Considering Strangers

Every Person You Meet

The gift may not be obvious, and it might not come in a pretty package. For me it seems to often come in the form of conviction. Even through strangers, the Spirit opens my eyes to areas of my life that He wants to redeem.

Believe that you  n e e d  people, and you will become rich.

Just a challenge for you today: extend grace to seemingly obnoxious strangers. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best.

The driver who cut you off may be distracted by the recent death of a loved one. The grouchy customer service rep may be stressed out by financial or relational turmoil. The telemarketer may have once been a refugee, directly exposed to the unspeakable horror of war. The overbearing co-worker may know abuse that you cannot fathom.

No one’s life is perfect. No one is exempt from the pain and grief of a broken, sin-cursed world. When you find yourself criticizing, complaining, or lashing out…imagine that the person you are dealing with is in the midst of a terrible tragedy. You’ll find it much easier to respond graciously. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated, even if you were behaving unattractively in the face of unfortunate circumstance.

Commit it to memory: there is a gift to be found in every human interaction. You can scoff and reject it, or open your eyes and accept it. The choice is yours.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness | Memories, Resources + an Invitation

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I’ve talked a bit about our little one, who we said goodbye to a little over a year ago, here and here. Throughout the past year, both kind friends and various sects of the interweb have introduced me to a plethora of resources for navigating the journey to healing that comes after experiencing such a loss.

With October being Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, now seems an appropriate time to share the collection of resources that Caleb and I have found to be the most precious as we remember our beloved Freddie. My hope is that these links can be passed on to YOUR loved ones who have babies in Heaven and that they will help enable you to extend arms of compassion and care in those times when you don’t know what to say or how to help.

And if you yourself are one of the 1 in 4 who have a son or daughter waiting for you with Jesus, may these stories, resources, and remembrances touch your heart and remind you that you are not alone in your grief.

The cradle pictured above stands empty in our spare bedroom. We scored an amazing deal on it at an auction last summer, and my husband spent the entire day after we saw those two lines on that test refinishing and painting it. I may have only carried our baby for three months, but she turned our world upside-down. Our lives are forever changed.

We may not know the sleepless nights of the newborn stage or the messy days of the toddler years like so many of our friends right now, but we do know what it’s like to love someone who is a part of each of us more than we ever thought possible. And we do know the sometimes sleepless, sometimes messy ache of not being able to watch that child live and grow.

Raising awareness for the loss of human life, while still in the womb or not, is not about self-pity. Not only does it garner support and validation for the life-altering grief that yes, 25% of American women have experienced, but it’s also an effort for the advocacy of and education for safe pregnancy practices. To me it is one of the tiny slices of redemption that we have opportunity to participate in within this broken, weary world.

It’s for these reasons that I’ve gone pink and blue on social media this month, and that I’m looking forward to taking part in the International Wave of Light that will take place worldwide, in each respective time zone, at 7 p.m. tomorrow evening, October 15. If there’s a baby whose absence you’re feeling this year, I encourage you to light a candle in his or her memory, and let family members know that they’re thought of and loved. Ours will be lit for our tiny Freddie Joy, the luckiest little Fisher who got to be the first of our little family to meet Jesus face-to-face. ❤

Thoughts on Multi-Level Marketing

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Pampered Chef, Young Living, Thirty-One, Plexus, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, Jamberry Nails…Ask anyone you meet what they think about these direct sales companies (also referred to as MLM (multi-level marketing) or referral marketing or network marketing or even “pyramid scheme” companies), and you’re likely to get either a strongly negative or decidedly positive response. Some people have no qualms about companies who embody this marketing strategy; others avoid them at all costs.

So far, though I’ve been tempted a time or two, I haven’t ever sold products for any of these companies myself.* However, I have lots of friends who have, and I am not opposed to buying from, attending, or even hosting their sales events, commonly referred to as “parties”, and here’s why.

Direct-sales “home businesses” are a great way for stay-at-home moms to earn an income and for other busy individuals to supplement their income with a side job. Money, much as I hate it, is pretty necessary to live in today’s world, and I’m all for enabling people (especially women) to be able to make a living AND raise their children in a healthy home setting or otherwise live out their core values.

Unfortunately, you’ve probably experienced or heard about a friend’s bad experience with MLM sales reps that are “too pushy.” I can’t say I’m exempt from this myself, and I do know how disappointing it can be when someone with whom we used to enjoy spending time becomes suffocatingly obsessed with “how you really should try X, Y, or Z” (the miracle product or cure they’re selling), or when the Facebook friend or blogger that used to post such interesting content now seems to only post about how great their company is.

However, I’ve often heard comments such as “I don’t want to be friends with so-and-so when they’re so interested in making money off of me.” Let me ask you this: do you like that all the other business establishments you support make money off of you? The big box retailers and fast food joints and convenience stores that invest their incomes in things that you would readily agree are morally wrong?

We all give money to these places at some point or another, even those of us who try to avoid it as much as we can. Tell me, then, what could possibly be so bad about making a purchase to support a friend or acquaintance who is trying to put food on her family’s table, or pay for college, or get out of debt? (Even IF you have to pay a little extra for it?!)

Unfortunately there have been people and there have been companies in general who have given some of these businesses a bad rap. But trust me, the people who choose to participate in this type of marketing are NOT all greedy, money-driven, pushy, and rude. (For that matter, even the companies themselves aren’t all created equal.) You don’t have to look very far to find sales reps who truly DO have your best interests at heart.

And that leads to another advantage I see in buying from these companies: the unprecedented personal customer service. When you have questions about use, need to reorder or replace a product, or just want to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck, the consultants are often immediately available and are more than happy to provide the satisfying, individualized customer service experience you most likely will never have in a large store or business establishment.

