check your skin

Yesterday my social media pages lit up with the name Dawn

I didn't know her, but people across the world were mourning her and because I saw words that connected me to her—wife and mom—I decided to read her story.

I haven't been able to get her out of my mind since. I've never felt comfortable writing about someone else's story or giving any kind of perspective about a person I've never met. But I feel like she would have been okay with it; I think she wanted her words to travel as far as they could.

Dawn was married to a man she loved, she was mother to children who are the same age as two of mine, and she was born the same year as me. She spent her growing up years unprotected in the sun and loved the feeling of warmth across her shoulders. Just like I did.


I thought of the countless times I've been careful to apply sunscreen to my children, but waved off the need to apply one more round—to myself. And that's where I need to make a change. I owe it to my children to be a good example and take care of my own health.  

It's not the only way I've failed. I'm ashamed to admit I've used a tanning bed. Sometime after my youngest turned one, my body declared a hormonal war on my face, and I opted to spend time in a bed to try and clear it up or disguise it with a "healthy glow". It was right before my husband's holiday work party and I was embarrassed by my skin. I told myself I was doing it for him, but that's a lie. He would be angry to know I ever had that thought or made such a foolish decision.

I let my need to impress others take precedence over my own health. It was so wrong. And, Dawn, I promise it will never happen again. A little less than a year after that holiday party, my family doctor found a mole she didn't like. She was concerned enough to send me to a dermatologist, who was concerned enough to have it removed. 

All that remains now is the scar—and the fear, of course. 

So now, as we all wait eagerly for the sun to send its warmth, I am making a promise to myself (and my children and everyone I care about) to protect my skin and to remind you to protect yours.

I read Dawn's last blog entry, written only a handful of days before she died, and have pressed her final words onto my heart:

Check your skin people. Check your skin.

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the strength of one voice

This post is part of’s support of the Dove® Celebrate Mom Contest.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

You can nominate inspiring moms here:



“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” ~ Gandhi

My village is made of beautiful and vibrant women, who lend their wisdom, insight, and unwavering support. I depend on them to open my eyes, my mind, my heart; to help me grow into the person and parent I see in my future; to push me closer to being the role model I want my children to have.

To choose just one of these women to celebrate is hard. Lucky me. 

Betsy and I first connected in a prenatal class over a discussion of cloth diapers. It was refreshing to find someone else keen to try them. We talked about different brands, but never the pros and cons. There were no cons for Betsy; it was simply the right choice.  

Years later, where I've allowed the day-to-day pressures of motherhood to weaken that shared vision for a healthier world, Betsy remains committed.

She's made it her mission to honour the environment; to give it the respect it deserves. And she doesn't just pull it off on a "good day", she lives this way every day.

When my 10-year-old daughter recently asked why we were sitting in a drive-thru on a sunny day, the excuse that it was faster than unbuckling four kids to go inside fell flat. And I thought of Betsy as I sat down with them later to discuss how I could do better.

She is the mom you pass on a rainy drive to school. She and her kids wearing rubber boots and backpacks. The smell of wet cement in their noses, the sound of feet stomping in puddles singing in their ears. An appreciation for the Earth on display like a heart on a sleeve. 

While other families choose their homes based on curb appeal, Betsy's family looks for connection to the community: schools, markets, libraries, recreation. All of them reached by foot or bike. Secondhand clothing and toys are given with the lesson that history holds more value than shiny packaging ever could. Litter is their concern even when it's left by others. Thoughtful use of energy is second nature.

When she made the decision to leave an engineering career to focus on family and her passion for the environment, Betsy worried her children would lose some of their respect for her as an intelligent and independent woman.

She has nothing to fear.

Betsy is guiding her children on a path that's harder to walk; the one from which so many of us stray when convenience calls. She pushes them forward with promises of a view that's worth the climb.


She shows everyone around her how much strength one voice can have. She does not waste time wondering if her choices will make enough of an impact; she knows they will. 

She thinks globally and acts locally by giving her time and expertise to community initiatives. She is an activist and an advocate. She is a change maker.  She teaches her children the importance of humanity.

I am nominating my innovative and inspiring friend because I believe in a brighter future. 

Betsy isn't waiting and hoping, for the sake of her children, that the world will become a better place. She is already doing the work, for the sake of her children.

And for yours and mine.


 "Live life within limits, without limiting life." ~ Betsy Agar


Visit by September 4th to nominate a mom who’s an inspiring role model to women and girls in the Dove® Celebrate Mom Contest.  Four inspiring women will win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice.

And check out more stories on about amazing role model moms: 


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