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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Your Fab Fall with Trades of Hope

Hello there.  It's been a while.

It's been a long hot summer, and I don't think we are completely done yet, but it's finally a day where jeans won't send you automatically into Profuse Sweating mode.  It's delightful to even ponder if I need a sweater - and not just for the A/C in restaurants.  I always take a sweater for that!

This summer also seemed insanely busy, although doing what I'm not quite sure.  There were days to the pool, a trip or two home, and a vacation that was too early to make a difference 3 weeks before school started.  Remind me to wait a little longer next summer, will you?  Thanks!

Now that school is in full swing I'm returning to myself a bit. I'm starting to feel a bit settled and craving a routine to fill the days that aren't fueled by chaos and sunscreen.  I'm looking at a calendar and being intentional about filling it with purpose and fun.

This is where YOU come into the story.  I want to put you on my calendar.  I want coffee dates, and phone calls (or Google hangouts). I wanted long lunches and girls' nights out.  I also want to fill the empty planner squares with HOPE, specifically Trades of Hope!!

I've been with Trades of Hope for right at 2 years now and honestly, I've let myself down, and in turn let down many artisans who rely on me.  While my success is her success, my lack of success is her lack of success.  We both deserve better.  So do you!

I've got a Mystery Hostess party lined up for Tuesday, September 20 over on Facebook.  I'd love for you to join us.  It's open to the public.  All you have to do is join at this link.

You can earn points by participating and, if chosen as the hostess, get all of the rewards for yourself.  One of the ways to earn points is by booking your own party or even joining my team.  I know that seems like a huge deal with such short notice, but sometimes we feel that little leap inside at an idea and need to jump on it - at least investigate a little more.

I'm in the midst of a challenge to add 5 new member to my team by the end of the year.  While we will all benefit from this, the big winners will be a group of 500 Pakistani women in bond slavery waiting for opportunity to come to them.  We are that opportunity.  We can unlock their freedom.

Let's talk and see what opportunities are headed your way!

How would you like to be involved in changing lives?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Catch a Star; a review

Did you have that dream when you were a child to be the next great ballerina, MVP athlete on the box of Wheaties, movie star, racecar driver, or Grammy winner?  Did you plan at the age of 7 to walk across a stage to accept that special award while the throngs of fans threw roses at your feet and were cheering wildly for you? What happened?

Often the difference between having a dream as a child and living that dream as an adult comes down to the grit and dedication to making the vision materialize. It is one thing to spin and twirl in a living room in a dress up costume. It is entirely different to spend hours upon hours stretching, perfecting technique, rehabbing injury, and turning critique into improvement. When personal trials aren’t allowed to translate into derailment, but rather become fuel for the fire, achievement becomes experience and the springboard for success.

This is the story of Tamika Catchings. In Catch a Star, Catchings tells of a childhood dream to play in the NBA.  This isn’t an unfamiliar dream, except she was a girl, living overseas, with a hearing impairment. Sure she had natural talent and genes from a pro-player dad, but that won’t take you far without work. And work is what she did, year after year, season after season, injury after injury, and opportunity after opportunity.  This all added up to a cumulative 3 gold Olympic medals, a WNBA championship, a NCAA championship and state championship – along with many other national, conference, and tournament acknowledgments.  As the resume and pressure to perform began to grow, so did her faith and reliance on God.

Are you the parent of the child with big dreams – realistic, or not? This is a great book for both of you. The book reads like a fast-paced basketball game charging up and down the court. Action shifts between life off and on the court. There is the defense of dealing with relationships and the offense of the work required to achieve such a high level of excellence. Catchings tells a story of overcoming personal liabilities in a way that they have in actuality become assets leveraged to her benefit. All the while you see her humility, while sensing that she feels she has little of it.

     “I think everyone needs to be a go-to person at some point. We all need to step up, stand for something, be the go-to for someone, and take responsibility. But some people have never taken control of their own lives to be that go-to person. Many don’t take ownership of that.” 
- Tamika Catchings in Catch a Star
This is a rare book that the whole family can read and enjoy while learning some great life lessons. While the writing may not be of the same style as many classics, which also lends to it’s accessibility – especially to those boys who would dare read a book about a girl! Give Catch a Star a shot and see if the enthusiasm isn’t caught as well.

