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17 Ideas for a More Meaningful Holiday Season

  1. Make a plan before the holidays overtake you, and stick with it. Discuss and decide with your spouse/family/roommate, or make a written list of your plans to guide you when the days get busy.
  1. Give anonymously. Each year our family chooses a person or a family with a special need that year (unemployment, broken heater, etc.) and we have fun finding a sneaky way to buy and deliver to them a needed gift.

  1. Choose this year to decorate a little less. Clean out your decorations and deliver the still usable ones to a local charity. The very process of thinking through what you don’t really need feels good and helps strengthen your priority to simplify and focus on what counts.

 

  1. Give socially-conscious gifts that give back. Of course we love the Nozomi Project, knowing that all proceeds go to help the artisans and the community in the region where the 2011 tsunami struck. The theme of hope and beauty in brokenness makes for meaningful gifts (photo below). Other items from social enterprises we think are great: Trades of Hope offers great trivets and leather world map journals; table runners and flannel/kimono infinity scarves (Megumi Project); awesome leather satchels (Redemption Market);  soup and cornbread mixes (womensbeanproject.com). 

  1. Make homemade gifts! For adult projects we like these ideas: for your kids try some of these. Our personal family favorite annual gift is homemade candied pecans. We buy 18 pounds of pecans at a large warehouse store, and spend several evenings making these as a family and then giving them to neighbors, teachers, and friends. Really – these have become more popular than any store-bought gifts we might give! 

  1. Start a gifts-we-already-have-list (annvoskamp.com). Tape up a big piece of paper on a wall or door and throughout the season have members of your family write down the many blessings you are already thankful for this year.

 

  1. Who doesn’t love receiving a gift card? Surprise your family, friends, or coworkers with a gift card from one of these meaningful online shops: Raven & LilyTen Thousand Villages;  Nozomi Project, (Did you know you can buy, sell, and exchange gift cards here?)
  1. Friends of mine made up rules for living for one year, and carried them out through Christmas: buying only items that were local, used, homegrown or homemade. Choose any of these ideas for gift-giving and find joy in your choices. (See Craig Goodwin, Year of Plenty).
  2. Choose to help a child this season: become a monthly sponsor of a child, or send a financial or wrapped gift to a child in need. (Our family has personally been involved with Watoto has orphans in Uganda; Compassion has children in need all over the world).
  3. No time to put together an Advent calendar of gifts for your family? Make a simple Advent wreath for your table and use this for a weekly gathering time to read the Christmas story together over four weeks as a family.

  1. Think about giving life enriching experiences. A membership to an arboretum or museum; ballroom dance classes; Rosetta stone language lessons; dates with your kids; gift certificates to audiobooks.com; concert tickets.

  1. Get a group of friends together and change up your normal holiday party plans: meet at a senior center to go caroling, with each person bringing a wrapped gift of socks and a new Reader’s Digest; then go back to someone’s home for eggnog and dessert.

  1. Choose a wonderful holiday story and carve out twenty minutes before bedtime each night to gather together and read the story. A few favorites: Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson); The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry); A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens).
  1. For setting perameters on gift-giving within your own family, we really like these guidelines: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. For this last category, this year I found a book list with themes of kindness that I used to buy books for our four children.
  1. When we pull out our stockings, we read our letters to Jesus that we wrote  back in January, as we were taking down the holiday decorations. These are letter/prayers we each write individually, beginning the year by asking Jesus to help us with a particular struggle or weakness. Even our youngest takes this seriously; it’s a great way to start the year dependent on Jesus and end it by celebrating growth.

  1. Give goats for Christmas! We decided with one group that we always exchanged gifts with, to instead pool our money each Christmas and come together and shop from catalogs – choosing to buy things like goats for a family in Africa; or mosquito nets for a village in the Philippines. Our kids AND the adults have loved the chance to not focus on us but give to those who really do need gifts like this. A few options we have used: World Vision Catalog; Compassion Catalog; Samaritan’s Purse Catalog

  1. Finally, please don’t try and do all of these things! Choose a few, live more simply, and make some new meaningful and wonderful memories this Christmas. Tell us in the comments YOUR favorite meaningful holiday traditions!

