Robert

I hustled along the sidewalk with two hot coffees in hand and adrenaline still pumping from parking a 16’ van in the middle of downtown Denver. I skipped across the street and rounded the corner where I could see the vibrant mobile shop parked, lights glowing from the inside. I got ready to sprint across 16th Street Mall in front of an oncoming bus - I simply had no time to waste - when I heard rattling chains and saw a slumped over figure in my peripheral. I almost lost my footing as I stopped running and turned to approach the human moving about in the shade of a tall building. I could see in the distance that the man was trying to remove a chain used to secure the planters to the sidewalk. He then stood up and began removing small parts of this particular plant, putting them in his mouth and eating what I assumed to be his breakfast. Before I had the opportunity to consider how to address him, he looked up and said, “Good Morning!”

“Good Morning, Sir,” I said, half startled and half relieved. “How are you this morning?” I asked, but I knew.

“Another day,” he hesitated.

“I’ll be right back,” I said, guiltily looking down at my recently brewed, steaming purchases.

I ran across the street and jumped up the wooden stairs into the truck. I ran to the front and opened a bin where I pulled out a gallon size bag filled with gloves, socks, hygiene products and hand warmers. Without saying a word, my fiancé sat at the checkout counter and watched me dart out the back, across the street, towards the grocery cart filled with bags and blankets.

“Here, Sir” I said, handing him a rather sorry gift in the midst of reality. 

He looked at the bag, his eyes widened as he graced me with a thank you. I told him to have great day, only later realizing about how numb that must sound. I casually walked back to the truck where we sat across the street watching the man go about a morning routine that could have only been sculpted by concrete bedrooms and dumpster kitchens. I tried to welcome shoppers with excitement but couldn’t shake the momentary interaction I had just shared with this stranger.

“Thanks!” we hollered as a group of young women exited the truck.

I eagerly looked over to where I had last seen the homeless man drinking an orange juice carton out of the trash can. He was nowhere in sight. I sighed, said something of a prayer for him, and went about operating the traveling business.

Several moments later, I looked out, observing the humans moving back and forth, in jeans and dresses, some on cell phones, some strapped with cameras. I watched parents clumsily carry their kids across the street and sweet old couples hold hands as they took their time getting from one side to the other. It was in that intense moment of appreciation that I was startled by a familiar, deep and scratchy voice.

“I was gonna see if you had any winter pants in here,” said the homeless man, parking his cart and gingerly stepping off the curb to look inside the shop. He smiled and extended a green glove riddled with holes. "I'm Robert."

I apologized for not having any winter pants for him as I steadily approached him with a crooked smile.

"Anna," I said, shaking his hand.

I hopped down onto the concrete as we began to strike up a conversation. I told him I was thinking of delivering blankets and sleeping bags to individuals living on the street and asked him what he thought about the idea. He said it would help and that they desperately needed socks for their frostbitten feet, pointing to his own. While waving around a bare finger emerging from split fabric, he told me he receives gloves that are often too small so he gives them away to the females around the area. 

I studied his face as he spoke. Slowly, carefully, words traveled out of his mouth between a wired gray beard and withered teeth. He told me that he used to be a farmer and fairly well off. He told me about how he thinks technology is destroying our youth and how he believes we only borrow the earth from our children. I saw memories of marriages, children and life events flash behind his tired eyes. I nodded in agreement as I watched him spill his past and present into a moment between two complete strangers simply seeking, hoping for good things in the world.

 

After Robert and I shared our thoughts, he opened his arms and fell into mine for a hug. Not even all the layers he was wearing could keep Robert at a distance. He left a lasting impression on me that day.

He grabbed his cart and awkwardly eased it down the curb. One last wave good-bye and Robert was off - half limping, half wheeling - across the street towards the next trash can.

 

•••

 

When we began this mobile boutique journey I had many thoughts. I wondered how our generators would run or how our inventory would hold up. I hoped our wood floors were the perfect choice and that the paint color was just the right shade. I anticipated customer service skills coming into play and I figured we would meet some characters here and there - but I did not expect to be so completely graced by humanity this way. Never for a moment did I think that I would be immersed into so many individual stories, like Roberts.

