Gather to Give -the fight against human trafficking

In October, a group of women gathered together again for a project and a purpose, to help in the fight against human trafficking.

This was the third of the official Gather to Give events. You can read about our past gatherings to get more information about the types of projects we have done and the organizations we have helped to support.

Read about our shoe cutting party and Sole Hope here.

Read about our sandwich making party and Charlotte Urban Ministry here.

Stick around for the next few paragraphs to learn more about our most recent project to help in the fight against human trafficking.

Human trafficking is such a heavy thing to think about. Because it is not something that we see often, like a homeless family standing on the street corner, or ads on TV about children in need in far off countries, we tend to not recognize it as a cause that we can really do anything about. It seems dark and scary and huge. It seems dangerous even.

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Gratitude…and what thanking others can do for you.

Gratitude & what thanking others can do for you.

This is the month of gratitude.

Along with the excitement and anticipation of the merry season ahead, this is also the month of stressing about Christmas lists and Christmas money and about how there are only 2 months left to do something about the resolutions you haven’t come close to keeping. Overwhelm and disappointments can make me feel defeated, sorry and ungrateful.

Last year, as you may know, I started writing thank you notes as a way to recognize my gratitude. I called it Thank You Note November, and this year, I’m doing it again.

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Thank you note November

Thank you notes

Do you believe that gratitude can turn everything into enough? For me, its hard to say, but I do believe its worth a try.

I don’t know about you, but this time of the year, I get especially overwhelmed at all of the demands as expectations of life. Teenage kids can be entitled, and as their parent, I want to be accommodating and make all of their holiday dreams come true. Then there are the demands that I put on myself. To have a clean and inviting home. To serve my family well. To be prepared for a much needed break, but to help with homework and projects and my own work schedule too. These are the days, the last of the year, that cause me to rush and stress and want for more ..and less at the same time.

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How to host a successful mug swap.

Host a mug swap

The idea of a mug swap makes my heart happy. I love coffee and in my opinion, it always tastes better when served in a mug!

I am a nurse. I work night shift on a Mother/Baby unit and every year around this time, we get really busy! Think back nine months and you’ll remember it was very cold…. and also -Valentine’s Day! You get it!

So to help us get through the baby boom season, we add a little pick me up to the regular work routine by having a secret mug swap! It’s fairly easy to organize and everyone who participates seems to really enjoy it. This was our second year swapping and we had over 45 participants.
Here’s how it works…

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A better “to do” list for the stuff you have “to do.”

To do lists rifle paper company

Last week, I had a lot of little stuff to do. Not ordinary everyday stuff, but little stuff that I had been putting off…or rather deciding to do until the next day…and so on.
I am not a list maker for “to-do” type things. I make a grocery list ….most times. I make a Christmas list…always. I make a packing list…sometimes. But “to-do” lists..almost never.

Last week, however, I made a list, in a pretty little notebook. I checked things off as I got them done. And guess what…all but 1 got done! I thought. Wow! How did that happen? Why did that little list work so well for me? I decided to look into it and you would not believe how many articles there are out there on writing lists, making them work, and why they work in the first place. Google it …and you will see.

Now that I am such an expert, I thought I would give you my 2 cents on what worked for me.

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Lovely Cozy Home Tour: Malfatti Treehouse

Welcome to the very first stop on the Lovely Cozy Home Tour. To read more about the inspiration for this home tour, go HERE to get the details.

Today we are touring a home in the gorgeous port city of Wilmington, North Carolina. A beautiful waterside town, within minutes of several NC beaches.  It is home to the annual azalea festival and the setting of poplar shows like One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek.

This gorgeous home belongs to a gorgeous couple.

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Lovely Cozy Home Tour

Lovely cozy home tour

Home decor inspiration is everywhere!

Pinterest will have you wanting for whiter walls, rustic decor, large houseplants and unique throw pillows. You will see renovated kitchens and freshly tiled bathrooms that are so far out of reach that if you even hit save, it lives on a “dream” board of some kind.

On Instagram, you will find similar renderings of cute cottages, lettered signs, fabulous rugs and hardwood floors with fluffy white dogs and babies. So many babies and they always make a house look so much more like home. Yes?

While my babies are big kids and my dog isn’t fluffy, I still have a dream for my house to be cozy.

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Can we really be GMO free?

Can it be done? Is it really possible to eliminate GMO’s from our diets and our homes?

Lately, we have felt compelled to try.As I have gotten older and more aware of these remaining years I have to move around in this earthly body, I’ve become more interested in how my health and mood are affected by the things I eat, drink and breathe.

My husband was first to begin the research. Our daughter has wavered back and forth between vegetarian and vegan for the past few years. All the while, I’ve been content to eat whatever…. but adding goodness like kombucha to offset the toxins.

My main concerns were the cost and convenience. We shop at Aldi and Trader Joe’s mostly. I knew that both had organic options and non-GMO labeled products. I just wasn’t sure if it was possible to make an actual meal plan off of non GMO foods for a reasonable amount of money. If it wasn’t going to be affordable enough to carry out for the long haul then why start in the first place.

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Gather to Give: Sandwich making for the homeless

Every few months, a group of friends and I gather together to give.

There was a wreath making party to support a friends adoption in December. Shoe cutting to support Sole Hope in April and in June, we made over 600 sandwiches for the Operation Sandwich project of Charlotte’s Urban Ministry.

My goal for these posts is to show you just how easy it is to gather a group of friends and neighbors to give to one of many needy organizations or individuals. It takes a little prep and a little promotion, but it is worth it. So very worth it when you see others wanting to give and getting excited about the difference that is being made.

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How quitting the gym helped me with my fitness goals.

At home workout

Naturally skinny. That is my downfall.

Many of us are skinny as children. Bony, lanky, slim, and then we blossom as we come of age where we fill out and take on a new struggle to go back to skinny, if you will.

I barely blossomed.

I weighed 104 pounds on my wedding day and 128 pounds at my last OB appointment before my first child was born. I ate whatever I wanted and worked out a minimum amount. I did not own a scale until a few years ago.

When you live in a small body, where changes in size are minor, you barely notice until one day when your pants don’t fit or your arms look jiggly, or your husband has a health scare and starts watching his cholesterol and loses 25 pounds, and then weighs the same as you. Ouch! You find the scale and step up on it…with a number in mind.

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