I cannot believe it has been an entire year since I last blogged! The time has just slipped by so quickly. I have to admit, I have taken some time this past year to do a lot of soul searching. I have focused on downsizing my business, as I have tried to dedicate more time to my family to create balance in my life. I never expected my “little hobby” to turn into this unbelievably successful business. Success that I am afraid I was not prepared for. I am so very thankful for the good fortune that has been bestowed upon me, though at times it has been all-consuming.
This year, I thought a lot about the beginning of my journey…what led me here to this place. My passion is papercrafting, art, and helping friends. When I started making YouTube videos, blogging, teaching, and my Ustream channel I felt like I had found “home” or maybe my “calling in life” however cheesy that may sound. I met people who cared about friends and family. People who valued memories, and wanted to preserve them for future generations to enjoy. People who enjoyed art and papercrafting, and found it therapeutic whether for the sheer beauty of it, or because they needed a distraction in their life. I have had emails from so many friends telling me how grateful they were for my videos because they had physical or emotional issues that prevented them from leaving their homes, and were unable to otherwise have the experience of being a part of a class. I have had messages from friends saying how much they appreciated my blog tutorials and free videos because they could not afford to learn these techniques otherwise. A few years ago, I had an email from someone who said they had cancer, and as they were waiting for test results they watched one of my videos and assembled my kit. My giggle (that usually embarrasses ME) was a happy distraction for them. These kinds of emails melt my heart, and make everything seem worthwhile. However, as my business grew and became more successful I felt so bogged down in the day-to-day actives of my business that I was missing that spark or passion that began this journey. I have not shot a video, blogged, or done a tutorial in longer than I care to admit!! Working 16 hour days often 7 days a week just stifled my creativity and took a toll on my health. I was sleeping 3 hours a night if I was lucky. I felt like I needed to take a step back, so this past year I did.
Early last year I began the downsizing process of my business, and lightening my workload. What has made me happiest this past year is the sweet little notes I get in orders from friends I have built relationships with over the years. Some are people I have never met or spoken to, but we share little notes back and forth. It brightens my day, and lifts my heart. Yep, it has been, and is the people that I know that make me happy. Real people that share the same appreciate for life, family, and friendships. I find it difficult to foster those relationships when so much of my time is taken up with the very long list of day-to-day actives of running a business. I do not think I can let go of my “baby” (or “monster”) I have created because I have poured so much blood, sweat, and tears into it that I just cannot bear it. However, I do realize downsizing is the best option for me right now to make my life more manageable and balanced. Maybe when my children are a little older I will need something to take up more of my time-that is inconceivable right now. Currently, I plan to reduce my inventory and product selection in my store, delegate more work duties, and create art, blog, and spend quality time with my family. Please understand even though we are downsizing, we will continue to ship orders daily, process orders quickly and efficiently, and offer the same exceptional customer service as always.
On an even more personal note (yep, the word vomit keeps on coming), this past year I have been enjoying more time with my children, and volunteering at their school. There is nothing more joyous than to see their little smiling faces light up when they see me surprise them with lunch, or come to a school function. I have savored every little moment with them. I saw a quote recently by Robert Brault that resonated with me, “Enjoy the little things in life…as one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” It makes one focus on what is important in life and find happiness in the everyday moments, for once they are gone you cannot get them back. This past year has not been without its struggles, too. One of our children has been chronically ill. It has been a very scary time and many trips to the hospital. Caring for a sick child can be so emotionally and physically draining. As a parent, you feel so helpless when your child is sick and only want to make them better. Fortunately, things are in control now and we are learning to manage this new way of life. She continues to be well, and that is our expectation for the future.
As for me, I have continued to keep myself healthy, and have never felt better in my life. This year marks a milestone for me, as I will turn the big 4-0. In past years I dreaded that number, and wished I could somehow freeze time, so I would never have to get there to that giant mountain with the downhill slide on the other side. However, I feel so happy and at peace with my life that I embrace the thought of taking on another decade of adventure. In the past year or so, I have climbed 9 miles straight up a mountain on an overnight trip in WV (and lived to tell the tale), primitive camped on a deserted beach, learned belaying, rock climbing and bouldering, completed a treetop zipline course, hiked Mount Rogers Summit (the highest peak in Virginia), faced my fear of guns and learned how to shoot, fed a zebra from my car (yes, you heard me correctly), mountain biked, body surfed, learned to build a fire (it is MUCH more difficult than one would think), hiked a serene waterfall, had picnic lunches at the park in the middle of the week just because, and more things that I am sure I am not remembering (possibly the only downside to getting older). All of these things are things I NEVER would have considered doing in my younger years. The other great thing is I have shared all of these amazing experiences with my partner in life, Bob (aka Mr. Melissa). We have forged an even stronger bond, and have become an even more powerful team. So, I say, 40 BRING IT!! I know there is adventure waiting for me on the other side of that mountain!
As you may guess, this is a very difficult post to write because of the personal nature (particularly the 40 part!). But, that is what I am all about… being personal…being real. It is sharing my passion, my knowledge, and my life that began this story so many years ago. I want to continue it that way. I do not live in a perfect world. I am just like you. I have ups and downs. But, you know what, I want to continue to have more ups! After the past year hiatus, I feel refreshed. I have had time to slow down, and take stock of my life and what is important to me. I MADE time to take care of myself, and my family. Wouldn’t you know, the creativity is seeping its way back into my heart. I have been creating again…I have my voice back. I am ready, no I WANT to share again.
To kick off the New Year, and my return to the blog world, tomorrow I will be sharing a book that I made to document Maddie and Lily’s growth over the last year. I am really excited because, of course it has my cutie pies in it, but this project was a bit of a challenge. I am not going to say more. You will have to wait until tomorrow…
Thank you guys for sitting through this ramble. I appreciate your support, and am grateful for your friendship.