Things are going great and they’re only getting better

July 28, 2016 turned out to be quite the momentous day for me. There were two events going on that week where I potentially would be recognized for my work. One was in Las Vegas and the other in Chicago.

 

John and I ended up taking our three youngest children (all over the age of 21, thanks casino security by being so vigilant and checking in with us every single time we walked into a casino) with us to Las Vegas for the Global Convention celebrating Enagic Corp’s 42nd anniversary. We were privileged to have five other members of our Kangen Wisconsin team travel with us as well. We got there Monday night and the week at Mandalay Bay was jam-packed with meetings, training, recognition, and connecting with our friends from the Kangen Water community who were there from all over the world.

 

We’ve always had a strong conviction that Kangen Water is the healthiest water any human or animal can drink but after a week being with like-minded people and being educated on true health and wellness, we all came back more inspired by the mission of Kangen Water than ever before.

 

The highlight of the week for me was Thursday when John and our son Nick were each honored for achieving the rank of 6A in Enagic. John and I are so proud of Nick because he and his wife Emily were the very first people to embrace the message of True Health that Enagic espouses and invest in a water ionizer through us. When John joined the business in 2013 that promoted me to 6A and now that two people under me are 6A, I officially earned the rank of 6A2. According to someone I spoke with at Enagic Corp, there are only 287 people at that rank in the entire United States and only three others who’ve ever hit that rank in the state of Wisconsin, so it is quite the privilege to have achieved this.

Enagic Awards 2016

It’s been an interesting road I have to say. When we got our machine in April of 2009, it was solely to help our youngest daughter who was a Make-A-Wish child that year. Even though this represented an incredible business opportunity, I had no intention of doing this as a business because I had a career as a journalist and didn’t want to be in “sales.” But after what we experienced within weeks of investing in our machine, I felt an obligation to share the message and this water with anyone who would be open to it. We wanted to make everything that our daughter went through mean something and to pay it forward for the blessings we received from this water and this company.

 

When I think of this journey we’ve been on, many times the parable of the sower comes to mind: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 

We’ve sown thousands of seeds in the last seven years. Some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up (people heard about the water, read or heard one negative thing and were scared away — of course we all know that everything you read on the Internet is true, right?).

 

Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil, it sprang up quickly and withered because they had no root. Those were the people who were initially excited about this concept and for whatever reason, lost their enthusiasm for this amazing product. It could have been the spouse that didn’t attend a presentation but did five minutes of research on water ionizers and decided it wasn’t a valid product or did no research at all but was adamant against spending money on healthcare technology, regardless of how beneficial it would be for their family.

 

“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” This was like the people who were lured away from the one true medical-grade water ionizer by the knock-offs who offered empty promises of a lifetime guarantee, incredible sales and other offers that were too good to be true.

 

Then of course there were the seeds that fell on good soil. Those were the people who listened to our message, took it to heart, and then invested in the health of their families by getting an Enagic water ionizer. We have been so blessed to have welcomed these people into our Enagic/Kangen Wisconsin family. Kangen Water folks are some of the nicest, most compassionate, most motivated people we’ve ever met — many of them are our friends for life. We look forward to years of working together, traveling together and strengthening our friendships.

 

Meanwhile, back to that incredible week, on the other side of the country, the Catholic Marketing Network was hosting its annual trade show in Chicago. A couple of months ago I had received notification that my novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, had been nominated for the CALA award and was actually one of the top three Catholic fiction young adult novels for 2016. Since I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony hosted by the Catholic Writers Guild, my publisher asked me to write an acceptance speech, “just in case.”

 

That morning, I got a text from Full Quiver Publishing and it said, “Check your e-mail!” Immediately I grabbed my phone and saw an e-mail from them with the subject line, You Won!!! When I opened up the e-mail there was a picture of the 2016 Catholic Arts and Letters Award for Young Adult Fiction with my name and the name of the book inscribed on it.

 

I feel so incredibly honored to have received top recognition for both my mission and my profession. There are no plans to rest on my laurels, however! I’m back to work now helping John and Nick advance to the rank of 6A2 so that I can advance to the rank of 6A2-2. My goal is get there by December 31, 2016. If anyone reading this wants to check into this amazing water and potentially join our team and our mission, go to my web site www.KangenWisconsin.com and you can learn about the water by ordering an e-book or signing up for the Health Awareness Newsletter.

