Category Faith

My Experience with Dressember 2014

This past December, I participated in Dressember, where I pledged to wear a dress each day of the month to raise money for International Justice Mission to stop human trafficking and end sexual slavery in the world. Far more women and girls are shipped into brothels annually now, in the early 21st century, than African slaves were shipped into slave plantations each year in the 18th century. (Half the Sky) And this isn’t something that just happens overseas. I know of 3 brothels within a 5 miles radius of my home. Dressember was my small way to begin to take action.

I set a goal of $500 and raised $900 $1000 – double my goal! A big thank you to the 28 29 people that contributed to my campaign. (Although you can give through the end of January if the desire strikes you.) I find myself pondering each person’s small decision to contribute what they can towards the greater cause of fighting injustice. It makes me think about how the little things really do add up to something that matters. And it reminds me that our lives are thousands of these small, seemingly unimportant decisions strung together. The small decisions make us who we really are and can cause positive change in someone else’s life if you choose to do it. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” (Arthur Ashe)

Each day I spent time thinking about the injustices of human trafficking. It did bring about my age old struggle with the ‘cosmic lottery’ – why was I born to a life of privilege when so many don’t have access to clean water, food, jobs, education, healthcare? And I don’t know that I will every find peace here because I doubt that there is an answer to this terrible question, but I know that taking action helps quell the tumult that the question brings about. I can choose to use my privilege to help.

I recognize that fashion seems an unlikely way to create action and provoke change, as it has its own fair share of injustices. But it also offers its own special solutions. This is where my love of Noonday Collection enters – they use fashion and style to empower. They pull people out of injustice – with a focus on those that society deems unloveable, incapable, worthless. People’s lives are changing for good because of their model. And below, you can see I donned my dresses, wore my Noonday, took selfies (ugh, that word), and learned many things, two of which are 1) I love wearing dresses and 2) I have a dress thrifting problem! I hadn’t realized the extent of my dress collection until I began this challenge… But I was inspired by the founder of Dressember – Blythe – who wore the same gray, ethically sourced dress from Fair Indigo all month long, styled 31 different ways. Maybe next year?

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Jude is 5!

Our sweet boy is 5 years old today! He is silly, he is smart, he is kind, he loves order, and he loves to learn. We are very lucky to be his parents! Happy birthday little monkey!

Jude age 5

See year 4 and year 3.

 

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several weeks of celebrations

The past several weeks have been absolutely full to brim with fun work and personal events! It’s a big month all around!

We kicked everything off with the opening of the Austin Boardwalk. The private donor event was first (and it was so beautiful and perfect) and I got to wear my new Stitch Fix Sally Mixed Stripe dress in a very appropriate cocktail length/summer weather event. Add another to the list for ‘my job exceeds every and all expectations’.

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And then we followed with the public grand opening! And what a memorable day it was – bands playing, drum lines marching, aerial dancers dancing (and a partridge in a pear tree?)! My co-worker and I got this fun photo with the giant ribbon cutting scissors. This project encompasses so much to the community – connection, safety, health, beauty, progress. I’m floored that I got to play the tiniest of little pieces in it’s implementation.

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At the public opening event there was a stunning performance called East~West by Blue Lapis Light Aerial Dancers to celebrate the connections achieved through the completion of the Boardwalk trail. The underpass of IH-35 at Lady Bird Lake was made beautiful (probably for the first and maybe only time) by these talented dancers.

Blue Lapis Light Performs

We finished off that weekend by celebrating a dear friend’s wedding, which took place at the Zilker Clubhouse (check out that incredible view)! Isn’t that hanging backdrop beautiful?

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And we wrapped up the work events with a practically sold out 10th Anniversary of the Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run & Party. The run portion was successful and the party was beautiful, but we were unfortunately driven inside by tornado warnings and rain.

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Next up, celebrating our 5 year old… And then I am going to take a very long nap. 😉

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sorting out the feelings of church planting

I’ve been trying to find my words to describe the season we are in for quite some time now. Two years ago, I shared a bit about the adventure we were beginning, but I haven’t been able to clearly articulate the church plant journey throughout. It has been messy, challenging, surprising, beautiful and just plain hard. I have learned how my heart is quick to anger, that I jump to feeling entitled, and how easy it is to judge everyone else. All things I thought I would never allow myself to be. Turns out, I’m just like everyone else.

