Monthly Archives: December 2013

What Good Do You Want to See in the World this Year?

By Kelly Wickham

Looking back on 2013 is the type of thing we do this time of year. In fact, everywhere you look there are lists and Best Of posts and 25 Things We Never Want To See Again articles. Taking inventory of what went on this year is, typically, what brings us together as a collective group of people who want better. We all want to be better, don’t we?

For writing, I usually turn to my copy of Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird to encourage me. Truthfully, this isn’t just for advice on writing so much as it is advice for living a complete and full life. As I look toward 2014 and the good I want to see in the world, I rely on words from Anne like these:

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

If we’re all on a ship, then it takes work from all the passengers to ensure our vessel gets from Point A to Point B. If we’re all in a raging storm, then we have fellow people to look after and with encouragement and pushing then we can get there. That’s the Good that we all strive for while we’re here.

When we look back on our year, many of us see mistakes and things we’d like to change. The New Year resolutions that people make are really just promises to ourselves to take better care of ourselves. Sometimes, that is expanded to taking better care of our world, our environment, and our fellow human beings. It’s a tall order, but one that, collectively, we truly can do. I came across a recent list that expounded on all the ways we compartmentalize these things like exercising, dieting, and our daily work. But, what would happen if we decided that we wanted to see more GOOD in the world? What would that look like?

Given the chance to come up with such a list, I have noticed a pattern to these things. For example, if I could have any wish to see more good this coming year it would be to see examples of humans helping other humans. It would be the doing of good things that have far-reaching consequences. Teaching our children to care for their planet for future generations to come. Another wish for good I’d like to see in the world in 2014 is managing our emotions and ensuring that we don’t center ourselves in situations that truly have to do with someone else’s concerns. The pattern, therefore, is that we’re mindful and careful.

Perhaps I’ve been going about writing New Year’s Resolutions all wrong. Perhaps it should look more like this:

1. Be mindful of other people and listen more than I talk.
2. Be careful with the tender hearts entrusted to me.
3. Be present and pay attention.

I can still eat better food and step up my exercise routines in the meantime. I can still work, daily, on being a good employee and a financial steward who is careful with what she earns. Writing a list of the good I want to see in the world isn’t mutually exclusive in consideration of how I also take care of myself. So what if I eat that last piece of pie that is laden with sugar? I know I’ll have plenty of vegetables and water during the day so I can achieve some kind of balance.

The difference is that there is no amount of “bad” we can do that can be undone with “good”. Doing good things is a practice that, with a lot of effort, allows for us to do less “bad”.

What “good” do you want to see in the world next year? What can you do to make that “goodness” come to fruition?

147 Meals with Jeff Shinabarger

By Kelly Wickham
Jeff Shinabarger knows something about struggling through the holidays. He’s the author of More or Less: Choosing aLifestyle of Excessive Generosity and learned, one January after the Christmas bills arrived, that he and his wife Andre were in for a financial pinch.



They did what a lot of people do when faced with difficult money situations: they decided to cut back. Jeff and Andre trimmed their budget, pulled back on the “extras” and then Jeff declared this:

We can live for the next month on all the food in our kitchen pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

In a post titled “147 Meals Later” on Huffington Post, Jeff chronicles how they did it and, even better, what they learned from this “intentional experiment”.  Mostly, however, they asked an important question: What is enough food?

The commitment was to go a month without grocery shopping. We lasted seven weeks. I gained seven pounds. It wasn’t healthy, but it became clear we have excess. This simple experiment launched the life-changing question: What is enough in all of life?

What this couple learned was that they had almost 2 months worth of edible foods in their home. It reminds me of how often we look at our full cupboards and shelves and declare, “We have nothing to eat in this house!” Raising teenagers (and surviving it, thank you very much) has taught me that we do this all the time. Often, I have to look in the refrigerator formy children and tell them they can make sandwiches or reheat meals or even use the box mix to make blueberry muffins for a snack. It is a gut check when you look through what you have and realize that it’s a lot. After reading his piece I took my own inventory and learned that I’ve not been a very good steward of my own stuff.

Doing an experiment like this led to Jeff and Andre only purchasing milk when it was an essential, but they implemented a “No-grocery January” as a part of the deal. It worked! They got to the back of the cabinets and the freezer and kept finding treasures they had forgotten about in what Jeff considers their excess.

Jeff’s family had eaten 147 meals just like this when they got a call from a homeless neighbor who stopped by to ask if they had any food.

We have more than enough. We have excess. When we start realizing how much we have been given, we realize the opportunity to give more.

Do a pantry check. Look through the refrigerator. Mostly, though, take stock of all that you have to see where you really do have excess. It’ll shift your perspective for certain. It did for me after reading about his 147 meals. When I consider all that I have, it’s much easier to do, but when I focus on all that I do not possess then it takes this shift in thinking and makes it more me-centered. 

Just this past Wednesday, on Christmas, I was thinking of such things because one big present didn’t arrive until the day after we had opened all our presents. Throughout the week I kept thinking, “I wish the delivery truck would hurry up and get here,” all the while knowing that what I have in excess is already too much. What will one present, showing up a day late, do to my life? The answer was nothing. It didn’t change a thing except make me consider all that I have and the abundance of it. 

Why not be grateful that I had to means to order online in the first place? Why not be thankful that this present was even a possibility? I made my apologies about this one gift being late and my family, the loving and forgiving people they are, were nonplussed over it.

Perhaps this pantry check is more than just what’s in our kitchens. Maybe it’s more than just 147 meals that Jeff and Andre found. Maybe it’s what we find when we come to the shocking realization that we really do have more than we thought.




The question I asked myself, through contemplative gratitude, is: what’s in your pantry? What do you have that you can offer the world just by noticing? How do we teach this invaluable gift to our children?
Thank you, Jeff, for the gift of perspective. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I will be doing more pantry checks.

Photo and article reprint permissions granted by Jeff Shinabarger

The Dinner Disaster

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

Most families have that one story they tell year after year. You know the one. Something so horrible yet so hysterical, that you can’t help but giggle at the memory. While discussing Christmas mishaps with my co-workers, one particular tale had us all falling out of our chairs and laughing uncontrollably. I was inspired to turn it into a poem, presented here for your entertainment. 

My co-worker swears that every word is true.

T’was the night before Christmas, and way across town,

some folks eyed their dinner with whispers and frowns.

Traditional dishes, there were quite a few.
But then there were others that made them say, “Ew!”

Instead of a turkey, baloney of sorts
was brought to the table ‘midst staring and snorts.

It filled up a casserole dish to the top

in a sausage-like casing that threatened to pop.

Made of meat and potatoes, t’was spongy and soft,
and each of the diners declined with a cough.

The side dishes offered were all made with care,
except for the one that was left sitting there.

The taters, alas, had been left out all night.

Now blackened and oxidized, they were a fright.

So Hal and his wife had a plan of their own;
they’d salvage this meal with a salad from home.

A fabulous dish that could serve o’er a dozen,
and have some to spare for the hungriest cousin.

They bore it aloft and straight into the kitchen

(the weight of it left all their shoulders a-twitchin’).

When who to their wondering eyes should appear,
But Mother-In-Law, with a good-natured sneer.

“That salad you have looks too naked, I fear.
I’ve got just the thing to improve it, right here!”

A big box of croutons she held overhead;

“No, wait! Stop! Don’t do it!” her son-in-law pled.

Time moved in slow motion, as though they’d been drugged,
For down poured the croutons with ten million bugs!

The guests were revolted, the salad defiled;
Hal counted backward so’s not to get riled.

When all was re-settled and order regained,

the obvious humor left anger restrained.

As most dinners go, it was not the best end,
but at least it was shared among family and friends.

It’ll pass into legend and family lore;
someday they’ll all laugh at what happened before.

And I heard Hal exclaim with a stiff upper lip,
“I’m starving to death; but don’t pass the prune whip!”

A Gift of Service

By Audrey Lintner

Graphic courtesy of stock.xchng
Every holiday has its traditions. Turkey on Thanksgiving, hearts and candy on Valentine’s Day, and all things green on St. Patrick’s Day. Of all of these, few traditions are as well-known as Christmas gift-giving.

Have you got your list? Mom and Dad, Aunt Tillie, Uncle Lou, the cousins; we make a special point of trying to choose something personal for friends and family. As you tape paper and tie ribbons, consider giving one more gift: a gift to the community.

Many people choose to offer the gift of service to their communities. Some volunteer at soup kitchens, others collect donations for those in need. Sometimes, the most welcome gift is time. Caroling around your neighborhood, reading stories at schools and senior centers, giving out treats and belly rubs at the local animal shelter. What seems like a small gesture can make a big impact on both those that give and those that receive.

Think of it as a spark. One small deed of community service this year lights the flame of tradition in the years ahead. This fire spreads, and in less time than you might imagine, that first spark has kindled the thoughts of countless others. It provides a warmth that never fades, and a glow that can light up the world.

They say you get what you pay for. Take a moment right now to imagine what you’ll receive when you pay with your heart.

Featured Customer of the Month: Booktenders’ Secret Garden

By Khadijah Lacina
A few weeks ago I placed a call to Booktenders’ Secret Garden in Doylestown, PA. When the answering machine kicked on, I prepared myself for the usual recital of hours of operation and extension choices. Instead I was treated to litany of events that were going on at the store. I don’t remember any of them now, but I know that at the time I was wishing I was closer to Doylestown. If I was I know that the children and I would be regulars at Booktenders’.
Ellen Mager, the full-time proprietor of the store, is known to have a golden touch when it comes to helping children find the perfect book. A former teacher, her enthusiasm and expertise shine through in her interactions with her customers, and she has time for all of them- from the grandma looking for a gift for a beloved grandchild to a preschooler hoping to find a magical gateway into another world.
Some of the awards Booktenders‘ has won include:
  • Best Bookstore for Children in the Philadelphia area by Nickelodeon Parents’ Picks
  • Best Hand Selling Bookseller in the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association in 2012
  • Awarded the Children’s Literature Advocate Award from Frostburg State University
  • Recognized as the oldest Children’s Only Bookstore in the Tri-State area

The bookstore is celebrating its thirtieth year in children’s bookselling. It truly demonstrates the place that an Indie bookstore can hold in a community, hosting many events designed to gather people together in friendship and a love of literature. They sponsor both on-site and in-store book fairs, providing a welcome respite from the run of the mill big box fairs. They also offer readings and other  events with a variety of authors and illustrators.
Along with the comprehensive inventory of books for infants through age 13, we proudly offer:
  • Plush children’s book characters and finger puppets
  • Greeting cards by the book illustrators
  • Activity kits and puzzles
  • Original art and collectable prints by noted children’s book illustrators 

The next time you’re anywhere near Doylestown Pennsylvania, make sure you stop by Booktenders’ Secret Garden and have a chat with Ellen and her staff. We can almost guarantee that you won’t leave empty-handed!
42 E State Street Rear
Doylestown, PA 18901-4324
All images courtesy of Booktenders’ Secret Garden

Featured Customer of the Month: Booktenders’ Secret Garden

By Khadijah Lacina
A few weeks ago I placed a call to Booktenders’ Secret Garden in Doylestown, PA. When the answering machine kicked on, I prepared myself for the usual recital of hours of operation and extension choices. Instead I was treated to litany of events that were going on at the store. I don’t remember any of them now, but I know that at the time I was wishing I was closer to Doylestown. If I was I know that the children and I would be regulars at Booktenders’.
Ellen Mager, the full-time proprietor of the store, is known to have a golden touch when it comes to helping children find the perfect book. A former teacher, her enthusiasm and expertise shine through in her interactions with her customers, and she has time for all of them- from the grandma looking for a gift for a beloved grandchild to a preschooler hoping to find a magical gateway into another world.
Some of the awards Booktenders‘ has won include:
  • Best Bookstore for Children in the Philadelphia area by Nickelodeon Parents’ Picks
  • Best Hand Selling Bookseller in the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association in 2012
  • Awarded the Children’s Literature Advocate Award from Frostburg State University
  • Recognized as the oldest Children’s Only Bookstore in the Tri-State area

The bookstore is celebrating its thirtieth year in children’s bookselling. It truly demonstrates the place that an Indie bookstore can hold in a community, hosting many events designed to gather people together in friendship and a love of literature. They sponsor both on-site and in-store book fairs, providing a welcome respite from the run of the mill big box fairs. They also offer readings and other  events with a variety of authors and illustrators.
Along with the comprehensive inventory of books for infants through age 13, we proudly offer:
  • Plush children’s book characters and finger puppets
  • Greeting cards by the book illustrators
  • Activity kits and puzzles
  • Original art and collectable prints by noted children’s book illustrators 

The next time you’re anywhere near Doylestown Pennsylvania, make sure you stop by Booktenders’ Secret Garden and have a chat with Ellen and her staff. We can almost guarantee that you won’t leave empty-handed!
42 E State Street Rear
Doylestown, PA 18901-4324
All images courtesy of Booktenders’ Secret Garden

5 Fabulous Holiday Recipe Boards

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
I have to say, Pinterest scares me just a teeny bit. I once got lost in there for a week. Laundry went undone, piles of dishes towered like skyscrapers, and my husband was reduced to gazing pitifully at the fridge.

But, boy, did I get some great ideas!

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, I’ll do you a favor and save you some search time. Gathered here for your culinary enlightenment are five of my favorite Pinterest boards relating to holiday treats. From simple to super-decadent, there’s bound to be something for everybody. And if not, hey. Send it to my husband; he’s hungry.


Holiday Treats—Savory Sweet Life: Brainchild of Alice Currah, Savory Sweet Life lives up to the sweet side of its name with a tempting array of chocolate-covered yumminess. My personal favorite recipe is the Chocolate Dipped Caramel Pecan Bars; there’s even a gluten-free version!


Exciting Christmas and New Year Party Food—Jamie Oliver: Even though I spend most of my time under a rock without T.V., I am very aware of this guy. This board is especially great because it ranges from simple frozen grapes to a melt-your-mind chocolate torte.


My Holiday Recipes—The Pioneer Woman: If you need a fabulous side dish, check out this board. Whiskey Glazed Carrots? Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries? Yowza! These recipes bring side dishes front and center.


Holiday Foods—Rosemoon: As an avid baker, I was captivated by this board. With recipes like World’s Best Dinner Rolls and Clementine Butter cookies, I almost shorted out my computer by drooling on the keyboard.


Holidays—Healthy Appetizers—Five Spot Green Living: It’s easy to overindulge during the holidays, so here’s a board full of healthy snack ideas. Healthy doesn’t mean boring, though. Tasty tidbits like Mini Spinach Calzones and Strawberry Cheesecake Bites will leave your taste buds singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

As you probably know, this is a fraction of a fraction of an infinitesimal fraction of what’s available on Pinterest. Heck, I’ve even got a board of my own personal recipes! After you’ve checked out these offerings, leave a comment describing your own favorite Pinterest recipe board. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! 

5 Fabulous Holiday Recipe Boards

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
I have to say, Pinterest scares me just a teeny bit. I once got lost in there for a week. Laundry went undone, piles of dishes towered like skyscrapers, and my husband was reduced to gazing pitifully at the fridge.

But, boy, did I get some great ideas!

With Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, I’ll do you a favor and save you some search time. Gathered here for your culinary enlightenment are five of my favorite Pinterest boards relating to holiday treats. From simple to super-decadent, there’s bound to be something for everybody. And if not, hey. Send it to my husband; he’s hungry.


Holiday Treats—Savory Sweet Life: Brainchild of Alice Currah, Savory Sweet Life lives up to the sweet side of its name with a tempting array of chocolate-covered yumminess. My personal favorite recipe is the Chocolate Dipped Caramel Pecan Bars; there’s even a gluten-free version!


