Posts tagged #Community

Haiti Cherie

I traveled home today, back to Minnesota, through North Carolina where the storm will surely be heading soon. As I stood in the security line checking all my social media feeds, the world around me seemed to be going on with out skipping a beat. Swirling around me as I stood there, motionless, on the verge of tears. 

The world goes on even when it seems to stop. So many of us see images on TV or Facebook, say a quick prayer or mutter how sad and devastating that must be and move on. 

My mind, my heart and my prayers are in Haiti today. I am thankful that many of my close friends were very safe in their homes, in secure structures and I am speechless at the stories of love they have shown their friends and neighbors. 

*Photo credit Jan Williams Stevens of the  Hands and Feet Project

*Photo credit Jan Williams Stevens of the Hands and Feet Project

In the days and weeks that come I know Haiti will be on the minds of many. Living in Minnesota I have met numerous people who have traveled to Haiti. It is in moments like this that I want to encourage us all to support some of the well established hands on organizations.

Through my time in Haiti I had the pleasure of working with many organizations, many who have employees and loved ones whom homes and life have been torn apart by this storm. If you would like to give, I would encourage you to do so, but do your research. We are encouraging everyone to support one of our partners in Haiti Papillion Enterprise through their state side organization and non-profit, Apparent Project Haiti.

Apparent Project is the non-profit of our partner Papillon Enterprise. They have several hundred employees from their jewelry makers, pottery makers, metal artisans, managers, and restaurant employees. Their work is extensive and their relief efforts have already begun. 

Papillion Enterprise is a staple in their community. They provide love, safety, jobs and in this case relief and aid. It is with your help and support that those on the ground will be able to take care of the needs and relief efforts before them. I strongly encourage you to pour into this organizations financially and to continue to cover them with prayer and encouragement. 

It also must be said, buy. Buy from us, from them and from our other partners listed on our website HERE. Your purchase is creating jobs and it is through a reliable job that people will be able to support themselves and their families. This is why we are, this is our core. To provide jobs to create sustainable lifestyles. Thank you for your continues support and love.

Haiti is a beautiful place, tomorrow the sun will rise again, it will bring a new day and new hope. May you be strong and may the light find it's way back to your shores. Haiti Cherie, Bonje se jerve.

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.

An emotional being

If you know me well then you know I am an emotional being. At times I feel my mind is spinning, a web that goes in 50 directions at the same time.

As I prepare to return to Haiti tomorrow for the first time since I moved away last June, I find the simplest things bring me to tears. I started Cedar and Cypress Designs in part to stay involved in Haiti-if the foundation of your business is based there, then it is pretty imperative to stay involved.

However when you leave a place, you do just that-you leave. I used to get asked why I lived and stayed in Haiti so long. The answer is simple; community, the people. In Haiti I lived out everyday life with an amazing community. But then I left that community and it has been one of the most difficult transitions of my life. Here I am eight months later and still struggling, still hurting, still transitioning.

I cried a little this morning; overjoyed because I get to go home tomorrow, even for just a taste, but I am also mourning. Mourning that some things are different, life is never the same today as it was yesterday. Rarely will you be in a room with the same people again as you were. Treasure every moment, every person, every friendship.

This is not the first time I will return to a place where the relationships and friendships are different. When I left for Haiti six years ago, I left a world and a community that I also loved something fierce. I have navigated life and the differences in those relationships as I will navigate these now. This life I get to live truly is something special and the people with whom have crossed my path today, tomorrow, a year ago, five years ago-you are gems, each and every one of you and you have shined brightly in my life. Thank you for that.

To this gem...I love you friend...

To this gem...I love you friend...



Confessions from a small business owner

Sometimes when I write, I say "we" and "our"...really Cedar and Cypress Designs as far as employees is just "me".

I sometimes feel that if I use we and our I will sound like a more legit business, but the truth is, this little steam boat here is just me. Figuring it out as I go. 

In reality, I have no idea what I am doing-that is to say, this isn't what I have a college degree in-but there seems to be a great community out there. Community I am finding as I go and community that has surrounded me for while.

Sometimes I justify my use of "we" because Jesse, the love of my life, has a lot to do with Cedar and Cypress Designs. If it weren't for him, we wouldn't be (there is that we again).  I am not sure if that justifies my use of "we", but in an effort to keep it real with you all, I am going to keep using it.

This week I am going down to Haiti and I am not quite sure what to do. I have taken some financial risks in opening a business as you can imagine one might. I have about $500 to spend and that comes pretty close to draining our business account-for this month at least. However, I buy from four different companies in Haiti who each have their own whole sale minimum. My small spending budget sort of puts me in a bind. I know what I plan to do when I get down there, I have figured out in my mind and allocated my money, but at the end of the day, it sucks that you can't buy from everyone.

I am over the moon to have the opportunity to go to Haiti. This trip isn't purely business, it was a Christmas gift from that other half of the "we". We are visiting friends and enjoying our favorite island while also purchasing some fun new goodies for all of you. I do wish I could go to Haiti every time I am ready to place a new order, the reality is I wont be able to.

I appreciate the community of sellers and artisans in Haiti, I look up to them all. They are each entrepreneurs who have been where I am at one point. And honestly, I hope to have half of an impact as they do one day. Until then, I am going to keep pressing forward, but if you have any advice, kind words or thoughts-I would surely appreciate it!

Cheers to sunshine and palm trees, good friends and lots of laughs! See you soon Haiti