It’s Official – Our Nonprofit Status Is a Go!

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Amber Haven Foundation, our 501(c)3 that will help carry out AmberCo Services’ mission of empowering single mothers and young women to not only survive—but to thrive!
book and peggyWhen I began writing my memoir, Beyond My Wildest, my husband Jim and I wanted nothing more than to make sure the book could do some good in the world.

As anyone who’s read it knows, it’s definitely not a tidy life story. It’s a deeply personal story about my rebellion (I was an angry young runaway hippie), my journey through tragedy (fleeing an abusive husband, losing our young daughter, Amber, fighting breast cancer, to name a few), and the strength and inspiration I’ve found through family, friends and mentors.

It wasn’t easy to write. In fact, it was terribly difficult reliving certain phases of our lives, but I felt compelled to do it, with the hope that if it could help just one person believe she or he could rise above life’s challenges, it would be worth it.

But Jim and I wanted to do more than just share the story – we wanted all net proceeds from the book to support single mothers and young women facing adversity (like I once had).

So in the book’s early stages, we established AmberCo Services, an LLC named in honor our daughter, Amber, that could manage the production and sale of the memoir.

Since Beyond My Wildest was released earlier this year, we’ve had such a wonderful response. And with so many people interested in AmberCo’s mission, we wanted to ensure as many individuals and organizations could participate as possible. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the official launch of AmberCo’s nonprofit division:

Amber Haven Foundation

Through Amber Haven, all donations will be tax deductible, and we’ll be able to partner with like-minded nonprofits in raising funds and awareness for mothers and young women in four key areas:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Personal Development
  • Employment

Thanks so much for your interest in Beyond My Wildest and AmberCo’s mission. If you’d like to get involved in any way, just click on: HOW YOU CAN HELP.

Thanks!

Peggy

 

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Taking our grandson Zach to Europe was an unforgettable experience—and marked a point in our family’s journey that’s filled with hope for the future. How have trips inspired you? #BeyondMyWildest

Image4

Riding a cog to the top of Switzerland’s Jungfrau mountain makes you feel on top of the world. The summit is over 13,000 feet, and where the snow-capped peak meets the billowing clouds and the piercing blue sky … it’s breathtaking. But beyond the beauty, the best thing I saw that day was the look on my grandson Zach’s face. This was part of a long-anticipated trip to Europe—a huge pinnacle in our journey together as grandparents and grandson, a break from the harder times we’ve all faced together, and a chance to help him start dreaming big for his own life.

FROM SWITZERLAND TO ITALY & FRANCE

Jim and I had been excited to show Zach Europe—so we packed as much into the trip as possible. In Switzerland, we visited the ice cave in Jungfrau (where there’s even a Lindt Chocolate Factory inside the cave!).

Image6Then we decided it wasn’t enough to just see the mountain—Zach and I parasailed off the mountain to our hotel to celebrate his 13th birthday (yes, this grandma can still parasail, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t scream most of the way down).

In Rome, Zach was a walking tour guide of information about the city, the Pope and the Basilica. (He had spent so much time studying the city in school at St. John’s, he was excited to be there.) Being at the Coliseum—something that’s 2,000 years old—and imagining gladiators and animals was magical. The Sistine Chapel was truly beyond belief.

ImageWhen we went to Paris it felt like a dream, hiking the Eiffel Tower with Zach, looking out over that amazing city. We made sure to visit the Louvre, where Zach shared his wealth of knowledge about the Mona Lisa. As a big soccer family, it was exciting to be in Paris during the Euro Cup, where Italy and Spain were playing. And we did a midnight bike ride from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, which was beautiful to see the City of Light at night.

THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD

Being there, where that historic, magical city has faced so much tragedy recently, made our hearts go out to the wonderful people of France, and made us grateful for the unity the world has demonstrated since. And for us as a family, taking Zach to see these places so rich in history, to experience first-hand the things he’s studied, to help him open his mind to the possibilities of life—it was priceless.

Image3As I mentioned he turned 13 while we were there. When I turned 13 I was on the cusp of my teenage rebellion. Zach’s dad, Randy, was already well into his battle with addiction by then. So as I look at Zach now, a hard-working student, a talented soccer player, a truly kind and caring soul, I see the hope of our family—the belief that we can all learn from our experiences, and pass along the best parts to those we love. Zach, thanks for making Europe unforgettable—and for bringing us all so much joy!

 

Read more about Peggy’s journey from rebellion to tragedy to finding strength in her memoir, Beyond My Wildest. Go to www.beyondmywildest.com.

