Monday, December 1, 2014

31 Dresses: Day One

Do you remember the movie "27 Dresses"?

It's a cute flick about a cute girl who was always a bridesmaid, yet never a bride. That is, however, until she met Mr. Perfect and fell in love with him over the course of a couple weeks (because that's a realistic timeframe for love), ending like all other chick flicks: the girl gets the guy that we've been swooning over since the opening credits. It's a feel-good, light-hearted movie that many women can identify with because of the bridesmaid dresses that fill our own guest-room-closets.

We also identify with it because we want to be noticed and loved. We want to feel beautiful and we want others to recognize our dignity. We desire to be desired.

In a perfect world, in a world without sin, each of these desires would be fulfilled. But the news and media don't lie -- we live in a world where women are oppressed, trampled on, taken advantage of. Where sex-crazy men and power-hungry people use their prestige and money and strength to squelch, dehumanize, and devalue women and girls. I've seen it with my own eyes in Bolivia and even on the streets of Portland.

And that is why I'm participating in Dressember. I believe in everyday advocacy and I know our voices matter. You and I can help change the world that millions of abused women and girls wake up to every morning. Your voice matters, too, and all our voices are louder together. Let's yell, let's run, let's dress for the restoration of dignity for all women.
Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who've been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.

Dressember exists to inspire and empower a global community of like-minded women who are locking arms to face one of the greatest injustices of our time.
The heart of Dressember is freedom-- that every woman has the right to live a vibrant and autonomous life.
I'm choosing to include my 4 month-old twin girls in Dressember, as well. Ada and Libby are my baby in the making. Currently, Ada May is napping in her crib, and baby Libby is wiggling on my lap while I type with one hand. As I got them dressed this morning, stretching their little arms through sleeves and wrestling tiny leggings over their giant diaper-clad bums, I told them why I was putting a dress on them when it's 20 degrees and frosty outside. They may not be able to choose their own outfits yet, but I want my girls to know that from the day they were born, they had purpose. Purpose to advocate, to empower, to motivate and inspire. A purpose to breath life and hope and speak love and joy into others.

My heart is full of anticipation this month, as it was a year ago.

A year ago, I longed to be pregnant and I begrudgingly identified myself, Elizabeth, with Elizabeth of the Bible, a woman who desperately wanted a child but was barren. Turns out, I was pregnant and didn't even know it yet. God had fulfilled His promise in me (twofold!) as He had done thousands of years ago with Jesus and John the Baptist.

I'm expectant again, this month. Not as a woman with child, but as a mom full of dreams and hopes and prayers for her babies who need Jesus as much as the oppressor and the oppressed do. Advent season is upon us, and I crave the freedom and justice and light that only the Savior of the world can bring. Jesus Christ, from his humble beginnings as a baby in a manger surrounded by donkey poo, came to proclaim freedom for the captives, bind up the brokenhearted, and comfort all
who mourn (Isaiah 61).

Dressember is bigger than a dress. It's about celebrating my freedom as a woman and claiming freedom for my baby girls' futures. It's about setting captives free and ending modern-day slavery. The heart of Dressember is dignity for ALL women. (Whether you've been a bridesmaid, or not, whether you own a dress, or not.)
  • Will you cheer us on this month?
  • Will you support our cause and donate to IJM on our behalf?
  • Will you think of us as you bundle up in your jeans and sweaters, and say a prayer for victims of oppression around the world?

Ada, Libby and I are hoping to raise $4,500 to fund a rescue operation with International Justice Mission

IJM is leading the fight for freedom by defending the oppressed and putting the oppressors (pimps, rapists, perpetrators) behind bars. They are rescuing thousands and protecting millions. They are the good guys who fight the bad guys in real life, and it's so much better than the movies.
Dressember begins today. Help us meet our goal and create real change. Every dollar counts, and the process is fast, easy, and secure. You can also partner with us by sharing my link on Facebook and Twitter. Or, send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to my page!

 Dress UP and Raise UP
You can find me under the team name: "Dress UP and Raise UP" My team is comprised of my youth group girls and my baby girls. We are dressing up to raise up world-changers.

Ada & Libby's dresses for the whole month of December, thanks to hand-me-downs. (Not pictured are leggings and fleece sweaters.)  They certainly have more options than I do this month!

Follow us all month on Instagram by using the hashtag #DressemberBabies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baby World Changers: Noonday Collection << GIVEAWAY >>

<< Welcome to the next stop on the blog train! >>

It's Monday, August 11th, 10:44pm.
I've been a mommy for exactly 12 days and 6 hours.

