Fair Trade Friday - Ornaments4Orphans

We set up our Christmas tree last night.  Now, normally I refuse to do anything holiday related until December 1st (since in my head, the Christmas season doesn’t start until December.  Take that Wal-Mart!), but I really wanted a chance to share a really cool company with all of you for this Fair Trade Friday.  So, we started setting up our Christmas cheer a few days early.

Photobomber Alert!

Our tree is really very small, but it’s one of over 50 million trees that will be set up in this country to celebrate the upcoming holiday.  What if that yearly tradition could be used to help people on the other side of the planet?

These fun little pink animals were a gift from my dad for the girls.  The giraffe belongs to Big A, and the ostrich is Little A’s.   And they’re more than cute ornaments.  They come from a great website, Ornaments4Orphans.org, a division of Pearl Ministries.  These little ornaments, along with a virtual plethora of other designs, are handmade by artisans in Kenya for a company called Kanzi, a fair trade company, and then donated to the Ornaments4Orphans.org.  The sale of each ornament goes directly back into Pearl Ministries’ goal of reaching the physical and spiritual needs of the approximately 12 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa that have been orphaned by AIDS.

Pearl Ministries is a non-profit located in Uganda, a country known as the “Pearl of Africa.”  It is a country that has been ravaged by war for over two decades, leaving behind a country full of children affected by disease, poverty, and AIDS.  In 2001, a 22-year old Ugandan woman named Sarah was compelled to bring the gospel to the children in her community, and an orphanage and children’s home known as Ranch on Jesus Ministries was opened.  Since then, the ministry has expanded to include 3 acres of farmland with crops that both feed the children and earn a small profit at the market, a primary school that provides an education to roughly 500 children, with a scholarship program in place to provide a high school education to a few students in neighboring schools, and a vocational training program offered to several children with training in computers, mechanics, tailoring, and cosmetology. 

There are several ways to get involved, including sponsorship of a child’s education, setting up a jewelry party to help sell Kanzi Craft jewelry and bags, or even contacting Ornaments4Orphans.org about setting up a Christmas tree in your church or school to help sell ornaments.  Or, maybe the easiest, just by buying one of these beautiful ornaments for yourself.

By the way, anyone living in the Northwest Arkansas area, feel free to contact me about getting one of these ornaments.  My dad’s church has a tree set up, and I’d be more than happy to get with you about buying one of these ornaments locally, and maybe saving you some shipping charges!

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Sunshine and Dandelions

Today was a simply gorgeous day!  So, my firstborn and I (and Penny the dog) decided to go out and enjoy the sunshine in our backyard for a while, before we had to leave for Little A's two week check-up at the doctor.

We got to enjoy all the beauty and sunshine we could absorb, while I got to play a rousing game of "find the toddler in the picture."

We got to discover things we hadn't seen before, like funky black leaves on the ground, and how twisty the branches are on one of our trees.

I made quite a few attempts to take some photos of my outfit, since I actually put forth an effort to get dressed today.  My beautiful baggy teal sweatpants needed a break!  Big A tried to help...

She made up for her 'intrusions' with a present.  Dandelions are my favorite when they come from her!

And where was the baby during all this fun?  Safely asleep in her crib, with her lamb (and baby monitor!) to watch over her.

Found out at the doctor, this tiny thing has gained a pound and a half in the past 10 days!  Healthy girl!

If you're interested, you can find more of my old outfit posts on my former blog, Lexi and Button.  Be sure to  check out the Fair Trade Friday posts while you're there!  That's a feature I plan on carrying over to this blog  for sure!

Outfit Details:
On Big A:
Shirt, Jeans, Boots, Hat: from Once Upon A Child
Vest: from local Rhea Lana's Sale
Scarf: gift

On Little A:
Shirt and Pants: from Once Upon a Child
Bib: gift

On myself:
Shirt: thrifted, Goodwill, $3.50
Sweater: Gap Outlet, $11
Jeans: Old Navy, $19
Shoes: Sears, $5 (clearance)
Belt: Forever 21, $2
Necklace: $1 Jewelry Store

Grand Total: $41.50

A Story...

Supposedly every good story starts with “Once upon a time….”

Once upon a time, there was this girl.  This girl had a lot of loves in her life as she grew up, starting with puppies and drawing, on to horses and reading, and even later, cute boys and fashion.  She never really moved on from her first loves, she just kept adding on more and more objects of affection.  As she grew into a woman, she also found things she didn't care for much, like college chemistry and those pesky things called ‘rules’ and ‘morality.’  She discovered martinis and rebellion, and became too busy chasing after ‘love’ to have any time to pursue her original passions.

All of that changed the day she learned how loved she truly was.  It turned out, there’s this amazing God, the same one that created this universe and its’ billions of stars and planets, who loved her fiercely.  His love for her was so strong and perfect that all the relationships and parties in the world couldn't compare.  So, this woman fell in love with Him as well.   I mean, how could she not?  She promised her whole life to Him, and finally stopped chasing after love.

Shortly after, God brought a man into her life.  (Actually, he had been introduced to this story about three years earlier, but she had been too preoccupied with her pursuits to notice.)  This man was tall and handsome, with amazing blue eyes, and an even more amazingly kind heart.  He fell in love with the woman in our story, and she fell in love right back.  Once again, why would she resist?

These lovers were married, and welcomed another love a short time later: a little girl.  Her tiny hands grasped for them and trusted them to care for her, and the parents’ love for her grew right along with her bouncing blonde curls each day.  And when the man, woman, and girl thought they were complete, God brought one more miracle to love, another baby girl.

This family’s story is still being written, and it only seems right that it should be shared.  It’s a story that’s full of God’s amazing, redeeming love, with little snippets of the family’s other passions as well.   Any story that God is writing is sure to be amazing.  Enjoy!

Daddy A and Grace

Big A

Little A