https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey.atom Educatingthewheelers - Our Journal 2021-01-09T20:35:53-06:00 Educatingthewheelers https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/seasons-end 2021-01-09T20:35:53-06:00 2021-01-09T20:35:54-06:00 Seasons End Seth Thomas

Over four years ago we answered a pull on our hearts to start Educatingthewheelers. In faith, we gave God our obedience to create gospel centered apparel and serve our community with a portion of the profits. We defined success as being obedient and leaned into Gods leadership. 

God used this time, and Educatingthewheelers to grow my faith and character. I learned about resolve, steadfastness, placing my hope in God, and laying my burdens and disappointments on His shoulder. He gave me courage and confidence both in my self and in Him to forge the rivers and accomplish difficult tasks. I imagined that henceforth, Educatingthewheelers would always be a part of our lives, but we know there is a time for everything.

With heavy hearts but a clear conscious, we have decided to end this season. There are seasons for planting, for cultivating, and seasons for harvest. But there are also times to prune, for endings, to clean up, and ultimately to create space and opportunity. If we try to do everything, we won't do any of it well. Nothing would have space to thrive, to grow. 

2020 has brought Fiorella home from being a flight attendant with American Airlines, possibly for good. This new season has given her the opportunity to become a stay-at-home mom, a dream and desire the Lord has recently placed on her heart. God has blessed her with the opportunity to spend all of her day with our daughter, Sofia, at such a tender and vital age. We are grateful that God has blessed us in a way that makes this possible. 

God has blessed us abundantly by providing me a new job as a User Interface Designer at Geoforce. My desire is to give this new position the time and focus that it deserves, and to follow God's leadership. We walked into this endeavor out of obedience and we are choosing to hold it loosely in our grasp as we let go.

For those that have loved, encouraged, and supported us on this journey, I hope that you continue to do so. I hope that you, like I, look back on any of our work with fondnessI hope that you understand our heart. 

All that being said, we are currently still open and our site is still running. We have marked all of our product prices all the way down to cost. I don't have any plans at this time to restock any sizes or designs. Our current plan to is to keep the site running through March as we sell off product and close our doors on this season of our life. Take this opportunity to grab any Educatingthewheelers product that you have had your eye on the past few years. This is definitely the lowest price it has ever been.

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/behind-the-art-the-best-is-yet-to-come 2020-07-13T20:08:00-05:00 2020-07-16T07:41:34-05:00 Behind The Art // The Best is yet to come Seth Thomas I was there for the adventure, the laughs and the memories. But they were on a mission. Even though I didn't have a fancy camera with me, I was strapped with a brand new iPhone 5s and I didn't want the moment to pass without capturing it. Staying out of their way, I was able to snap a few keep sake shots.

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In 2015, I took a snowboarding trip with a friend of mine to Colorado and stayed at his parents house in Denver. Each day we drove up the mountain to a different resort and returned in the evening. After two days, heavy snow storms prevented us from driving back up. A photographer friend of mine, in Denver at the time, asked if I wanted to join him and another photographer on a road trip down to Garden of the gods in Colorado Springs. Since the snowboarding aspect of my trip was effectively ended, I jumped at the opportunity. I was essentially a pack mule, helping to carry their equipment, as I had no camera of my own nor did I know how to use any of theirs. I was there for the adventure, the laughs and the memories. But they were on a mission.


We arrived early enough to hike around the park in search of a very particular view through a "window" looking at pikes peak and waited for the sun to set. By the way, the temperature drops dramatically in Colorado when the sun starts going down. I mostly watched them set up their professional equipment, in awe of how technical it was and how expensive I could have guessed it must have been. 

Even though I didn't have a fancy camera with me, I was strapped with a brand new iPhone 5s and I didn't want the moment to pass without capturing it. Staying out of their way, I was able to snap a few keep sake shots. Nothing special, but enough to hold the memory.

Fast forward to 2018. I was working on this t-shirt design and I knew I wanted a photograph that felt like the viewer was inside a dark cave with the light shining in. The very moment I wanted to capture was when the stone was rolled away from Jesus' grave. The tomb still filled with despair but as the rays of light reflected off the rocks, it was evident that Jesus was missing, He had risen! 

I searched and searched the internet, photography sites, stock footage, and could not find the image that captured the vision in my mind. Until I remembered that photo taken on a iPhone 5s four years prior. I sifted through old photos and files on my computer until I finally hunted it down.

 

Open Cave Photo- Black and White

The Best is yet to come_Art

 

The best is yet to come t-shirt

 

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/subway-shoot-with-zer-surigao 2020-04-03T09:23:00-05:00 2020-04-03T09:45:45-05:00 Testimony Photoshoot with Zer Surigao Seth Thomas Educatingthewheelers proudly presents the testimony of Zer Surigao, the youth pastor at Fielder South Oaks, in conjunction with our photoshoot with him in Dallas at the City place / Uptown DART station. 

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Beneath the boundaries of everyday life, sounds of halting metal on metal, and the scurrying footsteps of the every day 9-5, inspire the imagination that captured these moments. Educatingthewheelers proudly presents the testimony of Zer Surigao, the youth pastor at Fielder South Oaks, in conjunction with our photoshoot with him in Dallas at the City place / Uptown DART station. 

 

Poppy Red Deny Thyself with White Educatingthewheelers Beanie
SHOP THE LOOK  |  Poppy Red Deny Thyself T Shirt  //  Winter White Beanie

 

We all have a start to our journey. Mine started in California as a little boy who grew up a pastor’s kid. My dad was the pastor of the church I grew up in for 17 years. This meant that for the majority of my childhood, I was practically at every Sunday morning service, every Wednesday night prayer meeting, every Bible study, every Friday youth night, and whatever other event our church had. My dad even had me write songs and poems, and each week I would perform them in front of the whole church. I guess you could say that I was a good “Christian” kid.

Poppy Red Deny Thyself t-shirt and Black 5-panel hat

SHOP THE LOOK  |  Poppy Red Deny Thyself T Shirt  //  Black 5-Panel Hat

Poppy Red Deny Thyself t-shirt, Winter White Educatingthewheelers Beanie, and Camo Color-block Windbreaker

SHOP THE LOOK  |  Poppy Red Deny Thyself T Shirt  //  Winter White Beanie  //  Camo Color-Block Windbreaker

I mean, I had all my religious and spiritual boxes checked. Go to church – check. Read the Bible – check. Pray to God for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when I wake up and when I sleep – check. Then at 10 or 11 years old (I honestly don’t remember when), I said the sinner’s prayer to be saved and was baptized at 12. I thought I was all good, that I had done everything I needed to do. I was wrong.

Ironically, the next four years of my life were hell – smoking weed, drinking alcohol, partying it up, being apathetic towards everyone and everything. My life was spiraling out of control, and I couldn’t break free from it. Then I hit rock bottom – high as a kite, standing at the end of our roof, thinking about taking my life. I remember saying a prayer, “God, if You’re real, save me from this.”

Vintage Black Deny Thyself t-shirt and Reebok Shoes

SHOP THE LOOK  |  Vintage Black Deny Thyself T Shirt  //  Reebok BB OS Mid

By His mercy, I didn’t hurt myself and a week later, my dad gave me the opportunity to live in the Philippines for school. I took the opportunity as a clean slate, a way to break free from the crazy life I was living.  

You know, a few months alone changes you. I was having to rediscover myself and, more importantly, I was discovering God and who He really is and what He’s done for me. See, it didn’t matter that I had done all those good religious things and had every spiritual box checked; I was lost and dead in my sins, and no amount of good works I had done could ever save me. Only Jesus could. And alone in an office-turned-bedroom, I submitted to Jesus, vowing to follow Him for the rest of my life. 

Vintage Black Deny Thyself t-shirt and red 5 panel hat

SHOP THE LOOK  |  Vintage Black Deny Thyself T Shirt  //  White Long-Sleeve Shirt  //  Maroon 5-panel Hat

Now, I still go to church, read my Bible, and pray. I even still write songs and poems that I occasionally perform for churches. The difference now is that I’m not putting on a religious show trying to check off all my spiritual boxes. I’m not trying to win approval and acceptance from God; I already have that through Jesus. Everything I do now stems and flows from my love for God because of all that He has done for me – that He lived the life I could never live and died the death that I deserved.

Poppy Red Deny Thyself t-shirt

SHOP THE LOOK  |  Poppy Red Deny Thyself T Shirt  //  Black 5-Panel Hat
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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/q-a-with-kevin-coronado 2019-05-16T11:46:00-05:00 2019-05-17T07:23:22-05:00 Q&A with Kevin Coronado Seth Thomas

One of the main reasons we exist is to create products that start conversations about Jesus. We believe that the authentic conversations that naturally develop from questions about our designs will create meaningful opportunities to share Jesus with others. 

We recently sat down with one of our customers and friends, Kevin Coronado, to ask him questions about an experience and conversation he had with a student.

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One of the main reasons we exist is to create products that start conversations about Jesus. We believe that the authentic conversations that naturally develop from questions about our designs will create meaningful opportunities to share Jesus with others. 

We recently sat down with one of our customers and friends, Kevin Coronado, to ask him questions about an experience and conversation he had with a student.


 

S: Let's start by telling everyone a little about yourself and what you do.

K: My name is Kevin Coronado and I'm a youth pastor at Community Bible Church in Waterford, California. I've got a beautiful wife and three young boys that I would do anything for.

S: How long have you be a youth pastor?

K: I've been a youth pastor now for eight years, two with my current church.

S: Awesome. Recently you shared with us on Instagram a wonderful conversation you got to have that was started by a simple off-hand comment about one of our products you were wearing. Where were you and what product did you have on?

K: I was wearing my Educatingthewheelers "Do Good & Do it Well" Hoodie, and I was visiting some of my students at the local high school for lunch.

S: Ok cool. Now, what was the initial comment and who made it?

K: A guy (let's call him Travis), freshman I think, walked up to me. I see him all the time but we've never formally been introduced. Anyways, he comes up to me and says, "why do I need to be reminded to do good? Shouldn't we all be doing good?"

S: Okay, so he basically just reads the hoodie and asked about it. So, what was your response to Travis? How did you take such a simple question and engage with him?

K: I responded, "Well, yeah we should be but the important part is to do it well."

S: I really like that approach. Instead of correcting Travis, you affirmed what he said but then added more truth to it. Did that help to create an even deeper conversation? 

K: Eventually, yes, but first he said, "I don't know what that means." 

And so I told him, "Basically it means that everything we do, whether it's taking out the trash at home or being a billionaire philanthropist, we should do it with the right attitude. We should do it as if we're doing it for God Himself because in a lot of ways we are."  

He asked, “Well, what if I don’t believe in God?” I responded to his question with another question and said, “Well, why do you do good things?” He replied doubtfully, “Because they’re GOOD to do?” 

“Right, so God teaches us that when we do good things, we also need to do them WELL. We need to do them correctly. If you’re taking out the trash, don’t do it because your parents threatened to take away your phone for a week. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, without cussing them out under your breath. That’s the key to being a Christian, having the right attitude in all that we do." 

“We’re all supposed to do good things, whether you believe in God or not, but the difference between me and someone who doesn’t believe is that I need to go the extra mile. I need to take the extra step to do things well and correctly so that when someone sees what I’m doing they go, ‘oh, he’s doing that because of his faith, because he loves God.’” 

Travis asked why God would care if we do things well or not and I responded that “He cares because He IS good. He’s perfect, so when we do something good we’re reflecting Him. Like putting up a mirror and others seeing the reflection of whatever it is we’re looking at. So when we do good, basically we’re imitating Him. If someone is imitating you, wouldn’t you want them to do a good job of it?” 

He kind of nodded along and said, “yeah, I guess so,” and the bell rang and he said, “alright, bye pastor dude!” And walked away. 

S: That is a great conversation you got to have with that student. Thank you for sharing with us and being obedient and sharing so much truth with him. Has that interaction led to any further conversations with him or any of his friends?

K. Yeah, so now when I see him I ask “are you doing good?” And he’ll say, “yeah, I am” and I’ll respond “are you doing it well?” And sometimes he just grins at me and walks away, but most of the time he says, “I’m trying to!” 

I’ve also met other friends of his, and they’ll ask me questions about the Bible (usually stuff they think will shock me like whether sex is a sin or not). I always point back to the gospel and tell them, "It doesn’t matter what the sin is, Jesus died for it and wants to forgive you."

S: So it seems like so far these conversations with Travis and his friends haven't lead to anyone praying for forgiveness. Is that ever discouraging to you?

K. I'd say no. I think everybody is on a journey to God and I might not be at the "end" of that persons journey. I may be the one kicking it off. My job isn't to make them believe, my job is to simply show them the gospel of Christ's love.

S: That is a really good perspective Kevin. It certainly gives you the courage to keep sharing and not feel like you failed. If the goal is simply sharing the gospel and not conversion then you achieve your goal just by being obedient.

S: Since you are a youth pastor and you are around teens all the time, what advice do you have for engaging with current teenagers (generation Z) in meaningful conversation about Jesus? 

K: Be real. Teenagers are so in-tune with their own feelings, a lot more than we give them credit for, that they can instantly tell if you're putting on a show, trying to be something you're not, or if you genuinely believe what you're saying. Pizza, games and fun are great to get the conversation started with them, but it'll take you so far if you don't let them see the real you. Once they see that you actually care and that you really, truly believe what you are saying, they'll be asking you more questions than you know how to answer. 

S: So what do you do when they ask a question you don't know?

K: I'm honest with them and tell them that I don't know the answer. Usually I'll say something like, "Honestly, I don't know the answer to that, but what I do know is..." I won't redirect the conversation, but I'll give them some insight into what the Bible does say about related topics."

S: Thank you Kevin. It was great having this talk with you. Thank you for taking the time today to share this story with us and our readers. We really appreciate all of your insight and advice on evangelism and engaging with generation Z. 

It is really cool to hear and see our vision for Educatingthewheelers, starting conversations about Jesus, being played out practically in stories like this. It is encouraging to us to know that our products are making an impact and allowing others to have conversations about Jesus. 

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/coffee-people-podcast-with-ketch-smith 2019-02-18T12:28:00-06:00 2019-02-18T12:32:36-06:00 Coffee + People Podcast with Ketch Smith Seth Thomas I recently got connected through Instagram with Ketch Smith and he invited us to be on his podcast, Coffee + People. Read through my thoughts leading up to and after the show as well as listen to the entire recording. 

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I recently got connected through Instagram with Ketch Smith and his awesome podcast, Coffee + People Podcast.

Ketch's podcast, Coffee + People, is all about sharing peoples stories. It was immediately evident that this dude loves coffee and loves people. He sits down with all different kinds of people and just chats about why they do what they do and how they got to where they are. I personally find the podcast both chill and inspiring. When you listen to the podcast, you just feel like you are sitting in the room and are a part of a conversation between friends. And at the same time, I always feel inspired by the awesome stories of people in the DFW he interviews that are making, creating, designing, building, and filming. 

After getting acquainted and messaging back and forth (on Instagram) with Ketch about what each of us does and what our respective brands are all about, he invited Fiorella and I to be guests on his podcast. 

My initial response was, "That sounds cool!" Immediately followed by, "To be honest we don't drink coffee 🙃."

Because, what better way to accept an invitation to a fantastic opportunity than to state why you wouldn't be a good fit?

On the drive up to Lewisville to record our episode, I was beginning to feel really nervous. Nervous because I've never been on a podcast before. Anything that was recorded for Educatingthewheelers, up to this point, had always been in writing. I love writing because, as an introvert, it offers me the time and flexibility to craft words exactly the way I wanted. Podcasts on the other hand, do not allow that flexibility. 

After talking through the scenario with my wife, I realized that the real fear here stems from my illusions of control with our company, and the thought that recording a podcast stripped me of that control. Ultimately, God is in control of all that we do and any success of this company. That realization gave me peace and sufficient courage as I was reminded that I am simply an ambassador and if God has given me this opportunity to share our story, all I can do is be obedient and do the best I can.  

After you listen to our story, make sure to go check out his podcast and the rest of the inspiring episodes. One last note, In the future I will do my best to eliminate as many "likes" from my speech as possible 😅(I cringed through the whole episode listening to myself).

Thank you again to Ketch, if you are reading this, for having us on your show and for providing us the opportunity and a space to further share our story of obedience to what God has called us to do.

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/2018-reflections 2019-01-14T14:28:00-06:00 2019-01-17T14:13:36-06:00 2018: Reflecting on a Year of Foundations Seth Thomas As I reflect back on 2018, I can see that it was full of challenges, required an abundance of faith and perseverance but ultimately ended in provision. It was undoubtedly a year of patience as well as a year I can confidently say was a year in which my faith grew in both depth and breadth. 

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Looking in the Mirror

As I reflect back on 2018, I can see that it was full of challenges, required an abundance of faith and perseverance but ultimately ended in provision. It was undoubtedly a year of patience as well as a year I can confidently say was a year in which my faith grew in both depth and breadth. 

We kicked off 2018 by announcing my decision to take a further step in obedience by leaving my job, of four and a half years, at Neiman Marcus in order to pursue Educatingthewheelers on a full-time basis. It is strange to think that the trajectory of our lives and this business was drastically altered on that mundane and chilly January day. However, it didn’t take long for me to begin to see the fruits of this choice.

With my time dedicated to growing our business, we were able to launch 5 new products (3 shirts and 2 hoodies), participate in 3 markets/art festivals, attend a small business conference in Chicago and we were blessed to be featured in 2 different online magazine articles. 

The decision to leave my job also had implications on our family and spiritual lives. I now had the freedom and flexibility with my time to pursue activities, out side of my job, that, before, would not have been possible. Fiorella and I got to go on a wonderful vacation all the way to Hong Kong and Thailand. While we have gone on vacations before, I realized how much the stress of my former job at home blocked me from fully enjoying the experience. I used to spend my time stressing about work, thinking about what would be left for me once I got back, and obsessing over whether we would make our flight or not (we always fly stand-by). I was finally able to relax, unwind, and spend quality time with my wife without distraction. 

In June, we were blessed with the opportunity to go on a 14 day mission trip with our church to Germany. While I may never know the effect I did or did not have on the students, God used that time to grow and challenge me. I spent the two weeks leading a bible study for a group of 16 and 17 year old boys, shared my testimony and the journey God has brought us through with Educatingthewheelers in front of the entire camp, and I prepared and shared a talk on guys night about obedience authority and respect. 

This year provided several wins and fulfilled goals that I can look back on and be proud that I accomplished them. Although, what I am truly learning is that God’s blessings don’t only come in financial or material ways. Educatingthewheelers may not be paying me a salary, and the growth seems to be slow and challenging but God has done an amazing work over this year. None of the blessings he provided would of been possible if it wasn’t for the foundation we laid when we decided to trust in Him and walk in obedience

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/the-cost-of-love 2018-08-18T08:00:00-05:00 2018-09-10T13:02:05-05:00 The Cost of Love Seth Thomas The truest act of Love is a perfectly righteous God leaving a perfect heaven, coming down in human form to a broken and sinful world, knowing all along He would die on a cross by the hands of those He loved, so that He could save them. This is love, Off the chart, immeasurable, God size love. 

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As I helplessly wander toward the purple haze, I'm drawn deeper by the constant hum. Like a siren pulling me closer to my own shipwreck, I am but an insect mesmerized by the throbbing night light. My heart knows there is nothing here but fleeting lust, temporary satisfaction and a flood of guilt and shame waiting to wash over me. And yet, I choose to proceed. I consciously decide to give myself over to my hearts yearnings, knowing, just like the last time, it will only bring destruction. These sins are never satisfied. 

Proverbs 27:20 "Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes."

Strip clubs, pornography, one night stands - these are cheap artificial imitations of love. Even the love between my wife and I is but a shadow of the standard Jesus set for love. Unfortunately, in our culture, love is an incredibly diverse word. I love my wife. I love my grandma, I love my puppy dog, I love my house, I love pizza, I love chocolate, I love that new song on the radio, and I love that color. Satan has diminished the value of love in our culture simply by exploiting its versatility. It no longer carries the weight of the union between Adam, Eve and their Abba Father. Love was never meant to be pulled to such a low standard. But, like all great love stories, there is hope and there is redemption.

The truest act of Love is a perfectly righteous God leaving a perfect heaven, coming down in human form to a broken and sinful world, knowing all along He would die on a cross by the hands of those He loved, so that He could save them. This is love, Off the chart, immeasurable, God size love. 

Romans 5:6-8 "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

While we can never come close to this level of love, we are called to imitate this selflessness in all of our relationships. And where we fail, there is grace that bridges that unattainable gap and allow us to do what we were made to do, love like Jesus. 

 

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/germany-mission-trip-re-cap 2018-08-09T13:29:00-05:00 2018-08-15T16:34:07-05:00 Germany Mission Trip - Trust in God Seth Thomas My wife, Fiorella, and I recently went on a 2 week mission trip to Germany with a group from our church. Now that we have been back home for almost a month, I wanted to share a few of my experiences. This is in no way comprehensive of the entire trip. I could have written a post on each individual day and, in hindsight, I probably should have. 

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Our Texas team prayed and fasted one day per week for six weeks leading up to the trip. During this time, we also received training and preparation from our leaders and planned out events and activities as a team. One of the first obstacles was a lack of guys signing up to participate in the camp. This was concerning and we made a point to pray over this issue every time we met. We ended up with 7 boy campers and 30 girl campers. We later realized, and should have known all along, that God was in control and He had a purpose and plan for only bringing 7 boys to camp. This ended up being such a blessing because it allowed all the male leaders to truly pour into these 7 boys throughout the entire camp. We were able to invest and spend more time with each one than we ever would of been able to if we had 20. God rewarded these efforts as we joyfully got to witness hearts being softened and two of the boys (one who was an agnostic and the other a professed atheist) come to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. I am reminded of the truth in Isaiah that Gods ways are so vastly different than my own. 

Isaiah 55:8-9 "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,'” declares the Lord“'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Trusting God seemed to be the overarching theme throughout camp for me. On the first or second day, I met two young boys that were unbelievers who I thought would be in my small group. My heart immediately went out to them and I decided I wanted to build a relationship with them. On the next day, I found out that the structure for organizing groups changed and I was now going to be in charge of the four oldest boys. This meant that I would not be leading the two I previously mentioned, they would be in Matt's (One of our other Texas leaders) group. Initially, I was confused by this and didn't understand why God would direct my heart towards them and then give them over to Matt. By the end of camp, these boys had accepted Christ into their hearts. And I realized once again that God was in control. God had a plan and he knew that Matt was the right man for the job. I was joyful to see the fruits of God's plan even though I merely got to witness it and not play an active role. 

Leading up to the camp I was nervous about leading a group, sharing my testimony and delivering a message, mostly because of a lack of experience. I had my doubts. I wasn't sure if I was equipped or well prepared. Once again, God had other plans. He used camp to push me to follow through with all three of those tasks. Leading a small group of 16-17 year old boys was difficult regardless of the language barrier. Guys just don't want to share. I felt like our group was struggling through bible studies at camp, but we continued to bond over sports, games and activities. As those relationships grew, they slowly began opening up to me and we were able to have some real conversations. At the end of camp, I asked each of the 7 boys if they would like to stay in contact with me and that I would love to offer guidance, mentorship or just a friend from the states. God really blessed me as, to my surprise, they all agreed and I've been able to stay in contact with several of them.

Going into camp, I didn't have a lot of experience sharing my testimony. I never thought it was an interesting story and so I didn't have much practice telling it. The morning of 4th of July, we needed two leaders to share their testimony around the fire that night and, despite every fear in me screaming that this will not be fun, I really felt a conviction to volunteer. I listened to that conviction, raised my hand and then immediately regretted it. I spent the whole day frantically writing out my testimony and anxiously thinking about speaking in front of the entire camp, especially through a translator. I skipped out on a few activities so that I could write and practice my speech. My assumption was that speaking through a translator would interrupt my train of thought, distract me and ultimately make it a lot more difficult. Once I began, I quickly found the complete opposite to be true. The truth was that speaking through the translator allowed me the opportunity to pause and gather my next thoughts while avoiding any sort of awkwardness. It ended up being another blessing because God gave me a situation that was easier than normal to share my testimony as a way to practice. Now that I have done it, I feel more confident in doing it all over again. 

After successfully sharing my testimony and being encouraged by other leaders about the impact of my story, I was more confident in my next task of sharing a message. With a few hours before guys night, I approached the other leader that night and we decided we needed to pair our "manly" activities with a message on biblical manhood. Our plan was to have several feats of strength, log-throwing competitions, and grill meat over the fire. While these are all good and fun things that men enjoy, I felt like it was a great opportunity to contrast the world view of manhood with the biblical standard found in Timothy chapter 3. I would again be speaking through a translator, so I knew that would help, but this time I needed to prepare the speech and not just tell my story. Even though I was nervous, I leaned into the task I felt convicted to do. I'm no John Piper but I obeyed what God was asking me to do and that gave me peace in the end. 

To wrap up, the main things that God taught me throughout camp was to trust in Him. Instead of running from things that make me nervous or anxious, to actually lean into those feelings and be obedient. I'm beginning to realize that Satan tries to use my nervousness to attack me and keep me from ever even beginning a task. I will say that as I work through this issue and continue to fail, that I am forever grateful for the grace upon grace that God gives to me. Though I fail, He is victorious. Though I am unfaithful, He is always faithful.

On the last day when the kids' parents were picking them up, they all would leave with a hug and ask if we were coming back next year? I wasn't able to answer at the time because immediately my mind was thinking about the logistics and money but now I know I want to return. 
The question is, will it be next year?

I'll end this on a light note with a collection of fun pictures from camp :)



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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/deny-thyself 2018-07-25T11:01:00-05:00 2018-08-15T16:37:02-05:00 Deny Thyself Seth Thomas When Christ calls us to Deny Ourselves, He isn't calling us to sell all of our possessions, live on the streets, beg for money, and starve. It is a call to be like Christ. To submit to the will of the Father for our lives, for the benefit of others, and to the glory of God. 

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In "Deny Thyself", our second t-shirt design, I wanted to simultaneously speak into both our posture before God and our position because of Christ.

When Christ calls us to Deny Ourselves, He isn't calling us to sell all of our possessions, live on the streets, beg for money, and starve. It is a call to be like Christ. To submit to the will of the Father for our lives, for the benefit of others, and to the glory of God. 

Matthew 16:24-25
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 
For whoever would save his life  will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 

We must be willing to give up our own desires for fame, riches, glory, recognition and be obedient to what God's will is for our lives. Because this will vary from person to person, we must each spend time with Our Father in prayer to know specifically what this means. 

For myself, this meant leaving my full-time job as a designer and utilizing my gifts and skills, that God gave me, in a way that was glorifying to Him. This is not to say that diligently working to the best of my ability isn't in and of itself glorifying to God, because it is. But I felt a specific draw from the spirit to create designs that invited others into a conversation about who Jesus Christ is. You can read more about that story, here.

On the back of the shirt I placed an upside down crown. Jesus promised various rewards for those who faithfully serve Him on earth (Matthew 5:121 Corinthians 3:14Revelation 22:12). Some of those rewards are crowns (James 1:121 Peter 5:4Revelation 3:11). It is certainly no mistake that our reward is a crown when scripture says that we are now co-heirs with Jesus. 

Romans 8:16-17
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

The crown on the shirt is facing down as symbol of humility and a willingness to give it up. In Revelation, Peter is given a vision of what heaven will be like. Amongst many other crazy things that I am not going to get into, He sees twenty-four elders worshipping Jesus and laying their crowns at His feet. 

Revelation 4:10-11
The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

This is the posture I believe we are to have before The King of Kings. It is a posture of humility, reverence, and praise. And even though our position has been elevated to Children of God and Co-Heirs to the thrown, we are to continue to have that same posture. 

I hope that this beautiful picture is my response in Heaven once I receive my reward. I hope to be so overcome with gratitude because of who He is and what he has done for me that I have no other desire but to give what little I have right back to Him, because only He is worthy. 

Shop the shirt
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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/east-main-art-fest 2018-04-23T19:27:00-05:00 2018-04-23T19:36:22-05:00 East Main Art Fest Seth Thomas More

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We are also currently working on some new product to bring to the show. This will be the first chance to purchase before we even put it up on the site.

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/all-out-trinity-dallas-market 2018-04-03T18:28:00-05:00 2018-04-09T16:58:03-05:00 All Out Trinity Re-cap Seth Thomas Hello friends! Now that we are about a month past our market event and have had time to reflect, we wanted to do a re-cap of our time preparing for and at the All Out Trinity market in Dallas on March 3rd. 

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Hello friends! Now that we are about a month past our market event and have had time to reflect, we wanted to do a re-cap of our time preparing for and at the All Out Trinity market in Dallas on March 3rd. 

We were stoked to be participating as this was our first ever market show as a vendor. We spent a few weeks leading up to the show configuring our booth setup in our backyard. We purchased a nice white pop-up market tent and a 6 foot folding table to go along with our small sign, desk setup and wood shelf. 

market_displaymarket_display
We ordered some new business cards for the event from JakPrints and I also made these custom wood business card holders.
business card holder


A few pics from the day before the event setting up our tent and tying it down so the wind didn't blow it into the river.
Market PrepMarket Prep
And finally the day of the All Out Trinity event on the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge in Dallas.
Event Day
Okay so here are our reflections from the event. The event itself was a lot of fun. We made some new friends, signed up six new subscribers and passed out 25+ business cards to people who liked our product or were inspired by our story and mission. We got a lot of compliments on our display and product, which was really encouraging, but we were left disappointed by unmet expectations after only selling one hat. Looking back, it was a great experience with some ups and downs. God blessed us with some encouraging conversations with other Christians and we learned a lot about how to set up our booth in the future. If you are looking at joining your first market and don't know where to start, send us an email and we'd be happy to talk about what you need, what you might like to have, and what isn't necessary the first time around. 
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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/progress-over-perfection 2018-04-02T10:42:00-05:00 2018-09-14T09:23:56-05:00 Progress over Perfection Seth Thomas Creatives are known for their ability to critique minuet details that mostly go unnoticed by the average Joe. We are thorough in our work. We yearn for perfection. However, I want to make the case that the pursuit of perfection is not synonymous with righteousness or holiness.

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Creatives are known for their ability to critique minuet details that mostly go unnoticed by the average Joe. We are thorough in our work. We yearn for perfection. However, I want to make the case that the pursuit of perfection is not synonymous with righteousness or holiness. It is certainly biblical to be thorough in our pursuits to deliver excellence in all that we do (Colossians 3:23but there comes a point that we cross a threshold from pursuing excellence into impeding progress.

After we started Educatingthewheelers as a legal business, my first question was, "what will our initial design be?" It needed to be conceptually creative in order to conjure questions. It needed to be beautifully executed so that it was captivating. It needed to exemplify the Gospel and be rooted in biblical truth. I wanted it to be so great that it would sell out immediately and kickstart our brand into instant success. Yeah, none of these things happened.

As I struggled with fulfilling this insurmountable order that I had placed upon myself, I had to step back. The unnecessary burden I had laid upon myself was too great to carry. I was asking our first product to fulfill so much more than it ever could. I realized that my pursuit of absolute perfection was interfering with the progress of our business. I was holding us back. I needed to not settle but simplify. 

I proceeded by making a series of decisions that simplified my efforts and allowed progress to be resumed. We chose a hat over a t-shirt design in order to remove the struggle of deciding which sizes and how many of each to order. After finding a manufacturer whose product was up to our standards, we designed a 5-panel hat , embellished with nothing more than our logo. We decided to donate 100% of our profits from these hats for the first 6 months of business. To me, it ended up symbolizing our dedication of the brand to God.

Through this journey, I surrendered a lot of grandiose ideas and learned, while important, perfection should not stifle progress. We were then able to set up our website, launch our first product and progress was restored.]]>
https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/where-is-your-sting-making-of 2018-02-12T16:18:00-06:00 2018-02-12T17:23:55-06:00 The making of "Where is your sting" Seth Thomas This post is a behind the scenes look at my process from sketch to t-shirt in creating the design for "Where is your Sting?"

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From sketch to t-shirt in creating the design for "Where is your Sting?" I wanted walk you guys through the design process for this t-shirt as I give you a nice behind-the-scenes look at my work. 

Design In Process

1. Sketches

sketch of snakesketch of snakesketch of snakesketch of snake

My initial sketches are really rough scribbles, far from miniature master pieces. The purpose here is to tease out concepts and move them from my head and onto the paper. Everything looks great in my head, sometimes not so much once I sketch it out.

At this point though, I was at least convinced that this concept was worth pursuing. I knew that I wanted to illustrate a sword going through a snake and I wanted to include the words "O' Death, Where is your victory? O' Death, Where is your sting?" The layout, the colors and how all that would come together was still to be determined. 

2. Research

snake_inspirationsnake_inspirationsnake_inspirationsnake_inspirationsnake_inspirationsnake_inspiration

I began doing research and looking for inspiration. I do this not to find something to copy but to find an appropriate illustration style and to decide on proportions, scale, things like that. After I had a good idea of the style, there were numerous iterations of drawings to figure out the layout.

