Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life, Faith & Family

I have to share this amazing video. Although I'm not Catholic, the message they have is honest and hits so close to home for so many struggling American families. This message of truth is proof that as families, we are searching for something...we're trying to keep our children and marriages strong, make family first priority and see through the fog. What is most important? Family. It doesn't matter what your political view is. It doesn't matter who you plan to vote for and what you support. Look deeper. Look at faces and people. As mothers, wives, sisters, we have an important role in strengthening our families. This video just puts it all together. The "Family" is what holds the power that this nation needs to heal & recover.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dinner Blessings #1

Dinnertime for families is such a rare occasion and for many families it doesn't even exist. It's such an important part of life for children and parents and it provides a special time to talk, tell stories, laugh and connect in ways that can't be done anywhere else.

After my post last week about Family Day I couldn't let an entire year go by until the next celebration of "Family Day- A day to eat dinner with your children". We should be setting aside at least 3-5 nights a week (if not more) to eat and spend time with our children. Many families are too busy or have other commitments, but maybe it's time we all step back and take a good look at our family time. Are we sitting down together for meals? Do we allow our children the time and attention they deserve by having dinner together weekly? Whatever your answer may be I think we all know how important is and that it's a must to fit it into the schedule.

So that's why I decided to start "Dinner Blessings". My love for family, and the understanding I have about how important it is to sit down together as a family and enjoy each other's company is my reason behind "Dinner Blessings". Sometimes it's as simple as 10 minutes of chatting, joking and turkey sandwiches, and other times it's making time for a game after a 4-course meal. We are an extremely busy family, but each time we sit down together for dinner our children open up, they talk, they let us talk too, and we learn more and more about each other and how our family works.

Each Monday I'll share a "Dinner Blessing" that you can use in your own family. I'd love for you all to share your ideas too! Maybe it's a dinner tradition of cooking together on Sundays, dad BBQ'ing with the kids, storytelling, a creative activity or game the family can do at the dinner table, a surprise for special occasions, special desserts or even eating dinner together in the backyard. It doesn't matter. Just share it! Pass along your ideas and let's help each other create bountiful blessings for our families by encouraging each other to sit down and have dinner together!

I'll also be giving away some great prizes that encourage family dinner time & great meals! Just leave a post each week and I'll draw from the comments posted and you can add my button to your site and get 5 extra chances!! This week I'll be giving away the first prize!

It's a deck of Cherish Bound's Family Chat Cards. We use these in our family. As a family we LOVE to listen to each other's stories and we love that everyone has their own version too. Each card in this deck has a question or two on the back of them that helps get the stories flowing. It's fun to pick a card and tell, but it's also exciting to hear what everyone has to say. Some questions are "How do your mom and dad show you love" or "What is your greatest dream". We can spend hours at the table just story swapping from one single question. I love that my children would rather be at our kitchen table telling us a story than upstairs on a cell phone.

Use Mr. Linky and post a Dinner Blessing on your own blog! Add my button (over on left sidebar) and get 5 extra chances to win!! Don't forget to leave a comment for another chance to win!!!

Recipes for the Fall

Over at 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, it's Monday again and that means "Homemaker Monday" as arrived! I decided to take part in this last week when I shared my first "homemaker" idea...the Wall of Stories. Lots of great "homemakers" leave great ideas and share their secret homemaker tips.

Today, I'm feeling quite festive with Fall in the air....well, sort of. It's still a bit hot and humid where I'm at, but over the weekend the house got a quick Fall Cleaning and the Autumn decor has begun taking its place among our shelves and tables. It doesn't take much to get this homemaker in the mood to bake...I just need one or two excuses and the fact that it's officially Fall was all I needed. So the recipes come out and it's time to bake some goodies. I have two favorites that are great for the fall and holidays. I do bake them through the year, but weekly come October, November and December. So I'd like to share my two favorite Fall/Holiday treats to help get you in the mood.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

2 2/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves

1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 16 oz can of pumpkin
5 egg whites

1 bag of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients together (flour & spices) and set aside. Mix last 5 ingredients together. Slowly add flour mixture. Once it's mixed well (not overdone) add chocolate chips and mix a little more. Spray with cooking spray if not using muffin papers. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Fat Free Banana Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 to 2 egg whites
2 cups mashed ripe bananas

Chopped walnuts

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mix first four ingredients and set aside. Mix remaining four ingredients and then add the flour mixture. If you want to add walnuts you can, but then it's not fat free. I prefer walnuts....lots of them. Pour into greased loaf pan. Makes 2 medium size loaves. Bake 45-50 minutes.


Friday, September 26, 2008

"My Husband Rocks" Fridays! #2

Yep! He Rocks! He's absolutely incredible! You know why? He took care of our 5 kids...YES, all five of our kids ages, 14, 12, 5, and 18 Month old twins while I went away for 5 days to the Cherish Bound convention!!! I know! I'm totally speechless too....well, I'm never speechless, but yes, he did that and everyone survived. There were 5 kids when I got home....all alive...and he still had some life in him too...sort of.

I'll set the picture for you so you can understand why he so rocks......

  • He worked from home while watching the twins all day....included conference calls and a very, very large report that was due.
  • Got all the kids to the bus stops on TIME
  • No injuries
  • He took ALL five to a soccer tournament that lasted 3 of those days, stayed in a hotel, and went to the games to watch both of our older daughters play!
  • And....he never called and bugged me! NOT once!
I've always known that he's a pretty cool guy, but this just puts him right over the top! I didn't realize how lucky and blessed I was until I shared this story with some of my friends and they couldn't believe it and said that their husbands would never, ever, ever even think about doing that for them....huh? Serious? I thought all husbands did this......apparently not! Just the ones that ROCK!!!!!!

I'm such a lucky girl! For more Rockin' Husbands visit Katy Lin's blog The Great Adventure!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children (TM)

Have you heard of this? I can't believe I missed this! I can't believe I've never heard of this! Yes, National Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children!

Their Mission:
"Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM is a national movement to inform parents that the parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free. Family Day reminds parents that Dinner Makes A Difference!"

I just spend an hour completely wrapped up in their website, scouring their ideas, and loving every part of it! However, National Family Day was on Monday, September 22! I never heard about this before and it's on it's EIGHTH consecutive year. And why was this day not posted all over the the news, blogs, websites!? This DAY should be given National Attention! Loud and clear for all to see!

Go check out the website and see how wonderful this movement is! This is something that every family can benefit from. What a powerful way to promote family time and traditions. Go take their pledge to become a "Family Day STAR". They have tons of information and ideas about family and how to get involved.

Here is a link to view President Bush's Proclamation about National Family Day.

They offer the following list of "Secrets" to help you have a Successful Family Dinner.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy First Day of Autumn!

It has finally arrived...yes, the much anticipated beautiful season of Autumn. However, as I look out my window I can tell it's going to be another warm, humid, sticky day here in Florida. Boo-hoo....I'm such a "Seasons" girl!

I love the changing of leaves, the clean crisp air and the hype of the holidays. Since I can't go out and spray paint all the leaves in my yard I'm going to have to set the "Autumn bomb" off in my house and on my porch. Yes, the "Autumn Bomb"....

January to September my house looks normal. Typical. But come the first day of Autumn, WATCH OUT! It's time to haul out the plastic bins, hay stacks from the attic, scarecrows on sticks and get this house festive!! (I must find everything first....we moved over the summer)

Jen over at 100 Days to Christmas has a fabulous challenge going on that started last week. She's helping us stay on course and organized so that the holidays will be enjoyable and successful. Yesterday's challenge was to get out the Fall/Autumn decor. It's time to Prepare the Home For Fall. Today's tip, Falling for the Fall! She offers the advice of Creating a Memory! Ahh...right up my alley Jen! So those of you who need some ideas she has a great list called "Favorite Fall Things To Do" at her other blog List Mama Blog. (One of my most favorites)

Cherish Bound offers a great Story Starter from the Seasons and Holiday Collection called "Fall". This Story Starter will help you and your family find, capture, and share the beautiful memories of Fall. With Jen's ideas and lists of things to do and a Fall Story Starter from Cherish Bound you will have plenty of Autumn traditions that you can start up within your own family. Embrace this time of year. It's truly a season that leaves behind some of the most precious memories we have as children and adults. Enjoy this beautiful day and celebrate the season of Autumn!

Friday, September 19, 2008

"My Husband Rocks" Fridays!

In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced.

~Robert Sexton~

I read this quote over at Katy Lyn's blog My Great Adventure and couldn't help but shout out a loud AMEN! Thank you Katy Lyn....thank you for making it okay to be proud of our marriages and proud of the amazing men we've been blessed to have in our lives forever. I was so touched by her post and all the women that were joining her that I had to be apart of this because MY HUSBAND ROCKS!

We've survived 14 years of marriage, have 5 amazing kids, and have conquered life together since we were 10 years old! We go way back...WAYYYY back! And I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm excited to share with the world all the reasons why MY HUSBAND ROCKS!

What are you giving for Christmas this year?

