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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Introducing My Trades of Hope

Hey, there!  Remember me?

I’ve been so hit and miss this summer, er, fall, with this whole writing and blogging. There should be a conference for that. Oh, wait... Ironic is it that I’ve been to busy while helping to get the fabulous Allumeconference ready for this October? I’m so looking forward to the speakers, the music, the swag, but mostly the AMAZING people that I will be with all weekend long!!!

For realz, y’all! One of my best friends in the world will be there, friends from out of the country and across the country will be there!! I’m so stinking excited to lay hands and eyes on these gals – a few guys, too.

Of course, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I only did one thing at a time. That’s like only reading one book at a time. Who does that??

So besides hammering nails into walls a la The Nester and a couple other projects I’m working on, I signed up for a new home-based job.  I’d love to introduce you to Trades of Hope.  I am now a Compassion Entrepreneur, or a CE as we say in the sisterhood. (Don’t run off, this is really good stuff.  Honest!)

I’ve known about TOH and pondered joining their ranks for months now.  To tell the truth, I don’t exactly know how I first discovered them.  As far as I can tell it was either through twitter or through one of their artisan groups.  Follow enough ethical fashion organizations, world-changers, and general do-gooders and eventually it will lead you to Trades of Hope.

Simply put, Trades of Hope is based on the good ole home party shopping model.  Here’s the twist:  all items are hand-made, Fair Trade, and directly impact the lives of the artisans who make the jewelry, scarves, bags, journals, and home d├ęcor.  Here’s the why and how:

“So many women live in poverty, not because they lack abilities, but because they lack opportunity. We started Trades of Hope to give women that opportunity for a better life. Each woman has a story, and with Trades of Hope's help, their story has changed from pain and struggle to a story of HOPE!

“Our artisans make approximately 6 times more than they would normally make in the context of their country. Trades of Hope is not a charity or a not for profit. We believe sustainable business is a long-term solution for change over charity.”

I have an open party on Facebook right now.  I’d love for you to join us.  If you like what you see and would like to host your own party, just let me know.  I’d love to make that happen for you.  If you really, really love it and want to join me – I can make that happen to.  Let’s talk.


So this party, it’s my first and I’m hosting it myself for myself.  That’s not really much fun.  I’d rather host it for YOU.  Anyone who places an order by midnight Saturday, September 27, will have their name placed in a drawing.  The winner will have the party changed into their name and receive all the hostess rewards from the party.  The party doesn’t close until October 14.  This gives you plenty of time to invite even more of your own friends to join in.

Hope on over and take a look.  Not on Facebook, but still interested?  Go to my personal website.  If you place an order, you will still be entered.  Unfortunately, this is for the 50 United States and APO addresses only.  Hang in there Canada.  Hopefully we’ll get to you, too.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Update: Loving our South African Neighbors

Y'all!  You know me by now.  You know I'm certainly not the most consistent blogger on the block.

Big surprise!

I also hope, though that you know that I have passions that run deep - especially when it comes to helping others live lives of dignity.  I have a long furrowed sense of fair play.  I think that comes from being a rule-following first child.

There are organizations and fundraisers that I have supported, probably to your annoyance.  I can't help it.

You need to see what has been accomplished by you and so many others just like you.  If you look over to the right just a little you will see this box.

So this is what we want to do now straight from Lisa-Jo:


First things first.  Sign up for a Pure Charity account right here.  While you are there install the pop-up that will show you when you are shopping with a Pure Charity partner.  You can add to your giving fund just by clicking when you shop.  Easy Peasy.

You can make your donation by simply clicking right here.  If you can't give, would you mind sharing these posts on twitter, facebook, with your friends?  We'd appreciate that.

Go visit Lisa-Jo to get the scoop on all that this money - and YOU - have accomplished. Then read about what comes next.  We will keep falling in love with the world next door!

Here are some teasers to whet your appetite courtesy of Take Action.  Wait until you see the progress.

Can you even stand this cuteness??  Really!

