When to walk away from a million dollars

Over the last 6 years I’ve taught hundreds of people to paint beautiful scarves. Many  have told me, “You’ve got a million-dollar idea here.” Dozens of guests have asked, “When are you bringing Paint a Scarf to my town? It would really take off there!”

So a couple of years ago my husband and I decided to take Paint a Scarf national. Coast-to-coast. Our first stop would be Phoenix, where we care for my aging father every winter.

We launched in October. We were mobbed at the Women’s show. Two TV stations covered our grand opening. Everything looked like Paint a Scarf was going to boom.

Then disaster struck.

Dad took a turn for the worse. He fell. He had a stroke. He now requires constant care. His dementia is getting worse fast. He can’t remember what you told him 30 seconds ago. He thinks he’s alone in the house and cries out for help every 2 minutes if you leave the room.

We have to prompt him to do every single thing each day. We dress him, bathe him, cook for him, and answer hundreds of questions repeatedly. The hardest part is he can’t sit still. He’s up, down, around, moving constantly day and night. When you ask, “Where are you going?” he looks baffled and says, “I don’t know…”

We have all sorts of help in place—respite caregivers, daycare, home nurses—but he still requires about 10 hours of care just to get through the day (and I sleep fitfully in case he needs me in the night).

And what has suffered most is Paint A Scarf. I have not had time to make my sales calls, do my marketing tasks or attend networking events. I can feel us losing momentum.

Over the past month I faced the decision so many female entrepreneurs face – what to put first, my family or my business? Which takes me back my original question: when do you walk away from a million dollars?

The answer: when your family needs you more.

You cannot have it all, so you have to choose the best over the good, mourn the loss, remember the moments.

David and I decided this morning to stop the national expansion of Paint a Scarf. Our last pub event in Phoenix will be December 20. After that we’re available for private parties in Phoenix until April.

We’ll keep our Alaska operation going, thanks to our terrific employees. We’ll be there painting by the creek this summer just as we have since 2013.

I can’t have it all, but I can have what’s most important. I can help my dad die comfortably. I can be present for my children and grandchildren.

I’m both sad and relieved. I’ve really enjoyed being an entrepreneur and business woman. But at the end of my life when I look back, I’ll remember the relief in my dad’s eyes when he sees me walk through the door. “It’s alright,” he says to the caregiver, “My daughter’s here. She’ll know what to do.”



  1. Jeri Green December 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    So heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time…you are not “walking away from a million dollars”, you are “walking toward the promise of the Lord”…”Honor your father and mother so your days will be long on this earth”!! You are young enough to make your millions later…Dads are once in a lifetime honor

  2. Julie Pulliam December 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I love you and I love that you love your dad so much! You will be rewarded 10 fold. We are taught to honor our mother and our father, and you are doing just that. You have such a great outlook on this and you will be rewarded. But you and I both know, the reward is just how you put it, seeing the relief in your dad’s eyes….you, Gina are a saint.

    • Gina Murrow December 12, 2018 at 8:34 am - Reply

      Thanks, Julie. I don’t really feel like a saint, but it warms my heart to hear your encouragement. 🙂

  3. lynn boots December 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Wow! This made me want to cry. I have a very similar story and I have not regretted one minute of my decision.

    • Gina Murrow December 12, 2018 at 8:33 am - Reply

      Hi, Lynn, sometime fill me in on your story. It would help me a lot. I’m finding my story is much more common than I thought, and hearing that others have forged before me is encouraging.

  4. Cherie December 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Oh Gina, I truly feel for you! This is so beautifully expressed, I can feel your turmoil, the indecision, then the answer, the relief! I am certain the Lord has had His hand in it all, every step of the way. Perhaps it is still just the beginning of Paint A Scarf’s life, but how much more significant it is to help our loved ones at the end of theirs. My prayers will continue for all of you, I thank God for blessing me with our meeting and our newly formed friendship! Merry Christmas!

