Deo Gratias

 

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Thanks be to God for the many blessings granted to my family recently. From the lawyer offering to represent me gratis, to support from my friends and family for my business ventures, to the good news that my bank will finance a house for us, I feel very blessed and grateful.

 

 

“I plead with you, never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.” John Paul II

Another business update

319616It’s only a few days until I open my online business, and I’m a little apprehensive.

If anyone had told me how much work would be involved, I don’t think I would have ever begun.

There is so much to think about, and I have had so many technical difficulties, mostly due to my lack of skill in that department. I am easily overwhelmed by computers and internet that don’t work the way I need them to – you would laugh if you saw how slow I am at typing, how I shake my temperamental mouse, how impatient I am with this amazing technology that has made our lives so much easier.

One of the little ones jumped on my laptop last week and broke the screen. I didn’t even launch an investigation into finding the identity of the culprit – I just didn’t want to go through the rigmarole of “not me” or “I don’t know” or try and match up the various alibis – I am fairly sure that it was an under five who didn’t even know what they’d done. (Now – the lipstick episode is another matter entirely….)

So I have borrowed another laptop, which doesn’t run all of my programmes, but is a blessing because all of the keys are intact – one trademark of the twins is that they enjoy removing keyboard letters, a legacy they passed onto Danielle when she was old enough.

My babysitter gave me a great inspirational card – it says: “The task ahead of you is never as great as the power within you” and is based on Philippians 4:13 – ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’

This has really kept me going – I keep it on the fridge and refer to it when I pass. Reading these words makes me physically relax, and I feel that I am actually giving my work over to Jesus, Who gets things done so much better than me, anyway.

I am now in the position where I have to support my family. There, I actually mentioned it in my blog.
It’s not something I want. The business was going to be a little hobby, the first thing I had ever done ‘outside the home’, so to speak. (It’s obviously ‘inside the home’, as an online business.)

Now it has come to be so much more. This is going to be a big part of the future for me and my children.

I am going to try to type the next words – I am a single mum with ten children.
Hmmm. I don’t really like the sound of that.
Your will be done, Lord.

Mary didn’t understand everything when she said ‘yes’ to God, and I certainly don’t understand what’s happening now.

There’s a fearful irony at work here – in doing something I never planned to do, in circumstances I didn’t choose, I feel that I may become the person I was always meant to be.

Business Update

It’s hard to go from contemplating the words of John Paul II to writing about business matters. But, when I remind myself that our business will be helping to support my family, then, it’s as if a circuit is connected which allows the spiritual principles continue to flow into the material needs.

The Etsy shop is set to open on January 1st – if I make it to midnight on New Year’s Eve, then I’ll open the shop then with a few clicks. The 1st of January is a great Feast day, dedicated to the Mother of God, and I like to attend Mass on that day, to dedicate the whole year to Our Lady, and through her, to God. Opening the shop on that day is my way of dedicating the entire business venture to the Lord.

I’m also working on a Facebook page for the shop; there’s not much there yet, but I should be able to post some photos today.

Here are some of the resources that I’ve been gleaning information from:

How to Start a Home-based Online Retail Business by Jeremy Shepherd

http://www.createhype.com
http://www.MyWifeQuitHerJob.com
http://www.christianpf.com

Etsy posts a number of really helpful tutorials about all facets of starting and growing a craft-related business. Some of the topics I have looked at are: costing, designing a shop banner, photographing shop items.

I’m always interested in finding out more about running a small business, so fell free to leave some links that you have found helpful.

We are also going to be moving house in the New Year, so pray for me that I will be able to keep it all together.
God’s blessings to you all.

Home Essentials – Stewardship

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I’m part way through a helpful finance workshop courtesy of Christian Personal Finance, (christianpf.com). I came across this site when looking for a free downloadable budget planner, as mentioned previously.

Well, the site is really interesting, and I signed up for a 20 day finances ‘makeover’; one lesson comes each day via email. So far, the lessons have been very straightforward, and most have been relevant to my household. (Except for advice about refinancing a home-loan – we are renting at the moment and don’t have a mortgage to consider.)

Apart from the workshop, there are numerous free budgeting tools, templates, reviews and articles – there is even a self-employed, homeschooling mother among the contributors. And I really appreciate the the Scriptural perspective of the writers.

Our circumstances recently changed, and my housekeeping money has decreased, but I’ve been amazed at how easy it has been to adapt. This must be due, in part, to the finance workshop, and also to my changing relationship to money, which has come as a result of planning a home-business.

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The following Scripture reference was posted on the CPF website in an article about adult children returning to the parental home, but it was relevant for me today as I made time to help with my little grandson:

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – 1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)

They are rather strong words, and a good reminder that charity does begin at home, and that we are also called to be good stewards of our time.

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A Beautiful Idea.

I thought I would continue today with the story of how I came up with my business idea. You must remember, that I haven’t yet opened my shop or made a single sale, so it’s possible that I should be writing this twenty years in the future, when Bill Gates is asking me for advice.