Exciting Christmas and New Year Party Food—Jamie Oliver: Even though I spend most of my time under a rock without T.V., I am very aware of this guy. This board is especially great because it ranges from simple frozen grapes to a melt-your-mind chocolate torte.


My Holiday Recipes—The Pioneer Woman: If you need a fabulous side dish, check out this board. Whiskey Glazed Carrots? Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries? Yowza! These recipes bring side dishes front and center.


Holiday Foods—Rosemoon: As an avid baker, I was captivated by this board. With recipes like World’s Best Dinner Rolls and Clementine Butter cookies, I almost shorted out my computer by drooling on the keyboard.


Holidays—Healthy Appetizers—Five Spot Green Living: It’s easy to overindulge during the holidays, so here’s a board full of healthy snack ideas. Healthy doesn’t mean boring, though. Tasty tidbits like Mini Spinach Calzones and Strawberry Cheesecake Bites will leave your taste buds singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

As you probably know, this is a fraction of a fraction of an infinitesimal fraction of what’s available on Pinterest. Heck, I’ve even got a board of my own personal recipes! After you’ve checked out these offerings, leave a comment describing your own favorite Pinterest recipe board. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! 

Holiday Gift Guide Mentions for 2013!

By Kelly Wickham
I don’t know about you, but I love to read Holiday Gift Guides because, often, they do the work for me in finding great gift ideas. We here at Little Pickle Press are humbled and grateful, once again, to have been included on seasonal gift guides throughout this holiday season and we wanted to show our gratitude and thanks to a few of those places. Several of our books were featured as “Must Haves” for Christmas gifts for children. Each of the following have been reviewed with commentary on the quality of our books. We thank each of you for having us on your holiday gift guides!

The Detroit Free Press has curated a list of gift ideas and notable works where they featured new author, Diana Prichard, and her book The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen,” by Diana Prichard; illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf (Little Pickle Press, $17.95). Mom and hog farmer Diana Prichard lives near Fowler and writes a blog called “RighteousBacon.” In this story – published after Prichard connected with a publisher on a trip to Africa – a young boy learns that his favorite breakfast doesn’t necessarily come from the refrigerator or the grocery store, but from cows, pigs and chickens. [ed. note the book is currently $13.56 for the hardcover in that link.]

Bonus: The ladies at Mom It Forward are having a book giveaway and Twitter party at this link.
The 2013 B Corp Winter Holiday Gift Guide featured Chief Pickle Rana DiOrio’s book, What Does It Mean to Be Global? in their “Better For Your Kids” pick. Each year they spotlight the social mission sector and have chosen one our books for the holidays.

The Very Small Parent Hacks Holiday Gift Guide also features Diana’s book. Parent Hacks founder, Asha Dornfest, featured this on her site and had this to say about the book:

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen (picture book)
There are 20 books I could recommend, but I’m going to suggest my friend Diana’s new farm-to-fork tale as my holiday pick. Not only is the book’s message a great one, the author is a peach and the book’s publisher, Little Pickle Press, is a Certified B Corporation. They give over 50% of their profits to charitable organizations and that’s just the beginning.

George Smith Maine also mentioned us in a post titled “Our Grandsons Will Get These Books for Christmas” where he mentioned Diana’s books, too! Here’s his review and why it made it on his Gift Guide:

By now you may be sensing a theme to the books we gather for our grandchildren. We love to anchor them to the land, to Maine, to everything we valued as youngsters privileged to grow up in this wonderful state.
The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, written by real life farmer Diana Prichard, illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf, and published by Little Pickle Press, answers the question of where our food comes from. While this is a little kid’s book, you may learn something too!The story’s a good one. Young Patrick is sure his food comes from the supermarket, until the morning he finds a cow in his kitchen. A chicken is discovered laying an egg in his refrigerator. Trees sprout in the kitchen when Patrick needed maple syrup for his French toast.
The author’s notes at the end of the book tell an important story too. “When kids come to our farm,” writes Prichard, “they’re usually amazed, excited and disgusted all at once. It’s not uncommon for every emotion from happiness to horror to show up during one farm tour, and I can always count on kids to tell me exactly how farming looks from the outside.
“It may sound a bit overwhelming, but it’s why talking to kids and their families about food and farming is one of my favorite parts of being a farmer. Over the years, we’ve had lots of kids visit our farm and while none of them were Patrick, many of them inspired this story of him and his crazy breakfast adventures.”

The ladies at Cool Mom Picks chose Little Pickle as one of their Best Small Business Saturday deals. Thank you, Cool Moms!

If you’re looking for other mindful giving gifts, please check out Elizabeth Atalay’s post for suggestions.

Thank you to everyone who featured us this holiday season in your gift guides! 

We appreciate your continued support!

Holiday Gift Guide Mentions for 2013!

By Kelly Wickham
I don’t know about you, but I love to read Holiday Gift Guides because, often, they do the work for me in finding great gift ideas. We here at Little Pickle Press are humbled and grateful, once again, to have been included on seasonal gift guides throughout this holiday season and we wanted to show our gratitude and thanks to a few of those places. Several of our books were featured as “Must Haves” for Christmas gifts for children. Each of the following have been reviewed with commentary on the quality of our books. We thank each of you for having us on your holiday gift guides!

The Detroit Free Press has curated a list of gift ideas and notable works where they featured new author, Diana Prichard, and her book The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen,” by Diana Prichard; illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf (Little Pickle Press, $17.95). Mom and hog farmer Diana Prichard lives near Fowler and writes a blog called “RighteousBacon.” In this story – published after Prichard connected with a publisher on a trip to Africa – a young boy learns that his favorite breakfast doesn’t necessarily come from the refrigerator or the grocery store, but from cows, pigs and chickens. [ed. note the book is currently $13.56 for the hardcover in that link.]

Bonus: The ladies at Mom It Forward are having a book giveaway and Twitter party at this link.
The 2013 B Corp Winter Holiday Gift Guide featured Chief Pickle Rana DiOrio’s book, What Does It Mean to Be Global? in their “Better For Your Kids” pick. Each year they spotlight the social mission sector and have chosen one our books for the holidays.

The Very Small Parent Hacks Holiday Gift Guide also features Diana’s book. Parent Hacks founder, Asha Dornfest, featured this on her site and had this to say about the book:

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen (picture book)
There are 20 books I could recommend, but I’m going to suggest my friend Diana’s new farm-to-fork tale as my holiday pick. Not only is the book’s message a great one, the author is a peach and the book’s publisher, Little Pickle Press, is a Certified B Corporation. They give over 50% of their profits to charitable organizations and that’s just the beginning.

George Smith Maine also mentioned us in a post titled “Our Grandsons Will Get These Books for Christmas” where he mentioned Diana’s books, too! Here’s his review and why it made it on his Gift Guide:

By now you may be sensing a theme to the books we gather for our grandchildren. We love to anchor them to the land, to Maine, to everything we valued as youngsters privileged to grow up in this wonderful state.
The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, written by real life farmer Diana Prichard, illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf, and published by Little Pickle Press, answers the question of where our food comes from. While this is a little kid’s book, you may learn something too!The story’s a good one. Young Patrick is sure his food comes from the supermarket, until the morning he finds a cow in his kitchen. A chicken is discovered laying an egg in his refrigerator. Trees sprout in the kitchen when Patrick needed maple syrup for his French toast.
The author’s notes at the end of the book tell an important story too. “When kids come to our farm,” writes Prichard, “they’re usually amazed, excited and disgusted all at once. It’s not uncommon for every emotion from happiness to horror to show up during one farm tour, and I can always count on kids to tell me exactly how farming looks from the outside.
“It may sound a bit overwhelming, but it’s why talking to kids and their families about food and farming is one of my favorite parts of being a farmer. Over the years, we’ve had lots of kids visit our farm and while none of them were Patrick, many of them inspired this story of him and his crazy breakfast adventures.”

The ladies at Cool Mom Picks chose Little Pickle as one of their Best Small Business Saturday deals. Thank you, Cool Moms!

If you’re looking for other mindful giving gifts, please check out Elizabeth Atalay’s post for suggestions.

Thank you to everyone who featured us this holiday season in your gift guides! 

We appreciate your continued support!

Featured Young Writer of the Month: Ryan Stretch

By Audrey Lintner

Ryan with her Uncle Damon; photo courtesy of Rana DiOrio

I am always delighted to read the words of our featured young writers; the pure inspiration and wonder shine through like brightest sunlight. Our guest today, Miss Ryan Stretch, will turn ten this Christmas, but her words here will make an impact that even adults rarely achieve. 

Of course, Ryan is the daughter of LPP Founder Rana DiOrio, so there is some precedent.

The Gift Of Hope
By Ryan Francesca Stretch

In 1998, my beloved Uncle Damon was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (Pro-MEE-lo-ci-tic Loo-KEE-MEE-a). It was not until late winter when he and his family found out. He stayed many months in the loud, busy hospital while doctors and nurses tried to cure him. My Aunt Suzanne would spend every single night in the hospital just because she loved him. Often they got the chance to bring him home, but if his fever climbed over 101˚, back to the hospital they would go.

One morning, Natalie, his favorite and most special nurse, brought him his medicine. “You know, only 1% of the people who take this pill are allergic to it. That gives you a 99% chance!” She chuckled a warm laugh. Uncle Damon managed a weak smile.

A few hours later, at the nurses’ station, a beep started to go off. “Oh, no!” Natalie thought, “It’s coming from Damon’s room.” Many doctors and nurses rushed in. Uncle Damon did not look well at all. In fact, he looked very, very bad. “This can only mean one thing,” Natalie whispered nervously. “He must be allergic to the medication.” Before anyone else heard the news, he fell into a deep coma. My Aunt Suzanne was in tears. All of his friends and family were worried sick. And it was the same with all of the doctors and nurses.

One day, finally, he awoke very, very slowly. But he had made it! The news spread fast that he was finally awake. He was not yet cured, but he was alive! People came to make meals for him and his family. Aunt Suzanne told him what he had missed. “You missed the beginning of baseball season.” “How are the Red Sox doing?” Uncle Damon asked. “They won last night,” Aunt Suzanne noted. “Oh, good,” Uncle Damon sighed.

Natalie came in and said, “All right, Damon, you need some rest.” “I’ll see you later,” Aunt Suzanne said as she walked out the door. Slowly after many visits, lots of rest, and different pills, by the end of the baseball season, his cancer was in remission.

At the request of his oncologist, Dr. Miller, Uncle Damon spoke with Mary and then Robert, two of Dr. Miller’s patients who were fighting leukemia. Aunt Suzanne spoke with their families. Uncle Damon told them that cancer can be beaten and that they will live. Aunt Suzanne comforted their families and gave them ideas on how best to support Mary and Robert.

They have been doing this ever since. Now, whenever there is a new patient at the hospital, Dr. Miller calls Uncle Damon. Uncle Damon drives to meet Dr. Miller at the hospital. Together, they meet with the new patient. Aunt Suzanne calls the family. They work as a team, spreading faith and giving hope. And that, my friend, is the very way my dear Uncle Damon is a remarkable survivor.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, Ryan. Thank your aunt and uncle as well; your words and their actions will no doubt inspire a great many people.

Featured Young Writer of the Month: Ryan Stretch

By Audrey Lintner

Ryan with her Uncle Damon; photo courtesy of Rana DiOrio

I am always delighted to read the words of our featured young writers; the pure inspiration and wonder shine through like brightest sunlight. Our guest today, Miss Ryan Stretch, will turn ten this Christmas, but her words here will make an impact that even adults rarely achieve. 

Of course, Ryan is the daughter of LPP Founder Rana DiOrio, so there is some precedent.

The Gift Of Hope
By Ryan Francesca Stretch

In 1998, my beloved Uncle Damon was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (Pro-MEE-lo-ci-tic Loo-KEE-MEE-a). It was not until late winter when he and his family found out. He stayed many months in the loud, busy hospital while doctors and nurses tried to cure him. My Aunt Suzanne would spend every single night in the hospital just because she loved him. Often they got the chance to bring him home, but if his fever climbed over 101˚, back to the hospital they would go.

One morning, Natalie, his favorite and most special nurse, brought him his medicine. “You know, only 1% of the people who take this pill are allergic to it. That gives you a 99% chance!” She chuckled a warm laugh. Uncle Damon managed a weak smile.

A few hours later, at the nurses’ station, a beep started to go off. “Oh, no!” Natalie thought, “It’s coming from Damon’s room.” Many doctors and nurses rushed in. Uncle Damon did not look well at all. In fact, he looked very, very bad. “This can only mean one thing,” Natalie whispered nervously. “He must be allergic to the medication.” Before anyone else heard the news, he fell into a deep coma. My Aunt Suzanne was in tears. All of his friends and family were worried sick. And it was the same with all of the doctors and nurses.

One day, finally, he awoke very, very slowly. But he had made it! The news spread fast that he was finally awake. He was not yet cured, but he was alive! People came to make meals for him and his family. Aunt Suzanne told him what he had missed. “You missed the beginning of baseball season.” “How are the Red Sox doing?” Uncle Damon asked. “They won last night,” Aunt Suzanne noted. “Oh, good,” Uncle Damon sighed.

Natalie came in and said, “All right, Damon, you need some rest.” “I’ll see you later,” Aunt Suzanne said as she walked out the door. Slowly after many visits, lots of rest, and different pills, by the end of the baseball season, his cancer was in remission.

At the request of his oncologist, Dr. Miller, Uncle Damon spoke with Mary and then Robert, two of Dr. Miller’s patients who were fighting leukemia. Aunt Suzanne spoke with their families. Uncle Damon told them that cancer can be beaten and that they will live. Aunt Suzanne comforted their families and gave them ideas on how best to support Mary and Robert.

They have been doing this ever since. Now, whenever there is a new patient at the hospital, Dr. Miller calls Uncle Damon. Uncle Damon drives to meet Dr. Miller at the hospital. Together, they meet with the new patient. Aunt Suzanne calls the family. They work as a team, spreading faith and giving hope. And that, my friend, is the very way my dear Uncle Damon is a remarkable survivor.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, Ryan. Thank your aunt and uncle as well; your words and their actions will no doubt inspire a great many people.

The Story Behind the Story: Ian Bentley and FashionABLE

By Kelly Wickham

A little over a year ago I was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia visiting on-the-ground initiatives that helped improve our globe, our people, and humanity in general. On that trip, I got to meet Ian Bentley and his family as they showed us around the FashionABLE factory, a place where artisans create scarves for a fair wage and as a chance to change their lives. Ian agreed to give us a behind-the-scenes look at that work. 



How It Started

For those who don’t know, FashionABLE is the client/buyer of scarves that works closely with Women At Risk (WAR) which is the main organization on the ground here in Ethiopia. It is an NGO or non-governmental organization that is, in fact, the magical part of this all. WAR started about 17 years ago and has been working to help women off the streets here in Ethiopia through counseling and rehabilitation work. Ian told me that it is one of the most incredible and selfless groups of people he has ever met.

Then, 3 years ago, a local company named Ellilta Products was started when Barrett Ward, founder of the Mocha Club, came to Ethiopia to discuss the concept of a work program with a woman named Cherry Teketel, the founder of WAR. At the time, Cherry was finding it difficult to place women in jobs after their rehabilitation programs were completed. The idea was born to create FashionABLE as a US business that would purchase these scarves from Ellilta Products to create opportunities on both sides of the ocean. Today, Ellilta Products is the supplier/producer of scarves for FashionABLE and a handful of other clients around the world. Profits from Ellilta go back into WAR to help rehabilitate more women as well as grow their weaving business to bring more women into the work.

