Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Year In The SHADE!

Me at my new job!

A year ago this month (March) I was hired at Shade Clothing. It was a part time job for me. Something to help with monthly income, & something fun for me to do. My kids were getting older, and I had been a stay at home mom for the better part of 18 years! I had worked a couple days a week in the Church office, but that was coming to an end. I had worked retail when I was younger & always loved it. The work & the clothes! :) A neighbor & friend of mine, Lori, knew I was looking for a new job & had a friend of hers. Emily, that managed a clothing store & knew she was looking to hire someone. So, she told us about each other. I gave her friend a call & she had me come in that week for an interview. We clicked right away. And she hired me.

Me with Emily, the manager who hired me, & my now friend!

Emily was great, & I really liked the job. Then a few months after I was hired, Emily moved away, :( she stayed with the company though, so I still get to see & talk to her from time to time. She recommended me to take over as manager of the store. It would mean going full time. I was honored & scared. After all there is a lot to learn to be a manager, & can you really teach an old dog new tricks? I was about to find out! They promoted me. Then decided to do their first ever all store inventory. Yikes. But we survived it. The store was in The Chandler mall. (about a 25 min. drive for me) And then after just another short period of time, they decided to move the store to The San Tan Mall in Gilbert. (less then a 5 min. drive for me now!)

The New Store, from the outside!

So within just a few months, I had to learn a new job, everything that goes along with managing a retail store, taking inventory, & moving the entire store to a new location! It was a whirlwind! But, a really fun one. I enjoyed every aspect of the job! Being the companies liaison to the community & our customers, the mall & the bank. I even had to learn how to interview & hire employees. Then how to review their work, making the schedules, this list could go on & on. I won't bore you with the details! :) But rest assured that I have folded more shirts this past year, than I had in my entire life before that! :)

Above & below: shots of the store at San Tan Village, from the inside!

Shade Clothing has been a company for 5 years now. It was started by a young woman who couldn't find the type of clothes she was looking for, so she designed her first top & sold them out of her house. Then they went to hosting home parties (think Tupperware party, but with T-shirts!) Then started using Kiosk's. And eventually opened the first Shade Clothing store. Their are now 7 stores! And we do a big online business as well. Check us out at ShadeClothing.com or better yet, come & see me at the store.

Cute isn't it?!

Shade started as a layering store, with all your basics: Camisoles, Tank tops, Cap Sleeves, T-shirts, all long enough, that you can wear on top of each other, for that cute layered look. And expanded from there. We now carry skirts, dresses, jackets, etc. And have a great swimwear line! It is a modest clothing line. Which, as the Mother of tween girls, I love! I hate that when little girls move into Jr. sizes, all they can find is clothes that are much too old for them to be wearing!

Me with some of my employees on Black Friday!
(Left to Right: Brittany, Taylor, myself & Olivia)
I even survived my first Black Friday managing a clothing store! It's been a hectic year. The hardest part of going back to work for me has been keeping the laundry done at home! But, I really love my job. And the Company I work for. So, Happy Anniversary to me! And here's to many more years together!

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Bad!

I so Loved the Movie The Time Traveler's Wife. I remember leaving the theater thinking: "What a great imagination it must take to come up with a story like that!" I knew right then & there that I wanted to read the book that the movie was based on. So, now that I'm hosting a Book Club for my Church, I chose to make The Time Travelers Wife one of our book selections. Then I started reading it . . .

Now, keep in mind this is a Church based Book Club. :) Well, obviously they cut a lot out of the book when they made the movie. This may be the raciest book I've ever read! (And I read a lot!) I take that back, the raciest book I've ever read was about 4 generations of women in a Jewish Immigrant family, and how they come to America & make a better life for their family, sounds like a good book doesn't it, but, one of the women ends up working in a brothel. 'nuff said! So, this is probably the second raciest book I've ever read. (I don't know, Maybe I should start reading those books with Fabio on the cover! Okay, maybe not.)

The book The Time Traveler's Wife is full of sex & swear words. And I'm by no definition a prude in any form of the word, at least I don't think I am. :) But some passages in this book can make even me blush. And here I picked it for these women to read! Oops. My Bad. I did right away discourage the teen age girls in the group from reading it! And I hope my friends in the Book Club will forgive me, if they don't like it. And, not to mention, keep reading with me! It's still a very imaginative love story. I'm about half way through the book right now, I'll post more latter, after we've reviewed it!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is It Enough To Trust?

