Snow Days

In the depth of winter I found that there was in me an invincible summer!

I had visited Utah many times when I was younger, visiting family and eventually when I came over to go to school here.  Whenever I returned to England I always missed the mountains and their beauty.  It was a strange feeling to miss a place and feel so at home in a place that I had never lived.

It’s been over 20 years since I moved here now and even though I miss England I still consider Utah my home…I love summers especially and I do love the beauty of the snow.  I am not a huge fan of cold weather, there is no denying the beauty of the sunshine against the beautiful white mountains and blue skies.  

This weekend I am spending time with my youngest 2 boys up in Midway (a small town about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City), and as you can see the snow is bringing real beauty here. I took a moment to snap a few pictures of me playing with the snow and acting silly and I have to admit, it felt really good.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day lives, and I know that I have a tendency to be a little too serious sometimes.  So I have to admit, when I allow myself to let it go and I am not the “fun sponge” like my kids have been known to call me, I actually have been known to have a little fun (even when I’m cold).

Don’t be surprised if you actually find some posts and pictures of me over the next few months in full winter gear, sledding and skiing.  I promised Brandon and the boys that I would do a little of each.  In fact, between Christmas and New Year we will be going to our family cabin in Star Valley Wyoming and pretty much all we will be doing is hibernating and a few winter activities.

When it’s a beautiful, sunny winter day, it’s the perfect time to add a little fur to your wardrobe and have fun with it.  I am wearing a cute black fur vest, I added a plum colored beanie and my great Sorel winter/rain booties.  Throw on a pair of faux leather leggings, and cozy winter sweater, your favorite sunnies and voila…the perfect winter look!
You can shop my look and some similar looks by clicking the links below…


Keep it Simple

The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think!

I think one of the biggest challenges we face when trying to figure out what our style is or how to dress is the fact that there are so many options and styles available.  There is a huge problem in society where we tend to overthink things, or even talk ourselves out of things because we are worried what others might think, or we are just not confident enough to trust our instincts.

Confidence in today’s world is word that is thrown around all the time, but what does it really mean?  Around the age of 9 we start focusing more on what other people think and tend to shape ourselves more after the reactions we get from people rather than by what actually makes us feel good.  The good news, just as we chose to mold our thought process after what others think, we can change that same thought process and make it more into what we want it to be.

The only way to do that is just to jump in and start dressing for YOU without any thought (or at least not giving in to the fear that you might not be accepted) and just go for it.  Starting small, keeping it simple is the best way to start.  Because there are so many style options out there, the best way to create your own unique style and do it for YOU is to start by finding colors that you love.  Once you have your favorite color (one that looks good against your skin tone), then you start looking for styles that flatter your body type (of course, only ones that you like and not what you think others will like).

The pictures in today’s post are a couple of years old because I wanted to demonstrate that simple can also be timeless.  A simple pair of faux leather leggings, a peplum top (flattering when you are looking to accentuate a smaller waist or give the appearance of a small waist) and a leather jacket.  Simple – classy and comfortable.  When you dress using simple pieces like these, a great way to add a little funk is by adding some fun accessories and shoes.  A pair of fun drop earrings, a chunky pearl bracelet and some bold pumps.

The key is to not let the fear, over thinking or lack of confidence dictate what you wear or how you feel.  I know that may sound easier said than done, but honestly the only way to grow your confidence is to expand your comfort zone and try new things.  Loving to dress for YOU is the start of having an amazing relationship with yourself.  If we don’t love and treat ourselves the way we deserve to be treated, other’s won’t know that’s how they should be treating us.  

Confidence is like love, the more you have the more you get…the hardest part is just latching on to that little bit that is already inside you.  I believe that everyone in this world has at least one thing they can own and be proud of.  That one thing that makes you know how amazing you are.  It could be something like being a good cook, having creativity and using that to make your house into a home, being exceptionally patient with your kids to name just a few.  There is always something, and that feeling you get when you feel satisfaction after accomplishment or showing love, that is the feeling you will want to latch onto.  Use that to help you gain confidence in any other area of your life…trust me, I have used this so many times in my life and it works.

I hope you have a blessed weekend, and if you feel like sharing something that you did to help you gain more confidence, I would love to hear!

Michelle
XOXOX


Boost your Confidence – Wear Fur

 

“She always stood out from the crowd so she decided to embrace it and just be exactly who she was!”

