At this time, after the few days of shock I have felt after seeing my home state and many places I love torn apart by a huge tornado, the question that comes to me is,
“Where are the wildflowers?”
Just last week I was reflecting on the dates, September 2nd and 3rd, and how Hurricane Dorian crashed into the island of Grand Bahama and other parts of the Bahamas where women whom Wildflower supports live and have family. I was reflecting in my prayers how disaster relief is so hard on me. This is because around 10 years ago I experienced another devastating tornado in Tennessee that has left me with a lot of trauma.
Then a week later after this reflection on March 3rd, Tennessee was hit by huge tornadoes again.
Within six month of each other two places where Wildflower Enterprises works and our loved ones live, devastating natural disasters have torn apart our loved ones' communities. I don’t know the right words to say. My words can turn to anger, depression, and fear, and the news of each disaster leaves me in constant shock. I don’t want to stay here though.
It is not fair to compare these storms and the damage that each one caused. We just need to realize this is not how anyone deserves to live. This is not how God wants us to live, and God did not plan any of these disasters.
As a co-founder of Wildflower Enterprises, I feel I must have words of comfort to tell all of my other wildflowers in the Bahamas and Tennessee. I am there for y'all. It is really hard for me to be miles away from y'all. I would rather be with you than safe in my home in Pennsylvania. I want to be there to comfort you, cry with you, and laugh with you. Luckily we do have the beauty of technology to communicate the best as we can. But sometimes these moments are not as good as an actual hug and embrace to actually feel each other. For those of you who are like me and have been geographically distanced from these storms, what we can do is show support in comforting ways. Support our artists in these locations or help us at Wildlfower be emotionally present, if not physically present, when these things happen. Look through our resources on trauma-informed ministry and join us in conversation and prayer.
Right now, I am left with a huge anxiety about what I am supposed to do, and what Wildflower is supposed to do when disasters like these occur.
What I can say is let’s look for the wildflowers all around us. Maybe they are actual flowers like the picture of daffodils my mom sent me the morning after the tornados. Maybe the wildflowers you see are the eyes of another human being you encounter. Maybe the wildflower is sun peaking through the clouds. Whatever your wildflower is at this time, let it remind you to seek hope, and let that hope help someone else see hope. You may be someone else’s wildflower.
We are creating that beautiful community of wildflowers everyday.
We are proud of survivors who are part of our team for sharing their survivor stories for Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
Thanks to Star who is part of our support board and Samantha who is a leader in our local PA support group!
Remember if you need help please contact your local domestic violence and rape crisis center.
Find your local PA Center
The 24 hour National Hotline is: 1-800-799- SAFE
If you need immediate help call 911
We have a lot to be thankful for! Some ladies in our peer mentorship group spoke to the wonderful students of Williamsport Middle School's Positivity Club about taking time to help others and listen to their stories. Together the Positivity Club and Wildflower Enterprises is making a difference in the school, community and world. While Wildflower Enterprises works at the intersections and with many individuals we are always willing to be a source of support for survivors of violence.
The best part of our new relationship with the Positivity Club is that it all started with Samantha who designed and wrote the story for the survivor stool! The Positivity Club purchased the stool and now has it on display at the school.
We are so proud of Samantha! She has asked us to share her story behind this design. She made the survivor stool to show light coming from darkness. Today she was able to live out her calling and educate the Positivity Club about domestic violence and sexual assault. She is a survivor! We can all learn so much from her. While we lift this message we also want to remind you there wonderful services that help survivors like hotlines, emergency shelters and legal advocacy. It is okay to ask for help! The national hotline number Is: 1-800-799-SAFE.
There are a lot of people who are working with Wildflower. Each person is working with us in unique ways!
Meet Allison Barry
Allison (Alli) Barry loves the outdoors. She can tell you about some awesome hiking trails throughout Middle and East Tennessee. She also loves animals. From snakes to cats she can educate you on each.
As well as all of this, Alli is Wildflower Enterprises’ Business Administration intern!
Alli will be working to help us secure and schedule craft fairs, presentations, and make sales. So if you are interested in meeting us through these ways you will most likely meet Alli.
Also, she currently studies business at Tennessee Tech University.
Alli’s a big Mulan fan. So her message to inspire others who come across Wildflower’s path is:
Have you ever realized you can have a lot in common with someone living in a completely different culture than you? That’s what I have realized while finding artists for Wildflower Enterprises. This is also why I have connected with the Bahamas. I am really excited to introduce you to another Wildflower Bahamian artist Sharmaine Knowles! I first met Sharmaine in June at Freeport Methodist Church. Wildflower Enterprises’ will be working with Sharmaine build clientele for her designs.
