Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Work or Play?

Ever since I was unexpectedly (and unknowingly) replaced as the Box Tops Coordinator at our school, I've been trying to figure out how to put in my required 30 hours of volunteer work (we're at a Charter School where volunteering is mandatory).  I didn't do a darn thing the whole first half of the year, mostly in protest of my ousting.  (Which I realize is totally ridiculous, since not another soul probably even knew of or cared about my displacement.)

Mike's had a slow work week, so when an email came about a volunteer opportunity at the school, I figured I should take advantage of not needing to find a babysitter, and start whittling down my hours.

I had a little information about what Mrs. J wanted on the bulletin board, so I sketched something out on a piece of paper and started to work.  The 4th graders are working on reports on North American animals, so that (and that it needed Spanish translation) was my only stipulation.  I was supposed to have some helpers, but in my overachieving, controlling fashion, I hyperfocused and did it all myself before anyone had a chance to screw it up give helpful suggestions.

  Here's what I came up with:

All the animals assigned to the kids are represented here and it was so cute to see them get excited when they saw "their" animal up on the board.  I even had comments from some of the "smart kids" congratulating me for putting the animals into their correct habitats.  (Thank you, Google, for helping me not embarrass my college educated self, or my 4th grade daughter.)

This particular board took me 12 hours from start to finish, when I include all the time it took me to find pictures of the animals online.  I guess I'm doing alright on those volunteer hours....

Katie's teacher pretty much got on her knees and begged me to do her board next, so I reluctantly obliged and got hers done today. ;)

Another 4 hours shaved off--one more bulletin board and I'll have met my volunteer quota for the year!  Though with all of the requests from the other teachers in the past two days, I'm pretty sure I'll be exceeding my 30 hours.  Good thing it doesn't feel anything like work.  I kinda wish I'd figured this out 2 years ago!  Thank you, whomever decided someone else needed to do the Box Tops.  Who knew you were doing me such a favor?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Turning Point & Lesson Learned

This weekend was a true turning point for me. 

I spend a lot of time trying to function "in the moment" and losing sight of the future.  Sometimes--okay, MOST of the time--it's out of necessity.  Trying to get dinner ready while helping 3 kids with homework, a hungry, whiny baby at my hip while yelling at the 4 y.o. to stop banging on the piano tends to not bring out the best in me.  And after the meltdowns (by them and me), I'm filled with such regret that I didn't speak softly in the moment, then pray for forgiveness and help to do better the next day.  I've come to realize that preparation BEFORE those moments come can be the difference between the "Soft-Voiced Mom" and "Freak OUT Mom."  I'm trying to be better about it, but I'm not usually successful. 

As you know, I've been presented with an opportunity to make more of my business than I ever thought probable.  I've been scrambling the last couple of weeks to get everything ready for the trade shows that start in February, and freaking out and stressing out all along the way.  I've been swinging on a pendulum--back and forth--between "Get it all done, quick, quick, quick!" and "Just stop the madness now!  It's too much and you're neglecting too many other things!"   Amidst all the conflicting feelings, one little voice kept coming into my head, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

I've been buckled in the back seat, going along for the ride ever since I began this journey.  Things have fallen into place for me, and I knew that the next road was the right one, even though I didn't know what to expect or where I'd go next, or really what I was doing at all!  It's been a fun endeavor and I've figured it out along the way.  Things have changed, though, and I can feel it.  This conflict brewing in me has put me right back into "Freak Out Mom" mode, and this time, I'm paying attention.  I've had some concerns about taking this next step, about my own preparedness, so for the first time, (and because the time is now right) I unbuckled and climbed into the driver's seat. 

What I discovered over the weekend was that I'm invested in this emotionally.  I really hadn't supposed it before, but when I started to consider just giving it all up, a sad and empty feeling overcame me.  It surprised me to know that I really wanted this, because I always felt like I'd do it till it wasn't fun anymore--and it stopped being fun the minute I started freaking out.

After getting myself a Cliff's Notes version education on design/manufacturing/production/retail over the internet, and connecting with others within and without my little network, I finally saw the path that I need to put myself on, and it isn't what I thought.  It's neither "quick, quick, quick" nor "stop."  It's "slow down."  Imagine that!  I, who jump into everything at 100 mph, have just taken myself off cruise control and let off the gas.  I'm "speaking softly" in the moment and it's so refreshing!!!!  I no longer feel stress and worry and FEAR, because I have a different plan and a different path that takes me through all the preparation I need in order to eliminate it.

My Jan. 31st deadline is no longer.  I'm giving myself the next 6 mo. to a year to do it the right way, and I've never felt better about a decision in my life!!!  There's something to be said about stopping to see the big picture and I'm so grateful that this most important life lesson was one I could truly learn at a bright and hopeful beginning instead of at the end of fear and failure.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Opportunity

I really thought that once the holidays were over, I could finally breathe. 

What was I thinking????  

All I did was replace one thing with about three others that I was putting off until such a time as this. 
Great job, Jonesy. 
Way to fool yourself into seeing a light at the end of the first tunnel. 

So, you wanna know about my new project now that Christmas is over?? Do ya?  Do ya?


I've been busy gathering samples, organizing order forms, creating display boards, and shopping for new fabrics. 


Because I now have a Retail Sales Rep. who will be taking MY ties to several HUGE trade shows in NY, DC, Chicago, Philly--and she's expecting BIG THINGS!!!!!!!!!!

This is me being cautiously optomistic....YAY!!!!

Now....back to work.