Investment Advice

Today I’ve decided to write a post about investing. Now you may be thinking to yourself, Investment advice from Suzanne? That’s crazy talk! Well believe me, I would never dream of giving advice on how to invest your money (although if you have some for me, I’d gladly take it.) No, today I’m going to write about investing in terms of time not money.

First, let’s turn to the dictionary for a definition of “invest.” Check it out:

Dictionary - Invest

Wow! I had no idea that the word ‘invest” had so many meanings! Gotta love the dictionary…

The thing is, or at least it seems to me, that investing your time is a lot like investing your money. The more you invest, the greater your return over time. Of course you must invest wisely! Yes, it will feel risky, especially at the beginning and through the dips, and there will be times when you may want to adjust your investment strategy, but it you are persistent, you will surely earn profitable returns.

Why am I writing about this? Well, because four years ago I changed my investment strategy. Four years ago, almost to the day, I got out of what I believed had become a bad investment. For too long I had been investing my time and energy in something that would probably never pay off. I was working my butt off for people who didn’t appreciate me, and for a company I no longer respected. I was getting a decent paycheck, but I was going nowhere. It was time to pull out.

It was scary, but I decided that I needed to invest in what I believed in, and what would probably give me the best returns: my family and myself. Has it paid off? Definitely. How so? Well, it’s not like I can put a dollar value on it, but I decided to try and chart it out:

Return On Investment Chart

Note: This is not a scientifically accurate chart.

Right now, being self-employed, I am not making as much money as I was back when I had my full-time job. Plus, insurance is complicated and expensive, taxes are also complicated and expensive, and so many things that were taken care of by “The Man” I have to take care of myself – I need to buy my own equipment and software, be my own tech support, do my own accounting, etc. But, knowing how to do these things myself are part of my investment in me! Not only am I increasing my skill set, but I’m understanding the “big picture” in a whole new way.

What’s also exciting (and scary!) is knowing that my success or failure is completely up to me. I’m not waiting for a lucky break or a big promotion or an awesome boss to help me out. Instead I’m trying to make the best choices possible, and become more and more competent at what I do. Over time, as my portfolio of work has grown, so has my skill-set and confidence. Even though I don’t know where the next client will come from, I never have to worry that I might get fired. And, looking back on my web work for the past four years, I’ve gone from having only a few clients and doing work for trade, to juggling three or four jobs at a time. Hooray!

Then there’s my family. I just want to be with them as much as possible. I’m realizing how this time with my kids is flying by, and I don’t want to miss out. Not only do I want to spend time with them, but I want them to eat healthy, get exercise, be creative, try new things, have fun with their friends, play with their puppy, and stay off those darn devices as much as possible. For me, I feel like that is easier when I’m around.

You know what they say: “Time is money,” which I totally agree with in terms of business, but in terms of flexibility, and freedom, and living your life to the fullest, time is a gift that becomes more precious with each passing day, and so I intend to invest my time as wisely as possible. Because this is was matters most:

My family

Gaining Momentum

Things have been really humming along lately. I have been working on three new websites and started back part-time at Nordstrom.  I ran out of Wizard of Oz pillows, so I spent two full days last week silk screening more. I sold pillows at a “Handmade Sale” on Sunday, and had some new ones in the collection. And I have been diligently working on my business plan and branding for Suzanne Harrison Home.  Whew!

Sounds crazy, but it’s actually perfect. Mostly. I remember back when Todd started his business, how it seemed like he was always either worried about getting enough work, or worried about how he was going to get all of the work done. And he still does sometimes. Maybe that never goes away.

I’m not really stressing about getting my work done, because I am fortunate right now to have clients with very loose deadlines. But I have put personal deadlines in place to help me manage my workload.

What’s happening to me is that I feel like I’m not making time for the other stuff that needs to get done – like working in the yard, getting our summer planned, putting the ski stuff away, and laundry! I love the work I’m doing right now, and there’s plenty of it, but I’m letting it consume all of my time, putting other things off, letting the little things slide, not meeting some of my personal goals and milestones for the year. But…

Who cares? Does it matter that much? It’s hard to say. I always want to do a thousand times more than is actually possible, but I still get a lot done, and I really try to be systematic about my priorities. Will there be more work after I complete these websites? When should I start looking? Should I block off some time to focus more on Suzanne Harrison Home? Plus, summer is right around the corner – what will this be like when the kids are out of school? I have no idea…

I’ve decided not to overthink it, and just keep plugging away at everything. Making sure I have some billable hours in every day. Making sure I do a little bit of pillow work and/or marketing every day. Making sure I spend only a little bit of time texting, emailing, scheduling, etc. Making sure I’m there for my family, and taking care of myself.

