How South Africa & Australia Taught Me the Meaning of Thanksgiving

My gift from Catherine from South Africa.

Last week, we all gathered around tables with our families and gave thanks over heaping plates of food. Personally, I entered Thanksgiving with a surge of gratefulness after visiting South Africa and Australia for their first Pure Romance National Conventions. I am not sure if I have the words to express how I feel after these trips, but here is my attempt to do the experience justice and describe how thankful and fortunate I am.

Pure Romance is in its infancy in South Africa and Australia, and the eagerness and excitement on the new Consultants’ faces is absolutely rejuvenating. This was especially true in South Africa where women were on the edge of their seats, their hands anxiously writing down notes, just to learn about their bodies, a privilege we take for granted in America. No one has been on a mission to educate these women about their sexuality, so what we are teaching them is a revelation and they were soaking in every word.

This raw enthusiasm took me back to the early days of Pure Romance, when I was doing parties and the company was only talked about in hushed whispers.  It took effort, risks, and a little luck, but what was a whisper became a song, that song became a cheer, and now it is a shout. I know that in time the same thing will happen overseas. I am thankful that empowerment is spreading in places that desperately need it, and I am blessed to be a part of it. Most people, if they are lucky, have one opportunity to do something tangibly significant, to really make a mark. I have had two, and I am forever thankful for that.

I am grateful to have hosted South Africa and Australia’s recognition ceremonies. The Consultants had no idea beforehand if they were going to win anything, and when I called their names their faces lit up like they had just won an Oscar. More importantly, I felt the spirit of sisterhood pulse through the audience like an electric charge as each woman received a standing ovation. This spirit of support, this organic camaraderie is what Pure Romance is all about. The fact that this infectious energy has already spread overseas is a victory in and of itself and a sign of great things to come.

I felt touched as I watched a weeping husband stand and applaud as his wife crossed the stage. I witnessed another man melt as the only woman who made President’s Club in South Africa was recognized in front of her Sister Consultants. Later that night she told me the man isn’t her husband, fiancé, or even boyfriend—he was a great friend overcome with pride. Watching the fresh excitement and seeing the emotion on these women’s faces reminded me why I started Pure Romance in the first place—to help women reach their dreams.

I am thankful that our Consultants treat each other like family. I met a husband of a Consultant in South Africa who drives his wife to her parties and waits in the car for a few hours until her work is done. His wife had not originally planned to bring him to National Convention because they couldn’t afford it, but other South African Consultants thought that if any husband deserved to go, he did, so they chipped in and paid for his ticket. This sacrifice warms my heart and shows me that these women truly want each other to grow and succeed.

I am eternally grateful for a gift I received from Catherine, a top Consultant from South Africa. She gave me a box with a note attached that read “What started out as a simple request for my team to tell me one thing about Pure Romance that has changed their lives the most has become a box of inspiration. I think this box belongs to you.”

Inside the box were little scrolls of paper tied up with different colored ribbons. On these scrolls were handwritten notes about how their lives are better now that they are a part of Pure Romance. This sacred gift inspires me every day to keep pushing, to continue making a difference.

My time in South Africa and Australia allowed me to take a step back and appreciate the things that are so easy to take for granted because I spend so much time close to them. I owe these blessings a few words, and I want to take the time to give them their due.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with my children. It is easy to forget how rare that is. I am in the unique position to see that they are genuinely good at their jobs and watch my passion for empowering women grow inside them. As a mother, I could not ask for anything more.

I am thankful for all of the women who have embraced our mission. They strive to help women understand their bodies and improve their relationships. Our Consultants truly are pioneers of sexual health. Most importantly, they have paid it forward by sharing the Pure Romance opportunity with other women and mentoring them so they can gain balance in their lives.

I am thankful for the corporate staff. From the people in the warehouse who make sure everything is boxed and shipped on time to the creative staff who put together the catalogs to the executives who keep the wheels of the machine turning, there are people who work hard every day to make sure Pure Romance is picture-perfect. These creative, dedicated people are always improving, always moving us forward, and I am grateful for them.

I am thankful for all of the professionals who have made us stronger. Doctors like Ian Kerner, Belisa Vranich and Logan Levkoff and the researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute have helped us break down barriers. I am thankful for the engineers who design our products, and the vendors we buy them from. I am thankful for the bankers who believe in us. All of these unsung heroes help us do what we do even better.

Now that I am back in the States, I am thankful for simple luxuries like the chair that I sit in. I am thankful to have a place to put on my makeup, a bed to sleep in, and a roof above my head. After seeing what I have seen, I have never been more grateful for the familiarity and comforts of home.

I am most thankful for a newfound perspective and a rejuvenated sense of purpose. I am meeting each day with renewed energy and vigor, knowing that what we do at Pure Romance matters in ways that might not always be obvious to us. It’s funny; I had to take a transcontinental trip to be reminded that I am surrounded by things to be thankful for.

I urge you to look around, count your blessings, and give thanks. You might be surprised by what you find.

15 Responses to "How South Africa & Australia Taught Me the Meaning of Thanksgiving"

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  1. Sherron

    November 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you Patty! Every time I see you I get really emotional and am moved to tears. The same thing has occurred after reading this blog. Mere words are inadequate to express how thankful I am for you and your vision. It is because of Pure Romance that I was able to spend the last 7 days with my family in Mississippi without having to rush back home to work. I was able to introduce many ladies to Pure Romance while here and am confident that the process has begun to change their lives. Again, thank you for all that you do. You have truly made a difference in my life and for that I am grateful! May you continue to be a blessing to all who are blessed to know you!

