Saturday, September 28, 2013

On Being The Cleavers

Until recently, I kind of had this idyllic idea of the lives of those in ministry. I imagined the households ran and the relationships functioned a lot like The Cleavers. You remember Ward and June, and their mannerly and oh-so cooperative boys, Wally and "The Beave"? In my mind, husbands and wives communicated openly. Children were well-behaved and mannerly, even in their mischief. Parents talked in loving, even tones to their children...

...and then it hit me. That's US. We are "the family in ministry"...and we are so NOT The Cleavers.

We're impatient.

Our boys are...well, "active." I'll just leave it at that.

We raise our voices too often (See previous two statements). 

We don't always get up early to have our quiet times. 

We frequently make poor decisions about how to spend our time and oftentimes, our money.

We don't communicate well.

We're snappy and sarcastic and sometimes just downright mean to one another.

We struggle with temptations...and the guilt from sins when we give in.

And that's just the half of it, people.

When Jeff decided to start seminary and work toward becoming a full-time minister, I'll be honest, I panicked. I am NOT preacher's wife material. I'm opinionated and speak my mind (READ: I struggle with the "submissive wife" role). I'm loud (and some might add obnoxious). I take on too much and forget things too often. Just pray for his churches now, people!

Ministers (and their families!) are not perfect. They flawed human beings with a sin nature just like everyone else. The life of full-time ministry is not glamorous or easy. It's busy and chaotic and for us, often feels like a game of tag - "You have bible study and I have the kids." TAG. "You're it. I have prayer group and you need to feed the boys." 

I feel like we often meet ourselves coming and going - and now that we are BOTH in ministry, well, we're just hanging on and praying our kids make it to school some days. 

We are not The Cleavers, and honestly, we don't want to be. We make mistakes, own them and then, try to learn from them. Our children act up, and we discipline them in love to correct them and (hopefully) grow them into Godly young men with a passion for bringing others to Christ. As a couple, we argue and fight too often and don't make time in our lives for date nights often enough. Outside our home, it's not much better. We frequently hurt others (albeit unintentionally) and often miss many opportunities to help because of our own busyness and preoccupation with self. 

It's not easy and it's certainly not getting easier in our household. Our boys are getting older...and so are we. (Blah...that's for another post.) 

In short, our lives are pretty much a mess.

BUT (and here's the most important part!) we know that our God will sustain us through the rough times. He always has and His promises assure us, He always will. In the chaos, I cling to John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He continually turns the mess that is our lives into something beautiful and this chaos will feel like a blip when it comes to spending eternity in heaven. Until that time, we must work hard to ensure that everyone we know will be there with us. We must carry His message of HOPE and MERCY to the ends of the matter how weary we get in doing so.

And just for the record, we are NOT The Cleavers.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

5 Fall Favorites...and 1 For Free!

It's finally here! After months of teasers, weeks of waiting and days of anguishing over ordering my samples - the Fall 2013 Noonday Collection launch has arrived! I'll be honest - it's felt a little like giving birth at some points in the process.

To kick the season off right, I'm GIVING AWAY a pair of my new favorite earrings! Not only am I giving away free loot, 34 other Ambassadors are also GIVING AWAY GOODIES on their blogs starting with the launch and throughout the month of September! These ladies know how to get a party started, right? 

Check out these lovely ladies (and their giveaway goodies) who kicked us off Aug. 28 (and just go ahead and follow their blogs while you're there - you won't be disappointed!):
Here's the rest of this week's line up:
So, after a week of playing dress up with my new samples, I've settle on these as my Top 5 (This was like picking favorites among my children after the painstaking process of deciding what to order, btw). The item names are links to the website if you want to just go ahead and add them to your shopping cart, too! wink, wink!

My Top 5 Favorites

5. The Tushabe Necklace. Handcrafted from paper beads in Uganda and accented with beautiful polished horn pieces, these lovely layers of mint and blue are simply swoon-worthy. I can't wait to dress this up or throw it on with a fun Piko shirt. Simply perfect. Price: $62
Tushabe Layered Necklace (*Backordered*)
The Tushabe Necklace
4. The la noche Bracelet. Oh, the bling it brings! (Confession: I catch myself singing "I feel pretty...Oh, so pretty" when I'm putting this one on.). This beauty is hand-beaded in Guatemala and is the perfect accessory for a night out...kind of makes me want to schedule a date night soon (also looks great with our Water Drop Prism Earrings). Price: $38.00
La Noche Bracelet
la noche Bracelet
3. The Paisley Filagree Earrings. The dainty dazzlers are quickly making it up the ranks as my go-to gold earrings. I love the detail and that they are 14 kt gold plated. Hand crafted in India, these lovelies are helping our artisans rise above the slums through dignified jobs at a fair and ethical wage. Price: $46.00
Filigree Paisley Earrings
Paisley Filagree Earrings
2. The Braided Bullet Necklace. This amazing piece is made in Ethiopia and brought me to tears when I opened the box. Thinking about the labor involved in making this beautiful piece of jewelry from what began as weapons of war...well, it takes my breath away. Price: $98
Braided Bullet Necklace
The Braided Bullet Necklace
1. The Metallic Pearls Earrings. These are the perfect everyday earrings! A complement to just about every necklace I own and also a great statement all by themselves, these are hand-crafted in Ethiopia from upcycled artillery. These beauties will be your "it" earrings (and there's a bracelet and necklace to match!)! Price: $34.00
Metallic Pearls Earrings
Metallic Pearls Earrings
CONFESSION: What I love about being a Noonday Ambassador isn't really the amazing jewelry and's really the stories of the artisans who make the beautiful pieces. The stories of hope, of redemption, of survival - and knowing that my purchases and the purchases of my customers are helping write those stories.

When I became an Ambassador last March, my goal was to book one show a week and if I made money, great! It would help me save for my next trip to Haiti. But now that I have seen the impact the sustainable income crafting our products provides for our artisans and how they are able to afford the basic necessities of life...I want EVERYONE to buy Noonday!
This image pretty much says it all...and the fact that it came from our Haitian artisan group  makes it even more special for me. Your purchases give HOPE...HOPE for a better tomorrow for the artisans and their families and ultimately, their communities. 

So, check out the new line. Find your favorite(s) and then enter the giveaway for one of mine! You can enter once a day and add extra entries by sharing this blog post and commenting on it. A winner will be selected September 9 (check back to see if they're yours!) 

And let me know if you're interested in hosting at trunk show - YOU can become a part of these stories of HOPE by creating opportunities for others to hear their stories. 

And be sure to stop by and see Amy at tomorrow! She has a $50 voucher up for grabs!

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