May 27, 2013

An Honor & A Cause

Hello world. I want to start off by THANKING those men and women, alive and gone, who have put their lives on the line for the freedoms and safety that my family enjoys. My family has a few members whom have served this country, and Canada, and Memorial Day is more than just a day off to bar-b-que for me (although that is a very tasty part of it). I feel that my children are getting to the age where they can begin to understand the sacrifice that men and women give for them. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and so my children have a testimony of Jesus Christ and his atonement for each person. I have tried to explain to them that like Jesus Christ, others can sacrifice a lot, even their own lives, for people they do not know. This, I told them, is what Memorial Day is about. It is about those people who have given so much, some even their lives, so that we can have the freedom of religion, freedom from oppression, and personal agency. So many of you out there have served in such roles or know someone who has. I am grateful for each of you and your family members who have given me and my family peace.  Today I will try my best to be all I can be in honor of each of you. Thank you!

I would like to take a minute to highlight a local family that has members whom have and currently serve in the forces. They also have a very crafty mother who has taken up a cause within the cause. I met Geri Stuart at a Made in Vancouver event a few weeks ago. I passed by her booth and saw these fantastic bracelets, earrings, necklaces and even bags. I did a double take because there was something oddly familiar about them. That is when I realized that they were made of soda-pop tabs. I of course, had to pick them up and handle them to figure it all out because that's what OCD crafters do! Any-who, Geri and I got talking and she told me her story. I was so moved that I begged her to let me do a post about her and her heart warming efforts to bring joy to women and children hundreds of miles away. Here is a dibble of what she had to say. Please leave a comment to show your support for Geri's efforts or just to say hi (we will forward all comments to her).

"My Army father died on Memorial Day 5 years ago. He had formed a club in Vietnam that adopted an orphanage where they built bunk beds, obtained linens and clothing from family members,and had fund raisers to support the orphanage. I guess that's where I learned to provide support in whatever manner I could for my Navy (retired) husband and currently serving Navy sons (2)"

"Several years ago my youngest son asked if I knew a quick, easy, inexpensive way to make chain mail. Since I didn't know I did a search online. I found a way to use pop tabs and at the same time saw how to make jewelry."

"My eldest navy son got me started in January 2012 sending my upcycled jewelry to Afghanistan for the troops to hand out as goodwill gifts in the villages they visit. I didn't learn until just before his tour ended in June that he had been passing on the jewelry to a FET member (Female Engagement Team) because only female troops are allowed to talk to the Afghan women themselves or search inside the houses. So I have continued my home based business with the current focus of pop tab jewelry and selling enough to pay for the necessary supplies and postage."

Many people have generously collected pop tabs (with 2 complete holes), donated buttons, beads, jewelry findings, unwanted / old jewelry, and money to help me maintain this mission."

If anyone would like to donate, such items can be dropped off or mailed to the Columbia Presbyterian Church office, 8715 St. Helens Ave, Vancouver Wa, 98664, with the contact name of Geri Stuart. If you would like to purchase any of her jewelry too you can visit her at MouseHouseDecor01.webstore.com. I think that what Geri is doing is fantastic and I am proud to be a small part of it. Happy Memorial Day!

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