Essential Oils for Happy & Healthy Hearts

Stand In Love Jen Healthy Heart essential oils

Essential oils are precious natural gifts given to us for physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.   I like to think of them as pure and potent aromatic kisses in a bottle!

Let’s appreciate our amazing hearts for just a minute!  Our heart is the workhorse of our cardiovascular system, pumping blood to organs, tissues, and trillions of cells in our body.   Now that is a tough job!  Even more astounding is the fact that if we lined up all the vessels in our cardiovascular system end to end, they would extend for about 60,000 miles, which is far enough to circle the planet more than 2 times!

In honor of heart health awareness month, I invite you to learn about a few of my favorite essential oils that promote feelings of relaxation and reduced stress in our busy lives.  The combined benefits of reduced stress along with balanced diet, exercise, and a reduction in our toxic load is great for our hearts and overall vitality!

Cypress

This gorgeous conifer essential oil sourced from the branches of tall evergreen trees has been known to promote proper circulation and blood flow throughout the body*.   I love to use a homemade blend I call no more veins to help promote blood flow and reduce the appearance of spider and varicose veins.  (tip: it’s good for men too!)

Uses:

  • Prior to a long run, apply to feet and legs for an energizing boost.
  • Apply two to three drops to chest before gardening to promote vitality and energy.
  • Diffuse with Lime essential oil for an invigorating scent.
  • Mix together Cypress and Grapefruit essential oil with doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil for an invigorating massage.
  • Add one to two drops to toner to help improve the appearance of oily skin.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang essential oil is derived from the star-shaped flowers of the tropical Ylang Ylang tree and is used extensively in making perfumes and in aromatherapy.  In aromatherapy, Ylang Ylang is used to lessen tension and stress and to promote a positive outlook, and we know that reduced tension and stress helps keep our hearts healthy!

Uses:

  • Put Ylang Ylang into an Epsom Salt bath for relaxation.
  • Refresh your skin with an aromatherapy steam facial using Ylang Ylang essential oil.
  • Put on your wrists for a sweet, floral perfume.
  • Add Ylang Ylang to Fractionated Coconut Oil for a deep hair conditioner.
  • Take internally for antioxidant support.*

Bergamot

Oh Bergamot, I love you so!  This gorgeous citrus plant grown in Italy is known emotionally as the Oil of self-acceptance.  It’s cleansing aroma combines a little bit of citrus, spice, and a hint of floral.  The name Bergamot is derived from the town Bergamo, in Lombardy, Italy where it is extensively cultivated.   I use this oil when doubts creep into my heart and I need to excavate limiting beliefs.  Try rubbing a couple of drops directly on your chest over your heart and take a deep breath of gratitude for all your heart does for you every day.  This oil has the powerful ability to turn our awareness to positive, hopeful thoughts.

Uses

  • Diffuse in the classroom, at work, or at home when stress levels or tension is high.
  • Apply to the skin while showering and inhale deeply to experience its calming aroma while enjoying its purifying skin benefits.
  • Change regular tea to Earl Grey with the addition of Bergamot.
  • Apply to the feet before bedtime or use with doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil for a calming and relaxing massage.

Passion- Inspiring Blend

This blend is simply irresistible! A blend of cardamom seed, cinnamon bark, ginger, clove bud, sandalwood, jasmine flower absolute, and vanilla bean absolute makes Passion one of my go-to oils when my heart needs a boost of excitement!  This oil is great for rekindling romance and helps you recover your long-lost mojo to try that next big something new in life!  Try it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed!

Uses

  • Diffuse in the morning to start the day feeling energized and enthusiastic.
  • Apply to pulse points and heart throughout the day to feel inspired and passionate.
  • Diffuse at work to spark creativity, clarity, and wonder.

 

These are just a few of my favorites of aromatic kisses in a bottle! To get yours, simply head over to www.mydoterra.com/standinlove and click Join & Save to get your wholesale account today! You will receive a welcome email from me with what to do next, along with an invitation to my private online support group with ongoing education, training, and mentoring!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas-based dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, Speaker, and Marketing Consultant.  She volunteers as a Community Partner for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million impoverished people globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To host a dōTERRA essential oil workshop with your friends or family,  please email: standinlovejen@gmail.com .  

