Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Review: Just Show Up

Kara Tippets battled cancer for two and a half years. During that time, many friends came around the Tippetts family to support and serve them. Kara is now home in Heaven, but before passing from this life to the next, she and her friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, wrote a book about walking with a friend through suffering. Kara and Jill loved and served each other well, and their friendship is an example to follow. Their book, Just Show Up, will be a helpful resource to others who are going through a season of suffering with a friend.

It can be difficult to know how to be there for a friend who is suffering. In Just Show Up, Kara and Jill share practical ideas of ways to be there for, and serve, a family in need. They allow the reader a peek into the community that surrounded the Tippetts family during the past three years. They are open about the hard parts and the awkward parts. They share about the tension, the struggles, the insecurities, and the highs and lows. They share honestly about the fact that mistakes were made and that grace was needed.

Just Show Up has a conversational tone, making you feel like you are right there chatting with Kara and Jill as they share about facing hard times of suffering together. They speak to the one who is walking through suffering with a friend as well as to the one who is suffering herself. I especially appreciated the personal stories that were shared from the community of support that surrounded the Tippetts family. It was a beautiful thing to see how the body of Christ can come alongside a suffering member and love them well in their hard season.

Just Show Up is for the one with a friend who is suffering and in need of help and support. It is for the one who wants to be there for a friend in need, but doesn’t know what to do. It is for the one who is chronically ill and is needing guidance regarding her role in friendship when her abilities are limited. This would be a great book for two friends, one who is ill and one who is healthy, to read together as they navigate the awkwardness that comes when friendship is lopsided because one friend simply can’t give much. It would also be a great book for a group of friends to read together as they prepare to show up for a friend in need. I highly recommend this book!

I received an advance copy of Just Show Up from David C. Cook via NetGalley. The book will be available in bookstores on October 1, 2015.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Clinging to Hope

Clinging to Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7   
Last week was filled with challenging days for me. I struggled to take care of William and Adelaide while Will was at work. My energy levels barely carried me through the day until 5:00 when Will came home. I spent the weekend in bed, like I have most weekends this summer, simply recovering from five days with my children in my home.

The fatigue was intense, and I had to fight to cling to hope. Will patiently, and lovingly, and consistently reminded me of the hope I have. He helped me to see the bigger picture. He helped me to keep an eternal perspective in the midst of the very hard now. He reminded me of my living hope, of my inheritance waiting in Heaven. He encouraged me with the words from 1 Peter, showing me that the testing and trials now are serving a good purpose: my future glory.

What an amazing thought! The trials that I face now will result in praise and glory and honor. I am so undeserving, but because of the amazing grace of God, I have an inheritance waiting in Heaven. If I am faithful in the hard here and now, I will, in the future, receive praise and glory and honor. I am clinging to that hope.

To read more Five Minute Friday posts, or to join in the blogging fun, head over to Kate's blog.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Amazing Story of a Simple Coin Purse

This is a simple, little coin purse, but it has an amazing story.

This coin purse comes from Zambia, it and it was made by women who are employed through Clothed in Hope. When Fair Trade Friday partnered with Clothed in Hope and placed an order for hundreds of coin purses, there was cheering and dancing in Zambia! What we see as simple coin purses were cause for celebration by these women in Zambia. I’ll let someone from Clothed in Hope tell the story:
The women of Clothed in Hope, all vulnerable women who have completed or are currently walking through our skills-training program, are so very grateful for our partnership with Fair Trade Friday/Mercy House. The first time I told them about our big order for coin purses to reach the homes of over 500 women across America, over 60 women cheered, screamed, danced, rejoiced. Because to them it's not just some extra money in their pockets to feed their kids or pay school fees. It's empowerment, it's someone who says "I believe in you. I am with you." It gives the message to these ladies, overlooked and oppressed by society, that they are worthy. That they have something beautiful to offer the world, a skill and a story that can inspire women thousands of miles away. Each product made for Fair Trade Friday boxes, from coin purses to earrings, is a way for women to rejoice in their story of hope and redemption that they've written as a part of our sewing and business training program in Lusaka, Zambia.

I love knowing the story behind my coin purse. It thrills me to know that this coin purse, and the hundreds of others that were ordered for Fair Trade Friday, brought such happiness to the women who made them. Every time I use this item I will remember the joy that it gave to women in Zambia. And every time that I use the coin purse, it will bring me joy too!

Image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday

Meet Maureen, a woman who works through Clothed in Hope. Here is her story:
Maureen, the woman pictured with Regina on her back, is the brains behind much of our jewelry line, specifically a beautiful earring design headed out to women as part of the Earring of the Month Club. Maureen graduated our life-skills training program in September 2014 after completing a 12-month sewing and business curriculum with her daughter Regina on her back. Maureen is showing her children that work is good, and that no obstacle is big enough to keep her from pursuing her dreams for her family.