Let's finish this!  Are you in?  Let me know.  #WeAre461

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Begin with Bacon

Five Minute Friday

It's our last link up with the lovely Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday.  Next week we will  link up with the lovely Kate Motaung, who has been handed the baton for hosting.  So grab a timer, open up a new document and let the words fly free!!  When you're finished add your post, encourage the one who psted before you with a comment and read away.   Let's get your five minutes on 


So here I am sitting in a freshly cleaned office and thinking about my nearly clean kitchen.  It’s been straight days of hard work.  I feel for the poor recycling man who will unwittingly try to hoist my can up to the truck.  Little does he know there’s probably a hundred pounds of paper in there!

I’ve been here a little over a year and it is time to begin making the connections from the outside that help make the inside feel like home:  those memories of a friend sharing a story from the other end of the sofa, the neighbor’s little tike playing with a borrowed toy on the carpet, and meals around the table.  We’ve cocooned long enough.  Time to start the living and blooming right where we are.

As I look around at what I’ve gotten done I feel happy and sad.  Happy for the encouragement from friends to keep pushing.  I feel sad because it took so long to just do it.

To celebrate empty counters I’ll be pulling out the waffle iron on Saturday morning and we will begin with waffles and BACON!!! (That’s for you Micah Baker!!  Best word ever!)


Thank you Lisa-Jo!  You have been the hostess with the mostest and an inspiration.

photo credit: VancityAllie via photopin cc

Thursday, July 24, 2014

When the Hurts of the World Overwhelm Your Heart

**This post is updated as of 7-25-14**

It is one thing to let your past mistakes overwhelm your present.  That can be paralyzing and destructive if left unchecked.  But what about when our hearts bear the pain and suffering of those near and far?  Those who are family, might as well be family, or you’ve never even met but are in great distress?  How do we handle the immense grief?

We intercede in prayer.  That weight on your soul is there as a reminder from the Spirit to come low and raise up others. 

Lately I’ve been thinking nonstop of what I might be able to DO to alleviate the sorrow, misery or persecutions I see daily.

When I see a dear friend I met deep in the mama-trenches rally troops to Pray for Hannah – her one-year-old – I want others to join.  I saw the pain when this same disease stole her sister-in-law too soon from their family.  I remember the “why”s and the “how”s that flowed in tears and I can feel powerless – except that prayer is MIGHTY!!

When I see tens of thousands of children alone and parentless fighting for the hope of a better life, I want to go and gather them all in.  I want to wash their hair and tuck them in.  I want to help them find their mamis and papis who came before – or were left behind.  I want to protect them from those who would take advantage.  I want freedom and safety and childhood for them and I can feel powerless – except that prayer is MIGHTY!!

My heart shuddered this week when I learned of a child being taken from the only family he’s ever known and returned to a biological family who never wanted him out of jealousy!  This is not a jealousy for the child, but a jealousy of the child and “if I can’t have it, you cant either” pettiness.  What terror must fill his breaking heart and the ache filling those who are his heart parents, brother, and sister!  And I feel powerless against a Ugandan government – except that prayer is MIGHTY!!

My mind cannot fathom the daily life with an invading terrorist organization that would mark homes with a letter to signify faith – or mere genetics – as grounds for targeting. When the difference between a Y or X chromosome demands mutilation (**ISIS is denying this claim and will be removed if found to be false).  When one tries to “love first, and ask questions later” with preemptive love (** use this link to make a donation) to heal hearts by surgery and compassion and is rewarded with pursuit and harassment, I can feel powerless against such evil – except that prayer is MIGHTY!!

Lets not forget the schoolgirls taken by Boko Haram, because they were schoolgirls and now their families are being attacked!  People of all ages and both genders trafficked for pleasure and profit around the world.  Passenger planes shot down out of the sky for no apparent reason at all.  Movie theatres, schools, and shopping malls that become shooting galleries all for a hurting soul that wants others to feel the same pain.  Fires are raging, drought is devastating, and waters are ravaging our land across the map.

So many questions with so few answers: what can I do, how can I help, how is this stopped or fixed or changed?  It all becomes overwhelming and can paralyze in the same way as past mistakes – except that prayer is MIGHTY!!

When we feel as if we can do nothing, we can always pray!  In fact, that is our calling, our job.  We lift up family, friend, and enemy alike and in it all we ask for the God of the universe to be glorified and for Him to be made known.  Friend, there is power in intercession and sometimes we are then shown what else we can do and how we can be used.

What hurt is overwhelming you right now?  What can I lift up in prayer for you and with you?