Team Martina

Team Martina is country music super star Martina McBride's global community service organization dedicated to making the world a better place through volunteerism and the healing power of music

From Nashville to Guatemala via Huntsville...with love

By Sheila Jones

Wow, this has been a busy, but great week with the release of Martina McBride’s new album, “Everlasting”.  I hope you have had a chance to get it and listen to it!

We have launched a brand new project in honor of “Everlasting”… our project is called “Everlasting Music For Kids”.

And this time we’re headed way out of our comfort zone and way south… to Central America!  (They say the best things in life are just outside your comfort zone… right?)

When I asked Martina what she thought about the idea, she said, “I love it!!!”

Our new project will help start the Martina McBride Music Education Program and provide music instruments, a teacher, and care for young girls who live in a shelter in Guatemala at Covenant House/Casa Alianza.

A newspaper reporter asked me a very good question about the project this week in an interview. He asked, “Why do you think these girls need this program? How will it make a difference?”.

I’ve been thinking about that since I was 12 years old. Some of my best memories were of the joy I experienced being a part of my school band and learning to play a music instrument.

But it was much more than just fun for me… it was therapy. I can remember my flute as my first pride and joy. My first passion when I was 12 years old. From the moment I first held it in my hands I instantly felt important and as though I had found my calling.

Growing up, I lived in a home with domestic violence. Being a part of the school band was an incredible positive in my life when I needed it most.

The kids in band were my family. The band director was my mentor. Being a “band kid” was something I could lean on and depend on. It was my Friday night every week (and many Saturdays too).

It was the one place I felt comfortable, safe, and felt as though I belonged… when I was scared and uncomfortable in my home.

The girls that we will be helping in Guatemala are ages 9-15. They have been victims of rape, abandonment, human trafficking, etc.

Although their situation is a little different than what I grew up in… I suspect the hurt is similar.

I remember how healing and inspirational being involved in a music program was for me.

I hope that we can offer them the same.

Someone asked me, “Why help kids in Guatemala?”. My answer… kids are kids aren’t they? No matter where in the world they are. If they are hurting and there is a need not being fulfilled and we have the ability to do something to help… why not?

I was part of a school band from 1983-1989.

And it changed the rest of my life.

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Posted 4 days ago

Following in famous footsteps

By Sheila Jones

Earlier this month we volunteered at a very special place in Newark, NJ. That place is called Covenant House. This organization provides shelter and help to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth between the ages of 16-21.

Going there we expected to find a homeless shelter.

What we found was a loving home with smiles, hugs, and some incredible kids who are anything but homeless when they are within the walls of Covenant House.

Martina McBride met us there and she brought an awesome gift to all the kids staying at Covenant House that day. Every kid got a ticket to hear her sing that night… the awesome gift of the healing power of music. And they got to meet her and exchange hugs.

Some of the kids we met that day had never been to a concert before.

Their very first concert ever in their lives was given by Martina McBride.

We also discovered something else extraordinary about Covenant House… something providential… especially if you’re a fan of The Beatles.

Little did we know that by helping Covenant House we would be stepping into the footsteps of some of the most legendary musicians and philanthropist the world has ever known.

Covenant House and helping homeless kids was a cause very important to John Lennon. He gave the financial gift that helped purchase the very first Covenant House shelter in New York City in the 1970’s.

Here’s a note he wrote to them…image

He and his family tirelessly supported the cause and he often visited the shelter and sang songs with the kids…even stopping by on Christmas eve with his family.

https://www.facebook.com/CovenantHouse/posts/10152064684535813?stream_ref=10

But it doesn’t stop there.

Because of John’s outreach to Covenant House in New York, band-mate George Harrison founded Covenant House in Guatemala to serve orphaned children in the third world - a cause near to my heart as I have also served in Guatemala and Israel on mission trips to help homeless kids since 2009.

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Since his death, George Harrison’s family has continued to support Covenant House in Guatemala, now a home for 65 orphaned little girls. Many of these girls have been victims of human trafficking, rape, and abandonment.

Today, Covenant House has grown to 21 shelters in the United States and Latin America and serves thousands of kids who need a place to go and a good start in life. Programs are in place at many of the shelters to help teens find jobs, get apartments, and go to college.

And, on March 1, we were so honored to follow in The Beatles famous footsteps and bring Covenant House the gift of music. Find out more about us at TeamMartina.com and be sure to check out Martina McBride’s new album Everlasting coming on April 8. Pre-order now and listen

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Posted 2 weeks ago

The challenge of a lifetime. The prize is happiness.

It’s the challenge of a lifetime.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is this:

In a world that encourages everything but… stay generous and kind. When everyone else seems bent on a mission to get stuff, keep giving of yourself to make the world better.

Remember that it’s not always who finishes first. It’s not a competition to see who can get more stuff and attention. We all pretty much end up at the same place anyway.

I’ve always found great success in getting what I want when I help others get what they want.        Really.

Don’t live your life trying to please people. You’ll never find satisfaction. Your all will never be enough for them.

Don’t live your life trying to emulate someone else. Yes, be inspired by them, but be strong enough to blaze your own trail and be your own person.

Be honest and sincere. People will see it in you. It’s a bright light you can’t hide.

Find a purpose greater than yourself to work towards - something that helps others and the world. The whole universe WILL  conspire to help you if you do. It will surprise you.

Your time and your turn are coming… if you do the work.

We are stronger together than we’ll ever be apart. Don’t be afraid to connect with an open mind.

Don’t be afraid to disagree with what’s popular. You don’t have to accept or like something just because it’s popular. Use your own good judgement.

But don’t be condemning. That’s not your job.

Be that kind of person that is one-in-a-million. There’s not many and the world needs it.

Your reward - as much success, fun, and happiness (and sometimes recognition)  as you can stand if you are brave and strong enough to travel this road.

And when you find this success and happiness… find ways you can share it. You will multiply it and it will want to hang around if you do.

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Posted 4 weeks ago

That time I adopted a town

By Sheila Jones

Six years ago I adopted a town.

Some people adopt kids. Some people adopt highways and some adopt pets.

Once upon a time I adopted a town

- an entire small town in Alabama of only a few thousand people.

I didn’t know hardly a soul there (well OK… maybe one… sorta… but not really)

Call it a social experiment. Call it a “calling” maybe.

One day I went to this town about 45 minutes from where I live. They have a lot of families there who have had cancer… kids, parents, some times entire families have had it.

It’s a cancer hot-spot. Many have been lost.

I showed up in town and at first no one would really talk to me. They all knew each other, but they didn’t know me.

Someone asked who I was related to. But I’m not related to any of them.

I ate lunch by myself there more than a few times.

I went to their annual cancer fundraising walk that they have every year. It’s more like a carnival. It’s one of the biggest events the town has all year.image

I started to make a couple of friends that night. The towns people were curious about me.

I got a couple of folks who were volunteers doing cancer fundraising in the town to talk to me via email.

Conversations started. They invited me to one of their meetings to help organize a cancer fundraising event.

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Finally someone wanted to do lunch with “the stranger”.

We started to plan fundraising events together to help those with cancer.

I started to get to know their stories. They told me about their families.

They started inviting my family over for Christmas dinner.

I spoke at their church.

They started to tell me about the young children or grandparents they had lost to cancer.

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(Mamie was only 7 years old when she was lost to cancer)

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(Young Auston survived and is thriving today)

Months passed and seasons changed and I stuck with them.

I met the one’s who’d already survived cancer and were leading the charge.

They introduced me to the one’s who were sick and didn’t have long.

I started attending funerals with them… funerals for their children and their brothers or sisters… lost to cancer.

I volunteered to help them plan fundraising events and re-focus and re-direct their sadness towards fighting back against cancer and helping others survive.

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They started inviting me to their celebrations. And I could always count on hugs and smiles whenever I was in town.

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But seasons change and other things happened in my life that called me away.

But we were together for 3 years and in that time we raised about $300,000 to help cancer research. And I made countless friends and memories that I’ll never forget.

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And it’s not unlike anything I’ve ever done with Team Martina. It’s not unlike showing up at a homeless shelter for teens in New Jersey to make friends and bring gifts. It’s not unlike building a playground in Atlanta.

Because we’re all the same.

All our hurts and all our joys. We’re all the same.

Posted 5 weeks ago

Because loves the only house...

This past weekend some really amazing things came together right before our very eyes.

To put it plainly, volunteers from 10 states and 2 countries came together to visit kids in a homeless shelter in New Jersey.

Did you ever stop to think about how many homeless kids there are in the United States? Estimates tell us that roughly 40% of the homeless population in the U.S. are children under the age of 18.

I am so thankful for places like Covenant House that give these kids a safe and warm place to go. The work that they do is beyond amazing… I really mean that. Just stop to think about it.

