Monday, April 25, 2011

Hope for Anton Online Fund-raiser

“Hope for Anton” Necklace & Earrings
The story behind the jewelry

The donations of these pieces are part of a fund-raising auction for a family who is adopting an overseas special needs baby.  Designed by human hands, inspired by God, three themes emerge in the necklace and earrings. Read and see the stories of Hope, love lost and love found, and woven throughout, faith in a loving God who if we allow Him, will provide for the emptiness in our life and fill us with uncommon love! 

Anton was born with Epidermolysis bullosa making his skin delicate, unreliable, and as fragile as a butterfly's wing. The slightest brush, bump, chaff, or fall causes his skin to blister.  Born under unusual circumstances, to a surrogate mother, Anton is a twin! Although Anton was conceived by parents who had Hopes and dreams for their child(ren), the discovery that he has this skin disorder must have been too much for them to bear as they took home the healthy child and left Anton in an orphanage.  ... A strand of this necklace is inspired by Anton’s country of origin, the separation from his brother, and the pain his mother must endure. Moreover, how God has consecrated him and set him apart. Set apart by EB, by rejection and abandonment, by the direst of circumstances at almost losing the safest home he has ever known.
Meanwhile, almost on the other side of the planet, there is a family whose twin children were also born under unusual circumstances, irreparably conjoined.  While the life of their twins was brief, the love they brought with their birth remains part of their parents and helped confirm that ‘special needs adoption’ was in their future.  … This special family, the loss of their own twins, their hearts softened by love and faith that God is with them and seeing them through their grief, and their desire to adopt, inspires another strand of this necklace.  
There is a third strand to this necklace, but it is conspicuously missing to honor and remember Anton’s brother, the conjoined twins, the missing genetic component that causes EB.  More importantly the third strand is there to remind the owner that, if we allow Him, God will provide for what is missing in our lives, just as He is providing for Anton and his "forever family"!  There is another trinity found in these pieces in the sterling silver links in the necklace and earrings.  They each have a word inscribed on them … faith, hope and love.  Faith and Love adorn the earrings and Hope, adorns ‘Hope for Anton’.   And a final trinity exists at the clasp of the necklace.  A decorative dangle made from the Hope link and two 4mm garnet rounds, one for each twin as it is their birthstone.
This weekend our pastor gave an entirely different Easter message and taught us how God is a "God of the third day"!  Abraham set out with Isaac to do as God requested and on the third day God provided the sacrificial lamb … Jonah set out in direct opposition to God’s request, was swallowed by a ‘big fish’ and on the third day spat out on dry land, now willing to obediently follow God’s request … Christ, obedient unto the cross, rose from death to life on the third day.  For many of us ‘day 1’ comes with devastation, grief, loss, pain, fear, anger …. ‘day 2’ dawns as we experience depression, resignation, numbness, disobedience, disbelief … but our God is a ‘day 3’ kind of God!  You see, ‘day 3’ brings HOPE.  ‘Day 3’ brings RESTORATION.  ‘Day 3’ brings our hearts in line with His IN SPITE of our circumstances. ‘Day 3’ means we walk with God through our devastation, grief, loss, pain, fear, and anger.  Day 3 reminds us we stand forgiven, and above all else, loved and cherished.  Anton is a ‘day 3’ kind of baby and his "forever family" are ‘day 3’ kind of people! 
Only a third day God could weave such a story of love and hope through faith!  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Through His saving grace, God is uniting a new family, healing old wounds and filling a God sized void with His HOPE! You can be a part of this story when you bid on ‘Hope for Anton’ and
help bring him home.
Materials used in Hope for Anton:
Aquamarine, Quartz, Moonstone, Opal, Freshwater Pearls, Czech Crystal, and Sterling Silver.
Necklace length:  22-inches
Earring(s) length:  2-inches, link and cluster portion is just under 1 ½-inch

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What a difference a year can make!

This time last year, I was busy making jewelry to donate to a fund-raising auction.  Our family has been praying for an amazing little boy and the auction coincides with his birthday to raise money for other people who share his condition.  Well, it is that time of year again and Jonah's EB Auction is just about to get underway!

