Adventures learning about life, art, and entrepreneurship.

This morning, I came across this great blog post – https://whenwomeninspire.com/2018/02/21/intention-vs-attention-laurie-buchanan/. I highly recommend reading it!

The post is fairly short, to the point, and really gets you thinking. In it, guest writer Laurie Buchanan talks about the difference between intention and attention. This is something I am willing to bet most people don’t think about much. And the difference between the two is huge. Simply because if you only have the first, you are merely a dreamer. But if you apply the second, you are a doer, an achiever.

I realized as I was reading Ms. Buchanan’s post that my business progress has been so glacially slow due to lack of attention. I have the best of intentions, but the action I have been putting into making them a reality has been too minimal and scattered.

I do make things, yes. Lots of beautiful things. Making is action towards my goal, but it’s minimal. Why? Because just creating does not get me where I ultimately want to be. Customers are not going to drop out of the sky simply because I have beautiful pottery or quilts stored away. Where I currently need to put my attention is into finding reliable, proven resources to help me learn to run a business properly. Furthermore, I need to put more effort into marketing myself confidently – instead of avoiding it, and selling myself short because of doubts or insecurity.

So, do you have an area of your life that could use some attention? Are doubts and insecurities holding you back? Or are you currently applying your attention to wrong things for your desired effect? Are you an entrepreneur, an author, or a world traveler wannabe? They say a habit can be made or broken within 90 days. Let’s all go out into the world and make achieving our dreams a habit!

Find something that inspires you, and have a fantastic day!

 

 

 

 

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What’s Going On?

So if you are an American woman in your forties, like I am, you may have seen a recent article called “The New Midlife Crisis” (http://www.oprah.com/sp/new-midlife-crisis.html). Even if you don’t follow Oprah.com, it has been getting shared through Facebook so quickly you can practically see skid marks.

The author, Ada Calhoun, asserts that women in their forties are going through midlife crises – a term that was previously reserved for middle-aged men. She’s got examples and statistics to back it up, too. Ms. Calhoun states that the reasons for this are multi-fold – environmental, societal, psychological, and even medical. But, because of women’s historical need to “keep it together”, the manifestations of the female midlife crisis can be much quieter than a man’s – almost secretive or insidious. So, people around us have no clue what’s going on, or why we are doing things possibly considered erratic or unusual.  The quote I think best sums up the feelings she describes is the following:

“Midlife is when we need to take care of everyone else while we are our most tired, to trust ourselves when we’re most filled with doubt. What makes it worse is that many of our midlife fears are well founded. We may, in fact, die alone. Our marriages may never improve. We may never get the number of kids we hoped for. We may never save enough money to make the retirement calculators stop screaming. We may never do a fraction of what we thought we would do in our career.

At 4 a.m., this is the loop in my head. Then, I remind myself (again) of how insanely lucky I am. It could be so, so much worse.”

The article explains why so many 40-something women I know are making changes in their lives, with varying degrees of risk. Starting new hobbies, traveling to exotic locales, changing careers, starting businesses, freelancing, writing blogs, and so on. It may also explain why people I know who have been together for twenty years or more are splitting up. We are looking for fulfillment on a deeper level, sometimes without even knowing what that means for us, or the far-reaching repercussions it may have.

Now, while it is a relief to know that I am not alone when feeling this way, I wonder… is this a purely American thing? Or is it going on in other countries where economies and lifestyles are similar? Could it be that the freedoms and choices we have really made things worse, and more pressure-filled, instead of better? Are women in cultures with less choices and freedom experiencing midlife crises as well? Furthermore, what can we do about it? Identification and discussion may be the first steps, but without follow-up, it’s hollow and ineffectual.

On the up side, the author does state that these feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction eventually change with age. But do you really want to wait until your 60s or 70s to feel better about your life? That’s an awfully long time to wait it out!

I thought “The New Midlife Crisis” was a fascinating read, and personally it resonated pretty strongly. But do you agree with Ms. Calhoun, or do you think she’s making a mountain out of a molehill? Is this something that women around the world are dealing with today? If you suspect you are going through a midlife crisis, how are you handling it? Let me know what you think.

A Quick Update

Hello, everyone, and a Happy Easter this weekend to those who celebrate!

Since it has been ages (yet again) since I have posted, let me give you a quick rundown of what’s been up. Unfortunately, not much. 2017 ended on a high note, but so far 2018 seems to be a series of minor disappointments thus far.

