XOXO, Tiff

Hello Gorgeous!

I’ve missed you and apologize for being completely AWOL from the blog and YouTube channel lately, but I promise it was for a very good reason. I’ll share more details later! (Skwwweeell.. you won’t believe how freakin’ exciting it is!!) 

AHP-HOB_Tiff2AHP “Light Up Tomorrow” charity concert at the House Of Blue’s.

I check in with you all and send some love. We’ve had a whirlwind Spring and one of the important things that took up my attention was putting on my hubby’s first charity concert here in DFW. We’ll be taking some time off this Summer, but have planned to tape a few new style webisodes first. Hope to have one up by the end of the week. Stay tuned!

Wishing you all fun, relaxing & blessed Summer! 

Walk tall.

Shine without apology.

Strut it. 

Xoxo, Tiff

LIGHT UP TOMORROW By Very Special Guest Writer, Aaron Hendra

Hey Fab Fashionistas!

I wanted to share the other side of my life with you all. When you hear me saying I can’t shoot a new webisode because my cameraman hubby is out of town or my mention of stressful moments- well, these are the types of situations we’re dealing with. Noooo biggie just treading floods in Africa. Here’s a glimpse into our world. This is the orphanage we visited and support in South Sudan. If you are pressed for time and unable to read…scroll down to the ending video: 

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It was early August last year and I anxiously pushed an overloaded airport cart with seven items of baggage to the Qantas international check in desk. I was on the way to South Sudan with a with a very important item in my possession, a prototype LED light panel which I hoped to install in the mud brick church at the Machine Gun Preacher orphanage.  It was 9.30pm at LAX and I wasn’t even sure if I had a seat, I was flying standby to save a few dollars. It was also imperative that I be at the MGP headquarters in Kampala, Uganda in 3 days to meet Sam Childers, Kevin Evans and Gigi otherwise the whole trip could be a disaster. One thing about the Machine Gun Preacher is he doesn’t wait for anybody. I was feeling slight pressure at this moment. 

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Leaving LAX…

A guy at the Qantas desk called me forward with a very unimpressed look on his face. “How many bags are you checking?”, he asked. I began to explain that this was a humanitarian trip and I had a special light I was going to install at an orphanage. He didn’t seem to warm at all and said I would have to check four bags. $800US for just the first leg to Melbourne. This could cost thousands in extra baggage fees by the time I got to Uganda and my heart sank.

It had been a journey of faith just to get everyone onboard and behind this new idea of bringing efficient LED lights and Solar power to the Children’s Village. I’ll never forget the shouts of excitement when Sam started up the gasoline generator at dusk, the night of our first visit in 2010. That trip had been to record the children sing on One Man’s War, we were there for music mainly but the idea and possibilities of bringing clean energy and lights to their lives was born that night. There is no grid supplied electricity there, only one old gasoline generator. We heard the kids screams of excitement the moment the power kicked in and the light bulbs started to flicker in the dimly light church.  For us it’s so easy to flick a switch but electricity in this part of the world is a luxury. The kids are incredibly smart and they love to study. Imagine if they could study and work at night time as well… the seed was planted that night.

I quickly tried to consolidate my luggage. With some heavy duty duct tape I was able to kinda make four bags into two. Satisfied that this was the best I could do, I  pushed my carts over to the standby area and continued praying and hoping I would get on the flight. After about an hour, the desk called my name. Hallelujah, I had a seat, but what was going to happen with luggage?  He shook his head at what I had come up with. “You can’t do that”, he stated and walked over to his supervisor. They both then walked over to me as I pleaded my case again. After a few moments the supervisor gave instructions and walked away and I received the first of what would be many signs that I was putting my faith in the right direction for this trip. Qantas made me repack everything but only charged for one bag to Australia. Away we went.

I flew via Melbourne, Sydney, Johannesberg to Uganda. I don’t have time in this blog to tell all the stories but let me just say it took every bit of charm and determination to get all seven bags to Uganda. In the end it only cost a few hundred dollars in extra baggage fees. I reached Kampala on time and breathed a sigh of relief!

