may, 2015

It's been a while since we've written a newsletter....lots has happened that has needed our utmost attention.  Many apologies!  But lo, and behold! Summer is here!  We are winding down the days at our children's schools, and I know many of you are already out for summer.  I heard that some schools up north are in school until the end of June due to the snow days, so it's a crazy time of year.  Regardless, the Earth still spins and time still flies!

It's very interesting how easy it is to talk about how we don't take life for granted.  Words, words... We talk about how we put others first, treat others as we want to be treated, and we are ever so grateful.  Again, words, words...  We have always openly talked to our kids about these words of wisdom, but the past year has offered us a challenge which has forced us to live up to all the hype.  Living with true gratitude, compassion and grace has been MUCH more difficult than we ever thought. 

A little over a year ago, our oldest daughter's hair started to fall out.  She had a massive amount of thick, long blonde hair and over the course of a few short months, she lost about 90% of it.  My dad had alopecia, so I knew what to look for, but it didn't follow any pattern of alopecia.  We went to several dermatologists with little help.  Then she started developing a telltale round bald patch and she was diagnosed with autoimmune alopecia areata.  All the doctors told us there is no way we will ever find the trigger that flipped the switch. I became obsessed with researching alopecia and autoimmunity because we were getting no answers; it made no sense at all to me that we couldn't figure out or at least narrow down the field of possible triggers.  A 14-year-old's hair just doesn't fall out without a trigger.  It was a sign that something was wrong with her health, so we became her best advocates. 

I researched the genetic mapping for alopecia and it is actually not related to skin autoimmune conditions (we were seeing a dermatologist??), but rather more closely to celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes.  I knew from graduate school about the nutritional protocols for these diseases, so I began to research autoimmune nutritional protocols.  We completely overhauled our diet, took her off the meds they had prescribed for her (immunosuppressive drugs for an already messed up immune system), ran some other gut and allergy tests, and today we are seeing enough hair to have the cutest little bobbed haircut on the cutest 14 year old you have ever seen.  We called and scheduled the haircut as soon as school is out!  She is so excited to get rid of the hairpiece she has had to wear (we were so grateful to have found it!).  We are hopeful that this will at least control the alopecia, knowing that we won't necessarily cure it.       

Watching our daughter go through this was heartbreaking.  What she will never understand is that she is more beautiful today than ever before because of the grace, compassion and confidence she exudes now.  Middle school is difficult enough if everything is going well.  The things said to her, the comments we overheard from girls at school while we were watching her play her heart out on the volleyball court, the friends that let her down have been eye-opening to say the least.  The gift from this hardship was finding out who her true friends were and she has a sweet group of great friends who wouldn't care if she was as bald as a cue ball!

We have had many days of tears and breakdowns.  Through it all, though, we have had to live with gratitude that we are dealing with hair loss not something more serious.  We have had to live with grace as we forgive the kids that have made her life even more difficult.  Anna has become so much more confident, so much more grounded as she has learned to focus on what she can control.  Compassion, grace and gratitude....words to live by for sure.

We are grateful for our customers, for your patience as we heal our family and juggle several jobs at once, and for your support as we grow our company. 

With our Gratitude,
The Beck Family

We are going to be concentrating our efforts solely on fisherkids products going forward.  This is great news for you!  All the products we will no longer carry once they are sold out are listed on our website under "Going, Going, Gone."

A snapshot of what you will find:

Table Topics: These are great conversation starters!  We keep one at the dinner table, one for sleepovers with friends, and one in the car.  You will learn so much about your family and it's a great way to teach your children life lessons without them even knowing they are learning! :)

table topics

Lovely Manners:  Teach your children proper table manners with these great placemats!  Table settings as well as table manners are all included on each placemat.

PSA personalized stampers: These are great for camp notes to home!  The art of personal communication has taken a bit of a turn in the age of texting, so it's nice to teach the grace of a thank you card, a love note to a relative, or a pen pal note from home.  Kids love to receive mail, but they often have no idea how to even send mail!  We use these stamps for return addresses, but also for camp cards to give to friends at summer camp, gift cards for presents, and to mark school items.

