Once upon a time....

Flash back to 1999, we were a family of four. Happy in our new roomy house and comfortable in our ways. A few years later, the Lord blessed us with an additional little package, little boy #3. Now we were a family of five and sure that would be the end. As time moved on, so did we. The Lord used the time that passed to open our eyes to His will. Several years ago, Bob and I individually heard the call to adoption. It has been a long "pregnancy", but during this incubation time, the Lord has brought us to where He wants us to be. Spring 2010, we traveled to Ethiopia where two little angels were waiting for the Lord's timing - to become our children. Now we are home and can't imagine life any differently! What a blessing to be in His will.

Galatians 4:5 says "God sent Christ to buy freedom for us, who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children." We are just following his model. A Perfect picture of salvation.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Packing...

We (the kids and I) are gearing up to intentionally travel east to the hot and humid state of Missouri to visit family and friends. When I was a kid, our family headed west about this time each summer in search of the great Rocky Mountains, cooler weather and pine trees. Occasionally, we would spot a Colorado license plate heading east, and every time, I would say "you're going the wrong way! ". Now I find myself in the same situation, only this time, I'm in the Colorado car heading east. Now I know what those crazy people were willing to go east for: family, relationships, time by the pool, late nights with Aunt, Uncle, cousins and Grandpa.

Can't wait to hit the road and go east!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Living proof

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans...

I had plans of what I thought life was supposed to look like, however, the life I thought I wanted didn't end up being the life that was waiting for me.

Check it out:
Art major -> speech pathologist
Two kids -> FIVE kids
My mom here on earth for a long time -> she died at age 66
Living in Missouri, next to my dad, around the corner from my sister -> living in Colorado, 600 miles away from them

There are more examples... too many to count or type!

So, what's my point? As a believer, my goal is to live a life that brings Him glory. When I get stuck in my own vision, my own expectations and plans, I miss the mark. I have an amazing Good who loves me and looks out for me. HE has great plans for me that are WAY better than I could ever dream. I think from now on, I'll just look toward the horizon and enjoy the life!

Photo: Lars Leber

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blessings in disguise

We have lived here in Colorado for two years, so we decided it was about time that we took the kids skiing.  One off our kiddos has no interest in such things (Beti), so we made arrangements for her to spend the night and the next day with a friend. We headed out early in the morning with four very excited kids!

We arrived at Monarch Mountain, checked in, got our gear and dropped the kids of at ski school.  Bob and I hit the slopes for the first time in 20+ years.  We were pretty impressed with ourselves that we got on and off the lift without falling. It was such a beautiful day and a wonderful thrill to ski again. That was until I had a "yard sale" on the slope! I wiped out good! Or bad?  As it turns out, I ruptured my ACL.  The kids had a great time skiing. They can't wait to go back. I, on the other hand, will have surgery on April 28th and rehab the dickens out of my knee and be ready to get out there again next season.

The blessing? It has forced one of our littles to branch out a bit, be flexible and handle change.  Blessings

Blogging on the go

So, on a whim, I checked the play store and sho'nuf, there's a blogspot app! So, here goes. My first mobile upload... along with a random selfie.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Noonday Sample Sale - Shop with a Purpose

Welcome to my first Noonday Collection Sample Sale!


I have several samples that are now SOLD OUT on the Website or are in the process of being retired from the Collection.  I am making these specials available to you at a discount which allows me to replenish my samples with NEW items that will be available in the Spring/Summer Collection.


Check out the pictures below and leave a comment.  Make sure to include your email and which item you want, then I will email you to secure payment and shipping information.


There are NO TAX or SHIPPING charges (unless I have to ship it to you!).  I can take Cash or Check.


Enjoy Shopping!

Audra

Variated Diamonds Belt

Variated Diamonds Belt
Original Price: $72  Sale Price: $50
Hand woven embroidered belts cinch with neutral palette in modern angular designs.

Each belt is embroidered using ancient, heirloom quality techniques. The artisans are women in poverty stricken rural areas with very few employment opportunities. They usually work at home with their children playing nearby.

Composed of hand embroidered wool with a metal buckle. These belts use a variety of handmade embroidery and should be handled with care to prevent fraying. Please put them through belt loops gently to prolong use.

