Making Matters: Crafty Confessions

I recently signed up for Jennifer Priest's (of Hydrangea Hippo) latest project called Making Matters. She is offering a weekly email newsletter intended to inspire people to make and create, with ideas covering everything from "creating a space you love to make in to shopping for craft supplies in a different way to challenges to make from the resources you already have."

The first prompt arrived today, and I thought I would blog about it. The theme is Crafty Confessions: "this week is all about being super truthful with yourself about what your biggest challenges are when crafting...Whatever things interfere with your ability to be creative, identify those and write them down."

  1. While I do create projects for my Etsy shop, and did make a few things for Christmas, I still struggle with feeling like I'm letting my "crafting superpowers" go to waste. I let the fact that I work full-time, have a family, and want to exercise take precedence over being creative. 
  2. Working full-time seriously cramps my crafting time. I mean, I have to go to work EVERY DAY and stuff. Bummer.
  3. Speaking of my Etsy shop, I let crafting for profit overshadow crafting for fun. I often feel like the time I do spend crafting should be "productive" (read: profitable).
  4. I let my perfectionist nature dictate whether I even try new techniques or crafts. If I don't think something will turn out well, I don't do it. Which is ridiculous - there are so many crafts I really do want to try. But because my time is limited, and reason #2 (wanting to feel "productive"), I often stick with things I know I'm good at. In 2015, I want to try more new things and feel ok when they don't turn out great at first, and not worry about "wasting" supplies on trying new things.
  5. My craft room is my personal dungeon. I hate even going down there. I have too much stuff and feel completely overwhelmed by what to do with it. I know I have bought multiples of things because I couldn't find the first set. It's very hard to feel inspired to create when your creative space zaps your mojo before you even start a project! So often I have been sorely tempted to just donate everything without even looking through it, just to clear the space. Seriously - here's a picture I should be ashamed to share, but maybe you can relate:

    Cluttered craft desk

  6. Related to #4, I think I have hoarding tendencies. I have so much product still from when I was teaching scrapbooking, over 10 years ago now. Product never opened, but held onto because I'm sure I'll *need* it at some point, and how would I feel if I needed it, and didn't have it?? How could I possibly go on? I need to let go of that mentality AND the STUFF. I did make strides in that direction a couple of months ago when I donated two huge totes of scrapbooking supplies to a support group for 10- to 12-year-old boys at a grieving center for children and families - now THERE'S a good use for those supplies gathering dust in my dungeon! I've already prepped a bag of punches to donate next.
  7. I am currently struggling with The Next Big Thing. I've written four books, traveled around the US to teach classes, even gave a keynote to 1500 people. But I'm not sure what's next for me. I know I love crafting, and I'm good at it, but don't have a clear purpose or path. And it weighs on me. But I do know that I am open to possibilities.

I haven't always subscribed to (or followed through with) the One Little Word movement, but maybe this year's One Little Word should be "open" - open to letting go, open to trying new things, open to making messes and mistakes. Open to possibilities. Thanks to Jennifer and Making Matters for *opening* my eyes to that!

  Be open frame

Digi-scrap credit: Aug20 Freebie frame 1 by Leora Sanford; Fonts: Toreador & Amertype


Weight Loss Reality Check

CookBook

I had my 10th weigh-in at Weight Watchers today, and am down 1.6 pounds since before Christmas, for a total of 4.6 pounds since...October. Not exactly burning up the scales.

I keep my WW membership booklet/weight record in a little carrying case, and as I was putting my guide away after weigh-in today, I noticed/remembered that I have kept all my booklets from each time I have re/joined WW. I got them all out and looked through them, noting how many years - and pounds - had passed. Therein lay some significant, sobering truths.

To further impress upon myself these truths, I created an Excel spreadsheet to map out my weight loss journey. It ain't pretty.

  • I've joined WW 12 times, the first time in January 1999. So pretty much every year, I try again.
  • I've lost weight each time - proving I *CAN* be successful, when I stick with the program.
  • The first time I lost a total of 25.6 pounds, and was 13 pounds from goal.
  • The first time I was a member for 17 weeks, the longest I have ever stayed on the program.
  • I've also gained the lost weight back nearly every time I stopped attending meeting/unsubscribed from the program.
  • I gained back 24 of those first 25 pounds lost in 5 months, after going off program.
  • Three times I have stopped going after the 10th week. Interesting I discover this on my 10th week on the program this time around.
  • In the 12 years since I started WW, I've lost 90 pounds, but since I also gain it back, then lose some, then gain more, am currently just 10 pounds lighter than when I started back in 1999.

I don't need any celebrity trainer to berate me on national television to force me to face reality - these numbers tell the story just as coldly.

Bottom line - I have wasted YEARS and HUNDREDS of dollars by going and quitting and going back again. If I'm going to DO THIS and stop wasting my time, I need to PAY ATTENTION and really do this. I need to do my food journal every day, drink more water, and move more. For realz.

Who's with me?

[photo credit: MCScola]


7 Family Things for which I am Thankful

As mentioned in this post, this week I'm writing about Things for which I am Thankful*. Today's installment of thankful thoughts centers around things related to family.

  1. I am thankful to be married to the perfect man (for me).  He may not be perfect (who is??), but he's perfect for me.  We have a similar sense of humor, similar values & priorities, and similar tastes in entertainment and home decor.  All of the above have helped us stay strong for nearly 17 married years now - that and the fact that we've only tried to wallpaper together once.  That's a guaranteed marriage-buster right there - heed my words, newlyweds!

  2. I am thankful for my great kids.  Everyone says they have great kids, but I can say it with pride and confidence.  I'm not saying they don't give us a single moment's trouble, but our moments are pretty rare, and mild.  They are continuing blessings in my life - we enjoy our time together as a family.

  3. I am grateful for the many things we do together as a family - the four of us gather most nights for dinner, whether around the dinner table, or while enjoying one of "our" shows.  I cherish the times we watch shows or movies together, and am grateful we can usually decide what to watch together fairly quickly.

  4. I am thankful my parents and brother live here in Kansas City - it makes holidays much easier to coordinate, and and family get-togethers more frequent.  Not to mention, they're just generally nice to have around.

  5. I am thankful my in-laws also live here in town, and that I get along with them beautifully.  We generally see them several times a month, and I just can't imagine what those times would be like if we weren't so fond of each other.

  6. I am thankful my parents and in-laws are so involved in my children's lives.  They frequently attend school functions, and often take my kids to various appointments when we're at work.  The convenience factor is high and welcome, but I also appreciate the time that gives them with the kids.  I grew up with my grandparents three and four hours away, and saw them only for holidays and birthdays.  My kids know their grandparents as people, and that is a blessing for everyone involved.

  7. I am grateful my grandmother is still with us, and living here in Kansas City too.  She turned 90 this year, and can still be counted on for a quippy comment and some good stories.  She is a blessing at nearly every family gathering.

What are your family blessings?  It's time to count them!

* While grammatically correct, I realize this series title doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  I'm open to suggestions. :)

6 Mom Things for which I am Thankful

As mentioned in this post, this week I'm writing about Things for which I am Thankful*. Today's installment of thankful thoughts centers around things related to motherhood.

As a mother, I am obviously thankful for my kids - I have a teen son and a pre-teen daughter.  They're just good kids - fun, funny, smart, outgoing, polite, helpful, caring, friendly... basically what you'd expect from the best kids on the planet.  I hear heart-wrenching parenting stories from friends and co-workers, and know I've got it pretty good with my kids. 

For this post, I thought I would list things that have helped me be a better mother, and have helped make life a bit easier.

