The house was roaring all weekend – basketball games, messy school projects, my baby’s 3rd birthday party, an emptied and organized attic. I was all over the internet on a quest to search for holiday gift ideas the grandparents have been begging for. My mind was racing on where to begin my “to do” list. I matched my calendar with Adam’s for the next three weeks, so we don’t miss an orthodontist appointment, a turkey trot, a “Holidays Around the World” celebration. I noted that we’re out of Q-tips, low on laundry detergent, and misplaced the vacuum bags. A few short hours ago, I pulled out every bit of leftover food for “sweep the floor supper”. That’s right, clear the cabinets, clean out the fridge, the holidays are coming!
And in the chaos, I knew I needed the calm. I knew I needed to get here – right here with you – to plant the seed on holiday shopping. The lists are long, even when we cut back. It hardly ever feels just right – too much, too little, too hurried, too forced. Our creative and financial resources pushed to their limits. How does one gift tell my mother how much she means to me? How can I possibly thank my child’s teacher for her continued dedication? What do I pick for the annual swap that hasn’t been done before? I get it. And honestly, I want to tell you straight up – shop here –.
I want you to know how much this organization does to benefit women and children of the world. I want you to know that your purchases can change lives. I want you to know how passionate TEN employees are about their work. I want you to know that I receive emails from the CEO and Founder of TEN in the middle of the night, at the crack of dawn, on Sunday afternoons filled with ideas, solutions, and praise. I want you to know how strongly I believe in the quality of the MadeBySurvivors products and how proud I am when I wear them, share them, or display them in my home. And while I can tell you all of this, it kind of feels like cheating. It’s too honest, it’s too obvious. This is indeed, my job.
So I’ll tell you this instead. Recently, I was asked to speak to a large group of girls ages 7 – 12 about my volunteer trip to India and modern day. Joined by their mothers, the library room was filled to capacity. We talked about saris. We talked about henna. We talked about drinking water. We talked about courage. We talked about basic human rights. We talked about girls their very same age being forced to work against their will, without pay or education, often under the threat of violence. They looked at my pictures, treasures, gifts, and drawings. They wanted specifics: What is her name? Where is her family? Why does she have to? How do you stop it?
I was so moved at how intensely they related, I decided to give each girl a MadeBySurvivors ornament. I watched closely as they moved their fingers slowly along the beading. I listened as they came squealing to me “Who made mine? Can I send her a letter?”. I observed how some held it close, some showed their mothers, many compared color, shape, and style with their friends. I loved how they planned to make one just like it on their own. Somehow, these girls were different from when they walked through the door. Wiser? Enlightened? Connected? I think our talk open their hearts to the cause. But I think the gift brought the cause home with them.
I guess what I’m saying here is, any way you can, I hope you take the cause home too.