Sunday, March 8, 2009


March 8, 2009

Someone posted this in the comments:

For those of us not familiar with, but intrigued by... what exactly is a lanyard used for? (How much do you want for them? Just curious on the background...)

Lanyards are long necklaces with rings or clips on the end to hang ID badges on. School teachers, nuclear scientists, and hospital personnel are types of folks that sometimes wear lanyards as part of their jobs. Our friends the Weberlings introduced us to the concept of making them with jewelry wire and glass beads last fall. We started out just thinking of Erin's teachers and had intended to give them as Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, each one took longer than we thought, so we had to fall back on a different plan of teacher gifts. Erin finished making them over Christmas and thought she would give them to the teachers anyway. She paired that idea with idea that they might want to make a donation to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation in exchange for having a cool and beautiful lanyard. Since then, Erin's lanyards have become such a big hit that she sometimes needs help from friends to collaborate with her. Here are some samples:

She has taken orders from people and is filling them in the order they came in. Some people have ordered specific color combinations or lengths; others are leaving those choices to her. When your order is ready, we either give it or send it to you (if you asked for something more specific), or we contact you and let you pick from the accumulated inventory (if you didn't express a particular preference). We have also branched out a little for people who don't have to wear ID badges. We have made some eyeglasses chains (for people like me who need to take their glasses on and off all day and risk them escaping if they are not chained around my neck) and have taken some special orders for other type of jewelry.

We don't set a price on any of the items we make. Erin has given them away for nothing and has accept donations as large as $250. Anything she gets, we send to Lunch for Life and the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation.

There's a more important story embedded here. Erin's beaded lanyards help people by providing harnasses for their IDs. They also help people by generating funds for pediatric cancer research. Beyond these instrumental outcomes, there are some other benefits. Beading gives Erin something to do when she doesn't feel like doing much. It gives her friends something to do with her when she can't run around and play like they can. It brings our friends together and helps us make new friends. We share time, space, and conversation as we work. Wearing a lanyard by Erin might prompt someone to notice and gives the wearer a chance to spread the word. I like to think of the whole cycle (where a large number of people end up feeling better) as process theology.

Take these two photos. Erin had Sandy, Tiffany, and Kaleigh over on Saturday afternoon to do a little beading. Erin had looked terrible all day. [We think she has a combination of stomach virus--diarrhea, nausea, headache, and fatigue--and sinus infection--lots of snot, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and productive cough. Although we never know whether there might be more insidious explanations.] Beading with friends perked her up.


  1. vickie -
    bummer that erin is feeling blech - it really isn't any fun at all. hopefully she's up and wii-ing today. if she were here in utah i'd hope she were out playing in the snow. anyhow - i was thinking - when you get to mine (no rush - i know erin is one busy chicka) that it'd be easy to turn a lanyard into a necklace, so that's what i'm planning to do with mine. :) of course y'all continue to be in my prayers, many times a day.

  2. I love that school teachers and nuclear scientists are grouped together.

  3. i think what you're doing with lanyards is fantastic. and your explanation, especially the last paragraph, is brilliant. process theology indeed.
    lots of love,
    toby's mom

  4. Erin-
    Today was the first day I got to hook up my ID cards to your lanyard you made for me as I went to work. This is the coolest present I have ever received in my 36 years on earth! I'm not just saying that, Erin. 36 years is a long time and I've got some cool things (clothes, bikes, cars, etc.) But nothing comes close to having something personally requested and hand-made. I picked some colors and beads for you, but you added some that were your personal touch! I am so happy with how it turned out! I seriously want to wear it to bed. Today when I wore it to work, nobody commented on it...but everyone's eyes went to the lanyard. When I saw people's eyes stare at the lanyard and not at my face....I thought "Erin made me this and it is my favorite present ever!"

    Don't worry everyone will get the nerve up to ask where I got such a cool necklace. I will point them your way.

    Now I just need a way to get a plastic cover for your picture so I can hang it with my ID cards!

    I love you Erin

    Thanks so much
    Kevin Weberling

  5. Okay. I give up. I can't resist a great sales pitch. I need a lanyard. My favorite color is red, Erin, so you can take it from there. I have seen your work and I trust you completely. I can wait as long as it takes. Meanwhile, the Erin candle is still burning brightly at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church here in Dallas.


  6. Thank you again for letting Kaleigh and Tiffany help make lanyards. They both really enjoyed making them and, of course, loved getting to be with Erin. They're already asking me when they can have another lanyard-making session!

    Also, a big thank-you to Erin for helping Tiffany make my lanyard for me!I have a special place on my dresser where I keep my most treasured things made for me by my kids. The lanyard has now found its way to my treaure place. I know it's meant to be functional, but it just feels right keeping it there. It reminds me to think of and pray for Erin and all of the other brave and beautiful kids fighting neuroblastoma every time I see it.

    Love to you all,


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