It’s Day 49 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and this busy weekend has taught me a life lesson from my loads of laundry. For many of us, this week was Back to School. As the mother of an 11th and 10th grader who is divorced –– a D or challenge women face –– from their father, I had them this weekend and a lot of the time went into school-related activities and making sure they were set to return for the first full week tomorrow. Between a trip to the library, running my daughter to a birthday sleepover, feeding my ravenous son and keeping him entertained Friday, I did laundry. Same thing Saturday before and after I picked her up, fought construction to make it to Zumba, did the grocery shopping and banking, then made lunch and finally dinner, all while tossing loads in and pulling them out. This morning, as I listened to Joel Osteen –– I folded and put clothes and linens away prior to taking Liv out for last minute school supplies. (What ever happened to getting the list before classes started?). Though there were moments when I felt like I’d either been put through the wringer or the spin cycle –– this is my first time blogging since Thursday! –– there wasn’t one where I didn’t feel blessed to have these tasks to do for my children and home. That’s the life lesson I’ve learned from my loads of laundry.
You see, though sometimes I look at all of the bath towels and face cloths to be washed, at all the bedding and more clothes than I can keep up with, I’m often reminded of a story I once heard a story about a woman who sat all alone in her immaculate house and longed for it to be cluttered with the chaos of children…Because I don’t have mine all of the time, I can relate. When they’re here, it’s more joy than drudgery doing the mundane things for –– and with –– them. I touch the towels and am thankful they take care of themselves the way I taught them to. I look at the linens and love that they lie in them and sleep luxuriously when living under my roof. And I cuddle the clothes and am conscious of how quickly their time as children will cease. Each time I’m immensely grateful that despite a divorce, the Lord has –– for now –– blessed me to serve them. Yes, on purpose. Focusing on that allows me to minimize my D and to maximize beauty and my best life.
One day, they’ll be grow up and away and my washer and dryer will get a lot less use. Til then, I’m taking my life lesson from the laundry to heart and am determined to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and to treasure the loads.
It’s Day 35 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project, and while I’m still savoring my daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday yesterday, it’s in light of today’s Dayton shooting. Shortly after we finally wrapped up the special day right around midnight, the 250th shooting in the US occurred an hour later, just 45 minutes away. For a brief period I worked a few exits north of Dayton for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and drove through it daily. And now that I’m the director of a homeless shelter for women and children whose executive director pastors a church the residents attend twice a week, this shooting felt very close to home personally and professionally. To fall asleep chatting with my birthday girl about the already fond memories made –– we share a room at what I now think of as the Savvy & Chic sanctuary –– and to wake up to the fearsome news that nowhere seems safe anymore shakes me to the core. So, after spending time praying for the situation, we continued the Sweet 16 celebration but did it in light of the Dayton shooting.
As if the above wasn’t bad enough, my new 16-year-old discovered the other mass shooting that occurred in El Paso, Texas not a day earlier. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent girl’s milestone birthday memories will be forever marred by back-to-back mass shootings? She and her brother are eighteen months apart, almost the same span as the sister murdered in Dayton at the hands of her brother? Death is one of the Ds –– challenges not only women but that we all face. And while I blog about how to minimize barriers in order to maximize beauty and our best lives, the only suggestion I have for this one is that we put faith over fear and pray. For our country. For the families and loved ones of the victims. For my Sweet 16 year-old daughter in light of both of these shootings.
I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and join me in praying for our land to be healed. God’s Word tells us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV). God bless you and bless the USA.
It’s Day 30 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project, and feeling nostalgic because my baby girl turns Sweet 16 this weekend, I reframed her baby picture and ballet shoes using Shabby Chic shadow box frames. Shabby Chic style as made popular by Rachel Ashwell, the founder of the brand by that name, is also celebrating a birthday this year –– its 30th! And I’ve been enamored with the style for just as long. Sixteen years ago, however, the Simply Shabby Chic partnership with Target that offers her pieces at an affordable price point hadn’t been established. That came about in 2008. When my daughter was born in 2003 authentic Shabby Chic items were only available at Rachel Ashwell’s stores in select locations and weren’t accessible for me. That being the case, following in the founder of Shabby Chic’s shoes, I’d scour flea markets and antique malls for vintage pieces, like the the ornate oval gold frame I painted white and distressed to hold my daughter’s picture and a white shadow box with a carved bow detail to display her ballet shoes. They did so until recently when I scored big time at TJ Maxx and lovingly transferred both to these gorgeous Shabby Chic shadow box frames.
