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.

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