Saturday, August 30, 2008

In All Labor There is Profit!

While for many Labor Day is simply another holiday, it is much more than that for me. I grew up on a dairy farm and so holidays were not "labor free." The cows had to be milked twice a day 365 days a year (and 366 on Leap Year) without fail. The chickens also had to be fed, watered, and the eggs gathered. On Christmas and Thanksgiving, usually the only work we did on the farm was the milking, feeding the livestock, and caring for the chickens, but on most other holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and usually even the Fourth of July, a lot of work was done on the farm.
Dad was a steady, hard-working type of man who was not much into vacations. Our usual "vacation" each summer was to leave about 9 a.m. to go fishing (which included a picnic and other fun things) and return about 6 or 7 p.m. to milk the cows. In his later years Dad took a couple of vacations with us three girls, but I'm not sure he was that thrilled in traveling the country. He owned a small airplane and I think he would have preferred flying to driving! He went because Mom and us three girls wanted him to come with us.
On Labor Day of 1978 my dad went to Heaven at age 70. Both of my parents passed away on holidays. My mother, who was a more social person and passed away on January 1, 1977. We all thought it was so appropriate Dad's Homegoing was on Labor Day! I owe my dad a great debt for teaching me to work. I did not think such when I was a teenager, but it was so good for me to work on the farm. After my older siblings left home I was responsible to milk the cows twice a day for my remaining years in high school. The lessons I learned are innumerable and I am grateful. Having to perform daily duties such as milking helped me learn to be a hard-working responsible person.
Parents do their children such a favor when they teach them to work and I am grateful my parents did so! Proverbs 14:23a..."In all labour there is profit..." No one lives on our farm any more and the buildings are in disrepair, but I still have the character and integrity that was instilled in me from the work I was required to do. This Labor Day, rejoice that you are able to work and that someone taught you to work (it does not come naturally!) And if you have children, be good to them...teach them to work!
The barn [l] and the chicken house [r] pictured above were taken by our former neighbor and friend, Wanda Anthony.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Etsy Treasure-"Reminders of Our Faith"

Tonight, for the first time, I was able to snatch a treasury on Etsy. What fun it was! A few days ago I had posted a thread on Etsy with the same title. So many wonderful people posted wonderful items from their shop. I simply went through and picked some of my favorites. The only problem was that I found more favorites than I was able to list! Why not visit the treasury? and enjoy!

Teen Entrepreneurs

I love teenagers. They are energetic, spirited, loyal, compassionate, creative, and zealous. I've met a lot of great people since starting my Etsy shop to sell my jewelry and one of the greatest groups of people I have met are teenagers. I had no idea teens would have shops on Etsy, and yet I have met some wonderful young ladies. Pictured are items from three different shops. The earrings are from 2 sisters, Michaela and Susie, who are middle school students in Pennsylvania. Their shop is at The card is made by Emily, who is a home-schooled senior in high school from Indiana. Her shop is The other picture is from the shop of JustLikeRebekah who is also a home schooled teenager. He shop is at Michaela and Susie are very new to Etsy so their shop is still small, but they are adding items regularly. I want to commend these young ladies and other teens who have taken the initiative to start a business. One of the greatest characteristics that helps people through the hardest and most difficult times of life is a strong work ethic. These teens are developing their work ethic and are to be admired. Enjoy their shops!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Investment is Worth The Time & Effort

God blessed my husband and me with one daughter, Carissa, who will turn 22 in about 4 weeks. I remember holding her the day she was born...and looking at her long, curly dark eyelashes, her beautiful blue eyes, and her soft skin. My husband and I had dreams for her; not dreams to pursue a certain career, but dreams for her to become a woman of integrity and character. As young people get into adolescence and sometimes seem to forget all you ever tried to teach them (like how to make a bed and clean their room and more) it is easy to wonder how they will "turn out." I have several thoughts:

1. Just keep on praising. Young people don't need to hear your fears or concerns expressed. They are trying so desperately to prove they are okay. They need our affirmation.
2. While your children are young invest all you are able to into them. Yes, it's work; and yes, sometimes it's trying, but it is well worth the effort.
3. Prayer is one of your greatest resources. What a mighty God we have who wants our children to become productive adults. Go to Him and ask Him to fix what you cannot fix in them. (Sometimes what we think needs fixing is actually the corresponding weakness of one of their greatest strengths; getting rid of the weakness might also get rid of the strength!)

