Ah ha.

This post comes to you from my quaint living room in my little upstairs apartment I lovingly refer to as my little ‘cottage’. I have an apple cinnamon candle lit and am sipping on a chai latte I made from the Trader Joe’s mix I anxiously await all year. I am taking a minute for myself and letting life sink in.

Todays topic of choice is one of much interest. ‘Ah Ha’ moments. You know what I’m talking about. Those moments where there is a shift in the universe and things seem to be coming together, even though you weren’t sure they would.

A few days into our most recent trip to Haiti, one of our machines just wasn’t working. In light of having a few other unpredictable hiccups with the machines, this was not the kind of news we wanted to hear. The feed dogs weren’t sitting parallel with the arm of the machine and therefore, weren’t able to pull the fabrics through accordingly. We informed our interpreter and friend, Marc-Endy. He casually mentioned that he knew a man in the village who could fix it. I remember a sense of disbelief coming over me. There’s no way that in the middle of a third world country we could find someone able to repair this machine…And after only 15 minutes, the man walked in and sat down with Marc-Endy and I. Out of his pocket, he unfolded a piece of paper that was fragile, old, and I could see it was of great value to him. It was a certificate from a school to, in fact, repair sewing machines and was completed in the late 90’s. I was in total shock that this paper was in such great condition and that he was able to keep track of it for so long! Let’s be real, it’s almost as old as me! And just like that, he looked it over, took it apart, put it back together, and voila! IT WORKED. Magical words when you find yourself farther away from a sewing store than you’ve ever been. On top of it all, I payed him $15. He was thankful and so were we. He made twice as much as the average Haitian makes in ONE MONTH, and we got an insanely good deal. In the states it would have cost more than $50, not to mention having to ship it back and forth. I explained to him that this could be extremely beneficial for him, too. Our machines will break. It’s a fact. And knowing that we have someone capable of fixing them who lives 1/2 a mile from our little fair trade factory makes us breathe a little easier. And reminds us that we are on the right track.

You see, when you find yourself doing something good, really GOOD, things are bound to go wrong. I believe that there is an evil force trying to trip those kinds of people up. But, there’s an even greater force working for the good of us all. In the end, those small miracles are what keeps us going. Little reminders that we are fighting the good fight.

As my grandpa always (let’s be honest, within the last few years) says, keep on keepin’ on.

-Crista.

Now What?

I am blown away by the love and support so many of you have given us and for sharing our story with so many. Thank you really doesn’t explain how truly thankful we are.  This project continues to blow me away. Because of YOU, our following has grown by over 600 people. So many of you have reached out asking how you can help and if you can join us. We are beyond grateful. And right now our answer is “yes” you can help us. Simply “pray it forward”. Keep us and our women in your prayers, and keep sharing our story. 

So now what? Our goal was to sell 750 pieces in September. Today, so many of you had questions for us. Did you meet your goal? So what now? When do you go back to Haiti? Etc.  So, I thought I should answer some of these questions.

Hold on…. First, let me take you back 6 weeks ago to Ti-Bouk, Haiti. We were sitting around after supper discussing our plans to sell aDARable. I’ll never forget the courage it took for me to step up to the other 4 girls and say,  “We are going to pre-sell 750 pieces in the month of September.” There were mixed emotions. A couple of the girls looked at me like I was crazy, while the others were excited about it saying, “Yes we can!” 

I honestly believed we could do it, but we fell short of our goal. For a few days I was bummed that we didn’t  meet our goal, but my Daddy quickly came to mind. Being the baseball enthusiast that he is, he always told me, “From time to time, life will throw you a curve ball, and when it does, baby girl, you better be ready to hit that ball outta the park!” And so we quickly revamped our business plan, and in a couple of weeks our team is headed down to Atlanta for the Children’s World Market. 

