Why Noonday?

I've begun a new journey that has the potential to be a life changing event, but not for me.  Over the past year, I've been very convicted about the "stuff" that consumes my daily life - the multiple trips to Target to buy cheap t-shirts and sandals, the weekly jaunts to Belks to purchase work clothes because I'm tired of wearing the ones I already have, the eating out that has become a habit - basically a life of excess.  I live in America and that seems to be the theme of everyone's life - excess. We live in a world of instant gratification, little patience, and an over abundance of stuff.  Even those we deem impoverished have cell phones, new shoes, nice cars, nails done. But, that is how America does it.

I was introduced to Noonday by a very dear friend, Amanda, through school a few years back.  I noticed she always wore fabulous jewelry and even had a pair of sandals that I had my eye on for awhile from Sseko, a company that purchases sandals from Uganda, sells them here and the money helps women build a life for themselves and their families in Uganda.  Noonday worked on the same premise and I was intrigued.  I wanted to know more.  Honestly, I wanted to wear the jewelry, but I never brought myself to purchase it because it was a little out of my price range.

Well, through this conviction of having too much "stuff" I began looking at Noonday differently.  Noonday partners with artisan groups world wide and even in America to change the lives of those who are truly living a life of physical need.  These artisan groups employ men and women to create handmade jewelry, scarves, bags, etc. and sell the product to Noonday to then sell in the US.  These artisans earn fair wages that help them to purchase homes, cars, put food on their table, educate themselves, purchase much needed medicines, and even keep their children instead of putting them up for adoption.  Each purchase of Noonday makes a life changing moment for the artisans that create the jewelry and accessories.  This was empowering for me.

Over the last few months, I've made a few purchases to get my feet wet.  My first purchase was from an artisan group in Ethiopia, the Honeycomb necklace.  Farmers in Ethiopia find artillery shells in their fields and transfer them to an artisan group of women who are HIV+.  This group of women then transforms the artillery shells and metal into beads to create jewelry.  Each time I wear it, I think of the power in the purchase and how some beautiful, sweet lady has another day because of the necklace that I wear.
This purchase changed the way that I look at things.  It led me to questioning why I purchase the things that I do.  I questioned the value I put on material things. I never thought I was materialistic, but when I began looking at the lives people around the globe live and the amount of stuff I have, I really questioned what I valued.  I really wanted to begin making a difference with my purchases.  Over the next few months, I purchased paper beads from Uganda in multiple styles.  Each time I wear the pieces from Noonday, I receive lots of compliments, BUT it's the opportunity I get to share the stories of the artisans that I love more than hearing about the jewelry.

 Each piece has a face and that face has a beautiful story of redemption.

Noonday started as a way for founder, Jessica, to bring a baby home from Rwanda.  She and her husband sold beads to raise money for an adoption.  This lead to a company that supports adoption wholeheartedly and truly makes a difference in the lives of others.

Last month, Cheney and I made a decision to get involved.  No, not through an adoption, ya'll.  But, through my becoming an ambassador.  I am so excited to wear the stories of the people the jewelry represents.  All week, I've immersed my self in the stories of Ethiopia, Uganda, India, and Guatemala. All week, I've told the stories of the artisans who have created the amazing pieces I've come to love in just a few short days.  Each morning it's like Christmas trying to decide which story to tell. Do I wear the paper beads from Uganda and tell the story of the Daniel and Jalia and how they were living hand to mouth, day to day until Noonday founder Jessica discovered their talent and created an artisan group that now impacts thousands of people by providing them with wages that allow for homes, cars, and the ability to keep their children?  Do I wear the artillery jewelry from the artisans of Entoto Mountain who are HIV+ and have been outcast from the city and now have a way to pay for their much needed medicines?  Do I carry the bags of our artisans in Rwanda who escaped genocide to now find a life that allows them to have a job to take pride of their accomplishments?

Join with me to make purchases with power by visiting my ambassador page at www.shastalooper.noondaycollection.com 

"and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10