Can you believe the holidays will be here in just a few short months...actually weeks! (I consider the holidays officially underway on October 31.) So what are you giving this year to all the special people on your list? Giving the same-old-same-old....New underwear? Oh, wait, a coffee cup? I bet you give ties, right? Hum....how about switching up the gift giving traditions this year. How about actually putting some thought in to it and giving a gift that will not only change you, but change the person you're giving it to. What gift is that? The Gift of Story.

Can you picture this.... Yeah, go read that real quick and then come back. A little tear? Hit a little close to home? I bet it did. That is the power of story. That is what can happen at each and every family Christmas party. That is the emotion and love that can be shared throughout your holiday season. With a little help from me and Cherish Bound you'll create a holiday tradition of story that will forever change your heart and those around you.

So what gifts can you give through Cherish Bound? The list is endless and the recipients are...well, just about everybody! But here is a list to help you get started.

Mothers, Fathers, Mother-in-laws, father-in-laws, sisters, brothers, cousins, best friends, aunts, uncles, daughter, son, grandmother, grandfather, niece, nephew, teachers, bus drivers, neighbors, pets....okay. You get the picture right?

So what can you give them through Cherish Bound?

  1. Family Recipe Books: Create a book filled with family favorites and add images of family, scanned in original recipe cards, pictures of the food, stories about where these recipes have come from and the memories that have been made while enjoy those yummy foods.
  2. Tribute to Mom/Dad/Grandparents: Tell the important people in your life just how much they mean to you. Give them the gift of story by reminiscing about the past, present and the future you have because of them. With added photos and your text this story is sure touch the heart of everyone who receives it.
  3. A-Z Books: A-Z books are SO much fun! There are 1000's of ideas that you can do with A-Z's. Here's a few....The A to Z's..... of why we love (whoever), of 2008, child's favorite things, holiday memories, family traditions. There are so many ways to share the love through the ABC's.
  4. Sports/Hobby/Collection books: Create a book just for the sports lover in your family or highlight their great achievements or special hobbies and collections like fishing, dirt biking, camping, coin collections, baseball cards, etc.
  5. Family Traditions: Have each person in your family write about their favorite traditions and memories from the holidays. Grandma's love those!
  6. Photo Brag Books: No time to write? How about a book filled with snapshots and photos off all your adventures or best pictures throughout the year?
  7. Family Yearbook: If you're like me, you live far from family and you don't get to share your amazing adventures with them as much as you'd like to. So put together a family yearbook from the past year. Get the kids involved, the hubby too and together as a family create a yearbook that you can share with all your family!
So there are a few "Book" ideas to get you started....but there are so many more! Just think about the special people and why you love them. Something will come to mind. But wait..there's more! Cherish Bound has an AMAZING product line. Here are some more ideas!
  1. Chat Cards: LOVE THESE! Chat Cards come in three different types, Family Chat, Gathering Chat & Child Chat. They are a deck of 50+ cards that have TONS of question on them to help promote great storytelling and conversation. Neighbors will love a deck for their kitchen table, Gathering Chats are fun to use at your own family parties, and teachers will LOVE the child chat cards....great for the classroom!
  2. Journals: Heritage, Traditions, Favorites and Gratitude. Pre-published 5×5 hardbound journals with questions, spaces to write, room to attach photos and memories. (MY favorites!) Need to connect with a Teen? Get them a "Favorites" journal, take them out to dinner alone and ask them all about their favorites. Find out what THEY like and what makes them tick. Start a gratitude journal in your home or share it with your sister's family. Heritage journals are a prefect activity for your children at the holidays. This journal will help them interview their grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and anyone else who has a history.
  3. Lifeprints are a great product to have at the holidays...especially the Family Gathering Lifeprints. This set of 16 leaflets all have the same set of questions and room to write. Each family member can answer the questions about their favorite family gathering memories, food, people, etc. All the information can be collected and turned into a great family gathering yearbook!
  4. Story Starters are little booklets full of questions to help you explore a particular theme of story. With space to write and places to jot image ideas, Story Starters help you organize and write your stories. You can also give the gift of story to someone else by picking some Story Starters out and adding a publishing gift certificate to the package. Let them write, create and design their own stories.
Again, there are so many ideas with Cherish Bound. Make your gift list now and get started! If you'd like to learn how you can get FREE publishing for Christmas please email me at tarabrown at cherishbound dot com. You can hold ONLINE gatherings and workshops at www.momchats.com You can invite your family and friends to join us in the chat room and we can share story from the comfort of our very own computers!

End the stress and chaos of looking for the perfect gift! Cherish Bound has the perfect gift for everyone on your list!

Family Storytelling

Storytelling within your own home...visit www.mykidsblog.blogspot.com

Confessions of an Ex-Scrapbooker #21

It's time for some scrap-chat! I'm so excited to be a guest blogger at www.littlescrapbookshop.com. I know...I know...Let me explain.

