So if you have been following my business or me at all, Amber and I have been highlighting our work in Haiti.
Well here's some updates.
As you know we've teamed up with Stop Hunger Now.  If not, read HERE.
Brief history:  When Amber and I traveled to Cange, we noticed that the school children did not eat during the day.  No lunch.  We knew they weren't guaranteed a meal at home.  We also learned that they were once provided a meal by Partners in Health
Our goal was to pack enough meals to fill one 40' container = 285,120 meals. 
We did.  However, a representative went to Cange in Dec 2012 to approve Cange's application.  They approved not 1 but 4 containers!  That's over 1 million meals!  This will not impact just the school we worked with but all 9 area schools!

So now, we are in the works of looking for funding and/or means of transportation to get those containers of meals transported to Cange.

Costs: approx. $4000 to ship and approx. $2000 in import taxes
import taxes + the transportation means donated

So my prayer, project and plea are:
Pray that this happens!!
Project: the first container is scheduled to ship in March.  All funds must be in place by this Friday, March 1st.  The rest are to follow soon thereafter.
Plea:  Spread the word...do you know of a corporation that has transportation means?  Do you know of a charity or grant that can aide?  Do you know of a donor?  Every little bit will help.

This is something I'm very passionate about.
This is something I'm invested in.
These are real children, that I know personally, that I taught.  Their families, I've met.
I want life's basics for them.  I want their bellies to be filled, their minds to be educated.
This is something I believe can happen!

If you believe, share our story, share their story.

We have a video that we've created, a letter we've drafted. 

Access the video here:
password: cangehaiti
[if you watch the video, be sure to leave us a comment to let us know you stopped by]


Jaden's Drive

So, as I said I've been blogging a journal each day - it's not public -, but here is an entry I did back on the 22nd. 

Jaden has been wanting this $6.99 app that Skylar has on her kindle. Skylar got it for Xmas.
I told Jaden he would have to buy it with his own money. So he quickly gathered ALL his money and he had a whopping $1.07 in coins.
So the other day he was brainstorming and came up with and idea to make money.  He went outside and completely on his own, created different stations. He had them for people to learn how to different tasks.  He was a "Home Depot" guy and wanted to teach them all.  (Donning his Home Depot apron and all).  One was "dig for clay", "build with wood" and I forget the other. He made a sign with the white board and was serious about charging people for his instruction. He and his friend Nathan ended up both getting $3 each! Hannah from across the street gave them the money and actually went through his stations. Sweet girl.
So his total $4.07
So today at 30 degrees he wanted to sell hot chocolate at the end of the driveway. I really tried to encourage him not to, but he was pretty insistent.  So we made the hot chocolate, put it in a thermos, got some cups and he made a sign. "$1 Hot Chocolate" that boy sat up at the driveway for 2 hours and made $2!! One lady " came by and gave me a dollar for working so hard and then told me to drink a cup. So I did"
He then had enough for his app. He had a goal and made it!
All his own ideas.
Love him.

 and you probably know the game/app.  Minecraft.



Windows and Earrings

Darn Pinterest.  It puts SO many ideas in my head.
So I headed down to Cline's Antiques with the kids and picked up window frames, $2 each.

This was my idea for one window frame:
A jewelry/earring holder.

I sanded and cleaned this one window frame.  Spray painted it, sanded it down for a worn look.
Cut wire and stapled in on the sides and VOILA, I have a new earring holder and I LOVE IT!

Whatch think?  I've loved it! One quick glance and you have all your options.  I have a thing for earrings as of lately, now I have much more room to fill!



a theme

So I get this text:

It was actually fun, she didn't give me anything more.  The unknown gets me sometimes, but I went with this one.  I did some searching around today and made my deadline. 

But as I was searching I came across a theme in my Instagrams:

This comes as totally weird to me.  I don't really even like my feet.  I really don't even think about them.  So why do they keep ending up in my photos? 
Oh well.

Find out along with me what my 10 instagrams turn into.





So much has changed for me recently.
I merged my company and partnered with Amber.  Stemming from that merge, we traveled to Haiti in December.  Lots of inspiration comes from our trips together.  We are heart broken, moved, simplified, burdened, inspired, stronger and the list goes on.  I highly recommend all business partners travel to a third world country together, it will make or break you.
Fortunately, it's making us.
Our business is just getting going and we're laying all the groundwork.  But we are strong in our connection and have our priorities straight.
For example, I made a mistake on my end business wise and it costs us more than expected.  I explained to her what had happened and apologized.  Her response: It's okay, it was an honest mistake, it's done, let's move on.
I'm so thankful.