It may sound strange, but Shabby Chic decor has provided a one of the most consistent threads through my adult life and helped minimize the Ds –– barriers and challenges women face –– in the forms of death, depression, diagnosis, domestic violence, divorce, domestic court, dysfunctional relationships, and the list could go on…It has provided beauty, comfort and function –– Rachel Ashwell’s three maxims – and so much inspiration. Not only in the way I decorate my home, but in the way I live in it. She opened her first shop as a divorced, single mother of a girl and boy. Soon it reached such success it was called, “The shop heard round the world”. Personally and professionally, this Pink Collar Savvy & Chic mother, entrepreneur and creative leader has been a blessing as one of my greatest role models and contributors to me maximizing beauty and my best life.
I pray you will be inspired by this simple task of transferring beloved keepsakes to preserve the memories in an even more meaningful way. Perhaps you’ll even be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and reframe or organize pictures of your loved ones. By doing so, we honor them and their importance in our lives. You may also find any residual Ds fade from memory and only the beautiful, best images remain. Even if you don’t use Shabby Chic shadow box frames.
It’s Day 20 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and dealing with a D or challenge women face –– in the form of a disabled vehicle –– has made me even more thankful for my petite retreat. Although, upon seeing the place for the first time Friday night when she drove me home, one of my Swan Sisters, Sonya, pointed out that what I’ve always referred to as a tiny house isn’t actually that tiny…From the moment I saw the For Rent sign in the window of this 1905 shotgun, I knew I’d found the perfect spot to meet my personal and professional needs as a wife, mother, stepmom of a blended family with adult children, author, life coach, and entrepreneur. And this small –– relatively speaking –– space has delivered in spades! Having a peaceful place to parent and pursue creative endeavors –– like blogging (it serves as a studio) and working on Hold on Her Heart, the sequel to my debut novel, Seasons of Her Soul, has been instrumental in minimizing personal and professional challenges and maximizing beauty and my best life. Having this sanctuary is both a luxury and a sacrifice. But so worth it because my sanity has been saved by this petite retreat!
If you’re anything like me, at times going out into the world feels like entering the fray. Having a safe place, a sanctuary, that soothes your soul can provide much needed respite. That doesn’t necessarily mean going out and renting a house or apartment. It could be converting a garage or shed into a She Space. Or simply carving out a nook inside filled with things that speak specifically to you.
Whatever it looks like, I hope you’ll figure out what works for you and that your petite retreat will allow you to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic in order to minimize your challenges and maximize beauty and your best life, too.
It’s Day 15 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project and after reading a comment in the 50th birthday card from my staff, I’m still celebrating the concept of being my brand. Even though I’m intentional about being Pink Collar Savvy & Chicboth in my personal and professional life, I’m still blown away and humbled by the fact this smart young woman sees me this way. That means so may others! Because this blog almost always features my favorite brands and retailers –– Calvin Klein, Shabby Chic, Target and the TJ Maxx family of retailers, it could leave readers with the impression those are the things I most value. But in essence, a Pink Collar Savvy & ChicSwan is Spirit-Led, serene at home, smart at work, serves on purpose, and owns her sense of style. That’s being my brand.
And if I’m living any of these attributes to the degree that other women see and want to emulate them, then I’m thankful my prayers to be used by Him and to point to Him are being answered…As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Director of a Women’s Center, who has the privilege to be able to live out my purpose to coach, encourage and inspire women to minimize their barriers and to maximize beauty and their best lives –– all to His glory, reading “You are your brand” is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. “Being my brand”. Hmm. Not just best compliment. Best. Birthday. Card. Ever.
I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose and be your brand –– whatever that means to you –– too.
It’s Day 5 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and I’m feeling inspired to create because of this pretty and practical picture board. Anyone close to me or who’s ever checked out this blog probably knows I’m a longtime Maxxinista and self-proclaimed Shabby Chic-o-fie. I fell in love with TJ Maxx back in the 90s and didn’t think the love affair could go any better until recently when TJ’s, Marshall’s and HomeGoods all started selling authentic Shabby Chic, Rachel Ashwell and The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell items and made it even sweeter. She’s most influenced not only my decorating but home life style. So the fact that she expanded her retail market from Target to the TJ Maxx family makes her beautiful, comfortable and functional finds more accessible. And it makes my heart go pitter patter. Like this pretty and practical picture board.
If you have the time, I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and take a trip to these stores to check out the ever changing selection of Shabby Chic items. They don’t last long. Whether for your home or office, they beautify any space and elevate the functionality as well. Which is why I’m thrilled that my50th birthday is Monday and I often receive gift cards to my favorite treasure troves where I can discover more Shabby Chic finds like this pretty and practical picture board!