Posts tagged #Blogger

Just one word.

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday season, I sure did. I have been privileged to have spend it in sunny Southwest Florida with family. Happily, I am still here, soaking up every bit of sunshine, running outside, and enjoying morning coffee on the patio.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, WELCOME 2017

Many have asked as per the usual conversation circling the New Year, "what is my resolution?" This year I have forgone the traditional resolution and decided to replace it with one word. A concept I am sure many of you have heard or have even done yourself. I am hoping this will help me to see a resolution through next December for once in my life. I jotted down some tips to help your resolution stick this year!

My word is "word," ironically enough. I love this choice because it means a few different things for me:

  • How am I using my words? Am I building people up or am I using them to tear down?
  • What words are coming out of my mouth. How are they glorifying God?

You see the thing is you don't have to have that same yearly Anderson Cooper goal of "go to the gym more." Don't plan to give up sugar or stop drinking soda (or pop), these goals are almost not even worth making. If you're going to make a resolution to last a year, make it something worth your while.

Take it one day at a time.

This year I want to be healthier. Make small goals. What might that mean? Eating healthier, working out more? Do those things as you can, one day, one week at a time. 

Write it down.

Think it out, hey, even change it if you want. Keep it somewhere close to you, somewhere you will see it on a regular day. Get it stamped onto a necklace or a bracelet (buy that here), but keep it close to your heart and reflect on why you chose that world.

Own it.

And lastly: Own it. This is your resolution, your goal, your intentions and that should be no more important to any one else, but yourself. It's your resolution, meaning it doesn't have rules or parameters. No one can tell you that you're doing it wrong.

So there ya have it! Welcome to 2017, guys, I think it's going to be a good year! Let us know what your resolution is.

Posted on January 1, 2017 and filed under Encouragement.

Now Hiring

As the world moves on from Haiti once again, our artisans and partners are still very much involved. I can't stress enough that what Haiti needs most (maybe not "most", but you get what I'm trying to say) is JOBS.

People have lost their lives and their livelihoods - Hurricane Matthew whipped out crops and livestock, homes and families. Every time I talk about Haiti at a show or the store the response is always similar - Haiti just can't catch a break.

It breaks my heart to see people who have been knocked down by society, by their country and president, by the system and by continued natural disasters. Poverty and a broken system don't make life easy for Haitians. But there are some committed to making life better, to change the system and do their part to make the world around them a little better.

We can all do our part. You can play a role in changing the life of some one in Haiti by making a purchase from us. Our partners are committed to orphan prevention, to education, to the whole family. They offer literacy classes, help to rebuild homes, offer health insurance and so much more. So buy from us, buy from our partners, buy from others who are involved and selling products from Haiti and other countries around the world that are hurting and broken. The more you buy, the more people are employed; Haiti-now hiring.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.
— Ghandi

Survive VS Thrive

I was in a group discussion this morning and some one asked the question “What is a goal or dream you have for your children.”  Now I don’t have children...yet, but a thousand small wishes quickly swept across my mind.

Joy. Inner Peace. To know the Lord. Love. Selflessness. Good health…the list in endless.

But as I silently reflected on the question I began thinking of Roseline. In Haiti last week I spend almost every day with Roseline. We sewed and cut fabric. She practiced her stitches, straight line after straight line. I made her back stitch, turn corners and use different fabric types. She made headbands and learned about the frustrations of tension and bobbins running out. Roseline thrived last week…at work. Roseline wandered up the street at noon when we went to lunch, but she didn’t. At home, Roseline is struggling to survive.

Roseline is a single mom of two. She never had the opportunity to go to school, in fact her sister, Renise, was sent from their home town of Cap Haitian, Haiti to Port-au-Prince as a young child. She was sent to beg for money. She lived on the streets and fought to survive.

As I sat in that room in Minnesota, I thought about these two girls who are now a world away from me. I thought about our lives and how very different they are. I thought about their upbringing and mine. I thought about how they struggled every day for a meal, about the morning’s I pulled my soft covers over my head in my warm bed because I didn’t want to get up and go to school. It never crossed my mind that there were girls like me a world away who weren’t able to have the opportunity to go to school.

A job is giving Roseline and many others like her the chance to go from survive to thrive. Roseline is working hard at her new. Her children are not currently living with her because she can’t take care of them. She is barely serving to take care of herself. But a job, that is a game changer for Roseline. A job is giving her the foundations to build her family on. A job is giving Roseline AND her children the chance to thrive.

Join me in honoring people like Roseline and organizations like our partners in Haiti (Haiti’s Handprint, Sa Voix, Papillon Enterprise, Haiti Design Co-op, Anchored in Hope) who work tirelessly to provide jobs. But, don’t forget about yourself. Without you and your purchases there would be no jobs.

Job creation through artisan empowerment.

Foundations of Cedar and Cypress Wood

In the old testament we read in 1 Kings that when the temple was constructed Solomon used Cedar and Cypress wood. That is where our name comes from. We want to be the foundation and the support for others like Cedar and Cypress was for the temple.  Weather that is companies or artisans in Haiti, individual people, missionaries or families. Our goal is to support others though job creation.

Being a support is the core reason we are in Haiti this week. It has been a true transformation for us as we partner along side Sa Voix. We have been able to build relationships that are solid foundations with the girls and are so grateful for the opportunity. We believe the Lord has great things ahead for Sa Voix as they embark on their journey and we are excited to see what unfolds.

The Lord has been good to us indeed. He has shone brightly on this trip and we see His hand of grace everywhere. Thank you for ever one who has come along side us and followed along on this journey. Our week is coming to just about half way, but it is far from over.

Stay safe wherever you might be and remember to love others well.

Meanwhile, back in Haiti...

If you haven't checked in for a while or are new to us, then it might be news to you that we have been planning another trip to Haiti. We started a Fundly campaign to raise funds to cover some of the costs associated (something I am not used to) and came so close to our goal-God is so good!

I am so grateful and honored to know so many amazing people with such generous hearts. Thank you thank you thank you to ever one who donated or shared our post. It means so much!

We are back in Haiti this time to work with and collaborate a little with a newer company called Sa Voix. Sa Voix means Her Voice in French and they are a collective of women working together. A group of women who's spirits are weaving a beautiful tapestry as they are given the chance to have a job and provide for their lives. Currently they are four Haitian women and Jessica, the founder from Chicago. They have a beautiful spirit to their work place and each one has a bright light.

It has been a pleasure to learn about Sa Voix, the goals and dreams of the organization, and the hearts of the girls. I look forward to what will unfold over the next week and what God has in store. As always in Haiti, I am sure I will walk away having learned much more from them than vice versa.

Stay tuned, there is going to be a great foundation laid and I am exited to share it with you.

Working on perfecting some things...

Working on perfecting some things...

Big Birthdays

                                           Birthday shenanigans with some of the best.

                                           Birthday shenanigans with some of the best.

I am a little late on this post. Yesterday I turned 30. Its been pretty great so far, no complaints, not tears.

One of my best friends was planning to visit me to celebrate this milestone birthday. She brought with her a nice surprise-my MOM! We had a wonderful weekend, laughed until we cried and celebrated the last 30 years and toasted to the next 30!

I have been a little slow with the blog, but there certainly is a lot going on. Ill update you all this week, but for now, I want to make sure you all take advantage of my birthday sale! Use code BIG30 at the check out for 30% off your whole order through the end of March!

New Partnership

We have been presented with a really unique opportunity. As you know on our recent trip to Haiti we met Jessica and her girls at Sa Voix (read previous blog post). They are a group of women who are figuring business and life out together.

They hand paint their material as a form of art and expression. Then they turn their canvas into headbands, hand bags and....well that's sort of where we would like to join. We (me, Tara) are planning a trip to join the Sa Voix team this April for a few days of intensive sewing training and skill refinement.  Although the girls of Sa Voix have training in sewing. Our plan is to hone in those skills and "perfect" them a bit. We also would like to work on some fun new items (to be disclosed at a later date).

However, I can't take this trip with out your help. With Sa Voix as my umbrella, I am raising money for my April trip. Please go to our Fundly page and donate. I so appreciate your help in taking this journey with me.  I know there is a great partnership blooming with the woman at Sa-Voix as well as exciting things in the future.

Cheers.

Tara

Sa Voix-Her Voice or Your Voice

About two weeks ago we returned from an eight day trip to Haiti. Our favorite part about Cedar and Cypress Designs is the partners we get to collaborate with, both in Haiti and here in Minnesota. Our goal is to be relational, sometimes that isn't so easy when you live across the sea.

However, when we get to visit Haiti we get to be intentional with those relationships and our partners. I seem to have an affinity for friendships and hugs. On our recent trip to Haiti, a coffee date with a friend lead to collaboration with a new one (thanks Lexie). We met Jess from Sa-Voix towards the end of our trip, and short of extending our visit, we did our best to work with her as much as possible before we had to leave island life behind once again.

