Appealing to Your Compassion

http://www.gofundme.com/Saving-Abbys-Home

I and my family are in desperate need and I appeal to your compassionate hearts.

I know times are extremely hard just about every where we go. Around almost every corner someone has a hand out looking for something, anything you might be willing to give.

http://www.gofundme.com/Saving-Abbys-Home

Mom Said – Never Give Up – 1942 – 2011

The fact is, Simply Katie’s SK Wire Jewelry sales are extremely low and do not cover our family’s monthly expenses let alone pay a mortgage. I have a part time job cleaning 60th Street Baptist Church where I am a member and three of us (me, my granddaughter and son) rely on my small church income, Etsy sales, and my sons “as needed” daily pay to live. Both my son and I have been unable to find full-time employment for over 2 years and we are losing our home to foreclosure. It was my moms home, the lender filed foreclosure action against the house 6 days after learning of moms death. I’ve lived here off and on for thirty plus years, it’s the only home my children and my granddaughter have ever known. Please, will you help me keep our family home in the family?

http://www.gofundme.com/Saving-Abbys-Home

Please Help Save My Home

If you are at all able to give even a little bit to help us save my four year old granddaughters home and keep her from becoming another homeless statistic and a ward of the state, I and my son would be grateful beyond measure.

http://www.gofundme.com/Saving-Abbys-Home

Mom & My Boys August 2010

Trust that God will return your generous donation to you tenfold, even if you can only give five dollars.

“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened; But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over: and he that had gathered little had no lack.”
II Corinthians 8:12-15 KJV

Please visit and give what you can, I ask nothing over!

http://www.gofundme.com/Saving-Abbys-Home

Thank you, and God Bless!

Katie

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Quote

Evangelism

“Preach with this object, that men may quit their sins and fly to Christ for pardon, that by His blessed Spirit they may be renovated and become as much in love with everything holy as they are now in love with everything that is sinful”

Charles Spurgeon

A New LIFE Direction

I haven’t posted here in almost a year. I’m not sure why but I’m almost positive it has a lot to do with that four letter word – “LIFE”. Funny but sad really how we all let “LIFE” get in the way of things we really like to do, things we need to do, things we may even have a passion for.

I guess it was around the end of March last year when the activities I participate in at church and my responsibilities within them changed. My “LIFE” had become a bit more chaotic and truthfully, it’s not hard for me to be thrown off when something goes awry or doesn’t follow my “normal” routine. I don’t know if chaotic is the right way to describe it but I feel I have been on a downward slide lately fighting forces I cannot see. Dark weighing forces that cause doubt and fear, raising tension, dissension, and discouragement within the soul and between what I believe are strong spiritually encouraging relationships. These negative forces I attribute to the work of Satan trying to drive a wedge of separations between myself and a few of my closest friends and loved ones.

Several events happened last year that threw me off,  my youngest son Matthew moved back home and then left again within a three month period of time. In March a need arose in the addiction outreach program at my church and I became the head leader of the teen girls group. I also became a member of the church I have been attending since May of 2012. The obligation I felt to be a member of the 60th Street Baptist Church was not motivated by the church it was for the spiritual welfare of the girls. They had already had two leaders leave unexpectedly it just wouldn’t be right for me to leave them too and besides, they were growing on me. And they have been more of a blessing to me than I believe I am to them.

How great is our God to equip us to face head on and overcome our fears having more confidence in us than we have in ourselves. During the past fourteen years I have prayed to God that He would lead my eldest (and estranged) son Jeremy home. I cannot tell you the joy and fear I felt when he walked up the driveway that Wednesday afternoon in June with his three year old daughter Abby in tow, needing a place to live. Even now it brings tears to my eyes of thanksgiving to God Almighty to be witness of His wonderful gifts of mercy and love. I know now that when God gave me responsibility over the girls, he was equipping me to be a better example of love for Jeremy.

