Wednesday, March 25, 2015


When we first came home from Africa we got a call from someone in our church to go and minister to a possible sex trafficking victim. I had heard of sex trafficking before and friends had even done a couple fashion shows to raise awareness, but I never realized how big the problem was. Since that day, I became more involved in my own area.

Then, one day scrolling through Instagram I came across a company called Elegantees. Have you ever heard of them? They provide a bright future to victims of sex trafficking through sewing work. It's a positive source of income that reinforces independence, healthy self-image, and restores confidence one elegant tee at a time!

Elegantees has their design center in New York. However, their sewing center is in Nepal where they employ survivors of sex trafficking. Nepal is a kingdom between China and India that ranks high for sex trafficking. The best ways to reduce vulnerability is with opportunity. Right now there are less than 10 sewers on the sewing team appropriately dubbed "Kingdom Hope". The sewing center in Nepal is where Elegantees aims to employ hundreds of sewers. All the sewers are paid well and fairly for their work.

Some of the sewers love the designs SO much that they also wear Elegantees themselves. Which is taken as a huge compliment! 

Everyone who works for Elegantees in the US is so passionate about what they do that they all volunteer. You heard me. No one gets paid except the sewing team. That way all the profits are invested back into the company so that the sewers have consistent employment. Elegantees have low prices for what they do, and any profits are used to start the next line of clothing. 

Elegantees gives a positive source of income that gives hope and freedom and reinforces independence and confidence.

Do you want to see some of the things they make?

Take a look at these tops!

Okay so, I had a little bit of a hard time picking out just a few favorite tops...

They also have dresses and skirts!


Gorgeous right? So where do you come in? I want to help Elegantees hire more women who are waiting to have employment and earn a fair wage. If you check out their website, you can use my code "HOPE" to receive free shipping when you order. It won't expire so you can use that code every time!

So what are you waiting for? Go check them out! Then come back and tell me what your favorite is! 

Monday, March 23, 2015


This girl. 

I can tell you a million things about her. 

I love all of them. Even the ones that drive me crazy. Most likely because I see her daddy and I in those habits.

She sees things in rainbow colors and not just in black in white. She sees beauty in people that many times I overlook simply going about my day to day tasks. 

She stops me to look at the "flowers" {weeds} in our yard. She stares at them and makes remarks about their shapes and colors. She notices the details and the small things. 

She keeps us laughing. We've dubbed them Kendall-isms. I don't know where she gets it, but it totally makes sense to her. Here are a few of the ones she's used lately

{Joe and Kendall were looking for shells at the beach.}
Joe: Don't pick up that shell Kendall, it's ugly.
Kendall: Daddy, don't call God's creation ugly!

Kendall: Mom, can you make me a PB&J sandwich? I would but I'm a bad steward of the jelly! Last time, it was on me and the floor. It was not good!

Kendall: Mom, can you stop getting older? I won't like you older. I like you now while you're gooey and snuggly.

Kendall is reading to me today and all the sudden stops. 
Me: Kendall? Where are you girl? 
Kendall: I'm thinkin about movies and Cadbury eggs...

Kendall: My face is sticky because I poured my face into it. {Cadbury egg}

Kendall: Mom, you're eating carrots and hummus again?
Me: Yes.
Kendall: Well, I like carrots. Especially sweet ones. They help you grow! Does hummus make you grow?
Me: Yes.
Kendall: What's in hummus?
Me: Mostly garbanzo beans.
Kendall: I don't want to grow that much.

Kendall: Man, that guy looks old! He looks like he could be Vice President or something!!

One day in school we learned about Turkey. In Turkey you can buy a drink called an Ayran (eye-ran), which they can buy at McDonald's, is 2 tbsp. of plain or Greek yogurt in a glass of cold water. So we made it. 
Kendall tried it. 
Kendall: "Give me a break. That's disgusting!"

We ran into a little boy and his family that Kendall sometimes plays with. He was struggling to remember her name and gave his mom several variations which included "Candle". 
Kendall: "I don't know how it's hard to remember my name. I've remembered it my whole life!"