  1. I'm grateful for all the classes I took in early childhood education in high school and college.  Understanding the different stages of child development and discipline techniques made all the difference when the kids were young.  (Of course, once they passed age 6, I was just as in the dark as every other parent, but those first six years of false confidence were great!)

  2. Also when the kids were young, I was newly connected to the Internet via AOL, and spent a lot of time in the Moms Online forum.  As a new transplant to St Louis at the time, I didn't have many friends in my new home, so it was so helpful to have a place to go when I had questions or needed to vent.  Now message boards and chats are much more prevalent and accessible, but just as useful for parents 'displaced' from local support networks.

  3. I was active in a Moms & Tots Activity club when the kids were in preschool - it was a local group of mothers that met several times a month to do fun things together, like play areas, pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides, and other family-friendly activities.  I was grateful at the time for the availability of an organized group that sought out and coordinated all these activities, and am grateful now to still be in contact with friends I made in the group.  Our kids are now preteens/teens, so our time together is much more Girls-Night-Out oriented, which works well for me.

  4. I'm thankful I got to stay at home with my kids when they were young, so we had the time and opportunity to go on said fun outings.  I'm so grateful that I was there for so many of their young moments of discovery and adventure, like blowing bubbles and shaving cream in the bathtub and countless visits to what my son called "castle park". I did work on and off as a administrative assistant temp to help out with finances, but stayed home for most of the first three years with both of them.  I like to think knowing I was there and available for them made a difference in the relationship we have today.

  5. I'm thankful my mother and mother-in-law live close by, and that I have a good relationship with both of them.  It's rare that a week goes by that I don't call one of them with one question or another, whether cooking, sewing, cleaning, or health-related.  Moms rock for knowing little things about life like that.  They are such a blessing of an informational resource (and just, well, you know, being a blessing as a part of our family and all that).

  6. Over the course of my "career" as a mother, I've read a lot to improve my efficiency and efficacy as a parent and homemaker (ok, I lie - there were days I desperately sought out anything that would help me get through the day - you know the kind of day I'm talking about...) Some books that helped me were What to Expect When You're Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, Sidetracked Home Executives, The Happiness File (out of print), Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, and Confessions of a Happily Organized Family.  I also enjoyed subscriptions to Family Fun and Parents magazines, and made sure to always have a copy of local-centric Mother & Child Reunion handy.

See the rest of my gratitude series here.

* While grammatically correct, I realize this series title doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  I'm open to suggestions. :)


8 Kansas City Things for which I am Thankful

As mentioned in this post, this week I'm writing about Things for which I am Thankful*. Today's installment of thankful thoughts centers around things related to my hometown, Kansas City.

  1. Kansas City BBQ - My personal favorite is Hayward's at 119th & Antioch, though I have been known to partake of Zarda's, Gate's, and Jackstack. I love that BBQ is so readily available all over the city, all with slightly different flavors, yet all still very Kansas City.

  2. The people - people are, for the most part, just generally nice here.  I've lived in several other cities, all in the Midwest, and visited other parts of the country, but like the people here best.

  3. The Social Media scene - Kansas City boasts a savvy community active in social media. We have our own chapter of the Social Media Club, and hosted a Chicks Who Click conference earlier this year. Various locally-based ad/marketing agencies specialize in social media tools, and are creating exciting, innovative projects (see VML and Sullivan Higdon & Sink, among others). You can check out some of these movers and shakers on my Twitter/Kansas City list.

  4. I-435 can get you just about anywhere - while I realize this isn't exactly true, it's generally true for me. I spend hours each week on I-435 during my 23-minute commute, but am grateful I don't have to take back roads to get into the "city" (which are actually suburbs).I can get just about anywhere I need to in about 20 minutes.