You may be wondering what brought this blog to my mind. Carissa and I are employed by the same ministry. We are in the process of producing a music CD to be released in October. The recording company came to our campus and set up their equipment to record. Carissa was put in charge of coordinating all of the singers and musicians, checking them in, giving instructions, having snacks, drinks, etc. in the room and more. The recording was scheduled for two and a half days from early morning until late at night. She had a lot to do; she left early in the morning and arrived home late at night. But she was excited. Everything went so well and I received so many comments about how she treated the people, took care of all the details and helped the entire process run smoothly.

It's very rewarding to see her becoming a responsible, gracious young lady of integrity and character. We worked hard to invest in her and make our home a happy place. However, we are human and we did not always succeed. We made many mistakes as parents; and, in fact, there are many reasons humanly speaking that she should not be a functioning adult! But I believe one of the most important things we did was take her to the Lord in prayer. God can get to the heart where we cannot. God can work where we cannot.

If you have children at home, invest in their lives daily; but also daily take them to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help them become all he wants them to be. He wants to partner with you in rearing your children!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Loving Color

I love color, don't you? Can you imagine living in a black and white world? It seems it would get quite boring very quickly. I love the bright red cardinal sitting at the top of the tree highlighted by the shining sun; I love the bossy blue jay who pushes his way in to get what he wants; I love the bright orange tiger lily that blooms in my front yard and seems to last forever as one flower follows another on the plant for days; I love the turquoise lakes of Glacier National Park and the dark brown moose of Maine. Red is my favorite color, but I really like all colors. For some reason I used to think certain colors were "ugly." Isn't that silly? The truth is, every color is beautiful when it is used properly. We can definitely look to God's creation to get color ideas...some of my favorite combinations are the woodpecker (red, white, and black), the iris (green and purple), and the female cardinal (taupe, black, and red). I like to use David Christiansen cane glass in making bracelets because it is so colorful. Each piece of glass has a beautiful combination of colors and because it is quality glass the colors are clear and bright. I believe God loves color (quite obviously he splashed it everywhere in His creation) and I believe He wants us to enjoy color...looking at it, wearing it, decorating with it, scrapbooking with it, and more. Enjoy all the color around you and rejoice that you have eyes to enjoy all the color!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Reminders of Our Faith

I recently recently listed a purity bracelet for teenage girls in my Etsy shop. After doing so I got to thinking that it would be great to have a thread in the forums where Etsians could post items they have that remind them of their faith. It has been a very fun thread and I've enjoyed looking at all of the items that have been posted.

I have placed a few in this blog, and I encourage you to go to the forum and take a look for yourself to see more.

I was thrilled to see another purity bracelet (shown)...and such a pretty one! The parameters for the reminders of our faith are pretty broad. For example, monkeys (God's creation), baby items (what greater reminder of our faith than a new baby), sparkly cross earrings, and, of course, the word "Faith." It's been a wonderful forum and it's been fun to see all of the items that are reminders. Our faith is a precious gift from God and His son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay for my sin and purchase eternal life for everyone who believes.

My mind is a little more focused on my faith because it has been 40 years since I trusted Jesus Christ to be my Saviour. It's been a wonderful journey and I will never cease to be amazed that I have the wonderful gift of eternal life.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Reminders of Who We Are

Forty years ago (1968) I graduated from high school. I grew up on a farm and attended a small town school all of my life. I was protected from things such as drugs, teen pregnancies, etc. If a girl in our high school got pregnant outside of marriage we said, "She's in 'trouble'." My naivet'e was about to change. After all, this was the late sixties---the time of the Viet Nam War, college campus riots, and protest marches with banners stating, "Make Love Not War," "Peace," "Free Love," and other such idioms. Drugs and sex were the big scene on college campuses. "Free Love" was touted openly. No more abstinence...just do what feels good!

As we look at today's teenagers it is easy to see that the "free" love that was touted wasn't really free at all. It was very expensive as we have sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancies of disproportionate numbers, and hence, teen mothers who decide whether or not to get an abortion (and live with the guilt as a result) or to keep the baby and be "burdened" with responsibiltities they are not ready to accept, or to give the baby up for adoption and lose a part of themselves for years to come.

As a young person I was challenged to keep my virginity and go to the marriage altar pure. I am grateful for the leaders in my life who gave me this challenge. Promiscuity and impurity before marriage always comes back to bite and hurts the marriage relationship.

