P.O. Box 1055 Doylestown, PA 18901 info@deservingdecor.org 215-550-5674

A fourth grader’s invention that we could really use right now: Empathy Glasses.

Four years ago Google announced its newest Doodle for Google contest, based on something you would invent to make the world a better place. My daughter, Lilyan was in the fourth grade at that time. She came up with “Empathy glasses.”

The glasses would allow people to see into each other’s lives so they could better understand what the other person is going through and what their life is really like. She didn’t win, but I kept the drawing as a keepsake.

I found it recently while digging out my Halloween decorations. At first glance, it put a huge smile on my face, then I thought…man our country could really use a pair of these right now.

The Sunday before last, a big news story featured Vice President, Mike Pence walking out of an NFL football game in protest against the players who took a knee in protest during the national anthem.

I was so disappointed when I read that. I would love to have seen a leader of this country stick around until after the game to talk to the players who protested; to discuss what they are truly protesting against and how as a leader, he could bring us together to make things better in this country.

But without a pair of empathy glasses, people can be quick to react to one another and pass judgment.

On a much smaller scale, I recently encountered a situation in that had I not been wearing my empathy glasses, I would have reacted in a similarly negative way.

I was making a return at Kmart where the cashier helping me was anything but pleasant. In fact, she was downright nasty. My initial thought was, what the heck is her problem?  I was about to offer a snippy response, instead, I asked her if everything was OK, as she seemed pretty upset. The woman thanked me for asking and explained how the manager put her on a second shift which would make her late for her son’s birthday party.

It made me thankful that I took a moment to understand where she was coming from rather than just judge and react.

The next time you find yourself becoming reactionary or judgmental of someone else, put on your empathy glasses, you might get a completely different view.

Be Brave Enough to Make a Difference This School Year


As my sweet summer comes to an end, like many other parents, I’m gearing up for the start of another school year with my two daughters.

Our back to school shopping list includes the usuals, new school supplies – folders, pencils, glue sticks, headphones and the like – and of course new shoes and a few on-trend outfits for the ever so popular “first day” of school picture with a Pinterest approved sign announcing what grade they’ll be entering. Judging by my Facebook feed, I know many of you are guilty of this as well!

You see, my daughters are very fortunate to have parents who are able to provide them with these “extras.”  I constantly try to remind them of this fact.  I remind them of how lucky they are. I despise entitlement and I’m constantly teaching my children to be kind, to have compassion, and to respect others, no matter how different they may be. Baby, be thankful for what you have. Make sure to be kind to others, even if they may seem different, you never know what other children are experiencing in their lives. Be compassionate, be generous and show the world your smile as often as you can.

I remind my children regularly how lucky they are for their many blessings – a large, loving circle of family and friends, shoes on their feet, clothes on their backs, full tummies and warm, cozy beds to sleep in each night. And not to mention the many other “extras” such as a plentiful wardrobe, a playroom overflowing with all the toys and crafts they could want, and a full schedule of organized sports and social activities. I know there are many other children who are as blessed as mine, but I also know that there are just as many children who don’t have these same “luxuries” and life experiences.  

My daughters are only 6 and 3 so they are still quite young, but I still work really hard on a daily basis to ensure they are compassionate and accepting of people from all walks of life. I want them to embrace others with warmth and to never feel entitled or better than anyone in this world.  I want them to be brave enough to be “includers” and to talk to the children who are being left out. I start each and every day with a grateful heart and I instill this in my daughters as well. Gratitude turns what we have into enough and when we have enough we can give  freely.

Recently I read an amazing blog post, Before School Conversation, published by New York Times bestselling author, Glennon Doyle.  I will be sharing Glennon’s story with my children this week as they begin a new school year, and I encourage all of you parents reading this to do the same.

The original post date was 2011, but the words and the message are powerfully timeless and really struck a chord with me.  The blog post brought me to tears and inspired me to want to do something this fall to help deserving children in need.

