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?