MassMutual reminds us “Love is a Gift”

November 3, 2014

Tracking Pixel There is nothing quite like the love a mother has for her child. I was married 8 years before I got pregnant with Gabe. I thought I would “start” my own life before I had children, but I realized my life really didn’t begin until I had him. His love is the greatest gift that I have ever received. I am amazed at how my love for him continually grows, and the love he gives me in return. Thank you to MassMutual for sponsoring today’s post, and reminding us that #LoveIsAGift.


MassMutual Financial Group® helps individuals protect their families through financial planning. Who wants to leave a financial mess for your loved ones in the event of death or disability? It would just be heartbreaking! Unfortunately, though, there are millions of people around the world who don’t take the time to speak to a professional financial advisor when they have the time, and so they will find that their finances won’t have been sufficiently planned for such eventualities than if they did reach out for help. I know what I’ll be doing that’s for sure, irrespective of who I turn to for help. Nowadays finances can come in a myriad of ways especially as we have turned to the cryptocurrency era. If you want to leave something for your family with cryptocurrency then it may be best to check Independent Reserve for assistance in this area, you can then discuss what you want to do with your financial advisor. To make sure that the chances of this happening are reduced, MassMutual created the #LoveIsAGift campaign to celebrate the people that matter most in our lives.

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Extra Halloween candy? Consider Ronald McDonald House

November 1, 2014
Bluegrass Junior Woman's Club

Trick or treaters around Kentucky were sorely disappointed by the weather last night. It was cold, windy, and rainy; it eventually snowed in the wee hours of the morning. People were complaining about having tons of candy and no trick or treaters. My sweet friend is the Executive Director for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass; she reminded me that Ronald McDonald House happily accepts candy donations.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bluegrass
Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club volunteering at the Bluegrass Ronald McDonald House in Lexington, Kentucky

Continue reading Extra Halloween candy? Consider Ronald McDonald House

Stylish and charitable jewelry: Thoughtful Thursday

May 22, 2014

I like to think that I am stylish or at least I try to be and I am definitely charitable, but what if you could be both? Many companies are becoming increasingly socially conscious. They give back to individuals and communities through charitable campaigns, donations, and grants. I have discovered a few jewelry companies that have affordable stylish pieces and they donate a portion of their proceeds to a charitable cause.

The founder of Bloom and Grace was working in sub-Saharan Africa, and wanted to find a way to connect fundraising efforts to charitable work there. She created a jewelry line called Bloom and Grace which donates a specific portion of each purchase to the Shot@Life campaign. There are four donation levels depending of the cost of the piece. Those donations provide 3 to 12 vaccines per piece purchased. The line has been featured in InStyle, Women’s Wear Daily, and The Zoe Report.

The brand Alex and Ani created a specific division within their own jewelry line to promote charitable giving. The division known a Charity by Design donates a specific portion of a jewelry purchase within that line to designated non-profit organization. The jewelry line uses customized symbolic charms to raise awareness for causes and donating to those campaigns. They have dozens of partner organizations including Blessings in a Backpack, Donate Life America, Farm Aid, and the One Campaign
Pearls Against Polio is an etsy jewelry store started by a champion for the Shot@Life campaign. Jen Lovallo hand makes each piece and donates all proceeds from the line to the campaign. She uses stones such as onyx, jade, pearl, and quartz to make simple and elegant pieces. They timeless enough to be treasured for a lifetime. 
Whether you’re considering adding jewelry to your wardrobe, looking for something to compliment your favorite outfit, or maybe buying a gift for a friend all of the above brands will allow you to be charitable and stylish.
Do you know of a great brand giving back? I would love to know about them. 
Happy Thoughtful Thursday, 

Sevenly and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors: Where Fashion Becomes Charity

May 22, 2013
Have you ever witnessed the pain of someone else and counted your blessings?  When I was running the Disney Princess half marathon this spring, I caught a glimpse of a red t-shirt with the photo of a soldier on the back.  I was curious, so I sped up to get closer.  A military widow was running for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors also known as T.A.P.S.  I nearly started sobbing on the spot.  I come from a very large military family and we have been fortunate enough to have our service members return home, countless others aren’t so lucky.  The T.A.P.S. program provides a multitude of services to the family members, friends, and battle buddies of service members who died for our country.  The pain and suffering they endure can be relentless.  T.A.P.S. developed summer camps for children, grief counseling, emergency funds, and other forms of very necessary assistance. 

Photo Credit: Sevenly

The trendy clothing line Sevenly has partnered with T.A.P.S. this week to help raise money for this incredible organization.  

                                              About Sevenly:

Sevenly is a social good fashion brand that partners with a new charity each week, promoting and selling limited edition graphic tees and other lifestyle products. Seven dollars from each sale goes towards the charity of the week, helping raise funds and awareness.  Sevenly’s foundation is that People Matter, and since their launch in June 2011, Sevenly has continued to lead a generation towards generosity, raising over 2.1 million dollars to date.

Photo Credit: Sevenly

Photo Credit: Sevenly 

The trendy clothing line is comfortable, stylish, and affordable.  Why not shop for an great charity and help military families recover from a devastating loss?  You can help raise awareness for T.A.P.S. and the Sevenly fundraising campaign by sharing this blog post on your social media sites.  It would be a great way to kick off your Memorial Day weekend plans!  

Happy Wonderful Wednesday,


Why do you run?

Lately I have been getting the question, “Why do you run so much?” I have the simplest response, “Once you have endured real emotional pain, you figure out a little physical pain never killed anyone”. I survived the emotional turmoil that was caused by the murder of my brother and a few miles definitely won’t kill me. My brother was a runner, actually the true runner in our family. When I hit mile 10 of the Disney Princess Half Marathon the remix of Forever Young came on my shuffled playlist.
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I knew my brother Brandon was running with me. He will always be forever young to me.

