• Lori

Dream Catcher: Plans for the Next Season

A few months ago I felt like God was prompting me to start a business with Him. This had to be His idea, because administration and handling a million details is not my natural inclination. The thought of doing all that’s required for successful enterprise seems like building a rocket from scratch to me. I’m a creative, for goodness sake!

In the garden though, while weeding in early July, I knew it was all a metaphor, an equation with the business that He had planned for me in the future. I heard Him say some things in the garden that roll through my mind all the time now that I’m in the process of beginning His plan.

God talks in the garden...and it's never just about plants.

This is what He said:

"It looks daunting when you scan the whole picture. Don’t do that."

Just do what’s right in front of you. Notice, focus on and attend to what’s actually present in your immediate view. Pick every weed you see and go on from there. I will lead you to success in business this way. Your only task is to observe what is necessary, focus your attention on that detail and do what’s required to move forward to the next step. Stay tuned into Me and I’ll help you when you get stuck. This will keep things manageable. When you get stressed out, stop and put your head down so you can’t look at the whole thing; just deal with the one thing in front of you.

"Fill your wheelbarrow just one time with the weeds you pick, no more, no less."

In the same way, do what you can do to progress the business each day, no more, no less. This will keep things moving without causing burnout and exhaustion and condemnation for not doing more. This will allow you to go on and do the other aspects of your life with ample energy, because they are also important and in good order. I’m the one providing this limit. I expect nothing more of you than the one wheelbarrow; so don’t expect more of yourself. What remains on the to-do list will keep for another day.

These simple perspectives have made the prospect of owning my own business seem possible, even probable.

As I listened, He impressed upon me to set up a business bank account, apply for a business credit card, register a “Doing Business As (Fictitious Name)” identity with the Missouri Secretary of State—all completely foreign steps I’d never have taken on a whim of my own. I began to be fascinated by YouTube videos about drop-shipping and packaging do’s and don’ts. My Pinterest boards filled up with Etsy success tips and Instagram strategy articles. Logo design started to consume my waking moments. To be honest, I sensed myself becoming rather obsessed and asked, “Is this You, Lord? I don’t want to be doing all of this when You’d rather I be doing something else…”

God always answers...just not always with words.

I slowed down because I thought He didn’t answer. Then a sudden dismissal from my place of work--my vocal lesson studio--happened in late August, and I immediately understood that WAS His answer! He DID want me to go for something else…He was making it easier for me to do it by sending me home. Lessons here are now much more peaceful, positive, effective…and I can attend to more things without having to leave. I'm sensing His blessing and favor as I'm once again tuned in and applying myself to building that crazy business with new strength.

The unforced rhythms of grace are a thing.

Everything that follows is a plan that I believe God breathed and I am supposed to birth. I'm recording them to anchor them in the public record, to build excitement among my friends and to express faith that they will come to be.

Because thoughts/ideas are electronic matter, and since electrons can exist in two places at once (quantum superposition) if I capture an imagination and measure its viability, muse on it for a while and attach my intention to do it, its completion pops up too--it now already exists in reality somewhere. My job from there is laid out for me: all I have to do is believe the outcome exists and and do the steps that will close the gap between what is and what will be.

Faithful action is the tractor beam between an idea and its completion.

These business ideas are as good as done somewhere down the line, just as much as any project I’ve ever imagined then made happen before. Faith in action will get me there. It will take time and a zillion risky decisions, but I will be blessed along the way as I believe and bring them to be.

Best of all: I'll get to know my Father more as He leads me every step of the way. Projects done together have a special way of bringing people closer.

So what is this business He’s calling me to launch? Get ready: it’s grand—grander than I’d ever imagine on my own!

The overarching concept is Wonderfully Intentional Studios—that’s my business identity. Underneath that umbrella are the three different areas of creative expression that He’s called me to give form to: Music, Authorship, and Meaningful Merchandise.

Within the music area, I am a songwriter, publisher, recording artist and performer. Very soon I will move ahead in earnest to gather the financial sponsorship necessary to record another album, Tell A Better Story, this time in Nashville (specifically there, at the Lord’s command). The invitation for sponsorship is by design: to knit other people into the work, so that many may rejoice at the glory God will receive via the songs’ ministry. I could work for years to earn the money myself or get a loan, but why, when I can invite so many others to give a little and be part of a huge blessing? This album is His word anyway--every song is straight from the Bible, put into phrases we'd actually say--so it's not my load to carry alone. This album is His work, and that's meant to be done through lots of us on this plane, to open blind eyes to see His glorious kingdom and heal broken hearts with Jesus’ love released. The publishing rights will funnel through Wonderfully Intentional Studios, so all royalties from radio play, etc will be received strategically by BMI and recycled back into the ministry where they belong.