    Reply
  2. Nellie May

    November 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    I got goosebumps reading that, it’s a great reminder of what Pure Romance is all about!! I am blessed and very thankful to be apart of something so special!

    Reply
  3. Nikki Canter

    November 28, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Beautifully written. Amazing experience. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Seipati

    November 28, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I had never had of Pure Romance until a few days ago and had a priviledge to accompany a friend to a training session. I still do not have words to express what I’m feeling but it is almost a burning sensation from my stomach. Reading this blog about my own country and your experiences just gave me goose bumps and somehow I can understand the feeling.

    Reply
  5. Anna Smith

    November 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you, Patty! This is very moving and I am proud to be a Pure Romance consultant! Love you!

    Reply
  6. Genevieve (Quist) Kerstetter

    November 29, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Patty, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, insights, and touching journey with us all. As part of the Pure Romance family, I am so grateful for YOU and all that you do, and have done, to empower us all. Each and every party, each and every recruit I meet, I speak about you with pride. I have always wanted to make a difference in the world, since I was a little girl, locally, as well as globally, and with Pure Romance, I am achieving that goal!

    I am proud to be a part of this amazing company, thankful to have met so many amazing women that push me onward, and grateful that I met the right person, at the right time, to spark the fire in my soul to join you and this great group of women to not only achieve and exceed my dreams, but to share it with others and empower women everywhere.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours. Can’t wait to see you at World Conference! I shook your hand in front of the Millennium as a first-time attendee, and I plan to do it again next year. Many blessings, and thank you SO much for what you have done for us, and inspire us to do for others, and ourselves!!!

    Reply
  7. Jennifer McComb

    November 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I am so inspired by this post. Thank you.

    Reply
  8. Laticia van Eeden

    November 30, 2012 at 12:24 am

    It really means a lot to me what you did and still doing Patty as a new consultant in South Africa Cape Town I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing opportunity you gave me through Pure Romance just the fact that I can help so many woman married or in a relationship drawing them closer to their partners is the best feeling ever knowing that I made a differents in their lives brings tears of joy to my eyes. It was really nice and good to have met you and Chris in person once again thank you so much God bless you

    Reply
  9. Lisa

    December 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    It was an absolute honor to have met you Patty …. thank you for bringing Pure Romance to Australia …. the best decision I made was joining the Pure Romance team ….

    Reply
  10. Shilo

    January 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Few times in life have I truly been inspired by someone. A quick list would be my children. They are amazing and I’m blessed to walk the path in life of their mama. Second would be you. I started my Pure Romance business because my husband lost his job. That was only for 6 months. Now in my 4th year, I stay because I cannot imagine not being a part of something so amazing.. so powerful.. so inspiring as Pure Romance. The respect I have for you is as genuine as the passion you have for us and for THAT I am thankful. Blessings to you in 2013 Patty.

    Reply
  11. Dina Harding

    January 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I love that you share these stories with us. I find them inspirational and rejuvenating.I could not imagine my life now without Pure Romance!

    Reply
  12. Melisa Green

    January 11, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Beautiful.

    Reply
  13. Ellen Strydom

    March 5, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Patty, it’s been 4 months since your visit to SA and reading your story brought back that same amazing feeling when I walked up the stage to receive my award. And yes I was one of those stunned faces, in fact I didn’t even hear my name being called. It was soo unexpected.

    It was such an honour meeting you and Chris and hearing your stories and experiences. We were like sponges soaking up every little bit of knowledge and information shared by both you and Chris. It trully is one big family and I am so blessed and proud to be part of it. I’m also very proud of my very special friend and sponsor, Yolanda, who was the only consultant in SA to make it to the President’s Club.

    Thank you so much for giving South African women an opportunity to be part of your family. Looking forward to seeing you again at the 2013 awards.

    Reply
  14. pattybrisben

    March 7, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Ellen,

    Thank you for your comment! I want you to know what an honor it was for me to meet you. I’m so very proud of you girls in South Africa. When I was there, being with you all took me back to when I first started out myself. Seeing the passion in all of you and the pride of your businesses fuels me. As you know, my passion is to empower women. And all of you are not only empowering yourselves, but you’ll also touch and empower so many women around you. South Africa deserves the comradery and sisterhood that you will create. Keep up the good work. I see a very bright future ahead for you and your country.

    Thank you again for sharing. I really look forward to seeing you all again.

    Truly,
    Patty

    Reply
  15. Belinda Liebenberg

    July 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    What an awesome post! I am from Durban, South Africa and I hope that the Consultants in Durban can grow as Johannesburg and Cape Town have and that we can share the same and embrace the mission to educate, empower and entertain women and at the same time give them a way to support themselves and their families. I look forward to the National Convention as I won’t be at World Conference (sadly!). I hope to be an inspiration to other mom’s of Down syndrome & Autistic children; to tell them we can still embrace our femininity and sensuality; that it’s ok to want to be sexy and talk about what we want. I look forward to one day having the opportunity of meeting you. Here’s hoping World Conference 2013 is a massive resounding and overwhelming conviction of what you put in motion over 20 years ago. Travel safely wherever you go and may you and your family be blessed!

    Reply

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