It all began about nine months ago. I was making a few pieces of jewelry for my eldest daughter to wear to her first Homecoming dance. As I worked at the kitchen table, several of my daughter's friends stopped by to watch. They asked questions about what type of gemstones I was using, how long would the necklace be, etc. Then came the "Will you make me something?" My reply was "Of course!" Then several of the mom's and a few of my girlfriends happened to see all of my jewelry supplies collected over the last several years spread out on the table and they asked, "Why don't you sell this stuff?" and "Why haven't you started a jewelry business?" Those questions had been asked of me several times over the years when I gave original pieces of my jewelry to friends, relatives and teachers as gifts. I always answered, "Its a passion for me, not a job! I enjoy making things for people!" But little did I know that things were about to change!
My eldest daughter is a sophomore in high school, and my youngest daughter is an eigth grader. Last fall, both girls were involved in school sports and after school activites. This meant that I often was at home from 8am to 6pm with just the dogs! There was only so much hiking and laundry folding one could do in a day and I was discovering I was a little bored. I felt an itch to "do something" but didn't have any desire to get back into Social Work as a career - I still wanted to be available for my kids. Teenagers really need mom and dad to be around so I knew I couldn't work outside the home. But, I needed to have some new purpose!
One Sunday, our Pastor preached a sermon about our Gifts and Purpose. He spoke about how the idea that what we pour our gifts into is what gives them value. A gift may seem valuable in and of itself, but actually, if it's used in a way that does not build up or give back, it's worthless. This really resonated with me. I wanted to use my gifts to give back - not to recieve or make money. So, I took this and began to pray about it. The more I thought about the idea of doing something with my gifts and passions the more excited I got. I told my husband about it and asked him to pray for me. And then I told my parents about it, and asked them to pray. And I told my closest girlfriends about it and asked them to pray. I asked them all to pray that I might find a way to use my gifts and passions in a way that brought me joy but that also gave back to something of value.
The Africa Foundation (USA) has been a passion of mine since we were first introduced to their work in South Africa back in 2008. (see the ABOUT page of the website for more information about our trip). I have been on the Advisory Board for the past several years and have continued to be inspired by the work that they do in South Africa and several other countries on the African continent. I began to feel that this might be just the kind of thing I'd like to pour more of myself into - but not just writing a check or throwing a fundraiser - I wanted it to be something of me! So, I approached the board with the idea that I would sell my jewelry and the net profits would go to continue to support projects that Eric and I already funded with our friends and to support future projects as well. My passion for making jewelry could help spread awareness for the foundation and hopefully provide some financial support as well.
And so began my journey.