Friday, September 19, 2014

You asked!

Holy cow, y'all.... life lately. Completely nuts.
Last week I asked if any of you had questions. And I had every intention of blogging in the next day or two to answer them.
And now I'm finally getting to it.

Shelly asked: I am the only member of my family that eats guacamole, does your family share your passion for guacamole?
Ha! The Man and The Girl like guac. Not as much as I do, but they like it.
The Boy and The Baby don't like it. Which leaves more for meeeeee!!

Lynn asked: What made you decide to do what you do? How did Rusted Chain come to be? What advice would you give someone who us thinking about trying their hand at this??
Do what I do as in stamped jewelry? Or owning my own businesses? I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even as a kid when I played with playdough, I would be imagining my dough was actually a donut shop. I had customers lined out the door. And I was the boss. (I'm a wee bit bossy.)
I fell into the jewelry. It started as a hobby, just something fun for me. And then people started offering to buy my jewelry they saw me wearing. I began selling it on ebay. Then etsy opened and I opened a store there.
Then it exploded and became a full fledged business.
Advice: Being your own boss is one of the hardest things you can do. You'll work an unreal amount of hours. You'll get stressed and cry. But it's also one of the most rewarding things you can do! The sense of accomplishment can't be matched.

Kristin asked: Where in Kansas are you located?
Rural Kansas. Farm country. We're surrounded by crop fields, dirt roads, and Mennonite farmers. About 40 minutes North of Wichita.

Susan asked: Are your cuff bracelets adjustable for bigger wrists? Also, how do you order online? I was having a little trouble with the web site. Do you ever have items in retail shops? Thank you!
Yes, the metal cuff bracelets are fully adjustable! Order online at therustedchain.com. If you have problems you can email therustedchain@yahoo.com and someone can help you. We do have some wholesale items in retail shops!

Townsend asked: Why do we accumulate so much stuff?
Ugh! Seriously! I think for me it's lack of time. I'm not much of a buyer, not a hoarder. But there just never seems to be TIME to sort through and get rid of stuff!

AnnandBob asked: Do you have more coffee from Nicaragua? Or know where we can get some? It is delicious!!!!!
Yes!! Isn't it so good?! I drink it every day. I'll put it up for sale again on our Facebook page. All of the proceeds are going to help Oasis de Esperanza in Managua, Nicaragua! Love that!!

Melissa asked: Would you consider doing a virtual house tour? It would be fun to see your space. Also, what's your schedule like on a typical weekday.
Strangely... no. I'm very open about a lot of things but have always kept our house fairly private. I do expose a lot of my world online, but like to keep some things just to us. An average day: Yikes. Wake up at 5:45, breakfast, get the kids off to school, go jog, come home, shower, start work by 7:30 or 8. I work all day either in jewelry production, emails, phone calls, bridal meetings, marketing... Kids get home from school in the afternoon and we jump into chores and homework, while I'm still answering emails. Get dinner on the table. Most evenings I have more bride meetings. Then bed time at 8:30... which really means everyone is bouncing around until 9:30 or so. Bedtime NEVER happens on time, which is part of the reason I start it so early. I go to bed about 10-10:30, read, fall asleep by 11:30, and then start again the next day.

Trasie asked: What is your least favorite part of being a business owner? What is your favorite?
Currently the least favorite part is the lack of time and balance. I'm juggling 3 busy businesses and don't feel like there's ever time to just breathe. There's no girlfriend time, shopping time, relaxation time... it's all work, all the time. Ha! But... I chose it! Favorite: the sense of accomplishment! Who would have ever thought that I, with very little brains in my noggin, could run a business?! Not me, that's for darn sure.

Thanks guys!! 

Friday, September 05, 2014

How did that happen?

This is one of the questions I'm asked most often lately.
"You went to Nicaragua with a group of people you'd never met?! How did that happen?"



So here's how.
A lady named Ruth found me through this here simple ol' blog. Last year she emailed me.

"Hi Beki. You don't know me, but I hope you take time to read this. We returned home from Nicaragua last Friday and my mind is whirling and twirling. This is our third year to go to Nicaragua to work with the kids in the dumpground...and my heart's desire is to help these kids break the cycle of living in the dump. To give them a hope and a future. And remind them that their past does NOT define them. Yesterday driving home from work, this thought went thru my head. You may think I'm crazy, but I think God told me to contact you.  Maybe it's not God, but I've learned that most of the time it is...

Would you consider partnering with this school? I'd love to visit with you if you feel this is a door you might choose to crack open. I'd also like for you to go to Nicaragua for a short stay to see for yourself exactly what I'm talking about if you feel this is God leading you. I know we don't personally know each other, so this is awkward. My palms are sweaty even writing those words on the screen.

I'd ask that you pray about this. I'm scared to even hit send on this email. But I've also learned to trust God with the "crazy ideas". He's bigger than we can imagine!"

So. I read it and was stunned. Some lady I've never met wants me to hop a plane and go to a third world country with her... suuuuure. No biggie.
I read it to The Man and his response was a resounding NO. No way. That's nuts.
She seems like a sweet enough lady, but no. Ain't happenin'.



Two weeks later I replied to her. TWO WEEKS, y'all!! It wasn't intentional to keep her hanging on the line. I was just busy and trying to process it.
And when I did reply (finally!) I simply said, "Hi Ruth!
I just wanted to let you know that this email DID end up in the right place.
We're talking. Thinking. Praying. Discussing.
But I didn't want you to think it was being ignored.
Thank you so much."

