The l o n g of it: HOW MOMENTUM STARTED
When I run the dog I think how the rocks on the ground, their colors and how they are organized, would make a great handbag. I wake up at night wanting to run to the studio to make the one in my dreams. In fashion magazines if the model doesn’t carry a bag I cook one up in my head for her to carry. My favorite ads are Born Crown and J.Crew. You’d never even know Born’s were shoe ads! Their model looks so cool, but she never carries bag ….. ANYWAY, Steve and I met in 1985, at a party at Roche Harbor Resort here on San Juan Island, WA. We were both working summer jobs. Back then a beach fire at Roche was a regular occurrence, down near what is now the pool and play ground, where they have wedding receptions. We met up through friends on the Fourth of July. Confession: We both carried fanny packs (no more fires on the beach at Roche Harbor. No fanny packs, please).
Here’s a picture with my first handbag. It was a birthday gift from my Aunt Adelaide. Mom would take happy pictures of us with gifts, and send them with the thank-you notes. People used to do that…
Steve is the most fantastic male human on the planet, and holds more sway than that first red bag. With his dry sense of humor and front teeth that don’t quite line up to center (check those out) he is irresistible. Women go crazy for him but who cares? He’s going home with me.
To this day my heart leaps when he enters a room. We have been married for 24 years in July.
My handbag habit started in earnest when I thought I would go nuts as mother of three unless I could find something to do of “value”. I did not understand the importance of my role as a mom. I did NOT step happily out of my sales career to do right by our little ones. A Baby Boomer straight through, we were trained from infancy to have a career and juggle all aspects of life perfectly. I entered parenthood thinking you put them into daycare and call it good. But after baby #3, we decided to keep me home…
Some days I most literally laid my forehead down on the cold kitchen floor, asking “What? What? What? I don’t know how to do this!” Poor Steve, he might come home to the kids happy as clams, but me frazzled in my robe, whisk dripping in my hand, eyes like pinwheels (I am SO kidding! uh, kinda…). Now our oldest son is seventeen, tall, hungry, hairy. Our little girl is all sports and make-up, and the youngest is getting a social life of his own. OF COURSE the kids are the best things that ever happened to us, with the exception of finding Jesus and meeting my husband. But before handbags. So, in that order: God, Steve, Kids, Handbags. Then racquetball… hit it and it comes back to you!
Here’s a pic of Steve and our daughter, from about 2007, which I call “Bagging the Big One”, taken at Lakedale Resort here on San Juan. Cheesey smiles! Look at that wiggly fish! My favorite pic of those two. We still pull rank some evenings and make them all go to Lakedale’s campy little store for ice-cream. They might groan now, but deep down they like it! Is that not the cutest picture ever?!
Here’s a pic of Steve and W that I call “Bagging the Big One”, taken at Lakedale resort a couple summers ago. Cheesy smiles! Look at that wiggly fish! My
pic of these two.
Making handbags saved our marriage and the whole entire family from a complete breakdown. I would have gone crazy at home without something else to focus my restlessness. I sold my first bag while standing at the Little League field, and really couldn’t believe it. She paid $85 for a fabric bag, at which point I stopped giving them away on street corners, started sewing all the time, and attended craft shows and church bazaars. I bought a fatty sewing machine (upholstery-grade) and started to work in leather. Here’s a pic of a Momentum Studio bag:
FAST FORWARD: Insert David Crowder lyrics: “The heart breaking makes a sound I never knew… could be so beautiful and loud, fury filled, and we collide…”
Between then and now I read a bunch of books about the emergent church and serving God with your entire life, not just on Sundays and not just to look good to other believers or to show off. Once I “broke out of the building”, I read stuff I was really curious about, like The Complete Published Sayings of Osama bin Laden (here’s a news flash: He ALWAYS did what he said he would do), and Jared Diamond’s Collapse (youch). We both read John Lynch’s True Faced, and all the Donald Miller books.
The most pivotal books on the planet (opinion) is The Good News About Injustice by my hero, International Justice Mission founder Gary Haugen. Formerly a super high-powered lawyer/policy maker, he gave up everything to start IJM. IJM fights within the legal systems of (mostly third world) countries on behalf of victims of injustice, for example, bringing people to account for slavery and land disputes, as well as freeing girls from the bondage of the sex trade. He based his life and IJM on the premise of the book: That believers today have left God in the fringes by crafting their existence into perfect little gardens where the sad reality of an unjust world can’t get in. Believers are left wondering how we can claim to know The One True God, but live so empty. We conform to our world, and do not listen to what He says about poverty and injustice. Because we shield ourselves from the plight of victims, we never serve wholly enough to need him in a desperate, wrenching, faith-filled way. In order to know God, we have to express his love to the hurting, to the point where we cry out for his help. This is where God can be known. Good News, as well as The Hole in Our Gospel by the director of World Vision, Richard Stearn, among others, basically shattered my safe and unrealistic, ridiculously self-centered world view. All those years of sewing and yearning to create have melded into Momentum, essentially our offering.
My studio is above the garage. I design stuff while listening to podcasts like Joyce Meyer or Ravi Zacharis. I have no idea what the days will hold, I just want to give back in a meaningful way. This is our story, and our life that unfolds a day at a time. Thanks for listening! Call me! We’ll TAWK!