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7 Things I Love About my Wife (It’s Her Birthday)

By 02/20/2018January 2nd, 202177 Comments

Terreeia and I have known each other for almost 20 years. We’ve been married for six. I first posted about our relationship here. And then talked about our first date here. So here are 7 Things I love about my Wife:

Terreeia Rauffman and Maria Killam on Valentines Day last week!

Terreeia’s first love is hospitality. She has won awards for her ability to manage people and create teams. Therefore, organizing my 50th birthday party last summer was easy for her.

She wanted to surprise me with the perfect gift (I don’t pretend that I like something, well I do for about an hour and then I say, ‘Can we return this one?’. . . I don’t like waste, is this terrible??? Eeeek, tell me quick) and I found out later she spent weeks and weeks trying to find me just the right gift (for this very reason, she was NOT interested in the returning part on my 50th birthday).

She looked at puppies online and was just about to get one but then had my sister Elizabeth do some probing (with me) and I worried that it was too soon to get one since we do travel so much.

She even had a piano expert come out to the house to see if we could fit one somewhere because I used to play years ago and I loved it (We really need a bigger house first).

In the end she bought me a beautiful, thick gold band for my wedding ring finger because I’m wearing a lot of gold now and I kept trying them on (I really love it and it was not returned).

It was the best birthday party I ever had. Everyone who loved me showed up and it was truly one of the best days of my life.

Terreeia would NEVER be the one to suggest that buying a new roof, (for example) should be a replacement for Christmas/Birthday/Valentines present, no way.

You don’t have to have money to be romantic.

I haven’t stepped into a grocery store in years (well barely). I am truly lucky to have someone who cooks for me. She makes the most amazing marinara sauce, I’m always sad when I finish my bowl of spaghetti. And her vegetarian shepherds pie is one of my favourites.

Since I’m a vegetarian and she is not, she says there are so many things she can cook that I’ll never experience but our friends do when they come over.

This is a deconstructed Nicoise salad she whipped up for an outdoor lunch on our deck in the summer.

Making food like this is effortless for her.

It’s pretty hard to coach your spouse so she doesn’t try to do that very often, but she has amazing clarity and  can easily get to the bottom of a complicated situation and call it what it is.

Bad good or otherwise.

If there’s a difficult email that needs to be written, that’s always Terreeia’s department.

Terreeia and Maria

Terreeia handles all the logistics for our Specify Colour with Confidence events when we’re travelling and manages the back of the room during the course.

She gets up for 10 minutes to talk at the beginning of my events and the rest of the 3 days people wonder when this wise woman is coming up again, to train us all for a day or wonder out loud how they can get their own Terreeia in their business.

Her compassion and non-judgemental personality shines through with everyone whom she interacts with.

And I have good news, you can. She is available hourly for one-on-one coaching at admin at

Well, I love that people love her and get who she is by just being around her for a very short time.

There is always this aura of feeling so loved around Terreeia.  Since I’m the creative one in our business and the writer, I love how much she supports me in everything I do.

When I need her to pick up flowers for me last minute, it’s important that my cell is nearby because it starts pinging with pics and her going “Hey, where are you? Can you tell me now which ones you want?” eeeep.

She loves my taste and pretty much lets me do whatever I want when it comes to decorating the house.

Master Bedroom

Even the year before we went to Italy together, she had some friends that invited her so I said “Honey, the entire house needs drapes, so why don’t you go to Italy and I’ll get drapes installed.”  I know many of you thought I was crazy to do that, but that’s how decor-obsessed I am.

I’m in charge of the flowers, and the vegetable garden is her domain. She grows garlic every winter, here in the first picture below, she had harvested them and laid them out to dry.

On the right are the garlic scapes we had in a meal shortly after she picked them!

The first year we had our raised beds installed, Terreeia tried square foot gardening. And it was amazing the amount of produce we got out of the garden that summer.

I love watching her working away in that garden. She gets so much pleasure out of it.

