Archive | July, 2014

Word of the Week – Meraki

This week we are expanding our Word of the Week horizons and learning a Greek word.  There is no exact English translation for this word, but it is such a good one, I figured it was time we learned and used it.  We all need a little diversity in our life and vocabularies, right?

mareki

Meraki (pronounced: may-rah-kee):

       1. To do something with soul, creativity, or love.

       2. To put something of yourself into what you are doing.

 

Here is a little more insight into the word; it is used when referring to your own creations (food, art, projects), it is something done from the heart, and done with all your best effort and creativity.

So, I want to raise my children with Meraki…but does this mean I have to play legos with Meraki?

My question of the week for you :

What do you do with Meraki?

For me, besides my family, it is writing this blog and working on our big project (that I will share more about soon)!

 

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Friday Favorites – Family, Freebies, and Dreams

Happy Friday! It’s time to share a few of my favorite things.View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

Family –

Last weekend I went home for my sister’s bridal shower. I some times can’t get over how lucky I am – I truly have the best family (on both sides and extended family)! It was so special to be home with my sisters, parents, and friends celebrating this exciting time.

 

View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

With my sisters all being in such different and busy seasons in our lives, not to mention different states, these moments together are truly precious.

 Freebies-

View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

We made this adorable SPARKLE print to use during the shower. I had been wanting to make one for Storie’s bedroom and the shower gave us a reason to do it! It is too cute not to share, so you can print your copy here, add a little Sparkle to it (glue and glitter, baby) and a little Sparkle to your life!

Dreams –View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

One of the best parts about my family is my mom.  She is a special lady.  She spent the last 30 years of her life being a mom.  AND what a mom she was; kind, caring, SELFLESS, generous, humble, and FUN, (geesh is she fun – every time I am with her I am reminded that I need to laugh more).  She held nothing back,  was our biggest supporter, always there for us, giving her all to make our lives wonderful. As we got older and moved out of the house, my mom started having more time on her hands and pursuing her interests – I actually remember thinking WHAT?  Mom has her own interests, talents, skills that don’t involve us?).  Well, she certainly does, and she was brave enough to try a few different things until she found the right fit. Last year she opened a business with one of her dear friends, One Hundred Chairs Vintage Rentals. If you need a little inspiration for a gathering you are having or live in AZ and would like to rent a few pieces check them out!

 

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   View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

 The pictures I have of the shower are just a snippet of what these two amazing women are capable of!

 View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower   View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

Mom, it has been so inspiring watching you make your dreams a reality!!!

View More: http://carriezimmer.pass.us/nataliesbridalshower

What are you dreaming about ?

I’ll share about one of my biggest dreams next week. Stay tuned.

Also, I want to say a special thanks to Carrie Zimmer Photography for capturing Natalie’s special day and sharing the pictures in this post with us. You are so talented, Carrie.

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The winner is…

Celebrate

And the winner is Katie B.

Congratulations.  We hope you love your Better Life Lap Top bag as much as we do!

Storie & Better Life Bag

Don’t be the last to know that you won something amazing.  Like us here.

Sorry, if you have waited in anticipation for this news.  We always announce our winners on Facebook first, so if you aren’t following us there, please do!

You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Visit Bought Beautifully’s profile on Pinterest.

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House of Hope

A missions trip to Nicaragua inadvertently led me down some bumpy dirt roads to the discovery of a beautiful organization.

house of hope logo

House of Hope started in 2001 with April Havlin and her vision to lead women out of prostitution. With the Lord’s provision, House of Hope has been able to offer young women job training and housing for more than 10 years!

As these women are discipled in the love of God, they also learn how to cook, clean, sew, knit, and crochet. These skills are used to create products that profit the House of Hope movement!

hoh necklace             hoh bracelet

Wish you could purchase these awesome hand-made products? YOU CAN!

House of Hope offers an online store where you can view and buy products made by these artisans!

With continued support, House of Hope plans to expand into Bolivia, Honduras and Peru. How can YOU help? Check out these 8 ways!hoh earrings

  1. Give a grant.
  2. Become a sponsor.
  3. Bring a team.
  4. Visit the store.
  5. Give a uniform.
  6. Make a donation.
  7. Provide supplies.
  8. Provide clothing.

Visit the House of Hope website to learn more about how you can take action!

 

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Better Life Bags – A GIVEAWAY!