A few years ago I made a purity bracelet for teenage girls. I launched the bracelet at our church's national Youth Conference and was amazed at the response. Young people love to rise to a challenge and seemed to love being able to have a tangible reminder of the life of purity they were choosing.

God is a very loving God and His instruction for young people to be pure in their sexual lives is not because He is mean. Just the opposite is true. God knows what principles will help us become happy, contented, successful Christians. He knows that virgin young people will have a much better chance of having a happy, successful marriage.

We are helping our young people live on a higher plane when we encourage them to live purely. At any moment a pure young person can lose their virginity and become like most other young people in America, but at no time can those who have lost their purity ever become like those who still have their virginity. Let's encourage our young people to live purely!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Who's On My Side?

My sister-in-law, Kris, and I are in the process of writing a book entitled Things Your Mother May Not Have Told You...A Practical Guide for Moms and Their Adolescent Daughters. It has been a fun project that we've been told is very needed as so many moms are not talking their daughters through this traumatic time of their lives. Today I wrote the following in the book and thought it would be so helpful for anyone going through any type of struggle, that I decided to share it in my blog. As I read the forums on Etsy I see so many discouraged due to lack of sales, etc. What a great comfort to know that God is for me; He's not only on my side, He is all of the helps listed below! Enjoy!
(The picture is Kris' daughter, Ruth (l), and my daughter, Carissa (4) at Carrissa's 21st birthday party last year.

Encouragement from Psalm 18:3
Carefully study the following definitions of the words which define God in Psalm 18:3. They will be an encouragement to you and a source of comfort and hope as your realize how much God is on your side through the rockiest (no pun intended!) times of your life. God is there for you and your daughter and your family through the teen years! Notice the personalization of each of these words which are preceded by "my." We have a very personal God...a "very present help in time of need."
"The Lord is my rock (God is my ‘refuge where we are safe from enemies; He is my security.’),
and my fortress (God is my ‘strong, mountain castle for my defense; He is a net to capture the enemy.’),
and my deliverer (God is my ‘escape from danger to bring to security.’);
my God (He is ‘my Hero! It is very personal with the understood My God!’ WOW! He is my own personal Hero! I have my very own genuine Hero whose abilities and powers are so great they cannot even be compared to the counterfeit powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and all of the Hollywood super heroes combined. They are completely impotent weaklings compared to my very real and present God!),
my strength (God is my ‘refuge and protection; my rock where I find refuge.’),
in whom I trust (‘"Where I will flee to find refuge.’);
my buckler (God is my ‘shield as a protector.’),
and the horn (God is my ‘instrument of liberation, taken from the image of horned animals, which use their horns as a defense.’)
of my salvation (God is my ‘safety.’),
and my high tower (God is my ‘lofty place, a rock affording shelter and security, a retreat.’)"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finding New Things

As I've stated before I love shoppping! I blame my mom for a lot of my "quirks" and this is another one of those traits I got from her. She was an extremely frugal woman and only bought things on sale. But she loved to shop and look. I enjoy looking at the shops on Etsy and as I find items I really like I want to share them. Today I found a shop I had not seen before and found the earrings and necklace featured in this blog. Aren't the blue earrings beautiful? And the necklace likewise? Elizabeth Jewelry's owner, Molly, incorporates only the finest materials including sterling silver, 14k gold filled and gold vermeil are use along with the genuine semi-precious gemstones, freshwater pearls, Swarovski Crystals, and Cubic Zirconia. The company is founded in principals of quality and value.
One of the great things about Molly's jewelry is that every handmade piece is backed by lifetime "No-Fault" guarantee. You just mail back the remaining beads, and if no beads are missing there is no charge for remaking the piece of jewelry! No kidding! Even if your cat made it a toy, if you have all of the beads, she will restring it free of charge. Fees apply is additional beads are needed for repair, but they are usually nominal. There is a $2.00 charge for postage. So when you have a piece of Elizabeth Jewelry, you can be assured that you will have it for life! She also makes single earrings at half price if you lose one.
You can visit her web site for a listing of her trunk shows at
You can also visit her blog at


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Junior High Girls Love Beading!