We scrap like everyone else, and sometimes it’s especially hard because we also work together but our values are the same and that’s the glue that holds us together.

She’s generous, forgiving, loving, kind, and a great listener. I love you my sweet Terreeia. Happy Birthday and thank you for being in my life.

Related posts:

3 Lessons I Learned While Installing my Garden 3 Years Ago

First Rule of Design, Boring New Equals Timeless Later

3 Things I Learned About Myself in Italy


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  • Michelle says:

    Awww, that was so sweet Maria. Happy Birthday Terreeia!

  • Sue says:

    Happy for the both of you. And happy birthday (yesterday)

  • Kate@Centsational Style says:

    You are the sweetest! I loved reading this! It was a pleasure meeting you both over a year ago and spending that evening together in San Francisco! May our paths cross again soon!

  • Happy Birthday Terreeia! In addition to Maria’s plug about your coaching career, I would like to tell those who are considering hiring you about who I know you to be:

    Terreeia is trustworthy and intuitive.
    She is focused and has strong convictions.
    She is gentle spirited.
    She is knowledgeable.
    She is conscientious and level headed.
    She is organized.
    She is creative.
    She is a problem solver.
    She is a leader.
    She is a generous giver, a cheerleader and an accomplished business woman.
    She is excellent.

    Aside from her business qualifications, Terreeia is beloved and precious. xox

  • Hala says:

    Happy Happy Happy Birthday Terreeia!
    It’s like I know you already from Maria’s tribute…

  • Mary Anne Clark says:

    This is such a beautiful tribute to your wife. I felt happy just reading about your love and admiration.
    Very Sweet.

  • valerie says:

    Happy birthday, Terreeia! Happy love, Maria and Terreeia! ❤️

  • Parisgirl says:

    You are blessed Maria. I cannot say many positive things about my traditional marriage. Love is so hard to find that when you do you should grab it with both hands and not let go. Go and spoil Terreeia today. Happy Birthday Terreeia.

  • Bonnie says:

    Happy Birthday Tarreeia!

  • Lisa says:

    Beautiful post Maria! Happy birthday Terreeia!

  • Susan S says:

    Happiest birthday to you, Terreeria! Everyone needs a Terreeria in his/her life and everyone needs to be a Terreeria in someone’s life!

  • Kathy says:

    Some people go a life time without finding their “best friend”, partner, soulmate. Cheers to the two of you !

  • Rosemary says:

    What a beautiful testament to your love, Maria. As a spouse I would have loved getting something like this for my birthday. Happy Birthday Terreeia!

  • Happy Birthday Terreeia! What a wonderful post to start the day,
    Mary from Ohio

  • Jean says:

    What a wonderful tribute! Happy birthday Terreeia!

  • Martha says:

    Congratulations, and happy birthday, Terreeia!

  • Sugar R says:

    Congratulations Maria, on finding the love of your life, not everone does. I also was lucky enough to find the love of my life…we have been happily married for 29 years, and today is also his birthday. I wish you many, many years of love and happiness!

  • Deb says:

    Wish everyone in this world were as loving as the both of you! It has been great getting to know you virtually and want to wish Terreeia Happy Birthday!

  • paula RYan says:

    You guys are an amazing team…I’m blessed to have sat next to her during class in Chicago last year. One thing I would say too…is she’s pretty funny too:) Happy Birthday!

  • Penny says:

    What a wonderful tribute, Maria. I met Terreeia at your course in Toronto last Spring. Her genuine, warm smile says it all. Happy BIrthday Terreeia!

  • Kim says:

    Beautifull! ?

  • Cathy Walsh says:

    Ok so that made me weepy. Thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday Terreeia!!

  • Candice Hill says:

    Oh, I so love this! Great job, Maria!!! You’re a lucky girl!!! And so is Terreeia!! Love you guys!! Love, Candy ?

  • Maryann says:

    What a beautiful tribute. You seem like a great team together.

  • Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia!!
    Wow brought tears to my eyes !
    Beautuful love story ?
    What a uplifting this was to read this morning .’
    In a world of anger and the things that are taking place .
    What a joy ! This Bog was !!!
    Thank you for sharing your love story with us .
    May we all be blessed wirh finding our soul
    Mates !

  • Maria,
    I was so dissapointed that I didn’t get the chance to meet Terreia at our Colors course in Torrance due to her sister’s passing. I have heard many other people say that she is a very special person, and I hope to meet her one day.

    Happy birthday, Terreia, and I know that you and Maria will continue to be very happy for many years to come.

    What a wonderful love story.


  • Dee says:

    You both truly have so much to celebrate!
    And when you’re ready to bring a dog or another companion animal into your hearts and home, please don’t buy — consider adoption your first option. Animals for sale online and in pet stores are bred commercially in horrific conditions at large-scale puppy mills and by backyard breeders — no matter how nice the website looks or what they may tell you over the phone, online or in the store, profit is the only motive and it comes at the expense of suffering animals. There are so many wonderful and deserving pets of all ages and breeds waiting for their forever homes in shelters and rescues.
    Happy Birthday, Terreeia –enjoy your special day!

  • connie says:

    I appreciate your candor and openness about your lovely marriage. There is much negativity around us that this is a big breath of fresh air and food for the soul.

  • Patricia says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia! What a joy it has been to watch you two evolve as a couple!! You are kind and generous…I have learned so much from you both.

  • Lisa says:

    Happy Birthday!! ❤️

  • Mary from Virginia says:

    Happy Birthday!

  • Susan Silverman says:

    How lucky you are to be married to your best friend…not many of us can say the same thing. Happy Birthday to Terreeia!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    What a beautiful tribute for a beautiful person.
    Happy Birthday Terreeia! I want to be like you when I grow up.

  • Cyndia says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Terreeia!

  • Heather says:

    Happy birthday Terreeia!
    It’s lovely seeing you through Maria’s eyes.

  • Karen Tutrone says:

    After having met you both at a Specify Color With Confidence workshop in Burlington, MA, I can say firsthand that Terreeia makes everyone feel comfortable from the get-go! You are a great team and that is something oh-so-wonderful to find in life. Happy Birthday T. Many more! Great pic of you two!

  • Lisa Berry says:

    sweet! thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday!!!

  • sharon says:

    What a beautiful Tribute to a marvellous woman! I don’t think I have read such a great, and honest tribute in many years. you are indeed a fortunate woman to have Terreeia in your life!

  • Gery says:

    One cooks beautifully (vegetarian-how lucky), and one decorates beautifully—a match made in heaven!! Happy Birthday.

  • What a wonderful post honouring your wife. I can attest to her cooking skills – so yummy!
    Happy Birthday Terreeia, may it be your best one yet!

  • Diane says:

    Maria, your post brought tears to my eyes. It was beautiful. Happy Birthday Terreenia!

  • Hellen Junttila says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia!
    I have tears in my eyes after reading this wonderful writing about you!
    I am so happy that you are in our life’s and you are so good to Maria always.
    I love to come and have so tasty meals in your home, and thinking how blessed Maria is to injoy this every day.
    I Bless you Both with Love! ❤️❤️

  • Susan Smallwood says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia! Agreed-you are an amazing person……super smart AND non judgmental AND friendly AND patient with a bunch of designers in one room for three days who all have a bunch of questions!

  • Barbara Meglis says:

    You are really lucky, Maria. She is your perfect complement!

    Happy Birthday to Terreeia! She is a gem!

  • caren says:

    You guys are the cutest couple. I remember when you first posted about your relationship with your partner. I recall you were apprehensive about sharing it because of the reaction you might get (which I can understand, not everyone is kind ). Anyway, it was the most memorable blog post I ever read. I think about it to this day. I also remember all the great comments you got… one woman said …. “I thought you were going to tell us you’re republican…” LMAO… that one makes me chuckle to this day.

    Happy Birthday to T!

