Wednesday, May 29, 2013

stop thinking big, start doing small


I've been told my whole life to think big. And I'm good at it. I could think big until you and I are both blue in the face.

But actually doing something about it? Well, that's where I stop short. I freeze up. I have this grand idea, but then I look down and see that I've got nothing. And I suddenly become paralyzed, wondering how do I even get started?

I'm okay with thinking and dreaming big. But I'm not okay with doing small. I'm uncomfortable with doing small. Actually starting a dream means facing reality. It means facing failure. It means putting hours of work into something that may very well fail.

I'm sure that you've heard the statistic that 80% of businesses fail. Who knows where that came from, but it's probably about right. Every time that I heard that, I grew discouraged. 80%?! No matter how much hard work that I do, I could very easily get into that 80%. It would make me just want to throw up my hands and quit.

But then I heard a podcast from a highly intelligent woman. I wish that I remembered her name, but she was on Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership podcast. She said that although that number, 80%, is true, it only accounts for businesses that have failed. It doesn't take into account entrepreneurs who have failed.

That really hit home.

Businesses fail. But entrepreneurs get back on their feet and start again. They create new businesses, analyze where they went wrong, and move forward; they watch some wither to the ground and others jump to the sky. Perhaps my business ideas may fail. But I won't. I'm going to keep moving.

Monday, May 27, 2013

on being an entrepreneur

I've been thinking a lot about being an entrepreneur these days. Ever since setting out on my own about 10 months ago, I've contemplated what this all even means. Some days, I feel like I've got this under control. I'm up and productive and other days, like today, I'm still in my pajamas, staring blankly at my planner.

Being an entrepreneur is deep in my veins. My mom started her own business over 10 years ago in a corner of her bedroom. It has since spread to its own location, several employees, and working closely with one of the largest retailers in the country. Growing up, I saw the freedom that having your own business can give you. The location of the business was in a cute little trailer in the back of our 4 acre property. Every morning, my mom would walk back to the office and work. She would walk back for lunch and then brisk back with her sandwich in hand for the afternoon. Her schedule was flexible and she had such freedom to go to our games, plays, and other events. I never knew my mom having a normal 8-5er. And when I was in high school, my dad quit his job and joined her. I saw what having a normal job did to him; he was constantly stressed. But working with my mom, they were here and happy.

Even my own grandma was an entrepreneur of sorts. She had 15 children - all with one man and no twins or triplets. She's over 80 now and has had two heart attacks. Until recently, she's lived alone and still gardens. So, really, she's just an insanely strong woman. I have a big legacy of people who have done remarkable things.

So maybe that's why I feel an entrepreneurial tug. I never saw myself as one who would start a business. But, looking back, it makes sense. I saw the freedom that owning a business can create. And really, being an entrepreneur requires a heap of creativity. You're creating and making and doing.

But I often fear being an entrepreneur. As an introvert, I don't like putting myself out there. I never know the line between networking and being desperate/clingy/needy. And then there's the problem of always a million ideas running through my head and determining which ones are actually any good.

But it's something that I can't get rid of. For years, I tried to convince myself that I was happy in an office, working for some one else. Even now, I still have days where I tell myself that I would be much more normal and happier if I just quit all of this nonsense and go back to a normal office. It doesn't take me long to remember, though, my 2 hour commuting days and the dreaded feeling of walking into the office and plopping into my chair for yet another day of answering phones.

Being an entrepreneur is hard, very hard. But often, the hardest things are the ones worth doing. So, I keep marching on with my millions of ideas and full acknowledgment that some days, I just don't know what I'm doing. And I keep looking forward to the future, to making mistakes, to taking action, to see what the next day holds.


In other news, I'm excited to post week 2 of learning your camera on Friday! We'll be talking about lenses this time around, which you won't want to miss. There's power in your lens and if used properly, you can get stunning images. If you've missed week 1, you can see it here. Hope to see you on Friday!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

philanthropy post :: Radiant Cosmetics

Ohhh, I'm so excited to share this lovely little company with you this week!

Radiant believes in beauty on purpose. What does that mean, you say? Let's let them explain: "We are not your ordinary makeup company. We believe through ordinary purchases we can make a difference in this world. Radiant Cosmetics was built around a passion to fight human trafficking. With every product you purchase we donate our time, money and effort to help fight the injustice."

Yes, please!

I'm actually currently running out of my over-priced Ulta makeup right now. My next makeup purchase might be some foundation and blush from this fantastic business.

They also deeply care about how their products are made. Most of their makeup is paraben/sulfate free. And, they're working on eliminating these ingredients from the rest of their product line.

They also ensure that their makeup is made from workers that are being paid fairly and their ingredients sourced ethically.

Approximately 20% of their profits go towards fighting human trafficking. They also partner with a ministry called Redeemed Ministries that works to eliminate human trafficking in our own country, even in my own home state, in Houston, Texas.