Today we have the awesome privilege of getting to know Rebecca Smith founder of Better Life Bags AND one lucky reader will have theBetterLifeBagsRebecca awesome privilege of winning a Better Life bag.

It was such an honor to talk with Rebecca.  In our brief interactions, I was so moved by her faith, commitment to God and the ways that He has used her! She is truly an inspiring, kind, and humble women – who is living her passion and changing the world!!!  You guys are going to love her.  Below are her responses to a few of my burning questions about her life and her business. Read on to get to know the inspirational lady behind Better Life Bags. Oh, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end!

Tell us a little about the history of Better Life Bags?

Our business started as a divine accident, actually.  I made a diaper bag when I was first pregnant with my son, posted pictures of it on Facebook and custom orders started rolling in.  After moving intentionally to a highly immigrant area of Detroit in 2010, I BetterLifeBags3realized that many of the women I met could not work outside their homes for cultural reasons, yet they had a great need to provide for their families.  At the same time, our little shop was growing quicker than I could keep up with myself, so I married the two needs together and hired my first seamstress.  We now employ twelve people from our community and have a really fun interactive website to help with the custom aspect of our bags.

I relied HEAVILY on God and Social Media.  I really invested deeply in growing a community of people around our brand that I cared about.  I answered emails and commented on people’s photos.  I cared less about selling my product and more about the customer.  I’ve been learning about business as I go along and just trusting my gut to do the right thing and God to cause the growth.

What have been some of your biggest challenges, triumphs, and joys in the process?

In September 2013, my husband quit his job and we transitioned to me working full-time and having Better Life Bags be our family’s sole income.  It was an enormous amount of pressure to know that my efforts were essentially putting food on the table.  I felt incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love full-time, but also torn that I was missing out on big parts of my children’s lives.  So, we are in another stage of transition to both my husband and I working part-time.  We have full-time employees in place at Better Life Bags to keep it running without me – which frees me up to focus on vision for the company, new bag designs, and marketing!  All which I LOVE!

BetterLifeBag1

You took another leap of faith to moving your family to a low-income section of Detroit to make an impact in that community.  Would you be willing to share about this experience?

Gosh, yes.  We have lived in this city, that we call home for a little over 4 years.  The first year was really rough for me. I didn’t feel like I connected to anything or anyone here, but now I absolutely LOVE it.  The people here are really grassroots – blue-collar people.  Working hard for their money and not taking anything for granted.  Businesses are moving in and people are being really creative with how to improve the economics of this city.  I’m honored to be a part of what I see being a new wave of growth for Detroit.

But, it doesn’t come without challenges.  We wanted to move to a place where the needs of our neighbors are obvious on the outside – and use our resources and connections to meet many of those needs.  My eyes have been greatly opened to the flaws of the welfare system as I literally walk alongside people in the poverty cycle and help them claw their way out.

My faith has actually become a million times more simple.  All the theology and controversies fall away here – and our family simply focuses on loving God and loving people.  Both well and both from a place of dependence on the Holy Spirit.

And I so glad that the mission of our business is wrapped up so tightly IN our business.  We aren’t a company that gives $1.00 of every bag sold to charity – or even 10% of our sales.  We live and breathe and work among the people and community that we are helping.  As a FOR profit.  We want to prove that businesses can do great things and make a profit to do even more great things.  We want to show America that outsourcing overseas is a thing of the past – because people here in the US want to work hard and need to be paid well.  We want to be an example to our customers and open their eyes to the power of their dollars – and make them think twice and carefully about buying from big box stores.  We want to connect the customer to the maker of their products.

BetterLifeBags2

What motivates you?

Our employees.  They come to me weekly and ask for more work.  Work that depends on the sales that come in.  They are saving for things that many of us consider needs.  Actual beds for their kids instead of blankets on the floor.  Trips to see their family who they haven’t seen in decades.  Money for school uniforms and birthday cakes.  The safety net of a savings account.  And the dignity and honor that comes from making money.

Any thing else you would like to share?

Our company exists because of our customers.  Lives are made better for our employees because of sales.  We are so thankful for the community of customers we have around us – and how they advocate and share our company with people in their social networks.  YOU – our customers – are the reason that 12 women in Detroit wake up every day.  Thank you.

