Updated: Mar 14
Hi, #EXTRAOrdinary Family.
It's been a hot minute, hasn't it? Being public school teachers, we've had a pretty challenging last couple of years with the whole COVID thing and the whole social justice whirlwind that's been affecting us and our kids at school. We've been working hard to make sure they know they are safe and loved just as they are.
Being humans, we've had a pretty challenging last couple of years with things going on in our respective personal lives, too (we're fine, but it's been trippy, and we're tired and need to stop eating our feelings and get out on more walks).
And then Putin decided to invade Ukraine. Seriously, dude? No, really. SERIOUSLY???
We're not going to wax on about the politics of it here, even though we have a lot to say about THAT.
We are, however, going to speak up about how helpless we have felt watching it all unfold in front of our eyes.
A kidlet shuffling down the street in his boots and hat, weeping.
Elders waiting to be transported away from their nursing home to safety—tired, cold, confused, and wanting to just lie down.
The critically ill without power in the hospital.
People with rucksacks walking for miles, not knowing if their homes even exist anymore.
Children crying because they had to say goodbye to a loved one.
Refugees of color being treated differently (SO not okay, world—knock it off!!).
Families getting shelled, right on camera.
The worst part is that Putin doesn't give a rat's you-know-what about ANY of that, and he's triggering our childhood threat of nuclear war PTSD. It's also pretty awful that there are people out there (both foreign and domestic) who would support such a heartless, cruel person.
It's all too much, and it's easy to feel completely hopeless and helpless and anxious about what kind of world we're living in.
But you know what? We MUST go back to a fundamental truth: LOVE IS GREATER THAN FEAR.
No matter how bad things get—we believe that love WILL win. And we believe that SO DEEPLY, we want to encourage everyone who believes in love to do a little something to push back the fear and the hatred. We have to stay informed, but we also have to be careful not to feed the fear.
It can be as simple as making your corner of the world a little more kind and loving. Maybe you can volunteer. Maybe you can spare a little to donate to a worthy cause. Maybe you can speak out for others who need support. Maybe you can get the help YOU need, and that in turn will help those you love. Whatever it is—big or small—if it's done in the name of LOVE, it will help. It WILL.
We decided that we wanted to use our art in a way that would help. This action gave us something tangible to do with all of our pent-up, nervous energy, and the act of making necklaces in Ukrainian colors became something like meditation or prayer. We decided to donate 50% of what we take in on these products to help care for those in need.
We named this line of products "Maya," after a dear friend of ours who is Ukrainian and watching her homeland being torn apart from afar. Maya and Carleen watched their sons play baseball together. Carleen taught both of Maya's kidlets, now grown. We've shared wonderful conversations and lots of hugs, and she has the best hair ever. We love her so much and grieve with her through this terrible ordeal.
We also found a wonderful place for our donations to go. A friend from Lisa's hometown of Minot, ND, is in Poland RIGHT NOW while her Air Force husband is stationed there. She is getting it DONE by going out and purchasing items those fighting for Ukraine need to carry out their work.
From walkie-talkies to helmets to sleeping bags to medicine, she's buying it and posting pictures on her Facebook page. She is organizing an auction, which we are a part of. They have taken a Ukrainian family—and when the little guy of the family had to go to the hospital, she put together a care package for him.
Kelley is an angel with skin, and we are proud to support her work.
If you would like to help us help Ukraine, even in a little way, consider buying an item from the Maya Line on this site. All items are $15, and they are handmade with new and vintage materials in our signature "remix" style (except for the chokers, which are modeled after the necklaces Carleen's sister and her friends used to wear in the 1970s when disco was cool).
We'll ship them out from Carleen's house as fast as we can. The packages are light, so shipping is really reasonable.
We'll have them at our in-person events, too, if you catch up with us there.
If you wish, you can also donate directly to Kelley's effort: @kelleyinpoland (PayPal) and KKagele@gmailcom (Zelle).
Thank you for anything you do to make the world a better, more loving place. We know this process is NOT easy, and we aren't trying to slap a "love and light" bandaid on the wound. There's hard work to do, so let's get to it.
Love IS greater than fear. Let's prove that to be true and raise the vibe, everyone.
#EXTRAOrdinary love to the humans of Ukraine.