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

 

 

 

TURNING MY PAST INTO MY PURPOSE

Happy February Fab Friends!

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Over the past week, I have been in an abyss of computer-geekness gathering website design elements to have my new site built! My personal site has been neglected for the past few years and as an entrepreneur with a purpose, it is uncalled-for to have an outdated website. Shame on me! Your presence on the world wide web is vital for the success of your brand and company. Any of you who have had a site built for your business will agree with me… can I get an amen?! One of most daunting tasks, especially when you are building a business from your passion, is to have your bio written. This is the story of YOU, your experience and mission for all to read on the vast www. I humbly share this with you sistas so you understand my mission a bit better…

        From the trailer park to Beverly Hills and now back to Texas, Tiffany Hendra teaches women from all walks of life How to Style their Life.  As creator of the webseries Sanctuary Of Style, Tiffany has empowered women around the world to live their most fabulous lives from her private mentoring clients to an online community of over 20,000 women. Tiffany is a Wife, TV Host, Beauty & Style Expert and Lifestyle Mentor to women of all ages.  In addition to those titles, she can also be considered an “inspirationista” who is on a mission to guide women toward living their most fabulous,  healthy, Spiritually-conscious life. Her vision is for women all over the world to overcome their past circumstances and stand confident in their power. Tiffany believes confident women are World Changers!

Where does her passion and calling come from?

She knows many women are walking out the door each day with low self esteem, frustrated with their life. . . “I was one of those women”, says Tiffany.  She lived like this for years despite her successful career which took her around the world. On the surface, Tiffany appeared to have it all and learned the art of wearing a mask, but inside she was slowing dying. After enduring trials through her teen years ranging from sexual abuse to racial bullying, Tiffany lived many years in a shame-based existence. She became self-destructive, numbed herself with drugs and made poor choices from a place of fear instead of power.  After hitting bottom, Tiffany walked away from a successful career in Hollywood and embarked on a year of soul searching – the beginning of a long journey that would transform her mess into her message.

She never thought she was a life coach type…

As Tiffany began to heal from her past, she knew in every fiber of her being that she had to help other struggling women- especially young women- to live healthier and more stylish lives. She immersed herself with studying, learning, volunteering and even teaching everything she could about beauty, health, Spirituality, confidence, style and image. Her first opportunity was instructing a self-development class in Burbank, CA for teen girls ages 13-17. She went on to take skincare courses and became a consultant for Arbonne International teaching women how to change their lives through entrepreneurship. Part time, Tiffany was a sales associate and clothing buyer for a woman’s boutique on the popular 3rd Street in Los Angeles. She assisted her clients in revamping their wardrobe and image. Ironically, at the same time, she was revamping her own personal style. “When I was at my most depressed, this once Fashionista could barely put together a decent outfit herself and usually wore a pair of ugly brown cargo pants with tanks tops…and and I’m not a cargo girl”, Tiffany says. She realized her lifestyle was way out of balance and as she continued reconnecting to her Spirit the more her creativity opened up- even in the closet. During her growth, Tiffany sought out other Spiritually-conscious women and started a Spiritual group and prayer circle in her home for fashion and entertainment industry professionals. All of these experiences added up to be a great training ground for Tiffany.  Now, she is able to continue working on camera and at the same time, be of service to women around the world. “Sometimes when we’re running from our past, we run smack into our purpose”, says Tiffany. She found her calling.. or her calling found her.

Tiffany is extremely effective with teen girls and the various issues they face in their generation. She has mentored girls with depression, eating disorders, sexual and physical abuse, cutting, terminal diseases, suicidal tendencies and unplanned pregnancy.

Tiffany resides in Dallas, Tx with her Australian singer-songwriter husband of 10 years, Aaron Hendra, and their long-haired chihuahua, Zoe. Considering their marriage her biggest accomplishment, Tiffany uses this personal experience to help newlywed clients who are struggling, as she did, with the role of new wife. Aaron and Tiffany share a passion for helping others. They work closely with Sam Childers aka The Machine Gun Preacher and his efforts to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned children in Africa.

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I am grateful that God has turned my HOT MESS into my message.

I am grateful you have joined me on this journey.

I am grateful for my past and the lessons it taught me.

I am grateful for my purpose and for what’s to come.