We also traveled to Seattle a couple of weeks ago and took part in a "Restart your Business" with the infamous photographer and business guru, Jasmine Star.  It was a full day of intense dissecting your business.  It was such a honor to be there.  We came away with our heads swarming with changes and ideas. Our work was cut out for us!
One MAIN thing I personally learned there, was be vulnerable, be real.  That applies to this here blog.  Before when I blogged, I felt I couldn't have a post without some theme, or tutorial, or big revelation, I honestly felt like I couldn't blog unless it was perfect.  Pictures in tact and lined up, links properly placed, wording all fancy.  Well that's not being vulnerable and real is it?

I saw on good 'ol Pinterst the idea of writing down a couple sentences about my day, every day, for a year.  They had it in a box on index cards.
 I loved this idea, but as cute as it looked, I knew that I wouldn't be able to do that, knowing I wasn't going to lug that thing when I was away from home.  So I mentioned this to a friend of mine, Cindy, and she had already done it for the entire past year!  However, she showed me a INGENIOUS way to do it!  Download the Blogger app onto your phone! Yup, there's an app for that.
EUREKA.  So I did and now I have it with me where ever I go AND I can attach pictures to it!
I am happy to report that I have stuck with for 24 days now!  Somedays I have one line, others paragraphs.  It's made me take more snapshots and document.  This has allowed me to reflect on my day and relive those funny moments with my kids.  I sometimes include how I felt or certain prayers that I have on that particular day.  I can't wait to re-read them in a year or ten year's time.

Back to Seattle.  This "Restart your Business" course wasn't just one day, it's 3 months!  3 days of workshops and the rest putting it all into practice.  We have running assignments that we work on daily.  Blogging more and themes for shooting.  We are to take photos of things that appeal to us in regards to our business.  Colors, items, textures, etc.  Another assignment, come up with 3 words that tell what your business is about. Sum it up.
Sounds easy right?  Nope.
Try it.

So needless to say, there's been a whole lot of exploring going on, personally and business.  It's draining, I'll be honest, but I've never felt more alive creatively.

When we started our business, Amber was to handle the social media side, the blogging.  She was cool with that as was I.  However, after our Seattle session, I felt urged to take more part in that. We are looking to be more transparent and candid in our blogging.  So I took on "Joy on Tuesdays".  This has forced me to explore and have a voice about our business, my perspective if you will.

Our blog has turned interesting.  To me at least.  Check us out, follow us, watch us as we grow and "Restart".  We'll be candid.  We'll be real.

So with all this exploring, blogging, dissecting, thinking, documenting.......you may see some activity on this here stale blog.  :-)



Geeking Out

Skylar last Christmas found an author that she really liked.  Rick Riordan.  She read a book, it was the first in one of his series.  Now let me back up.  Skylar didn't take to reading too well in 1st grade and really in 2nd grade too.  She did her homework or reading, but absolutely no more than she had to.
She read this book and it's not a dinky chapter book, it's super thick and super involved with characters.  She devoured it!!
The book was: The Lightning Thief.  The first in the Percy Jackson series.
This series is based on Greek Mythology and is a fantasy adventure read.  You have no idea how many characters are in this thing.  Gods, Goddesses, Half-Bloods, Minotaurs, half goat people (Satyrs) and on.....
Skylar has ALL these characters sorted out, understands them, what each God and Goddess is of and who is related to whom.  It's crazy.  She literally lives in another world.
So for Christmas she received this:
She flew through them!!  She loved every.single.minute of them.  We couldn't get her to put the books down.  We literally had to take them away from her so that she would sleep.
Her love of reading began.  I really am SO very proud of her.  Her reading scores in the classroom soared and she was highest in her class for the reading portion in the EOGs!  

So of course when that series ended, disappointment and depression set in...."What am I going to read now?"
Enter another series: 
This one at the time only had 2 books out.  She flew through them and then started yet another series while waiting and I don't mean patiently on the 3rd book to come out - THE MARK OF ATHENA.
She counted down for months for this book.  It was all she could do to keep herself contained.

In the meantime, we had "dress as a book character day" at school.
Of course it's Annabeth from these books:

The necklace is a VERY detailed necklace.  It just like the one that the character wears in the book, complete with detailed drawings.

She still wears this shirt at least twice a week.

So she found two other "geeks" at our church that LOVE this author too.  So, it was announced that Rick Riordan was coming to Concord Mills to promote his book that just came out, you would have thought that a mega movie star was coming!!  I offered to take these 3 girls to see him.  OH.MY.GOSH!  They sat in the back of the minivan, yes all 3 piled in the same seat when there was 2 open, and "geeked" the whole way there.  Discussing details of the book and squealing with delight over seeing their favorite author!  I was honored and proud of them, I would drive them anyday to see an author, now a Disney star or Justin Beiber, heck no.
He ended up speaking and they were GLUED!  There was a question and answer time and they were GLUED!
A very fun night with 3 sweet geeks.