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By going to market, we are making ourselves available to people who have access to our target market. That is brilliant! But we’ve never been before so we are excited, yet nervous all at the same time. We are also really anxious to see the feedback that we will receive! This will be awesome for us. We haven’t really had an opportunity to hear what our target market likes and dislikes about our collection. Most importantly we hope our story, and the story of aDARable, will bring awareness about our life changing, fair-trade, children’s clothing line. We aren’t telling people something new about Haiti. It’s common knowledge that it is a very poor country. We are trying to give an opportunity to a village to turn itself around. But, we can’t do this alone. So again, we simply ask for all of you to keep us in your prayers. For those of you who have already purchased, THANK YOU!!! We hope you share the story of your little girl’s aDARable outfit with her. Remind her that her outfit was made with love and joy, because while one of our women was making your daughter’s outfit, she was rejoicing in the life changing opportunity your purchase has given her.

 And before I go, I wanted to share a video that is more powerful than any words I have.  It has gotten me through a couple of the obstacles I have encountered recently, and reminds me to keep going because our women, our team, is worth it. 

Feeling grateful.

Martha

Give and Take.

The last two weeks I have heard the Lord say: give. Even in times when I was certain I heard that word, I found myself paying for things I didn’t necessarily want to. I am having a difficult time coming to terms with money, comfort, what’s enough. I have even been desiring marriage in a way I never have. As my dad said this evening, “someone to help carry the load”. He hit the nail on the head! After 3 years of school and never making enough money to support myself entirely on my own, this has been a radical transition for me. How do I spend my money, how do I make it last two weeks, how do I put it towards my future? Yes yes, I made a budget. So there’s that. But then there is also an underlining freedom. I am trying to find the balance. It’s interesting though, because it seems to me already that the more you get the more you want. And the more you have, the more you worry. Whatever it may be, we are never fully satisfied with what we have. 

Before I continue, this is in NO way manipulative. We are a non-profit and run off donations, yes, but these are the musings of my mind and nothing else.

So let me rewind to last week. I went to dinner with three of my friends. Two of them I would call my best, one I would call a mutual friend. Though we have spent time together, I would not say we are close in any way. It just so happened to be his birthday the next day. He joked about me paying for his meal, as I have suggested others to do for me, and I didn’t think a whole lot about it until the bill came. In that moment, I reluctantly grabbed his and insisted on paying. As I saw my purchase double within seconds, I immediately thought of the number in my account decreasing. Still, I knew it was the thing to do. He was obviously grateful, but somehow that wasn’t enough for me. I was still consumed with how many dollars I had to my name. (I’m going out on a limb here, assuming you’ve had a similar experience.) There is not a miraculous end to the story. I didn’t win the lottery the next day. But, I did see him a few days later and he thanked me from the bottom of his heart. I could see it. And he said those words, “it meant more than you know”. 

We’re talking a whopping $13.00. It wasn’t about the money. It was that in that moment, he knew he was worthy to be blessed. Imagine the power we hold each and every day. You know what I’m talking about. Taking an extra second to hold the door open for someone even though they’re several steps behind you, sharing a smile or a laugh or a comment with a stranger, giving someone a simple and needed nod of dignity. 

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

                                -Plato

Finances are difficult for SO many. In America, our concerns are vastly different from those in other parts of the world. This website (www.globalrichlist.com) is AWESOME! You can type in how much money you earn annually and it will give you a little perspective about the global community. I was just thinking, what if we became a little less attached to the things of this world and start living with eyes that see the need of those around us. What if we lived our lives in such a way that we reminded others of how worthy they are to be blessed. And you know, now that I think about it, a few weeks ago I found myself being blessed by others in this same way. You can’t help but to pass it on. 

The Lord gives and takes. It’s a fact. So why don’t we give when we can, and humbly accept when we need. 

Wishing you a week full of blessings.

-Crista. 

Our Message is Simple.

‘Millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain enslaved by the chains of poverty. It is time to set them free.’ –Nelson Mandela.

750 pieces will give women in extreme need a life changing opportunity.

Our clothes are SUPER aDARable but its more than that, it’s putting your little girl in an outfit that was made by hands you will personally receive a message from.  Made by one of our sisters living in conditions you and I would never imagine possible.  Made with love and joy because while she was making your daughter’s outfit, she was rejoicing in the life changing opportunity your purchase has given her.

Let me assure you that it is not our goal to be pricey.  However, these are well crafted garments made by women who are paid fairly for their labor. Because WeAreDAR is a non-profit, the proceeds go directly to our seamstresses and to cover the cost of production.  We use quality materials to ensure that this will be a great investment for your little one.  Take a chance on us and see for yourself!