  5. Brenda Carlson December 11, 2018 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    Gina, I love that you so willingly and openly love your dad through the good, the bad and the ugly reality that life can be sometimes. Through it all, you’ve exhibited the best qualities and an unconditional love of your family. While I am a huge fan of Paint a Scarf, I’m an even bigger fan of you. Sometimes when we’re “laying up treasures in heaven”, it can be difficult on earth. But loving your dad, caring for your family and leading by example is priceless. There can be no regrets in a life well lived.

  6. Amanda December 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Gina, I know that is a tough decision, but I’m positive you made the right one. I will definitely be planning another home party with you soon and I will miss you when you return to Alaska. All in good time and I am confident that your expansion will happen at the right time for you.

    • Gina Murrow December 12, 2018 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Thanks, Amanda 🙂 We should have some coffee time soon.

  7. Janet Woodfin December 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    You are closing one chapter, and opening another. You are so blessed to still have your dad in your life, and while it’s sad to think about business opportunities lost, you are making the right decision for YOU, and that counts for more than any dollar amount. Selfishly, I am thrilled that you’ve decided to keep Paint A Scarf in Alaska…where it all started. I wish for you and your family a peaceful and joyous next step in your journey.

  8. Susan F. Moody December 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    Gina – You are honoring who you are and putting your company on the back burner . . . for now. You have laid a strong foundation and know that when you are ready you can continue to build on what you have started. Be open to the possibilities because when you are true to who you are and your heart is in the right place, you might just be surprised at what shows up. I am proud of you for listening to your inner voice. You will never regret being there for those you love. Take care and know that your Starshine sisters are here for you. – Susan

  9. Diane Chenoweth December 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    Tough decision but a wise one!
    Blessings to you, your father and family!

  10. Edna Emerson December 11, 2018 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 May He bless and keep you.

  11. terri semmler December 11, 2018 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Gina–I’ll be keeping you and your Dad in my prayers. You’re doing the right thing for both your father and yourself. Paint a Scart will be ready to “forge ahead” later–when you are. Terri

  12. Billie W. Tully December 11, 2018 at 6:44 pm - Reply


    Your story and decision brought tears to my eyes. I admire you and I know God will honor your commitment to your family. There will be many more years for you to return to your business, if that is God’s purpose for you, when your family needs you less.

    May God bless you and David as you minister to your Dad in his last days 🙂

  13. Anna Elliott December 11, 2018 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    #noregrets You are choosing well! Proud of you, Gina!

  14. Betty Dye December 11, 2018 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Love you Gina❤️ You are doing the right thing,a huge sacrifice but you can already feel the Lord’s pleasure. He will honor this in ways you will not see for awhile. Much love to you and Dave too, and Happy Birthday too next weekend!

    • Gina Murrow December 12, 2018 at 8:30 am - Reply

      Thanks, Betty!

  15. John Subritzky December 11, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    That is so beautiful Gina. Through adversity comes strength. It will be an amazingly tough time but one to do well.

  16. Carol December 11, 2018 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Oh my dear….what a sad story and what s trooper you truly are! If you need me to run a spin off business /franchise for you that would be awesome! Let me know if you need any help. Peace be with you.

    • Gina Murrow December 12, 2018 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Thank you, Carol! I will certainly keep you posted as things move forward.

  17. Alma Ellerbrock December 12, 2018 at 3:28 am - Reply

    You’re doing the right thing. Scarves will take off once again.
    We were in Alaska painting when you were getting your first van!!
    You will rest in the fact you took care of Dad.

  18. Carlene Hockema December 12, 2018 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Gina, You are strong and caring! The scarves will be there when your dad is not. He needs his loving daughter right now and bevthankful for every moment of every day you get. I love that you are able to love your father.

  19. Carri December 14, 2018 at 5:16 am - Reply

    We’ll be sorry to see you leave but certainly understand your decision. Great business and I so wanted to “Paint A Scarf!”

  20. Bonnie December 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    I think that you are one hell of a special woman. I admire you very much…you will walk towards that million dollars when it is the right time and place….and it will Co ie racing towards both of you…

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