Using My Gifts

Happy weekend, friends.
Today, I wanted to share with you about something God has been teaching me lately.  I posted {most of} this at  Art by Erin Leigh last week, but in case you missed it, here it is, along with one more new thing.
As the new year approached, I was evaluating the things in my life and the things I felt were missing, and I really felt an emptiness because I know I’ve got some gifts and talents, but I wasn’t really using them to serve and to bless others, you know?  Especially since I’m not working outside the home right now {althought that’s about to change in a few weeks when I start teaching dance independently!!!!}, sometimes I feel like my influence is so small…I wanted to know if there was something I could be doing that would really make a difference.
So I started to pray.  Then, for Christmas I got some metal stamping supplies.
{Which I had wanted really badly and hinted about not-so-subtly!}
I’ve been making beaded and wire wrapped jewelry for about a year now, some of which I sell in my Etsy shop, but I wanted to branch out and try a new aspect so that I could create some really personalized things.
I was playing around to get some practice, and I decided to make myself this pendant.  I used the word COURAGE, because it’s my word for 2012. {If you’re curious why, never fear, I have a whole post about it here!}  Anyway, I made this and on a whim, posted a pic on my personal Facebook page.

About five minutes after I posted it, a friend of mine wrote this:
Cool idea, Amy. I’m thinking of cancer survivors who would like “courage” “hope” and “health” or something like that.
Shortly after that, my aunt commented,
Yeah and I would get one for my hero Shelly and my girlfriend Laura who is fighting the battle now.
Later, a former student of mine from back in my high school teaching days wrote:
I want a breast cancer one! I actually want to buy more than one. Let me know when you set a price.
Huh!  Maybe God was speaking
Maybe I could make these for folks dealing with cancer to encourage them in their struggles and help them celebrate their victories.  It’s certainly a cause that’s near and dear to my heart after losing two grandparents and two grandparents-in-law to cancer and watching my cousin win her battle.
So, I whipped up the ones my aunt requested, using beads to represent the awareness ribbons for the particular cancer types.  Lime green is for lymphoma; pearl is for lung cancer {which I mistakenly thought Laura had.  Turns out, it’s melanoma, so I switched the pearl for a black bead later}.  Then, I took a break and went upstairs to call my mother-in-law about a Christmas gift we need to exchange.  While we were talking, she mentioned that my husband’s cousin Caitee, whose husband is currently deployed with the Marines, is in town and wanted to come visit us on Thursday and introduce us to her little girl.  I found myself wishing I had a gift for her, something to encourage her as she waits for Austin to come home and complete their family.
I hung up, went downstairs, and found this comment from the same friend who made the first suggestion:
I have another idea… Semper Fi and a little heart bead for women who have a Marine deployed.

I didn’t have a heart bead, but I did have a heart blank.  Here is the gift I will give Caitee when she visits.
I’d say it’s more than coincidence, wouldn’t you?
So how does it work?  Well, the best I could come up with for now is that I’m supposed to make myself available to create these pendants to support cancer fighters and their loved ones and encourage folks in the military and their loved ones.  Since then I’ve also come up with one for adoptive families too.  I may make another that says “Child of my heart” or “Chosen child” or something like that, but for now, it’s simply “Chosen.”  Which could also be each one of us, chosen by the Heavenly Father, right?

Anyway, I’ve listed these necklaces on Etsy where anyone who just likes them for whatever reason can purchase them at full price with any word they choose, but created special coupon codes for people who fall into those two categories:

Cancer patients/survivors and their loved ones: SURVIVE
Military families: SEMPERFI
Adoptive families: CHOSENONE
These codes will take 55% off the listed price, making each necklace just $8.
$2.50 of that covers shipping, and the rest covers my supplies and packaging materials. 
I’m donating my time and labor.
Basically, the $8 just covers my expenses so that I don’t go broke giving them away.
I’m not making a profit on these, just making them available, and hoping and praying they bless someone.
I didn’t hear any audible voices, but I know in my heart it’s what I’m supposed to do…and I’m excited.
Excited to help, to serve, and to hear the stories of how God uses my little gifts to touch lives of people I may never meet.