 

I often reflect back on Robert’s story. And Steph’s, and Steven’s and Roy's and the businessman we met on 16th Street Mall and the adorable school teacher at the Union Station and the single mom from the Highland’s neighborhood! I think of our many homeless friends warming up in the sun on the street corner, intrigued by the pastel colored truck. I think of the children who climb up the wooden stairs, shy at first, but eased by the collection of colorful images and patterns. I think of the dogs and their owners who curiously pop-up into the shop, swinging tails in full effect. We thank each and every one of you for your individuality, for your story and for allowing us a place in your world - even for just a brief moment.

 

People like Robert have inspired us to be able to give back to those who are in need. As we wrap up our February Sleeping Bag Drive, we offer our sincere gratitude to everyone who has donated, participated, shared or read our story. We hope to continually improve upon showing love for our city and community! 

 

Bless,

 

A

On The Move!

With spring and summer right around the corner, we are gearing up for a busy and beautiful season of celebrating art, local goods and giving back. Please drop us a line letting us know about your favorite businesses, restaurants, festivals and markets around the Denver area where you would like to see the Love Free truck! We are bringing the freshest products from new and upcoming artists to the streets of Denver and rolling out nothing but the best vibes!

Fill out the form below with any comments, questions or just to say hello:

Name *
Name

Why Are We Not Still Talking About Homeless Veterans?

In the month of November, a disruption swept across the United States when the devastation from the Syrian Refugee Crises reached as far as our computers and television screens, prompting us to take action as a country and open our borders to Syrian men, women and children. With the swipe of a thumb, we were suddenly expressing our opinions endlessly across social media, text messages and emails about how we couldn’t possibly care for these displaced human beings located across the world when we had individuals outside our doorsteps, sleeping in between our businesses to provide for. The idea of “Taking Care Of Our Own” emerged from a viral photo of a homeless individual sleeping on the sidewalk in his tattered Army coat. With they hype and encouragement that seemed to surround this eye opening epidemic, we decided to partner with a charity for the month of December that supports struggling veterans and military personnel across the country. But, as with anything in news headlines these days, the hype was here one day and gone the next. 

When holiday shopping, decorating, cooking and traveling took prescience, we were quick to forget about those who spent Christmas Day wandering the streets unable to afford a warm meal or an individual who simply longed for a hot shower after spending hours on end in single digit temperatures. Prayers were said around dinner tables and at Christmas Eve services, but so many struggling military families couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill this month as we surged our homes with vibrant lighting ensembles. The media moved on with traditional movie broadcasts and persuasive commercials, and so did we. In the midst of our busy, safe lives we forgot about caring for our own and giving back to those who just one month ago we all vowed to help.

This comes as absolutely no ridicule or judgement to anyone. I know for a fact that there were people who sacrificed their time and money to pay it forward, and those who gave their last penny to make an effort during this high-stress holiday season. There were individuals that spent this time away from family and friends, and those that felt a gloomy presence as so often experienced on the holidays. We celebrated those who were not with us this year because they are fighting for our freedoms across seas and we continue to honor spirits that can only be felt through memories now. I will be the first person to admit that I so often get caught up in the selfish whirlwind of the gift giving season and overlook others’ sufferings. I know that there were individuals who gave all they had to make this season a success for their families and loved ones.

I understand the delicate balance of politics intertwined in our society today, and I am not here to speak on that. Rather, this is an effort to push something greater than homelessness, patriotism and personal political agendas into the new year. My hope going into 2016 is that we can start with a consciousness of the impacts we are making in our world. It starts with something as small as a Facebook post, a text message and an email. We tend to share more hilarious prank videos than news statistics and put our anxieties more on how we look and feel today than the impact we are leaving for tomorrow. Just as much as anyone, I enjoy watching elephants paint and babies laugh and I believe there needs to be more of that in this world. But I also challenge you, as I continue to challenge myself, to feed into more substantial stories and movements and efforts to better understand how we can give back to this planet rather than constantly taking.

2016 is going to have a concrete impression on the future of our nation. We have every opportunity in front of us to say, “Let’s Take Care Of Our Own,” and mean it. We have every right and every path looking forward to take us in a healthy direction, bringing lifetimes of vitality, conscious living and advancements of our country. The tools lie in our very hands, in our very minds. Millennials alone have the ability to completely turn our nation around. So, if you haven’t asked yourself already, I encourage you to now: Which direction are you going?

The reality is: the world will keep turning with or without us. Years pass by quickly, the friends we went to high school with have families and their children are not far from meeting their own high school friends. As we carry our pasts with us hoping to hold on to our younger years, we must embrace becoming adults now and determine what face the United States is going to have from now on. Sooner than later, we will be the veterans and the old folks who are reliable on younger generations to take care of us. I hope that by the time I have lived a full life, no one is blogging or vlogging or tweeting about how we can make the world a better place because I hope it is already happening. If you believe that you can make a positive difference, I promise you that you can. Whether you are a left wing, right wing, religious scholar or non-believer, we have a human responsibility to treat each other with dignity and respect and pursue a bright and promising future for ALL people.

 

Change starts with action. 

 

Start with these simple acts of kindness and consciousness going into a new resolution and a new year. See how giving back makes you feel and encourage your friends and family members to join you!

 

  1. Volunteer at a local VA. Start by filling out this form.
  2. Buy a 10-pack of socks from Amazon for $10.00 - Send them to a local homeless shelter.
  3. Call a local florist. Have flowers sent to a distant friend, relative or nursing home.
  4. Babysit for a single parent for free. 
  5. Go to the park. Get on the swing. Make at least one friend.
  6. Buy a cup of coffee for the next person in line. Let this story inspire you.
  7. Take a walk without your cell phone. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells. This is called being present.
  8. Leave someone a compliment on the internet everyday.
  9. Create Blessing Bags to hand out to those in need.
  10. Make a homemade crockpot meal for a nearby firehouse and thank them for their services.
  11. Be kind to yourself and others.

 

Simple changes can make enormous impacts. 2015 was a harsh year for our world and that may be the one thing that we can all agree on. Let's use it to push ourselves in to more sustainable and concrete living. Let's use it as a resource for finding better answers and getting more people involved. Let's become the nation and planet that we are so capable of becoming. I am honored, excited and eager to step into a new year with each and every one of you by my side. Here's to movement in 2016.

Love & Light 

- A

 

Operation Homefront

Photo by @victorofvalencia

Photo by @victorofvalencia

With the holiday season in full swing, it is easy to become distracted by last minute to-do's and high stress holiday cheer. Take a quick moment and a deep breath, read these humbling stories of wounded warriors and learn how you can help them fight through their hardships and get back on the right track to start a new year:

 

"After having more surgery to repair injuries sustained during his service and deployment, this National Guard member needed assistance with daily living activities. His spouse requested leave from work to care for him, was denied, and then terminated from her job. Now the family is faced with losing their apartment because of the loss of income and gap until benefits are paid."


"Already 100% disabled as a result of his combat tours, this veteran was in a car accident that further aggravated his injuries. Unable to work for some time, he is now at risk of losing his home. Help us prevent him from becoming another statistic and assist with back mortgage payments to prevent foreclosure."


"This combat injured Iraq veteran moved his family to be closer to a support system for all of them while he recovers. Though assured they would have a place to stay by family, a sudden change has left them worried about where they will live. With your help with rent and security, we can give them a place to call home for the holidays."


"This Army veterans has had a tough time after losing his job as a result of his injuries and post-traumatic stress. Though he was able to take the time to work on his health, it has been tougher to get back on his feet financially. He is working with one of our partners for career and benefit assistance, and we have been asked to help with rent and car payments. Together, we can help this soldier on the path to a stable future."


