Finding My Flow

Well I just don’t write in this blog like I used to. When I started out I aimed for two posts a week. Now I’m lucky to get in a post every two months. But you know what? It feels fine. And I think that’s because right now I don’t feel like I’m still jumping. And while I haven’t exactly landed solidly somewhere, right now it feels more like I’m swimming, or rafting maybe. I feel like I’m finding my flow, and working with it. Like I’ve landed in a big river and now I need to really pay attention and steer myself in the right direction. How’s that for a life metaphor?

So what’s really going on? Well, I guess to put it simply, I’m busy. Working. In a good way.

Last weekend my family went skiing without me on both Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t go because I was launching a new website. Skiing with my family is my most favorite winter activity, especially since my kids have become such competent skiers, (I think they’re passing Todd and me up!) but I was happy to be left at home, because I was so excited to be launching a new website; one that I’ve been working on for months, and I really needed to be distraction-free.

The site is ARC Dance, and it’s my biggest freelance project to date. ARC Dance is a dance company and ballet school in my neighborhood, and the director needed to replace their existing site with one that was easy to navigate, easy to maintain, responsive to all types of devices and screen sizes, and included well organized information about their camps, classes, schedules, performances, and calendar. She also needed e-commerce built for on-line registration, ticket sales and donations. Looking back on it all, I think, Wow, the two of us built this whole site together!

I got this job because a friend of mine, an artist who I traded building a new website for art camp for my kids, recommended me. (See, that free work really does pay off!) Initially I was hired to add ticket sales to their existing site, which resulted in a great working relationship, and led me to be chosen to build the new site. At first it didn’t seem like a huge job, but as we got plugging away at things, it became a lot more complex than originally anticipated. But working with a very smart and very engaged business owner made all the difference in the world.

When I think about it, it all boiled down to trust. And understanding. Like any good relationship. I think that’s one of the things that I love most about creating websites for small businesses. There’s just a small team of people dedicated to building something important and valuable. Conversely, that was what was often missing when I worked “for the man.” During the twenty or so years that I worked for large companies, there were only a handful of times that I felt like I was working on something truly important and valued. Too many times a project I was working on got scrapped because of budget reasons or leadership changes. Small businesses just can’t afford to work like that.

Besides the ARC Dance site, I’ve also been working on a few other sites, including a new web application for Nordstrom (not a small business but still a great job), a website for a company that provides commercial cleaning services, and a site for an Architect/Contractor. It’s been just the right amount of work, at just the right time, and I just hope I can keep up this steady flow.

But what about Suzanne Harrison Home and the pillows?

Well, that needs to be incorporated into the flow somehow. Because that work is really important to me too, and it’s the perfect balance to working on a screen for so long. It’s something that I love doing, something that comes 100% from me, and something I think about a lot. But I also need to make some money. And right now the money is showing itself through web development.

My dream is to find the perfect flow. Although I don’t believe such a thing exists. Life is too unpredictable. The current may flow really strong in some places, and barely at all in others. And there can be big unsuspecting rocks just below the surface, or an eddy that puts you in a swirling motion, or God forbid an unexpected waterfall, or worst of all, a dam! Best case scenario though, is that the river, which started from just a trickle of a spring, keeps moving and growing, getting fed and strengthened by tributaries, traveling many many miles through all types of landscapes, carrying along nutrients and sediment, providing food, energy, and recreation along the way, as it heads towards where it’s mean to go, towards something bigger, eventually depositing its nutrients in the river delta, and becoming part of the ocean.

Wow, I really took that metaphor to the limit, didn’t I? Instead of just saying, “You’ve got go with the flow!” Which is also so true! I totally need to go with the flow. But going with the flow still takes work. So, I’ll keep working on all of my projects, keep making adjustments, keep meeting new people and learning new things, and keep trying to keep it fun and interesting. Mostly, I need to keep the faith that the flow is taking me where I’m meant to go.

Suzanne Rafting

50 Really Is Nifty! (And The Past Two Months)

Wow, it’s hard to believe that two months have gone by since my last post. Well, I guess it’s not really that hard to believe, because the last two months have been crazy. Not just because of the election, but for so many reasons on top of that, or should I say in conjunction with that. But what a crazy election. YOWZA! But first let’s back up a couple of months…

OCTOBER

October was a lovely autumn month. Except for the incessant “news” about the upcoming election, and the record rainfall in Seattle. Of course I was outside more than ever – running, running, running. And I loved it! And my dog loved it (most of the time.) But sometimes I was out there running in the rain (the pouring rain, not the Seattle misty rain) and the rain would come down so hard that it felt like there was a faucet attached to my face, as I watched the water pour off my nose while I ran. But I just kept running. Because I had to.

My running partner is not very excited about running in the pouring rain.

Besides running, I also did some web work at Nordstrom, worked on another web site for a dance company, and best of all, got started on my own Suzanne Harrison Home website/e-commerce site, that I am so excited about.

I also went to an incredibly inspiring talk hosted by Grace Bonney of Design Sponge, in support of her incredibly inspiring new book In the Company of Women. There was a panel of 4 women that she interviewed – all local entrepreneurs – and what they had to say not only made me feel so good about jumping out on my own, but made me so happy that these creative, smart, talented, and generous ladies were running successful businesses that only make our community better. I read a little bit of the book every night, and it warms my heart. I highly recommend it to anyone starting out on their own.

And then of course there was Halloween – on a Monday night, to my kids’ dismay – yet somehow they were still able to score over 9 pounds of candy, each, much to my dismay.

NOVEMBER

Then November came and I packed my bags and headed to South Carolina to stay with my parents and run that 1/2 marathon. My sister Nicki joined me there, and on Friday we met up with our friends Barb and Susie and headed to Savannah where (after Nicki ran over a raccoon and then got pulled over for speeding) we got our numbers for the run, checked into our hotel, walked around, shopped, ate dinner with more friends, and enjoyed the balmy weather and charming beauty of Savannah. I wasn’t nervous at all for the run, but still, for some reason I barely slept a wink that night.

Up at 5 a.m. we had breakfast and made our way to the starting line. The race started just as the sun was rising, and off we went running. And talking. Barb and I ran together (Susie and Nicki did a run/walk combo) and I’m not sure we stopped talking for the entire run. We ran through the historic district, then through “the hood”, through suburbia, and back into the city, past the many amazing bands (it was a Rock N’ Roll marathon) and past all of the people watching, cheering, handing out water, holding funny signs up (“You think your legs hurt, my arms are killing me!”), and high-fiving us along the way. The energy was the best! And before I knew it – some 2 hours and 19 minutes later – we were done. No problem! Wow, I guess it paid to stick to that training plan! I felt great.