This image came through my email the other day from Tai Lopez, and while I wouldn’t exactly call myself an entrepreneur, I think it’s really great:

10 Habits

#8 makes me laugh because I don’t exactly have a team… Or do I? I am always telling my kids “Solve the problem – don’t make it worse!” Hmm…

 #9 sounds like something to strive for because I am constantly shifting gears between my various “business activities” throughout the day.

But… at the end of the day, I am happy, and hopeful that all of this effort will pay off. It may not be paying big right now, but it’s hard to put a dollar value on the freedom and flexibility I have. Plus I am learning so much about SO MUCH! I’m not sure where I’m going to land with all of this, but I’m excited, and feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Hooray!

Love to Eat Them Mousies…

Our new puppy Chester seems to be growing before our very eyes – getting bigger, bolder, more energetic and adventurous every day.  Which means he needs training!  He’s got ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ down pretty well, but we have a long way to go on everything else.

Last night, as I was saying goodnight to Miles, we were talking about how we needed to train Chester, and he asked, “Why don’t we train cats?” I laughed and said, “Because cats are cats! They have free will! They have no masters. They come and go as they please.” Then we started talking about how dogs and cats are so different, but similar in that they live with humans, wondering why those particular animals have become domesticated.

I told Miles that we should try to watch these documentaries that were on PBS a while back about cats and dogs, tracing their history and domestication, explaining how many of their traits aren’t that different from their wild counterparts. Like hunting. Domestic cats are hunters just like lions are. Our cat Oscar is a great hunter. Unfortunately he’s not much of a killer. He takes a catch and release approach, often releasing gross little rodents in our house. Good grief. Anyway…

Then I started reciting: “Love to eat them mousies. Mousies what I love to eat. Bite they little heads off. Nibble on they tiny feet.” He looked at me pretty funny, and then started laughing. Where did that come from?  I then proceeded to tell Miles about a famous cat cartoon from the seventies where the cat sits on a stool with a guitar, singing that.

I hadn’t thought about that cat in a million years. Isn’t it funny how things get triggered some times? But I loved that cat carton. I loved it so much that when I took Graphic Design as an elective in middle school, I chose that cartoon for my silkscreen project. And I silk-screened many many copies of that silly song-singing kitty. Where those are now, I have no idea, but here’s what they looked like:

Remember that cat? I think it’s so great when things you thought were gone from your memory bank get triggered like that.  Not only did I remember how much I loved that darn cat, but I remembered how much I loved to silk-screen it. And now, here I am, full circle, silk-screening images and words onto pillows.

Life is funny.

Holy Crap, We Got a Puppy!

For months, maybe years now, the kids have been begging for a puppy. In fact, the other day they said that if they could have a puppy and a trampoline, they would gladly give up their iPhones permanently. Well, we’re half way there!  Meet Chester:

Chester is part Boxer, part Beagle, part German Shepherd, part ?, pure cuteness. We got him three weekends ago through PetFinder.com and I really didn’t expect it to feel so good to have a dog in the house again. We are all head-over-heals in love with him. Oh doggies, what you do to our hearts…

Our last dog, Sadie, died about four years ago. She was only eleven, but had stomach cancer, wouldn’t eat, and so we had to put her down. It was one of the hardest and saddest things I’ve ever had to do. I remember on her final day, just before Todd and I left for the vet, Todd was in the kitchen trying to get her to eat a piece of chicken. He said, “Sadie, just eat the chicken. If you’d just eat the chicken we wouldn’t have to go!” Our hearts were broken, but she was skin and bones and just couldn’t eat the chicken. Although later, when we walked into the vet’s office, she mustered up enough energy to growl and bark at the other dogs in the waiting room. A last hurrah for our feisty little beast. Then we said goodbye, went home, and the house felt so different.