I have thought about it often because it happened to me when I was 18.

I am also especially thankful for our volunteers like Amy in Atlanta. There is so much that goes into planning our volunteer projects like this remotely and pulling them off. More than anyone ever realizes.

About 1 to 2 months of work and planning goes into each of our Team Martina projects…and we do several a year! Sometimes we have even less time to pull a project together… and it’s often in a distant city so everything is planned remotely with no time to waste.

Amy brought the idea to me a few weeks ago that she would like to do something to help people while she was back in her home state of New Jersey, so we went to work planning for it.

First, when we plan a project, we want to find an organization or good cause that is able to accept the type of help we have to offer and can work with us. Some times that requires a bit of leg work even though we have an endless list of possibilities.

We go into it knowing that we are guests in whatever good cause we are working to help and we definitely want to follow their rules and pay attention to our etiquette just as if we were visiting in someone’s home.

I want to give huge kudos to Amy on the project she led this weekend at Covenant House in New Jersey. She put a ton of work into it… first researching a great cause that we could help and then participating in conference calls and carefully planning something wonderful that would benefit this great cause of helping kids.

Team Martina wants to make a real, positive difference in the places we visit so we try to put some earnest, sincere thought into what their needs are… not just what we assume they need.

We took numerous touching photos with the kids at Covenant House this weekend. But some of our teammates were missing from those photos… because they stayed back working to serve food and ice cream to the other kids who were waiting. It was an incredibly touching thing that they did.

I want to say thank you to all of our volunteers that brought this special event together this weekend… maybe you played bingo and talked with the kids, maybe you brought an ice cream topping, maybe you donated music for their new karaoke machine, or something else. It takes everyone pitching in (and a HUGE thank you goes out to Martina for her investment in giving her personal time to these kids and bringing them the priceless gifts of inspiration and encouragement).

All together you helped bring something amazing to this special place for a day that may last a lifetime. And perhaps you take something good away in your heart that stays with you too.

Because loves the only house…

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Posted 6 weeks ago

A cancer survivor from Kentucky comes to help kids on the street in New Jersey

We’ve all survived something

"Cancer is a life changing thing, but Team Martina is a life changing thing for good" - that’s what breast cancer survivor Tammy Copenhagen has told me many times over the last couple of years.

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Tammy often travels from her home in Kentucky to join us on volunteer projects around the nation (even bringing her whole family). She battled cancer a few years ago and still fights side effects from it, but that hasn’t stopped her from helping Martina McBride and Team Martina raise money for a play ground in Georgia.

It also didn’t stop her from organizing several benefits for a friend in Kentucky who was paralyzed in an accident last year.

Tammy, inspired by Martina’s hit songs such as “Anyway” and “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”,  will travel from her home state to join us as Team Martina reaches out to homeless teens in New Jersey next week.

Yes, a cancer survivor volunteering to help homelessness and hunger in kids. What a beautiful story!

We’ll visit kids next week at Covenant House’s Newark, NJ, crisis center - a facility that provides food and shelter for up to 40 teens each night …and it’s right down the street from where Martina McBride and George Strait will be playing for a crowd of 19,000 fans at the Prudential Center.

When I asked the director of Covenant House last month how could Team Martina best help the kids at the shelter, her suggestion was simple…”Inspire them”, she said. “We take care of their immediate needs here at the shelter, but they need to have some fun too and be inspired. Be a mentor to them and share yourself and your stories with them”.

Many of the kids living at Covenant House are still in high school and many of them have jobs and are working to enter college and get apartments of their own. Covenant House offers programs designed to help them be successful and reach their dreams despite their past.

Team Martina will be bringing them the healing power of music and fun!

The director of the shelter mentioned to me that they didn’t have a public address system for announcements and speeches in their building or really much of any sound system so… Team Martina will be donating a professional karaoke system for the kids that also doubles as a PA/audio system!! 

Shhh… it’s a surprise.

Several donors are also generously sending the shelter karaoke CD’s of Martina McBride music and other various artists including rock and pop.

They are going to have so much fun with these gifts!!

We’ll also be serving them ice cream as a special treat and we have some additional surprises in store!

Watch this video. Perry lived at Covenant House and he’s a self taught piano player who wants to go into the music business.

We’ve all survived something. And we’re all about delivering the healing power of music to the world…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdAwMCSEu1M

Get all the Team Martina news here http://www.teammartina.com/#!join-us/cee5

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Posted 8 weeks ago

500 home-made cookies and "Everlasting" love in Nashville this week

Our volunteer Heather in Nashville is a young Mom and ovarian cancer survivor. She got together a group of friends this week from Middle Tennessee to put on Team Martina shirts and do something really amazing for Valentine’s Day.

It was Heather’s wish to organize an incredible project to bring smiles and “Everlasting” love to children at Ronald McDonald House and the children’s hospital.

Several Martina McBride fans from around the world and many local Tennessee businesses helped Heather gather $3,000 worth of toys to deliver to hospitalized kids. In all they donated enough toys to treat 75 or more kids to Christmas in February!

Heather and her crew also made and decorated 500 Valentine cookies and candies and delivered them to kids, chemo patients, and staff at Nashville cancer centers.

Team Martina is country music super star Martina McBride’s volunteer community service group spreading the love and healing power of music. Catch Martina’s new album, “Everlasting” coming April 8.

Here’s what Heather said: “Tomorrow will be my last delivery of gits. It has been an amazing week. I think the best part of my week was when we were at Ronald McDonald House and there was a little boy in a wheel chair with his mom and dad. He started going through the gifts we brought. Then when we got to the hospital we ran into him again. There we learned that he is deaf and autistic and fighting cancer. It was so awesome to talk with him and his parents.”

It was so incredible. My cup runneth over. This made my heart smile.”, Heather said.  Some of the Heather’s friends who helped are also cancer survivors themselves.

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Posted 9 weeks ago

How country music icon Martina McBride is connecting and giving back in a new way with fans around the world

Country music icon Martina McBride has a new R&B and soul album coming soon called “Everlasting" (due out April 8) and she’ll be embarking on a new tour.

But that’s not all she has that’s new… she’s also launched a unique organization that gives back to towns across the country where she tours - it’s called “Team Martina”

… And it has connected with thousands of country music fans.

Team Martina is a global charity team led by McBride that fulfills a need in any given town where she performs. And fans come from all over the country and the world to volunteer in towns across the United States. They’ve even caught the attention of The Huffington Post and Yahoo.

In Nashville, TN, Martina and her “Team Martina” organization raised over $40,000 for a cancer research grant to help doctors at Vanderbilt University.

In Atlanta, GA, they raised $30,000 and helped the city begin construction on an innovative new playground and green space for inner city kids.

In Morgantown, WV, the group sought out local cancer patients and invited them to Martina’s concert as special guests, providing them with tickets to the show and a meeting with Martina herself.

Martina surprised an entire homeless shelter for teens in New Jersey with tickets to her show and Team Martina volunteers served ice cream to the kids.

Volunteers with the group have also started new ‘giving back’ projects for good causes in their own home towns when they’re not attending concerts.

If the fact that these volunteers come from all over the world to work with Martina on these ‘doing good’ projects isn’t special enough… this will blow your mind… many of them are survivors themselves of cancer, domestic abuse, etc. (Many of the topics covered in Martina’s songs).

Team Martina is an incredible story about of the healing power of music and how one country artist is doing something unique with thousands of fans to give back.

http://www.teammartina.com/#!join-us/cee5

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Posted 9 weeks ago

The healing power of music -

"Martina - your album has been a life saver for me these last weeks as my 87 year old husband has been critically ill. We met 45 years ago on Valentine’s Day, but when he recently had a PEG feeding tube put in and was to eat nothing by mouth, I realized our usual dinner out would not happen.

To make it special for him while still being in the hospital, I found over 30 photos of just the two of us (none of our 10 children, 20 grandchildren nor 11 great-grandchildren from a merger of two families) and made a slide show to your song, Valentine.

It is beautiful and we both treasure it. Also the song “When You Are Old” on that album is precious.

Thank you for your sensitivity!

Marge & John

Largo, Florida”

Posted 10 weeks ago

Because loves the only house big enough... we're heading to New Jersey

By Sheila Jones

In the middle of my senior year in high school in Alabama, I found myself without a place to go. Because of domestic violence issues between my parents, I could no longer safely stay in the home I had grown up in.

It was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me.

But eventually I found a safe place to go and I graduated from high school. I won a college scholarship and I was able to make it through.

The experience changes you forever.

I am told that 39% of the nation’s homeless are youths.

I understand what they’re going through… many of them are teenagers in a position like I was… for whatever reason they have no place to go but they’re not quite old enough to be on their own either.

Luckily I was helped by an incredible adult in my life back then who mentored me until I could stand on my own.