That night, after a much needed nap, my mom, dad, sister and I headed over to Barb and Susie’s mom’s house for dinner. When we got there the house was filled with birthday decorations that said Happy 50th! Oh dear. This was for me. I was about to turn 50 and this was the beginning…

Barb and Susie’s family and mine go way way back, and so to be able to celebrate with them – my first 1/2 marathon and this milestone birthday – without our husbands or kids, just us, like in the old days, was about the best present I could have asked for. We drank wine, ate lasagne and cake, opened presents, and laughed and laughed. I’m sure I acquired several new laugh lines from that night. But what do I care? I’m 50!

All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.

- August Wilson

I got to spend an entire week in South Carolina, with my parents, sister, and friends, which turned out to be an unintentional yet perfect birthday gift to myself. I flew back home on November 8th, full of feelings of gratitude and love and excitement. I couldn’t wait to see my family back in Seattle. I took an Uber home and had the nicest driver ever. He was from Ethiopia, just had a baby girl, and he was so excited and confident that we’d soon have our first female president. He was just so sweet. My kids were home when I got home, and I couldn’t stop hugging them. I missed them so much!

THE ELECTION

That night I was exhausted, and my ‘good to be home’ happiness was soon replaced with a sick feeling in my stomach, as election results were coming in and more and more states were going red. I passed out in bed early that night, and when I woke up the results were in. Now I was really really sad. I couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe an election actually made me cry. A lot.

I took this photo at the Vera Project of a silk-screened poster that mimics the Tinder dating app.

What a weird day that was. I have never experienced a day like that, where an entire city seemed lost in fog of sadness. Kids were sad. People at the dog park were sad. People at the bus stops were sad. Grocery checkers where sad. Sad sad sad. And I was turning 50 soon, and had a big party planned for Saturday night, and I really needed to get out of this funk. So here’s what I did…

I thought about all of the amazing people I had just been interacting with in South Carolina and Georgia – two very red states. I never once thought about how these people voted – it never crossed my mind – but there they were, supporting us, cheering on the runners, handing out drinks. Then there’s the people I know and love that didn’t vote the way I did – and I still love them – we’re all just good people who want good lives. I thought about how good my life is, how much love and laughter there is in it, how lucky I am to be healthy and able to run 13+ miles. I know in my heart that my happiness and success is up to me much more than it is any politician.

And it’s okay for me to be sad. Because I am sad. I am so sad that a good man – a role model of a man – is leaving office, to be replaced by a man who is an example to my children of how not to behave. Who has taught them what the words ‘bigotry’ and ‘misogyny’ mean. But I refuse to give up hope, because I believe that there are too many good people in this country who care about creating a good future for us all, and that maybe this needed to happen, to make truly visible the work that needs to be done. I just hope that we’re all willing and brave enough to try to make things better, in whatever ways we can. Like I tell my kids: Always try to make things better, not worse.

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.

-  Michelle Obama

So after I began to cheer up, I decided I did not have to cancel my party, and I could enjoy my birthday after all. And did I ever…

MY BIRTHDAY

On my actual birthday I had a fairly normal day, then went out to dinner with my fairly normal family and had the best time with my very most favorite people on the planet. Then the next day, two of my friends kidnapped me, which I thought would be just for a lunch date, but turned out to be for an afternoon of ferry rides, lunch, wine, labyrinth, museum, beer, pizza, kite flying, and getting in trouble for kite flying on the ferry. Again – so much laughter, and love for these amazing women in my life.

The next day was the day of my party, and in typical Todd and Suzanne fashion, we scrambled all day to get ready for it. We were expecting around 65 people, which seemed ridiculous considering the size of our house, but our thinking was, if anyone thinks it’s too crowded they can leave. So I made two huge batches of chili, cleared the furniture out of the back room, barked orders at the kids to help me vacuum and dust and decorate, while Todd cleaned up the deck, shopped, and got a fire pit set up. Our amazing DJ showed up at 5pm, and guests started showing up promptly at 5:30, so I threw on my party dress and some makeup, and we got that party started.

I have to say, it was a magical evening. The windy and rainy day turned into a perfectly beautiful night full of stars, with not just a full moon, but a SUPER MOON! Who gets a super moon on their 50th birthday? I do!! Between the DJ’s perfect music, and the lights flickering in the back yard, and the raging fire in the fire pit, and the kids running around with glow sticks, and the dog acting mellow and happy, and all of my amazing friends, not to mention the perfect party dress – I was in heaven. Literally. I danced the night away and felt so incredibly blessed for the life I have. My life at 50 is truly a gift, and I know how lucky I am for everything I have, and for the life I’ve led, and for the life ahead of me.

GIFTS

Speaking of gifts, I received so many thoughtful gifts, and I was so touched by people’s thoughtfulness and generosity. But one gift in particular really blew me away. A pillow that my sister Nicki made for me. A pillow you ask? Don’t you make tons of pillows Suzanne? Well, yes, I do, but not for myself, and not like this. Check it out:

Nicki emailed a bunch of my friends and asked them to send words that reminded them of me, then she somehow figured out how to get all of those words transferred onto a pillow with my name embroidered in the center. Isn’t it incredible? It makes me smile every day, and is a constant reminder of not only what great friends I have, but what a truly incredible sister I have. (Thanks Nicki, I love you with all my heart.)

And speaking of sisters, I need to mention one more gift from my friend Kathy, who was the best friend at work anyone could hope for. Oh my god, we have been through so much together over the years. She made me this:

Not only is this a beautiful tribute to my sister Maureen, who I miss so much, but is a firm reminder of what’s important every single day. Ironically (or not) I had no shoes to match my dress on the night of my party, and so I flitted and danced around in my bare feet – in the house, on the dance floor, and on the cold wet grass outside, and it felt fantastic. I couldn’t have loved where my feet were any more than on that night – at home, surrounded by friends and family, under the perfect full moon, dancing into my 50s.

Who is the luckiest 50 year old in the world? I am!

Thanks Todd for supporting me 150% in all of my birthday escapades! xoxo

Okay, well, that just about covers it! I think I’ve more than made up for the two months of blog silence. That was like five blog posts in one! Whew! If you’ve read this far, thank you, I know it was a lot of words, but I didn’t want to leave anything out. Like this card that the kids made for me:

Ok, this really is the end of the post. xo

Branding for Suzanne Harrison Home

They say it pays to have friends in high places, but I would argue that it is even more important to have friends who are smart and talented, who know you well, and care about you deeply. It doesn’t have quite as catchy of a ring to it, so maybe that’s why people don’t go around saying it much. Or maybe it means the same thing?

Right now I am very grateful to have such a smart and talented friend, Sonya of KB Design, who just made me the most beautiful logo for Suzanne Harrison Home.

Check it out. This is the version that is on my business cards:

Isn’t it beautiful? I love it so much! I can’t wait to start applying it to everything: my website, Etsy, Instagram, packaging, labels, etc.

I knew when it was time to get serious about branding that I wanted to work with Sonya. She did Todd’s logo when he started Blackbird Iron, and nailed it. And when I shared her studio space with her for over a year, I got to see her in action. The thing about Sonya is that she really connects with her clients, and she integrates who they are, and the essence of what they are trying to achieve, into her amazing designs.

The added bonus for me working with Sonya is that she has known me for years, and has been there throughout my journey of quitting my job and trying to find a new niche for myself. She understands me, and the idea behind Suzanne Harrison Home; she knows my style, and she knows my personality. Sometimes working with friends isn’t always the best idea, but in this case it was. Because I also know her so well, and trust her completely, and love her work. Okay, I think I’m done gushing…

So what exactly is the branding message behind Suzanne Harrison Home? Well, in a nutshell, I want to inspire people to love and embrace their homes, and in turn their lives. I want people to love where they live, and love how they live. I want to offer products that embrace the idea of home as a feeling (more than a place) that supports the happiest of lifestyles. Because I believe that if you love your home – your house, your community, your world – and make it just right for you – then you have the foundation for a happy life.

So what’s next? Sooooo much! I have started a notebook to organize to-do’s and ideas. I’ve been working on some new products. I’m working on a business plan and a website. Most importantly, I’m striving to be well organized and intentional.

This summer has filled me with inspiration, and my hope is that I can kick off the fall with a six month plan for officially launching “Suzanne Harrison Home.” I am so excited. And so overwhelmed. And so nervous. And so excited! Yikes! 

Have Faith in the Timing of Your Life

Spring is near

Hopeful signs of Spring are popping up everywhere, but the month of March is in full swing and the weather seems to have gone mad. We’re getting a lot of rain, mixed in with a little hail, mixed in with crazy wind, mixed in with some sunny warm days, or a lot of days just seem to have it all. Is it just a coincidence that this crazy weather seems to totally match my frame of mind? I’m not so sure.

Ever since I decided to change my pillow business name to Suzanne Harrison Home I’ve been on a total high. I’ve been working on my branding, my business model, a new website, and new products. I’ve been cutting and sewing while listening to on-line marketing classes. On top of that, I’ve got two freelance web jobs with clients I love, and leads on some possible new clients. And it feels great. Usually.

Sometimes though, I just can’t sleep. I toss and turn and I’m full of self-doubt. I wonder where I might be in my career if I hadn’t quit my corporate job. I obsess about the web jobs I didn’t get. I feel poor. I feel jealous of my friends buying new cars, remodeling their homes, taking amazing vacations. I know it’s irrational, but it creeps in, usually at night, and drives me crazy.

In the morning though, I have a couple of cups of coffee (my ‘happy juice’), get the kids ready to go, then I walk to school with Miles, usually in the rain. Then, I’m back on track, full of confidence and enthusiasm for everything I’m doing. Sometimes I go for a quick run, and that’s when all kinds of ideas come into my brain, that I write down as soon as I get home. Never in my corporate career did I feel this type of excitement for the work I was doing. But I sure did love those steady paychecks, raises, healthcare, and paid vacations.

I don’t know who said it, or where I saw it, but somewhere I saw this quote:

Have faith in the timing of your life.

And it’s become kind of a mantra for me. I repeat it in my head when I’m running, or I say it to myself when I can’t sleep. It’s seems to help push out the jealousy and self-doubt, and bring in my appreciation for all I’ve done, and all I have: amazing kids, a hard-working and loving husband, healthy parents and in-laws, a great house, a beautiful city, fun vacations, etc, etc, blah blah blah. Because I truly believe in this quote I saw somewhere else:

Gratitude makes room for more blessings.

Jumping out of your regular old steady job to start something new is stressful – especially at mid-life, when it seems like everyone around you is reaping the rewards of sticking with their careers. I hate when jealousy and self-doubt creep in. But I’m so very excited about everything I’m working on.

Source: from a page in the Design Within Reach catalog.

Let’s hope that March goes out like a lamb. Because I will be more than ready to welcome the sun and warmth and all that amazing newness that comes with Spring.

A Fresh Start

News definition

I couldn’t decide what to call this post: “A New Beginning” or “A Fresh Start” or “Starting Over”?? All of those phrases sounded so redundant to me. Aren’t all beginnings new? All starts fresh? Well, kind of, I suppose. But what is truly new? Everything stems from something else. Right? Too deep? Why am I even bringing this up?

Because I am embarking on something new, but not totally new. I’m taking everything I’ve done so far, and I’m doing it again, slightly different this time, and hopefully better. I’m making a fresh start! Here’s the backstory…

At the beginning of the year I got a message through Etsy (a ‘convo’ as Etsy calls it) from a woman who said she loved the ‘Words to Live By‘ pillows and was wondering if I’d be interested in selling them on consignment in her store, The Handmade Showroom, at Pacific Place down town. I wrote her back and said ‘Yes!’ and we scheduled a meeting to talk about the details.

At the meeting I showed her the ‘Words’ pillows, as well as the ‘ Wizard of Oz’ pillows, as well as some potholders I’d made, and to my surprise she wanted them all. Her enthusiasm for my work was such an ego boost, but even more, the consulting she gave me was invaluable. We talked about pricing, and craft shows, and wholesale, and labels, and finally she said, “So tell me about the name ‘So Fashion.’”