We arrived at the MGP base in Kampala safe and sound and, after enjoying a few laughs with Sam and Kevin, Gigi and I settled down to map out the next leg. One of Sam’s guys was stuck on the South Sudan border driving a truck loaded with a new tractor for Sam’s farm. He had been detained for two days already due to a paperwork issue and as a result Sam’s schedule would need to change. He could no longer go to the orphanage with us and suggested Kevin and I take the little RAV 4 and fly up to Sudan right away. Gigi would not be able to fit in the car with the LED light, camera gear etc so he would stay with Sam and we would all meet up at the new farm in Northern Uganda in two days. This all sounded good except for one small problem. Apparently the last part of the road to the South Sudan border had been closed temporarily due to flooding. Again, we’re faced with a dilemma. Do we push forward and have faith the road will reopen in time? We decided to go and the next morning before light, Kevin and I loaded the small 4WD and departed Kampala. 

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Sam Childers and Gigi Gonaway breaking ground in Northern Uganda

 

The weather was good for most of the day. We only really hit a few slow areas where big trucks had made a mess in the mud. The road from Gulu (Northern Uganda) to South Sudan is littered with massive pot holes and it’s actually so rough that it vibrates vehicles to pieces. We were making good time. All of a sudden we see rows of halted trucks, busses and lots of people out of the cars. It was 4pm by now and even though there was only about 30-40 km’s to go, the fact that more and more people we’re turning back and walking the other direction wasn’t encouraging. Another hour went by and contingency plans started to creep into our minds. It was at least four hours back to Gulu and, even though it’s safer now than 5 years ago, we really didn’t want to be driving at night. Time was ticking with no movement or sign of the road opening. About a dozen local police and army continued to block the road. Aware that the border was closing in less than an hour, Kevin who is a seasoned pro at navigating his way through Africa, expressed his fears stating, “I hate to say it buddy, but it’s not looking good”.

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Waiting at the road closure in northern Uganda

 

 

Suddenly there is movement as one car darts through the road block and the police move aside. Several cars follow but it’s still uncertain whether we are good to go or not.  We decide to move, anything is better than just sitting there, so we push forward. It quickly becomes evident why the road was closed. In parts, the road had become a river. There were lines of trucks stopped in deep water and people walking through 4 or more feet of flooding. We realize that even if we make it through, the border will be closed and Mr Magok, our border contact was not answering the phone. We pushed on. 

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Treacherous roads nearing the South Sudan border

 

“I don’t believe it, I think I just saw Magok”, Kevin yelled as he pulled the RAV4 to a stop. Somehow, in all of this mayhem we had run into the very person, the only person that could get us across the border into South Sudan that night. I was blown away. That was a miracle! Magok rode with us the rest of the way, at points walking in front of the vehicle to make sure we could pass. At about 7pm we handed our passports to the border office, fully amazed to have actually made it to our destination. 

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Mr Magok Majok (S Sudan Border Info Officer) leading us through the flooded roads

 

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Arrival at the orphanage

 

The next 24 hours were amazing. I got up early to film the sunrise and get shots of the orphanage. The kids weren’t sure what we were doing but they all got together and held the Evolucia banner, a symbol of what we hope to achieve with this project. A few of the lads joined in and were a big help installing the light and it was really great to work with them. For me, one of the absolute highlights of this trip arrived that evening when the children gathered in the church to see us plug in the LED light and turn it on for the first time. I really hoped that after bringing this fixture all the way it would live up to expectations. We were not disappointed and I have to say that the folks at Evolucia have done an amazing job. Not only was this fixture spectacular in terms of light quality and coverage, it only uses 65-70 watts and will last for 15-20 years maintenance free.  To power the lights we are also raising funds to purchase and install a 5kw Solar Farm on the property. There is no shortage of sunlight and having clean, renewable energy to power lights and other potential tools and appliances is a very exciting and realistic goal. 

