Friday, February 5, 2016

Dress For Success

Since June of last year I have been volunteering one Saturday a month at Dress For Success. There is a local chapter in downtown Phoenix. I love it so much that I want to share it with you.  


"The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life."

 

Simply put, Dress For Success takes disadvantaged women, teaches them things like how to put together a resume and interview skills. And with donated clothing, shoes and accessories, they outfit them for a job interview. And when they get the job, they come back in and are outfitted with several outfits for their work week. Take a look . . .

  A Beautiful Welcome

A Boutique full of Business Attire

A look inside the Fitting Rooms

Make-up Station

Computer Room to search for jobs or create a Resume


How I heard about Dress For Success was through my company Vanity Fair. I am an area Merchandiser and part of my job is to hold Fit-Events, and we did Events with a purpose, that when you bought a Bra, you would get one free, and we would donate a brand new bra to a women in need at Dress For Success in your honor! So I looked into the company, liked what I saw, and decided I wanted to volunteer. And Vanity Fair will be holding these events again this fall!


I was so excited when I went in to volunteer and saw the Vanity Fair Bra Donations had arrived! We donated brand new Bra's to Dress For Success chapters in all the states our company held events in. Because, let's face it, who wants to wear a used bra? Um, No thank you. 


 


And since I love retail and fashion, I volunteer as a Personal Shopper. I talk with the client, and find out where they are interviewing, or where their new job is, I ask about their needs, likes and sizes, and put together outfits for them to try on. It is so much fun! They also from time to time have volunteers who might come in to give hair cuts or do the clients make up. You could also help them learn how to research jobs online, or how to create a resume. How to Interview, Etc. There are a lot of ways you can help out. My daughters and I have gone through our closets, and donated clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarfs, Etc. that are business appropriate. They also take scrubs for those Dr.s or nurses out there! You can actually donate clothing that isn't necessarily buisnessy as well, I know with our branch they have sales twice a year, where they will advertise & sell anything they can't use and all proceeds go back into Dress For Success. We've gone to a sale as well and got some great items and was happy to be helping them out in that way as well.



Another thing Vanity Fair did with our donations was have women write a little note of encouragement to a woman who would be receiving a donated bra if they wanted to. And I love handing those out as well. I love working for a company that encourages women to help other women! After all that's what "Support" is all about! ;) (Just a little bra humor!)


I think everyone should do something to help make the world a better place. And I would encourage everyone to Give Back, in whatever way they choose. I love helping women get back on their feet in a way that's important to me. If you would like to support or know more about Dress For Success, click here or they are on Social Media. Thanks.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A New Idea For A Book Club


I had what I thought was a really great idea for our Book Club: Last year for Christmas I asked for & received Brooke Shields' Book There Was A Little Girl. I've always been a fan of hers & wanted to read her Book! And we all know Books make the best gifts! And this Christmas I got (Actually for my Birthday from my Daughter) a Book I'd been asking for forever, that I was just dying to read! The Woman I Wanted To Be by Diane Von Furstenberg . . .
 


Even though I love Novels, from time to time, I enjoying reading about real people too. Well, seeing a pattern in my own reading, I got an idea, and brought it before my Book Club, who thought it was a good idea and were willing to try it. So for the month of January, instead of us all reading the same Fiction Book and discussing it, as normal, we would each choose a Memoir or Biography, read it & when we got together for our monthly meeting we'd each share about our book. 
We had 5 questions we each had to answer;
1. Who is your Book about, and why did you choose it?
2. Share 2 or 3 Highlights or Interesting Facts of this person's life. 
3. Do you think the Author is trying to elicit a certain response from the reader, such as sympathy? Has this Book changed or enhanced your opinion of the subject?
4. What is the Authors most admirable quality? Is this someone you would want to know?
5. Are you glad you read this book? Would you recommend it to a friend? Why or why not?

 

The above picture is just some of the Memoirs/Biographies our Book Club read this month! It was fun hearing & learning about different people. (We read about a Journalist, an Author, You Tuber, Comedian, Actor, Fashion Designer, to name a few.) Everyone enjoyed it. So we decided we'd do this EVERY January! It brings something different & fun to our Book Club. Give it a try! So what Memoirs, Biographies have you read that you really enjoyed? I have a few on my To Be Read list! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016: A Year Of JOY!

 This was my result from a random Facebook quiz I took!