Any way, someone asked me how I blend being a Catholic with running a business, so maybe my thoughts will be of some interest.

A few days ago, I wrote about the struggle I had had with the concept of supplementing my husband’s income. This is not meant to be a criticism of those mothers who work outside the home – it’s just a personal obstacle that I had about my own situation. So, I first went to Book of Proverbs for some illumination.

Then I came across a helpful little book at the library – about using the biblical principles found in “Proverbs” to assist in running a business. It was a Protestant book, and had a lot of useful ideas, as well as case-studies. It mentioned the company, “Chick-Fil-A” which we don’t have in Australia, but I was familiar with the name, because I had read about their opposition to Obama’s HHS. Anyway, Chick-Fil-A chooses not to open on the Sabbath, and, despite that, has grown into a very successful business. The owner said that he had been thanked by some of his competitors, who said that they would never have gotten off the ground if he had opened on Sundays, so it just goes to show how God’s providence takes into account those without faith, as well as the faithful.

Around this time, I did some brainstorming in my trusty journal – I knew there was an idea in there somewhere, waiting to see the light of day. I wrote down my skill set (craft/logistics/business, knows what its like to be tired/frustrated/having limited resources) and some markets I could see weren’t being catered to (home-educators/ busy mothers/semi crafty people who need some help to get started/people who love beautiful things but can’t afford them). And so my idea was born – put together kits for homewares that people can make themselves. Sort of like a cross between Martha Stewart and Ikea. It was easy to come up with some simple projects inspired by my favourite textile artists, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. I can envisage more projects to come, with a specifically Catholic theme, inspired by the work of Pugin, and which revolve around the Liturgical Year.

“The Most Beautiful Thing this side of Heaven.”

I know that I’m not a great artist who can transform a lump of silver into a beautiful ring, or a blank canvas into something that will inspire generations, but I think that I possess the sort of creativity that John Paul II called the ‘genius of woman.’ (One of my sons has suggested that this ‘genius’ refers to our ability to remove layers of make-up from our faces.)

I can see the business staying very small, more like a hobby, or growing into something bigger. It’s like a blog, in that regard – we never quite know where it will take us.

The Ideal Wife

The ideal wife? No, I’m not one by a long shot. I used this title because after reading the passages in Proverbs ch.31 regarding wifely duties, I overcome the last obstacle I had to wanting to start my own business – would I be venturing into the sphere of my husband’s responsibility?

Here’s what the Bible has to say, and what I realized as I read it:

“She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard,” (Pr. 31:16-17)
So, it’s OK if I make some important decisions…

“She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is not dimmed…” (verse 18)
I must endeavour to pay my electricity bill on time…

“She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy” (verse 20)
I must never forget those less fortunate than myself…

“She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts” (verse 24)
I could be a retailer!

“She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness” (verse 27)
But, work mustn’t interfere with the running of my home.

Yes, charity begins there, alright –
I have a little grandson needing attention and a tired daughter needing a break – more tomorrow!

“A Beautiful Home” store lives again…

This will be a quick post, because it is RATHER late, here in Tasmania…but I have some good news; I will be opening an online store on January 1st, after all. Pray for me that all my dreams, and yours, will come to pass. My goals will have to be re-re=evaluated. At least I can start out small on an Etsy store.

Some of the children were sick today with a fluey/cold, so we had a quiet day, but those who were well made some simple rolled candles from beeswax sheets. This was fun, and even one of the teenagers joined in. I tried to be efficient and take photos of our little workshop, but the camera was out of juice. (I will definitely post photos tomorrow, I promise.) We made a few different styles and burned four of them during our Rosary tonight. The candles are 100% beeswax, and have a faint scent of honey. I think that these home-made candles will make nice gifts for Christmas.

You have already seen photos of my baby grand-son; here is one of my grand-daughter, taken on the day she was born. She seems to have a different temperament from our little boy – my twins also showed different personalities from birth…

My other grand-child, Alice

I have struggled a bit with the concept of posting details of my family, such as names and photos of the children, because of the problems that we all know exist in cyber-world, as well as the real world. But, I thought about where we live and the amount of crime that abounds in our neighborhood; in three years we have had five break-ins and thefts from the garage, one entry and theft from our home, a car stolen (and returned), a home invasion by a paranoid-schizophrenic, as well as sundry visits from mentally disabled people. You see, we live in a kind of medical precinct, close to clinics for alzheimer’s patients, drug and alcohol rehab, a methadone clinic, autism assessment and a children’s services department, as well as a sports ground and a school. Our home was once an Anglican rectory, so quite a few mentally-impaired people have come to call, hoping to find a friendly pastor to help them. But, we have never been harmed, or felt unsafe, despite these events – and you could say that we are ‘known to the police!’
So, I decided to run my blog as naturally as possible, mentioning my children’s names and posting their photographs from time to time. It’s because we always have some thing to be grateful for, and we always feel taken care of. That’s terrible grammar, but it’s true.

Lastly, one of my daughters told me today that she thinks my blog is really “me.” That’s what I needed to hear.