A God of New Things…and Etsy!

20160802_081519 - Copy - CopyIt’s August already.  Only 3 more full weeks left before school starts.  We are shopping for school supplies later this week.  I don’t know if I have really enjoyed these warmer months.

God has been keeping me busy…leading me to amazing books to read, our yearly pilgrimage to the family cottage in Michigan, new adventures for the children, and work….

Launch Ministry in particular has kept me occupied, stretching my heart while strengthening my mind and soul.  The stories that spend time in our space are amazing…dynamic individuals who have or are going through the fires and just want to have a productive, safe and stable life!!!  And then the piles of donations from churches and individuals for our clients, including providing basics for individuals moving into their own places after being homeless!!!  Then there are the children, three local kids held a lemonade stand and donated their earnings to us, over $100!

I will not go into all the details of this summer, but I thank God for bringing our “nanny” into our lives.  She is a blessing beyond words.  She gets our kids and does all she can to make her time with them special.  They love her as if she was their older sister!

But as summer closes out, I am happily anxious over two new developments which open up more possibilities:

  1. The kids will both be going to school….our youngest starts Kindergarten!  They will depart on the same bus and have the same schedule.  While we dearly miss Mt. Calvary’s Preschool, it will be so nice to not have to shuttle kids in two directions!  And the time I will have!  While I do take the advice of other mom’s for not booking my hours to overflowing, it will be nice to know the kids are have a great time at school while I can get more things done.  (And maybe write more???)
  2. I’ve just opened an Etsy shop.  I started needle felting earlier this year, ending up with a parliament of owls.  As our son’s school’s mascot is an owl, I gave them as gifts to teachers and staff.  But I kept making them!  Not to mention all the other crafty ideas stored away in my head.  I’m using the profits to pay down my seminary loan.  This is a new adventure!  I just love Etsy…a place to view and purchase so many amazing things – all created by the amazing gifts God has given people!

Check out my new shop:  SistersUnderTheTrees

Even if you don’t purchase something, please favorite it and/or pass it on to friends!

As a thank you to my first customers, in the month of August they get 10% off with the coupon code: BLESSINGS

May God lead you on new adventures!






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How To Couchsurf and Put Your Life Together

I have officially couchsurfed while technically being homeless.  I wasn’t really homeless…but I didn’t have a home of my own.  I had just moved out to DC for my first job after college, and as I was trying to find my first apartment, I stayed with family friends.  My sister did a similar thing, but in NYC.  (Thank you to these amazing families!)  We had a choice…but not everyone does.

I’ve been working at Launch Ministry for 8 months now.  It’s been a long 8 months…so
many different stories, but many with similar themes.  Being homeless or having non-
permanent housing is generally part of their stories.  As we do not have any shelters in our immediate area (and don’t tell me “oh, they can just go into the city”…yeah – and how are they supposed to get to work/school without transportation as the buses aren’t when and where they need them???), most end up couchsurfing with friends, relatives, relatives of friends, and total strangers.  It’s part of their reality – their lives.  Perhaps it is part of your life.

And one recurring theme: burning bridges when couchsurfing.  So, here are a few guidelines for those couchsurfing…and wanting to stay friends with your host:

Guidelines for Successful Couchsurfing

  1. You are a guest, but it is not a hotel.  Keep your personal items in one, organized, small consolidated area and always clean up your trash.
  2. Always leave the space looking as if you are not staying there.  (Don’t leave clothes wherever they fall, clean up bathroom/kitchen immediately when done, etc.)
  3. Find ways to help your host – take out the trash, walk the dog, share food from a food shelf, clean (not just after yourself, but other things too!).
  4. Work everyday towards getting your own place to live – check apartment/room listings and contact every possible option, work overtime or a second job to save money, apply for housing programs, etc.
  5. If your host(s) say no drugs, alcohol, and smoking – then no drugs, alcohol or smoking.  This includes not “coming home” high or drunk.  No excuses.
  6. Do not invite friends over without prior approval from your host(s).  If approved, you are responsible for your guest’s behavior and cleaning up after them.
  7. Set a time limit for your stay with your host and stick to it.  Even if your host says “whenever”, keep it to no longer than a few weeks.  (You may be able to stay with them later…if you follow these rules.)

As the saying goes, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you will make it.








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