When trying to choose a Word of the Year for 2016, there was a lot to consider. As I looked forward to the New Year ahead, there are some really exciting things that will be happening! For one thing; Our closest Friends will be moving to Aruba! How Exciting is that?! We are so thrilled for them! And are so proud that they are really doing it and are following a life long dream! But, on the other hand; Our Closest Friends Are Moving Far, Far Away! We have rung in the New Year together for many years now! And we are sad that we won't be able to see them anytime we want to. But on the other hand, we have an open invitation & a place to stay on Aruba! :) (Yes, I have always been a glass half full type person!)

 With our friends & soon to be Aruba citizens; Tammy & Jay,
On New Years Eve!

Both our son's are Married now & on their own. And in 2016 our Daughters will Graduate from High School! The night before their senior year began, I admit, I shed a few tears. I am no where near ready to have an empty nest! I am hoping that like our boys, the girls will choose to stay home throughout College. But they have dreams of traveling the world! I wonder where they got that from? By the age of 2, they had been in like 25 States (and that numbers doubled by now) cultivating a love for people, cultures & places! (That was dumb of me!) ;) I really do want them to live full, big lives & to see the world! I've always told my kids they can do anything they set their mind to, and be anything they want to be! But, can't they do that close to home with their mom right there?! :)

 Our soon to be Graduates!! 

So, even though there are a lot of Wonderful things happening in this year, I was starting to feel sad thinking about it all. But, I've always tried to look on the Bright Side of any situation, silver lining & all, so I wanted my Word of the Year to be something positive. Then the perfect word hit me: JOY! I'm choosing to see all the Joy in everything that will be happening this year, instead of concentrating on the down side.

 Continuing my theme from last year;
Gifts, Gratitude & Grace!

I started gathering things that say Joy on them and putting them around the house. And for Christmas my loving Husband bought me a Journal that says Be filled with Joy on the Cover. And on the inside he wrote some quotes on Joy, with a personal note. I love it! And all throughout the year I will use it to write down each day, something that brings me Joy!

 My Joy Journal! 

I will also, throughout the year, do things purposefully that bring me Joy. My Girls & I are working on a special project, a way to share Joy with others who need it, I will tell you more about latter. And since Dancing always brings Joy, I am thinking of taking a Dance Class of some kind. Possibly Hula again, but I'm keeping my options open for now. I guess we'll see where this Joy Journey takes me!

Let there be . . .

What is your Word Of The Year this year? Do you make New Years Resolutions? Or do you pick a theme or word to live by? Or simply set Goals to work on throughout the year ahead? Which ever way you approach 2016, I wish you a very Happy New Year that's full of Joy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This Year Has Been Brought To You By The Word; Grace

 My Word Of The Year, for 2015 has been the word Grace. After reading the Book last November, One Thousand Gifts by: Ann Voskamp, where she reminds us that no matter what's going on in your life, there is always things to be Thankful for! And that Grace comes in the form of Gifts. It got me started keeping a Gratitude Journal of my own, taking the time to notice the big & the small gifts I've been given.


And this year I've read a Book called What's So Amazing About Grace? By; Philip Yancey. Another great Book about the beauty & importance of receiving & giving Grace. I highly recommend both of these Books. We've been given so much. And to whom much is given, much is required.


We receive Grace, or unmerited favor, & we should in turn extend Grace to others. Choosing this as my Word of the year was just a way of reminding myself to notice, and be grateful for, what I've been given, and in turn to give back. Bestow Grace, just as I have received it. What a Beautiful word, Grace.



So ask yourself, What Grace has been given to you? Be grateful for all you've been given. And how can you extend Grace to others who are in need? 2015 has been a beautiful Grace filled year! I am more aware of the presence of Grace in my life & I look for opportunities to show and extend Grace to others I might meet. And you'll just have to stay tuned to see what my Word for 2016 will be! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry And Bright!



2015
A Year of Grace 

And for us, a Year for Change. For starters, John has switched careers. Yes. Though he is still involved in Worship & playing music in Church, it is no longer his full time vocation. He is now a Chaplain with a Hospice company. Having gone through the end of life with family members, we know the importance of encouragement at that time. And Bonus, we are Blessed to once again have Health Insurance due to his job! He continues to love to cook and try new dishes. And I love to be wined & dined, so it's a Win Win situation! :) We took a trip this Summer to visit John's Sister & her Family in Lake Havasu City and had a Great time!

And since we are no longer employed by a Church, I began to look for Ministry opportunities in other ways & places, and I now volunteer at least once every month with Dress for Success. A great organization that helps underprivileged women get back on their feet. I really love that it is Women empowering Women! I am still working as an Area Merchandiser for Vanity Fair Brands. I also started a Book Club along with my Nieces, Daughters & Daughter in Law. We call it BookFinks BookClub! It has been fun to pass along my love of Reading to the next Generation! And anyone can join, you don't have to be a family member. So, join us anytime!