We are highlighting a few of her designs on our site! What we have in common is that Sharmaine’s designs are one of a kind and all tell a story. She tells stories through graphic design work. Now I’ll let Sharmaine tell her story! Here it is! Take notice of some of her inspirational quotes! This woman is good with words! -Kacie
“What is the one thing we all share in common? Children, Parents, Celebrities even Presidents and Prime Ministers do it. They all wear Tee Shirt. Whether you choose to it dress it up with a blazer or just wear it plain with jeans, it doesn't matter.” -Sharmaine
HUGaNUG LRS represents, Love, Royalty and Strength. Every design tells a story.
The birth of my business came about as a result of me listening to a local radio station when House of Assembly was in session. The cabinet members would from time to time use catchy phrases when speaking in Parliament. One day I said to my husband how cool it would be to put those phrases on a tee shirt. Right then sitting in my husband company truck, I began writing some phrases down and of course some were horrible but, one day my husband went through my book. He told me that some of the phrases were really funny and that I should pursue the business. Six years later, HUGANUG LRS was realized.
"Each day my kids and I would say failure is not an option.
I stop making excuses and just began doing something.”
My story is quite simple. My inspiration started from a political standpoint a few years ago. But when I had my last child, the passion for telling my story through design became more evident. Every design expresses life experience as a stay at home mom, wife and Christian. The foundation for every design is to inspire young women from the age of 16-45. Whether single or married, I try to keep my designs transparent so people would be able to relate to what I am conveying. My designs are mostly spiritual base, along with inspiration and culture. The designs are available for sale through teesprings until I build up clientele. (So as Wildflower is helping her build clientele!)
We as women should inspire other women without bias because of race or even status. That is what I say to people when we talk. My you continue to succeed at your business.
In our Peer Mentorship group participants have the opportunity to learn how to upcycle furniture. The process we teach is painting. Did you know that painting helps with healing? Also, painting is a spiritual practice and painting and praying can go naturally together. This is a creative practice, and Wildflower Enterprises offers the space for individuals to practice this.
Pictured here is Samantha. We are so proud of all she has accomplished with her first upcycled project. She has designed this stool, and told a beautiful story. She is a survivor of violence, and as she was painting the stool she discussed how she wants to help other women who have experienced violence like she has. The colors she chose for this stool is a message she wrote for other survivors. This is her message for other survivors.
We are incredibly proud of Samantha! She is helping us discover what this peer mentorship program can be in rural PA. This stool is for sale for $40. Samantha will get the funds from her design to help her continue into transition to peaceful life after violence. To purchase this stool contact us here:
Connection, Art, Healing, Empowerment
We are a diverse group of women from all backgrounds and ages. We find a place for anyone in our support groups and recognize that everyone brings unique perspective and designs. Our enterprise intentionally opens our doors to women in rural PA who are overcoming different traumas.
We use the craft of upcycling to inspire women! Browse through our completed projects!
Check out our stories to read about some of our community partners!
Thanks to Avis United Methodist Church and the General Board of Global Ministries of the UMC for making it possible for us to host our groups!
Upcycled Candle Sticks
Designed by a leader in our group, Trista.
She's an amazing artist and teaching us lots of new skills from graphic design to detailed painting. She tells us these colors represent God's creation. The blue is for water and the gold is for sunshine.
Support this artist today by purchasing these candlesticks.
Price listed includes shipping and taxes
Upcycled Paint Splatter Table
Remember Samantha, the designer of the survivor stool?
Well she has completed her second project in our peer mentor group! Samantha's passion and commitment to helping us build Wildflower Enterprises peer mentor group has been an asset!
Support her work today by purchasing this beautiful table.
Price listed is before shipping costs. Pick up is free. We will consult with you on shipping price once first payment is made.
My heart breaks for the environment, for the loss of my favorite things to do like write in the woods, for the fact that little children may not be able to build fairy houses like I did. My heart also breaks for those who are at the intersections of violence and climate change. Toxic environments clog our world. Did you know that climate change is connected to human trafficking? Did you know it is connected to terrorism? The Child Labor Coalition wrote about how extreme weather impacts some of the poorest people in our world in multiple ways.
“Children are left orphaned or get separated from their families, as happened in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. In Ethiopia and other places of dire poverty, human traffickers and adoption agencies fraudulently pass off some children as orphans. Or desperate parents give up their offspring in exchange for false promises of better care.”
Also, a story in The National Geographic connected climate change to terrorism. In places like Iraq, the disappearance of water is unstoppable, and farmers are trading backhoes for assault rifles (2017). The National Geographic article “Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq” talks about the dangerous impacts that happen because of the severity of poverty, lack of water, and lack of security in farming communities. This is devastating. Those who experience the worst of environmental crises are victims to so many other issues.