Recently a Team Martina volunteer contacted me because she would soon be attending one of Martina McBride’s concerts in New Jersey and she wanted to create a giving back project with Team Martina in her home state to coincide with the concert.

What a fantastic thing to do!!

Martina McBride’s “Team Martina" often finds great causes in the communities where Martina plays and we show up on the day of the concert to perform an awesome volunteer effort to help people there.

Last Fall we raised $30,000 to help kids in Atlanta, GA, get a new playground.

It’s all about using the power and love behind music to make a difference for people somewhere in the world.

We started searching for a fantastic cause recently in Newark, NJ, that Amy’s project would benefit. And, as often happens, not just a great, but an AMAZING cause appeared before us. 

Covenant House in Newark is a home, safe haven, and shelter every day for 45 youth who otherwise have no place to go. Covenant House was able to help over 100 kids to graduate from high school and advance their educations even further last year and approximately 200 kids got jobs.

And these kids live at Covenant House only 2 blocks from where the concert will take place. The caring people at Covenant House feed them and provide them with a safe place to go every night.

Providential!

Currently we’re working on a February project to bring Valentine’s Day cheer to kids in Nashville at Ronald McDonald House and Monroe Carrell Jr Children’s Hospital. Our Nashville volunteer Heather has conducted a huge toy drive and will soon be delivering a truck load of gifts to sick kids and their families there.

Covenant House will be our next ‘doing good’ project in New Jersey in March. We’ll have volunteers there from 10 states and 2 countries and we plan to bring the love and healing power of music to Newark in a real and tangible way to help kids. Stay tuned for details!


Love’s the only house big enough for all the pain in the world

Posted 10 weeks ago

Running out of time


By Sheila

The first time I met Taira Baughman I drove 2 hours north to have lunch with her.

It made her suspicious.

Who wants to drive that far to have lunch with someone… especially someone they don’t know? What could they possibly want?

Taira was one of the cancer survivors in Martina McBride’s video for the song, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”. I did some snooping and found her. I wanted her to help me with a project to raise money for cancer research. 

Who better to help with a project like that than a cancer survivor…right?

Taira later told me that she thought I was really cool… and she thought I was cool because I was a seemingly healthy person, but I was living as though I was running out of time… just like we hear many cancer patients talk about feeling.

She said that was another reason why someone would drive two hours for a lunch… not because they are crazy… but because of the opposite… they can see what’s really important and they go after it.

It was fate that Taira and I would meet. We both would need each other’s help in very different and big ways. We didn’t even get to know each other 2 years before her cancer returned and she passed away

…but we pretty much had already covered a lifetime of friendship.

I guess it’s because we both lived like we were running out of time in those 2 years… no matter if we knew it or not.

I was driving down the road the other day thinking of other ways we live like we’re running out of time.

I had a very good job that I quit a couple of years ago because I had a feeling there was something more important calling me away.  I took a new job recently, and a huge new responsibility in my life, because it is the important thing I feel called to.

I regularly drive for hours and log hundreds of miles a year just to have lunch… if it’s important and meaningful.

I started attending church regularly about 6 years ago because suddenly church looked very different to me… because I was living as though I was running out of time.  Because of this, everything the pastor says on Sunday morning now makes sense to me.

And it still makes sense on Wednesday morning too. And I am hungry for that knowledge and faith.

Because I may now live instinctively as though time is running out, I don’t have much time for drama anymore… as a matter of fact, I have no time for it. Unnecessary drama wastes my time and energy.

I don’t have time for a lot of little details anymore either. I can only afford to concentrate on the details that really matter. So now, all my i’s might not be dotted and t’s crossed (and blogs spell checked).

But the important things might consume me some days.

I find that I have stopped spending time with some people I used to spend time with. And I now spend time with more people I never did before.

And I think now, because I live this way, I can fit A LOT more life into my life. I can accomplish such bigger things now – much much more than I used to. Bigger opportunities come my way now and I am ready for them.  Before… I’m not sure I would have even recognized them.

On World Cancer Day… I think of Taira today. And I think of how much we packed into our time together and how much time anyone really has… and what we do with it… how much impact we have and what we’ll be remembered for.

Here’s a photo of Taira and her daughter at the video shoot for “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”.

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Posted 10 weeks ago

A twist of fate at The Grand Ole Opry

By Sheila Jones

Last August 24 was a hectic night for me backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.

I had a few hundred women cancer survivors in a room.

Team Martina did a project last summer called “My Second Act” in conjunction with the National Women’s Survivors Convention happening in Nashville.

"My Second Act" was a very special essay project inviting women cancer survivors from all over the world to write about how their lives had changed since they were diagnosed with cancer and the positive things that had happened to them since  - in their second act in life. 

The first 300 women to send in an essay were invited to a VIP party at The Grand Ole Opry - which was also Team Martina’s 2nd birthday! 

We also gave a meet and greet with Martina McBride to four of the women cancer survivors.

The problem was… Martina was stuck in traffic trying to get to the Opry. And we were running out of time backstage.

But I had a very special group of cancer survivors with me. I knew there was special magic in the air. I knew it would all work out somehow.

The universe conspires to help us.

Just then…Martina arrived and sang for us. It was AMAZING!

Then it was time to do the meet and greets but it was also time for the Opry show to start. It turned into a mad house backstage with a crush of people.  Remember we had hundreds of people back there trying to get to their seats for the show.

Keeping my group of cancer survivors together to make our way to the dressing rooms proved to be quite a challenge.

But we did it. And every one enjoyed having their photos taken and meeting Martina and other Grand Ole Opry stars.

Jana was there. She was a 3 year survivor.

She was sort of nervous.

She really wanted to meet Martina. It was on her bucket list.

She was having a hard time speaking.

We didn’t know it then, but the world would lose Jana far too young… she passed away a few days ago on Jan. 25.

She was a licensed social worker and had devoted her life to helping people with disabilities. She was suppose to make it. She was 42.

I’m so glad Jana got to mark something off her bucket list that night.

Life gets busy and some times there’s too many plates spinning as it was that night.

But you never know when the universe is conspiring to make something very important happen.

So try to stay present in the moment and don’t rush. You might miss something wonderful.

Here’s the photo we took that night …

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Team Martina is country music super star Martina McBride’s global community service organization dedicated to making the world a better place through volunteerism and the healing power of music

Posted 11 weeks ago

How you can be part of Team Martina

"I’m a big fan of Martina’s. I like the things Team Martina does and I’d like to get involved. How do I do that?"

"There is a children’s hospital here I’d like to help but I don’t know how to start. Are there other Team Martina members that live close to me? Can I meet Martina?"

Here are some EASY answers:

"How do I get involved with Team Martina?"

It’s simple.

First, go to our website and put your email address on our list. Then you’ll be FIRST to know about upcoming events.

Second, check the events page on our website to see if we have an event happening near you. We add new events and projects through out the year. Many teammates even enjoy traveling to our events and making a vacation out of it!

There are lots of ways you can volunteer to help with amazing community projects in your own home town too.

It’s up to you!

There’s a children’s hospital in my town that I’d like to help. There’s also a homeless shelter. How do I get started?

Contact the organization that you’d like to help and see what their needs are. For example, a children’s organization may be in need of books. You could hold a book drive in your community. Many organizations, like Ronald McDonald House, have wishlists on their websites to guide you.

You can do other hands on volunteer jobs too. A shelter or soup kitchen may need volunteers once a week or once a month to help serve food to the needy.

Check our event page for good examples of what teammates are doing to help the world.

Email us and tell us about the volunteer service project you’re going to do.  Email Sheila@TeamMartina.com 

Are there other Team Martina members that live close to me that would like to volunteer with me?

There might be! Team Martina has hundreds of teammates around the country. Often times, teammates join up together in difference states to make a difference.  Email … Sheila@TeamMartina.com

For many volunteer projects, we send out t-shirts to those participating. We’d love to outfit you with a cool Team Martina t-shirt while supplies last.

AND don’t forget to watch for Team Martina’s national volunteer events like Sound Check For A Cure or Sound Check For Kids!

At different times during the year, Team Martina does a really cool project in a community on one of Martina’s tour stops.

If Martina plays in a town near you, you could be a part of a private sound check event WITH HER to help the community. You’ll get to see Martina up close and in person.

Stay tuned for new sound check dates soon in 2014!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/TeamMartina

http://twitter.com/teammartina2011

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Posted 11 weeks ago

The healing power of music

By Sheila Jones

My husband and I had been married less than a year when his mother had a massive stroke. She was always the patriarch of the family. She gave big hugs and threw big parties and loved her family dearly. Everyone that knew her adored her.

The stroke left her unable to walk, talk, or feed herself and it happened in an instant. She began rehab therapy quickly but was unable to regain her ability to really talk to us. Her mind just couldn’t make her mouth speak and this caused her and us many tears.

