Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Etsy Shop

At my house, I often say, "I'm the clever one."  Not that everyone agrees, but I say it nonetheless.  Sometimes, I'm also the crafty one.

When I was a kid, I would watch my mother sew, paint, crochet, and attempt a lot of other handmade crafts.  My siblings and I wore a lot of outfits that our mother had made.  And we wore them proudly because they were so well-made.  I learned from my mom that busy hands were happy hands.

I know how to knit basic stitches and have made wash clothes, scarves, sweater vests, and afghans the size of a double bed.  In need of something new to make, I had a fortuitous meeting with a friend who mentioned a knitted, beaded bracelet.  I bought a kit with directions and quickly became addicted.  Even though I don't wear a lot of jewelry, I can appreciate pretty things.

After I'd made 7 or 8 bracelets, I figured I should do something with them.  A few are set aside for gifts; but I needed to find an avenue to make some money off the rest.  And, making a little money would also help justify the expense of the huge selection of beads that I've purchased.

Enter Etsy!  I've opened my own shop, Jasper Gate,  selling these beautiful hand-made creations.  My original name choice was "007 Mom," but that was taken.  So, I chose one of the gems listed in the book of Revelation.  Jasper is one of the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, and is found on Aaron's breastplate.  (See the Precious Stones website.)

My initial offerings on Etsy.  Check them out!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I had two writing options this month.  In addition to writing comments on my students' papers and the regular e-mails for my school board gig, I thought it would be good to challenge myself.  This month is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  What to do? What to do?  I could either challenge myself to post a daily blog entry or to write 50,000 words towards a novel. Since "biting off more than I can chew" is one of my characteristic traits, I chose to begin that novel I always thought I should write.

I'm not necessarily regretting my decision because I'm enjoying the process.  But, do you have any idea what 50,000 words looks like?  It's roughly 65 pages of single-spaced text.  For me, at 500 words an hour, it's over 100 hours of typing.  It's meant leftovers and piles of dirty laundry.  It's been ignoring pleas for help with homework and screening calls on my cellphone.  Instead of falling peacefully asleep, I think about that next chapter. (Unfortunately, the brilliant ideas I have at 1 a.m. are forgotten by 7 a.m.)

On the flip side, do you know how many distractions a person can concoct in order to procrastinate?
"I'll think more clearly once the dishes are done."
"If I just fold laundry for an hour, I'll have more time for myself in the long run."  (Really?  How does that work?)
"I'd better check my e-mails and Facebook. Someone may have posted something clever that will inspire me."
"Bathroom break."  (There is a price to pay the multiple cups of coffee that writers seem to think they need.  I'm a novice, what do I know?)

And so it goes.  About halfway through, I strangled my inner editor and traded my tight, concise writing inclinations for abstract, over-the-top ramblings.  After all, 50,000 words is 50,000 words!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Elections, Again

Four years ago, I wrote a short response to the 2008 elections.  I wrote it because, even though some of the people I had voted for were not elected, it was important to me that I look forward in a healthy way.  And I wanted to encourage others to take the high road.

I could have just copied the text of that blog into today's post.  (Go here to read it for yourself.)   I'm just as discouraged by the negative ads and mud-slinging. I'm disappointed that so many bright, intelligent people have stooped to insulting and maligning candidates and the people who support them.  I've read the rhetoric from Republicans and Democrats and have been struck that facts and details are notably replaced with inflammatory remarks and accusations.And now I feel even more strongly that we need to guard our hearts and tongues.

One of the differences for our family this time around is that my two youngest children are old enough to be involved in political discussions at home and at school.  They, too, have felt the pressures of this election season.  Many times they found themselves outnumbered by students who had values and voting preferences opposed to theirs.  Like me, they chose to be gracious and to listen respectfully. As a family, we've chosen to value people as individuals and our relationships with them over politics.  As I told them one day, I'm just fine being confident in my convictions without having to argue my points or to prove that I'm right to someone else.

Our nation is in danger of further polarization.  As we look forward, we only do ourselves a disservice if we continue to defame and revile opposing political parties or any of our elected officials.  Christians are charged by God to pray for all in authority.
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (I Tim. 2: 1 - 4)
  Let me encourage you as I did four years ago.  If you really want to see real "change" in your community or nation, take special care about what's in your hearts and on your tongues.