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Local lads helping me install the Evolucia LED Light Panel

 

 

We did it, phase one complete and a success. To top it all off, it was Kevin’s birthday, so after a long day, we celebrated with some food at a local Ethiopian eatery on the main street of Nimule. I want to especially thank Kevin Evans for going beyond on this trip, we couldn’t have done it without him. Kevin is the cinematic genius behind the MACHINE GUN PREACHER visuals, videos and photography. This trip was a great testament to a guy who is so selfless that he would go out of his way, drive through floods and spend his birthday in the bush, all on faith. I take my hat off to you Mr Evans.

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Wishing Kevin a happy birthday

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this story. This project is dear to our hearts and we are determined to raise the funds needed to make this LED Light / Solar Farm project a reality.

I am also extremely grateful to Evolucia Lighting for donating their resources and this LED light panel, hopefully the first of many that will be installed in the coming years.

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Lastly, I want to sincerely thank Sam Childers for his hospitality and for the incredible work that he and his organization continues to do to help the lives of so many children in East Africa and across the world. You’re an inspiration! www.machinegunpreacher.org

Light Up Tomorrow Project: Song By Aaron Hendra

 

 

 

INSPIRE CHANGE! International Women’s Day

photo-193[photo courtesy of Shoreline Dallas]

Happy Weekend Sistas,

Just a quick message to send you love and appreciation….

Today, on International Women’s Day, my thoughts are with all of you as well as my beautiful family in Japan & Australia and all the remarkable little girls that stole my heart in Africa. No matter where we are in the world- we can be an advocate and inspire change for women’s advancement. 

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” – Gloria Steinem

Annually on March 8th, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’. via www.internationalwomensday.com

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You may have heard me share this story before, but it bears repeating. In Sudan, the language is Arabic so to connect with the little girls in the orphanage we support- I painted their nails. Such a blessed and intimate moment that I will never forget! You may think that painting a girl’s nails is frivolous, but as I held each hand and painted- all the other little girls gathered around her in a way of support, celebration and approval. Witnessing this blew me away and it is difficult to put into words. Instead of pushing to be the next in line for their manicure, each girl waited patiently. No competition. No comparison. Only cooperation & celebration. For the remainder of the day, the girls played and held hands in admiration of one another. We could all learn a thing or two from them. 

God Bless all the women who have stood by me on my journey since I was a little girl. I bow my head in a grateful prayer for those who fanned my flame, poured love or spoke even one small word of encouragement into me.

Make a difference, think globally and act locally! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding. Help one another to stand tall.

INSPIRE CHANGE.

Love, Tiff

GET READY TO RECEIVE IN 2014

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My Sweet Sistas!

On this final day of 2013, I encourage you to take some time to close your eyes and give thanks for last year. Give thanks for the blessings as well as the hardships because ultimately the tough times turn to blessings. SAY WHAT TIFF? Yes, the tough times become blessings in the form of lessons learned, wisdom and strength! We do not gain strength and wisdom when everything is easy breezy. Also, take the time to get alone and write out your 2014 intentions, goals, resolutions and COMMITMENTS. Most people putter out and give up on their resolutions by the end of January so I prefer to think of them in terms of commitments and intentions. We make commitments to our loved ones nearly everyday and feel awful when we don’t keep them. Being committed equals being dedicated, faithful, devoted and loyal.

WHAT COMMITMENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE TO YOURSELF IN 2014? 

Go beyond the simple goal setting of “I want to workout more” and set to goal/intention with details like “I will workout for 45 minutes, 4 times a week”. Make your goals doable so you stay motivated. Take the time to really think about how you want 2014 to look. Do you want to lose weight, have more confidence, build deeper friendships with people, land new clients for your business? Recently, I read this about goal setting and loved it:

CONCEIVE>BELIEVE>ACHIEVE>RECEIVE!!!

Focus on the outcome of you fulfilling your goals. See the end result and RECEIVE the weight loss, RECEIVE more confidence, RECEIVE deeper friendships, RECEIVE more clients!

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I would love to hear what your 2013 highlight was!

PLEASE MAKE A COMMENT + SHARE. 

Obviously, my personal highlight was moving to Texas, but the highlight of SOS was leading my first live workshop in Vegas for the Rising Phoenix Charitable Foundation’s Annual Gala which raises funds for our friend Sam Childer’s (aka The Machinegun Preacher) and Angels Of East Africa as well as The Shade Tree Women’s Shelter. I’m looking forward to working with more women in person and putting on several workshops in 2014.

