Packing Up

I spent the majority of my weekend packing up my house. It’s a daunting task to say the least.

Divorce and moving rank up there as two of the top 5 most stressful life events. What can I say? I’ve always been ambitious.

I found the process to be exhausting both physically and emotionally. I have 2 steep staircases in my big old house. And way too many mementos from the past. Luckily I had help, beer breaks, walks with my dog, and loud music.

At the same time, I found the weekend freeing. The act of organizing, purging, deciding what I wanted to take with me to my next home. My new beginning. It was also the first weekend without my kids for a very long time. Weird, but I could get so much more done.

I am aware of all the good that is around me in my life. As much as the process of divorce sucks, there is also a light at the end of the tunnel. I may not be there yet, but I see it. I feel it. It’s hard to explain, but those that have gone through it know. They know because they’ve shared with me. In the background, through messages, on the street. They share their story.

And there are those that don’t know, but choose to support. They may or may not know the whole story, and it doesn’t matter. They are there.

I am strong and happy right now because of the good that is around me. Because of the good that continues to happen to me. Because I embrace life and continue on the path that I choose.

The happy is there. It has been there from the beginning. And when I need an extra reminder, it comes in various forms. It comes from friends who drop everything and drive two hours with wine and chocolate and books for the boys in hand. It comes from private messages, public comments and hours long phone calls. It comes from impromptu trips to the beach, picnics at state parks, and no judgment secret Facebook groups. It comes from true friends, some I haven’t heard from in years, that continue to check in and offer help. It comes from future travel plans and dancing at the dinner table. It comes from extremely patient real estate agents and strong female entrepreneurial friends. It comes from late night distractions and a bit of mischief.

Boats help too.

boatwithkathrineSo while my mind might be all over the place, I have a plan. I am focused. Maybe I’ll even finish packing before I have to move out of my big old house. Maybe.

Wake me up when it’s all over.

Philanthropy Friday: O is for Opportunity

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.

Disclosure: I received four bottles of wine to aid in the writing of this post. I may or may not have done a happy dance with the UPS man when they arrived. As per usual, all words and opinions expressed are my own.

o wines

Stacy Lill and her brother were the first of their family to go to college. When she graduated from University of Washington, she worked in corporate sales and marketing for 20 years. During that time, she was also heavily involved with philanthropy work through the Junior League.

As the wife of the owner of a top winery in Washington, DeLille Cellars, Stacy observed how charities would often ask for donations of wine. She would also throw client appreciation events with high end wines in the corporate world. She came up with the idea of creating a wine that gave back to the community. But she didn’t want it to be just another label at her husband’s winery that donated proceeds to charity. She wanted to create her own brand.

Stacy researched what it would take to create her wine that would also give back. She learned that 72% of wine is purchased by women and that the most popular wine women bought was chardonnay. From her research, she decided to create wine for women that also helped women. Working with so many causes over the years, Stacy chose to support education because she felt it is the foundation for everything. If she could provide education to young women who might not otherwise have the chance to go to college, what could they do?

O Wines was established in 2006 with a mission to fund college scholarships for low income, capable young women so they can achieve their greatest potential through education. Each purchase helps send young women to college through the O Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship program.

Since the introduction of the wines to the Pacific Northwest in 2008 followed by a nationwide launch in 2013, more than $300,000 has been raised to support 52 college scholarships. Beginning in 2013 each scholarship is $20,000 given in $5,000 increments annually over 4 years.  Most of the scholarship recipients are the first members of their families to attend college.

Over the phone, Stacy told me about Angel, the first recipient in the scholarship program. Angel had a very tough life and, like many of the scholarship recipients, had low income but high potential. Angel graduated with academic and leadership honors and is getting her master’s degree.

As for the wine, I can tell you it’s quite good. I’m a red wine drinker. I tend to prefer a nice full-bodied, dry wine. The red varietal didn’t disappoint. Stacy shared with me that her goal was to not only create a wine that gives back but that also has a flavor profile. I’d say she accomplished this goal. The wine is also quite affordable at $12 – $16 per bottle.

More on the red and white varietals:

OWN_Chard_NV_RGBOWN_Red_NV_RGBO Wines Chardonnay

  • O Wines 2011 Columbia Valley Chardonnay is a fresh and lively, lightly oaked style; its aromas of pear and baking spice pair well with grilled fish and mango salsa, and kale salad

O Wines Red Wine

  • O Wines 2010 Columbia Valley Red Blend is a delicious Washington fruit forward blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah; its aromas and flavors of blueberry jam, baking spice, cocoa and cherry, pair well with pizza, grilled burgers, or meat and veggie skewers

O Wines can be purchased at You can also request O Wines wherever you purchase your wine.

Are you a wine drinker? Red or white?

Wordless Wednesday: Ladies Toilet

And, no, this is not a photo from my trip to Nicaragua with WaterAid America. This ladies toilet was found in Maine behind a historical site.

Wordless Wednesday (7.23.14): Ladies Toilet by Jennifer Iacovelli Barbour

Wordless Wednesday (7.23.14): Ladies Toilet by Jennifer Iacovelli Barbour

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5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday

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