I feel silly trying to write about an experience that I can’t even put into words. The magnitude of the evening still sits on my heart and flows through my thoughts, leaving my spirit dancing and my face smiling.
I had the privilege to volunteer for Compassion at a local Rend Collective show. To give a bit of background, the last time I was at a Rend Collective show, the girl behind me asked me to make her a bag just like the one I designed and was carrying. My first order! And so Ginger Lane, now BEVY Goods, began. Also at that show, I learned all about Compassion and committed to using a portion of profits to sponsoring a child. So Compassion + Rend Collective hold a deep spot in my heart and am grateful for how God has worked through them.
This time I was on the other side, and able to be one of the people handing out the child packets to audience members. I was able to talk to people about the girl we sponsor and share stories of how our relationship has grown.
A photo of our girl, her family, and the goat they were able to buy with funds through Compassion.
The heartbreaking moments came when we held stacks of cards in our hands, and realized just how many children need to be sponsored. Sponsoring a child is so much more than having money automatically deducted from your bank account every month. It is a relationship, filled with letter writing and sharing stories. Sometimes giving love and giving of yourself is much hard than giving money. But so much more valuable.
Patrick from Rend Collective said it best: “we can sacrifice a little luxury for someone else’s necessity”. It costs $38 a month to sponsor a child. To some, $38 is the cost of two pumpkin spice lattes a week or a t-shirt bought on a whim at Target that you’ll never wear. Little luxuries.
Please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion.
This is not an ad, I don’t work for Compassion. I just love what they are doing.
When I was a little girl, around 5, I had an idea that I wanted to make and sell my own perfume. My mom lovingly gave me some of her little perfume sample tubes (probably some Liz Claiborne, Opium and Giorgio) and a few old glass bottles. I mixed and mixed all these smells, and probably threw in some water. But it needed a name (Princess Buttercup! I was 5…) and a label, so out came the construction paper and glue. Then I sold the bottles, that probably smelled like The Golden Girls, to my moms gracious friends.
It was that moment, that creative process of taking a product through the lifecycle of design to sale, that I would uncover 30 years later as the thing that satisfies my soul. The thing that makes everything make sense about how I was created. We all are made with different gifts, different talents, different things that inspire and bring us great joy. (How was this uncovered? Go read – and answer the questions in – Jon Acuff’s Quitter. Life changing.)
So now, instead of designing perfume from samples from the 80’s (you’re welcome), I design handbags. Bags that are focused on supporting US makers and giving back in our own communities. Sign up to stay up to date on our launch (and Kickstarter!) at BEVY Goods and follow us on Instagram to see what we’re working on, vote on color choices, etc. A bevy of people – a community – can do great things and impact lives for good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(psst….there’s a gift from me to you at the end of the post)
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.
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.
How precious are these children and amazing these photographs? The photographer, Cara, just happens to be a friend of mine from college, with whom I’m so excited to have to reconnected with recently. Cara Soulia Photography is a Boston-area photography who specializes in photographing babies, children and families. Not only does she make giving back to the community the heart of her business, but she also lives what she says and makes giving back a priority with her kids.
Cara’s heart for giving is such a meaningful reminder that we have all been given gifts and talents that can be used to help others.
And I can say from personal experience, she is such a pleasure to work with. Cara photographed my Ginger Lane collection. Blog post and photos to come. But you’ll find sneak peek at the end of this post!
“I donate my photography services to Cradles To Crayons, which provides homeless and low-income children ages 0-12 the essential items they need to thrive. Each December, I photograph the organization’s biggest fundraising event: the Un-Gala. I love this event because kids participate and it is a hands-on family volunteering experience. In 2012, I brought my own family to volunteer, while I photographed the event. It was so fun to be there altogether and it was a fantastic way to introduce my kids to giving back and helping others.
In addition to donating her time and talent to Cradles to Crayons, Cara also donates her photography to Solutions at Work, a local nonprofit that helps homeless and low-income people break the cycle of poverty by providing resources and opportunities.
“On several occasions, I have photographed participants shopping in the Solutionswear store and in the Children’s Clothing Exchange. I also photograph their annual Vase Glazing event, where Solutions at Work child participants paint vases which are raffled off at their annual gala. My favorite thing about this event is seeing children, who have been helped by Solutions at Work in the past, paying it forward to support the organization.”
“I love to give back to organizations that have an emphasis on helping children and families, because these are the causes that are closest to my heart. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities for local giving. I am currently brainstorming a Mother’s Day event which will include a charitable component!”