Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A needed rest.

I stopped taking orders in my Etsy shop the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I didn't even stay open for Black Monday!  I turned down many people's requests via email or Etsy convos for signs to make an exception and make "just one more sign" for the holidays.

Some people thought I was nuts.  Some thought I was missing out on the best time of the year for online retail sales.  Some of the time I thought they were right. :)  Was I crazy???

I was talking about my reasons at a favorite annual family bakeoff and my wise uncle said, "you should blog about this".  So I am.  Here goes.....

It is hard for me to say no.  I am a woman who likes to make others happy.  I like to please people. I want people to like me.

I am also a driven woman.  I want to succeed.  I want my business to flourish.  I want to help my family with our income.  I want to be a great businesswoman and artist.

But......I am also tired.  I am a mom of 4, wife of a very patient man, and have many other things on my plate other than Cellar Designs.  Balancing all of these things is difficult.  The months from May to November were exciting, exhilerating, energizing, fun, creative.........but I didn't do a great job of balancing things.  I made mistakes.  I am learning.

So when deciding whether or not to close up shop for a month many things went on my pros and cons list in my head.  It was strikingly unbalanced though.  This is what it looked like:

                      PROS                                                            CONS
     ~time to finish holiday orders                         ~lost potential orders
     ~ability to make Christmas gifts myself         ~loss of potential income
     ~time to spend with my kids                           ~GREED
     ~enjoy holidays
     ~time to clean house before heading to MN
     ~not be rushed at holidays
     ~spend quality time with family
     ~no stress
     ~my kids miss me
     ~I have been a slacker mom
     ~I want a break.....a needed rest

The only real reason to stay open and keep orders coming in was greed.  It is a powerful thing.  It tempted me for weeks and even made me rethink my decision a few times. "Just think what you could do with that extra money",  "Can you imagine what December sales would have been like?" were statements dancing around in my head.

I am thankful I made the decision I did.  
I can't wait to open back up next week.  
I feel renewed and ready to hit the creative ground running!  
I am grateful for this rest.  
It has been a good rest.  
A family filled rest.  
A stressLESS rest. 
A needed rest.

I hope that you found time this holiday season to rest as well.
May you not succumb to greed and other temptations and

From my family to yours..... a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do you see what I see?

****Some details in this post have been changed to protect the privacy of others.*****

I was listening to the radio today on my bi-weekly trek to Menards.  Christmas music has been playing since before Thanksgiving.  I admit that I tune out some of it, wishing that they would mix it 50/50 with regular tunes.  The one song I remember hearing was "Do you hear what I hear?"  You know the one I mean....."Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy "Do you hear what I hear?".....   I laughed to myself and thought 'nope...I am not the best listener...just ask my husband!'.  Hearing is not my strength...seeing is.

I am a visual gal.  I am at my best when I can see something.  When I can look at it and see it for whatever it is.  I learn best this way.  If someone tells me how to paint a cabinet so it looks rustic, I seem to hear half of it.  They talk and my brain just gets foggy.
(This might be why school was never easy for me!)  But, if someone shows me how....painting layer upon layer, demonstrating different techniques used to make it have a weathered feel, and roughing it up a bit to age it....then it is crystal clear!  Then I see the whole picture..the whole story...the whole lesson.

So, back to Menards.... Today I was being helped by courteous guy, Robert.   He was a young man who was creative with his hair and accessories.  Robert had a perfectly cut mohawk and several piercings.  He was knowledgeable about the product I was ordering, extremely professional and a generally cool dude.  I liked Robert.

A woman and man came up to the desk I was being helped at.  I had monopolized Robert's time so I told him if he wanted to help them quickly I would be happy to wait.  He thanked me and asked them if he could help them.  They were clearly irritated about having to wait and were rude to Robert.  He was patient with them and had to go check with his manager to find the solution to their problem.  As soon as he left the couple started to talk about him.  They made several awful remarks about his appearance and drew the conclusion that he, because of how he looked, was a screw-up.  The woman said "I can't believe Menards would have a guy like him up front helping customers".

I was so saddened and angered by this. They had not spent one bit of time allowing themselves to really know Robert.  They were angry about a problem with an order before they even walked in the door, were shocked by his appearance and automatically judged him.  It was like seeing hatred in action.  It was so very troubling.

It got me to thinking.  Why didn't they see him like I saw him?  Could they not see that he was just a regular guy who chose different accessories and haircuts than they did?
When looking at him couldn't they see that he was someone's son, brother, grandson
or husband?  This is true for many different kinds of people.
People are rude and judgemental of many....

When looking at an overweight woman can't people see her heart?  I have been that obese person and felt the weight of the stares from people.  Why is it when a baby has rolls it is "sweet", "tubby wubby" or "scrumptious"..........but not when they are older?

When seeing a young woman with multiple piercings don't they see that she is interesting and might have something important to say?  Why is it when a little girl gets her ears pierced for the first time it is "wonderful", "fun" or "exciting"..........but not when they are older?

Why is it that when a little baby's mom spikes his hair into a mohawk after a giggle-filled bath it "cute", "funny", or "adorable".........but those were not the words used by this couple this couple today to describe Robert's hair.


When I look at someone like Robert it is like looking at that cabinet I was shown to paint.  He probably has many layers, has a whole story and has learned many lessons.   He is beautiful today as he was when he was a baby.  He is a fine human being that is deserving of love and respect.  He is someone's son.......... 
He is God's son.

May you look at each person you meet as if they are that adorable little child.
May you see their whole story clearly.
May you show them love.  

Do you see what I see?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Best Gift

I am a mom.  It is what I firmly believe I was put on this earth to be.  Oh, I know there are many other things that I was intended to do and be, but this.......this mothering is my greatest purpose.
Little did I know that I would be QUADRUPELY blessed with this purpose!

The other day my oldest son turned 20!  Seriously?  I just was driving the car yesterday with him and we were singing "The Wheels On The Bus" at the top of our lungs........ well maybe not yesterday.  It sure seems like it was though.

Zack was a little boy that was filled with curiosity, wonder and knowledge.  He found great joy in knowing things.  But he also loved music.   From the time he was a baby music could bring him to extreme levels of excitement or peace.  He giggled and danced to every song on "Barney" but also would fall asleep to a lullably tape in his room.

Knowledge and music.  Sometimes the two don't always compliment each other.  Too much knowledge can restrict someone from just letting go of the stresses of life.  Music requires that release.  So, for Zack, one of my prayers has always been that he find that happy balance between the two.

This past week I was priviledged enough to witness such a balance in him!

On his birthday he got to be part of a worship team for a large campus ministry fellowship night at the university he attends.  My daughter, mom and I went downtown and snuck into the large lecture hall to watch him and the band lead worship.  What I saw brought tears to my eyes.  There was Zack, at a fine university that challenges him academically and is growing his "knowledge base" exponentially, playing guitar and singing with such joy, growing his "spiritual base" as well.  It was as if I was seeing my little 4 year old guy singing "The Wheels On The Bus" in a grown man's body.  It was such a blessing.  I turned to Taylor, my daughter, and said "he is in his happy place".

This was the one thing moms all over the world long to receive.  We yearn for, hope for and pray for our children to be happy.   We look forward to the day when we can see our children be exactly who they were meant to be.  We desire to see them hit a sweet spot.

I experienced this last week.  I received the best gift ever......
My son was happy being....simply....himself.

May you get the privilege to receive this kind of gift.
May you be able to recognize it when it shows up.
May you be grateful for that gift.