Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Returning to Blog

After a year hiatus, I decided to post on the blog again.  More coming soon!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Little Glory Moments...

So, yesterday, like so many other days, I had plans for my lunch break.  Two errands to run across town from each other.  Of course I started out with a traffic back-up.  What?!!  Not today.  I didn't even have time to eat lunch much less to deal with traffic. Oh well, I made it through utility work and made a quick drop-off and on to my next appointment.  But, just as I got back on the street and was cruising along, stopped again, because this time I came across a traffic accident. Ugh!  I picked up my phone, almost in a panic, trying to decide a way to squeeze productivity out of this time.  Would I be stopped long enough to make a couple quick texts or respond to an email?  Is there anyone I have forgotten to return their call?  As those thoughts raced through my mind, I was calculating the minutes left of my dwindling hour.  But, instead of letting my frustration rise, I just calmed down.  I started thinking about how, in the busyness of my life, I rarely have free occasions.  I mean totally FREE.  Of course I was driving and needed to concentrate on traffic, but I didn't have a baby or toddler in the backseat.   I didn't have a teenager beside me.  I should totally relax and relish this moment.  AHHH.  Refreshing.  A little nugget of quiet time with God.  Time to spend praising Him and glorifying Him.  How awesome .   As we slowly rolled passed the wreck, I saw that it was just a mere fender bender both parties were standing beside their vehicles okay.  I started to think, Why didn't they just pull over into the vacant parking lot instead of blocking a lane of traffic?!!  Wait- those were the wrong thoughts, if they had pulled over I would have just kept cruising along.  I stopped myself, said a little prayer and thanked God for that teachable moment.   A little moment when I just took a needed break from life to give Him glory..... 

When is your little glory moments?  I would love for you to share them with me below. 



Friday, August 17, 2012

Upcoming Events

Hello all!  I just wanted to share with you some upcoming events around Chatt town if you are in town and would like to check out Trades of Hope beautiful merchandise.
  • Friday, August 24th at 11:00 a.m. I will be on 3 Plus You with Julie Edwards on WRCB Channel 3 NBC affiliate (I believe this is channel 4 with the local cable companies).  I will be showcasing new items coming up for Fall!  Set the DVR to record now so you won't miss it :)
  • September 3 - 8 I will be at Jack and Jill kid's sale at Brainerd Village on Brainerd Rd.  I will have a booth featuring many new fall items!  I will be there booking fall parties as well, so come by and see me early to make sure we can reserve your party, I only have a limited number of slots left for fall shows!  Speaking of my limitations, there is only one of me, and lots of parties to attend, so I REALLY REALLY need help spreading the word about Trades of Hope.  I will have information on how to become a Compassion Entrepreneur and help me out with all of these parties!
  • I will be addressing my hometown congregation of Aspel United Methodist Church and 2 other circuit churches in September. date TBA.  This is my first speaking engagement to share my testimony and my call to help the world poverty crisis.  I will be sharing Trades of Hope artisans' stories and opportunity to buy products!  My entire commission from sales at this event will go to charity.  And from this I have decided that any church that wants me to speak at their small group, ladies ministry or congregation will receive my full commission from product sales to go to a charity of their choice.  I have been blessed so much by God that I hope this can be a small way to give back to his Kingdom.  
  •   And, last, I have just launched a Facebook Fan Page- with a giveaway!  Please go here and like my Facebook page and you will be entered into a contest to win a Trades of Hope gift valued at $20.  When I hit 100 likes, I will randomly select a winner!  Also, for every 100 additional likes between now and December 31, 2012, I will select additional winners.  So, the more likes I have, the more chances you have to win!  Please pass the word to all of your Facebook friends!
Ok, end of my shameless plugs for Trades of Hope :) Thank you for bearing with me and I hope that you entered my contest :)  If you already know that you want to host a party, become a compassion entrepreneur or if you would like more information, please don't wait until my events, comment below or email me now!