"This medically retired wounded combat veteran recently relocated to be closer to his son during the veteran's treatment and vocational rehabilitation. The move, along with a delay in receipt of benefits, have put him in a financial crisis just as he was ready to begin moving forward. With your support with housing costs, we can help him and his son over this obstacle and get them back on track."

A portion of our proceeds from every purchase made throughout the month of December will go directly toward these wounded warriors and their families. You can also donate directly by clicking the button below each story. To read more stories Click Here.

Please keep these veterans and combat warriors in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season!

 

Love & Light

- A & B

Blessing Bags Part Two

In August we created a GoFundMe page in order to raise money to create blessing bags for our homeless neighbors. Watch our video to find out what happened:

Thank you again for the donations, support and love. We strive to continue giving back to those in need throughout our city. If you are interested in creating Blessing Bags to hand out around your neighborhood, find more information and helpful tips below:

 

Use this shopping list to get started creating your own Blessing Bags:

  • 1 - 2 boxes of gallon size Ziplock bags
  • 5 Toothbrush - 2 packs
  • 10 Toothpaste
  • 5 Packs of Tissues
  • Lip Balm
  • Individually Packaged Soap
  • 10 Travel Size Shampoo
  • 10 Travel Size Conditioner
  • Box of Crackers
  • Box of Granola Bars
  • 2 Packages of Applesauce
  • Carton of Bottled Water
  • 20 Hand Warmers
  • 10 Hats
  • 10 Pairs of Gloves
  • 10 Pairs of Socks
  • 5 Scarves
  • 5 Handkerchiefs
  • Change for bus
  • Map of homeless shelters

 

TIPS:

  1. Hit up the local dollar store to get the majority of your items and best bang for your buck.
  2. Buy in bulk. Big Lots is another great place to find items packaged in bulk for under $3.
  3. Items can differ depending on where you live. If you are located in Arizona or Florida, swap out hand warmers for sunglasses and gloves for sunscreen.
  4. Create bags specifically for women. Include feminine hygiene products and package them with pink or red items for easy indication.
  5. While assembling, unwrap and organize items for quick and easy packaging.
  6. Keep a few Blessing Bags stored in your vehicle to hand out at anytime.
  7. Be polite. If someone doesn't accept a Blessing Bag, simply keep it for the next person!

 

 

Thank you for tuning in, until next time!

- A & B 

10 Beautiful Buddhist Prayers To Meditate On

1. Being Peace

If we are peaceful,
If we are happy,
We can smile and blossom like a flower.
And everyone in our family,
Our entire society,
Will benefit
From our peace.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

2. With Every Breath

With every breath I take today,
I vow to be awake;
And every step I take,
I vow to take with a grateful heart.
So I may see with eyes of love
Into the hearts of all I meet,
To ease their burden when I can
And touch them with a smile of peace.

- Anonymous
 

 

3. Bodhisattva Prayer For Humanity*

May I be a guard for those who need protection,
A guide for those on the path,
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood.
May I be a lamp in the darkness,
A resting place for the weary,
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles.
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening,
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened.

 - Shantideva

*performed daily by the Dalai Lama

 

 

4. Offering The Mandala

Here is the great Earth, 
Filled with the smell of incense, 
Covered with a blanket of flowers, 
The Great Mountain, the Four Continents, 
Wearing a jewel of the Sun and Moon.
In my mind I make them the Paradise of a Buddha, 
And offer it all to You.
By this deed, may every living being
Experience the Pure World.

 - Tibetan Prayer

 

 

5. Sky Is Free

Sky is free.
Ocean is blissful.
Trees are divine.
Rocks are enlightened.
So are we.
Who is still searching….
For what?

 - Anam Thubten Rinpoche

 

 

6. Prayer For Youth

May the children of the world grow constantly
In spiritual awareness and peace consciousness.
May more and more young people each day
Find the wisdom of simply being and awakening.
May we all find the alert stillness of our Buddha natures.