On Wednesday, July 30, my husband and I joined the ranks as parents as we welcomed Ada May (6 lbs, 14 oz) and Libby Joy (6 lbs) into this world.  Two beautiful baby girls, who, despite keeping me awake for approximately 18-20 hours a day, have breathed new life and energy and purpose into my being.  I am a new woman with a greater capacity to love, to nurture, and to advocate than ever before, even though I'm foggy-brained and exhausted.  I have two little bodies completely dependent on me to provide them with their every need, which God designed for me to do.

Over the course of three years, God prepared us to be parents and, after many late night cry sessions where I reminded God about my desire to be a mother over and over again, He answered our prayers two-fold...TWINS!  Read more about our infertility journey here.  Obviously, a lot has happened (babies) since my last entry and I have some major catching up to do, but maybe my journey will encourage you or someone you know.

So, how does Noonday Collection fit in with this?

Many people have asked if I will continue as a Noonday Ambassador now that I have my hands (and heart) extra full.  The answer is an emphatic YES!  I realize my time will look very different and I'm trying to figure out what that will look like for my family as I pick up trunk shows again and send my youth pastor-husband through Seminary.  It will take sacrifice... of sleep, of evenings, of time with my girls and my husband.  At the same time, I believe that pursuing my passion and fulfilling the mission of Isaiah 61 will make me a better mom and a better wife.  When I am in my element, serving Jesus and doing what he commands, I am full of life.  It's one of those paradigms where pouring out actually fills me up.

I have a globe prominently displayed in the girls' room.  My hope is that they will gain an appreciation and love for the world before I did as a young adult.  From early on, I want my girls to be hungry for world change.  I want them to thirst after righteousness and generosity and mercy.  I want them to crave justice more than they crave the Frozen soundtrack.  

(Speaking of Frozen... my photographer friend Karina set up this shot with my girls.)

It's late, and it's almost time for the babes to eat again. (I'm told this too, shall pass, and I will leave the house again and I will stop walking/sitting around half-naked all day, and I will resume jewelry wearing.  Some day.)

So, I leave you with my prayer for my new chapter of life.  It's actually part of a blog written by my friend Jessica, Noonday's founder, in which she wrote about taking her 6-year old to Africa.  Her words echo my heart, so I leave you with her wish for her daughter and I'm praying it over mine.
When Amelie, my 6 year old, is 22, I want her to tell me that her life isn’t all about her. I want her to risk everything, to lay down her life, in order to co labor with Christ to make His love known among the poor, the oppressed, the disenfranchised. I am taking her with me to Africa so she can SEE the face of poverty; the face of strength and beauty. I want her to see that Africa is not just a land of moms and dads so poor that Americans have to send lots of money to “sponsor” their kids. It is a place where God’s image bearers dwell. Talented people, who with a market place for their goods, can create beautiful things and overcome insurmountable odds. She will meet the ladies behind the accessories that have filled our house and now office for 2 years and know why mommy is working so hard. She will see the 50 crib room that Jack [Jessica's adopted son] called home, and will meet many other kids without moms and dads. I want her heart to be ruined and wrecked for the God who ruined himself for her.
(Did you enter yesterday's giveaway?  My friend McCall is giving away a $50 gift card!  Be sure to click here for another giveaway this afternoon, courtesy of Shannon.)

YOU can be a world-changer, just by wearing a Noonday necklace and telling the Noonday story.  I'm giving away the Helena necklace.

14k gold-plated
made {with love} in India
Read more about Noonday's work in India here.


My fellow world-changers aka Noonday lovers, I want to know......

1) Are you a mother?  If so, how are you/will you encourage your child to be world-changers?  (I need some ideas!)  What is your prayer/desire for your children?


2) Who has inspired YOU to change the world?

*to enter, follow the prompts from Rafflecopter below*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Like what you see/what you've read?  Want to join forces for greater global impact?
Check out the brand new collection on my website:
Contact me about being an Ambassador or hosting a trunk show!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Forever 21 vs. Noonday Collection {{GIVEAWAY}}

This post might make you fired up.
This post might make you mad at me and mad at your favorite store.
This post might ruin your life.

Over the past year and a half, I've revolutionized my shopping by utilizing my purchasing power at second-hand stores, Insta-sales (Instagram shops that support various ministries and adoptions by selling lightly used clothing), and a number of online retailers that abide by fair trade principles.  

The other thing I've done is AVOID shopping at certain retailers because of their labor practices. Where I spend my money communicates my values to the marketplace.  I cast a vote for worker's rights with every dollar I spend.
Here's where I might make you really mad.  But it's ok.  I've been known to ruin my friend's lives (in regards to their shopping habits) and I'm ok with it.  After all, you know what they say: #sorrynotsorry

*deep breath*

Forever 21 is one of the worst places you can shop.