Sunday, August 12, 2012

I just finished The Hole in our Gospel

So, I am working on getting Trades of Hope up and running.  I have completed three parties! I am excited about learning the business of home parties and learning more about Trades of Hope and our artisans.  I feel a little busy with work, home and the kids lately.  My seed here needs more watering and nurturing because.....drum roll..... I have a TV appearance in less than two weeks!  I also have a speaking engagement that I am thrilled about at my hometown church.  So, with all of that going on, I need to continue learning.  I just finished reading Richard Stearns' The Hole in Our Gospel.  This book was compelling and motivating through Richard Stearns' portrayal of the world crisis of hunger, poverty and injustice.  He is the president of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, that works with families all over the world. 

In this book, Stearns relays one common message: God cares for the poor immensely, and a person claiming to love God should be living a life mirroring His care and love.  And, he suggests that we in American are coming up way short.  According to him, American Christians on average give away only 2% of their income to churches or charities. And only 2% of this 2% goes to fund international work- this equals only 0.04% of American Christian's total income. Understanding that, look at these terribly convicting numbers:

* The total annual income of American churchgoers: $5.2 trillion
* Amount available if each of them gave 10% of their salary: $520 billion
* Estimated annual cost to eliminate extreme poverty in the world: $65 billion
* Annual cost for universal primary education for ALL children in the world: $6 billion
* Annual cost to bring clean water to most of the world: $9 billion
* Annual cost to bring basic health and nutrition for the world: $13 billion
* Total to eradicate the world's greatest problems: $93 billion (1.8% of American Christian's income)
These are staggering statistics! This book left me wanting to do more. Please read this book if you have the opportunity.  Be warned though, this is not an incredibly easy read, he deals with difficult situations in the world that most of us (including me and Stearns admits that he did too at points in his life) would rather ignore. But the book ends with hope.  Not hope that the crisis will be solved, but hope that we can at least attempt change.  Stearns encourages you to do something because anything you can do helps even though you can't do everything.  I truly believe this will change the way you look at the world.  I do not readily endorse books and have no intention to blog book reviews, but this one is worth your time. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

My heart goes out to these Cambodian women- great story of Hope!

 My heart goes out to these ladies in Cambodia.  Thanks so much for reading!!!  Blessings- Linda


Empowering Acid Attacked Women in Cambodia  


Trades of Hope is so excited to be partnering with women in Cambodia! Many of these women have been the victims of a heart wrenching and awful practice called 'acid attack.' Because of this, many of them live in shame of what has been done to them. 

Through Trades of Hope, many of these women have been able to start a business creating beautiful hats and Christmas ornaments for us! Keep an eye out for these products in our Fall catalog.

One of the women, Jariya, has become a leader in her community, and she helps other acid attacked women earn an income and a better life. Her work has given her hope for a future! When we found out that she needed English lessons in order to continue creating a business, we knew we had to help! We know that by Jariya taking English lessons, she will be able to touch so many lives. She has already added many women to her business and they are so excited for this opportunity. Please take the time to read Jariya's story below.

"My name is Jariya. One day someone flung a container of acid in my face. It burned my face, and ran down my body, dissolving both my skin and my life. The excruciating extensive burns threatened to take my life for months, and since then I have had to endure numerous surgeries to attempt to re-make my features/face to be normal again. I now have to live with the scarring of my face and body, and also with the scarring on my heart. I have consistently been the subject of mockery, hatred, rejection and curiosity, but rarely the subject of compassion or help. I am gradually trying to rebuild my life and to make a future for myself, but the only thing that gives me the courage to do that is that I know that I am not alone, and that I may be able to do something to help others. I am starting this small business to make goods by hand so that other women in my condition, many of whom are left to raise their children on their own, can have the chance to earn their own living in safety and some measure of self-respect."

One of our in-country missionaries wrote this about Jariya and the acid attacked women.