So, please help us.  Help us spread the word! Help us get it into the right hands. We are all connected and perhaps you could help us tell others who might help us.  If you have any ideas, I would LOVE to hear them. And to all of our friends, family, supporters… thank you for supporting us and allowing us to follow and pursue our true hearts and passions.

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Authentic Joy

I have to admit that when we landed, I found myself in a sort of secret fear. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time. I was mildly panicked about where my water would come from and when I would eat next, how I would keep my malaria pills down, how long the hair on my legs would grow. The priest of the parish in Tibouk welcomed us with open arms. Somehow, I ended up in the front seat of his nicer than expected truck, while three others sat in the back seat, and still three more sat in the bed. WIthin moments of departing the airport, the skies opened and rain poured. Father mentioned that if it continued to rain, we might not be able to cross the river that would lead us to our home for the week. My travel companions, now friends, would not hesitate to tell you that I was a little stressed at the beginning of our journey. It took a few days for me to surrender, let go, and enjoy the beauty surrounding us. And so we drove.

Instantly we were immersed in this place. The women walking with determination carrying baskets, bowls, and barrels on their heads, their left arm gently tucked into their backs. The men riding on motorbikes, inching their way ahead. I began wondering where they were going. So many people out and about, and yet, I couldn’t figure out their destination. I recalled my last visit to New York. Surrounded by so many, every now and again you catch the corner of someone’s eye and are met with an intensity unlike any other. Everyone is fighting to get ahead, driven by success. In this foreign land, it was clear that the determination was one of survival and protection. 

As we made our way to the village, Father turned up the music. Pumping the brakes every so often, his intention was clear when my body began to sway back and forth. I found his lightheartedness comforting and experienced authentic joy for the first time in a long time. I wanted to take pictures of everything I saw. It was beautiful in a way I knew I wouldn’t be able to describe. Though I was unaware in those moments, I can now see that my heart was growing with every site I saw. 

Even now, I feel a sort of loss and pain being separated from a place that brought me so much peace and joy. 

I know that I would bore you if I mentioned every detail, so I won’t. But I have to mention the last moment we shared with our seamstresses. 

So there we stood after 4 days of sharing, laughing, teaching, learning, growing. Surrounded by a sea of sisters, Macius informed us that they wanted to say a prayer before we parted ways. I could tell that she gladly accepted the role as leader and that she was loved and revered by all. We held hands, wrapped in each other, and they began to sing. In my mind, this was a very sweet moment that would soon be over and I was not to cry. I don’t like showing my emotions and felt as though I could keep it together. As it continued, I realized that this would not be over in a matter of seconds and that I was not strong enough to control my tears. One by one, the tears streamed down my face and I allowed these completely beautiful, insightful, powerful women to speak blessings over me. Marc-Endy, our interpreter, translated these prayers just loud enough for me to hear. Prayers of protection, blessings, gratitude poured over us. The very little research I did before traveling to Haiti led me to believe they were a people who primarily practiced Voodoo and I prepared myself to share my faith in any way possible. Little did I know, their faith would move me so. 

My heart has expanded in ways I couldn’t imagine. I’d like to think I could have traveled to any village and felt the same love, but I really believe that this place is sacred and divine. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, a Haitian peasant explains to Paul Farmer that, “God gives everyone a gift and his gift is healing.” In a country that has had a tremendously difficult time standing on their own, I am honored that we are able to give this village an opportunity to start a new cycle. A time when parents are able to provide for their children in ways we take for granted. A time when dreams can not only be created, but achieved. A time when we are able to heal each other. 

Riding in the back of the truck from tibouk to Cap Haitian. 1 hour of sights to see. The children waving from above us, the motorcyclists only inches away, a different smell every two miles, cows chickens goats cows chickens goats, bright colors, hand painted signs, people bathing, people working, people smiling, bump bump bump, mountains, rivers, one extreme to the next, hot sun, perfect breeze, complete joy. I will be back. 

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XO crista 

Thank YOU, from Mommy

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Dear Emery and Gigi,

It’s Mommy. Today is a BIG BIG day for me and our team. As you can probably tell, from Mommy being on her computer and phone all the time, we have been working our buns off for this day and it is finally here. So now that my nerves have settled a bit, I wanted to say a few things to you.