Another thing I often hear people ask is that “if the product is so great, why can’t they sell it in stores? Why do they have to get in your face to try to get you to buy it?” There’s certainly not a blanket answer to that question, and even if there were, I’m sure I wouldn’t have it. But personally, I can respect that there is more than one way to market products. You know what? Some of the big companies use much more maddening advertising tactics than these home party operations. You may not necessarily be as aware of how much the stores you frequent are tracking what you buy and when in order to figure out how to get you to buy more from them…but marketing is marketing and every single business does it.

When I receive an invitation to a product-themed event, I don’t automatically turn it down. It’s usually not too hard to gauge whether the hostess wants me to attend regardless of whether I plan to purchase anything, and if she does, then I will honor our friendship by attending. And if during the course of the presentation I discover something that could be quite useful or improve my life in some way, or serve as a thoughtful gift for someone I love, I will make that purchase without guilt. And if not, I will enjoy the socializing, thank the hostess for a good time, and leave–also without guilt. I choose to believe that this is all that my friends expect and want from me, and I hope you will do the same.

So for the time being, I’m happy to support the people in my life who are working hard to pursue their own unique versions of the good life. If that means purchasing an accessory or kitchen gadget from them instead of from Target, that seems like a win-win to me.

I don’t mean to open a can of worms here and I hope that you’ll feel my heart on this issue despite any injustice of description, but I would still love to hear your thoughts. What’s your take on MLM companies?

Don’t Miss Today’s Guest Post at Beautiful Undefined

I’ve had the privilege and great honor of writing a guest post for today about capsule wardrobe for one of my current blogger heroes, Alicia, over at Beautiful Undefined. Hop on over and check it out!

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Sneak peek | One shirt, three ways. Versatile pieces are key in a working capsule wardrobe!

My lovely cousin Alyssa styled and shot the photos for this post. We had so much fun together and I was thrilled with the ideas she brought to the shoot + her sharp eye.

Click the links and leave these ladies some love! ❤

Abiart Creative | a Giveaway!

This giveway is now closed. Stay tuned for more opportunities to win good stuff in the future!


I mentioned last week that plans were in the works for The Realization of Good’s very first giveaway, and I hope you’ve been waiting with eager expectation! 😉 I’m a huge fan of giveaways, since I used to be one of those people who “never won anything”…but kept on entering away, and it eventually paid off. I now know that persistence is key, and that filling out those entries is actually worth it! The few giveaways I’ve won have felt like having an extra birthday…getting a package containing something awesome that I didn’t have to pay for in my mailbox is pretty great. (Maybe my love language is gifts.) Anyway, in this case, that’s working to your advantage, because now that I have a platform, I am looking forward to running my own giveaways regularly. It’s my turn to give back!

So I’ve been mulling over what to start with…I wanted it to be something extra special for this first run. I also wanted it to be something that would appeal to at least most of my readers, and I know each of you have varying interests. The cool thing about this prize pack is that it is a gift that “keeps on giving” — the winner will be able to use it to bless others!

Without further ado…from now until Sunday you have a chance to win twenty-five beautiful greeting cards designed by my friend Abi over at Abiart Creative.

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I feel so privileged to have grown to know, in the last decade or so, a handful of talented, artistic, budding entrepreneurs my own age, and it’s a huge honor for me to introduce Abi to you today. She’s one of those rockstars who is making her mark on the world in a big way at a young age, as the owner of her own graphic design company and designer of the fabulous Abiart Card line. Abi happened to be in Haiti visiting a friend when the 2010 earthquake occurred, and she came home with a passion for homeless and orphaned Haitians, which helped to birth the vision for Abiart Cards. (A portion of her sales support a school for girls in Passe Boi d’ormes, Haiti.)

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Letter writing is one of those golden things that people just don’t do much anymore — we stay in touch through social media and write an email if we need to. But when was the last time you mailed someone a card? Everyone loves getting fun mail, and it really doesn’t take more than a few minutes to pick out a pretty card and jot a few lines. Let’s bring back snail mail! This giveaway is designed to make it easy and fun for you to brighten someone’s day with a beautiful card filled with love from a sister, cousin, or friend.

I asked Abi to handpick 25 of her favorite designs for the giveaway. They’re made in two different shapes, tall and square, come with coordinating envelopes, and range in occasion from birthday to sympathy to friendship and more. She also included one of her silver markers for addressing the envelopes, and I’m throwing in a sheet of Vintage Rose forever stamps, because they’re pretty and will correspond so well with the gorgeous mail you’ll be sending out when you win these cards. 🙂

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Check out Abi’s website and Facebook page to see more of her lovely work. You can find her cards in a store near you or request a catalog by sending an email to abiartcreative@gmail.com.

To get your name in the drawing for the 25 cards & envelopes + marker + stamps, you must click here to visit the Rafflecopter giveaway page and follow the instructions on the screen. You get one entry each for: liking The Realization of Good on Facebook, liking Abiart Creative on Facebook, following me on Instagram (a great way to stay up-to-date with what’s happening around here), tweeting about the giveaway, and leaving a comment here on this post telling me about one of two things: either a giveaway that you won (or reeeally wish you’d won), or an item you’d definitely enter a giveaway for right now, because it’s the epitome of awesome. (I’d love to hear your suggestions for future drawings!) 🙂 You can do just one or all five of these things to get entered, and if you want, you can come back and do the tweeting once every day for extra entries.

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The giveaway will run for one week and close at midnight on Sunday. I’ll announce the winner here on the blog on Monday, so stay tuned!