How Do You Love Your Neighbor? Global vs. Local Trade

I have an inner dilemma that I have been battling for a while now: the question of whether to support global economies or focus on local economies. Brands like American Apparel have brought “made in the USA” to the forefront of our shopping brains, particularly in a season when sweatshops and child labor run rampant in most parts of the world. But shouldn’t we try to provide for our brothers and sisters overseas if we can, too?

This debate reached a head for me when I discovered that a shirt that my organization sells is manufactured in Haiti. My initial reaction was negative- we have been active in Haiti and have seen the conditions of work there, and the thought of promoting those environments sickened me. When I raised my concern, however, I was gently reminded that the company that we work with was committed to high ethical standards and that, because the shirts were made in Haiti, we were providing jobs and income to those people that we love, and helping their economy in perhaps the only way we could from a distance. My mind was eased.

My thoughts are further compounded when it comes to food- while I love eating with the seasons, purchasing local foods, and building relationships with farmers and craftsmen, I also really appreciate many foods that don’t grow locally and items that are manufactured in other parts of the company, or even the world. Things like coffee, chocolate, spices, and tea are cultivated well in certain parts of the world that I just don’t live in. As a responsible consumer, do I forgo these things, therefore saving carbon emissions due to shipping and dedicate myself to eating what my local community has to offer, or do I support these global markets, while perhaps putting the global economy on the back burner?

How do you love your neighbor? Thoughts on global vs local trade

I don’t know what the answer is, but here are a few things that I am confident in:

-If you can buy something local, do it. Especially when it comes to food. Local farmers and culinary artisans depend on their local economy because, for the most part, they can’t export. Plus, you are getting a better quality food that you can be confident in- less preservatives, easier to check on gardening and farming operations, and good relationships with the people you are buying from.

-Fair trade is a beautiful thing. If you can’t get something locally, fair trade is a great way to ensure that your purchase from the global economy is something that you can be confident is building up global individuals and not causing any injustice along the way. There are many fair trade stores popping up now, such as the 10,000 Villages network, that make fair trade shopping feel like a breeze.

-Sweat shops are terrible. If you can’t guarantee that an item you are buying was made without blood on someone’s hands, you just shouldn’t buy it- at least not with a clear conscience. At times, this requires research not only into a store, but also a specific brand- but it is well worth it to know that you are using your money responsibly, and not to cause injustice.

-If there isn’t a good alternative, try making your own. This is especially helpful when it come to things that are really hard to research, such as cleaning products or cosmetics. There are so many ingredients in these items that its hard to say with confidence if a product is manufactured and sourced responsibly. However, there are countless way to replicate these items at home, where you can source the items yourself and be confident n the products you are using.

-Support your friends. Why buy a grocery store card made in who-knows-where when you have a friend that makes them for a living? Why buy a headband at Target when your friend is upcycling pieces and selling them on Etsy? Maybe you have friends that are photographers, or event planners, coffee roasters, or makers of unique clothing. Show them love, and be loved in return.

-It is better to bow out of an economy than to stimulate a unjust one for lack of a better option. Thrift stores provide a way to purchase (many times with proceeds to a good cause) without giving any money back to the manufacturers. This can be a great place to find things that are difficult to source well, such as shoes, dressy clothes, or furniture.

While I wish that the answers were more cut and dry, I recognize that these thoughts are just part of the journey in being a Christlike consumer, and I certainly have not arrived at full understanding yet. We have to educate ourselves in order to use our money well- each dollar is a tool we are given to build the Kingdom, and we must take that seriously.

Infertility and Miscarriage Resource Roundup

infertility roundupHello, friends!

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. As a result, there have been countless bloggers offering their own stories of loss, grieving, healing, and honest looks at their fertility journeys. After sharing my own story last month, I was blown away (and continue to be) by the response. So many women go through these journeys and just need someone in their life to tell them that they aren’t alone, to share their story with them.

