Tag Archives: charities

Saturday:) Smiles For The Bella House

2 Sep

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh


This morning, I met with my friend Mary. We greet at St. Gabriel before Mass on Sunday, and last week, she asked me if I’d be interested in helping with the Bella House newsletter. The Bella House is an organization that assists expectant mothers in urgent need of housing, medical help and a nurturing environment before and after childbirth. Mary knows I love to write and that I’d be a strong asset to the charitable organization. We drove over to Panera and met with Kristen Fislar, another volunteer, and the newsletter coordinator.

Me, Kristen and Mary.

I learned a lot about the wonderful work that the Bella House has done and the many women and babies and families that have been assisted. One of the things that I found very interesting is that there are ways to help support a charity that really doesn’t require much effort. I had never heard of smile.amazon.com. I’ve ordered a few things on Amazon and I know many people who order regularly. The only effort required is ordering from this link and typing in the charity that you’d like .5% of your purchase price to be donated to. Easy peasy. I signed up when I got home. I SMILED!

If you order from Amazon and don’t have a charity that you already support, please consider signing into the smile link and typing in The Gabriel House DBA The Bella House.

After meeting with Kristen and Mary, we drove over to the Plano house for a tour. I met the charming House Manager, Rachelle Ritch.

Miss Rachelle explained the ongoing need for supplies for mothers and babies. “We always need diapers and wipes. But, there is so much more we need every day.”

Also visiting today was another volunteer, Ron Engler. He was setting up a computer, but he is also the “go to guy” who gets called to change light bulbs, small repairs, computer graphics, printing, and whatever he can help out with.

There are so many amazing people giving their time, money, and most importantly, giving love for this wonderful organization. A little goes a long way and many hands make the task easier.

North Texas Giving Day is coming up soon. A little goes a long way…


It was a good day, an informative day, a day for smiling.

Monday Memories: Meeting People that Change Your Life

6 May

( If you want to cut to the chase…visit http://www.stancrader.com )

A few years back, I was asked to write a brief summary about a couple of local businesses for McKinney Magazine. Well, I was fairly new to the writing for a magazine game, so they turned out to be more like “Gone With the Wind” stories about the fascinating folks who made it all work. What I loved, actually adored about writing these stories, was all the friends I made along the way. There are so many, but I’d like to share just one today.

In the fall of 2010, I drove over to Blue Mountain Equipment over by the McKinney Airport to take a few pictures of the brand new facility and get a few quotes for my assignment. To my surprise, the president of the company, who lives in Missouri, happened to be there that day. I was escorted to a beautiful boardroom with a long wooden table and several distinguished gentlemen seated on both sides, all waiting to meet with… ME? My heart was pounding so hard, I thought a 747 was landing across the street.

It only took a few minutes for my trembling hands to relax and jot down a few names and quotes. I was immediately in awe of the group of men, who were more like family and friends. They took turns recounting how the business started or how they became part of the ‘family’. At the end of the meeting, the president, Stan Crader, told me that he had recently written a book and presented me with a signed copy of “The Bridge”. Then Mr. Crader and his son Justin gave me a personal tour of the huge state-of-the-art building. I took more photos and notes, and thought I’d died and gone to journalism heaven.

Again, to make a long story even longer, as I tend to do, Stan and I kept in touch via Facebook and email. I told him that I was reading one chapter a week to my senior art group and they loved his book. A few months later, he surprised us with a visit and more signed copies of “The Bridge”. He stops in and visits us when he is in town and has some extra time. Since that first meeting, he has written an additional two books.

You may be wondering why this is all so interesting. Well, Stan Crader may be a very successful businessman, but his passion for writing has allowed him to share his talent and generosity to help the less fortunate. Stan has donated all the profits from his books to various local charities. He is even offering a free download of his first book, “The Bridge,” at his website http://www.stancrader.com But, perhaps you’d like to buy a copy, and support some needy veterans with your purchase.

Mr. Crader’s books are amazing glimpses into the lives of hard working families and a group of youngsters growing up in rural Missouri back in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s like reading “Tom Sawyer” with a modern twist. These books would be great to read with your kids or your grandma. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry, and you’ll be supporting a worthy charity. Let me know if you read any of the series, because you’ll find out why I love these books and why I adore Stan Crader. He has taught me what it means to be a great humanitarian and hopefully a better writer.



My prized autographed copy of THE BRIDGE.