Monday, December 31, 2012


First and foremost, welcome to 2013, lovelies! 
I hope this year is filled with memory making, fun having, and  lesson learning for each of you.

Last year, my word for the year was 'simplify'.
 It turned out to be the perfect word for 2012;
 nothing says simplify like quitting your job and going to Africa not once but twice, right?

Well, when it came time to choose a word for 2013, the answer was so obvious:

I want to be a do-er. 
Not just a talker or a planner or a good intention-er, but a doer.
 And doing requires taking action.

In the past two years, I think I've grown more than just about ever before. 
And through this time of growth, my eyes have been opened. 
Words like 'slavery', 'injustice', 'fair-trade', 'service', and 'poverty', are regularly thrown out over dinner at our house. My desire to serve others and live out Isaiah 58 and 1 Peter 4:10 is stronger than ever.

Our family is different. 
Our marriage is different. 
Our parenting is different.
 And we are ready to take action.

And just how do I plan to do this, you say?
Well, I'm not entirely sure what the new year will bring, but I have a good idea of where to start:

In September when I signed up to become a Noonday Collection ambassador,
I had no idea just HOW MUCH Noonday was doing to help combat poverty
 and provide a source of LASTING CHANGE to artisans around the world.
To say I have fallen head over heals in love with this company simply doesn't do it justice.

And while I love the products and the process and the chance to be a voice for our artisans and their families throughout the year, I also love something that caught me off guard, something I wasn't expecting...

I love the other ambassadors.

Noonday has given me a front row seat to watch some of the most motivated, driven, Godly women out there 'do their thing' to battle some of the many injustices in this world.

These women are world-changers in the truest sense. 
They inspire me. 
They encourage me. 
They challenge me.
They motivate me. 

And I'm not talking about 'selling'; I'm talking about 'doing'. 
They inspire me to do more and give more and serve more. 

Women like Jessica (the amazing woman who founded Noonday), Wynne, Whitney, Beth, and Brandi (just to name a few) have set the bar high. They are being a voice for the impoverished; they are setting a standard for women everywhere to go and be the change they hope to see. 

I want to be one of these women. 
It's not enough for me to sit on my comfy couch and talk about all the things that need to be done to help those around the world. And while I realize that I can't do everything (or anything even remotely close to it), I still feel called to do what I can. 

And Noonday is a great place to start. 

So, in my first attempt of embracing my word for this new year, I have a little treat for you. 
It started with an idea to help spread the 'Noonday goodness'. 
So, I went to the amazing group of women  I like to call my 'Noonday family', and we have quite the treat for you this month:

Thirty-one ambassadors sharing thirty-one days worth of thoughts, ideas, and stories about all things Noonday, all things good, and all things justice. 

And giveaways. 
Did I mention that part? 

That's right. 
Thirty-one posts from thirty-one blogs belonging to some of the most amazing women, each with a Noonday giveaway for one of YOU....starting here. 

And to kick off this new year, I thought we'd start with a $50 Noonday gift card. 

If it were mine, here are a few things I'd consider: 

*These amazing bowls handmade from magazines by a group of  HIV+ women and their children in South Africa

*This stunning necklace made from seeds by a group of artisans in Ecuador

*This eye-catching bag made from recycled VHS tape (yes, you read that correctly) made by a special needs group in New Delhi

*These gorgeous earrings made in New York City by a group of refugees from Tibet

*Or this little beauty made in Ethiopia from...get this....upcycled artillery (yes, that would be melted down war about taking something terrible and turning it into something beautiful)

How would YOU spend the credit? 
I'd love to know. 

Some other plans for actions this coming year: 

-Host more Noonday adoption fundraiser shows- I love the idea of helping kiddos come home to their forever families!
-Sponsor a child (more to come on this)
-Keep working with Clean Water for Malawi and get a least one well donated this year
-Spread the good in my own community via random acts of kindness
-Share, share, share with others about ways they can get involved and do more where they are with what they have

And if you'd like to know more about the conversations, ideas, and stories floating around in this ole head of mine, here are some great places to start: 

I'll be back soon with a more in depth list, also known as my 'to read in 2013 list'.

And if you'd like more information on Noonday Collection or want to know how YOU can host a trunk show to help change a life, I'd LOVE to talk to you about this. We have some AWESOME incentives in January and February and what I expect to be the most breath taking spring line coming soon.
 Live in Mississippi? I'm your girl. Don't live in Mississippi? I can help you find your girl. 

And I hope that you'll follow along on the Noonday Ambassador blog train this month. 
I can only imagine that this group of inspiring women won't disappoint. 
Who knows...they might even inspire you to take a little action.

