “I’ve wanted to stop this. I know I’ve had a problem and I’m going to now.” And, you know, because sometimes when parents say it, they don't want to listen a lot of times. (Laughs)

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, yeah.

S: And so he's just very motivational, so we're going to bring him to Rapid City this September and he's going to speak to all the middle schools and we'll have a parent night also. So we're excited about that.

J: Oh, way to go!

S: Yeah.

J: I love this; oh, that's beautiful. Well, so I want to talk about, you know, some of your favorite things, but…

S: Okay.

J: … just wrapping up this little section, if there are others out there listening who have dealt with a very difficult death or maybe they're right… it's happened fresh for them or they're still, you know, in a lot of pain from a death, what advice would you give them?

S: I would say find someone or even if it's a group. One thing that I had a psychologist come and talk to me while I was in the hospital and he said, “The biggest thing that's going to get you through this is a good support system.” I thought I had… I was like, “Yeah, I have some friends, I think I’ll be good. I have family,” but I was blown away by people that I, you know, wouldn't consider really close friends but that reached out in huge ways. And so I totally attest to that, that if you can find… even if it's not a big group, if you can find one person that you can talk to, that you can just have, you know, their love and try to look for the good around you. I know that some days, it's so hard, but even if it's just one simple thing as like the sunset, Lilli always loved sunsets, so whenever I saw one, it was just brought so much comfort, and even if it's a simple thing as that. So…

J: Yeah, look for the good around you; perfect.

S: Yeah.

J: Okay, let's shift a little and talk about some of your favorite things. So you mentioned you're a big exerciser, when did that start. And some of us want to be big exercisers, but we would love some tips from you on that. (Laughs)

S: Okay. Growing up, I was a dancer and so I was always active, and then I got married and we didn't have a lot of money so I just started running because all you need is a pair of shoes, and just started doing that regularly. And then as my husband and I, we moved across the nation to Virginia where he went to dental school, and I joined the YMCA there and started doing classes, and that was… it's just such a fun thing for me.

J: Yeah.

S: So, yeah.

J: And so you have, you know, a lot of kids and that's often our excuse for not exercising.

S: Yeah. (Laughs)

J: So how do you get around that one. (Laughs)

S: Yeah. So I… at first, I just had a double stroller and I just pushed them.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And then I think it was I hurt my foot and so I couldn't run anymore as much as I wanted to. And so I went to the YMCA and they had a place to watch kids. But now, living in Rapid City, there's one place that does that, but anyways, I have to get up really early… (Laughs)

J: Mm.

S: … and exercise. And then there's another… I go to 2 places and then I just bring my little one along when I do the later classes, but…

J: So do you get up early to run or you're going to an exercise class?

S: An exercise class, a spin class, and…

J: Wow.

S: … weights, I do, yeah.

J: And how early do you have to go?

S: I have to wake up at 5:00 and be there by 5:30, so…

J: Okay, that’s the…

S: (Laughs)

J: … schedule I’m trying to lock into. (Laughs)

S: Yeah. (Laughs)

J: I mean, I have waves, right, I just…

S: Uh-huh.

J: … that consistency piece. I suppose you just have to keep going. You can never…

S: Yeah.

J: … allow the break or you slip. Do you find that?

S: Yeah. And for me, it's more of like it's such a sanity thing for me.

J: Uh-huh.

S: And it's such a… it's not just physical, its mental too. It's just like, okay, after I get my workout in, I’m just set for the day and I feel good physically and mentally. So…

J: Yeah, that's good you can see the other benefits from it; that's nice.

S: Yeah.

J: So what is your favorite easy meal?

S: I love Mexican foods so it would have to be honey lime enchiladas or tacos.

J: Oh.

S: Yeah.

J: Honey lime enchiladas, that sounds yummy.

S: Which I got from The Sisters Café online, it's really good. (Laughs)

J: Yeah, we'll put a link to that on our show notes…

S: Okay.

J: … page at jenriday.com/156, everyone; oh, that sounds good. It's at The Sisters what?

S: Café.

J: Okay, yeah, we'll put a link.

S: Yeah.

J: And your favorite kitchen gadget.

S: My Bosch mixer; love that thing. I used to… well, I still have a KitchenAid and then when I tried to make bread, it was jumping all over the place. (Laughs)

J: Uh-huh.

S: And so my husband, he finally got me a Bosch mixer and I love it. I actually have gotten… since Lilli's death, I’ve gotten a lot into making cakes from scratch.

J: Uh-huh.