I am not sure how I first discovered the Williams Family Blog.  I am not exactly a 'blogger', but I do follow a few blogs written by friends and occasionally check out some of the blogs they read.  I imagine that is how I first 'met' Patrice, Matt and Jonah, and remain captivated by Jonah almost 2 years later.  If I recall, Jonah was only a few months old when I started reading and this is likely one of the first pictures I saw:

Jonah has an extremely rare congenital disorder that affects his skin ... you know, the largest organ in the human body!  Our skin is an amazing organ designed to protect us from disease, prevent dehydration, insulate and regulate body temperature, as well as register sensation.  Skin is intended to be strong, supple, durable, flexible ... most importantly, our skin is supposed to protect us from harm!  This tough little guy was born with Epidermolysis bullosa making his skin delicate, unreliable, and as fragile as a butterfly's wing. The slightest brush, bump, chaff, or fall causes his skin to blister.  While his skin may not be, he is one resilient little guy … so are his parents!

Last year, in honor of his first birthday, Jonah's auction raised close to $9,000 for DebRA the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America. 
"Throughout its 30 years, Debra has remained committed to funding research toward a cure, while responding to the increased need to provide direct services to patients and their families."  Please check out the links and learn more about Jonah's family, and the amazing way DebRA is helping families like his navigate life with this condition. 

This year, in honor of his second birthday, we hope to knock the socks off of last years total!
 When you're done checking out all these great sites, please save the link to Jonha's EB Auction and check in regularly to bid on some really great items and help raise money for a wonderful cause!  If you're on facebook you can also become a fan of Jonah's facebook EB Auction page.  Jonah's auction will run February 23rd through February 27th, 2011.  If you would like to donate items to be auctioned, please contact Katie (event organizer) at

I donated the following necklaces last year and plan on donating several again this year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ushanga Kwa Ngaamba

When my friend Stephanie taught me some of the basics of beading and jewelry making, I quickly fell in love!  I piddled around with the beads I had collected over the years and made several pieces of jewelry … and then I was hooked!  I wanted more beads, and I wanted to make more jewelry! 

About the same time as my ‘creative awakening’, our church hosted the Daraja Children's Choir from Africa.  Several years ago our middle and high school youth partnered with 410 Bridge and ‘adopted’ the Kenya town of Ngaamba where many of the children in Daraja live.  In an effort to help raise money, my husband and I wondered if, rather than donating directly with cash, we would take that money and purchase enough supplies to make necklaces to sell.  I talked with our youth pastors’ assistant, and several of the youth responsible for fund-raising and 'Ushanga Kwa Ngaamba' was born.  'Ushanga Kwa Ngaamba' is Swahili for 'Beads for Ngaamba' and it is a partnership fund-raising project designed to support the town of Ngaamba in Kenya.  The young women in our youth group and I met and in one evening designed four distinct necklaces, each with an impassioned meaning. 

These necklaces are still for sale!  Because the initial supplies were donated, 100% of the money from their sales will go to support the community of Ngaamba.  Each of these necklaces is strung by the hand of a Crossings Ministry student.  Since the money from their sales goes to this cause, I do not list this on Etsy.  Rather you will need to go to my Facebook site, decide what necklace you’d like to purchase and arrange Paypal or check for purchase.  Shipping will be an additional $5.

If you would like to support their efforts in other ways, please visit any one of the links within this post and donate directly. Or, better yet …. Visit BrightPoint for Children or Compassion International and sponsor a child!

Here are the four designs and descriptions that were decided upon:

Quench – Thirst no more
Isaiah 44:3 (NLT)

For I will pour out water to quench your thirst
and to irrigate your parched fields.
And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,
and my blessing on your children.

The design for "Quench" was born from the Crossings students' experience in Kenya as they watched women struggle to carry up to 60 liters of water daily for drinking and preparing meals! Money is needed for drilling 'bore holes' so that fresh, CLEAN drinking water is available.

Materials used: Turquoise Magnesite (not true turquoise - dyed stone), Crystal, Fresh Water Pearls, and Copper Bali beads.

Each necklace measures approximately 19" and sells for $15. A chain extender can be added for $1.

Daraja – The Joy of seeing Jesus
Luke 10:21 (NIV)

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

The 'Daraja' necklace was named for the Daraja Children's Choir that has performed at our church for the past three years. The absolute JOY on the children's faces is what the Crossings students hope to convey with the bright color and simple design.