Disclosure: I am a proud member of #VolNation and can often be found using #GBO in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts.  As such I am prone to extra support of fellow Alum (especially those who wind up in Indy – hello, Peyton!) so I had skin in this game.  Also, Revell was kind enough to send me a copy for review.  That being said, these are entirely my own opinions. I have included affiliate links in this post as well.  They do not cost you anything, but proceeds may be used to add a little more orange to my wardrobe. Go Vols!

Monday, January 11, 2016

My One Word for 2016 and How You Can Contribute

My #oneword for 2016 is CONTRIBUTE.

I want this year to make a difference: to me, my family, my church, my community, my world!  I want to be integral in that change through the contributions that I make with my time, effort, prayer, and yes, my money.  Not much will happen without some input on my part.  Don't get me wrong, God's actions are not constrained or dictated by my whims or maneuvers.  But, I may become part of His work by seeking and serving - this is my contribution.

My health and fitness will not improve if I am not intentional about caring for this clay temple. I must decide what to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and how much to eat.  The same goes for moving.  Each exertion can be calculated either to the positive or the negative.  These assets and liabilities determine where the needle of the balance falls - literally!

My business will not flourish if it is left untended.  I must work each day to pursue leads, hostesses and recruits to further the mission of empowering women and men around the world out of poverty. We must work together and support each other if advancement is our goal.  To that end, if you are reading these words I would also like for you to consider how you can be involved with Trades of Hope this year.  Maybe you need to purchase gifts.  Might I suggest shopping here first?  Would you like to host a party either in your home or online to spread the work and beautiful jewelry, accessories and decor items offered for your friends?  You may have been looking for your own way to contribute to the financial well-being of your family and others this year.  Let this be the sign you were looking for.  I'd love to speak to you about getting started with Trades of Hope.

My church and my community are inseparably linked in my mind and my heart.  What is good for one is generally beneficial for the other.  That's how the local church should work.  On that front, I will be leading a neighborhood Bible study on Thursday mornings in my home for local women.  I humbly ask for your prayers that God would bring together exactly who He desires for fellowship and growth as we study His Word.  My husband and I are also working with a new marriage strengthening ministry called re/engage.  If you are in the DC metro are and want to go from "simmer to sizzle" in your marriage, this may be just what you are looking for.    You can visit to find a local church if you are far from here.

A primary ministry of our church is Jill's House.  This is a respite center for families of children with special needs.  Please go check them out and see for yourself the wonderful work they do and what they provide for the children and families.  This month I am hosting an online party to benefit Jill's House.  100% of my commission from this party will go to Jill's House.  You are vital to the success of this work.  Without your contribution, I cannot make a contribution.  See how that works?  We are all in this together.  Go to my Facebook event to join.

Do you have a "one word" for 2016?  I'd love to hear what it is in the comments.  Let me know if you joined that party as well. Let's all make a positive contribution this year.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Books for the Children on Your Christmas List

Books are the gift that keep on giving.  Year after year, there are favorites I return to when I want to live through the language of authors who take my imagination to new heights.  We read aloud to our son every night.  The beauty of books is that while he may not be able to read a story for himself yet, he can get swept away to lands as near or as far as we share with him.

Here are some of my favorites.  My son is 6, so these have been appropriate for him.  There may be a few on here we haven't gotten to yet, but will be soon.  Enjoy!!

Thanks in advance for using these links attached to the images.  Many of them are affiliate links and enable us to share even more books together.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

We are currently reading this Wonder-ful book.  As a former special education teacher and the aunt of a nephew in a wheelchair with Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, I appreciate the openness about differences.  Fiction is one of the greatest tools for teaching empathy.  Here we are taken into the world and thoughts of August Pullman as he ventures into school for the first time as a 5th grader.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

What can I say except that every child and adult should read these books.  Watch the movies afterward, but definitely read these books.  The language used by C.S. Lewis is incomparable in it's power to transport us to new worlds and share deep truths with such beauty.  This boxed set has beautiful color illustrations through out.  I also have the combined books in one hardback volume.  It has the feel of an heirloom that should be in your library.

