Day 21, 2019

Creative and Witty Ideas and Inventions (Side Hustles)

Author: Melissa Barber

Happy Twenty First Day of Thanks!

Today I give thanks to God for the many creative and witty ideas and inventions, talents and side hustles that He has given me. They have always allowed me to reinvent myself and make the money I need(ed) to supply financial needs.Each year, Lilah and I start a project around the holidays.  Our projects may involve inventing our annual Christmas tree or making the Christmas presents that we are going to gift to others. Sometimes, because of our low funds in the midst of our great needs, our projects turn into entrepreneurial ventures (that usually surprise even us).  After being invited to our autistic parents’ Walk Out Ugly Christmas Sweater Party and venturing to make my own sweater for the party, Lilah and I decided that our project would be making what I coined “Pretty Ugly Christmas Sweaters.”  When I started making them and put a feeler out for whether people would like them or not as Christmas presents for their office parties, my cousin really hyped me up and said you should sell those. She came up with a quick marketing plan and suggested the pricing for the sweaters.  I was still not as convinced but was eventually sold when she said the extra funds could help with Lilah’s food and medicine for the month (which is always a bill that hovers like a dark cloud) or help me to pay the publisher to get my book printed for the masses.

Before I could say anything, she ran with the idea and even gave me $20 of seed money to start buying supplies.  I had seed (faith) money so there was no turning back at this point.  I ordered several sweatshirts, crafting supplies, Christmas materials, and made sure that Lilah and I would work around the clock to produce some insanely gorgeous, handcrafted “Pretty Ugly Christmas Sweaters.”  Lilah and I have had sweat in the game for the last several days to produce sweaters before the holiday parties this week.  Lilah has been beading, gluing and designing Christmas stockings all weekend (Yes, I believe in child labor because she is expensive and is benefiting from the funds!), while I do most of the heavy work of hand sewing and designing the layouts of the sweaters.  Although I love Lilah’s creative expression, she chooses the most complicated designs that take what seems like an eternity to create and makes the house look like more of a disaster because we have to use so many different mediums and crafting materials for her one design. (That is what I get for creating a fashion diva!) But, we have been having so much fun singing to some of our favorite music tunes, while doing the crafting we love for hours.  And if I do say so myself, we have created some of the most pretty, artistic Ugly Christmas Sweaters around town. 

As we have been working on the sweaters, I have been truly grateful for the blessing of God’s provision.  I was just asking God in prayer days earlier to provide a way for me to get all of the necessary funding for the onslaught of bills (especially Lilah’s food, life insurance and publishing bills) that usually drown me around the holidays and the New Year.  And no sooner than I prayed the prayer, here was an idea that could utilize one of my skills (talent) and seed money to get started.   Interestingly enough, God’s track record with me has been consistent in providing the ideas (and sometimes the seed money) and the practical ways to get what I need done.  [God has always given me a seed and basically says go multiply it.  I ain’t mad at the people who get the instantaneous miracles. It has just never been my story. I hope one day that is my story so that I can know God in that facet too.] In high school and college when I needed some extra money, in addition to my jobs, I would use my hair salon dryer to do wash and sets on hair or braid it to get bills paid.  In later year, I would plan menus and cook entire meals, edit papers and dissertations, crotchet something, make earrings, help people buy clothes (in another lifetime, I would have been a great fashion buyer!).  The ideas were always on time, they always involved my inherent talents or skills and the funding they created always met the need.  God is good!Today as we give thanks for the creative and witty ideas and side hustles that almost always save us financially, I’d like to highlight the organization Art & Creativity For Healing (Front Page – Art & Creativity for Healing).  Their mission is to support emotional healing through art and creative expression for those who are living in pain, dealing with grief, depression, stress or anxiety. Please think about give your time and resources to this amazing organization so that they can continue doing great work for their clientele. 
Front Page – Art & Creativity for HealingSupporting emotional healing for injured veterans, ill children, abused women and military families through art …

Published by: Dream Without Borders

Artist| Scientist| Creative Entrepreneur| Activist: working at intersections of arts, health, healing, and activism, my practice focuses on the performance and performative articulations of vulnerable bodies, exploring and examining expressions of identity and belonging. I hold particular interest in the lives and aspirations of African Diaspora/Black Atlantic bodies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Categories Melissa's 2019, Melissa's Thanks, Notes From The People