Noonday Ambassadors Who Bring Change

I have beautiful women in my life, inside and outside. Each of them has their own story and passions that I find fascinating. One of these women is my sister-in-law, Beccy. Unlike me, she has been that bluebird that’s flown around the world and visited faraway places I may never have the opportunity to see. In India, she developed a heart for the women and children there. But like most of us, she grew up, married and had children here at home. A very "grown-up life" can makes it all the more difficult to see the world and do big and magical things that change people’s lives…

((Well, not really, because two souls being knitted together in love and creating other humans out of that love is more than likely the most important, and most beautiful work of all.))

Last year, however, Beccy still found an admirable to way to not only provide for her own growing family, but to help artisans in distant parts of the world provide for their families as well. As a Noonday ambassador, Beccy is changing bits and pieces of the world—perhaps not the entire world (as we often wished of doing as little children), but the worlds of individual human beings. To me, that’s amazing.

I’d like to take a moment to share Beccy’s words with you on what it means to her to work for Noonday.

“I think many of us struggle with what our lives are for, whether we matter, if we’re making a difference. As a teenager, I was able to travel the world and make an impact working in orphanages or teaching school in places like India and Bolivia, but I sometimes still felt insignificant. I figured that if I didn’t go, if I was unable to go, someone else would.

“After starting a family and committing to being a stay-at-home mom, I felt like I had lost my connection to the larger world. Then I heard about Noonday. Through Noonday, I can once again have an impact around the world by connecting artisans in other countries to a market for their product here. Selling their handmade goods creates dignified jobs in vulnerable communities. This is so important to me because I have been in those vulnerable communities. I have seen first hand the families that cannot afford medical care, or send their children to school.

“Noonday is different than any direct-sales company I’ve encountered. They are not multi-level marketing, which can sometimes leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Instead, they are direct sales due to their desire to have a personal connection with the artisan, the ambassador, and the customer. As an ambassador, I want to sit with you and hear your stories, share my story, and the stories of the women around the world so we can all be connected. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many other ambassadors and each of them are encouraging and supportive. We help each other out, give each other our tips and ideas. We aren’t competitive. 

Beccy with a Noonday artisan, Roopa, who is a partner in India.

“I joined Noonday to make a difference. When the problems of the world seem so big, I wonder what a small, quiet person like me can do. Noonday gives me a voice. When I wear a piece that someone asks about, it gives me an opportunity to share the artisan's story and how everyone can make a difference. I’ve heard first hand how Noonday gave someone back their hope, it built schools and daycares, provided clean water, and helps fight against human trafficking. It is so many things. But most importantly, Noonday is more than just pretty accessories.”

Click here to learn about hosting a trunk show or contact Beccy below
I've been lucky enough to have the privilege to attend trunk shows and also host my own with Beccy guiding all my friends through the process. What I love the most is hearing how the artisans choose what to use to make their piece with. Click on this link and lean more about how Ethiopian artisans collect bullets from the fields and turn them into stunning works of art.

Click here to read how when you wear their story, you share their story

In our nation, we are mostly a privileged people. I am an activist and vocal about human rights. I speak a lot about my own privilege as a white, American woman. A part of me was afraid that wearing these pieces would be yet another mark of my privilege. It is, too. But because I have that status, I need to use it the best way that I can. Artisans want to work, they want to create, and they want dignity. As an artist, I understand this as well. Instead of just giving money, shopping at Noonday gives employment and a market for their art and passion. The pieces tell their story and the story of their homeland. Purchasing and wearing their art gives them dignity and a voice. And I can help do those things because of my privilege. What an honor.

Perhaps one of the things that strikes me the most is that the Noonday Ambassadors don't live in their personal little bubbles here in the United States. They are actively learning about their artisans and the lives of their families. They're also traveling across the world to meet these artisans, sit at their tables, and hear their dream. Click on this link to read an Ambassador from Tennessee's account when she traveled to Uganda and met with Noonday artisans and their families. To me, it is clear that Noonday is working to change bits and pieces of the world through art, beauty, connection, community, and most important of all, opportunity.

If you'd like to learn more about Noonday and/or book a show or become part of the company, please feel free to contact Beccy.



The Darkness That Makes Us Yearn

Yesterday afternoon, I was tucked warmly away in my grandmother’s sun room. What an unusual place to sit and be warm, sipping coffee and having conversation while only a large window separates the human hearts from the heavy snowfall outside in the frigid temps. But there I was, reminiscing over the years I’ve been married—18 years this summer. My aunt said she would be married 30 (I think) and she said she didn’t know how many winters. I was confused for a moment. Did she mean literal winters? But she did not. She meant the trying times, the difficult parts, the areas in marriages that many wish they could speed pass or run from. I nodded with understanding. “Those are the best times,” I said. “They make us more beautiful, stronger people. I love my winters more than any of the other times.”

Then last night, while I was laying in bed, blankets piled high because it was freezing, I started to think about how much truth is hidden in the idea that winters are the trying times; the hard times; the times that shape and mold us; the times that make us stronger; fill us with more love that’s unbreakable; purify us….

In the year 2018, winters are still quite literally difficult. We have to work hard to fight back the wildness of it all. We put up plastic over the leaky windows in our old houses. We prepare our cars that sometimes still can’t keep up in the sub-zero temperatures. We fight to unfreeze pipes and then run about screaming when the pipes burst and begin spraying cold water all over the basement (okay, perhaps I was the only one screaming). We are beyond frustrated when the busted pipes require immense cleanup and repair and then they only freeze once again a few hours after fixed. We worry about the roads that become treacherous with snow drifts and ice, both seen and unseen. School is delayed or canceled. Job shifts are rearranged to accommodate the children, stir crazy with cabin fever. We stock up our pantries and fatten ourselves up on hot chocolate and endless pots of chili.

2018…(take THAT Y2K believers!)

We are still fighting to live through the winters. It’s hard. It certainly isn’t easy…and people are often wishing to escape the winter and run to a safer, warmer, more inviting place.

Our ancestors--the legacy that has grown into us--they knew that winter would quite literally bring life or death. They worked hard to prepare and then battened down the hatches, hoping that they would arrive through the dark and enter back into the warm life of spring. They needed hope, filling every surface of their homes with the green hope of life with cuttings of evergreen.

They were superstitious.

They were vigilant.

They were tough.

And they lived through it.

At the end of winter, they took the winter greens and readied a large fire. Some wrote notes of things they wanted to leave behind with the winter—tucked the notes into the evergreen, and burned it all to ash. It was a cycle. There would be another winter, but for now, there was Spring.

But there would be a spring after, if only they fought hard to see it.

This is marriage.

This is relationship.

This is friendship and life.

Be thankful for the winters.
They are tough and sometimes they hurt. You may want to run away and find something more comfortable, but each time the winter darkness turns to warm spring, you will find yourself stronger, more capable, and purified to keep moving forward as time walks with you.

I will leave you with this Celtic prayer of thanks for the seasons:

There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.
Father God, you created seasons for a purpose.
Spring is full of expectation
buds breaking
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.
Now the sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.
Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.
Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.
An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives
a time of rest, a time to stand still
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of your springtime
to blossom and flourish
bring colour and vitality into this world
your garden.
Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives

~Gia Cooper