What about you?  How do you use the gifts you’ve been given?

PS – Don’t forget to stop by the PARTY and join us with your ideas!
PSS – Don’t forget to enter the awesome Erin Leigh giveaway!

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15 comments on Using My Gifts

  1. Tiaras & Bow Ties - Think Smink
    January 14, 2012 at 5:31 AM (3 years ago)

    This was beautiful and comes at a special time for me! I too have been struggling with how I am to use my gifts to bless others but am still not sure what it is the Jesus wants me to do. Perhaps it will come to me at some point just as it hit you! How wonderful you are to basically give the pendants away like that, you will be blessed for all you do! Thanks for sharing and please say a prayer my guidance for using my talents will come to me as well!

    Reply
  2. Betty Sneeringer
    January 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM (3 years ago)

    Great story! You have a great heart to serve! I wish you much success in all you do! If you were keeping the type journal I showed in my post (next to the last, Journey of Joy) this would need to go in there.

    Reply
  3. southernscraps
    January 14, 2012 at 2:04 PM (3 years ago)

    Awesome idea! I too have been struggling with my gifts, and a desire to learn and use them.

    Reply
  4. Amanda Joy
    January 14, 2012 at 3:09 PM (3 years ago)

    I think this is amazing! I have one for my shop that says STRENGTH in Pink and Black as my mother in Law is a Breast Cancer Survivor. You are doing a great thing… using that talents you have to help others.

    Reply
  5. Blythe
    January 14, 2012 at 7:27 PM (3 years ago)

    Amy,
    You know I love metal stamping and am so glad you’ve gotten into it. To find something creative you love doing and being able to do some good with it is a beautiful thing! I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine about making a necklace for a disease her daughter suffers from. So happy for you to have found another calling. Your pieces are beautiful.
    Blythe
    http://www.thedesperatecraftwives.blogspot.com

    Reply
  6. Terry
    January 14, 2012 at 10:44 PM (3 years ago)

    Wow, Amy. I am nearly at a loss for what to say. I’ve mentioned to you before that I think you are a wonderful, caring person, but now I’m going to step up higher and say you are a force to be reckoned with. A force for good, of course. :) Brilliant, selfless use of your gifts.

    Reply
  7. Liz @ Here's to Handy Andy
    January 15, 2012 at 12:28 AM (3 years ago)

    Amy, this is so awesome! I’m so glad the Lord laid this on your heart. I’m sure it will be an encouragement to many!

    Reply
  8. Creative Raisins
    January 15, 2012 at 9:03 AM (3 years ago)

    That is a fantastic story and I am sure you are going to do great things with this. They are all so nice.

    Reply
  9. Cari and Cortnee @ Two Sasters
    January 17, 2012 at 2:57 AM (3 years ago)

    What a great story! We host a weekly link party on Mondays for Handmade items/shops and would love it if you linked up your Etsy shop!
    Cari
    twosasters.com

    Reply
  10. The Stuff of Success
    January 18, 2012 at 2:35 AM (3 years ago)

    This is a phenomenal gift you are offering and I absolutely appreciate it. Thank you for thinking of adoptive families.

    Reply
  11. farmlife chick
    January 19, 2012 at 1:39 PM (3 years ago)

    You are so creative and talented! I love the Semper Fi necklace! OOO-RAH!
    I am going to try and stop back tomorrow for your Shine On Fridays. Sounds fun!

    ~thechickncoop.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. Mindie Hilton
    January 19, 2012 at 2:29 PM (3 years ago)

    I read your entire post. I love what you are doing. You are certainly using your gifts to help others.

    Reply
  13. momto8
    January 19, 2012 at 3:16 PM (3 years ago)

    and won;t it be music to hear, “well done good and faithful servant.”
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can!

    Reply
  14. Just Jaime
    January 20, 2012 at 1:29 AM (3 years ago)

    So cute! Great job!

    Reply
  15. Katie's Nesting Spot
    January 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM (3 years ago)

    What a beautiful & loving gesture! So many people have been affected by one or more, in my case Cancer and Adoption. I know a lot of hearts will be touched by this!

    Reply

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