You can check out tomorrow's post (and giveaway) over at my friend Beth's blog

And the giveaway? 
Entering is easy, although I am trying something new this go round.
The winner will be announced on January 7th, which also happens to be my birthday. 
And if you have a word for the year, I'd love to hear about it in a comment, and please be sure to include a link to your post about it so I can check it out!

Happy entering and a very happy start to 2013 to you and you and you.
Here's to a year filled with a lot of love, some good friends, fresh adventures, and a little action.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas to You

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. 
Here's hoping your holiday is full of all the hugs, leftover wrapping paper, and smiles that you can handle. 

If you need us, we'll be wiping our noses, taking our temperatures, and trying not to throw up.

But in spite of the fact that both my girls are sickly, I am simply thankful that we are together. 
Next week, all will be right with the world again. 
And there is still much to celebrate.

A very merry Christmas to you and you and you.

Thanks again, Erin for this awesome picture of my girls; I will treasure it always. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Like

I am in love with this site
I am in love with these stories. 

Check them out. 
Watch them all. 
Bring tissues. 
Thank me later. 

And don't forget my giveaway ends tomorrow. Have you entered? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fear is a Crazy Thing

Fear is a crazy thing. 

It drives us to take great chances, 
motivates us to do thing we once thought to be impossible, 
and pushes us to our limits. 

I like to think that I am braver than most. 
In my thirty-two (almost thirty-three *sigh*) years,
 I have been through more than my fair share, if there even is such a thing. 
Let's just say I didn't have a 'walk in the park childhood and leave it at that. 
In fact, if you asked me to describe myself in three words, 'brave' would make the list. 

I'm not scared to try new things. 

I'm not scared to make a total fool of myself. 

I'm not scared to be brutally honest. 

I'm not scared to say no or afraid to walk away when it's the best option. 

I don't fear 'change' the way most people do. 

I'm not afraid to be different or to hear what people really think about me. 

 I'm not scared to quit my job, give up my chosen career, and walk off into the 'who knows what's coming next' sunset.

I'm not afraid of disappointment; I'm not scared to fail. 

But I'm afraid of death. 

I'm not afraid for myself but for the loss of those I love most. 

I've seen death, faced it head on, and had it make itself way too comfortable in my humble abode. 
I lost one of my all-time favorite people at nineteen, a dear friend at twenty-four, my beloved grandfather at twenty-five, and my father at thirty. 

And I wish I could say I'd handled these loses well. 
I wish I could say I'd never doubted or questioned God's plan. 
I wish I could say it hadn't taken rocked my world and taken a major toll on my marriage. 
I wish I could tell you that it hadn't caused me to have such intense nightmares
 that I almost dreaded falling asleep.

But I can't. 

The truth is, death and I don't play well together; fear and I are so not friends. 

And yet here I sit, facing what has been one of my biggest fears for as long as I can remember: 

I am losing my grandmother. 

I have no reason to believe it will be today or even this month. 
In fact, she could live for several more years. 

But we recently heard the news no family ever wants to hear, the dreaded D word that bring tears to my eyes and a softball sized knot to my throat. 


My grandmother, my PERSON, has dementia. 
The woman I've loved for all these years is, in a sense,  dying and becoming someone new. 

And while I love this new version of her fiercely, I already find myself aching in her absence. 

It's coming; it will happen soon. 
I will go to visit her, my girls will bound through her door, leap on her bed, and I'll see it. 
That look. 
The one that say, "Who are you? I don't know you."

I don't want death to win. 
I don't want fear to sink its nasty teeth into me this time. 

My grandmother has lived a full life. She has loved and been loved. She knows Jesus and was fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. I should find peace and comfort in these things. I should look with joy towards the idea of her going 'home'. 

And I do.....sometimes. 

But other times, I just hurt. 
I already miss her, the real her, the her she used to be, so much that it takes my breath away. 
And yet she's still here, at least in the physical sense. 

I suppose the bottom line is, I am painfully selfish and painfully afraid. 

I want her to see my children grow. 
I want to share more of my life with her. 
I want her wisdom and encouragement. 
I want Hollyn to remember her as she was. 

I'm afraid to face the day when she doesn't know much that just the thought of it is enough to paralyze me. 
For so long, she was the person who knew me and understood me better than anyone else. 
I didn't have to justify myself or give detailed explanations; she just knew. 

And now she doesn't. 

This is uncharted territory. 

How does one go on living day-to-day when her person has forgotten her? 

This will mean finding a new normal, except I simply don't want to. 