Also, there'll be a cool accompaniment this time! Since some people internalize best while doing something, the album may be purchased alongside a Tell A Better Story journal packed with scriptures, stories behind the songs, thought-provoking questions and pages to color while listening! I’m so excited about this, because meditation on God’s Word pulls it in and changes you…

Authorship is the next arm of influence I know the Lord has me to extend. Three books simmer within me right now: The Power of Intentional Worship, Staying Wonder-full: How to Raise Your Perception from Ecclesiastes to Psalms, and Working@Creativity: Live in the Flow, Whatever You Do. Each book will have a separate workbook for group and individual study/application, will be published as hard and soft cover, e-book, and audio versions. The concepts in these books are truly life-changing—I’m living proof as He's making me walk them out before I can write them!—and I know the ideas come straight from the One who wants us to “get” them even more than we know.

Meaningful Merchandise is the creativity+business area that He was referring to in the garden. Commerce isn’t my usual thing, but to fund the other ministry projects and travel expenses, I know I need to own an ongoing, productive cash-cow. Plus, since this part is so far outside of my box, it's the part God wants me to have to rely on Him to do.

Enter three business models and services: wonderFULLimages, altared apparel and intentional.

First, wonderFULLimages. My garden photos, printed on canvas, hung on your wall. Creation appreciated for its intricate detail, vibrant color and magnificent design—every time you look, you’re filled with wonder! Three sizes for mixing and matching, positioned at three price points. (Individually, they're feature-wall-amazing too.) Lightweight-for-shipping yet high-quality-product-everyone-will-want-to-display—this is the dream. Come over to my house: the walls now hold these beauties, and let me tell you: they're stunning! I’m building the website right now, to be launched in a few weeks, right when Christmas shopping ramps up. I can hardly wait!!

Next, altared apparel. These products will be offered in an Etsy shop, as they’re each individually unique and fit that platform. The tagline is “surrendered and changed,” and it fits perfectly: every item was once given up but I saw its value, purchased it again and brought it home to be changed by dye. While I’m creating these changes, I’m praying for God’s presence to guide my artistic choices to reflect His intention for the person who will put it on later and wear it—that His grace would accompany the item and especially anoint their lives so they'll also surrender to Him and allow themselves to be changed by His loving care. Using the spelling "altar" instead of "alter" is my intention, of course:)

I've been using my dear hub's leftover color choices of dye (he started this with a random tie dye phase, actually) but a curated collection of new colors are in the mail right now and I am SO STOKED to get my hands on them! I’ve already purchased quite a few garments and cannot wait to see what each of them will turn out like under the influence of these powerful colors! It’s like opening a gift each time I rinse them—each garment is like a watercolor painting. Shirts, pants, jackets, scarves…any all-natural material lain on an altar—surrendered—will receive something new and be beautifully changed. Fake materials, man-made synthetics, won’t. So symbolic!

So is the third business model called intentional. The name is underlined and has a period for emphasis; the products are created with intention, worn on purpose, taken off with reflection. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, hair accessories will be outsourced to a special collection of souls who need to make items to provide for their livelihood (I’m taking a mission trip to India in January to research the potential group of rescued women I hope to partner with). I’ll be the middle person who distributes them to you; you put them on every day, saying the same positive affirmative statement of your intention during that season. You take it off that night saying “I did that!” or “I missed it today but it’s still my intention” and repeat it over and over and over until you’re in a new season. It works. I wear about ten bracelets with different intentions right now, and did last year, and the results are astounding.

I also plan to design graphic tees with only pictorial images, no words, so you can put on your intention. without declaring it to the whole world. If people ask, you can tell them…or not! The images will be fun and obvious once you know the symbolism, but subtle enough to just be cool if you don’t want to share. I’m doing this mostly for my own self because I can never find tees with a design I want to wear. (Guess I’ll just have to make them!) This business will be the last to launch because I need to learn Adobe Illustrator first, and research drop-shipping a little more—it’s the best way to go, since each shirt is printed on order and shipped straight to the buyer, so there's no need for me to invest in and hold any inventory.

Whew! If that looks like a lot of work, it is. The garden is full of weeds!! In this capacity though, they’re flowers. I am choosing the life I want; I am planting the seeds I want to see grow. I’m going to be so busy doing what I ought that I have no time to do what I oughtn’t! I realize that there are too many aspects and dimensions for this to happen in my own strength…but I know that all things are possible to those who believe.

I believe in the guidance of my Father. I can see dreams come to pass if I only follow Him.

Even if it takes five to ten years to set these things up, I’ll have learned a lot and gathered skills galore along the way, and have a rich life to show for it. I’m in no hurry. God knows the number of my days, and in faith fueled by love I intend to pack my days with these ideas made manifest step by step. Hopefully my photos on canvas, unique apparel, tee designs and accessories will grace a million homes and bodies…even as a million souls scootch closer to Jesus while reading the books, coloring the pages, listening to the music.

Yes, I am a creative. Like Father, like daughter. But in His grace I’m also a

business owner. Faith will help me close the gap between what is now and what will be.

I hope as you read this you’re inspired to dream wildly too! What imagination has God put in your mind and heart? What steps can you do right now to move toward making that idea a reality? Believe He is real and able to make your idea real too, as you tune in and follow His lead. This is how relationships are built, you know: doing projects together. What if that’s the whole point? Leave your comments below and know that I’m with you all the way!

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