That’s one of my big new year commitments!

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I pray over this community and for each of you to have a blessed year full of health, happiness, beauty, style and commitments + goals received! 

REMINDER: I will be taking new mentoring/coaching clients in January. If you are serious about committing and investing in yourself, please take advantage of my offer of COMPLIMENTARY 15 MINUTE SKYPE OR PHONE CONSULTATIONS through Wed, Jan 15th. If you are interested, please feel out the contact form on the SERVICES PAGE. Those who take advantage of this January consultation will receive a 25% discount on all packages or single sessions. *If you are not committed to your personal growth, a coach or mentor will not help you. Again, serious inquiries only!

2014 is going to ROCK!

Love, Tiff

FABULOUS FRIDAY {A lil beauty, style + inspiration}

 

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HAPPY FRIDAY FASHIONISTAS!

BEAUTY: I am in love with e.l.f. products and recently picked up this fabulous tinted lip balm with SPF 15Only $3.00 and it’s super moisturizing with a touch of color plus it protects your smackers from harmful rays.  For a lipgloss/lipbalm/lipstick addict, it’s perfect for casual days when you are heading to the gym, the pool or just hanging at home.  Target has the biggest selection of e.l.f products!

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red triangle stone bib necklace

STYLE: One of my fave “go to” items is a chic black blazer, but it can become boring when you wear it on a regular basis.  The quickest ways to transform and add life to any boring outfit is to add a colorful statement necklace.  I’m obsessed with this turquoise bib necklace I picked up on my trip to Africa a few years ago.  A colorful geometric necklace is also super hot this Spring/Summer.

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INSPIRATION: Toward the end of a long hike yesterday, I came across these wooden stairs.  My legs were totally fatigued, but I had to climb these stairs to get to my car.  Grrrrrrr- I just stood there panting and annoyed that I had to tackle these after I already made the long journey.  Funny, this is such a profound symbolism for our life’s journey, isn’t it?!  I had to snap a pic as a reminder.   Of course, I sucked it up and climbed this short- but challenging- flight of stairs and made it to the finish line, my car and A/C.  Just when you think you can’t go on any longer, remember you are stronger than you “feel” so keep climbing, keep going and never give up no matter what hurdles, mountains, valleys, potholes or staircases you encounter along the journey.  Dig deeper and you will reach the finish line with hands waving in the air and breeze in your hair.

HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY + WEEKEND AHEAD!

Love, Tiff

HOW ARE YOU LOOKING AT THINGS? {Sunday Affirmations}

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It’s Sunday so you know what that means… Yep, Sunday Affirmations!  This week was tougher than normal to decide on what to share.  So much has happened this week.  I even debated just throwing my hands up and saying-  Sorry, I got nothing sistas!  Just keeping it real.  When I started dabbling in this vast world of blogging, I really had NO IDEA what the heck I was doing.  I still don’t sometimes.  The one thing I do know is that I want to help women so if there’s one silly experience or word-of-wisdom I can share that will help just one of you… then I’m cool with that and I will keep on keepin’ on.

This past week was a hair puller, teeth grinder, shoulder tenser and eye squinter.  I’m sure we all felt the collective stress our nation was under and hopefully this pressure forces you to lean into your Faith more than ever.  I had a few days last week that had me feeling like Linda Blair.  I think my head spun a few times and I felt like puking up my problems.  As I stood over the sink– Ok, who else has epiphanies while standing at the sink?— I was complaining in my head about our finances, having to do that stupid laundry and needing to start dinner.  HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE!!!   Did I allow my Negative Nellie to muzzle my Positive Polly?  She may have had a brief moment of victory, but not for long.   I stopped and said a prayer…then reminded myself of how I’m looking at things.