 

A World Such as Heaven Intended is the first book in a trilogy. The second book is outlined and the first two chapters are written. Now it’s up to me to carve out the time to work on finishing book two. The goal date for that is December 31 as well.

 

I want to thank every person who has been instrumental in helping me achieve these honors. Whether you offered words of encouragement, accepted my friend request on Facebook, purchased the book, invested in an Enagic water ionizer, Anespa shower unit or Ukon turmeric supplement through our group,  kept me in your prayers, or even discouraged me to help strengthen my resolve, I appreciate each and every one of you.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead. “The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!”

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A Miracle in My Life

Miracles are all around us if we are open to seeing them. Here’s something that happened in my life this past May.

Two years ago when Lent was approaching, I wanted to do something that required more effort on my part than just giving something up. So I decided to go to Mass one extra day per week. I chose to go on Wednesday mornings at 8:00 at our parish, Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Mass is sparsely attended, at most maybe 20 people or so attend, and I noticed I was usually one of the youngest in the crowd.

After Mass is over each week, a handful of people stay and gather near each other to pray the rosary together. Three different older ladies are the leaders and if the primary leader isn’t available the next lady takes over and if she’s not there then the third in line takes charge.

Once Easter arrived in 2014, I continued to attend the weekly Mass. It felt comfortable, I was starting to get to know the other regulars, and it was a great way to disengage from my busy life and reconnect with my faith in a quiet atmosphere in the middle of the week. Since that time I was asked to be the lector (I read the first reading and the responsorial psalm) on Wednesdays, so now I have more of a commitment to be there as well.

This past spring we got the joyous news that both our daughter and our daughter-in-law were expecting and their babies were due two-and-a-half weeks apart, November 27 and December 15, respectively. My husband and I couldn’t have been any happier but we definitely had concerns because of some previous pregnancy issues.

One Wednesday last May, I was sitting in the pew behind the woman who was second in line to do the rosary, a lovely woman who was born in Europe and has a wonderful accent. Her part, as the leader, was to start the prayers represented by each bead in the rosary and we would join in. For the Hail Mary prayer, she would begin with, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” and then the rest of us would join in, “Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

For some reason our leader that day was turned sideways in her seat and directly facing the statue of the Blessed Mother that is on the far right wall of the church. All the other ladies were following suit and I did as well so I was looking right at that statue as we prayed the rosary. Part way through one of the decades, as I was  following along, when we got to the part in the prayer, “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus,” I thought of my daughter and daughter-in-law and our prayers for them.

At that very moment, Mary looked right at me and she said, “Everything will turn out fine.”

I was stunned. I stopped reciting the prayer and looked at the other four or five ladies to see what their reaction was. I clearly heard the Blessed Mother speak out loud yet none of the other women seemed to have heard it. I was shaking and could hardly believe what I had witnessed yet I was overjoyed and felt this sense of peace come over me.

After the rosary was done, I went over to the statue and looked at is closer and once again it seemed inanimate. I lit a candle and thought about all the issues in our lives that we had been praying for and asked Mary for her intercession on our behalf, that she would offer prayers up for us to her son, Jesus. I took one last look at her as I left church that day and thanked her for praying for us.

Ever since that time when concerns come up in my life and our family’s life, I repeat the words that the Blessed Mother said to me in church that day, “Everything will turn out fine.” Having that constant reminder and reassurance has been such a calming factor in my life.

So, any time a worry comes to mind, I repeat what has now become my mantra, “Everything will turn out fine.” And, truthfully, it has. Life has been a series of beautiful experiences since then. I’ve grown more devoted to the Blessed Mother as I look to her as my role model in how I interact with my family and friends, how I run my living water mission, and how I live my life day in and day out.

Our beautiful granddaughter Katherine and handsome grandson Declan arrived safe and sound on Dec. 1 and Dec. 4! Our blessings are overflowing!

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Maybe I’m Amazed

What came first, my fascination with Paul McCartney and Wings or The Beatles? I really can’t be sure. Since I was pretty young when the Beatles first took America by storm, my recollection of what got me turned onto their music was listening to my brother Rodney sing and play Paul McCartney songs on his guitar. All I know is I’ve been a fan for almost as long as I can remember and The Beatles have been and always will be my favorite band and Paul McCartney is my favorite singer of all time.