We say we Trust in God. But what about when times get tough? When we don't understand why things happen or don't happen? How do you trust then?

Webster's Dictionary tells us Trust is a firm belief in another's honesty, reliability, etc., or Confident expectation, hope, etc.

How do you hang on to hope when times are tough? Or when time is running out?

It's easy to question why things happen. Why would God allow things to happen, or not to happen in our lives? We all go through times of questioning: Why isn't someone healed? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are there couples who would make great parents, not able to have a baby—when there are people who don't deserve to have children, or can't take care of them, that keep having them? Why is it someone (who everyone who knows her knows she would make a great nurse) not able to get placed into the nursing program? Why are there smart, talented kids who can't get scholarships to go to college?

I myself have questions: like, why would God allow my husband to loose his job last year? He's a good, hard working, talented man. Why do I have to watch my kids deal with some of the same questions I have? We are very thankful for our new job that God has provided for us, but, we both work for smaller organizations that can't offer us health insurance. Which brings me to my biggest question right now, why on the very month after our insurance runs out, do my doctors find something wrong with me that now makes it impossible for me to get insurance? What are we going to do? What if . . . (I can't even go there)

And the answer to all these questions is: I don't know. I don't know. But, I do know God. And He knows the answers. One thing that I have learned is that we only see in part, God paints on a canvas much larger than we can see, or even imagine!

We just have to trust in Him, even when we don't know the answers. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Then comes the hardest part, waiting. Waiting when we want to see things happen, and happen now! We have to Trust that God's timing is perfect. Ours isn't. We don't see the big picture like God does. We only see what we're going through right now. And that saying: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" should be "When the going gets tough, the tough just wait!" (doesn't have the same punch to it does it?) but, that's all we can do sometimes. And He ALWAYS comes through! I wait for You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God. (Psalm 38:15)

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Arizona Aloha Festival

The Arizona Aloha Festival is the largest Hula Festival outside of Hawaii.
And it is right here in the middle of the desert!

I love all things Hawaiian. My daughters and I took Hula lessons for over 3 years. And a few years ago we danced in the Arizona Aloha Festival. And even though we aren't dancing right now, we still go to the Festival every year. We love seeing our friends & the group we used to dance with perform.

We started the day out with our first ride on the Light Rail.

This year our Hula group was dancing on Sunday. So, the girls & I played hooky from Church & planned to spend the whole day Living Aloha! We chose to get there by riding the Light Rail for the first time.

Just the 3 of us ready to cheer on our friends & Hula sista's!

Above & Below: Hula Hui O Le'ale'a
Hula Group of Fun, Joy and Merriment
performing at the Festival
Our friends we used to dance with!

We found out our Kumu (Hula teacher) is moving, & our Halau (dance group) will be no more. Even though we haven't danced with them in a few years, we've still felt like we were part of the group. They are still our Hula sista's. It's sad.

Me, and then my girls with our Kumu Christi Moore.
She introduced us to Hula, & we have learned a lot from her!

Below is Christi dancing her farewell song.
She will be missed in Arizona.

We ate some good Hawaiian food. And of course had the Hawaiian shaved ice, a must at the Hula Festival! Yum! (But, watch out for the Brain Freeze) We shopped the vendors & bought some souvenirs. The Arizona weather was beautiful, in the high 70's, low 80's. And with the breeze off the Lake in Tempe, it almost felt like Hawaii. (A girl can dream, can't she?!)
Then we saw Anuhea in concert, along with the band The Green.
They were so good! We loved them.

Kyle got a free song download from Starbucks a few months ago, it was a girl from Hawaii named Anuhea. It's kind of a soulful, Reggae sound. He & Olivia, his girlfriend really like it & bought the album. We were all excited to find out she was coming here to the Arizona Aloha Festival.
Lexi & Erica with Anuhea.
After having her sign their shirts.

Olivia with Anuhea!

Also performing with Anuhea was a new band named The Green. They were really good as well.

Our friend from Church, Angel (who is also from Hawaii)
with the band The Green.

Then it was back on the Light Rail for the ride home. A great time was had by all. It really was a fun day. And we will continue to go every year. It's become a Mother/Daughter tradition for us. And even though our friends will be dancing with other groups, we will be there to see them & cheer them on. And who knows maybe someday we will dance once again as well.

Lexi & Livy
Erica with me.

