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Summer In Style

Summer In Style

It’s finally summer! As the temperature rises, it’s the best time to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun in your skin. We’re bidding goodbye to layers and saying hello to light fabrics and accessories that are perfect for the warm weather.

Whether you’re enjoying a day at the beach, spending an afternoon at the farmer’s market, meeting your friends for brunch, or jamming at a summer festival, it’s always great to make a statement with ethical clothing and accessories.

Start sorting your summer wardrobe with these fashion must-haves!

BRIGHT ACCESSORIES

A pop of color can instantly brighten your day. Adding bright colors and playful patterns to your outfit will surely help you sport a summer-ready look. Don’t be afraid to go for bold and bright accessories. We’re thinking bracelets, earrings, and necklaces in bold colors like yellow, teal, and pink!

 Sunny Necklace

Sunny Necklace. Shop Here.

Summer Love. Shop Here.

SUMMER DRESSES

It’s the season for light, flowy and breezy dresses. When temperatures are soaring, it’s best to opt for cool fabrics and an open neckline. We love summer dresses because they’re easy to wear, doesn’t make you feel constricted, and also comfortable enough for the heat.

These dresses are also perfect for strolling outdoors or as a cover-up over your swimsuit. And the best part is they’re also very easy to accessorize. It’s always fun to mix and match accessories with a dress.

 

Pepper Dress by Reformation. Shop Here.

GO-TO BAG

You won’t have to worry about impromptu trips to the beach with summer bags that will fit your sunscreen and sunnies. No other bag scream summer more than our Rounder and Raw Leather Tote bags. Make sure to also bring your water tumblers – don’t forget to stay hydrated!

 

Rounder. Shop Here.

 

Raw Leather Tote. Shop Here.

STURDY SANDALS

It’s time to store your bulky shoes and bring out ethically-made sandals that you will walk in the entire summer. A timeless pair of sandals will last you several summers, so make sure to have a high-quality pair that is comfortable to wear. Sandals that break apart, especially while walking, is everyone’s nightmare. Comfortable and well-made should be your mantra when choosing your summer footwear.

 

Joselyne Double Strap Sandal by ABLE. Shop Here.

SUSTAINABLE SWIMWEAR

Of course, summer won’t be complete without a dip in the pool or a trip to the beach. Whether you opting for a one-piece, bikini, or rash guard, choose only those that are made ethically. Oh, and don’t forget to wear safe, non-toxic sunscreen before you enjoy the waters!

 

Dorada Stripe Gia Top + California Bottom by Vitamin A. Shop Here.

SUMMER HAT

Complete your summer look with woven summer hats. They are not only stylish but is a great way to protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. They’re also ideal for days at the beach or when running errands under the summer heat. Pick one that you absolutely love and take them with you everywhere this summer.

 

Dorfman Straw Hat With Fringed Band Ties by Reformation. Shop Here.

Shop mindfully and always choose stylish and sustainable products. Invest in things that you love and can wear for a long time, and you won’t worry about what to wear in the next summers to come!

Do you have other summer fashion essentials? Share them in the comments below!

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A Simple Easter Outfit

A Simple Easter Outfit

When I think about Easter, I think about foil wrapped eggs, Spring tulips budding out of the ground, stuffed bunnies lining the fronts of grocery stores, the first barbecue of the year. I think of bright colours and blue skies, opening the front door and airing out the house for the first time since the frigid winter months closed us inside.  The time of year that is bright, light, new and refreshed.

I can imagine my mom popping out her fuchsia lipstick and wearing it with her floral print dress and jean jacket. We went to church and had a family barbecue afterwards. Us kids would be eagerly waiting in expectation for when the Easter egg hunt was going to commence. We could already spot some of the shiny foiled eggs around, so we knew where we were headed first. We would bound through the dewy grass, and pan through the lines of bushes to find our treasured delights. After that quick raid of the garden it was quickly a competition to count to see who tracked down the most chocolate treasures. I never won, my brother always did, but it didn’t matter once our aunty told us we would all get a big gold bunny to get our fingers into too! What precious memories.

