What do you mean?


I had an itch on my neck. Which turned into a painful rash. That turned into a doctor’s appointment. Leading to a diagnosis of shingles.

I’m a 37 year old, professional, living the dream, what do you mean I have shingles?

What do you mean this rash that burns all the time is going to scab over and continue to hurt for 10 days to two weeks?  What do you mean the nerve pain might take even longer to heal?  What do you mean it’s caused by stress?

Shingles, one little word that created a turmoil of emotion in my world.

I wasn’t sure what to think in the exam room with the urgent care doctor, as we discussed how the dormant chicken pox virus, that same virus that had ruined my Halloween from my freshman year of high school, had decided to rear its ugly head and make war with my nerve endings.  Considering the recent weeks with longer hours of work, I didn’t feel any more stressed than what I considered normal.  It was a sobering reality check, that although I couldn’t identify a change in my tension levels, my body did. And my body had, had enough.

This was about three weeks ago now. Although the rash has healed, I continue to struggle with lingering nerve pain. And the pain is a reminder to give myself margin to rest. As soon as I feel it coming on, I retreat to our bedroom. Once there I turn down all the lights, lower the volume on the TV, and watch something life affirming (Hello Hallmark Channel) until I fall asleep.  This is a completely new pattern of behavior that is exhausting all on its own,  because breaking routine to turn off the to-do list in my mind is not how I define normal.

The last fifteen years, have been a mix of work and fun, and my life has been so full! Without children in my life, I’ve become very driven by my career. We have a saying at work, “Ill bleed for you”. It’s a rally cry, expressing a sense of loyalty and determination to our team when we are in the throes of product development. Sometimes I feel the need to bleed out, so that my team, my boss, and my career are successful.  In an effort to do it all, my body shuts down and demands rest.

What do you mean I can’t do it all? What do you mean I’m not Super Woman? What do you mean I’m not as young as I once was? What do you mean I need to change?

I feel like these 4 questions constantly plague the women around me, it’s the attack of the enoughs:  Not young enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not enough…

And that’s when I am reminded that I am enough because of the salvation, the love, the grace found in my Lord who is more than enough. I find rest in that,knowing that beyond my career, beyond my failures, beyond the rash that burns. I am enough.

One last question: What do you mean French fries don’t cure all that ails us!



So it begins. A new Blog. A New Manifesto.


I am 36 years old living in a moment of rebellion. The changing tide of cultural standards, political challenges, and insecurities mixed with unrealized potential and at times a loss in faith has me at a crossroads.

Pretty Girl, what are you going to do with the rest of your years?



  • A feather, especially one that is large or ornamental
  • Something that resembles a plume: a plume of smoke
  • A token or decoration of honor; prize
  • A feather or cluster of feathers worn especially formerly as a badge or ornament in a headband, hat, etc.

My Tribe, the people that walk and breathe with me, they are my lifeblood. From my family to my team at work, these relationships hold some of my most treasured moments. These moments are the decorations of honor that will endure after my life is over. My heart is driven to become a thought leader in loving people well.

The leader of my tribe the sweet man I married plays a prominent role in my days. We are 8 years into this thing called marriage and continue to focus on finding ways to meet each other with fresh eyes.

In the Bible (Exodus 13: 21-22) we learn that The Israelites followed a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night in the desert. As I struggle with my own desert of infertility, my relationship with my Lord continues to strengthen when I focus on his consistent unending love and hope.

And the occasional chicken feather. If you spend any time with me at all you will quickly learn of my affinity for chickens. Spending just moments with our girls, stops the constant list of to-do’s and noise in my head. Watching them with their single focus gives me the permission to focus singly on one thing, life. The singularly beautiful gift of life.


Noun, plural tallies.

  • An account or reckoning; a record of debit and credit, of the score of a game, or the like.
  • a notch or mark made on or in a tally
  • A number or group of items recorded.

As a third generation project manager. There is nothing that soothes my soul more than organizing a list of tasks and checking it off. I have a passion for using the same techniques that I use at work, in my personal life to provide a foundation of order.