Ian answered some more questions for me to get a sense of how he got involved in this work and what his family is doing now as they continue to work.

Kelly: When did you begin working with FashionABLE?

Ian: It’s been about 2 years since we partnered with FashionABLE here in Ethiopia. It’s a partnership with FashionABLE on the US side and Women at Risk/Ellilta Products in Africa. They are the ones doing production here to help women off the streets. FashionABLE is the international brand and distribution network that is purchasing the product from Ethiopia. It’s been an amazing partnership for all organizations to grow and ultimately see the women thrive.

Kelly: Did you decide to move there right away? How did you end up in Ethiopia?

Ian: Back in 2011 my wife and I were in Ethiopia adopting our little girl (their adoption story can be seen here) and our time here had a significant impact on us. We traveled around the countryside of Ethiopia and saw such beauty but you also couldn’t ignore the daily challenges people faced. We quickly realized that the impact on us was much greater than just adoption and we started to really consider how to help address some of the issues we were seeing. As we started to dig into those issues we found that it’s really not about focusing on the problem but flipping that around and focusing on the potential. We believe that God has given each person purpose and potential and we wanted to bring that out of people to see them empowered to change Ethiopia.

So, I flew back a few extra times after we finalized our adoption to hear from more people on the ground in Ethiopia about the needs they had. During almost every conversation I kept hearing the same thing: don’t come and be a burden, come and create opportunities. We also connected with Women at Risk and the work they are doing with women in prostitution and how they were taking them and giving them skills to weave scarves that would be produced for FashionABLE. At the time, FashionABLE was looking for someone to help them expand their production at Ellilta so it was a perfect partnership for me to come with my background in business.

Kelly: How does the company find the women who end up working there? Do you have connections that have led you to getting them to the point where they find you now?

Ian: Women at Risk is the main place from which we hire. The trauma that most of the women experience requires some intense counseling and rehabilitation before going into the workplace. WAR does an amazing job at this and they focus on each of them for about 6 months to put them through a skills training program. Just about a month ago, we opened up a new training facility with 13 new women who will be trained. We spend a lot of time at Ellilta Products not just running the business, but also focusing on the women by helping them grow personally and professionally. We also hope to promote some of the women who have been with us since the beginning to more manager levels.

Kelly: How did FashionABLE get to where it is today? Did you foresee this?

Ian: I think in any start-up it’s always the entrepreneur dreaming about the potential of the idea. While I wasn’t personally there at the start of FashionABLE, I can certainly speak from the Ellilta Products side and say that because the partnership that was formed with FashionABLE in helping us grow the business in Ethiopia to employ these women, it’s been amazing. The exciting thing is that I still see a lot more potential ahead of us for the women here in Ethiopia and for the partnership with FashionABLE to continue to grow and ultimately impact our ability in a positive way by employing more women.

Kelly: What does the purchase of a scarf mean to you?

Ian: It’s dignity and empowerment. When you buy a scarf, it sends a message to the women we work with every day that they have something special to offer and it gives them the confidence to change their life and their future.

*****************************

Ian and his wife are now a family of 6. Since moving to Ethiopia, they have adopted another little girl. They have 2 boys and 2 girls. Prior to his work in Ethiopia, Ian worked as a Vice President for a real estate development company in Southern California. In his words, his wife is “Super Woman” and he’s convinced of this due to all her work in freelance graphic design while at home with the kids. Ian and Brittany have curated a personal website called Steadfast Love that is set up as a non-profit to help fund their family to live in Ethiopia without being a burden on the local business. They view their role in Africa as capacity development to help Ellilta Products expand their business and help strengthen the work that WAR does every day.

How You Can Help

Little Pickle Press hopes you consider the purchase of a scarf or leather good as your make conscious purchasing decisions this Christmas season. You can further the mission and vision of FashionABLE and buy here. 

The Story Behind the Story: Ian Bentley and FashionABLE

By Kelly Wickham

A little over a year ago I was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia visiting on-the-ground initiatives that helped improve our globe, our people, and humanity in general. On that trip, I got to meet Ian Bentley and his family as they showed us around the FashionABLE factory, a place where artisans create scarves for a fair wage and as a chance to change their lives. Ian agreed to give us a behind-the-scenes look at that work. 



How It Started

For those who don’t know, FashionABLE is the client/buyer of scarves that works closely with Women At Risk (WAR) which is the main organization on the ground here in Ethiopia. It is an NGO or non-governmental organization that is, in fact, the magical part of this all. WAR started about 17 years ago and has been working to help women off the streets here in Ethiopia through counseling and rehabilitation work. Ian told me that it is one of the most incredible and selfless groups of people he has ever met.

Then, 3 years ago, a local company named Ellilta Products was started when Barrett Ward, founder of the Mocha Club, came to Ethiopia to discuss the concept of a work program with a woman named Cherry Teketel, the founder of WAR. At the time, Cherry was finding it difficult to place women in jobs after their rehabilitation programs were completed. The idea was born to create FashionABLE as a US business that would purchase these scarves from Ellilta Products to create opportunities on both sides of the ocean. Today, Ellilta Products is the supplier/producer of scarves for FashionABLE and a handful of other clients around the world. Profits from Ellilta go back into WAR to help rehabilitate more women as well as grow their weaving business to bring more women into the work.

Ian answered some more questions for me to get a sense of how he got involved in this work and what his family is doing now as they continue to work.

Kelly: When did you begin working with FashionABLE?

Ian: It’s been about 2 years since we partnered with FashionABLE here in Ethiopia. It’s a partnership with FashionABLE on the US side and Women at Risk/Ellilta Products in Africa. They are the ones doing production here to help women off the streets. FashionABLE is the international brand and distribution network that is purchasing the product from Ethiopia. It’s been an amazing partnership for all organizations to grow and ultimately see the women thrive.

Kelly: Did you decide to move there right away? How did you end up in Ethiopia?

Ian: Back in 2011 my wife and I were in Ethiopia adopting our little girl (their adoption story can be seen here) and our time here had a significant impact on us. We traveled around the countryside of Ethiopia and saw such beauty but you also couldn’t ignore the daily challenges people faced. We quickly realized that the impact on us was much greater than just adoption and we started to really consider how to help address some of the issues we were seeing. As we started to dig into those issues we found that it’s really not about focusing on the problem but flipping that around and focusing on the potential. We believe that God has given each person purpose and potential and we wanted to bring that out of people to see them empowered to change Ethiopia.

So, I flew back a few extra times after we finalized our adoption to hear from more people on the ground in Ethiopia about the needs they had. During almost every conversation I kept hearing the same thing: don’t come and be a burden, come and create opportunities. We also connected with Women at Risk and the work they are doing with women in prostitution and how they were taking them and giving them skills to weave scarves that would be produced for FashionABLE. At the time, FashionABLE was looking for someone to help them expand their production at Ellilta so it was a perfect partnership for me to come with my background in business.

Kelly: How does the company find the women who end up working there? Do you have connections that have led you to getting them to the point where they find you now?

Ian: Women at Risk is the main place from which we hire. The trauma that most of the women experience requires some intense counseling and rehabilitation before going into the workplace. WAR does an amazing job at this and they focus on each of them for about 6 months to put them through a skills training program. Just about a month ago, we opened up a new training facility with 13 new women who will be trained. We spend a lot of time at Ellilta Products not just running the business, but also focusing on the women by helping them grow personally and professionally. We also hope to promote some of the women who have been with us since the beginning to more manager levels.

Kelly: How did FashionABLE get to where it is today? Did you foresee this?

Ian: I think in any start-up it’s always the entrepreneur dreaming about the potential of the idea. While I wasn’t personally there at the start of FashionABLE, I can certainly speak from the Ellilta Products side and say that because the partnership that was formed with FashionABLE in helping us grow the business in Ethiopia to employ these women, it’s been amazing. The exciting thing is that I still see a lot more potential ahead of us for the women here in Ethiopia and for the partnership with FashionABLE to continue to grow and ultimately impact our ability in a positive way by employing more women.

Kelly: What does the purchase of a scarf mean to you?

Ian: It’s dignity and empowerment. When you buy a scarf, it sends a message to the women we work with every day that they have something special to offer and it gives them the confidence to change their life and their future.

*****************************

Ian and his wife are now a family of 6. Since moving to Ethiopia, they have adopted another little girl. They have 2 boys and 2 girls. Prior to his work in Ethiopia, Ian worked as a Vice President for a real estate development company in Southern California. In his words, his wife is “Super Woman” and he’s convinced of this due to all her work in freelance graphic design while at home with the kids. Ian and Brittany have curated a personal website called Steadfast Love that is set up as a non-profit to help fund their family to live in Ethiopia without being a burden on the local business. They view their role in Africa as capacity development to help Ellilta Products expand their business and help strengthen the work that WAR does every day.

How You Can Help

Little Pickle Press hopes you consider the purchase of a scarf or leather good as your make conscious purchasing decisions this Christmas season. You can further the mission and vision of FashionABLE and buy here. 

Libraries We Love: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

By Audrey Lintner

Image courtesy of B&ECPL
In the opener to a well-known television show, Eva “Lisa Douglas” Gabor once sang, “New York is where I’d rather stay!” I can’t prove it, but I’d just about bet that she was thinking about the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system.

The B&ECPL is our Library We Love this month, and there’s a lot to love about it. There are thirty-seven libraries in the system, eight of which are City Branch locations. Each offers its own unique blend of amenities along with distinctive collections, and each is a proud reminder of a long history (dating back to 1836) of public library service.

In addition to children’s and teen services, there are special online resources for parents, seniors, and teachers. Two of my favorite features are the Mark Twain Room (Click here, it’s totally worth it!) and the Book A Librarian option. Stuck for a particular piece of information? Looking for a special quote for a project? Put in a request, and you can schedule time with a librarian who will help find the things you seek.

In person or online, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system has something for everybody. By living up to the mission statement, “Connecting our diverse community with library resources that enrich, enlighten, and entertain,” the B&ECPL has earned the opportunity to be one of the Libraries We Love.

Libraries We Love: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

By Audrey Lintner

Image courtesy of B&ECPL
In the opener to a well-known television show, Eva “Lisa Douglas” Gabor once sang, “New York is where I’d rather stay!” I can’t prove it, but I’d just about bet that she was thinking about the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system.

The B&ECPL is our Library We Love this month, and there’s a lot to love about it. There are thirty-seven libraries in the system, eight of which are City Branch locations. Each offers its own unique blend of amenities along with distinctive collections, and each is a proud reminder of a long history (dating back to 1836) of public library service.

In addition to children’s and teen services, there are special online resources for parents, seniors, and teachers. Two of my favorite features are the Mark Twain Room (Click here, it’s totally worth it!) and the Book A Librarian option. Stuck for a particular piece of information? Looking for a special quote for a project? Put in a request, and you can schedule time with a librarian who will help find the things you seek.

In person or online, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system has something for everybody. By living up to the mission statement, “Connecting our diverse community with library resources that enrich, enlighten, and entertain,” the B&ECPL has earned the opportunity to be one of the Libraries We Love.

First Friday Book Review: The Smallest Gift of Christmas

By Audrey Lintner

A small gift with a big message!
Age Range: 3-7 years

Grade Level:Preschool-2

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher:Candlewick (September 24, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10:0763661031

ISBN-13:978-0763661038

Bigger is not always better, and this lesson is brought home to young Roland in a gentle and heartwarming way.


As the mom of an enthusiastic reader, I’m always on the lookout for fun and engaging books that just happen to sneak in a life lesson or two. The Smallest Gift of Christmasby Peter H. Reynolds fits the bill perfectly. Getting my five-year-old interested was a snap, once I got him corralled.

The story centers on Roland, a little boy who greets his Christmas gift with a yelp of scorn for its small size. He sets off in search of a really BIG gift, only to discover that the tiniest present is more than enough to fill his heart a thousand times over.

The illustrations are simple, yet delightfully evocative. The language and flow of the story are wonderfully suited to reading aloud, especially when reader and audience are curled up in a big, cozy chair. My little boy (who has added this book to his daily story rotation) delights in reading various passages to me, especially when they include exclamation points and all capital letters. If ever this becomes an audiobook, I know where to find the voice of Roland.
The Smallest Gift of Christmas is a book that any young child (and more than a few parents) will enjoy. Having been on both the reading and the listening end many times over the last couple of weeks, I can say with authority that The Smallest Gift is a very big hit.

First Friday Book Review: The Smallest Gift of Christmas

By Audrey Lintner

A small gift with a big message!
Age Range: 3-7 years

Grade Level:Preschool-2

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher:Candlewick (September 24, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10:0763661031

ISBN-13:978-0763661038

Bigger is not always better, and this lesson is brought home to young Roland in a gentle and heartwarming way.


As the mom of an enthusiastic reader, I’m always on the lookout for fun and engaging books that just happen to sneak in a life lesson or two. The Smallest Gift of Christmasby Peter H. Reynolds fits the bill perfectly. Getting my five-year-old interested was a snap, once I got him corralled.

The story centers on Roland, a little boy who greets his Christmas gift with a yelp of scorn for its small size. He sets off in search of a really BIG gift, only to discover that the tiniest present is more than enough to fill his heart a thousand times over.

The illustrations are simple, yet delightfully evocative. The language and flow of the story are wonderfully suited to reading aloud, especially when reader and audience are curled up in a big, cozy chair. My little boy (who has added this book to his daily story rotation) delights in reading various passages to me, especially when they include exclamation points and all capital letters. If ever this becomes an audiobook, I know where to find the voice of Roland.
The Smallest Gift of Christmas is a book that any young child (and more than a few parents) will enjoy. Having been on both the reading and the listening end many times over the last couple of weeks, I can say with authority that The Smallest Gift is a very big hit.

GIVE: 10 Mindful Giving Gifts

By Elizabeth Atalay of Documama
Elizabeth Atalay, our guest Central Article writer, has a mission to share stories and experiences from around the world as a way to inspire action, to educate, and to connect people cross-culturally. She loves to support companies that are eco-friendly and socially, and globally conscious.

FashionABLE Scarves 

This scarf was designed exclusively for the ONE Foundation and is made from 100% light weight African cotton. The Feleku scarf was created when the ONEMoms (including my amazing sister-in-law Jeannine Harvey) were on a trip to Ethiopia. ONE has partnered with FashionABLE, a company that works to create economic opportunities for women inEthiopia be creating handmade scarves. Each style is named after the woman that designed it and includes a tag describing what she is able to do as a result of having a job. This scarf is named after Feleku, who is now ABLE to face new challenges. 

Lollie Beads 

Lollie Beads bracelets are created from fair trade recycledglass beads made in Uganda. Not only are they gorgeous (the glass beads look and feel like sea glass) but they are good for the environment AND help support sustainable living in a developing country.

The Anchal Project 

I first heard of the Anchal Project at the Rhode Island School of Design Student and Alumni Art sale where I bought a small moleskin notebook to support the project. Since that time, they have branched out to include an incredible array of crafts including these beautiful quilts to support their mission: Anchal merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India.

Toms

These Toms wedges were at the top of my daughter’s wish list when she saw them come out so you know they must be cool! Tom’s keeps its designs fresh while still managing to provide shoes and glasses to those who need them. I love their One for One business model and pledge to support it with as many shoes as I can get away with, but it’s still for a great cause!

