Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A New Stamp in the Passport

** This is the most exciting, yet difficult, post I have written in a while. Exciting because I have wonderful news to share, but difficult because of the great care I want to take in giving credit where credit is due.**

About 1/3 of the amazing Noonday Collection team.
So, last weekend I traveled to Austin (Texas, that is!) for Shine 2015. For those who do not speak Noonday Collection Ambassadorese, this is our annual conference and celebration. It has taken me several days to process all the things, and I'm just finding time and energy to make a feeble attempt at putting it all into words. 

To use the words "amazing" or "unimaginable" do not even begin to describe these days in Austin! I am so incredibly humbled to be one very small part of this group of world-changing women who not only empower one another in their businesses, but who are also working their boo-tays off around the United States to make life a little mo' better for thousands of talented artisans living in vulnerable communities around the world. 

As many of you may have read or heard me share at Noonday Collection trunk shows, I joined the Noonday tribe almost two years ago as a way to steady my heart and keep me from selling the farm and moving my family to Haiti. It has truly become an answered prayer in so many ways as I am seeing and hearing the difference my sales are making in lives around the world...Haiti included. 

Love these ladies who braved hours
on a bumpy bus, tarantulas, crazy
heat and so much more with me traveling
in Haiti and the DR in October.

Traveling to Haiti in October with a rock star cast of Ambassadors, hostesses and customers to meet Renal and the other artisans in the Haiti Design Co-op was amazing! Hearing from Moon, a seriously amazing Indian woman who is currently serving as President of TARA Projects, and more from Daniel and Jalia, the couple who runs the Ugandan company, African Style, that makes our paper bead pieces, has me ready to roll in 2015. Their stories about the hundreds for women who are being empowered through their employment by Noonday Collection's partner artisan groups makes me even more passionate and want to be even bolder (you've been warned, friends!).

Melissa Russell, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at International Justice Mission, spoke courage over our group and challenged us to be BOLD in our "ask." She advised us to play over the conversation with Jalia or Moon or Renal or any of our thousands of partner artisans as to why we couldn't ask someone else to partner with us through purchasing or hosting...

These two women who inspire me BIG TIME!
Laura Choy, our #2 in sales for 2014 and
the best roomie ever, and Jessica Honegger,
who leads this movement with
fierceness and grace!

"I'm sorry, Jalia. I didn't ask my friend Susie to host this season because it was just so awkward for me, and I just was too afraid she'd say 'No.'"

Wow. That's a hard pill to swallow, my friends. So again, you've been warned, and you better have some great reason when I ask! ;-)

(Or, don't wait for me to ask. Contact me TODAY and let's get your show on the book or head to my site now and purchase a piece that speaks to you!)

So, I was super excited to learn this weekend that I have qualified for an all-expense-paid trip to meet more of our partner artisans this summer! What the what?!!

New passport stamp coming in 2015 from one of the following:




EEEK!!! Yes, please! That's just nuts, y'all! 

But here's the part I need you to not to miss.

This accomplishment is not about me.

It's about the dozens of women who have opened their homes to their friends, family, colleagues and neighbors - and maybe even complete strangers - to allow others to join this movement. It's about a small YES here in the US that has huge impact for children around the world whose parents now have sustainable employment and hope for a future. Congratulations to my rock star hostesses for being a part of a Noonday record - 59 trunks shows in 2014! Y'ALL ROCKED IT AND THANK YOU!

It's about friends far and near who wear and gift Noonday likes it's their job! They wear the stories of these women who've been empowered to leave abusive relationships. They wear the stories of children who have HOPE through access to education. They wear ethically made jewelry because lives matter. Congratulations to all my amazing customers for being a part of record-breaking sales in 2014! YOU ROCKED IT!

My Noonday Collection "Board of Directors"
It's about my own personal tribe - some nearby, some far away but most of whom are also in the above two categories - who have loved me well during this past year. They have talked to me on long drives to help keep me awake. They have encouraged me when I was feeling overwhelmed and strung out. They have spoken truth and HOPE into my (thousands of) doubts and insecurities. They have traveled to Haiti with me and loved with reckless abandon there. They have connected me to other friends who have become hostesses and customers. They are my people, my tribe, my constant support - and they deserve much applause and many "thank yous!" as well. 

And lest I forget, the three most important boys in my life are the most deserving! My husband is the rock star! He has juggled ball seasons and homework and bedtime routines many a'night with our two rowdies alone. He has made displays and even tweaked them last-minute to make my life easier at shows. My precious boys who make my heart swell with pride when I hear them tell people about "the jewelry mama sells because it helps people" and my oldest who can probably tell you which country our pieces are from faster than I can! They get the credit...because they sacrificed most. Thank you for being patient, and "getting it" with me!

There were lots of people that asked me this weekend "How do you do it?" and many were probably met by awkward and uncomfortable facial expressions and attempts at humorous diversions because here's the thing...

I don't.

All these people described above are the ones who "do it." They get my heart and most importantly, they get Jesus' heart for the poor and the oppressed. They want justice in dark places, too. They want a world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs and we are connected! So, they wear and host and advocate. And many wear and host and advocate again and again and again. They are my rock star, kick boo-tay tribe, and I couldn't do it without them. 

Amen and amen.

PS: If you were one of the ones that asked that question or some form of it, I'm really sorry. I'm so awkwardsauce sometimes.

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