Today, we bring you a giveaway from SouleMama Sponsor, Sparkle Stories. In Lisabeth's words:
"Sparkle produces original audio stories each week for children and
families around the world. Families can subscribe and hear new stories
each Friday, or enjoy one of our many Audio Books!
On the Sparkle blog, we share storytelling tips and parenting inspiration, along with recipes and crafts that go with our stories!"
SouleMama: What inspired you to start your business?
Lisabeth: We were at this giant crossroads in our life – and we were stuck in many ways: money, health, career – you name it! We are both creative types, filled with energy and ideas. And we had been fitting ourselves into established roles: teacher, administrator, office manager. But we were stuck.
I kept asking month after month: “How can we engage our talents and gifts in our day to day work? How can we find balance and health and abundance in the most authentic way possible?”
Sparkle was the answer to that persistent question. But it didn’t come to us as we were sitting down to compare skill charts or aptitude tests. It came one night as I was just doing my normal mothering things (actually I was online looking for stories for my sick kids!).
There’s this great quote from writer & theologian Frederick Buechner: “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”
In the moment of “seeing” this idea for Sparkle, I saw a potential for what Buechner describes: David’s great gift and love of storytelling and my constant desire to create and produce, overlaid with a perceived need for a new quality of children’s media -- media that’s simple and delightful and inspiring, that would inspire children to play, to marvel, to laugh, to be kind.
And so with six months of hard work, we sent our little business into the world! And here we are, almost 3 years later, producing weekly stories for families around the world!SouleMama: How does the balance of family and work play out for you?
Lisabeth: That’s such a great question to ask a married couple running a business together.
Like any married couple running a business, we find we have to be particularly thoughtful about how we work. What I found early on is we brought to the business all of the most satisfying dynamics in our relationship, as well as some of the most frustrating! The business can be a little mirror for the ways we relate in our marriage – which can be great for self-realization, but killer for business success.
So we bring consciousness to it. And we name the places that it’s not serving us, or the business. And then we work to find ways to change it! (And then sometimes we laugh about it. Or engage the help of a counselor or coach!)
Because, at the end of the work day, we don’t go home to separate lives. We go home to our lives together! And we want to remain joyful and appreciative and satisfied.
We also have to be conscious about how our business can take over our lives, from waking until we drop into bed at night. Our kids are a built-in part of the business, hearing the first version of each story as we mentioned above, but they don’t want to eat, breathe and sleep the business of Sparkle! So we have to find ways to bring a close to our “work” life and engage fully in family and home. And that’s an ongoing endeavor.
SouleMama: How do you create the stories each week?
Lisabeth: We both work really hard. We produce an average of 6 original audio stories each week! And, at the moment, we wear almost all of the hats, from audio production, to customer service, to marketing and social media. It’s fun and a little wild! We have to be quite structured to pull it all off.
The audio stories always start as a story told out loud to our boys; David “makes them up” in the moment, and the boys are our first audience. Then he writes them down, and hands them to me, and I edit them, looking for the tightest narrative experience in each. After that, David takes them and records them in the small office just off our barn. Next, they go to our “continuity” editor in Chicago, who ensures that they are clean and consistent, and then they go through a final editing process and are uploaded to our site.
And that’s where families can download or listen each week!
SouleMama: Tell us about your subscribers.
Lisabeth: That’s been one of the most remarkable and amazing things – getting to know the Sparkle families as Sparkle grows, from the U.S. to Australia to Ireland to South Africa!
We think of the Sparkle families more as a community that as customers. And our work is often a conversation with them. Often families will email or post questions, or requests for help, or compliments, or stories. It’s this that fuels our work and inspires many of our stories!
And we're honored by trust our subscribers put in us -- it's a privilege! Consequently, we hold our content to a high standard, so we can continue to earn their trust story-by-story.
For today's giveaway, Sparkle Stories is generously offering the following gift to ONE winner:
~ "Martin & Sylvia through the Year" Giveaway
Martin and Sylvia are the delightful and enterprising brother and sister, whose stories are the favorites among Sparkle fans! Each of our three Martin & Sylvia Series follow the creative endeavors and sweet adventures of this homeschooled family through all four seasons. (The children can find fun and adventure anywhere they go!)
This Giveaway includes:
the Martin & Sylvia "Knitting from the Beginning" Audio Book
the Martin & Sylvia Halloween Audio Book
the Martin & Sylvia Christmastime Audio Book
the Martin & Sylvia Valentines Audio Book
the Martin & Sylvia Summer Adventures Audio Book
Plus a One Year Subscription to any one of our three Martin & Sylvia Subscription Series!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And....Enjoy the Martin & Sylvia "Knitting from the Beginning" Audio Book for 50% off. It's $3 for an hour of delightful audio stories! Add to your Shopping Bag by clicking HERE.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
To enter today's giveaway, please leave a comment (one entry per person, please) in today's post. I'll close comments by 8 am EST on Sunday, and announce the winner, chosen via Random Number Generator, shortly after. Comments closed! The winner is...
I'd love to introduce my daughters to audio books. Thank you for the opportunity.
Posted by: Morgan Hayward
Thank you, Sparkle Stories!