Still I can see my mom endearingly looking at me with her sparkling blue eyes as she saw me spin in my Easter dress. I miss those sun kissed days; memories that glisten with joy, love and light. Those same feelings come around now, when I am about to be married and start this crazy next chapter of life.  Little things like colours and textures, patterns and smells can elicit that same freshness of spring. 

For my spring outfit choice this year, I chose the Sunny necklace, a beautiful piece with multi-coloured and multi-textured beads and brass accents. It looks beautiful with a basic white t-shirt, tucked into high-waisted dark wash denim. Loose, comfortable but with bright fuchsia and stunning aquamarine accents that elicit those cheery, bright and exciting vibrant vibes of spring.

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Spring Cleaning and Clearing (out your closet!)

Spring Cleaning and Clearing (out your closet!)

The time of year when moods lift and energy brims, and for good reason! The air feels crisp and clean. The sun is out and it’s time to prepare last year’s frostbitten planters and put away the duvet-like coat I buried myself in all winter long. Gathering inspiration from those warm sunshine hugs, I realize, what a perfect time to de-clutter my home and life. I know I’m not the only one overcrowding my cozy one bedroom apartment with things, and while most of my belongings are well loved, there are plenty of things I can send to a new home. If I’m not loving it or using it, someone else will. You can use the Marie Kondo method (does this item bring me joy?), or simply just know it’s time to let go of an item. It feels so good to purge and keep only what you need.

There are so many ways to de-clutter your life. It can be overwhelming and hard to figure out where to even begin. I will check in with myself a couple times a year to overhaul my home, my phone and my routine. I think about the most used areas in my life, so my apartment. I make sure to keep my kitchen, bathroom and bedroom tidy on a regular basis, but inside the cabinets and closets could use some attention. So this is where I start.

Setting up is crucial for success. I sort items into three categories – one box for items I can sell (more valuable things – like never worn shoes), another one for donations (anything in good condition that I don’t ever use), and one garbage bag. You will know which category something is as you look in each cabinet and realize you haven’t touched that meat slicer since you first bought it. I found a couple sweaters I didn’t wear once over the winter, and to me that is wasteful. Someone else could be kept warm next year, so I donated them. The broom closet had unused products, empty bottles and torn up rags I could throw out. Go through each room in your house and do this until you have only things you actually use. Seeing only the things you love makes you think more clearly and makes you happier. 

Even with a clean house, in the age of technology, we can still feel the overbearing attitude of “too much”. I usually take five photos of the same thing, clogging up space on my phone. This is where I go next, to clear my virtual life. I pick the best shot and delete the rest – from everywhere (my photos auto save to Dropbox, so I delete it “everywhere”). Filter through photos and apps that you won’t ever need again. Go through your social media and decide if you really want to keep following that account you got inspired from that one post, eight months ago. 

It’s true when you clear out the old you make room for the new. I invite the next chapter by being thankful and grateful for what has brought me to this new time in my life. If your winter felt extra long and challenging like mine, rest assured we can come out of hibernation with big grins and hungry for change.

My choice for change this season is to pay more attention to the products I bring into my space. I think about where I donate my clothing before dropping it off at a big retail second hand store. Additionally, I try to source new-to-me products instead of buying brand new. Supporting ethical, fair wage companies has become important as well. There are so many amazing products available now that help make a positive impact in the world. Check out the home goods from Mango + Moose, like these Pillowcases and Belly Baskets.

The pillows are sustainably sourced from Mali and the designs are hand-painted on each pillow, making them a unique statement, perfect to throw on your bed or patio furniture. These baskets are super versatile – I’ve seen them used as beach bags, laundry hampers, or to accessorize a planter. They can help keep your newly de-cluttered home stay that way! All these amazing functions, AND you’re supporting Artisans in Vietnam. How neat that while updating your home, you are also helping someone else maintain his or her home and community.

Purging your things is a major key to a healthy mentality, but it doesn’t have to stop with your belongings. When making a change in my life, I like to take a look at the people I spend my days with – are they helping me grow in the direction I want to be faced? Most of them are people I’m blessed to know, and I am grateful for what they bring to my perspective. Sometimes, however, I will reflect on a friendship that feels more draining than energizing. I don’t need to go out of my way to tell this person the way I feel, as that is just rude. Instead, I actively pay more attention and ask ‘what is this relationship really about?’. If it’s more one-sided I make the conscious decision to let distance grow, creating more room in my life for the successful relationships to flourish. It’s a natural part of growing, learning and maturing.