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

A 72 HOUR LOVE FEST

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Hi Lovelies!

This past weekend I had the privilege of being part of one of the most spectacular weekends EVER!  The Gerard Butler GALS and the Rising Phoenix Charitable Foundation’s Annual Fundraising Gala in Las Vegas.  This event raises money for the Angels of East  Africa (the orphanage we visited in Sudan a few years ago) and The Shade Tree which shelters women, children and their pets.  Last year, my husband and his band performed at the event and I was invited to join as a guest speaker this year.  Our connection came via our friend Sam Childers aka The Machinegun Preacher whom actor Gerard Butler portrayed in the movie.   I knew this was going to be a great weekend, but– WHOA BABY, it blew my headscarf right off my head and far exceeded my expectations.  

I want to thank ALL the wonderful women of GB Gals and RPCF for inviting me and I look forward to making a difference alongside you ladies for years to come! 

I instantly felt part of the amazing sisterhood these women have created and was greeted with so many warm hugs.  They call themselves “boobie squishers”.  I joined right in on the boobie squishing and fell in love with these women.  On Friday, I led an SOS workshop on Compassion/Connection/Confidence + Courage and soon found out that this encouraging group and the connection it has provided rescued many of the women from various circumstances in their lives.  We laughed, we cried and I am grateful for their transparency and open hearts.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about “connection” here on the blog and witnessed it’s affects right in front of my eyes over the course of the 72 hour love fest. SO BEAUTIFUL! These women are genuine instruments of love and compassion.  

I have so many new sistas for life! 

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On Saturday, we all visited The Shade Tree where several of the GALS did volunteer work and fed lunch.  Sam’s wife, Lynn, spoke to the women and shared her personal testimony and my husband and bandmate Irwin Thomas sang for the women and their children.  We also got a tour of the entire facility by the beautiful soul, Marlene Richter– Executive Director of TST. To end our visit, we got to hold and show love to a few of the pets over in Noah’s House, the animal shelter.  TST is filled with so much love, hope and opportunity for healing.  I encourage you to take a deeper look and visit their site.  They are always in need of everything from donations, clothing, toiletries, diapers, toys, bedding and pet food.  Please go to this link for a detailed list of urgent needs: http://www.theshadetree.org/UrgentNeeds.html

photo-44{Visiting The Shade Tree w/ Lynn Childers + Marlene Richter, Ex. Director}

photo-41{GB Gal Melissa adding a bit of color + happiness to TST sleeping areas}

A visual that left a deep impression on my heart was seeing just a small bag or two underneath the bunkbeds.  This is all these women own. Talk about putting things into crystal clear perspective!  TST accommodates women and their children for emergency care when they need a safe place for a night or two as well as providing transitional shelter programs for up to 2 years.  The women receive assistance with finding employment and helping them move forward in becoming self-sufficient. 

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Noah’s Animal House is a pet sanctuary for shelter residents which allow women to escape abusive situations without leaving behind their pet. In homes where there is violence, pets are often threatened or injured by the violent partner. It is not uncommon for an abuser to continue to control the relationship using the family pet. Noah’s is the first full service facility of its kind located on the grounds of the women’s shelter in the western region of the United States.

photo-48{My hubby + his bandmate, Irwin singing for the kids at TST}

photo-42{A few of my fab new friends, Kristine aka KB who is an SOS Sista + Sweet Giny}

photo-49{Chris Mann, finalist from The Voice performed at the gala}

photo-46{AHP performing at the gala}

Do you have your own pillow to lay your head on tonight in a comfy bed with clean sheets?  If so, consider yourself richly blessed sista! There are so many women out there without a bed to call their own. They are forced to flee their home because of abuse with only the shirt on their back. Can you imagine fitting everything you own under a 4×6 bunkbed? My heart is so full of love, gratitude and compassion. For the week ahead, let our focus be to appreciate everything in our lives, give gratitude (even for clean sheets) and open our hearts more than ever to those in need. WE ARE ALL SO BLESSED.

This experience is a gift I will cherish forever!  If what I shared tugged at your heartstrings, I encourage you to reach out to TST, Angels of East Africa or find a shelter in your area that could use your help.

Please share this post and help me spread awareness. Thank you. 

Love, Tiff