Lillmi's Blog

Regardless of your definition of success, one thing is true: It’s up to you!

I happen to believe in goal setting and goal achieving.  I also happen to believe in baby steps that grow with maturity.

It’s time to build a team.  I’m not so interested in personal shoppers (although, if that’s all you want, I can provide you with that opportunity) but my interest is in real entreprenuers who choose to work with the iconic Avon brand.

Now, Avon has gone through a ton of changes… each for a specific reason and to address a specific issue… all with the purpose of increasing Representative earnings (and therefore, their own).  So, although some of the changes are not perfect or even likeable… I have seen their value and figure I can work around it.  Can you?

Name one company that has done more for women?  One company that has rewarded more women for their efforts?  Name one company who has kept the same business model for over 100 years in Direct Marketing?  Just one!

So, if Avon is not for you… great! Don’t sign up, because I care about the ones who want to be successful and either earn or save money for themselves and their family.

For more information about the upcoming East Texas July 1 Registration Day… call ME! Let’s see if you can use Avon for yourself and your family.  Call me before you sign up… you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

I’m returning to the “one that brung me”… so grandma would say.  My team, customers who depended on me for consistency, knowledge and recommendations, and the business partners who influenced my path.  It’s time to reactivate the team Sunshines! Ready?   Join my FB group and let’s just see if you fit!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/michellessunshines/

rFor the last several years, I’ve been completely enthralled with my Avon adventure! The people with whom I worked were completely fun and supportive and I enjoyed the semi-competitiveness of the nature of our work.  Those dedicated representatives in the various districts, for which I had responsibility, are as varied as there are representatives. Each is different… each has a different agenda… each achieves it in her own way and each provides a tribute to her heritage and her indomitable, entrepreneurial spirit.

I’ve given up a lot since taking it on.  Not because anyone said I had to, but because the job was extraordinarily fascinating and empowering and exciting and joyful and really made me feel needed and wanted and important and successful – ah, there it is… SUCCESSFUL!

I have met and now enjoy knowing the most incredible group of women. They come from all walks of life, and as you may expect, bring with them their own little quirks and joys.  I’ve met those from other countries, other socio-economic backgrounds and different belief systems. Their music, their food, their values – more than entertaining and enlightening,  They, above all else, have made my time with Avon meaningful.

All things must change, I hear.  Avon became New Avon, with new values and ways of working. They finally pulled the trigger on the tough decision of eliminating the balance of my position with the company.  I’m sure someone had empathy with us, but I didn’t see it anywhere. That’s NEW Avon. Heartfelt sentiments would be the old Avon.

The good thing… a new adventure begins soon.  As with every job opportunity, I’m taking with me a new set of skills. Taking a look at our place in this world at this time… Ronnie and I are surprised to see that, it’s really time for us to take time for ourselves.  Another new challenge awaits as I figure out how NOT to work for anyone else.  Think I can do it?

My first job was at the ripe old age of 15 and I earned $1.00 per hour.  Since that time, I’ve worked with the exception of maternity leave for a few months with each child.  Amazing how time flies!

So, as I look back at all the people I’ve met, the children I’ve watched grow, the changes in the world around me and the exceptional working women I’ve known… it’s been a great run.

I loved working for the global Avon. As with any large ship, it takes a long time to make it turn around in the ocean. I wish I had been there earlier to enjoy the calm seas.

I have to say thanks to Avon for yet another milestone in my life… the opportunity to stop and acknowledge a long working history and the return to something more fun. Now my goals will be mine alone- what a change. It was inevitable.

Shabby Chic Dog

We saved her.

She arrived on the first day of school… and was still in the driveway when I came home from work.

A day or two later, she’s still in the car port. We realized she couldn’t walk very far because her pads had slipped. Someone told me that their pads slip when they are chasing a vehicle down the black top road (probably trying to keep up with her owner).

How rude! 

Someone brought this lovely creature and left her in the Texas August heat, without water or food… to fend for herself.

Now, let me tell you that I am/was not a “dog” person per se. I’ve had cats for over twenty years and only twice in my life did I own a dog… jointly, with siblings.  So, keeping a dog- especially, a HUGE dog was not in the plan. 

We advertised, posted her on Facebook, told everyone we knew that we had a beautiful, white, house trained dog living with us that needed a home. We had her spayed,  groomed,  everything we could to make her appealing to a new  home.

She’s still here.

And her name is Trixie Honeysuckle. She has three pillows and rotates between them throughout the day. Did I mention she is Large?  She weighs 72 pounds and the vet mentioned that her ideal weight is 80. She walks on a leash, sits for treats, LOVES to ride in the truck… and she’s ours.  She knows where her home is and can make her way back without us. 