Now that you’ve got the know how on how I clear my clutter, I’m curious to know what you’ve done for Spring cleaning! Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to check out mangoandmoose.com Continue reading

Well Hello Guatemala!

Well Hello Guatemala!

I love waking up to you each morning; whether in your enchanting city of Antiqua, or breathing deeply as I inhale the peace and beauty of Lake Atitlan, or instantly feel the heat and hear the thud of waves at your stunning black sand beach in Monterrico. You truly have so much beauty to be enjoyed and cherished.

All of the above is a side mention to the true beauty of Guatemala – her people! I spent the day learning and being. Just being. Like any business, Mango + Moose is a hustle and bustle most days, many moving parts and rarely a moment to celebrate and rejoice over the victories. This trip is a time to celebrate! To sit in the company of the makers of our wares is a true honour.

Visiting San Juan:

Aura, a mother to three and a smiling new friend greeted us with a warm embrace before proudly showing us around her group’s newly constructed medicinal garden. This garden is one of the social impact initiatives that Mango + Moose supports when working with this community of Artisans. Accompanying Aura was her brightly decorated binder, and as she shared about the healing properties of each plant she also showed me the colours of thread that are made from each particular plant – an amazing scene that I would soon see!

As we wandered down the small garden lanes, Cecelia arrived bursting with a grin and a small boy tucked into her side, equally as excited with their delivery. Here in San Juan, the village known for its cultural works of art, there was to be a great celebration and Cecelia had made the traditional festive drink Atol de Etole. This only happens once a year so to be able to share it with us was a great pleasure for her and treasure for us! YUM!

Finishing our garden tour, I couldn’t help but wish our medicinal practices were as holistic as theirs. I felt truly grateful for the big chunk of aloe that Aura broke off for Scott and I to ease our bodies with later and sooth our aching burns. Oh when will we learn…. Perhaps in our fifties?!

We arrived at the home of Vicenta and were greeted with many smiling faces and welcoming Artisan friends. Some of these women have been working together for thirty years; some are newer and only have three years experience with the group, but they have grown up learning the craft setout before us.

First we must dye our thread, of course! The dye is made using boiled leaves from the plants of the garden we just visited. Purple coloured water is produced and I learn that this is what makes large batches of bags so difficult. It is impossible to have the exact same colour from one batch to the next, the climate, the time of day, the moon, the leaves, all play a part in making the colour and never will you be able to replicate the exact colour no matter how much one tries. Same amount of water, same amount of leaves, same time of day and voilà – a different colour! A thing of beauty if that is how you choose to see it.

Next we must allow the thread to dry, but we cheat and use pre dried thread! Now from here it gets too complicated for my non-craft brain to even comprehend! Follow the steps in the pictures below and know that I messed up the pattern we were trying to layout at every second turn. Working with Anna and her mom Maria Rosario, I was quickly straightened out each time.

I enjoyed watching Estella as she sat flawlessly creating at her loom! No drama, no flare, just a peaceful work to create a thing of beauty. The hours, the days and the weeks in some cases that it takes to create a particular design is mind-boggling.

And what brought them joy? Seeing themselves and the bag they made for Mango + Moose beautifully displayed in our lookbook! It was so fun to share it with them. I think it is true for all of us that we create because we love it, and we do it for this sole purpose, but to share the beauty with others makes it an even greater joy!

 

This does not stop at the beautiful textiles that these women weave, but continues straight to their pride in making delicious traditional culinary dishes! Once again we were treated to a meal that is a staple at any and every holiday, or for a special visitors like us I guess 🙂

 

I am one of those people who just eats, I forget to photograph it because I am eating it! Last minute I snapped a few shots of the dinner we shared- whew! This soup is an add as you go soup, all the ingredients surrounding the bowl are eventually added into the broth with the cabbage to make for an amazing delicious treat!

