I’m So Glad I Didn’t Give Up


Things I might say to my future self…

“I am so glad that I didn’t give up!”

I no longer look out a window as I write this. I am inside my brand new cozy art/writing studio that my husband lovingly built for me after we moved here and has since made new, and recently moved me back into.

my-studio

When our daughter was in the third grade we had an opportunity to move and so feeling that raising her in the country might be amazing, we packed up all of our things  and moved four hours away from all of our friends, my son (a biggie) 😦 who opted to stay, and my business and all of my art shows and resources. Though we brought all of the show displays and art stuff, planning to reboot a new customer base, it just wasn’t the same.

show-display

I ended up traveling back and forth to do my shows and for a while it worked. And then we opened up our little shop; Rose In The Woods, which if you follow me, you know our story about losing it. (If not, you can find the story here:) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

But that is not what I wanted to focus on today. It is just that today, I sit here determined to not let anything stop me. To somehow let all of those times when I felt slammed up against a dead end, not discourage me, but to encourage me. Because… I am still here believing in that same dream.

Years ago, when my neighbor took a little painting I’d painted for her as a birthday gift, to her corporate building where she worked, and came back with forty orders for me. I believed that God answered my prayer about finding a way to stay home with my kids and work for myself. Which I was pretty successful doing, for a couple of decades.

Today, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. I have read hundreds of very helpful tips and tutorials and I am still not reaching a very big audience. I realize that this is barely week two since I re-opened my Etsy shop and that my art needs to be updated (which I am in the process of working on) and that today there are so many more talented people out there toting their own wares. Some that were not even born when I began and that those little artists  are way more techie than I am!

But then I have to go back. Back, back, back. To my VERY first art show. It was  THE ONE to get into and there was a waiting list. I started praying that somehow I’d make the cut. I knew it was slim to no chance that I’d get into it that year, and I still had no idea what I was doing. But someone dropped out at the last minute and wahlah! for some reason “I” got in! I was not in the greatest spot and I was outside and it was FREEEZZZING and I only made a few hundred dollars that weekend, but I took the opportunity to walk around and study the booths that were packed with “buying” customers and took notes! The next year at that same show, (I had a better booth inside) I made One Thousand Dollars the first hour! Keeping in mind that this was in the late eighties and that was BIG money at the time. During that year in-between, I’d added dolls to my line and started making a line of actual kid-sized ones. As the show opened, a lady who lived in an amazing near-by neighborhood known for their elaborate Christmas decorations  called “Sleepy Hollow” bought all of my elves that morning.

sleepy-hollow

(Her house won the award that year)

I can’t say that I was THAT successful, every show after that, but it made me realize what I could do with a lot of preparation and understanding the market. Now, I feel as if I am kind of starting at the begining again, and I just need to research like I did for that first show. My kids, my husband and my friends have been great cheerleaders. Though, somehow I need to reach that customer base I was so spoiled having for so many  years . I’ve been wandering through the Etsy shops that have thousands of sales to see what they are doing right, that I am not. I know that I need better photos and to keep educating  and challenging myself technically. (Which is probably my biggest road block.)

I welcome all my reader friends to wander through my shop below & I welcome any feedback as well!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane?ref=hdr_shop_menu

I am not sure what is in my future, but someday I pray that my future self says: “I am so glad I didn’t give up!”

May I never forget that on my best day I still need God just as desperately as I did on my worst day! believe-defined

 

 

 

Like A Flip Book


lonely-ghost-girl

I feel as if my life is so out of control right now. I’m kind of having a little panic attack as I do the bills.  I have no job. I mean it simply hit me that I am unemployed! My parents are aging and I am worried about that, as roles reverse and I feel the pressure. It almost feels as if my life is like a little “flip book” as all the years just flash before my eyes.

From riding in the back seat of my daddy’s car and watching the moon follow me, I remember falling asleep only to wake up as he carries me in the house, feeling safe and so content. And then all of a sudden, first dates and the ups and downs of falling in love for the first time and a couple more times after that. Of weddings and having babies, of miscarriages and parties and funerals and then more baby showers, a painful divorce and another chance and another wedding, in-between the pain of failure and the whirlwind of just living life and trying to survive with all the joys and heart aches that come with it. Never feeling that the good times lasted too long but looking back “now” and feeling that even the bad times were kind of the good old days.

I remember shopping with my daughter her freshman year of high school. We had a budget every year. My kids always got the first day of school outfit and some other new outfits, new shoes and a new backpack with school supplies. I guess it was so special for me because my dad always took me school shopping and it was this amazing tradition that I treasure more than I ever did when it was happening.

The year I remember most, my daughter and I were on a vacation with my childhood best friend. She was blessed with never needing a budget and her kids usually came out with a bag of something from each shop we went in. The girls had run ahead of us and when we walked in the store they were all already shopping. My friend’s daughters started handing their mom clothes they’d chosen, when  my daughter ran up to me with a jacket that made her eyes sparkle. I looked at the price tag and with a raised eyebrow said, “you know this one jacket is a third of your school clothes budget!” Without missing a beat she just put it back on the rack as my friend purchased more items for her daughters as they ran ahead to the next shop and my daughter happily followed.

