Operation Smile™: Consultants in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

On October 11, 2018, a few of our Close To My Heart Consultants embarked on what was to become an experience of a lifetime. They traveled for 20+ hours to arrive in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where they were immediately given instructions and put to work. After many long days in hot, humid, and very humbling conditions, all of these women, who are our Upline, Downline, Team members, friends, and family, would gladly do it all over again!

For over a decade, Close To My Heart has partnered with and supported the work of Operation Smile™, an international medical charity that provides free surgeries to children and young adults in developing countries born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other dental and facial conditions.

In an effort to increase our support for this cause, Close To My Heart hosted the Share a Smile Challenge last year. The winners of the contest would earn a spot as a non-medical volunteer in the Santa Cruz, Bolivia Operation Smile™ international medical mission, from October 11 through the 19. Announced in our North American Convention, the prize winners were none other than the generous and tender-hearted Avis Latimer, Holly Veselenak, and Brenda Rose. Canadian Consultant Jennifer Smith was awarded a fourth spot on the mission due to the extraordinary amount of donations brought in by her artwork donation at our Convention. (To read more about the Share a Smile Challenge and its winners, visit Operation Smile™ for the Win!)

We’ve reached out to all of our medical mission volunteers and collected their thoughts and insights into what it was like to be part of something so awe-inspiring. Here are their experiences:

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmission
Avis Latimer (Glenn Dale, Maryland)

“I’ve always wanted to do a mission trip but figured it would happen once I retired. I wasn’t sure what kind of trip it would be, I just knew that I wanted to help others and broaden my personal perspective. Now, I know my skill set and wasn’t sure how I’d find a fit, but, as always, when you let go and let God take over, amazing things happen—like earning an Operation Smile mission trip to Bolivia! I wasn’t prepared for the wave of emotions that would overwhelm me…”   continue reading

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmissionHolly Veselenak (Macomb, Michigan)

“It blows my mind, still to this day, that I went on a life changing mission for Operation Smile to help little babies, young toddlers, young teens/tweens and even adults, when in actuality, my life was changed. I’ll never forget landing in Santa Cruz with my mission buddies, Avis Latimer, Brenda Rose, and Jennifer Smith. We had no idea what we were about to embark on and we were all so humbled and blessed to have been the ones chosen to go…”  continue reading

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmissionBrenda Rose (East Bethel, Minnesota)

“Some time back, Bill and Kathy Magee spoke at our Convention. I fell in love with Operation Smile, and I respect every little thing the organization and volunteers do to help children and adults that so desperately need it. It has been a dream for me to go on an Operation Smile mission…”   continue reading

One of the great things about this cause is that we don’t all have to leave our house and fly around the world to help these beautiful children. All they need from us is to make donations to make the medical missions possible. Close To My Heart is fully committed to helping Operation Smile™ receive these donations. Did you know that it takes as little as $240 to perform one of these life changing surgeries?

“Operations Smile changes lives. We can help by simply rounding up our order or buying a t-shirt or stamp set. So simple, yet it allows Operation Smile the ability to continue the very important work they do!”
Brenda Rose

With each donation from you, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing the Operation Smile stamp set, My Acrylix® Your Best Self, you are making a difference in someone’s life.

Operation Smile Consultant Report #ctmh #closetomyheart #operationsmile #ctmhoperationsmile #scrapbooking #scrapbook #charity #medicalmission #beyourselfstampset

You may never get to meet or see them, but these children will never forget your generous heart. To learn more about how you can help Operation Smile™, talk to your Consultant today or find one in your area by visiting closetomyheart.com and clicking Find a Consultant under the What We Do tab.

“If you’re looking for a charity to rally behind and support, this is it. You are impacting not only one life, but the lives of those who surround this person. We are making a difference one smile at a time.”
Holly Veselenak

Thank you for helping us make a difference! And a special thank you to Avis Latimer, Holly Veselenak, Brenda Rose, and Jennifer Smith for your continued support and extraordinary commitment to Operation Smile™!