Gospel music sings out hope to Nozomi Project

This past week we have loved seeing how gospel music has encouraged our Nozomi staff in great ways!  

Over the past twenty years, the genre of gospel music has grown tremendously popular across Japan.  Most Japanese will tell you how much they loved the movie Sister Act when it came out in the theatres, and since then it has popped up in both secular and Christian circles.  

It was a great privilege last week to have Ken Taylor come and share with our Nozomi Project staff.  Ken and his wife Bola have been credited with helping to start the rise in popularity of gospel as they established many gospel choirs across Japan the last twenty years.  

Last year, Nozomi Project partnered with the Taylors in donating to several cancer awareness causes in Japan, particularly as Bola spent her last few months on earth debilitated by cancer.  It was Bola's wish that the proceeds from her memorial concert be given to the Nozomi Project; last week Ken was able to present this amazing generous gift to our staff in an incredibly touching staff meeting.  We are thankful for the Taylor family and how they have used music to bring hope and joy to so many; and for this latest wonderful donation to the Nozomi Project in honor of Bola.

Then this past Saturday, Nozomi Project set up a special sale for a large gospel choir from Osaka (Kansai Gospel Choir) that was visiting and singing in this region. These new friends LOVE Nozomi Project, and we love them!

 They had a great short time shopping, and at the end we were the fortunate recipients of one of their beautiful gospel songs, accapella style. 

For information on how you too can give hope by donating to the Nozomi Project, please visit us here.  

Kumamoto Collections & Connections

One of the great joys of the Nozomi Project is the opportunities we've been given to model generosity and give hope to places where it is desperately needed.  Today we had a special opportunity to do just that!

A group of leaders from Kumamoto, Kyushu came to Ishinomaki and made a special visit to the Nozomi Project. This team has been leading a concerted effort in coordinating volunteers, funding, and projects for the people in the greater Kumamoto who were adversely affected by the double earthquakes this past spring.

Our staff had a chance to explain about the work of Nozomi:  we are hiring 15 local staff to make jewelry from broken pottery as a place to provide employment, community, and hope in this region that was devastated by the 2011 tsunami.  They took a tour, and we loved seeing how impressed they were by the beautiful products being made from what had been so broken!

 

A great highlight was the chance for our staff to present the Kumamoto representatives with a cash gift of $1500!  This was thanks to the purchases from our Kumamoto Collection (blue bracelet, pictured top) and the generous donations of many of you.  Thank you!  It is always a privilege to give;  it is always a special opportunity to see partnerships from around the world making a difference in places of special need.  

Nozomi Project is committed to continuing to give hope;  purchases from our 2016 Anniversary Necklaces are continuing to give hope as part of the purchase goes to disaster relief. We remain amazed at the many different way that hope springs up when we make beauty from brokenness.  

Giving Back

As we approach our four-year anniversary, we are so thankful for the many friends of Nozomi who have encouraged and helped us get this far.  Thank you!  Part of our organization's guiding principle is that of modeling generosity.***

Our Nozomi team has wanted to do what we can to help those in other parts of Japan who are suffering from national disasters.  We have created a Nozomi Disaster Relief Fund for this purpose. Thank you to the many who have purchased from our Kumamoto Collection, of which 50% of the proceeds are going to bring much-needed financial assistance to the earthquake victims in southern Japan.  We are excited to announce that so far we have $1500 to donate to Kumamoto Disaster relief.  Thank you!

 

We are also providing some financial assistance to those who recently suffered tremendous damage from a typhoon in Iwate Prefecture (just north of us).  

 

We will be giving $15 from the purchase of each of our special 2016 Anniversary Necklaces to the Disaster Relief Fund as another way of joining with you in practicing generosity.  

