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Sweet Start CHALLENGE: The Beginning + PPA234

Happy New Year, friend!! Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, we rang in the New Year with our internet service being down for the count. But, it’s still the 1st so technically I’m still on track :o) Welcome to the inaugural Sweet Start post! If you’re not sure what Sweet Start is all about, you can read more details in my last post. I’m really excited about this new venture, yet still a little nervous since it’s so new to me. All the best moments in my life have had this curious mix of emotions– great anticipation with a mountain of nerves. Some notable moments I can recall off-hand (not in any order of importance) would be competing and winning in High School State and College National cheerleading championships, my wedding, and the birth of my children. There was so much excitement in those moments but my heart and emotions sure did get a workout! Without further adieu, let’s jump in together!

Philemon, part 1

When I started mulling over the idea of tackling a Bible Study on my blog, I decided to look at a really short chapter of the Bible that I could get through quickly and easily. (Apparently I am setting my sights low, as Philemon is less than a page long in my Bible. Ha!)  But, I feared, would there be anything to talk about in such a short letter like Philemon? Happily, there certainly is! Let’s take a look. Please read Philemon in your Bible, it’s a quick read!

Philemon opens by telling us who the author is and who the letter is addressed to. Written by the Apostle Paul, probably around 61 A.D., its writing likely pre-dates most of the gospels. I think that’s interesting, because it’s easy to assume our Bibles are chronologically ordered according to when they were written, but that’s just not the case. As an organization junkie, I appreciate the scholars who have put a logical organization to the pages of our sacred text, but it’s also helpful to keep in mind the chapters are not placed in the order in which they were penned in most Bible versions.

For a big-picture rundown, Paul wrote this letter to his dear friend, Philemon. The letter concerns Philemon’s runaway servant, Onesimus, who fled to Rome where he met Paul. Onesimus became a follower of Christ while in Rome, and one can only assume it was Paul’s evangelism that led him to a confession of faith. That’s pretty cool! All Christ-followers today are a part of the vast branching tree of the spreading gospel message, but this man Onesimus was at ground zero of Paul’s ministry. Not as the original convert, but resulting from the direct impact of Paul’s influence in Rome. Is it astonishing to anyone else that we can read about this historical event nearly 2,000 years later in Paul’s own words? Wow.

Here are my notes regarding things that stood out to me, as well as information I gleaned from various commentaries I read:

  • Apphia was likely Philemon’s wife, and as was the custom in their culture, she would have been responsible for overseeing the servants in their household. It would therefore be appropriate for Paul to include her when addressing the letter. The man must have known better than to tread thoughtlessly on a woman’s domain! (I kid, kinda.) Archippus may have been the son of Philemon and Apphia.
  • Philemon 1:3; Do verses like this overlook the Holy Spirit, or make the person of the Holy Spirit of reduced importance among the members of the Godhead? Absolutely not! The Holy Spirit would have been recognized by Paul as the agent or means of delivery when Paul greets Philemon with grace and peace. Without the Holy Spirit as the living and active presence of God at work in the world, Paul’s greeting would be empty words– a mere courtesy. I have never perceived Paul to be a man of pleasantries, merely saying words because it’s the “nice” thing to do. He sends the message with grace and peace because he expects that God will indeed hear and answer that request through the person and power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Philemon 1:6; This was the banner verse of Philemon to me in terms of practical life application. The NIV (1984) translation reads, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” This verse is a perfect example of why it’s helpful to have a variety of Bible translations available. While the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and I believe that every word penned was divinely inspired, there is no such thing as a perfect translation from the original language of the text. At first glance I automatically perceived this verse as referring to evangelism– sharing your faith with others for the purpose of leading them into a relationship with Christ Jesus. For me, evangelism has certainly helped me have a more complete understanding of “every good thing we have in Christ,” precious things like grace, forgiveness, love, strength in weakness, the powerful indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, etc.  While I don’t think that’s a bad application, other translations bring some clarity to the purpose of Paul’s choice of Greek words: “And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” (NLT) Paul is petitioning God, that He would help Philemon put his faith into practice in the situation with Onesimus which he is about to elaborate on in his letter. In living out his faith, Paul recognizes that Philemon will have a more profound experience of the good things found in relationship with Christ, and his actions will in turn contribute to a deeper understanding of those same things. That makes sense in the context of the letter, which I will describe in more detail soon. It also makes sense in regard to my initial understanding of this verse: Do you want to have a more substantial faith and deeper understanding of the good things found in Christ? Put those things into practice! Share what you’ve found with others. Talk about it. Spend time thinking about the impact faith has (or should have) on you personally and those around you. Is there evidence of your faith anywhere but in your mind? If not, you should be rightly concerned. If your godly reputation precedes you, as Philemon’s did (v. 4-5, 7) be even more fearful of hypocrisy and be on the lookout for opportunities to practice what you preach.

