the tapestry on the train

I have made it an unspoken rule here to try to write about ALL the groups, companies, etc that support, model, live and produce by fair trade standards. I try not to play favorites, and I’ve tried to curb my enthusiasm about Noonday Collection here because that’s the only company that I receive any monetary compensation from. And I want people who don’t know me to know that I LOVE FAIR TRADE – and not because I make money by selling ethically sourced products that are made by fair trade standards. My passion is about actually living by the higher standard “fair trade” sets, not by the world’s (who will gladly, albeit unconsciously most of the time, buy products that support child slavery, indentured servitude, and practices that ultimately can lead to death – of the workers that make it anyway). But there are times that I can’t help myself… and my love of Noonday Collection shines through (particularly when I sign up to host on the “blog train” that’s celebrating the new release of the FALL LINE!).

I’ve been a Noonday Ambassador for almost two whole years. This is craziness to me. If I had to choose ONE WORD (I am so not good at that – I am a woman. I like to use MANY WORDS), as I reflect back over these past two years, I would have to say “defining.” And that’s because of Noonday. In fact, I can’t think of any other way that you’d even be reading these words… or this blog… or that I’d be doing anything other than helicopter parenting my two children – and far less fashionably, at that. So while, I may joke and say I’m dedicating a post to Noonday because I signed up for the blog train, or some reading this might say because I get paid to promote Noonday, please know that I dedicate this post to Noonday because I am thankful for the person I am now, the awareness I have of social justice issues, and because of all the beautiful people – like you – that have been added to me.

As you can see, I have a hard time sticking to one theme here. But I’m going to try to put into words this whole “beautiful people” thing (and that’s not a reference to the old Marilyn Manson song). I got to spend time with 7 other Ambassadors, the Founder of the company, and our Operations Director (and product model) in Guatemala last month. It was beautiful, inspiring, bonding and felt like a part of each of them was knitted directly in to me. There is only one Author who can pull so many plot lines together like this to help make a beautifully cohesive story. Here’s me with my girls on our last night of awesomeness:

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Noonday Ambassadors love people well. I’m more convinced of that now than ever before. I’m proud of the sisterhood we share. There is no unhealthy competitiveness and there is always a willingness to share ideas, talents, faith and prayer. And we are ALL doing this for reasons more than money. Whether it’s adoption advocacy, orphan prevention, poverty alleviation, fair/ethical trade love, or fashion/design – each woman has her “crazy thang” that’s making her tick.  Whatever it is, it’s encouraged, enabled and inspiring! And these women? Oh my word! They are ALL hott!

As tempting as it is to stop right there because I know some of your eyes may be glazing over, I can’t. Because while in Guatemala I felt this deep, strong conviction. It was in my bones. Know what I mean? All of us who call ourselves Noonday Ambassadors (and the home office too) are all working for Someone other than ourselves – We’re quite literally standing in the gap on their behalf. We represent artisans from all over the world. People who would not know what to do if they were invited into some of the homes in which we hold trunk shows. People who have had hard lives, but have somehow, made it this far. People who used to scratch by on less than $2 a day (while many Americans live on about $90 a day). These artisans we represent have likely lived much of their lives with hunger pains. But not any more!! Because there is probably an Ambassador in your town, county or state who is bridging the gap for them. Who is saying “I am their sister. They are my family. I represent them, and they represent me. I would want someone to do something to help me, so I am helping them. It’s an honor and a privilege. We’re all knitted together.”

Again, I try not to play favorites, but I have a confession: I have a favorite artisan. I have never met him in person, but some of his threads were knitted in to my story. And the other way around. Last year, we were able to make scrapbook pages for the Founder of Noonday to take to our African artisans. One of mine made it’s way into the hands of David. He works with our group in Uganda. He is one of many children of an abusive polygamist father who lived on the streets most all of his life. But he is my brother.