 

Why I am A BeadforLife Volunteer

My love and passion for BeadforLife began in the summer of 2009.   I vividly recall the overwhelming emotion swelling inside my heart as I carefully unpacked my first sample collection of beautifully colored, handmade Ugandan jewelry in my first-floor office at local, family owned fine jeweler in Las Vegas, MJ Christensen Diamonds.

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The intense afternoon sun beamed like a laser on the recycled-paper beads the way light strikes the table of a diamond and disperses an extraordinary display of rainbow colors .   Many years came to pass before I understood how this journey would unfold, but I knew one thing for certain: we were destined to be together.

BeadforLife’s mission is to create sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone. 

Benefits of BeadforLife.

B.   A breakthrough in finding BALANCE in life.

Serving as a voice for the 1.7 billion people surviving on less than $1.95 a day undoubtedly introduces a more balanced perspective.

E.  The gift of EXPLORATION.

Find hidden talents as you learn to advocate for the eradication of poverty by speaking to community groups, sharing the vision of entrepreneurial freedom, and creating marketplaces for their incredible handmade jewelry.

A.  Go on an ADVENTURE of a lifetime.

As a Community Partner volunteer, every step of the way is an absolute adventure complete with new friendships, new ideas, and new awareness!  Your journey will be unique, and your story unlike any other.

D.  DISCOVER yourself, the women in the programs, and your true potential in life.

F.  It’s FUN and FULFILLING to volunteer and join hands with like-minded changemakers around the world!

O.  Receive and give the gift of OPPORTUNITY.

Not only will you be providing hope and inspiration to deeply impoverished women across the globe living on less than $1.95 a day, you will receive unlimited personal growth opportunities in exchange.

R.  The RECOGNITION that we are all connected as global citizens.

L.  Surround yourself in LOVE.

This is an organization oozing with love.  From the moment I first met co-founder Torkin Wakefield, to the time I spent with her daughter, Devin, on the ground in Uganda, it was apparent:  LOVE fills every space of the work they do.  Love for serving others, love and honest appreciation for the volunteers and Ugandan staff,  love for the bold mission that drives their work everyday.  Love is rolled into each and every bead, and love is rolled into the hearts and minds of the women who are served by the numerous life-changing programs.

I.  Realize the IMPACT your contribution makes.

Friends and family of the generous Las Vegas community have raised nearly $200,000 to date for BeadforLife, directly impacting over 40,000 women and families in Uganda and East Africa.  This brings them closer to reaching their ambitious goal of providing           1 million deeply impoverished women worldwide with entrepreneurial training by 2017 via a 6-month mobile classroom called Street Business School.  

F.  Practice your FAITH, and FACE your FEARS.

Traveling to Uganda as a volunteer communications correspondent was the result of ground-breaking, fear-busting intention!  After grappling with the inherent anxieties of a lengthy overseas journey, coupled with my personal struggle with anxiety disorder, I learned there was no way around it, only through it.  I just had to do it and “do it afraid”.   It took 6 years for me to take that step, and I am so glad I did.

E.  EMBRACE your inner truth.

We cannot deny that to which we feel called.  Are you longing to serve in a particular capacity, using your unique gifts and talents? What would you do? With whom would you like to share these gifts to serve a higher purpose? I invite you to ask yourself these questions and when you discover the initial answers, ask “why?” to each layer and you may just discover a little bit about your inner voice waiting patiently to be released to the world!

Stand In Love,

xo, Jen

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas-based dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, Speaker, and Marketing Consultant.  She volunteers as a Community Partner for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million impoverished people globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To host your own BeadforLife fundraiser or dōTERRA Essential Oil party, please email: deboughjl@gmail.com .  

 

Sustaining the Gift of Frankincense

 

 

Sustainability is a process, not an endpoint.  I want to improve the biggest disconnect people have with essential oils- sourcing.” -Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo.

Far away in the northern stretches of the self-declared state of Somaliland lies one of the most biologically diverse forests harboring over 1000 plant species, 200 of which are endemic.  This vast coastal wonderland rests on the edges of the Gulf of Aden, ushering in life-sustaining fog and mists.

