Chasing Ideas

I’m a dreamer, I always have been. I have ideas and I flit after them, and chase them until the spark is gone. I quickly find a new spark, and chase away until the light dims.

This sounds whimsical and fun if I write it in the right light, but truthfully, I leave a lot of things undone.

Some of my most recent ideas:

Shoe Buddies (shoe deodorizers) – I was going to sew 20 of these a day and make a nice trickle income for our family. I was going to get my kids involved in the production, and let them earn some commission for their work. I was going to sell them in person and online and wherever anyone had stinky shoes. Reality: I completed one order and never made another shoe buddy. But I have a shelf full of the stuff to make gobs of them

Selling on Amazon – I started reading about selling on Amazon, flipping clearance items and making a steady income. I bought the labels, the scrapers, the stickers, the bags, the thermal label printer, signed up, paid a month of Amazon’s FBA seller service. Reality: I never even shipped in a single clearance item purchased, and ended up returning all of the things I bought so they weren’t lying around to be wasted.

Digital Design/Marketing Company – I bought a domain, I created a logo, I was going to make logos and help people navigate the world of social media. I was going to help small businesses reach the next level, grow, and gain visibility among their target clientele. Reality: I wrote a couple of cute blogs, dabbled with my social media page, and stopped there. (Digital markets are tough, and time-consuming!)

Photography – I mean, I have the camera, right? I did it before, right? Reality: I didn’t even dust it off.

College – I’ve forever dreamed of going back to school, of furthering my education, of holding a degree. But the truth is, I started raising kids at a young age and I didn’t want to miss the best years of their life because I was so wrapped up in school. I was going to take the leap this year, online classes offer quite a bit of flexibility, but I’ve changed my mind again.

Sometimes all of these sparks that have burned out feel like failures to someone who is dreaming big, waiting for the right idea to turn in to a flame, pushing, chasing, running after sparks that don’t seem to last. Sometimes they don’t last because I don’t put the consistent long-term effort in that would turn them in to something more than just a fleeting idea.

Sometimes these sparks die because the truth is, I’m a wife and a mom, and we have a little farm, and my time is limited. So limited.

Our lives have changed a lot in the last couple of months and as such, it was time for me to go back to work, but being stubborn like I am, I didn’t want the kids to go to daycare. So I took a night job. I told myself all the reasons this would be the best solution for us ever, I told myself how it would be nice to get out of the house every day, without the kids. I told myself the adult interaction, the customer service atmosphere, the paperwork, and trips up stairs and down again would all be fun.

I turned it in to a spark.

And I caught this spark. I landed my night job, I work graveyards. And you know what? The hours of sleep I got at night were precious. This isn’t as easy as I made it in my head. It’s incredibly hard to recover from working all night in time to do much the next day before it’s time for work again.

I’m not giving up this time. I’m not giving up that easy. I need this job, it’s part of my written plan and I’m putting action to it.

Writing down a dream turns it into a goal.

Giving a goal steps turns it into a plan.

Putting action to the plan makes it a reality.

The reality is, we are starting a new endeavor this week that has captured my full attention, and I am beyond excited. The reality is, these long nights will pay off in the long run. The reality is, sometimes we have to do really hard things, really consistently, for a time, to create a better future for ourselves and our families.

What hard thing do you need to do consistently, for a period of time, to help launch you forward in life?

With Love,

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Posted in faith, family, life, marriage, Parenting | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Making Clay Pots

My dearest husband and I are subscribed Datebox (follow the link for $10 off your first box! We get $10 off a box if you buy one, too.) We’ve enjoyed the dates we’ve done, but in all honesty, we’ve been subscribed for a year and we set our boxes aside far too often.

A couple of nights ago, we decided to break one out late one evening. It was an older one, from when we first subscribed – a kit to make clay pots for a herb garden, and a tasty snack to enjoy while creating.

If you know me, this is right up my alley. The excitement I felt at first glance bubbled out and I was giddy. And if you know my husband, then you know he will do anything to make me happy. (But clay pot making might not have been the first on this list of his things to try.)

We spread everything out on the table, and since it was an older box, we didn’t even try to find the Spotify playlist. We just listened to basketball in the background. We busted out the clay and it was….crumbling. It was too dry to make in to clay pots.20180104_234000.jpg

Well, I’ve brought various modeling compounds back to life with a little water, so I got the water bowl and we set to trying to revive the clay. And, with some persistence, we were able to soften it and mush it together and start attempting to shape it.

