The girl that looked back at me in the mirror was not a mom boss mother to 5 that showed her homeschool teacher mom discount card at the goodwill checkout. She was dragging herself out of bed every morning asking God, "What is my fit?"
Being a mom wasn't enough, being wife to Landon (a.k.a. Superman)..not cutting it. I really had thoughts like, "Ya know, they really would be ok minus me." I wanted to dream, create, LIVE...abundantly, because that's what I was promised in John 10:10. And the life of diapers and dishes wasn't feeling so full. "Why did you put me here?" I asked God on the regular.
I prayed, "What is my fit?" and got a 2 years long answer. An answer of process, of growth, of..."it's time to grow up and be the woman I've made you to be and live the life I've made you for." So here I am five years later...telling you the beginning of a story that was the start of my journey to being freely me....and hoping again.
That prayer started right before I became pregnant with Amory, my 3rd. God was in the middle of answering me when he was born. Being so totally outnumbered with 3 babes, I discovered baby wearing was a thing. My problem was finding a carrier that felt good and was super hippie and cute too. I had a dear friend bring me a scarf from a trip she had been on and it was the most gorgeous mustard yellow with pink floral splashed all over. It was my first exposure to Kantha....I was hooked. I got my hands on some more Kantha fabric and sat down at my sewing machine. Still to this day, my favorite wrap carrier is the one birthed at my sewing machine that day.
A shop was not on my radar. Trying to be mom and starting a homeschool journey was, but I was being stopped everywhere about my wrap. Some dear friends encouraged me to start a shop on Etsy and make more. AHHHH..... If you had told me I would open a shop, that would impact broken women on the other side of the planet ...I would have smiled and said "awww your sweet" all the while thinking, "you don't know me." BUT...sometimes you gotta just jump right? So I did.
My prayer began to change because the Lord kept saying..."just keep walking, it's not going to look like what you think." I had no idea what I was doing, but I did know I wanted my shop to be more than just retail. I traveled to India in 2006 to do some missions work in some orphanages there. I would never be the same. My eyes were opened for the first time. I saw the women....the hopelessness. And yet, there was such beauty and creativity too. I started researching mission work happening in India and Bangladesh. I read about the art of Kantha. I wrote letters trying to find somebody I could partner with. I wanted my fabrics to tell a story because stories matter. Stories matter because people are stories and loving people is God's #1 right?
It took time, but I found Basha. Basha means, "house of hope." After that my world started spinning. I met Robin Seyfert, Basha's founder and asked her if I could come alongside her in her dream to bring hope. She had created an organization that employs women at risk and survivors of trafficking and offers them fair wage and care for their children. These women are taught the beautiful art of kantha and other designs reflecting their love for their native traditions. My dreams got really big. I imagined different ways to grow and designed my first kantha designs to share with Robin and we formed a beautiful partnership. Together we get to tell a story of hope.
Kantha Bae started on Etsy, but I quickly had to move to my own Kantha Bae website. During this time, a lot of personal growth was happening. The "doorposts" for my life were forming...Dream Big, Live Bigger...Be kind, Be brave, Be love..With open hands. The things I wanted to live by and speak over my children were tiny seeds beginning to grow in my heart. I was dreaming again.
This is Kantha Bae's 3rd year and it's not just me anymore. I remember sitting on my floor after sewing all the pieces, taking pictures of them, sharing on instagram, fulfilling and shipping all the orders and I laid my hands open and said, "God, I can't do it alone anymore. Help me walk this journey in peace without fear and anxiety." It was then God gave me Grace....the person. And she's been more than the word to me. She beautifully packages every design that makes it's way into your hands and also does all the graphic designs you see. She and I found a flow and then it got to be too much again. Then I met my bestie...Amanda, and she taught me everything I need to know about instagram. Over fried green tomatoes and coffee we solve all the world's problems. She helped me launch @kanthabae to what it is today. One of the best parts of this journey is my mama. I called her next because I couldn't keep up with the sewing. She said, "you know I've been praying for another opportunity for work." She helps me sew everything now....another answered prayer. We all made a great team and found our rhythm in the midst of my 5th pregnancy and birth. After Atticus came, change needed to happen again. I opened my hands. A few weeks later a random email came through and I met Cassie. Cassie was glue that has started putting all the pieces together. Cassie is an idea maker and keeps me organized. She's like the gift on Christmas morning. Together we make up a little team of world changers. And since then, "with open hands" has been my mantra. Every time the moment comes when it's all too heavy, I open my hands. And every time, the Lord fills the hole. I plan to keep walking this way, sharing the story of hope....with open hands.
You are the best part though. This part of my story would have no life if it weren't for you. You believed in me, supported me, spoke life when it was really hard and you keep showing up. Thank you isn't enough, but I'll say it anyway. Thank you for partnering with my dream and helping me share hope!!