proverbs 31

Why I support handmade and small.

Good morning friends, it is bright and early before the sun here and I seem to have a lot churning around in my mind. So I thought I would come over here to share, encourage, and hopefully inspire a few of you. 

Do it yourself projects, websites like Etsy, and being crafty are all the rage right now. I think there is a good reason for this...people long to create meaning. We long to bring significance to the world and to share that significance with others...and often that desire leads to creating. It is encouraging to me to see people creating, not just running down to the store to buy something (not that there is anything wrong with that)...but people desiring to use their own two hands. I find that I am wired to create. I may not be incredibly gifted in one type of hobby or skill, but I have a very strong determination to learn and get better at whatever hobby I am into. 

So why am I saying all this? Well I think that "hobbies" or skills, gifts or talents, or whatever you want to call them are God-given and should be cultivated, supported, encouraged, and affirmed. (Some of those words may be slightly redundant but I am just trying to make a point hehe) We know in the Bible there are spiritual gifts mentioned, (1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 14:1-5; Romans 12:6-8) and I am not ignoring these or downplaying them. I think it is so very important to ask the Lord to reveal our gifts to us, such as mercy, prophecy, hospitality, etc...however those gifts are not what I am focusing on necessarily in this post. What has been on my mind are the gifts like--woodworking, sewing, crocheting, baking, having business savvy just to name a few. These things are not necessarily spelled out in the scriptures, but does that mean that being passionate about these things is not supported and encouraged by the Holy Word of God? NO, they are supported.

Let's take a look at Proverbs 31 (for those of you not familiar with this passage, it is written by a king who is reciting or recording an oracle that his mother taught him, it lays out the qualities of a godly woman and wife, and is a great passage to turn our eyes to as women as how to manage our homes, marriages, and lifestyles to bring glory to the Lord)...

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands." (vs. 13)

"She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens." (vs.15)

"She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard." (vs 16)

"She perceives her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night." (vs. 18)

"She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle." (vs.19)

"She makes linen garments and sells them, she delivers sashes to the merchants." (vs. 24)

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." (vs. 27)

The passage goes on to say that this type of woman is to be praised by her children and also her husband. Wow. Those verses speak to baking, sewing, selling, buying, being a business woman...these verses affirm the idea of creating. It is a way to be a blessing to others, which in turn shows the love of our Father and brings him glory. It is a way to keep us as women from becoming lazy and idle in our free time, which helps us to manage our lifestyles and homes well, which brings the Lord glory. All of this brings the Lord glory.

So...why do I support handmade businesses or small businesses? Because women that step out in faith by using gifts the Lord has given them to bring him glory through creating inspire me. I feel like they are a picture to the world around them of something the world cannot fully understand. The world tells us, follow your heart, do what makes you happy, why? to make yourself happy, to make money, most importantly for yourself. But godly women striving after this Proverbs 31 goal do what they love not for themselves (though it may bring them immense joy and fulfillment) but they use their gifts as blessings to those in their households and other outside their homes...and greatest of all they use their gifts to bring our Father God glory. Bringing him glory is why we are here, if we forget that we lose sight of our mission as a child of God.

I have been so inspired by other blogs that I follow, Etsy shops, and just individuals that love creating. These people have pushed me to use my free time more wisely and to really dig and find out what my passions and giftings are. So I thought it would be fun to begin periodically sharing a business I support here on the blog. (Handmade Highlight) Sometimes I may have interviews with the individual, other times I may just tell you a little about them and include a link to their website. I will try to do this once a month or so. I think it will be a fun way to honor and highlight some really inspirational people as well as push us all to be more creative in our ministry as women.

So for today I am highlighting my dear friend Sera Beth Pinkard. Sera Beth and I were sorority sisters in college and became dear friends towards the last year of school. She has a huge heart for business, fashion and puppies (her little pup Marley is one of the cutest things ever). Sera Beth owns a small online clothing/accessories store called Edna Grayce's. (oh did I mention she is getting married in just a month? she has started this whole business all while being engaged and planning a wedding! what a gal!)

Sera Beth loves the Lord, and desires to use her business as a way to bless others in a very tangible way. A portion of all her sales always go to various charities, organizations, and causes. She does not charge shipping on her items as an additional way to bless her customers. All of her pieces are great for women of all ages, they are modest, flattering, stylish and affordable. Here are a few of my favorite pieces. 

(just bought this beauty of a cardigan from Sera Beth yesterday. Its warm, cozy, and goes with so much. Perfect piece to dress up a t shirt)

I asked Sera Beth a few questions so that ya'll can get to know her just a tiny bit better...So here she is...

Rachel: "What drove you to start your own business?"
Sera Beth: "I had the desire to be able to determine the heights of my own success and didn't want anyone else to do that for me."

Rachel: "How do you pick out pieces for your store?"
Sera Beth: "I have three things I usually go by: my intuition when I see new items, customer feedback, and I also invest a good bit of time following fashion bloggers to stay on top of the latest trends!"

Rachel: "What is your favorite scripture verse?"
Sera Beth: "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)"

Rachel: "What are your top 3 closet staples?"
Sera Beth: "For the winter season they have been my Frye boots, basic color fleece leggings, and scarves. You can put those on with any top, dress, or sweater and have a cute yet comfy outfit."

Rachel: "What inspires you most?"
Sera Beth: "I have to say I always thought my dreams and goals for my life were always too far fetch but in college I read the book, "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and it gave me the affirmation that I was wired with an entrepreneur's mindset!!! We are just wired a little different in our thinking process. I promise I am not crazy, that book really did inspire me to live out my dreams to the fullest."

Thanks so much Sera Beth for being the first business highlighted in my new blog series Handmade Highlight. Love you sweet friend, and I am so proud of all the work you are doing!

Everyone head on over to Edna Grayce's Website and check out all the adorable stuff Sera Beth has right now. I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed when you purchase from this little lady.

I hope this was as inspirational to you as it was for me. Let's push each other to be doers and use our free time to cultivate gifts in order to bring the Lord glory and to be a blessings to others.