Emptying Our Closets – And Filling Theirs!

Thanks to all who dropped off donations (piles of them!) to help Women Helping Women this month. All of us at WCF Insurance and AmberCo Services couldn’t be more grateful for your help!

Image2

I remember going through my closet, looking for something, anything to wear that looked remotely presentable. It was 1971. I had just moved back to Barstow, California (more like, escaped), and I desperately needed a job so my baby and I could move out of my parents’ home. We had fled LA, where my soon-to-be ex-husband had beaten me one too many times. I was ready to start over and make a new life for little Randy and me.

Continue reading

LADIES – TIME TO CLEAN THOSE CLOSETS!

women helping womenMake your spring cleaning count – donate professional women’s clothing and help women dress for success this week! It’s all part of empowering women to thrive! #BeyondMyWildest

I’d like to invite everyone to join AmberCo and WCF Insurance in our community-wide volunteer effort – supporting Women Helping Women, a program operated by the Junior League of Salt Lake City.

WHAT: Drop off your gently used PROFESSIONAL women’s clothing and essentials to WCF Insurance. Donations may include:

  • Women’s business clothes: pants, tops, skirts, suits
  • Accessories: purses, scarves, jewelry, shoes (in decent condition), winter coats
  • Essentials: brand new bras, brand new underwear, brand new toiletries

WHEN: TODAY through June 8

WHERE: Drop off your donations in the front lobby:

WCF Insurance

100 W. Towne Ridge Pkwy, Sandy, UT 84070

WHY: Women Helping Women is a program that supports women entering the workforce, who are in transition towards self-sufficiency. AmberCo and WCF are pleased to support this important program!

My husband Jim and I founded AmberCo with the mission of “empowering single mothers and young women to not only survive—but to thrive.” We named the foundation in honor of our daughter Amber, who passed away after a brief but beautiful 19 months of life, and we’re excited to be in the process of establishing its 501(c)3 division, Amber Haven, so we can do even more to help women improve their lives.

Having been a single mother myself, struggling to pay the rent and feed my baby, I know all too well how difficult it is to overcome personal obstacles and move ahead with work, all while caring for your little ones. This clothing drive is just the first of many things we’ll be doing to help empower women. Join us – click “Follow” on our News and Blog pages.

Professional Women’s Panel … Melts into Hugs

It was after a recent professional women in business panel that I got to meet some inspiring young women – and feel the joy of helping them believe they can overcome obstacles and pursue their own bright futures. What inspires you on your professional journey? Leave a comment and share it! #BeyondMyWildest

The best part about the event for me? The young women who came up afterward and asked me for a hug.

I recently joined a panel discussion for professional women in business at the Salt Lake Business Conference. What a privilege to share the stage with Jane Ann Craig (Jane Ann Craig, International) and Tricia Schuman (BachHealth), along with my dear friend and colleague Katie Holland (Corporate Alliance). Each of us was asked to share our perspective on overcoming obstacles throughout our careers—and lives. As anyone who has read my memoir, Beyond My Wildest, knows, I wasn’t at a loss for words on this topic.

peggy and randyDADS WORK, MOMS STAY HOME … RIGHT?

I shared that I was raised in the tradition that dads worked and moms stayed home. I didn’t know any women who worked and had no idea that women could be professionals. If it weren’t for the circumstances I found myself in – a single mom running from an abusive husband at 18 – I probably wouldn’t have even thought about getting a job, let alone pursuing a career.

Continue reading

Running to Defeat the Dark Side

I just finished another race – nearly 70 now. But running half marathons is more than earning medals (although I do love those!). It’s learning more about life, friendship, and doing hard things—together. What inspires you to “go the distance?” Let me know! #beyondmywildest

peggy darth vader run

 

I did it. I fought the Dark Side. And I kicked Vader’s butt.

I just ran another race – the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon–The Dark Side at Disney World. That’s nearly 70 races for me now, which is unbelievable considering I couldn’t run to my mailbox at age 50.

Continue reading

Who’s Your Hero?

peggy and jim weddingWhen Jim Larsen called to ask me on our first date, I nearly said no … and almost let the greatest man in my life pass me by. Almost 40 years later, he’s become my lifelong hero. Who’s been a hero in your life? #BeyondMyWildest

 


 

The first time I met him … apparently I didn’t remember him. As a tired, overworked, young single mom, my friend had convinced me to get out of the house to do something, anything fun. We went to a dance. I got a phone call the next day.

“Peggy, this is Jim Larsen. We met and danced last night.”

Continue reading