The following is a roundup of some great blog posts on Infertility, Miscarriage, and a special section for those of you who may not be dealing with either, but want to learn how to be a better friend to those who are. These are also great words to share with friends who, ahem, maybe need a little more grace in their dealings with you. I hope that you are encouraged, that you find truth and hope, and that we can continue to speak candidly about our journeys.

Blessings,
Karli

INFERTILITY

Amanda at A Royal Daughter (though recently, joyously pregnant) has been blogging through her infertility journey for several years. Her honest and yet Christ-centered approach to the journey of her family echoes the attitude I think many of us wish we had. She is vulnerable and yet encouraging, writes straight from her heart, and never fails to give the Lord glory. Click here to read many of her posts regarding her journey with infertility.

Natasha at Kindred Grace shares a beautiful reflection on facing Mother’s Day as an infertile woman, with an especially heartwarming story about a donkey!

Faith of Modern Alternative Pregnancy shares Jenn’s story of infertility and adoption. Jenn is honest about her physical struggles, and the process of surrendering to the Lord that she and her husband had to journey through. You can read Jenn’s story here.

Alex at Mama Say What shares a poignant post on secondary infertility after the birth of her son. Secondary infertility is discussed even more rarely than primary infertility, and I am thankful for Alex’s faithfulness in sharing her story, especially while in the midst of questioning and processing. You can read her thoughts here.

Sarah of Sarah Writes shares her journey of miscarriage, infertility, and the eventual adoption of her Happy Baby. I especially love how she encourages women not to be ‘named by infertility’- it is so easy to allow ourselves to be defined by this, but we can’t! Read Sarah’s story here.

Katie at Clomid and Cabernet shares marriage tips for surviving infertility together. Her tips are practical but important. The C&C community is a very encouraging place- check it out when you have a free moment. Read Katie’s tips here.

MISCARRIAGE

Julie at A Little Bit of All of It has been an honest and faithful voice to this subject for some time now. Her blog includes many vulnerable and heartfelt stories of loss, hope following, and the many complicated emotions that come along with healing from miscarriage. Click here to find all of her posts.

Kristen of Smithspirations experienced a loss a few years ago and has been sharing her thoughts through her healing and grieving ever since. Her post entitled ‘The Invisible Loss of Miscarriage‘ is like reading my own story. Here, she shares her reflections around what would’ve been her due date, including a beautiful letter to her child.  I’m so thankful that she has been faithful to share the journey the Lord has lead her on.

Amanda at A Royal Daughter shares several resources that are helping her through her healing process after suffering a miscarriage earlier this year.

Sara of A Mama’s Story shares her thoughts on overcoming feelings of guilt or judgement after a miscarriage on Modern Alternative Pregnancy. I think this is incredibly important, as I know that I dealt with those thoughts, and though they are unnecessary, many times they are unavoidable, too.

A guest writer on Modern Alternative Pregnancy shares her thoughts on experiencing a missed miscarriage, and the emotional toll that that can take on the mother. This is what happened with my husband and I’s baby, and I found her post extremely thorough- especially when an MMC is a foreign concept to many. You can read this post here.

FOR FRIENDS & FAMILY

Kristen of Smithspirations offers a beautiful post on how to support someone who has experienced miscarriage.

Amanda of A Royal Daughter shares a heartfelt, two part reflective letter to moms on behalf of infertile women. She also shares her thoughts on Mother’s Day here.

Amy at The Messy Middle writes a compelling open letter to pastors on how they approach Mother’s day. I personally think all pastors should read this- maybe you should forward it to yours?

Whitney Cornelison of Modern Alternative Pregnancy writes a thorough and well-thought-out post on helping children grieve the loss of a sibling here.

Virginia of Georgetown, MN shares her experience making a memorial quilt for a friend who suffered a loss, via Modern Alternative Pregnancy.

Alex at Mama Say What shares a thoughtful post, ‘10 Ways To Support A Friend Dealing With Infertility‘. More than just a list of things ‘not to say’, Alex encourages friends to educate themselves, support their friends through treatment plans, and best of all to be faithful in prayer.

Kindred Grace: conversations between sisters in Christ

A Little Bit of All of It

AProverbs31Wife.com