You can find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @betterlifebags  and read my personal blog about running a business and raising a family at www.RebeccaSmithOnline.com

……………

Isn’t she great? Thank you so much for sharing with us, Rebecca, and for the work you are doing!  Now for the fun part – Your chance to win a Better Life Bag.  Here is what to do:

1. Head over to Better Life Bags, explore the site and either design (so fun!!) or choose your favorite bag.

2. Share this bag on your prefered social media – Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

3. Come back and enter the contest using the form below.  Make sure you include the link or picture (if you used instagram) of the bag you shared.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Word of the Week – Pastiche

Your Monday is about to get better because it is time for word of the week.  I present you with the word –

Pistache

Pastiche  /pa’steSH

1. A literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of a previous work, stylistic imitation
2.  A musical , literary or artistic composition made up of selections from different works

 

Our lives are our greatest work of art don’t settle for a pastiche. Let’s create, write, sing and dance our own inspired story!

 

If pastiche isn’t the word for you check out merriam-webster’s list of synonyms:

agglomerate, alphabet soup, botch, clutter, collage, crazy quilt, farrago, gallimaufry, grab bag, hodgepodge, hotchpotch,  miscellanea, mishmash, montage, muddle, , olla podrida, salmagundi, smorgasbord…

I just had to include them because there were so random.  Alphabet soup, smorgashborg?  Perhaps not the vocabulary expansion I was hoping for but pretty fun.  My little man is going to love having salmagundi for lunch…

.   .   .   .

Stay tuned, tomorrow is giveaway day!! You aren’t going to want to miss it!  Look how excited this little lady was when I showed her the prize, I’m not sure she is going to give it up!

Storie & Better Life Bag

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Friday Favorites – The Soul of Money

I just finished reading a great book, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, that a good friend of mine recommended it to me a long time ago (#finallymakingprogressonthepileofbooksbymybed) Lynne articulates many thoughts and feelings that I have had regarding money and finances.

However we choose, we express ourselves in the way we send our money into the world, and with every dollar goes the energy, the imprimatur of our intention.  – Lynne Twist

The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources

As I was reading, people kept popping into my mind – “oh they would like this” or “I should share this with (insert your name here)”,  it was happening so often, I  realized that I should share it with all of YOU!  If you are reading this blog, I think it is safe to assume that you, like me, are probably searching for little ways to make positive impacts, to live and spend with a more purpose and direction…But, like me, you  find that it is easy to get discouraged and distracted, to get lost in the sea of stuff, the new trends, the latest thing, the busy life, that you can lose your focus and the conviction that your choices do matter. This book is a great reminder that they matter on so many levels.

Difference

What I like about this book is that it doesn’t only focus on how your financial choices matter for others (workers, companies, environment) but rather how they impact your own life; that shifting our perspective about how we see money from a limited commodity to a flowing asset that can be directed to support, create and/or sustain the things we love and our passionate about can radically change our lives for the better!

P.S. You don’t even have to read the entire book, the first three chapters would be enough to re-motivate you ;)

Since, it’s Friday, we should probably have a dance party!  We have had some bumps in the road in the adoption process and this video is what helps us keeps our heads up and our hearts boogieing…

Enjoy and Happy Friday.

 

 

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Keeping the perspective

We just took a family vacation.  It almost wasn’t a wonderful weekend away.  If hadn’t just written the post about and made a commitment to keeping things in perspective, my expectations and feelings of entitlement could have ruined our precious family time.

PerscpectiveIf I hadn’t been actively praying and striving to keep a better bigger perspective….

  • the seven hour drive with two kids under four would have been more stressful;
  • the wet rainy weather combined with my poor packing choices would have put a damper on the weekend (well, I guess it did – We were rather damp! Rain coats? Not this family, we are on SUMMER vacation for goodness sakes!);
  • being stuck in a camper (13’x6′) for most of the day with two kids under four would have been annoying and frustrating.

IMG_6631I enter into so much of my life with expectations and a skewed sense of entitlement (I deserve a vacation, with easy travel and well-behaved, calm, quiet kids, and of course, good weather!!) Expanding my perspective helped me see that this time was truly a beautiful gift, even in the rain and close quarters.

Spending a weekend away with my family; in camper with electricity and heat, that is bigger and more luxurious than what many families call home   = BLESSED IMMEASURABLY.

 

 

But I am so habituated to my first-world, that I see only what I don’t have and what I am missing.  I find myself constantly shifting my perspective to remember what I do have to see things in a new light, in a more accurate light….

Camper Light

 

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