1.75" wide; Small 36.5"; Medium 40"; Large 44"


Banded Triangular Belt


Banded Triangular Belt (Medium)

Original Price: $72  Sale Price: $50
Hand woven embroidered belts cinch in a snap of color with a modern angular design.

Each belt is embroidered using ancient, heirloom quality techniques. The artisans are women in poverty stricken rural areas with very few employment opportunities. They usually work at home with their children playing nearby.

Composed of hand embroidered wool with a metal buckle. These belts use a variety of handmade embroidery and should be handled with care to prevent fraying. Please put them through belt loops gently to prolong use.

1.75" wide; Small 36.5"; Medium 40"; Large 44" 

Cozy Knitted Bangle
Cozy Knitted Bangle
Original Price: $30  Sale Price: $20
A design of knitted alpaca wraps itself around a gourd bangle.
These women who work with us are able to integrate knitting into their daily lives, and thus supplement their incomes. Every product is fully traceable including where we source, what are in the products, and who actually hand knits the items. All our designs are created as a collaborative effort.
 3" diameter. Composed of hand knitted alpaca and gourd. Handle with care.




Exploration Bracelet
Exploration Bracelet (Matching Necklace in the Necklace section)
Original Price: $30  Sale Price: $20
A stand alone bracelet or be matchy with the Exploration Necklace. The greens and wooden beads are the perfect accent to fall's colors.
 Handmade by African Style, a group that Noonday Collection helped launch in Uganda.
 8 1/2" W with stretch and just over 2" L. Composed of paperbeads and wooden beads. Handle with care. 


Guapa Wrap Bracelet (Pink Grapefruit)
Guapa Wrap Bracelet
Original Price: $26  Sale Price: $18
The perfect combination of natural hues, this leather wrap bracelet is accented with a hand honed tagua seed. This versatile accessory measures 25'' in length and can be worn as a headband or wrapped once or three times around the wrist. This piece is handcrafted of sustainable seeds by artisans in Ecuador. It takes 3 months for the seed to become a bead. The artisans have been able to rise out of poverty and now employ other community members with the same vision for them! 



Gypsy Stack Bracelets (red)
Gypsy Stack Bracelet (red)
Original Price: $20  Sale Price: $14
Unique and attention-getting, these twists of colored thread and golden beads stripe the wrist to brighten any day.
 Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged.
 25" wide Stackable, adjustable. Composed of thread and brass. Brass will oxidize over time and tarnish with wear. Handle with care. 



Gypsy Stack Bracelets (purple)
Gypsy Stack Bracelet (purple)
Original Price: $20  Sale Price: $14
Unique and attention-getting, these twists of colored thread and golden beads stripe the wrist to brighten any day.
Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged.
.25" wide Stackable, adjustable. Composed of thread and brass. Brass will oxidize over time and tarnish with wear. Handle with care. 






Pelotas Bracelet, Rose
Original Price: $15  Sale Price: $10
This piece is handcrafted of sustainable seeds by artisans in Ecuador. It takes 3 months for the seed to become a bead.  Mix them, match them, these colors are made to accent any of our Noonday bracelets! 



Ripple Bangles (Gold)
Ripple Bangles (gold)
Original Price: $25  Sale Price: $17.50
Bangles of gold-colored brass are sassy and layer perfectly with what you have for that boho inspired look. Measure 3'' wide. The Ana Art Group is a family owned artisan business that receives a living wage for their work and is certified Fair Trade. "I had been working in this art for 10 years before I learned about fair trade. I now work only with fair trade buyers, I charge more for my products, and I finally can enjoy my work" says Naseem, on the artisans based in Delhi. 



Sterling Woven Treasure Bracelet (Blue)
Sterling Woven Treasure Bracelet, Black
Original Price: $34  Sale Price: $24
An intricately woven blue, turquoise and green diamond pattern over sterling silver posts.(.375"wide adjustable). Composed of hand-woven cotton. and sterling silver. Handle with care. 



Threaded Bangle
Threaded Bangle
Original Price: $24  Sale Price: $17
From India


Woven Treasure Bracelet

Woven Treasure Bracelet (Blue)
Original Price: $16  Sale Price: $11
Intricate and elaborate hand woven bracelets that mix and match to create a Noonday arm party like none other! 