If you're familiar at all with my blog you know I'm an "X". I do not do any "paper" scrapbooking any more....matter of fact I don't do any "Scrapbooking" at all. I write stories and get my family involved, preserve pictures and stories in Cherish Bound boks and have even fallen in love with this thing they call digi-scrap....So see, I'm not technically a scrapbooker anymore, but what I do have in common with scrapbookers is the love for preserving all the memories and photos of our past and present and keeping them safe for the future.

Val over at Little Scrapbook Shop has some great info on memory keeping and has invited me to share my "Confessions", my experience and knowledge of memory keeping through Cherish Bound, using technology at its fullest to create beautiful story, memory and photos books and also dabble into some digi-scrapping. Although I'm a work in progress when it comes to "digi-scrapping", I can offer great resources and places to go to find amazing kits and fun ideas.

I'm excited to share my side of the story with scrappers and those that are struggling with the demands of scrapbooking. Hopefully I can offer some help, ideas, and a soft place to land when frustration kicks in!

Check out my posts every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. I'll also post Monthly Specials just for my readers!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Mommy Moment

I'm having a Mommy Moment...

I'm sitting here at my desk right now looking over the edge at my twins playing around on the floor with my business materials, products, packaging stuff, business cards flung all over the floor, and I'm wondering where has the time gone. Just a year ago, they were sitting in my office but jumping around in little jumperoos, spinning around in little exersaucers.....sucking on their fingers. My heart is breaking a tiny bit. I've been very disciplined about being a mom first and not getting wrapped up in business and other things. So I know I have no guilt from that. But wow...something just slapped me across the head today. I know I'm blessed...but there's a little part of me that's sad that every day is a day that is going by that all five of my kids are growing up and preparing to move on.....oh, that just hurts. Ouch! I want them to all stay here with me. Even my teenagers! I adore them and just want everything to stop moving so quickly....I want to keep their sweet little spirits right at home with me. Do they have to grow up? Do they have to get lives of their own? Do they have to move away and leave me and become productive amazing adults? I know the answer...don't tell me. Okay....deep breath. All is well. I guess I'll just keep snapping the pictures and writing the stories because I don't want any of it stop. I don't to forget how I feel.

Wordless Wednesday...My Retirement Plan

For more Wordless Wednesday Visit www.5minutesformom.com

Monday, September 15, 2008

Give the Gift That Keeps On Giving

Picture this...

"Chaos reigns as wrappings are torn off and squeals of delight fill the room, except in one corner all is calm. Grandma has stopped unwrapping gifts and is reading a book! Eyes misty, a smile lingers on her lips as she looks across the room towards you. Your eyes lock as she tries to whisper a thank you. Words fail her - instead she clutches the book to her chest as tears spill over her cheeks. The room falls silent as all stop to watch this tender scene. Realizing she has their complete attention, Grandma begins to read. Gifts are put aside as they lean in to hear the story.

Obviously, this is no ordinary book! It's a Cherish Bound book you created just for her. This is not a fictional tale, it can really happen - I've seen it!" -Teresa Clark

The holiday gift giving season is fast approaching. Start a new tradition of story in your family this holiday season. I can help you organize, plan and find the stories and gifts that best suit those on your holiday list. NOW is the time! Give the gift that keeps on giving....

If you'd like to learn how you can give Cherish Bound to those you love, please contact me at tarabrown@cherishbound.com or leave a comment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Daddy-Daugther Dates!

Family First of course! My post at My Kids Blog. Daddy-Daugther Dates!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lessons From the Tent...Convention Continued

Ask me if 5 or even 4 years ago if I'd ever been to a storytelling festival, ever wanted to go to one, or even had an idea or interest in storytelling and I would have said NO. Not a chance, not for me, didn't even cross my mind. But once I became a Cherish Bound consultant, I quickly learned that story is the root behind ALL things. It is the foundation of everything that I know. In order for me to teach other families how to love story and learn of its power within the walls of their home, I realized I needed to learn what story is all about.

You may have read my "Jonesborough" story. That is where it all began. You see, I had no idea that this ancient art form is the tread that ties each of us together. Without story would you know who you really are and where you get some of your "character" from? What about your ancestors and their stories? Would you know how World War 1 ended or how Moses parted the Red Sea? Would you know anything at all? I'm thinking probably not. What we know is because of story...whether it comes through a text book, a journal, or spoken word, we know what we know because of story.

For years, there's been a false impression about storytelling. "There's this misconception that storytelling is Grandma and Grandpa in a rocking chair on the porch, or putting babies down for the night," Bobby Norfolk said, "But storytelling is an ancient art form. The brain is actually hard-wired for telling stories." We are all storytellers. We may never take the stage, but we are all tellers at heart and mainstream America, soccer moms, white-collar corporate dad's and their families, struggling teens, and everyone else in between are finding this forgotten treasure and becoming apart of the experience.........

