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social justice

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I’m giving up retail for a year-who's joining me?

Yesterday, as I sat in church surrounded by three generations of family, I realized something. My life has been dictated and directed by love. I was born to a couple that decided to love each other, their family and most anybody who came along. Their example gave me the nerve to plunge headlong into love at the tender age of 15, marry the guy at 18, and still be passionately in love with this same man 35 years later. My husband’s unconditional love has enabled me to believe in myself and have the courage to love others. In turn, we were enabled by love to bring three little persons into the world. They knew from their first breath they were loved and that they would continue to be loved no matter who they were or what they did. Each one has amazed me in their own way with how they love and care for their world. During yesterday’s service, I watched my son with his new fiance’ and considered the life of love they will one day bestow on their children. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful life love has given me and by the ripples of this love that continue to spread out into the world. How incredibly blessed I am! As soon as that thought passed through my head, however, a voice reminded me,

“To whom much is given, much is required”.

Family Christmas Dinner 2018

Family Christmas Dinner 2018

I know there are many hurting and wounded people around the globe that were not given the advantages of love, nurturing and material abundance I have known. Even now, there are women much like me attempting to save their children from life-threatening situations. They’re living in refugee camps or homeless shelters or maybe even giving their children up to an orphanage. Women much like me are forced to dig through garbage heaps to find things to sell. Some labor in unsafe and unhealthy working conditions for little pay, or even sell their own bodies, because this is the only way they know to feed themselves or their children

Syrian refugee children in a camp in Jordan.

Syrian refugee children in a camp in Jordan.

The world can be a scary and troubled place. It’s easy to get overwhelmed; to feel it’s impossible to bring any help or healing when the need is so great. Still, I know what causes so much of the anguish and what it is that can bring true healing. Wars, hunger, prejudice, violence; these are all the result of an absence of love. Our world needs an ever-increasing response of love from those willing to share it with courage and generosity. We don’t have to wait until we’re able to fix the whole world. We have the capacity to love those within our sphere of influence. Love your family and your immediate community. At the same time, recognize you can also love on a global scale by offering a helping hand to those in need.

I don’t delude myself into thinking I can save the day for these women. I’m not the answer to their troubles. I do, however, want to be part of empowering women so they can help themselves. If I was living in poverty without means to provide for my family, what would I want? I would want an opportunity to work in safety and earn a fair wage for my work so that I could provide for my family’s needs. I want to live by the golden rule of treating others the way I would want to be treated. With that in mind, I will continue to love my global sisters in the best way I have found. Through the efforts of Elevat, I will provide them opportunity to pursue honorable work and earn a fair wage. As of today, that means helping women in the slums of Nairobi, impoverished women in Guatemala, Syrian women fleeing for their lives, Thai women escaping sex trafficking….

Nairobi mother with her child making paper bead necklaces.

Nairobi mother with her child making paper bead necklaces.

Not only do I want to love others by providing safe jobs, I don’t want to be a part of helping enslave them. That’s what happens when we purchase cheap, mass produced clothing and items made by women in Bangladesh or elsewhere who aren’t paid a fair wage or provided safe working conditions. I’ve continued to research the effects our consumer society has on the rest of the world, and I don’t want to be a part of the problem. So, 2019 will be a year without retail for me. I did this several years ago, and it felt so good! I want to commit to it again. What’s more, I’m hoping there will be those who join me. Go ahead, commit yourself to only purchasing fair trade items or other socially responsible products that are handmade and/or manufactured in an ethical manner. There are SO, MANY WONDERFUL opportunities to spend our money with a clear conscience. Of course, we can also find the items we need at thrift stores, garage sales and other outlets that serve to recycle items.

My sister and I shopping at our favorite thrift store last week.

My sister and I shopping at our favorite thrift store last week.

May 2019 be a year of shopping ethically, relieving the burden of others, and giving and receiving much love that will then continue to ripple throughout our world!

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Finding Christmas Spirit


It’s (almost) that wonderful time of the year again…or the most stressful!  Whichever way you look at it, Christmas is just around the corner.  Research shows that more than half of Christmas shoppers in the U.S. start researching gifts as early as October. Those same consumers plan to spend more than $650 on gifts this Christmas season.  That’s a lot of money!  With all this in mind, I wanted to chat with you for a few moments before you finish your Christmas gift giving plans.

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If you’ve spent any time around me, you know how much I believe in fair trade.  The first principle of fair trade is to create opportunities for the economically disadvantaged.  Can you think of anything more in keeping with the Christmas spirit? Add in factors like economic transparency; no child or forced labor, good working conditions, fair wages/profits, and you have a lot of great reasons to shop fair trade.

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Christmas seems the perfect time to offer opportunities to those who don’t have as many financial advantages.  So, since you are going to be spending money on gifts anyway, why not give gifts that multiply a positive impact?  This year, I’m doing my best to give gifts with heart.  That includes fair trade but also handmade gifts.  I want to shop with small businesses, local makers and of course, buy gifts made according to fair trade practices.  Let Aunt Sarah shop at Macy’s and Target and other big chains, not me. I love gifts that have been made with care and that carry a story with them.  So, will you consider joining me in purchasing fair trade or handmade gifts this Christmas?

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There are many wonderful arts and crafts show around this season to help us do just that, and Elevāt will be at many of them!  Stop by and say, “Hi”, find some treasures and support local and global makers:

Nov. 3rd 9am-4pm-World Jubilee Fair Trade Market

Colonial Church of Edina, http://www.theworldjubilee.org/

 

Nov. 8th 4-8pm-Holiday Open House

A Beautiful Pause, Avalon shops, White Bear Lake

http://www.downtownwhitebearlake.com/events.htm

 

Nov. 10th 9am-3pm-Concordia Academy Holiday Craft Fair

Concordia Academy in Roseville, http://www.concordiaacademy.com/giving/craftfair.cfm

 

Nov. 17th 10am-4pm-Holiday Fair Trade Market

New Life Presbyterian Church in Roseville http://www.newlifechurchroseville.org/home

 

December 8th-10am-2pm-Elevat Showroom Holiday Open house

4900 Hodgson Connection

Shoreview, MN 55126

 

Come and visit the newly designed showroom featuring all of Elevāt fashion gifts in one place! Free coffee and holiday cookies and chat with Elevat’s buyer to hear the stories behind each item.

Gift openings will be much more exciting this year as you share about who and how each present was made! 

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Living your own story

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Living your own story

 Most of the day I fill every spare moment on a screen with information pouring in, wolfing down food, events and experiences in mindless abandon

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