I Am a Clubwoman: General Federation of Women’s Clubs

In June one of the sweet girls from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs public relations department asked if I would allow her to interview me for a piece in the magazine.  It wasn’t the best time in my life for an interview, we decided to wait until December.

If you don’t know about General Federation of Women’s Clubs, you should definitely read up!
Here is a snippet from the website.

GFWC – Living the Volunteer Spirit

“The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. With more than 100,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state, the District of Columbia, and more than a dozen countries, GFWC members work in their own communities to support the arts, preserve natural resources, advance education, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage civic involvement, and work toward world peace and understanding.”
You can read more about GFWC here.  
I appreciate that Addie asked to interview me, I am flattered by the piece.  I owe so much to my club, Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club, and my involvement with GFWC partner organization Shot@Life. 
Hope you enjoy and please take a second to learn about this wonderful organization.  If you enjoy community service, volunteerism, and non-profits, a GFWC club would love for you to be involved.  
XOXO
~Jess

BJWC Charitable Purchase: Poinsettias For a Purpose

Every year many families “deck the halls,” but what if your seasonal decorations could help support charitable projects in your community?  Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club in conjunction with Pemberton’s Nursery are offering poinsettias, fresh wreathes, and garland.  A large portion of the proceeds will go to the Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club and the many projects we conduct in the community.  Bluegrass Children’s Fund, Santa’s Shoppers, along with partnership organizations such as Bluegrass Domestic Violence (now known as Greenhouse 17), Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass, Hope Center, Children’s Advocacy Center, and many more local agencies benefit from the hard work of Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club.  We are unable to fulfill all of our commitments without the support of our community.  We ask that you consider purchasing your live and fresh holiday decorations from BJWC this year.  


Poinsettias are $13 each 

In addition to the poinsettias, we have the return of the greenery options:


  • 22” Mixed Noble Fir w/ Cones Wreath – $24
  • 20” Boxwood Wreath – $26
  • 75 Feet of White Pine Roping – $35

Orders will be placed on Wednesday, November 20, so any order will need to be received on the evening of Tuesday, November 19.  Please contact bjwc@twc.com or myself directly.  
Our club greatly appreciates your continued support.  Your generosity allows us to contribute to and continue our partnerships with many other non-profit organizations in the Lexington, Kentucky community.  
Have you satisfied all your holiday decorating needs?  You can still help us.  We are asking for Santa’s Shoppers sponsorships.  

































Please check out Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club for more information on our non-profit organization or any of our charitable giving projects.  

Happy Thoughtful Tuesday,
XOXO
~Jess 

What is Run Foam Run 5K? Let Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club Show You!

Themed runs are a current trend.  You have various color runs, night runs, mud runs, and even zombie runs.  Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club is proud to host Lexington, Kentucky‘s first foam run.  The event is brought to you by the creators of Glow in the Night 5k.  It will feature large inflatables, goofy obstacles, and lots of foam.  The event titled Run Foam Run will benefit Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club and the clubs special projects.  BJWC is a local non-profit devoted to helping disadvantaged women, children, and families through various outreach project.  The Santa’s Shopper’s program, Ronald McDonald House, Bluegrass Domestic Violence, and the Children’s Advocacy center all benefit from the hard work and dedication of BJWC members.

So grab a few friends, maybe a funny costume, and help raise money for an amazing organization.  
Please stayed tuned for updated obstacle alerts and information.  
Heats will run from 9am to 12pm but the most popular time slots will fill fast so get your entries in.
Entries are $45 up until Friday, August 2, 2013
Day of race entries will be based upon availability and will be $60
Happy Terrific Tuesday,
XOXO
~Jess

Everyone Needs Validation..

I was speaking about global vaccine access at KFWC State Convention

It seems like I have been so consumed with other things lately, I haven’t posted about something that
really matters to me.  My true passion for advocacy arose from my involvement with the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Campaign.  There are not words to describe how much the people I work with inspire me.  We have so many outside interests yet we are still devoted to one similar cause.  Everyone involved with the campaign believes that every child deserves access to potentially life saving vaccines.  I have been given so many opportunities and incredible support.  Whether it is Aaron talking to us about “using our wine glass” and channeling our voice, Jamie watching over ALL of the champions so diligently, quiet but powerful Maggie driving the campaign forward, or Anastasia and her bright smile and encouraging words, all of the champions have amazing support with the United Nations Foundation staff.  I am honored and grateful to be a part of such a wonderful campaign.  When I feel like mankind is lost in a very ugly and chaotic world, I look the Shot@Life campaign and I know there is hope.  There are good people that love others without hesitation and with true kindness, and my hope for humanity lies in you.  When I have been made to feel lesser and unaccomplished by someone who should have been my biggest support, you have made me feel powerful and validated.

In the words of a dear friend, “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.”  You are amazing and you were meant to shine.  You should be able to trust others, but most of all learn to trust yourself.  You know that you are powerful beyond measure, and you can achieve anything that you put your heart into.  Don’t let the belittling, petty, and hurtful actions of others change the heart of who you are.  We were born to do amazing things.