But there was an incredible blessing we discovered during that dark time… she could sing! She couldn’t talk but she could sing very beautifully and clearly. The brain handles music and singing differently than speech and that’s why she could still sing.

Us singing with her in her hospital room brought her great joy and those are some of the last memories we have with her. She passed away a couple of weeks later. She was only 58.

Singing with her in the hospital was one of the first times in my life I witnessed the sheer healing power of music… especially for someone in a crisis.

Team Martina is an organization dedicated to spreading the healing power of music. It is a dream of mine to give a special song hands and feet to go out and volunteer to help the world… and spread the healing that music has to offer.

Today I got a really amazing email from a cancer patient. We came to her room and sang last month while she was in the hospital the week of Christmas.

Here’s what she wrote:

"Thank you so much to your team for visiting me last month. I was hospitalized right before Christmas. I was really going through a terrible time. The day your team came and brought me a gift, I was at my lowest. I felt like I was at the end of my rope. I have been fighting cancer for 2 years and have been hospitalized many times. I am 36 years old. I have loved Martina McBride’s music for many years. I didn’t know she did things like this. She is so wonderful and so are you! To have people that I don’t know come and see me was so unexpected and it really changed my outlook. You don’t know how much you lifted me up. The fact that you all sang to me was just incredible. I heard the team singing Christmas carols as they walked up and down the hall. I know it’s been a month but I wanted to tell you what a difference you made."

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Posted 12 weeks ago

A blog I like... "The Paralysis Of Waiting"

I really love this blog… “In Pursuit Of Everything”. I subscribe to it. I can’t say what AJ says any better than he does so I’m re-posting his thoughts here.

AJ left his job and made some sacrifices to go and do something new and big and good in the world… just like I did a few years ago.

AJ is changing the world.

One of his blogs was titled, “The Paralysis Of Waiting”. In this blog he writes…

"Think of all the art that has yet to be created and all the web applications that have yet to be built and all the music that has yet to be written and all the dishes that have yet to be tasted and all stories that have yet to be told … because somebody, somewhere is waiting." - Waiting for someone else, waiting for the right time, waiting, waiting, waiting. And it never happens.

That is so true. I have been trapped in the past in the paralysis of waiting.It feels so great to be doing. It’s what we’re made for.

I read a quote today that said, “Your time is limited, but you are not. Go you.”
So, what are you waiting for? Go read all the good thoughts on this blog.

- See more at: http://aj-leon.com/pursuitofeverything/the-paralysis-of-waiting-2/#sthash.T8rbaM4y.dpuf

Posted 12 weeks ago

Everybody's got a hungry heart, 8 principles for success

By Sheila Jones

(An add on to my blog yesterday, “Martina McBride, the providential sound track of my life"…)

There was another man in my life pretty much daily from 2000-2008 … yes you read that right…another man besides my husband and he was and is very important to me.

He was my boss and mentor for 8 years. I was 28 and he was 29 when he hired me. I was the first person he had ever hired for the first company he ever started. I was his only employee for many months… this was ground floor stuff here.

Before we knew it… we found ourselves a couple of years later with several employees, a very successful company, and he had made his first million. Together we had all started an incredibly successful online marketing company at the start of the “dot com” rise.

The real life changing concepts that I took away from this incredible experience were these amazing principles that I still use everyday in my work and personal life.

These principles came directly from my boss and mentor who is still a very successful guy today working with the likes of Tony Robbins and Sir Richard Branson.  (I am so glad that I ALWAYS listened on our conference calls).

Here they are:

1. You must bring extreme value to the table - be it a work or personal project… try to bring more to a relationship than you take away. Develop the best idea you can that helps the most people or solves the most problems and give some away totally for free before you ask people to pay for it. Prove yourself.

2. Be so good they can’t ignore you - almost self explanatory. Strive to be the best they’ve ever seen at whatever it is you do. Be remarkable, not average.

3. Surround yourself with people who are better than you are at the thing you want to do. Once you figure out what your dream is, seek out those who are already doing similar things very well and ask if you can watch or hang out with them. Find some inspiring mentors. Just ask them to have coffee with you.

4. Write about it. Tell others your story. Don’t be afraid if you’re not a writer. My mentor was never that much into editing… it is more important that your message is interesting and compelling than grammatically correct (ok we’re not talking about a lot of misspellings here but he always told me not to stifle an inspiring message you’re trying to get out by messing around all day with editing)

6. Operate from a point of abundance - always welcome people into your projects. The more the merrier. In fact, the more people that you can get to participate in your ideas, the more abundance the universe will send you. Freely share your knowledge. Mentor others.

7. Try to begin with the end in mind. Think through your dream or your project or product… try to picture what the final destination might look like and then work backwards from there.

Better yet… begin with the end of your life in mind. What will people say about you when you die. Structure your life and your projects looking back from there.

What is your legacy?

And this one comes from me and it’s very important -

8. Everybody’s got a hungry heart (yes Bruce Springsteen was right)

Remember that people want to be recognized and they want someone to listen. It’s simple and remembering this will take you far. There is great power in numbers … and great power in having a loving, successful team of people with you in any endeavor.

Posted 13 weeks ago

Martina McBride, the providential sound track of my life

By Sheila Jones

Providential (adjective) - occurring at a favorable time; opportune, involving divine foresight or intervention.

"Providential" is the word Martina used when she and I talked this week. We were speaking of the great things we’re going to do in 2014 around her new music and our charitable efforts to help the world.

Martina is four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year and a fantastic lady too. It’s a dream come true to work with her and help people.

I agree… it is providential. I have been a fan of her’s for 20 years this year. And her songs have often followed me into events in my life…the sound track for turning points that were incredibly opportune, seemingly divine… and providential.

I survived an F4 tornado when I was 3 years old. I lived through years as a child in a home with domestic violence. I’ve been a hungry, homeless teenager and a struggling college student.

I remember the first time I heard her song “Independence Day” in 1994. I was 22 years old. It was validation and release. Somebody understood what happened in the home I grew up in and I was finally off the hook. Somebody was rooting for me.

Martina McBride songs followed me into the first and only time I have ever fallen in love. It was 1995 and it was rough. He didn’t feel the same. He broke it off. It was the worst heart break I have ever been through in my life. A special song was there to comfort me.

He came back in time… and in love. And we got married in 1997 and we’re still married today. Sorry… didn’t play any of Martina’s songs in our wedding… we played one of the final songs John Lennon wrote called “Grow Old With Me”.

When we renewed our vows 13 years later on the same spot… a Martina McBride song did play this time… “Valentine”.

Providential.

For the last 17 years I have lived a great and comfortable life with the man I am still so in love with. And Martina’s songs have been the sound track for many incredible turning points… the birth of my daughter, the loss of my Mom. Her songs have resonated at the most timely intersections in my life.

But I have never really allowed myself to get really comfortable in this “comfortable life”. I always knew something was waiting out there. And it was going to be hard and great.

Her songs were with me at the first funeral I ever attended for someone young who’s life was cut short by cancer. They played her songs at the first cancer fundraising event I did 6 years ago.

Providential.

I decided one day soon after that, out of the blue, that I wanted to go to a foreign country and volunteer in an orphanage. Just 3 months later I was there… and I carried an IPod full of Martina songs. Her music was the soundtrack for my visits to volcanoes and villages in Central America.

Then I took her music to the other side of the world with me to the Middle East, the Holy Land, and the West Bank to visit schools and orphanages. I heard her music playing over the speakers in a hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel.

It was those trips and the families touched by cancer that I met, that began to show me that there was something more to this musical connection. There was something divine.

I was a huge rock/pop fan and child of the 80’s. I loved country music in the 90’s (and still do now) and Martina McBride has always stood out to me out of all the music artists in the world as… the one… different…remarkable.

Her music has been the providential soundtrack to my life.

I receive a lot of emails now through TeamMartina.com of people telling me how Martina’s songs make them feel, what happened in their life, and how they want to help someone else because of it.

Believe me, I know. I’m right there with you.
Team Martina is country music super star Martina McBride’s global community service organization dedicated to making the world a better place through volunteerism and the healing power of music

Martina’s new album, “Everlasting”, comes out this Spring. Get the first single “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” on ITunes now.

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Posted 13 weeks ago

“Only when you make art that isn’t for everyone do you have a chance to connect with someone. And when you connect with someone, amazingly, you increase the chances that you’ve made something that many will want.” (159)

See more at: http://www.bigbencomedy.com/blog/archives/the-icarus-deception-quotes/#sthash.ndJLvgcr.dpuf

Posted 13 weeks ago

She told me, "This is my last wish. I want to go out with a bang".

By Sheila Jones

The other day I opened my email to a message from a young lady in Tennessee who is a new volunteer with Team Martina. She’s also a cancer patient.

