Being Thankful

This year, for Thanksgiving, one of my closest friends had no one to celebrate the holiday with. Her son was with his father, and her family isn’t here, and she was arming up for a holiday alone. Silly girl, as if I, her best friend, would ever let that happen. Of course I invited her to join my Mom and I for a Thanksgiving buffet/brunch where we ate enough food for 2 weeks and laughed and spent a holiday being not alone.

thanksgiving-2016

Not alone. This year, that is what I am most thankful for. I am not alone. I am grateful for every person in my life–the good, the bad, and even the ugly. The good lift me up, bring me joy, and stand in my corner. The bad challenge me, teach me more about myself, and how I see the world. The ugly…well, even the pain and hurt these few people bring into my life shapes me.

All these connections, from the best to the worst, have made me who I am, and helped me get to where I am. As I look ahead to the near future, I see so many exciting things about to happen. Maybe they would have happened, even if I was alone, or had a different group of people in my life. Maybe. But a big part of me believes that the joy and challenges and even the misery were exactly what I needed to get me where I am.

Today, and everyday, I am thankful for the people and connections in my life.

Happy start of the holiday season to all of you!

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Selling Stuff While Advocating Simplicity

If you’ve been following my Facebook page lately, you know that I share a lot of inspirational articles on leading a simpler life. So many of them are focused on the stuff in our lives, the clutter that we all amass to fill in our blank spaces; and so many more of these articles discuss ways to reduce that clutter. I love the ideas being shared in these articles. I will probably never 100% get on board the minimalism train. My walls will never be bare, my bookshelves will always be over flowing, and I will probably always leave clean clothes in the laundry basket rather than put them away. But I wholeheartedly believe that reducing distractions is clarifying and living a life where experiences and people are valued over things and money is meaningful. Following trends, using things to promote your status, none of that makes sense to me. What we own should have meaning, should bring value to our everyday life, or should serve a purpose.

So how then can I promote this semi-minimalist lifestyle while also promoting my jewelry business?

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5 Ways to Live More Mindfully

I read this story once, on Facebook I think, about a father and son. The father, we’re told, would spend afternoons playing with his young son, and any time the father would leave the room, even if it was only for a moment, the son would shout “Daddy, where are you?” The story goes on to tell us that one day, the father was playing with his son, and they were interrupted by a notification on the father’s phone. The father paused for a moment to check his phone. The son shouted “Daddy, where are you?”

This story has stuck with me for a long time. I don’t know if it was a true story, or just something made up to make a point, but the end result is the same either way. Children are so often the embodiment of living mindfully. They are in the moment, they are aware, and they don’t question what they feel, they just feel. The young son in the story was as aware of his father’s physical absence as he was of dad’s emotional absence. A cute story to remind us that being there is not the same as being present.

So what does that mean for us, in our day to day lives? By now, we’ve all heard of living more mindfully, but in practice, how do we do that? Here are 5 ways you can live more mindfully starting today.

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The Other Side of Fear

There is so much truth in this. Love, our dreams and goals, even just a simpler life…so much of what holds us back from these things is fear. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of missing out. It’s not the only obstacle, but it’s a big one.

So how do we get to the other side of fear? The advice is endless really. “Let go of Fear!” “Lean in and embrace the Fear!” “Be Brave!” Every time I hear these sentiments echoed, I wonder “But how!?” How do I lean in and let go and be brave? The advice is so abstract, like little sound bytes that masquerade as wisdom, but are really just…empty.

Fear is there for a reason.

I think though that might be intentional, because there is no road map, no easy path, no planned journey to get us through whatever we’re afraid of. Fear is there for a reason. Like pain, it forces us to slow down, to stop and think rather than stumble forward thoughtlessly. It’s meant to keep us safe, but what happens when our fear becomes Fear and we let it control and limit us in ways that negatively impact our lives?

Peeking
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I speak here with some authority, not because I’m an expert at overcoming Fear, but because I’m well versed in letting Fear take the lead. Sometimes it’s easier to let Fear make decisions. I just let Fear answer “No,” and move on with my day. I don’t acknowledge that Fear made the decision, but I know, deep down, I wasn’t in control, and I might have missed out on a really great thing because of it. That’s a really frustrating feeling. I let fear get between me and an opportunity, and rather than take a chance at maybe getting what I want, I’m left with the thing I don’t want, and the knowledge that it’s actually my own fault.

I know, that’s depressing, and you didn’t come here for me to drag you down. So here’s the good news. Are you ready? Knowing there’s a problem is the very first step to fixing it.

*Groan*

That was pretty trite, I know, and I’m sorry. Unfortunately, it’s also true. You can’t get to the other side of fear if you can’t recognize when Fear is holding you back. What are the next steps? Read on my friend.

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Simple, Not Boring

When I first started making jewelry, I was told that to sell it, I would need to create a reason for people to be passionate about it. Creativity was not enough, talent would not translate into a sustainable business. I didn’t pay much attention, because my love was jewelry making, not marketing, and the internet had filled my mind with “build it, and they will come,” stories.

Fast forward to my first retail show. A shopper asked me about my brand, what it was about, and who I was. I stumbled and stuttered through a non-answer, and the shopper (and her friends) left empty handed.

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