Welcome to the Cal Madow, where the Frankincense trees grow.

Translated as Black Mountains, the Cal Madow is home to three of the most prized Boswellia species:  Boswellia carterii,  Boswellia frereana, and Boswellia sacra.  These trees grow in remote rocky outcrops and on sheer cliff faces, making the harvesting dangerous work.   To extract the valuable resins, the trees are first “cut” or “wounded” causing them to exude a viscous, milky-white liquid as a form of self-defense.  This precious material is later collected, dried, sorted by quality, and distilled for numerous health and wellness applications. 

Frankincense History

With a variety of uses, there is no question why Frankincense was highly esteemed by ancient civilizations and used for the most sacred of practices. For some religions, Frankincense is correlated with one of the most prized possessions of ancient biblical times, as it was considered valuable enough to be given as a gift to Christ after his birth. Frankincense was also used during religious ceremonies for salves for soothing skin and perfume. The perfume or aroma that Frankincense emits promotes feelings of satisfaction, peace, relaxation, and overall wellness, which explains its unique value in ancient times.

Generations of Somalis and Somalilanders have harvested Frankincense trees preserving a rich cultural heritage passed down for centuries.  In fact, the harvesting of Frankincense represents an income for over 300,000 people-roughly 10% of the population of Somaliland.  This number continues to increase as the ongoing drought has wiped out 70-80% of the nation’s livestock forcing thousands of nomadic farmers to head north with their families in search of survival opportunities.

Frankincense Sustainability

International demand for Frankincense essential oil is on the rise and according to Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo, scientific researcher and director of Conserve the Cal Madow, the Boswellia trees in the Cal Madow are under threat.  Conserve the Cal Madow is a conservation and research project aiming to protect the Cal Madow forests and the frankincense economy.   DeCarlo shared in a recent phone interview that “she has always had an incredible sensitivity to trees from a very young age, finding comfort and protection among them during uneasy times.”  As fate would have it, Anjanette was approached with an opportunity to combine her talents in Ecological Economics, Sustainable Development, and Environmental Conflict Resolution with her passion for Social Enterprise.  “Frankincense chose me, ” she said.

Anjanette’s first trip to Somaliland took place in 2010 to conduct a supply chain analysis of how and where Frankincense oil comes from and how it gets to market.  CNN recently produced a 3-part documentary highlighting her work, which she says, ” is vital to the entire industry to let people know what’s happening in Somaliland, to educate international buyers and consumers, and to educate harvesters themselves so they understand the value of their product in the world market.”

Recent drone photographs taken by DeCarlo and her team confirm cross sections of the current Cal Madow forest conditions.  Evidence of over-harvesting, double harvesting, bark stripping, as well as environmental threats like drought and wood-boring beetles demonstrate the ongoing need for international intervention to preserve and protect this biologically rich, old-growth forest from increased degradation.

At the heart of this open-source analysis, lies DeCarlo’s passion for partnering with the local chiefs, elders,  landowners, and harvesters as well as international companies involved in the supply chain.  “I want to work with companies who come forward because we need international buyer support.” 

Answering the Call

dōTERRA, the world’s largest essential oil company proactively accepted that call.  On stage this September at an annual convention in front of a crowd of 35,000 Wellness Advocates,  dōTERRA CEO and cofounder, David Stirling, announced the company’s latest sustainability initiatives including a 3.3 million dollar pre-investment into the communities of Somaliland.   “We asked the local elders in Somaliland ‘what do you want?’ Their answer, ‘We want to build schools and we need access to health care.’ ”

Understanding the importance of investing in local communities through mutually beneficial partnerships, dōTERRA plans to open a regional hospital in the Sanaag region of Somaliland in Spring 2018 which will serve 400,000 people, and has already constructed 2 schools which provide much needed education for local youth.

DeCarlo’s heartfelt sentiments were eloquently expressed that same day on stage. “dōTERRA is making a commitment to include sustainability as a pillar to identify ways to protect ecosystems and to amplify ecosystem services.”  She continued educating, “our health is directly related to the health of the Earth, and so we want to make sure that when we’re amplifying our health with essential oils, we ensure the ecosystems where those plants come from are as healthy as the oils that we put on our bodies.” 

