A few years back, I was gravely ill and had to return home to Ocala to be cared for by my mother and my community. Before making that decision, I tried to get well independently, but there was no place like home.
I stayed in the bed, and the bathroom, most of the first couple of years back. Not only was I extremely weak, I was chronically in pain. But regardless of either situation, there was one thing I did religiously–I read my Bible and faith-based books on healing.
Outside of the occasional comedy movies, reading was all I could do to stay motivated to live. My reading turned into an insatiable desire to study God’s Word. Through those personal bible studies, I began to collect a diary of scriptures that I transferred onto sticky notes. I would place them everywhere.
My mother would come home from work to a fresh supply of stickies on the bathroom mirrors, walls, and near my bed. It was a trip for her, I’m sure.
I did not stop there, either. For a season, I created magnet strips based on my Bible readings. Again, my mother would come home from work to find the refrigerator and the metal filing cabinets covered with the names of God. I remember sending them as gifts to family members. I am sure my family thought this girl has lost it for sure. But I was actually coming alive.
I know the truth (of God’s Word) will set you free because that is what it did for me.
God’s words have significantly increased my faith in the impossible, so much so that I placed a picture on my vision board of an idea God gave me four years prior at the beginning of this year.
Four years ago, my Uncle William Carter shocked me when he asked if I would help him with one of his business ventures. What was he thinking? My uncle, a successful chemist, photographer, and businessman, did not need me to help him do anything, but he made me feel like I could be an asset to his team. I realize now that God used him to restore my sense of worth, something you lose when your health fails. But here he was giving me little jobs (which felt like huge responsibilities) organizing his photographs. Those moments ignited all sorts of ideas, and we began to collaborate on possible projects.
Before long, I asked my mother to take me to places where I could snap images, and a downtown shop owner and friend helped me with pricing. But that is as far as it went. Physically, it was too demanding.
A Gathering Place
Time went on, and I continued to read the Word and draw closer to God. In 2019, during a pandemic, I had been writing about my family’s story and sharing it with other writers when an opportunity to write a magazine editorial on Black Health landed in my lap. How does a person with my diagnosis receive this type of offer without God? They don’t. About the same time, a new café was opening, and a member of my small group encouraged my family to get out and go.
The trip to The Gathering Cafe was worth it. The environment was unique, and once I met Sarah, a tenacious young entrepreneur, I knew I needed to write a story about her. That story was the first I had ever pitched to Magnolia Media, and the editor said yes, immediately. From that moment forward, I felt connected to the location, for the coffee, food, and the company.
It truly is a gathering place. My small group has used the big table to do lunch and fulfill service projects (Operation Christmas Card). And everyone I know who goes there leaves feeling that it has been time well spent.
Fast forward to this year, 2021, and I am in bed at home, completing my vision board, and, in my heart, I sense God reminding me of this artistic idea with my uncle. I found an online picture that represents the idea, and I put it on my board. Months later, I am at The Gathering Café with my family again. As usual, Sarah and I start chatting about the great things God is doing for and through her, and I casually mention a dream in my heart of these coasters I started designing years ago. To my surprise, she tells me to make them, and you can sell them here. I’m sure my eyes bugged out of my head. But it was that simple, no laundry list of “do this, do that, dot this, cross that, and then we will see.” No, she said, “make them.”
Within minutes she’d emailed her logo and the lettering she thought would do well in the café. Since we have similar tastes, it was “nothing but a thing,” as they used to say.
I was raring to go! When I called my uncle, he was ready and willing to help.
And now, perhaps three months from that encounter, a vision, written down on January 1, 2021, is being fulfilled.
This week was the first week my coasters went on sale at The Gathering Café, and we sold our first four-pack that first day. My uncle says he figured that design would sell well. It includes an original slogan for coffee lovers. We also do custom orders per request: Direct message on social media or drop a comment below. I am praising God for all these additional blessings!!!
Moreover, there are three reasons I had to mention all of the above to you:
- I share this to emphasize that vision-boarding is real. So be obedient and write down and visualize whatever God whispers in your spirit. I know that any success I have is not by my might or power but by the Spirit of the Lord.
- I share this to invite you to buy a coaster, or two or four. They will save your beautiful tables from ugly, messy rings. Plus, they are an essential tool for writers. Who writes (or works) without coffee or tea? And what goes better with a coffee cup than a coaster? I’m just sayin’. (Smile)
- I share this to encourage you to decorate your space with words that will bless you. As the designer, I assure you that each coaster is crafted with love and is covered with prayer.
Thank you in advance for your support of a family-owned business and a woman who now lives to show and share what God can do.