The kids were six and eight years old back then, and they loved Sadie so much. We all did. Even though she was a handful at times. But after Sadie died, so many things changed. I didn’t have to shout “Keep the door closed!” a million times a day. In fact we could just leave the back door wide open all summer long. I didn’t have to clean up diarrhea every few days. There was no poop to clean up in the back yard, no expensive dog food to buy, no expensive boarding to arrange for vacations, no dog hair to vacuum up. Such freedom!

But I’m a dog person. I can’t resist them and I love having them around. Dogs and humans were just made to go together. So here we go, this is my fifth dog.

My first dog was Lola. Oh boy did I beg my parents for her, and I got her as a surprise for my tenth birthday. We got her from the ‘hippies’ across the street. Lola’s hippie owner was getting married and his fiancé was allergic, so he gave her to us. She was the best. She would follow me half way to school in the morning and then walk herself back home. Ah, the 70s…

Lola

Next came Libby. Again, I begged for a dog and found her listed in the classified ads. My parents agreed we could get a puppy if it was house trained. Libby fit the bill and was a cutie who grew into a very large, very furry, very stubborn dog who had a knack for getting sprayed by skunks.

Libby

Then in college when, for some strange reason, I was able to get myself a credit card, so I went straight to the pet store and bought the puppy in the window. I named her Wookie one night after watching Star Wars. She was also very furry. Then, in another stroke of genius, I decided to breed her and she had 10 puppies. Wookie was an amazing dog that I could take anywhere with me and she didn’t need a leash. Unfortunately I didn’t think I could take her out to Seattle with me, and so my sister and her husband became her new family. I think she traded up.

Wookie and her 10 puppies!

Then came Sadie, after I moved to Seattle, bought a house and got married. Todd never had had a dog, and he didn’t want a dog, and that made me sad. One night I told him that I didn’t think it was fair that just because I was married I couldn’t get a dog, and he said “Fine, we can get a dog.” So the next day I went to the pound and came home with Sadie. Todd was a little freaked out, especially since she was part pit-bull, but in no time he was completely nutty over her, and I often accused him of being a dog hog.

Sadie

And now we have Chester! My first boy dog. He’s 12 weeks old and ridiculously cute. He’s close to being potty trained, follows the kids around everywhere, and is a completely unbiased snuggler. He’s a mutt, so no telling what he’ll grow up to be like, but I’m pretty confident he’s going to be an amazing member of our family. Although I think the cat would disagree.

2015 Review

2016 is here, and it feels great.  The holidays came and went in a whirlwind, like they always do, but we had a lot of fun. We slept in, we shopped, we baked, we decorated, and we celebrated Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Years with family, friends, food, and fun. We saw Star Wars and we skied a few times. What more could you ask for? Nothing! But if sure feels good to have it all over with!

Why is that?

xmas Tree 2015Maybe it’s because the holidays are like the last paragraph of the last chapter of a long book, and no matter how good, bad, or mediocre the story, we’re glad when we’ve finished it, and we’re excited to get started on the next one. That’s how I feel at least. I thought 2015 was really good – great characters, full of meaning, lots of fun, with all kinds of unexpected twists and turns. And now I’m ready to start 2016.

Last year I picked a word to focus on for 2015, and that word was “Integration.” I chose it because I wanted to take my seemingly separate endeavors – web development, pillow-making, and blogging – and turn them into a more cohesive thing. I also wanted to integrate more people into my work.

After ringing in 2016 I started reflecting on last year’s word and I was feeling like I had failed; like I hadn’t integrated much at all in 2015. In fact, I felt like I’d done the opposite and dis-integrated. (Ha! That makes me look at the word completely differently now.) But, isn’t disintegrating actually a means of integrating? You know, like how you disintegrate sugar in water, the sugar seems to be gone, but it’s really still there, it’s just in a different form and now you’ve made simple syrup! Hmm…

integrate

For 2015 I really wanted to start working with other people more, like with my office-mate and graphic designer friend. I also wanted to find mentors to learn from. And I wanted to create one type of business that integrated everything somehow.  Well, none of that really happened like I thought it would.

In fact, I quit going to my office when I started my Nordstrom job, and eventually gave it up altogether. Maybe my word for 2015 should have been ”quit!”  Because I also quit doing Todd’s bookkeeping. And Krypton quit meeting. I also quit hanging out on the playground after school. I quit coloring my hair. I quit sewing all of my own pillows.

But that was what I was thinking last week. This week I’m thinking very differently. I’m thinking that I totally integrated things last year. It’s just that I had to disintegrate a little too.

I may have given up my office space, but I got a new one at Nordstrom, as well as new people to work with, and lots of new web development challenges that got me really excited about the work and my abilities. I often thought to myself: This is great! I’m good at this. This is what I should be doing with my life!

I also did a lot of silkscreening, made a bunch of new pillows, sold them at craft fairs, and often though to myself: This is great! I’m good at this. This is what I should be doing with my life!  Good grief.

So how then did I integrate? Well, mostly I integrated internally. I realized that all of the things I’m doing are important to me. They fulfill me and make me who I am.

The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.  –Aristotle

In 2015 I worked on my branding and came up with a tag line for my pillow business:

Style. Comfort. Inspiration. Fun.

Turns out that those four words, beyond the pillows, are what I believe in completely. I believe we all have our own personal style that we need to be true to. We want to be comfortable. We need inspiration and to be inspirational. Life should be fun. So no matter what type of work I’m doing – web developing, pillow making, blogging, or “momming”, that is the sensibility I strive for. And that is the integration I accomplished in 2015.

So Fashion Business Cards

And I’m not done integrating yet. But I suppose it’s a constant process…

So what is 2016 going to be about?

It’s hard to say just yet, because I’ve only just started the first chapter. But the word for 2016 is:

Organize!

I need to organize my time, my money (Ha ha! Like I have so much it needs to be organized!), my pillow inventory, my workspace, and my house. I need to create web-sites for me and standard processes. I know, it sounds really boring, but I’m excited about this word, and I’m really excited to get organized and into my groove in 2016. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 

Sex and the City

On this dark and rainy Monday morning, after getting the kids off to school and cleaning up, I sat down at my desk to tackle my ‘to do’ list.  But I was so tired. Which was weird because it was only 10:30 and I’d just had my second cup of coffee. But I felt like I really needed a nap, so I decided to lay down for a moment on my bed. Next to my laptop. Which I decided to open. And watch one episode of Sex and the City to help me fall asleep. Just one.

When it was over, I really wanted to watch the next one. So I told myself that since I’d worked all weekend long selling pillows at the craft fair, it was okay to watch the next two episodes. In fact I also told myself, “Don’t even think of looking at that clock. Just relax and enjoy this. You never do this and it’s okay to relax and take a break.” And I’m so glad I did!

I never fell asleep as I watched the last three episodes of the sixth and final season.  And oh man was it good! I didn’t look at the clock even once, and I didn’t feel guilty. I just let myself get completely sucked into the lives of those four awesome (make-believe) women, whom I adore, and I cried and cried as the series came to a perfect ending, so happy I got to relive it all, so to speak.  When it was all done, I felt like I had had the nap that I needed, and the energy to go on with my day. But I kept thinking about Sex and the City and how great it was to watch it all over again.

The last time I watched it was when it was on the air, from 1998 through 2002. It was one of the first really great series broadcast on HBO.  Back then I used to get together regularly with my girlfriends to drink wine and watch the latest episodes. At the time we were the same age as Carrie Bradshaw/Sarah Jessica Parker, and we were addicted to the show. We were going through, or had recently been through, many of the same things she had. It was the perfect show at the perfect time in our lives, and we drank it in.

Then it was done. And I didn’t miss it. It never dawned on me to watch it again, until a few months ago when I saw it was available for streaming on Amazon Prime. Almost every night since then I’ve watched a couple of episodes in bed instead of reading. And it’s been like time travel. Back to a time before I was married or had kids, when work and going out were my two main things. Back to a time before cell phones and the internet were ubiquitous. Carrie answers her cordless phone without knowing who’s calling, deletes messages from Big on her answering machine, and writes her column on a twenty pound laptop. She smokes! Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha, and especially Carrie pull off some of the the craziest outfits and the most incredible shoes. Best of all, it all takes place in NYC.

Watching Sex and the City this second time around really made me reminisce about my old life, and how important my friends were to me, and how all-consuming our relationships were. Like Carrie, my friends were like family members, sometimes closer, knowing me better than anyone. We went through the ringer together with our boyfriends and our breakups. Wondering who we’d end up with. Going to so many weddings and baby showers, watching everyone else getting married and having kids. It all seems like a lifetime ago, but watching Sex and the City again brought it all back, and it made me remember how intense that time was. How exciting it was to start seeing someone new, and how much it hurt when you broke up. I wouldn’t want to go back, but I’m so glad it all happened

In season 6, the last season, Miranda has a baby, gets married and moves to Brooklyn. Charlotte struggles with infertility and adopts a baby from China. Samantha gets breast cancer. And Carrie ends up with Big. Miranda’s family is what finally softens her up. Charlotte gets the family she longed for but in a way she never expected. Samantha’s cancer (and her amazingly hunky and devoted boyfriend) is what gets her over her fear of commitment. And Big finally stops being a dope, and finally shows Carrie how much he really loves her. Aah, so satisfying…

Why I felt the need to write a blog post about this, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it’s because it made me so emotional. Why did I cry so much?  Hormones? Or am I just becoming more and more sentimental as I age.  I don’t remember crying at all the first time I watched it. But the first time around I hadn’t adopted a baby from China or lost my sister to cancer. Plus it doesn’t take much to make me cry these days. Listening to Nadine’s choir performance the other day really caused some waterworks. Why?

I think it’s because the feelings they trigger are really important and not to be ignored. Seeing Nadine sing doesn’t make me sad, it fills me with love for her, which apparently makes me cry. Watching my TV friends go through all of their stuff did the same thing, not just because I loved the characters, but because I could relate to their experiences. And my experiences, good and bad, have made me who I am. And watching Sex and the City again did a really good job reminding me of that.

Remembering Maureen

October 21, 2014, one year ago today, was not a good day.  It was the day my sister Maureen passed away.  The saddest day of my life. I can’t believe it’s been a year already, but the weather today – a perfect fall day – feels exactly the same as it did last year.

Today I started my day a lot like I did last year. But this year, this morning, while the oatmeal was cooking, I decided to go outside and pick some flowers to put on the mantle.  I felt the need to do a little something special to commemorate the day.  Then I started crying, and Miles came in the kitchen and gave me a huge hug and started crying too. Then we had breakfast and set off to school and work.

All in all I’ve had a pretty good day today (only a few crying episodes in the bathroom at work) and I got lots of lovely texts (and jokes!) But I also thought a lot about the meaning of today, and how or if it should be commemorated. And I decided that while it’s not a day to be celebrated, it will always be a day that fills me with memories of Maureen.  Not so much memories of the things we did together, but memories of how I felt when I was with her, or when I talked to her on the phone, or when I hugged her, my incredibly lovely sister.

So today, instead of writing about that terrible day one year ago, or how much I miss her, I decided to commemorate this day with posting the words I spoke at her memorial service.  Because they remind me of the sister she was to me.

Hi. I’m Suzanne. The middle sister. Maureen was my big sister; Nicki is my little sister. And I think some might say we pretty much fit the stereotypes of birth order. Maureen was the responsible one, I was more of the free spirit, and Nicki was the baby. But Maureen took her big sister responsibilities very seriously, and loved to boss us around. And so we liked to call her “Mother Maureen” But Maureen wasn’t just the bossy big sister, she was our leader. And she led by example. By doing everything first and making it look easy.

She was the first to ride a bike, to go to kindergarten, go on sleepovers, drive a car, go to Belgium by herself, go to college, get a real job and an apartment, go to architecture school, get married, design and build a home, and start a family. She paved the way. And she impressed the heck out of me.

When we were kids I loved her “Euro” style and to raid her closet. I couldn’t believe she got to see Journey in concert. When we went to Belgium she always spoke French. I was way too self conscious. She had the coolest job at Crate & Barrel and the most amazing apartment in Chicago. When she met Gary working at Apple, boom, she met her soul mate, the guy she’d be with forever. So impressive.

But Maureen wasn’t perfect, and today I thought I’d burst your bubble, and tell a little story from when we were kids.