"I think the best way to explain what happened to these women is to think about a grief we have. Usually we want to share our tragedy, our loss only with those with whom we choose. If we have been raped, or lost a loved one, or our heart has been broken, we usually are very careful about who we share this with.  But for these women, their greatest tragedy, their life-altering loss, is written on their faces.  So for them to show their faces is not just a matter of someone else seeing their physical scars; it is exposing this most personal tragedy to the eyes of everyone - the kind and understanding, and also the callous and uncaring, as well as the careless and oblivious.  We would be deeply affected were we to walk about wearing t-shirts that said "grieving mother", "rape victim", "abandoned wife", "unwanted child", "unemployed father".  The scars on these women's faces are like those t-shirts, but they can't be taken off.  Everywhere they go, they are seen only through the lens of this life-shattering event; it becomes their identity, so they can't just be another shopper in the market, or student in a class, or rider on a bus, or pedestrian on the street, or customer in the bank, or patient in the doctor's office. Always this part of their identity is emblazoned on their faces.  

They each tell themselves that this wouldn't have happened were they not poor, or had they had a father who protected them, or had they had more personal value.  So the scarring is not just an exposure of the shame of the event, but the exposure of who they are that such a thing could have happened to them.  It "proves" that they are somehow worthless, expendable, unloved, unvalued. "

Trades of Hope believes that these women are loved, valued, and have a voice that needs to be heard. Our in-country missionary has shared with us that Jariya and the acid attacked women now have a reason to get up in the morning and have purpose. They now know how to hope for more. Sustainable business for them, is not about money or poverty, but it is about hoping for a future that they once thought they had lost.

Help us support these women by purchasing their products this fall and continue to keep them in your prayers! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Mission

The Holy Spirit has been working on me for a while to prepare me to answer my calling.  Through a series of divine interventions, I know that I have found my ministry, passion and purpose.   I am still working as a tax accountant during the day, I don’t feel God has equipped me to leave YET, but I have no problems burning the midnight oil, watering this seed that God has entrusted in my care.  Praise God for a company called Trades of Hope! 

In 2010, a couple of ladies and their daughters in Florida founded Trades of Hope, a business using the home party model to sell “fair trade” products from around the world to help women out of poverty.  The products, beautiful I might add, are hand-made and profits goes directly to the artisans.  This company has empowered so many women to rise above their circumstances and create opportunities to change their lives.  Ladies who make beads in Haiti are feeding, clothing & schooling their children.  My beautiful sister in Uganda who is stricken with AIDS is affording medical care through her craft.  The stories go on.  These real women who once told of despair, now is telling a story of hope.  Entire communities are seeing life changing benefits. 

I have joined with Trades of Hope as a Compassion Entrepreneur.  I market these artisans' beautiful items and by doing so, I am a voice for these women.  I am also able to share the Gospel of Christ, share importance of fair trade and share the opportunity for women just like me to make a real difference in the world.

I am so excited and terrified at the same time of fulfilling my Mission.  I must go forward knowing that He will "equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:21



Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Beginning

I will remember June 21, 2012 forever.  Lysa TeKuerst’s devotional that day hit me smack in the face.  Like, so hard, that the tears started streaming down my face. Then there were sobs.  I mean it was uncontrollable weeping.  “What just happened?”, I thought once I regained my composure.  I couldn’t even capture what in the devotional initiated the crying, I just had this feeling of being moved.  God stirred my heart and I knew I had to read more from her!
I found Lysa’s books and the next thing I knew, her book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God was delivered to my kindle (gotta love technology!).  I was transformed over the next few days as she led me through steps of “radical obedience”.  Within minutes of finishing the book, yes literally minutes, I found a post on www.proverbs31.org describing Trades of Hope.  I couldn’t contain my excitement as I started reading about a world changing organization called Trades of Hope.  I was reading and sharing details with my husband so fast that he couldn’t keep up!  All the while feeling a tug from God that this is the direction He wants me to go.  I was thinking, “God, really?  This is beyond me and way too fast.  I know I just read the book and I said Yes, but I haven’t even had time to digest what Yes means, and you are calling me….now?”  Isn’t it amazing how God can choose how and when to act?  We serve a powerful, awesome God!!!
Well, through much prayer and confirmation from God, I have entrusted myself to Him on this incredible journey with an amazing company.  And I cannot wait to share with you my ministry.  Stay tuned to read more of my adventures with www.TradesofHope.org , a fair trade company that is helping women out of poverty all over the world.