In fashion, it’s less is more.
In baking, it’s practice makes perfect.
In parenting, it’s patience is a virtue.
But the most important lesson I’ve learned is to
do everything wholeheartedly.
After all, recipes are just guidelines.
It’s okay to throw in another spoonful of sugar, add on a colorful belt or just laugh when your kids use the curtains as capes, as long as you do it all with love, passion and a sense of humor.
The roles I’ve played in life—sister, wife, entrepreneur, Miss Iowa USA, busy mother to four busy boys—inspire me to live my life to the fullest so I can inspire others to do the same.
A PEEK INTO
I moved around a lot as a kid. I went to three different high schools in three different states. That amount of uncertainty taught me to make friends quickly and to be approachable. Learning how to adjust to a new setting is a skill I’ve kept with me all my life.
That was always my mom’s lesson. “If you don’t stand up for yourself,” she’d say, “no one else will.” That was such an important lesson that I remind myself of it every day. Now, with my own children, I try to impress on them how important confidence and finding your own opportunities is. It’s a way for me to thank my mother for teaching that to me.
And you have to be brave enough to say “yes.” I used to do makeup for women entering the Miss Iowa pageant. My job was to make sure the women’s faces and colors matched their gowns. At the end of the day, the directors asked if I would consider entering the pageant, even offering me a dress and waiving the entry fee. My first reaction was to decline but I decided to go for it anyway—and I won! My mother, who was struggling with breast cancer at the time, was so proud of me. She never got to see me get married, but seeing me at the national pageant and when I gave up my title the next year was a perfect moment for her and me.
The sad reality is, I’ve spoken at both my parents’ funerals. However, I feel that I was only able to speak about them because of how much I’d listened. It was painful to lose them but I’ll always have their lessons which are worth more to me than anything. Be grateful for the time you have and never let those you love out of your memory.
Without question, becoming a mom for the first time was one of the most important days of my life. I now have 4 children, a wonderful husband and a great (and growing) family. With a cookie business, and plenty of other journeys I’m taking, every day is a new adventure.