I must share the I had six junior-high girls to my house for a beading party. My sister-in-law, Kris, is their Sunday school teacher. During her spring program she gave the girls the opportunity to be able to come to my house and make jewelry by faithfulness in attendance, bringing visitors, etc. She has nine girls in her class, but 3 of them were unable to come. The girls made jewelry for them also. I have only one regret...that I did not take one picture! We had snacks and drinks (not on the same table as the beads!) and had most of my bead boxes on the tables. The girls were delightful and had so much fun each creating their own unique designs...earrings, necklaces, and earrings. Several girls made necklaces for their moms and one of the girls stated that she and her mom would both wear one of the designs she made. As I've written in previous blogs I love to invest in young people. They are the future of our homes, our churches, our schools, our nation. I will never cease to be amazed at the response of young people when they are loved and respected. This was the second time for these girls to make jewelry. The first time they did great, but they came this time really knowing what they wanted to make and had much more understanding of how to design. I also observed that they had more confidence. Young people respond well in learning new things and the feeling of confidence that showed as they each walked out the door with their bags of jewelry. All jewelry was wrapped in bright yellow tissue paper and placed in beautiful black and white and yellow gift bags. Each girl thanked me as she left and seemed so appreciative. Are you teaching anyone your talents and abilities? I encourage you to find a young person (or several!) and teach them to do what you do. They will appreciate your believing in them; they will grow in confidence; and you will be passing your talents and abilities on to the next generation. Try it; you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Totally Crosses

I am a shopper. I love to shop. When I'm too tired to do other things, [if I have money!] shopping invigorates me. One of the great things about Etsy is that there is such a wide variety of shops from which to choose. I've had so much fun just "window shopping" on Etsy. I've met so many great people and seen so many cool things. One of the shops I've enjoyed and appreciated is Totally Crosses. She makes only crosses. There is tremendous beauty in a plain, ordinary cross because of what it represents----my precious Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the sin and shame He experienced for me on that cross! The crosses T.C. makes are extraordinary in their design. These are really cool wire wrapped crosses. I love having visual reminders of what Christ did for me on the cross and the fact that we have an empty cross because Christ not only died for us, He rose again and had victory over death and sin. These crosses would make great birthday or Christmas gifts. Visit her shop at To learn more about T.C. and the story behind their wonderful business

Monday, August 11, 2008

Buying Beads

One of my favorite things to do in making jewelry is to go shopping for beads. My senses are assaulted as I walk the rows and rows of bead-filled tables---so many colors, so many kinds, so many styles, so many variations.... I always set a budget limit before I go so that I do not get home with beads I should not have purchased or feeling guilty because I spent more than I should have. A budget helps me to be discretionary in my choices to insure that I LOVE what I buy. I usually walk the entire floor to see what's there. After the first few visits to gem shows I became much more knowledgeable in where to spend my time. I pretty much know the tables I am going to walk by and not stop. That is not because I don't like their merchandise or I have anything against the vendors, but I have learned more the style and types of beads with which I like to work. More often than not I'm not even sure how I'm going to use the beads I purchase. I can just tell that eventually the beads and I will make a good team! That's part of the fun of designing. I don't know how you design your jewelry, but I do the following when I sit down to design: First, I pray and ask for wisdom. I realize that God is the Creator of the beautiful world in which we live. He is the Master Designer. I know he can give me great ideas. Then I begin working. I string some beads together, take them off, string some more, take them off, string even get the idea. It is not unusual for me to make a design and then realize that is going to be OOAK or TOAK (2 or 3) because I only bought enough beads for one or two sets of jewelry. Such is the case with the shell necklaces pictured in this blog. These necklaces turned out so pretty, but alas, I am out of beads! Isn't it fun to be a jewelry designer?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Working Together

I have a dear friend of 35 years who also happens to be my sister-in-law. We have a unique and beautiful story. We met as students at a Christian college in Minnesota. I was a junior when she came as a freshman from Miles City, Montana. She attended college for just one year before moving to St. Paul to attend nursing school. Our paths crossed again a year later when I began attending church in a suburb of St. Paul which she joined a short time later. We then got an apartment together with two other young ladies and had a wonderful time as young, single adults serving in many capacities in our local church. Kris was and ICU nurse at the U of M and I taught fourth grade. A few years later Kris moved to Indiana to continue her Bible college education. One year later I also moved to Indiana. To make a long story short, we met and married brothers at a double wedding ceremony 26 years ago. In 2007 we celebrated 25 years of marriage by renewing our vows in a double ceremony with our children standing up with us. (See family picture) Kris and I, of course, have had our highs and lows in our friendship but there came a time when we had to decide (and this was before we knew we'd one day be in-laws!) if we wanted to work through difficulties and hard times in our friendship or allow hurt feelings to interfere with our relationship. We had a wonderful older lady who mentored us and helped us learn to work through difficulties. What a favor she did us. What a blessing that we chose to work through our problems! Kris and I have a close relationship and our families (husbands and children) are all close. Currently we are in the process of writing a book together. When you learn to work through relationships instead of "discarding" people when things get tough or uncomfortable, you never know what a blessing that will be to you and others in the future. Had Kris and I never learned to work through our relationship struggles, quite possibly we would never have married brothers, would not be working together on a book that is going to help women, or be able to do any of the other things we've been privileged to do together. Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." In other words, friend relationships take work. But that work is very worth it! You may not see the whole picture for years to come, but believe me, it is very, very worth it to build right relationships! I wonder how often we trade hurt feelings for some wonderful opportunities and relationships in the future and don't even know it. Take the time and effort to work through your relationships in life!

