shoes & jewelry & africa {celebrating women in may}

celebrating women doing their God-given thing

{for the month of may, i'm highlighting a few women who are gaining confidence in who God has created them to be and displaying it so through different means. for some, it was born out of cause. for others, it was there since birth. and some, it's the season of life they are in. and they are sharing their stories here this month! join me in celebrating them and that's not all...they want to celebrate you! a giveaway on each blogpost through the month of may! make sure you leave a comment the day or the day following the post, for that's what enters you in the drawing. winners will be announced on the following post}   {congrats to Kayela - winner of a lettering piece from the previous post}

welcome praise {i know...what a name} as we celebrate women in may!

I know how to capture your attention with a word that is the common weakness among many: shoes. Yes, yummy yummy shoes.

A few years ago my prized pair were a navy and cream 4-inch heel that made my ankles look miraculous. Were they so attractive that I was stopped by the fashion paparazzi? Totally. And too, these shoes were aesthetically appealing yet wearable on a wedding dance floor. All owners of heels know, shoes like this are a unicorn.

But alas, 2.5 years of living in San Francisco’s casual culture starts to rub off on you. And I hate to admit it, but I have changed. Today, my favorite pair of shoes are much shorter than those towering heels. They’re significantly less girly - they are Steve Madden’s version of a construction worker boot. They are about as tan as my skin with a subtle splash of color in the back given by a red zipper.


They were gifted to me by a generous friend. And this pair of leather providence has become more beautiful the more mileage they’ve gotten.
 One day they were propped up casually at a karaoke bar in the Fillmore district of San Francisco; a few weeks later, they were jumping over puddles and wading through mud in Kibera, Kenya the largest slum in East Africa.



I traveled to this land that inspired the Lion King (there were many a time that I wanted to sing “ahhh sabenya baba eee sibobo”) for a 2-month photography fellowship to tell the stories of the jewelry-makers of Soko ( Soko is an award-winning social enterprise who works to empower artisans by providing them a marketplace to sell their goods and the mobile apps to do so. They combine tech + fashion + impact.



So how did these boots become my new favorite shoes? Because when I glance down at the now worn leather, with Kenyan dust within its wrinkles, they remind me of a promise God has been reiterating in this season of life: whatever I have called you to I will equip you for. (Hebrews 13:21).

This is a promise I urge you to hold on to. Because God’s callings are sometimes way beyond your resume.
 God’s callings can be scary. God’s callings are often totally left field. 5

But His equippings (not a real word, but bear with me) can be equally as mind-blowing. For my time in Kenya, His equipping was a blessing from my family to live in this war-torn country, a community that helped me successfully fundraise through Kickstarter, new photography capabilities beyond my experience, and joy and wholeness despite two months of danger and loneliness - and these are but a few.

He takes care of the birds; He can take care of us too. (Matthew 6:26)


In our western culture there is the unspoken pressure to know your life plan for at least the next year. I am a 20-something living in a bustling, progressive, high-achievement city who left my ideal life plans to follow an opportunity He opened up for me. It was a risky move, but I’m so glad I went for it. It was an experience that allowed me to serve in a way that combined the loves He gave me for beauty and community development. And now those two months have ended and I still don’t have that well-rounded knowledge of my full year plan. But I know God. And that He is faithful. And now I am becoming more comfortable with the “I-don’t-knows”. I am taking it one season of life at a time. I’m keeping my ears and heart open and leaving the space for the Spirit of God to lead.

I hope this encourages you to trust God in the moments that are scarier than the leftovers in the back of your refrigerator. He has gifted you with something wonderful that the world, the church, your city, and your community will miss out on if you hold back out of fear.

I’m taking the callings He gives me one step at a time.
 And thankfully it’s in a pair of well-worn shoes.


The jewelry pieces from Soko’s newest collection really brighten my day!

Shop at and use code “discoversoko” for a 20% discount.

You can see more of my photography and graphic design work at

You can keep up with my daily yummies at

GIVEAWAY: 30-minute portrait session! 
Simply like the page 
and leave a comment with what city you’re in 
and that you read this post on the Shauna Pilgreen blog. 
A winner will be chosen by city feasibility paired with random selection.