Change the world. Look good doing it.
Image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday

I was privileged to be a part of the Fair Trade Friday club for a few months this year. I eagerly anticipated the monthly package! I have kept a few items for myself, and a few of the items have been given away as gifts. The rest of the items are sitting in my gift stash for Christmas and birthdays and other such occasions. I like to have at least a few gift items on hand for when a gift need arises. It saves me time and energy and money in the long run. Earlier this year when William needed a teacher gift, I let him look through my Fair Trade Friday stash, and he picked out a fun bracelet for his teacher. Fair Trade Friday is the perfect option for gift shopping when you are chronically ill and homebound! A variety of fun items come straight to your home, and you don't even have to think about shopping.

Each Fair Trade Friday club package contains 3-4 fair trade products. Packages have a retail value of about $50, but only cost $31.99. Because Fair Trade Friday is run by volunteers, the package cost is minimal for you, and all of the proceeds go to the artisans around the world. And it is making a difference in the lives of women and their families around the world! If you missed my post on Monday, you can click here to read more stories of the impact of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday.

Are you wondering what type of items come each month in the Fair Trade Friday club? Here are pictures of the items from my monthly packages. There are a wide variety of items that come, and many of them are practical too! 

February Box 
Fair Trade Friday t-shirt from Freeset (India)
Handmade soap from The Zambian Soap Company (Zambia)
Lip balm from Zambeezi (Zambia)
Thrive Crochet Bracelet from The Refugee Project (Houston)
Reusable gift bag from Friends of Mercy (Kenya)

March Box
Crochet dishcloth set from The Refugee Project (Houston)
Fabric cuff bracelet from Tukula (Uganda)
Chitenge coin purse from Clothed in Hope (Zambia)
Love Mercy prayer bracelet from Mercy House (Kenya)
Reusable gift bag from Friends of Mercy (Kenya)

April Box
Handwoven and block-printed infinity scarf from Joyn (India)
Makeup bag from Tukula (Uganda)
Crochet flower card from The Refugee Project (Houston)
Organic farm-grown English Breakfast tea from Equal Exchange 

May Box
Reversible tote bag from 3 Cords (Haiti)
Wooden wrap bracelet from Freedom Firm (India)
Crochet jar opener from The Refugee Project (Houston)

June Box
Handmade pottery earrings from Back to Africa
Paper bead bracelet from Embracing Hope (Ethiopia)
Handmade paper journal from Village Artisan (India)
Reusable produce bag from Caring for Korah (Ethiopia)
Handmade Father's Day card from The Refugee Project (Houston)

Each Fair Trade Friday package also contains information about Fair Trade Friday and includes gift tags to use if you want to give a Fair Trade Friday item away.

This necklace, earrings, and gift bag are fair trade items from India that I received in a one-time box from Fair Trade Friday. They are lovely, and I think they will make a great gift for one of you! If you would like to have these, please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be notified by email on Monday, July 6.

If you want to be a part of Fair Trade Friday, here are some helpful links:

It has been an honor to tell you about Fair Trade Friday this week on my blog. Thank you for coming here to read about Mercy House and their new Fair Trade Friday club. This summer I will be sharing some more about Fair Trade Friday on instagram, twitter, facebook, and pinterest. You are welcome to connect with me in those places and follow along as I share about my life, my faith, and my new favorite club, Fair Trade Friday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Changing Lives with Fair Trade Friday

For several years now I have been praying for Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya for pregnant and teenage moms. The girls who are brought to Mercy House have all become pregnant as a result of rape or because of forced prostitution. They come from tragic and heartbreaking situations, but at Mercy House they find hope and support. It has been a joy to watch the countenance of these girls change as they are rescued out of poverty and as they come to know Jesus. What a transformation! Through pictures I have seen the joy that begins to light up their eyes when they live in a safe place and find hope in Christ.

Today I want to tell you the story of Pauline, one of the first residents of Mercy House. I also want to tell you about Fair Trade Friday, a new ministry of Mercy House and a fun way that YOU can help to change lives around the world.

This is Pauline. When she was 15 years old she became pregnant through force. She was desperate and hopeless. Mercy House rescued her, gave her a home, medical care, good nutrition, education, and taught her from the Bible. They showed her the love of Christ, and the Gospel has changed her life. As a result of the work of Mercy House and the grace and mercy of Christ, Pauline and her son, Melvin, are doing well today.