One night, back in the mid 70s, we were having dinner and our dog Lola came in from the TV room with a huge bar of the cherished Belgian chocolate in her mouth, and my dad jumped up and said, “How did she get that?” and we all said we had no idea. So we were sent to our rooms to be interrogated individually. As we were going upstairs, Maureen devised a plan. She said Nicki should admit to taking the chocolate, since she was the baby, and they’d go easy on her. We agreed it was a brilliant plan. So first my parents talked to Maureen, and she denied everything. I did the same. And then when it was Nicki’s turn, she cracked under the pressure. She started bawling. Saying, “I didn’t do it!” in a heap of tears. And so Maureen fessed up. I mean, come on, who loved chocolate more than Maureen? And so she had to call up Sarah Rowen and tell her she couldn’t go to her sleepover. Brutal.

So as you can see, my big sister, who seemed to do everything right, wasn’t perfect. But being on this planet isn’t about being perfect. It’s about making the world a better place, and we all know that is exactly what Maureen did. She made the world a better place no just by giving us three amazing kids, but by being who she was. A role model. Patient beyond belief. Stronger and braver than we’ll ever know. With the most infectious laugh. We all loved being around her. She was so calm. “Mother Maureen.” I never once heard her yell at her kids. That wasn’t her approach. Her approach was with love and patience.

That is how I will remember her. The girl who only lived to be 50, but packed so much into those 50 years and filled me with so much admiration.

I believe that love is stronger than death, and I will always love Maureen with all my heart, and be forever thankful that she was my big sister.

 

Life

I haven’t written a new blog post for a while now. Not because I haven’t wanted to, but because I haven’t had any inspiration about what to write, which is okay right now I think. Because ever since I’ve started this blog I’ve written a lot about wanting to find my groove, my thing, my calling, my balance, my lifestyle, whatever you want to call it.  And while I’m not running around proclaiming, “I’ve done it!  I’ve figured myself out! I finally know what to do with my life!” I feel really happy about where I am right now, and my days just fly by, full of good stuff.

How and when did this happen?

Well, I guess the first thing would be my recent acquirement of steady part-time employment.  My job as a contracted web developer at Nordstrom is perfect.  I work around 24-32 hours/week and have total flexibility, so I work as much as possible while the kids are at school, and when I come home I can work on my pillows. I’m not sure how long it will last – it was supposed to end a month ago, but stuff keeps coming up for me to work on, and so I’ll take it.  I’m learning so much, honing my skills, plus I like the company and the people I’m working with.  What more could I ask for?  And while I’m happy for it to last as long as possible, when it does end, I’m not worried about being unemployed. I’m exited for the next thing.

I wonder if this good place I’m in might also be because of my new “I don’t give a shit” attitude.  Or maybe I’ve reached the other side of my mid-life crisis – the side of acceptance, of letting go.  Or have I finally found the right path?  Because right now I feel like I know what I’m doing.  I feel like I’m doing the right things, for the right reasons, and I’m enjoying myself.  I feel like I’m not stretched too thin, or stressed out about stuff, or wildly out of balance, or thinking luck or anyone else besides me will help me be successful.  Hooray!

It feels so good to not give a shit about a lot of the stuff that I used too. I’m done dying my hair, wanting a fancy car or a bigger house, or eating out much. I wear comfortable clothes, that without nice shoes or a scarf or jewelry, could easily be mistaken for pajamas. I usually shop at Safeway instead of the fancy market, and a lot of my clothes come from clothing swaps. I’m not embarrassed to tell people I love them or hug people who aren’t huggers. And I’m pretty okay with the fact that I will always have cellulite.

But not giving a shit is not the same as not caring.  I do care.  More than ever about a lot of stuff.  I care about my family so much it hurts.  I care about time well spent, and spending as much time as possible with the people I like the best, and not as much time with the people who bug me.  I care about aesthetics, good design, and comfort.  I care about yummy healthy food and my vegetable garden.  I care about aging well and always learning and trying new things. I care a lot about having fun, but I pretty much always have.

Most importantly, I think I’m at a point in my life where I am just so appreciative of all I have, of where I’ve been, and where I’m going.  I have faith in the universe, and my faith in the net is stronger than ever.

But I don’t think this is the end of the story.  This is not the end of my blogging.  I may have slowed down a little in my posts, but, as they say, the story never ends…

 

On Writing

I wonder how long I’ll keep writing in this blog.  I have no plans to stop, but it’s a funny thing about blogging.  Is there an end?