There’s something about Paul McCartney that has kept me infatuated with him all these years — he truly is the most talented musician ever. When John and I had the opportunity to see him in concert for the first time at the Rosemont Horizon Arena in Chicago in 1989, we scraped together every nickle we had and made the trip. Who knew how many more chances we’d have to see him and how much longer he would be performing? Trust me, it was worth every cent to see him. The show was outstanding! To say we were blown away would be an understatement.

We know the answers now to how long Paul would be touring and how many times we’d get to see him. It’s pretty incredible that 26 years later he’s still going strong and hasn’t skipped a beat. Earlier this month, on October 13, John and I had the pleasure to see Paul McCartney and his band perform for the sixth time! What made this even more special for us is we got to take our three daughters and our son-in-law (plus a friend of our daughter’s) to  Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio to see his latest tour, Out There. This was the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had ever since we introduced our children to The Beatles (i.e. at birth). We know we’ve raised them right because all four of them are avid Paul McCartney fans. Our son and his wife weren’t able to join us but had the chance to catch Paul’s tour in the summer of 2014 when he performed at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Words really can’t describe what an awesome concert it was. The energy was electric, Paul sang for three hours straight and had two outstanding encores. It was so neat watching the looks on the kids’ (technically young adults’) faces when Paul rocked out on some of the greatest hits of all time. When he played Maybe I’m Amazed in tribute to his late wife Linda McCartney, one of my favorite songs, I had tears in my eyes. It was so moving, as was his tribute to the late George Harrison (playing Something on the ukulele) and John Lennon (If You Were Here Today).

Experiences like these are what life is all about and I’m so happy we got to be with most of our family for this concert. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have Nick and Emily with us. Hopefully next time! Or if Paul keeps going as strong as he is now (could it be the Kangen Water?) maybe we’ll be attending his concerts with our grandkids someday!

Check out the set list below and you’ll see why this concert was so outstanding! John and I had a 12-hour drive home around Upper Michigan admiring the beautiful fall colors and we rocked it out listening to Paul McCartney, The Beatles, and Wings albums the whole way home. Life doesn’t get much better than this!

  1. Eight Days a Week
  2. Save Us
  3. Got to Get You Into My Life
  4. One After 909
  5. Temporary Secretary
  6. Let me Roll It
  7. Paperback Writer
  8. My Valentine
  9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
  10. The Long and Winding Road
  11. Maybe I’m Amazed
  12. I’ve Just Seen a Face
  13. FourFiveSeconds
  14. We Can Work it Out
  15. Another Day
  16. Hope for the Future
  17. And I Love Her
  18. Blackbird
  19. Here Today
  20. New
  21. Queenie Eye
  22. Lady Madonna
  23. All Together Now
  24. Lovely Rita
  25. Eleanor Rigby
  26. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
  27. Something
  28. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  29. Band on the Run
  30. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  31. Let it Be
  32. Live and Let Die
  33. Hey Jude
    • ENCORE
  34. Another Girl
  35. Hi, Hi, Hi
  36. Can’t Buy Me Love
    • SECOND ENCORE
  37. Yesterday
  38. Helter Skelter
  39. Golden Slumbers
  40. Carry That Weight
  41. The End

The other side of the microphone

As a journalist, I make a living interviewing people. So it was somewhat surreal for me to be the interviewee rather than the interviewer on Saturday, June 27, 2015. It was my honor to interviewed by Michelle Raley, who hosts an international call every Saturday where she interviews some of the top leaders in Enagic Corp. There is a recording of our conversation and if I ever figure out how to attach it to a blog post, I’d be happy to share it. So stay tuned!

The bottom line is I was talking about the various things I do in my day-to-day life and how I keep things in balance (kind of goes well with the theme of this blog). Before the interview I wrote up bullet points to help me remember the things I wanted to note. Here’s some of the highlights…

