***Tracy Culp is the winner of the Fair Trade Friday earrings! Congratulations!!***
I’m still waiting to arrive in the mystical “sweet spot” of summer.
I’m beginning to accept the sweetness in tiny bursts, lasting about as long as a flicker of a lightening bug.
It’s okay. It’s enough.
I wondered if the fly was relieved he (she?) can finally go back to his home only to find himself in a completely different environment; I wonder if he totally freaked out when he realized everything as he knew it had changed.
I guess I should feel bad about causing the fly’s distress, but then again I just killed a native Arkansan fly in my kitchen without giving it a second thought.
It’s this “second thought” that has me stuck in introspective overdrive lately.
As the internet and social media has become a quick way to get up-to-the-second news and a megaphone for our opinions are we training our brains to think the world works this way? A headline, a tweet, “like” or maybe even comment and then on to the next big or insignificant post.
Do I scan so much information at such a speed to get the “gist,” but not give second thoughts? Maybe I can slow down, find out more of the story or (gasp) actually do something beyond the cursory prayer and flick of a finger to the next status update?
I’m finding myself in a new environment…and I don’t want to freak out like the Oklahoma fly. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I know with all my being it’s important for me to pursue obedient action. And it begins with loving people as I love myself.It’s natural for us to grow comfortable in the vehicle we are placed in known as “our world.” But it’s also easy to get complacent at best, cynical at worst, in the vehicle we are sitting in. But at some point we find the vehicle isn’t stationery and it’s brought us to a whole new world. When I became a pregnant widow with an almost two year old, I’d say it wasn’t just my vehicle that changed, but my galaxy.
Looking back on how God helped me navigate through the dark, unfamiliar frontier, I found out how much people mattered. How much you matter.
A hand written card, even from strangers, a text message or a meal brought to me at just the right time could turn my mood around so I could find the energy to do whatever my next “thing” was…usually feeding the kids, or giving them baths, or grocery shopping–each of these activities were Herculean tasks in my grief-stricken world. I’m so ridiculously thankful for the tons of people who God called upon to help me, and they (you) obeyed. The ripple affect is real, and all of those acts of kindness turned our lives around to the point where we desire to be care takers now.
God continues to provide in ways I didn’t even dream for myself. A devoted, amazing husband and our adorable son has been added to our family in the past few years.
I am finding new joy serving with my family as we grow older together in this season, but still with impressionable young minds in our care.
Some dear friends started feeding hungry people in our community with a big hot meal once a week and we’ve joined in as often as we can. I’ve been so in love with how our 5 and 8 year old kids jump right in and excitedly put on their way-too-big plastic gloves to serve food to people in need. I’m so thankful this group took a risk and prayerfully took the steps toward fulfilling a need they saw in our city.
As our kids learn to serve, many new conversations have happened about economics, poverty, and disparity.
What can be done to help? It’s always the question which comes to mind, but seems way too big to tackle.
What it has looked like lately for us is looking for opportunities to love on people and taking one step in their direction.
I’ve followed Kristen Welch’s blog WeareTHATfamily for several years and saw her family take their obedient steps which led them to create the non-profit “Mercy House.” This ministry fully funds several maternity homes in Kenya where women in extreme poverty can be guided through their pregnancies and widows can be employed. Out of this ministry “Fair Trade Friday Club” has been established where 100% of proceeds goes to around 500 impoverished women as they employ them to create jewelry and clothing items which can come straight to your door.
I’ve been thinking lately about how much money I spend on gifts per month (this increases dramatically during holidays and teacher appreciation months.) What if I do myself a favor and help fight poverty, abuse and at the same time give meaningful, beautiful gifts? It sounds like a win/win to me! And the way it is set up as a monthly subscription it’s also built in budgeting, too! (As long as I can stock up the gifts and resist the urge to wear them all myself!)
That ripple affect I mentioned earlier? I’ve been reading stories for months now of how lives are changing because of this effort. And your life can be affected, too! One of my favorite parts of this experience is how wearing a piece of jewelry almost always starts a conversation. I love how each piece arrives with a tag of the story behind the piece. It makes for an easy conversation about Fair Trade philosophy, Mercy House and how we can be a part of the solution to poverty.
For just 11.99 per month you can be a part of FTF’s Earring of the Month Club where you’ll receive a beautiful set of earrings delivered right to your door each month. Check it out here http://fairtradefriday.club/eotm/
(Don’t be discouraged if you have to sign up on the Wait List to subscribe! This is how FTF figures out how many artisans to employ each month and you’ll be contacted as soon as they become available!)
For 31.99 a month you can sign up for the FTF box which includes three or four items (necklaces, hair wraps, soap etc.) This will be a great option for those of you with hard-to-buy for people in your life or if you want to stock your gift shelf a little more quickly!
I’m so thrilled I was sent an extra pair of earrings and gift bag (see pic above) this month to give away! You can be part of the story, too. Just leave a comment here (email subscribers click here) or on my social media posts and it will count as your entry! I’ll post the winner at random at the top of this post Friday morning, July 10th!
Here are some more links to read about the awesome work being done with FTF: