what i wore wednesday

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As you know this past year my eyes have really been opened to the idea of shopping with a purpose. {You can read more in this post.}  I want to be more mindful of were we are spending our money and where are clothes are coming from.  Recently I purchased my first piece of clothing from an ethical fashion label.  I have been loving my Symbology tank and it will be one of the staples in my summer wardrobe.  I love the fit of this tank and of course the hand stamped elephant print is pretty awesome too.  What I LOVE the most was that this item was ethically made by women in India giving them a sustainable income.

Outfit Details:

*linking up with The Pleated Poppy for WIWW.

Bentonville Half Marathon

This past weekend the running club traveled to Arkansas to run the Bentonville half marathon.  My good friend and running buddy is from Bentonville so we decided to make it a girls weekend and do a race in her home city.  It was fun to finally see Bentonville. When I first started reading blogs (7+ years ago) a few of the regular blogs I read were written by girls in the Bentonville/NWA area. That area always seemed so cute so it was fun to get to see it in person!

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We made it to Bentonville  just in time to pick our race packets and to check out the gear at the race Expo. I picked up one of these JUNK headbands to wear during my runs.  The couple that owns this company went to school with my friend. I LOVE their headbands!

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The first night we were there we got to meet up with, one of my Noonday sisters, Corrie.  Corrie and I had met this past January at our Noonday ambassador conference.  She’s SO fun and I always enjoy getting to hang out with her.  Her good friend Joy joined us at dinner too.  I had recently connected online with Joy so it was to get to meet her in person. They have two boys around the same age as our boys and they are also adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. I enjoyed getting to hang out with her in person and get to know her a little bit! It’s always fun to meet others who are adopting from Ethiopia.

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the running club

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Saturday morning we woke up early to head downtown again for our race.  We all loved doing the B’ville half.  It was such a great race.  The weather was perfect, it was a small-ish crowd (3,000 people), there were bands playing along the route and the route was beautiful!  I think we will definitely be doing this half again in the future. We somehow managed to shave almost two minutes off our our Tulsa half marathon time. Yay for new PR’s!

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After the race we celebrated with some really good Mexican food at Table Mesa and then stopped by Crepes Paulette for dessert.  Both were such a treat after our run!! The little crepe stand was SO cute!  It was so nice to have a kid free 24 hour getaway with some of my besties.  I’m so grateful for each of them and for our little running club.

 

41 Day

Recently I got connected with a  new friend Tara, who runs a ministry called No. 41.  Tara is originally from Oklahoma but she currently lives in Nashville.  Her heart though is in Rwanda.

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Today, No. 41 is hosting their second annual 41 Day event. The premise is this: for one day, engage in prayer and fasting for Gisenyi, Rwanda and donate the cost of your lunch to No. 41. Their feeding program, 1,200 students and teachers, provides lunch for one child for just $0.25 a day. How much do you spend on lunch everyday?

1 feeds 4 children for one day,
$5 feeds 20 children,
$10 feeds 40 children.

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It is pretty amazing how much we spend on our lunches compared to how little it costs for a child to eat in Rwanda. I know for at least one day, we can all afford to give up one meal for the sake of giving 10 for children who have no control over when or what they get to eat.

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When No.41 started, there were, roughly, 100 young adults over the age of 18 living in the Noel Orphanage. With no family and limited resources, the prospect of university or becoming gainfully employed was low. Along with that, confidence was low, dreams were small and hope was almost non-existent. It was important, not only to provide a means of sustainable employment doing a culturally relevant trade for these girls, but also to remind them that they were created for a great purpose, by an even greater God. We all have been given gifts and talents and, once realized, we should spend those helping others and that is where the feeding program came in.

In our village there are three secondary schools, grades 7-12, and these students go to school all day, most without eating. The schools, generally, offer a 20-minute break for lunch where children who live close enough or have money, may go home to go to the market to eat. Most do not.

All that has transpired at No.41 is beyond our wildest dreams. We have had ten girls move themselves out of the orphanage and we now have 19 enrolled in university. We have career fairs and business trainings, bible study and English class. I never believed this couldn’t happen, but I never imagined it would happen like this. No.41 is a testament to all that God wants to do in you and through you, if you’ll just say, yes. -Tara

For more information on No. 41, check out their website  HTTP://WWW.NO41.ORG. Also, for more information on the event itself, please check out the Facebook invite HERE.  If you would like to donate to No. 41, click HERE.  And follow NO. 41 on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM.

Blog Train: Shopping with a PURPOSE + {Giveaway}

If you are visiting my blog for the Noonday  “Blog Train!”, WELCOME!   To celebrate the launch of our gorgeous Spring line, a few Noonday ambassadors have been sharing how Noonday has made a difference in their lives.  I’ll also be offering a great giveaway at the end of this post so stay tuned!

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A recent adoption trunk show

Over a year and a half ago I posted about why I became a Noonday Ambassador.  The short of it is that I wanted to be a part of Noonday to make a difference in the life of someone else.  As soon as I heard about Noonday and the ambassador opportunity  I applied, interviewed and dived right in. I absolutely could not wait to be a part of this amazing company advocating on behalf of women around the world.

I’m a total Type “A” girl”  and I’ll be honest a few weeks later these thoughts went through my head…. “Wait!  I hate speaking in front of people maybe this isn’t for me. Am I fashionable enough?  Will some of my friends un-friend me if I ask them to host a show? Will people take me seriously as an advocate? etc…..”

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Ya’ll it didn’t take long though for me to get over my fears.  Sure it can be intimidating putting myself out there and I still get nervous sometimes when I speak in front of others.  But, I want to be BOLD to say “YES” to what HE has called me to even if that means stepping out of my comfort zone and being vulnerable.  I want to be a part of this generation of women that God is calling to come together to seek justice for the poor.

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or deafeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging.  It’s being all in.  – Brene Brown

Being an ambassador is really not about me. It is about other women all around the globe.  It is about mothers trying to provide for their children.   IT IS ABOUT OUR ARTISANS.  I am doing this for them.  If I can use my voice, my God given talents, and my passion for the orphan to bless even one artisan than it has all been worth it.  God has used Noonday to wreck me for the things he cares about; the orphan and the oppressed.  Noonday is such a tangible way for me to advocate and be a voice for others around the world.  Sometimes it seems like the small part we can play in doing good in the world is not enough to make a  difference.  BUT that is so NOT TRUE.

I would love for you to join me in being part of the Noonday story simply by using your purchasing power for good.  When you shop with companies like Noonday you are buying goods that are handmade and created {with love} by artisans.  Your purchase is literally helping to lift men and women out of poverty.  You are helping them to have access to healthcare and to be able to send their children to school.  You are also helping them to create long term change within their communities. You are preventing families from having to give up their children.

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Meet Jalia, our lead artisan in Uganda!  Jalia and her husband were the first artisan group that we ever started working with.  Two and half years later their group has grown to 300 artisans! Ya’ll that is 300 FAMILIES that are being impacted!!  By purchasing {with a purpose} from Noonday you have helped Jalia and Daniel create change within their community!

I am guessing, that just like me, you have never lived in extreme poverty.  Jalia knows extreme poverty.  She has lived it and has come out on the other side by the grace of God.  It was so powerful to hear her story and testimony recently at our ambassador conference.   The Lord used Noonday to literally create a pathway out of poverty for her family (and eventually 300 other Ugandan families).  This was all possible because of your purchases with Noonday!

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Our artisan group in Uganfa -photo by Wynne Elder

 This year I want to more conscious about where I shop.  WILL YOU JOIN ME?  Let’s seek out companies that make a difference in the lives of others.  Using our purchasing power for the good of others is just one small thing we can do.  I promise you it will make a HUGE impact and be such a blessing to someone else’s life. Visit my purchasing with a purpose page for a list of great companies, who along with Noonday, sell goods that are making a difference in the world!

I would LOVE it if you would consider partnering with your local Noonday Ambassador to host a trunk show.  Introduce your friends to the idea of “purchasing with a purpose” from a company that has ethically made products.  Sign up to host a trunk show here!

Make sure to enter yesterday’s giveaway from Carey and then head on over to Kristin’s blog for her giveaway tomorrow!

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And now how about a GIVEAWAY!!! I am so excited to be giving away one of my favorite necklaces from the Spring Noonday Collection…. The Tushabe Layerd Necklace!  This gorgeous statement necklace is handmade {with LOVE} by Jalia and her talented artisan group in Uganda!  Throw it on with a plain t-shirt and head out the door looking fabulous!

For a chance to win the Tushabe Layered Necklace head on over to Rafflecopter to enter!

** This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only**

Noonday Trunk Show with Jessica Honegger

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This past year the founder of Noonday, Jessica Honegger, has been going around the U.S. and meeting up with Ambassadors in their cities.  This past week Jessica came to OKC and I had the joy of getting to  have her stay in our  home.   It was such a special time!  I am so grateful to have had some one on one time to get to know Jessica better and also to share my story with her! We got to talk about our families, Noonday (a given right!), and adoption.

While she was in OK we had a Noonday trunk show of course! I got to hear Jessica share at our ambassador conference in January but I was so excited to have all of my friends get the opportunity to hear her too.  This trunk show was for one of my friends, Candice, who is adopting from the Congo!  It was such a fun night of getting to bless Candice and her family. I have a special place in my heart for adoption trunk shows. I LOVE partnering with adopting families to help them bring their littles home.

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We had so many people come to the trunk show (50+ women) to support Candice and to hear Noonday’s story first hand from Jessica.  Many of the girls who came were people I know well and have really helped to launch my Noonday business here in Oklahoma.  Some of the women  have hosted multiple trunk shows, some have adopted, some of them were Noonday newbies, and almost everyone was decked out in their Noonday! It was SO MUCH FUN to finally get to introduce Jessica to Noonday’s biggest fans!  

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After the trunk show several of the OKC ambassadors met up for drinks.  I always love hanging out with my sweet Noonday sisters! I love that we are all in this together, working for the same mission.

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When I started with Noonday I had no idea the friendships that would come out of this.  I am so thankful I went to the conference in January and got to meet so many of the ambassadors in person.  These Noonday sisters are the real deal.  They are true world changers!

#enditmovement

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Think slavery is a thing of the past?  Today there are 27 million men, women, and children enslaved.   Want to make an impact and SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY?  Join me and draw a RED X on your hand today.  Use your influence and tell the world that slavery still exists.

Let’s be the generation to stand up for the 27 million trapped in slavery in our world today.  I’m in it to end it. Are you?

Spring/Summer 2014 Noonday Collection

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It’s here! Noonday Collections 2014 Spring/Summer line! It is breathtaking! Over 8,800 lives from 14 countries are impacted through our purchases!

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Today is also the day that the Noonday blog train kicks off! Every day for the next month a different Noonday Ambassador is hosting a giveaway on their blog and sharing how Noonday has impacted their life! Today my sweet friend, Wynne, is giving away a $50 Noonday Gift Voucher! Head on over to her blog, Gloriously Ruined, to enter and to hear about a sweet family she is going to bless this spring with her Noonday business!

Good news from Ethiopia!

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We have been in a little bit of a holding pattern this past month.  The day after Christmas we found out that meetings were taking place in Ethiopia to determine the future of international adoption.  Throughout our adoption process I knew this was always a possibility but it still came as a shock to my system to think that Ethiopia would close it’s doors on adoption.  Throughout this period of waiting our agency was upbeat that Ethiopia would not totally close to adoption. They are not quick to want to pacify you with a response they think you want to hear. Instead I feel like they wait to relay information to us after it has been confirmed and is factual.  I was hopeful based on their response but still prone to worry at the same time. Oh do I like to worry and dwell on the what ifs!!! I still struggle so much with giving all of my anxieties to the Lord and resting COMPLETELY in Him.

Today we finally got word from our adoption agency that Ethiopia does NOT plan to stop adoptions. MOWYCA officials plan to focus on eliminating bad practice in Ethiopian adoptions and focus on good practice. We are grateful that the Ethiopian government does not want to shut down adoptions within Ethiopia!! I know that there is the possibility of reform to come but we are ok with that.

Tonight we will give thanks to God for this good news and answer to our prayers!

Click here to read the full blog post from our agency.

Noonday Ambassador Conference 2014

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This past weekend I got to attend the Noonday Ambassador conference in Texas. I knew it would be good ya’ll but it was better than good. It was LIFE CHANGING good! We kicked off the festivities with drinks at Olive and June in Austin.  It was a little intimidating walking into a room with 120 world changing woman.   Of course they were all super sweet, SO much fun and amazing!

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The Oklahoma Ambassadors

Before we left Austin to head to our retreat center in the hill country we had a fun brunch at Jessica’s house and then went on a tour of the home office.  Some of my favorite conversations of the whole weekend took place in Jessica’s kitchen.  I got to talk with two Ambassadors that have been with Noonday since it started and hear about how much Noonday has grown.

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Noonday headquarters

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On Friday afternoon we got to hear our founders speak about their “why” (why they started Noonday). They asked a few ambassadors what their “why” was and so I got to share in front of 120 ambassadors how I came to be a part of Noonday.  I was so nervous to speak in front of that many people but I feel like God has used Noonday to really get me out of my comfort zone!  He has used Noonday to open my eyes to SO much this past year.  Two years ago I didn’t know that much about shopping with a purpose, HIV, orphan prevention, and modern day slavery. But NOW, I can’t stop talking about these things.  These are normal everyday conversations I now get to have with friends and other women at my trunk shows.

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One of my most favorite parts of the weekend was getting to hear our lead Ugandan artisan, Jalia, share her story.  Her and her husband were the first artisan’s that Noonday partnered with.  Noonday ( and JESUS) has literally lifted her family out of poverty through sustainable job creation.  By some miracle I got to sit next to sweet Jalia at dinner. We chatted about her family and mine over a delicious meal.  She showed off picture of her kids and asked me about mine. Over the course of dinner we somehow figured out that we are similar in age.  It was so humbling to be in her presence and I felt guilty for the life that God has blessed me with.  Why did she grow up in poverty and I didn’t? I am so grateful that my eyes have been OPENED and I am forever changed.  It is a JOY and an HONOR to get to work for Noonday to share with other women about Jalia and the Ugandan artisan group.

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Over the past year I have gotten to connect with many of the ambassadors online but had not gotten to meet them in person.  It was SO fun to finally get to meet them in real life and hug their necks. I loved hearing their stories.  We come from such different backgrounds and live all over the U.S. but yet we are all united in the same mindset, the same mission.

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These three sweet friends (Wynne, McCall and Ashley) are all adoptive mama’s I have gotten to know via facebook. I love when online friends become real life friends! They have each been such an encouragement to me in our adoption process. I love that our worlds collide via Noonday and adoption!

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On the last day of the conference we got to meet sweet Tessa.  If you don’t already know her story you can read about it here!  Tessa’s mom came to speak us on Sunday morning and she shard Tessa’s adoption story.  They waited FIVE years for Tessa.  Her talk was so encouraging to me while we are in the waiting stage of the adoption process.

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Travis and Jessica, Jesus has used each of your stories and your faithfulness to say “YES” to his plan to turn my world upside down this past year.  In the words of Ann Voskamp, ” Now is the time to let your life be poured out as ink in a epic story of bold sacrifice and starling courage. Now is the time to live upside down. Christ is the Truth who whispers that giving yourself for one person is how you really change the world”

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SO what are you waiting for?  The spring line launches FEBRUARY 20th!!!  Contact me to host a show today! If you aren’t local you can connect with someone in your area through the Noonday website.

For behind the scenes footage of the Noonday Ambassador conference you can check out this amazing video!


Orphan Love Mud Run 2013

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In October Ben and the boys ran the Orphan Love Mud Run. Ben did the 5k and the little’s did the kids mud run. We were one of the eleven families that benefited from the concert and race proceeds. It was such a fun way to fundraise and get friends involved in our adoption process.

Here are a few pictures from the race!

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Several of our friends drove an hour and twenty minutes each way to run in the mud with our boys. And did I mention it was stinkin cold and that day? True friends right there!

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Two other couples/families that are dear friends of ours were also benefiting families from the race. I love that we were able to fundraise together! In the end It’s a Child’s Life was able to raise close to $18,000 which was   split among the 11 families.  We are so grateful to have been part of this fundraiser! It made a big dent in helping us to have the funds to accept a referral some day.

A BIG thank you to everyone who sponsored us in the race and came out to run the race along side our family!