  • How did we get involved in Enagic?
    • Enagic promotes true health – physical, mental and financial
    • We were struggling in all three areas  — our youngest child was a Make-A-Wish child at that time
  • My previous experience in sales
    • Direct sales – Tupperware
    • Network Marketing – TPN with Jeff Olson and Eric Worre
      • After TPN was sold I swore I would never get into another network marketing company again because I couldn’t imagine getting as passionate about anything else as I had been about personal development
  • Started in Enagic May of 2010
    • All I did was give away massive amounts of water, that’s all I knew to do
    • Never intended to do this as a business
    • How did I really start building?
      • Kept meeting people through my journalism business
      • Handed out my Enagic card — “I have a profession but changing lives one glass of water at a time through Kangen water is my mission”
    • Had no intention of being a leader but realized I needed to step up
      • As my confidence grew in the water I got more confident and my business grew
    • Now working Enagic full time and my other career in my spare time
      • Jobs
        • 6A1 distributor with Enagic Corp (check out KangenWisconsin.com)
        • Author of A World Such as Heaven Intended
        • Freelance journalist for The Business News and The Compass
        • Proofreader for a local college and other venues
        • Write product reviews for a national retail chain
        • Work in R&D for an international product development corp
        • Actress in local commercials
      • Volunteer work
        • Parish
        • Burundi Education Fund
    • “Think of only three things: your God, your family and the Green Bay Packers — in that order.” – Vince Lombardi
      • For me it’s God, my family and Enagic/Kangen Water
      • Build week starting with God
      • Schedule in the most important things
        • Church/prayer
        • Water consumption
        • Exercise
        • Personal Development
        • Family time
      • How do I do it all?
        • I don’t
          • Don’t cook (thanks to my amazing husband)
          • Don’t clean, mend, iron, garden (thanks to my wonderful mom)
      • Sometimes I get a sense of overwhelm
        • Just keep plowing ahead
        • Fight the biggest fires first
        • Plan out every day the night before
          • Prioritize everything on my list
          • Surround myself with pictures of our family to keep motivated
      • We all have superpowers
        • Mine is, I am willing to do what other people aren’t willing to do
      • What did I need to give up to achieve my goals?
        • Television
        • Newspapers (except positive ones like mine)
        • Sleep :o)

That’s it in a nutshell — my crazy, busy life (which could explain why there hasn’t been a blog post since March)! But, you know what? I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone! My faith, my husband, our children, our grandchildren, our businesses — everything is perfect for us. John and I have a mantra, “I’m lucky and blessed!” No matter what happens in my daily life, I truly feel that way. Hope you do too!

My life is an open door

Lent is a busy time for a Catholic newspaper, all sorts of events to cover. So I’ve been to my share of retreats, conferences and talks over the last six weeks covering them for The Compass newspaper. It’s always a trick to record what is going on, get interviews done, take photos and yet still try to capture the essence of the event for myself. Many times it requires going home, writing the story, sending the story and pictures to my editor, and then sitting down to think about whatever gold nugget caught my attention during the event and pondering how I can implement that bit of wisdom into my life.

On March 14 I covered the Feminine Genius Conference held at St. Pius X Parish in Appleton. The speakers, including Rose Sullivan — executive director of the National Conference for Diocesan Vocation Directors and a USCCB consultant to the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Father Mark Toups — pastor of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and who also works with the Institute for Priestly Formation,Teresa Tomeo — author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker, and Sister Maris Stella of the Sisters of Life who works in the Hope and Healing Mission, a work providing retreats and accompaniment to women who are suffering after abortion, were all outstanding.

Here’s the interesting thing, the one thing that I heard that has stuck with me since that day wasn’t some profound line from one of the keynote speeches. In fact, it wasn’t from any speech at all. It was actually from a conversation I had with Fr. Mark Toups after he finished his presentation. I was able to catch him in the lobby as people were milling around, looking at the various vendor booths set up for the day. Father and I were having a conversation about our busy lives between working, traveling and doing presentations (the bulk of my traveling and presenting is for my mission of sharing Kangen water) and balancing everything we both have going on.

As we were concluding our conversation, Fr. Mark asked if he could pray for me. I never turn down the opportunity to be prayed over, so of course I said, “Absolutely!” He started out the prayer saying, “I pray that the Lord opens the doors that need to be opened in your life.”I was really touched by that because that is really something I’ve been praying for as well, he certainly could read what was on my heart. If the prayer would have concluded right there, I would have been at peace with that. However, it didn’t end there and his finishing request was actually something I really need (even though I won’t always admit it).

“And may the Lord close the doors that need to be closed in your life.”

Wow! I was speechless. Boy oh boy, did I need to hear that.

There are so many opportunities that I could take advantage of in my life, with more coming my way every day, and each one could be so wonderful in its own right to pursue but I cannot continue to spread myself so thin or I won’t be doing any opportunity justice. This is something I really need to ponder in my life so I can discern between all the doors open before me. It’s somewhat mind blowing, that’s for sure.

