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Announcing… Bead for Life

September 21, 2010

In just two days, I’ll be boarding an airplane, flying across the country and spending five glorious days with the most sparkly group of friends ever. We’ll be be-bopping around downtown Asheville, North Carolina, listening to more friends speak on writing, blogging and life.

It will be magic.

But for me, attending the Type A Mom conference would be impossible without the help of some very, very special people. I’m taking two sponsors with me to Type A, and I can’t wait for you to meet them. They are both beyond spectacular.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Bead for Life.

Bead for Life began when three women visited Uganda and fell in love with the beautiful bead jewelry being made by African women. They ended up bringing beads home to America… and their friends here were also smitten.

Through a series of events, a powerful organization was built in which this stunning, handcrafted bead jewelry is only one of many crucial players.

The way Bead for Life works is that it rescues women (typically single, with young, starving children) and brings them to a safe place where, over a set time frame, they learn life and business skills to support themselves and their children. Women then graduate the Bead for Life program equipped with sustainable skills to do any number of paying jobs, thus bringing them out of poverty and into life.

One of the early stages of the program involves hand rolling these beautiful, colorful beads and crafting gorgeous jewelry from them–necklaces, earrings, bracelets.

This jewelry is then sold in the US through bead parties held in homes, churches and community groups across the country. It’s like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef… but with a purpose.

I found Bead for Life through my favorite magazine earlier this year and was immediately taken by their vision and passion for these precious ones in Africa. You know my heart for our brothers and sisters around the world and how passionate I am about sharing the resources with which we’ve been blessed. I was thrilled to partner with a group who was doing just that.

Bead for Life’s mission is to eradicate poverty around the entire planet, from Africa to America and America to Africa. We’re cooking up some ways to extend such a vision to our own neighborhoods, our own communities and those who are in need right under our very noses.

Would you like to jump aboard?

If you’re interested in buying a necklace, hosting a bead party, hearing more about the ideas Bead for Life and I are hatching for future poverty eradication efforts or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, we’re giving away two handmade African necklace and bracelet sets (like these and these) to two commenters on this post. Every comment will be counted toward the giveaway, and if you tweet about it, Facebook it, blog it, etc, and then leave another comment about each form of spreading the word, you’ll receive extra entries. (You know the drill.)

Every time I wear my African paper bead jewelry (which is often) I find myself staring at each bead, imaging the woman whose fingers so deftly rolled and fashioned that bead. I wonder about her story, her life, her face, her words. I ponder what might have brought her to Bead for Life. I wonder what her future holds.

A woman with dark skin and a beatiful smile made this for me from across the ocean. And here I stand, wearing it here, a part of an effort to give her and her family a life. Just because I’m wearing a necklace. I’m in awe.

As Bead for Life founder Torkin Wakefield says, we can all do at least a little… so just do something.


September 19, 2010

Six and a half months down…

Six and a half more to go.

We’ve made it halfway.

To read all posts relating to my Marine’s current Afghanistan deployment, click here.

A Brother

September 16, 2010

He is four and a half years younger than me.

And we look alike.

Our hair is the same color.

Our eyes, too.

Also? We think alike.

We laugh at the same crazy quirky jokes.

We even speak our own language.

(Truly. It’s called Ishkabibble. And it’s da bomb.)

We stay up late, talking and suppressing laughter, just the way we have since we were little kids.

When he was small, he wore buckskins and World War I outfits. He did an amazing impersonation of Sgt. York.

Now? He wears faux nerd glasses, bow ties on planes flying to Nashville just because he can and totally rocks a bright purple and lime green fanny pack.

(Yes, I’m serious.)

Also, he purposely doesn’t make crazy faces for pictures, when we say we will, just so I’ll look like the weirdo.

He walks in our front door, a flood of sunshine, brightening our lives in an instant.

His nephews climb up, hanging on his long arms and legs, this tall boy, thin as could be.

They wrestle and giggle, peppering him with questions and stories of toys and preschool.

He is patient and laughs right along with him.

We talk while we cook. He puts garlic salt on the eggs and relishes in flavor.

He’s going to be a chef.

We webcam with his beautiful girlfriend in the evening and I laugh at them.

There is another girl of his dreams in his life now, and, unexpectedly, I’m okay with it.

We drive around town the next day, looking at old houses and thinking up stories for each dilapidated building.

The Beatles play and we sing along, top of our lungs.

We tell each other everything, he and I.

Sometimes we get mad and we yell and we wave our hands around while we talk.

Passionate about everything and always dramatic, both of us.

But we always end up laughing. We crack up till we’re rolling on the floor.

We can never stay upset long.

We live a few hours apart, separate lives.

And yet, this connection will always be.


Brother and sister.

Everyone needs a 19 year old brother.

Flying Free

“Fly free?” she asks

without a care

and turns, to sing

the wires, there

She knows not.

“Fly free?” she asks

with trembling chin

must leave this cage

still chained within

(but how… ?)

She knows not.

Fly free!” she soars

above the trees

and freedom, it is

she sees

She knows it.

I love this Lisa Leonard necklace. It’s one of my favorites.

For some reason, wearing it close to my heart

always reminds me of freedom.


Speaking of flying free, my amazing mother has finished an online move and has begun a fresh, beautiful new blog. And now, she’s beginning to tell her story.


The winner of the Moja Creations snack set is sweet Tracey of Make Room For…! Congrats Tracey!


Have you ever been separated from the one you love? I’m looking for suggestions, ideas and stories of how you, your spouse and/or your children have stayed connected during deployments and other separations.


and a question for you

September 14, 2010

This is how we do big events around here,

during these deployment days.

I typically get a several emails each week asking for ideas on how to staying connected during deployments, for both spouses and children. I’m certainly no expert, but I’m thinking I’ll just write a post on a few things we do, and maybe incorporate some of your suggestions, too – giving you credit, of course!


if you’ve ever been apart from one you love,

how do you stay connected across the miles?


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