 

I don’t own a “real” fur, but I have to admit I have quite a few fur coats, jackets and then some with fur accents like the Leather one in this post.  I love it because no matter what I am wearing, when I add fur it just elevates the whole look and makes me look and feel classy (not to mention the fact that it also keeps me warm).

Wearing fur can be a little intimidating for a lot of people, because it’s definitely one of those things that really makes you stand out.  In today’s post I am showing just a few of the fur coats and a jacket with fur detail so you can see the many ways to wear it.  I do realize that not everyone is going to want to wear things exactly like I like, so as well as posting links to shop the coats I am wearing, I have also included some links that are not quite so bold (see the bottom of the page).

 

 

Over this Thanksgiving weekend I was speaking with Dalton, my oldest son, and asking what he wanted for Christmas.  He said that he pretty much just wanted cologne, shoes and clothes.  Right after he had finished telling me, he paused and said “I don’t want all STYLEQUEENIE clothes though!”  When I asked him what he meant he said that he’s OK with some things that are flashy but he didn’t want me to buy everything according to what I like, which apparently he thinks is too “flashy”.  I had a choice, to get offended or just take it for what it is and realize that not everyone is going to like the same things as me, and just move on.  I chose to move on and take it as a compliment – I like being flashy, I like to stand out – there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m just being ME.  It’s also OK that he doesn’t want to do that…it’s OK that he is who he is supposed to be as well.

I have always encouraged my kids to be themselves and express themselves how they want to in their style – but this also means that I sometimes have to take them out wherever we are going looking a little less put together than I would like.  The good news is that now they are all a little older, there are very few times that they are not presentable, and they feel validated.  They feel like they are free to be themselves! This was a lesson I was taught by my dad.  I have always enjoyed dressing differently than others, and as I was growing up, my dad always told me “if you look good, feel good and it makes you happy, then you shouldn’t worry about how others view you.”  I 100% agree with that statement and it has definitely guided me many times in my life – especially the part about not worrying what others think.  I have found that when I like the way I look and I don’t judge myself, then that also is how others see me and there is no way that their view can negatively impact me.

So does fur make you flashy?  Well, it can, it just depends on how you wear it, and how much confidence you have in yourself.  There is one thing for sure though, it is definitely going to get cold and fur can keep you warm.

Why not add a little fur into your life – and increase your wow factor?

Shop my looks and more by clicking the links below (the best part, it’s Cyber Monday so there are some steals!)…

 

 


Small Things Make a Difference

“The beauty of life is in the small details not in big events!”

 

We all have our own unique way of handling things in life, we do things differently, we place varying degrees of importance on some things over others, and as a result, we are all unique individuals.

Paying attention to the small things can be hard when we have goals, ambitions and life’s distractions – who knows what I’m talking about (especially if you have kids!~) . So how do we stay focused and remember the small things?

The small details in our lives may not seem significant until we start adding them up – then the accumulation is actually HUGE!

This method can be equally true when putting together an outfit – all the combined detail of an outfit are what make the outfit great.

I always try and make sure that I have at least one conversation starter, or one thing that may seem like a small detail but it is significant to me.   I typically choose shoes, but there are lots of other ways to do it as well…

 

 

In this outfit I am wearing there are a couple of things – the ribbon detail on the pants definitely got me some attention, the boots (especially for those of you that love Dr Marten’s either more recently or from the good old days) and the nail polish.  A detail like your nails is something that can definitely be a small detail that can make you feel sassy and fabulous.

Whether you’re someone that likes to be noticed or not, ask yourself this question “Do I like to feel good about myself” – if you answer yes, and I am guessing that most people will answer “yes”.  The next step is to figure out what it is that makes you feel good.  Are you a girl that absolutely loves makeup?  Do you enjoy the process of making yourself up and putting on some fabulous lipstick?  Do you find your hair to be your favorite feature?  Does it make you feel good to know that you are working out regularly?  Do you like to get your finger or toenails done regularly?  Do you like wearing a pair of shoes that is unique? Are you a bargain shopper that loves the thrill of finding a deal so that you can wear something knowing that it didn’t cost you a fortune?

Whatever it is that makes you feel good, that is something you should make sure you nurture.  Paying attention to all details in your life and appreciating those details is something that will make you feel great.

I have found that while it’s important for me to think “big picture” I definitely realize the steps that it takes me to get to my goals, and I appreciate and every single one of those steps.  And while I’m at it – I think it’s important (at least for me) to feel good as I am on the road to my goals…

 

 

That Vogue Feeling

“Life is a mirror – what you see from your outside comes from your inside!”