Jeremy and Abby have been home now since June of 2013 and like most families we are struggling in every way imaginable. Jeremy and I don’t agree on morality or Christianity or parenting methods or even political standpoints. We struggle financially because neither one of us has found full time employment. It’s now three years and though I am still sustainably unemployed and facing homelessness, God has blessed me with a part time opportunity cleaning my church. I am still determined to make a living selling my handmade jewelry online and I have surrendered my life to serving my Lord and Savior Jesus.

I confess that this has been one of the toughest years of my “LIFE” and only by the grace of God, and a few dear friends, am I still here to share it with you.

Thank you and God Bless you all!

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”

Philippians 4:6, 7 KJV

When a Faith Opportunity Knocks

If an opportunity were put before you to be a witness of the loving kindness and awesome power of God to a young person who knows that if he continues down the drug laden path he’s been on it will only end in death. What would you do? What would you say to this lost individual?
Let me tell you a bit about a young man Ron, I met him yesterday at the library where I go to access the Internet. Never have I seen him before but he seemed harmless enough and was sitting at a table next an outlet where I could plug in my laptop and work. I asked him if I could share his table and for a while we sat there in silence tapping away at our keyboards, him in conversation on Facebook and I in my clicking obligations on Etsy. I must have sighed and caught his attention because he made the comment that my schoolwork or work must be stressful. I chuckled a bit never looking up from my computer and said “it’s just work, trying to get everything done I need to do is all”, and we talked for a good while. Though I should say he talked while I lent him my ear and listened to his story.
Ron’s story is no different than many he struggles with societal hardships put upon him by his own wrong doing. He’s 20, has been arrested on drug and domestic battery charges, has recently endured homelessness is unemployed and today professes to be in search of a new way of life. He’s realized the effects of his drug use on his relationships with family, friends, his schooling, and employment opportunities and sadly admits he still yearns to follow it. Throughout our conversation Ron openly talked about this desire and at the same time, he talked about a desire to get off the drugs and pursue a different and better life. I was glad to hear him say that but wondered if he was truly being honest with himself about wanting to stop and I asked him if he’d had a church background at all. To which he stated he was not religious, he was but had fallen out of a belief in God because he hadn’t seen any evidence of his existence. And that he believes in spirits, is spiritual in mind not body and went on to say that in his opinion the bible could be a fiction novel written by anyone. I didn’t react to his statement though I thought it ludicrous he could not see the evidence of God’s greatness all around us.
But the thing about Ron that drew my attention was that he used to put energy into his love of writing and recording rap music, posting videos on you tube and blogging about it. I noticed that when he was talking about his music he became more animated, energized. I realized why I was led to his table, to sit with him and talk with him. It was because he is like me, how I was and that we have a creative gift in common. I couldn’t let this opportunity slip away I encouraged him to re-direct his thoughts and efforts, to put them back into the gift of his music as I do my jewelry. And then I told him about my church, that we have a support program that could help him with his addictions called Reformers Unanimous and invited him to our next gathering. I gave him a booklet to read in the meantime and felt that he was sincere in saying that he may show up, he said he didn’t want to promise in case he doesn’t. I’m hopeful that he will and that I’ll see him there. And even if Ron chooses not to seek our support to help him break his addictions, I’ll pray for his recovery knowing he touched my life.
As a child and disciple of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ it is my responsibility to offer His love to anyone who is open to listen not only to the lost but even the ones who believe.
What is your reasonable service?