To sum up the perfect day, we shared stories of families together and I was truly blessed to hear overwhelming gratitude for the work that Mango + Moose has brought to them. It was said that their children were going to school and that was most important to them. The group also offers classes on gender equality; the affected change of this is huge! The women shared how their husbands are helping more at home, how they see the value of their daughters attending school and are recognizing the need to support their wives in their heavy work loads. Many men will help with the simple tasks of the weaving process. Scott shared with me later how touched he was by their stories and their sincere joy to be working with Mango + Moose. He added that they are Momprenuers just like me! How very, very true that is. We are all women working toward a common goal of caring for our families through creativity this is the beautiful work of femininity.

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Socially Conscious Fashion

Socially Conscious Fashion

orking every day for an ethical and sustainable lifestyle brand, I am more in touch with the term “socially conscious” than most. I understand it isn’t a commonly used term, yet hot topics around here are ethical style, Artisan collaboration, sustainability, and impact. Not to mention the real life stories that make the term very real to me and our company. It’s quite shocking how little people consider their connection to the fashion industry and what horror is often behind the products.

         My heart burns seeing footage that is in the documentary “The True Cost,” which is a must watch (available online or on Netflix). This documentary talks all about issues of social consciousness. It addresses the affects of a fast-fashion industry employing workers in deplorable conditions, and paying them only $2 per day to make clothes that retail for $15, $20, $30, even $40. This is considered a LACK of social consciousness. It shines light on an appalling and disgusting blind eye turned to the affect that production has on people.

         This film also shows a lack of responsibility to our planet, and the precious lives living on it. This is the norm in our modern world. In more developed nations, we expect to get a good bargain. Meaning we expect to purchase basic clothing, jewellery and other goods for the cost of 2 hours wage, yet people in developing nations have to work 10 grueling days to just break even on $20.00. Often these workers are leaving their children to family members to work long hours in sweat shops, surrounded by harmful chemicals, and in crowded unsafe buildings. The environmental affect of fast-fashion is enormous. We often don’t consider the toxins and chemicals it takes to make clothes, and the effect it has on water quality around these factories, creating illness in surrounding villages. We often don’t think about the many landfills full of clothes when we go to purchase a new sweater.  So what does “socially conscious” mean? By definition from Quest sources, Socially Conscious is…

“Social consciousness, or social awareness, is defined as consciousness shared by individuals within a society. It essentially means to be conscious or aware of the problems within a society or community.”

So this means thinking, becoming aware, researching and taking a closer look into what is going on in our society’s communities, not just where we live, but where our products come from.

         The mindset of ethical brands is focused on social consciousness. 
We take into consideration the individuals that make our products, we think deeply about their culture, not just “what can they offer me and how little can I pay them?” It is a relationship and dedication that we create with Artisans to work with them, honouring the culture, traditions, and unique skillset of each individual. We view them with dignity and value, while also keeping their community and the impact of creation of goods incredibly environmentally friendly. This takes attention and focus to curate items that have a small footprint, that reuse, recycle and restore.

At Mango + Moose we always have this in our dialogue when curating a product. What material can we use? What is accessible? Often we use recycled oil drums, precious stones that are found in the area, or repurposed leather, horn or bone from butchers. It feels very much like one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Beauty from ashes as we like to call it. The most beautiful part about being socially conscious means we empower an Artisan with work. That’s by far the most beautiful part.

When we focus on conscious creation, others have well paid, long term labour founded on principles of trust, respect and honour. Ten times out of ten there is no negative effect, only positive growth, empowering Artisans to make an income and support their families and keep their kids in school.

So social consciousness is key. It is not only thinking of retail value and making money, it’s also about respect, honour and love. It is honouring those above yourself and truly wanting a better and brighter future. But that can only happen when we join hands and work together.

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” ― Anna Lappe

There are so many companies that are doing it right; you just have to find them. I never knew they existed until I searched. And believe me they are beautiful, they are growing and they are filled with the vision, power and drive to change this industry. I encourage you open your eyes, open your heart, and think twice about your purchases. Think about who you are supporting, not just what you are getting.

Sources: 

https://www.questia.com/library/sociology-and-anthropology/social-organization-and-community/social-consciousness 

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/587323-every-time-you-spend-money-you-re-casting-a-vote-for

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Dream. Do.

Dream. Do.

I needed to hear this 15 years ago, so I’m sharing with you in hopes you feel empowered to make choices that support you! Here it goes: THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.  And I think one of the most common ways we self-sabotage is living in servitude to the POWER OF THEY. This shows up in two main ways:

#1. What would THEY think?