  5. The Crafty scene - while we have seen a painful decline in scrapbooking stores in KC, other crafty retailers seem to be doing well, and offer interesting, inspirational projects and classes. I particularly like Harper's Fabrics in downtown Overland Park, and Urban Arts + Crafts in North KC. And The Studio on the Plaza offers great knitting classes in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. And don't think scrapbooking is entirely off the map here - The Scrapbook Page in Shawnee is top-notch, offering an impressive class schedule and customer service which makes them stand out from the 'box' stores. I am also grateful I have two unique groups of women to do crafty things with. My group of scrapbooking friends has been meeting quasi-monthly for nearly 10 years now, and comprises my closest friends. Discussion topics 'round the cropping table are wide and varied, providing a sounding board I don't have anywhere else. I'm a relative newcomer to my knitting group (I think it's been a year), but I've come to count on our meetings for knitty-yarny goodness and inspiration.

  6. Fall - While it's not Door County, Wisconsin, or the Ozarks, Fall is pretty here.  The leaves change color beautifully, and the snap in the air is quite tolerable.  Just chilly enough to make you put on something comfy and cozy that you probably wanted to put on anyway.

  7. Education - while some school districts in the metro area aren't what you might call 'stellar', mine is. We've been very pleased with the education our children have received/are receiving, and the encouragement they've received from multiple teachers. I've been really impressed with the Gifted/Advanced Studies and Debate programs specifically, and look forward to future experiences with the Band program. I also like that Kansas City offers a variety of options for post-secondary education. There are multiple community colleges, as well as public and private universities, and regents centers for other universities. UMKC hosts a "Communiversity" that offers community education classes, led by members of the community. Kansas City is a city that appears to value learning, and I like being a part of that.

  8. My family is here - My husband and I both grew up here, and both sets of parents still live in the area. My kids have grown up with their grandparents as an intimate part of their lives. Our parents are built-in babysitters and unconditional cheerleaders, and we are indeed blessed to have them so close at hand. I realize not everyone has that luxury, and I am grateful for it.
* While grammatically correct, I realize this series title doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  I'm open to suggestions. :)

10 Geeky Things for which I am Thankful

During this week of (American) Thanksgiving, I proclaim my gratitude for the following Geeky things:

  1. Even while the wound is still fresh from the cancellation of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, there is still hope in the Jossverse.

  2. Star Trek XI is out on DVD.

  3. Chuck returns 1/1/10.

  4. When one is both geeky and crafty, one can make cunning hats like this one. (I've made two)

  5. There is a veritable bevy of tech-savvy women out there, some whose works I've been following for years.  I am thankful for the inspiration they provide daily.  Some of my geek-girl crushes include Kim Dushinski, Heidi Miller, The Blog Squad, Lynette Young, Jessica Sprague, Linda Sattgast, Lorelle VanFossen, Zena Weist, Connie Bensen, Gina Trapani, Renee Pearson, Amy Edwards, & Margie Lundy.

  6. Considering said bevy of geeky women, there are unique networking events just for them, like She's Geeky, Geek Girl Dinners, and BlogHer.

  7. Twitter

  8. Sites like Amazon, Jinx! and ThinkGeek make one-stop holiday shopping

  9. Blogging - a forum which allows me to write, even when no one pays me for it, or even particularly cares to read it.

  10. mp3 players (I love my Sansa Fuze, especially for audiobooks)

  11. font websites like DaFont.com and 1001Fonts.com.  I also enjoy the Creative Characters newsletter by MyFonts.com.

  12. ...and my most favorite geeky things of all - my husband, daughter, and son.  Between gaming, comics/manga/anime, sci-fi/fantasy, debate, band, and IT, they have pretty much every geek category covered.  Geeks to the core, every one of them, and I <3 them.


Scrapbooking Simplified

Busyscrapper-courtneywalsh F+W Marketing Manager Ginger Rohlfs recently sent me Courtney Walsh's new book, The Busy Scrapper, to review.  And the book has me thinking.

While I'm only on page 36 (of 128) so I can't offer a real review at this point, I wanted to comment on what I've read so far.

