Letting go...

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All my life I have been a control freak – just ask my husband and kids.  Not only is everything planned, but many backup plans are made so that I can make everything right in this rather chaotic world of ours.  No wonder I developed an ulcer in my teens and have been trying to keep it under control since then.  One of the more difficult things for me with the move to owning our business is the lack of control and the myriad of things that go wrong and all we can do is punt.  Hard to plan for things you don’t even know can go wrong – sigh!

As I try to better my watercolor painting skills, I realized that it was a metaphor for the life we are leading.  With watercolor – you can plan, direct, even encourage the watercolor to do what you want it to do, but you cannot control it, just like life.  Initially when painting, I could not make it work – the pictures were rather tortured as I tried to will the paint in the direction I wanted it.  I recently I just let the paint do what it wanted and then chose to highlight the areas that worked well.  It is much easier, less stress, and leads to a better picture.  I am learning to let the small things go and follow where God has chosen the path.  I understand that I have to work for the things that he has given to me; but I also know that there is a larger picture involved, one where I don’t know the path but can enjoy the ride.

So my final thoughts are that whatever you believe in, God, Buddha, Allah, or just a higher power, trust and work hard and in the words of my nephew “it’ll be ok”!

Sometimes rules are made to be broken

Over the last 20 years of participating in craft shows, farmers markets and art fairs, I have developed one overarching rule… limit your purchases from other vendors at shows otherwise you will never make a profit.  There are so many fantastic items at each of these venues, that I have learned to take business cards so I can decide if I REALLY need that awesome wall art, cool vase or cute hat.  If I am still hankering after that item after 2 weeks, I know that I must have it.

So needless to say, that rule went out the window at our last show within the first ½ hour.  It was slow so the hubby walked around to see the sights.  All of a sudden I hear his voice cracking with excitement… he needed what I thought was an extremely large amount of money.  According to him, if I only went halfway down the third isle over I would understand.  Sighing, I did as asked and looked into the most beautiful black eyes.  Of course I melted – it was the cutest black lab just waiting for Jimmy and I to take him home.  I cannot believe that we put out that much money for a dog, but what a dog.  Captain Jack of the Black Pearl came home with us and has managed to potty train himself in 3 days and is so mellow it is a treat to have him around.  However, I must admit, I have to watch where I put my coffee cause he loves to sip out of my cup!  He seems to be partial to English Toffee.

We have always had a lab and our last lab passed away 5 years ago.  She was replaced by the sweetest little Shorkie called Sparrow, however, we did miss having a Labrador.  So now we are complete with Sparrow and Jack – or put another way… Jack Sparrow!

Yes, sometimes those pesky rules need to be broken.

It's a small small world

Over the years I have always tried to learn new things at each position held.  Many skills or contacts that have been learned seem to be tied only to a particular area, however, I found information and contacts made in one area have assisted me in moving forward in ways not expected later on in my life.

To that lesson, I have to share my amazement on how I have acquired my latest store in Branson, MO.  About 5 – 6 years ago, I partnered with my friend Tara to create a group for handcrafted businesses called Minnesota Originals.  This group met to share experiences and help each other get to the next level.  One of the businesses, Sherrilynn’s (http://www.sherrilynns.com), is a delightful shop of hand created gourmet foods, such as dips, breads and soups; all created by Sherry.  To support our group, she also offers several of our products in her shop, including Coffee Queen Coffee. 

Fast forward 6 years… A shop owner in Branson, MO, happened across Sherrilynn’s website and became interested in offering her products in his store.  While reviewing her website, he saw Coffee Queen Coffee.  After checking out my website, he ordered coffee on Amazon (which was recently added).  By using Amazon, it allowed him to purchase the coffees anonymously.  After tasting the coffee, he approached me with the offer to carry my product in Mulberry Mill (http://mulberrymill.shopfactory.com) – Such a cute store!

Because I volunteered my time 6 years ago to create a group to help each other, and because I networked with another vendor to find out about Vendor Express on Amazon, I gained another store and added another state to my repertoire.  It’s a small, small world!

Fresh Start

As the hubby and I start the next phase of our life together, I also wanted to get back to my roots and start crafting again.  I find that using the other half of my brain releases stress and allows me to do things that may not turn out that does not impact on the "bottom line" of the business.

As I sit here sipping my coffee (Raspberry Truffle today), I contemplate my disaster of a painting.  I started with watercolor and ended up with acrylic - both not my forte!  looking at these silly paintings, reminds me of the time when I was at a watercolor class upset with my painting so I started painting purple leaves and brown flowers.  The teacher was so sweet, her comment was that I had an interesting use of color - lol.

I thought about the times that I tell my kids that you have to keep persevering and be happy with what you accomplish.  Be FEARLESS, don't let anyone hold you back.  So I have decided that I am going to post pictures of my attempts even though they are not the perfection that I hope they would be.

My parting thoughts to family and friends, BE FEARLESS.  I hope to see pictures of you being fearless!