Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A little bit of magic

What an exciting day! From what we can tell at this point the new Julia 1933 Hand Cream is a great success! We are getting outstanding customer feedback and our retailers are going through inventory faster than any of our other new product launches.  This is so exciting for us!

Our lavender line of products, what we call our Signature Series, is certainly not going away.  It is this farmhouse lavender line that started everything for us.  Where we once were just a farm, we are now a full-fledged bath and body business.  I am still shaking my head at all of this.  There certainly was never any kind of fancy business plan mapping out this venture.  We never had board meetings or conference calls or investors to please or any of the other things you first think of when starting a business.  It just evolved. 

And it’s still evolving….

From the moment we first moved to Hummingbird Farms we said it was magic.  Everything from cockatiels flying out of nowhere to baby deer on our front porch looking for their mama…. It all seemed so magical.  And in a way each product we develop just seems like magic to me when it is finally nicely packaged in a bottle and ready for distribution. 

It was time to expand our product line outside of lavender, so we are just thrilled that Julia 1933 seems to be doing very well in the market.  We will have a Julia 1933 Body Butter and Hand Soap available very soon.  The products themselves are developed, it is just a matter of finalizing the packaging.

The back of the Julia 1933 Hand Cream reads this: 

"It wasn’t until her twilight years that Julia discovered solace in the Texas Hill Country.  Mid-summer evenings found her sitting outside under the big Live Oak, sipping local wine and watching the hummingbirds flutter in the fragrant hill country air.  We hope you enjoy Julia’s summer slice of heaven."

We hope you enjoy Julia as much as we have.  Both figuratively and literally….. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Think I'll just sit here and drink

It's exhausting being a grass-fed-free-roaming cow at Hummingbird Farms.  I wish someone would bring me one of those cute little drinks with an umbrella in it....

Saturday, October 12, 2013

May I diagnose you?

 So I had a great week due to two things:  (1).  A dog and (2).  Dr. Red Duke.

First regarding the dog, I was at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston and got to love on this precious Collie who looked just like Lassie.  He was there because he is the mascot for PAWS Houston.  It is such a wonderful organization.  PAWS Houston helps to maintain the relationship between terminally and/or chronically ill people and their own pet.  It’s not a therapy organization, but an organization whose purpose is to provide hospital visits by the patients’ own pets.  How great is that?

So not long after I got to love on the PAWS mascot, I was coming around a corner and almost ran right into Dr. Red Duke.  He is one of my heroes! How many of you know whom I’m talking about? Throughout the 80’s and probably into the 90’s Dr. Red Duke ran a national syndicated television spot on health.  He would discuss particular ailments or medical advancements of the day.  His spots were always very informational and well done.  I am quite certain I have seen every one of his segments.  It was his demeanor and his plain people talk that made him so engaging.  He sometimes would air shows from the hospital where he would be dressed in typical trauma surgeon attire, but my favorites were when he would film from parts unknown where he would be in his jeans and cowboy hat, and very often on a horse or with his dog by his side.  I can still hear him in his thick Texas accent as he signed off from each show, “From the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, I’m Dr. Red Duke.” I just loved him! 

But let me tell you the rest of the story.  I have always had a fascination with health, and specifically gory diseases and strange growths.  Maybe I should have been a doctor or mole inspector or something….  Nothing thrills me more than getting to pick some funky bodily growth off myself or off anyone else who will let me (including my dogs).  Oh how I love a good fungus… 

So since I have always had a fascination with health, diseases, and drugs, and since my idea of a wonderful Sunday afternoon in college was curling up to The Physicians’ Desk Reference (I loved that 10 pound book!), I was also the first to diagnose my friends and family whether they felt they needed a diagnosis or not.  I suppose it could be a little annoying when I would interrupt someone mid-sentence on a subject completely unrelated and say something like, “Will you let me look at your tongue?” Anyway – as a result of all that diagnosing I was always doing (and still do), my friend Sami started calling me Dr. Debi Duke.  It has stuck through the years and to this day Sami will call me up and say, “hey Dr. Debi Duke, I have a question for you….”. 

So as you can imagine it was just a huge thrill to run into the real deal Dr. Red Duke and get to walk down the hallway with him for a little bit.  He was so nice, exactly what I always imagined, I’m just so bummed I didn’t have someone take our picture…..  It did make me a little sad though because he is getting really old.  I just hate the thought of losing this wonderful Texas Icon. 

Fortunately for me, however, I was on my best behavior and I didn’t ask to look at his tongue. 

Or tell him that he looked like he needed some vitamin D. 

Oh – or that he had a bit of a gait in his walk and needed an alignment. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The pink ribbon and the silver lining

This month is quite monumental for me.  Perhaps if Facebook had existed in 2003 it would have been listed as a life event on my timeline.  Well actually – now that I think about it, probably not being that it took me several years before I began publicly telling my story.  I’m still trying to analyze why I didn’t speak of it for the first few years. 

This post is dedicated to all those that have been a victim of breast cancer.  Whether it was you that had it, or a loved one in which you suffered alongside.  We have made so many advancements with this disease, yet it still causes children to be left without mothers (and even mothers being left without daughters) and spouses, sisters, brothers, grandchildren, nieces and nephews wishing they had more time to spend with their loved one.  I think what makes me most angry with breast cancer is that everyone is a potential victim of it – it’s an equal opportunity cancer.  We just don’t know what causes it or who exactly will fall victim to it.  

It was October 2003 when I received the news that I had invasive breast cancer.   Coincidentally, it was  breast cancer awareness month.  I am so happy and relieved to be hitting the 10-year mark this month!  I only wish more women could join me in saying that.  You can read more about my story here and here.  Today I simply want to pay homage to all the victims of this terrible disease.  If you currently have or had breast cancer, I hope you found or soon find the silver lining in it all.  I know I certainly did. 

I knew the day my husband and I were driving home after my biopsy that my life was probably going to be forever changed.  I had a feeling the lump was cancerous because I point-blank pleaded with the radiologist to tell me what she thought of the biopsy, being that she sees them every day.  Her response – “It worries me.”  I actually appreciated her telling me that because when the phone call came the next day I was actually a little more prepared (if that's even possible) when I heard the diagnosis.  But even without her “It worries me” comment, I knew it wasn’t a normal lump.  I just knew…  

But it was the cathartic experience my husband and I had driving home after the biopsy when I knew that we were both going to be OKAY.  We drove the scenic way home from San Antonio, the back roads from Boerne to Sisterdale with a little jot around Luckenbach.  As we were passing a farm a few miles before the gate to our farm, I saw something that looked a little odd in the pasture just on the other side of the fence off the shoulder of the road.  I quickly shouted to my husband to pull over.  We got out of the car and it was there that we stood on the side of that hill country road, holding hands while watching a sheep give birth to a precious baby lamb.  We couldn’t believe that we were driving by just as this moment was happening.  We didn’t talk at all, both choking away our tears as we watched this beautiful life unfold. 

It was a precious sign of life and the beginning of a new normal. 

If you currently have breast cancer, or if you happen to be diagnosed in the future, I pray that you, too, find your new normal to actually be a time of wonderful reflection of how great your life is – and will be.