Kyle, our oldest, has been married for just over a year to Katie, who just fits right in with our Family! They are a hard working, fun loving couple. They live in Tempe, Arizona, so we get to see them on a regular basis. They love to travel and have two cute Dachshund Puppies (or Wiener Dogs) Kyle is a Barista and has recently picked up a second job as well, and Katie is a Nurse at Phoenix Children's Hospital. They are both involved with Leading Worship as well. In September they drove me to Las Vegas to reunite with some of my Cousins. It was great to see them. 

Zach has had an Epic Year! In May he Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences! He then moved up to Northern Arizona for an Internship with the Arizona Department of Game & Fish, they are working on making his Internship position permanent. He is also working at an exclusive Resort. And just last month he got Married!! Kendra & Zach had been dating for over three years, so she's been part of the Family for quite some time. She's a sweet girl, and teaches Preschool. They Lead Worship at their Church as well. It's about a 5 hour drive to where they live in Page, AZ so we don't get to see them now as much as we'd like. People are putting wagers on which of our sons will give us our first Grandchild. ;) So stay tuned! :) 

Believe it or not, our girls are High School Seniors this year. I can't believe it myself! Help! I am not ready for my nest to be empty! In October they turned 18! How did they get older and I didn't?! The three of us have been Vegetarians now, for over a year. So if you're wondering Where's The Beef? It ain't here! Erica is in the Top 3% of her Graduating Class! In January she started her first job at a Boutique called Apricot Lane. Within 4 months she was promoted to a Key Holder. She plans on becoming a Sign Language Interpreter. And believe me, what she decides, she makes happen! 
Lexi is in Cosmetology School, even while going to High School. She continues to play the Flute and was in Leadership in her schools Marching Band all 4 years of High School. She just got her first job at Bath & Body Works. And every time I go in there (which if you know me, you know that's a lot!) I've have one of the Managers tell me what a great job she's doing, or how they wish all their new employees were as good as she is. I said "Well, I can't raise everybody!" Haha!! 

We have truly been Blessed. And are so Proud of each of our Kids. And it's exciting to watch our Family grow with the addition of our two new Daughter in Laws and all they bring with them. Our Dog's Tinkerbell & Luna continue to add Joy to our Lives. We're Thankful for good Health & Jobs we enjoy. For Friends and Family to Celebrate the good times & help us through the tough times. God has truly shown His Grace towards us. And we Pray Health & Happiness throughout the New Year for you and yours. 
So, from Our Family to Yours . . . 




 

 


 






A Very Merry Christmas
And 
A Happy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Santa Baby (Or The Ultimate Wish List!)


The song Santa Baby was released for the first time back in 1953 by Eartha Kitt. It is basically a letter written to Santa, asking for a lot of over the top items for Christmas. She wants a Fur & a Yacht, to name a few. And over the years it's been sung by numerous others, including Taylor Swift. So I thought it would be fun to kind or rewrite it for modern times. If this were my letter to Santa, what Items would I put on the Ultimate Wish List? What would be on your list? I mean if you're gonna dream, Dream Big, right?! So, here we go;

Santa Baby

Santa Baby, just slip a Coach Bag under the tree for me;
Been an awful good girl, Santa Baby, 
So hurry down the chimney tonight. 

Santa Baby, a new Volkswagen Beetle too,
Mint Green,
I'll wait up for you dear; Santa baby, 
So hurry down the chimney tonight. 

Think of all the fun I've missed;
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed:
Next year I could be just as good . . .
If you check off my Christmas list.

Santa Baby, A Vacation and really that's not a lot;
Been an angel all year; Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight. 

Santa Honey, one little thing I really do need . . .
The Deed . . . to a House On The Beach,
Santa Baby, So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Santa Cutie, and fill my stocking with Jimmy Choo's and checks;
Sign your 'X' on the line, Santa Cutie,
And hurry down the chimney tonight. 

Come and trim my Christmas tree
with some decorations bought at Tiffany's;
I really do believe in you;
Let's see if you believe in me . . . 

Santa Baby, forgot to mention one little thing . . .
A Ring . . .
And I don't mean on the phone; Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What Would Jesus Do With Planned Parenthood?


