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MAKER MONDAY: MEET LACY

I hope you all had a fun and memorable Eclipse Day.  I have to admit the Eclipse surpassed my expectations.  I loved it.  The exact moment of totality and then the burst of light on the other side when the moon started moving back off of the sun.  Amazing.  And call me super corny but there were a couple of moments when I could almost feel tears coming on.  I’m not sure what that was all about.   Maybe the collective excitement of all the people or just marveling in the awesome design of the universe God created.  Random chance?…I think not.

I spent the day wandering around Foodstock.  Jeremy hopped over for an extended lunch break from State Farm and we soaked up all the sun & good food.  It was exciting to see so many out in support of Serve it up Como, especially my friend Kiarah from COMO Cookies!

This weeks Maker Monday story took me on a trip down memory lane.  brady lou project guru (1)Meet Lacy Stroessner, the creator and maker behind Madre Beads.   When I first met her in 2007 she was Lacy Donaldson, bright-eyed college girl on her way to becoming a teacher.  She was also leading high school students in ministry through Young Life.  Jeremy and I were part of the Leadership Committee here in Columbia and we adopted a group of YL leaders to feed, love on and pour into so they could then pour into Columbia’s high school students.   We loved having these young adults in our home each month.  We got to know Lacy & Phil and watched a romance blossom between them.

By 2008 they were engaged and planning a wedding!  I even got to give her a bridal shower and made her wear this apron full of gadgets for a little game we played that day.   (sorry Lacy!)

After she and Phil married, Lacy graduated from Mizzou in 2009, finished her Masters and began teaching at Rock Bridge High School in 2010.  That same year her first baby Adair (Addie) was born and she experienced the heartache of  leaving your baby with someone else and returning to work.

In 2012, when she was pregnant with Ingrid (or maybe shortly after she was born I can’t recall the exact timing) I remember getting a message from Lacy where she was clearly struggling with the idea of now leaving a second baby to return to work.  She asked me how I was able to stay home and if I had any advice on how she might be able to make staying at home work (At that point I had been staying home for about 4 years, twins were 4 and Anni was probably 18 months, and let me tell you it’s a hard choice to stay home.  It requires financial sacrifice and even then, it’s just not easy…but back to Lacy…)

I remember telling her how smart and creative I thought she was.  At the time she was blogging a little and I encouraged her to do more.   I also knew Lacy to be a talented graphic designer and remember saying something like “surely with your creativity and craftiness there’s something you can make and sell from home?”  Shortly after Ingrid was born and Lacy retired from teaching to become a full-time stay at home mom.  She earned income by blogging professionally for national sites like Disney Baby and Mom.me for three years. Her third daughter Margot was born in 2014.

When I had the idea to start Plume I invited Lacy over and we chatted about her love of vintage baby clothing, other found items, our mutual infatuation with Anthropologie and how fun it would be to have a shop that had the “Anthro” feel to it in Columbia with all found vintage and handmade items.   When I opened Plume in 2013 she became one of my earliest vendors… #003.  We sold a few of her vintage children’s items and some other small handmade goods.

It wasn’t until after Margot came along in 2014 that Lacy got the idea to create Madre Beads and she launched in March of 2015.

Madre Beads are designed with nursing mama’s and teething babies in mind but I personally wear mine all the time and I’m way past the baby teething and nursing stage.  I just love that they’re so versatile, lightweight and cute.  They’re made with soft stretchy t-shirt yarn and non-toxic wood beads that are safe for babies to chew, suck, tug and pull on.

She also designed a line for little girls to wear, called Mini Madres.   I’m sure she’ll never lack inspiration from her own girls.

I’ve watched Lacy mature from college student, to wife, teacher, mother, business owner and, now, missionary.  In 2016, she traveled to Greece to serve in refugee camps with Carry the Future, an international non-profit that brings humanitarian aid in the form of child carriers, baby beds and survival items to refugee families.  Can you image having to flee your home carrying your children in your arms?    Lacy designed one of her necklaces as a tribute to these refuges and 100% of the profits from this particular necklace are donated to Carry the Future.

Lacy also works as a volunteer for Carry the Future, serving as the Community Response Officer, leading two different teams of volunteers in various roles.   She’s thankful her creative work allows her to give back in a meaningful way for something she cares so deeply about.  After her experience in Greece she was forever changed.  She lives by the belief that every little bit helps and is often seen using the hashtag #candosomething on her social media sites.

To date Lacy has shipped Madre Beads to customers in nearly all 50 States and 20 different countries.  I’m so excited to provide her with a local brick and mortar outlet at Plume (We just got a fresh stash last week)!    So stop by if you need a gift for a new mamma…or just want to treat yourself!

Madre Beads is 100% Lacy…but I can’t help but flashback to that conversation in 2012. You just never know how God is going to use an encouraging word from you to plant a little seed in someone else’s life.   I’m so proud of her.

Thank you Lacy for using your gifts in such an impactful and beautiful way.

P.S. See you Thursday when we open back up at 10:00 am!