Kendall: Don't worry Mom! I brought extra clothes in case I need to be more fashionable.

Kendall: Hey Mom, when I'm older do you want to go hunting with me?
{Kendall LOVES animals...}
Me: You know you will kill animals when you go hunting right?
Kendall: Mother, I was not talkin about that kind of hunting. I don't want to kill God's creation. I was talkin about treasure hunting. I think there's treasure at Bruster's...

My favorite though is when she says, "Mom, I'm so boring!" I always get a good chuckle when  I hear her say it. What she means is that she's bored. I've tried to explain to her the right way to say it, but she doesn't get it yet. So for now, it's just funny! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fair Trade Friday: Box #6

It's one of my favorite parts of every month. You know, when my Fair Trade Friday package comes- it's so much fun to see what's in it! I know maybe it seems frivolous to spend money every month on "novelty" items.


...100% of the proceeds from each product go toward the empowerment of impoverished women as an avenue to introduce them to the Gospel.

Can you put a price on that? 

Do you see the writing in blue? That's my favorite part. 

"Your box employed approximately 5 women this month."

This is the Justina coin purse from Clothed in Hope from Zambia, Africa. Supporting them means empowering women to benefit communities in Zambia. It means bringing them hope.

This is the Love Mercy Bracelet from Mercy House Kenya in Kenya, Africa. You can either buy one for $10.00 or you  can order a kit of 25 for $10 (to cover expenses and shipping) and serve Mercy House by putting the bracelets together and selling them to friends and family or sending them back for us to sell. Kits are available in the store. 

These cotton washcloths are from The Refugee Project in Houston, Texas. All the items are handmade by refugee women of Burma, Bhutan and Nepal who have been relocated to Houston, Texas by the United Nations for religious and ethnic persecution. By purchasing an item, you are empowering women by helping them meet some of their basic needs.

 This is the "By the Sea Cuff" from Tukula in Jinja, Uganda. Isn't it gorgeous? Do you see Esther's face? I love it so much. 

Your yes matters.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Last year, we spent our summer in Africa. When we were in the villages we loaded up our truck with jerry cans and filled our nalgene bottles to the brim. Sometimes we had to walk miles to the nearest borehole to fill the jerry cans and nalgenes up. Those cans are so much heavier than they may appear.

I can't even tell you how many people in the villages came up to us so that we would pray for them. We absolutely prayed for them, but we would also ask how much water they drank that day. Most of them would tell us very small amounts. This meant a variety of ailments, but most common were headaches. They conserved their water so that they didn't have to walk the many miles back to the nearest borehole. In one village they got water out of a lake, and ran the risk of being eaten by a crocodile or a hippo while they collected water.

I can't even carry one of those cans far with just my hands. These girls and women carry water on their heads after walking miles to get it and then return home. 

Water is vital. 

In the village of Kirinda in Uganda they have one borehole that they share with livestock. They have no access to clean water. 

March 22 is World Water Day. This World Water Day, World Help is asking you to be a part of bringing water to Kirinda. You can be a part of bringing hope to this community.

Meet Ratifah. She is an ambitious high school student and a passionate follower of Jesus. She has overcome great odds to gain an education and yet one major obstacle still remains in her way.

She misses school regularly due to water-related illnesses.

It is estimated that every year, waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and dysentery keep children out of school for a combined 443 million school days.

Meet Silvano. When Silvano was younger his father committed suicide. After his father's death was enrolled in World Help's Sponsorship Program. He now attends school.

When he comes home this is the water they drink. 

"Whenever I come back to Kirinda to visit my mother, my siblings and I are forced to use this dirty, red-like water full of waterborne diseases,"Silvano told us.

Clean water will open the door to life, opportunity and prosperity. This World Water Day, join us as we commit to transforming a community in central Uganda.

Meet Sumayiya. Her smile is like instant sunshine. 

Many times young girls are tasked with getting water for the family. That sometimes mean missing school and running the risk of being sexually assaulted. 

In Northern Uganda, one-third of all women have been victims of sexual violence. What’s more, the first sexual encounter of 25 percent of girls is reported to be against their will.

Many of these instances occur when girls are collecting water alone.