My faith has been challenged and stretched. I knew it was going to be hard for me to live in the city, where it is easier to agree with the academics that there is no God: faith is for the unintelligent. And it is hard. I struggle to claim my faith everyday and I question just as I always have. The doubts will not subside. But the Holy Spirit won’t let me go (and just saying that sets off the ‘kooky’ alarms in my brain, but my heart agrees). I am coming to peace with the tumult of my doubt. No surprise there, my life is full of paradoxes and I am growing to find comfort in them.

I have felt tremendous love and closeness to my neighbors – I care about them like they are extended family, and that feels right. I have watched the small group of people that make up our church love well, lavish grace, impart the practical to our city, all to express Jesus’ love and our love for them.

I still experience moments when something about Christians makes headlines and I want to tear away from all associations of ‘the church’ – it would be easier to be a lone ranger, live faith on my own, but then I turn my eyes to our little piece of the Body in front of me and I am encouraged. We are a ragtag bunch and often I still feel frustrated, but we have fun together, we do our best to love well, we try to trust that God will use us and most of the time I see Jesus in it.

We have no idea how to do what we’re doing, but we’re taking guesses based on those who have come before us and doing it anyway, making changes as we fail. We’re all a mess, but I think it’s working. We are loved by God and we are working to love Austin with God.

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8th Anniversary

I love that we get to celebrate our marriage each year. Each year has it’s own character and much like a child, our marriage learns new phrases, discovers new favorite foods, experiences new adventures. Our 8th year of marriage has been one of resettling into our love – learning each other again and letting go of criticism. It is refreshing to experience an unexpected newness after 8 years – what will that be like at 10 years, 20 years? We are beginning to tell the same stories to the same people – we are becoming that couple, our lives are so intertwined.

For all of the pain, the times that we couldn’t stand each other, where is was more difficult to work through the problems than to sweep them under the rug, the hard work to continue loving each other has payed off. I really do love this man and I am more glad now than the day I married him, that we get to spend our lives together. Happy 8th anniversary my love.

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thank you

Y’all. Thank you.

Since I entered the contest with Noonday Collection and IJM last week, I have seen so much support from my friends, family and complete strangers. I have felt loved and grateful for the people in my life that are willing to help me try to win a chance to do something amazing. To even break the top 20, even for a short time, was nothing short of amazing.

Thank you.

I’ve been watching the contest and my rankings have dropped from 17th to 26th even with my best efforts to grow my voting base. The top 7 are pretty static, I haven’t seen anyone outside of the top 10 break into it. I think it’s time to throw in the towel. I am not sad about this – I know that the woman they select will be the right person and the story will be told and I am looking forward to watching it unfold.

But really, I want to communicate to all of you that have supported me – thank you. I am lucky to know that I have the support of so many wonderful people in my life. Y’all are marvelous.

 

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#Style For Justice Update

It is with much excitement that I tell you that I am #17 in the running for the contest to win a trip to Rwanda to meet the Noonday Collection sewing co-op artisans (out of over 500 entries). I am blown away by your love and support – thank you, thank you, thank you. We have until May 28th to vote once daily to move me up to one of the top 7 spots. The rankings will not be updated until May 29th. Once the top 7 are announced, Noonday will select the top 3 entries and the voting will begin again! You can read my first blog entry about the contest and watch the entry video here.

You can VOTE FOR ME (fill out or click ‘X’ on the popup and scroll to the bottom of the page) once everyday through May 28th!

And even more, will you ask your friends and family to do the same? Feel free to forward this blog post, share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I know many of you have already done this, and I can’t thank you enough!

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#StyleForJustice

Y’all, I just took a risk and entered a contest to go to Rwanda and meet the artisans there that sell to Noonday Collection. You guys have heard me speak loads about this company and the good they are doing in the world. Here’s the thing – I need you guys to vote to get me to the second round, only the top 7 entries get to move on! Will you please help? You can vote once every day! Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 8.11.27 PM

Please vote for me here (you have to scroll all the way to the bottom) and take it one step further and ask your friends and family to vote for me as well? You don’t have to like any pages, you don’t have to give your e-mail, just click the vote button. You can even watch my video explaining ‘why me’ for to go on the trip!