Knowing we had never made clay pots before, we started slowly, tentatively. Trying to turn round balls of revived clay in to pots. No matter what we did, the sides kept caving in. Thick sides, thin sides, round pots, square-ish pots, it didn’t matter. The sides caved, over and over again. We worked at it for an hour, laughing, smashing collapsing pots and starting over, staring at each other wondering what we got ourselves in to.20180104_234020.jpg

I got the clay too wet, I think. We got out the flour, and spread it over our surface and let our lumps of clay soak in a little flour, and then tried some more. Still, we couldn’t keep the sides from falling. We talked about using thread around them, but then we figured they would fall in. What about toothpicks? We continued trying with our hands while discussing the possibilities.

I was finally able to form a small, square-ish, short pot. It wasn’t pretty, but it was holding steady. My hubs was giving up, so I took his lump and worked it into a thick, round, shallow dish. And I proceeded to bake them both.

I’ve thought a lot about those poor pots since then. I’ve thought a lot about how the bible 20180104_234345.jpgrefers to us as being clay in the Potter’s hands. You know, often, I think I am difficult clay. Too dry, too wet, too stiff, too soft. Our good Father keeps at it, keeps working on getting those sides up, keeps working on shaping me into a proper dish. Yet, I resist, I ignore, I flop, I fold, I try to anticipate His next move and get it all wrong.

I can’t help but think that I need to stop being an insolent lump of clay and give the reins of my life more fully over to my Creator. Creator God is the facet of our Father in Heaven that I love most to read of. To think of His tender care, and maybe even deep frustrations, as He works with each us.

I had the best time with my precious husband trying to form these pots. I cannot wait to try another Datebox with him. Our shenanigans together, while they are obviously a huge part of relationship care, I think they are also deeply connected to the fine art of self-care – because I can’t be my best self without my partner in life and my other half.


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The Fine Art of Self Care

Self care came in a commercial package for me not so long ago – massages, chiropractic appointments, a hair cut, new essential oils, and more. And for a while, it felt like I was becoming a master of self-care. I enjoyed each of these things and was looking less and less at how they affected the checkbook. Good golly, I worked enough long, hard hours to justify the expense, didn’t I?

Self care looks different right now, today. We closed our business just a couple of weeks ago, and the hours have only been more grueling. I’d give my right arm to be able to afford a massage or the chiropractor right now. Suddenly every red cent in the checkbook matters, and I can’t spend money on these things I thought were the only way to self-care.

Turns out, though, that self-care is so much more than just these things. (And please know, I’m not taking away from chiropractic care or massage – both, I believe, are essential to health and wellness.)

Right now, self-care looks like these things:

Going to bed on time.

Getting up before the kids, so I can gather my thoughts for the day.

Putting my phone down.

In fact, I’m just going to park here for a minute, and say it again, sometimes taking care of myself means putting my phone down. No more scrolling, no more articles, no more messages. Because I’ve learned that my phone is the #1 reason that I begin feeling frenetic, like I can’t keep up. In the season we are in, I am juggling guilt, change, regret. Every article I read points me to all the things I could have, would have, should have. Then I can’t focus on the good things in my life, the goodness of God in my life, or how He is moving.

Sometimes self-care is a mental break from all that my phone bombards me with.

Sometimes self-care is a shower – nothing fancy, no aromatherapy, no relaxation shower gel, just a shower. Hot water, wash my hair, and conquer the day.

Sometimes self-care is reading a book, or more importantly, sometimes self-care is reading my bible.

Self care comes in the form of prayer – laying all of my worries at the feet of my Father and letting Him carry me.

Sometimes self-care isn’t alone, so much as it nestling into the crook of my husband’s arm and crying because this is hard. Or staying up late trying to make clay pots together. (I’ll share more about this adventure in a day or two.)

Sometimes self-care is doing hard tasks, draining ones, so that they are on the done side of the list, instead of the do side. Sometimes shortening the do list makes it easier to fall asleep at night.

Sometimes self-care is closing my bedroom door for some quiet to talk to my mom, because I need to hear her voice. Sometimes it’s not closing my door to talk to my sister, because she has just as much noise and chaos on her end and it’s how we do life together.

Sometimes self-care is writing – whether journaling, blogging, working on a novel. Writing is part of who I am.

I’d like to be able to make a trip to the chiropractor (and my tingling nerves would like it too) but in this season where I can’t, I don’t have to neglect myself. I don’t have to give in to this notion that self-care costs money that I don’t have.

How can you take care of yourself without spending any money, today? Share with me in the comments below.


Until next time,

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Posted in faith, family, health, life, money | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments