Welcome my guest blogger today, Caryn Bazemore! I’ve known Caryn for many years. We were engaged at the same time, attended each other’s weddings, and both married men named Mike. For a time, we both worked with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) here in Orlando. Caryn has moved to a new place and new season of life, but her heart to bless others beats stronger than ever. I’ve observed from a distance as she’s labored with love to help others in a unique way. Read on to check out Caryn’s splendid second-hand pieces and more!
It’s an honor to be featured on Allison’s Wear It Well Wednesday this week! On any given day, one or more of the pretty things on this girl usually has a good story behind them. I LOVE stories. Many times in my life, I’ve been reminded that every person I meet has a big story behind their little day, and I’ve ended up loving them more for it. It’s no different with the things we wear or drive or eat – because people just like us had a hand in where they came from… and that is part of where my story has taken an unexpected jog lately.
But before I get into the tale of my current life, here I am in some fantastic hand-me-downs and a golden-oldie: a pair of beaded wedges passed on by a fabulously stylish more “mature” friend (I call her my FGM: Fairy God Mother); an awesome pair of dark denim flares cast off by a fashion designer in Vermont; a sleeveless top that I scored when I was in the right place at the right time when a bag of give-aways showed up at my pastor’s wife’s house; and a lovely jacket that I actually did purchase; but it’s worn-to-near-death and way older than my marriage of 14 years (back when I used to do more retail shopping!). What I love about these pieces: They remind me of some sweet relationships in my life – if you had told me 25 years ago that I’d be good friends with a woman 20+ years older than me and a pastor’s wife, and would even know a professional fashion designer, I would have laughed and asked if you were talking to me. I’ve struggled with self-confidence most of my 40 years – and still do – but as I have taken the time to listen and learn other peoples’ stories, I’ve found more compassion, confidence, and some true friends in the process.
Now, my accessories are an entirely different – though not completely unrelated – story. Allison and I know each other roundabout through having both worked with college students in Romania (though at different times). My experience there in college and beyond started a crazy journey and a passion that took me to a few continents trying to do my tiny part in making the world a bit more beautiful. I eventually landed (where I NEVER thought I would) in the Midwest, living a very domestic life, praying for the opportunity to make a difference where I was planted. Then Noonday happened. I wanted to do something for friends who were adopting their second baby, and this Fair Trade accessory company gave opportunities to hold Trunk Shows as fundraisers for adoptive families. Sign me up. Normally not a big accessory or home party girl, it felt a bit strange… but it happened. And when I heard the stories of the artisans who made these gorgeous pieces, the rest was history. What I thought was a way to help one child ended up being a way to help many.
So these fluttery earrings, the long pendant called Evangeline, this bold cuff I may have never dreamed of wearing – they were each made by the hands of an artisan who now has dignified work, and is helping to lift their family and community out of poverty and vulnerable situations…all because of the marketplace women in America are creating for them in their living rooms, coffee shops, and hair salons. And now as a Noonday Ambassador, I get to use my little-lack-of-confidence voice to tell their stories and empower other women to use their purchasing dollars for good. By the way, my FGM (see paragraph 2) was a huge force in giving me the confidence to be a girl-boss and start my own business that helps to build a more flourishing world…and I was holding a Trunk Show at my pastor’s wife’s house when that fabulous top showed up in a garbage bag. Isn’t that a great story?