This has been on my heart for awhile, and I know that if I don’t put it on paper now, that I may never do it. I want both of you to know that I see sparks of passion and adventure in each of you. I wanted to thank you both for inspiring me to follow my dream and true passion. It is because of this that I started WeAreDAR, and thought of the idea of our cause driven children’s clothing line aDARable. You inspired me, and I will forever be thankful. I hope I have made you proud as your mommy, and I hope and pray that one day those sparks turn to flames and both of you will find the inspiration and determination to follow the passions that are rooted deep within your souls.

I cannot wait to take you both with me one day to meet the women we work with. I want you both to become explorers of the world and see all the possibilities and potentialities and not be afraid of them. I want you to not only dream, but dream BIG. I want you to be excited by your own abilities to mold your worlds, to change your futures, to make things right and better and beautiful.

You are young now. Emery you are 5 and Gigi you are 3. You are both small, but you are growing, and you are powerful. Know this in your hearts, if nothing else. Even when you doubt it, or others doubt you, or when you are scared or unsure. You are amazing, and you are never alone.

And remember: Always follow your heart no matter how crazy people may think you are. Your mommy is crazy. Your mommy believes she can make this world a better place and decided to follow her dreams soon after the two of you were born. Things haven’t been easy. There have been many sleepless nights. But I try my best to be a model for both of you. Your light will shine brighter and further than mine for sure, but I will always try to learn and grow so that you will know this is not an expectation of you alone. I hope you enjoy our very first collection. It was designed for little girls just like you!

I love you both to the moon and back…and on and on and on.

Mommy

P.S. if you want to buy a couple of pieces, you have Mommy’s permission to do so at shop.wearedar.org 🙂

…and so it begins.

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I am having anxiety. My mom called me to say they were on their way to Nicaragua for a family reunion, and I completely lost it. Best thing about it was, I was at the grocery store, so people literally thought I was crazy. Great. There is SO much going on. Our line launches in SIX days. It’s pre-sell 750 pieces or BUST. Seriously. After returning from Haiti, I had a fire in me to do this. I kept telling our team, “Starting a fair-trade factory in a tiny village of a third world country seemed like an impossible task, but we did it and if we can do that, then we can pre-sell 750 pieces in the month of September. Right?! I have to keep reminding myself, that the answer is YES… yes we can! (Obama told me so :))

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Also many of you have asked me about my trip and I am still having difficulty answering you. So sorry about that. I’m still trying to process everything. My last trip to Haiti, was my first, so I spent a lot of time getting to know the women behind aDARable and discovering the village of Ti-Bouk.

This go-round was different in ways I can’t describe. Before I go into more detail, let me allow myself to explain a few things first. Those of you who know me really well, know that I very much march to the beat of my own drum. I believe in fairytales, happy endings. I believe in following your gut, your intuition. I believe your gut, your intuition is really your heart screaming at you, and I believe in following your true heart’s desires. I believe if you follow your true heart’s desires all the powers in the universe will conspire together to help you achieve whatever you set your heart to. I am very much a free spirit, a lover of people and life. I love learning about other cultures and other religions. I believe we should all try to learn something new every day. I believe we all live just once, but I also believe if we live our life following our hearts, living once is more than enough. And last, I believe in Christ.

Rarely will you find me talking about religion, politics, and other touchy subjects with others. I love hearing others discuss their point of views, but then I go and do my own research to hopefully understand where and why I stand where I stand. I guess I am like this because although I am a believer in Christ, I am mindful and appreciative of other religions and ways of thinking. Anyway, all this to say on this trip to Haiti, I felt Jesus. I have had one other experience like the one I had in Haiti one other time in life, and it took me a good while to talk about it.

It was our last day with the women and they started playing some Compa music. Compa is the music of Haiti. We then attempted to teach them the Cupid Shuffle. We danced, laughed and hugged. The women then made a circle around us and began singing church songs, they prayed the Lord’s Prayer in Creole, and then each woman began praying for us out loud. At that point I just closed my eyes and listened carefully to the words that were coming out of their mouths, not understanding any of it, but enjoying the eloquence of how their prayers were resonating. It was at that point that it hit me like a lighting bolt, an overwhelming feeling. I knew it was Him talking to me. Telling me to continue on my pursuit of happiness in helping the poorest of the poor. Telling me He has been by our sides this entire time. Telling me not to quit, to free these women of their poverty stricken state, to give them meaning, and purpose in life. I felt Him. I really did.