Radiant is just another testament to consumer money going to good causes. Like Radiant explains, non-profit organizations shouldn't be the only one in the fight to free human trafficking victims. Businesses can bring in the help too.

Let me know if you end up purchasing something from Radiant! I'm going to get some blush here pretty soon. So excited!!

Please note that all photos are compliments of Radiant's website.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Redemption through Lemonade

For today's Philanthopy Post, Rachel Baxter is guest posting! Enjoy!

I am thankful and honored to have this opportunity to guest post today.  So that you know a little bit of who you are hearing from here are the basics, I am 34 year old wife to a soon to be pastor, (he is finishing up seminary this summer.) I am a mother to five wonderful(most of time) children(one of which is due to be born any day now.) I like taking my kids on adventures and "experiences," we take a lot of these.  I have recently discovered the love of writing, even though I have been blogging for 6 1/2 years.  Another hobby I have is party planning. I am one of those excessive kid party planners, if you don't like these types just skip my birthday party blog post. Our life is often messy but in the mess we get to see God make something beautiful in our lives.  I would love for you to come by my blog, and get to know my family and I better.






One thing that you will pick up from me after knowing me for only a short time is that I am a BIG fan of the underdog.  If you give me a good cause that helps people I will want to get behind it. I think I probably drive my "facebook" friends crazy with post, 50% are pictures of my cute kids the other 50% are post about various causes and needs in the world.  My husband often has to reign me in and help me focus because I can easily be caught up in so many good causes. Whether is rescuing woman and children from the sex trade, providing clean drinking water for those who lack this simple necessity, or standing behind the persecuted church in countries where Christianity is illegal you will find me "Amening" and getting fired up. But one underdog that I have loved for as long as I can remember is the orphaned child.  I have two siblings who were adopted and the home I grew up in was a swinging door of people in need, I guess it is in my blood. My heart grew significantly for orphans with Down Syndrome and special needs after the birth and Down Syndrome diagnosis of my first Son Sam in 2009. Although God has not seen fit through circumstances yet for us to adopt or foster we are doing what we can now to care for the orphan. For a long time I thought that adoption was the only way that I could help the orphan. I spent many, many nights on my computer looking at photo listings of kid is the US and internationally who need the love of a family and I would cry my eyes out. I would feel helpless and often hopeless, thinking there was no way to help these children. But one night God spoke to my heart and said stop crying, there is always something you can do, now get up and do it. So, I began to pray and ask God what he wanted me to do to help the orphan and he ended up leading me to a number of very "legitimate"and wonderful ways to care for the orphan.  I began to see that caring for the orphan was a big job and that there were lots of aspects that I could be a part of. I began an orphan care ministry at our church and we volunteer with two local orphan care ministries. Another way I was led to help has been in the area of fundraising and advocating for orphans. Adoption can be very expensive and there are often people willing and wanting to adopt who do not due to finances. I realized that I could be a part of this redemption.




 Redemption is the act of buying something back, or paying a price to return something to your possession. Deliverance upon payment of ransom, rescue.


When you here the word redemption what pictures come to mind? Maybe it is a scene from a movie like Les Miserables where the old priest buys the undeserved freedom of Jean val Jean after he has stolen from him. Possibly you picture someone getting to go back to a pawn shop where they had sold something they loved and getting to repurchase it. If you are a Christian I know when you hear the word redemption you picture Christ on the cross paying the price for the sinners he loves. When I hear the word redemption all these things come to mind but one more stands out and it is the picture of adoption.  A child who has been abandoned by the death, neglect, abuse or abandonment of the biological parent, a child who is all alone in world being rescued through commitment and payment of new adoptive parents.



After Sam was born while doing research on the Internet on his condition, Down Syndrome, I discovered an amazing organization called Reece's rainbow. They are in the business of redeeming orphans with special needs. Special needs orphans are the bottom of the barrel as far as orphans go, they are often living is horrible conditions with out adequate housing, clothing, food, medical care and worst of all human interaction. Often children with mild and moderate disabilities are left in crib rooms for their whole life, never escaping the bars and white walls. Their bodies, minds and spirits never develop under these Holocaust like conditions. In the best case scenarios where they might live in a good baby home or children' home with adequate care when the children reach 4 or 5 years old are transferred to live out their lives in adult mental institutions -  where conditions are often horrible and more like concentration camps than homes. I know this is hard stuff to read especially after seeing happy beautiful photos of my children living the way children should live in safety, well fed and most importantly well loved.

Do you want to be a part of redemption for children like this? Do you want to buy back what evil has stolen away from these children? Then JOIN US and "MAKE A STAND FOR ORPHANS!!" Host a lemonade stand in the month of May or collect change to give toward the redemption of beautiful special needs children around the world.  You can give  directly to Reece's Rainbow and receive a tax deduction. FOR MORE TIPS PLEASE VISIT MY BLOG AND LET LEMONADE BE USED TO REDEEM!!