  • Pottery – There has been none made. My wheel is collecting dust by the inch at this point. It makes me sad to think about.
  • Sewing – I have completed almost half a dozen quilts since my last posting, and actually sold a few. Yay! Also, more commissioned quilts coming in the near future.
  • Life in general 2017 – The high point was that we spent Christmas in Germany (possibly a post on this in more detail later). It was my first trip to Europe, and it was *wonderful*! People were kind, travel was smooth, and the food was outstanding. Our layover on the way there was in Paris, and I have never tasted a better croissant. I cannot wait for another trip! Hopefully, our next one (2019?) will be to Ireland, which has always been on my bucket list.
  • Life in general 2018 – Nothing exciting to report so far. Life goes on, work goes well (thank God!), and I am forever trying to find more time and more motivation to make things. We are gearing up to house hunt in the fall, so hopefully being in a house rather than an apartment will allow for more crafting room. I also have some ideas that have been percolating for a while for a Young Adult novel.

And so, that’s it, in a nutshell. Onward and upward! For those of you in a similar situation as I am, don’t give up! We can do this, right? Rejiggering things so that we have more time, and ample cash flow to pursue our passions can’t be *that* hard, can it? 😉

Stay safe, well, and happy!

Some of My Projects

Here are some photos of a few of my sewing projects from the past year. There are (many) more items that I either do not have photos of, or are no longer with me. This is just a sample. Quilts, baby dresses, bags, and more recently, neckties. I also apologize in advance, since most of these photos were just taken quickly with my cell phone, for my own reference. 🙂 Hope you like them!

Have a fantastic day!

 

It has been blisteringly hot here in the state of North Carolina for the past few weeks. I love summer, but the heat index has been hovering around 105° F recently. With accompanying humidity, it’s beginning to wear even me down. However, the sun is shining, hummingbirds are coming to my feeders regularly, tomatoes are in season (yum!), and we have a swimming pool available to splash in, so I really don’t have many complaints.

I am still sewing, and making quilts, and will post photos of some of my finished sewing projects soon. Hubby took a few photos for me last week, since mine were pretty pathetic! Who knew what a pain it is to photograph a quilt? It’s become an enjoyable hobby for me. I just need to curb my fabric shopping! 😉

Pottery is still on hold. Although I miss it terribly. So I think I’ll reconstitute a bit of clay tonight and do some hand building over the weekend.

Things have been fairly uneventful this summer, which is not always a bad thing. But the “lazy days of summer” can sometimes become too lazy, if you know what I mean. We took a wonderful family vacation to the beach recently, which is my happy place. And now that we are back, I have been using my refreshed perspective to decide what needs to be tweaked in my life. Figuring out what has been slipping through the cracks, so to speak. Which is something I believe everyone needs to take inventory of periodically.

Turns out, there is not much I need, or want to change. However, the first thing that immediately came to mind was that I had basically stopped reading books. What? How did that happen? I love to read! I’ve realized that Internet Creep has slowly taken over my life. And it must be beaten back! Most of what I was reading were articles on websites, or items attached to Facebook posts. Have you experienced this? Instead of picking up a good book at the end of the day, I was checking my news feed. Not good! So the library and I got reacquainted, and I am rediscovering the joys of a good story.

I think Internet Creep has become a big problem in our society. Technology is a wonderful thing, but it’s been absolutely invading every aspect of our lives. We are not really present anymore. Subtle things get missed because we have forgotten how to pay attention. We don’t learn or memorize facts, because we can always Google the answer. Friends text instead of talk to each other. People walk on the street with their heads down, surfing the web. Families are not even interacting at the dinner table anymore… A few weeks back I went to a Gwen Stefani concert. She was awesome! But it amazed me how as soon as she came on stage, everyone’s cell phones came out. Everyone was recording videos and taking selfies, instead of enjoying the experience and actually listening to her. A young couple in the row in front of me spent the entire time taking selfies with their backs to the stage. They never actually watched any of the performance! Why do we seem to need to see everything through a viewfinder now, instead of firsthand with our own eyes?

Just some food for thought.

Happy August, Everyone!

Here We Go Again

So, it’s been AGES since I have been able to throw pots. It makes me sad, but I know it is not forever. It can’t be, because I love it too much. I still dream of clay often, and wake up smiling when I do.

Although the elbow is fine now, we just don’t have the space in our current home for me to pull out my wheel. Also, said apartment is covered in wall-to-wall carpeting. So, I may just have to pony up the funds to pay for local arts council classes and get my clay fix once or twice a week. Of course, this reason gets added to my TOTALLY LOGICAL (ahem) list of why we need to buy a house rather than living in apartments.

My path to a professional pottery career is once again on hold. Makes me wonder if this is the Universe’s way of telling me I’m not meant to do this professionally. Or maybe I am not as dedicated as I thought I was? It’s something to think about. Maybe I have the love, and possibly even the talent, but not the discipline and focus needed to work for myself?