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I really am going somewhere with this and it leads me to my now. I came back a changed person once again. It seems like I come back changed every time I go to a place like Haiti. But this time I am more driven than I have ever been about this project….today was just a tiny step back for me. But you can feel how much our women need us, and lately I have only talked about our women in Haiti because of the excitement of aDARable, but our women in Costa Rica–I haven’t forgotten about you. I came back knowing that although many people thought (and many still do think) I am crazy for following my heart, my heart didn’t fail me. I came back knowing God has been listening to our prayers and He is behind this project in ways I’ll never understand. I came back smiling because of the feeling as though I have found my real purpose in life, and I came back more stubborn than ever, because this project cannot fail. Individual lives are depending on us and on me, that is a responsibility I will protect and try my hardest to accomplish. Now, I just need to remind myself of this constantly….especially on a day like today when my nerves are taking the best of me. We. Can. Sell. 750 pieces. In. September….YES we can!

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It’s So Much More than Just a Video …

Video. It’s my passion. I love it. I grew up watching fairly tale movies. If you sat me in front of a movie when I was little I would be so enamored with what I was watching that you most likely had to walk in front of me to get my attention. And sit me in front of that movie enough times I would start saying the lines and singing the songs along with the princesses. I was in love with movies. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up and have a job that is a part of my passion. When Martha came to me and asked if I would be a part of this trip and make a video for her, of course I jumped at the chance. Take some time off work and travel out of the country?! Who wouldn’t say an immediate yes?!! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have the experience I did.

I’ve been reading Love Does by Bob Goff the last few months. Just taking my time and really reading through it – taking it in. Bob knows his stuff. About a year ago I was out on the road at the Democratic Convention for work when my phone rang. I was out getting my crew coffee when I looked down and saw Martha’s name on my phone. I answered and the first thing I heard was “I’m going to start a children’s clothing line!” …. hold on … say that again?! Here’s the thing about my sister-in-law: she gets ideas at least once a day about something new. So when I heard this it didn’t really surprise me that she had a new idea. What did surprise me was the fact that she wanted to pair it with her non-profit, and not only did she want women to produce the clothing, she wanted students to design the line and women in Haiti to produce the line. Whaaaat?!?!! That sounds crazy right?! I thought so. I’ll admit it. Like I said, she gets ideas at least once a day, but this one seemed different.  Here’s another thing about my sister-in-law: her heart is bigger than yours and mine combined. And I think it’s her heart that gives her ambition and drive. She told me how she was going to talk to O’More College about their students designing the line and then how she was going to start a free trade in Haiti to give 10 Haitian women jobs. ….. are you speechless yet? Good. I was too.

Now here we are almost a year later and she’s doing it. We’ve all been praying for her, but it seemed like such an impossible prayer. Once again, I’ll admit that. I would pray for her and what she was doing, but, to me, it seemed like such an impossible thing to pray for. Like I almost felt bad for praying for this because it seemed so far-fetched. Amongst the many genius things I’ve underlined and highlighted and circled in Love Does, one of the things Bob talks about is how “ …God delights in answering our impossible prayers. The kind of prayers made in a dark cell by someone holding unwashed hands. Prayers asking for the things we couldn’t possibly think could happen for us or someone else. Ones we might even feel a little bad saying, as if it’s just asking God for too much.”

That’s all my mind has been thinking the past few months. Pray bold and pray big. Don’t be afraid to pray for outrageous things. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing in front of one of these women watching them learn to sew on an electric machine for the first time. Seeing their face light up when they made a button-hole or a certain stitch or threaded their machine correctly and Crista or Sarah looked at them with a large smile and said “bon travail” (meaning good job).

