I am thankful for the difference a year makes, and days like today that cause us to reflect on all that has changed. 

A year ago, James and I were driving to my hometown to be with my family for Thanksgiving. Earlier in the month, my grandfather unexpectedly passed away. We thought Thanksgiving would be one of our last opportunities to spend a holiday with him, but it was instead our first without him. My grandfather was a great man, like so many grandfathers are. We were close and spoke regularly over the phone when I wasn't in town to be with him. I remember the talks we had and how I struggled to explain to him that I had hit a wall and didn't know what I was doing with my life. 

There was no inkling of FAWN Gifts a year ago.

I had recently left a job that was, like so many jobs, super rewarding and also incredibly stressful. For the last five years I directed a program that fought sexual violence on college campuses and military bases. Over time the rewards diminished and the stress only increased. My spirit was crushed, my grandfather had died, I moved to a place that didn't have all the distractions of the city. I was lost in thought and overwhelmed. There was no inkling of FAWN Gifts a year ago. I was soul searching, ingesting any self-help book I could get my hands on, collecting sage advice from dear friends and strangers on podcasts, trying my best (and mostly failing) to follow along with yoga videos on YouTube, and taking long walks with James up and down the Fox River. I took a part-time job that paid very little but held romance in that my commute allowed for riding my bike along country roads with horse farms. I am thankful that I had the privilege to rest. FAWN would not exist if not for the time I was allowed to refocus my energy, center myself, and figure out my next steps. 

Slowly I recognized that I wanted to share the resources that helped me to recover and rebuild: the tangible things that held space for my healing, the books and articles I'd read, the teas I'd been making at my part-time job, the gifts I'd been given. I wanted to build a space for anyone who, like me, was searching, or knew someone who was just in need of a pick me up -- a gift from the heart. I had no business running a business, but I knew I wanted space that I could open up to the community and contribute in even a small way to helping people grow with kindness and love for themselves and their friends, families, and neighbors. 

FAWN Gifts is here today due to tremendous assistance from the City of Batavia and its business incubator program at the Thomle Building and an endlessly helpful and supportive network of friends. Stefin, FAWN's shop manager, is an old college friend and like so many college friends, we'd fallen out of touch over the years. It wasn't until moving out here that we reconnected. He's from the area and moved back to help build FAWN into what it is today, and will be tomorrow. I am thankful for the support of friends who take giant risks. 

I'm thankful to you for reading this and to your support of our vision. 

Candy turkeys, a Hayes family tradition.

Candy turkeys, a Hayes family tradition.