In addition, some of the organizations we have contributed to the past four years include:

Local/Tohoku Projects:

 

  • the Rock (a sports center in Ishinomaki being administered by Be One)
  • Fukushima Hope Project (camp in Fukushima for children affected by nuclear disaster)
  • CRASH/Japan
  • SumiShou Mama San’s (a local group of moms who visited elementary schools and produced plays, read stories, etc. to help local children dealing with trauma)
  • Providing blossoming trees for a local elementary school.

National & Overseas Projects: 

 

  • Zoe International: organization based in Thailand that rescues children and orphans from human trafficking, 

 

  • Starfish Project: a social enterprise in China in which women rescued from human trafficking are making jewelry. 
  • Partners in Hope/Malawi: (a hospital working with AIDS patients)
  • H2H Philippines (organization helping with reconstruction after typhoon)
  • ELWA Hospital (Liberia, Africa, helping with Ebola patients and other needs)

 

  • Nepal Family Rebuilding Packages/Asian Access 
  • Nakajima Hospice (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Juntendo Cancer Clinics (Tokyo, Japan) 

THANK YOU for helping us to give hope around the world these past four years!

 

***This is a portion of our Nozomi Project guiding principles:  

All of the profits that are made through Nozomi will go to support the Nozomi women staff, local people and projects of Tohoku and/or reinvested back into the organization. We also give some of our profits to organizations and/or individuals who are making a difference in bringing about hope and transformation to their communities. The Be One North American staff does not receive any money from the profits of the Nozomi Project.

 

Happy Anniversary Sneak Peek!

COMING on October 2!   (10/2 at 8 am Japan time; or 10/1at 7 pm EST).  Preferred customers:  10/1 8am Japan time, or 9/30 7 pm EST. Sign up on our home page for our mailing list to become a preferred shopper! 

With only thirty of each style, we are thrilled to release our 2016 Anniversary Necklace! These limited edition necklaces are wonderful representations of the incredible workmanship and growth of our Nozomi artisans these past four years. 

1) Our 2016 framed anniversary necklace is the largest framed pottery pendant we have ever made!  The size and delicate thinness makes each rectangular piece a work of art, with each pottery piece cut and ground and inserted with amazing precision. These bold and beautiful one-of-a-kind necklaces are sized at 47 x 25 x 3.7 mm. Antique gold pendants are 24 K gold-plated; antique silver pendants are .999 sterling silver plated.  These amazing pottery pendants are attached with a 6 mm textured jumpring to our favorite soft black or brown deerskin leather (note that we cannot switch leather colors).  A silver or gold-plated ornate bead allows your necklace to be adjustable up to 35 inches. $75. 

 

2) Our 2016 wire-wrapped anniversary necklace is intricately hand-wrapped by one our finest artisans with 20-26 gauge tarnish-resistant brass and/or silver wire. The stunning, one-of-a kind pendants are attached with soft black or brown deerskin leather (note that we cannot switch leather colors). A silver or gold-plated ornate bead allows your necklace to be adjustable up to 35 inches. (Please note: all wire will eventually tarnish, so we recommend that you keep your one-of-a-kind necklace in the enclosed ziploc bag when it's not being worn. Please handle your necklace carefully as the wire, while firm, can be bent.  For more information on care of your Nozomi necklace, please see our FAQ).   $65 & $75. 

 With this exclusive offer, your Nozomi purchase includes:

  • a $15 donation to Japan disaster relief.  We are currently supporting dire needs  including: Kumamoto (spring 2016 double earthquakes) and Iwate prefecture (fall 2016 typhoon and severe flooding). Please see our link on modeling generosity for updates and previous donations Nozomi Project has made to other needs in Japan and around the world.   
  • A handmade oyster shell jewelry dish is perfect for your favorite rings, earrings, or trinkets. In keeping with the ethos of Nozomi Project, we love the idea of up-cycling an item that is so common yet essential to the Ishinomaki community! Oysters are one of the main industries of our city, and this business has gradually been recovering since the 2011 tsunami. Each unique shell was collected at one of our local beaches, cleaned, bleached, and painted by our staff. We hope it serves as yet another reminder of hope and beauty!

  • A 2016 fall signed anniversary photograph of our Nozomi staff.  

