Friday, October 24, 2008

Heartfelt Couture...reaching hearts through sewing hands!

Heartfelt Couture is a ministry effort between Sharon Swan & Keri Abshier! Our goal is to reach children who are staying in the hospital by giving them the gift of a handmade hospital gown! Many children staying in hospitals at some point must walk through a hospital or in the hallways of their floor wearing a hospital gown. Because of Sarah, we've realized that some of them are not thrilled with the "look" of typical hospital gowns! Sarah refused to wear one at 4 years old and with that rebellion.....a whole ministry has begun!

We are in need of volunteers to donate fabric, time, efforts, talents, marketing, word of mouth advertising, etc! If you have some talent, there is a way we could benefit from it for these children!

We realize that there are other ways to help children in hospitals, but this idea is close to our hearts and a passion we believe God put in us to carry out! We would love for you to be part of this potentially overwhelming task!

By December 2010, our goal is to have at least 12 chapters or groups of women throughout the country making hospital gowns for children's hospitals in their communites or close by. We are reaching Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas and hopefully very soon, Children's Hospital in Dallas!

Right now, our mission of the moment is our first's called "35 Wishes" and here's the scoop on it and a message from Sharon....

Hello, Friends!
When our daughter, Sarah was born, as some of you already know, she had heart problems. Over the period of her first year of life, she had four major heart surgeries.

After her recovery and getting better, we got home and I stayed with her and did not return to work for quite some time. During that time, I felt the overwhelming burden to do something for others in the same situation that our family had been in. Armed with my camera and some friends, I decided to go to the Ronald McDonald House and host a family portrait day in which I took portraits of all of the families and their children, both well & sick. I met some of the most amazing people through this mission and felt like God truly opened my eyes to a love of helping others through my experiences.

Before Sarah, anything I did for others was out of a feeling of just "doing my part". I didn't have a sense of urgency like I did after Sarah came along. My entire life, I've had that gut feeling that there is something out there that I am SUPPOSED to be doing but I've thought many times that the feeling just hasn't hit me just right. I've done lots of things with the talents I've been blessed with to try to bless others but STILL, I feel like I'm missing the boat somewhere.
So many times, I've been told..."You are so talented". It's sometimes a burden to me because I don't feel like I am always using my talent to absolutely be a blessing to someone else and even if I am ............I know there is some huge thing I've not seen yet! Something BIG that God has for me to do. I have always had the gut feeling that I am supposed to change lives in a BIG way. A bunch of lives.
I have felt called to children with heart problems since Sarah's birth and our journey with her.
It is allllllll coming together now! My "Big Thing" happened yesterday!

In September, I bought an outfit for Sarah that was handmade by a woman named "Keri" on Her storefront is called chasingbirdies . She makes amazing clothing! Absolutely adorable things! After receiving the outfit, I decided it would be what Sarah wore to her cardiologist appointment in October. I always let her wear a special outfit that day and she always looks extra cute for those appointments. It's like her big day in the city! :) She loves it!
Well, AT her appointment, I'm sure most of you read the blog about her not wanting to wear her hospital gown. She said "it didn't match"! LOL So, I contacted Keri to see if she could get a pattern for hospital gowns and she said yes! I was so excited about that! We decided to have some gowns made for Sarah before her next surgeries that are coming up soon. The last thing I wanted is for her to be stressed out over her gown! haha Then, Keri emailed me and asked me if other children may be interested in one, too and how this may be a good ministry for us. I immediately had that WOW feeling!

I thought..........well, I can't sew, but I can find a way to help make this happen!

35 Wishes .....a plan is born....
So, I talked to Keri yesterday afternoon and we have a plan of action! She and some of her friends are going to make 35 hospital gowns for the children who will be in the hospital at TCH on the heart recovery floor on Christmas Day! AND, we are gathering other items to include in gifts for 35 children in the 35 rooms of that floor! Hence, the name....35 Wishes. Everyone who has heard of this since yesterday is 'on board' with helping! Even Jason (my 9 year old) can't wait to help! He's going to design the cards for us to put with each gift!