She wrote: “I want to do something big with Team Martina. I want to do a volunteer project for the Children’s Hospital in Nashville for Valentine’s Day. I am making 500 cookies. And that’s not all.”

Heather volunteered with us for the first time this past Christmas. She helped us stuff stockings in Nashville for 100 cancer patients. And she’s a young Mom still in the cancer battle herself.

She and fan club member, Dawn, were lucky enough to win a meet and greet with Martina at our stocking stuffing event in Nashville. Team Martina also treated Heather to a seat at Martina’s Joy Of Christmas concert that night on Dec. 4.

Heather sent me a message this week about her desire to help kids at the children’s hospital in a few weeks:

"This is going to be my last wish before I start chemo again. I meet with my oncologist on the 17th to discuss chemo options. I want to do something big before I get knocked down again. I wanna go out with a bang!!”

(Heather’s project on Facebook to help Nashville’s children’s hospital is here)

I asked Heather to tell me about herself and this is what she wrote:

"As a stage 3c ovarian cancer survivor I consider my diagnosis a blessing. It has opened my eyes to a whole new world. I love a little stronger and give a little more.

When I was diagnosed I felt very alone. Being in a new state, no family for hundreds of miles, no friends, 3 amazing children , a loving husband and a prognosis of less than 5 years I knew I couldn’t let myself fall into the cracks. So then is when it all started.

With my passion for cooking, I started a cookbook. Now…14 surgeries, 2 blood transfusions, 6 very hard months of chemotherapy, and 275 recipes later -  my cookbook is ready for publishing. I’ve decided to sell it and donate 75% of the profits to young adult and childhood cancer research and the other 25% to help pay off my outrageous medical bills.

Last February my children and I got together with a friend of mine and we made and delivered Valentines Day cards to the elderly homes.

Then last fall I got to attend the National Women’s Survivors convention in Nashville. I submitted my story and got to go to the backstage pre-party at Grand Ole Opry with Martina McBride for cancer survivors. It was awesome. And that’s when I found Team Martina.

Since then my life has really opened up. I’ve made awesome new friends and started feeling good about myself.

I reached out to Team Martina when I saw a post on Facebook about them stuffing stockings for cancer patients. I thought to myself “I wanna do that” so I asked how I could get involved. They welcomed me with open arms, smiles, and their friendships.

Giving is like a drug that I can’t get enough of.

I wanted to do one more thing before I get knocked down by chemo again. So I decided to make some cookies and some candy and see if I could deliver them to the children’s hospital and chemo rooms around Nashville.

The Valentine’s Day holiday is normally unnoticed in the world of cancer and sickness. I wanted to make sure that the sick children, cancer fighting patients and the amazing oncology/hospital staff and caregivers feel all the love that I have to share.

I am blessed to have a supportive husband and caring friends and family to help me make this happen before I have to be sick once again.”

http://www.facebook.com/TeamMartina

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Posted 14 weeks ago

What happened when I chose me

By Sheila Jones

Two years ago I quit.

I quit waiting for my boss. I quit waiting for an employer to listen to me, to see the value I was bringing to the table, to finally choose me…

I quit waiting for the huge organization I worked for to choose my idea as a good idea to pursue.

I quit waiting to be chosen by someone else.

I went an entirely different direction.

I chose myself.

I picked me to be on the team.

I quit accepting a “B” rating on an annual performance review. I was told they rarely give “A’s” so I was advised not to worry about it. My boss said a B was like an A.

They even gave me a small raise.

But the problem with receiving a B that year was… I’d done the best work I’d ever done in my life on any job… EVER.

That’s when I knew the jig was up.

I finally figured it out… This was a game.

I was really really good at what I was doing but it might not EVER matter in that particular job at that organization.

So I quit the game … and the job.

I left.

I started something new and great.

I gave myself a gift… I picked me.

I gave myself a huge promotion. I gave myself permission to go do big things that were good for the world and take on huge new responsibilities.

Yes, the work I was doing before was helping people. The organization’s overall mission was good.

But this was my chance to really move the needle - to really make a difference… To do something rare. And to do it in such a positive way that everyone who teamed up with me was also lifted up.

No B’s… All A’s.

Happiness

And lots of people wanted to do it with me.

Just imagine a job or a volunteer activity or hobby that actually ENRICHES the life of those that choose to do it and those that receive from it.

That’s what the last two years have been about for me.

I know not everyone has the opportunity in their career or life to take such a scary leap. Or they might not have it right now or not yet.

We have families to support and responsibilities.

But if you ever get the chance… If you ever even get a small window of opportunity in your life, professionally or personally, to pursue something great that you know is right for your family and good for the world.

DO IT.

You might not get rich (I haven’t bought many new clothes but I haven’t missed it all that much as I have been so busy working). You might struggle (but we’re doing ok).

If you really feel strongly about doing this thing…I bet you’ll find a way to make it.

I bet things will work out somehow. The blessings and the legacy will long out weigh the risks and costs.

It might be the surprise of a lifetime.

Food for thought moving forward into 2014

Happy New Year.

Posted 15 weeks ago

Went to Nashville and found something priceless (and I only came to sing)

I admit it… last Monday I didn’t want to go to Nashville.

Team Martina had a Christmas stocking delivery to make at a cancer center and lots of people who were helping out with it came down sick and couldn’t make it.

The Christmas project in Nashville has been led this year by an incredible cancer survivor, Jen, and some of her amazing survivor friends. To watch what they have done this year has been unbelievable. Missing Taira so much this year, I have personally felt so blessed that they came along.

These new ladies are knocking it out of the park. Where there is a need, it is fulfilled. Isn’t it funny how things work out like that?

But last Monday I just didn’t feel like making the drive back to Nashville again. I’d just been there a few days before at a cancer center and the hustle and bustle of the holidays had me worn out.

But I felt something telling me to go… telling me that I should be there.They were short handed and they needed someone to help sing the Christmas carols right?

The stocking delivery last Monday was at Vanderbilt 100 Oaks… the same center where we awarded a cancer research grant with Martina this past summer… the same building where Taira received many of her treatments … the same place she and I were at last Christmas delivering gifts to cancer patients together.

So I went. And I brought my husband (who isn’t usually off work) and my young daughter. I thought that it would be a good opportunity for us to all do this together as a family and that it’d be good for them to see what Team Martina does on these cancer center visits.

But then as these things often happen… I was the one who ended up seeing… being reminded why we’re here.

I watched Monday as a most incredible thing happened.

If you can imagine being a newly diagnosed cancer patient at Christmas, or someone who is deep in the fight, and having three amazing, energetic, and beautiful survivors of the same cancer come into your room as you’re getting your first or tenth chemo treatment… and having those survivors show you their beautiful new hair that grew back… and having them sing to you… and bring you a gift?

It was one of the most incredible and priceless things I have ever seen. They have no special training to do this. They just do it because they have lived it. And they are very good at it.

There were a few patients on Monday who really needed to see what we were bringing. We could not have known going into it how much they were going to need it.

So, you see, our project is not just about Christmas stockings or singing carols to cancer patients.

Jen and her friends brought something to that cancer center on Monday that money can’t buy and that I can’t provide to them alone. As a survivor, Jen brought them not only hope… but walking and breathing proof in the flesh that they’ll make it through this.

And that’s a powerful gift to give.

Posted 16 weeks ago

Photo of cancer patient with Martina McBride finds it's way home after two years

By Sheila Jones

Yesterday was wonderful. But it was strange too.

I was in Nashville visiting a hospital with our team - something that has become an annual tradition in it’s third season now. We assemble in the halls and waiting rooms of various cancer centers, wearing our Team Martina shirts, and we surprise patients with Christmas carols and gifts.

We hope to bring just a few smiles for a little while to a time for these patients that can be pretty gloomy at Christmas when they’re fighting cancer. We’ve already hit Germany, Pittsburgh, Miami, and yesterday was Nashville’s turn.

But yesterday was a little unusual because I was doing it with an all new group of people. I LOVE that Team Martina has grown into a whole new generation of people that want to join and volunteer - people inspired by Martina’s hit songs like “Anyway” and “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”.

But an important person was dearly missed… teammate Taira who we lost this year. I’ve never done a Christmas visit without her. This was the first.

Another special and unusual thing happened… a nurse came up to me and said, “I was there when you visited St Thomas two years ago. I was there and got to meet Martina McBride.”

We talked and she explained to me that her husband was actually a cancer patient back then and the two of them were waiting through his chemo that day when Martina came with us to visit patients. She said that visit really touched them and they often talked about it. Sadly he lost his battle with cancer.

She was so excited to see me because she didn’t know how or where she could see the photo that was taken of her husband and Martina that day.  I gave her our contact info and re-posted the photo for her.