How many times have you done or NOT done something because of what you think others would think? This may be bold of me, but is it possible that in some cases, you create stories for yourself about what others would think to keep you comfortable with NOT having to take action for what you say you want?

For example, I didn’t think someone I admired really thought I was capable, so I DIDN’T try to get the gig that I really wanted (‘cause my story at the time was that there was no point if “they” didn’t want me there). The end result? I DIDN’T TRY SO I DIDN’T GET.

DREAM. DO. You do deserve it!

With awareness you can create change. If you intuitively know you have created a story about what “they” might think as an excuse to not step up to your possibility….STOP DOING IT. Take action for what you want. How do you do that? One small step at a time (courage, confidence and clarity will come with action…not before it).

Dream.do T-Shirt and Marble Bar necklace from Mango + Moose

#2. What would THEY do?

You know what is crazy exhausting? Trying to live life based on what other people are doing. Personally, when I start making decisions based on the business and lifestyle practices of other people, I begin to lose connection with my unique way of being.

Being inspired by other people is a good thing. My sister in law is so obsessed with Jillian Harris she will pretty much buy anything that woman endorses on Instagram. While she admires Jillian, she is also confident and expressive in her own right. Her admiration for another person does not diminish her fashionista awesome-ness.

It only becomes a problem when we become so engrossed with what we think about another person that we begin to compare and hide behind the stories we have created in our minds. AND THEY ARE STORIES!

Have you ever done this? Instead of being inspired you feel inadequate. It’s a mental roller coaster of “not enough”. This mindset sucks the life out of your light and all that jealousy and shame detracts from your success. It just does. It’s just not fun.

With awareness you can create change. Next time you feel yourself being sucked into the vortex of comparison and shame….STOP DOING IT. Take action for what you want. Focus on doing one thing today that makes you feel more alive and healthy. Show yourself some love. You can do one thing. #yesyoucan

Remember—THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING. Stop looking for approval and acceptance from others. You are worth more than that and only you know what is best for you. You can not acquire faith in yourself from “them” (it must come from you beautiful). Stop hiding behind the expectations of others and don’t let other people’s excuses, successes, beliefs and actions get in the way of you creating the live you know you want to live AND YOU DESERVE. 

DREAM. DO.

You got this!

Dream.do T-Shirt and Sunny Necklace from Mango + Moose
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Bosco's Story

Bosco's Story

Meet Bosco

 

Bosco, like all the Artisans we partner with in Uganda, is a former child solider. He and his now wife were both abducted as children and were forced into Kony’s army (the LRA) for several years before managing to escape. Bosco during this time lost a leg to a landmine, but it doesn’t slow him down at all! He still walks about an hour each way to get to the workshop – arriving with a big smile on his face.

Bosco has a beautiful family with teenagers. He lives in a mud hut home. He said in his quiet manner, “it’s simple but it’s enough.” This is Bosco – he is content with what he has and his one real wish is to send his five children to school. When we asked if he had anything to say to people here, he simply said, “If you can buy our product we can send our children to school.”

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Love Beyond Borders

Love Beyond Borders

ith love in the air and February 14th in sight, I find myself thinking “Really?! A big teddy bear and box of chocolates? I don’t need that to feel loved!” I mean Valentine’s Day brings lovers to celebrate, and friends to cheers, and more chocolate, teddies and flowers fill the front displays of stores.  I get the whole thing. I distinctly remember as a child Valentine’s being a very exciting event, one with much anticipation and extreme preparation. I can recall the immense pressure to pick the prettiest and most perfect Valentine’s cards. I remember spending 20 minutes in Superstore with my mom, obsessing on if I would pick the Disney Princess or the Minnie Mouse cards. It was a big deal! I had to go home and write the names of all my class mates on each one, seal the envelope with a little sticker, attach a chocolate and have them ready for delivery to their paper made “mail boxes”. Oh good old elementary school days!

