Detours is the Charity of the Month at "Finding Roots" in Howell, Michigan!
I love my community in southeastern Michigan. Many say that Midwestern values are the heart and lungs of the American people. I am inclined to agree. I grew up in the small midwestern town of Baden, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. However, since I am married to a former naval officer, we moved all over the world... fourteen moves in the first twelve years of our marriage to be exact! When my husband took command of the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of Michigan and we moved once again, I realized that we had come full circle...
... back to my midwestern roots.
You've just gotta love the people in the midwest. But what is it that make their values so beloved? I like to think that it's their down to earth, friendly and neighborly nature. Midwesterners are humble, grateful, frugal and conventional people who aren't afraid of a hard days work. What you see is what you get. Midwesterners are the salt of the earth and they have learned their wholesome values from their ancestors... their roots.
Since I moved to Michigan, I've met many such wonderful people and have discovered great businesses in my community. Providing quality goods and services is the root of their business. Just a couple of months ago, I had the pleasure to meet Tirzah Sirken, owner of Finding Roots in Howell, Michigan, who epitomizes those "midwestern" values.
Although I had recently opened my own online FertilitynFriendship ETSY store in February, I was interested in finding a"brick and mortar store" to carry my line of fertility support cards. I wanted people to be able to see, touch and feel my cards and I wanted to raise infertility awareness in my community.
What store owner would be willing to support a cause that doesn't affect the majority of its population?
It takes a lot of courage and very thick skin to walk into a store and share your work. I'd visited Finding Roots many times in the past and have made quite a few purchases. (I love to support local business owners.) But this time was different. There is something so vulnerable about sharing my precious work with others... especially if I'm hoping they will carry my work in their store. In my heart, I always want people to appreciate me, love my work and embrace my mission. But in my head, I know not everyone is interested in or able to support infertility awareness. I was feeling pretty nervous when I entered the store, but I kept repeating to myself nothing ventured... nothing gained. I took a deep breath, held my head high and walked in.
Within a few moments, I heard the friendly voice of Lisa Jarrell welcoming me to Finding Roots. I explained to her that I was a local author and had created a line of fertility support cards. I asked her if she would be willing to take a look at my work to see if she could find a place for them in her store. Lisa explained to me that Tirzah was the owner and she and her committee made those decisions. Since she was working on projects in the back room, Lisa asked me if I would be interested in meeting her.
I quickly rehearsed my 60-second elevator speech in my head as Lisa escorted me to the back of the store where she introduced me to Tirzah. I took a clear plastic bag containing all thirteen cards in my collection out of my tote bag. It just so happened that the first card I shared with Tirzah was the one I call, "Mommy's Heart!"
When Tirzah saw the front of this sweet little card illustrating a loving momma elephant nuzzling a baby rhino at the "animal adoption agency," she immediately exclaimed,
"I LOVE IT! I am adopted!"
Tirzah and Lisa looked through each and every card very carefully. They thanked me for bringing awareness to such an important and under-represented topic. They explained that they sponsor a "Charity of the Month" at Finding Roots and asked me to apply.
What kind of store even sponsors a "Charity of the Month?"
Well... a store with midwestern values... like Finding Roots!
I didn't hesitate. I filled out all forms and answered the entire questionnaire right then and there. And you can be sure I explained that National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) was fast approaching during the last week in April.
By the middle of the following week, I received an email from Tirzah telling me that Detours and my line of "In-Fertility & Friendship Cards" had been selected as their "Charity of the Month" for April.
What a privilege and an honor this is for me! And the timing couldn't be any better... just in time for National Infertility Awareness Week. By purchasing a copy of my book, Detours: Unexpected Journeys of Hope Conceived from Infertility or one of my In-Fertility & Friendship Cards, you will be supporting RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. I donate all net proceeds from my sales to the organization that was my lifeline during the thick of my battle with infertility. It's my way of giving back. (Must be those midwestern values again.)
To have a my very own corner in this unique store for the next month is such a thrill for me! I'm sure if you stop into Finding Roots, it will be a wonderful experience for you too. When you visit the store, you will find the most special hand-made, nature-inspired and earth-friendly gifts. It feels good to know you are supporting a local family when you make purchase. Patrons also discover displays about simpler, healthier and more earth-friendly ways of living.
"All human beings depend on what nature provides. We are all encouraged to live responsibly and support our environment," says Tirzah Sirken, owner of Finding Roots.
Whether you spend a few minutes or linger for several hours at Finding Roots you will find a place to gather and express yourself. Local artisans "leave their mark." You will discover community interaction, creative classes, book clubs, social groups and much more. You will leave with a heightened appreciation of what grounds all of mankind in Finding Roots.
For those of you who are close enough to venture into Finding Roots, please do yourself a favor and stop by:
111 N. Michigan Avenue, Howell, MI 48843
If, however, you aren't as fortunate as we Michiganders to live is such wonderful, homespun, midwestern town, I'd like to leave you with some pictures I took in the store. (Please click on the photos below to view the entire gallery of store photos.) I also invite you to learn more about this very special place on the Finding Roots Facebook page.
You will be so glad that you did... all the way down to your roots!
In-Fertility & Friendship,