Young People Are Where It's At!

I consider myself most fortunate because I have young people in my life. Though I feel very young in my mind, I am approaching 60...the age my mother was when she passed away. Now I no longer consider 60 to be old, but I do realize I am joining the ranks of "senior citizen."
I am not a death and dying person; I love life and want to live it to the fullest. But the fact is, I will die one day. When I am gone I want it to have mattered that I lived. I want to have made a difference in the lives of those I love and those with whom I have contact.
Five years ago my niece and her husband moved to our area. What a thrill it has been to be able to enjoy their two sons, Drew (11) and Justin (7). (The boys are pictured with a pinata flip-flop we made for my sister's 60th birthday party.) Drew will be going into junior high school next year and so his mind is on becoming a teenager. Remember your junior high years? Remember how you felt? With their changing hormones and the emotional roller coaster they will experience, junior highers need the stability and the acceptance of the adults in their lives.
The other night in church Drew looked at me and said, "Aunt Jane, see this?" I looked and saw a small bump. "It's a pimple," he said. "That because I'm becoming a teenager." He was so proud of that bump!
I smiled and said, "Oh, I love it that you are becoming a teenager because I love teenagers." He grinned from ear to ear and slid closer to me. I knew I had connected with him.
Young people will never forget an adult who loved them unconditionally. We often feel intimidated and think teens don't want us involved in their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth.Why not try to connect with young people in your life? They need you and you need them! Try's a great way to live...and a great way to live after you are gone as they'll remember you forever!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Starting A Jewelry Business: Choose Your Medium

A second factor to consider when deciding to make jewelry is the components you will use in your designs. When I first began making jewelry I realized quickly that I could get "no name" crystals for much cheaper than I could purchase Swarovski crystals. And I purchased a good number of those crystals. However, as I began making jewelry I realized immediately that the clean crisp edges and the sparkle for which Swarovski crystals are known was missing. It was at that point that I had to decide what types of components I would use. I could charge less for my jewelry using the less expensive crystals, but my name was on my designs and I decided that I wanted to use Swarovski crystals. Neither crystal is right or wrong. I had worn plenty of jewelry in my lifetime with jewelry containing the less expensive crystals. I just decided that with my perfectionistic tendencies and my penchant for quality I would never be happy with jewelry I made using lesser quality components. Again, neither one is right or wrong. You just have to decide what is right for you and then pursue it with all of your heart!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happpy Birthday, Mom!

We recently celebrated my mother-in-law's 87th birthday. She is an amazing woman who helps keep all of us in perspective as to what's really important in life. She is a diabetic who has lost both legs in the past year and a half. Yet, she keeps a happy spirit that makes all of us want to be with her. She is having problems with congestive heart failure, and yet she doesn't talk her health. She is very ready to go to Heaven, and yet as long as she is on the earth, she uses the time she has to encourage family and invest in those she loves so dearly. Due to an infection she was quarantined to her room so she could not come home to celebrate. But that did not matter to her; she was with her boys and their families, and that made it a good day for her. She laughed so hard she almost cried (see picture) and we all had a wonderful time. What a great lady. She has reason to complain. She was a very accomplished artist who has not been able to paint since her stroke. She is in a care center rather than her own home. But she NEVER complaines. She believes life and God have been good to her. I hope when I'm 87 I have the positive spirit and great attitude toward life that Bobbie Grafton has. I love you, Mom!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wonderful Bags

She does beautiful work! Check out more of these beautiful bags at!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Forrest Pottery

I am a pottery lover from way back. I found this site on Etsy and thought the work was so beautiful. I especially loved this blue flask. It's so lovely. If you like pottery you will love the variety, the workmanship, and the beauty of each of her pieces. Go to and have fun!