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Gifts Remembered

By Gloria Hafemeister

“I can see beauty in old pieces. I’ve repurposed and made most of our home decor myself.”

That’s how Lisa Gensch of Fr13nds Bel13ve Gifts (Friends Believe Gifts) describes her interest in creativity.

She has turned that interest into a home-based business that allows her to be at home with her three children, Ashley, 7; Austin, 5 and Addison, 2.

She further describes herself as a “born-again Christian,” encouraged by her Aunt and her Dad. She says she takes her inspiration and the name for her business from the Bible.

Friends Believe was established in March by Lisa and her husband, Greg.

“The 13:13 in ‘Fr13nds Bel13ve’ comes from our wedding vows,” she says. “This comes from 1st Corinthians Chapter 13:13.  ‘And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.’”

Since their business began she has designed many unique frames for customers for their life’s milestones.  Sometimes she comes up with the idea. Other times customers come to her with an idea and she creates it for their special event.

Before starting the business Lisa had been an accountant. She had earned an associate’s degree and is now working on her bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Her inspiration to leave her job and stay at home with her children, however, is because of the special needs of their second child, Austin. At age 5 he is non-verbal and needs constant assistance and prompting.

“I want to contribute to our family income but still be there for Austin,” she says.

She describes her son as very bright but he needs a very structured setting and he’s reluctant to try new things, including trying new foods and going to new places.

She says, “Any time he moves just a small step out of his comfort zone is something to celebrate.”

We began noticing things when he was about 18 months. He wouldn’t explore things or play with toys or do the things that other babies his age were doing.”

Once the diagnosis was made that he was autistic she went through a period of grieving and depression. She says she felt like she had lost a child. All the hopes and dreams she had for him had been shattered with the diagnosis.

After a time of anger, bitterness and depression she followed her aunt and dad’s advice and turned to the Bible for guidance in dealing with it. Now she knows she won’t be like the soccer mom’s cheering on their son’s athletic achievements but instead will cheer on his personal accomplishments in life like talking and communicating.

Referring to a favorite poem given to her by a friend, she said it’s a bit like planning a trip overseas but landing in the wrong country. At first there is disappointment that you will not see the other country but then you realize the scenery where you are is great, too.

Now she deals with her personal stress by working out at the gym and participating in classes like Zumba. Austin is in his third year of intensive home therapy and now goes to 4K at Prairie View Elementary School where he is doing well with help from a special assistant.

That provides some time for her to work on building her home business.

Among the unique pieces she has created is a picture frame for her son, Austin, featuring puzzle pieces and the words, “Until All the Pieces Fit.”

She also offers other personalized custom painted frames for life’s milestones.

For weddings she offers the bride and groom’s last name is painted on glass with black lettering along with their date of marriage. The customer selects the overlay color for the names, and the background color.

The wedding frame is a wooden black gallery 10×20. The background is fabric, and can be customize in any style.

She also offers similar anniversary frames in a variety of colors and fabric designs with the name painted on the glass.

She will make customized frames for new babies with the child’s first letter of first name painted large in the background. The birth date is painted on top of the glass. As an option you can choose to have the weight and length on the bottom. The customer chooses the color overlay for the name and background. The child’s frame is wooden and comes in 3 colors: walnut, white or black 8×10 size or 11×14.

Capture important career or military achievements, graduations and other events in these artistic, customized picture frames.

Lisa will put her imagination to work creating a special frame just as she has used her imagination to create the unique décor in her own home by refurbishing antiques and family heirlooms.

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