- Anonymous

 

 

7. Giving To Those In Need

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.

- Tenzin Gyatso

 

 

8. Harmony

We reverently pray for eternal harmony in the universe.
May the weather be seasonable, 
May the harvest be fruitful, 
May countries exist in harmony, 
And may all people enjoy happiness. 

- Anonymous

 

 

9. Walking Meditation

My mind can go in a thousand directions.
Now I walk in peace.
Each step creates a warm breeze.
With each step, a lotus blooms.

- Andrew Weiss

 

10. Enlightenment

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. 
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. 
Although its light is wide and great, 
The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. 
The whole moon and the entire sky
Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass. 

 - Dogen

 

 

Thanks for looking. Enjoy!

- A & B

Meet the Children of St. Jude's

Brent

Brent has become close knit with the kitchen crew and Chef Miles at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He considers himself a chef-in-the-making. His favorite dish? Macaroni & cheese pizza.

"Brent loves the process of making a meal," said his mom, Jill. "The cutting, the prep work and the togetherness of a warm kitchen. If he's at a stove, he's happy."

Brent has been at St. Jude since 2011 fighting a cancer of the nervous system called neuroblastoma. His treatment includes an antibody therapy medicine that is produced right on the St. Jude campus. The hospital has been inventing treatments that have increased the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 to 80 percent since it opened just 50 years ago. A portion of our proceeds from the month of September will go to St. Jude's to help them pursue their mission: 

 

"We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer."

 

Click Here to learn more about how you can get involved and help kids like Brent.

 

Mabry

Mabry is 3 years old, a princess, and currently battling a scary dragon at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer) in August of 2014 and has been working through a three year long treatment plan ever since. Her parents, like any others, initially shocked, heartbroken and scared, found immediate relief when walking through the doors at St. Jude’s. Families and staff come together through tremendous circumstances to provide the most comfortable treatment for children like Mabry. She loves wearing sparkly dresses and giving hugs to other children and St. Jude is making it possibly for her family and others to live happily ever after!

 

"This place will always be a part of me."

-Jenny, Mabry's Mom

 

Watch Mabry talk about her battle with cancer and see how her magical spirit is helping her and her family cope.

 

10% of all proceeds from the month of September will go directly to the patients of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For more information, please visit our Current Campaign page.

DESIDERATA

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. 

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefor be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

 

-Max Ehrmann

LOVEFREEMOVEMENT: A Mobile Art Boutique

After just over a year of creating and selling handmade and up-cycled art through our online Etsy shop, we were ready to take our thinking and our business to the next level. We wanted something that would push us out of our comfort zones and open us to learning more about local artists, events and the world of business. We have meticulously planned, failed, succeeded and learned from our process so far, but we are only just beginning. Two weeks ago, we purchased a beautiful 1991 Chevy P30 Step Van with the vision of turning her into a traveling art boutique. Not only that, it also gives us a space to host classrooms and study groups, haul supplies and food, cater to events and parties, and actively give back to Colorado communities and beyond.

The truth is, this all started off as a simple dream. Somewhere between all the episodes of Shark Tank and the frustration of a 9 - 5 life, this dream of becoming an entrepreneur and owning a small business sounded appealing. We had no idea what the hell we were getting ourselves into. We started with the Small Business Development Center, meeting with market analysts and accountants. We met with banks and merchant services, we shopped for trucks and RV’s. We wrote a business plan and created a start-up budget and a break-even analysis and we filed taxes. We cried a little and shouted once or twice but we have also found great joy in this mysterious little journey.

Whether it’s how to remove carpet and beat blast a truck or how to have more patience with ourselves and each other, we are learning something new every step of the way. We whole-heartedly believe in this entire process. We are still doing a lot of dreaming but now we are also pursuing. We envision creating a space that can showcase the freshest local art and apparel. A space that can haul donated sleeping bags to the homeless shelters and free art supplies to elementary kids. A space where a group of strangers can get together and plant a small garden and learn about each other and soil. A space to create and learn and love and give back. We have so much knowledge to gain but it is a beautiful thing to be living life in such a way that you can’t wait for the future yet you are cherishing every passing moment. 

