Archive | November, 2013

What She Wore Wednesday – Give with IMPACT

For today’s What She Wore Wednesday post I have the honor of featuring my dear friend Katie Medill. Talk about having an IMPACT,  Katie not only works all day imparting love, knowledge and wisdom to 7th graders, she does it while looking amazing and positively impacting the world with her fashion choices! She was kind enough to let me sneak into her classroom and get a few shots of her in action.

teachingDoesn’t this photo completely capture Katie’s impact?

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Grading papers never looked so good!  Katie’s watch not only looks good but also helps set people free from slavery and empowers them for a different future! Purchasing this watch (or any other product) from Sak Saum enables them to fulfill their mission of rescuing, rehabilitating, transforming, and vulnerable and exploited men and women.

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Katie’s bracelet and necklace are handmade by women in Uganda working for 31Bits.  31Bits is an innovative business that is employing and providing educational opportunities for women in Uganda. You can read more about them here.

All of these products and more will be available at the Give with IMPACT Holiday Gift Market. See you there!Give with Impact2

I have the best friends ever. Working on the Give with IMPACT Gift Market has been such a great reminder of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such amazing, inspiring, passionate woman. Thank you, Katie, for all the impacts your are making!

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Also, check out the other What I Wore Wednesday’s over at The Pleated Poppy!

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Giving with an IMPACT through Noonday

When you satisfy the needs of the oppressed,  your night will become like the noonday.

Isaiah 58:10

What a treat, we have another guest blogger today, Heidi Fry, from Bozeman, Montana.  She will be driving down to Sheridan this weekend for the Give with IMPACT Holiday Market!!! Give with Impact2I’m so excited to meet her in person and see all the goodies she will be bringing.  She is an ambassador with Noonday Collection (one of my favorite companies ever – I have posted about them here, here and here!) Below Heidi tells us a little bit about herself and why she is so passionate about impacting the world through her work with Noonday.

When I was little, my father guided mountains for a living. The really cool part about that was that most of the time, my sister and I got to go with him. We were blessed to travel the world throughout our childhood and into our young adult lives. Because of this, I met, experienced and interacted first hand with adult and children from other cultures. I remember being in awe at the amazing things that people in other countries created and being impressed with the fact that they still created things by hand! Along with this, I also saw people who were starving, children without families and/or homes and knew that when I grew up, I wanted to make a difference in lives around the world.

I have spent my life doing just that, in one way or another. Last year, I felt that God was calling our family to be involved in advocating for orphaned and oppressed. I immediately became involved in a local adoption group and fell in love with the families who had opened their hearts and lives to the fatherless. I spent hours in prayer asking the Lord how I could minister to these families and still be able to help others. I stumbled across a company called Noonday Collection and my life was forever changed.

Noonday was founded by an adopting mother who bought and sold goods from Rwanda to help raise funds for their adoption. She noticed how not only were these items gorgeous, but her purchases of them helped both the artisans in Rwanda as well as her adoption here in the USA. Her trunk shows became so popular that she launched the Noonday Collection, selling handmade goods, from select groups of artisans in vulnerable countries, all over the world. A portion of all sales go towards putting orphans in forever homes, empowering the poor through employment and giving people a safe and dignified work place to call their own.

Noonday Collection trunk shows enable American women to advocate for these artisans by wearing, carrying or displaying their goods. It also enables families to fund raise for their adoptions since Noonday Collection will send 10% of an adoption trunk show’s sales to that family’s adoption agency. ***We will be supporting the Otto Family adoption at Give with IMPACT!

Nelson Mandela said,

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

I absolutely love to educate! My involvement with Noonday enables me to education others about what poverty truly looks like and how these incredible artisans are working to pull themselves out! Here are a few great things to learn…

Our purchasing power here in the USA enables these artisans to lift themselves out of poverty, to have access to medical care, child care, education and a living wage to care for their families with.

These jobs enable mothers to care for and keep their children. In turn this can help decrease the 153 million orphans worldwide.

Beautiful jewelry made from up-cycled artillery (shells from the conflict war, in farmers fields, melted down and mixed with metals) enable HIV+ women in Ethiopia to know that they have a future that is bright and hopeful.

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Our purchases enable families in Guatemala to use their phenomenal art of hand weaving to create gorgeous scarves for us to wear and be excited to tell others about.

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The necklace that I am wearing is enabling a small group of artists in Ecuador to save for their children to be fed and educated. Talk about paying it forward!

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My ten year old daughter’s favorite purse was created by a woman in Rwanda who was able to go to sewing school on a scholarship and begin to sew for a living. You know what is the best part about that? When people ask her about it, she loves to tell people all about her purse. country-rwanda

As an ambassador for the Noonday Collection, my favorite emails are the ones with letters from our artisans updating us on their families and how their lives are changing. They absolutely melt my heart.