 

3. Digital

This is the stage where I move into digital. Illustrator is my go to program because vector art allows me to scale infinitely and make adjustments without losing quality. Below are some snapshots as I made layout decisions, adjustment to the design, further refinements until I arrived at the final design.

digital_processdigital_processdigital_processdigital_processdigital_processdigital_processfinal_process

4. Mockup

Once I had my final design, I do two different types of mockups. The first is the traditional photoshop mockup on an existing image to get a feel for how it looks. The second is a print of the design that I cut out and place on a real shirt. I did this a few times until I was happy with the size and position in relationship to the shirt. 

mockupmockup

5. Send to Print

From there I had my final size for the design and began working with the print shop on colors, placement and shirt style in order to place our order. You can follow the button below to see and shop the shirt.

View The Design
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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/finding-joy-at-work-1 2018-01-17T09:26:00-06:00 2019-01-08T13:55:52-06:00 Finding Joy at Work Seth Thomas This is a story that I call my “Professional Testimony.” It will help you understand our journey, as well as where God has brought our hearts in this process. My desire is that it is encouraging, convicting and if you are in a similar circumstance then hopeful. Also, at the end is a special announcement that we are so excited to finally make public.

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This is a story that I call my “Professional Testimony.” It will help you understand our journey, as well as where God has brought our hearts in this process. My desire is that it is encouraging, convicting and if you are in a similar circumstance then hopeful. Also, at the end is a special announcement that we are so excited to finally make public.


In the fall of 2012, while I was in my last semester of college at UT Arlington,
I worked on a group project developing and designing a fictional company.
We decided we wanted to create a humanitarian apparel brand that focused on serving our community by partnering with local non-profit organizations and raising money through the sales of art, apparel and design. After much deliberation we finally agreed on a name and called it Educatingthewheelers. We developed the logo, all the branding, a fake website, packaging, a few shirts and even a small in-store display. We all got a good grade, got our project into the UTA art gallery, graduated, and that was it.


Once I got my degree, I figured I would try to get hired at a cool branding agency and do what I loved all day: logo design. That didn’t exactly go as planned but I did manage a five month unpaid internship at a really small branding agency (I was their first employee) as well as a part-time design position at the United States Bowling Congress. The former at least led to a one month full-time contract, but my career still wasn’t stable. In the fall of 2013, provision came calling through a LinkedIn message. It was a completely unexpected invitation from a high-end fashion corporation for a full-time web design position. This certainly checked off the stability box but I couldn’t help feeling like I was taking a step away from what I really enjoyed doing at a company that I actually liked. Logically, it was a no-brainer to accept the job, but it actually ended up being a difficult decision for me to make. Eventually I accepted, and it turned out to be providential since the design agency I was working at went through some financial/legal issues and had to close its doors for a few years.


Through this new job, the Lord provided financial stability for me and, eventually, my family, and allowed us the ability to quickly pay off all of our student and car loans. We are incredibly grateful for all that God has given to us, however, I continually struggled with being joyful at work. I would come home drained, exhausted, physically and emotionally. I tried applying for numerous other jobs but the opportunities never worked out. They were answered prayers but sometimes the door slammed in my face. Something wasn’t right.

 

The same fall (2013) that I went from the agency to the full-time position, I also attended a young adults fall retreat with Fielder Church. It was at this time that God also began working in my heart by revealing to me what it meant to be called and slowly (one step at a time) showing me His plan. The speaker that weekend was preaching from Genesis, going through the time when Moses is called by God. There were two points from that sermon that really impacted me. In Exodus chapter three when Moses is giving excuses and says, “I am nobody,” God replies and says, “I will be with you.” It really doesn’t matter who you are or what you know or don’t know. I realized that my lack of ability means that all the glory goes to God when He accomplishes His will through me. This had to be my foundation when God calls me to do something that feels scary or out of the norm. It’s not about who we are, it is all about who He is. The second thing that impacted me was in Exodus chapter four when God calls Moses to “Lay down his staff.” At face value this might not seem like a big deal, but it’s important to note that at this time Moses is a shepherd and so a staff is his tool. His livelihood, his means of providing for his family, and his identity are all bound up and represented by this staff. And God asks him to lay it down. It’s a call to submission and obedience to give all that Moses is to God.
My takeaway questions from this were the following: what does it mean for me to “lay down my staff,” and how does God want to use me and the skills or abilities he has given me? As I prayed over this, the thought that kept coming to me was Educatingthewheelers.


At first, I dismissed the thought because I didn’t know anything about or even personally cared about apparel. But God slowly worked in me and began to unleash creativity in my heart and mind towards this idea. I spent the next few years toying with the thought, sketching whatever came to mind and even building a trial-version website on Shopify and read as many business books as I could. But I still wasn’t convinced. Enter the most encouraging and supportive person I know, the woman I would marry, who also believes I can accomplish anything, especially a calling from the Lord. She gave me a push whenever I needed it. This led to us officially getting the legal rights and ownership in August 2016 to our own business, Educatingthewheelers, LLC.


We didn’t know what the future would hold and we figured it would just be a side gig for a while, and agreed that success would be defined as obedience to God. If we were obeying what we felt God calling us to do, then the business was successful. This time we set up a real website, designed and ordered real product, real packaging and we’re doing our best to professionally present ourselves.


The plan was to slowly build the company until we felt the time was right to make a nice and easy step over from corporate stability to running Educatingthewheelers. Once again, God had different plans, and after much prayer and wise counsel we feel him calling us to take another step into further obedience. All of this to say, we are incredibly excited to announce that I will be leaving my job on January 16th, 2018, in order to dedicate myself full time to Educatingthewheelers. There has been a lot of confusion, heart-ache, twist and turns along the way but I feel a weight lifted from my shoulders with this decision and we are excited to be obedient to God, our Provider.

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/death-where-is-your-sting 2018-01-17T08:27:00-06:00 2018-09-12T12:11:27-05:00 Death, Where is your sting? Fiorella Thomas This is for you, who lost a loved one to torment, who battles with anxiety over the certain uncertainty of your own death and of those you love the most, and for you who doubt your salvation.