Here was this young woman, who lost her husband to cancer, standing in front of me two years later… she’s a nurse taking care of a room full of chemo patients on this day at Christmas time… doing her job cheerfully… tending to their needs.

Don’t miss the amazing things standing right in front of you today. Merry Christmas.

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Posted 17 weeks ago

A message from Muncie - Martina's shoes and awesomeness

New email just came in this morning after Martina’s concert in Indiana last night…

"My friend and I have been to so many of Martina’s concerts that we’ve lost count. People call us groupies. We enjoyed the concert in Muncie tonight very much. I spoke to the gentleman at the souvenirs counter regarding information about Team Martina. Is there a group in the South Bend or Ft Wayne, IN, area?  How do we join you? We’d love to be involved in this great organization.
We can’t say enough about how much we adore Martina, her music, her personality, her message, her beautiful shoes!”

Posted 17 weeks ago

We get amazing emails!

Dear Sheila,

I’d like to take this time to tell you how the passed few days have touched my heart.

I was a little nervous going to the stocking stuffing event in Nashville. I was not sure what to expect.

When I stepped into the room, I immediately felt welcomed. People I didn’t even know approached me with smiling faces. So that made me feel at ease.

I loved the experience I had to help your team spread some Christmas Joy to cancer survivors & patients.
I feel like I’ve made a lot of new friends with TeamMartina.

Being a part of Martina’s fan club & TeamMartina brings people from all over “together”.

I’m looking forward to being a part of many more future events.
I feel so blessed to have met such a great group of people.
What YOU do is AWESOME!

Posted 18 weeks ago

24 years ago today I escaped and it was the best day of my life

By Sheila Jones

Twenty four years ago today, Dec 10, 1989, I left home. It was the only home I had ever known but I packed my bags and left. It was 2 weeks after my 18th birthday, 2 weeks before Christmas and I was half way through my senior year in high school.

It was the best, the worst, and most important day of my life all rolled up into one. And I am so glad I did it all these years later. The decision I made that day would change the course of the rest of my life. And it would change my life in ways for the good that I could have never imagined.

I had watched my father beat my mother for 25 years. Parts of my childhood were sheer terror and torture. But leaving that day felt like the most right thing I could ever do. It was like I was being called away.

It was like jumping off a cliff with no parachute. It broke my mother’s heart.  But I made a clean start.

I did not go to stay with relatives. I had no money, no car, and no job. I was on my own. But I found a safe place to stay, people who wanted to help, a job, and a way to stay in school and finish my senior year. I graduated that next Spring with honors and won a college scholarship.

I have never again in 24 years experienced that kind of fear and darkness. It was like the veil had been lifted and I had escaped an imprisonment. It wasn’t easy making it on my own but I survived.

Everything that came after that… college, life, etc… seemed easy and blessed after what I had been through. I had been saved.

My mother never left it until she passed away.

Don’t stay in a domestic violence situation. It never gets better. I have been there. There are ways to get help. You can make it on your own. You can do it. There are better days out there waiting for you.

                   “And she spread her wings and just flew away”

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Posted 18 weeks ago

A funny thing happened on the way to the Ryman

By Sheila Jones

Team Martina asks the questions and the universe always answers.

The last few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind. Between getting ready for Thanksgiving and the holidays and preparing for lots of upcoming Team Martina events… I didn’t have time to reflect.

But when I did… Wow the things I saw!!

I started a month ago trying to plan a Giving Tuesday event for tons of Team Martina members that would be in Nashville from all over the country on Dec 3.

This task proved to be quite difficult… Because … well… it was Giving Tuesday and, quite frankly, several non profits in town were already too busy to do a project with us.

Then I found out that a brand new group of cancer survivors in Nashville wanted to take on the task of delivering Christmas stockings to cancer patients (a project that our teammates started 2 years ago).

I knew then that we had our event… We would gather, flash mob style, to shower cancer survivors with gifts to give other cancer patients!

We turned it into one big Team Martina Christmas party with guests there from 11 states and 2 countries. And they came!!! The room was overflowing. We stuffed almost 100 stockings.

But then a funny thing happened…

We got the opportunity to give away a meet and greet with Martina McBride backstage at the Ryman.

Tracy asked me if we should draw for it as a door prize or just give it to someone in the crowd that it would really help.

I told her…”Draw… Lets let the universe decide”. The universe always knows.

She drew the names of long time fan club friends John and Dawn. They immediately decided to share this incredible meet and greet experience they had won with a young mother they had just met at our party who is an ovarian cancer survivor.

Then I put out the call for extra concert tickets so that we could treat more cancer survivors to Martina’s concert the next night at The Ryman… And fans responded big time. Several fans offered to donate extra seats for cancer survivors.

One cancer survivor said of her experience last night at the concert, “We made memories we’ll remember for a life time.”

We ask the questions and universe always answers. No need to wonder… Just follow your heart.

Posted 19 weeks ago

We get mail and... love always wins

Lots of interesting messages came in overnight to Team Martina. But here’s one so awesome, we had to share…

"Martina’s music has touched my life so. I’ve never met her, but I have always wanted to tell her this. I never knew what to do with this until now. Thank you for giving me a way through Team Martina to do something great. I’m stuffing stockings now for cancer patients and I am giving away all of my Martina CD’s to these cancer patients and I am buying 10 more CD’s to stuff more stockings. I want these people to have and enjoy her music like I do and at least feel a little lighter during Christmas. Thanks for giving me this idea and help with knowing how to go about contacting a cancer center. I would have never thought of doing this before."  

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Posted 21 weeks ago

Left a $50 tip...

Believe it or not, there’s a lot more good and kindness out there than you probably realize. Sometimes, people do incredible things – things that restore our faith in humanity.

For example, these parents who left a $50 tip in memory of the child they lost.

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Posted 22 weeks ago

Beautiful and amazing Team Martina news in Nashville & beyond!!

A brand new group of cancer patients and survivors in the Nashville area is uniting to continue our Christmas stocking project for cancer patients that our late teammate Taira Baughman started.

Here’s the email I received this week that knocked my socks off:

"You won’t believe this, but I read all of Taira’s blogs, and followed her. I was watching the video of you guys delivering those stockings last year and it inspired me to do the same at the cancer center that I received my treatment at. I was in tears watching that video from last year. Me and several friends…some of who are also Breast Cancer survivors..are planning to hand out Christmas stockings at two different oncology offices in Nashville the week before Christmas. I would love to be an active part of Team Martina."

I plan to go to Nashville to help them out. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

We have Team Martina volunteers in 8 other states including OH, PA, FL, MD, CA, AL, MI, MO, and in Germany who are planning volunteer projects to help others during the holidays.

Here are just a few of the ones I’ve heard from:

In Philadelphia, PA, new Team Martina volunteers will be delivering Christmas gifts to the elderly and playing Secret Santa to lend a helping hand

In Detroit, MI, a returning Team Martina chapter will be handing out Christmas stockings at a cancer center for the 3rd year in a row

From Elsinore, CA, I received an email from a family who wishes to form a team to serve meals to the homeless this Thanksgiving.

Beautiful things are taking shape! Thank you everyone for your hard work and willingness to help make the world a little happier place.

Check out Team Martina in action…

http://animoto.com/play/Oh7L0Y5dvhHHRryO1Fy80A

Sheila@TeamMartina.com

Posted 22 weeks ago

The woman from the Martina McBride video that passed away

I’m writing this blog for the benefit of everyone new to us that doesn’t know the Team Martina back story.

Today is a special and strange day.

We were featured in The Huffington Post this week. When the reporter called to interview me about our team, she asked me if any special things had happened or if any of our volunteers had been touched in unique ways by the do good projects we work on.

I’ll say.

Our whole history is one special and amazing story… and it’s because of a woman who was suppose to turn 41 today. But, because of cancer, she remains 40…forever.

The music video for Martina McBride’s 2011 country hit “I’m Gonna Love You Through It" starred several women who were cancer survivors. There were famous women in the video like Sheryl Crow and Robin Roberts and there were regular, every day women and their families included in the video as well.

When I decided to start our volunteer charity team to fight cancer, I started by contacting some of the women from that music video to see if they wanted to do a cancer fundraising event with me. The first one I found was the first one to answer me back… Taira Baughman.

Taira spoke in the video about being diagnosed on April 15 - “Tax Day”. Her appearance with her 4 year old son in the video was so precious, we affectionately nicknamed her “Tax Day”.

Fate would have it that Taira was actually nearing the end of her life when I met her… but neither she nor I knew it at that time.

So the woman that helped me start a movement that raised over $130,000 for several good causes is a women who starred in a Martina McBride music video about cancer.

And she’s the same woman who was a wife and a mother to four children.

She’s the same woman we lost to a second bought with cancer this past May when she was only 40 years old. She’s a woman who ended up uniting thousands of people around the world to do good deeds for others.