Join Us

Simple ways to get involved include:

  • purchase your Frankincense oils from a company like dōTERRA, with a proven track record of developing long-term, mutually beneficial supplier partnerships while creating sustainable jobs and providing reliable income in underdeveloped areas.
  • share this post with friends and family to promote on-going education.
  • follow Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo’s work on Facebook.
  • Visit Conserve the Cal Madow to see photos of these amazing trees and gain more in-depth analysis of the projects and how you can help.
  • Learn more about the vast therapeutic benefits of Frankincense essential oil.

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, speaker, and marketing consultant.  She volunteers as a Community Partner for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million impoverished people globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To host your own BeadforLife marketplace or essential oil party this holiday, please email:  deboughjl@gmail.com .  

 

 

 

 

Answering the Call of October 17th

On the 17th of October 1987, defenders of human and civil rights from every continent gathered on this plaza. They paid homage to the victims of hunger, ignorance and violence. They affirmed their conviction that human misery is not inevitable. They pledged their solidarity with all people who, throughout the world, strive to eradicate extreme poverty. “Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty.”  – Father Joseph Wresinski

ONE voice matters.

YOUR voice matters.

We all have unique gifts for sharing love and compassion in the world.   As humans, we are wired for connection, and long for a sense of purpose while on the Earth.   We want to matter.  We want to belong.  We long to be part of something larger than ourselves.  What is that mission for you?  What do you want to be part of?  How do you want to make a difference in this life?

Father Joseph Wresinski declared 30 years ago, on the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris before 100,000 people, that to live in poverty is to be denied basic human rights.  His voice inspired the observance of October 17th around the world, and resulted in the United Nations recognizing this date 5 years later.  Eradicating poverty is now at the helm of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

Would you like to help eradicate poverty in our lifetime?  Get involved in one of two ways today!

Host a BeadforLife Marketplace

Want to share the beauty of handmade Ugandan jewelry with your friends and family? This holiday season marks the final chance to order your own Marketplace and raise funds and awareness to end global poverty.  As this international NGO strives ambitiously to lift 1 million people from poverty by 2027, they recognized the importance of re-evaluating their own business model, just as they teach the women in their entrepreneurial training programs.   As a result, their innovative 6-month Street Business School Program is replacing the 18-month Beads to Business model.  They discovered they could reach more women and families at a lower cost per participant teaching the core of the original 18-month model.   This proven and effective program teaches the fundamentals of launching a small business and puts deeply impoverished  women to work faster.

Join dōTERRA’s global community.

dōTERRA, Latin for gift of the Earth, is more than natural health and wellness.  This 2-time Forbes Best Companies award winner wants to help people live lives free of disease and poverty while empowering communities with the tools needed to become self-reliant.

Through the  Healing Hands Foundation, launched in 2012, the company is making unprecedented progress with on-going partnership projects in Bulgaria, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Nepal, Madagascar, and Somaliland.   dōTERRA harnesses nature’s most powerful elements and shares these gifts through a global community of Wellness Advocates.  As a community, we empower people to advocate for their own health, and we contribute to the global mission of helping others live outside of disease, poverty, and dependence.

Want to join me in this deep dive into your life’s purpose? Learn more here.

Sending love to all the heavy and burdened hearts in the world,

Jennifer

P.S.  Bonus video to learn how the oils you use make a difference in the lives of people around the globe!

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas-based dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, speaker, and marketing consultant.  She volunteers as a  Community Partner for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million impoverished people globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To host your own BeadforLife marketplace or essential oil party this fall, please email:  deboughjl@gmail.com

 

Pillar 2: Mental Fitness

Ever considered the fitness level of your brain?   We are constantly reminded that physical exercise helps increase oxygen to our brains and promotes overall health, but when was the last time you saw an advertisement urging you to increase flexibility and motor functioning of your supercomputer?

Welcome to Pillar 2 in our 6-part series on Brain Health.  This week’s focus:  Mental Fitness.  In case you missed last week’s post on Pillar 1 of Brain Health: Physical Exercise- you can find it here.