I am honored that so many women, ask me to come to their homes and communities to educate their friends and family about the changes that can be made simply by choosing to purchase items from a company that knows the names and children’s names of the artists making their pieces. Not only do I get to educate but I am also able to help families raise funds for adoptions as Noonday Collection will donate up to 20% of sales to adopting families. On top of that, I will personally donate another 10% of all sales. I hope that when you are considering a small treat for yourself, a statement necklace for that little black dress or a holiday gift for friends and family that you will consider purchasing from the Noonday Collection. You can find their incredible fall/winter line HERE.

Thanks for sharing Heidi. We can’t wait to see you and Noonday this Saturday!!!

If you want to read or know more about Heidi you can check out here blog here www.montanafryfamily.blogspot.com

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African Soles

Today we are showcasing another company whose products you can find at the Gift Market – African Soles!

To help us truly understand the type of IMPACT we can have when we put our money where our hearts are, Jen, the the founder of African Soles, is sharing the story of Florentine with us today.

Florentine's Wish sandals

Florentine is a real woman whose life has been positively impacted by African Soles.  This story is especially sentimental for me as the pair of sandals I own (above) from African Soles are called Florentine’s Wish, after Florentine!! You can read a bit about them here and here in a few of my very first blog posts!

IMPACTING ONE AT A TIME

Sometimes it is hard not to feel guilty because I am so blessed.  Each day when I get up I have a choice of what to wear, not just one set of clothes.  I have a choice for my breakfast; not worried about if there is food to eat. My children are expected by law to go to school.  They do not stay home because I do not have the school fees required to send them.  And while we have many poor in North America, there are systems in place to help.  We have welfare, food banks, job banks, free education, free medical services and free legal services. In Uganda, especially if you are a refugee, there is nothing in place to help you.

When I first went to Uganda I noticed a very pretty refuge woman who came and sat through all our meetings.  One thing I noticed about this woman was that she never smiled.  She always had such a sad look about her.   I asked Anne Mwangi, our leader on the ground in Uganda, what this woman’s story was.  Anne told me that her name was Florentine.  She was one of the fortunate women who escaped from the Congo with her husband and five children.  When they reached Kampala, her husband became so discouraged because he could find no work that he left her and the children.  She was now left to raise the children on her own.  Even though she looked so young, she had a 19-year-old son who could only find jobs for one day here and there, not enough to support them.  Her 16-year-old daughter was contemplating going into prostitution because it was the only way she could think of to make money.  Florentine often thought of taking her own life but knew then there would no one to look after her children.

It was for women like Florentine that I started African Soles that year.  It took a while to get the business off the ground and to make enough money to start giving out business grants to women.  Before we started giving money to the refugee women, Anne and I decided we should have a 3 day business training course so that once given money, these women would know how to budget and run a small business.  In their culture they live for today because they really don’t believe they have a future.  The business training taught them about marketing, budgeting and some learned a new skill.

Florentine’s original desire had been to start a sewing business but when the time came to help her she had changed her mind.  She decided that she wanted to make cheese and sell it to the hotels in town.  One day Anne ran into her in the one of the hotels and she just had to take her picture to send to me.  I hardly recognized that same very sad woman who I had met a few years before.  This was a woman that had hope and dignity and was doing something she enjoyed and was able to meet her expenses.  Her life is still not easy by North American standards but it has changed and she is able to smile again.

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This is Florentine as I first met her … sad and despondent.

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This is Florentine a few years later, selling her cheese to one of the local hotels.

I know we cannot help everyone who has needs but that shouldn’t stop us from helping all that we can. I believe that God has instructed us to see beyond ourselves.

James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

Just seeing the smile on Florentines face is encouragement enough for me to continue with African Soles and impact one at a time.

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Want to join Jen in having a positive impact?

It is easy! Check out their website here to read more about them and see all their products! If you live in Sheridan come to the Give with IMPACT Holiday Gift Market and see the products in real life!!! Here is a sneak peek…

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Jenny African Soles

The Give with IMPACT Holiday Gift Market is only 9 days away!

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Creative Women of the World

Give with IMPACT is only 11 days away!!!

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We are so excited to share so many great products from amazing companies with our community and you all! The first company that we have the privilege of working is Creative Women of the World (CWoW).  Creative Woman of the World supports artisans throughout the globe to use their own creativity and ingenuity to create items to sell in a world market. They believe in the power of creativity as a solution for poverty! Oh, I just love that last line, it speaks to the human potential made in the image of a very creative God!