And by 'simply don't want to', what I really mean is, I'm scared. 

And while I realize that merely writing it and sharing it with you isn't going to make it stop, make it hurt less, or make it disappear, it does help. 

Fear, although it comes in many forms, is universal. 

We all fear something. 

And there is strength in numbers. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Subway: A Compound Word

Libby:  "Mom, do you wanna hear a compound word?" 

Me: "Sure, Lib."

Libby: :"Subway, as in my mom is a SUB. in fifth grade, and there is no WAY she'll ever do it again." 

Oh, my stars. 

When I told you I've been crazy busy lately, I so wasn't kidding. 
The rumors are true-- I took a sixteen day substitute position in a fifth grade language arts class at Libby's school. 

Of course, since I wasn't planning on working full time this month, I also committed to several other things. 

I also had lots of Noonday parties (which I am LOVING. Seriously, I thank God every night for introducing me to this way to be a voice for others.). 

 And did I mention I haven't had a voice in almost a week? 
I have some sort of upper respiratory something or another that has left me in whispers. 

All that and fifth grade. 

Which while Libby did exaggerate some in her compound word sentence, there is also some truth to it. 
I don't love being sub. 

There, I said it. 

My favorite thing about teaching was the relationships I formed with my students. I invested in them and grew to know and love them. And with subbing, it's just not the same. 
So, while I have tried to pour myself into these kiddos, they know I'm only there short term, I know I'm only there short term, and things simply aren't the same. 

But, I can't help but think that God led me to the classroom during this particular time for a reason. 
In light of Friday's events, being back in the classroom right now, even if only for three short weeks, gave me a new perspective to the tragedy that has rocked our nation. 

But even still, it's not about me, and I certainly have not forgotten that. 

So, with that in mind, I have several good posts coming soon that you won't want to miss. 
I've also extended last week's giveaway until THIS FRIDAY, so you can still enter. 

I, however, am going to snuggle on the couch with two girls I love. 

*** The picture in this post is one of my all-time favorite pictures of Libby. It was taken when she was Hollyn's age, even though it seems like it was just last week.***

Monday, December 10, 2012

Raise Your Hand if You Want Pretty Skin

Hey friends! I know, I know. WHERE have I been? 
Well, that's a story for another day. 
But today, my friend Jill (who happens to have a huge heart for the fatherless) wants to offer a pre-Christmas happy to one of YOU.....

Here's what she has to say about her newest venture:

Looking for some extra holiday cash? Supplemental income?? Residual income??
 Or are you looking for better skin?? Some great gifts for Christmas? 

Check out this great new company, Rodan + Fields. Remember Proactiv solution??
A 9 billion dollar brand that is in 181 countries?? Same doctors, new product! 
And this time their products are prescription based, targeting all skin types (even anti aging and Sun damage!), and come with a 60 day empty bottle, money back guarantee! 

Go here to see what's right for YOUR skin type!

We have several gift ideas at low prices! Also, check out our holiday gift idea flyer!

 As a preferred customer with Rodan + Fields, you receive 10% off and free shipping. 

Contact Jill for more information at or go here to start shopping!

 Rodan + Fields is also looking for independent business owners to partner with the doctors in the lucrative anti aging industry....a 2.5 billion dollar industry to be exact! And it's growing! 
Learn how you can be first in this ground floor company and create RESIDUAL income! Go here to check out the unique business opportunity and contact Jill for more information on how to join this company! 

Rodan + Fields is changing skin and changing lives. Why not let it change yours?

Jill recently sent me a sample of the Rodan + Fields mini facial kit, and it was all kinds of amazing! Seriously-- my skin felt like butter, I tell you. 

And today, Jill would like to offer TWO things to my fabulous readers. :) 

First, the FIRST TEN of YOU who go to her website and take the quick the skin type test (the one where they e-mail your results to's easy. You can find it. Trust me.) and then leave a comment here saying you did it, will RECEIVE some FREE SAMPLES from JILL! 
(I'll contact you for your mailing info, so if you are one of the first ten to comment, please leave your e-mail address in the comments!)


One of you will receive a free bottle of moisturizer from Jill!

Seriously, who doesn't love beautiful skin? 

Here's how you can enter: 

1. Go to Jill's site and take the skin type test and leave a comment saying you did (be sure to include your e-mail address). 

2. Share this giveaway via facebook, twitter, or your blog! Leave a comment with a link. *Can enter up to three times via this method.*

3. Follow me here, on Twitter, on Instagram, or on Pinterest. Can do all or one, just leave a seperate comment for each. 

That's it. 
Easy peasy. 

