Saturday, January 1, 2011

Well happy new year everyone!!!

Here is my present to my self....a blog!  I don't know what exactly I'm going to do with it, but I am starting a new stage in my life and I wanted to chronicle it!!  Plus, I have many supporters of my "Earring Project" who have wanted to stay in touch with me.  I never felt comfortable giving out my work email (the only one I use), so maybe this will work. Okay, let me give you a little background on "The Earring Project".  Hopefully, I'll be able share this experience in a way that will inspire you as it inspired me....

Four plus years ago, our youth minister, Brian, asked if I was interested in going on a mission trip to Honduras.  I recently had gone with the youth group on a mission trip to New Orleans.  I guess he knew that I had enjoyed it and thought I might be interested in this trip.  I was interested, but I couldn't wrap my head around the idea of it. (third world country,  cost, language barrier, etc.)  I had recently borrowed from my retirement account for my older son's tuition & I decided that I would go with it and use a portion of that money, even though I still hadn't totally wrapped my head around it.  My husband's  approval was a different matter....He said, "Patty, Honduras, there are safer places."  He doesn't usually try to tell me what to do, but since I was spending my own money, I told him, "If Brian thinks it's okay, then it must be fine."  Plus, I'm a little bit stubborn and dare he try to stop me!! :D  That first year, I had some help from the church and a little bit from my mom and the rest is history.  I won't get into it too much here, but seeing the abject poverty in Honduras changed my life.  When I came back to the US, it affected every part of my life.  (every purchase, every bite I put in my mouth, etc.)  In the past, I could easily waste $30-50 a weekend just shopping or eating out.  I decided that instead of doing that, I would save that money formally wasted on things I didn't need for my Honduras trip.  It also became my goal that my younger son would also come with me on this trip.  He wasn't thrilled by that idea, but he is easy going. I told him to just go with me once and he wouldn't ever have to go again.  I had reported to the elders of our church and told them what a spiritually life-changing experience it had been & they agreed to give substantial help to those who wanted to go.  Honduras trip 2008 went well, not only did my son go, but one of our elders.  My son even wanted to go the next two years.  I think it changed his life as much as it did mine. (I'm also almost positive that he chose the Christian college he goes to because of people who went there that he met in Honduras.) Okay, I'm sorry this is dragging on....Let's jump ahead to Christmas 2009. 

That year, my teacher friends and I had decided not to buy expensive Christmas presents.  My friend had recently given me a pair of cute earrings that she had purchased at a craft fair.  I loved them & I thought, I can do that..., so I decided to make earrings for my buddies.  They loved them and started wearing them all of the time.  I got so much joy each time they wore them....Okay here comes  the divine inspiration......Around January 2010, I got the idea to make earrings and sell them to help fund my summer mission trip.  I was in Hobby Lobby and found some heart beads and thought, people might buy earrings for friends and family for Valentines' Day.  I worked and made many earrings and took them to my school and put them in the lounge.  I came up with the reasonable price of $5 a pair.  Well, the teachers went crazy.  Each night, I would go home and make as many earrings as I could and each day, I would have $100 or so, for my mission fund.  I did this several more times around Easter and through-out the year.  I also got permission to do a slide show about my Honduras trip with the ladys' Bible class on Wednesday night and I took my earrings.  I sold more there too.  Some of the ladies even wanted to take them to their places of business to sell them.

At the Bible class, one of the ladies asked if I had heard about the Downtown Market in Clarksville.  She explained that it lasted every Saturday from May to Oct. and there was one low fee of $50 for the season.  I seriously thought, wow, every Saturday.  I did research and thought, okay, I'm going for it.

The Downtown Market wasn't quite as successful as selling to the teachers at school, but it was an awesome way to connect with and meet people.  Overall, I would average a little less than $100 a Saturday.  Not too bad, but, when I consider my hourly wage as a teacher, it's kind of ironic, but of course, this was totally different.  Going back to the personal connections, I met so many people.  The other vendors and I almost became like family.  There were customers that would also come every Saturday and stand and chat and also buy earrings.  Chatting with these people became a great opportunity to share my mission work, as well as answer questions that they had.  Many wanted to know where I went to church, so it became an opportunity to witness about my faith and mission work. (Something I never thought I would be able to do) "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!!"  When the last market of the season came around in Oct., I had customers who were sad & asked how they could stay in touch with me.  Well, it's a few months later, but I'm hoping I can use the blog for this.... FOR THE BIG FINALE........

With God's help through getting the idea to sell earrings and setting up a special savings account, this past 2010, I was able to pay for my son and my trip without any additional help from the church!!!!!!!! I give God the glory for that one!  My son has actually made 3 times, but doesn't want to go this year, but listen to this..................I already have over $2K for my 2011, this year I plan on extending my usually 11 days in Honduras.  My plan is to go from June 23 through July 11th.  That's along time to be gone and with Nick's traveling, we may need a dog/house sitter!! :D

Okay, I know this has been long, here are the topics I plan to cover in my blog.....

*Earring project progress (places, fairs, etc. that I'll be selling)
*discuss about personal triumph and struggles (age, empty nest, fitness, age, diet, age) ha ha, you get it.
*Discussions about personal faith
*stories about my job (there's plenty, I teach 2nd graders)
and anything else I can think of....

I would appreciate any creative suggestions or input.  Please don't be too harsh, my frail ego can't take it!! :D


  1. Hi Patty,
    Wonderful job on your first blog. It's great that your jewelry has already paid for this years trip. Jeff has gone to Brazil a couple of times and we know how expense a trip like this can be. May God continue to bless your business and bless you for answering His call to go on missions!!
    Can't wait to hear more...

  2. Hey Patty,
    I am so proud of your dedication to the mission field. I know you have a heart of service for others. I like the blog too!! I had actually thought about starting one this year too, so maybe you will encourage me to do just that this year. I think it is awesome that you have already raised so much money for your mission trip---just awesome! God doesn't have boundaries--we do, so it is great when we let him have his way and see the wonderful things that transpires. Keep it up Girl :)

  3. "things that transpire" I meant. :)

  4. Thanks Diane & Tammie for your words of encouragement. Diane, it's fairly easy, I'm still figuring things out & it's hard of you are a perfectionist, (about some things) like me. I keep finding mistakes. Even if noone reads it, I think it will help me. I have always thought about writing, so now I've taken a baby step in that direction.

  5. May God bless you and your endeavor. Happy New Year!

  6. Thanks Linda! Thanks for being such a good friend to my mom!