I explained to her that it was something my son used to say, and that it is a combination of “old fashioned” and “so fashionable” and a play on the idea that everyone has their own way of interpreting things. When I was done she looked a bit concerned and said, “I’m just going to come out and say it…” and I interrupted her and said, “You think it’s weird. It is weird, isn’t it?” And she said something like, “No… I think it’s really important to have a name that you connect with, which obviously you do, but I also think it’s also important to have a name that your customers connect with, and I think they’d have a hard time connecting with that name. It took you a long time to explain it to me and I think it would be better if people could grasp it more quickly. And I have to be honest with you, because there’s a lot of stuff from overseas on Etsy, I thought maybe English wasn’t your first language.”

What a relief! Finally someone said what I really wanted to hear, and confirmed my doubts about the name. So we talked some more and I explained how I had considered using my own name, but nothing sounded right to me, like “Suzanne Harrison Designs” or “Suzanne Harrison Studio” and she said what about “Suzanne Harrison Home?” and I said, “That’s it! I love it!” Why hadn’t I thought of that?

So I went home and bought the domain name SuzanneHarrisonHome.com. Then I made some labels with my new name and the care instructions, and brought them back to the store. Then I built a quick website to support what was on the labels: SuzanneHarrisonHome.com. Then I got out a piece of poster-board paper and started writing ideas and to dos on sticky notes and sticking them on the board.

It might sound a bit impulsive to change my name, just like that, but in the instant she said “Suzanne Harrison Home” it completely resonated with me. It felt right. It felt so much more like me. I love that using my name makes it personal, and that adding ‘home’ includes a word I love, that represents the thing I probably value most in my life.

And it feels like a flood of energy has been released in me. Like this was the trigger I needed to start over, so to speak; to do things again, better, more deliberately, with the knowledge I have from everything I did the first time. I have a ton to do, which feels overwhelming, but exciting at the same time, and I’m not going to rush through it. I’m going to be organized and take it one step at at time. I’m not in a rush. I’m finally going to make a business plan – not a super detailed one, more of a manifesto + high level plan. I want to create some new pillows, but I want to create some other products too, get some professional branding, and the list goes on, and on…

This time of year is always about newness. The year is new, spring is starting to make an appearance, “Out with the old and in with the new” is in the air, it’s a new moon, and the start of the Chinese New Year. This year it’s the year of the fire monkey. I think it’s interesting (and perfect) that all of this is happening right now. And how excellent that this article about the year of the monkey on Refinery29 says:

… the Year of the Fire Monkey is a great year for fresh starts: “If you’ve been on the sidelines, waiting to start a new business or jump into a new hobby or back to school, it’s a very supportive year to do those kinds of things.”

Welcome to the new year — embrace it, and see what new paths it leads you to.

Here’s to fresh starts! Happy new year!!

And check out my pillows at the Handmade Showroom…

Suzanne Harrison Home Words to Live By Pillows at the Handmade Showroom in Seattle

Suzanne Harrison Home Wizdom of Oz Pillows at the Handmade Showroom in Seattle

Three Summers Ago…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years.

Three summers ago, at the very same time that school was getting out, I said goodbye to my full-time working-mom self.  Until then, I never imagined not working.  But I decided it was time to take a little break, shake things up, and start something new – something more creative and fulfilling.  I needed better balance.  I wanted to spend more time with my kids, and less time doing work that didn’t feel meaningful or appreciated.   I didn’t have much of a plan, but I did have faith in the net, and, I guess, in myself.  I thought it would take me about a year to get it all figured out.

Haha!

In these past three years the one thing I’ve figured out is that I’ll never figure it out.  Nobody does.  But I’ll keep on trying. I’ll keep plugging away. I’ll keep making progress.  Time moves quickly, and everything keeps changing, including me and my perspective.

So much has changed since three summers ago!  Like…

Three years ago I had a six-year-old and an eight-year-old – a first-grader and third-grader. Now I have a third-grader going into fourth, and a fifth-grader going into middle school. Back then they were babies. Now they are incredibly capable and independent.  I rely on them to help me.  They don’t need me nearly as much as I think they used to.

Back then, because I’d been working all day and the kids were in the after-school-care program, I didn’t spent much time at their school and didn’t know many of the other parents.  Now the other moms are my new best friends and my kids’ friends and their parents are our main social circle.  We rely on each-other so much for help (and sanity.)

Back then I was really excited (and nervous) about not working all summer and spending 100% of my time with my kids.  Now I’m excited (and nervous) about a new contract job I’ve taken this summer (a part-time/flex hours web dev job at Nordstrom) and leaving the kids to their own devices for part of the day.

Back then Todd’s business was in it’s infancy and he would stress out about getting enough work and staying in business.  Now he has a reputable business and stresses out about how he’s going to get all his work done.  Unfortunately this has given him a bulged disk in his neck, so he’s had to take a break, can’t do any heavy lifting for a while (or ever?) and has had to hire employees for the first time.  Talk about a perspective changer.

Back then I hadn’t written a single blog post.  Now I’ve written hundreds.  I hadn’t silk-screened on fabric or made a single pillow.  Now I’ve made a whole bunch and even sold a few. I hadn’t built a single WordPress website.  Now I’ve created several.

Back then I had platinum blond hair.  Now I have gray hair in the front, brown hair in the back, and blond hair on the ends.

Back then I had an older sister who I considered a breast cancer survivor.  Now I have only a younger sister.

Back then I thought money was a key component to happiness.  Now I know it’s how you spend your time.

Back then I was looking for my calling.  Now I’m pretty comfortable with my “web developer/pillow maker” status.  Although I haven’t brought myself to make it my job title on LinkedIn just yet.

Back then Todd thought I was crazy to walk away from a steady income, excellent benefits, and a solid savings plan.  Now he says “I doubt you will ever regret quitting your job and spending more time with your kids.”

And I don’t regret it.  At all.  Yes, sometimes the money thing makes me nervous.  The people around us seem to have so much more of it.  Their cars are so much nicer.  But my perspective on money has changed a lot.  I value what I spend my money on so much more.  When I get paid for a freelance job, or when someone buys a pillow, I feel a swell of satisfaction and pride that I never experienced with my salaried paychecks. I feel like I really truly earned every penny, for working hard on what’s important to me.

The past three years have been a bit of a roller coaster, scary and fun, riding the waves of doubt and faith, fear and fearlessness, impatience and patience.  But things have leveled out lately. I’m more comfortable in my skin.  I’m proud of my choices. For the past three years Todd and I have invested in ourselves (instead of our retirement funds) and I think that investment is starting to pay off.

In another three years even more will have changed.  The kids will be teenagers and I’ll be 51.  (Yikes!)  They will be even more independent and capable.  My hair will be all-over grey by then.  I’ll have sold thousands of pillows and created lots of successful websites. Todd’s back will be fine and he’ll have more employees to help him build amazing metalwork.  We’ll have slightly nicer cars and money will be going back into our savings accounts.  We’ll take a trip to China and we’ll finally make the kitchen and dining room a bit bigger and the yard a little nicer. And I will continue to savor my time with my family - the best gift the world has ever given me.

Yesterday was Father’s day, and when we were visiting with Todd’s brother’s family, I saw this page in Real Simple magazine.  I really love the photo, but I think the words apply to both dads and moms, and totally agree with this line:

The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.

Is it a Calling or a Mission?

Lately I’ve been thinking about what my life was like when I started this blog and how it is now.  When I first created the blog, I chose to it describe it as A journal of my life and inspirations as I jump out of the corporate world and try to find my calling. And be a mom.  It’s been over two years since I quit my corporate job and started blogging, and a lot has happened since then.  But have I found my calling yet?  Not quite.  Is it hidden out there somewhere?  Behind a tree? Just waiting for me to find it and say, “Oh there you are you silly thing.  I’ve been looking all over for you!”  Probably not.

Then the other day I came across this quote from the playwright George Bernard Shaw:

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

and it made me think that a “calling” isn’t something you find either; it’s something you create.  And it’s something your create continually, your whole life.

So I decided to look up the definition of “calling” and here’s what Google gave me:

While the first definition may seem appropriate, especially the example, please look at the second one.  I love the words:  “A strong urge toward a particular way of life.”  That’s it!  The perfect way to describe my desire to find a calling.  It is so much better than defining it as just a “profession” or “occupation.”  It implies something so much bigger, so much more all-encompassing.  It’s not about me trying to figure out the perfect job, it’s about me trying to figure out the perfect lifestyle.

So, what is the way of life I’m urging for?  I decided it was time to articulate that.  I decided it was time for me to write my mission statement, just like we used to do in the corporate world.  Here’s what I came up with:

It is my mission is to live a balanced life, by doing work that I love, that makes the world a better place, while raising great kids, having fun, and staying healthy.

What do you think?  Yes, I know it is a little vague – especially the generic statement “doing work I love” (which implies making money too) but leaving it generic leaves room for change, for growth, to fill in the blanks, to try new things, to expand over time.

Which leads me back to where I was when I first quit my job and started this blog versus where I am now.  On the outside you may not see much difference – I still look basically the same, so does my house, my friends, and what I do for fun.  But so much has changed!  My relationship with my husband and kids is so much better, so much more peaceful.  I am personally so much more peaceful as I slowly, and patiently, keep figuring out how to build and live an integrated life that works best for me and my family.

What I know for sure is that it is important for me to be in charge of me, to be in charge of my own time, to be able to integrate my work, family, friends, and other activities in ways that aren’t easily done by having a typical salaried job.  I need my freedom.  I need to be creative.  I need to make “enough” money, but I also need to feel like what I am working on is somehow making the world better – not in some grandiose way, but in a way that is right for me, that reflects who I am.

Right now that includes: building websites, making pillows, facilitating Krypton, bookkeeping for Todd, blogging, being there for my kids, and spending time with people I love.  Right now I want to build well-designed websites that help my clients get their message out; make pillows that are beautiful and inspirational; help each member of my Krypton group to succeed by learning together and supporting each other; help Todd have a successful ironwork business; and write in my blog regularly to keep up my momentum, to share ideas, and to work on my writing skills.  I especially want to be with my kids as much as possible and be a good role model for them.  I want them to see and understand the things I’m doing, the choices I’m making, and be part of this journey.  Because most of all I want my kids to be happy, and amazing, and able to make the world a better place in their own unique way.

So I’ve changed the description of my blog to reflect my new mission statement.  It only took two years to figure it out.  Ha!  I’ve also added some new tabs in my menu bar – links to my other endeavors.  I’ve decided it’s time to integrate it all.  I’ve been putting it off, thinking those areas weren’t good enough or developed enough yet, which they might not be.  They certainly aren’t perfect.  But as Seth Godin says, “Perfect is the enemy of good” and this feels good.

When I quit my job it was a scary leap into the unknown, but I could no longer remain in a corporate culture that felt so stifling.  I still have so much to figure out, especially financially, but I love my new life, and I’m excited about the future.

A friend of mine recently sent me this poem by Wendell Berry which I adore, and which I think really puts this journey of mine into perspective:

The Real Work:

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Until Now, I Never Did One New Thing, Every Day, for 365 Days

Summer Velvet PaintingOn August 16th, 2013 I went to a party in a long black velvet dress.  I was a curious sight in this outfit, as it was a casual summer potluck.  When people asked me “Why so formal?”  I replied, “Oh, this is just my summer velvet dress.”  One of my friends started calling me “Summer Velvet” which I liked very much.  But this party had a ‘maker’ theme, and my dress was actually part of that theme.  Some people had brought games they had made, like Giant Jenga, but I decided to bring my dress, some neon paints, and some brushes, and finally I got up the nerve (with a friend’s help of course) to spread out the paints and brushes and encourage people to paint me.  The kids at the party jumped right in, some adults too, and before I knew it, I was transformed into a beautiful velvet painting.

That was the beginning of my ‘I Never’ project, although at the time I didn’t know it.  Back then I thought I’d try to do something new every day for a week, but then I got hooked.  I didn’t want to stop at a week.  So I continued for a month, and then another month.  I wrote everything down, modified my blog to track it all, and decided to challenge myself to do it for an entire year.  And on August 15th, 2014 I celebrated my 365th ‘I Never’ with dinner and drinks, with Todd and friends, on the top of the Space Needle.  It was the perfect way top off my year of ‘I Nevers’ and my friend Sonya made me a beautiful encaustic piece as a commemoration, which I will treasure.  To me it’s a work of art and a trophy.

Suzanne Jumps Encaustic

So, how hard was this project?  Not hard at all.  Usually.  Actually, doing things I’d never done before every day was probably easier than writing about them.  It’s taken me a while to catch up with posting each one on my I Never Log, but I finally did it.  So now it’s time to reflect.  And as I do, the first thing that comes to mind is how much I loved this project and how happy I am that I did it.

Frenchman FingerNot only did I love doing something new every day, I loved writing about it, and I loved posting pictures to go with it.  Mostly I loved the unexpected things that happened along the way.  I loved that every day my son Miles was really interested in what my ‘I Never’ for the day would be, and would offer suggestions, like “Let’s make Frenchman Fingers!”  I loved that Nadine, on the first day of summer, made a list of all things she wanted to do this summer that she’d never done before:  Swim across Greenlake, Bleach My Hair, Go to Wild Waves, etc.  I loved that it inspired other people to embrace the ‘I Never’ mentality and to start doing more things they’d never done before.  I was surprised at how often the words “I’ve never done that before” came out of my mouth, and as soon as I heard them, I knew I had my ‘I Never’ for the day.

But while these are excellent side-effects of the project, did the project itself change me?  Did it cause me to move into a new and better place?  Where would I be today if I hadn’t embarked on this project?  Is that possible to even know?  Maybe not, but I do know that the more you push against your boundaries, the more you put yourself into slightly uncomfortable places, the better you get at it.  I’m not saying you won’t feel scared or self-conscience; you’ll just get better at moving through that fear, and the icky feeling that comes with it.  For me, having the ‘I Never’ project really helped me with that, especially since I could justify that what I was doing was part of the project.

I also became very aware of how easily I said ‘no’ to things, and that my immediate jump to ‘no’ was usually out of fear.  Like taking the kids to sell lemonade at Greenlake.  I wanted to say ‘no’ because I thought we might get in trouble.  But then I thought, Well, this can be my ‘I Never’ for today, and what’s the worse that could happen?

So when the kids asked, “Can you jump with us at the trampoline place?” or “Will you play this video game with me?” or “Will you read this awesome book on my Kindle?” I started saying “yes”.  Even though I thought that if I jumped on the trampoline I would pee my pants, I did it anyway.  I didn’t drink a lot of water, went to the bathroom before jumping, and eventually got brave enough to do a front flip.  Plus, I had a blast.

I do not like video games and would never chose to spend my time playing them, but wow, they’ve come a long way since I used to play Super Mario Bothers at my friend Nick’s house twenty years ago.  So I was pretty surprised at not only at how much fun I had, but at how good the kids were at quickly figuring them out and getting good at them.  I’m terrible.

And I love books.  Adult books.  Not kids books so much, and not on a Kindle.  But the Percy Jackson series is really clever, has sparked the kids’ interest in Greek mythology, and so I promised Nadine I would read them on her Kindle.  I had no idea how easy, practical, and inexpensive it was to check out ebooks from the library, or download them from Amazon.  Brilliant.  But I still have a huge pile of books next to my bed.

As I look back on my long list of ‘I Nevers’ they actually look quite boring and mundane to me.  But it’s the mundane ones, I think, that had the biggest impact.  Like I wear braids all the time now.  I never did it before because I thought I was too old.  Who cares?  It’s just so comfortable.  Nobody spends nearly as much time judging me as I think they do.  It’s not like I’m in People Magazine.  Although I don’t recommend sporting a uni-brow.  That one made the moms at the playground quite uncomfortable.  “Please wipe that thing off!” one of them begged me.

As I look back, I think my ‘I Nevers’ fall into one of three categories:

  1. Doing something new, like trying something, making something, going somewhere, or learning something, or
  2. Depriving myself of something, or
  3. Letting go, and trusting the kids, and others.

I think each of these categories are equally important in terms of growth, but when I first thought of doing this project, I thought mostly in terms of the first category.  Isn’t that how people grow, get smarter, evolve?  By doing new things?  I used to think so.  Now I think it’s the second category too.

I think that not doing things opened my mind and helped me to think differently.  Eating glutten-free, not talking, not using my right hand, fasting, not looking in the mirror, not looking at a clock, not eating sugar – I wish I had done more of these.  When you stop doing something, you really have to change your habits, and rethink old patterns, which are so embedded into your subconscious it makes it nearly impossible.  Stop looking at the clock and suddenly you realize how often you look at the clock, and base your whole day around it.  Stop looking in the mirror and you realize that you subconsciously look at your reflection all of the time.  Fast for twenty-four hours and you realize that after the first few hours go by it gets much easier.  Not doing something for a while also puts you in others shoes.  You think about the people who fast regularly, or who can’t talk.  You think about what it might have been like in a time before people had mirrors or clocks.  It’s really very very cool.  I especially loved not eating sugar for a month.  I loved saying no to sugar and having a reason to say no.  I said no to sugary treats and birthday cakes and ate practically nothing that came in a package.  It was easy to do, made me much more conscious about how much sugar is in the food we buy, and I certainly wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for this project.

The third category, letting go, might have been the hardest.  When is the right time to let your children stay home alone?  Get dropped off at the movie theaterMake dinner?  Hell if I know!  I’m sure mine were ready long before I started this project, but now I’m comfortable with it.  Yet there are certain things I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let go of.  Like not rearranging the dishwasher after Todd has loaded it.  Or not calling him when he’s running late.

365 I NeversWhen I started out, I wondered if I would be able to pull off 365 ‘I Nevers’ but I also thought that blogging about it would make it more probable.  And now that it’s over, I miss it.  The kids still sometimes suggest ‘I Nevers’ for me, and there are so many ‘I Nevers’ I still want to do.  I thought I’d get a tattoo but never did.  I never got my palm read, or went to a heavy metal show, or went vegan for a week, or turned off the internet for a weekend.  I still want to do those things, although getting a tattoo seems really scary.  How can I continue with my ‘I Never’ project?  I’m not sure, but I’ll figure something out.  Or maybe it’s time for a new project?

For my 365th ‘I Never’ celebration at the Space Needle we were joking that maybe now I should start an ‘I Always’ project, and start tracking those:  “I always fall asleep watching movies” and “I always make coffee the night before” and “I always call Todd ‘Toddweena’” and “I always reorganize the dishwasher after Todd has loaded it.”  No, I don’t think so.

Towards the end of my ‘I Never’ project my friend Sonya, who made me the “Suzanne Jumps” plaque, told me that she’d been driving her elderly neighbor to the hospital every day, to visit her husband who was very ill with pneumonia.  Her neighbor was, of course, very sad and afraid of losing her husband, and of being alone.  Sonya told her about my ‘I Never’ project and so she decided to try it herself, but she decided to call it “One New Thing”.  So every day she did one new thing that her husband normally did, like change the printer paper, kill a fly, open the windows.  I know those sound like such simple things, but isn’t it the little things that really make the biggest difference?  It made me so happy to know my project inspired her, and that she gave it such a sweet and simple name:  One New Thing.

