How it all began...
In 2001, I faced one of the darkest times of my life. On the heels of a debilitating time of illness, came loss of a job, divorce, loss of my home, and tangible treasures in my possession. Honestly, this devastated me perhaps even more than an even darker time in my life as a young wife and mother. It was only ten years earlier that I had endured domestic abuse and abandonment, losing everything and facing the challenge of starting over with a small baby. Over the next several years, I worked diligently building a promising career, purchasing my first home, and creating a safe environment for my son and I.
Having everything stripped away again in 2001 - this time due to illness, was more than I could bear. It had taken me years to rebuild a safe, comfortable life for myself and my son. Illness is no respecter of persons. I was faced with a health crisis beyond my control that slowly whittled away at everything I had carved out for us. It was then that family and friends welcomed me with open arms, wrapped me up in an invisible blanket of love, and reminded me of the true "treasures" in my life. Because of the hope and encouragement given to me, I promised to "pay forward" and deposit intangible treasures into the lives of others hurting, alone, or in need. I started an online "encouragement community" that spread like wildfire. People began to pay forward encouragement and to reach out to others in need.
As time rolled on, I realized that there was so much more I wanted to do. I had a heart especially for women who had suffered some of the same losses and pains that I had. Some of them had not been so blessed. I had family and friends, but many of these women and their children found themselves isolated under the protection and care of shelters and safe houses. They were like "lost treasures" with nothing of their own to remind them of their worth - tangible or intangible. I knew that I had to do something to give them hope and restore their dignity and worth. I wrote a book telling "my story" and vowed someday and somehow to put it in their hands as encouragement and a tool of hope. Still, I remembered how I felt when others would offer "words." Words do encourage, motivate and lift the spirit, but sometimes, words are not enough. When people began to pour into my life with small acts of kindness - paying for a trip to the hair salon so I could get a needed trim, buying me groceries or the medications I needed for my health issues, helping me in my job search, sending my son to summer camp when I didn't have the funds etc., slowly but surely, I was reminded that I was a person of value, and a woman to be loved and treasured! I wasn't a lost treasure, but a buried one that those who loved me took the time to dig deep to find again!
Those experiences birthed this dream to share the treasures in my life and my family with others. Sometimes the smallest gesture can become the greatest blessing imaginable. Through "Blessings For Belles," we want to bless, encourage and help. There is life after abuse, after health challenges, and there is hope! Join me in offering hope to women and children who do not just need a "hand out" but a "hand up."
Aside from contributing resources for daily living, our goal is to provide help, support, and opportunities for coping and moving forward with personal and vocational goals and needs. Many women and their children whose lives have been turned upside down due to abuse, abandonment, illness, loss and subsequent financial difficulty often have no path forward. Many of them end up in shelters, losing their homes, jobs (if they even had one), and sometimes never even recovering personal possessions. Those who face illness as I did, have no means of support to keep their homes or manage the most basic of necessities.We want to give them help for the day and hope for the future. Something as simple as the appropriate outfit for a job interview, a bag of make-up and toiletries, a day away for themselves, or a special outing for them and their children can make a huge impact. Other more significant blessings would be connecting them to vocational training, or job opportunities. The dream is huge, I know, but I truly believe that TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
With Love & Gratitude,
DID YOU KNOW?
Nearly 20 people per minute
are physically abused
by an intimate partner in the U.S.?
1 in 3 women have been
victims of abuse and
1 in 15 children
exposed to this violence.