After reading Glennon’s blog post, as I tucked my children into their beautiful, plush beds and wished them sweet dreams, I couldn’t help but feel heartache for the parents out there who aren’t able to provide their children with a bed to sleep in each night. A place to dream.

I think about the many moms and dads who love their children just as much as I love mine, but may be going through hard times and struggling to make ends meet. I think about the many single parents working multiple jobs, earning minimum wage, to try and provide the basic’s for their deserving children, but may be falling short.

I’m confident their back to school shopping list is a little different than mine.  Through my work with Deserving Décor, I also know that thousands of children in the Greater Philadelphia area alone don’t have a bed to call their own. Many of them sleep on the floor, on makeshift beds (sofas, air mattresses, etc.), or with their parents. Uncomfortable sleeping arrangements like these often cause poor sleep, which inhibits a child’s ability to fully thrive.

As we start off the 2017 school year, I encourage all of you to join me in making a difference this September by helping us provide a deserving child with a bed of their own.  For just $161, Deserving Décor, in partnership with OHAAT, can buy a child or teen a new twin bed, fully equipped with sheets, a blanket, a book, a toothbrush, a stuffed animal and home delivery.  We welcome all donations, every little bit helps.

Every child deserves a place to dream.  Let’s be brave and help a child thrive this school year with a new bed of their own.  Donate today.

For more information about Deserving Decor and to learn how to get involved with our Deserving Kids program, visit www.deservingdecor.org or email beth@deservingdecor.org.

To contribute to our September bed fundraiser, you can donate here or you can send a check, payable to Deserving Decor, to the following address:
Deserving Decor
PO Box 1055
Doylestown, PA 18901

Don’t Settle for Good Enough

“Don’t settle for mediocrity; never let good enough be good enough.”
— Joel Osteen

I love this quote on so many levels.  It’s the perfect reminder to always strive to be better, to do better, and to expect better.

“It’s good enough” are three words that really stuck with me after my first in-person meeting with Beth Baker, Founder and Executive Director of Deserving Decor.  If you don’t know Beth or her organization, she is someone you really ought to know. Her work and her cause are absolutely inspiring and meeting her has made me want to do better myself.

As I met with Beth for the first time and learned about Deserving Decor, a grassroots community organization, and more importantly what Beth Baker had accomplished to date, I was in complete awe. She reminded me that one person can make a difference and that no act was too small.    

For a few years now, I’ve been looking for a way to give back and channel some of my creative energy toward helping a greater good, but I’m a working Mom of two so finding time in my busy schedule has gotten in the way, but I finally decided that I didn’t want to use that as an excuse anymore and that I could find the time.  

When researching nonprofits in the Bucks County area, I came across Deserving Decor and knew that it was an organization I could really get behind.  Their mission is providing new twin beds, gently used furniture and household goods to women and children transitioning from domestic violence, homelessness, and teens aging out of foster care, in Bucks County.

Since it’s humble beginnings in 2008, the organization has helped provide over 300 families with a functional living space to call home, while they rebuild their lives. The more I learned about Deserving Decor, the more I wanted to get involved.  

Beth believes a home is a person’s sanctuary and it should look nice for them, which is why she started the organization’s DIY for Good Program.  

People would often donate old furniture and decor that was “good enough.”  To Beth, it wasn’t.  The families Beth helps are going through very tough times and she doesn’t want to furnish their new home with items that were just “good enough,” she wants these families to receive pretty things that will bring them peace and comfort as they start their new beginning.  

Many of the people Deserving Decor helps still need convincing that they themselves are good enough so by giving them refurbished furnishings to help them create a place to call home, Beth is making a huge impact and giving them hope. She is telling them they are good enough and they deserve better.

For more information about Deserving Decor and to learn how to get involved with their DIY for Good program, visit www.deservingdecor.org or email beth@deservingdecor.org.

 

 

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

The moment I came across Deserving Décor I knew I wanted to help. I thought about how I could contribute beyond a fundamental donation and came up with writing. My words would be used to help families in need by sharing their stories and bring awareness to their struggles. The articles would reach new volunteers and spread the word about the organization. Three years later, I’m happy to announce I am still writing for Deserving Decor.