Boatman Geller: These personalized products are phenomenal!  The personalized placemats, dinner plates, etc make family meal time a time not to miss!  They are a great way to teach the value of family meal time and make memories at the same time!

  kids placemat  
We have a few other items as well!   Check it out! 

I am not a financial expert, I assure you.  We have made our mistakes financially, but we are trying our best to teach our children sound fiscal wisdom to hopefully change their financial trajectory.  Greg and I set a budget each month, but we wonder when to teach this to our children?

From an educational perspective, there's really no bad time to start!  You just have to be sure the lesson is age appropriate.  For instance, younger children may only have three things to allocate money to in a budget: giving, saving, and spending on fun stuff.  Older children may have more: giving, saving, auto insurance, gas, clothing above and beyond the family budget, entertainment, etc.

The main point I would like to drive home: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.  Let me explain.  We want our kids to have a life full of all things happy and fun. But if that's all we allow, then they grow up to be less responsible adults in our society.  There are times to allow the happy and fun and times to teach the life lesson called "How Much Things Really Cost." For example, even though we can afford to give our kids money to go to Six Flags or the movies at the last minute, we choose to teach them that as the heads of the household, Greg and I budget for the family.  Since this is last minute, they need to use their spend money thus they need an age-appropriate budget in place.   

Two things have to happen prior to this lesson:

1) We have to set our children's commissions age-appropriately.  There is no need to give a younger child a lot for commission if they are simply saving the spend money for a toy.  As they age, though, they will need a greater commission so that you can teach these lessons.  I am NOT saying that we have to pay our children more than we get paid, so keep it household- and age-appropriate.

2) We have to communicate this to our children ahead of time.  It's okay to talk to them about family budgets (not necessarily how much but rather that you have to have one to function responsibly).  It's okay to let them know that there are some things they will need to afford on their own so that when they are in college and beyond, they will understand the value of a dollar and the value of a budget.

Very interesting things happen when your children begin to understand the value of the dollar.  They often decide the purchase isn't worth it.  They often decide they would rather delay gratification (see upcoming June's newsletter for more info on this!).  They often allocate their money in a way that spills over into things like time management.  They often learn to live within or below their means.  All of these are wonderful lessons to learn now while we are there to give them a kiss and a hug and support.

If you have older children, check out a fantastic new budgeting tool by Ramsey Solutions called Every Dollar.  It's online and app-based so older children will gravitate to its ease!  It's a great way to slowly introduce your older child to budgeting and ease them into the many things they will be financially responsible or when they are on their own.        

In our Parent's Guide, we mention how its wonderfully liberating as you begin using our responsibility station because you can stop saying no all the time to requests from the kids and finally say "Yes! If you use your spend money."  That still remains true.  But it certainly doesn't mean the word NO is a bad word!

Our children need to know limits and boundaries.  That is how they thrive and evolve into responsible adults.  If they always hear YES, then their brain makes no contingency connections.  As they begin to hear NO, their neural network begins to make contingency pathways: solutions, work-arounds, provisions.  It gives them the ability to solve problems and creates a work ethic. 

We are their parents, not their friends...the friend part comes later after we have completed our job as parent to the best of our ability.  Stay realistic: there are times to say yes and times to say no.  Don't apologize for doing what is right as a parent, even if "all the other parents" said yes!  ("But MOM! All the other parents said yes!")           

Make sure you download our Parent's Guide to help you get started with your responsibility station!  Click on the image below to download.


We have several resources available to you on our website,  Click on the image below to see the resources we have cultivated for you.  Let us know if there is something else you would like to see!  A special shout out to Liz Matthews in the sixth grade for finding another great resource to add to our list of games and websites!


Check out our previous newsletters with lots of tips, motivation and advice! We try to make it a little easier to follow through with the responsibility lessons you are teaching your child.  It's not always easy to be a parent, often overwhelming, so we create the newsletters to make it a little easier!


Please know that we are so grateful for your support.  We are working diligently to serve your family and families all around the world.  Your referral means so much to us and we are flattered and overwhelmed with your support.

The Beck Family 
SAVE 10%

Summer is a great time to start using our Boredom Spinner!  When your kids tell you they are bored this summer, you can have them spin for their entertainment fate!  Enter code IMSOBORED at checkout to receive the discount from now until July 1, 2015! 

Offer Expires: July 1, 2015