It’s quite amazing how the meaning of holidays change as we change in our lives. Now I am in my 20’s and engaged, and truly Valentine’s does not elicit the same gravity and attention it used to. I mean sure it’s nice to get chocolates, and some special treatment or even a dinner out, but heck I want that EVERY month, not just on February 14th! I am lucky enough to be engaged to the sweetest man there is who takes the liberty to celebrate our love every week to every month with a special date, and I feel everyday when we talk that we are celebrating. Now I might just be young and in love, but the truth is, not just the holiday based on St. Valentine, or the second weekend in February is necessary for acts of love, or massive teddy bears and chocolate. I see love as a daily act. I see love as a choice, and I also see that many holidays, not just February 14th, make me feel that immense thankfulness I have for the ones I love. I feel that same love on Christmas and Thanksgiving, at weddings, at my grandparents’ house, at my parents’ home, and in my brothers’ company. I feel love when I speak to those who appreciate, honour and choose me in every season, whether that’s the second week of February or not.

“Love is about lifetimes. It is year round, month-long, week-long, day-long, in every second of every day. Love is a journey and a choice. It is choosing those around us, to honour and always be kind, to be courageous enough to love beyond borders.”

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful week and are treated wonderfully with all the glamour and elegance that Valentine’s brings. Moreover, I hope you are treated with kindness, warmth and love everyday of your beautiful lives. 

Love always,

 

Rachel

Mango and Moose

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Meet Jerry

Meet Jerry

Jerry is one of our Haitian Artisans. He supports his mom, dad and five siblings from his work as a quality control manager in Haiti (one of our Artisan Partnerships). The interviewer is our very own CEO Tanya Donahue. 

This short video shares his story.

“When you buy our products just put in your mind you support us; you support us to find more opportunity so that our dreams can come true.” 

This is your purchasing power making global impact. One amazing human at a time. The impact is real.

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Words of Wisdom from Benson, a Haitian Leather Artisan

Words of Wisdom from Benson, a Haitian Leather Artisan

Straight from the streets of Haiti – This story demonstrates why we at Mango and Moose support Fair Trade and believe in ethical business as a way to move our world and people forward through restored hope and dignified work.

It is our privilege to share this story from one of our Haitian Artisan partners.

The dialogue is between MK, the founder and director of the cooperative, and Benson, the amazing Artisan who worked tirelessly to make our entire Mango and Moose Natural and Black Leather Tote collection.

 

Here is his story:

MK: One day a few years ago, I was traveling with Benson to Port Au Prince in the car. I came to love these one-on-one times in the car with this young brilliant person. First he sleeps for an hour, but after that I can count on him for some great conversation. Now I’ve gotten to where I will pull out my phone and hit record when he starts talking.

One day we were driving along and he said to me:

BENSON: “MK, do you know how to keep poor people poor?”

MK: “No, Benson, I can’t say that I have ever thought about that. How do you keep poor people poor?”

BENSON: “Give them everything they need.”

MK (thinking): What? Where is he going with this?

BENSON: “Give them food and clothes and houses. Give it to them and never ask them to do anything for it. That way they never develop their own capacity. That way they never grow and they will always need you. They will stay dependent on others and remain poor.”

MK (thinking): Sure wish I was recording this right now, but if I pull over and turn on my recorder he will likely stop talking so freely.

BENSON: “If you had come to Jubilee and met me and saw me as a young man from a poor family with many children, and you had begun to bring clothes and food to our house, instead of seeing me as a young man who has skills and is intelligent with great capacity, where would I be today? Where would I be today, he asked again before answering. I would not know my capacity to build a company and make beautiful products. I would not be who I am today – a leader in my community and a provider for my family.”

MK (thinking): How could I have not seen him that way? I wonder how many other Bensons there are within clear view in our everyday lives. How many people with great capacity do we not see every day?

Visiting with him yesterday in his workshop and seeing the new space he is building now to double the size of his space once again, I am in awe.

I admit that sometimes his faith and optimism are so much bigger than mine that he makes me a little crazy. He preaches faith to me! When I am looking at the bank account, he is looking at the faithful record of God.

I will always count it as one of my life’s greatest honours to call this young man a friend.

There is so much more I could say about him. I could tell you the ways he is mentoring other entrepreneurs and raising up leaders in his community. I could tell you the smart ways he is investing in his own company and bringing local investors together to invest in other start-ups.

He and those like him are real change makers, this I know.

Shared with you by Mango + Moose Admin

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