Mission Driven Monday--Dara Buczynski

Meet Dara Buczynski!

Dara Bucynski opened Ephiphany Athens in 2014. But her life of faith and adventure actually began many years before. After adopting a daughter from the Ukraine and learning more about orphan care there, Dara decided to use her gifts to partner with global organizations caring for children around the world. Her beautiful boutique is grounded in a simple truth: "God decides you're beautiful." May this episode inspire you to follow your own mission (not the madness) because where purpose lives, love thrives. Thanks, Dara!

Important Links from this Episode:

Epiphany Athens: Check out their new arrivals! Free Shipping over $75!

Heart for Orphans: provides support and care for teens aging out of the orphan care system in the Ukraine and the former Soviet Union

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
— Proverbs 31:25

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Mission Driven Monday--Kristen Witzel

Meet Kristen Witzel!

What makes your heart happy?

Meet the Founder and Executive Director of KidsBoost! Kristen is a mom and former hospital Child Life Specialist who turned her passion for generosity into an opportunity to mentor kids taking on service projects to raise money for the organizations that matter to them. In this episode, we talk about how the challenges of being a single mother and how being an entrepreneur helped her find meaning and purpose in the work she was clearly meant to do.

We both have kids who just finished fifth grade and are about to embark on the adventure of middle school. I think it’s interesting how ideas percolate over time, building tension, and ultimately inspiring us to take action.

As moms, we want to pursue our dreams and also do ALL THE THINGS. Is it possible? Kristen says she spent years living off peanut butter and a prayer. She’s working to build a culture that values working parents as they raise kind and generous kids while using their own gifts to give back to the community.

You don’t want to miss this incredible story.

Important links from this episode:

Does your kid have an idea for a project they’d like to pursue? KidsBoost would love to help!

KidsBoost: Creating a sustainable cycle of giving by equipping kids to serve others

The Moment of Lift : How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

Big Magic: Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Mission Driven Monday--Amber Pert

Meet Amber Pert!

Amber Pert helps turn young dreamers into real-life doers. Her Navigator book series chronicles how leaders across a range of disciplines built their brands. Amber is passionate about purpose, and she brings it to life through the inspiring words she shares with young leaders. I loved hearing about her vision for the future because kids truly ARE our future. Experience is a great teacher, but for young people--learning from the experiences of others is EVEN BETTER. Follow your mission, not the madness.

Important Links from this Episode:

Wellspring Crew—Information and Navigator Book Series

Book she recommends: Measure What Matters

And a book I recommend: Barking to the Choir by Father Gregory Boyle

Millennials and Money

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Mission Driven Monday--Roxanne Russell

Meet Roxanne Russell!

Roxanne is the Director of Digital Learning at Emory University and the Brains behind Full Tilt Ahead, an academic design studio based in Atlanta Georgia. She holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and is truly one of the smartest people I know. In addition to her professional accomplishments, I admire Roxanne because she's one of the few people I know who has remained true to herself while pursuing relationships and career. I'm excited about a venture she's had in the works for over a decade: A digital program designed to help kids be better readers. And we all know what they say. "Readers are learners, and learners are leaders!" Be inspired today to follow your mission, not the madness. For Roxanne, that means helping kids turn screen time into reading time and thrive in the process. I love it!

Important Links from this Episode:

Read Ahead: A Literacy Breakthrough

Full Tilt Ahead: Academic Design Studio

Candler School of Theology at Emory University

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Mission Driven Monday--Amber Humphries

Meet Amber Humphries!

The motto at Mission Driven Woman is "Follow your mission, not the madness." It's a joy to meet someone who is fully embracing her mission, and Amber's is "Peaceful Home, Adventurous Life." She is an entrepreneur, blogger, speaker, and singer/songwriter. Amber’s many talents have led her to embrace saying "no" to fear (she's a city girl turned mountain woman) and “yes” to inspiring and empowering women in all stages of life transition. Amber is thoughtful and wise. One of my favorite parts of this conversation was when we talked about success and what that looks like during different moments in our lives. Also, I love the idea of warring opposites, and it seems to be a common theme among the women I interview: Big and Small, Open and Closed, More and Less.

People often say to Amber, “Wow! You’re living your dream life!”

Her response—”Why aren’t YOU living your dream life?”

Fun fact: Amber and her husband composed our Forever We theme song, and Amber sings the lead vocals. You can listen to the song here.

Important Links from this Episode:

blog http://www.citymousemountainhouse.cominsta @citymousemountainhouse
music http://www.jaredandambermusic.cominsta @jaredandamber
health journey http://www.amberhumphries.cominsta @amberhumphries

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5 Ways to Grow Your Resume as a Stay-at-Home Mom

I wish I had a dollar for all the times someone has asked me, “Are you just a mom?”

When my kids were little, I got this question all the time. I didn’t know how to respond. What did that even mean?

Am I just a mom?

I wanted to say, “ Are you just an accountant? Just a teacher? Just a dentist?”

I’ve been a mom for almost 20 years, and in all that time I can honestly say that I was never (not once) just a mom.

Sometimes I’ll hear moms say they’re dishwashers and chauffeurs and tutors and short order cooks.

All true.

But they are also managers, CEOs, advisors, and attorneys.

Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.
— Becoming, Michelle Obama

You are not just a mom, although the long days spent wiping snotty noses and changing dirty diapers can trick you into thinking it’s work that will never end.

You don’t have to wish those days away. In the midst of all that has to be done, there are things you can do to bump up the wow factor on your resume.

1) Volunteer. No good work is ever wasted. I spent a decade volunteering at a local hospice, even though I had no desire ever to become a health practitioner myself. Those years taught me how to live well, how to be with people in the midst of their pain, and how to navigate hard conversations—skills I value to this day.

2) Contract a few hours a week. Find extra hours in your day to do something you love—and get paid for it. When I had extra time, I reached out to a mentor of mine to see if there was anything I could do to help her with her own work. Because she was a writer, I was able to assist with research, eventually gaining enough experience to write special features and small articles for our community magazine.

3) Lead something in your community. My husband and I have always attended church. It’s part of our weekly routine, and for a season I coordinated something called Sisters of Support. Basically, the SOS was a network of volunteers commissioned to bring meals to families experiencing hardship in our community. I coordinated the volunteers and supplemented what was needed on a weekly basis by making an extra chicken pot pie or batch of brownies here and there. I was already cooking for my own family, so making extra was no big deal. I led a team of almost 80 volunteers, and I was able to do it all from the comfort of my own kitchen workspace.

4) Find a place to network. I would have gone crazy if I had stayed home all the time. Being a mom is hard work. When my kids were little, I joined my local sorority alumnae group. Each month’s meeting promised the opportunity to meet someone interesting or learn something new. Eventually, I was elected President, and so in addition to the new friendships, I gained valuable leadership experience. Sisterhood doesn’t have to end just because college does!

5) Cultivate hobbies. The worst thing you can do is to spend so much time caring for your kids that you lose yourself. If there’s something you love to do, keep doing it. Just being a mom allowed me the freedom to experiment in the kitchen (I even learned how to use a sous vide), go on long walks (sometimes with a kid—or four—in tow), read books (you can learn a lot from reading children’s books, and I’ve led lots of kid lit book clubs), and practice writing (look, I’m still doing it! :))

Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re just a mom. There’s something to learn in every season. And even if you don’t incorporate any of the suggestions listed above into your daily routine, I guarantee you’re gaining valuable experience leading people, managing teams, organizing your household, strategizing for the future, and TCB’ing all that other stuff employers think is important.

You’re a rock star! Keep going!

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