As we work on the truck we will post updates, photos, blogs and maybe even a video! Love and support mean everything to us and we invite anyone and everyone to share a piece of this journey with us!

 

Love & Light

 

-A & B

Six Years Sober

Reminiscing on a dark time in my greenest years…

After a long summers day of play, my mother, my best friend and I pull up to our house and see my father's truck parked in the driveway. I immediately perk up because I knew this meant my dad got his job back. Oh boy I was happy! It meant that he had cleaned up, gotten sober and finally did what mom so badly needed him to do. We all rushed in with excitement to hear the good news. There he sat on the couch with a tender grin on his face, wearing his red company hat, his feet next to a tall glass of water.  I run up to him and embrace him tightly, holding back tears of joy....that's when I could smell it. I thought it had to have been my imagination, that I had been so used to smelling the sour smell of alcohol on his breath that it was just my mind still adjusting. I believed that, because I had to. The lie I was telling myself was short lived because the next one to embrace my dad was my mother and she was not so easily fooled. Before she could react, my father tells her that he was so glad he got his job back that he thought he'd grab a quick beer on the way home. The tears of joy that had welled up turned into bitter tears of sadness, as my mom grew red and as my best friend began to shake. Then, chaos ripped through our house like a hurricane, the yelling and verbal abuse from both sides tearing through our souls...leaving us all in pieces. After about ten minutes of complete disorder my mother grabs me and my best friend, takes us out by the car - tells us to wait there. She runs over to his truck to check for booze, something I have seen her do many times, but this time I wanted to see for myself. She opens the door to the truck and like a dam had broken loose, beer cans spew out. Dozens of cans, the spillover seemed to never stop. Thoughts in my head like the copious amount of cans, out of control and disorderly. 'How could he drink all that by himself?' 'How could he even sit down in his truck?' 'Is this even real?' I remember hoping the neighbors don't hear the clanging. Wondering if my best friend was judging me. Wondering if my dad loved alcohol, or us more. It felt like my heart stopped beating, and my thoughts took over instead. 

Today is June 17th, 2015 - the mark of my father's 6th year of sobriety. You see, that day was a catalyst to better days, although some bitter. 5 rehabs down the road, my father had finally began the process to heal. Even my mother ended up slipping into addiction herself. Watching my mother fall into the trenches of addiction and seeing my dad climb out, I have lived and I have learned. I have learned who I want to be, how I want to love and most importantly how I want to love those who so desperately need it. Sorting out the sickness of co-dependency from the divinity of unconditional love has been a challenge but I am glad to say it is this journey that has made my spirit strong. I have learned how to have healthy, beautiful relationships with those I love with an open heart and respect.

This adventure I call life has led me to such sobering and bright horizons. So, happy anniversary to one of my closest friends, my father. Happy anniversary to my incredible partner and happy birth to new and beautiful movements in our life. 

 

Namasté,

 

-B

One Year Sober

What I do remember is waking up. I remember waking up to walls as blank as my mind with my body drenched in a sickness that hang from my head to my stomach to my toes. I remember that a good day meant no new holes in the wall, broken glass or bruises and bloody scrapes. I remember getting into my car, while shielding my eyes from the light, only to discover that I had finished a pint of whiskey on my way home from work and the constant reminder of my inebriated decisions every time the bottles under my seat clank together at a red light. I remember not knowing, questioning and wondering. I remember shaking, craving and recovering, just in time to tear it down again. I remember many drinks and many I do not. But most of all, I remember the taste. Not the bitter, sweet or tangy taste of a strong wine. Not the light, refreshing liquid foam from a chilled mug. I remember the taste of regret and disappointment every time I came-to, only long enough to realize that I wanted to go away again.