Let’s put our faith into practice today, so that we may, together, “understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” Now, let’s get to stamping!

Pals Paper Arts Challenge (PPA 234)

Today’s card is inspired by the Pals Paper Arts challenge #234. Every Thursday, except for odd 5th Thursdays, there is a new challenge, either a color combo or sketch challenge. They’re a fun way to get a spark of inspiration and possibly get some recognition as a Pals Paper Arts pick! Here’s today’s color challenge:

PPA234

Aren’t those soothing colors? I was in great need of some serenity after landing in the ER with a kidney stone, and also in need of a few thank-you cards for the friends who stepped up to transport me there in excruciating pain, stay with my kids until my husband was able to catch a flight home from a work trip, and even fold some laundry that had piled up. Seriously, my friends are the very best a girl could ask for. This challenge also marks the first of a 2-week series of projects using the FREE Sale-A-Bration stamp set, You Brighten My Day. The thing I like most about this stamp set is that it pairs well with so many of my other stamp sets. It’s fine as a standalone set, but it really shines when used in conjunction with other Stampin’ Up! sets. For this card, I paired it with Four Feathers, which I’m excited to say, is a carryover item from the Holiday Catalog into the new Occasions Catalog that will be released on the 6th. The 6th also marks the start of the Sale-A-Bration promotion, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the info about the best Stampin’ Up! promotion of the year! You get a free SAB product for every $50 you spend, NO LIMIT! Woo hoo! For now, here’s a sneak peek at You Brighten My Day.

PPA 234 Color Challenge: Night of Navy, Wisteria Wonder, and Silver. Card by Becky Gifford The Social Stamper using Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration set You Brighten My Day. www.thesocialstamper.com

PPA 234 Color Challenge details: Night of Navy, Wisteria Wonder, and Silver. Card by Becky Gifford The Social Stamper using Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration set You Brighten My Day. www.thesocialstamper.com

I figured out something really helpful that I want to share with you. I’ve had an issue when embossing on tab  of the Big Shot Multipurpose Platform using Whisper White card stock. There was always too much pressure and it caused the cardstock to split open in places, definitely not a clean emboss. So, I tried embossing with all of the tabs open on the platform itself, and although I thought it might not offer enough pressure to engage, it worked beautifully! A perfect impression without any tearing or fraying of the paper fibers. Even with so much white space on this card, the Woodgrain texture really adds a pop of interest. Lovely!

Thanks for stopping by, today, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for a weekly digest of posts sent to your email! I’ll see you tomorrow for a wrap-up of Philemon and my second You Brighten My Day project. If you have a minute, let me know what you thought of the first ever Sweet Start post!

Happy Stamping,

Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper

 

 

Glitter Ombré Video Tutorial

Glitter Ombré Tutorial

FINALLY! I recorded the footage for this tutorial so long ago it seems like it’s been a lifetime, probably because we’ve had half a lifetime’s worth of crazy happening. Since my last post, my husband and I have celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, bought a house, packed up the old house, moved into the new house, planned and executed a joint 3rd/1st firefighter birthday party for my boys, and saw my husband off for a “long trip,” as my little man calls it. As in 6 months long. I think I’m hitting my groove now, thank goodness!

