Sunday, May 17, 2015

30 years of beauty

Today marks a beautiful celebration.  30 years ago, a doctor in Tacoma Washington ran around a track at a local high school for 12 hours.  He ran to honor his patients who were battling cancer.  He asked people to donate as he ran. He asked people to join him and run in shifts throughout the night.

People were moved.

They came and ran with him.  They lined the track and cheered for him.  And, they gave. 

That night birthed the largest global movement in the fight against cancer....Relay For Life.  I'm always moved as we get to the week of Relay.  Next Friday night, my local community will gather and we will celebrate.  We will walk and we will remember.  And we will together fight back against the disease that has taken some, made others struggle and yet in the beauty of the redemption a moment...given life.

That's the way I see it.  Cancer in so many ways changed my life and gave it back to me.  It shifted my perspective on life.  It shifted my perspective of personal relationships.  It taught me how to love myself and value life.  Its drew me closer to my Savior.  And, it pushed me forward to look at the days ahead will full HOPE, magnificence and possibility.

But, 1985 also brought another blessing.  It was in 1985 that a group of researchers were funded for a micro level project they were working on.  Yes, that's what happens.  Researchers have to start somewhere.  They have dreams.  They have ideas.  They have possibility.  But, someone has to find the opportunity.  And, that year, one such team was given the catalyst funding that began the research that developed the standard protocol to treat and cure Hodgkin's Lymphoma. 

While I was busy gaining my first title in life, BIG SISTER, there was a team of researchers working on theirs.  LIFE SAVERS is the title I give them.  After all, its the only words that eloquently describe what they mean to me. 

As I prepare for my Relay For Life event next weekend, I ask that you consider support our efforts.

You can donate directly to my participant page or purchase a luminaria in honor or memory of someone you know who has been diagnosed with cancer.

make a donation

Together we can finish the fight!!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Maddie's Fridge

I'm so excited to host one of my friends from Samaritan Community Center on the blog today.  I learned about the amazing work of this organization after I moved to Northwest Arkansas.  While I support hunger efforts around the world in multiple ways, I'm continually amazed at the issue right here in my back yard.  Washington and Benton Counties consistently rank in the top 5 "hungriest" counties in our state.  Juxtapose that with the income by county and you will find a significant discrepancy.  Thankfully, the businesses in our area are great supporters and contributors to those making the greatest impact...but I love even more that its a place the everyday person can make an exponential impact!  So excited about the opportunity they are sharing below!!!

One out of every four children in Northwest Arkansas face the physical, emotional and behavioral challenges
1 in 4 children in NWA face Hunger | Samaritan Community Center is doing soemething about it!
related to hunger and food insecurity. Studies have shown that in addition to anxiety, hunger has long-term consequences on children’s health, education and futures. Hunger directly affects the health and well-being of children including recurring illness, obesity, depression, and other chronic health issues. Children that suffer from food insecurity often experience limited intellectual and social development, higher rates of absenteeism, and higher healthcare costs. As the children age, these issues compound and often carry on into adulthood along with poor financial attainment.

The evidence is overwhelming. But we can’t simply toss this over to the growing mound of depressing news. One in four means in your child’s classroom, there are likely five students unable to concentrate in class because an empty tummy demands their attention. It means the person sitting behind you at church has an empty fridge at home. It means your coworker is sacrificing their lunch so their family can have enough food to stretch until the beginning of the month when they get more food stamps. And it’s not just certain schools or neighborhoods. It is every single school in Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison Counties. Every day, over 25,000 stories of childhood hunger are happening in our community. How do we honor and redeem these stories?

Samaritan Community Center serves these at-risk children through their Snackpacks for Kids program which provides weekly nutritional support to over 7,500 children ranging from preschool to high school. While this program allows children to arrive at school on Monday morning healthy, attentive and eager to learn, we know that some of their greatest allies are their friends and school community. How do we equip their classmates to join us in the fight? How do we instill compassion in them that will empower them to encourage their friends to hope and dream beyond their circumstances?

