I was focused on finding  presents for boys ages 10-14 so I didn’t notice the older man approach.

“Do you do parties?” he asked extending a card to me. Since I was wearing my non-bifocal contacts because I was headed to Zumba after I finished my research I couldn’t clearly read the card.

I’m not sure I know how to answer your question.

(Anyone else wondering if he’s asking me if I’m a stripper? Why do these things happen to me? Shouldn’t Monday morning be a safe time to research for the children?!)

“Do your children have birthday parties?” With squinting I made out the word magic or magician. OH. Well, I don’t have children, but given more context, I DO do parties!

Happy Birthday Velvet Ashes. 

VA birthday

A year ago our first post went live after months of preparing through dreaming, fun branding exercises with Danielle and Patty, a fund raising campaign, and gathering of a writing team.

This week we’ve found ourselves saying, as you do at these times, “Wow! Can you believe it’s been a year already?! Can you believe it’s only been a year?!”

It’s good to a pause at milestones, marking and marveling. The four primary lessons for me (in no order of importance):

1. I’ve learned a new language — Thanks to Velvet Ashes I’ve learned (some) html coding — or on the days I’m so frustrated and call it “what the hell” coding. Not to overplay my hand, for those who really know html coding, I sound like a two-year-old! I’m more aware of where bugs may lie and how to fix them. And this has brought back my days of “Basic” coding (remember that computer language? No, you probably are much younger than me!). I was told my coding could graph a mean line and to get it published. Didn’t think I’d ever be doing computer work again. I kind of miss the simplicity of basic!

2. If you build it and God blesses it, good people will come — So many have joined that help with visual images (Karen!), Instagram (Lauren!), Twitter (Jessica!), Food posts (Ashley!), Submissions editor (Kim!) —  you can check out the whole team on the newly redone Contributors Page. Please look at it. (Can you guess why? See #1 — also lots of input from our web designer Ted who is amazing.)

And let’s not forget all of the guest posts and commenters. Were it not for many, many, this would be a quiet, dull little corner of the world.

3. God’s heart for the world is so much bigger than I had grasped — When you have been immersed in one neck of the woods (and it is GOOD to go deep and invest fully in one place), the detriment can be you hear of things going on around the world and say, “yeah, yeah, that’s pretty cool.” But you just don’t have the emotional bandwidth to grasp how T.H.I.N.G.S are going on all over the world.

Get this, as he has done for generations, God moves someone in one part of the world to go to another part and be His hands and feet. Kids in India, VBS material in Latin America, runaway kids in America, rural parts of Uganda, orphanages in Romania, church planting in Ireland, living in villages in Cambodia, Orphans in Russia — folks in VA are involved in all. Translation work, educational work, medical work, business work. You guys, the news would have you believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Well, it’s not. Is life hard? Yes (just think of the boys ages 10-14 without presents).

It’s hard AND T.H.I.N.G.S. are going on all over the world. Thanks to Velvet Ashes we’re all a bit more connected and aware.

4. God’s got a sense of humor — When I left China, all of the work I do with Velvet Ashes wasn’t on the radar, which is probably a good thing. My skin kind of crawls at traditional Women’s Ministry stuff. I’m drawn to substance and stabs at professionalism (meaning, perfection isn’t the goal, but looking not cheap or poorly done is). Turns out VA values substance and quality. I still rankle at the WM label, but when I see all that God had been building over the years, my role in Velvet Ashes is a continuation and broadening of the work I’ve been doing.

When it was pronounced over me several years ago I had outgrown the organization I called home, I was sad. I didn’t want to out grow it. Couldn’t we all go back to when it was a great fit? Please?! But God had to “out grow” me so that I’d be open to this label I’m not keen on. Way to chuckle God! And I’m having a blast meeting new people, learning a ton, and reinventing myself.

Happy Birthday Velvet Ashes. You are home to me. You are my people, you are my friends, let’s grow old together. I’ll try to cuss less in our second year :)!

Categories: Velvet Ashes



Leave A Comment

  1. Kelly November 13, 2014 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Love that God did what He had to in order for you to be on this team! Grateful for each one of you today! Let’s party!

  2. Danielle Wheeler November 14, 2014 at 6:13 am - Reply

    This post makes me smile for so many reasons. I love that Velvet Ashes gets the gift of you. And if it wasn’t you with the html, I’m pretty sure I would have pulled all my hair out, so my hair thanks you. :-)

  3. Mark Allman November 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I am glad it has went well Amy!

  4. Lisa Matejka December 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    You DO do parties, Amy, and I love that about you. :) And I agree, it’s been really cool to see how Velvet Ashes has grown and is being used!

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