Saturday, February 28, 2015

we are connected

My friend, Stephanie​, who was the first person to share this amazing company with me and was the reason I became an ambassador, so powerfully shared her thoughts on her job and purpose behind what we do. I couldn't say it better than she did and I feel exactly as she does regarding this small but significant role we have as ambassadors for Noonday:

"Here's something I really want you to know about me. In the deep places of my heart, I really don't care about jewelry. And I definitely don't care about making money off my friends. When I post about Noonday on social media or bring it up in conversation, I'm not trying to convince you to spend money for the sake of making my paycheck bigger. I swear to you, I would do this for free. I'd buy these pieces at full price. I'd invest in this company (and I did before I started working with them) because I believe in it. Noonday Collection is building a flourishing world that has very little to do with fashion.


It's about the worth of human life.

The empowerment of a woman who has been taught every day that she is insignificant and powerless.

It's about mamas not having to give up their babies because they can't afford to feed them. (tears in my eyes every time I think about this.)

It's about Renal rebuilding his workshop after the hurricane hit Haiti, and designing the gorgeous Liberté necklace that he is SO so proud of. (with which I am obsessed.)

It's about Jalia and Daniel going from starving artists to thriving business owners, designers, and mentors in a country with an 80% unemployment rate.

It's about Sofiya getting a job, buying a motorbike, and supporting her family in a country where women are expected to depend on others.

It's about adults with disabilities being given dignified work, and an opportunity to flourish.

It's about cherishing children, empowering women, providing jobs for those who have no way to support their families, and connecting us all together because though we are different, we are the same."

And now, this summer, I get the amazing privilege of traveling to meet the women who work in the sewing co-op in Rwanda that we purchase beautiful bags from each season.
Women like Grace, a survivor of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, who's transformational story of overcoming injustice is a testament to the worth & dignity that consistent employment & community can create in our world.

Oh, that we would understand just how connected we are!
I can hardly wait 'till July!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

trust without boarders

About a year ago, I wrote this post.
I started this unknown journey into something I was scared to do.
I'm not a sales lady, I'd never done anything remotely similar.
Little did I know, that saying yes to Noonday would be exponentially more than I could even ask for.

My friends have rallied behind me and supported Noonday from the very beginning.
They have fallen in love with it and have shared it with their friends and family and coworkers.
I truly couldn't have imagined how supportive my friends were going to be.
I set goals... and saw God move above and beyond them.
I asked friends to host, and host they did.
WAY more than I ever saw coming.

I've seen growth in myself I never expected.
Getting up in front of women to ask them to partner with me has become a joy.
Speaking in front of people was never something on my radar.
I avoided it at all costs!
Now, it's still a challenge, but so rewarding.

As last year progressed and I got super busy from Aug-Dec-
I had no idea that I would be reaching a goal I didn't even set.
My customers supported me and the artisans we work with so much
that I qualified to go on an ambassador trip for summer of 2015!
I was blown away!
I hoped one day I'd get to go on a trip, but I never thought it would happen this soon!

And yesterday I found out where I'm going in July.
Rwanda, Africa.
I am just... all the feels about this!
Freaking out.
In Awe.

For some reason, I just didn't think I would be going to Africa.
I thought for sure I'd be going to Central/South America.
But God is sending me to Africa.
Somewhere completely outside my comfort zone.
Flying across a lot of water, being somewhere completely foreign to my brain.

I can't get that song out of my head.
It's come up multiple times in the last week and then after getting this news, this line won't leave my head!
I have finally learned that God always puts me in these places so I can complete rely on Him.
Places I'm scared, doubtful, apprehensive.
He uses these to gain an even stronger grip on my heart and show His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Here is a story about Grace, one of the artisans I will get to meet this summer.
Here is a picture of the women in the co-op we'll get to spend our time with:

If you followed along last summer with the Noonday Style for Justice trip, these are the women I get to meet!
These are the stories I get to see and hear.

Who am I that I get to do this?
Blessed beyond measure.

Oh, and you bet your bottom dollar that I'll be asking every single one of you who've been to Africa a lot of questions in the coming months!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

on shining

(I feel like there are so many layers to this onion I've been chewing on {ew? ok, maybe lets say a cinnamon roll?}; here's my best attempt at talking about one... or a couple)
This quote was shared at our Noonday Ambassador Conference in January, and I've been mulling over it ever since:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  
As we are liberated from our own fear,  our presence automatically liberates others. 
-Marianne Williamson
For the longest time, my struggle was believing that I wasn't adequate. And then when I did believe I was, my security was misplaced in winning the approval of others and being the best at everything.
Once I confessed that junk and realized where my security and power comes from, I've found great healing and freedom in Christ. (I've talking about this in previous posts and even spoke on this at our last women's retreat; I'll eventually get that posted, too)
Recently, though, one of my struggles has also become worrying about making others feel insecure because of what I can do and what they can't.
Worrying about the comparison, judgement, jealousy of others.
But I don't have control over the hearts of my sisters in Christ. That's God's domain. I must pray that they surrender that to Jesus and that my humility and dependence on Jesus is evident in my life.
I constantly have to make sure my heart is in the right place. When I use my talents to serve the world and to point that toward Jesus' healing power in my life, that is when I shine. That is when I am bringing glory to God. That is when I give others the permission to shine, too.
Run your own race, ladies.
Run to win the prize!
Discover what God made you to do and do it brilliantly!
Share it with your friends, your family, your neighbors, your community...
Share it with the world!
"But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved."
-Hebrews 10:39

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."
 -Hebrews 12:1
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize."
-1 Corinthians 9:24
And next time I'll talk about how I was tempted to shrink back
because I believed the lie that I wasn't good enough at something.
Yes, perfectionism is still my enemy, but I'm fighting back.
I am not destroyed by it.
I am choosing faith, not flesh or fear.