Living Aloha!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Honey & Windex

Now I know with this title you're thinking this Blog post is about cleaning, or some how to idea, but come on now, this is me we're talking about here! Think about it! No it's about a book . . .
Last night was the Life On The Same Page Book Club meeting. It was so much fun! We had all read the book, The Secret Life Of Bees. Some of us loved the book. :) Some didn't. :( And I loved hearing the different perspectives & being made to look at something from someone else's view point.

We talked and laughed. Some of the women shared stories from their own lives that made them really connect with certain characters in the book. I just love being part of this group of amazing women. We range in age from about 16 to about 50. And together we talked about the issues of Race & equality. Forgiveness & bitterness. I would really recommend this book, if you haven't read it. It's a griping story, but also makes you think & rethink some things.

And to top it all off we solved ALL the problems in the world! That's right, in the book where one of the women raises Bees, they use Honey to heal whatever ails you. Sore throat, upset tummy, aging. You name it, it cures it! And one of the women, (see Ruth, I didn't mention your name!) :) brought up that it reminded her of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the father used Windex to heal all wounds, or ailments. So, the 12 of us intelligent, savvy women came to the conclusion that all you need in this world is Honey & Windex! And you are very welcome for that little tidbit of information.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Lesson Learned At The Oscars

One of my favorite Blog posts is one a wrote about A Lesson Learned At The Emmys. We'll it's happening again, this time after last nights Academy Awards. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for best actress in a leading role for The Blind Side. I've always really liked her, and now, I adore her even more. After she shared very kind words for each of the other nominees, here is some of what she said:

"I would like to thank what this film is about for me, which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children, no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked. I, in particular, failed to thank one. So... if I can take this moment to thank Helga B. for not letting me ride in cars with boys until I was 18 because she was right. I would've done what she said I was gonna do. For making me practice every day when I got home. Piano, ballet, whatever it is I wanted to be. She said to be an artist, you had to practice every day, and for reminding her daughters that there's no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love. So, to that trailblazer, who allowed me to have that. (points to her husband Jesse James) And this. (Points to the Oscar in her hand) I thank you so much for this opportunity that I share with these extraordinary women"

Being a mom, I loved this so much. That's what Mom's should be: Be Love for our kids, Teach Love to our kids, Live Out Love in front of our kids!!! Thanks Sandra Bullock for the reminder.

Friday, March 5, 2010

They're Back!

Yes, the Boys of Summer are back in the Valley of the Sun. It's Spring Training time again for Major League Baseball. And for the second year now, my oldest son Kyle is working in the stadium Clubhouse for the Oakland A's. What a great job this is for him. It pays well, he learns how to do laundry among other things, :) and is surrounded by sports.

Kyle on the field "working"

Today was their first game, and John & I went. We won! And it's always fun to go to the games. Now Baseball can be somewhat of a slow moving game, so don't tell anyone, but I was known to pull my book out and read a little during the game. :0

Cheering on the team And The Staff! :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Continuing Life On The Same Page

I'm getting ready for my second meeting of Life On The Same Page Book Club. This month we will be meeting Monday, March 8th, at 7:00 pm. At The Barnes & Noble Cafe at Dana Park. (Baseline & Val Vista) We would love to have you join us.

We are reading, & will be discussing The Secret Life Of Bees. It was such a good book, I really enjoyed reading it. Weather you've read the book, or not, come hang out with us & have a good time. As it says in the book: "Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony, but also require its social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die."

We will also be announcing the next selection for our Book Club to read. It is: (drum roll please!) The Five People You Meet In Heaven. By Mitch Albom, who also wrote Tuesdays With Morrie. I'm already half way through it, and it's good.

And since it is such a short book and easy to read, I'm also announcing our next months book selection as well, so when you finish The Five People You Meet In Heaven, you can go ahead and start the next one, since it is a longer book. It's one I've wanted to read since I saw the movie, that I just loved. It is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm very excited about these two books! And I hope you are too.

I'm seeing a pattern here: I didn't realize it at the time I picked the book, that there is a movie The Five People You Meet In Heaven as well. Which means all three books in our Book Club so far also have movies based on them. Which I think is fun. We'll see how long the trend continues. :) I watched the movie The Secret Life Of Bees, it was good, but not quite as good as the book is. (Books are always better than the movies!) And I've seen The Time Traveler's Wife & like I said, loved it. So, now I'll have to get the Five People You Meet In Heaven movie & see how it is. The book club will have to have a movie night, and watch them together. That would be fun.

So come out, and start living Life On The Same Page with some amazing women!