“So, what do you do?” is such a common part of small talk in our day. Even though what we “do” isn’t necessarily what we “are” or strive to be. My answer this past year has been, “I have or own a little Christian t-shirt business/start-up” I say it with pride knowing how difficult it is to start any business, yes, even a little t-shirt business. I had no idea the amount of blood, sweat, hours and tears that would transpire during our first year. Hmmm, I do recall using those exact words (blood/sweat/tears) in my very first blog one year ago! However, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This little business has been such a God-send and at a seemingly perfect time in my life. It has been a welcome distraction from other family issues and struggles this past year. A channel for my creativity, a way to honor the Lord through words in a blog, on a website, and artwork on a garment.
As I was reflecting on what to write about, the only thing that kept running through my mind was how I simply couldn’t have made it through this year without the help, support, encouragement and love that came from my “Web-Gal”, Lisa. She is my rock, my go-to for every crazy idea and vision, she listens, gives feedback and encourages like none other. I am telling ya, there were so many times I was ready to throw in the towel, and she was right there with a perfectly timed greeting card, text, gift or e-mail. (Thank you, Lisa, I love you and I am so thankful for you) Yes, I realize that was the Lord’s prompting, (and that the Lord is my ultimate Rock),but He prompted her, as well as others, to reach out at truly just the exact right time when I needed a boost or a word of encouragement. It is remarkable to reflect upon. It is encouraging to reflect upon too! And, I want to take this time to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this first year. I pray that He will continue to allow us to create unique, high-quality items that honor and glorify Him as well as, bring joy to the wearer.
Happy Birthday Grace Thru Faith...
Another trip around the sun. A friend gifted me custom pints of ice cream and one of the labels displayed this saying: “Another year sweeter” Super cute, however I don’t know about that. 😉 As I look forward to my birthday each year, this one is hitting me a bit differently than previous years.
As I gazed over at the side table in our kitchen that holds several b-day cards received this week, some touching, some funny, all of them thoughtful, and looked at the material gifts that I had received each day this week as the Lord so graciously ordained. My thoughts turned to my dad (and the fact that he is now gone from this earth as of Jan 6th this year) and the thought that the absolute best gift I could receive (from the Lord) was seeing a bluebird on my birthday. I wept at the thought. As, I have yet to see one since dad’s death.
As I woke up this morning (quite melancholy, knowing that this day will not be unlike most others unfortunately) after a restless night of sleep and continued my day as always, feeding the pups, reading devotionals and praying, making coffee, walking the pups etc.…It does hit me that even though my dad, Lou did not recall that Oct 7th was my b-day for many years preceding his death, which was super hurtful the first year that happened, it hit me that no one loves you quite like your parents. And, when they are gone, nothing will ever be quite the same. There is a deep void in our heart and soul that realizes, no one will love you in the same way your parents did. That is my experience now (in this moment) and I realize that will not be everyone’s experience. I was blessed to have parents that loved me despite my flaws, which were truly my biggest cheerleaders in this temporary life on earth. And, when they are both gone from this earth, it changes things, and that truly did not hit me until this week leading up to my b-day.
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.
In mid-March, Kansas declared that schools would close for the rest of the school year. Other states soon made the same determination.
Very quickly we started hearing terms like “Shelter at Home” and “Social distancing.” “Quarantine” was a word seldom heard these days…until now when we hear it daily.
The words “Pandemic” and “Plague,” although foreign and strange to the younger generation, engender memories giving rise to fear in the minds and hearts of the oldest among us.
Businesses and churches closed,
The economy faltered,
Violence at home is increasing,
and Deaths from the virus are reported daily.
Many of us have only seen times like these in movies or read about them in books.
and Discouragement is on the rise, exacerbated by the news reports and accompanied by weather fluctuations from cold and wintry to mild and spring-like and back to wintry again.
And we are all wondering, "How long???"
Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.
I always love it when I read those words “But God” in my Bible. Often they follow bad circumstances or evil, offering hope to a situation that would otherwise seem hopeless.