It all started when a group of women from my awesome church decided to read the book "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker for 7 weeks during the summer. It's a book that I highly would encourage you to read. Every week we fasted something different to drastically cut back our consumption of media, food, clothing, just excess in general. It was a tough, but very rewarding 7 weeks. And I loved being able to go through a book with such wonderful women. They weren't kidding when they said that this book would wreck your life, but in a totally good way. Day 12 and 13 of the clothing week really hit me when Jen started talking about Isaiah 58. If you don't know what Isaiah 58:3-7 says, let me tell you.
'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?' 'Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as ou do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?'Then Jen went on in her book to break down what the verses above where talking about. I have this quote highlighted in my book. It really hit me when I was reading it and read it several times over.
I like the way The Message version puts verses 6 and 7.
'This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I'm interested in seeing you do it: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.'
"When we hear 'fast', we put on a yoke of self-denial. When God said 'fast', He meant to take off the yoke of oppression. The Isaiah 58 fast is not about the mechanics of abstinence; it is a fast from self-obsession, greed, apathy,m and elitism. When it becomes more aobut me than the marginalized I've been charged to serve, I become the confused voice in this passage; 'Why have I fasted and you have not seen it?' -pg. 57That's when I realized that I was just so absorbed in looking good. Not just physically, but also spiritually. I realized that I could care less about where my clothes came from and how the making of it affected the person who worked to create the pieces.
Then we moved on to the spending week. And boy did I need help with this. Shopping is my weakness. When you think about the vastness of the topics of poverty and justice, it gets kind of overwhelming and honestly, it makes me want to shut down and give up because I'm just one person. But instead of giving up, I've decided to focus on one area that really lines up with my passions. That area happens to be fashion. Until recently, I was unaware of the difference I could make with the way that I choose to spend or not spend my money.
Now this brings me to Noonday. The website for Noonday Collection was listed in the back of the book as a company with a conscience. I realized that I really needed to drastically change the way that I think about shopping and what companies I decide to support with my money, so I went through the whole list and looked at each and every link listed in the book. But Noonday Collection stopped my searching for quite awhile. I was instantly hooked on all of the beautiful pieces. And then I started reading about Noonday and their vision and how it was created. Then I found out that I could be an ambassador and not only help create a pathway out of poverty for women all over the world, but I could also have a source of income for myself to fill in the gaps during the slow seasons with photography. And this brings me back to Isaiah 58. Noonday's vision verse is Isaiah 58:10, "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselfves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." And cue the goosebumps. hahaWe get to choose our vendors. It's simple to find out if products are made with integrity or on the backs of slaves and children. With watchdog groups like Not For Sale , free2work.org, change.org, and others now that consumers are denouncing human trafficking and slave labor, there is no excuse for ignorantly supporting a corrupt supply chain. The reason a shirt is $4 is because a worker was paid $.10 to make it; insistence on the cheapest prices is at the expense of freedom or living wages for workers.... On the positive side, there are marvelous companies who not only guarantee a slave-free product but economic leverage for some of the most vulnerable workers. Free-trade organizations, living-wage employers, Third World suppliers, companies with a conscience- your dollar can accomplish more than making the rich richer. -pg. 169-170
The passion behind Noonday Collection is to connect you with the lives of artisans struggling for a better future while styling you along the way. Noonday is not charity. It's a sustainable business for women and men in countries all over the world that are struggling with poverty. All of the pieces are purchased straight from the artisans at a fair and living wage. Money is never just "given back" to the people as charity. Since working with Noonday, many of the artisans are able to afford education for their children, enough food to feed their families, and even homes furnished with electricity and plumbing. And this is what God calls a true fast. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, break the binds of oppression. I love it.
Whew, that was long. But I really needed you to see my heart for this company. It just exploding inside me daily. And now you have a chance to jump on board with this vision. My first trunk show is this Thursday Oct. 7! And then there's another one on Sunday Oct. 21st. If you're my facebook friend and even if you're not, you're invited to join me in an evening of trying on beautiful jewelry and accessories. If you'd like more info about the show check out the facebook event or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And now for some images of the beautiful pieces and how I've decided to style them.
If you like to look at all of the pieces and make a purchase go here: www.laurapensack.noondaycollection.com
If you'd like host a trunk show in your home email me at: email@example.com or call: 484-547-9151