On a grading scale from A (the best) to F (the worst), they consistently received a "D" grade on:
  • worker rights
  • traceability
  • monitoring
  • use of excessive overtime
  • they don't guarantee their workers a living wage, or even a local minimum wage (which is rarely enough to actually live on)  
  • they have not taken steps toward responsible purchasing, even though they have a code against child labor and forced labor.
I wish I was making this up, but I'm not.

The Huffington Post, in their sweatshop investigation, explores "how the leggings you just bought [from Forever 21] may have more problems than just an excess of sequins." 

The US Department of Labor revealed evidence of significant labor violations:
"Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshop-like conditions," said Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the division in the West.  "When companies like Forever 21 refuse to comply with subpoenas, they demonstrate a clear disregard for the law, and the Labor Department will use all enforcement tools available to recover workers' wages and hold employers accountable." (read more)
If you need even more convincing, here are some additional articles:

One of the most unfortunate things about Forever 21 is that they print John 3:16 on the bottom of all their shopping bags without any regard to God's love for the world.  Last time I checked, the "world" refers to ALL people, from every tribe, nation and tongue, from every economic status, with every job title.  

The "world" means those living and working in desperate, horrific conditions like Forever 21's cotton growers, cotton pickers, fabric dyers and garment sewers... those exploited by the company's cheap and fast fashion.

Until they make drastic changes to how they source their products and treat their workers, I will not set foot in their store.  (I recently had a nightmare where I was stuck inside of one.  Yikes.)  


One of the biggest red flags about Forever 21 (and other retailers with similar labor practices) is how low their prices are.  Think about it: if an accessory costs less than $4 (for example), someone in the supply chain isn't getting paid appropriately (or at all).  Considering Forever 21 has a net income of $135 MILLION, one would hope they would invest a little more money into the humane treatment of their workers all over the world today.

Yes, Noonday Collection is more expensive than Forever 21.  Things have to cost more to ensure dignity and sustainability among our artisans.  Consider the real expense when you find a bargain.

Everything at Noonday Collection is handmade.  NO factories are involved in producing any of our products.  All our workers are ensured a living wage.  (Often times this is higher than minimum wage.)  And everything is made with love by people working their way out of poverty.  Entire communities and families are being transformed.  Nearly 9,000 family members are impacted.

Dominique at the Let's Be Fair blog compares popular retailers like Anthropology and Urban Outfitters with their fair trade counterparts.  I love this concept so much that I did my own comparison with some of Forever 21's products.

Because human lives are worth the price difference.  Click the links below to see for yourself.

Forever 21's Out at Sea scarf vs. Noonday's Beachcomber scarf

Forever 21's V-Shape Drop Earrings vs. Noonday's Geo Drop Earrings

Forever 21's Dangling Triangle Earrings vs. Noonday's Renegade Earrings

Curious how your favorite retailer measures up?  
Look them up on Not For Sale's "Free to Work" website.  Their article, Apparel Industry Trends: From Farm to Factory, "ranks 300 apparel brands on their efforts to address child and forced labor in their supply chains.  It provides a picture of the practices of industry leaders, and calls out brands that fuel modern slavery through their negligence."

And now for today's GIVEAWAY... a $50 gift card for you to spend on the Noonday item of your choice!

Enter yesterday's giveaway from Tesney, a hero in the adoption world and the fiercest adoptive mama I know, and hop over to Mandy's inspiring post and giveaway tomorrow!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The heart of Noonday: Adoption

Adoption is expensive.

I have friends who are constantly fundraising to meet rigid deadlines.  I can image it is a daunting endeavor and not for the weak at heart.  The price tag along is enough to send some people running the opposite direction.

Adoption can cost anywhere from $10,000 - $30,000, and yes, domestic adoptions can be expensive, too.  Some families opt to invest in the health of the uninsured mom, so they cover her medical fees. Then, there are agency fees and dossier fees and referral fees and country fees and fees for things I don't even understand.

Families spend their paychecks to provide homes for children who they aren't even biologically related to, all in the name of LOVE.  

Adoption requires sacrifice.  After all, aren't we, as believers, also adopted by way of a loving God who allowed his Son to die so we could live?

Since November is National Adoption Month, I wanted to share how you can help Noonday Collection alleviate the financial burden for adoptive families.  Jessica Honneger, Noonday's founder, started Noonday as a means to bring her adopted son home from Rwanda.

Not only do your friends get to shop for super cute accessories, a portion of EVERY purchase goes toward adoptive families who are making a special home for an abandoned or unplanned child!

[ shop at and select "Elizabeth Bricknell" as your Ambassador on the checkout page.  By shopping through my site, you're even helping me raise money to visit our artisans next summer! ]

As a hostess of a Noonday trunk show, you can donate your hostess rewards to benefit a family in the midst of their fundraising process.  Noonday will write a check for 10% of sales to help cover costs and the hostess gets the opportunity to shop at 50% off!