Your gifts will come beautifully adorned in tissue paper, including our signature blue and white cards and all carefully bundled in a box to ensure its safe arrival.

 

 

Staff Picks!


Every day new pottery pieces emerge and become something beautiful in the hands of the Nozomi Project staff. Each week we're sharing with you an inside look at the items that our staff are excited about and feature the current favorite piece of one of our staff. This week Naomi picked some beautiful pieces for you! 

"The first Nozomi Project gift that I got for my mother was a Kumamoto bracelet. She loved the lapis stones and it made me so happy to see how much she enjoyed it.  All of Nozomi's creations bring joy and a smile to peoples' faces. If you aren't sure what kind of gift to get for someone, you can always find something beautiful in one of our collections."  - Naomi

The great thing about the Kumamoto pieces is that half of their proceeds goes towards supporting earthquake relief efforts in Kumamoto prefecture.  These are available for a little time. 

We're able to send a message of joy to the people there through these Kumamoto collections.

 

Home   Click here to view our Kumamoto collection

Today's Featured Items: 

Staff Picks!


Every day new pottery pieces emerge and become something beautiful in the hands of the Nozomi Project staff. Each week we're going to give you an inside look at the items they are excited about and feature the current favorite piece of one of our staff. This week Tomomi picked some beautiful pieces for you!

 

Sara earrings

 

I recommend the Sara pierced earrings! They have different shapes and designs and are so much fun to pick out. The blue colored ones are especially beautiful. Personally, I like the ones that have the single, small bead on them, but in thinking about different styles other people might enjoy, we've come up with designs that include larger, longer, or multiple beads. - Tomomi

Tomomi_sara

 

Also, if you want to have the earrings changed to clip-ons, we can easily do that.

 

 

We have lots of Sara earrings available right now, so be sure to search for your own favorite! 

 

Home   Click here to view our Sara collection

Item list >>> 3-2569

Staff Picks!

 日本語はこちら

Every day new pottery pieces emerge and become something beautiful in the hands of the Nozomi Project staff. Each week we're going to give you an inside look at the items they are excited about and feature the current favorite piece of one of our staff. This week Chieko picked some beautiful pieces for you!

 

My recommendation for the week is our Moeka line. The great thing about Moeka pieces is that they can be worn as both necklaces and bracelets. They feature stones of different colors and styles that make it fun to pick out your own and the variety also makes them easy to match up with outfits. Because each Moeka is so unique, I keep wanting to buy more! - Chieko

 A semi-precious pebble, multi-strand necklace with a double-strand leather extender cord.  This fabulous piece can be worn as a necklace or separated to be a fun hand-knotted beaded bracelet. Our matching shard is simply elegant and sure to be a conversation starter, whether around your neck or on your wrist.

 

We have lots of new beautiful autumn-colored Moeka coming in this fall, so be sure to check out our collection! 

 

Home   Moeka Collection

Today's Featured Items:
Moeka  7-794 / 7-816 / 7-902 / 7-899

This Week's Staff Picks

日本語はこちら

Every day new pottery pieces emerge and become something beautiful in the hands of the Nozomi Project staff. Each week we're going to give you an inside look at the items they are excited about. In each post we'll feature the favorite piece of one of our staff that she came across that week. This week Tomoko shares why she loves our Mako Chain necklace.

 

"I love the way the Mako chain sparkles in the light, making the pottery shard stand out as well. The shimmer makes it feel more dressy  than I expected."

- Tomoko 

 

 

Mako gold or silver faceted bead chain hangs beautifully, centered with a free-form framed pendant sure to be an heirloom in your jewelry collection. Our elegantly simple gold chain is plated in 24 K gold; our silver is .999 silver plated. Our bead-chain necklace is extra long (34 inches; 84 mm) to suit even our tallest customers; if desired please use scissors to shorten the chain to your desired length.

If you're into the long necklace trend but want something unique that can't be picked up just anywhere, Mako is for you. Find yours at the link below! 

Home   Mako Chain

Today's Featured Item:
Mako Chain 31-156