 Remember back in the day, like in the 90's, when W.W.J.D. Bracelets were all the rage? Teenagers, Children & Adults alike donned these little rubber bracelets, the idea behind them was that they would remind the wearer to stop and think. To ask themselves "What Would Jesus Do?" in any situation they might find themselves in. They were literally everywhere! Well, they might not have been a lasting Fashion Statement, but the thought behind them was a good reminder. So, today I am asking the question once again . . . There is a Hot Button Issue dividing our country right now. People on both sides of the issue are extremely passionate! It is brought up in every Presidential Debate, for both Parties. Where they either Stand with Planned Parenthood or are crying to Defund the entire program. I've been thinking about writing this Blog Post for awhile now, then over Thanksgiving weekend there was a shooting & a hostage situation at a facility in Colorado. So, whether you consider yourself Pro-Life, or Pro-Choice, this question is for you; What Would Jesus Do With Planned Parenthood?


But first, my personal history with Planned Parenthood (and yes, I have a history with Planned Parenthood.) So let me start by telling you a little about myself before we answer the question at hand; Back when I was young, in the mid 80's, and was about to get Married, I knew I wanted to be a Wife for awhile, before becoming a Mom as well. Which meant I needed Birth Control. I did my research & went to Planned Parenthood. It was there that I had my very first Gynecological Exam. (And a girl never forgets her first time!) ;) I learned about women's health issues, they ran tests, and I was screened for cancer, etc. Which BTW is also part of what they do. They don't just preform abortions, they are advocates for Women's Health! So before they are Defunded & shut down, we need to answer the question of where those kinds of things will take place, free or inexpensively, for women who need them. They also provide Birth Control, which I received from them. That was a long time ago. I've now been married over 28 years and am a Mother of four. I am a Christian. And I'm Pro-Life, but I also support a Woman's right to choose what's right for her. As a Woman and a Mother of two Teenage Daughters, I am all about Girl Power! Even before I had come into my own & knew exactly what I believed in, I knew what's most important in any issue, and that's people! I had a friend when I was in High School who thought she might be pregnant. I remember her saying to me that it would be impossible to have & raise a child in her life at that time, and that she knew I would be upset if she were to have an abortion. I told her even then that though I didn't agree with her choice, I would always be her friend. And that I would even go with her when the time came. She said I was a good friend. Thankfully she was not pregnant and didn't have to face that tough decision.

But, enough about me, let's get back to the issue at hand. What Would Jesus Do With Planned Parenthood? I know some things He would Not do! He would not picket & shout horrendous things at the Women entering, or at the staff working there. Let's not forget Jesus gave His life for those people. He would certainly not bomb or shoot up the place to get his point across. (And I don't understand how someone who calls them self Pro Life would take someone else's life. Don't they see that negates what they stand for? You can't be Pro, or for Life & take a Life!) So, Let's look at how Jesus did handle things when he walked the earth. For one thing He was known as the Friend of sinners. He was put down & accused of wrong doing for associating with the unsavory. The tax collectors, prostitutes and the like. In fact His ONLY harsh words were saved for the overtly religious people, who looked down on those less so. Who talked down their noses at and about people. The only time Jesus ever showed any violence was at those trying to turn a house of Worship into a money maker, buy buying & selling & trying to make a profit off those who came there to Worship. So, no I don't think Jesus would take a violent approach.

What I do think Jesus would do is take the young girl by the hand who is faced with making the toughest decision of her life and walk with her through this terrible situation. He would hold those precious babies in His arms, Longing to give them a Future. Always Forgiving. Always Loving. Just like He is with each of us. Right after John 3:16, where the Bible teaches us that "God so Loved the World that He gave his only Son that Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have Everlasting Life."  Verse 17 goes on to tell us that  "God did not send His Son into the world to Condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be Saved."  So if Jesus won't Condemn, then neither should we. We were not put on this earth to protest what we don't agree with. Nor to make laws, or change policies. Jesus wasn't really political at all. In fact He submitted to the very Government that sentenced Him to death. Praying "Father, Forgive them, they don't know what they are doing!" And told us never to raise a hand against those in leadership. Romans 13 says "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil." Though I Love Politics and believe we should all research the issues that are important to us & Vote accordingly, that should not be our main focus.

No, what we were put on earth to do is be His hands extended to a lost & hurting world. To show the world God's Love! I just read a great Book called What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey (I Highly recommend it!) in which he says "I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least." And John 13:35 says "By this all will know that you are my disciples, If you have love for one another." Love should be the Christians calling card! Not Judgement, not Hate, not Prejudice, Love. If we were to walk up to a stranger on the street & ask them what do you think of when you hear the term Christian? Would the first thing that comes to their mind be Love? It should be. No matter the circumstance, Compassion should always trump our sense of right & wrong! I often remind myself, If I'm going to err, then err on the side of Grace! Yes, God is Pro-Life, so much so that He want's all people to have Eternal Life with Him. And yes, even those who have had abortions, or those who perform them. And yes, even You & Me! If He can Love us, then we can Love them.