Materials used: 'Mange Yellow' Magnesite barrels (dyed), Red Agate, Mustard Jade and finished with a copper clasp.

Each necklace measures approximately 21" and sells for $15. A chain extender can be added for $1.

Christmas in Kenya
John 3:16-17 (NLT)

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

The REAL Christmas in Kenya is a 410 Bridge program that Crossings students have participated in for several years and is the inspiration for the name of this necklace. However the flag of Kenya is the inspiration for the colors chosen; green, red, black and white. There are 12 green stones (Aventurine or Jade), one representing each month of the year. While this necklace is festive enough for Christmas, it is simple enough to be enjoyed throughout the year!

Materials used: Green Aventurine (or Jade depending on supply), Red Coral, Copper Daisy spacers, Black Stone, and Glass nuggets.

Each necklace measures approximately 21" and sells for $10. A chain extender can be added for $1.

Hakuna Matata – There are no worries

1 John 4:18a (CEV)
A real love for others will chase those worries away.

"Hakuna Matata" in Swahili means 'there are no worries' which is a literal juxtaposition to the issues that surround the people of Ngaamba! Yet they embrace love in a way that shows in the expression on their faces! Love is the inspiration for this necklace ... the love shared between the people of Ngaamba and the missionaries that come to serve, the students love for Ngaamba, God's love for each of us. His love is so real and powerful that it overcomes our circumstances! The verse paired with this necklace fits in a way only God can create - that 'a REAL love for others will chase those worries away'!!!! THAT is Hakuna Matata GOD style!

Materials used: Brecciated Jasper, Red Aventurine, Ruby Jade (dyed), and finished with a copper clasp.

Each necklace measures approximately 16" and sells for $10. A chain extender can be added for $1.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simple Gifts

Our family is part of a home school curriculum 'co-op' called Classical Conversations (CC) that meets weekly and covers a variety of subjects and experiences.  Because we home school, we have missed out on teacher gifts and teacher appreciation, etc .... believe ME, this teacher would LOVE some gifts and appreciation <insert sarcasm>.

This is our first year with CC after homeschooling for the past 5 years.  Today is our last meeting until after Christmas and our only opportunity to treat their tutors to a gift and show them how much we appreciate them!

My daughter made her tutor a pair of earrings, shortly followed by my youngest son making his tutor two pair of earrings (nope, no competition there!).  Both tutors were seen shortly thereafter wearing said earrings and my youngest two were beaming from ear to ear!

I really wish I had the forethought to have photographed their creations and post them here, after all, I did think to post pictures of the pieces I made for their tutors!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not a bloggers' blog ...

I am NOT a blogger.  I'll get that confession out of the way quickly so that you won't be disappointed reading the rest of my first official 'not-a-bloggers-blog-post'!  Since I've told you what I am NOT, I guess it would only be fair to tell you a little bit about who I am.

My name is Laura, I am a daughter, sister, wife, and mother.  I am daughter to the King of kings, sister to many through Christ, wife to a noble husband and gift from God, and a proud mother to three most amazing children who stand to inherit the same Kingdom as I.  If you came here to look at jewelry, you may wonder why I would start off telling you about my Father.  But it is important to me that I explain the connection between who I am as His child in light of the jewelry I make.  You see, I am a sinner, which by its very definition means that I am imperfect, flawed, broken, deficient ... lacking.  Let me not forget the best part though, I am saved by grace, and therefor am perfect in His sight!  Not a perfect person, but perfectly loved!  So when I create jewelry, I have a tendency to shy away from what looks 'perfect' and find satisfaction in mixing materials and colors in a way that compliments the natural imperfections in the materials ... much like God does for each of us!

I hope you will stick around while I get used to the 'blog thing' and enjoy looking at some of the pieces I have made.  There is a story behind the majority of jewelry I have made in the last year.  I may not have the time to tell all their stories, but I'd like to try!  I hope that through their stories you will understand more about my heart, indeed I hope their stories will help you understand His heart for you!  He longs for us to know Him intimately.  His desire is that we accept our imperfections, embrace our brokenness, acknowledge our deficiencies, recognize our flaws, confess our sins, and trust that He is truly ALL we will ever need in this life!  Jewelry might make you feel pretty for a moment, but Gods' desire is to restore us to the Beauty He originally created!  What could be more perfect than that?