Pauline has now graduated from the Mercy House program and is attending vocational beauty school. Her son is able to attend school as well because of sponsorship. While at Mercy House, Pauline learned how to make many different types of crafts, and she is now passing on that knowledge to moms in the slums. Each week she goes into the slum and teaches these women. The crafts that they make are sold through Fair Trade Friday, and the money these moms make from their crafts is able to pay for food, school fees, and rent. Their needs are being met because Pauline is teaching them useful skills, and Mercy House is selling their crafts.

Only a few years ago Pauline was hopeless, but now she knows Jesus, and she has hope! Her life has been transformed, and now she is reaching out and making a difference in the lives of others. Pauline is a good mom and teacher, and her future is full of potential.

In August of last year, Mercy House launched a new ministry that enables them to help even more women in poverty around the world. This new ministry is called Fair Trade Friday. It is something unique and special and fun that you will want to be part of!

Fair Trade Friday is a membership club that delivers one-of-a-kind fair trade products to your home each month. By joining Fair Trade Friday, you help to provide jobs and dignity for women in poverty. You remind them that they are not forgotten, that their work matters, and that they matter.

Mercy House partners with Christian organizations in procuring fair trade products, so when you support Fair Trade Friday you aren’t just helping to provide a job for those in need, you are partnering with organizations that will share with their workers the love of Jesus. We can empower marginalized women by providing jobs, but only the grace of God can transform lives, and that is why Mercy House works with Christian organizations in their Fair Trade Friday ministry.

Here is a glimpse of just a few of the artisans at work around the world as they make products for Fair Trade Friday:

Women in the Middle East making jewelry

An Ethiopian woman creating beautiful products

An Ethiopian woman making paper beads

 Women in Zambia sewing bags

A woman in Ethiopia spins thread from sheep's wool.

Another woman uses the thread to weave fabric.

The fabric is then made into little bags.

Kristen Welch, founder of Mercy House, tells about buying bracelets from an artisan in Kenya:
Probably one of the most profound moments for me was in a mud home in Kenya talking with a woman we were buying paper bead bracelets from for a Fair Trade Friday box. She grabbed my hands and squeezed them tight. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Tell the women in America that we need them to keep buying what we make. Tell them it is feeding my son and two daughters. Tell them not to forget us." I will spend the rest of my life reminding these marginalized women they are not forgotten.

The work of Fair Trade Friday is important. It isn't simply providing a food and money for those in need. It is providing meaningful work and restoring dignity. It is providing an avenue through which the Gospel can be introduced to those who might otherwise never hear it.

Do you want to be a part of Fair Trade Friday? It isn't just important; it is fun too! You receive unique fair trade products once a month, and 100% of the proceeds go to the artisans around the world. There are two monthly subscription options. 

One is the Earring of the Month club. This is a subscription membership that costs $11.99 per month, and you get a new pair of earrings each month! Each package comes with a small fair trade gift bag for you to use if you choose to give the earrings away as a gift.

The other option is the original Fair Trade Friday box. It comes with 3-4 high quality fair trade items for $31.99 a month. I have received a few of these packages, and they are amazing! I love reading about the different products, seeing where they were made, and praying for the women who made them. There is currently a waiting list for the monthly Fair Trade Friday box. If you want to join this Fair Trade Friday club, please sign up to be on the waiting list! Having spots filled on the waiting list helps Fair Trade Friday to plan ahead for orders with their artisan groups. When they are able to add more club members, you will receive an email letting you know that you can sign up and officially join the club!

If you want to try out Fair Trade Friday, but don't want to commit to a monthly subscription, you can try a Fair Trade Friday One-Time Trial Box.

If you are interested in buying specific fair trade items, you can check out the Mercy House Shop here for beautiful and unique products!

Please come back here on Wednesday because there is more that I want to share about Fair Trade Friday! I want to tell you about a special coin purse and the story behind it. I will also be showing you pictures of the items I have received through Fair Trade Friday this year so that you can get an idea of what comes in the packages each month. And! There may be a giveaway. :) So come back on Wednesday for more Fair Trade Friday fun!

Images are courtesy of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Our family enjoyed another year of Awana at our church. I was not able to attend at all this year, but I was able to help William and Adelaide with their verses at home each week. What a privilege to help them memorize God's Word!

We were gone on The Great Adventure during the Awana parent's night and awards program, so William and Adelaide received their awards after we returned home.

Adelaide finished her second Cubbies book this year. It is hard to believe that my youngest is already finished with Cubbies! She will be in Sparks next year, and she is so excited about that!

William completed his first Truth & Training book. He enjoyed Awana, but chose not to participate in pictures for my blog this time. :) My little boy is growing up!

Adelaide, however, is all about the pictures. She chose this pose for me.

I am so thankful for William and Adelaide. It is an honor and a privilege to be their mom and to love them and teach them about Jesus. I like programs like Awana that assist me in teaching my children.

Does your church have an Awana program? What is your favorite thing about Awana?
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