Friday, March 8, 2013


By Tiffany @ Chalk Line 

Many of you ask whether
I'm a real person or not... Well, Here I am! 

It’s March 2013, and so much has happened since we last blogged here at Chalk Line. 2012 was a busy year for us, and we are so thankful to the Lord and to our customers for what we have been able to do to serve our customers in their ministry.

We’ve rolled out some exciting products – none more exciting for us and for you guys than our magnets! So many people have asked us in years past whether we could do magnets – We rolled them out in May, and based on your response, I’d say they were a huge success! We’re working on some exciting projects with our magnets, so keep your eyes out for some new things we will hopefully announce soon.

Also new for us are two new billing options: Discover card and PayPal! They are new for us in 2013, and we are happy to offer those to our customers as methods of payment. If you have any questions about how to go about using either a Discover card or your PayPal account, you can contact Kayla in accounting (, who will be happy to answer those or any other billing questions you might have!

In other news, with growth and change come growing pains, and I am so sad to say that my wonderful co-worker and friend Mary Claire, who worked at Chalk Line for six years, was called into the mission field herself  - she left in August 2012 and is now working with an orphanage in Haiti. (You can find out more about Mary Claire and her ministry at her blog here:

Also, we ask for your prayers for our Print Manager, Doug, who injured his knee a few weeks ago, and has been out of the office after knee surgery on his patella tendon – we are praying for him and his family, and for his speedy recovery and return to the office.

We are continually working to find new and better ways to serve you in your ministry – whether finding new and better equipment or offering the next best product, we are hard at work here in the office.

More news to come in the next few weeks – we are thankful to stay busy here at Chalk Line, and I’m hoping to keep in touch with you via the blog much more often.

-          Tiffany, for the Chalk Line staff

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” – Psalm 90:17 (ESV)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Slavations, Dance Parties, and the Wicked Bible: Why Editing Is Your Friend

(Originally posted by Mary Claire on January 26, 2012)

Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite things: EDITING.  I have always had a love of all things GSP (that is, grammar, spelling, and punctuation to those in the know).  Most people just think I’m weird.  I’ll allow that grammar is a very dry thing, but it is also important.  The purpose of grammar is to systematize and standardize language.  And what is the purpose of language?


Communication is what we’re about here at Chalk Line.  We want you guys to be able to communicate with your peeps as effectively and efficiently as possible.  You have amazing stories to share, and when one of your primary methods of communication is written, it’s important to always keep an eye out for mistakes that may cause ambiguity in what you’re trying to say.

We don’t usually see big problems in our letters, but one typo has become infamous here at Chalk Line Mission Control.  In the letter, the word “salvation” was misspelled as “slavation.”  Oops.  The letter was sent to us as in an uneditable format, which meant we couldn’t correct the mistake, and while the typo was an obvious one and most readers would know immediately what the intended word was, there are moments when even the simplest of typos can cause major miscommunication.

Ever heard of the Wicked Bible?  It’s an edition of the King James Version printed in England in 1631.  In this version, a very small but very important word was omitted from Exodus 20:14.  The seventh commandment read, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”  I’m pretty sure that is NOT the commandment Moses wrote down on Mount Sinai, and it was definitely NOT the commandment I sang about in my children’s choir production of Good Kings Come in Small Packages.

Editing is important because it helps ensure that you’re saying exactly what it is that you want to say.

Below are a few common mistakes we see:
  1. “Apart” and “a part” are two different things.  One means separate from and the other means included in.  If I wrote, “Tiffany is having an impromptu dance party, and I’m turning up the volume and going to be apart of it,” what I’m really saying is that I’m turning up the music and then...sitting and watching Tiffany dance.  Oh no no no.  If Tiffany is having an impromptu dance party, you bet your dance pants that I will be A PART of it.

    Similar to that, we see the word “alot” a lot.

  2. Sometimes    people’s      thumbs   seem to  rest    a  bit too      heavily  on  the space         b a  r  .

  3. Apostrophes have specific usage, but unfortunately, people sometimes overuse the poor little guys.  In general, apostrophes are used for contractions and possessives, not for plurals.  The place where we see mistakes most is in the plural of a family’s last name, e.g. the Smiths.  There is more than one of them, so there is no apostrophe.  

Here’s a breakdown:

    Those things over there are the smith’s.  (Those things over there belong to the smith.)
    Those things over there are the smiths’.  (Those things over there belong to a collection of smiths.)
    Those things over there are the Smiths.  (Those things over there are a collection of Smiths.)

    See the diff?  For more info on apostrophes than you’ll probably ever need, click here.

  4. Consistency is key.  There are gray (grey?) areas in the world of grammar and punctuation.  Is the serial comma is obsolete?  Is it toward or towards?  What is the subjunctive tense in English?  (These are all things I think about.)  What I recommend is that you pick a standard and stick to it.  For example, how do you handle the capitalization of pronouns with God or Jesus as the antecedent?  Is it proper to capitalize He or Him?  Here’s what the Chicago Manual of Style has to say

    “Chicago lowercases such pronouns, but it’s not wrong to uppercase, especially if you are writing for a religious readership or anyone else who might take lowercasing as a sign of disrespect. In matters of style, in contrast to those of grammar, there are few right or wrong answers. Different houses follow different style guides in order to make their publications consistent.”


    So there’s no hard and fast rule here.  Even the Bible differs on this one, depending on which version you're reading.  Just pick a standard, and then be consistent.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful.  We’re not here to be your English teachers, but we are here to support you guys.   We can also proof your letter for you before it mails.  Just let Tiffany know, and she’ll look at it for you or send it my way.

So you mail letters for people? What's the big D? 

(Originally written and posted by Mary Claire, January 10, 2012)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that when someone asks you what you do for a living, you have some rote response ready to go, a prepackaged sound byte that wraps up your job description neatly and concisely.  I know I’ve got one.  It’s convenient to have a answer on hand (one that has become more and more necessary as college fades and my 10-year high school reunion looms).  But while these responses are handy for explaining what we do, they do not always explain why we do what we do.  

And “why” is the bigger question.

Just as “why” is an important question for an individual, it’s also an important question for a company to ask itself because it addresses its very existence.

So why does Chalk Line exist?

In 2001, Ed and Tina Goerges started mailing out their daughter and son-in-law’s prayer letters through their direct mail company.  It didn’t take long before God laid it on their hearts to open up their services to other missionaries.  As they began putting word out there, people kept signing up, proving that there was a need for a simpler way for missionaries to communicate with their partners.  So back in 2002, God led a couple to start a niche company with no guarantee it would make any money, and Chalk Line was created.  

Here we stand at the advent of 2012, our tenth year, looking forward to a new year that will bring about some developments at Chalk Line that we’re really excited about (stay tuned; we’ve got some things cooking).  And I’m not just blowing hot air when I say that.  We are SO EXCITED, Y’ALL.  It has just as much to do with the fun things we’re working on as it does the fun people we are working for.  You guys make our jobs legit.  We want to serve you better because we care about you and those you’re serving, and we are committed to doing our very best to support you.  

Why do we work here?  Why does Chalk Line keep moving along day in and day out?  It helps that we’re a collection of peeps and geeks who feel passionately about design, print quality, and stamp placement, but it’s much, much bigger than that.

Your work is important.  Your network is important.  Communication is difficult, no matter if you’re serving at one of the largest universities in the US or out in the bush of Botswana.  We can help you with that.

That is why we exist. 

How’s that for a sound byte?