I read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, about 6-7 years ago.  One of the things that has resonated with me most about Dr. Dyer’s teachings is “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.  So, in that moment– at the sink– I thought of my trip to Africa and how many women I saw cooking outside over an open fire on the ground.  Immediately, I had overwhelming joy that I had a great gas stovetop and an amazing husband who loves my cooking.  I remembered how much I love to cook!  It’s a form of nurturing and creativity for me not just a required chore.  Plus, I was thrilled to have a washer and dryer to do laundry with instead of schlepping clothes to the laundromat like in the early days of our marriage.  Bring on the socks and underwear- I GOT THIS!  Wow, I had such a “moment” and realized the power in how we look at situations.  We have the control.  Your own happiness and peace relies on how you view your life.  It’s as simple as that.

THIS WEEK I WILL…..

  1. Realize I have control over my happiness.
  2. Change the way I look at things.
  3. Muzzle my Negative Nellie…once + for all!
  4. Enjoy the day-to-day chores I do for my family..it’s a way to show love.
  5. Do everything from a place of love.
  6. Claim my peace.
  7. Take pride in my ability to love + give to others.
  8. Live life with intention.
  9. Choose happiness.
  10. Again, change the way I look at things.
  11. COUNT MY MANY BLESSINGS!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Share, like, tweet and pin it if you think it could help another sista.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Love, Tiff

Lone Ranger-ette! Are you too independent? {Sunday Affirmations}

independent-woman-copy1Hello Warrior  Women!

I hope you are all having a beautiful weekend.  Question:  Do you feel at times your being super independent has hurt just as much as it’s helped?  My topic today is around the idea that we gals can be too independent.  Hmmmm.  Ponder that. Could it be true?

It is a topic that has come up with clients and my friends.  Being an independent, strong woman is something we all strive for, but can it be detrimental in us being a BALANCED, strong woman?  I came out of the womb as Miss Independent!  My mom said I started walking at 7 months because I didn’t want the help or to be held for very long.  She said I would pull on the bottom of the fridge, grab my bottle and put myself down for a nap. (raised eyebrow)  I know I have carried this throughout my life and I can see where it has been a hindrance at times.  We need people!  Do you find yourself unable to ask for help because you don’t want to appear weak?  Has this striving to be independent escalated to an unhealthy level of  “I don’t need anyone…I can take care of myself…. I got this”?  We want to be able to put a roof over our heads, take care of ourselves, succeed in our careers ALL on our own.  Our generation of women believe we can “have and do it all”.  I certainly believe that, but I also believe that we can actually flourish and be more successful, balanced and happy when we DON’T try to do it all ourselves and we allow others to help us.  I’ll share a very simple example… my husband prefers it if I allow him to carry the groceries in instead of me trying to schlep it all by myself.  Even after all these years, I still go into my normal “independent mode” and try to do it all myself.  This has been something I’ve had to grow through in my marriage.  It’s about us owning our femininity as well and allowing men to be chivalrous.  We’ll expand on that in another post!

When I visited Africa I observed how everyone pulled together as a team.  Whether I was at the orphanage or at our friends home, everyone rallied together to get chores done, cook, clean and take care of the smaller children.    The women helped one another do just about everything.  It was so beautiful to watch.  We are losing that sense of community.  We can be the Lone Ranger-ette and take pride in being independent, yet I think we’re all longing for more help and more connection.  Like everything in life, it all comes down to being balanced.  I think it’s a wonderful thing to be independent, self-assured and to be able to think for yourself.  I am just seeing women all around me wearing themselves out.

THIS WEEK I WILL……..

  1. Strive for excellence not perfection.
  2. Realize I can have it all, but I may need others to help me get there.
  3. Take pride in my independence but not at the expense of sacrificing my balance.
  4. Reach out for help if I need it w/o feeling weak.
  5. Look for ways to help in my community.
  6. Nurture my femininity.
  7. Wear something totally fun and girlie like a hot pink top or lipstick.
  8. Not feel guilty about leaving some things unfinished at the end of the day.
  9. Lose the Lone Ranger-ette persona.
  10. ASK FOR HELP WHEN I NEED IT!
  11. ASK FOR HELP WHEN I NEED IT!

What about you?  What are your thoughts?

Comment, tweet, like and share this post if it resonated with you!

I hope your week rocks!

Love, Tiff