So, a large white dog in a 2100 sq. ft. home, with no fenced yard, means we sweep, dust and vacuum daily. We bought a Ferminator… God’s gift to dog owners… and we brush, bathe, pet, cuddle and walk our baby on schedule. It’s a good thing the hubs is retired!  We’ve made friends with the vet, vet-tech and the spa keeper.  

We’ve met neighbors we hadn’t become acquainted with previously, because they have dogs! We buy silly toys we haven’t had in the house since the grandchildren were babies. We always have cheese cubes available, now. They are the “gold” treat.

Today, exactly 7 months since she came to us… I redecorated the living room.  No longer will you see olive sofa’s with long white dog hair clinging to the sides… or her long white offerings laying on the dark coffee table.  I found the perfect decor to match the perfect dog — shabby chic. 

So, don’t come looking for her now, she belongs in this home… our shabby chic dog, in our shabby chic home! 

Perfect.  

Bling and Volunteering – OES

Today I was privileged to participate in the initiation of a lovely young woman to a local chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. She’s blonde, cute, a young mother, a caring person, as far as I can tell.  She walked tall and appeared to learn alot today. 

I’ve been a member of the Order for 15 or so years. I’ve filled a variety of stations (offices) and performed a number of special duties in honor of women and men who have served faithfully and taught many behind them. I’ve been honored to teach a few who came in after me, and I’ve even led the funeral service for a dear saint, whom I will never forget.

In our Order, there are women we admire, heroines from the Bible, heroines of our Order. They represent the different stages of our lives and we learn from them, to be patient, courageous, kind, hard working, loyal and faithful.

I love the Order… it’s filled with opportunities to serve others. There are so many choices- you cannot do everything.  All that we, the members, do is surrounded by bling, pomp and circumstance, and joy of loyal friendship. We tend to lean toward projects that help women, but we don’t leave the men out. 

One year 17 students in Texas received scholarships to allow them more freedom while they studied for the ministry. 15 more were awarded scholarships to continue their college education… or to complete a certificate course in their area of work. And that’s on a state level. Locally, many students in all the communities received smaller contributions toward their education.  Thousands were contributed to Breast Cancer research, the Galveston Burn Center and the multitude of projects sponsored by Worthy Matrons around the state. Recently, we focused on the service dogs that help save lives.  

Our Chapter collected 300 pairs of flip flops to send to the Air Force kids who were volunteering (as part of their job) in an orphanage in Africa. There are so many rocks, the kids can’t keep shoes on that won’t tear up… so we helped our service kids, help the small children. The cost for mailing them was riduculous, but they couldn’t be bought in Africa, so, mailing was what was required.    One year, we made lap blankets for children at the hospital. Once, we collected stuffed toys and gave them to the law enforcement folks. When they have to arrest a mom and dad, these toys give the children something to hold onto during the terrible process.  Who else will do these things? 

It’s been a fun-filled year. A year of service and friendships, new friends and new goals set for the future… all to start a new year with new officers, new plans… new folks to help, new students to help and new women to train to carry on our work.

Most of my female friends don’t understand this committment to the greater good.  Yep, we spend our money on bling… but we give and raise more for the good of others. Yes, we spend much of our free time with the members of our Order, and we miss new movies and don’t spend much time reading… but we are doing good. Whatever avenue a person can find to volunteer to help others is good. It’s good for the soul, good for those being helped, good for our country to help one another.   For me, it’s a matter of breathing… we should help, as we breathe. I just love dressing up to do it!

Oatmeal-less Cookies!

    It’s a cool thing to have a ‘sweet sixteen’ party for your firstborn. All night… boys and girls played music, danced, talked.. and talked! And, then… the non–cook mom, decides to be very motherly and bake cookies.  Of course, this one action changes the entire event from a beautifully planned party to a hilarious memory for life!

Jenn was turning 16 – in January! Freezing out, ice everywhere and we were living in a small mobile home at the lake!

Not much room for girls to spread out with all their gear, but we’re determined to make it the best birthday ever! The invites are cute and hand delivered, the house is cleaned from top to bottom.  About twelve young teens filled our small living area with sweet sounds of laughter and gossip. The boys are on one couch, the girls on the other. All are eating chips, and salsa from the coffee table and the music is blaring! The girls dance, the boys watch them.. I fondly remember those days!

 I decided to make oatmeal cookies for munching later into the night, since they all brought their sleeping bags and planned to camp out on the living room floor.

I gathered the usual suspects for cooking… a cookie sheet, mixing bowl, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, raisins, recipe..and began to mix away.  Excitement grew as everyone watched as the master created great food! Carefully, I mixed and placed small amounts on the cookie sheet for baking. A few of the girls came to “help”, so they got the spoon.