At some point in your life you have to make a decision. Are you going up or are you going down? Just over 1 year ago I came to this point in my life and realized that if I didn’t get sober, I would be going down a very long, dark and lonely path. I have come to recognize that there are so many forms of addiction and so many people fighting a battle that is unique to them. For me, it was simply an addiction to alcohol that overcame my competency and cost me relationships, mental and physical health, and overall well being. Dependency took over my life as I filled my body with toxic substance, thoughts and energy, morning, noon and night. The cycle never stopped until the day that I decided to make the choice to finally live a sober life. After many months of consciousness, I became a firm believer in divine intervention. My graceful, loving and caring Bianca came into my life and opened my heart just as I was on another quick trip to Rock Bottom City. We pledged to stay sober together and there were times that I failed at first, but the day that I finally made the connection that my life would simply be brighter and more beautiful without alcohol was the last day that I picked up a drink. On Saturday, May 30th we celebrated one year of sobriety together and made an even more beautiful commitment: one to each other. My fiancé, soul mate and sweet love has pushed me to be a better person and together we are learning so much about life, love, each other and ourselves. Our poetry series called ‘Sobriety CH 1’ was inspired by our journey together; just simple thoughts, words and feelings that are a form of us and our path to self-improvement. We have so many things to celebrate over a sparkling grape drink and this is truly only the beginning. Some days are easier than others and this is nothing short of a lifelong battle, but it will be a humbling, life-saving and righteous one at that.

Twenty-three million Americans struggle with addiction and substance abuse problems. Chances are you or someone you know is fighting for their life or the life of someone they love. Know that you are NOT alone and there is community, recovery and light at the end of the tunnel.

Bless up and be good to one another,

A

#LOVEFREETAG

With every purchase made on the etsy shop we will include one of these handmade tags in your order. If you take a creative photo, post it and tag it on social media, we will add $1 to the monthly donation. This is an easy way for you to stay involved with the monthly charities and get creative to give back. Use hashtag: #lovefreetag on your photos to help spread awareness, light and The movement!

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LOVE FREE: A Humble Movement

"Love Free" was once a simple phrase splattered across a colorful canvas without any real significance or value. Today, it has become a way of life. The small movement started off as a side project, creating pieces of art with our hands, using different materials and exploring new subjects. Never in our lives did we think we would enjoy painting rocks, potting our own kitchen herbs, or becoming ‘vintage-ista’s’! What started off as drawings became paintings, photographs became phone cases and loops and wires became wearable art. The Love Free Movement is like a small child with young parents, hoping to someday turn it into a sustainable, sufficient entity. We have done our fair share of business planning, marketing strategies and financial projections, hoping to transform a little Etsy shop into something much more but the truth is, the business has transformed us.

Our first year of operation has been a humbling and spiritual journey through different experiences, setbacks and leaps of faith. Through it all, we have been inspired to create products made with love and positive vibes, fueled by a mission of giving back. So, what does it mean to be a part of the Love Free Movement? To love free is to put kindness and hope in unknown places. To love free is to accept a world of unique and talented individuals, with the desire of lifting each other up. To love free is to be you, plain and simple. You have a purpose in this world and you are who you are because we need you. To love free is to live with eyes, minds and hearts wide open. To love free is to respond to hate with love. To love free is to be a light for others. To love free is to give what little you have with no guaranteed returns. To love free is to find humility amidst the chaos. To love free is to strive for something better, something that can positively affect those around you. To love free is to go to the depths of your soul and realize that whatever you find there is simply perfect. Love yourself madly and free yourself of doubt. The Love Free Movement is simply a collection of wonderful humans who want to see positive change in the world.

We believe in the love free mission, not only because we have seen it work in our lives, but because we strive to see it work in yours. Every product sold has a story and every purchase made serves to better the world in one way or another. We love to brainstorm, create, and run our small business, but there is something much more powerful driving this little boutique. With open arms, we welcome you to join the movement, watch us grow, and be a part of our dream to help better humanity.

 

Love & Light

- A & B