I also really like the motto of Sean Astin and his Run3rd crew.

“I run 1st for my myself, I run 2nd for my family, and I #run3rd for you.”
~Sean Astin
Running is very cathartic for me, just like writing. It helps relieve some of my pent up stress. I think, I sing, I cry (and rarely from physical pain). There is no drug – in my humble opinion – that could ever give me the stress relief or mental clarity that running does. Though I recognise we all have our different ways of coping.
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I do have friends who use galaxy glass pipes to take medical marijuana to help navigate their stress, as well as their exersise routine. Apparently it doesn’t just serve as a destresser but also as a reliver of joint and muscle pain so it may be an option if you’re considering running as well. Nowadays several online shops sell low odor strains for those who need help but don’t like the smell, which means that more can enjoy it and feel that sense of relief. I know for me, the run is what I need the most and I highly reccomend you try it out, not just for your mental health but for the health of others?.

How can we run to help others? Thanks to Smartphones and an app from Charity Miles, it is super easy to do charity while you run (walk or bike). You simply download the Charity Miles app which is free, swipe your screen to start and select your charity from a vast list of organizations.

I am not sure they could have made Charity Miles easier to use. I have heard of people using it while they are shopping at the mall, working (great for healthcare professionals who are on their feet in a clinical setting or hospital), and you can even help a charity while doing very dreaded house work!
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The app is absolutely free and ridiculously simple to use. They don’t spam your email or harass you. They use our everyday tasks to help out a whole variety of charities.

Two of my favorites are:
United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign which advocates for global vaccination
Wounded Warrior Project which provides life saving and sustaining services to wounded service members.

All of the current charities include:
United Nations Foundation Nothing But Nets
United Nations Foundation Girl Up
United Nations Foundation Shot@Life
United Nations Foundation World Food Programme
RED the Global Fund
Every Mother Counts
The Nature Conservancy
Pencils of Promise
Partnership for a Healthier America
Habitat for Humanity
Autism Speaks
Feeding America
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Stand Up To Cancer
Wounded Warrior Project
Ironman Foundation
Achilles International

Please help spread the word about the Charity Miles app and the wonderful organizations that profit. It is an incredibly easy app to help some very deserving charitable organizations.

Happy Thoughtful Tuesday,

A Testament of Hope

January 21, 2013

I am sure Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrating today, we have made incredible steps toward equality since his murder.  Every U.S. citizen should be celebrating our freedom today.  He gave his life so that others could have equal rights and freedoms, he was a martyr for his cause.  I think U.S. citizens regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, etc. often fail to recognize how lucky we are compared to citizens of many other countries.  We have freedoms that many people still only dream about.  When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech, do you think he fathomed we would get this far?

There is a quote, “I am better than I was yesterday but not as good as I will be tomorrow.”

The United States has made steady improvements toward equality but there is still work to be done.  There is a large sector of the U.S. that is socioeconomically disadvantaged regardless of race or ethnicity.  Poverty is heartbreaking.  We should all do our part to help others.  You may not have money to donate but why can’t you donate your time?  There are countless ways to help.  If you want a few ideas, volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity, drop off items you are no longer using to a local charity, volunteer at a food bank, or organize a dinner at your local Ronald McDonald House.  These are just a few ideas of how you could help make a difference in the life of someone else, while setting an example for others to follow.

I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our nation is a much better place thanks to his courage and innovation.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 
 Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 
 Martin Luther King Jr.


It’s never too late…

I think I have spent most of my life focusing on how things were suppose to go instead of letting them progress as they should.  I have actually spent the last few years of my life focusing on what I “should” have done instead of realizing how far I have came.  Every decision I have ever made has led me to where I am now and I have been given some incredible opportunities recently.  I am wholeheartedly excited to be joining the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life team and working on vaccination advocacy.  My journey has just begun with them, and I have already met some incredible and inspirational women.  I am counting the days til I get to join in them in Washington, D.C.  I wouldn’t have this opportunity if it wasn’t for my friends from Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club who encouraged me to apply and the women at the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in D.C. for choosing me.  There are days that I look at some of the bio’s of other women, and I am so grateful for being chosen.  I think this journey could open some new doors for me and I hope I can inspire others to follow their dreams.  We may not see it in the moment, but the timing is always perfect.

One important thing we all should remember is dream big!  We should surround ourselves with other individuals who dream big, people that drive and inspire us.  A few years ago I walked into a the Beaumont Centre Clubhouse to my first meeting with the Bluegrass Junior Woman’s Club and it changed my life.  I had always loved community service and helping others, but these women inspired me.  I am so grateful for the women I meet through the organization and I am so proud to be part of such a wonderful group.  My sponsor was Beth Cramer, and even after she moved away I still keep in touch.  I gained a best friend who I adore more like a sister, Brittney Wells and her lovely momma too! I wouldn’t have made it through the months following my brothers death if it wasn’t for Brittney, Lauren, and Renae.  I could never truly express the gratitude and love I have for the women of the club.  If you read my blog and live in the Lexington, Kentucky area, come join us for a meeting!  Santa’s Shoppers, Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House of Lexington, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and Bluegrass Domestic Violence are just a few of the many organizations that have benefited from the hard work of those involved in the club.  If you don’t live in Lexington, check out the General Federation of Women’s Clubs website and find a club in your area!  Change begins with you!

Hope everyone had a blessed and peaceful Sunday!