Thursday, April 14, 2016

FEATURE FRIDAY: Kush Textiles

Feature Friday's we will be talking to Catholic business owners about their Catholic faith and how they live out their vocations through their businesses. Today we are talking to Christine Mitchell from Kush Textiles. 
 
www.kushtextiles.com 
Let me tell you ALL about this FABULOUS company.  As Catholics, honoring the dignity and beauty of all life, is at the centre of our faith. So when I found out about Kush Textiles, and their entire company ethos, I was majorly stoked.  For anyone that knows me, I'm a woven wrap nerd. I could talk to you about carries, and blends all day, maybe longer. Wrapping in Ethically produced, vegan, Fair trade baby wraps, takes the beauty of babywearing to a whole new level. 
    
  Kush Textiles is committed to designing and producing only the highest quality, ethically produced, vegan, Fair Trade baby wraps & handwoven accessories. Working with a group of highly skilled artisan weavers from Guatemala to create original handmade goods, every item purchased from Kush Textiles not only supports the artisans, but helps to develop the Guatemalan community. Kush Textiles donates a portion of their proceeds to a school for the weavers children and those in the surrounding community, and they have partnered with Para Adelante, an organization that funds educational scholarships for Latin American women to pursue a higher education as a catalyst for change.

Ok ladies ... let's go over that again ... it's something to dwell on. In an age where we are coming ever more detached from the products we use and the food we eat,  this company is doing something extraordinary. I want to make this clear, when I carry my baby with a woven wrap from  Kush Textiles here is what is happening :  - Promoting the physical and emotional development of my baby - I'm hands free!  - Supporting Artisans in Guatemala - Developing the Guatemalan community - Helping educate the children of the artisans   - Helping Kush Textiles be a catalyst for CHANGE  

 I love that Kush Textiles gives us the opportunity to do so much more than wear our babies but also to spend our money in a way that supports this community.   Speaking to founder Christine Mitchell, she tells me: 
  " Giving back and helping others is very much a part of our Catholic faith, and these values have been instilled in me since I was a child. I have always been involved in giving back to my community through various charities and organizations such as Special Olympics, Catholic Charities, PARC, and now Kush Textiles. Part of our business model is to operate under the principles of Fair Trade, and to ensure that the weavers we work with are paid not only a fair wage, but a living wage so that they can support their family and afford to pay for an education for their children. We also donate a portion of our proceeds to development efforts, and to fund educational scholarship for Latin American women. I have always desired to make a difference in this world, and to help others through my work. We are focused on making a beautiful product, while bettering the lives of the women that work with us. With a business model like this we can ensure we are doing good and giving back, all fitting with the Catholic Church and her teachings "
Are you feeling really inspired and in awe of Christine right now? Because I sure am. We all talk about doing something like this, right? But Christine and her team have actually made the dream a reality. 

 Kush is formed by Christine, her husband Ryan, Christine's former MBA professor Karin, and her husband Richard, along with their partner Willy, whom is a Guatamalan businessman. Each spring, Karin and Richard take a group of MBA students to Guatemala to work with weaving co-ops as part of a program to help the weavers learn how to better market their businesses When Christine first started baby wearing she wasn't able to find a design she absolutely loved, so she contacted Karin and asked her if the weavers could make her a wrap. Next thing she knew Kush was born. Christine explains that with in the team they work wonderfully together, their different talents complimenting each other. They truly have become family through building this company, and that's a word us Catholics LOVE. Family. Which brings me onto our next topic.  I did need to know , how does Christine balance her vocation as a wife and mother, with the responsibilities of changing the world one wrap at a time?   
"Balancing family life with our business is always a challenge, especially since we don't have family close to help. Add to that a house that's under renovations, which my husband does, and things can get crazy. We are blessed to have partners in this that we work well with and have become part of our family. Plus, Ryan and I work best as a team and we communicate our needs with each other to come up with a plan to ensure the various deadlines are met. It's easy to get wrapped up in the day to day of our business, renovations, and kids, so Ryan and I try to steal a few minutes with each other at the end of the day to talk and reconnect.  "


Christine has been an absolute sweetheart ,and is offering a GIVEAWAY for our readers, to win this gorgeous Lemongrass tote! This handwoven tote bag is woven with 100% cotton and features a lovely twill weave in champagne,buttery yellow, slate, and celery green The colors play nicely together and will compliment a variety of outfits. The bag is lined with a water resistant lining to keep everyday messes from staining the outside material. A hand embroidered owl design is featured on the outside pocket.  This gorgeous and functional tote bag was handwoven by an artisan weaver in Guatemala under the principles of Fair Trade.    



