Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baby Steps : A Bit About Noonday Collection

So yesterday I shared with you that God has been moving.

I need less.

I want to give more.

Where I spend my money matters just as much as how I spend it.

So, like I mentioned, when God reveals, He typically asks for action.

Enter my friend, Bethany - Noonday Ambassador.  One morning I was at a play date at Bethany's house sharing with her some of my most recent revelations and convictions.  Bethany is one of the beautiful ambassadors for Noonday Collection.  In fact, I have been invited on two different occasions to her Noonday Trunk shows.  Both times I made up a lame excuse and stayed home because there are few things I hate more in this world than attending a direct sales party in some one's home and feeling pressure to buy whatever product is being sold.  Because, as discussed earlier, I am cheap.  I like to buy things cheaply.  I hate sales pressure.  I am a bad friend.

But Noonday is not hawking personalized bags in every possible size and print.  They are not trying to stock my kitchen with millions of gadgets - they have a much bigger mission than the product they sell.  Noonday is attempting to provide a means of income for women across the globe to alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship.

"Noonday Collection uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for vulnerable people throughout the world.

At the heart of Noonday’s approach to empowerment and impact is job creation. Your purchases create sustainable and dignified work for over one thousand artisans around the globe.

At Noonday, we love to find ways to care for our artisans and their families. We strive to support them both directly and through partner organizations by providing zero interest loans, school scholarships, emergency assistance, and business development training."  -

Bethany listened to all my thoughts, convictions, and questions about what this looks like?  This "being a responsible consumer."  

Then she asked me to host a trunk show.  

I started sweating.  

And then I said yes.  

So, next Friday I am praying that many of my Rochester friends will gather in my basement to learn more about Noonday Collection.  Not so they can acquire cute accessories.  Although, EVERYTHING made by the Noonday artisans is Ah-mazing.  I'm not hosting the party so I can earn free jewelry.  I simply want to start the dialogue.  I want to share what it looks like to purchase from an ethical company.  It's a baby step.  If no one buys anything it will still be a huge success.  Because knowledge is power.  

If you are interested in supporting Noonday Collection with your purchase please head on over and find something for a beautiful woman in your life.  And if you find a little something for yourself, that's okay too.  :)

I am eagerly anticipating this gathering of friends.  I love an opportunity to drink wine, eat good food and dream about making some kind of a difference in this world.  Hopefully, I'll see you there.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Your Slavery Footprint

I feel like this last year has been one of great growth.  It all started when I read this book.  From there, God slowly started changing my heart and opening my eyes.  Last January when I read Jen Hatmaker's book, 7: An Experimental Mutniy Against Excess, I remember feeling completely compelled but also terrified about what this would look like fleshed out.  A call to live with less, on less and to give away more.  I wasn't sure what this would look like for our family and I was terrified that this new understanding about my role and responsibility to mankind would fade over time.  I didn't want apathy to resettle on my heart.

But, like always, God is faithful.  He opened my eyes and I could suddenly see multiple ways I could live out the life He'd called His people to.  It's like when you're learning a new word and all of a sudden you hear it used everywhere.  Knowledge has a way of uncovering opportunity.

One particular opportunity is taking ownership over the goods I consume and purchase.  I hate to admit that I am just now starting to think about where my goods come from.  Who made them?  Why they might be priced so low?  Anyone who knows me knows that I am always on the hunt for a bargain.  But my frugality might be more harmful than I realize.

I stumbled upon this website, Made in a Free World to learn more about my slavery footprint.  I challenge you to take the interactive survey and learn more about your impact through consumerism.

Goods made ethically will cost more.  I might be able to buy less of them.  But freedom has never come cheap.

My friend, Liz, wrote a powerful piece for the Huffington Post.  Read it here.

I love her closing thought:

It doesn't take an iron will to decide that just maybe you don't need another cheap tank top or to decide to buy that chocolate from a company that abides by fair trade principles.

It only takes believing. Believing that you, in the simple acts of listening and speaking and giving and abstaining, can change the course of history.
One by one. Little by little. Step by step we can walk together and as President Obama said "declare as one that slavery has no place in our world, and.... finally restore to all people the most basic rights of freedom, dignity, and justice."
I often wonder, how can I do anything?  What difference can I possibly make?  But if we're not a tiny piece of the solution, we're part of the problem.  Educate yourself, advocate for others, engage.  It is for freedom, I have set you free.  -Jesus (Galatians 5:1)   

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lakin Says

It's no secret, winter is beating us down.  My least favorite thing about this long season is all the work it takes to get two kids out the door.  Hats and gloves and zippers and boots... they are all making me lose my mind... and my patience on a daily basis.

On one particular morning I was corralling my children and wrestling my son while trying to get his arms into the sleeves of his coat, only to turn around and find that Lakin had removed the snow pants, boots and socks I'd just sweat through my t-shirt to put her in.  Aaaaaand I got a little snippy in my tone when asking her to put her socks and boots back on before I threw my hands up in surrender and laid on the floor in defeat.  (I don't know where my children get their dramatic tendencies.)

Twenty minutes and some tears later we were buckled in the car and on our way to our destination.  From the backseat Lakin interjects:

Lakin:  Mom, I did not like your words this morning.  They were not nice. Why were you so mad talking?

Me:  You are right, I was frustrated.  Sometimes I struggle to have patience when I have to repeatedly ask you to do the same thing.

Lakin: But you were mean about it.