In the midst of the beautiful Provo Canyon and the shade of Mount Timpanogos, 1000's and 1000's of eager souls flood the perfectly laid story grounds for hours and hours of tales. The white tents riddle the mountain-side park as story lovers from all over the world, families of all sizes, school children and their teachers, educators, college students, and even Cherish Bound consultants map out their storytelling quest and events for the long, but much anticipated days ahead.

After mapping out the right schedule to make sure each favorite story teller can be heard, listeners flock to the rows and rows of chilled metal chairs to find their spots. Slightly restless, a little chatty, and some still snacking on the morning's breakfast everything comes to a complete stop, in an almost hypnotic state as the storyteller opens their heart. Norfolk says"We call that storyteller hypnosis. It's a power that takes over a room."

It happens time and time again. EVERY TIME without fail, a hush overtakes the crowd and I lose myself in the moment....in the story....I become a part of their world.

I love them all, but I will say I have my favorites. Three of my favorites were at this festival. Carmen Deedy, Bill Harley, and Kevin Kling. I can tell you this....within just a few hours time I went from laughing hysterically to crying while singing "Build Me Up Buttercup" (and I NEVER sing....especially in public), and then shaking my head wondering if I was hearing the truth....could such a thing happen to a person? And during the emotional roller coaster I was thinking of my own stories that were prompted out of my head, jotting them down on the back of a receipt so I wouldn't forget them again. I could find a common thread in each of their stories. Somewhere deep inside those stories I always found something that was all about me...something I could relate too.

I kept putting this post off because I wanted to go into detail about those three storytellers, but I just can't. I can't express in words what they do for me. It's kind of weird, I know, but if you experience this for yourself you'll nod and know what I'm talking about. Here's some great descriptions of these amazing storytellers found at www.timpfest.org.

Carmen Deedy: Known for her well-loved children’s books, Carmen Deedy flavors her stories with her unique upbringing as a Cuban in the Deep South. With wit and charm, Carmen refreshingly combines a variety of stories—from childhood memories to tales of Chaucer that leave her audiences smiling for days. Both as a storyteller and author, Carmen is unforgettable!

Ahh, I just LOVE HER! She will make you love remembering your childhood triumphs and battles! And her children's books are AWESOME!

Bill Harley: There’re no bones about it (except the funny bone), Grammy award-winning performer Bill Harley knows how to get an audience slapping its knees and laughing out loud. Whether his listeners are 5 years old or 105, Bill delights them with childhood tales, parenting anecdotes and coming-of-age blunders, each laced with morsels of profound wisdom.

He's a phenomenally talented person! In every way possible! I'm amazed at all the parenting advice I picked up from him in one short hour.

Kevin Kling: Known for stage shows and his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s "All Things Considered," Kevin Kling is one of the most unique and dynamic tellers ever to come to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. His autobiographical tales of hopping freight trains, getting hit by lightning and growing up in Minnesota are hilarious and tender.

Kevin....wow.....you must experience meeting this amazing man! He's not only an inspiration to everyone who comes within a "tent" of him, but he's just so captivating and you find yourself always rooting for the underdog and.....wanting to be the underdog!

I promise you, as you step out into this new world of storytelling, not only will your private little world rotate slightly differently, but your family, friends and everyone around you will be able to join you in this amazing, forgotten art that deserve so much more attention. Lives change through stories and telling them is the first step.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday....NAME THIS ANIMAL?

We found this in our backyard! Anyone have any idea what it could be?
Just kidding...

My daughter's softball team has decided that this "thing" will be their mascot...mix between a Cobra and Panther. Unfortunately, no one can think of a name for this cute little mascot. Can you help us out?

FYI: They're 12 and 13 year old girls, obviously they have a very good sense of humor, but they're incredible softball players. If this mascot gets a name it's probably the one they'll use throughout the next year, and they're planning on making it all the way to the world series!!

For more Wordless Wednesday visit www.5minutesformom.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Threads in the Tapestry

What is the thread that helps bind together the Tapestry of a family?
Find out more at My Kids Blog.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Convention: Story Style Profile & FREE-FREE-FREE "Prizes"

"If your family is always telling stories - or never tells them, Cherish Bound's Story Style Profile will help you find ways to share more stories in your home and get your family talking."

--Cherish Bound

Cherish Bound developed an amazing profile to help families and individuals make the most of their own personal, unique story style. There are 4 different "styles".