She’s only one of a few people we have ever reconnected with that appeared in that music video. She’s the person who kept encouraging me to continue my volunteer work even when it got too frustrating, too expensive, too hard and the miles got long.

But God must have had that in mind.

Taira was going to need a lot of help from us in the last few months of her life and we were going to receive many priceless treasures by way of knowing her.

Taira was suppose to have another 40 years ahead of her. I could live to be 80, if I’m lucky, and the time I knew Taira could amount to only a small blip in the space of a lifetime.

It’s strange and special how much a couple of years can change an entire lifetime… forever.

"I’m Gonna Love You Through It" was a song that came from a true story and made another amazing, true story happen right before our eyes.

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Posted 22 weeks ago

Country music fans kicking off holiday giving projects

Carrying on a holiday tradition started by one cancer patient, Martina McBride fans are putting on their Team Martina shirts and launching holiday giving projects in many locations around the country.

This effort, in it’s third season, carries on the mission that one fan, Taira Baughman, started. Taira was one of the cancer survivors highlighted in the video for the song, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”. In 2011 she started an amazing gift outreach for cancer patients at Christmas time.

Country music fans around the country have been so inspired by her efforts that they have continued and expanded the outreach to cancer centers, children’s hospitals, homeless shelters and beyond.

Today I received this email:

"I along with my family will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless in Lake Elsinore, Ca. I do this to show my girls how privileged they are to have 3 meals a day, and a roof over their heads! I am a huge fan of Martina McBride, her songs really strike a cord with situations that I am currently dealing with in my own life."

Fans and volunteers in Cape Girardeau, MO, are collecting can goods and donations to prepare Thanksgiving meal baskets to give to patients at a local hospital this month. They will also be delivering Christmas stockings during the month of December

https://www.facebook.com/events/347364808733832/

A brand new chapter of Team Martina is forming in the Miami, FL, area to provide cancer patients with stockings stuffed full of handy supplies and fun treats during the Christmas season.

https://www.facebook.com/events/686536618026310/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&source=1

Team Martina groups in Florida, Michigan, and Alabama are preparing to deliver Christmas stockings to cancer patients for a 3rd holiday season this December.

More “doing good” holiday giving projects are getting fired up right now. Details coming soon!

sheila@teammartina.com

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Posted 23 weeks ago

Phone calls, interviews, and presidents... oh my

The other night my phone rang during dinner. I thought it was probably a sales person… but it wasn’t. It was a writer wanting to interview me about Team Martina. But it wasn’t the kind of interview I am used to where they just want to know how much money we’ve raised and only a few details.

This time someone wanted to hear more about our “back story”. How is it that a couple hundred people from 15 or 20 states and a few different countries find each other to come together and make a difference. And how and why do they keep doing it? Those were the questions the writer was asking me.

A couple of weeks ago I was notified that Team Martina will be recognized this week, on Oct 30, with a national Point Of Light award.  The Point Of Light Foundation is the nation’s largest organization that recognizes volunteer efforts in our country. 

The award was recently presented to NJ Gov. Chris Christie for his work during Hurricane Sandy and to Chicago Cub Kerry Wood for the foundation he started to help kids. And now they want to recognize Martina McBride’s team.

You may recall that the phrase “thousand points of lights” came from President George H.W. Bush’s famous address to the nation in 1989. Dana Carvey also parodied President Bush and his “points of light’ on Saturday Night Live many times in the 90’s.

The award we will receive this week will be personally signed by President Bush himself.

Back to the phone call… the next night my phone rang again. This time it was a reporter in Seattle. It seems that the Points Of Light people had decided to not only recognize Team Martina but they wanted to feature our unique story and do a larger piece about us.  Very cool!

It took about an hour on the phone to answer all of his questions. He had obviously done his homework on us. He asked some good questions and some that were a little tough. At the end of the call he said to me, “I think this is a pretty special and unique story”.

I do too.

Posted 24 weeks ago

One song and thousands of fans that sparked a movement

Music fans around the U.S., inspired by one song in 2011, decided to fight back against cancer and they started a worldwide movement. And that’s how Team Martina began…

I admit it… I’ve been a country music fan my whole life. I was a huge pop fan in 80’s, but I came back to country. And I’ve loved Martina McBride’s music for over 15 years.  My admiration of her music started like many of her fans - one of her songs seemed as if it was written about me. And it became an anthem. My mother was a victim of domestic violence for most of her 30 year marriage… and that’s how she tragically died in 1998. So, like in the song, she and I both got our “Independence Day” from a terrible situation, but I lost her.

Fast forward several years… I came to be an activist and fundraiser… but not for domestic violence – I was called to cancer causes. The first time I heard the Martina McBride song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Martina performed it live for her fan club party in Nashville, TN, in June 2011 and I was there. A song had not reached out and grabbed me in such a way since “Independence Day”. I knew that I had to take action.

Team Martina

Soon after, a friend and I started a cancer fundraising group called Team Martina.com inspired by the song. I had already had a lot of cancer fundraising experience and I thought it was a good idea. Members of Martina’s fan club joined our group. People came from all walks of life and from all over the country to meet us in Nashville. Some of us had known each other for years and some were meeting for the first time. And we all felt united around a song and compelled to help those suffering from cancer.

I had the idea to contact cancer survivors that appeared in the music video for the song. I started a desperate search to reach out to total strangers and try to convey what our team’s mission was and not have them think we were just crazy fans!  One survivor that answered my letter was Taira Baughman. She lived in Nashville and she was a young mother with 4 children. She was just like the woman in the song and had already survived a bout with stage 3 breast cancer at just 38 years of age.

Taira agreed to help me plan projects for our cancer fighting team and we set off to complete a 5 mile walk to benefit cancer research with the help of 40 other Martina McBride fans from 15 different states. They came by train, plane, and car – some crossed the country and traveled for hours to be with us. They trained for months and walked over 1000 cumulative miles while asking for donations. Martina heard about what we were doing and was so touched that she matched our efforts. Together we raised over $22,000 for cancer research.  It was an incredible experience filled with excitement and camaraderie.

Christmas soon rolled around and Taira and I knew that we wanted to do something to lift the spirits of cancer patients during the holidays. Team Martina went to work filling Christmas stockings. Fans from all over the nation joined in by purchasing small gifts for hospital patients. In all, 1200 chemotherapy patients received comforting gifts of books, music, lotions and hats from us. And Martina herself joined us in Nashville  at Christmas to sing carols to hospital patients and visit at their bedside. It was a magical holiday blessing that none of us will ever forget.

However, things for my friend Taira took a turn for the worse when she became ill and learned that her cancer had returned and spread. The doctors painted a grim picture… she had a rare type of cancer and they told her she might only live 1 to 2 years. Our team members were devastated. I had only known Taira for a few months and it seemed destined that we were meant to make a difference in the world together. How could this be happening? Now one of our own was battling cancer. What could we do?

Taira and her husband Rob have 4 children ranging in ages 4 to 18 and she is a talented wedding photographer owning her own business. She and Rob were still working to pay off the medical bills that insurance didn’t cover from her first battle with cancer when the second diagnosis came. Taira quickly became too ill to work and they feared their family would be financially devastated. They had already lost their home and were facing losing their business. And how would they be able to take care of their children?

Team Martina decided to come to the rescue of Taira by throwing a benefit concert in Nashville.  We contacted the gospel music group The Isaacs and asked them to perform and they agreed. The song “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” has a very special meaning for them as well because two of their members, Jimmy Yeary and Sonya Isaacs Yeary, wrote the song along with Ben Hayslip.  Incredibly, the song is a true story about Sonya’s mother being diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age and surviving it!  And, incredibly, Sonya and Taira had known each other for years prior to the song being written.

The concert was a beautiful success! Team Martina members once again united from around the U.S. to organize the event to raise thousands for Taira and her family. Grand Old Opry legend Connie Smith joined the show and it was a sell out. And much of the inspiration behind the concert was that Taira is such a courageous woman who always works to help and lift others up. Our team felt inspired to return the favor to her.

Team Martina has now raised over $55,000 for cancer causes and continues working to fight cancer in 2012 with more fundraisers and visits to patients around the country. People from around the world have volunteered to join us. We continue to encourage people with cancer and we strive to lift them up. And Taira is still fighting and still winning her battle with her team of country music fans at her side.

One song that sparked a movement that touched thousands of people around the world.

Like us and join us at http://www.facebook.com/teammartina

Twitter @TeamMartina2011

http://www.teammartina.com

Posted 90 weeks ago

Amazed and inspired every day...

When you wake up, are you amazed and inspired every day?  I am.

I used to take so much for granted. I was generally pretty happy, but it was like I was living with blinders over my eyes. I was happy with the work I was doing, but not set on fire by it.

