Lost & Found


I was cleaning through the files in my office and came across my first ideas journal/binder. In it, I have all the scribbles from 6 years ago, when I was trying to figure out what to name my new found business. I've shared before how I came to the name, which was after my Grandmother. But before that thought struck me, I went through about 10 different names--none of which 'felt right' or that I even liked. And I found pages and pages of post it notes with favorite quotes and phrases I'd found that I wanted to put on signs. It is a hot mess of a journal, but it is so fun looking back at it. 

That's not my point of this post. My point is this:

seed money: noun; money allocated to initiate a project.

I'm pretty sure you're asking, "What in the world does this have to do with anything, Sarah?" Well, I'm going to tell you...

A little over 6 years ago, I was soul-searching, feeling a little lost and a stay-at-home-mom of 3 young boys. I'd been at home for 6 years already, since the birth of my oldest, and I'd grown antsy. I can't tell you how many conversations I had with my husband about how I felt lost, wasn't feeling fulfilled and yearned to find my passion/my purpose. I mean, TEARS, you guys. So many tears. My poor husband. He so wanted to know how to make me feel better and encourage me. I was a hot mess. I'll fully admit that.

So, this is where I may upset some of you--though, my hope is that you understand where I was coming from.  I LOVED (still do) being a mom. I loved being pregnant (yes, I was one of THOSE), loved babies, loved toddlers, loved everything about it...well, almost everything. But I also got lost in the day-to-day chaos of raising 3 kids. Because, parenting is hard, y'all.  

I found myself only identifying as "Mommy"....and felt like I was just drifting through the days. Not having a 'Purpose'. Here's where I might lose some of you...and yes, I KNOW being a mom to my boys is my purpose. But I truly feel like I wasn't being my best self or the best mom to my boys, BECAUSE I felt so lost. Up until having children, I was a preschool teacher--which I LOVED! It allowed me the chance to be around little people (which are my favorite!) AND creative. So, in my case, once I was home for 6 years, I felt like I was missing something. And I knew I needed an outlet of sorts--whether a hobby, part-time job or the like--just to get out of my daily routine and a way to be creative again, outside of my home.

So, I'd always loved crafting---from painting to lettering to papercrafting---all of it! I started creating signs and prints for our house and a few friends, and I can't tell you how much I loved it. It's like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt like I had an outlet to express my creativity, but also brought me so much joy and encouragement when creating. I chose Imy's Joy as a name for my hobby/business and decided to go for it and do an arts festival that fall, in my hometown. 

I had a couple of months to prepare for the festival and I hit up ALL the garage sales in my community in search of reclaimed wood, old frames, barn wood--anything I could create on. And I was on a pretty slim budget--as in, whatever money was leftover after my grocery runs. Well, obviously, that wasn't much to work with. But I made do. 

The festival went great. I was SO nervous, you guys. But from then on, I was hooked!! I started creating bigger pieces, and doing more with wood....which soon required bigger saws and tools. We didn't own a whole lot of tools, and thankfully both my Dad and my father-in-law were kind enough to let me borrow theirs. I ended up taking custom orders for Christmas and it was AWESOME. But as spring rolled around, I was accepted into a second show and started to panic...

What am I doing?! I don't have enough money to make enough signs to sell at a show again?! How am I going to pay for all of my materials? 

I remember being stressed out and only talking with my husband about it. He was so, so, so good. He listened, encouraged me and just kept telling me to do what I love. That we'd figure it out. 

Well, soon after, we headed to our hometown in southern Indiana for the weekend. We'd been out to his parent's farm, and his Dad had taken us to one of the barns & shown me some old barn wood I could have if I wanted. During dinner, they were precious in asking me all about this new venture of mine, and were so encouraging.  Afterwards, we packed up the car and headed out. Before we left, his Dad ran out and gave my husband a book he'd talked about and said, "and there's an envelope in there for Sarah." 

We waved goodbye and were on our way back to Indy. We didn't give much thought to the book. The ride up I-65 seemed to take forever, so I flipped open the book. I saw an envelope with my name written on it. I just assumed it was recipes or an article that his Mom may have wanted to share with me. But I opened it.

And there it was, some cash, folded neatly. 

And a little note was attached and it simply said, "Hope this helps your dream grow."


TEARS. So many. And just utmost gratitude. 

I looked at my husband and we were both wide-eyed and he just smiled and shook his head and said, "It's 'seed money'. They believe in you."

This random act of kindness rocked my world and I could hardly hold myself together! It was more than I could ever have imagined. It was a modest start and enough to buy me my first saw and a couple of other much-needed tools. 

And it was perfect.

I'm so grateful for moments like these. They have shaped me and gotten me to where I am today. And as IJ continues to grow, I make it my mission to celebrate, encourage and purchase items from fellow makers--especially ones who are just starting their own journey. And you'd better believe I'll be paying it forward to another dreamer/creative/maker in the future. I would love nothing more than to gift 'seed money' to someone who just needs that extra little push, that will inspire them to go for it. 

Because it all boils down to just that. Supporting others' hopes & dreams, whatever they may be--that's the good stuff right there. And while I was so very thankful for that 'seed money', I was most grateful knowing that others believed in me and saw potential, when I was too worried or preoccupied to see it for myself. And for that, I am eternally thankful. Here’s to finding what you love in life, and going for it—no matter what. Because it is so very worth it. 

Take care, friends ❤️