Sa-Voix is also relational and we are encouraged with our new found friendship we were able to cultivate in the short amount of time we were able to spend with them. It is clear that the team at Sa-Voix is a family.

Through the use of art, Sa-Voix is a vehicle to create a safe space for women to explore theirvoice. Sa-Voix is empowering and giving women a voice and a future. The products are Sa-Voix are made by first hand painting the fabric and then sewn into beautiful hand bags and headbands.

"Sa Voix exists to help young women in Haiti find their voice through the arts.

OUR VALUES

  •       We Foster Creativity
  •       We Cultivate Community
  •       We Equip Holistically
  •       We Speak Tangibly"

We were able to see the Sa Voix workshop and spend some time with Jess and Reinese, one of two Haitian seamstresses. Their space is light and inspiring, it fosters creativity and joy-exactly the kind of space I like to work in. Sa-Voix is in it's infancy, but you can tell they have a bright future ahead of them.

Join me in watching them learn and grow. We are so excited about our new partnership with Sa-Voix and are working to get back down to Haiti to spend some quality time with them very soon in hopes to encourage them in their creativity and designs. We look forward to cultivating and developing that partnership and the relationships with their team.

We are blessed by our many partners in Haiti, if you would like to partner with organizations like Sa-Voix please reach out to us. Whether you buy a product, donate to their cause or have the chance to visit their quaint space some day-how you choose your voice will make a difference. We all have a voice. It is up to you how you use yours.

From Dust to Jewelry

Our vision for Cedar and Cypress Designs became clear to us over a year ago. Still living in Haiti, but preparing to leave. I knew I had to do something to stay connected to the tiny island that means so much to me.

Living in Haiti it is easy to see poverty and a reason for God every day. Every where you go and in everything you do. Slums, hungry kids - pain is everywhere.

"You make beautiful things out of the dust." The lyrics of this Gungor song are easy to relate to when walking the dusty streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. There is a place called Papillon Enterprise in Haiti, where these lyrics seem to ring especially true as they unfold right in front of you. A place where beautiful jewelry, pottery, and many other products are made. A place where moms and dads make a decent wage, have healthcare and share lots and lots of laughter. Where beauty is made out of the dust.

Papillon Enterprise was founded by Shelley Clay, a woman who's strength and courage is inspiring. She is a mom of four and employer to over 250 artisans. She runs a boutique, a cafe and of course a major company - oh and that four kid thing again.

Shelley has a heart for moms, moms who have babies and toddlers and 12 year old's. She thinks those mom's should keep their kids and I happen to strongly agree with her. Papillon is a way for families to stay together. By purchasing from them or other companies (like ourselves) who sell their product, you are playing a part in keeping those families together.

We are so excited for our spring line, much of it comes right from Papillon and is full of color! The Papillon slogan, "Beauty is changing lives" is a motto to remember. When you get dressed in the morning and pick out your accessories, your shoes, your purse; think about the story they tell. You have the chance to change lives with the beauty you put on every day.

This jewelry is made out of dust and clay. Like us, it is transformed into something more beautiful.

If you happen to find yourself in Haiti, you must ask to stop by Papillon Enterprise for a tour and some shopping, while you are there get a burger and seasoned fries at the restaurant located above the boutique.

Papillon Enterprise
14 Rue Cassagnol Prolongee
Delmas 75, Port Au Prince, Haiti 6110

Shelley and the rest of the Papillon team, thank you for letting us be a part of your journey - it is an honor.

"Dreams don't work unless you do."

Anonymous

But first, pictures

We have been writing blogs, but what good is a blog with out pictures. I'll tell you-no good. We have a lot to catch up on about our trip to Haiti still, but I want to have product pictures to go with the stories and visits. We made a light box today which was so much fun (and super easy)! We have been busy taking pictures, naming pictures, editing pictures and finally posting pictures!

Some fun products from our spring line that will be up on the website soon!!! Taken in our new light box!

Some fun products from our spring line that will be up on the website soon!!! Taken in our new light box!

You might know that we recently went to Haiti on a buying trip, we brought back a ton of fun new products, picked up two new companies (yey for new friends), but now we need to photograph it all and get them on line.

Before we left for Haiti we were busy making products for our Made in America line. We are so excited that most of them are finally on line-well most of them.

Next up is our spring line from Haiti! Thank you for being patient, keep checking in as new things will be up daily!

There are so so many exciting things in the future for us. If you are a praying type, please keep us in your prayers, we have some exciting possibilities in our future and need to discern through what it all looks like.