This is such a God thing! When we got on the phone, we had never spoken before. I had only bought a few things from her on etsy and we had chatted back and forth via email through their site. When I asked for her phone number....I called and she answered the phone with excitement in her voice! We could not talk fast enough! It was like we had both been waiting SO long for something big and we had found each other and we knew we were going to be unstoppable together! During our hour long conversation, we laughed, CRIED, everything! We are going to meet sometime in the next week or so and sit down and REALLY brainstorm about what we can do further....past we can grow and REALLY change lives! She and I talked about our husbands, too! Turns out....she tells me her husband works in the construction industry....I said...."Really?......mine too! What does your husband do?" She replies...."He's a branch manager for a rental company." I ask..."WHAT rental company?" She says............"United Rentals,......have you heard of it?"! Well, HUSBAND is a sales rep for united rentals!!!!!!!!!!! We both start screaming and laughing! It's hilarious!~ So funny!
A few "funny" coincidences we discovered that will make us a great team!....
*We are both Christians!
*She's only been sewing for a little less than 2 months.
*I was her first customer!
*Our husbands work for the same company!
*She lives an hour away from me! (and etsy is a worldwide website and I didn't even realize she was in the Dallas area until AFTER I ordered!)
*She does not like the marketing aspect of anything and I live for it!
*We are both stay at home/work at home moms!
*She & I have both been looking for something bigger!
I am so excited about this and if this story pulls at your can help, too!
Email us at if you would be interested in helping in any way. We need support from everyone who can help! If anyone would like to make a donation to our cause, we are using the money to purchase the hatboxes to put the items in and for fabric to help make more hospital gowns, goodies for the boxes, etc. however, we are not set up as a non-profit or charitable entity yet and cannot provide tax reciepts. We are thankful for any help we get
Sarah has come SUCH a long way and we are so blessed by her life....I want her life to continue causing blessings for others! These photos are so hard to look back at and see where she started, but when you look at where she is just truly shows how wonderful God is and how important it is to me to make a difference in others' lives!

And here's the scoop on Keri, too!
I always thought that God gave me twin girls for a reason and On Tuesday Oct 21th he finally revealed the reason.

I have only been truly sewing for 6 months. I started a couple of years ago and had a horrible time with it so I stopped. In April I was looking for a special outfit for my girls for family pictures so I went and looked. Everything I found was outrageously priced. So with the help of the most important person in my life I started to sew. When I tell people I have only been sewing that long they are amazed. And I truly feel like God gave me this talent so quickly for a reason.

I started selling on Etsy because a hand full of very close friends said I should start selling these outfits that I make for my girls. I really didn’t want to sell them because I felt it was a hobby and that I had just started. But under constant calling and hounding (you ladies know who you are) I decided I would start a little store on Etsy. I started on Sept 4th. Sharon was my very first Etsy order. She told me she loved my stuff which made me feel SOOO much better about starting this!

When Sharon contacted me about making the gowns it was also a WOW moment for me. First she loved my clothing enough to have me make her daughter something so unique that I felt honored. Second I have always felt blessed about very healthy children and every time I hear about a child that is sick I am on my knees praying for the child and thanking God for my own. When Sharon told me about Sarah, that’s what happened. I started praying and through the Holy Spirit over the course of a few weeks I decided to ask Sharon if other kids would like custom hospital gowns. And that is where God revealed why he gave me twin girls.
If I hadn't been looking to sew something for my girls I would have NEVER started sewing and if he would not have put these special people in my life to encourage me I would have NEVER opened an Etsy shop. And I would have NEVER meet Sharon! So God does do things with unlikely people. I don’t have a degree in fashion, I never took a sewing class, and I don’t spend tons of money on my clothes. I am a cheapskate mother of twins who believes it doesn’t have to cost a lot to look FABULOUS! So I think kids spending days, weeks, and months in the hospital should look fabulous too!

I believe that God can do all things and this right here is a testimony to that! I have a truly God given talent because I just learned to sew. Believe me I wished I had been sewing for years, I would probably be less self conscious but the Lord works in mysterious ways!


hooliesnore said...

Keri, that is so AMAZING! I can't wait to see where God takes you two through all of this!

Julie Rohrer \o/

GretchenAClark said...

How awesome, Keri! The ladies at our church have what they call a "Prayer Blanket Ministry." They sew small blankets for sick/hospitalized/homebound people. After they've made them and before they send them out to people, they bless them/lay hands on them (the blankets). It's really neat. Good luck with all of this... It sounds really fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I would love to talk with you about helping in making the gowns. I am in the Dallas,Texas area and work right next to Childrens Hospital

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