S: I just found it like it's a big process, it takes a while, but it's just like therapy for me because I was like just creating something beautiful and delicious. (Laughs)

J: Yeah! (Laughs)

S: Cake by Courtney is my favorite website for… she has the most delicious like types of cakes and they always turn out wonderful. So… and just really, it takes just different tips that she gives on there, you know, getting your icing smooth. And so it's just been a fun thing, a fun, I guess, talent to develop and I’m still working on it, but… (Laughs)

J: Oh, that's great, Cake by Courtney, cool.

S: Yeah.

J: And what's your favorite life hack; random thing that helps you?

S: Yeah, this is might sound funny, I work out every day so obviously I’m going to get sweaty, but I have really thick hair and so I don't like washing it every day, and it takes a long time. So actually blow-dry my sweat; it might sound gross.


S: And then my favorite dry shampoo, and you’re set.


J: I love it.

S: Yes.

J: Finally, a practical tip. We all know not every mom showers every day.

S: Yeah.

J: This is good and you’re just owning it.

S: Well, I shower but I just don't wash my hair every day. (Laughs)

J: Oh, for your hair, okay, got you.

S: Yes, my hair. So I blow-dry my sweat on my hair and then my dry shampoo and then I’m good to go. (Laughs)

J: Why not? Yeah, dry shampoo would mask any smell, so that's good.

S: Yes, there you go.


J: What do you like to do for fun as a family?

S: We love to play board games.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: In the summer, we like going hiking and camping. We like to go to watch movies together, and we actually have a projector, so our favorite thing in this summer is to project a movie on the side of our house and get our sleeping bags out and popcorn, that's one of our favorite things.

J: Oh, that's so fun.

S: Yeah.

J: And your favorite book.

S: As of right now, is ‘Glow Kids’, and it's kind of along the same lines as what I was talking about the digital epidemic. And I really think it is such an educational book that every parent should read it. It's great, so…

J: Awesome. And what does it mean for you to be a vibrant and happy woman?

S: I think realizing life is you're going to have your ups and downs, but being able to be happy and finding the good through those hard times, that's when it really… even, you know, you have to dig deep during those times, but you still can… you can have that happy time during hard times. Does that make sense? (Laughs)

J: Yeah, yeah, look, see the good.

S: Yep.

J: That's the theme; it's beautiful.

S: Yeah.

J: And what do you envision for your life going forward with your family? Any goals that you have for yourself aside from the nonprofit, which sounds amazing? Yeah.

S: Oh yeah. Well, this new baby is a big surprise, it was…

J: Ah!


S: So I’ve had to like re-asses because I was… my littlest one, he's going to kindergarten in the fall and so I had, I’m like, “Okay, I’m free in a sense, you know, and I’m going to have all this free time,” and I was thinking about going back to school. But to having a ba… a newborn, I could still do that. So it's kind of trying to wrap my head around a different plan right now. (Laughs)

J: So you're going to keep going back to school and just juggle it you think?

S: We'll see. I haven’t made (Laughs)… made a concrete decision in that but…

J: Oh, you haven't decided, okay.

S: No, so…

J: Cool. Well, there's always cakes, right?

S: Yes, yes.

J: You have that creative outlet, for sure.

S: Yes, yeah.

J: Well, I appreciate your story and, like I said, it touched me a lot. I think I’m going to end our call and go cry somewhere really.

S: Okay. (Laughs)

J: I’m just trying to keep it light so everyone driving isn't crying through their tears. (Laughs)

S: Yeah.

J: But, yeah, it's a beautiful story and I’m so inspired by your strength. I mean, you used that word ‘dig deep’ and I can tell you did. But I think I’m even… I just wish I knew Lilli, she sounds amazing and that… you know, that you felt her presence and, I don't know, it's just so touching, the whole story. So, clearly, you've made good things come from it and she is still touching so many lives. And now, you know, you get to share this story on the podcast, I think it will just keep growing. Do you ever think about writing a book?

S: People have said that, and I think all my journal entries, maybe that's why I felt so strongly about just putting those things down consistently so that I remember them.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And my husband, he started… every day he was saying something on Facebook.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: He's kind of dropped off on that but he’s a journal writer too and I… I have actually thought about it lately and, yes, I could see that in our future. (Laughs)

J: Cool, that would be beautiful.

S: Yeah.

J: Well, let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and then we'll say goodbye.

S: Okay. And I think I’ve said it, but find everything you're grateful for because that will really help you see the good and everything, in your family, in your world, in your friends. Because we all know that family's hard sometimes, the world is, you know, in chaos. Friends, there's up and downs, but if you look at the person maybe that you're having a hard time with and find the good in them, something good, then you'll in turn be… find gratitude…

J: Beautiful.

S: … and be happy.

J: Well, Stacy thank you so much for being on the show, you touched my heart today and I can't wait to hear how many other hearts you've touched as well; thank you.

S: Thank you so much you.