I remember when my first niece was born. I always imagined what I would feel when I saw her for the first time. How big my smile would be. How long I would hold her. How my heart would feel when I held her for the first time. My brain would literally try and make the scenario up in my brain so my emotions could be prepared for the moment (you see I tend to be a huge type-A person … I try and prepare for every scenario as best I can … flaw and attribute of mine – different blog for a different day). You see no matter how much I tried to prepare for holding her and seeing for the first time, my heart was 10 times more emotional than I ever thought I would be. The same thing happened while I was in Haiti.

Imagine a place where houses are consistently unfinished. Where kids run around with no shoes on. Where dogs are so thin and so scared that they don’t come up to people willingly like we’re used to seeing with our dogs here in the US. A place where cars are not an option of transportation for a 3 mile journey. Road lanes don’t exist. Imagine a 3rd world country. I did. Of course I fell for one of the little kids down there and a dog as well (if you know me then you knew this was bound to happen!) … I couldn’t stop imagining taking them home with me and offering them a different life. But, overall, I think I prepared myself as best I could for the visuals that I saw. What I wasn’t prepared for was the love in the hearts of these women that are a part of this project.

These women love Martha. I mean they really love her. The first day the women came to the Parish Hall to work with Crista and Sarah, Martha walked in and went to say hi to each and every one of them and one woman in particular held her just a tad bit longer. Hugged her just a tad bit tighter. She had the biggest smile on her face while she was hugging Martha. I was lucky enough to be standing there with my camera guy and both of our cameras were pointed at the moment. I’ll say it again: these women really love Martha.

And their love for Martha is so much more than just loving her for the kind of person she is. I mean she’s an awesome person so, naturally, everyone pretty much loves Martha when they meet her, but the opportunity and the possibility of a different future for these women and their families is why they love her. They love her for speaking out about her idea. They love her for her passion. They love her for being hopeful. They love her for being strong and never giving up on the project. They love her for the ambition she’s thrown at this project. She’s creating a possibility that these women have never dreamed of – that they most likely could never have imagined at all for themselves. I got to speak with most of the women and when I asked what this project meant to them and they all could not stop saying thank you and how big of an opportunity this project was so they could provide for their family – so they could care for their children – so they could provide an education for their children. Their love for Martha is so much bigger than I ever anticipated.

Martha’s “crazy idea” of starting this clothing line grew with love. The love and the passion she has for this project is what breathes life into it each and every day. Over the past year I’ve gotten the opportunity to see this project start from a small idea and develop in to women in Haiti sewing the patterns for this clothing line. And while in Haiti I got to see a different side of my sister-in-law. A side that is so filled with love to help people that she’ll stop at nothing. She had an idea that was so filled with love and compassion that you can’t help but jump in and join her. I mean she took an idea, went to a design school and got a clothing line designed. She then found a town in a 3rd world country and is able to give 10 Haitian women a job sewing this clothing line. On paper, in black and white, it still sounds crazy! But I love it. And Martha loves it. And the women love Martha. The little town of Ti-Bouk love Martha for what she’s doing for these women.

Love. It’s been there from start to finish in this project. It’s been there in different ways. These women and the town of Ti-Bouk love Martha for what she’s doing. Martha loves it so much that she stopped at nothing to make it happen. She loves it so much that I was able to go with her and document the journey. I love it so much that I will continue to pray the impossible prayer. Love has so many meanings for each of us. I love my parents for the person they’ve molded me in to. I love my brother for the way he loves me as a sister. I love my dog for her awesome personality and her company she gives me. This trip to Haiti gave me a new perspective on love. I circled this whole section Bob wrote months ago when I started reading Love Does:

“…I understand just a little more how God has pursued me in creative and whimsical ways., ways that initially did not get my attention. Nevertheless, He wouldn’t stop. That’s what love does – it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end.”

For me, this experience down in Haiti wasn’t just about making a great video. It started out as that, but it was molding into an experience where I see how much God loves me. He loves me so much that he let me be witness to these women and their lives changing. He loves me so much that He showed me Martha in a new light. And it’s not until now, seven months after circling and underlining this specific passage in Bob’s book, after having been witness to aDARable in progress, that I see how much love has done. It’s pursued blindly. It’s pursued unflinchingly. It has no end in sight.

Bob was right. Love really does.

 

– Jen

We are in Haiti!