Do you know someone who is adopting who would benefit from some additional funds?  I'd love to partner with you to bring their child home.  All you have to do is open up your home and invite your friends to shop.  I'll do the rest (or find your local Ambassador to do the rest)!  There are nearly 400 ambassadors all over the country who would love to help.  Email me and I'll connect you:

Are you an adoptive mama?  You can host a trunk show, too!  
Plus, I've partnered with my friend Heather and she's graciously giving away my favorite Noonday necklace & a beautiful t-shirt to celebrate YOU!

If you are an adoptive mom or know someone else who is, "like" Heather's "Love is Waiting" Facebook Page and comment on the image to win the La Jolla Necklace (providing living wages for the poor in Ecuador) AND this Love is Waiting t-shirt!  (Retail value: $102)

Heather's shop, Love is Waiting, raises funds for adoptive families through t-shirt sales.  Aren't her designs lovely?!

Heather & other adoptive parents: I greatly respect and admire you.  You have much to teach me about taking care of people who are not "blood."  Thank you for the example you set; may I have the courage to follow your lead in my own journey.

Now what are you waiting for?!  Go enter the GIVEAWAY!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Our Journey: The Two Year Mark

I remember the date clearly:  October 1st, 2011.

We'd been married for two years and took a belated Anniversary vacation to Sun River for a quiet weekend away.  It was there that Paul told me he was ready to start a family.  It was there that we sat in the hot tub and dreamed together about our future children, prayed for wisdom in parenting, prayed for their future spouse, and cried tears of joy together that we were both ready to be parents.

We were ready to embark on the biggest adventure of our married lives.
We were ready to share our lives/home/families with another.
We were welcoming the challenge and the adventure.

Naive as it sounds, we were not ready for the waiting which lied ahead.

What I didn't fathom at the time or prepare myself for (who does?), was the time in which it would take for our dream to become a reality.  The "pregnant pause," if you will.

Two years of frustrating appointments and health complications.
Various approaches to natural medicine.  Acupuncture, chiropractic visits, a no-sugar diet.
Herbal teas and supplements.
Prenatal vitamins, ovulation predictor kits and an unreal amount of feminine products.
Prescribed medication.
Two painful, invasive procedures.  Blood tests which have yet to show improvement.
And lots & lots of waiting...all while teenagers within my community are having babies outside of marriage and I'm having none.

Ironically and unintentionally, we found ourselves at Sun River during the exact same weekend as we had been two years prior.  Two years ago, I would have fully expected we'd be with child by now -- if not in our arms, then at least in my belly.

Instead, we were still uttering the same the same prayer that has occupied our lips, minds, and hearts for the past 730+ days.

730 DAYS.

During that time, I have identified with the woman in the Bible who suffered from prolonged bleeding.  I could picture myself reaching out to touch Jesus' cloak as he walked by, believing in His healing power.  There have been moments where I genuinely, without a shadow of a doubt, believed the timing was now.  And I've been wrong over and over again.

I have identified with the persistent widow who prayed until the judge changed his mind.  I have found myself questioning why I still have to plead with God to give me the deepest desire of my heart when He already knows it all too well.

God is delaying the answer to my need which has caused me to consider how I receive God's silence.  Do I trust God in the delay?  Could I be right where he wants me to be, right now?

I've been reflecting on the story of Lazarus, thanks to some notes from summer camp.

Jesus knew Lazarus was sick, yet he stayed put for two days and let him die.  My finite mind immediately thinks "Jesus could have saved him!  Why did he put so many people through the misery and mourning of his death when He could've stopped it?"  Of course, Jesus, in his infinite wisdom, knows best.  It's the Sunday school answer and it's the truth.  There is always purpose and God is always right on time.  Even in my situation.

I am well aware that I am not alone in my journey of infertility, which is why I'm sharing about it on my blog.  It's a way for me to process and for others to identify.

In case you haven't asked lately or haven't known how to bring it up, I hope this is helpful. We could get pregnant tomorrow and I'd still be glad I wrote today.  I am growing increasingly more aware of the pain of delayed answers and know I can relate to some people better because of it, whether it's about wanting a baby or not.

I'm sad sometimes, and growing our family is on my mind every. single. day.  But I'm ok.  I really am.

I have the best husband of 4 years who believes FOR me when it's hard to believe for myself.
I have an incredible community of prayer warriors who are pleading my cause.
I have a business that has renewed my joy, purpose and calling and I am dressing up to go grocery shopping "just in case someone asks me about my jewelry so I can tell them about our artisans."
I'm making silly music videos with my 9th grade small group girls and winning awards because of it.
I am running 4 days a week with a friend.

I'm learning and growing and becoming.
And all the more ready to be a mom.