No Guts, No Glory

I don’t have the guts to be a telemarketer. I couldn’t stand the rejection. You’d never catch me out and about the community asking businesses to donate gift baskets for a fund-raising event. I wasn’t endowed with that kind of charitable chutzpah DNA. But we’ve been blowin’ through the beads at the Lighthouse pretty quickly of late, and it stirred within me that…..maybe…….I’d ask… of the fine bead stores… town…..if……..they had some beads that weren’t moving well…..that……they might…… willing……to……donate.

My art partner wasn’t too optimistic when I told her my plan over sushi, but I’d said it out loud. And one can get somewhat gutsy eating wasabi and pickled ginger, so that afternoon I approached the bead store’s assistant manager and inquired whether they might have any beads to donate to the Lighthouse. The look on her face told me she wasn’t enthused with my request even though she kindly took my contact information. And then…..she pointed to a customer across the room talking with the owner and said, “She’s a quilter and involved with the Lighthouse too.”

Knowing that the county’s premier quilting guild routinely creates quilts for the Lighthouse, a faith-based, residential treatment program for substance abuse recovery, and the Rescue Mission’s homeless shelter for women and children, I decided to be gutsy. I introduced myself, acknowledged my awareness of the guild’s generosity, explained a bit about my involvement – the therapeutic art workshops, the jewelry-making open studio days, and invited her to an upcoming open house at the Lighthouse in early June.  She declined the invitation because of a prior commitment, but continued, “I have some beads I’d like to donate to the Lighthouse.” What totally unexpected, glorious words!

We chatted a bit more, exchanged business cards, and parted. The next day I sent an email saying how nice it was to meet her. AND if she was serious about donating some beads to the Lighthouse, we’d love to have them. Yes, she replied, she was serious. We set a date two days hence for me to pick them up. A large cardboard box, once containing reams of computer paper, now filled to the top with jewelry beads and supplies, sat by the front door. Alison invited me in to visit. I was anxious to see her quilts. She said I looked familiar. I agreed. We’re not totally sure of where we’ve seen one another, but I’m inclined to think it’s my favorite local coffee bar. I remember being greatly intrigued by a woman of mature age sporting tattoos and a butch hair cut. Though her hair’s longer now, after an hour’s conversation I was just as intrigued by all the things we have in common as I carried a very heavy box out to my car.   

After coming home, I worked on other things for a couple of hours before beginning to unpack THE BOX. And unpack. And unpack. The kitchen counter was filled from one end to the other with plastic containers filled with a glorious assortment of glass and stone beads. I was stunned with the abundant generosity of this donation, a word that does not do justice to this amazing unparalleled gift! My art partner, a much more knowledgeable jewelry maker than I, came by to see what I called gushing about. We were both stunned and breathless with what was arrayed before us. We sorted, we counted, we estimated. Conservatively, it represents about a thousand dollars worth of fine quality beads, stones, and very good plastic storage containers!   

It’s pretty hard not to see the hand of God in this. A stirring that gave me the guts to do something outside my comfort zone, the grace to survive a rejection and embrace a redirection, the guts to introduce myself to a stranger who, unsolicited, volunteered to give me what she didn’t even know I’d asked for. And the glory of it all didn’t end there.

When I posted a gratitude on Facebook about the extravagantly generous donation to the Lighthouse, that began a rapid series of comments inquiring whether the women were into quilting. Nope, no sewing machines. Within minutes, a friend donated a sewing machine and a high school friend has gloriously offered to teach quilting.  I guess it’s true. No guts, no glory!

If you’ve ever been stirred to do something gutsy, what was it? If you’ve ever received more than you asked for, what was it? If you were to write or create a gratitude about that experience what would it sound or look like?

Hope you have lots of gutsy, glorious stuff to share.  

4 comments to No Guts, No Glory

  • I love this post! Just last Wednesday I had breakfast with a friend who handed me a box. I strapped it to my little motorcycle, and went over to Starbucks to look at it’s contents. Inside was the handwritten compositions from the 30’s to the 70’s of one of my favorite composers, who had written over 300 songs. I handled each musical manuscript with awe and wonder. I was holding a major bulk of her work. The composer was someone deeply significant to me as a child. She was someone who took an interest in me when I was 12, and then when Joey and I married, she occasionally met with us for breakfast and spoke great courage into our hearts. She was one of the most formative people in my early years. I loved her deeply, and here in my hands through the generosity of her daughter were many of her songs. I was speechless.



    What a wonderful blog to read. God bless you and that lady who donated all those beads. The Lighthouse will surely have plenty of beads for the jewelry for a while.


  • deanna bowling

    20 years ago, about this time of year, I received a manila envelope in the mail from my cousin Samee. A couple of weeks later, on a Saturday or Sunday, I don’t remember which, I sat down on the floor of my studio apartment and opened the envelope to find a whole stash of family photos inside, dating back to my grandmother and great grandmother.

    I noticed as I was looking through them that I was dressed identically to my mother in one of the pictures she was in. The picture was taken when I was about 18 months old, during a family get together towards the end of World War II. Proper women at that time didn’t wear slacks, but my mom was – dark slacks and a horizontally stripped “T” shirt. I looked down at what I was wearing while sitting there, and realized that I too was wearing dark slacks and a horizontally stripped “T” shirt.

    After I finished looking at the pictures, I called my cousin Samee to tell her thank you. When she answered the phone and realized that it was I, she told me that if she had been wearing false teeth, they would have fallen out of her mouth and been laying on the floor. For just before I called, apparently seconds before, she had finished a phone call to her mother, during which they had been talking about me.

    Looking at that stash of family photos started about a 6 month odyssey on my part, during which I “saw” many things about how I was living at the time that I hadn’t before, and received the opportunity to make huge changes.

    Love, hugs and prayers,


  • Kitty Bushey

    I must tell you that I have known Alison for over 30 years and she is the most genorous person that I have ever met.. She will do anything and everything for anyone at anytime. She is like the sister that I never had….

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