My Water Birthday: Overflowing with Our Abundance

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(A short break from the Kitty Channel)

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I listen to the Rob Cast every week without fail and this past week gave me some way to pay back the deep joy I’ve gotten from his words.

In his podcasts, Rob speaks of how to move from a false shallow happy light, to a place of crushing darkness, and then back out the other side to a deep soul shining light.

He speaks of the spirit that is here all around us in magic and miracles in every precious moment.

He speaks Truth to me.

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Recently, Rob interviewed Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity Water, an organization with a mission to get water to the people in the world who so desperately need it.

In the interview, Harrison spoke of women and girls who walked for miles to get the life giving liquid for their families. One girl committed suicide because she accidentally spilled her supply on the trip back after walking all day. The shame of facing her thirsty family without water was too much.

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When the communities that Charity Water helps get a well, they flourish. Many of the problems with disease, lack of opportunity and employment dissolve. Women and girls in particular prosper when they can do more than trudge from their homes to a water source and back again all day every day.

In the end of the interview, Harrison describes a woman who feels beautiful for the first time because she has enough water to wash her face.

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Here’s more on the Charity Water project if you like photos and audio by Rob to go with your stories.

One hundred percent of any money we give to Charity Water goes directly to digging a well because they have separate funding source for their overhead. (Rob Bell and his wife Kristin and several other well-known people give to keep the lights on. )

Plus, we get to see the well our money helps to dig with GPS. How cool is that?

Rob Bell has started a water campaign for his 45th birthday on August 23rd. The idea is to ask for donations instead of birthday gifts.

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I gave money to dig a well for women who can’t turn on a faucet and are now carrying water on their heads. It’s the best way I know to pay Rob back for what he’s given me this year.

I considered starting my own campaign since I am so close in age to Rob and our birthdays are nearby. (This sometimes makes me feel inadequate. I mean, sheesh, look what he’s done with his one big life. I need to up my game here.)

But I think I’ll keep my numbers quieter in the Internet space and ask you to give to Rob’s campaign for my coming up birthday. 

To give to Rob’s campaign please click hereIf you have ever enjoyed what I’ve written, I’d love for you to give.

He’s asking for 45 dollars or whatever you can manage because he’ll be 45. I’ll soon be 44 so you save a dollar if you give my birthday number. (I couldn’t swing that much myself, so I understand if you need to give less). 

Heck, you could even start your own water campaign for your birthday or some other holiday.

The people who desperately need water win and, I believe, so do we when we give.

I wish you the water that comes from wells and that other kind, too – the kind that quenches that thirst you have to love and be loved.

May you always have enough to drink-

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P.S. Please tell me if you decide to give. It would mean much to me.

The Lesser Holidays Part One: International Women’s Day

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Recently, I looked up International Women’s Day while drafting my next column for The News Tribune. I had never heard of the holiday until my immigrant students brought me flowers, so I was quite surprised to learn that the celebration began in the United States.

Perhaps we dropped it in the U.S. because it was started by socialists and the holiday played a role in the Russian Revolution of 1917. This would also explain why so many of my Russian speaking students always remembered the date.

Or perhaps Mother’s Day took it over. Not all women are mothers, though, so I’m rather in favor of Women’s Day as we look at ways to improve our world. I sincerely believe that gender equality is in the best interest of my two sons as well as a benefit to my nieces. 

The personal essay I wrote for the Tribune speaks to one way we can move in this direction. It runs on Monday, March 9th, the day after International Women’s Day. The editor and I finally agreed on a title: Listen to What Women Say, Not How We Sound. (Titles are such a challenge for me!)

I’ll link to it here on Monday and then move on this March to holidays that usually don’t involve long vacations or fireworks. I write this wishing you all a fabulous Women’s Day this Sunday, March 8th. May we all hear each others’ voices. Beauty with Brown Eyes

Creative Beginnings Part Three: In the Pink

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For this week’s post, I interviewed Robin Stanton. Every time I buy her products, I remember her describing Mary Kay as her ‘want to job.’

Here’s what she has to say about how she started and what this creative profession with beauty has meant for her.

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How did you get started in Mary Kay? Was there a person or event that got you interested?

I was involved in Altrusa, a women’s service club, for a number of years where I met the friend who recruited me into Mary Kay.

I had been a customer off and on for about 10 years before she invited me to a make-over event. I was adamant that I was not interested in becoming a consultant and diligently tried to talk myself out of it! At the event, they were discussing the marketing plan and reasons people might choose to start a Mary Kay business. Many of them resonated with me such as buying my products at cost and having a business that would take me into retirement. (Since I pride myself on never paying full price for anything, I was sold at the mention of discount!!)