This World Water Day we can be a part of bringing hope to Kirinda. Would you join us?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Where the Mean Things Are

It was a regular Tuesday night at church teaching kids about missions. All the kids where running around like crazy playing, including our daughter Kendall. All of sudden she ran to me. She hugged me tight as tears spilled over her face. She was telling me something, but I couldn't understand the words coming out of her mouth. When it finally was comprehensible she told me her friend was mean to her, had pushed her, and said she didn't want to play with her.

Ugh. Drama. It's the worst.

I wanted to retaliate for my girl. I wanted to pick up a battle that wasn't mine to bear.

I had two options. I could follow my flesh and take the low road. Which only results in breeding more drama. Teaching Kendall to take the low road.

Or, I could take the high road. Which is hard, not well traveled, and not what I wanted to do. But Jesus would.

But Jesus. 

I don't want to teach Kendall to be like me. I want to teach her to be like Jesus.

Not long before Kendall's tears I had spoken to a child who had ripped a chair out from underneath his brother. My response was Philippians 2:3.

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

Now it was my turn. 

So I told her to pop a squat. 

First, I gave her the bad news. This would not be the last time that someone was mean to her or would hurt her feelings. There would definitely be more pain and tears, because the world is full of sin and sinners. 

But Jesus has overcome the world. {John 16:33}

Then, I gave her the good news. Now that she knew what it was like to have her feelings hurt she could choose how to respond. She could choose to be a good friend despite how her friends treat her. I told her the Bible says that a friend loves at all times. At. all. times. {Proverbs 17:17} That doesn't mean she has to play with someone and continue to be treated that way. It does mean she tries to fix things with them. If that doesn't work bring someone with you, like Mommy or Daddy. {Matthew 18:15-17} Above all to remember that Jesus loves that person just as much as He loves you. So treat them that way.

And some days I have to remember that advice myself. Okay, some days it's more like hours and minutes.

Save the drama for your llama. Not your mama.

Love like Jesus.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Root Collective

Today, is a day that The Root Collective has been waiting for! It is the launch day for their new spring line! What do they do you ask? I'm so glad you brought up that question! Well, they sell shoes,  scarves, jewelry, and bags. That though, is just barely scratching the surface of what they do. 

Come on a virtual trip with me to Guatemala. There we'll see how the shoes are made and how those shoes are making a difference. 

In the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City, many of the residents are unable to find work simply due to their address. As you can imagine gang violence is rampant in Guatemala. Children are targeted by gangs, and refusing to join can cause severe consequences, even death.

Meet Otto. 

Otto is a shoemaker from the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City. The largest slum in Central America. He was raised, like many children in this city, with a knowledge of the streets, each day he was surrounded by the vast number of gangs in that area. He grew up with little support from his parents, which left him vulnerable to the violent environment around him. Otto knew he was different though. He loved to helps others. When he was 10, Otto began working as a shoemaker. Learning this skill helped him overcome his surroundings and help his community. 

The Root Collective partners with small-scale artisan businesses, like Otto, in marginalized communities to promote change though dignified jobs. The artisans they partner with own their own businesses, and set their own pricing. The owners have often times received business training through the nonprofits working in their area and understand how to set their pricing to ensure fair payment to their employees.

Today, Otto has his own workshop. The second floor of his house (which houses his workshop) now consists of a kitchen and breakfast bar, where he feeds his workers breakfast and lunch every day --for free. He hires women in the community to cook for the workers and earn an income for their own families.  Otto pays his workers regardless of whether or not they have work. 

Otto's dream is to involve many former gang members in his business and teach them the skills he has learned. By teaching them, he hopes that they will pay it forward and teach others to do what they have been taught. 

The Root Collective is doing more than selling shoes. They're spreading hope in the most unlikely places. You can partner with The Root Collective and Otto. Head over here to the website and check out the new spring line! The Magenta Diamond Peep Toe is my favorite! You can use the coupon code SPRING for 20% off now through Sunday, 3/8! Also, check out the video below to hear Bethany {founder of The Root Collective} share her story better than I ever could! 

*All images by:*