Woven Treasure Bracelet
Woven Treasure Bracelet (Red)
Original Price: $16  Sale Price: $11
Intricate and elaborate hand woven bracelets that mix and match to create a Noonday arm party like none other! 



Draped Chain Earrings
Draped Chain
Original Price: $34  Sale Price: $24
Urban causal or sophisticated chic, add these delicately embellished chevron earrings dripping with golden chain loops.  Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged.  3" long. Composed of brass. Brass will oxidize over time and tarnish with wear. Handle with care. 



Mediterranean Sea Necklace
Mediterranean Sea (Matching Necklace in the Necklace section)
Original Price: $32  Sale Price: $22
Mediterranean Sea-colored beads nestle inside a gold-threaded loop. Approximately 1-3/4" in diameter. Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged. 


Urban Knot Necklace
Urban Knot Necklace
Original Price: $36 Sale Price: $24
Multi-colored brass chains come together in a knot. Brass will oxidize over time. Approximately 22" long. Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged


Pearl Drop Earrings
Pearl Drop
Original Price: $20  Sale Price: $14
Simple and elegantly handcrafted paperbeads hang from sterling silver wire. This piece is handmade by African Style, a group that Noonday Collection helped launch in Uganda. 



Onions Tea Towel
Onion Tea Towel
Original Price: $18  Sale Price: $13.50
The fabric is 100% organic fair trade cotton and each towel is 19-1/2" x 27-1/2". Hemmed on four sides with a loop for hanging. The cotton grown to create the towel is certified fair trade and the weavers also receive a living wage for their work. Hand printed in India.



Organic Soap
Organic Soap
Original Price: $28  Sale Price: $21

Soak in the exotic beauty of India that is represented in this travel-size soap gift set. Made with four fragrant scents including: lavender, honey oatmeal, chai and mint. Handmade in Northern India using all organic and natural ingredients including fresh spring water, and locally grown herbs and spices. Each set includes a beautifully, handmade soap box. Each travel soap is 1.25 oz.
Handcrafted by a group of marginalized women in India. Proceeds from this collection go to fund literacy programs for the women artisans and children in the community. 






Bone Carved Polygon Necklace
Bone Carved Polygon
Original Price: $45  Sale Price: $31.50
Hand carved cowhorn creates geometric statement while tiny brass beads breathe elegance into the piece.
 Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged.
 12-13". Composed of bone and brass. Brass will oxidize over time and tarnish with wear. Handle with care. 



Danica Necklace
Danica
Original Price: $138  Sale Price: $96
A bold statement that will sure to have you wearing and sharing our story.
This piece is handmade in Ethiopia using recycled nickel, copper, and bronze melted down from previous war weapons. Most of the artisans who created the pieces are HIV positive and receive healthcare and literacy training in addition to job training.
29.5" long. Composed of upcycled metal and artillery. Metal will antique with wear and time. Handle with care. 



Exploration Necklace
Exploration (Matching Bracelet in the Bracelet section)
Original Price: $48  Sale Price: $33
Earth tones sparkle with glints of bronze. Gem-toned turquoise and cream colored paper beads mix with bronze glass and dark wooden beads for a statement of unique sophistication.
Handmade by African Style, a group that Noonday Collection helped launch in Uganda.
27". Composed of handcrafted paper beads and seed beads. Handle with care. 



Inca Steps Necklace (Bone)
Inca Steps (bone)
Original Price: $72  Sale Price: $50
The Inca steps necklace is handcrafted by Ecuadorian artisans of nuts from the tagua palm. It is Eco-friendly, and needs nothing more than a white tee shirt! This piece is handcrafted of sustainable seeds by artisans in Ecuador. It takes 3 months for the seed to become a bead. The artisans have been able to rise out of poverty and now employ other community members with the same vision for them! 

This piece is handcrafted of sustainable seeds by artisans in Ecuador who provide employment opportunities for their community. The artisans are also shareholders in the company. "Our life has been difficult, but our children will have a better future”





Mediterranean Sea Necklace
Mediterranean Sea (Matching earrings in the Earrings section)
Original Price: $38  Sale Price: $26
Mediterranean Sea-colored beads nestle inside several gold-threaded loops. Handmade by a fair trade artisan group in India that creates avenues of employment for the economically disadvantaged. 



