Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Step at a Time

The other day my husband and I watched a documentary called "What Would Jesus Buy". I highly recommend this movie, especially since it's Nov. 2nd and I'm already bombarded with Christmas "stuff" all over the malls and television. It's a great way to consciously tune yourself towards the real meaning of Christmas and real gifts that matter to people. Take a look at Wes' blog post for a summary of the movie here.

While watching this documentary about our consumerism and over-consumption, I was convicted. Not because this information was new to me and I was discovering it for the first time...but because I have heard this, and know about it and have made strides to simplify, reduce and reuse and be consciously careful about where I shop and how the things I buy were made. But...

Well...I needed new shampoo because I had just gotten my hair cut and I really wanted shampoo for curly hair and...

Yeah. I am embarrassed to say, I gave in and bought some dumb, cheep "curl enhancing" shampoo from Target that undoubtedly results in poor wages and poor working conditions for someone else...but...my hair is really curly now...

Almost 2 years ago I watched a documentary called "The Fair Trade". This documentary recounts (Taken from the anti-body.com website) "...the story of successful fair trade entrepreneur Tamara Johnston-McMahon. Tamara, devastated by the tragic death of her fiance, makes a bargain with God to postpone suicide in exchange for a meaningful life. She quit her job at Dreamworks, her twin sister Shelby quit her job teaching art history at California State University at Los Angeles, and brother-in-law Steven quit his job at JPL in order to spend their days making soap for their start-up fair-trade body-care company Anti-Body."

Dolores happened to have this documentary at her store and I actually had Steven as a math teacher at APU (I had no idea he was connected to anti-body until I saw him the documentary). I had been aware of the fair trade discussion but didn't know exactly how it worked or how I could really do anything. You can just ask Dolores, but as soon as the documentary was over I rushed to their website and signed up for their email subscription. I didn't buy anything yet, but I knew this was a worthwhile organization and I needed to be connected to it.

It didn't take long though before I was obsessed with reading about fair trade. Anti-body particularly supports specific co-ops in other countries to support local communities and pay fair wages. They get the coconut oil, Shea butter and other ingredients from the co-ops so they can make the bath and body products. And let me tell you, anti-body doesn't do it for the money. It's a conscious decision to positively and fairly affect lives. Yes, it costs me more to buy fair trade...but that is because those who made it are treated with respect and dignity. Their communities are being strengthened and lives and being changed. That's worth a few extra dollars for me.

So I started small. I had challenged myself to take one room at a time, and buy only fair trade. The bathroom seemed easy enough. I wanted everything in my bathroom to be fair trade organic certified. My shampoos, soaps, lotions, lip balms - everything to be fair trade. I was actually doing okay for awhile. What gets me stuck though is when my identity begins to lie in my outward appearance. In reality, what do we need? Clean hair. Clean body. Maybe anti-body's shampoo isn't "curl enhancing" but it cleans my hair...and actually it's not too bad at moisturizing and keeping frizz down - but I got caught up in the image. I NEED my curls to be defined!! Umm...no I don't. I want clean hair. That's it. And I can get clean hair knowing that those who made it are better off because of it.

So I got distracted, but I'm back. I decided to use this blog as a way to promote fair trade products and organizations I run into (I'm partial to anti-body but you will see others as well :) ) I will do reviews of the products I get and let you into my life as I try a little at a time to support fair trade companies and local farmers. So, I start again with my bathroom, one thing at a time. Would you join me?

Together we can make a difference to reach out to the least of these, and make sure that when we touch their hands, that they are not tarnished by unfair working conditions - a person with no face - but that they are hands as God created them to be, with God's glorified face in their smiles.


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