FEED Project

Whenever I carry my FEED bag I get compliments and inquiries about it, and I love promoting their wonderful program. The FEED Project make perfect gifts that give back because it tells you how many children you are feeding by purchasing it. You can choose the product based on what efforts you wish to support. Last season I loved their DKNY Collaboration Survival Tote and NYC Hoodie Sweatshirt that supports relief efforts for hurricane Sandy victims.

Sari Bari

Sari Bari is a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making. Gorgeous Indian textiles are woven into clothing, accessories and home goods. T-shirts, bags and jewelry bags all help these women live free lives of restoration and hope.

Alex & Ani

Alex & Ani jewelry is a favorite gift of mine to give, not only is it made from recycled materials, locally owned and founded by a woman, but has a Charity By Design division where a percentage of proceeds is directed toward a specific cause. You can also customize your gift to the recipients personality or interests with their amazing selection of charm bracelets and charm necklaces.

1000 Shillings

1000 Shillings makes Ugandan Paper bead necklaces. The women artisans earn capital for their own small businesses by making limited-editionproducts for 1000 Shillings. Each product sold through this company helps a woman establish a small business which enables her to support her family. Their aim is to tell the in-depth story behind each artisan they sustain. The company works with six single mothers in the Namatala slum in Uganda.


A Gift as a Gesture 

Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect gift for someone who has every material thing they desire. Still, you want to give something as a token of your appreciation to them and the following gesture gifts are the perfect solution that everyone can feel good about.

Heifer International has created an entire gift catalog so that you can give what you can and choose a project. You can choose to give a $10 gift to provide a shared gift of a goat or a pig or $20 for a flock of geese.  Another option is to spend $100 to share the gift of Milk Menagerie or $1,000 for the full price to provide milk to people in need.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay
“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.  It all started with a cow.  Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.” – From the Heifer International Website


You can donate a goat to a family to help lift them out of extreme poverty. All proceeds from the sale of the Limited Edition ONE Goat (a partnership with the ONE Foundation) will go to Heifer International. They kicked off their ONE Goat yesterday with #GivingTuesday and this is a great way to give a meaningful gift. 

Save A Life This Christmas with Maternity Worldwide :  ”No mother should die while giving birth. By ordering a Safe Birth Certificate you will enable a mother in a developing country to safely give birth to her baby.  Long after the bubble bath has been used and the Christmas hampers have been eaten you will have given a lasting gift which will save a mother’s life and enable her baby to grow up with their mum.”– From the Maternity Worldwide Website



Indigenous Clothing is all about ethical fashion. They respect the culture, tradition, and rights of artisans throughout the world while supporting fair trade practices. They use natural and organic fibers and low impact dyes in their clothing. They create clothing that are healthy for you, your morals, and the environment. Indigenous is dedicated to keeping toxins off your body as you wear clothing.  The eco-clothing green movement is made far more glamorous when wearing clothes made by artisans who support the cultural traditions that make them what they are today.

UNICEF Inspired Gifts: One amazing gift, that does it all. The Child Survival Food Pack has everything needed to save a severely malnourished child, from the time they are brought into an emergency feeding center on the brink of death, until they are healthy again.  Therapeutic Milk and Therapeutic Food are the miracle supplies that treat severe acute malnutrition. Water Purification Tablets provide clean and safe water and prevent water-borne diseases. Multiple Micronutrient Powder and High-Energy Biscuits give a child the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy.  Your precious gift can bring a child back from the brink of malnutrition, with enough supplies to nurture them to good health for several months.”– UNICEFUSA.org



About Elizabeth Atalay aka Documama

 

Once upon a time Documama was an adventuress. She spent a collective two and a half years backpacking around the world to more than 50 countries throughout Africa, Asia, South America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe pursuing her passion for Anthropology, ethnographic film and photography. But that was a long time ago. Her most recent adventures include fishing a dropped toy out of a Koi pond, and navigating a double stroller through a crowded store. Today Elizabeth Atalay is a full time loving wife, and devoted mother to her four children. She holds a B.A. in Communications, and M.A. in Documentary Filmmaking & Anthropology. In between travels she worked in film production on feature films, TV commercials, and TV Series in Boston and New York City. Since turning 40 she has completed 5 sprint triathlons, passions include making art, reading, watching movies, skiing, Kayaking, eating, drinking, and traveling.   Elizabeth is an Editor and contributing writer  for Social Good, and World Voices at worldmomsblog, the  Global Team of 200 , and Rhody Bloggers For Good.  She has been a contributor to ONEMoms,  amomknowsbest, andgaltime/providence.  Documama is also a ONEMoms community Partner, a member of Mom Bloggers For Social Good, and a social good advocate with  The Mission List, and was selected  as a [email protected] Champion to work with the United Nations Foundation on the global vaccine initiative.

GIVE: 10 Mindful Giving Gifts

By Elizabeth Atalay of Documama
Elizabeth Atalay, our guest Central Article writer, has a mission to share stories and experiences from around the world as a way to inspire action, to educate, and to connect people cross-culturally. She loves to support companies that are eco-friendly and socially, and globally conscious.

FashionABLE Scarves 

This scarf was designed exclusively for the ONE Foundation and is made from 100% light weight African cotton. The Feleku scarf was created when the ONEMoms (including my amazing sister-in-law Jeannine Harvey) were on a trip to Ethiopia. ONE has partnered with FashionABLE, a company that works to create economic opportunities for women inEthiopia be creating handmade scarves. Each style is named after the woman that designed it and includes a tag describing what she is able to do as a result of having a job. This scarf is named after Feleku, who is now ABLE to face new challenges. 

Lollie Beads 

Lollie Beads bracelets are created from fair trade recycledglass beads made in Uganda. Not only are they gorgeous (the glass beads look and feel like sea glass) but they are good for the environment AND help support sustainable living in a developing country.

The Anchal Project 

I first heard of the Anchal Project at the Rhode Island School of Design Student and Alumni Art sale where I bought a small moleskin notebook to support the project. Since that time, they have branched out to include an incredible array of crafts including these beautiful quilts to support their mission: Anchal merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India.

Toms

These Toms wedges were at the top of my daughter’s wish list when she saw them come out so you know they must be cool! Tom’s keeps its designs fresh while still managing to provide shoes and glasses to those who need them. I love their One for One business model and pledge to support it with as many shoes as I can get away with, but it’s still for a great cause!

FEED Project

Whenever I carry my FEED bag I get compliments and inquiries about it, and I love promoting their wonderful program. The FEED Project make perfect gifts that give back because it tells you how many children you are feeding by purchasing it. You can choose the product based on what efforts you wish to support. Last season I loved their DKNY Collaboration Survival Tote and NYC Hoodie Sweatshirt that supports relief efforts for hurricane Sandy victims.

Sari Bari

Sari Bari is a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making. Gorgeous Indian textiles are woven into clothing, accessories and home goods. T-shirts, bags and jewelry bags all help these women live free lives of restoration and hope.

Alex & Ani

Alex & Ani jewelry is a favorite gift of mine to give, not only is it made from recycled materials, locally owned and founded by a woman, but has a Charity By Design division where a percentage of proceeds is directed toward a specific cause. You can also customize your gift to the recipients personality or interests with their amazing selection of charm bracelets and charm necklaces.

1000 Shillings

1000 Shillings makes Ugandan Paper bead necklaces. The women artisans earn capital for their own small businesses by making limited-editionproducts for 1000 Shillings. Each product sold through this company helps a woman establish a small business which enables her to support her family. Their aim is to tell the in-depth story behind each artisan they sustain. The company works with six single mothers in the Namatala slum in Uganda.


A Gift as a Gesture 

Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect gift for someone who has every material thing they desire. Still, you want to give something as a token of your appreciation to them and the following gesture gifts are the perfect solution that everyone can feel good about.