Well if that doesn't just warm the cockles of your heart... Ugh.



But... God's a funny one. And He just kept pestering me. And pestering me.
Finally earlier this year I reached out to Ruth and asked more details. How much would it cost? What are the dates? What would it entail?
The Man was growing weary of me talking about it to him... I was breaking him. And he caved.
About 6 weeks before the actual trip, I agreed to go.



I met up with our team in the Houston airport and had never spoken with any of them before that moment.
I was terrified, but knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I was on the edge of something big.




I still don't know why God spoke so clearly to Ruth to reach out to me, of all people.
I have no idea why I now have a lifetime connection with Nicaragua. But I'm so grateful for all of it!
And I can't wait to see how more of the story unfolds.

(photos from a recent vacation to Colorado.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

I haven't been completely honest with you...

I've been home from Nicaragua for what... 5? 6? 7? weeks now? I'm afraid to even look.
I should be over it, right? I should be recovered. I should be back into the groove of real life.
I'm not.
I secretly look through hundreds of Nicaragua photos on my computer.





We've taken 2 family vacations. We've had a wedding. The kids are back in school.
And still all I can think of approximately 5,672 times a day is Nicaragua.
I think of bumpy cobblestone streets.
I think of thick humidity.

I think of language barriers and I laugh.
I think of Angel, a big tough Army guy, joking with Ruth about her son. Saying her son hadn't behaved and so Angel tasted him.
Ruth said, "TASTED him?" ... "yes, I tasted him."
"You tasted him?" ... "si."
Ruth: "TASTED HIM? Like, you were licking my son?! Why were you licking my kid?" ... "No, I tazded him. Like bzzzz, bzzzz, with a taser."

I think of Carlos telling me the men on our team had eaten sneakers for lunch.
"Sneakers?" .... "yes, sneakers."
Me: "SNEAKERS?" ... "yes, sneakers."
Me: "SNEAKERS?! Like shoes?? Zapatos?!" ... "No, sneakers! Like chocolate, caramel..."
"Oh SNICKERS!!"




I think of dirty feet.
I think of big brown eyes.
I think of hope and happiness.
I think of going into a bat cave at the bottom of a volcano, even though caves are terrifying to me. I think of the panic attack I had and yet, I'd do it all again right now if I could.

The truth is, it all makes my heart hurt.
I miss it terribly. I'm trying desperately to merge 2 distinct parts of myself that are competing.

Friday, August 08, 2014

It's not my time.

Have you ever had a moment where God spoke to you so clearly it was like He was in the room with you?
I have. It's overwhelming. Tear inducing. You know what you have been told and you know there's no way to unhear that. It's only happened a few times in my life and it's heart stopping.

Other times, however, it's not as obvious.
Sometimes it seems like God is completely silent, even though we desperately beg for answers.

And still at other times, you know He's speaking, but it's a mumble. A jumble. You don't know exactly what's being said or what you're supposed to do about it.
It's the Charlie Brown teacher.
That's where I currently am. I hear messages coming at me loud and clear.
Verses hit me squarely between the eyes.
Sermons are clearly written just for me.
Songs are played on the radio with lyrics that are obviously intended for me at this very moment. (my narcissism is kicking in...)
But... what does it all mean???

I was asked to be on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker's book Interrupted.
And yes, it is wrecking me. (in real life my fingers aren't blue...) It's no coincidence I received this book when I did.
How long have I been squeaky clean and comfortable?
Sure, I will announce to anyone and everyone that I love Jesus but am I living it?
Have I reflected God enough with my life?
When was the last time I loved until it hurts?

This book is not fluff. Don't get me wrong, I like happy clappy fluffy fun books.
But this one is meaty. Thick. Deep. It's a lot to chew on. But it is oh so good.
Here's a little secret: Jen Hatmaker is not all that special. (*gasp*!) She's actually pretty normal, just like you and I. But she's willing to dig deep, ask God tough questions, and hear even tougher answers.


I'm scrambling to put all pieces of a puzzle together with a sense of urgency. I'm not even sure I have all the pieces yet, but I'm sure as heck willing to try to start creating something.  I'm ready to start slapping them together hoping a picture emerges.
I'll admit to being frustrated.
And it's becoming apparent that it's just not my time. It's God's timing that matters.
I want all the answers and I want them now. I want to understand these messages, weave them into a beautiful blanket, and begin using it, nice and cozy-like.
But it's not time yet. If I were meant to understand, it would be clear by now.
It's not my time. It's God's time.
Imagine that...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Time flies!

when you're busy... Ha!
The last 2 weeks have been a little nutso. We've had jewelry orders like crazy (yay!), a couple of weddings at the Barn (yay!), and I've had pneumonia (boo.).

This recent wedding was just so so lovely!
It was perfectly pulled together and elegant in every way.
They got married next to the silo. Whiskey barrels with peach roses set off the center aisle.



The bride and groom chose not to see each other before the ceremony so we grabbed this photo.
She was in the bottom of the barn with the groomsmen, the Groom was in the hayloft window with the bridesmaids.




Guests mingled, laughed, enjoyed the scenery. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening!





There's really never enough time in the day to do all the things I want and need to do... but Gosh, I love my job(s)!!