A Dragon Master teaches us to give

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You may have already seen the story of Santino and his dragons on Facebook or the Today Show, but I couldn’t resist spreading the word about this amazing boy and his business. Not only is this a worthwhile cause, but looking through the site gave me a chance to talk with my boys about how God created each of us (our similarities and differences) and having compassion, an open mind and a loving heart. All while they picked out three favorite dragon prints and begged for their own t-shirts.

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This is the story of Santino, a 10 year boy, boldly nicknamed “The Dragon Master” by his younger brother. A story that I’m sure is full, but is brought to light because of his dragon drawings. Santino was diagnosed with autism at age 5. One way that he enjoyed expressing himself was through drawing dragons. So after being teased one day, his parents bought him a blank white t-shirt and markers in order to help work through his emotions. As a mom to boys, I find this is brilliant on so many levels, as every day is an attempt to understand my children and help them express themselves.

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After a Facebook post from Lisa, Santino’s mom, of him working on a t-shirt went viral and brought in over 100 orders, you can now shop for your own dragon shirts on Santino’s Dragon Drawings website.

“Santino decided to donate half of his money to the Center for Autism, a nonprofit that Lisa said has changed her son’s life by teaching him how to communicate his feelings, problem-solve and understand social cues.

“I don’t want to be the only one who gets the money,” Santino said of why he chose to donate his proceeds. “I want to help other kids with autism.”

Let’s support Santino and his mission to help other kids with autism. Let’s learn from Santino’s generous heart.

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When life gives you lemons, make some limoncello to share with friends & strangers.

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As I mentioned previously, I am rebranding Ginger Lane to Bevy. Still Goods for Good, but with the goal of impacting MORE. But there is more to the story. When I heard God’s whispers that He wanted MORE, I was deep into a time of undiagnosed physical pain that prevented me from sewing.  Orders were coming in, my bags were in their first store, trunk shows were planned. But I got to the point that I couldn’t sew without tears streaming down my face due to pain, weakness and numbness.

So I had to stop. I had to accept that I couldn’t keep going. I had to tell people “I’m sorry”, “I can’t fulfill my promise”. I didn’t know what was wrong, so I just had to hope that people would trust me and that I wasn’t just flaking. This pain went on for a year. And the days were filled with doctor’s visits and tests, instead of creating. A partial diagnosis came, horrible medication was given, but the time of stillness gave me a lot of time to pray.

God had so clearly answered prayers with Ginger Lane. I knew that He created me to make, to design, to have a philanthropic company. So why was it all taken away? He kept whispering to me that He wanted MORE. He wanted me to grow the business, to outsource the sewing so that others would have jobs, to build community, to keep giving.

So here we are. Bevy. Goods for Good. A bevy of people, a community, can do great things. I am busy sourcing ethical leathers for our clutches. Busy finding manufactures that help local US towns with jobs. Busy planning ways to continue the giving cycle with every purchase. And so grateful to have you as part of our community.

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Ginger Lane is now BEVY!

Over the last year, God has continued to whisper to me about the journey He wants me to take. I’ve been blessed by the support for my handmade shop Ginger Lane, but I kept hearing Him say He wanted MORE. Less me, more community, so the name is now BEVY*. Still Goods for Good.

I am deep in the process of learning about the sustainable and ethical fashion world in order to make a greater impact. The goal is to create jobs by producing the bags in the US, create community for the makers and customers, to give love & hope.

Join me on this journey by signing up for the newsletter (I promise not to spam!) and be the first to know when we launch, get shop discounts and the occasional joke.

*Why BEVY? With the goal of community, we want to bring together makers & customers. A bevy of women to support one another, share their stories, give love and compassion.

Visit BEVY Goods

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A year and a gift for you

(psst….there’s a gift from me to you at the end of the post)

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One year ago today, my husband and I and some friends were sitting at the Rend Collective/Tenth Ave North concert when I felt a tap on the shoulder. The woman behind me wanted to see my bag. One that I had just made a few hours earlier. She passed it to her friends, gave sweet compliments and said she needed one just like it. At the next break, she handed me her card and asked me to make her one.

Then one of the lead singers came out to discuss Compassion and child sponsorship and everything just clicked. God answered all of my questions and prayers together in one instant. Personal relationships and connecting with people is where my heart is. Yes. It just made sense that we would give back by building relationships with children all over the world.