  To ENTER to WIN :  1. Like Kush Textiles on Facebook
2. Comment on this blog telling us WHERE in the world Kush Textile Products are produced.  In the meantime, while you wait to see if you have won, head over to Kush Textiles and use the 10% Discount code Christine has given us: XMASINJAN 


Christine is a cradle Catholic and was raised in Florida the oldest of three girls. She got her undergraduate degree in Advertising at the University of Florida, and her MBA in International Business & Marketing from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.   


Her background is in Sales, Management, and Marketing, and she worked in the jewelry industry for 13 years before leaving to stay home with her first daughter, Isabella. Shortly after Christine left the jewelry industry and founded Kush Textiles becoming a work at home mom!   



She was blessed to meet the man God designed for her in 2012. Ryan and Christine are truly best friends, he's her partner in everything (including Kush Textiles), and they ADORE each other. They got married in 2013 and have two beautiful daughters, Isabella and Milana. She feels so lucky and truly blessed to have been given these beautiful little girls, and her amazing husband. 






  




Monday, April 11, 2016

Byzness Time: Crossing East

Welcome to...

BYZNESS TIME
On mondays, as people return to their work place, we'll be covering some basic facts about Eastern Catholicism and the Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy.

In the east, one of the first things I learnt, was that absolutely nothing is done with out a meaning behind it. It's one of the enchanting and beautiful attributes, nothing is done without a theological representation in there somewhere.

Roman Catholics, cross themselves palm open,  left to right. Eastern Catholics cross right to left, with their thumb, index and middle fingers together. If you are a Roman Catholic, visiting an eastern parish,  cross as you usually would,  we don't want you to change your tradition, the same way as when I'm in Rome ( Aka RC Mass), I won't be doing as the Roman's do. I'll be maintaining my commitment to the tradition into which I was Christmated, and everyone will look very confused and wonder if I'm doing it wrong, and not actually Catholic ...

THAT WOMAN DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO CROSS RIGHT!!! SHOULD WE TELL HER SHE CAN'T RECEIVE??!?! SHE CAN'T BE CATHOLIC!!!

However, don't worry, if you come and visit us, we'll be all like " YES! We scored a Roman Catholic today! Let's show them how amazing Divine Liturgy is!" and put on our best singing voices.

Here is a little diagram, explaining how us Eastern Catholic Cross and why! 


Sunday, April 10, 2016

With the warmest of smiles ... [ My Journey Home - PART 1]

I remember precisely the moment my journey home began. It began in the warmest of smiles, giggling voice and sparkling eyes of a newly wed bride. I was oblivious to the tremendous impact of this day, the wheels set in motion ... towards turmoil, confusion, conflict and eventually peace.

She sweetly beheld my infant child, the one I gave birth to at just 20 years old, a too young mum, throwing her intellect and prospects away, for the monotony of nappy changes and tantrums and an early divorce. 

The words beautifully danced to my ears " We hope to have a beautiful family like you very soon!" 

I waited for her new husband to retreat, to clam up, to be terrified by the words his new bride had just uttered. Weighed down by the burden of fatherhood. 

He didn't. He squeezed her hand tightly and lit up with immeasurable joy at the excitement and desire of the two of them becoming parents. 

Surprise and awe bubbled as I beheld the newlyweds, hearts open to the magnificent gift of new life in  her womb ...  I stood, confused , stunned yet eagerly curious. 

Wasn't it irresponsible to try and have a baby as soon as you got married? Weren't you supposed to spend years waiting and planning? Building a foundation to your relationship and travel the world? Saving  money? Buy your dream house? Everything I had failed to do... the only thing I had done right was getting the ring first.

My husband and I met at 18 and 20, and married a year later. We lived on a prominent baptist seminary campus were my husband was trying to finish his undergraduate so he could become a pastor.

I remember being pulled aside multiple times before our wedding ... I needed to get on birth control. A baby was not a good idea. We were too young. Too poor. 

Despite us both loving the The Lord, despite us being surrounded by Christians proclaiming to be prolife - our pregnancy 4 months into marriage was not greeted with optimism by many.

Shame clung to my bones.

I was married to a good man, he led worship and Bible studies, he led the youth group, he wrote beautiful worshipful songs to the God we loved and trusted. 

But deep down, even though I was married - I felt like I had committed a grave sin by wanting to be a mother, by wanting life.

Then months later at the wedding of the only Catholics I had ever met, as I cradled my fragile pale newborn rooting towards my overful breasts too embarrassed to feed in public,  my world was shaken in the quietest stillness. 

Here, a proud groom and a pure bride,  were welcoming life on there wedding day with holy anticipation, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

 I dared to hope that my yearning for marriage and motherhood that I had felt since a little girl might possibly be ok after all.  Maybe..