 

Whether you’re like I was when I started this blog and hate having your picture taken, or even if you don’t mind at all, there are definitely some pictures that you HATE and those that you LOVE!

Thankfully in this digital age and with fast shutter speeds a lot of the pictures I have taken manage to capture me without my eyes closed, and some even make me have that “Vogue” feeling – where I feel like I could actually be a model.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t ACTUALLY think I could be in Vogue magazine, but I have learned to appreciate my beauty and definitely love finding good pictures of me.

The reason I am telling you this is that it is so important for us to see our own beauty, and like the quote says, true beauty comes from being beautiful on the inside too.  I have known a lot of people in my life that may not have had the most attractive features but once I got to know them, I realized that they were the most beautiful of all people…because they radiated that inner beauty.  The same can be said for those people that have the perfect features, and are pleasing to the eye, if they are not beautiful on the inside, that will eventually show and they won’t be seen as beautiful people.  Do you remember that movie “Shallow Hal” with Jack Black and it had a cameo from Tony Robbins who actually taught him to see the inside and not just the outside.  Once he did that he started overlooking people’s outside flaws and saw them for who they really are.

OK, so I know that Tony Robbins is not going to actually do that for each of us, but here’s a great way we can start:  We can see ourselves as beautiful, recognize beauty in others (and not just appearance beauty but the real stuff) and the more that we look for it, the more we will see it (including in ourselves).  I know a lot of people that can truly see beauty in others but have a hard time seeing it in themselves.  For whatever reason they don’t like to look for it.  Here’s what I’ll tell you, just like the lack of inner beauty eventually shows, so does the real beauty and no matter what, even if you kid yourself that you aren’t actually beautiful or deserve love, guess what, it’s going to come out in the end.  You may as well see it for yourself because it’s not something that can be permanently hidden.

 

Shop my outfit & more by clicking the links below

 

 

Perhaps it’s a worthiness, where because of something in your past you don’t feel worthy of love or anyone’s praise?  Perhaps you have heard your entire life that you aren’t beautiful from someone you trusted or loved?  Or it could even be that you have faced some type of bullying or abuse?  The only way you can change your past is by changing your future.  If you’re still believing what someone told you, how you felt, and you’re ultimately agreeing with what they said or did, then you are still allowing that person or situation to control you.  Maybe i’m the only one that has a problem with control, but I can tell you, something like that wouldn’t sit well with me – I definitely wouldn’t want to feel that someone or something else had power over me.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been times in my life when I have felt “less than” because of someone’s behavior, because of not meeting unrealistic expectations I put on myself, and many more reasons.  So, when I did eventually come to my senses and realize that in order to move through something I had to just let go, that’s when everything changed.  I have been known to have a hard time letting things go, i’m not going to lie, so when I tell you that I did it, just know that it didn’t happen overnight.  In fact it took years, and during that time when I didn’t let go I was absolutely miserable.  I had this notion that everyone should know what an injustice had been done to me, that it just wasn’t fair, and honestly I thought I was fighting back, but what I realized is that what I was doing was perpetuating the situation.

So how do we move through something so that we can start to see our beauty (and not just the mirror reflection kind of beauty)?  The easy answer is just change your thoughts, but that’s easier said than done.  So honestly, here’s what it will take…repetition, telling ourself that we are beautiful, so that eventually we start to see what others see.  And here’s the best news, as you start to see beauty in yourself, the beauty around you becomes so much more pronounced and life just starts to seem rosier!

I don’t about you but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking at the world through rose colored glasses – who knows we might actually start to find things and people we didn’t even know existed.

Happy Wednesday – you’ve made it to the middle of the week, there’s definitely beauty in that!

 

 

 

 

Don’t be afraid to Sparkle!

 

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present!”

 

Even though next week is Halloween all the stores already have their Christmas stuff on display…

It makes me excited and sad at the same time.  Excited because I love the spirit of Christmas, I love how my kids get excited and I love to pick out personal, thoughtful gifts for all my friends and family.  Sad because it means the year is already over and we are already looking to the future (which can be a problem if you’re not enjoying the present – and I definitely have to focus so I don’t fall into that trap!)