  • Carol says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia. I talked to uou once on the phone and you were so warm and kind, I
    felt like I’d known you for years so I what Maria means by your compassion and nonjudgemental
    personality. You are one of a kind!!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!

  • kelly says:

    Happy birthday Terreeia! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  • mrsben says:


    Wishing you a beautiful day! -Brenda-

  • Camy - California says:

    Maria, this is so lovely. I’m so happy for you.
    And, Happy Birthday Terreeia!

  • Marguerite says:

    Maria, this is your best (and truest) post EVER! I have met T. at Color Training and its all true!!! Happy Birthday T, wishing you many years of health happiness joy and peace with Maria! Marguerite in Stamford CT

  • Kate says:

    Awesome. Happy marriages are the best.

  • Judi says:

    Happy birthday T!! I second everything Maria so eloquently wrote. Hugs to you both!

  • Janice says:

    Such a lovely tribute. Happy Birthday Terreeia!

  • Allyson Paris says:

    Terreeia, wishing you the happiest of birthdays and much happiness to you, Maria, as well. It’s lovely to see how you both appreciate each other. Happy Birthday!

  • Lindy says:

    Lovely! Happy Birthday Terreeia! Sounds like an amazing partnership!!!

  • Wendy Casey says:

    I love your love for each other…cheers!

  • Sandy says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia ! It was great to meet you both this past fall at Vancouver for training. Indeed a very loving couple !

  • Jan Harry says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia! I have just found Maria online, so have only been following her for a couple of weeks. What I love about Maria? 1. Speaking from the heart. 2. A core of authenticity 3. confidence 4. willingness to share so much with me, a stranger. 5. Her pretty yellow couch! (Now I want one.) 6. Her sense of style. 7. Her common sense approach. My seven reasons to love Maria after just two weeks! You two are very fortunate to have each other as sweet companions. Jan from Austin

  • Katherine says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your wife on her birthday! It’s nice to hear about such a happy couple!

  • Joanne Michael says:

    Happy Birthday Terreeia!

    My greatest regret was not being able to meet you in the LA Seminar this past year. You are so talented. Thank you for what you do for Maria and all of us.

    I make take you up on that coaching very soon.

  • Claudia says:

    Happy birthday Terreeia! :insert bouquet of beautiful flowers here:
    Wishing you a wonderful new year, filled with joy. Thank you Maria, for sharing her with us in this way.

  • Rob Barkhouse says:

    Belated Happy Birthday Terreeia. You two are blessed. Now if only my partner would allow me to make all decorating decisions…grrrr!


  • Lucy says:

    Happy belated birthday Terreeia! What a wonderful tribute! You are such a fabulous pair!

  • Fran W. says:

    What a sweet tribute! Blessing to you both, and a very happy birthday to Terreeia!

  • Susan Ansley says:

    Lovely words to say about a lovely person, Happy Birthday, Terreeia!

  • Ellen says:

    Beautifully said Maria! Happy Belated Birthday TerreeiaI! You two are amazing and I love you both!

  • Andrea says:

    Lovely post! Happy birthday, Terreeia.

  • Mid America Mom says:

    So sweet and thoughtful. I had to announce to all my family how touching you put a post all together. Many partners have learned that decorating decisions can be a sensitive subject for their significant other 😉

  • What a lovely tribute, Maria! It was such a pleasure to meet Terreeia at last year’s workshop! Happy, happy birthday Terreeia! Ok, I think she has a lot in common with my husband, Shad… dinner next time you both are in San Francisco?

  • Barb says:

    HAPPY HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY TERREEIA!!! Beautiful post to a beautiful woman!!!

  • debra johnson says:

    What a beautiful inspiring post about your wife and best friend! Happy Birthday !

  • Claire says:

    You are indeed a lucky lady! I feel very privileged to know you both! XOXO

  • amyks says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Terrieea! I’m still bummed I didn’t get to meet the two of you when you were exploring Boston and Cambridge last summer.

  • Maria says:

    What a wonderful live story! Beautiful relationship.

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