Vintage + Masculine = Happy Anniversary, Handsome!

Vintage Anniversary Thumbnail

Masculine cards can be a bit of a stumper in the stamping world. Go figure since most of us stampers are ladies, who like flowers and flourishes that are somewhat unappealing to our male counterparts. But if you have a male in your life, chances are at some point you’ll have a reason to embark on the journey of creating a manly project. If you’re running short on inspiration, never fear, The Social Stamper is here!

Stampin’ Up! Products

2014-2015 Stampin' Up! Catalog

Click photo above for options to download the 2014-2015 Annual Catalog!


WAIT! Before you place your order, you might be interested to learn about my Online Ordering Club, which rewards you for placing monthly orders!

Wondering what’s on my personal bestseller list?

Take a Peek!

Stampin’ Up! is committed to offering only the highest quality products for your crafting needs. As your demonstrator, I will personally handle any issues that may arise, so you can rest assured that your purchases will be backed by excellent customer support. That is my job and I take it seriously!

What sets Stampin’ Up! products apart? Here are a few key features to consider:

Color Coordination: Ever run into a problem coordinating colors within a project? For example, have you bought ink and card stock and upon returning home, realize the ink is a pinky-red but the paper is an orangy-red and they clash terribly? You will never encounter this problem with Stampin’ Up! because our products are designed to color-coordinate throughout the product lines. For example, Rich Razzleberry card stock coordinates with Rich Razzleberry ink and accessories. To go a step further, our colors are organized into color families: Neutrals, Subtles, Brights, Regals, and 2 limited-time, on-trend In Color families. The possible color combinations are virtually endless! For some color combo inspiration, visit my Color Challenge Pinterest board and create with the Stampin’ Up! colors that I have noted below the inspiration photos!

Card Stock:

  • Our card stock is high-quality 80-lb. weight with a surface that is ideal for stamping
  • There are 2 sizes (8-1/2″ x 11″ or 12″ x 12″) to satisfy all of your crafting and scrapbooking needs
  • Dyed all the way through, which means no ugly white core when you want a decorative torn edge!
  • Can be purchased in individual colors or in a color family assortment

Ink Pads:

  • Ink pads are specially designed to store the pad upside-down, which keeps the ink at the surface of the pad so you don’t have to refill as often
  • The slightly raised firm foam pad and a lid that folds completely under make inking a large image a breeze
  • Available individually or in complete color family bundles
  • Re-inkers available in all colors– a huge money saver versus buying new ink pads as they dry out!
  • Use the ink pads to watercolor! Simply squeeze the closed stamp pad case, open the lid and use an aqua painter (103954) or blender pen (102845) to apply the ink in the lid to your stamped image

Stamps:

  • All stamps are made in the U.S.A.!
  • Stamp sets are available in a variety of options to suit your budget and stamping preference: Wood-Mount, Clear-Mount, and NEW Photopolymer.
  • Both wood and clear mounting options feature our high-quality rubber to give you the sharpest image possible
  • Wood-Mount sets come in sturdy, standardized plastic cases so you can easily stack and store. No more digging through piles of unorganized stamps!
  • Clear-Mount sets come in a DVD-sized storage case (talk about a space saver!) featuring actual-size stamp images on the cover.

I know you’ll be impressed with the quality and variety of Stampin’ Up! products. If you’re ready to browse the products for yourself, take a look at my online store. You can shop from the comfort of your home 24/7, and all items are shipped directly to you!

Becoming a Demonstrator Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why did you become a Stampin’ Up! Independent Demonstrator?

First of all, I was very interested in getting started with the hobby of stamping! I stamped with my friend Rachel and I was hooked. The problem was, I didn’t have any supplies. I saw the cost of getting the basics and decided it was the best value to purchase the Starter Kit (a discounted bundle of supplies). The starter kit was my first purchase (ever!) from Stampin’ Up! Crazy, right? Later, after wrapping up my job in the insurance industry to stay home with my first child, I decided the business opportunity could be a meaningful addition to my life as a mom, which was lacking in the goal-setting and adult interaction I enjoyed while working outside the home. With Stampin’ Up!, I get to share what I love with people I enjoy spending time with, and make money in the process!