Try it.

Pillows in the Garden

P-Patch GnomeA week before we left for our trip to Alabama, my neighbor sent me an email asking me if I was still making pillows, and if so, would I like to share a booth with her at the upcoming Art in the Garden event.  I love this event and I adore the P-Patch where it’s held.  In addition to crafters selling their wares, they have craft projects for kids, live music, a beer garden, and food trucks.  It’s their annual fund raiser and it’s a really fun way to spend the afternoon.  So I replied to my neighbor with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and got busy filling out the application.

Then I started to get nervous.  Was I crazy?  It was only three weeks away and I only had eight completed pillows, no display, no business cards or payment system or web-site or etsy site.  What was I thinking?  And I was about to leave on vacation!  But there’s nothing like a deadline to light a fire under my butt, and so I made a plan.  The week before vacation I would focus on the business side, and the week after vacation I would sew like crazy and make my display.

The first thing I did was order a Square device and download the app so I could take credit cards with my iPhone.  That took about two minutes.  Check!  Next I set up a gmail account for my business.  Check.  Then I decided to make business cards.  What to do, what to do…  So I took out my sketch book and found a sketch that I thought would work well on a business card.  I scanned it into Photoshop, along with the name of my business which I had hand-printed, then put it all together with my email and web address, and saved it as a jpeg file.  Now I could import it into an on-line business card app.  I decided to use Zazzle, and it was a pretty straightforward process.  100 two-sided business cards cost me $24, including shipping.  I also needed tags for the pillows, so I decided to make business cards again, but this time using VistaPrint, where 250 cards costs only $23.  I put my business card image on one side, and care instructions on the other.  Here’s how they turned out:

So Fashion Business CardsManifesto Wordscare instructionsCurious about the name?  “So Fashion?”  Well I have Miles to thank for that.  Here’s the story.  When Miles was about 3 years old he would look at things, like a car or someone’s outfit, and ask, “Isn’t that so fashion Mama?”  I thought it was so cute, but for some reason I thought he meant, “Isn’t that so fashionable/hip/cool Mama?”  I would hesitate and reply “Yes, I guess it is Miles.”  Because sometimes it was on old Pinto, or some other not-so-attractive car like it (no offense), and I worried a bit about his level of taste.  But as he got older and more articulate, it turned out that when he was saying “so fashion,” what he really meant was “old fashioned.”  When finally one day he corrected himself and said “I mean old fashioned” I thought to myself, Duh!  Of course that’s what he meant!  Leave it to me to confuse the two, and to project my own meaning onto it.  So funny.  (He also used to call his pacifier his fire pass.  Nadine knew exactly what he meant.)

I originally thought I would name my business “Spruce.”  I liked the idea of my pillows sprucing up your home and life.  But one day when I was driving around, and my mind was wandering around, I landed on the idea of calling it “So Fashion.”  I was thinking not only about the idea of how we all put our own meaning onto things, but also about how I love modern design and technology, but I also really embrace the traditional, the hand-crafted, the old fashioned.  And I liked the idea of a name with a story.  So there you have it.

So I got a bunch of stuff taken care of before we headed off for our week at the beach, but I didn’t get a web-site or an etsy site set up.  Oh well.  I figured that it was okay not to have them for this very small first step into pillow selling, and I convinced myself that I probably wouldn’t sell any pillows anyway.  And off we went on our relaxing get-away.

When we got back, with only five days til show-time, I started to sew like the wind.  On Thursday I painted an old crib I had white, thinking that would be how I would display my pillows.  And by Friday night I had 16 completed pillows, and was ready to go.  Ta da!

The event started at 11am, so we had plenty of time to set up, and even though my wares were bulky, set up was pretty easy.  Unlike my booth-mate who had lots of big frames to hang, and boxes of greeting cards to set up.  Todd was an amazing help to both of us, and I have to say, he has a great eye for creating a lovely display.  We got done in time, and I think it looked pretty darn good, especially since neither of us had done a test run.  Here are a few shots:

So Fashion - Art in the Garden DisplayOur shared boothArt in the GardenMy mother-in-law showed up at 11am sharp and was my first customer.  I told her I couldn’t possibly sell her a pillow, that it would be a gift.  She does so much for us!  But she insisted, and I took her money.  My neighbor said, “She totally wants to help you out.  You should let her.”  Okay, that made me feel better.  And then throughout the day I had a lot of friends and neighbors stop buy, and many of them bought pillows.  So nice!  And by the end of the day I had sold 8 pillows and made $400.  Wow!  I really didn’t expect to sell so many or make so much.  It was really exciting.  But more importantly, I learned so much.  I learned which patterns and colors people liked the best.  I learned that most people didn’t know that I had designed all of the patterns myself, and done the silk-screening.  I learned that I am a spaz when in comes to taking people’s payments.  And much much more.

So, what’s next?  Well it’s definitely time to take some good photos, get an etsy shop set up, as well as a web-site.  And I need to make more pillows!  I need to make a lot more of the pillows I called “Stay Tuned” (the ones with the TVs on them) because those sold out right away.  And for the pillows I called “Manifesto” (the ones with the words) I need to make more with the grey material.  Grey was the hot color.  I also want to figure out how to best present myself and my pillows – how to share my story better.  And finally, I need to decide where to sell them next!  Doing the Art in the Garden event was the perfect way to dip my big toe into the craft-show waters.

And when I wasn’t busy selling my pillows, I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the amazing flowers at the P-Patch:

P-Patch flowers at Art in the GardenP-Patch flowers at Art in the Garden

P-Patch flowers at Art in the GardenP-Patch flowers at Art in the GardenP-Patch flowers at Art in the GardenP-Patch flowers at Art in the GardenIt was so great having my first pillow sale in such a beautiful and inspiring place!

Stay tuned for more on the progress of my etsy site and web-site.  And please check out my neighbors photos.  They are spectacular!

So Long Kryotonites!