The Tin Forest by Helen Ward

This was a gift to my son from a high school friend of mine.  This had been her daughter's favorite book, and I quickly understood why.  The illustrations are intriguing with hidden images of birds, flowers, insects and wild animals populating the forest made of tin that springs to life from the imagination of the old man who lives within it.  This is a great introduction to Helen Ward that will leave you wanting more.  I'm thinking we need to add more to our own collection.  You will want to gaze at the pages over and over.

The Animals' Christmas Carol by Helen Ward

Since it is so close to Christmas, be sure you add this one, too.  It is stunning to look at while reading the verses based on a French carol that can be traced back to the 12th century.  There is even the music and verses at the very end.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik

I was first introduced to Hugo by the Martin Scorsese film of the same name.  The movie, like the book is a love story to the cinema, innovation and visual imagery.  If you have a child that loves pictures more than words, you will want to invest in books by Brian Selznik.  His genius lies in storytelling with pages upon pages of drawings that weave in and out of the written pages seamlessly.  The black pages of the book are a novelty in and of themselves.  I have glanced through (if that is possible) his other books and know that I need to add them to our collection as well.

The Growly Books by Phillip and Erin Ulrich

It is no mystery that we love Growly, Chippy, and Tully in this house.  We also love Erin Ulrich!  Phillip and Erin have captured the spirit of friendship, adventure, bravery and loyalty in the Growly Books.  The trilogy consists of Begin, Widewater, and Morning.  The artwork by the talented and lovely Annie Barnett, of Be Small Studios, bring the characters and landscape to life.  These are stories to inspire your young adventurer.

The Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle

Most people are familiar with A Wrinkle in Time, but have not followed the Murray family on their other adventures through the rest of the series.  Get these for yourself if you haven't read them all.  Some of the others are even better than the namesake of the series, in my opinion.  After reading the first one, I fully endorse watching the 2003 Disney movie starring Alfre Woodard and Kyle Secor - watch the deleted scenes.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

I'm not sure that there needs to be any other reason than IT'S WINNIE-THE-POOH!!  If you need convincing that these should be in your child's library (or your own) you have most likely stopped reading through this list already.  This is not an easy read. It will test your skills as a narrator, but will bring hours of joy to story time.  The classic illustrations are so much nicer than the newer cartoonish versions.  I'm a purist at heart when it comes to Pooh.

Beatrix Potter the Complete Tales (Peter Rabbit)

Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, Squirrel Nutkin.... These whimsical tales of woodland creatures, and a few kittens, have stood the test of time.  I have to admit that this is missing from our own collection.  We have read many of the individual small books from the library, which are darling, but this boxed hardback speaks to me in a deep way that seems worthy of handing down through generations, much like the stories themselves.


Shine So Bright by Tim Willard

I am so excited to let you know about this book.  I haven't read it yet, not even the sample pages that were available.  BUT.... I know Tim's writing, and it is exquisite.  His passion is beauty language, especially from the works of C.S. Lewis, and it shows in his lyrical prose that seems to be a collection of ordinary words with extraordinary impact.  I have such confidence that this will be a well-loved book in our home that I joined the Kickstarter campaign to ensure it was printed.

Shine So Bright is the story of LoLo Star, how she is taunted, and then how she learns to shine, so bright.  When I say hot off the presses I mean it.  These have been printed within the last week.  You can be one of the first to share this story with your family.  I am doing this for several children this Christmas who hold dear space in my heart.

So there you have a starter list of books that I think you should be buying this Christmas.  There are so many classics that I didn't include.  I've said nothing here of The Velveteen Rabbit, Curious George, Madeleine, Babar and all the others that have been loved for generations. I'd love to hear which books you would include. 

Happy shopping, happy reading!