How do I become an Independent Demonstrator?

Stampin’ Up! has made it easy for you to get started. Simply visit my demonstrator website and click the Join Now button on the left-hand side. Digitally sign the Independent Demonstrator Agreement (IDA), then it’s on to customizing your starter kit!

How much does it cost to become a demonstrator?

The only cost associated with becoming a demonstrator is for the Starter Kit. Currently the price of the kit is $99 with free shipping (an additional 10% savings). The starter kit is completely customizable, which means you get to choose any current products up to a total of $125, which helps you work your business your way and never worry about duplicating supplies you already have just to become a demonstrator. Through the new-demonstrator program called Stampin’ Start, it is even possible to receive a $175 cash bonus at the end of your first 6 months as a demonstrator, which essentially pays you back for your starter kit (and then some)!

What do I get when I sign up?

After you sign up you get to customize your Starter Kit. The starter kit includes your choice of up to $125 in Stampin’ Up! products at a discount (around 20% off retail), plus business forms and supplies. Follow this link to see suggested kit products and see what’s in the business supply bundle. In addition, you will receive our monthly Stampin’ Success magazine and have access to the exclusive demonstrator portion of the Stampin’ Up! website, which has all sorts of wonderful tools designed to help you build your business or find inspiration in your hobby. You can about additional demonstrator perks you’ll get when you join my team by clicking HERE.

How do I keep getting my discount?

You will automatically get to keep your discount through the first FULL quarter you are a demonstrator (so, if you sign up the middle of November, you have your discount until the end of March without meeting any requirements). In order to keep getting your 20% demonstrator discount, you must place at least $300 in product orders per quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Aug, Sept-Dec). It doesn’t matter if that merchandise is delivered to you or to a customer.

How do I earn an income as a demonstrator?

There are several ways to earn an income as a demonstrator: personal earnings (called instant income and volume rebates), and downline overrides. Instant income is the 20% commission you receive off any sales you make. Instant income is also the “discount” you receive on your personal orders. The second type of personal earnings is called “volume rebates,” because the higher your sales volume each month, the greater percentage you receive in addition to your instant income. For example, if you sell $400 worth of products in one month, you receive 25% (or $100) in commissions. 20% ($80) is instant income, and 5% is volume rebates. For more information, you can view the career plan. Downline Overrides are the percentage you earn based on the sales in your downline. As you progress through the career plan, you are able to earn higher percentages of income off of an increasing number of downline levels (up to 5 levels deep). I like to think of downline overrides as Stampin’ Up! paying you to train, motivate, and maintain your team. It’s nice that Stampin’ Up! pays me to coach my team rather than my team needing to pay for their own coaching from an outside source, and I think you’ll agree as you begin to build your own team of demonstrators.

What if I want to stop being a demonstrator?

Simply stop placing orders. If your quarterly minimums aren’t reached (and after a month of being in “pending” status), you will lose your demonstrator privileges. No questions asked, nothing to return. You keep all your fabulous stuff, which of course includes your Starter Kit contents!

Is there a penalty if I don’t reach my quarterly minimum?

There is no penalty except losing your status as a demonstrator. If you want to keep getting your 20% discount and all the other perks of being a demonstrator, you must meet your $300 quarterly minimum.

Do I have to sell things as a demonstrator?

NO! Selling and producing income is a perk, not a requirement of being a demonstrator. Plenty of demonstrators consider themselves “hobby demonstrators,” which means they either only place orders for their own crafting needs, or maybe fill orders for friends and family to help fund their hobby. There is absolutely no obligation to sell anything as a demonstrator. The good news is that as long as you remain active and keep meeting your quarterly minimums, the opportunity to start selling and producing income is always there. It’s just a matter of shifting your focus!

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