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We had a great day last Saturday; we went to our very first trade show as a non-profit organization.  With everything else going on, we haven’t had the time to focus on launching our website (and the other aspects of the NP) that we wanted to in October — so this show ended up being a great motivational event.  We stayed up quite late Friday night putting the finishing touches on everything, but we got it all done and it was a successful launch.  

We honestly weren’t expecting to sell a lot of items.  Our main goal was to get the word out about what we are doing and hopefully spark some interest in our projects and mission.  This we did and more!  We were happily surprised by the number of people who were really excited and supportive.  We handed out a ton of business cards and quickly ran out of all the brochures that we had printed.   And, to top it off, we ended up selling a lot more items than we expected — with additional orders for items that sold out! 

The local newspaper in Spokane ran an article on our story and the non-profit.  The article came out Saturday morning, so many people came to the fair specifically to see us.  We met a wonderful elderly woman who showed up most-determinedly at our booth with the newspaper article in her hands.  She lived in Liberia for a summer when she was younger and she and her husband housed a young Liberian man while he attended college in Spokane many years ago.  She was absolutely enthralled with what we’re doing and is excited about helping us out. 

We also met the wife of the professor who heads up the African Studies Department at Whitworth University.  He’s spent quite a lot of time in Liberia and is actually an adviser to President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson.  We were invited us to spend some time with them and we are really excited about that specific Liberian connection.

We got a good feel for what items people are looking for.  Surprisingly, we sold more lapas than anything else.  We weren’t sure how they were going to do, but everyone loved them.  We had a lot of people very interested in the micro-loans/grants program and the vocational training.  We had to tell people that we are just starting to figure it all out — but we have some great organizations that we are excited about partnering with in Liberia to help in these areas. 

We did print up some cards with information about our first three grant opportunities.  We are helping a struggling tailor, a shoemaker and a small orphanage semi-funded by the government where the children crochet items to sell for food.  The cards were good because people were able to take several of them to pass out to friends or to pin up on bulletin boards at work.  We had someone donate two treadle sewing machines on the spot to the tailor — so now we just have to figure out if shipping them is going to be worth the cost. 

So, yes, the trade show was a great success overall and we are so glad that we went.  We did realize (after handing out so many cards and brochures) that it was important to get the website functional because of the interest generated from the show.  We’re still working on the functional part, but at least it’s presentable now.  We haven’t added any of our products yet — but if you want to take a peek, please do so.  Consider yourself warned that it’s rough, though!  The address is http://fourcornersmarket.com.  Let me know what you think. I will post it again once we have added the products and officially launched the site.

Here are some pictures from the show.  We realized late Friday night that we didn’t have a sign yet, so I got creative with some canvas material and paint.  It turned out well and was in keeping with the overall theme of our booth.  The rockin’ oil painting was made by a Liberian artist that Peter met on his trip.  The man paints with a spoon.  A SPOON.  We have a couple of paintings from him and we are going to sell prints of them for a few months and then auction off the original with all proceeds benefiting a specific project.  (Although I think I am going to keep this particular painting — I just love the vibrant colors and the feel of the scene.)

 

 

Here’s a close-up of the three postcards we printed with information about our first three grant projects.  We need to put more information about them on our website soon…

 And here’s a closer look at the inside of one of the brochures. 

 

 

 We made a photo-collage of some pictures that Peter took on his trip to Liberia.  It’s hard to see them well, but you get the idea.

 

 

I have a great adoption fundraiser to share with you all.  (I know how hard it can be to find good, unique fund-raising ideas!)  It’s also just a great cause to support, even if you aren’t in need of a fundraiser…

Threads of Hope is a small organization started by a missionary couple selling hand-made bracelets from the Philippines.  They are literally saving lives and changing lives by giving struggling people on the island of Mindoro a chance to earn a living by making these bracelets.  My sis-in-law, Channelle, shared with us about Threads of Hope while she was here visiting last week — she has a lot of the same passions as we do and has been working with Threads of Hope for a couple months now.  Peter and I were really excited to learn about their philosophy because it goes right along with our desire to help empower local artisans in developing countries to make a living through fair trade commerce.  Peter called and talked to Alex (the missionary who started Threads of Hope) and they had a great conversation about ways we can get more involved and help them out once we get our site going.  Alex ended up sending us several thousand bracelets so we can begin selling them here locally as well as on the website eventually.

We are going to be selling them and giving all the profits back to their ministry, but Threads of Hope also sends out batches of bracelets for people to use as a fundraiser.  This is REALLY cool.  You contact them and let them know what you are going to be fund raising for (this gives them the chance to approve the cause) and then they send you as many bracelets as you think you can sell.  (No money needed up front — they are very trusting! 🙂 )  Then you sell the bracelets at local venues (church functions, schools, fairs, etc.) for $1 a piece and then send 60% of the sales back to Alex.  The rest is for your fundraiser!  It’s a total win/win.  People in the Philippines are earning a living AND you are able to raise money for your cause.  Reciprocal blessing — it doesn’t get much better than that!!

Check out their website and read the story about how it all got started.  It’s pretty inspiring what God can do when ordinary people see a need and choose to do something about it!

The bracelets are awesome, too, by the way.  Each one is so unique and the colors are gorgeous! (I won’t even tell you how many I bought for myself personally!!  🙂  The Threads of Hope website isn’t set up for small orders — and it’s not really a commerce site, so if you want to buy a few (anywhere between ten and a hundred!) let me know and I can send them to you in the mail.  They would make great party favors, or small gifts and the cause is a good one! 

 

 

 

I wanted to share something that I am really, really excited about.  My crazy, adventure-loving blogger buddy, Angel, along with her husband and a couple of friends, have started a great new organization: RED LETTERS CAMPAIGN.  Many of you have heard of or read the book Red Letters, by Tom Davis — this campaign is a practical way for you and me to get involved.  There’s a lot more to it as well — they’re just getting started and have a ton of ideas for the future!  And if you know Angel at all, you KNOW it’s going to be extreme and awesome.  This lady is a mover and a shaker with a HUGELY compassionate heart to be Jesus’ hands and feet on the earth.  I just love her.

So go now, and check it out!  Spend a few minutes poking around the site and be sure to check back often because there’s more to come.  Better yet, sign up to be a adoption journalist and join the blogger network! 

SYNERGY: (sĭn’ər-jē) n.  “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.”

I love this word — and this concept.  I have always loved this concept.  The combined efforts of two or more people can result in a far greater outcome than the sum of what they could each do on their own.  Wow — this really encourages me.  For one, I am a very relational person and the idea that I can make a bigger impact on the world by joining with like-minded people is motivating.  But it also helps when I feel overwhelmed by the great needs that I see worldwide.  It helps when I feel small and insignificant — like a drop in the ocean.  I am grateful that our collective efforts can be greater and more effective than what we could acheive alone.  This is a relief!  We can make a huge difference in the world by being willing to live beyond ourselves and partner with others who are in the arena of our passion, working toward a common goal.

So with that as an intro, I want to share an awesome opportunity with you.  One of my blogging friends, Brandi, has been working really hard to raise money for clean water (by drilling wells) in Liberia.  She’s raised most of the money for the first well and has extended the opportunity to get involved with raising the rest of the funds through our blogging network.  This is a REALLY important project.  Clean drinking water (or the widespread lack thereof) is one of the leading causes of disease and death in many African countries.  It’s something that we take for granted every day, but it is one of the vital elements needed for survival in this world.  

This first well is going to be drilled in an area that desperately needs it.  The first time I read about Rock Hill, it hit me so hard.  It hits home even harder now, because many of the people that labor day in and day out are people with handicaps — like Henry. 15,000 people live in the area known as Rock Hill in Monrovia, Liberia.  Men, women and children pound (by hand) large rocks into smaller pieces that they sell for construction projects and roads.  They make on average roughly 40 cents a day.  They labor day in and day out (I read somewhere that many work twelve hour days) — most without hope that life will ever change.  They live in abject poverty, facing countless diseases and horrible conditions every day — all without clean water to drink.  The water that is available to buy is filthy and may give them a disease that will kill them.  It’s hard to even imagine being in that situation. 

So obviously this is a great opportunity to get involved and give toward a very good cause!  It’s pretty easy to sacrifice the money we would use to buy a soda or a latte when we stop to think about how different our lives are from the hundreds of people — children included — that will benefit from the clean water this project will provide.

That’s all — please consider donating a few dollars!  Five or ten dollars is a relatively small amount — but as we synergise, it CAN make a huge difference in thousands of people’s lives through this project.  I cannot for the life of me figure out how to paste the donate button here — so please visit Brandi’s post and use the link on her page. 

A little about me…

Wife. Mother. Friend. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Student. Adventure-lover. Photo-taker. Book-reader. Organic gardener. Granola-maker. Green smoothie drinker. Snowboarder. Soccer-player. Aspiring rock-climber. Sometime health nut. Passionate about justice and mercy. Adoption advocate. Business owner and jewelry designer. Wild at heart. Crazy-blessed to live out in the country with my awesome family.

Photography Website:

Contact Me:

sunfreckled@gmail.com
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do." {Helen Keller}

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