This time last year, I was beginning to realize the layers of beauty in what I call “Double Blessing Shopping”.
I blame this on a blog reader. I learn so much from all of you – if you didn’t keep me informed and educate me on the best stuff, my life would be so much less enriched. But this particular blog reader was Dyan, a missionary in Africa who started a site called Karama Gifts. Learning about their beautiful products and more gorgeous ministry to the women who make them birthed a process and a stirring in my heart.
They were helping women escape from trafficking, from societal shunning, and from poverty by teaching them a skill, paying them a living wage, and ministering to their heart. In doing this, they also created an easy, quick, simple way for me to buy beautiful jewelry, bags, and other gifts to give to my family and friends for Christmas.
And buy I did – I think everyone in my life now has at least one product from Karama.
Shortly after that, I decided to do an exhaustive search, trying to find as many organizations as I could that had this double blessing philosophy, which led to me writing a super-long Christmas shopping guide to tell you about the best products that I ran across.
God was speaking to my heart through these discoveries, and at the same time, He had been prompting me to find a way that I could help The WellHouse, a local ministry rescuing victims of human trafficking right here in Birmingham as well as all over the nation. The discovery of double blessing organizations was one of the pieces that God used to unveil what exactly He wanted me to do – and that was to open Picture Birmingham, where I could sell products derived from my photography and give 100% of the profits to The WellHouse.
It felt kind of crazy of God – I wasn’t exactly looking to create an organization, or really to add anything to my already quite-Thanksgiving-sized plate of life. But it was completely unavoidable. And somehow God has multiplied my time to enable me to do it, although my office looks a bit more tornado-stricken than it used to, and my husband and Siri have to remind me daily to do simple things that just don’t fit into my brain anymore.
But it has been exciting, exhilarating, and downright shocking at what God has done. Since starting in March, Picture Birmingham has been able to donate $5,000 to The WellHouse, and I have had many opportunities to share about their crucial ministry both on social media and in traditional media.
And now that Christmas is rolling back around again, I would ask that you consider adding Picture Birmingham to your list of Double Blessing organizations from which to choose gifts. My list from last year is still fantastic for jewelry and accessories, but here’s what I can add to the product selection this year:
1. Note Cards – Printed on luxuriously thick 100% cotton artisan paper and available in a number of different quantities, these make fantastic stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and teacher gifts. They come in three different sets – two featuring scenes and sunsets from Birmingham, and one from the Gulf Coast.
If you would like for me to print customized Christmas cards or if you have specific photos from my collection that you’d rather have on note cards, I can do special orders.
2. Calendars – a collaboration project with Mission Birmingham, this calendar is printed on premium glossy cardstock paper and features a different, beautiful angle of Birmingham each month. Prayer prompts are provided from Mission Birmingham as well, and at the end of the year, you can cut out the images and frame them, if you like.
50% of the proceeds from the calendars go to The WellHouse, and the other 50% is donated to Mission Birmingham.
3. Curated Collections – In an effort to help people sift through the way-too-many photos that I’ve taken, I carefully chose coordinating photos for ten different curated collections.
Each of these collections has a theme – Birmingham Landmarks, Abstract Beauty (great for non-locals, as the photos are not location-specific), Railroad Park, Wonders of Alabama, Trains and Rails, and more.
Each collection contains 3-5 coordinating photos, allows you to choose from five different sizing options, and is 25% off of the regular print price. Starting at just $41, these collections are fantastic for Christmas gifts, office decor, or wall collages.
Also, if you’re local and one of those people that would rather browse actual products than look on the internet, I will be at West Elm at the Summit on Saturday from 11:00am – 3:00pm – I would absolutely adore it if you came to visit me! I will have prints, canvases, note cards, calendars, and postcards, and will be available to sign them (although I don’t really like writing on them and still think that’s weird. But whatever.)
Thank you so much for your support of my new endeavor – you and I together have helped multiple women find freedom from sex slavery – and that is so very totally worth me having an extra-messy office.