Photography, capturing moments from behind the shutter of the camera has added such delight to my world. The ability to relive in laughter and tears and give account of my memories is a gift.

Like the Quills used by the writers from generations before us, I am reminded that each of our lives, and the stories they tell matter. This is why I write!

As I share this journey, my hope is that others will find confidence and joy in their own.

Welcome to Plume and Tally!

A special thanks to Jeff Goins and his encouragement and challenge to become a more confident writer.


What he wants you to know…March 2016 Edition


Have you ever wanted points of interest for conversations on a date night with your husband or boyfriend? Do you every wonder what his brain in all of its manly glory is thinking? Are you wishing for connection and intimacy. These thoughts were contributed by my  favorite man and husband Ryan Schaaf. Some of these offer a more personal look to our relationship, others could solve many a marital turmoil. I believe each of them could be used as examples for opportunities to find relationship with that man of yours. 

  1. You are better at finding things than I am. Sometimes superiority is both a blessing and a burden. So just embrace it all.
  2. You need to learn how to switch input modes on the TV. I have taught you, many times, but it has always been a sort of exercise that is not unlike trying to spoon-feed strained peas to a toddler.
  3. The stovetop is very difficult to clean. When you stir the mashed potatoes, pretend that the house will catch fire if you spill any of it. Also, I may or may not set the house on fire instead of cleaning up.
  4. You shouldn’t get mad at me for “obsessing with my phone” while I am writing something for your blog.
  5. I will never ridicule you for laughing at jokes that you’ve already heard me tell a thousands times before.
  6. F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E. That is how you spell favorite. (I do think it is unfortunate that every synonym for that word is so impractical for context.)
  7. I’d go to the movies more often if you didn’t insist on me staying awake.
  8. Even though I complain about it, I’m sometimes glad that you don’t spool the toilet paper because you do it wrong.
  9. Those moments where you fuss over me when I have nothing to offer you besides abject dependence are among my fondest memories of us.
  10. Please, for the love of all that is holy, pick something to eat. When you shoot down my first and second suggestions, I’m not making any others.

That Purple Glow

The Purple Glow

I had a sick husband at home. It was the first time in months I had found myself out of our normal carpool routine.  The freedom of a few moments alone that allowed contemplation and bad bad karaoke. After making a quick stop at a new local market with a butcher shop, I was quite excited and proud to have a few new cuts of meat and great recipe dreams for our future.

I found myself feeling pretty high on life as I navigated my way home. I had recently received a great review and a raise at work, my career goals have become more focused, and as a couple we were making progress towards other goals to support our plan for 2016.

Thanks to Siri, who has become my favorite co-pilot, I took a new way home. As I turned down a different street I found myself completely in awe of the beauty before me. Surrounded by the evenings darkness, I was presented with the gorgeous purple glow of the rides of Knotts Berry Farm. From a distance the theme parks’ neon lights lit up the night sky, and gave a glow to the entire area. Driving closer I relived wonderful memories from visits with family and friends.

When a traffic signal stopped my progress directly in front of theme park I had a moment of clarity. From this angle I could see the bolts of the metal ride structures, the peeling paint on buildings, the worn turnstiles at the back gate. It was a sobering moment. Up close and personal, the purple glow illuminated the flaws of a man made place.

The juxtaposition of just a few short moments led me to wonder about my own glow. As a child of God, we are instructed to let our light shine. What color was my light, and does it focus on my human flaws or the goodness that lives in my heart as His beloved child? When we become laser focused on our own goals and achievements, we stop maintaining relationship with our Lord. Its a fiercely human flaw, a flaw that hits me at my core.

The reality is, like the amazing men and women who created the rides that give thousands of people a day a screaming good time, my talents were provided by my creator. The moment I stop striving to know and understand his path for my life,  my humanness takes over. Sin creeps in, and starts to woo me to focus on areas that are not important, sacrificing the maintenance of my soul.

The Bible says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” in Jeremiah 29:11.  This comforts me, knowing that I can trust his plan for my life. That if I focus on a relationship with my savior, He is faithful and will guide me to a place where my light can shine brightly for his glory, flaws and all.