Our brains, like our muscles, are hungry for activation and use.  Today’s blog post is a video interview with Linda Fogg-Phillips, director of Tiny Habits Academy.  Linda is an expert in habit formation and behavior design, having taught over 65,000 people around the world through a rigorously tested scientific model designed by her brother, Stanford Ph.D and professor, B.J. Fogg.  Whether you want to adopt new personal habits, or train members of your business to help improve the lives of their clients, Tiny Habits can help!

We explore 5 key components of Mental Fitness and share insights on positive habit formation while pairing them with the purest and most potent essential oils in the world!  You don’t want to miss this!

Enjoy the show !

Feel free to share these tips with your friends and family, it’s the best way to reinforce your learning!! #standinlove#tinyhabits

 

 

To begin your journey with these life-changing essential oils, click here.

Thanks for joining, and see you next week as we explore Pillar 3: Food  & Nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day Tribute: Got Core Values!

“I want a positive, healthy learning environment for my child, and I will do anything to make that happen.  I believe every child deserves the right to thrive.” – Sandi Herrera, CEO Got Core Values!

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day tomorrow under the banner #BeBoldForChange, I am honored to celebrate the passion and vision of one relentless Las Vegas corporate-culture coach turned public school education advocate, Sandi Herrera.  Sandi is the CEO and founder of Got Core Values!, an innovative nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of children in the public school system through the development and implementation of core values and culture coaching for school administrators, teachers, and leaders.

Sandi shared her bold vision with me this week during a conversation over green smoothies at a neighborhood Starbucks.

Delivering Happiness Inspiration.

Sandi’s chance encounter with  Delivering Happiness  founder Tony Hsieh earned her the position of COO in 2009, heading internal culture and training for the organization.  Her skills in organizational and relationship systems coaching would reach new heights as she engaged C-level executives of businesses across the nation with the heart of Delivering Happiness: to inspire passion and purpose in the workplace for a happier world.  Through rigorous study of positive psychology and neuroscience research, Sandi and her team inspired the hearts and souls of workers around the world.   The world took notice, and so did the local Las Vegas community where Delivering Happiness runs its international operation.  Desiring happiness and positivity in their work environments, local schools began requesting this hybrid of consulting and coaching.

Internal Reckoning.

At the time Sandi was delivering happiness to executives in top corporations, she was pained by the challenges her own son faced in the local school system.  “School culture affects kids perceptions.  I’m not going to have my child feel like he’s a bad person just because he is not in a conducive learning environment.”   Sandi quickly found herself internalizing the core values of Delivering Happiness, whose number one core value is  “Be true to yourself. Live with passion and purpose.”  Could one mother impact the learning environment for her child and create a domino effect resulting in thriving educational environments for all children?

The answer… YES.

Leveraging her expertise and success in talent dynamics, culture coaching, and leadership  development, Sandi has worked fastidiously over the past four years introducing  Got Core Values! into six Clark County district high schools including Title 1 schools, like Mohave High School in North Las Vegas and magnet schools like West Career and Technical Academy in Summerlin.   Through rigorous piloting, testing, and measuring results, Sandi is ready to expand her culture coaching team and take on the valley’s vast network of public schools, with the goal of 30 implementing partners before the start of the school year this fall.

Ambitious Solutions.

Her passion and pursuit of transforming the public school system is not limited to coaching and introducing culture into the school climate.   It is extended to engaging local businesses to partner with schools in the district.

“Companies want to help so much, but often times they don’t know what to help with or how to help.”  Sandi’s mission is largely relationship driven: to break down barriers between schools and businesses with a focus on collaboration.  “Organizational culture is organizational culture.  There are nuances, but at the base of it all, we are all human beings.  And when we realize that we are both in the people business, that is how we will make progress and have momentum forward. ” 

Sandi believes there is tremendous power in the business community, and by partnering with a local public school, educators and business leaders will learn from each other, develop a new common language that will help them implement strategies for effective communication, leadership, culture, and relationship building from the top.  All of this will flow to the students, the future leaders and members of our communities. Sandi’s dream of core values and comprehensive positive sustainable cultures in our schools does not stop in Las Vegas.  Her sights are set on replicating this coaching methodology nationally and globally.