“In the end, it’s about having faith, hope, love and doing what we are each led to do in order to improve the life of another.”
Avis Latimer

(Due to scheduling conflicts, Jennifer Smith was unavailable to contribute to this post.)


12″ x 12″ The Faces of Moses…Layout
Avis Latimer
X7242B I Heart Us Paper Packet, X7242D I Heart Us Coordinating Cardstock, X7242C I Heart Us Complements, Z4270 I Heart Us Sequins

12″ x 12″ Smiles for Miles Layout
Holly Veselenak
X7241B So Much Happy Paper Packet, X7241D So Much Happy Coordinating Cardstock, X7241C So Much Happy Complements, Z4254 So Much Happy Puffy Stickers, Z4271 So Much Happy Washi Tape, Z3230 Flip Flaps™ Memory Protectors™ 3″ × 4″

12″ x 12″ Be the Reason Someone Smiles Today
Brenda Rose
X7240B Something Fierce Paper Packet, X7240D Something Fierce Coordinating Cardstock, X7240C Something Fierce Complements, Z4221 Mink Twine

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Brenda Rose: Scrapbooking is Love

Thanks to our friend Senior Director Brenda Rose for contributing today’s post!

It was several years ago that I realized this whole paper and ink thing I love so much was more than just a hobby. It truly is my passion, and I’m so excited to share it with you today! I want to share some examples of pages I’ve made celebrating people that are important in my life.

When you see this photo, you’ll understand why I immediately wanted to run to my craft room to create this page for my great niece’s memory book. This little girl’s face fills my heart with so much joy! I gave this page to her mommy and daddy for Christmas.

The stamp set I used (B1470 Love Ya Silly) captures my feelings because I really COULD squish her with hugs! I love the mixture of monsters, colors, and all things girly. It was definitely fun to make this page!

My friends will tell you that I am never in a hurry while I’m creating. I invest this time because when someone sees the finished product, what I really want them to see is my heart.

I don’t scrapbook my photos chronologically, so it’s a real treat when I come across one of my son’s “little boy” photos to scrap.
The journaling on this page reads, “Now that Shane is 23, it’s a great joy to pull out unscrapped little boy pictures. This was a pretend dinosaur so it was easy for Shane to laugh and be carefree. As he’s grown, he has learned that sometimes life BITES. My prayer is that he find joy among the dinosaurs of life.” I’m a big believer in scrapping the good and the bad, but I’m also a big believer that creating with paper brings love, laughter, and hope. That’s the kind of feeling I wanted to share in this fun—but still honest—page.

I think handwriting is so important for the feel of a scrapbook. I recently sent a card to my son and he said my handwriting has changed over the years. He didn’t say much else, but I was overjoyed knowing that how I put ink to paper does matter. Even though I don’t have the best handwriting, it’s my handwriting and that’s what matters.

This summer, my husband and I are celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I so enjoy making pages about our life together. One of our favorite things to do is to be anywhere near water with our bare feet, and I wanted to document this. I know that in our golden years we will love looking back on this memory from a beach in Grenada. The title of the page says it all.
Scrapbooking with Close To My Heart is so much more than paper and ink. Friends all over the world are willing to share ideas and techniques. How grateful I am for this camaraderie! I know that if I’ve lost my creative mojo or can’t seem to get something right, I can count on one of my friends to inspire me. Papercrafters truly have a bond like no other!

What’s really fun is the way we celebrate each other. I’m blessed to lead a wonderful team of women in their Close To My Heart businesses and creative journey. We are recording our team experiences in a My Crush™ book this year, and I thought I’d share a couple of pages from our recent team meeting.
The journaling reads, “I love everything about Rose Blossom team meetings. From recognition to business to special topics to creative time, it is all good. But what I love the very most is watching all of these wonderful women interact with each other. The laughter, the love, even more laughter, and lots of creative talent. Yep, these meetings are their time to shine!!”

I could show you loads more examples. What I really want you to see, though, is that scrapbooking is not about getting numerous pages done in one night, or even scrapping every photo. It’s about sharing you, your heart, and the love you have for the people in your photos. It’s an act of love.

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