I'll select a winner on Friday and will announce here.

Let the commenting begin.

And happy Monday-ing to you and you and you!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

{Wear a story. Change a life.}

I have been a busy girl. 
Busy informing others about the war against poverty and how THEY can help make a difference. 
And I have fallen so in love with Noonday....and so have my friends.
Don't believe me? 
See for yourself....








It's not too late to do some shopping that can truly work to change the life of another. The last day to place an order through Noonday with guaranteed Christmas delivery is December 16th. You can simply click here to get started.
 So what are you waiting for? 
Happy shopping! 

"...when you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, your night will become like the Noonday."
Isaiah 58:10

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lessons from Malawi

It's that time of year again. 
The time when my facebook timeline is overflowing with messages of thanks, and people everywhere (myself included) are carefully choosing what to wear Thursday, preferring pants with a little stretch and give in preparation for the big meal that is coming. 

And this is all great. 

It's so good to be thankful for our many blessings. 

But this year, Thanksgiving looks differently to me. 

After going to Africa twice in the past five months, the one thing I have heard over and over again is, "I'm sure you made such a difference there," or "I know they were so thankful for what you've done for them". 

The truth is, I have done very, very little in the big scheme of things. 
I'm not even sure that my two trips have made ANY lasting impact whatsoever. 
And that is OKAY. 

I am one person. 
I will not be able to make a noticeable difference in the life of every person I meet in Africa. 
That's simply not how it works. 

But, that also doesn't mean I should stop trying, stop serving, stop praying, or stop going. 

It also doesn't mean that a lasting change hasn't been made. 

Because I can say without any hesitation that Africa and the people there have made a forever change in me. 

My eyes, mind, and heart have been opened to these beautiful people and their culture. 

And if there is one thing that they do well in Africa, it's be thankful. 
I have never been surrounded by a more appreciative group of people. 

It's not that Africa has made me want less or feel guilty about what I have. 
Instead, it's made me appreciate what I do have and not long for MORE. 
Our culture seems to be all about the 'more' lately, and I'm just not buying it. 

Instead of wanting more, I am counting my blessings for what I DO have. 

I am thankful for the air conditioning in my car and the fact that it doesn't guzzle gas like this beauty we used in Malawi.

I am thankful for paved roads, even though they sometimes include potholes. But I promise, the ride is smoother than this road was....

Even though they are older and not front-loading and fancy, I am thankful for my washer and well as indoor plumbing and electricity. 

Although our house is smaller, older, and lacking in the storage department, I am thankful that we have a place to safely keep our belongings and for a roof that doesn't leak. 

More than ever before, I am thankful for clean water, water that doesn't make my family sick. Water that won't kill my babies.  Water that helps, not hurts....

Although I have far less than most girls I know, I am so thankful for shoes. I'm thankful that my girls have shoes that keep their little piggies safe and warm. Until this year, I was completely guilty of taking shoes for granted. I didn't realize the difference they can make in your quality of life and in your health. They really are a NEED and not just a WANT. 

I am so very thankful that my girls have the chance to just be kids. They don't have to worry about major health scares, a doctor that is miles away, will there be anything to eat tomorrow, and when will my parents come from me. I am so thankful that my girls were born into a family...not all children have that luxury. 

And I am thankful for the lessons I learned in Africa. There are so many, but one of the most meaningful came from this: 

While at an orphanage in Malawi, this was THE ONLY TOY we saw. Now my kids are good kids, but if this was their only toy, I can only imagine the endless stream of 'I'm bored' and 'This ball is broken' that would echo through our home. But the kids at the orphanage played with it with a smile on their faces. They didn't complain or one time mention wanting 'more'. They helped me better understand that STUFF is not what is important. STUFF does NOT make us happier, healthier, or better. In fact, I think stuff sometimes gets in the way of the important things. And I could not be more thankful for this lesson. 

I am so very, very thankful that God opened my eyes to Africa and for the forever changed that has occurred in me when I said 'yes' to Him. 

