Local Profile: Laura Kramer and Psalm 23 Jewelry: Turning a Hobby into a Witness and a Business

In the year 2000, Laura Kramer had surgery on both feet and was laid up in bed for four weeks. A kind friend brought some beads and taught her to make jewelry to pass the time. Originally Kramer intended to make the jewelry for herself, but soon she began giving some pieces away as gifts to friends who came to visit her during recovery. Before the mandated four weeks in bed were up, people were sending in orders to buy her jewelry designs. Kramer continued making jewelry as a hobby but had little ambition at the time to make it a vocation.

Three years later Fraser Venter, the pastor of Laura’s church, Cucamonga Christian Fellowship in Rancho Cucamonga, preached a series on Psalm 23. In the sermon series, he challenged each person to think about the Psalm daily. Laura Kramer said, “I usually need something tangible to help me have a focal point in my daily reflections. I would read the Psalm, but I felt that there had to be a better way to reflect on and memorize it while going throughout my daily routine. “
Using her jewelry making talents, Laura created the Psalm 23 bracelet. Every crystal and bead in the bracelet is thoughtfully and prayerfully selected to relate to the lines in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd (white crystal); I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures (green crystal),
He leads me beside quiet waters (blue crystal),
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness (clear crystal) for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (black crystal),
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff (brown crystal), they comfort me.

You prepare a table (brown crystal) before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil (yellow crystal); my cup (purple crystal) overflows.
Surely goodness and love (pink crystal) will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord (gold crystal) forever.

In 2004 Kramer used her talents to launch a business, Laura K Designs, with the Psalm 23 Jewelry Collection as the flagship line. She says, “Having your own business can create many stresses, but it also creates the realization that learning and going to school is a daily occurrence. You are constantly learning new methods or tips on how to effectively grow your business. The joy comes when you hear the impact you’ve had, both within the organization and by the development of new jewelry.”

Many pieces sold by the company come with a CD entitled “Psalm 23: A Message of Hope,” which includes Pastor Venter’s sermon series that inspired Laura to make the Psalm 23 bracelet, as well as Laura’s own personal testimony. Laura K Designs also has a partnership with Diversified Industries/OPARC, an employment training service for adults with developmental and vocational disabilities. Many of Psalm 23’s pieces are packaged by OPARC clients who are employed specifically to help Laura’s business. Diversified's capable staff of about 200 employees are located within minutes of Laura K Designs’ offices in Rancho Cucamonga.

As if she isn’t busy enough running her own business and creating her original jewelry, Laura Kramer has become an inspirational speaker. She speaks to women’s groups and to groups of adolescent girls. Kramer says, “I prayed for any opportunity in any kind of forum to have a chance to be vulnerable and real in order to inspire others to get on their own journey and believe God would meet them where they’re at. I have walked through the valley and God has brought me up our of that darkness. I will share God’s hope in any way I can.”

Laura has this advice to anyone interested in learning how to make jewelry. “If you have a local bead store, the first step would be to visit one and take some classes there. This is probably the best method for getting a feel of what types of jewelry you’d like to pursue. Most bead stores have classes taught on various ways of creating many designs. A great local store in Upland is Garden of Beaden (http://www.gardenofbeadenupland.com). Irene, the owner, was a great help in the early days.”

Her church further helps her develop her artistic talents. “Art, and its expression, has become a wonderful piece of our Wednesday evening prayer services,” she says. “We have a few college students who will paint, mostly using just their hands, to create art that is now being displayed in our sanctuary. It is their form of worship.”

During one recent Wednesday evening prayer service, a sermon was given on the different styles of worship. One style mentioned, “sensate”, was especially meaningful to Kramer. Here is a portion of the definition of a sensate worshipper, according to that sermon:

Sensate “Loving God with the Senses”

I connect with God through my senses through awareness of taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound. I’d have a difficult time worshiping in a church building that is plain and lacks a sense of awe or majesty. I have a difficult time worshiping through second-rate Christian art or music. I feel closest to God when I’m in an environment that allows my senses to come alive when I can see, smell, hear, and almost taste his majesty.

Recently, Laura sent her Psalm 23 bracelets to the new First Family. Michelle Obama was sent a classic Psalm 23 bracelet, and Sasha and Malia were each sent a “Just for Girls” bracelet. She felt especially led to do this since President Barack Obama referenced Psalm 23 in his inaugural address, and he claims he was taught to memorize the psalm in his fifth-grade class. "During these times of both great opportunity and uncertainty, we pray that President Obama be granted great wisdom and seek God as he leads our nation," stated Laura Kramer.

Psalm 23 Jewelry is sold online, through Christian bookstores, hospital gift shops, and their mail-order catalogue. The pieces can be customized with a Star of David instead of a cross for Jewish recipients as well.

Laura sums up her ministry this way: “There was a time when I was surrounded by the thick darkness… Through God’s healing love and amazing grace, I was able to step out of that dark tunnel into the bright radiant light of God’s healing… The next natural step for me was to go back into the tunnel to guide, lead, and encourage other people to see hope flickering just outside their struggle or circumstance… My passion is to share with people everywhere what I discovered through my healing many years ago; there is a hope in God because our God is a personal God, a faithful God, and a good God.”

Psalm 23 Jewelry: http://www.psalm23jewelry.com/
Laura K Designs, 7375 Day Creek Blvd., #232, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739; toll-free phone: 877-256-0023

To learn about other artists who are using their faith to impact their art, click on the names below:

Chris Schlarb

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