Courtney's tips encouraged me to consider why I don't scrapbook often.  Sure, one reason is *probably* being disorganized and not being able to see the worktable surface in my scraproom/office.  Another reason is undoubtedly time - a full-time job, two kids, a husband, and a horse of a dog do eat up most of my waking hours.  But another reason, I'll freely admit, is self-paralysis.  I know many people suffer from this, in various forms, and not just related to scrapbooking.

The self-paralysis has to do with expectations and assumptions, I think.  Assuming that you have to do something a certain way, and all at one sitting.  Assuming that your results should turn out as well as someone else's.  Expecting those results to be just-so.  Expecting everything to go smoothly in each step of the process.  And honey, that's just not the way Real Life is.  Whether we're talking about scrapbooking, or knitting, or organizing your closet, or dealing with co-workers.

OK - end Life Lesson.  Paging through Courtney's book has me excited about scrapbooking again.  Has me thinking, "I can *do* this!" Because her tips and comments are empowering, yes, but also reminders that have the ability to slap you upside the head, even in their simplicity.

Like this tip from the Making Art Faster chapter...

Continue reading "Scrapbooking Simplified" »


Breakfast at the Hy-Vee

My grandpa was a very social guy.  Actually, "social" barely begins to describe him.  He would talk to anyone, always ready with some useful advice or story, usually paired with a quippy comment or joke.  Everyone liked him - visiting with Grandpa usually took a while, because there was always plenty to say and laugh about.

I don't think I realized how social he was when I was a kid - our visits were typically pretty short, and we stayed in their little white house on Bennett Ave during most of our time there.  But thinking back now, there was an occassion that stands out, giving me insight into the kind of person Grandpa really was.

At some point in grade school, I was invited for an extended visit with Grandma and Grandpa, without my parents or younger brother.  One evening, I asked Grandpa what we would do the next day.  He rubbed his large hand over his stubbly chin slowly, and thought for a moment. 

"Ohhhh," he drawled, "I suppose we'll go down to the Hy-Vee for breakfast."

HyVee? I thought.  Why would you go to Hy-Vee for breakfast, when there are places like IHOP, or even McDonald's?  I don't think I even realized at the time that Hy-Vee had a cafeteria nook - the only food we ever got at a grocery store, we had to take home and cook for ourselves!  I remember being rather skeptical of Grandpa's so-called "plan" as I went to bed that night, sleeping in "my" room on the pull-out couch, surrounded by mounds of Grandma's sewing projects and miscellaneous supplies.

The next morning arrived and we set off for HyVee in Grandpa's long silver car.  HyVee wasn't very far away - just down Bennett Ave, and tucked down in a little valley of stores.

We walked in and navigated our way to the dining area.  I remember being a little stunned at how crowded it was.  It seemed every booth and table were filled.  Voices rose and fell as diners engaged in lively conversations. 

"Lee!"  Several voices called out warm welcomes to Grandpa, and hands stretched in greeting.  He worked his way around the little dining area, offering nods of recognition and declarations of "mornin'".  Several men razzed him about arriving so "late" - they had already had two cups of coffee!  He put his arm around me and introduced me, as if to explain his tardiness.  I stayed close to his side, uncomfortable with all the strangers, but secure under his arm.  They may have been strangers to me, but not to Grandpa, not even the people he hadn't met yet.

We eventually found a table and sat down. We scanned the large menu hanging over the register.  Well, Grandpa glanced at it, but he already knew what he wanted - eggs over easy, toast, bacon, and coffee.  Plenty of coffee.  He waited while I made my decision, then went up to the counter to place the order. 

The cashier smiled broadly when she saw him approach.  "Eggs over easy, Lee?" she asked, raising her voice to be heard over the crowd. 

Grandpa grinned back. "Yeah, that'll do for starts."  She chuckled and took the rest of our order.  Grandpa made his way back to our table, stopping along to way to chat and clap a large hand on friends' shoulders.  Just watching him talk and joke, it was easy to understand how he had earned the nickname "The Big Swede" in his younger days.  Everything about him shouted gregariousness and genuine joy of life.  The French use the term "joie de vivre", but this "Big Swede" embodied it.