Lex_LuthorLast Thursday was our last Krypton meeting.  Not forever, just for the summer.  And I have to say, I’m really going to miss seeing everyone.  It’s been such a great experience; I had no idea how much I would love it.  But summer is too crazy to keep meeting, so we’ll start up again in the fall, and it will be interesting to see where Krypton takes us next year.  Krypton started in October as an experiment.  I was nervous about organizing it, but I thought what the heck, it’s just a four week class.  Little did I know what it would become.  “Kyrpton Community College” was conceived by Seth Godin (read more here) with the idea that we learn better when we learn together, and the first course offered was  Go: How to Overcome Fear, Pick Yourself, & Start a Project that Matters.  It was a course I thought so many people (especially me) really needed.

Our first Krypton class started off a little shaky.  I was nervous and we all didn’t know each other very well, but each time we met we got more comfortable with each-other, everyone embraced the material, and pretty quickly we had a nice cohesive group vibe going on.  When we got to the fourth week and completed the course material, we all agreed that we weren’t done.  We each hadn’t fully presented our project ideas, or “Ship-It Journals” as Seth calls them, and some people still didn’t even think they had a project.  So we decided to continue.

For the past nine months we’ve been meeting every other week at noon, for two hours, presenting, developing, and discussing our projects.  Over time every single member of the group has presented a project, and every single member of the group has been invaluable in contributing their feedback and knowledge to each project.  Each time we meet we also give updates on our projects, which really keeps the momentum of our projects going.  And each time our meeting is over, I feel exhilarated.  Happy because it’s fun, satisfied because I’ve learned so much, and excited to keep working on my project.

It’s hard to explain, but watching how each person brings their own personality, approach, and expertise to the group is amazing.  Everyone seems to be truly overcoming their fears not just for getting a project started, but for expressing themselves in a completely genuine way.  I love it.  There are ten of us in Krypton and we have business backgrounds, technical backgrounds, creative, financial, etc.  We have parents and non-parents.  We have people who work full-time, part-time, and not at all.  And it’s amazing when you pair an expert with a non-expert.  It reminds me of a quote from the TEDx conference I went to:  “Believe in the creativity of non-experts.“  It’s so different than the meetings I had at work, because people seem to be speaking up from a truly authentic place.  No one is being political or saying things just to be heard or saying what they think someone wants to hear.  We all truly want to help each other and see each other succeed.

My Ship-It Journal project is to craft and sell pillows, as a way to explore textile design.  My bigger project (and the whole reason I’m writing this blog) is to figure out how to do work I love, make money, and be a mom who is available to her kids after school and in the summer.  Todd’s project is on improving efficiencies with his business and embracing technology, tools, and processes that might help him with that.  So for the past several weeks he’s been going to a Quickbooks + Accounting class (that he doesn’t love) so that he can get better at the accounting aspects of his business.  I don’t feel right sharing the other group member’s projects on my blog, but let’s just say that every Krytpon member has an excellent project that I feel so excited to see unfold.

After we had all taken our turns presenting our Ship-It journals, we decided to continue with the coursework offered by Krypton, and so we started the second class entitled: Milton Gladwell and the Sociology of Success The material was interesting, but quite different than the first class, and much more theoretical than the first course on overcoming fear.  At our first meeting to discuss the material one of the members of the group said, “This is all really interesting, but what am I supposed to do with this information?”  I hadn’t considered that and I didn’t have an answer.  But we still had a very lively discussion about whether or not parents matter, going to an ivy league school versus just getting into one, what impact the neighborhood you live in has on your future, and the role luck plays in what privileges you receive.  Since most of us have kids we talked a lot about how the material relates to parenting.  But what we really wanted was to keep moving forward with our projects, and it wasn’t clear that this material was going to help with that.  So we only went half-way with the coursework and decided to finish the coursework on our own, take a break for the summer, and start up in the fall with the next course offered by Krypton which is based on Gretchin Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project” which I think will be excellent.

We also decided that instead of me organizing and leading each meeting, we’d take turns, which I’m really excited about.  Not because I want to unload the job, but because I want everyone to get a chance to lead the class in their own way.  And if we aren’t doing the coursework, each person can bring to the table something they would like to teach, share, or learn.  We may even bring in guest experts.  We also want to help each other out not just by talking about stuff, but by physically helping each other – like building a work-space, cleaning out a garage, or setting up a display for a craft-fair.

So that was our last meeting and a great way to end for the summer.  Our homework for the summer is to to read “The Happiness Project” and get started on the coursework so we can jump right in in the fall.  We also are going to bring a project to the group that we would like help with.  Ironically, a couple of days after the meeting, I received an blog post in my inbox from Seth Godin/Krtypon Community College, entitled:  Looking Back on the Krytpon Project explaining that they would not be continuing with new course material, and that we should create our own.  Which is pretty much our plan.  He ends the post by saying:  “Go learn something,” is a good thing to say during graduation season. Even better, “go teach something!”  We intend to continue doing both.

I had breakfast with a friend from our Krypton group yesterday, and she said that she’s continued with the Milton Gladwell material, and that it is helping her with a problem she is having with her daughter.  I asked her how the two were related, and she said they weren’t, but that Milton Gladwell’s ideas are making her think about things in a new way.  That she is learning to release her old patterns and opening up to new ways of approaching her life.  And so while our Krypton group may not have been able to find practical applications for Gladwell’s material, I think it is equally important to be exposed new ideas that make us think differently about how we approach our work, our lives, and our happiness.

I have continued with Gladwell’s material as well, and I asked everyone in our Krytpon group to, at the very least, watch this video included in the homework for week three of the class, about the man who wore a sanitary napkin.  Check it out:

Even though the temperature is only in the 60s these days (Seattle’s “June gloom” I’ve heard it called), the kids get out of school today and the first day of summer is on Saturday.  This is a crazy time of year, with all of the end-of-school activities, plus I’m wrapping up two web-sites that I’ve been working on, and consequently I have been neglecting my pillow-making project.  And while we have camping trips and vacations planned, my goal for the summer is to start selling some pillows.  So hopefully when we start Krytpon up in the fall, I’ll have some progress to report.  I also want to spend some time this summer thinking of ways to spread the magic of Krypton.  It seems like every day I talk to someone who wants to embark on something new.  It seems like so many people out there could benefit from a group like ours.  We should all have a Krypton group to help each other out, to get over our fears, and to think in new ways.  We should all be teachers and we should all be students and we should all be learning together.

I’ve been maintaining a web-site to track some of stuff that has been brought up in our meeting which you can check out here if you’re interested:  http://seattlekryptonites.weebly.com/

Happy Summer!!!!