Here's hoping your eyes have been opened, and if God is trying to call you to something or to teach you something, please say 'yes'. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and you and you.....and Africa. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Be These

I love when God totally blesses me with surprise friends, friends who are unexpected and yet totally get it. They want to serve. Their hearts live across the world. They daydream about loving on children who aren't their own. And I have so found this in my friend Laura. And Laura loves Haiti the way I love Africa. And she's currently planning and raising funds for her second trip.
Here's what she has to say: 

"Anse a Pitre, Haiti is a small community in the southeastern coastal region near the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Following the 2010 earthquake in Port au Prince, the already burdened and impoverished community experienced significant growth as refuges from the capital city fled the instability and rising violence. Hispaniola Mountain Ministries ( began working in Anse a Pitre shortly after the earthquake and has built a number of homes, brought several clean-water wells to life in the community using solar energy and most recently, built a school. "The Promise Land Project" continues to grow with the addition of a pavilion and a generous donor has committed to supporting the construction of a permanent medical facility on the Promise Land site.
In Matthew 5, we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light to the world. In May 2013, a group of 16 from First United Methodist Church in Louisville (MS) will try to live out this command as they travel to Haiti for a week-long mission in Anse a Pitre. The team will have a medical and construction component. As part of our fundraising efforts, we are selling these shirts to support our mission trip.
They are $20 and the design is on the front/center of the t-shirt. We have three colors (red, blue and dark grey in Comfort Colors) have sizes S, L, XL, and a few XXL left (Sorry, all the Ms are gone!). I'll be happy to ship! Email me at to order or message me on Facebook or Twitter (@laurarwalton). Thank you in advance for your support of this mission!
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16"

Can I just say that I LOVE THIS SHIRT???
As a girl who owns over a dozen fundraising shirts, this one is easily my favorite. 
Mine came in yesterday, and I seriously can't wait to wear it!

I'm thinking this shirt would make a fantastic stocking stuffer......agree? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gah, I'm a Slacker, BUT....

So the blogging break was unplanned. Sometimes those are the best kind because they mean that I was busy. And busy can be good, especially when it involves visiting some of my favorite people and working for Noonday

Here are some of the things I have been meaning to blog about though... 

Last week was my girl's third reading fair. Second grade reading fair brought her a second place ribbon. 

She was super excited, and I think her project is her cutest one yet. LOVE her love for reading and her desire to work hard. 

Know what else I love? 

Old friends, specifically visiting with my oldest friend and her newest addition. 

Heather and I had the best time catching up while her little miracles played under foot. I so wish we lived closer and could visit more often; there is just something so comfortable about being with someone who has known since before you could hold a pencil.

And last but not least, this little one.... oh, I could just squeeze her. 

I seriously think this shirt was made with her in mind. Candy is the end-all be-all for Hollyn. 

In other news, please keep sending up prayers for my grandmother, as she still has a very long way to go. 
And THIS week I'll be back on the road with Noonday. 
This time I'm headed to the great state of Alabama to catch up with a high school friend I haven't seen in forever and to visit with the girl who knows me better than any other, the infamous Kara Leigh. 

So excited to giggle 'til I cry and stay up way past my bedtime. 

I promise to be back later this week with a big post about Malawi. 

Until then, happy happy happy to you and you and you. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30 in my 30's: #18 Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

First of all, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 
It's my favorite holiday (don't judge), and I thought it was the perfect day to talk about how I recently marked another item off of my 30 in my 30's list

This time I tackled a big one: 

#18: Do something that's completely out of my comfort zone (in a good way, of course).

And thanks to my recent trip to Malawi and our hike through Kasungu National Park, #18 is now recent history. 

I knew this would be quite the adventure when our guide showed up sporting an M16. 

And while we saw several not-so-scary creatures along the way......

.... I was holding my breath as these beauties walked by. 

They were easily one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 
Completely free; completely in their element. 
They were so graceful and stoic. 

This picture makes them look farther away than they really were. 
They were as close as I care to ever be to an elephant without a big, very strong fence between us. 

But the elephants were small potatoes for my fear factor compared to these guys. 
For some people it's spiders. 
Others fear snakes....or dogs...or bears with big teeth. 

For me, it's hippos. 

I am insanely afraid of hippos. 

We're talking shaking in my sneakers kind of afraid. 
And yet, I faced my fear and stood there, snapping their pictures while they stared me down and made frightening noises. 

My #1 driving force? 


She told me to be brave and to bring her back a picture of a hippo. 

And I 'mom-ed up' to the occasion  pretty sure I earned twenty cool points when I showed up not ONLY with a ton of pictures, but with this as well: 

I faced my fear. 
And facing my fear felt surprisingly good. 

Adios, #18; catch ya next time.
Never did I dream that my list would include hippos. 

Do YOU have a list of things you're hoping to accomplish? 
Do tell. 

I'd also love to hear what fear you would dread facing...... 
I bet whatever it is it smells better than the hippos....

For now, there's a little genie and a precious kitty cat sleeping off their sugar comas in the next room.

Here's wishing a very happy Halloween to YOU and YOU and YOU!