Fair Trade Friday - Made By Survivors

Well, it's Friday, and that means another installment of Fair Trade Friday to start out your weekend!  Today, I'd like to tell you about an awesome site I ran across called Made By Survivors.  These amazing people are offering a second chance to women that have been rescued from human trafficking, and offers them employment and education.

"Made by Survivors is a nonprofit organization which employs and educates survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses, including women and children living in red light areas and border towns, in extreme poverty.  Our programs create jobs in highly respected professions.  We create jobs with high wages that develop business and leadership skills. 

In India, metalsmithing and jewelry design is traditionally a man's only profession.  Our survivor metalsmiths are breaking gender barriers. 

Donations and profits from the sale of products Made By Survivors go to support rescue, aftercare, education and employment in India, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand - regions of the world where trafficking is a huge problem. " (from their website.)

The jewelry is all so pretty, too!  I have a pretty long wishlist of items, but I'll try to keep it short, and share my top five.

Set of 2 Beaded Bracelets

Brass Stepping Stones Earrings

Chrysanthemum Ring

Eternal Flame Necklace

Kali Gandaki Mosaic Earrings

I'll hold off on the commentary, since it'll all be around the same vein of "OOOOOH, pretty!" and just let you guys check out the Made By Survivors website yourself.  There's a ton more goodies to find!

Be sure to stop by again next Friday to hear about another great Fair Trade company!

Thrifted Pinterest - C-c-c-cold!

 As much as I would love to talk about something other than the weather.... can we just talk about the crazy weather for a second?  It was sixty degrees last week!  People were coming into the store where I work and buying spring clothes for their kids!  And today?  Freezing.  Okay, maybe not that bad, but still, it's pretty cold.  And it's supposed to get colder next week!  It's definitely hit that time of year where I wish I was a bear so I could hibernate.  I'll just have to satisfy myself with steaming cups of chocolate coconut coffee and keep winterizing my outfits until everything thaws out.  I picked this little outfit to draw my inspiration from:

I loved that little kimono/sweater thrown over a simple dress, and thought I'd copy the look, with a few little tweaks thrown in.   I didn't think I'd survive having bare legs in January!

Familial Photobomb!

Outfit Details:
LS Tee: Old Navy, $6 (old)
Sweater: thrifted, $2
Dress: thrifted, $2
Leggings: Target, $8 (old)
Shoes: Rack Room Shoes, $7 (clearance)
Green Necklace: DIY
Tassel Necklace: handmade by Purposed.

Grand Total: $25

And, just because I can, pictures of my adorable 'assistant:'

Jumping on the Bandwagon

This is a post about body image.  Actually, I take that back.  This is going to start as a post about body image, and probably morph into some form of literary creature I haven't yet coined a name for.  Basically, I gained ten pounds over the holidays.  Now, that's not really a surprise; I mean, the whole reason the term 'holiday weight' exists is because people generally gain extra poundage around this time of year.  There's just so much amazing, delicious, sweet and savory food available, and of course I was going to eat it, I love food (and hate to exercise, but that's a whole other conversation)!

Fast forward from the holidays to a few weeks ago, when the family and I were strolling around the mall together, digesting another huge meal we had just enjoyed.  I had spied a tantalizing window display in one of the stores with the multicolored "take 60-no-70-no-80 Percent Off!" signs, and one rack looked like it was packed full of loose, drapey, comfy, silky tops.  I mentioned as we walked past that I'd like to stop in there before we headed home to take a look at those tops, and the hubs happened to ask the usual question that accompanies my shopping trips: "Why would you buy another shirt you don't need? You have a closet full of shirts, and only wear like 1% of them?"  "Because none of those shirts FIT," I practically roared at my unsuspecting husband who had the nerve to ask me a question I didn't want to verbalize the answer for.  Poor man, how was he supposed to know that I had gotten on the scale that morning and figured out why it was harder for me to zip my jeans up.  How was he supposed to know that when I groaned, "I don't feel like going to work" on various days, that was woman code for, "I feel too fat to go socialize with anyone today."  How was he supposed to know that even though I seem to have jumped on the "body image" bandwagon lately, with all my rants and raves against unattainable media beauty standards, and the crazy amounts of Photoshop used in advertising and magazines, and the double standards for men and women regarding their appearances, and all the videos I've shared on Facebook about helping women to love themselves and embrace their differences andeveryonescreatedequalandbeautifulandblahblahblah, that I'd allow some extra weight gain to put me in a funk?

I'd love to say that I had my wake-up call that day.  That I recognized the insidious fact that I was still letting my weight and appearance dictate my moods and outlook.  I'd love to say that I decided that day to move forward in joy, and embrace the fact that I live in a country where it's a regular occurrence for people to have so much extra food that they inflate just a little bit every year.  I'd love to say that I didn't allow the thorns of self-deprecation to choke out my gratefulness for God's love and mercy that He's shown me time after time.  But, unfortunately, I'm a slow learner, and I'm just now coming out of that funk.  Just last night, I had the thought pop into my brain before bed that the 'path back to joy meant identifying myself with Christ,' and thankfully, I spent quite a bit of time questioning that comment that is just dripping with 'church-speak.' (definition: Church-speak: phrases that are used, often in a church setting, over and over until the real depth of meaning that accompanies the words is swallowed up by familiarity)  I say thankfully, because I didn't want to just take comfort in that little phrase, say "okay, I'm identified with Christ" as some magic pill to help me feel better, and roll over to go to sleep and continue with my life.  I want to wrestle with that phrase.  I, this tiny human among billions of other tiny humans on this planet, am supposed to identify myself with a God-person that I could study my entire life and never understand.  I, this person with person-'problems' and person-concerns that are usually petty and misguided, am supposed to adopt the traits of a man that never sinned.  I, this momma that loses her temper with her children much more easily when she's cranky and preoccupied with herself, am supposed to live like the "Prince of Peace," a man that willingly went to his death in order to follow His Father's Will.  That's not some magic pill.  That's an immense responsibility that can only begin to be surmounted by (a lot of) help from the Holy Spirit and a humble heart in myself.

So, when you wonder where I've been over the past few weeks, or if I've been too preoccupied to blog, the short answer is, "yes."  I've been avoiding posting photos because I didn't like any of them.  I've been avoiding writing about important things like Fair Trade companies and my monthly WorldHelp piece because I've been too preoccupied with myself.  But, that's going to change.  I'll be back to a regular posting schedule very soon, not because all of my 'issues' have been resolved, but because I love sharing companies and organizations with you that are doing God's work around the globe.  I want Christ to shine out of me so brightly that my little human body isn't even given an iota of my concern.  I want to identify myself with Christ, and nothing less.