Determination Pays

My first on-line storefront on etsy.com has been undergoing some needed improvements over the last year in an effort to gain traffic and increase sales. Well I am happy to report that I’ve had great results I’ve seen a measurable increase in traffic and sales from the improvements I’ve made. The most noticeable improvement has been in monthly visitor traffic during the last quarter of 2012 which increased from 411 visitors for the entire month of September to 650 visitors during December. And what’s more notable is it’s just  January 22nd and my monthly traffic has already doubled to 1,372 visitors to http://www.simplykaties.etsy.com. Now if I can get those visits to convert to sales……….. I’ve been thinking about how I go about doing that and here’s part of my plan;

I’ve been increasing my jewelry making skills with the learning of new forming and fabrication techniques. In July I purchased my first heat tool, a small butane torch and proceeded to teach myself how to create joins by soldering two pieces of metal wire together. Let me tell you that despite how easy everyone on YouTube makes it look, it’s not and I’m having a devil of a time trying to create a bezel setting for a pair of gemstone earrings that have been in the making since September. My friend and fellow jewelry maker from the Netherlands, Mx says the trick is to make sure that both pieces – the surface of the bezel wire and the back plate are flush against each other with no gaps between the pieces. Well – this is my problem and why I haven’t yet been successful with a bezel – I have gaps and it’s most likely because I’m trying to use (recycle) a vintage copper plated brass picture frame that isn’t flat anymore, its gotten warped over time and no matter how much I pound on it trying to flatten it, its still got lumps and bumps.  I think the best remedy for this problem is to go in another direction and find a different back plate, one that’s flat and complete those earrings – finally.

Vintage Copper Plated Brass Picture Frame Recycled into Bezel Wire and Backing Plate

Successfully Soldered Bezel Wire sitting on backing plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bezels aren’t all I’ve aspired to accomplish with my new skill of using heat to create hand crafted jewelry. I’ve also found that it’s easy to heat the end of a piece of wire to create a ball head pin as you see here 

I’ve also created pendants with the technique of sweat soldering,

S

And I’ve recently learned to punch holes in wire to create these copper wire earrings

Side View Hole Punched Copper

I’ve got plenty more to show you and am looking forward to keeping you updated on what’s going on in my world so check in from time to time. And if you have any ideas or suggestions or just enjoy reading this blog tell me, leave me your comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Till next time, keep your dream alive and strive to learn something new!

See you soon…….

What I Give To The World

Image

This collage represents a sampling of the jewelry I have created over the years with the exception of the cameo heart pendant (top center). They are original designs extracted from my imagination with a spoonful of inspiration taken from the world around me. Each piece of jewelry I create is first drawn in it’s inspired vision as I would like to see it in its finished state. I then create a mock up to see how it’s components fit together and make needed adjustments. I may set aside a design until all of its components and construction techniques are structured into a perfect fit but rest assured each is created with artisan craftsmanship entirely by my heart and hand.

Having An Artist Attitude

I read an article in my online subscription of Artist Daily by John and Ann of The Artist’s Road called “Attitude Is Everything”. This article made me think of my own life and where I have put my artist talent and myself on my priority list.  Since my grown boys were children I’ll admit I’d been influenced by outside forces wanting me to believe it was much more important for me to secure an income. What I wanted to do was go to school to further my education so that I could be better positioned to pursue my dream of becoming an architect, a designer of homes and provide a better life for my family. I’d completed vocational training in drafting and design just after my first son was born but was influenced to drop out of CADD instruction (which was only offered during the day) so that I could work for someone else’s dream. I didn’t have the support of those around me encouraging me building my confidence to allow me the opportunity to make my dream a priority. But I’ve held the vision of my dream, my ideal life firmly in my mind since it first began.

The key point I took from the article is that it is an attitude of giving yourself permission to believe in your dream and acting on it. By not giving myself permission to pursue the dream I lost a lot of time, past by opportunities that may never come again but in the last five years I’ve been slowly changing my attitude, slowly moving myself to the top of my priority list. I’ve been working towards my dream though it’s been modified, improved and grown over the years but most importantly I’m taking myself and my art seriously, establishing my design craft as a top priority in my life. I may not be an architect or design beautiful homes (yet) but I am pursuing art and design in fashion and creating and successfully selling my artisan hand crafted wire jewelry online at http://www.simplykaties.etsy.com It is a project I’ve been working on since the Summer of 2005 selling face to face at roadside stands and flea market booths, I added the Etsy shop in December of 2011 and am working on site improvements to my SK Wire Jewelry website http://skwirejewelry.com on WordPress.org.