Please vote for me (once every day)! 

 

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My First Stitch Fix!

OK, y’all, this was so much fun! If you haven’t heard of Stitch Fix (referral link, I get $25 if you sign up!) it’s a mom’s best friend. Because really, who wants to bring their kids to a store? A personal stylist picks clothing out based on a style profile you fill out! In addition to the style profile, you make a pinterest board with items that you like and they send you a box full of goodies. You go through the items they send you and keep what you like, send back what you don’t and only pay for what you keep!

I asked my stylist to pick items made in the USA so that it is much more likely that the items were made by folks 1) not in slavery 2) paid a fair wage for their hard work 3) not children. I also asked her to pick clothing that would transition between the work world and mom world, but with a sense of style and adventure. It is pricey, but since I only thrift the rest of my clothing, I feel ok support companies that make stylish clothing in the USA. Voting with your money and all that jazz.

Well look what showed up today:

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I was beyond excited to open it up. I have been itching to get my first fix! And to see houndstooth as the first item! Squeee!

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I opened up the styling tips and got to work trying on the items they sent me. I decided to try on the items doing my best to match some of the tips they sent me. Every single clothing thing I paired with my Stitch Fix clothing items were purchased at the thrift store (the shoes were not). 🙂 And of course, the majority of the jewelry I’m wearing is Noonday… Because I <3 Noonday.

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This first item I tried on was the 41Hawthorn Montgomery Solid Belted Shift Dress. This is a Stitch Fix Brand but is made in China. I like the neckline, it is super comfy, versatile, lightweight (which is perfect for working during our hot Austin summers) but it does feel a little plain… I haven’t made up my mind if I’m keeping it yet. I have three days to decide! 😉

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Next up was the Kut From the Kloth Simmons Bootcut Jean, also made in the USA. They fit perfectly, super comfortable, but are a little long. I just don’t wear heels any longer. I will likely be sending these back.

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On to the Pomelo Ivy Tulip Print Tab Sleeve Blouse which appears to be another Stitch Fix Brand, which hopefully means it is also made in the US. Super comfy! I’ve been trying to purge out some of the pink in my closet (there is SO MUCH PINK at the thrift stores) but I dig this pink with the cobalt tulips. Makes it feel less ‘girly’.

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Another way the style guide suggested to style the shirt – with a black pencil skirt. Makes it pretty versatile, eh? I’m pretty sure I’m keeping this one.

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Next up, Kut from the Kloth Marquis Slub Knit Dolman Sweater. Generally speaking, I tuck shirts into my maxi skirts, but I thought I’d give it a try untucked and I think I like it. It feels very hippy and it would make the maxi skirt a little more wearable during Austin’s ‘colder’ months.

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And here it is again with something a little more in my comfort zone. I’m thinking about keeping this one too, but I’m a little worried because white + being a mom = often ends in disaster.

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And finally, the item that made me excited to tear into the box, the Pomelo Jay Houndstooth Print Swing Skirt. I love the print so very much, but it gathers a bit unflatteringly (is that a word?) in the belly area and I can’t seem to escape the feeling that I could quickly sew up a very similar item myself. Undecided on whether I will keep this one.

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If you have feedback for me on what you think I should keep, I’m all ears! I haven’t made up my mind on a couple of items and I have a couple days to decide before I have to commit to sending back or purchasing.

I’m totally scheduling my next fix after this great first experience! If you are undecided about whether it would be good for you, check out some more about it on their website. And I would totally love it if you used my referral link. 😉

 

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Family Photos 2013

Our lovely friend Dawn took our family photos again this year, still helping benefit the adoption of their little girl they are adopting from Ghana. I have some very talented friends.

We took a few photos in front of the new children’s museum, The Thinkery, which will open soon (can’t wait – it looks so awesome!).

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I think Dawn did an amazing job capturing our little family.

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And this kid, I love him so much. I love age 4.

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But he’s still a ham that loves to be the center of attention. 🙂

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Even when he’s being tickled. 🙂

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And a huge thanks to my friend Krista for letting me borrow some of my favorite new pieces from Noonday Collection (ooooh those earrings! the necklace! And all that arm candy!)!

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