WORDS OF FAITH
We’re all fuzzy animals in need of care
John Tirro, Shopper News
I came across a Proverb the other day I hadn’t noticed before, “The righteous know the needs of their animals; but the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
I think there are at least three pieces of wisdom in that.
First comes predictably from my dog, Emma. As I was reading that Proverb in my favorite chair, she came over, having finished her breakfast, and pressed her warm, fuzzy head into my hand, both being affectionate and reminding me it was time to let her out. I’m not claiming broad, personal righteousness for picking up on that, just noting that there is a rightness, a sense of things-as-they-should-be, about being well-trained by your dog to help her be happy.
Also, later that day, I saw my spouse noticing Emma scratching her ear a little extra, and memory of this Proverb raised my appreciation as Misty got out of her chair, lifted Emma’s floppy ear, found an irritation spot, then got a soft cloth with warm, soapy water and ointment, and helped Emma feel better. So there’s the basic goodness of that, an animal’s people, taught by their animal to care for her, the comfort and appreciation arising from that.
Second, the Proverb raises a question. How’s the soft, fuzzy animal of you? A lot of us live up in our heads or use our bodies mainly as tools to get things done, but there’s one animal God has placed in your care more than in anyone else’s, and it’s you, your body, with its needs, its sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Anything there needing a walk or a stretch or a rest or a change in scenery? Might it be best to put this article down and care for that animal?
Well, whether you just returned or kept reading, the third thing is the main reason I chose this for a topic today. If we can grant that every other person is an animal too, with needs worthy of being known — even as, yes, they’re also fully agents in charge of their own care, and everyone else’s for that matter — this Proverb provides a powerful corrective for ways we tend to misuse the Golden Rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
So often, we simply treat others the way we want to be treated (at best!), when actually they might want something quite different.
Knowing our own needs is a great starting place for imagining someone else’s needs, but how much better would it be to get to know someone else’s needs and care for them — give them a call, give them space, help them out, let them work through something on their own — according to the needs of the soft, fuzzy animal that is them? What conversations, quality time, and attention would help us know each other’s needs? What might it be like to get to know each other’s needs that our care might become truly kind?
John Tirro is pastor of music and campus ministry at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Info: sjlcknox.org.
Designer turns her passion into a ‘happy’ business after moving to Knoxville
Ali James, Shopper News
“Before I moved here, in the middle of the pandemic, I applied for 100 jobs,” Jackie Osborne said. “The world was so uncertain and no one was hiring. After a month I had to find something to do. I have a graphic design degree and wanted to channel it into something.”
Osborne launched RatherBeeInNC, creating home décor including lots of wood sign making. “I do still do that a little bit, but now I create stickers, decals and prints,” she said.
RatherBeeInNC was inspired by a passion for honeybees and an inside joke.
“Our designs take inspiration from the people and places we encounter in our daily lives,” Osborne said. “We hope to pass onto others the same love of life and adventure we have anytime they see our work.”
The name is a nod to her roots in Wilmington, North Carolina. “I’ve never been good at coming up with names for things. North Carolina will always be where we came from and it just flows,” Osborne said.
After Osborne graduated college, she got married and decided to move to Knoxville with her husband, Banks, so that he could pursue a doctoral degree in finance at the University of Tennessee. “He was here in February 2020 and he loved it,” she added.
The first sign Osborne made read: “Welcome, please leave by 9 p.m.”
“I still have it in my home and it is still accurate,” Osborne said. “It made me laugh and a lot of other people laugh.”
Once she grew tired of woodworking, Osborne expanded her repertoire and started making stickers. “Honestly, I like things that make me happy,” said Osborne. The first local store Osborne approached to sell RatherBeeInNC stickers and ornaments was Nothing Too Fancy. “She loved them and that was before I had the Tennessee-themed stickers. I also wholesale on Faire and have shipped out orders to Alabama, California, Texas and kind of all over.”
Osborne also accepts custom orders. Customers can personalize stickers representing their favorite place via an Etsy order. “One of my favorite ones was an order for Bunnz, a local food truck,” she said. “I don’t sell the sticker packs online, I sell them in person at events. I have Tennessee and bee-themed packs. I only have two events left this season at the Christmas Village in Cleveland, Tennessee, and at M&D Creations’ craft show in Halls.”
Right now, Osborne is cranking out ornaments.
“I got a laser and engraving machine a couple of months ago, it engraves and cuts out the ornaments and I love it,” she said. “I have been making ‘Have a Holly, Dolly Christmas’, ‘Merry Christmas Y’all’. There is an ‘Our First Home’, ‘First Christmas’ and dog tags, too.”
RatherBeeInNC is a regular at the Old Sevier Merchants Market and is accepting Christmas orders until Nov. 29.
Hardin Valley grad gets his drone photography business off the ground
Nancy Anderson, Shopper News
Successful entrepreneurs can find a way to turn a passion into a livelihood.
Seth Proaps is still feeling his way through the process.
A recent Hardin Valley High School graduate, the 18-year-old Powell resident has been fascinated with flying drones since he was in middle school.
“I got my first professional drone in 2017,” he said. “I’ve been practicing all through high school. This summer I’ve honed my skills.”
And while he’s starting his freshman year at Pellissippi State Community College with his eye on a career as a mechanical engineer, Proaps has taken a major step by starting his own business – RP Aerial Photography.
“One of the most popular ways to use aerial photography is by realtors listing a house,” he said. “There are so many different techniques that can be used to set up a shot.”
This isn’t just buying a remote-control helicopter, attaching a camera, and launching it off the ground. Proaps has taken his “side gig” quite seriously.
Actually, there’s no other way to take it.
In order to try to make money with his Mavic Pro drone, he had to pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 Airman’s Certification test.
It was a big deal.
“After I passed it, my family and I went out to dinner,” he said.
Once that was behind him, setting up the company was a matter of patience as he filed the necessary paperwork to get the new venture off the ground.
“This is a hobby that’s part of a growing industry,” Proaps said.
Cameras are built into the high-end drones. The ability to make the drone and the camera work from a single remote control can be a difficult skill to acquire.
Sky’s the limit
Proaps said his drone normally flies about 200 feet above the ground. There are a variety of techniques he uses to make the presentation of houses for sale interesting and informative for the buyer.
“There’s a way you can hold the camera of the drone steady, and rotate it all around the house,” Proaps said. “That gives a perspective from all around.
“You can also do photospheres. Fly the drone away from the house and take pictures at every angle. You can upload all the photos and then rotate it to be able to see from all sides.”
The sky — the cliché is appropriate in this case — is the limit. The uses for aerial photography can grow as fast as the business model. Aiding in roof inspections and allowing farmers to keep track of the progress of their crops are all possibilities.
Seeing opportunities that haven’t been invented yet is the mark of an entrepreneur.
“If someone wants to start learning about flying a drone, I’d tell them to buy the cheapest one possible,” Proaps said. “Learn your skills on that one. If you can fly that, the pro models will be easy.”
To contact Proaps, visit rpaerial.webly.com.
The world seems more combustible than ever
Leslie Snow, Shopper News
I’m at the grocery store on a beautiful Friday morning. I have a list of things I need at the house plus a couple items to buy for my mother. I pick up bananas and peanut butter for my mom then head over to the baking aisle for some sugar. I’m staring at my list trying to figure out if I have everything I need when I see a man walking toward me, pushing his cart.
I shift in the aisle to make sure he has room to pass, and our eyes meet. I offer him a quick smile and a polite “hello,” but he doesn’t return my greeting. Instead, he shakes his head and scoffs loudly as he passes. I respond reflexively, putting my hands to my face. I feel my cotton mask beneath my fingers and make an assumption I feel certain is true. A man in the grocery store stared and scoffed at me because I was wearing a mask and he was not.
I turn my head to watch him make his way down the aisle. I want to shout, “My mom has cancer! I’m wearing a mask to protect her from illness.” But I don’t say anything. There’s nothing to say to someone who returns a friendly greeting with rudeness. And it’s none of his business.
I make my way to the car with my bags and try to recalibrate. I don’t want to let a stranger affect my mood. I decide to make a quick detour to a clothing store I’ve heard about. I have plans to go out later and think something new to wear might brighten my day.
Traffic is heavier than usual, so I look for a back way to the store. I make a wrong turn and end up in a busy parking lot instead of a side street. I see a car at a stop sign and pause to let it pass. For some reason the driver is incensed by my actions. She lifts her fists in the air and screams at me. I’m not great at lip reading but some curse words are easy to understand. I shrug my shoulders because that’s all I can think to do. I have no idea why she’s so mad. I gesture for her to go first but that makes her angry too. I drive home without buying anything. I retreat to the place where I feel safe and secure.
On the way home, I think about my encounters with the two strangers. I don’t want to read too much into them, but I can’t help but think that people aren’t as civil as they used to be. There’s anger simmering just beneath the surface, waiting to explode. I don’t know if it’s politics or social media stoking people’s emotions, but the world seems more combustible than ever. I get dressed for the night with hopes that dinner downtown will lift my dark mood.
The next evening I’m in bed watching the end of the UT-Ole Miss game. The events of the day before have left my mind. Then I hear the frustration boiling up from the boisterous crowd. I see the students heaving water bottles on the field. I watch the cheerleaders and the band members covering their heads and running for shelter. I see the now infamous mustard bottle lying on the grass and think, yesterday wasn’t an anomaly. The world has become an angry place. I turn off the TV, pull the covers over my head, and wait for morning.
Leslie Snow may be reached at [email protected]