My cousin - one of many whom I admire - made a brave and bold decision 2 years ago to purchase a dying company and rebuild it into something that can only be described with her own vernacular: fabulous. She changed the face of one of the streets in her downtown by imagining beauty into existence in the store windows. She does everything she can to bring quality products to her town so that even those raised in rinky-dink villages have the opportunity to try on - and own - something that makes them sparkle for these days & evenings they will likely remember forever.
And just why do I care if girls in Northwest Ohio are wearing prettier dresses to prom or that Maggie Sottero -the designer of my own wedding dress, named Ophelia (see, you never forget these things) - now stands on the streets I used to cruise?
Because the store - most any small business - is a story of how a person wanted more for their community and they put their heart and soul into breathing life into it. In the words of Erin Brockovich, "That is my work, my sweat, my time away from my kids!" Work is so much more than the bottom line of a P&L statement, even if that bottom number is what keeps the wheels turning.
All around me I see these brave and courageous women breathing life into others through their endeavors. Their courage to step away from the safety of standard employment to leap into their own unknown, using their talents and gifts to forge the path.
I see Jennie's marks on my own walls, the way she captures a beautiful moment and helps us, some of us mothers inept at producing our own documentation, remember the smiles and looks of our children.
I see Leslie's gorgeous - and oh, so tasty - confections creations that allow us to celebrate special moments in such a personal way. She took a hobby and a love and has blessed the parties and gatherings of others through her talents.
In this world, there are dreamers and there are doers. Hands down, I dream. I love to imagine the possibilities. Which is why I gaze upward toward the ladies who grab some gloves and pick up a shovel. They don't stop with the "a gal ought to..." but rather they follow it with "... and next I'll...".
Jen Hatmaker, a favorite blogger and a strong voice, just posted a video last night that continues to inspire.
We're living in such a unique time and place, where women everywhere are coming to the table and not just asking for a seat but telling the guys scoot over, we have an idea. Things are getting done. Work is being accomplished. Successfully. Even with a black bottom line.
I hear what Jen's saying. And I see what these women do. And I have to wonder how much talent, energy, and creation is going unharnessed. Is it possible we hushed the voices, if ever so stealthily, by asking them to serve in the nursery* when they could be creating new ways for people to know and see and experience God?
The world is changing and moving. The role and status and value of women in all communities has shifted and everywhere I look I see females stepping to the plate, bravely. Leaving - and joining - traditional roles as a way to fulfill a calling.
Laura's decision to step into a new work pushed me to step out of an old one. I look back at life as we knew it just 2 years ago and I see a different picture. Since then, Laura has painted a beautiful portrait of inspiration. I can't really fathom what my life might look like in 2 years. What my "business" will entail in 2 years, how my community can be affected in 2 years. What my daily grind will include in 2 years. So much - so much! - can change and will change if I'm willing to take my own bits of creative energy and put it to more than a whiteboard.
Not just in my occupation, but in the Kingdom of God.
*Please don't think I'm belittling nursery workers. I'm not. I need these people. I'm just asking if that's the best we can offer when someone wants to serve.