Hot Off the Press
Long, Long Ago
If You're a Dreamer
Once Upon a Time

The styles match up perfectly with each individual/family. Each family/individual is given a description of what they're style means. There is a list of recommended Cherish Bound products and tools, along with a complete profile. There are great starter packs and kits to help you find, capture, and share your stories with "style".

If you'd like a printed tri-fold Story Style Profile (they're quite pretty), email me at tarabrown@cherishbound.com and I'll send you one to use with your family. The Story Profile would be a fun activity to do with the entire family.

Want to get some of your recommended Story Style Products for FREE?? Go take the online profile, come back and comment on which style you and your family are. Then you'll be entered in a drawing to win some products that match your Story Style!! Contest ends October 31, 2008 11:59 EST.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Convention...Day 2: The Foundation of Cherish Bound

I'm saving the storytelling for the next post. It deserves it's own....I'm still amazed at the power this beautiful art has over the mind.

Day two of convention was just as good as the first. This day was designed around the five national leaders. We've had our hands full this past year and have really gotten some serious OTJ training! I'm not an expert in direct sales, but this past year has definitely given me my share of opportunities. Truly a remarkable year for growth in all areas. Because of this experiences we have encountered this year, we were given the opportunity to instruct the consultants about the foundation of our businesses. Each one of us took a half hour to coach and train and then we did a Q & A panel.

The first half hour was presented by my SIL, Christa. She started the morning off with incredible passion, but also a setting the tone of the entire day of presentations. When talking direct sales and the basics of business anyone who plans on having success must know that the "home party" is the foundation behind the success. Here at Cherish Bound, we call them Gatherings. She talked about "Why the Gathering?" She did such an amazing job! I love learning from my peers and she nailed her presentation.

We understand here at Cherish Bound, that our services and products CANNOT be sold on a shelf or on a website with no face. As consultants we are the warmth and support that helps families become successful. No better place to do it than in the home. She gave great examples of her personal experiences with home gatherings, but also gave a PERFECT analogy of who we really are.....here's her story.

She told us how her toilet had broke and just to give you a background on her....she's determined, motivated, independent and can pretty much do EVERYTHING! So of course she was going to fix her toilet herself. No plumber is need at this house...matter of fact, one time I called her and she was busy fixing her sprinkler system! Anyway, she took a trip to Lowe's and made her way to the plumbing area to find her part. She had a description of what it looked like, didn't really know the name of it, but was determined to find her toilet part. She looked and looked and knew what she needed, but couldn't find it. She found the "call button" that is placed in the departments and pressed it hoping to find some assistance. She waited for a few minutes and kept with her search. Assuming that help would be on the way she patiently waited a few more minutes. This is a huge store, lots of employees, how could it take this long? She waited for almost 25-30 minutes and NO ONE CAME TO ASSIST HER! So she left....no, she didn't give up. That is NOT her vocabulary. She went somewhere else...

Christa went to her neighborhood Ace Hardware. Yes, the personal, intimate choice that resides among the home improvement giants....smaller yes, but let me continue her story. She walked up to the doors and standing there waiting were 4 employees welcoming her into the store, greeting her with smiles. One asked her if there was any thing that she needed. She smiled and explained to him that she was looking for this plumbing part that went like this and then like that and kind of like this....he listened and knew exactly what she needed. He led her to the exact area and showed her what part she was looking for. He also told her exactly how to install this plumbing part into her toilet step by step and sent her on her way with total confidence and a guaranteed result of success.

WE ARE ACE HARDWARE! She showed us that we are the "Ace Hardware" of the memory keeping, story telling, photo book, history recording world. But more than that, we are the leader in customer service, product knowledge, workshop and instructions, and we not only offer just one "part" or "department"...we offer just about everything a family could need to connect and re-connect with each other, a legitimate business opportunity, programs for ALL ages including the I'm An Author for children...and the list goes on. We were once again reminded of the amazing opportunity we have to share person-to-person, home-to-home. (I know...she rocks)

Next was Vicky...Vicky is our fellow leader that was in the accident. Unfortunately she was not physically there to present, but her topic was "Finding Your Hostess". We call her the queen of warm chatter. Her beautiful smile and warm presence attracts hostess from every nook and cranny! She'll be giving her presentation at a later date via conference call. Can't wait to hear what she has to say!!

Then it was my turn. My topic was "Coaching Your Hostess/Success Before You Arrive". I find it a blessing that I've had my share of Hostess Coaching opportunities. That's a good thing in this business. I started out with a great quote from the book "Build It Big". "Deepening your relationship with your hostess can literally transform how you do business and at the same time improve the results you enjoy."