Growing up we never had a live Christmas tree – they were a lot harder to get in England.  In fact, for many years of my youth we actually had a silver tinsel tree that was about 6′ tall…I wonder if that’s where my love to sparkle came from?  We would decorate the tree with all the brightest, boldest colors and even add some tinsel or garland in metallics as well.  I have seen trees like this since I have moved over here to the U.S. and I still love them – in fact at some point I would love to have one in my home (not sure if I can get Brandon to commit to that 😉 )

We see the most amazing window displays, lights, colors and garlands everywhere we go.  There is not a place where the holiday’s doesn’t seem to touch, and I love it!  The holidays are a fabulous time to add a little sparkle into your life.  Even if you are not the biggest fan, there are always ways to add just a little pop into an outfit by using something metallic or a little bling.

In today’s outfit the boots are definitely not subtle, but I absolutely love them (you might not, so then you should pick something that works for you).  The blouse has a more subtle gold thread running through it, but still sparkles.  When you add the coat (of contrasting sheepskin fabric) with the gold buttons, the patent leather satchel, the shiny pants, the gold booties and of course the metallic blouse, I think you will agree that there is no way I am not afraid to sparkle 😉

 

 

Whether you have a big personality, prefer to stay a little out of the limelight or you’re completely uncomfortable with ANYTHING that draws attention to you, there are ways to add a little sparkle.  In fact, here are some suggestions just in case you need a little inspiration:

  1. Use your jewelry to add the sparkle.  A pair of big gold hoops, a long statement necklace with jewels and bling, some stacked bracelets in contrasting metallics.  There’s no shame in not wanting to be bold and “out there”…but I don’t know what it is, adding a little sparkle just makes me feel better.
  2. Add a metallic scarf or an embellished scarf or beanie.  I have a beanie that has diamonte’s all over it and it is my absolute favorite beanie.  So even when I am feeling a little more dressed down or casual and I know it’s going to cold outside, I add that hat and suddenly not only do I not need to do my hair, but voila – sass!!
  3. Belts with a statement buckle or a metallic belt are a great way to make any outfit pop.  I have a silver belt that is mid width, and it’s perfect to pair with black jeans to make the outfit stand out a little.
  4. Wear a pair of shoes or boots that are not 100% metallic, but maybe have some studs or buttons on them that are metallic.  That way they stand out without being more in your face.  I have a few pairs of black shoes that have either silver or gold studs, some more edgy than others, but all of them add a little something extra to the outfit I am wearing.
  5. Wear a blouse similar to the one in my post that has a thread of metallic running through it.  It’s a great way to add a touch of sass without having to overcommit to the whole “sparkle” vibe!
  6. Sequins- pretty much anything with sequins is going to be the perfect amount of sparkle.  I have pants, a skirt but even a simple embellishment on a blouse is somewhere to start.
  7. Add a pop of metallic eyeshadow – a very subtle but fun way to start.  I even bought some last year that have glitter in them, perfect for a special occasion rather than every day wear.
  8. A purse or clutch in metallic or embellished is also a fun way to add a little pop to your outfit.

In stores for the holidays you will see red metallics, green, gold, silver, rose gold, and many more…so why not take this time of year (pretty much when everyone steps out of their comfort zone a little more) to try something that you might not normally try.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You’ll either love it or you won’t and either way, you’ve grown by being open to being different.

Growth only takes one step…the first step and you’re already on that road!

Here are some of my top holiday “sparkle” picks for you to take a look at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Things Make all the Difference

“When you pay attention to the little things, the big picture will take care of itself!”

Planning ahead with my posting as I am leaving on vacation today and getting everything wrapped up before I leave.  This is not what I am wearing because when I travel (especially on a international flight) I love wear clothes that are extremely comfortable, without foregoing a little sass and style.  Stay tuned for my travel look and vacation pictures.

The outfit I am wearing in this post is one that I wore for work, but it is also perfect for date night, or pretty much any kind of daytime activity (at least for me because I always prefer to dress up a little more than most).

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference when planning an outfit.  Things like jewelry, a belt, a scarf, some kind of hair accessory, a bag or a pair of shoes can make an outfit look completely different.

I love finding fun things to transform my outfit – the earrings I am wearing in this post.  They were a gift a few years ago from a friend made by a local vendor…the colors and style worked so perfectly with my red top and black paper bag pants.  The studded belt added a little edge, and the bangle added a little boho.

 

 

When I pay attention to the details and feel like my outfit is totally put together and rocking it, I have an air of confidence, which translates to me walking differently, having a little sass in just knowing that I feel good about myself and how I look.

What gives you confidence in yourself and how you look?  Do you dress for yourself or to please others?  The more confidence I develop in myself and in wearing my own unique style, the more I am able to become more daring, more bold and ultimately happier.  I don’t think it’s shallow to put value on how you look, in fact, I think we owe it to ourselves to make the most of ourselves.