I can’t thank Fr. Mark enough for his prayer over me. I have thought about that every day since and really consider it as things continue to come my way. It’s causing me to narrow my focus so I can be better at the things that are my absolute priorities right now. I will continue to write newspaper articles (but keep that number down to one article per week), I will work harder and smarter sharing the message of living water, and I will complete the manuscript for the book I’m writing. Now I just have to work on saying no to some people and opportunities so I can say yes to the things that matter to me the most right now in my life. Easier said than done, but I’m determined to stay the course!

Happy Easter everyone!

Interview with Working Mother Amanda Lauer

I had the honor last week of being interviewed by Erin McCole Cupp, author of the biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother.” The book is available on Kindle through Amazon for only $.99! Here’s the synopsis: “With her husband disabled and out of work and her child in mortal danger, a mother must leave her family and find work so they can all survive. The husband’s name is Joseph. The child’s name is Jesus. The working mother is Mary.” You should check it out! But before you do that, take a minute and hear what I have to say about being a working mother…

New post on Will Write for Tomato Pie

Interview with Working Mother Amanda Lauer

by Erin McCole Cupp

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us. Today we’re interviewing working mother Amanda Lauer!
What’s your name?
Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband John and I have been married almost 34 years, we have three daughters and one son ranging in age from 23 to 29, we have a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law, and a precious 2-year-old grandson.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party.  Someone asks the question, “So, what do you do?”  What’s your answer?
The short answer is that I have a career in journalism and a mission to spread the word about true health through living water. The longer answer is I am an author (my book A World Such as Heaven Intended came out October 29, 2014 and has been on the best-seller list for Amazon for its genre several times in the last two months), I write and shoot photos for the Green Bay Diocesan newspaper The Compass and The Business News, I proofread for Saint Norbert College, and I am an independent distributor for Enagic Corp/Kangen Water (KangenWisconsin.com).
How do you think God uses your job to help shape you into all He made you to be?
Every day I am challenged to learn and grow through both my career and my mission. I’m always trying to be a better version of myself and God has brought many extraordinary people and circumstances into my life that have helped me do just that.
What benefits (besides the economical) have you seen to your family that are a direct result of your work away from home?
I would not be the person I am today without all of these experiences that have caused to me grow in my knowledge, communication skills and faith.
How do you balance any guilty feelings you might have in the tension between your workplace and your homespace?
Because I work from home, there is really no separation between home life and work life which can definitely be a challenge. Between my career and my mission it’s almost like having two full-time jobs. Each is equally important because they are a means of evangelizing for me so that does help assuage the guilt a bit. My goal is, when I step into my office or go to outside appointments, to completely focus on the work that needs to be done at that moment. When I close my office doors for the day, my goal is to focus on my husband and our time together and connecting with our kids, who all live out of state. It’s not always easy because the office is so close by and there’s always something I can be doing there. It’s a work in progress.
What is one thing that you would ask the people in your life to do to support you more?
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks on my plate, give me the time and the space to do what I need to do to get a handle on everything. If you can’t give me that, then give me chocolate.

Great suggestion!  Thank you, Amanda!  

It’s getting exciting now

Wow, a lot has happened since A World Such as Heaven Intended was published in October. There have been book signings (that was somewhat surreal), virtual interviews, a story in The Post-Crescent newspaper, a blurb in The Compass newspaper, a free Kindle version giveaway (2,100 books distributed in 72 hours, wow!), the book has hit the #1 spot on Amazon Kindle several times in the last two months, and one day it was #1 on Amazon for Kindle and #3 on Amazon in paperbacks in its genre.

I’m so glad I have an amazing publisher, Full Quiver Publishing, headed up by Ellen Gable Hrkach, guiding me through this process. I thought writing the book was the hard part, that’s nothing compared to marketing it!

My next book signing is scheduled for Saturday, February 7 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Christian bookstore On This Rock, 216 W. South Park Avenue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Stop in and say hi if you’re in the area!

Recently I read something that the most big-time goals you should set for the year is three, that’s about the most any person can focus on in one year’s time. My big three for 2015 are 1) achieving the next rank advancement in my company (KangenWisconsin.com) by welcoming a lot more people to our Kangen Water family, 2) getting contracts on the sequel to A World Such as Heaven Intended and the novel I’m working on now, a young adult story set in the 1970s on the topic of bullying, and 3) having a family vacation with all of our children, their significant others/spouses and our grandson.

It’s going to take a lot of dedication and organization/time management to complete all of these, but I’m committed to the cause!

Hope everyone reading this has a blessed 2015 and you achieve all your goals! Feel free to share here if you’d like, I’ll root you on!