Something kicked me deep in my heart, the way she didn’t argue or even mope. At that moment I felt richer than all the money I could ever need. It only took a second for me to grab that jacket and take out my credit card and decide that I’d just have to figure out how to stretch the budget  for that year. When I reached my daughter I handed her the bag and said, “this won’t count as part of your budget.” She burst into tears hugging me and said “Oh mama, thank you but it’s too much!” It was probably one of my best purchases I ever made. Later my stunned friend asked me, “How do you make a kid be so appreciative?” I knew that it was kind of a rhetorical question so I didn’t say what I wanted to, but the answer is  you don’t buy your kid everything they want so they appreciate the things they do get.”

Today my daughter buys her own clothes and lives her own life. Both my kids have little parts of me in them but they are mostly themselves. And I am happy they are strong and have their own personalities and are creating their own way. But at the same time I wonder where it all went? The time of buying clothes and setting curfews and driving them to this place or that place, well it sends me to a place where I feel the pages flipping by. In a way, I wonder where it all went. So fast? in my flip book of a life!

I remember my grandma telling me how in her seventies she still felt seventeen. Me too! Now as I look to my future I feel that flip book, remembering the box boy who called me Ma’am in my thirties! Or the woman at Ross asking me if I wanted the Senior Discount in my forties! I remember being size five! Where did it all go?! That little girl I once was, is just a ghost of me, but still deep down inside somewhere.

Like a flip book, I want to slow it all down, I want a do over! But then I realize that someday, these will be the good old days and that today is the oldest I have ever been and the youngest I will ever be again!

Being nice… IS as Simple as That


bullying

When I was little I used to look at the mean kids and think when they grow up and look back, they will be so ashamed. But as I have lived life I know that more than likely, they just grew up to be mean adults. Funny how small our worlds are when we are young. We don’t automatically understand things objectively. It is all so simple before we are about eight or nine. We don’t understand about egos yet. But if we are blessed, we have adults that can teach us that it isn’t what others think about us but what we ultimately think about ourselves.

My dad grew up in a family of five boys. He was a twin and most of his life didn’t have a toy of his own. And the ones he did have are stories he tells about seventy years later. He recently told me a story about a big old mean coach in High School that told the class that nobody better return without gym clothes. He had $5 to his name and a horrible tooth ache. He went to the dentist and was told, “$10 bucks to fill and $5 bucks to pull.” Needless to say he returned to school without gym clothes or “that” tooth. He said that all the kids were standing there in new shoes and gym clothes and he was the only one dressed in school clothes. I won’t even give that horrible coach room on this page to say what he said. But my dad never went back to that school and later joined the Navy to be able to eat and get an education there.

In my life, I have discovered a lot more about mean adults. As Jane Austen said: “I was quiet but I was not blind.” in observing them, we  learn how  to deal with them. As kids we knew them as bullies. As adults we call them difficult.  I have strategically positioned my life around those people, avoiding them as best I could. I’ve viewed them a little like “land mines”  and tried to surround myself with amazing people and must say that I’ve been pretty successful in doing so.  Though, we all know that even though we choose most of the people we spend our free time with, there are a few who slip by that we can’t control, work related, family, and a few that we let in on our own omission.

Sometimes we have to look deeper and understand that hurting people hurt people. That where we see the two choices, to be nice or not, and  two paths that seem pretty obvious which to take, we must realize that in their pain, they are only seeing one. In the past, it has been so hard for me to not say what I am thinking. Let’s just say that the filter has been slightly in need of adjustment for a long time. I have to intentionally realize that the guy who cut me off or cut in line, has no idea who I am or is personally doing anything to me in particular, and that I have no idea what is going on in their life. It isn’t always easy to just be nice, to stay on the high road, to keep my joy and not give anyone else the power to to take my joy away. Nor is it my responsibility to punish them for their bad behavior.

Being nice is as simple as that. We can conquer negative energy with our peace.  But what about the ones in our lives that is not a stranger that we may never see again, but someone that we have to deal with daily? It takes practice not to react. It takes even more to be “nice” and understanding. Because sometimes the ones that challenge you more, teaches you the most. That people and situations are both powerless without your reaction. I remember once I accidentally cut someone off who was in my blind spot. I saw it all unfold in my rear view mirror as all I could do was hold my breath and pray. It was a near miss.

traffic2

As the guy pulled up next to me, I knew he deserved my eye contact and I gave it to him as I mouthed as sincere a “SORRY” as I could without him hearing it. It totally diffused the whole situation in less than a second. This big burly guy got a soft look on his face and accepted my apology all inside the magical moment of respecting each other. I was wrong. He deserved my recognition of that. How easy would it be if that happened every time on the road. No matter who we are, regardless of age, gender, race, we need to respect each other. It’s as simple as that.

In the end, the only power we have is to set an example. To realize that everyone deserves kindness and respect, even the ones being rude to you. Not because they are nice but because you are.