Me: I'm sorry, you're right I shouldn't have spoken with anger.

Lakin:  It's okay.  I am giving you grace.

Me: Grace.  What does that mean?

Lakin: It means you do something and I say it's okay and its like you never did it.

Surprised by her understanding of a pretty cool and complex concept.

Me: Thanks.  I appreciate how quickly you always give me grace.

Lakin:  Yeah.  You need lots of it.  Especially when you yell, "No, no no," all the time. (Which, for the record, my yelling is usually not just  limited to "No, no, no."  I feel misrepresented.)

Every car ride since Lakin reminds me that she offered grace that time I yelled and lost my cool.  We then discussed how grace keeps no record and does not continue to bring up old offenses.  To which Lakin nods her head and reminds me yet again of her grace giving ways.  Children can be so humbling.

Last night Lakin was jumping all over the furniture upstairs and after repeatedly asking her to stop she fell and banged her knee.  All my tenderness and empathy reminded her of how I'd asked her half a dozen times earlier to quit being a monkey all over the sofa and through tears she said, "YOU HAVE TO SHOW ME GRACE!" Apparently we still have some understanding to gain on the concept.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Lakin Says

 Lakin: I want to go to the RATS (this is what the calls the RAC rochester Athletic Club). 

Me: Well, we're not members yet. It's an expensive commitment and Dad and I are still debating if we can afford to join. 

Lakin: I have two dimes. Will that cover it? 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Things are getting real up in here.

For the last year or so, Lakin has taken such pride in dressing herself.  She has opinions, strong opinions, about what to wear.  It's not always seasonally appropriate and most definitely it's her own artistic flare, but it bring her great joy to pick out all articles of clothing for each day.

This is all fine and good.  It is adorable to take your three-year-old to Costco while wearing polka dots, stripes and three tutus layered atop one another.  I'm cool with this, really, that's not the issue.

The issue became when Lakin would tear her drawers apart to put together the most fabulous of ensembles and leave her room a catastrophic mess every single time she dressed herself.  Oh, and the four to five wardrobe changes that occurred throughout the day (not an exaggeration).  Clothes were strewn about her room and all over my house.  It was not uncommon for me to come across some underwear on my kitchen floor, a pair of leggings stuffed into the couch cushions and socks on socks on socks in every corner of the house.  I was losing it and Lakin would promise to be more careful, to keep her drawers in order, to put her dirty clothes in the hamper... but alas, she's three and those promises, they be a empty.

In one dramatic moment I threatened to take all the clothes away, out of her room and out of her grasp, if she did not begin treating her things and our home with more respect.  Later that same day, I opened the door of her room to find that my little heart to heart had no affect on my little fashionista.  The drawers we so diligently put back together were a straight mess.  As was everything in her room.  If it had a place on a shelf, it was on the floor.

It was in that moment that I took everything out of her room.  Everything.  I put her clothes in a plastic bin to be dispensed daily by yours truly.  No more picking out her clothes.  Only one outfit and one pair of pajamas a day.  The books and the toys found new homes in the playroom.  Lakin's room now holds a twin size bed, an empty dresser, a digital clock, and a very empty closet.  Next step is a padded cell.

Sunday was the day we cleared her room out.  There were some tears.  Lakin insisted that we couldn't take her stuff out of her room.  Bahahahaha.  After a few hours of no wardrobe change and no chance of a new outfit, my resourceful daughter found her preschool backpack, removed the back up outfit that the teachers require you to pack in case of an accident at school, and put on her neon yellow skinny jeans (the ones she never let me put on her when I would suggest them) and a purple top.  I had to laugh.  Even with no clothes in her room, she found a way to change her outfit.  Desperate times call for desperate measures ... to the tune of too tight skinny jeans.

The next morning she had new socks on when she came upstairs.  She'd found them under her bed.  Stuffed there months ago during one of her major clothing rampages.

Points for persistence, my dear.  We've now found and removed all of Lakin's secret clothing stashes.

When I was a teenager, I remember my mom telling me about a man she worked with, he'd taken his son's dirty clothes, the ones he'd continually left on his bedroom floor instead of putting them in a hamper like they'd asked, and laid them out on his front lawn.  I used to think he was mean for embarrassing his kids like that.  I now have a new appreciation for guerrilla parenting tactics like that.  I'm putting it in my back pocket for the teen years.  Because, sometimes, you gotta make things a bit uncomfortable for your kiddies.

This momma ain't afraid to get a little unconventional up in here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I Heart the Children's Museum, alternately titled: Get Us Out of the House!

The Rochester Children's Museum just changed their exhibits.  It's Wild West and Nursery Rhymes.  We had a blast exploring all the new stuff last weekend.  Ben basically ran around and knocked things over.  Specially, the big block wall these older boys were building.  Did it about three different times, just as they were delicately placing the final block on the wall... Ben would pop around the corner and give it a good punch.  Luckily, they thought it was endearing.

Lakin loved the cowboy dress up.  Wore those white boots pretty much the whole time we were there.  She makes a pretty cute little cowgirl.

Highlights from the morning include: face painting and whispering sweet nothing to Peanut, the guinea pig, for Lakin and Ben was content to run back and forth across the bridge and push a tractor throughout the museum.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Words to Live By...

I want to slow down.  I want less.  I think the kids do too.

Recently I have felt the clutter that fills our lives and I don't like what it does to all of our hearts.

This is my prayer for our family this year.