The most important lesson I’ve learned – attitudes are powerful factors on how our lives play out and if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will either but if you show the world you’re an artist the world will support that vision of you. So if you’re the creative type and your dream is to be an artist, (writer, poet, sculptor, or actor/actress) my advice to you is this – read books about it, push yourself to improve your craft and always indulge your ideas in your art. Establish a regular daily work schedule being an artist is a viable career so treat it like one, limit outside distractions. Honor your imagination it’s what makes your art unique and be open to seeing the inspiration everywhere around you. Be generous with yourself and others, your art is a gift of yourself you give the world – give it freely.

What is your dream and how will you make it come true?

 

Nurturing the Creative Self

I’ve learned a few things about myself in the last couple of weeks related to inherent characteristics of my birth sign – Virgo.
Virgo is an earth sign and a lot of what I found out about this sign is true of me but the level at which I would rate my standing on each trait varies but the most prevalent trait I’ve overused/abused is destructive criticism. I have subconsciously mastered the application of this negative trait against myself from many years leading to my state of creative blockage. Now that I have identified my artists captor it is my committed intention to remove it’s restraints upon my creative soul. My goal is to give my self-destructive attitude a 180 0 turn around replacing it’s negative comments, criticisms, and doubts with positive statements, acknowledgments, and affirmations of my artistic creations and myself through these journal articles. I intend to share my growth with my readers and hope I can inspire those who feel they may be stuck in the same place I am to join me in the process of removing my artists’ restraints.
One positive aspect of this journey I have on my side is that I know I am not alone in feeling the way I do about myself and my craft. There are millions of other creative individuals who have been over critical of themselves, the suffering artists who feel their art is not good enough for others to see or hear. Why are we holding our artistic expressions captive instead of shouting its greatness to the world? We deserve to be heard no matter what level “we think” our art is at. Our creative voices are worthy of a public reveal and there are people out there who want to hear what we have to say so put yourself and your art on display. I’m getting off my self-pity soap box because I am tired of holding myself back, holding my dream at bay watching others catch the stars while I sit on the sidelines wishing it was me and I urge you to do the same. Join me in this venture – approve of your-self and your art because you deserve to be recognized, stop “suffering for the cause”, and refrain from criticizing your art and jump on your own band wagon.
Our creativity makes us who we are. We are individuals unafraid to express individuality, to “think outside the box” in terms of our interests and passions, and reaching for the stars to achieve our dreams. I believe our life’s experiences enlighten us to further investigate and cultivate our interests and imaginations, impassions us to dream and to create. Everyone but especially the creative individual must learn to triumph over adversities he/she cannot eliminate. Criticism is inevitable and found in every arena of populated society but what’s important to realize is that while it is a positive motivator for some is also a ruthless adversary to others. This is not saying those who cannot take criticism are weak or in some way terrible artists it just means we have not yet learned the art of turning the external negatives into internal positives. Sometimes we have a tendency to ask ourselves why again and again turning the negative opinions of others inward toward ourselves when in reality we should be asking the critics why, what is it about our “voice” they find unappealing, unattractive, or otherwise could use improvement. This is a good way to gain insight into what the public wants to see but at the same time we also must stay true to ourselves and our own creative principles finding a way to integrate little changes and aggregating them into massive positive results for our self-confidence (and bank accounts).
The philosophy behind our artistic talent is what gives us our individual voice and it’s what makes us unique and great in our own right and allows us to create our art. Whatever our creative and artistic talent is it is built upon a foundation of love for the craft, it will not grow or thrive unless we nurture and feed it first. My art is designing and creating original beaded and wire jewelry and I’ve been struggling to build a brand (Simply Katie’s/SK Wire Jewelry) for the last 7 years and it’s because I’ve been working harder instead of smarter at everything from my brand and talent to the presentation of my designs, self-destructively criticizing every aspect of my efforts. I’ve been my own worst enemy in every aspect of my creativity casting aside the positive affirmations of my talent from family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances and it’s time to change my self-image once and for all!
Financing is the second important foundation of my creative blockage and just as wrongly so as having a poor self-image. Being a sole proprietor with a “need to control” attitude is not easy especially on a fixed income with variable monthly expenses fixed in living necessity. Everyone knows it takes money to make money right and if I’m going to make a positive change in my situation I need to spend/invest in my brand. But I’ve found that being on-line isn’t enough that getting myself out there, contacting and selling to boutiques, attending events as a spectator eying my competition, becoming a vendor at arts and crafts fairs, building strong relationships and attending networking events is essential to growth but I have cut myself out of 99% of these simply because “I can’t afford to”. I simply have to remove my self-inflicted blockage, to put away the unforgiving “I can’t” mindset and whole heartedly open myself up for a total “I can” philosophy behind my craft. This means accepting and approving every aspect of my-self on a personal and professional level. Evaluating my business and financial goals, planning or and setting a realistic budget, and allowing myself the time to nurture my artistic talent. It means being honest with my-self, acknowledging my personal and professional limitations and allowing my-self to ask for and accept help from others when needed. This venture is still going to be a challenge but it will be a different kind of challenge, smarter and less stressful instead of chaotic and frustrating.