Every time I read stories like these I am amazed at the intersections to other global issues.
I can sit in the woods peacefully, and hear the squirrels rustling in the leaves around me. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back. But my peace is not fully peace because I think of those who don’t have a place to do this and whose nature is full of pollution. That pollution being litter and violence.
My fairy houses full of the beauty of nature are a home everyone deserves.
Look for the beauty around you. Be a kid again and let your imagination wander, and build a fairy house that takes care of our world and all God’s people in our world. Feel nature between your fingers, remember that good feeling as you play a vital role in creating a sustainable world.
What would your fairy house look like?
“In Grand Bahama, I continued my teaching career for the next nine years. The classroom for me was now a creative garden growing wild with untapped possibilities. I eventually decided to trade the field of academics for the brand new world of potentiality. I wanted to provide each child with the opportunity to find and nurture his/her creative passion. Uniqueness lies within each of us and when one can express oneself accordingly; one experiences much joy which impacts others. “ Emily Strachan, Wildflower Bahamian Artist
This is the story of how Bahamian artist Emily Strachan joined our Wildflower Enterprises endeavors. Emily's designs are called Enthusia designs.
I (Kacie) was worshipping at Freeport Methodist Church in Freeport, Grand Bahama. This was my first worship service with this congregation. I still did not know many people. I sat by Sharon Mcgregor, a member of the church. (Sharon is now a board member of Wildflower Enterprises!) Sharon and I started talking about our passions, life in our countries, and many other random topics. She taught me a great deal about Grand Bahama in our first conversation.
Somehow the conversation was directed to crafting. I told her about how I was developing a vision for Wildflower and wanted to add a global relationship to the business. She said, “You have to meet Emily!”
My first introduction to Emily was during the passing of the peace. If you are familiar with traditional Christian worship services you know the passing of the peace usually happens at the beginning of worship in order to welcome others to church. At Freeport Methodist Church the passing of the peace is very friendly! In Grand Bahama you give hugs to everyone young and old during this time. What a way to meet a ton of people you never met before!
After the worship service I saw Emily pin a handcrafted headband with the aquamarine blue and yellow Bahamian colors on a little girl. Emily told me then she was passionate about making items with the Bahamian colors for people in her community.
Later in the week Emily and I gathered at another worship service at the church. During this service the group gathered in a circle, held hands and sang the gospel song, “I Need You to Survive.” The lyrics go:
I pray for you, You pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I won't harm you with words from my mouth.
I love you, I need you to survive.
I held hands with Sharon as we sang. This night was a moment I will never forget. God had truly reminded me that there was an open door for Wildflower Enterprises to go through. I was going through this door with my new friends Sharon and Emily.
Emily and I talked more after the service, and she said, “I am going to pick you up Thursday and drive you to my apartment. Is 3:00 good?” Before I could think if it was a good time or not, "Yes!" just came out of my mouth. So it was planned I was going to Emily’s apartment the next day!
My thoughts raced: "Oops! I didn’t ask permission from my leader Pastor Lenore to go. Hopefully she will say this was okay." Well, it all worked out!
On Thursday Emily and I drove over to her crafting apartment. We talked about women’s empowerment and teaching marginalized women. Wow, we had a lot of the same passions!
At her apartment she introduced me to her abundance of crafts! Emily makes a huge variety of products: necklaces with the Bahamian colors, hand-painted stone necklaces, hair clips made from palm trees and sea shells, beautiful beads made from sand, decorative flowers made from coconut, and pins made from fish scales. There is so much more that Emily makes, but I can't even remember all of them now! We had a great time! After I was introduced to her crafts we sat down, we fanned ourselves with the handmade fans made from palm trees and talked about the future of Wildflower in the Bahamas. We both felt God was working with us. We made a plan and thus it began!
Emily drove me back to Freeport Methodist Church. We jammed to some great Junkanoo Bahamian music. I felt free. I felt I gained a new friend. I felt at home! The song we were jamming to talked about a house on a hill by the beach. Little did Emily know at the time that one of my favorite things to do is jam to music as I drive back roads in my hometown! This time I was doing it in the Grand Bahama!
This brings me to one of the best lessons I learned from Jean Johnson’s book, We Are Not the Hero. Quoted on page 63, “We can waste these beginning moments or we can see these beginning moments as work.” I felt at that time I was truly doing work I loved. We were both enthusiastic! For me I was doing one of my favorite things--driving backroads, windows down with catchy music. However, it was rewarding because in these beginning moments of friendship with Emily, we already were working together! We are entrepreneurs from two different cultures, and we both have a passion to empower women through entrepreneurship and crafting!
Learn more about Emily’s work in the Bahamas, shop her collection we have by booking one of our Wildflower in the Bahamas presentations!