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This is for you, who lost a loved one to torment, who battles with anxiety over the certain uncertainty of your own death and of those you love the most, and for you who doubt your salvation.

Feelings, I’ve been told, are as real as they are unreliable. Ive been plagued by fear where there was no danger in sight. When my mind and body are at sorts with each other I’ve been fortunate enough to engrave deep in my mind this truth: God is constant, He is real, and His Word is true. Always. All the time.

Where is your sting, death? Jesus paid for it all. Whether I feel it or not, in this particular moment or another, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection did happen, and His promises of love and everlasting life along side Him are real too.

There is no more sting. We have hope. Praise His name

 


 

Death, Where is your sting?

full shirtfolded shirt
Shop The Shirt
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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/our-hope 2017-09-23T16:40:00-05:00 2017-10-01T23:50:18-05:00 Our Hope Seth Thomas
There is a pain in this world that runs deeper than we know. 
Our hearts feel it, our eyes can see it.
It flows from the very fabric of our being.
The curse is inside of and around us all.
But that isn't the way it's suppose to be

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dark ocean water, bright sunrise

OUR HOPE.

There is a pain in this world that runs deeper than we know.

Our hearts feel it, our eyes can see it.

It flows from the very fabric of our being.

The curse is inside of and around us all.

But that isn't the way it's suppose to be

nor was it a part of our beautiful beginning.

The sad thing is we did it to ourselves,

humanity made a choice.

Sin separated us from our maker

and cursed the ground we walk on.

BUT THERE IS HOPE.

God, creator of the cosmos,

infinite being, perfect and Holy

Sent His one and only Son.

The son, humble and serving,

came to redeem, to restore

and to make our hearts new again. 

Through death and subsequent resurrection, 

HALLELUJAH, DEATH WAS DEFEATED. 

Our sins were paid, our burden was lifted.

There will be no more enmity.

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https://educatingthewheelers.com/blogs/our-journey/canvas-conference 2017-08-23T10:00:00-05:00 2018-02-12T16:22:19-06:00 Canvas Conference Seth Thomas The Canvas Conference in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to share with you a few thoughts from my humbling experience that convicted my heart and I pray that they are encouraging to you as well.

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Canvas Conference 2017 wide view of stage

Hello,


My wife and I just got back from The Canvas Conference in Portland, Oregon and wanted to share a few thoughts from our experience. Let me first say that there were so many great speakers, performers, artists, and musicians that I couldn't even come close to summarizing everything we heard and all of the lessons we learned. So, I am going to give you a few of the highlights that captivated my mind and convicted my heart. I hope that they are encouraging for you as well.

How to Have Joy in a Hopeless World.

Have you ever heard the saying, "we are living in the already but not yet"? What it means is that Christ has already come and given us salvation through death and resurrection on the cross, but He has not yet returned again to restore creation (and us) to its' original perfection. That is the world we find ourselves living in today. We have been offered hope but live in a place still broken by sin.

I see the reflection of this saying most evidently in my workplace. Processes are dated, due dates and timelines are missed, clarity on direction suffers from a lack of effective communication; Everything is tainted by sin. It is at this moment that I would like to pause and offer some encouragement as I share key points I took to heart from the conference. 

1. Our Hope is Found in God Alone 

Our hope is not found in our prayers, our sermons, our culture, our works, our jobs, ourselves, or even our spouses. Our hope is in God alone. If we focus in on who God is, His character allows us to have joy and hope (amidst difficult circumstances) because we know we can trust Him. He is holy, He is perfect, He is good, He is all powerful and He is unchanging. Because we can trust in Him, we can trust His promises. We know that He will never fail us. We can put our hope (this is not the same as wishing) in His promises. If you trust the one who makes the promise then you can have hope that they will be fulfilled. And there is nobody we can trust more than God. 

2. Joy & Suffering are Not at Odds

This is a tough one for me to wrestle with. I know that joy and happiness are not the same; that happiness is based on circumstances while joy can be found in middle of struggle. But I have a difficult time being joyful when i'm not happy. Something that really stood out to me is that, "Our faith doesn't rest on our emotions (thank goodness) and the gospel is true regardless of how we 'feel'."  Sometimes God doesn't answer our questions but rather shows up in the midst of our pain and brokenness in order to bring us joy, simply because He is there with us. So like hope, joy comes from God. The world, in all of its' brokenness, will always let us down. It will always disappoint us. Only God is able to carry the weight of our joy.  

3. We are Not Kingdom Builders 

As a designer, a creator, a man who likes to make, it is difficult to hear that we are not kingdom builders. God placed inside of me a quality of His, the desire to create. With a proper understanding of my identity, I can use this gift to create while maintaining an eternal perspective and humility towards The Creator. With an improper perspective, I might find my identity in my gift and allow it to run rampant over my life. Sometimes I believe that all of my problems at work will be solved with my own company. There would be no stress, no set backs, no missed deadlines, I wouldn't rely on anyone but myself. There would be nobody to let me down or cause disappointment. It would be perfect, the closest I can get to heaven. But what I have to remember is that Educatingthewheelers is not a kingdom and I'm not even in control of Educatingthewheelers, God is. God is the architect, the creator, the designer, and He is building His Kingdom. The cool thing is that it is His pleasure and joy to share that kingdom with us. Because of Christ, we are co-heirs to the throne.


Overall, this was a humbling experience that has continued to bring my work, Educatingthewheelers, and life into a biblical perspective. I hope that these topics were as encouraging to you as they were for me. Please leave a comment below or send us an email if you'd like to talk further about your own experiences and lessons God has put on your heart. Also if you were at The Canvas Conference, I would love to hear what you learned.

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