Nearing the prescribed baking time, I noticed a little smoke rising from within the oven. Deciding there might be something in the bottom of the oven, I waited.  Finally, the SSSCCCRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEAAAACCCCCCCHHHHH of the smoke detector shocks this cook into reality! With the assistance of ALL the excited teenagers we gingerly open the oven door and smoke billows out!

When one is baking oatmeal cookies, it’s a great idea to put oatmeal IN the cookie batter!  Much laughter followed and a re-do is in order. I apologized for embarrassing my beautiful sixteen year old.   Laughing all the way, NEW eggs, NEW sugar – you get the idea… and we are ready to go again. This time there were more folks willing to assist!

Into a freshly cleaned oven, the cookie sheet is placed. So proud, I was… that I could teach these children a valuable lesson about beginning again, cleaning up one’s mess, and the rewards of trying hard to succeed. I actually rationalized it in my own mind that I did this as a learning exercise!

A few minutes passed and all is well. A few more and there is a touch of smoke. KNOWING it’s leftover melted cookie dough, I let it continue to cook.  HEARING the familiar SSSSSSRRRRRREEEEEEEAAAAAAAACCCCCCCHHHHH of the smoke detector almost made me wet myself! My daughter nearly melted into the wall. Don’t all mom’s know how to bake?

 

This mom went back to NON-COOKING birthday parties. The story surfaces at every family holiday meal, when I’m asked… “Mom, did Poppie cook….. or you?”  Then we all laugh again and remember the memorable evening when Jenn turned 16!

Daughters

I have been blessed by daughters.

Daughters are special people. They bring out the best in me and make me want to be better. I love being girlfriends with them  and at times, I’m just thankful to be their mom.

The eldest daughter is actually a step daughter – a gift from my new husband. She was already grown, working and planning a wedding. Our relationship is very polite and a holiday-ish kind of friendship.  She has a wonderful husband and son who dote on her. She’s smart and loving and enjoys life in the southern most part of our state.

Stephanie is married to Freddy. Today, after 20+ years of marriage they are like newly weds, but a lot more comfortable. I admire Stephanie for sticking to her guns, staying with one employer all these years and having the grace to raise a beautiful son who is fearless, smart and talented.

Next there is Jenn, my first born.  She’s mom to four daughters. Her level of energy astonishes me.  After scouts, church, work and a woman’s group, she still cooks, cleans and even has time to visit the hospitalized friend from time to time.

A tragic accident took 18 year old Alyssa from all of us. During that time, Jennifer managed to walk gently down the imaginary line between Alyssa’s biological mother and Kevin, her husband of ten years. It was a role no woman wants to fill. She and Alyssa were more peers than parent-child because of their ages – and the fact that Alyssa’s mom was very present in her life made their relationship difficult.  It’s always hard to be the step mom.

Jennifer cooked and cleaned, ran errands, comforted children, greeted guests, thanked the neighbors, made phone calls and kept right on moving until, at last… when everyone was ok, she slept – a long time.  She’s like that. She cares for those around her and puts herself last. She’s a lot like my mom and I am honored by that.

The baby daughter (again, a step-daughter) is affectionately known as our perfect child. Her willingness to explore and try new things  is exciting to us. She’s traveled everywhere, is not easily ruffled, committed to college and the Air Force and loves her husband ever-so- completely!

Sarah and Terrence are goal oriented. They have careers in the Air Force and a new home that keeps them creative and busy. She can laugh out loud, find humor in almost anything and is strong and smart. I love to hear her sing, but she’s put that on the back burner for now. Sarah spent way too much time of her childhood chasing someone else’s dream and missing out on some plain old fashioned play time.  She didn’t live with us full-time, so when I realized what was going on, I jumped into mommy mode and insisted on making things more consistent for her. It took a little while, but it was well–worth the effort- I hope she agrees.  Now, I love seeing the woman she’s grown to be and we have lots of fun when we’re together.

The newest addition is the daughter-in-law.  Tara is like a little Skipper doll. Petite, fun to be around, fashion wise and way smart.  She’s still studying for the future, so I ‘m excited to see what life affords her. Best of all, she loves my son – and she does it well. She can fly from an airplane and enjoy the trip down… she can remove an appendix, loves traveling to exotic locations  and wore purple stilettos when she married my son.

She and Jeff are headed for the moon! I know they have lofty goals, but they  love to have their heads in the clouds… and it’s very becoming.  I’m glad she’s there to walk with Jeff and he’s better for having her in his life.

My daughters are great humans.  Not wasteful of time, money or talents, they are willing to help those that need it.  They are resourceful and daring. They are faithful and dedicated to their families and loving every minute of it.

These are women of the future and I’m grateful for every minute of their past.

We have a wonderful family of women, with just enough men thrown in there for love, comfort, safety,  and interest.

I thank God everyday that He allowed me the privilege of being called “mom” by these women.  I did nothing to deserve the honor… they are a blessing for which I am truly grateful.