Heifer International has created an entire gift catalog so that you can give what you can and choose a project. You can choose to give a $10 gift to provide a shared gift of a goat or a pig or $20 for a flock of geese.  Another option is to spend $100 to share the gift of Milk Menagerie or $1,000 for the full price to provide milk to people in need.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay
“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.  It all started with a cow.  Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.” – From the Heifer International Website


You can donate a goat to a family to help lift them out of extreme poverty. All proceeds from the sale of the Limited Edition ONE Goat (a partnership with the ONE Foundation) will go to Heifer International. They kicked off their ONE Goat yesterday with #GivingTuesday and this is a great way to give a meaningful gift. 

Save A Life This Christmas with Maternity Worldwide :  ”No mother should die while giving birth. By ordering a Safe Birth Certificate you will enable a mother in a developing country to safely give birth to her baby.  Long after the bubble bath has been used and the Christmas hampers have been eaten you will have given a lasting gift which will save a mother’s life and enable her baby to grow up with their mum.”– From the Maternity Worldwide Website



Indigenous Clothing is all about ethical fashion. They respect the culture, tradition, and rights of artisans throughout the world while supporting fair trade practices. They use natural and organic fibers and low impact dyes in their clothing. They create clothing that are healthy for you, your morals, and the environment. Indigenous is dedicated to keeping toxins off your body as you wear clothing.  The eco-clothing green movement is made far more glamorous when wearing clothes made by artisans who support the cultural traditions that make them what they are today.

UNICEF Inspired Gifts: One amazing gift, that does it all. The Child Survival Food Pack has everything needed to save a severely malnourished child, from the time they are brought into an emergency feeding center on the brink of death, until they are healthy again.  Therapeutic Milk and Therapeutic Food are the miracle supplies that treat severe acute malnutrition. Water Purification Tablets provide clean and safe water and prevent water-borne diseases. Multiple Micronutrient Powder and High-Energy Biscuits give a child the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy.  Your precious gift can bring a child back from the brink of malnutrition, with enough supplies to nurture them to good health for several months.”– UNICEFUSA.org



About Elizabeth Atalay aka Documama

 

Once upon a time Documama was an adventuress. She spent a collective two and a half years backpacking around the world to more than 50 countries throughout Africa, Asia, South America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe pursuing her passion for Anthropology, ethnographic film and photography. But that was a long time ago. Her most recent adventures include fishing a dropped toy out of a Koi pond, and navigating a double stroller through a crowded store. Today Elizabeth Atalay is a full time loving wife, and devoted mother to her four children. She holds a B.A. in Communications, and M.A. in Documentary Filmmaking & Anthropology. In between travels she worked in film production on feature films, TV commercials, and TV Series in Boston and New York City. Since turning 40 she has completed 5 sprint triathlons, passions include making art, reading, watching movies, skiing, Kayaking, eating, drinking, and traveling.   Elizabeth is an Editor and contributing writer  for Social Good, and World Voices at worldmomsblog, the  Global Team of 200 , and Rhody Bloggers For Good.  She has been a contributor to ONEMoms,  amomknowsbest, andgaltime/providence.  Documama is also a ONEMoms community Partner, a member of Mom Bloggers For Social Good, and a social good advocate with  The Mission List, and was selected  as a [email protected] Champion to work with the United Nations Foundation on the global vaccine initiative.

Featured B Corp of the Month: Indigenous

Kelly Wickham

Indigenous

For Matt Reynolds, co-founder with partner Scott Leonard of the company Indigenous, talking about fashion comes with a mission statement. He’s unable to talk about the clothing offered through Indigenous, the company he helped found in 1993 after a trip to South America without a passion for our world that comes shining through and peppered throughout a conversation. Matt doesn’t just sell clothes online. He and Scott and all the folks at Indigenous are changing lives in a powerful and multi-faceted way.

Indigenous is committed to selling quality fashionable products, but all that comes with a price, Matt says. “It’s our world and our worth,” he told me and when I pushed him about what that meant it was like I flipped a switch in him to talk about his role on this planet. He became animated and excited to talk about the work of artisan equality, organic consciousness, and how important it is that while we are here living on this world, we have a duty to care for it and the people therein. 

Before I could even ask about why this was so important to him he told me some little known facts about the fashion industry. First, that 10,000 people die each year due to pesticides in many industries, fashion among them. Not only from spraying crops in developing countries, but also from breathing it in which is why Indigenous is dedicated to using only organically certified artisan. 
We care, thanks to the green movement, about what we put in our bodies,” Matt told me. “The next movement to come along will be about what we put on our bodies. Things that touch our skin are just as important to be careful of when we’re thinking about our clothing and our health.”


As a dedicated B Corp, Indigenous, as a company, lives by 3 truths:

First, Indigenous lives by the truth of working for organics that protect farmers and the environment. This is something that actually changes lives so Indigenous is careful to use 100% merino wool, organic cotton or alpaca. There are more than 8,000 chemicals used in conventional clothing and fashion is a trillion dollar industry that is responsible as the 2nd largest polluter. (Number 1 is the transportation and energy industry that pollutes with petroleum). Because Matt and Scott noticed this toxic industry with social injustice in things like sweat shops and sex trafficking, they decided to take control of where they purchase artisan materials. Indigenous knows that the largest organ humans have is our skin and it absorbs 87% of what we put on it. Matt also shared that in much of fashion 1/3 pound of pesticides go into the production of one t-shirt. Indigenous aims to do it differently and safely for humans. According to Pesticide Action Network, 10,000 people die each year due to pesticide exposure. Many of them are small rural farmers living in developing countries. 
Next, Indigenous lives by the truth of asking questions. Matt says, “I have to ask myself: Is the product you’re wearing made with respect? Is it fair trade? Does it harm people and the planet we live on? Then we don’t do it.” Asking those questions brought about some difficult answers. They found that there are deep inequalities in income and gender of many people living below the poverty line. Since 900 million people on our planet face hunger and 2.7 billion of them have no access to clean cooking facilities, the founders of Indigenous decided to go a route that would make an impact there. Indigenous sells garments that you can be sure came from artisans in the supply chain where people work to ensure they receive a living wage. As a company, Indigenous creates places where artisans have work where there may be no other opportunities. 
The final truth they live by is about how to sustain a culture. Indigenous uses artisan made and hand crafted materials because it deals with cultural heritage that is passed down for centuries. When you combine it with fair trade you’re honoring the beautiful craft that’s been in our history for hundreds if not thousands of years. This is especially true for remote areas where they can provide opportunities for income where there may be none. Indigenous keeps this alive in a harmonious way where they can honor the experts of culture. For the many women who create these crafts it is a way to help sustain the passion she has for her culture. 
Indigenous understands that when we see the people attached to our fashion, we become involved on an emotional level. For instance, he reminded me of the commercial back in the 1970s for the Keep America Beautiful campaign. If you remember that, it showed a Native American cleaning up the litter on the shoreline. The ending, and I remember this from when I was a child, showed him with a giant tear running down his face at the end. Prior to that, many people weren’t giving much thought to litter. But tapping into those emotions of hurting others when we throw trash out of a moving car or drop wrappers on the ground moved people to action and led the way for other environmental issues like recycling to become important. Likewise, Matt knows that when we’re conscious of the harmful practices that can go into our fashion then we can be better consumers of our world.
As you shop this holiday season, it’s important to consider purchasing fashion products from Indigenous. We should demand that brands take us seriously since, after all, we are the consumer of their products. Companies like Indigenous remind us that we should find good companies that are using certifications, modern technology, and employ a transparency to consumer. Through socially just decisions we can affect change on a much greater scale. We can demand that brands take responsibility. I came to that conclusion by asking him a fairly simple question.
“Why is fair trade important?” I asked Matt. 
“Fair trade ensures that Bangladesh doesn’t happen. Fair trade engages the end consumer so people don’t have to die to make the clothes we want to wear.”

**Check out the IndieGoGo project that Indigenous is spearheading called the Fair Trace Tool that allows you to find out where your products come from through groundbreaking technology.

BONUS: Just for us, the folks at Indigenous decided to offer a special discount through Little Pickle Press today! Upon checkout, enter PICKLE and get 30% off any order!