I hope your Sunday is fabulous, I know mine will be!

You can shop similar to this look by clicking the links below…

 

 

 

Keys to Feeling Empowered

“You can find me somewhere in between inspiring others, working on myself, dodging negativity and slaying my goals!”

 

When we came into this world we all had the same amount of potential…

Circumstances, environment and attitude determine what we do with that potential.  No matter who you are, chances are you have had experiences and lived through circumstances that have essentially “rocked your world”.  It’s definitely easy to let our circumstances and our living conditions or environment get us down, but one thing is for sure…it is possible to change your outcome!

We watched a movie last night and it’s a silly, funny movie, but it made me think…The movie was “Joe Dirt” and if you are not familiar with the movie it is about an 8 year old boy that is “lost” by his parents at the Grand Canyon.  He spends the next 25 years searching for his family only to find out that they left him on purpose.  I know, sounds very silly, and obviously it is not very likely to be real, but it made me pause for a minute and think about my challenges.  The hard things that I have been through, the things that have essentially defined my path, are all opportunities to grow.  Trust me, it’s definitely not easy to look at my challenges and say “well…this is for my own good” when I am in pain, and sometimes in the deepest and darkest moments of my life.  But one thing I have learned as I have gone through some pretty serious challenges (like moving to the U.S. as a single mother, with no job and just praying things would figure themselves out because I needed a better life for my son), is that my strength has grown, my determination has become refined, and my confidence is much more solid than it has ever been.

So how do you become empowered to be who you are capable of being?  I truly believe that whether you believe in God, a higher power, guardian angels or just the universe, there is definitely something or someone out there rooting for you.  I have experienced this many, many times, when I didn’t think things would work out, and somehow they did.  I have realized that I can make decisions to make things happen, but the only way that truly works is that I TRUST and that I am not afraid.

I recently started Mountain Biking, and this morning Brandon and I went on a really scary trail that was about 8 miles to the top of a mountain with narrow switchbacks  I fell about 6 or 7 times, I cried, I got frustrated, I was angry, I was terrified, but obviously as I sit here writing this post, one thing is for sure, I made it.  The sense of accomplishment was amazing, even though I know I didn’t do it perfectly, at least I did it!

So, with all these things being said, how do you feel empowered?  Here are MY top 5 ways, you may have different ones that work for you…but these are the ones I use:

  1. Believe in myself – I absolutely 100% know that I can do anything I set my mind to.  It may not be smooth sailing, but I will figure out a way to make it happen!
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Vulnerability and trust are things that are essential to make it through this life with someone by your side.  All relationships are based on these two things.
  3. Put in the work – I see a lot of books that talk about manifestations, but honestly without effort and action, it doesn’t matter how much you believe or think something will happen.
  4. Be patient – this is a really hard one for me – I want it and I want it now…but I am learning.
  5. Be there for someone else – this is a great way to remove the focus from you and help someone who needs you.  I have found that when I am serving or helping someone, because the energy is positive, it opens more and more doors for me.  I don’t do it with a focus on me, but that is definitely a side effect.

 

I hope as you head into this week, you find yourself believing in YOU and if you don’t already, starting to believe that you deserve great things!

Happy Monday!

Pay Attention to the Details

“The difference between mediocrity and excellence is the attention to detail!”

After just returning from a vacation staying in a cabin in Montana, river rafting, hiking and horseback riding in Glacier National Park, mountain biking and fishing at the lake, I was seriously craving dressing up and getting ready this morning.  I don’t know why but I always seem to focus so much better when I am dressed and ready to go.  I kind of have a hard time focusing on doing anything work related when I am vacationing (I guess that’s a good thing), unless something needs to be done.

I try to set aside some time to post, write, and even take pictures, but honestly, I get so busy making the memories that I forget to capture them on camera.  Anyone else have this happen to them?  Sometimes Brandon will say “let me take a picture of you, or the whole family” and that’s the first time that it occurred to me that I might actually want to be IN some of the pictures I take 😉

As I think about dressing up and dressing the part, the biggest challenge that I see people have is the lack of attention to the details.  It’s easily done, and it’s also easily forgotten.  I may be a little crazy because I notice everything about what someone else wears, I notice ALL the details, so when I am building my outfits, the jewelry, the bag, the shoes, and even the jacket or coat carry equal weight to the outfit I am wearing.  Sometimes wearing a plain dress is perfect, but it can lack a little “oomph” if you don’t add some great accessories or shoes.  One of the easiest outfits to take when you travel is a plain, versatile, wrinkle-resistant, dress or jumpsuit, then add a funky pair of shoes, a scarf, a belt, some chunky jewelry or a bright bag.