Eventually our food was ready, and Grandpa brought it back to the table.  We dug in, though the rest of us probably not as heartily as Grandpa.  He loved to eat - I don't think he ever quite lost the appetite of the lumberjack of his youth.  Soon he was mopping up egg yolk with his toast, while I had barely started.  He leaned back and grunted his satisfaction, rubbing his hand over his round belly.  He gave his stomach a final pat, and declared, "Well, time for more coffee!" and headed off for the coffee pot.  But instead of bringing his mug to the counter, he went over and picked up the coffee pot and brought it back to the table to top off his cup.  Then he started to walk back to return the pot to its station.  But he didn't walk directly there.  My eyes widened slightly as he made several detours, topping off several other people's mugs as well.  Like the waiter who keeps your water glass constantly filled at a restaurant, Grandpa made his way around the entire dining area, providing refills of the steaming beverage for anyone who wanted more (and several who didn't, I think!) 

As I watched several people hold up their mugs, waiting for Grandpa to make it to their tables, I had to ask Grandma if Grandpa actually knew all those people.  She shrugged slightly and said non-commitally, "Probably," not even looking up from her plate.  I took that to mean he probably did know almost everyone there, but it was also just as likely there were quite a few he didn't know.  And it didn't really matter to her either way.  That's just how he was.

When Grandpa returned to the table, I asked him why he filled all those people's mugs. He shrugged and said, "they looked like they needed more," and took a sip of his own mug.  That's all there was to it.  "They looked like they needed more." 

To me, that kind of sums it up - the kind of person Grandpa was.  Whatever someone looked like they needed, he noticed, and did his best to provide, whether that was a cup of coffee, a joke, some advice, some repair work, a hunting buddy, or a burly one-armed hug.  That was my Grandpa.  And the world is a better place for his place in it.

=======================================
A couple of miscellaneous memories...

When I was engaged, I visited Grandma and Grandpa.  I remember at the end of our visit, I gave Grandpa a hug and told him I looked forward to seeing him next at my wedding.  He ducked his head, like he wasn't sure, and said, "Well, if I'm still around, I'll be there."  I looked at him kind of shocked by the statement and said, "If you're still around!"  And he said, "Well, you never know at my age."  I informed him that he had better make it to my wedding, and to plan on being "around" to meet his first great-grandchild.  That was in 1992.  Obviously, he made it to my wedding, as well as my cousin's, and was "around" for the birth of four great-grandchildren.

Perhaps a strange thing I remember about grandpa is how hairy is arms were.  I asked him once why they were so hairy, and he said, "Keeps me warm."  I have recently noticed, much to his embarassment, my son's legs are rather hairy.  That makes me smile, and think of Grandpa.


Do You Suffer from "Memory Clutter"?

Very interesting post on Letting go of memory clutter at Meredith Mathews' My Lemonade Stand blog.

Peter says “memory clutter” is a more common problem than most people realize. I confess that my own weakness for clutter involves the sentiment of objects, where I find myself struggling to let go of trinkets and souvenirs merely for how seeing, touching and holding them reminds me of my past, places I have been, and people I have loved and lost.

“People are terrified that if they let go of the objects, they will lose the memory,” Peter says. Jenny and Steve say they have that exact fear. “If we get rid of this piece of paper that he touched, well, there goes Jake along with it,” Steve says.

Clearing the emotional clutter will help better preserve the memory of a lost loved one. It helps to keep your emotions about the loss in a healthy place, rather than maintaining a shrine of what once was. Living in the past in that manner is not healthy for any individual and stifling for a family.