Zoe Necklace (Turquoise)
The Zoe Necklace (turquoise)
Original Price: $48  Sale Price: $33
We collaborated with our artisans in Uganda to create a lightweight, eye-catching necklace. Each bead is handmade from paper and then strung delicately with gold colored glass beads. Measures 15'' to 18'' in length with an adjustable loop closure. Handmade by African Style, a group that Noonday Collection helped launch in Uganda. 



Eyelet Arm Warmers
Eyelet Arm Warmers
Original Price: $38  Sale Price: $26
Bold, flirty eyelet knit adorns and warms on any brisk day.
These women who work with us are able to integrate knitting into their daily lives, and thus supplement their incomes. Every product is fully traceable including where we source, what are in the products, and who actually hand knits the items. All our designs are created as a collaborative effort.
10.5" long stretch. Composed of hand knitted alpaca. Handle with care. 



Fireside Scarf
Fireside Scarf
Original Price: $86  Sale Price: $60
Create a perfect glow for many occasions with a bright and ultra cozy winter item. A radiant fashion voice in chunky chained-cable knit alpaca with wooden button closure detail.
These women who work with us are able to integrate knitting into their daily lives, and thus supplement their incomes. Every product is fully traceable including where we source, what are in the products, and who actually hand knits the items. All our designs are created as a collaborative effort.
52” x 11” . Composed of hand knitted alpaca. Handle with care. 



Kenyan Kikoy
Kenyan Kikoy
Original Price: $58  Sale Price: $40
Kikoys are exclusive to the East African coast, in particular Kenya, where they are made with the finest cotton grown in the region. A Kikoy is a work of art inspired by the vibrant colors of the coastline in this area. Wrap it, put a picnic on it, tie it, cuddle it. This is a must have for travel and all things sunny. Each of these is hand finished by a group of women in Kenya who receive a fair wage for their work. 

Kikoy is 64" x 40"




Whimsical Scarf (original)
Whimsical Scarf
Original Price: $58  Sale Price: $40
Clusters of freshly sprouted bundles of hand dyed cotton gather for artistic measure. Handwoven and then dyed from natural plants that grow near the magical region of Lago de Atitlan. Our Noonday team had the pleasure of working with the women in San Juan de Atitlan, learning the natural dying process of this scarf. The scarf is made by a cooperative of women who share a passion to continue the heirloom weavings of the Mayan people.

Winter Sunset Infinity Scarf
Winter Sunset (infinity Scarf)
Original: $58  Sale: $40


This scarf is a perfect year-round accessory as it is wonderfully lightweight and comes in a wide array of colors to complement each season. It is made out of acrylic and hand-woven on looms. The scarf wraps two to three times around the neck. One size fits all.
Handcrafted in Ecuador by a group of artisans who are also shareholders in the company. They have been able to rise out of poverty and now employ other community members with the same vision for them! 



















Thursday, February 7, 2013

Honors and humility



This past Tuesday, I had the honor of being a "guest blogger" on the blog of a fellow Noonday Collection World Changer, McCall Aldridge.  She has been doing a series titled "I am THAT Mom" and I had the opportunity to contribute.  So, You can zip over to her blog and check out the fabulous posts by a variety of great women!  It was such an honor, not only to be asked to add my two cents, but mostly because of the caliber of women I got to mingle with in blog-world!  They humble me - in a good way!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Maximum Impact


My Mom used to say, “ You should be able to throw away the first child and start over.” She didn’t mean it LITERALLY! She was referring to the fact that with your first child you are learning as you go and when the next child(ren) comes along, you are more prepared. Rest assured, our oldest child is alive and well and on his way to adulthood. However, we have found that we have learned a lot over the last (almost) seventeen years of parenting.

I am a mother of five children (three homegrown, two born of my heart). Bob and I got married young-ish (barely into our 20th year of life!) and wanted to have children fairly fast. We waited three years, but felt strongly that we wanted our children to be born soon enough to really KNOW our parents and to have a strong relationship with them. So, child number one, our oldest son, was born and we started this thing called parenting. He ruled the roost. Not literally, we had boundaries, but I wish we had been more intentional about the teaching part, the training. The only REAL training we did was potty training! We were not necessarily permissive, just very flexible.