Focus Your Attention On You Not On What You Possess

“Minimalism is about living maximally, making the most out of what we got. Minimalism is about de-cluttering and eliminating the things that don’t really add that much value to our lives and then focusing our attention and energy on what REALLY matters to us.

In a world where businesses are trying to sell you more and more stuff – where we are told that we can’t be happy unless we have this and that and that and that and also this – the vast majority of us  attribute great meaning to inanimate objects.

The result?

We have more relationships with inanimate objects than with human beings!”

This statement from healthdemystified’s recent post (http://wp.me/p27ySS-gS) is today’s reality our face to face social time has been replaced with increasingly unreasonable corporate demands for our time focusing only on the company’s bottom line and not the health of the human asset itself. Corporations gain our off time as well, we as consumers are the driving force behind the infinite upgrades, apps and plug-ins of technology allowing the average individual with Internet access the ability to live globally without even leaving their home or office. What happened to the after work gathering of colleagues for a drink at the local watering hole to de-clutter the happenings of the day? Or meeting a friend over coffee at the local café, afternoon shopping, or a dinner date to truly socialize and get the scoop on what’s up? It’s been replaced over the last few decades with a plethora of Internet social “networking” sites like My Space, FaceBook and tons of others geared at creating on-line communities of like minded people from around the globe.

The result?

We are corrupting and disrupting our own well being, and we are diminishing our own local economy’s with global consumerism.

If you think about it we can probably attribute the high average unemployment rate as reflective of the rate of advancement in technology and social media. The population in general has lost sight of the importance of actual face to face human interaction; the important of visual gestures and physical touch to our physical and emotional well being. It’s really no wonder why the obesity rate and health care costs are sky high in America and why employers are opting to refrain from offering health care any longer. Employers are not willing to risk hiring older more qualified individuals in long term positions because their cost of care rises higher quicker over the term of their employment than does the cost of a younger persons. But that’s not the only reason older workers are being left out of the re-employment race, we are unfairly seen as no longer coach-able and therefore deemed less valuable without consideration of our experience and qualifications. The result is this we are actively participating in turning a vital corporate asset in human production into a liability ultimately viewing ourselves as expendable.

Our cultural beliefs have changed and as long as we look for ways to fulfill our lives I believe they’ll keep changing. Holding onto a mentality that says you have to have the newest or biggest this, this and that just because your friend or neighbor has one isn’t living your true life. Think of it this way you’re walking the midway of the local state fair being heckled from both sides by guys and gals (marketers) saying their game (company/brand) is the best, their prizes (products & services) are bigger and better and your odds of winning are higher with this game over that other game (yea right!). It all boils down to a simple human choice are you going to take the left fork which takes you down Jones’ road where you’re bombarded and influenced by others, or the right fork on which you live your own true life being happy with what and who you choose to have in your life.