I have witnessed Sandi’s compelling work first hand.  Her determination and pointed focus on the goal of delivering core values to schools for the benefit of the team, students, and neighboring communities is nothing shy of remarkable.  She is living the #BeBoldForChange motto and serves as an inspiration to us all as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2017.

LEARN MORE

If you are an educator, administrator, business leader, or concerned community member inspired by Sandi’s story, please contact Got Core Values! to learn how to contribute your time and talent in the local community.

You may also follow Got Core Values! on Facebook for updates.

Happy International Women’s Day to all my beloved friends around the world inspiring change everyday!   #StandinLove #IWD2017 

Foundations of Friendship

Today, I had the honor of experiencing first hand the great work and services offered at the Veterans Transition Resource Center (VTRC), a nonprofit collaborative partnership between Life After Active Duty and Veterans Care Foundation, created to help fill the gap in Veteran Services in Las Vegas.

Our Mission ~ To be a beacon, for our Military, Veterans and their families around the world, to help navigate the challenging obstacles from military life back to civilian life.

At the invitation of a friend, I accepted an opportunity to hear insights from friendship expert, Shasta Nelson, author, speaker, and founder of Girlfriendcircles.com.  Shasta shared years of research on the subject of friendships and the impacts on our health, stating ” We are experiencing an epidemic of unacknowledged loneliness.  More than anything, people desire to feel loved and supported.   Research shows that disconnection is the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, even likened to the devastating effects suffered by those with addictions like alcohol.”  Point: loneliness, disconnection, and lack of a support network takes a toll on your mental and physical well-being.

This subject effects each and every one of us, not just veterans. Everyone needs friendships and support networks. What I appreciated most from her interactive talk with the group today, many of whom lost loved ones in active duty or are current care takers for loved ones, is that before we can learn how to be supported we must first understand what it means to be a friend.  Guys, this goes for you as well.

Three Components of Friendship

Friendship, she defined as:

Any relationship where two people feel satisfied, safe, and both people feel seen.

Shasta then drew a triangle on the white board in front of the group and shared the three most important components, requirements rather, for solid friendships to occur.

1. Positivity.

According to Shasta and her research, we should have a ratio of 5:1 for positive to negative interactions.    To be a good friend means sharing positively, impacting relationships in a healthy way.  This doesn’t mean we can’t share hurts and hangups in our lives with our friends, rather, it’s an opportunity for us to share where we are at to be truthful with our current situation and then offer something like, “I’m going through a rough time right now with work/ spouse/ (fill in the blank), but I’m so excited to be out meeting new people and building new friendships!”  Everyone likes to be around positive energy.

2. Consistency

We all know how hard it is to keep up with friends who live in different states, have different schedules, lifestyles, etc, but the key is connecting with regularity.  Even if it’s micro movements like calling each other at a set time each week or couple of weeks, or sending texts periodically, it’s keeping the contact consistent.   Shasta revealed that this is key for friendships, because consistency helps build trust between friends.  Helps instill the “safety” factor in the relationship.

She pointed out very keenly that this process of meeting people regularly happened as children when we were in school, and happens daily in the workplace.  There is a structure to the relationships, helping people bond more easily.  Things like deployments, church groups, university settings, and volunteerism place people in routines with consistent patterns, and naturally lead into the development of friendships.

3. Vulnerability

This is the component of friendship that Shasta says “makes us feel seen”.   Being vulnerable doesn’t necessarily mean we have to “vomit our vulnerability on new friends, rather, our level of vulnerability should increase incrementally with our consistency with that friend”.  As we see them more often and the friendship grows, we are able to increase our capacity to be vulnerable with them.

Vulnerability, according to Shasta, isn’t just sharing the hurting parts of our life, but can be translated as “initiating”.  When we ask someone to connect with us for a coffee, walk, or get together, we fear rejection and the very act of asking is being vulnerable.  It’s ok.  And it’s ok if we get a “no”.  That doesn’t mean we should feel rejected.

Self Assessment

At the conclusion of the session, Shasta challenged us to consider our friendships.  On a scale of 1-10, how supported do we feel in our friendships?  Are we putting too many expectations on the relationship and pushing that person away from us rather than drawing near?  What is missing in our friendships, and how can we improve ourselves to be better friends to someone else?