I had 5 areas of coaching that I talked about: What is a hostess?, 24-48-72, Motivation & Appreciation, Coaching Tips, and Communication & Creativity. I personally feel that each of these areas are key to successful gatherings and a successful business. If you'd like to see my handout feel free to leave a comment and I'd love to share it with you!!

Kelly was next and her expertise is sells. She has a vision of the entire sells concept and lots of experience and education. Her specific topic was "Selling: That's What You're There For". So many people have this misconception about working their business and "selling"...like it's a sin or down right rude to run your own business and SELL! DRIVES ME CRAZY! Sorry....

Kelly had fantastic interactive handout that helped us see where our fears or confidence in sells comes from. She helped us remember what has turned us into Cherish Bound sales "Warriors". I love that word, warrior! Yes, I am a Cherish Bound warrior! Woo-hoo! Okay, back on track. She reminded us that sales is an honorable profession, and passed on this great quote, "If you have nothing to sell, you'd better check your pulse...you're probably dead!" (not sure who said it, but it's great) She also helped us see the difference between Cherish Bound's features and benefits. Having a clearer understanding of those two really helped me see the bigger picture and will help me "sell" better and be more productive. She had so many amazing tips, obviously I can't post it all.

Last but not the least was Teresa. Teresa is simply a breath of fresh air. Beautiful inside and out...everyone wants to be her when they grow up! She's a professional storyteller by trade, but has become one Cherish Bound's top consultants as well. She closed up the leader presentations by touching on the importance of "Follow Through - Don't Lose It Now".

The first thing she said was "a lack of follow-up is a form of deception". OH! I never-ever thought of it that way. By selling products and services to people we are obligated to follow-up and make sure they get the most out of what they invested in. She also had a great outline revolving around "See It-Plan It-Do It": Visualize each step, Micro Goals, Give yourself credit, Ambitious goals, Failure is not an option, Have fun! Relax, and Be Confident!

She ended with my favorite quote which will wrap up this post....and don't worry I think I have at least 5 more posts to go. This quote is posted to my desk and reminds me to stay focused and believe...

"It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually who are you NOT to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that others won't feel unsure around you. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

--Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Convention....Continued Part 2

I feel like I'm bouncing all over the place....I realized that one of the most important parts of the entire experience was having the opportunity to spend time with other consultants, friends and family. We really have become a "family" in every sense of the word. Every time we all get together it reconfirms my thoughts that we are all supposed to be in this exact moment together. We are all where we're supposed to be. A bonus for me is that I get to spend time with my dearest friend and SIL. As a fellow consultant and national leader we have much to talk about when it comes to Cherish Bound, but even better we get a reason to spend time together and chat about our families and all the crazy things going on in life. It was so much fun to fly in a day early and just spend some "mommy" time together, chatting and laughing over an enormous amount of food!

As a "family" we experienced some highs and lows together in those few days. When one of our own is up we're all up, but when one of us is down, we feel it too. Wednesday, the day I flew to SLC, I had just got off my connecting flight in Atlanta when I received a phone call from a fellow consultant and very good friend that one of our consultants/friend/leader had just been involved in a very, very serious car accident and wouldn't be making convention. When I heard the news I stopped dead in my tracks. After getting all the details and feeling completely sick to my stomach and called my SIL and told her of the horrible news. We talked about how sad we were for our friend and couldn't believe that this happened to her...they day before she was to leave for convention!! If you could get a glimpse into this consultants heart you would understand why we were so sad for her. She's the warmest and friendliest person I have ever met. We would most certainly feel her void.

I had a long flight to SLC and had a few hours to digest the news. I saw the big picture of how our little network of consultants has created a powerful bond. We are not only financially invested in each other, but more importantly we're emotionally and spiritually invested in each other's lives. These women are people that will be in my life FOREVER! Had I not taken this opportunity when it was presented to me 4 years ago there's a chance that I would have never met any of these amazing people. And if that news wasn't horrible enough...there was more.

Us leaders were informed that one of our most important directors and corporate support had just found out she had breast cancer. Again, my little world stopped spinning and I seriously felt like a knife cut my heart. I sobbed inside. Why? I don't understand it all...It's not fair. But I watched her as she continued on with the events and details of the weekend and as crazy as it sounds, she gave ME strength. Her beautiful smile has made me want to work harder! For her, I will make sure Cherish Bound becomes the dream that is supposed to be.

The roller coaster of emotion that weighed on me was up and down, and up and down......No wonder I was completely exhausted when I got home. Again, another reason that home-based businesses for women are truly lifetime experiences. When you put your heart and soul into something you love you are forever changed....by the product and the people.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where Do I Begin...

"If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive."