 

 

In today’s post I wanted to show the baby blue bag that I posted about a few weeks ago, because the color, the strap and the style make it completely unique and noticeable.  I didn’t try to match the shoes but picked a neutral White pump, and wore this with some versatile, comfortable and cool chambray pants.

I may or may not be a little bit of a shopper (I will deny it if you ask me), but I do know that I am always looking for some great statement pieces that I can use with multiple outfits.  I have quite a few pairs of shoes (I know, hard to believe), I have quite a few handbags (again, hard to believe) and as for my jewelry I sometimes can’t even find or remember some of the things I have.  I don’t recommend getting yourself into this situation, however, I do think it’s fun to have plenty of things to choose from when putting together an outfit.

 

I have always been someone that doesn’t aspire to be mediocre, but wants to strive for excellence, and that goes for my style as well as everything else in my life – so I always pay attention to the details, in every area of my life!

If you’re looking to find a great statement bag like mine, some great neutral White pumps, or some fabulous chambray pants like mine….you can click the shoppable links below!

 

 

Making the World a Better Place

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent!”

I posted a little while ago about Pearls with purpose and I can’t help myself, I have to do it again.  I was so moved by their cause, by the Women they have helped and how their philosophy totally puts life into perspective.  It makes me want to be a better me and help as many people as possible, it made me realize that it’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives, live in our little bubble and not realize what is really happening in other parts of the world.  The great thing about Pearls with Purpose is that it’s easy to help, you can volunteer, you can become involved by donating, or even better, you can buy some of their jewelry so these amazing Women are empowered to make more to provide for their families.  It gives them purpose, because learning how to provide is so much more important that just receiving donations or handouts.

 

 

Here’s just one more story about one of the Women that Pearls with Purpose has helped…

 

Nanette

A young mother walked into the co-op one fall afternoon. She was pregnant with her 7th child. She had heard of the co-op through various friends and sources in the squatter area.

“Please”, she spoke with pleading eyes, “will you please take my baby and feed her? I will adopt to you, just feed her.”

We quickly assured her that rather than adopting her child, we could teach her to make jewelry so she could earn her own money. She seemed intrigued with this idea, and thus Nanette became one of our new Pearlologists.

She worked through the pregnancy, and delivered a beautiful baby girl. Her husband, Juan, was a trash collector. He pedaled around on a bicycle with a basket attached and collected usable pieces of trash. Some days his earnings amounted to the equivalent of a dollar, others it was a mere few cents. Every day was a struggle for food for seven hungry mouths.

The older children frequently stayed home from school in order to beg for food, fetch wood to make a fire to boil water for drinking, or to walk the two miles to the water supply to get daily drinking water. Every day was a battle for survival.

A few months after beginning to work at the Pearl Co-op, we had a trip to Philippines and went to Nanettes house to visit her and her family. We wove our way around the dirt paths circulating ever inward through a maze of huts and lean-to’s. We came to a squatter house that had a rickety homemade wooden ladder going up to its rooftop. We quickly learned that that was their dwelling. Up the wooden boards we climbed. We entered a 10×10 wooden slated floor area filled with 6 rambunctious children and a hip-straddled infant that was wailing. The translator quickly explained that there was not enough nutrition for mom to effectively nurse, not enough money for formula or milk, and that one of the older children had run down to the river to fetch water and wood. They would then make a fire, boil the water, and mix it with rice powder to feed the baby. A process that would take close to an hour. My heart melted. We stayed for 30 minutes, playing games with the children, watching as they did somersaults, hand stands and entertained us with their child-like good natures. Ever smiling and laughing as we clapped and cheered them on. Meanwhile the infant shrieked on and on while mom patiently rocked her against her hip. We departed before the oldest had yet returned with the desperately needed water. We quickly went to a market and purchased formulas, powdered milk and a water purification system for their tiny family.

The entire time we were in Nanettes home, she had a smile on her face as she brokenly repeated “my thanks to you I work, my thanks to you we eat, my thanks to you keep my baby”.

Though still in humble circumstances, she was able to begin her path of self reliance because of the work offered through the pearl co-op.

If this story doesn’t melt your heart I don’t know how yet will…thoughts of having to give up your child because you can’t afford to feed it – that’s not even something we have to think about!

 

 

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