I don’t think I’m even close to being done with this one, but sometimes I just don’t have the time, or should I say I don’t make the time, to write in it.  Other times I’m not sure about what to write.  Sometimes I want to write about something, but I don’t feel like I have the full story yet, or a way of telling it.  Sometimes I start writing about something, but it goes nowhere and I never click the “publish” button.

But the thing I love about my blog, is that it keeps me writing. And I think that is what will keep me going for quite some time.

I’m no professional, and don’t aspire to be a proffessional writer, but I love putting my story into words and seeing what unfolds.  I love putting pictures with those words.  I have a very small audience reading this blog, but I still get nervous about clicking that “publish” button, knowing I’m putting myself out there. That’s another reason I’m doing this. To be okay with that.

Recently I read a book called Rework by Jason Fried.  It’s a quick read about why the established way of doing business doesn’t work, and in it I found another great reason to keep writing.

Hire the Better Writer

Here’s what he says:

If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position hire the best writer. It doesn’t matter if the person is marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer, or whatever, their writing skills will pay off. That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing clear writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate. Writing is making a comeback all over our society… Writing is today’s currency for good ideas.”

I love that.

Hooray, it’s Mother’s Day!!!

Today is Mother’s Day and I am so excited to do nothing but relax and soak up the awesomeness of my family.  Right now I am lounging in bed with my laptop and a cup of coffee, with the window open, a soft breeze blowing in.  Miles is sitting at my desk staring at the computer watching a Fred movie.  Is there any sound on earth more annoying than the sound of Fred’s voice?  I don’t think so.  But today I could care less.

Kitty Necklace from MilesAlready I’ve gotten my present from Miles.  He gave it to me as soon as he woke up.  It’s a necklace made out of a domino with a picture of a cat decoupaged on top, and it’s the cutest thing ever.  Nadine has been secretly scheming with her dad all week about my present, and on Friday she said “If a package arrives on the doorstep DO NOT LOOK AT IT!”  The package has arrived – we’ll see if she can keep it a surprise.  So far so good.

Phinney Wood Art Walk 2015What I’m most excited about today is that I don’t need to think about a thing.  For the past week I have been running on adrenaline, organizing an Art Walk Pop Up sale that took place at my space on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The Art Walk was amazing – we totally lucked out on the weather and tons of people showed up (more to come on that) but I have to admit, I’m really glad it’s over.  After cleaning everything up and having dinner Saturday night, I passed out on the couch at around 8:30 pm while the rest of the family watched Robin Hood.  My house is a complete wreck but I don’t care and I don’t plan to do a thing about it. Today is about spending time with the people I love most, calling my mom, and not trying to get anything done.

I’ve been a mom for almost eleven years now, and it’s hard to remember what it was like pre-kids, when there were only two of us living in this house, our dog Sadie was our baby, and time didn’t pass at warp speed.  Adopting Nadine made me a mom, and fulfilled my dream of having kids.  As soon as they put her into my arms, everything changed.

First MeetingTodd and I struggled with having kids for years, but we never lost faith that it would happen some day, some how.  All my life I imagined I’d become a mom, but I never imagined it would happen by adopting a baby from China. But that’s the way life usually works, isn’t it?  You don’t just decide how things are going to happen and then they happen exactly that way.  There is always an element of fate thrown in there, and fate usually has it’s own plans for you.  But if you stay on the path, and never throw in the towel, you will get to where you are supposed to be.  Keep the faith and you’ll get what you want and more than you ever imagined.  That is why Nadine, and Miles, are my little miracle babies.  They both gave me exactly what I wanted in the most unexpected of ways, and now I can’t imagine my life any other way.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

- Steve Jobs

Right now there is a lot of activity happening in the kitchen – Nadine, Miles, Todd, and Victor (our surrogate son/first cousin once removed) are all cooking up something for Mother’s Day breakfast and I love it!  What could it be?  I don’t care.  I am just so thankful that I have a team of people happily working on making this day special for me.  What could be better than that?  What’s better than being appreciated?

Mother's Day Breakfast

I closed my eyes, the kids brought me outside, I opened them, and saw this!

Present from Nadine

This is my present from Nadine – a sparkling water maker (hooray!) – but I just love the wrapping paper!

P. S. Right after writing this post on Sunday morning our internet went down, and has been down for two and a half days.  Horrors!  But having it down on Mother’s Day I think was a bit of a gift.