Me, I’m not sure when I started to understand that having material possessions wasn’t ever going to be the most important goal in my life. And that the idea of climbing the corporate ladder wasn’t how I wanted to live my life.  That being stuck in an office for 8 to 10 hours a day to earn a living answering to another human being just isn’t my cup of tea and besides who said “they” are more qualified, intelligent or important than I and my well being. I’ve tried to conform to the corporate lifestyle but the longer I tried the more I became increasingly stressed, unhappy and overwhelmed with the attitudes and demands. But as for consumerism I’ve never put myself in a position where I played into the whole game of pocketbook retail roulette. I never had to have the newest, biggest or best of anything, not that I don’t think I’m worth it but because all I truly need or desire is to have what fulfills my immediate need to survive. Anything above that is paying the cost of having the luxury of functions I don’t need and probably won’t use anyway and for padding the company bank account behind the brand name.

It is possible to simplify your life in the age of the ‘Jones’ mentality’, hurried advances in technology, social media and mobile commerce. The first step is the most important and takes the longest amount of time in the change process; it is to reassess your life evaluate what’s absolutely important to you then decide what you can and can’t live or survive without. It is as simple as making a choice then committing yourself to de-cluttering your mental, emotional and physical life of the things that weigh you down and zap your energy. You are the most important decision maker in your life and you are the only person who controls your thoughts actions and reactions to everything playing out and being thrown at you in life. It’s your life and it’s all up to you so live it the best way you know how.

Life’s inevitable chaos…experiencing growth

Through all the madness

All the confusion

And the pain.

Through all the loneliness

And strife

And shame.

I will fight against it all.

The poetic works of ineffablemrjones.wordpress.com are inspirational motivators to me in my pursuit to recover and nurture my artist. It is the thought and the intention of the poet, the perception of the words I find inspiring. I have not considered the realm of poetic prose in my own repertoire but I would not cast it aside though at this point I am comfortable writing in my journals and exercising my creative energy in the articles I write for my blogs and my jewelry descriptions for my shop SK Wire Jewelry by Simply Katie’s on Etsy.

I’m fighting against the odds I stacked against myself to achieve the ultimate goal of opening to the fullest extent the vault of my creative talent exploring its vast contents, and for me it’s like looking in through the window at Tiffany’s. Every area of creative interest not yet experienced, every talent waiting to be unmasked and those seeking recovery are like the glistening gold and clear sparkling diamonds on display in that window waiting to be tried on, passionately experienced, self affirmed and shown off for others to appreciate. I am part of a handmade culture and community and though I am not seeking fame and fortune to see my jewelry in demand would be affirmation enough, but to earn a prosperous living from it would be my life’s dream realized. It is the effort I put into nurturing and developing my jewelry design talent that will reach help me this milestone to reap the rewards. I have but a few of my best items on display at SK Wire Jewelry by Simply Katie’s on Etsy and as I am inspired, allowing myself to nurture and experience the creative talent of my inner artist I will be adding new designs to my  shop.

The designs I create are simple, in the minimalist style but timelessly classic, elegant and befitting a modern lifestyle. Every piece of jewelry is an original design and each step of the design process is carefully considered in order to produce a well constructed quality piece of handmade jewelry. I use quality materials and hand pick each stone and every bead hand craft chain links and closures and bring all these elements together in a complimenting palate and stylish design. Most of my earrings and necklaces are hand crafted with solid copper wire with some earrings being created from sterling silver as well. My designs vary in complexity and composition with some featuring semi precious stone beads, pebbles and chips as well as other natural materials while others feature glass beads and re-purposed vintage jewelry.  If you’d like to see more of my jewelry designs and explore the Etsy community and all the handmade and vintage items it has to offer spend a few minutes to browse all the handmade art, crafts and vintage shops, I know you’ll enjoy the experience.