Happy Smiling Sunday,
XOXO
~Jess

A Focus on Friendship

Photo Credit: Galleria of Art

Here lately I have had mixed emotions about how I feel.  I really am relieved.  I realized that being lied to that much is emotional and mental abuse.  He destroyed every ounce of trust I had for anyone.  It is stressful to constantly feel like your being lied to, and in my case I was.  The last few years have just been full of lies.  The stress was overwhelming at times and it was often compounded by being a single mom.  I want my marriage to be over but it is just hard to watch 13 years of a relationship come to a close.  It is like mourning the loss of a loved one.  I struggle with the need for human interaction and the  strong desire to isolate myself.  It took every ounce of courage and strength I had to go to my clubs Federation Day last week. I am glad I went, I love my girls and they are incredible support.

There is an old saying that, “a true friend walks in when the world walks out.”  I realized how many true friends I have.  We might not always talk, but they always show up when I need them.  Last night my Navy friend from 16 years ago, made plans to come us from Arizona in July.  We haven’t seen each other in 14 years.  There are some bonds that are never truly broken.

Today another dear friend and I went to lunch, and then got our kiddos together to play.  We laughed about how much our lives have changed.  It is nice to see a smiling face and have a few laughs over a beer.  Last week, I mended a another friendship that I thought was irrevocably broken.  I had cherished her like a sister, and I was always heartbroken losing that friendship.  It was a spot of blue sky on a very cloudy day.

Well this Belle has to run.  Gabe and I are going to watch my nephew play ball, along with seeing a few old friends.  Gabe also go a invite to a pool party.  I am looking forward to seeing how the future unfolds for the both of us.

Happy Friendship Friday,
XOXO
~Jess 

Pinwheels for Prevention

 Five children a day die in the United States alone from abuse and neglect according to Every Child Matters.  Every child deserves a shot at a healthy future and life.  They should be dreaming, pretending, learning, and growing.  They shouldn’t be fearing their caregivers, dealing with physical or mental abuse, or worrying about food, clothing, and shelter.  Sadly, this is a reality for many children in the United States and around the World.

A pinwheel is often a fond reminder of happiness and childhood.  Please join the Bluegrass Junior Women’s Club and other Lexington area General Federation of Women’s Clubs in honoring children facing abuse or neglect on April 7 at 4pm with a Pinwheels for Prevention garden at Wellington Park.  The club is requesting $20 donations to Prevent Child Abuse America to be included on the sponsorship sign but any donation is welcome.  If you want to be included on the sponsorship sign please ensure your donation is made prior to April 1st and online donations can be made via paypal through this link.

Happy Friendly Friday,
XOXO
~Jess

Big Red Shoes and Tiny Little Hats

Can you imagine having a baby small enough to wear this hat? 
Three of my very slender fingers fit in this tiny little hat

My son weighed 7 pounds and 8 ounces when he was born 2 weeks shy of his due date.  I was terrified I would hurt him, and he seemed so small.  He weighed nearly 4 times what some of the super premie babies born or transferred to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center do.  I can’t imagine having a baby that small and having to watch them fight for survival.  It would heartbreaking.  Thankfully Ronald McDonald Houses across the country provide a warm shower, cozy bed, and a hot meal to families of children who are hospitalized due to prematurity, illness, or injury.  They help make the day a little brighter and easier, for so many families who are clinging to hope.  



Today Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club was recognized by the Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass for our support to their organization and the room that we sponsor.  It was heartwarming to see the clubs name on the door and hear all of the success stories.  They had a county map which listed the number of families from each county, along with the number of nights they stayed cumulatively.  My home county Knox, was one of their top five counties serviced.  Last year 19 families from Knox had stayed at the house for a total of 200+ nights.  I couldn’t help but be curious if anyone from my hometown had stayed in the BJWC sponsored room.  I am from a very close knit community, everyone  either knows everyone else or they are related.  The county is nearly 2 hours away from the hospital, so staying at the house would be a necessity for anyone with a hospitalized premie.  I love knowing that the Ronald McDonald house is there for those families.  In the south, “we take care of our own,” as they say.  

Some of the women from our organization, Bluegrass Junior Womans Club and the only clown I would ever be around
The club took a tour of the house and we snapped a few photos.  Most of us have cooked dinner there multiple times but I had never been given a tour.  Along with our premie caps, the house gave each of us a pin and an umbrella (mine is going to D.C. with me next week).  Our time at the house reminded me to be thankful for so many simple things in my life, especially a healthy child.  It was nice to see the dedication of our club pay off, and know that so many families were helped in a time of need.  

A candid of me chopping veggies for soup, I diced nearly an entire bag of onions

We cooked dinner for the residents of the house.  It always great when you can watch a large group of woman work successfully together.  The club chose Rachel Ray’s Chicken Orzo Soup 


Here is the recipe for anyone interested:

  • cup orzo pasta

  • tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • pound chicken cutlets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • ribs celery, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 15 ounce can  cannellini beans, rinsed
  • cups chicken broth
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orzo until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and celery and cook until the chicken is golden-brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cooked orzo, the beans, chicken broth and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until heated through. Stir in the parsley. 

When we were done cooking, I sat at the table with my friends and watched as the residents ate.  I couldn’t image what they were dealing with, I just hoped they were enjoying a peaceful, delicious meal.  I came home to a happy, healthy little boy and a heart full of gratitude.  
There are so many ways to help your local Ronald McDonald House.
1. Donate money
2. Plan a dinner with a group of friends
3. Volunteer at the house or at the family room in the hospital
4.  Collect soda pop tabs
5.  Host a fundraiser
6. Collect items for their “wish list”
You could easily help make a difference in the life of one child and their family.  Please visit Ronald McDonald House of Lexington to find out how you can help or volunteer!  

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa



XOXO ~Jess