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Measuring the Cost

My husband is dangerously close to running out of peanut butter, our car needs gas and I need to replace various items in my wardrobe. For me, hopping into a vehicle and running to the store, popping by a station to fill my tank and a brief detour to Kohl’s pretty much satisfies all those needs. I count it a blessing to have a business that is moderately successful and makes those things possible.

A successful business was what I had hoped to create those many years ago when I found myself a single mom. I had just built a potter’s wheel and begun setting up a ceramics studio when the bottom fell out of my marriage and by extension, my life. I had just begun homeschooling our daughter. In those days, I didn’t have a straight job, money in my pocket or a financial cushion of any kind. When we ran out of anything we were out until more money came in. I always carefully weighed my driving habits because with limited funds, we had limited gasoline.

When I got paid for my pottery, I didn’t go by much-needed groceries, I bought more clay to make more pots to make more money because, for a while, we got our groceries from the faith-based food pantry.

What “saved” me wasn’t my studio–I knew nothing about how to market my work–but someone who came alongside me and invested in me. They helped me look at the ceramics studio as a business. We looked at my inventory and they presented it to me in a new way by asking questions that stick with me to this day. “How many of those do you have to sell to pay the rent? To cover your bills?”

This same mentor over the course of four years, helped me discover that my true  gift lay in writing–not clay. But until we arrived at that conclusion, my mentor and her husband gave me a grant to pursue creating mosaics. It was a very different life owning my own business. I had the freedom and flexibility to work from home, continue home schooling my daughter and pursue my creativity and live my life on my terms.

Recently, an opportunity presented itself. For a one-time donation, one could make the difference in the life of not just one woman, but three. How? By getting each of them their own sewing machine. My grandmother was a seamstress. She supported herself for many years that way. She didn’t own the shop where she worked, she just earned a living wage. It gave her live a modest life of dignity and relative comfort while contributing to society. Isn’t that what we all want?

To set three woman up, each with her own sewing machine, her own income stream, the difference between eating or starving, having a dwelling or being homeless, what was that going to cost? Three-hundred dollars.

Three hundred dollars may seem like a lot of money to us, and it is a fair chunk. But most of us, myself included, have the ability to make more money (thank God!) by working a side job, working extra hours, or through several income streams.

Consider what three hundred dollars will get you in the states: The base price for a decently designed book cover; Three hours of mentoring; A round-trip ticket on Allegiant Air for two people (from Columbus, OH to Charleston, SC as of this writing); Renting a car for a week; Two weeks of groceries for a small family; eating lunch out for 25 days or 30 cups of fancy designer coffee with noshie. How can you place a value on changing the lives of three people?

So what does this mean for you?

Think about the people who have sown into your life whether with time, supplies, finances or other support. How has that support impacted your life? What did it mean to you in the moment that you received it? Remember how you believed that it was the catalyst that changed everything? Remember the surge of hope that swept over you and how that hope fed your dreams for your future? Maybe you even thought, this is the day it all changes for the better.

I remember it very clearly. Every time someone sowed into my life, I wept. I not only felt that I wasn’t alone on my journey that I had been seen. That what I was doing mattered, and was valued; not only to my community and the people supporting me, but on a higher level. Every single time, it felt like divine intervention.

What if you are someone’s divine intervention? Even if you’re not exactly where you thought you would be just yet, but you’re on your way, it might be the perfect time to be investing in the dreams of someone coming up behind you.

 What if someone is dreaming and praying and hoping for just a little sign, a break though and you’re the one that’s supposed to deliver? What if someone is waiting on you?

I hope it keeps you up at night until you do something. You don’t want to miss out on the blessings of being a life-changer.

Sewing machine image borrowed from Colorways by Vicki Welsh. additionally, see much more of her gorgeous and breath-taking mosaic work here.

Published inBeing BraveDream bigInspirationPay it forwardStanding strong


  1. Rubitah Abraham Rubitah Abraham

    Very inspiring read Juli! It is true that when someone shows a little faith in you, your faith in humanity is multiplied a hundred times. Unfortunately, it is the same feeling in the case when someone tries to cheat you as well. To be able to focus on the faith, in the powerful waves of doubt, is what makes a person shines through, just the way you did! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, Rubitah! I appreciate your comments. Please come back and visit again.

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