—Barry Lopez

I don't know where to begin! After attending the Cherish Bound convention and Timpanogos Storytelling Festival I can honestly say that I have once again come away a different person. I'm a better woman mentally, spiritually
, as well as in business...and even physical. (Yes, lots of great food). My soul is so enlightened and my heart is full of gratitude and excitement!

My experience is almost impossible to explain or share. It's one of those "things" in life that can't be told, it must be felt. This will take a few days to tell, but I'm going to do my best to make sure I can share as much as possible with as much detail and feeling as I can. Just sitting here thinking about those days makes my throat get a slight lump and my eyes are starting to water. AHH! Get a grip Tara!

First I'll start with Convention....day one.
Our convention was held in the beautiful Mt. Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon, Utah, among the beautiful white tents that housed 1000's of story lovers and tellers celebrating the 19th anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. We had our own large tent nestled in the corner of the park where we met as consultants with our company's founders and corporate directors.

I arrived a day early and made my way to the empty park to meet with the 4 other national leaders and founders for a private leadership training. As I stood on a small hill in the park that overlooked the valley I couldn't believe what I was doing. I literally thought in my mind, "How lucky are you? How did I ever deserve such an opportunity?" I shook my head and found my way to our meeting under a beautiful wood pavilion that was warmed by the mountain sun where we officially began our conference.

The theme of our convention this year was "This is the moment...a moment you won't forget." Those words have never been more true! I kept repeating them in my head over and over again. I knew the very second I walked up the path and into the park that this would be a moment I would never, ever forget.

Day one of our scheduled convention was opened by our Co-Founder, Carol Rice. I could post 100 posts and still not be able to tell you how truly amazing this woman is. But for what it's worth, she is someone that I will continually strive to be like in all ways. She ranks among my most favorite people in the world...probably a hero. She spoke on "Ten Lessons from the Trail". She shared her personal experiences that she's had while hiking weekly in the local mountains. She related all of her trail lessons to those we can use within our business. Her simple lessons had a huge impact on all who listened in. She shared this beautiful quote..."There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few that will catch your heart...pursue them."

We were instructed on great basic business practices, one of the many great bonuses Cherish Bound consultants are blessed with. The business is basic and efficient, but the support from corporate makes it that much more attainable.

One of the most anticipated agenda items is always the unveiling of new products and programs! Oh, that's my favorite! I love to see what they've been working on and the amazing product ideas that they come up with. Just when I think we've tapped into every part of story, family, and publishing, they release more! Here is a list of new Cherish Bound product and tools that were officially released on Friday, August 28.

  • Music Story Starter: This is the first of 3 Story Starters in the new Hobbies Collection. This story starter helps you to share your appreciation for music no matter your talent level and guides you through the writing process.
  • Scouting Story Starter: Tell your scouting stories and memories with ease.
  • My Collection (Series of Firsts): Only someone who shares your passion can truly understand what your collection means to you. Help your family and friends gain an appreciation for your obsession with this mini story starter.
  • Places I've Called Home (Series of Firsts): This new addition to the Legacy Collection helps you remember all those special places and special times. The place combined with the moment is what made it important and deserves to be shared.
2 pre-made hardbound journals were added to complete the Journals collection.

  • Favorites Journal: Our "favorites" define us; they help us claim our identity. Knowing our favorites reminds us that joy can be found in the little, simple things of life.
  • Gratitude Journal: There's no question that an attitude of gratitude is beneficial. This small book will help you create a habit of gratitude in no time at all.
We also officially released our new Consultant Video. You can catch a link to view it right here. CLICK ME! You can meet me personally in this video... (wink-wink) We also released our new catalogs, opportunity brochures, and some other great consultant tools. VERY excited to use them all! We broke for lunch and then took our first adventure into the storytelling world. I have been to other festivals, but for some consultants this was their first time. It didn't matter if it was the first, second or third time, every single consultant and guest at the festival was swept away....I'll get into the storytelling more in a day or so. All I can say is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! We finished our night with a YUMMY dinner together and then celebrated our achievements and awards. I was quite surprised and pleased to find out that I was Top Recruiter, Had the most gatherings for the year and second in personal volume next to my wonderful, beautiful SIL (who is another one of my most favorite people in the world). It was an amazing year....but I think this year will be 100's better.....wish I could tell more.

Continued tomorrow...Day two of convention and
the storytelling.

I'm Back!

I'm back from Cherish Bound's National convention! All I can say is WOW-WOW-WOW!!!!!! I can't wait to share everything with you! I went to bed writing blog posts in my head...from the amazing storytellers to our new products that were released, the beautiful mountains and festival to the excitement surrounding Cherish Bound's incredible opportunity...I can't even think straight! It's going to take me 10 posts to give you everything! Hopefully I'll get my first post out tonight!