When acclaimed interior decorator Roxanne Hughes Packham began making trips to Romania with her husband to provide much needed dental care to Romanian orphans, she knew immediately she wanted to do more to help. The only question was how. Certainly her husband’s dental skills changed lives, but her own talent lay in a field she felt was far less crucial to children who would never experience the comfort of a parent’s goodnight kiss, much less the luxury of having a beautifully decorated home. She could not help but wonder how she could possibly use her own talents to make a difference in these children’s lives.
That question was answered as Roxanne began to realize that every gift of God, no matter how impractical it might appear to be, can be used to help others. Choosing to incorporate this newfound realization into a mother/daughter project that would be both enjoyable and meaningful, after much prayer and contemplation Roxanne joined with her teenage daughter, Hannah, to write Inspired Design, a stunning book with comfortable coffee-table styling that focuses on heritage and hospitality. Filled with photographs, stories and helpful guidance for celebrating one’s own personal traditions, Inspired Design is designed to inspire even the most casual reader to create a loving environment in his or her own home.
“Design without a purpose means very little to me,” Roxanne explained. “My deepest desire was to do a meaningful project with my daughter that would be more than just me instructing Hannah on how to do something. Gradually, through daily prayer, the idea of a book that we could write, photograph and style together came to me. But since we are also told that we should ‘be in the world, not of it’ I felt that meant that we should not profit monetarily from the project.”
Once published, the mother/daughter team made the decision to devote the proceeds from book sales to Heart of Hope Ministries International, a Portland-based ministry serving children in Romania. Providing education, vocational training and a place to live for those older children displaced from the state-run orphanages, Heart of Hope Ministries International also maintains a summer-long camp for those children of Romania’s most impoverished families.
With her original intention fulfilled, through continued prayer and reflection, Roxanne soon realized that striving to use God-given talents with excellence was a precept she not only wanted to impart to Hannah but also to teenage girls everywhere. It was through that stream of thought that Inspired31.org was born.
“At the book launch for Inspired Design,” Roxanne recalled, “the response from mothers and teenage daughters who loved the idea of our mother/daughter project was astounding. Over and over again these women and their daughters told me how touched they were by what Hannah and I had done and how they wished there was something out there to help train their daughters in the same kind of fun atmosphere the book launch had provided.
“In our culture today, being a vibrant, fun and faithful Christian woman can be quite challenging. Our goal became to change that by focusing on a variety of Christian women from a variety of venues. We didn’t just want professional speakers, per se, but rather newscasters, doctors, producers, accident survivors, homemakers, designers and bakers all coming forward to speak to the girls in a comfortable environment. In this way, we could showcase not only many different types of women God has created, but also how He uses each to touch others in a myriad of ways.
“So many teens stray from their faith in college,” Roxanne continued. “Beginning with my own daughter especially, I wanted girls everywhere to know that no matter what you choose to study and whatever field you go into you can stay solid in your beliefs and use them to the glory of Christ. Ultimately our goal at Inspired31.org is to point the girls to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, the author of their story. It is through this relationship (in prayer and reading scripture) they will discover their true purpose.”
Because so many mothers have expressed an interest in sharing projects with their daughters, new chapters of Inspired31.org are being formed across the country by women and girls eager to replicate the program in their own local church communities.
“So many mothers and daughters and individual girls have been inspired by the different aspects,” Roxanne said. “Inspiration has come not only from the speakers, but simply through providing a place where these girls can relax and bond while learning something meaningful. The mentoring aspect of senior girls to freshman girls has been tremendous, as has the other mothers to daughters. We have also been able to take girls in who don’t have a spiritual mother figure in their lives, and that has been wonderful as well. The blessings are far beyond what we could have ever imagined.”
It is a message she and Hannah now joyfully point out to others through Inspired31.org. And through Heart of Hope Ministries International, she and Hannah are making Roxanne’s initial dream of using her God-given talents in service to others come true. Because the mother/daughter aspect of the ministry has been so successful, Roxanne and her husband, Scott, are now launching Iron27 for fathers and sons.
Today, Roxanne has transitioned from working during school hours as an interior decorator to focusing on the ministry aspects of Inspired31.org full time. She makes her home with Scott and their children, Hannah and Justin, in Southern California.
Hannah Packham is continuing her family’s long tradition of design excellence through her interest in photography. She has made mission trips to Costa Rica and Romania and was selected/participated in the Rotary International Leadership Conference. A senior in high school, Hannah is a member of the National Honor Society and is a CIF pole-vaulter.
Sample chapters and information on ordering copies of Inspired Design are available on www.InspiredDesignPublications.com. For more information regarding Inspired31.org or to learn more about beginning your own chapter, please visit www.Inspired31.org.
For weekly inspiration in combining hospitality with family, design and Christ-centered advice, see www.InspiredDesignPublications.blogspot.com for photographs, scripture and humorous anecdotes.
To learn more about how you can use your talents to help the orphans of Romania, visit Heart of Hope Ministries International at www.HeartofHope.org.