I just thought I would share Jaden's take on the whole thing:
This is posted on his door....



Camp Lurecrest is a VERY near and dear place to me.  As most of you know, I went as a camper from age 10 - 18, worked there 3 summers, met my husband there, and I just recently sent my daughter there and worked as a kitchen lady. 
Most importantly, I really came to know my Lord there, that mountaintop brought many experiences that shaped my relationship and paved ways for the rest of my life!

Every summer on staff there is a camp nurse.  God bless the heart of a camp nurse.  Seriously, she deals with homesickness, minor boo boos, big boo boos, kids that stuffed themself sick with sugar.  Basically she becomes the wide spectrum of mom and nurse.  Her job DOES NOT STOP.

This story I want to share is the story of a lady who has been the camp nurse for many summers.  She, as I, went as a camper and wound up working at camp and just continued to serve there.

She was diagnosed with cancer and has been in Stage 4 for 11 years!  11 years!!  Endless chemo, pain, meds, losing her hair, etc. 
She was at the end of her life a few weeks ago and BAM! she was healed. 

Please read this awesome story and remember: HE FIGHTS FOR US!!

Click HERE to read.

To God be the Glory!!



Stop Hunger Now

So as you all know, I traveled to Haiti with a team. 
I blogged about this prior to our event and you can read it HERE.

So to recap:
We, as a team, wanted to do something when we got back to the states to help this town of Cange and more specifically, the school at which we taught, Laplieade School.  We didn't just want to walk away. Hundreds of children come to this school daily and they take ENORMOUS pride in the privilege of being able to attend school.  However, they are not served meals and we know that many do not get guaranteed meals at home.

So we came up with the idea of teaming with an organization of STOP HUNGER NOW.  They hold packing events to package meals with a shelf life of 3 - 5 years.  Each meal packs a huge punch for those consuming.  Every dehydrated rice/soy meal is fortified with 21 essential vitamins and nutrients. My Haiti team is working toward a goal of 142,560 meals which equals 1 20-ft shipping container. This container will be stored and monitored in Cange, Haiti and will guarantee each school child receives one nutritious meal a day, each day they come to school for years!!!

So, Amber and I, hosted a Stop Hunger Now Packing Event at our church on a Wednesday night, 8/29/12.  We packaged 10,000 meals that night!

 We were looking for 40 - 50 volunteers and we had 75 show up, that's right, 75!!!  I was super humbled and excited all rolled into one that night.  I loved that this many people made the effort to come out and don a cafeteria lady hair net, put their looks aside and get down to working so that children, whom they had never met just taken Amber and my word for it, would get a meal, not a gourmet one, but a simple meal.

We had a brief introduction and training and we were off!  People, ranging in many ages, 5 - 75, took a station job and off we went!  It was such a rush and so much fun!!!  A gong would sound for every 1,000 meals you packed and all the workers would take a second to pause and cheers would go up.

There were many jobs to fill.
To start there are multiple stations to fill the meal bags.  There are 5 at each station:
1 to hold bag under funnel and pack vitamin pack, 1 soy scooper (protein), 1 vegetable scooper, 1 rice scooper and 1 runner to take bags to weigh and sealing table
Here 4 4th graders are getting trained.
Soy Scooper
Happy Rice Scooper (That's my cousin Leigh, she was visiting from California and came out to help!!)
This is my daughter, Skylar, and she was a rice scooper.
The middle schoolers came out as well! Very excited to have them!

Here is a 5-year-old runner.  ALL AGES can have a job!

 The next station you have is the weighing and sealing.  Every meal is weighed and then rice is either added or taken away so that every meal is the same!

The whole system working together.
After sealing, the meals are passed off and counted and packaged.

 We needed to raise 25¢ per meal before the event!  10,000 X 25¢ = $2500.  Think about it, have you ever gone hungry?  Really hungry? Was there really ever a time when a meal just wasn't an option?
We are so blessed and have so many options.  I know my family doesn't think very much about going out for dinner, we spend anywhere from $25 - $50.  That could support 200 meals!
We ended up raising ALL of our requested money!  I'm so grateful for everyone that came out, gave their Wednesday night time and their hard earned money.
It truly was a fun time, for some precious children that I've had the pleasure to meet and get to know and that I will see in the future, hopefully with a belly full.


My daughter and me

James and Hannah that were on our team in Haiti.

My son Jaden was also helping.