Fast forward to five kids. Over time we have come to see our role as parents as our divine calling. For this season in our lives, our highest priority is to raise our children. What’s on the list of lessons?? We have determined that our children will leave our home (rumor is that this happens eventually) with some specific character traits and abilities. They will have a knowledge of God and hopefully a relationship with Him. They will be people of integrity, able to live independently and be employable. They will know how to: plan, shop for, and prepare a balanced meal, make a bed, do their own laundry, clean a bathroom and run a vacuum, compromise when necessary, make an apology, serve others, show compassion, be thankful, be content, and stand up for what is right.

How in the world, in the busy-ness of life, do we get this done? It is a daily effort. We don’t sit down and have lectures or lessons, but it is acted out in our every breath. We demonstrate through real-life opportunities. Every Saturday, the kids clean the house. They have come to the point that they divide it up cooperatively (believe me it didn’t start so congenially!) and get the job done. They each have a day of the week (convenient with five kids) that is THEIR day. On their day, they do their laundry, set the dinner table and say the prayer at dinner. After dinner, the rest of the kids clear the table. With five kids, you can imagine that some topics get more attention than others… like apologizing! One situation that can be difficult to teach/demonstrate is saying sorry for something you don’t think you did wrong. For example, Kid #1 makes a playful remark that Kid #2 isn’t in the mood to receive and therefore is offended… Kid #1 didn’t intend for the comment to be mean! Kid#2 shouldn’t be so sensitive. Perceptions. Teaching Kid#1 to say “sorry you were offended by my comment, I didn’t mean it to sound like that” is TOUGH! However, this is a valuable skill. This skill alone will mend broken relationships throughout his/her life!

I suppose the TAKE AWAY from this is that as parents, we have a great BIG job! We have to make MAXIMUM impact in a relatively SHORT amount of time. My suggestion… if you are asking… 

                            S L O W   D O W N .... 

 Be LESS busy. Pull out of some activities (your and the kids’) that are complicating your schedule so that you have the availability to take advantage of opportunities. 

 The moments are there to have that MAXIMUM impact, don’t let them pass you by.

God Bless,
Audra

**Thanks to McCall for the opportunity to be linked up!  She is a fellow World Changer and I just love her!**


Friday, January 18, 2013

It's because of the people

Why Noonday Collection?  Why Fair Trade?  It's because of the people.  Three years ago, we welcomed two beautiful girls into our family.  We love our girls and would never trade having them in our lives.  Our family is more with them!  More complete, more fun, more... Loud!  Our family is wonderful!  But the circumstances that brought them to us were not wonderful.  

{common street scene}

 {typical living condition in the capital city}

They were born into a family in Ethiopia.  Somewhere along the line, their father passed away.  Their mother was making it as a single mom, which is saying something in Ethiopia!  Our older daughter's recollection is that their mother had a job and at one point they had a "house".  But somehow, at some time, their mother got sick.  This started a difficult spiral downward.  They knew she loved them, but her illness and the lack of access to sufficient medical care rendered her unable to work and therefore, she lost her job.  Ultimately, she had to make the very difficult decision to relinquish the girls to an orphanage.  This is where we came in...
 {My very American Hubby at the orphanage ~ Children without families}

We were approved and eventually brought the girls home to our family.  



So how does this story connect with Noonday Collection and fair trade?  There are mothers all over the world who desperately need access to medical care and want to provide for their children.  Many of them are taken advantage of, working in settings that are not safe, where they are not paid enough to support their families and they are mistreated.  Noonday Collection, and other Fair Trade/Fair Labor companies, strive to ensure that workers are treated fairly, paid a living wage, and treated with dignity!  I represent and support Noonday Collection because by doing so, I can affect change!  My purchases make it possible for artisans to have access to medical care and to keep their families together!

You can make a difference too!  Today, you can be a part of a Giveaway!  By doing so, you receive!  By purchasing Noonday Collection, you can be a part of their story!  

{In this giveaway, you can win this amazing "Scarf" a.k.a. Cowl}

Head over to Ambassador Tara Eichstedt's blog tomorrow for more Noonday Goodness ~ www.blessingsbytlcwithtlc.blogspot.com