If positivity, consistency, and vulnerability are the three key ingredients to developing healthy friendships, what could I increase to improve the quality of my friendships?

My favorite takeaway was undoubtedly the following remark I believe hit home for every person in the audience.

Show up in beauty and light.

It’s not about finding the right person to be your friend, but fostering the right relationships you have.

Thank you Shasta Nelson for sharing your passion for friendships and connection with us today in the room.   Your heart emanates light and love.  I know I am not the only one who felt a connection with you.

To learn more about Shasta Nelson’s work, check out her published books on the subjects of friendship and connection.

What one word comes to your mind when you think of friendship?

Stand In Love,
Jennifer

 

 

 

Meet Annet Namulondo: Successful Entrepreneur in Uganda

Riding into to town to do business.
Riding into to town to do business.

It was our 3rd home visit in Bulogo of the day… the afternoon ripe with the sound of the African sun warming the fields as we pulled up to see Annet outside of her home working with banana leaves while her daughter was under the umbrella- like shade of a banana tree putting the finishing touches on the most beautiful  hand woven palm branch mat.   Freshly picked maize cobs adorned Annet’s front yard- some full of plump butter yellow kernels for roasting, and others stripped of the kernels which lay in a giant pile to the side waiting for the sun to dry them inside and out before being pummeled into flour for market.

Annet is 32 years young, with 4 children ages 16, 14, 10, and 8.  Three are girls, and one boy.   I was struck by the beautiful chartreuse and yellow patterned dress she was wearing, especially the small candle with a flame inside one of the inner circles- the flame glowing and burning bright, like her future thanks to the Street Business School courses she has completed under the protective mango tree in town.

A plastic rosary adorned Annet’s strong neck like a halo of spiritual encouragement.   We squatted on a small ledge outside of her thatched roof kitchen and exchanged probing questions with heartfelt, quiet-voiced replies.   The sort of answers given by someone wholeheartedly believing- and wanting- the listening audience to be larger than the sole interviewer.

Annet, I learned, began her first business with 5,000 Ugandan Schillings. – about 1.50$.  She purchased supplies to weave 3 traditional style mats, which she ended up selling and reinvesting the profits to launch her second business of selling plastic shoes.  Who doesn’t need plastic shoes?  Smart business investment.    She told us that after her business training, she decided to rear goats in the village in order to save up the first 5,000UGS to launch her mat- making business.   Taking one week to weave a mat from start to finish, we were so impressed with her ability to take things one step at a time, and develop her skills one day at time– knowing she would increase her speed and design diversity as time came to pass.

Such an interesting parallel to life- taking things one step at a time, and being involved with people, one person at at time.  As I was jogging the other morning,  I heard  a message reminding me ,

” we cannot fix everyone, or everything, but we can help someone, or something. “

Start small.

Start where you are.

Have you reached the point in life where you are done “making a point”  and would like to “make a difference” ?

“I was feeling a bit lazy, and weak… but now, I am out of my comfort zone, ”  shares Annet when I asked her to share how BeadforLife’s training has helped her in life.

The comfort zone.  Safe place to be, but spiritually impoverished.  If we rest in the places that are only familiar to us, how will we ever grow?  How will we give ourselves an opportunity to evolve and carry out a purpose bigger than ourselves?

I purchased Annet’s green and white checked palm branch mat at the end of our interview, appreciating her hard work and the beauty of the time and dedication represented by each folded branch.   This palm branch mat is like an organic tapestry, telling the story of her former life being folded over, and made bright and new.   I am so excited to have this piece of art to share with others and remind me continually to challenge my personal comfort zone.   For it is in these times of discomfort that our wings are stretched allowing us to fly a bit higher, soar a bit further, and rise a bit taller.

IMG_5702
thanking Annet for allowing me to purchase this beautiful mat.

If you would like to consider taking a small step today and step outside of your comfort zone, visit :  http://vegas.ignite1million.org

” it only takes a spark to light a whole blaze”- lyrics by Unspoken, “Start a Fire”

to be encouraged musically, please listen to these soul-lifting lyrics of Start A Fire! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this song!!!! It starts with each one of us!

Female Micro-Entrepreneur Spotlight: Regina Nakalanzi 

On the road again Monday morning by 7:30 am heading towards Kamuli, Uganda in the east.  About 45 miles north of the town of Jinja- the source of the Nile River!  I’ve come to anticipate an adventure each time I embark on field work.  Travel, traffic, and the sights on the ground mix around me like an unfamiliar collection of spices from a foreign land.   Traveling east on Jinja road, we passed through a bustling meat market town called Najjembe, where hoards of workers dressed in blue uniforms wave sticks of street meat – mostly chicken- trying to get your attention!  As you slow down to pass through this food refill town, your vehicle is essentially overtaken with people pressed against all 4 windows trying to sell you sticks of meat, bags of bananas- over 5 varieties-  avocados, tomatoes, as well as cold bottled beverages like water or orange soda pop!

Our driver picked up a bag of sweet bananas, and my colleague selected a sack of roasted plantains to be enjoyed on the ride to our destination.   Shortly after that smoke filled meat rest stop, we passed through the lush valley of the Mabire Forest.

Our work today centered on field interviews with current members of the Bulogo Women’s group- the first partner organization here in Uganda to replicate and test the Street Business School 6 month entrepreneurial training methodology for the poorest women in the rural village of Bulogo.    Led by the warm and nurturing mama Esther and coach Ritah, we were introduced to a quarter of the group due to graduate next month!

Each and every visit to the women’s homes and places of business was exhilarating and encouraging!  We were seeing first hand the impact that BeadforLife’s Street Business School expansion project was having in rural villages in Uganda!

Meet Regina.

Our first encounter was with the loveliest woman named Regina Nakalanzi.  Regina is 49 years old, married, and has four children.  Inspired by the content of her very first training session at the street business school (held under a large mango tree with the trunk of the tree posing as an easel for white paper held up by two members), she managed to string a couple of independent thoughts together and sold a small basket woven of palm branches for a mere 15,000 UGS- a bit less than $5USD.  After the sale of a second basket, she invested the proceeds in order to buy a piglet!  Embracing the notion of “starting small” with her business, she continued to put lessons to practice at home and begin to save and eventually have her own male pig which would help her financially!

When she’s not busy running her most profitable business, the piggery, she works as the village hairdresser!  An old passion of hers that went by the way side due to life’s daily struggles with farming and subsisting- she decided to rekindle  her love with this business as well!  Honing her skills, and dedicating more energy than usual on this, she has become one busy beautician- especially in December around the holidays!  She weaves baskets on the side, and also grows and sells small harvests of sim-sim- sesame seeds- for additional profits.   Regina was raised by her uncle after her father passed away at a young age.  She never made it through secondary school, and while she had a later opportunity in life to attend a nursing program, she failed to complete it due to lack of school fees to fund her studies.  She found herself in a stagnant place – feeling restless, tired, defeated, an complacent for a number of years.

Thanks to BeadforLife’s partnering with Bulogo Women’s group, Regina’s dreams to be independent and successful in life came true!   She rose up from her lowest point- having lived in a mud hut with a tin roof when she arrived to Bulogo village and not able to send her children to school.   Selling small bags of maize which she harvested by herself, she was able to purchase 7 iron sheets to begin to provide a better shelter for herself.

When asked what advice she would give to other women who may be considering joining a business training program, she said ” you must be patient in marriage, and in business.  Save, be creative, and always remember to take a portion of your profits and reinvest them to expand you businesses!”   Spoken like a true entrepreneur!

I asked which business she liked most, and she replied with a chuckle, ” the piggery, because it’s the most profitable!”

I was blessed to have the village hairdresser demonstrate her hair braiding talent on my muzungu hair and that was fun for us both!  She has never braided a white person’s hair and I have never experienced the fast paced, super tight small rows placed nearly on my scalp!  It was great fun and a shared blessing indeed!  I was incredibly inspired by her hard work, and enterprising spirit!

To learn more about how you can help light the spark in a woman’s life living in extreme poverty, please visit :

Vegas.ignite1million.org

Or to learn more about all of BeadforLife’s programs, please visit:

http://www.beadforlife.org