Devote Yourself to creating something that gives you purpose . . .

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."

Tuesdays with Morrie, author Mitch Albom

Friday, May 28, 2010

Women's Support

There was a time where women stood together in a bond of sisterhood, women supporting women . . .

This article was submitted by Bonnie Braun, and has a lot of relevance to the mission of 3 Degrees Connected.  Thank you Bonnie for passing this on to us.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of Our Members - New Website

If you’re looking for a great photographer, or just looking at ideas on how to create a great website, check out Jennifer Morse's site. Her husband did a phenomenal job helping her with the design layout.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Have You Considered Going Online with Your Business?

Have you considered going online with your business.  Attached you will find a helpful link to show you the benefits of getting an online presence

Click the link:  Establish Your Online Presence to watch this video. 

Other helpful videos includes:

Display Imagery on Your Website
Engage Customers with a Website
Interact with Your Customers Using Free Marketing
Promote Using Free Online Marketing
Educate Your Customers Using Free Marketing
Grow with Paid Online Advertising
Measure Results with Web Analytics
Google & SBA

This video series is made available through the support of Google and the SBA

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This is my Why

This Sunday I've been invited to speak to our church family about the mission we've adopted to collect pennies over the summer from our lakeshore community. This is what I plan to share:

Happy Mother's Day,

On March 26, 2004 a tiny baby girl was born in Yangjiang City, Guangdong Province China. On April 10, 2005 a baby who was conceived in my heart, but not in my tummy was placed in my arms which became the happiest day in my life, next to my wedding day to Pete, of course. For nearly three years, my husband Pete and I talked about becoming parents, and on that day we held a 17 pound, 12 month old baby girl who was and still is the most precious child in our whole world.

For nearly a year while we waited to bring Yang Guo Qian home, I had read as much as I could to understand the circumstances that led so many women in this area of the world to relinquish their rights to be mothers. And I’ve cried many tears for them. In the past five years I’ve continued to read about the plight of women and children in other parts of the world, not just in China.

This past year I came across the book 3 Cups of Tea, a story about Greg Mortensen, who learned of a condition in the Middle East where nearly 130 million children had no access to a formal education. Many of us may never truly understand the hearts and minds of people from this area of the world who are desperate for a better life, but in early 1993 Greg learned of 84 children in a small village in Pakistan who wanted an education, who had to share a teacher with a neighboring community. They had no school building, no desk, no chair, no pencil, paper, or school books. These children were writing with sticks in the sand hoping some day to have an education that would lead to a better life.

Now Dr. Greg, as he is called by the children, has built 131 schools in this region of the world where 118 million children are still waiting for a school and a teacher. 78 million of those children are girls. Through a program called “pennies for peace”, school-age children have raised the vast majority of the money that has helped him build these schools.

When I became a mother in 2005, I move away from a 20 year career working for large corporations and another 7 years installing software in nearly 300 automotive based supply companies. In 2007 I started my own company after inventing a product, and last year, I created an organization called 3 Degrees Connected, which is a women’s network aimed at helping business women in West Michigan make connections to help stimulate the growth of their businesses, and to share lessons learned. We want to help women to not feel alone in the learning process.

In a little more than a year, this organization has become a non-profit organization and we have grown to about 300 women interested in making connections. We meet 3 times a year and talk about things like setting goals, time management, networking skills, marketing, dressing for success, and how to run businesses on a shoe-string budget. We would like to become a 501(c)3 organization when we come up with the funds to do so.

We have a local interest in helping women, but as this organization has developed, I’ve tried to help women understand, that our lives with our stresses is so much more appealing than the life given to women and children elsewhere. We have the ability to make a difference. We have taken on the service project to raise awareness, and raise pennies through the program “pennies for peace”. You will see canisters in local stores throughout our community where we will be saving pennies to help purchase school supplies, or build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We will be collecting money from May – August this year, and with the help of young girls through Girls Scouts Troops or Girls on the Run, we hope to count those pennies. We hope that we will teach people the value of a penny creating an opportunity for educating children, where a teachers salary is about a $1 a week.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is, we would like families within our church to collect pennies for the next 3 months. We would also ask that you share this message with other families you know outside this church. Take a recycled water bottle, place it on your kitchen counter and begin to fill it with pennies. Bring it back to church or deposit at one of our local businesses that has a canister, and let’s see what a difference our community can make to improve the lives of others. If anyone has a business where they would like a canister, please look me up, give me a business card, and we will make sure you get a canister.

Within a year, you will see many more signs of this mission showing up in the community through book clubs, tea receptions, and school district involvement. We’ve already made some great connections with two universities and hope to develop more understanding of the plight of women in children in our world.

The reason that I have posted this story on our women's network, is that I want to encourage all women to "know their why". "Why are you running your business, why are you involved in a women's network, why would you give to a good cause." When you know your "why" it makes all the difference in the world. Don't just know it in your head . . . write it down on a piece of paper.

Written by Rhonda W. Geneva, President of Geneva Girls Designs, LLC, wife, and mother

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fundraising Campaign - May through August

3 Degrees Connected LLC,

Founded in 2009 is a non-profit women’s network created to support women-owned, women operated businesses in West Michigan. We holds 3 events a year with the mission of stimulating the local economy, building relationships, and providing resourceful information that helps women succeed in running small businesses. We support women both locally and abroad. We have formed a KIVA lending group that contributes loans to women run businesses in other parts of the world, and now are beginning a lakeshore fundraising initiative to support educating girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan through the program called “Pennies for Peace”.

This group has grown from one person to nearly 290 women in less than a year. To learn more about our organization 866 587-2963 or email:

Visit us on the web at:

Pennies for Peace,
A program of the 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, Central Asia Institute, founded by Greg Mortenson. Greg is the co-founder and executive director of Central Asia Institute, and co-author of the #1 NY Times Best-sellers, Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School At A Time.

The Pennies for Peace service-learning program began at Westside Elementary School in River Fall, WI in 1994, when students, through their own initiative, raised 62,340 pennies to help Greg build his first school in Pakistan. Greg came to Westside at the invitation of his mother, Jerene Mortenson, who was the principal at Westside. This initial fundraising event, children filled two 40 gallon trash cans with pennies. While a penny is virtually worthless, in impoverished countries a penny buys a pencil and opens the door to literacy.

Learn more about this program at:

Look for our canisters at local West Michigan businesses.  We are pleased with the great response to participate with us on this fundraising effort.  100% of the proceeds will go to the pennies for peace program.  Area students and girl scout troops will contribute their time to helping us count the pennies we collect.

3 Degrees Connected - Event Give Aways

Three people attending our fifth 3 Degrees Connected networking events walked away a little richer for the experience.

Our door prize a Scentsy Candle Warmer donated by Betty Bickford, Independent Scentsy Consultant went to Mary Teitsma, Keller-Williams RealtyTeitsma-Team

Our new member drawing(s) went to:

Randi Lynn Talsma, Second Chance Design in Holland won a reversible canvas embroidery tote with the inscription "Grow"  in English and Chinese Characters from Rhonda Geneva of Geneva Girls Designs, LLC

Suzanne Thompson of Fruitport Schools won a Satin Hands kit from Yvonne Viera, Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Items will be delivered this week to our new members.

We welcome for our six new members joining 3 Degrees Connected:

Cara Fisher, Cara L. Fisher, PLLC
Mary Teitsma, Keller Williams Realty
Sheila Gonnella, Kicked Up Catering
Randi Lynn Talsma, Second Chance Design
Suzanne Thompson, Startup Business TBA
Bonnie Braun, FHMT