Designed For The Beauty Of Your Story
The seed for the idea to begin Designing For Hope was planted, in my heart, while standing in the yard of a rural home in Swaziland, Africa. Our small group stood with a young mother, offering her a garbage bag full of clothes and listening for a moment, to the story of her life. I’ll never forget her words as she finished talking to us. She looked around our small group and said, “I have hope because you came today.”
On the 3 trips to Swaziland that followed, it was something I heard again and again from people living in conditions that most of us can never imagine, like cardboard houses on a garbage dump. It was astounding to me, people found hope because strangers, with really not much to offer, stepped into their lives and for a moment became a part of their story.
Maybe sometimes what is needed to survive the most difficult situations is simply to move from one moment of hope to the next. Maybe, for each of us, what there is to do in life is watch for those moments, those opportunities, to step into another person’s story, and to be that breath of hope for them, to show them that they really do matter, that they're not alone on this journey called life.
After my 4th trip, I knew one thing for sure, I had to find a way to keep going to Africa. Designing For Hope was started so our family and I could go. It was rooted deep in my heart to care about people's stories.
I learned from early age that people’s stories matter. My grandfather, Pop Charlie, owned a small grocery store, his customers were his friends. They never just came for the necessities, they came for the friendship too. Down the sidewalk, Bill and Helen owned... well, imagine an early version of Woolworths, Target or Walmart (they had a little of EVERYTHING), but they also always had a rocking chair and warm place to sit at their furnace, a place to share stories.
My uncle in the next town owned a jewelry store. That’s where my love of all things jewelry was born, but he always had time for his customer’s stories too (and a good joke). Pop, Uncle Johnny, Bill and Helen… they all had a special way of letting people know they mattered, by listening to their stories, even a little girl named Sharla, who loved nothing more than to spend time with them.
It was in college though, when my mom added a long strand of champagne pearls and a pair of gorgeous earrings, to my new, salmon colored dress, that I learned the unexpected power of jewelry to create a mood, to inspire confidence, to make me feel beautiful and elegant, in my own story. I never imagined that I would one day create jewelry that would do that for someone else.
And that’s what I want for my customers… I want you to know that your story matters… that YOU matter. My passion is to design jewelry that speaks to your heart and expresses you - beautiful, unique, special YOU. Every element of my designs are created with a desire that you feel beautiful in your story, like specially designed and cast pewter pendants, words and phrases to encourage you and, beautiful beads, colors and textures that are unique.
And in doing that, it allows me to give back to the land that first taught me about the importance of stepping into people’s lives, about being a stepping stone of hope. I started my business with the dream of going to Africa, I’ve been 9 times now, but as my business grows, my dream grows too. 10% of profits go to Heart For Africa. In addition, a monthly donation is made to help support a beautiful little girl named Princess and a young man in Honduras that has grabbed our hearts. And, we go… to Swaziland and to Honduras… because for a moment, on a garbage dump, at a broken down home, in a children’s home, we get the immeasurable privilege of stepping into someone's story and reminding them that they matter, that their story matters.
So come into my little cyber boutique, or my tent at an art festival, my own versions of my uncle's jewelry store, and find a piece (or two) that was designed for the beauty of your story. And if you're so inclined, I'd love to hear your story too!