I am slowly working through de-cluttering most of my house.  It's absolutely mind-boggling to me how much cr@p there is in our house!  School papers alone could bury us alive, I think.  And with those school papers, so many little essays on thick-lined manuscript paper and color drawings of invented creatures.  With a 13yo and a 9yo, art from a kindergartener is instant nostalgia time.  I need to have a scanning party and just get rid of most of it.  Or maybe I'll do like Katie did and send it off to ScanMyPhotos.  Might be worth it.

Nostalgia is one of the hardest things about de-cluttering, I think - that and the mindset of "I might use this someday," and its cousin, "this is still perfectly good!"  But the clutter is to a point that it's overwhelming my brain and personal peace.  So bit by bit it's out of here.  Good riddance.  But if something really inspires a strong bout of nostalgia, I plan to scan it or take a picture, then get rid of it (for the most part).

 

My 'extra' scrapbooking supplies?  Boxes and boxes worth?  I'm planning to drop those at a local Children's Mercy Hospital for craft goodies.  I'm sure they could care less that they're "old school", or even that they're archival safe.  I just hope they have fun with them.  :)

So!  Do you suffer from Memory Clutter?


Finding Your Place

I never fail to find inspiration from reading Melody Ross' blog.  Check out these recent deep thoughts from Melody's Sofa:

If you planted an acorn.... you would never, ever, EVER get an apple tree.

...many a girl (including me) has spent hours and days and years trying to be an apple tree or an almond tree or a pine tree or a palm tree.........when she started out as an acorn.....and, IF ONLY she would figure it out, and then embrace it.......she could understand, enjoy and thrive at being a beautiful, strong, enduring oak tree, and she would bless so many and affect so much if she stopped wasting time trying to be something else....if she'd focus on growing into the blueprint in that acorn.....and if a girl who started out as an apple seed begs, pleads, studies & pays-for all sorts of lotions, potions and techniques to become an oak tree......she'll just spend her whole life frustrated AND waste a whole lot of beautiful apples, too.

WHY do we do this to ourselves?

That's quantum-change level of thinking, there - for me anyway.  What IF you work really hard, and are really determined, and are a generally good person, but are barreling along on the wrong path?  I've hit my head on enough walls to know what the wrong path feels like, trying to force a square peg in a round hole.  The apple-tree-from-an-acorn metaphor is striking -- the concept that no matter how hard you work at this wrong thing, it just ain't gonna work.

She quotes from Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life:

"The Author of the human drama entrusted your part to you alone. Live your life, or it won't be lived. We need you to be you.

YOU need to be you.

You can't be your hero, your parent, or your big brother. You might imitate their golf swing or hair style, but you can't be them. You can only be you. All you have to give is what you've been given to give. Concentrate on who you are and what you have. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

This concept of exploring and identifying one's own unique gifts is what led me to create my Book of Me.  I wholeheartedly embrace that idea, and have encouraged many, many others to do the same.  Yet it seems I still suffer, right along with the rest of you, from the apple-tree-from-an-acorn way of life.  Something hasn't been sinking in deep enough somewhere.

I've actually been working on this, well, for the past year, really.  I started offering marketing consulting and writing services through Scrappy Marketing Solutions.  I've been successful, and have been able to work with and help some really neat people in the industry.  But there has sometimes been the feeling of fighting too hard to find new clients, and convince them that marketing is a worthwhile investment.  It's exhausting.  So I've been re-evaluating what I like most about what I do, and it's the writing.  It really always has been.  So that's what I'm going to focus on.  I may write about marketing concepts (in fact, I know I will, in upcoming issues of Memorytrends magazine), I may write about journaling topics, I may write about writing, I may write about blogging, I may write about parenting.  I need to un-niche myself a bit, and just be more open to writing in general, I think.  And let the joy glow.

I love how Melody closed her post:

Be exactly who you are....and be even more of that tomorrow......
You are just right.....

(deep cleansing breath)  What strength and comfort there is in that.  Thanks for the heads up, as well as the reminder, Melody.

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