That is… I wasn’t set on fire by work… until I started volunteering and working with cancer patients and causes a few years ago. It was something that I felt God calling me to do and I stepped out in faith.

Then we started Team Martina last year and, along with cancer survivors from Martina’s video for “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, we helped spark a movement around the country.

A movement of people, that don’t even know each other, uniting to take the hands of those struggling with cancer and to help raise money for cancer research and make the fight even stronger.

Today I learned of a lady that ran a 5K race in El Paso, Texas, in honor of our teammate Taira’s battle against cancer.

A group of people in Minnesota came together to walk against breast cancer.

A volunteer from California planned her vacation to another state around a cancer charity walk.

Another non profit organization in Nashville contacted me to ask how they can help me with one of our projects.

There are so many more like this… more stories and examples than I can name right now. It’s starting to happen now… almost everyday. Something happens almost every day that makes me say “WOW, I can’t believe this”.

Amazed and inspired every day. I wish this for you too.

In church this morning our pastor told us that God wants us to move from crisis faith, to confident faith, to contagious faith.

I think we see contagious faith. I see a contagious movement taking place all around me now. I see a fire set under other people that feel called to the same things I feel called to and they are stepping out in faith to make a difference… sometimes with people they don’t know over great distances… to reach out to other people and help them to fight cancer.

Amazed and inspired… every day

Posted 112 weeks ago

We're hosting The Isaacs!

TAIRA BAUGHMAN BENEFIT

An intimate concert with the Dove Award winners The Isaacs

And special guest Opry Legend Connie Smith

 

Just as music soothes the soul, compassion soothes the heart. During life’s most difficult journeys, compassion can be as instrumental as music. It’s a song that resonates in the heart—it’s the music of hope.

On March 29th, 2012, Madison Heights Baptist Church in Madison, Tennessee will feature the music of hope with The Isaacs and Connie Smith, together in a benefit concert for Taira Baughman and her family. Taira battled triple negative breast cancer, and is now fighting stage 4 metastasized breast cancer to the lungs. She’s been married for 19 years to Rob Baughman; they have four children, ages 4 – 18.

The Thursday evening concert will feature Dove award winners “The Isaacs” and Grand Ole Opry legend Connie Smith. Connie Smith has performed with award winning artists, including Martina McBride. Two members of The Isaacs family, Sonya Isaacs Yeary and husband Jimmy Yeary, along with Ben Hayslip, co-wrote “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” a song made famous this year by Martina McBride.

Soon after being featured as one of the survivors in Martina McBride’s new music video of “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” Taira Baughman began looking for a way to be instrumental in cancer patients lives. In just three weeks, she created the “Operation—We’re Gonna Love Them Through It,” project and orchestrated teams of angels around the nation. The project’s angels delivered over 1,000 stockings in ­thirteen states. Each stocking was filled with eleven hopeful items for cancer patients going through chemotherapy during the week of Christmas. Martina McBride joined Taira Baughman and her team for the delivery in Nashville.

Taira’s compassion for others is exemplary. Her remarkable faith is evident to everyone who knows her. To blog readers, her unfolding story is one of determination—one courageous step at a time. The Baughman family has experienced the full wrath of cancer, from physical to emotional to spiritual to financial. Yet, they are determined to beat cancer head on.

That is what inspired four organizations to come together to spearhead the benefit concert. Madison Heights Baptist Church, Team Martina, BecauseHopeMatters.com, and Middle Tennessee YMCA of Rutherford County—After Breast Cancer Program orchestrated all arrangements for the concert. The cost of cancer is high. But the potential of hope is much higher. It’s not walking in someone’s shoes that matters most, it’s your willingness to walk beside them that matters more.

Details and advanced tickets available at Madison Heights Baptist Church or online at www.TeamMartina.com.

Authored by: www.BecauseHopeMatters.com and www.TeamMartina.com

Posted 115 weeks ago

An Army Of Pink Marching Your Way

For the last few weeks Team Martina has been on red alert emergency response mode. Our teammate Taira has been severely ill. As you recall, Taira is one of the survivors from Martina McBride’s video for “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” and she joined our team of cancer fighters last Fall.

Unfortunately Taira’s cancer has returned and she has been diagnosed as stage 4. She is a young wife and mother of four kids ages 4 to 18… and she is an incredible lady who has already survived one bout with cancer. She is so selfless and does so much for others.

It is our turn now to come to her rescue.

One round of cancer would be all that most any family could handle and Taira and her family made it through the first time but it drained their finances. Now that they are facing another cancer crisis, they are in desperate need of help to pay bills and take care of their children.

Our team is like family and we have gone into high gear to help Taira… and we’ve picked up some new friends and team members along the way.

We started out not knowing exactly what we could do…

The last few weeks have brought us special opportunities to work with Taira’s church family at Madison Heights Baptist Church in Madison, TN, the YMCA After Breast Cancer programs in Middle TN, the Tennessee Breast Cancer Coalition and BecauseHopeMatters.com to name a few.

We have also been honored to collaborate with the co-writer of “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, Sonya Isaacs, and wonderful folks at Big Machine Records and Martina McBride.

What is emerging right before our eyes is an incredibly special and inspirational story of a large group of volunteers coming together.

We are stepping out in faith and being brave and trying things we never thought possible before to help our friend.

Taira, there is an army of pink soldiers marching your way. A huge family of people that love you and your family and we are coming to help. Yes, there are super heroes in the world who wear pink capes.

Everyone cares so much about you and we are working hard to return the goodness you have shown to so many. We have some projects in the works to help love you and your family through this.

Stay tune for more info to come very soon.

At this time donations can be made to Taira at:

Suntrust Bank Taira Baughman Benefit Fund 15375 Lebanon Rd Old Hickory, TN 37138

Team Martina will also be participating in the 2012 Nashville Relay For Life this year on May 4 in Taira’s honor.

Thank you everyone for supporting our team and helping us help those who are fighting cancer.

Posted 116 weeks ago

Angel in PA

One of our Team Martina angels brought home so much inspiration from Nashville that she delivered Christmas stockings to almost 200 cancer patients in western PA! Around the U.S. over 1200 chemo patients received gifts from Team Martina and Operation Love!

Posted 118 weeks ago

Hanging out with Martina McBride and doing good in the world

So a lot of people have asked us what it’s like to hang out with Martina McBride? Honestly… it’s pretty darn cool! We started Team Martina in 2011 to fight cancer and Martina has been behind us all the way.

She came with us a few days ago to deliver Christmas stockings to cancer patients at St Thomas Hospital in Nashville. This was a fun and amazing opportunity for team members to spread joy to chemo patients during the holidays AND we got to hang out with Martina and chat and … compare footwear! Fun!!!

Martina is an amazing lady… simply put. She really cares and it shines through. The whole project started coming together in November when one of our team members, Taira Baughman (a cancer survivor herself), came up with the idea for Operation We’re Gonna Love ‘Em Through It http://www.operationlove.net


While Taira worked on organizing the Christmas stocking drive with our team, Sheila Jones worked with Martina’s crew to pave the way for her visit to cancer patients in the hospital.

It’s not always easy for one of the most famous music artists in the world to drop everything and show up any old place she wants to - there are teleconferences, trains, planes, meetings, tweets, media, schedules, plates spinning, GPS’s recalibrating… YIKES!

But Martina and team worked hard on it and it was an AMAZING day. Martina is as gentle and kind as she is beautiful.

She gave us big, heartfelt hugs… there was a lot of hugging and high 5’ing going on in this group, we’re here to tell you! It was like the best family reunion ever. We got to have a little time as friends and then we surprised the patients in the hospital with one of the most famous entertainers in the world for Christmas!

Tour manager extraordinaire Mark Hively and world’s best drummer Greg Herrington were there along with the terrific Tracy Weaver. Mark showed up extra early to help Sheila with last minute details. Greg brought his beautiful kids to help us stuff the stockings. Tracy was a blast as always providing comedic relief to the patients.


And we welcomed special guest Jimmy Harnen and his son Luke as our honorary team members… Jimmy is a rock star, artist, and music row genius himself! And just so happens to be president of Republic Records Nashville.

We sang Christmas carols to all the patients and staff in the chemo therapy rooms… yes accompanied by one of the top female vocalist the world has ever known!! Incredible!


And we met with some of the best cancer doctors in the world with some of the hardest jobs in the world.

Definitely a day none of us will ever forget!

So, would you like to join Team Martina on a project to fight cancer in 2012??  Yeah, we thought so! Check us out and drop us a line  http://www.teammartina.com


Posted 119 weeks ago
<p>Martina McBride and Team Martina deliver Christmas stockings to cancer patients at St Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN</p>

Martina McBride and Team Martina deliver Christmas stockings to cancer patients at St Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN

Posted 119 weeks ago