Monkees Mom Makes Money Manufacturing! (Encouragement for Creators)

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She was a young working mom, and she came up with a great idea; an idea so good, yet so obvious, she was surprised no one had already thought of it. An invention that was the perfect solution to an aggravating problem. And she formulated her invention in her own kitchen.

Bette Nesmith Graham was born in Dallas, Texas in 1924, and raised in San Antonio. After her father passed away in the early 1950s, Bette moved back to Dallas with her son Michael (who was destined to become a member of the legendary rock band The Monkees) and her sister. The three took up residence there, in a house Bette’s father left to her, and Bette quickly got a job as a secretary for a Texas bank, in order to help support her family.

Bette eventually worked her way up to the position of executive secretary. She also worked weekends painting holiday display windows for the bank. She once said of her painting sideline, “[when] lettering, an artist never corrects by erasing, but always paints over the error.”

Bette couldn’t use the same technique on her day job, which demanded a lot of typing. Whenever she made a mistake, it had to be laboriously erased. But erasing mistakes was becoming more difficult. The bank switched to electric typewriters, and any rubber eraser stubble that found its way into the mechanical workings would gum up the typewriter. Bette’s solution was to correct her mistakes the same way she did when painting window displays.

“…I decided to use what artists use. I put some tempera water-based paint in a bottle and took my watercolor brush to the office. I used that to correct my mistakes.” The bank didn’t approve of this radical method of “whiting out” typos, but Graham continued to secretly use her correction paint for five years. During this time, her corrections largely went unnoticed by her bank bosses —proof that her invention worked.

Bette continued to improve her formula, and coworkers frequently asked to borrow her “paint out.” In 1956, she decided to market her typewriter correction fluid as “Mistake Out.”

Shortly after Bette founded the Mistake Out Company, she had a bit of bad luck: the bank fired her from her typist job. While typing a letter, she inadvertently inserted the name of her own company, instead of the bank’s! Had she caught her mistake, she could have simply painted it out! But misfortune can often work on our behalf: now jobless, Bette decided to devote all her time to her new business.

During the 1960s Bette manufactured, bottled, and sold Mistake Out in her kitchen —mixing the white fluid in her blender! As her correction fluid caught on and soon became an indispensable tool of the secretarial trade, she relocated production and shipping to a 10×26-foot shed in her backyard.

When business seemed more than she could handle, she offered to sell her formula to IBM. The corporation wasn’t interested, so Bette continued to sell her correction fluid from her home for another 17 years. She eventually changed the product name to Liquid Paper, and at the height of her business, she employed 200 people who manufactured 25 million bottles of correction fluid a year.

In 1979 Bette sold the Liquid Paper Company to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million. Not bad for a simple idea that started as a cottage industry.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God — those whom he has called according to his plan.” (Romans 8:28 GOD’S WORD)

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Dr. King’s Angelic Message!

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Today we commemorate the life of a great servant of God, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We also celebrate the fourth anniversary of our website AngelAtTheDoor.com and the first of our three ongoing series of inspirational articles, Diet for Dreamers.

We chose to launch our website and our first series on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for two big reasons, the most obvious one being that Dr. King had a great dream — and we intended our weekly articles in Diet for Dreamers (along with our Encouragement for Creators) to feed the spirits of dreamers everywhere. We genuinely wanted to encourage people to pursue the goals and visions with which God has inspired them, and we’ve stayed the course through hundreds of “adventures” that examine the origins of such cool and iconic things as Star Trek and slinky toys, cotton candy and Liquid Paper, Peter Rabbit and Edison’s lightbulb; and the success stories of dreamers and creators such as Stan Lee and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Orville Redenbacher and “Rocky Balboa,” Morgan Freeman and Agatha Christie, Irving Berlin and Satchel Paige.

We conceived AngelAtTheDoor.com to be our internet home, a base of operations for our mission as messengers of love, hope, truth, and hospitality. In Biblical times, God employed supernatural messengers called angels to deliver such truths. These angels had a habit of showing up on the doorsteps of some of the great heroes of the Bible, and a few times they looked exactly like normal people who were just passing by. We realized that in a manner of speaking, we all have the potential do be God’s “angels” — whenever we choose to be God’s hands extended, His messengers of love. Hence, the curious name of our website.

And in a way, every thing that God created, such as a blade of grass or a rain cloud, can take on an angelic role, teaching us important truths about the nature of life and relationships. And we discovered that even in the kitchen, working with food and kitchen tools and appliances, we could “see” examples of God’s wisdom. This inspired our third series of whimsical articles, Angel in the Kitchen, many of which were recently published as a book — along with another volume, a collection of our Diet for Dreamer articles. Which brings us to the other reason we chose to launch on January 18, 2015.

Dr. King was exactly the type of angelic messenger we had in mind when we conceived our website. He chose to be God’s emissary in a divided world, an “angel” of peace but with a steadfast message of equality. Dr. King had a dream that “one day [all people will] live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” His angelic message is one of unity and harmony, and as followers of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, we share both his dream and his message!

We pray for the destruction of every last “wall” that so easily divides us: age, gender, ethnicity, and religion, as well as social and economic status. We intentionally leave out the word race, because we feel it’s a misnomer. We are all members of a single race, the human race, created in God’s own image and descended from a single bloodline. Each of us, on this basis, has great worth, value and potential — and is deserving of respect and no small consideration.

Yes, we are all equal! But thank goodness we’re not all the same! We may have our differences, and come from a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds, but that just keeps life and people interesting. God loves diversity — just take a look at nature and you’ll understand this — and when He created the human race He seasoned the world with a wide variety of “flavors” (sabor)!

The prophet Samuel wrote, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV) In other words, God determines who we are by looking inside; it’s the condition of our hearts that signifies the kind of people we are, not a set of external factors. So, as we reflect on Dr. King’s message and legacy, let’s also examine our own hearts — honestly. Once we do, we should ask ourselves if what we discover would be pleasing in the eyes of the God who is Love!

Let’s work together to root out any prejudice, hatred, or bigotry toward our fellow man. We don’t have to agree with another person on every single issue in order to accept them; and we don’t have to adopt their worldview in order to love them.

Please join us in this prayer from the Biblical King, David, whom God declared “a man after My own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22 NIV):

Search me, O God, and know heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 KJV) Create in me a new heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Most of us dream of a better world. If we’re going to pursue this dream, we’ll need to start by being better. With God’s grace we can do it — together! Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

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