Our sweet girl is in Rwanda. It is such a joy to learn all about her. She wants to be a businesswoman and a great preacher. She knows about you all, how you are praying for her and supporting her. I have huge dreams about expanding the sponsorships, but until we can, we are also giving a portion of all proceeds to Compassion International. Please consider sponsoring a child.

I am overwhelmingly grateful to all who have been part of this Ginger Lane journey over the past year. I never would have dreamed that it would be a real business with and hundreds of bags sewn and photoshoots and customers and goals and trunk shows.

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The morals of the story? 

God likes to surprise us. Be patient and Trust. His plan for launching my business was a thousand times more fun and encouraging than if I pushed my way and tried in vain to make something happen on my own.

The best free and lasting gift? A genuine compliment. It is selfless for the giver. And highly encouraging for the receiver. Just her words and excitement have carried me through the past year.

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As a THANK YOU, go to GingerLaneGoods.Etsy.com and enjoy 20% off for the rest of April.

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(All photographs were taken by Cara Soulia Photography. Read more about how gives back with her photography. All of the models are my friends. To whom I am so grateful for their support on this Ginger Lane journey!)

Sak Saum

The End it Movement has declared today, February 27, Shine Light on Slavery Day. Love the concept and love that they are raising awareness and money for some incredible organizations to end slavery. But they make a great point that “awareness must lead to action”. Ending human trafficking needs more than drawing a red X on your hand one day out of the year.

“This is how the battle against human trafficking will be won – one person, one family, one community at a time.” (Sak Saum, About)

Sak Saum, located in Cambodia, restores the physical, emotional, spiritual, social needs of those rescued from human trafficking. They are “dedicated to the rescue, restoration, transformation and rehabilitation of vulnerable and exploited women and men.” Daily life includes housing, medical attention, vocational training, counseling, studying, worship, community, friendship. In addition, they run a vocational training center that employs, trains and then sell their bags and handmade goods worldwide to support their ministry.  Shop their beautiful products!

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Leap Tote (it’s even on sale!)

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Freedom Wrap Watch

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I am in awe of the women God called to Sak Saum to love and restore the exploited.

Help send my friend to Uganda! {Chrome Buffalo}

Sole Hope Ambassadors were invited to Uganda this summer, to help distribute the shoes, meet the shoe makers, remove jiggers, etc. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it, but I’m hoping we can all join forces and help send my fellow Sole Hope friend, Ashley!

Ashley has partnered with Chrome Buffalo to help raise funds for the trip. Chrome Buffalo, founded by the great folks from Light Gives Heat, is an online crowd funding platform that allows anyone looking to raising money to create a fundraising drive. They then select a t-shirt design, each which sells for $22. But the best part is that the participant receives $11 of the $22! And you get a great t-shirt. Along with the pleasure of helping someone out.

So here’s the only problem. I’m really late on this! We were frolicking on vacation last week, and now Ashley only has 2 days left of her drive. So drop what you’re doing, unless it is feeding a baby. And head over to Ashley’s fundraising page on Chrome Buffalo.

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From Ashely…

I will be traveling to Uganda, Africa for 15 days in July! I will be working with Sole Hope doing jigger removals, foot washing, shoe distribution, and working with the shoe makers. My work with Sole Hope has been extremely rewarding over the past two years, and I can only imagine how my heart will feel finally being in Jinja, Uganda with the shoemakers and children that I have loved from afar for so long. This will also be a very personal trip, as my sons had jiggers when they were growing up. Although I wasn’t able to be there to comfort my sons, I consider myself very blessed to be able to comfort their children during this painful experience. You can watch a video of my son Blake talking about jiggers here: http://youtu.be/vZIgoEqvG0o I know from my travels to Africa three years ago that this trip will forever change me for the good. My trip will cost $3,500 and I want to thank you for partnering with myself and Sole Hope to make this trip a reality!

Big news!

It’s here. After months (years) of prayers, listening, waiting, dreaming, tinkering, playing…it’s here.

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Inspired by Al Andrews, to become an improbable philanthropist.

Inspired by Jon Acuff, to Start. (First inspired by Quitter, but I can’t quit my day job as a mom.)

Inspired by Rebecca at Better Life Bags (where I first admitted my dream “Design something awesome + Change people’s lives”), Megan at She Does Justice and Sarah at BeCause to start a business that combines creative talents & giving.

Inspired by Mike Donehey to sponsor children through Compassion.

Grateful for the encouragement of friends and strangers that have purchased bags already.

Come on over to GingerLaneGoods.com or the Ginger Lane Goods Etsy store or the Spoonflower fabric store!