It takes a community committed to bringing awareness in a way that children are able to relate and respond. A community similar to the one found in Maddi’s Fridge, a children’s storybook that encourages children to “help friends who have empty refrigerators.” This relevant resource can truly empower a generation to aid in the fight against childhood hunger.

Help us in bringing Maddi's Fridge to every elem school library in NWA | you join me in supporting Samaritan Community Center’s desire to share this book with children across NWA? Their goal is to have two copies of Maddi’s Fridge in every elementary school library in Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison Counties (164 books total). You can donate online through May 10 at A simple $10 donation will purchase one book while $20 will supply one school library and $250 will empower an entire school district! You can even select your gift to go towards a specific school. Can you imagine the next generation fired up to tackle hunger?!?!

Let’s do this, friends!


Samaritan Community Center has served Northwest Arkansas since 1989, originally as a local church  outreach and since 2002, as an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission as a grace-driven organization is to serve the hurting and hungry through a compassionate community of staff and volunteers. Using a relational approach to operations, we encourage client families to access multiple services to meet immediate physical needs (food, clothing, health care) and to work with our licensed social workers and counselors to make positive change towards financial independence and healthier lives. For more information, visit us at or on Facebook or call us at 479.636.4198.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Let's be are already trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers from the ham that's sitting on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

Well, I'm hanging out over at the Arkansas Women Bloggers today sharing my plan for ham leftovers.  And, thanks to Petite Jean Meats I had some extra, so I get your dilemma!  The recipe is delightful, fool-proof and sure to please a crowd!

Last weekend, I tried a little alternative to the recipe I'm sharing for Foodie Friday.  But, you have to go over there to find out the recipe!

Here's a hint...for my alternative, just substitute refrigerated pizza crust for the Hawaiian rolls.  You'll have to make both to decide which ones you like better!


Friday, April 3, 2015

curate crate | april 3

So, I'm giving myself a birthday present.  I'm changing my Sparkles from the Week series to Curate
Curate Crate | Things gathered along the way | April 3
Crate.  I've not always loved the was something I landed on when I needed it.  And, its still the same thing...but as I've been doing research lately, I discovered that what I'm really doing is curating; gathering and here you have it - the first installment of Curate Crate.

I love to give myself a digital birthday present each year and since its my birthday month, I decided today was the day!

  • first a question - do you say grey or gray?
  • When prepping for my last Junior Achievement class, I came across this article about 13 brands that fell off a cliff.  Interesting what made them fail.  The topic came up in our "personal brand" session.  We talked a lot about reputation and consistency.
  • I've got a new book on my "to read" list.  Procrastinate on Purpose....challenging the world to think differently about time.  Can you get more time?  We all have the same 24...BeyoncĂ©, Malcolm Gladwell, you.  How do you get more time.
  • Ever stopped and thought about the lessons you learn from everyday moments.  How about a dad, a tea party and some Plastic Donuts?


Monday, March 23, 2015

whats in a name?

I love a good brand story.  I love a consistent brand.  I love a positive experience.  And, I love when a brand mistake is made and resolved.
what's in a name | when your dreams and every day align | personal brand @bigpittstop 
I volunteer with Junior Achievement and the last session we cover with the students is “personal brand”.  It’s a funny topic to cover with 9th graders who are literally trying to figure themselves out.  But, I love talking to them as 15 year-olds about what they can do to set themselves up for personal brand success.  And, I love using the stories of failed brands to remind them how to protect theirs.  I also know, living in Northwest Arkansas that many of them will be a “brand rep” for one of the bajillion products you see on a Wal-mart shelf.  It’s the world we live in.  It’s the place we live in.  We represent a brand.  

But, more importantly, the brands we represent, represent us.

I read a great article today on the Steve Graves blog by guest blogger, Jason Locy.  It’s one of those pieces that I would usually “mark unread” or snooze throughout my day and finally stop and read before I head home.  I’m so glad I stopped and read it this morning to kick off my week.  I only had ½ a cup of coffee in me before I started thinking…that’s scary!