Even though I have not been throwing, I am still keeping the creative juices flowing, so to speak. Let me just tell you, in case you were wondering, it really is possible to learn nearly anything on YouTube. Last Spring I taught myself to sew, using the “Watch YouTube and Replicate on My Sewing Machine in Real Life While Swearing” method, and am now enjoying it quite a bit. Our dining room has been covered with my sewing machine, fabric, thread, and all sorts of associated paraphernalia. I began with tote bags, moved on to purses and baby dresses, and within the past couple of months progressed to quilts.

I seem to have a particular talent for finding hobbies that are NOT inexpensive. However as my skills have improved (and swearing has decreased dramatically), I’ve sold several of my projects among friends and coworkers, which allows me to keep feeding my growing fabric store habit (SO MANY PRETTY COLORS!). Also, my husband has been extremely tolerant of the constant clutter. Mainly because I made the goal to finish every project I start, and have (so far, mostly) stuck to it.

I am still an optimist, and I have a nearly pathological need to be creative. Which means that in addition to pottery photos, you may start seeing photos of finished sewing projects popping up here. And as always, comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Furthermore, since I now FINISH things I start (ahem), I WILL be posting more often! 🙂

Have a fantastic day!

 

Long Time Gone

Happy Fall! It has been a loooonnnnnggggg time since I have posted. I hope you missed me – at least a little! 😉

Quite a bit has happened since my last post, back in early December. Some good, some bad, some just dang annoying. I am trying to learn to let go and roll with the things that are beyond my control. There are days I am mostly successful. Other days I feel stuck in the bottom of a pit of despair.

The Good(s) –

1) I have a job that I absolutely love. WOOT, WOOT! I work with a fantastic group of people, at a company where I finally feel like I fit in. Yay! No more temping! Besides having a solid future, this company seems to have a sound moral and ethical base, gives back to the community, believes in work/life balance, and supports the growth of its employees. I enjoy going to work every day, and it has been a long time since I have been able to say that.

2) I got to take my first paid summer vacation in several years! First time in Myrtle Beach; we were not disappointed. It was a week of great sunny weather, beautiful beaches, and fun with the family. We all enjoyed ourselves, and will definitely be going back in the future.

3) We moved earlier this month. Since I have not been able to convince my husband that a house is preferable, we are in another apartment. But the building is newer (meaning less repair issues), the apartment is lovely, in a town we really like, and our neighbors seem great. It is a very pet-friendly neighborhood, and we are close to both the walking path and the gym. Furthermore, we have a lovely, large, covered  porch, which is suitable for throwing pots on in decent weather.

The Bad (With Silver Lining) –

I have NOT been able to throw any pots since my last post. Yes, for nearly a year. AAARRRGGGHHH! My poor unused wheel has been sitting in a corner giving me dirty looks since December.

I apparently gave myself a case of tennis elbow from so much throwing over the Summer and Fall, and have been letting things alone so it could heal. By Spring, I thought I may finally be to a point that I could start throwing again. But, BAM! Literally a day or two after entertaining that notion, shooting pain and swelling even worse than ever. To the point that I could not lift my arm at all without crying. Difficult to get dressed, nearly impossible to sleep. It even hurt to write.

In my sleep-deprived crankiness, I had a moment of lucidity, and decided to go see an acupuncturist. It was a truly wonderful experience! The decrease in pain after my first visit was tangible, and by the third visit (over the course of a week), I was back to normal, with only a little lingering soreness.

The Annoying (Also With Silver Lining) –

My computer also died in December. SIGH!

Yes, it was a refurbished one, but I had only owned it for (almost exactly) a year. The consensus of my techie friends (far more knowledgeable than I) was that it was the power supply. It would be an inexpensive fix. So, to Amazon I went, and bought the appropriate unit. Hubby very generously and exactingly installed it for me. Excitement mounted. I pressed the power button, and… NOTHING! BOO!

So with some patience (which is not my strong suit), some saving, and my husband’s unexpected work bonus, I was able to buy my first laptop in March. I know, I know, I am behind the times… Now I am loving my shiny, brand new bit of technology, and no longer need to surf the web and read email or blog posts on my cell phone.

In The End –

As you can see, everything worked out well in the end, in just about every circumstance. So now life is back on an even keel. I am waaayyyyy behind in my timeline of goals, but mostly healthy, happy, employed, and hooked to the technological lifeline that is the Internet. I am also getting my DIY/decorating fix doing our new abode. With a husband who is cheerfully installing curtain rods, and agreeable to (or at least tolerant of) discussions regarding new furniture, color schemes, and area rugs.

Life is good.

Yes, the arm is still sore, but mostly better. I am tempted to give my wheel some much needed attention in these next couple of weeks. But I now know to never throw pots for 6 hours or more at a stretch. Not. Ever. Again.

If anyone knows good exercises to prevent future tennis elbow flare-ups, please share!

May Health, Happiness, and Contentment be Yours!