I realize now more than ever words are powerful. They can transform a piece of paper into a mystifying world brimming with adventure. They can heal the soul or corrupt a nation. In short, words can be our most valuable tool. But, we must select our words carefully given we never really know the affect they will have on others.

I remember the story of former President, Jimmy Carter and his high school teacher, Julia Coleman. She once told the class “Study hard, one of you could become the President of the United States!” Those words encouraged Carter to do his best and in 1977, he was sworn in as the 39th President of the United States of America; quoting Julia Coleman in the opening of his inauguration speech.

A statement like Coleman’s is meant to inspire and offer support, but there is a dark side to our words when used out of anger or frustration; the comments we make in judgment or disapproval. No doubt we’ve all said things we regret, but followed-up with a sincere apology they are often forgotten. Unfortunately, there are times when you just can’t take back what was said. Do I need to bring up Paula Deen?

In a situation where a single word can butcher a career, imagine what an entire statement can do. In the case of Jimmy Carter it created a leader; presented in negative terms, it can crush the human spirit.

Words have an incredible power to affect how we see and feel about ourselves. We all know the pain of being on the receiving end of a cruel remark. Make no mistake, words can hurt. We just don’t always see the damage. There are no broken bones or black eyes to point out. The injuries are strictly internal. But it happens and verbal abuse is a thing. Words used for name-calling, blaming, belittling and shaming are forms of verbal abuse. It is often difficult to identify and easily overlooked. However, research demonstrates that the long-term effects of verbal and emotional abuse can be just as devastating as physical abuse. It can lead to anxiety, depression, or eating disorders and in extreme cases, suicide. Our words carry enormous weight and they must be used responsibly.

The more words I write the easier it is to recognize their impact. Our words are our power. How will you use yours?

For more information on verbal abuse Click here.

 

 

 

 

Jolene

Driving in my car the original version of the song “Jolene”, by Dolly Parton came on the radio. I remembered the song from my childhood and surprisingly, the words too. Dolly’s love comes across as genuine and sweet. Her words suggest nothing other than pure desperation and vulnerability for the man she adores. As I continued to listen, I realized the song isn’t about about a woman in love; it’s a song about a woman who doesn’t value herself enough.

“Jolene” is the tale of a woman begging another woman, the beautiful Jolene, not to steal her lover away. This of course is not an unfamiliar concept. It certainly makes for good music, but doesn’t go over quite as well in real life. Women have been fighting over men since the beginning of time; some battled so hard they actually made history. So I ask the question, is fighting for the love of a man worth it?

The short answer…HELL NO! But, I also think it depends on your own self worth. Let’s say Jolene decided to carry out the request and the woman got her man back. Would she really be happy? If the woman believes she doesn’t deserve better than him, perhaps she would be somewhat happy. If her belief is that she is worth more and deserves to receive the kind of love she gives, then that guy would be long gone.

The story of a love sick woman and the beautiful Jolene is just one expression of how self esteem can determine our level of happiness. Unfortunately we don’t always value ourselves the way we should. Just about every person has struggled with self esteem at some point in their lives. We often doubt our abilities, our physical appearance or our contribution to society. For most of us, recognizing our significance can be a constant effort. But it doesn’t have to be. Self esteem is like a muscle; the more you work it the bigger it grows. Here a few tips to help build your self- worth and find your inner Jolene!

13 Tips to help build your self worth
1. Say stop to your inner critic.
2. Take a 2 minute self-appreciation break.
3. Write down 3 things in the evening that you can appreciate about yourself.
4. Do the right thing.
5. Positive self-talk.
6. Don’t compare yourself to others.
7. Exercise.
8. Don’t strive for perfection.
9. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
10. Focus on the things you can change.
11. Do things that you enjoy.
12. Celebrate the small stuff.
13. Find affirmations that work for you and recite them daily.