Just do it...

I'm not one to give motivational pep talks, but something about writing my first blog entry has me inspired.  "Why?" you might ask. Because I think Inspired Wining is on to something. And I want to share it with you.

One of our missions is to motivate women to raise funds and awareness for the charities of their choice -- while we raise money for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.  Whether it is fighting homelessness, raising breast cancer awareness, preventing animal cruelty or saving the whales, there are so many causes out there to connect to and so many ways to make a difference. And we believe that you can. 

I know we’re all busy.  Super busy.  Just juggling work, home, family and other responsibilities can leave even the most organized of us wishing we had 48 hours in a day.  It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’ll get involved and make a difference when things settle down at home or after we get through the next big project at work.  

But we all know there is never a perfect time to take a leap into the unknown. And that "unknown" just might be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Some fundraising and awareness efforts are time consuming.  Some take committees and months of planning and a small army of volunteers to pull off.  But sometimes you can make a big impact with minimal effort and just a little organization.  Plan a Girl’s Night Out at a local establishment and ask the owners in advance if they’ll consider donating a portion of the sales to your charity.  Host a birthday party for a friend or loved one and ask everyone to bring a donation for your charity instead of a gift. Contact your charity of choice and see if they need someone to stuff envelopes, put together informational packets or help out with one of their already planned fundraising events.  

The great thing about joining Inspired Wining is that we have the resources and ideas to help make fundraising seem far less daunting. So if you've had that nagging thought that you want to get involved, but you aren't sure where to start, turn to Inspired Wining. Or if you're already a fundraiser and you want to learn how to increase awareness and create fun, successful events, we're your girls. Let us support and inspire you the way we have each other.

Some my most meaningful experiences have involved fundraising for the cause that I share with Alexis, Allison, Andrea, Lisa and Tiffany.  The friendships we've forged and the accomplishments we share are some of the things I am most thankful for in my life.  

Just do it.  Nike was on to something when they developed that tagline. It's good advice for anyone who has the desire and the drive, but just needs to take the first step. So, I encourage you: Take the leap and get involved. Go for it. That's a true Inspired Winer, someone who is willing to take a step of faith for the benefit of another and then raise her glass and celebrate a job well done.

You know we'll be "cheering" you on.

Michelle Gauffreau is a customer service consultant for Broadcast 1 Source and  a founding member of Inspired Wining. She is also a wife, a mother of two and an active volunteer in her community.



I just finished My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. This story is riddled with tales of the pain, anger, fear, confusion and despair that surrounds a family affected by childhood leukemia. It is also a story about relationships and the magnitude of those connections in times of grief and doubt.  I am a parent of a child with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and so much of this book spoke to me, but I found myself pitying this family who seemed to have few healthy connections, even among themselves.  Like most women, I cannot imagine where I would be without all the others in my life that keep me whole. 

To me, it is the many relationships I have and the emotions that surround them that let me know I am alive. I cherish the tears and pain just as much as the laughter and joy, because I know that one cannot exist without the other.

Every relationship I have is a blessing. The neighbor that makes me laugh every time I see him. The student who I so desperately want to reach. The sister who always knows exactly what to say in every situation. The friend who not only knows how to laugh with me, but also to cry with me. The husband whose arms are the greatest refuge of all and the children who inspire me to hug longer, say “I love you” more often and enjoy the here and now.

One thing that I have experienced over the past few years is having a perhaps uncommonly clear view of how strong my relationships are and how much I am loved.  Not surprisingly, the majority of these people are women.  We all have special people in our lives, but how often do we tell them how valuable they really are to us? Perhaps we shouldn't wait until tragedy hits.

One of the foundations of Inspired Wining is friendship and sisterhood. My many “sisters” know how much I love them because they have given me plenty of opportunities to thank them. I'd like to think that they have always known how special they are to me, but I suspect I never told them until they gave me a reason to tell them. Why wait?

So to all my “sisters” out there, I love you, I can't imagine life without you and I cannot wait for the memories that lie ahead!

Allison Wood Greiner is a high school French teacher, a founding member of Inspired Wining, and mother to three children, including Matthew, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.


The promises we keep make us who we are

Seth Bunch with the Liberian orphans who've stolen his heart.
A few weeks ago, I met someone who got me thinking about the promises we make and, more importantly, the ones we keep. His name is Seth Bunch -- a young man who's opened his heart to Liberian orphans and is doing all he can to make life better for them.

In 2009, Seth spent his Christmas at the Betty Jonah Orphanage in Liberia, "hoping to see what this world is about." He was moved by the orphans' challenges – particularly the fact that many of them walk five to six hours a day just to further their education. So he made a life-changing promise. He gave them his word that he would build them a school.

Can you imagine? Leaving your home and your family at Christmastime to be in a foreign land...in a village with little more than a few modest structures and a rice garden? Can you imagine standing on a platform, as Seth had, and announcing to fifty wide-eyed children that you would make sure they no longer have to walk so many miles to school?

Talk about faith. Talk about taking risks and letting your heart lead the way. Looking the seemingly impossible in the eye and making a commitment to yourself and others to fight for positive change.

Less than two years later, Seth kept his promise. Through benefit concerts, public speaking and a long cycling trek, he raised the money to build the school. In July, he will fly back to Liberia to help construct it with his own two hands. You can read more of his story here.

Seth helps my daughter, McKenna,
place her hand print on a canvas
that will hang in the new school.

When I think about what Seth has accomplished, I think how ironic it is – that Seth is fighting for children who have so far to walk…while the Inspired Winers are fighting for boys who, eventually, won’t be able to take even a few steps. Ironic…but energizing. Inspiring. Because he shows us that change is possible.

It’s amazing the ways that people, children in particular, can inspire us. Seth and the orphans he’s grown to love are wonderful demonstrations of the potential that lives within us. Within you. Me. Within boys like our own Matthew Greiner and the thousands like him. Our sons, brothers, grandsons and neighbors battling with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, watching their own muscles let them down…and hoping that you and I don’t.

The Inspired Winers won’t let you down, boys. That's our promise.

And if you are someone looking for support as you form your own fundraising platform, we’re here for you, too. In the words of Seth, we’re going to see what this world is about. And we’re going to do something about it.

How do you imagine yourself helping to make life better for someone? Leave a comment and share your vision. Let the Inspired Winers be the inspiration for you that Seth has been for the children of Betty Jonah Orphanage.


Raising a glass and raising hope

Welcome to the Inspired Wining blog. We hope you’ll visit often, comment freely and share your hopes and visions for the future.

The Inspired Wining community is one in which people, women especially, come together to inspire new possibilities. Our blog shares the stories, experiences, resources and tips of six women who: 
  • love to wine, 
  • are personally dedicated to funding research in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and 
  • are committed to helping you bring about positive change through friendship and fundraising.

Raising a glass and raising hope – that’s what our group and our blog is about! Cheers from the Inspired Winers…Allison, Lisa, Tiffany, Michelle, Alexis and Andrea. Thanks for dropping by.