Join me on the adventure of starting a business, while balancing everyday life.

Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

Beware the Stories You Tell

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess…

Yes, that is one kind of story. But that is not what I mean by the title of this post.

Stories are everywhere. On television and movie screens, in books and magazines, and told by parents and grandparents to children all over the world. They flow around us as we walk down the street, ride the bus, or sit with friends in coffee shops. Snatches of conversation or bits on the radio that catch our attention, books on a long commute, or amusing anecdotes shared among friends and coworkers.

But stories are much more than amusement, or a way to get our kids to fall asleep each night. They make up the very fabric of our lives. They can spark imagination, connect us with our ancestors and neighbors, teach lessons and values, inform who we are, and have a large part in shaping our identities.  Stories are how we relive memories,  and how we fit ourselves into the context of the world around us.

They are wonderful, awesome, and powerful things.

So, if the stories we tell are so wonderful, why do I say beware? Because we build our truth around them.

If you tell your children bedtime stories each night, would you rather read them books about wonderful adventures with confident heroes, and happy endings, or books about scary monsters who terrify sad, scared, and powerless victims? If you are smart, you’d choose the wonderful adventures! Young children have especially vivid imaginations. Your child is going to picture himself in the hero’s place. He will think about the story, role play with it, and most likely dream about it. With the scary book, he will also think about it, role play with it, and dream about it. But those dreams will come in the form of anxious nightmares, and who needs that? Nobody wants their kid waking up at 2am in tears!

We still operate very much like this as adults. We imagine what things would be like “if…”. We dream and role play. And we internalize the stories that our parents and people close to us have told us all our lives. Those stories could be “you are caring, you are loving, you are intelligent”. Or, they could be “you are so stupid, you never get anything right! How could anybody possibly love you?”.  As a storyteller, you have great power in your hands – to either build people up or break them down. You have the potential to foster kindness and tolerance, or hatred and malice. And you both consciously and unconsciously choose these things continuously on a daily basis. In what you do, what you say, and even what you think.

Yes, you are your own storyteller. The stories you tell yourself are just as important as the ones you tell others. They can work to your benefit, or they can sabotage you. You can tell yourself lies until you believe they are truths, or twist truths so far out of proportion you believe they must be lies.

Beware the stories you tell. Weigh their truth and measure their potential impact. Choose wisely. Your stories have more influence than you realize.

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Purpose on Purpose

 

In my last post, I talked about intention versus attention. So, let’s further the discussion, and talk about purpose. We’ve all thought about it. Usually, as a young teenager or when going off to college, the question is “What’s my purpose in life?”. Or, if you have been reading self-help books for a while, it’s “Am I living my life on purpose?”.  But what exactly does that mean? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of purpose is:

          1a: something set up as an object or end to be attained: intention

             b: resolution, determination

          2: a subject under discussion or an action in course of execution

Reading this may make you wonder about the definition of on purpose, which is:

            by intent: intentionally

Which leads to looking up intentional:

            done by intention or design

And then, intention:

          1: a determination to act in a certain way: resolve

          2: import, significance

          3a: what one intends to do or bring about

             b: the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

          4: a process or manner of healing of incised wounds

          5: concept; especially: a concept considered as the product of attention directed to  an object of knowledge

We could go on looking up definitions all day, which might or might not lead to greater clarity. Judging from above, it seems purpose as a concept has different meanings to different people.  Questions reflecting this may be:

  •      What is the end result that I want to obtain for my life, either in the short- or long-term?
  •      What is the course of action I must take to execute my goals?
  •      What things and goals are most important or significant in my life?
  •      Where do I want to direct my attention, and what knowledge do I wish to obtain in doing so?
  •      What has God called me to do so I may be of service to others?

All of these questions are perfectly valid. And with self-reflection, any or all of them serve as a sound compass to guide one’s life by. So, why do we find it so difficult to figure out? Why all the angst?

Personally, I think we get so stressed because we only expect there to be one answer – one purpose. In reality, as we change and grow, shouldn’t our purpose change also? Isn’t there always more knowledge to gain, more people to serve, more goals to reach, and more actions to take? If life were totally figured out, and our paths set in stone by the time we reached eighteen, most of us would have many years of boredom and stagnation before reaching the end of our lives.

Figuring out our purpose is not is not a one-and-done. If we can get ourselves to the point of realizing periodic reevaluation is necessary, welcome it, and even relax into the process, most of us would be much better off. In other words, rinse, lather, repeat, then breathe!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

What Are You Paying Attention To?

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Catching Up and Internet Creep

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!