Their creativity can definitely be seen in their products.  Here is a sneak peek of some of the items you will be able to find at the Holiday Gift Market~

Earrings~

CWoW Earrings

Handmade paper products~

Handmade Cards

And so many other great products~

CWoW Products

Creative Women of the World is truly an inspiring organization and by purchasing their products we are supporting their beautiful mission:

1. CWOW teaches effective business practices that encourage women to create sustainable businesses that protect the triple bottom line. CWOW believes in building businesses that protect all the people involved, protect the planet we live in and protect the artisan company’s profit. When women build that kind of business her family and her whole community will be elevated.

2. CWOW encourages & rewards creative exploration and quality craftsmanship through grants and micro-loans so artisan businesses can grow.

3. CWOW broadens the market for artisan’s products so they are not limited by their local economic realities but can gain necessary access to a much broader market.

Thank you Creative Women of the World for letting us be a part of the important work you are doing!

If you don’t live in Sheridan and are interested in purchasing some of their products check our their online store here.

Otherwise we hope to see you on November, 16th!!

 

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Gratitude is the attitude

Gratitude is the attitude that I want to have more and more and more of!

It seems like idea of increasing and showing thankfulness through journals and trees and posts and tweets has become really trendy in the last few years, which I think is great, because, honestly, I can’t think of a better TREND.

So, yes I am jumping on the Thankful bandwagon and sharing some of my ideas on how to add a little more gratitude to my days!. It is Thanksgiving season after all (even though my Pandora station may imply that I already think it is another season…falalalalalalalala)

Anyway, a little more thankfulness, yes please, sign me up. Which is exactly what I did, I signed up for the Gratitude Challenge:

21DayChallengeI have no idea what the challenge will be like, but I figure anything and everything that encourages the attitude of gratitude is a good thing.  According to the website “the Gratitude Challenge will be geared to make us tune in to all the ways in which we constantly receive.”  Oh, how I have been given so much and can sometimes be so oblivious to these many many gifts.  Getting in tune sounds like just what I need. What about you?

Want to join me? Click here to sign up.

Not up for a 21 day challenge? No worries, check out these super cute and free printables to add a touch of Thankfulness to your home:

Blessing Card

A fun way to count your blessings from HelloBee

Thankful banner

A Thankful Banner form Shanty 2 Chic

Or this freebie from A Bird and A Bean printed several of these off at Walgreens and have given them with cards etc. and have a large one hanging on my fridge: givethanks

Here’s to a great week and a season full of Gratitude!

 

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Give with IMPACT

Phew.  The last month was hard month for me; a few set backs and discouragement and  lots questioning…

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For those of you who don’t know my husband and I have been working on launching a non-profit for just over a year now – www.consumersinchrist.org.  Our vision is to be an online resource where consumers can find and buy products  that align with Christian beliefs (support justice, pay fair wages, set captives free, honor the environment, etc.) and support organizations that are working to impact the world with Christ’s love.   We had planned to officially launch the site and open the marketplace for business in October.  Unfortunately, as October approached it became increasingly clear that the web firm we had hired to build the site was no to be able to deliver the product they had promised and that they had taken some serious short cuts when it came to the coding and security of the site.   We are so thankful that we discovered the issues before taking the site public and praise God for his hand in that.  Nonetheless, the set back was difficult for me as we had to terminate our relationship with this company and are now working with another firm to re-build the site.  We know that the new site will be better than ever, and most importantly, as secure as can be…but unfortunately, not ready for holiday shopping.  Not having our site up for Nov-Dec was difficult to accept, as it impacts our business plan and caused us to re-evaluate our next steps.

The process ended up being extremely beneficial as through it we were re-confirmed in our passion and dedication to Consumers in Christ and are pressing on with renewed excitement and vigor!

the light where you find it

Not wanting to let go of our desire to step away from the typical consumerism mind-set this holiday season and wanting to honor the call to support business that are making awesome impacts in the world, I started praying about what we could do. And fortunately I got an answer…

Give with IMPACT!!!

For the upcoming holiday season, we are fortunate to be partnering with 7 amazing woman in our community to bring Give with Impact, A Holiday Gift Market to the Sheridan!

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I am so excited to be partnering with these ladies and these organizations. I think it is to going to be a very special time and event.  If you live in Sheridan – We hope you can COME!  Come see these products and hear the stories, there is no pressure to buy anything. More than anything we want to share the work and the impact that these companies are having! If nothing else, you will leave inspired. I PROMISE!

We will have products from 6 different, amazing, beautiful, and impactful organizations~  AfricaSoles, Noonday Collection, 31 Bits, Creative Women of the World, Sak Saum, and Equal Exchange. Stay tuned as I will be providing all the details about the companies and sneak peeks on the products in the coming weeks.

 

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P.S. – Don’t worry if you don’t live in Sheridan, I will be presenting several opportunities to shop online so you can take part and Give with Impact form a distance too!

Have a great weekend!

 

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