I knew that I wanted to have another stream of income in retirement, doing something that was fairly portable and allowed me the freedom and flexibility to travel/RV, so Mary Kay sounded perfect for that.

Before the discussion was finished that day, I had signed my agreement! With great excitement and anticipation, I waited for my kit to arrive so I could embark on a new journey of personal growth and enriching others’ lives.

What was the hardest part about getting started?

I had never owned my own business prior to Mary Kay and my self confidence wasn’t always the strongest when it came to tackling new challenges.

I delved through all of the materials in my kit and like a sponge, and soaked up information from anyone that I could. The down side of this was that I quickly experienced information overload, which started to paralyze me! There was a part of me that felt like I had to know it all before I set out on the journey, and so I was a bit slow to get started.

There is also a part of my personality that is a little rebellious, and, because of this, I sometimes wanted to do things my own way, ignoring the tried and true methods, steps, scripts, etc that the company provides, and instead feeling like I somehow knew a better way!

What do you know now that you wish you had known then?

There are so many things I know now that I wish I had known then.

One of them is that I am on my own journey. While there is a myriad of support from others along the way, and we are all in the same business, we all have our own “whys” for doing the business and each person needs to find her unique style in order to achieve her individual goals. This would have helped me to not compare my success to others in my unit.

Another thing I wish I had known, was that I did not need to know it all, nor would I ever know it all and to be comfortable with that.

A third thing I wish I had known, was that this was not a life or death decision! It was only a $100 investment that would open the doors to all sorts of new opportunities and growth for me. This would have alleviated some anxiety that I initially felt and undue pressure I put on myself. If I had realized that it was truly a win/win and there was not a way to lose at this venture, I think I would have approached it in a bit more relaxed manner!
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Has it been worth it? Why or why not?

It has absolutely been worth it because this business is about so much more than selling lipstick! In the process of learning how to empower others, I have learned so much about me. I’ve become more confident, organized, intuitive, knowledgeable and have developed a heart for helping others. The company has amazing tools to help build successful businesswomen, but my best growth has come from my personal interactions with customers, my director and my Mary Kay girlfriends.

Being that the company is comprised almost entirely of women, I was prepared to experience the same challenges I experience with women at my job — gossiping, back biting, undermining and other unflattering behaviors women in groups can exhibit!

I am amazed at the beautiful women I’ve had the privilege of working with in Mary Kay–women who genuinely care about each other and want to help each other be successful. This is nothing like I have ever experienced before in my dealings with women.

Mary Kay Ash (the founder of Mary Kay) was ingenious when she developed the marketing plan, because she designed a program where all women could have the same opportunities to be successful in the business if they put in the work. There weren’t a limited number of “top” positions, where women had to compete with each other, rather by helping others become successful, women were really helping themselves to be successful.
What is one of the best things that has happened for you since you began with Mary Kay?

One of the best things that has happened for me since I began Mary Kay has to be the wonderful friendships that I’ve developed, both with fellow consultants and with my customers.

I have some customers that began with me 12 years ago and continue to support me!

Despite that fact that some of my girlfriends no longer attend meetings, there is core group of us that continue to get together and fellowship on a monthly basis. Over the past 12 years, it has been wonderful “doing life” with them and I know that we will continue to do that for many years to come, because those relationships are deeply meaningful.

Of course, I can’t just stop at one best thing!

Another great thing has been having an additional source of income to supplement our other sources. My business has ebbed and flowed over the past 12 years, adapting as my life has changed.

Sometimes this means that I am more actively running my business, but when life is more hectic, my Mary Kay takes a back seat. I always know that it is there, if I need to quickly earn some money to pay a bill or we want to take a vacation and don’t have the extra funds for that. I can just work harder and make the dream a reality!

My husband decided to open a car detailing business after he was laid off from corporate America several years ago. The skills I’ve gained while building my Mary Kay business have been invaluable in helping him build a successful business of his own — bookkeeping skills, customer service, marketing, time management.

For all of these reasons, I am deeply grateful to Mary Kay Ash for her vision, tenacity and courage to develop a company for the purpose of enriching women’s lives. The impact has been felt worldwide for over 50 years!

(If you’d like to know more about Robin or Mary Kay products, you can find her on her website.)

In talking to Robin over the years I have known her and for this interview, I have marveled at how creative businesses like writing and makeup cross over. I hope next to find someone from the music world, so I can look at yet another type of creative beginning. 

Stay tuned! (Or connected to the internet, I suppose. Maybe plugged in? Cabled?)