Powder Room Pasture?
Now That’s a Really Woolly® Beginning!
by Rose Mary Harris
Who would ever think that a greeting card line—especially one featuring the Lord Himself as our Shepherd—would get its beginnings in a lowly powder room?
I certainly had no clue! But I was compelled to put a tiny drawing board, a cheap radio, big stack of white paper and a fat NIV Bible (with concordance) in our unfinished 3’ x 5’ powder room. No potty. No sink. Just my chair, my pencils, and my unseen, but very real Creative Director, the Shepherd of my soul!
This is a true story about real life, real joy, and the real Shepherd who works in ways (and locations) you’d never think of. The setting is Colorado Springs over 20 years ago. It’s a story I love being part of and sharing with you.
How did I get the urge to let my creativity unleash in a claustrophobic size studio? Well, after years of work in media relations and such, God answered my prayers to bring me home to be on-site mom to our daughter and son. They were then the age of my grandkids now!
I moved into the only empty spot in our little house. While the kids were asleep or at school, I soaked up Jesus’ words, then scribbled miles of squiggly sheep and their Shepherd into scenes of Him helping His woolly band of followers. (Carpel tunnel surgery was a side benefit of that.) The messages came from real life situations—mine and others—and just wrote themselves into lots of encouragements.
At the strong urgings of a good friend, I printed some of the cards and put them on my living room walls and invited some folks in. Eighty-five ladies popped in that Saturday to see what was going on and started buying things. I had no idea what I was doing…a situation God apparently finds quite workable!
I called the cards “FlockWorks” then, ’cause the flock does work when the sheep are shoulder to shoulder with the Shepherd. The very first sheep card I did was called “In the Pits.” It didn’t get its name or illustration from lack of personal experience. The sheep I pictured down in a pit was a character I can really identify with. Some of the most productive times of ideas came from the days I spent clinging to the Shepherd’s sash myself—reading His Word—not to get a card idea, but to find a way to stay afloat. Life really is really woolly, and I knew if I needed His encouragement, then other people did too. I came to take literally the Shepherd’s promise, “Draw near to Me and I’ll draw near to you!”
Many times my friends would ask me what I was going to do to “really” market the cards. In friendly frustration one day I said, “I don’t know. Why don’t you do something with them?!” And she did. She prayed her kneecaps off!
Two years later God answered our prayers by placing me in the perfect position to help launch a new card ministry—I was cleaning toilets at a nearby Christian camp! Well, I suppose it was a step up from the powder room…this place had real potties. Lots of them.
But it was during that time that God used a Christian Writers’ Conference at a nearby church to cause DaySpring’s Roy Lessin and yours truly to meet. That Saturday morning I carried in an enormous portfolio from the “Powder Room series,” complete with six sheep and Shepherd cards, and hoisted it up on the table in front of Roy. We had a great chat about life and faith, and then he picked up “the beast.” He thumbed through and made few comments, until…he got to the sheep and Shepherd cards. His questions hinted at excitement, “Have these ever been used before?” “May I take them back to our team at DaySpring?” “I can tell you right now that I think we’ll be interested!”
As I shook Roy’s hand and walked out to call my husband, the coolest thing happened. All the blood from the top of my head released, like in a marvelous massage, and went to the bottom of my feet. What I sensed God saying to me was, “Now you’re ready to do this work I’ve had prepared all along for you to do. But it will take a whole team, so here’s DaySpring. Your prayers were too small, so I answered bigger.”
For 20 years I’ve had the privilege of teaming with the many talented people at DaySpring—particularly artist Julie Sawyer Phillips—each of us doing our part to create art and words and graphics and technology to encourage the Really Woolly® flock all over the world with the love of the Shepherd, Jesus.
Why, He Himself had very humble beginnings in a little space with bathroom-like qualities. J.
The original Really Woolly theme scripture:
“Encourage one another daily.” Hebrews 3:13 NIV
God made sure the card line was up and running in plenty of time for my praying friend to enjoy the fruits of her many labors…then He took her home at age 43 to be with Him, leaving behind her husband and flock of four children. Jennifer, if you can see cyberspace from heaven, you’ll see that the sheep are definitely out of the building!
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®.
© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan.