Story by Deborah Garrard

Glitter. Velcro. Mud. I’m not a fan. Glitter gets into and onto everything. Velcro? Well, it’s just annoying and noisy, not to mention it can ruin a fabric in a nanosecond! You get the idea. And Mud? Well, it’s just messy. Really messy. But so is Love. Messy and meaningful and magical, especially if it “Starts with Mud, ends with LOVE.” Love changes everything.

I first encountered MudLOVE bracelets at a cool and quite special store in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in north Florida. The store, owned by a dear friend, Laurie Moffitt, and her family sells “gifts with a purpose.” (Sound familiar?) I don’t know which bracelet I selected first, but one became two became three, and . . . you can see, became five. And five became a story: If you have a dream, it helps you imagine the possibilities, which gives you hope to inspire others to explore the possibilities of their dreams, too. You’ve got to have a dream!

My dream? To create a world where being mindful is our default setting, eating (yes, eating!) is spiritual practice, and serving others is an organic result of our own deep healing. To create a world where more people are well than ill, where people are healthy, joyful and generous, being well and serving well. “It’s not a sign of good health to be well-adjusted to a sick society.” Tagore Rabindranath

In 2020, with a passion for serving others, I began a nonprofit wellness initiative, "be(e) well serve well", whose mission is to serve those who serve. I believe each of us is here to serve, and we simply can’t serve well (or long) if we are not well. Too many people we all know are well-adjusted to a sick society and convinced that’s a sign of good health. It’s not.

Our mission to educate and empower the overall wellbeing – mind-body-emotions-spirit – of those who serve in our communities, especially a couple of un-seen and under-served groups of people: faith leaders (all faiths) and teachers. (Can I get an “Amen!”?)

What’s MudLOVE got to do with all this? Plenty! MudLOVE products serve. They serve well. They bring giving full circle. They serve and inspire, and that’s what we hope to do by giving MudLOVE bracelets to our donors, sponsors, and community. Who needs another T-shirt?

Each April, we host an annual spring fundraiser, For the LOVE of Teachers. Each participant receives a MudLOVE bracelet as our way of saying “thank you.” The first year, it was a custom bracelet that said “teachable.” The second year, it was the first word of our tagline: “explore.” Better than that, each participant names and honors a teacher by their participation, and each honored teacher receives a bracelet that says “LOVED.” Because no one needs another T-shirt! And everyone needs a little Love!

MudLOVE. Starts with Mud, ends with LOVE. No glitter or Velcro needed. Just a whole lot of being well and serving well, which sounds to me like a sign of good health!

Thank you for sharing your story, Deborah! If you would like to connect with her further, check out her non-profit, be(e) well serve well.

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