But, it tells the story of Uber, yes the one that is your new best friend!  (I can’t wait to ask for an ice cream cone this summer and see what I get!) It tells the story of the personal interaction a customer has and then it tells the story of what it’s like to work for Uber.  It’s not my story to share, so I’ll let you read the article.  But, it’s one that gets you thinking.

Right now at work, we are in the middle of our planning time.  We dream for 5 years out, we think for 2 years out and we plan for 1.  It’s a really cool process and I’m enjoying a new way of doing something that I’ve been doing most of my life.  But, what I really love is that the challenge woven throughout is to say "what your personal mission/vision" - "does it align with us"?  

Have you stopped and looked at that?  Whether you run a business, a blog, an online marketplace or are an everyday person…you exude some kind of brand.  What are you about?  What makes you tick?  What makes you thrive?  Dare I ask, what makes you flourish?

I’ve talked a lot recently about #sweetspot.  I think #sweetspot is when your personal mission/vision for life starts aligning with the places you serve every day.  Are you living out your personal mission/vision at work?  Are the relationships in your life moving you closer to the dreams you have set before you?  Are you living our life in the margins because life is aligning and giving your every day some freedom?

It’s Spring!  It might be time to clean up your personal brand.  Might be time to figure out who you are.  Might be time to do a pulse check.  What is your personal mission/vision?  Are you living every day toward the alignment? 

Friday, March 20, 2015

sparkles from the week | march 20

A few gems from the week...just things to get you thinking:
Sparkles from the Week-March 20 | A few gems I've run inspired and live a little!
How in the world are we already to a new season? Anything fun planned for Spring Break?  I've had a big itch to travel...I'm begging my sister for a girls weekend...where should we go?!?!?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

glass slipper wishes

To the girl in the row behind me.

You celebrated your birthday tonight the best way I know how….surrounded by your girlfriends. 

I heard you snicker and whisper when the dress began to unfold from the fairy godmother's wand. 

I felt the air leave the room when he turned around with the glass slipper in his hand and dissipate as he walked toward her.
You experienced tonight the dream of every lady; young and old, rich or poor.
You see, that’s the beautiful thing about dreams, we all have them.  There comes a moment in each of our lives where we experience something, whether real or make believe that transforms us.  It takes us to a place that makes our hearts soar, our souls fulfilled and if but for a moment….we are experiencing a dream. And, we are loved (rag-tag dress and all).
That’s what happened to you tonight.  You experienced the fairy tale.  Yes, there was a fairy godmother.  There was a set of mice that became beautiful white stags.  There was a ball.  There was the experience of perfection (seriously the swing in a secret garden!), and then the deeply felt illusion that it all disappeared.
Tonight was a right of passage.  A place on your journey to womanhood where you caught a glimpse of what could be.
Don’t loose it. 
Glass Slipper Wishes | May you always remember you are enough.@bigpittstopAlways remember this moment.  The feeling you have, right now, in the backseat of a minivan as your mom drives you home.  The giddy conversation that will ensue as the clock is now striking midnight and you are still bundled up in a blanket fort eating oreos and potato chips without a care in the world. Tonight you will fall asleep on your super-soft, overly-washed Hello Kitty pillow case with  a big smile on your face.  Because you experienced it.
The dream.  The hurt.  The love.  The reality of being chosen.
You will spend the next 10 years of your life chasing it.  Wondering if it's true.  If it's real.  If it's only for some girls and not for you.  You will be heart broken, and fall in love again.  You will cry and laugh and discover.  After all that’s what adolescents is all about.
But, don’t forget what you really heard tonight.
You choose you.
You are ENOUGH just as you are.  With just what you bring to the ball.  Yes, even as a peasant girl, with nothing special to offer, but ALL that you are.  That will always be enough.
Don’t forget to be courageous.  Don’t forget to be kind.  And, forgiveness always wins.  

May you always wear glass slippers and enjoy bedtime whispers.
May your heart be full and your days be light.
May love be your banner each and every night.
May your dreams be big and your realities be rich.
For you my dear, that is my wish.