“I use to think life could be shared by anyone but now I know choosing the right people is pretty important.” — Bob Goff, Love Does

Rain. I talked about rain on one of my most previous blogs. The saying of some people just get wet, while others actually feel the rain. Today I felt the rain. I really did. It was the romantic, happy, dancing rain, it was the rain that brought feelings too good to be true. I don’t know how to describe it.

I’m here in Haiti, surrounded by beauty everywhere. It’ the stillness. The simplicity of life here, but we all believe we can make it even more beautiful, by providing hope to these people who have basically nothing, yet have so much love.

Seeing our women for the first time brought tears to my eyes. Seeing them excited, wearing their Sunday best, made me realize how much this really means to them. Some of our women travel more than 6 miles every day for this opportunity…it’s the small things. I know I’m all over the place right now, but I’m just over the top excited for what is happening.

Our crew consists of our team cheerleader, Taylor- which along with many other tasks, is taking care of the women in our project, by making them feel loved, appreciated, taken care of, and supported. She has fallen in love with the children and women. It’s been so fun to watch her interact with the people of the village.

Crista-our DARling intern has amazed me everyday since arriving. You can just see how much she loves teaching our women and you can see and feel how passionate she is about this project. Crista is one of the designers behind our “Concrete Pioneer” collection. She has been a part of this project from day 1 and so she has been a vital role in our current mission here.

Sarah- our fun, awesome, ” Zami” aka friend, from Matilda Jane Clothing, has been a God send. She has been working hand in hand with Crista, teaching the women all the skills they need to know to produce our line.

Jennifer- beautiful Jennifer is a producer for Studio Now, and has worked on projects with L’Oreal, Verizon, AOL, along with many more. She has donated her time to help produce a video that tells you more about our work here in Haiti.

Paul- I have no words to describe Paul. Paul is a Director of Photography and simply the best. Paul has traveled the world filming for nonprofits, like ours. We have had so much fun with Paul-man! He is here working with Jen, and filming most of our project. Paul will also be editing our video once we return. He too is a God send because “someone” sponsored his entire trip and he took sick days to help us and travel with us. I can’t tell you how thankful we are for him.

And so far our crew has accomplished sooo much. We have made sewing tables for each woman. We secured a generator, surge protectors, extension cords, and taught the woman how to use electrical sewing machines for the first time! Crista and Sarah have taught each lady how to make button holes, sew zippers, how to use a serger for the first time, and tomorrow they will be making patterns!! Whew! Now can you understand why I really don’t have words to describe what is happening? We will post pictures soon, since our internet is iffy, at best.

Bob Goff said it best when he said, “Sometimes I think God says to ordinary people like me and you, that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes He wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, and to do something about it.”

Feeling blessed.

T-48hrs!

As of yesterday I’ve found myself in the super excited/super stressed mode most people find themselves in before taking a big trip! When you know you have SO much to get done before you leave that all you want to do is just crawl in bed and quit life but your excitement for your upcoming excursions keeps you going…that’s exactly where I’m at.

You can imagine the lists I make with my Type-A personality..and my Target/Walmart list was nothing short of OCD. I began my hunt for DEET, SPF 1000 sunscreen, Lysol wipes, traveling toothbrush cases, etc. feeling a little overwhelmed. But as I took my time strolling down each aisle, I began to have fun with my “To-Buy” list. With every item I found, I began imagining myself in Haiti and how/when/where I would be using that product. As I contemplated my choices in the candy aisle for a solid 10 minutes, I couldn’t help but imagine meeting and loving all the Haitian children in Ti-Bouk and how excited they would be for a little taste of American treats. I eventually decided on 2 three pound bags of tootsie-rolls and lifesavers…American classics.. 😉

But as I began to imagine my upcoming trip, the stress began to fade and pure excitement started to enter. I just want to rush through the next 48 hours and meet my team at the airport! I honestly don’t know what this trip will bring but I couldn’t be more excited to be on such a wonderful adventure with such amazing people! We are truly getting to live out our dream of empowering women in 3rd world countries, and we’re starting with Ti-Bouk, Haiti!

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we begin our world adventures! We can’t thank you all enough for your support through this journey! We have been hard at work for almost a year now on aDARable, but the truth is, we are only just beginning! So excited to see where our adventures take us!

Excited to start our globe trotting!
T