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It may sound funny to many, but he’s on Facebook and found me there. We have started a virtual pen pal relationship where we message weekly. I really love seeing his name pop up with a “Hullo sister!” Just a couple of weeks ago he went to Sudan on a mission trip. He rode in a bus for 16 hours one way. The bridge he crossed one day, collapsed the very next day and killed at least 4 people. When he got back to Uganda, I asked him what he’d learned from his trip. He said “At times we suffer thinking that may[be] we are the only ones suffering but after traveling now , I have seen people who suffer. And this has given me a lesson of being grateful to what God has given [me]. And following the way I became a christian, I thank God for changing me. And see[ing] the light before death. It also taught me a lesson of praying alot for one another as well, b’se people are suffering.” HOW POWERFUL IS THAT? And if not for Noonday, David says that he’d be living on the streets with no hope. But now, he works and earns a living wage and his dream is to go back to school and study (he is very smart!). Faith and education are the biggest things in his life. Now, he is going out to sow in, and spread, hope to HIS community of African brothers and sisters.

This all reminds me of that beautiful poem “The Weaver.” I’ll post it here for those who may not have read it:

THE WEAVER
________________________________
Written by B.M. Franklin (1882-1965)

My life is just a weaving
Between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaves so skillfully.

Sometimes He weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ‘til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And explain the reasons why-

The dark threads are as needful,
In The Weaver’s skillful hands
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

I, for one, am so thankful for all these threads that are being woven in my life. And I am joyfully expectant for the day when I see the canvas unrolled and the completed project on top. I know it’s going to be beautiful!

Thank you so much for reading through this, my dear friend! As a reward for allowing a few of your stitches to be woven into this story today (and anytime you’ve purchased or advocated for Noonday!), I’m doing a $50 giveaway. I can’t wait to see what you pick! My favorites are the Falling Mukisa, the Delta River bangles with the Saigon Dipped Bangle and the Sophie bracelets in Coral and Camel. I’m wearing them here with sweat shop free made in America clothes from Pleione and Current/Elliot. (We’ve been having an #AmbassadorStyle contest on Instagram)

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What would you pick? ENTER TO WIN the $50 gift card here: http://bit.ly/ZPXajj

And don’t forget to follow the train!

Sept. 16- Wynne Elder- theelderadventurers.com

Sept. 17- Jenna Baugh- www.eatliverun.com

Sept. 18- McCall Aldridge- www.leemeandthegirls.blogspot.com

Sept. 19- Emily Hays- www.emilyhays.blogspot.com

Sept. 20- Lindsay Chambers- www.myvisionsofsugarplums.blogspot.com

Sept. 21- Elizabeth Bricknell- www.elizabethbricknell.blogspot.com

In Style and Love.

xo,

Brandi

35 thoughts on “the tapestry on the train

  1. I LOVE Noonday! We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, so I love that they are such a blessing to families like ours! T pieces are so beautiful, I style my whole outfits around them. I love it when people compliment the pieces because I get the opportunity to share about Noonday & fair trade fashion. (:

  2. I LOVE noonday, & I love getting to share about fair trade fashion & buying with purpose! We’re adoptiong from Ethiopia, so I’ve got my eye on the new coin necklace from ET! (:

  3. I would choose the tangled beads bracelet and the navy Pelotas bracelet. but Annie’s feathered earrings are calling me, too! thank you for the great post and giveaway!

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your story, the beautiful poem and just the reminder that we are all so intricately connected even if we don’t realize it.
    I’d definitely choose a necklace…or two!

  5. I love Noonday and I love the free trade mission of your blog. If I were to pick one Noonday item to purchase it would probably be the scattered steps tagua necklace from Ecuador. Love it!

  6. I would love to have the Bullet and Bead Hoops, Gold. They would look great paired with my Bethe Rope Necklace! Thanks for sharing your story, it really shows the incredible impact that Noonday is having for others around the world.

  7. Brandi,

    I love your commitment to Fair Trade and to live your life ethically. That’s why I started VavaVida as well. I wanted to put my money and my convictions where my mouth was and there I am. 🙂
    I’ve been telling anybody who would care to listen that “fair trade” is the new “organic.” I am convinced fair trade will be in every one’s radar within 5 years.
    Bravo for being part of this. You have a great blog.

    Cheers,

  8. I could probably choose something from every page.. but I’d have to say my favorites are the moonlit infinity cable scarf and the scattered stones necklace. So cool how you’ve been able to connect your ‘brother’ half-way across the globe!

  9. I have recently fallen in love with Noonday (the products AND the cause!) I would love to get the Blossomed Earrings! Thanks for sharing your heart and for the chance to win!

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