Monday, July 30, 2012

No More Back-up Plan

As I write this, it's 1:05 on Saturday afternoon. Many of you probably don't know, but I was a part-time waitress at a local restaurant, and as of last night, I turned in my two-week notice. 

I've been working at this place for almost 7 years, and though I had whittled my way down to only working somewhere between 4-12 hours a month, quitting has made me really re-evaluate my business. I'm feeling this startling pressure that this pottery thing has to work. I don't have another job to fall back on if the going gets tough (except for the 7-hours-a-week-cashier-at-my-aunt's-nature-shop-job- which wouldn't cut it if I got desperate.)

My mind has been swarmed with thoughts of advertising, publicity, and how to get found. I feel so confident in my work, but sometimes I feel like no one knows I exist. I don't come from a line of artists and indie biz owners (though my mom's family has definite craft/design talent). Sometimes I feel like I don't know who to turn to, like I wish I could sit straight across from God and have Him tell me exactly what I am supposed to do.

I know money and success is not important, but I do need to support myself. 

It seems so silly, really. I wasn't even making very much with my limited amount of waitressing, but now I'm thinking, "this is for real." Not that I couldn't ever go back if I really needed to, but there isn't an ounce of my being that wants to do that. This is what I want to do, and this is what I feel I've been created for.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Afraid to Fly

Every summer, we get a nest of Carolina wrens in our garage. They are the cutest things with their feathers sticking straight up on their heads. The wren that hatched this year was the most fearful little guy I've seen yet.

He hung out in the garage for four days, hopping around and crying for mama, too scared to venture out on his own. His parents would actually bring him food and then fly up or scurry away with it still in their beaks, trying to get him to follow.

But he wouldn't. He would just sit there. Waiting. Wondering where his dinner was going.

At first, it seemed almost mean of the parents to not take care of their little one, but really, they were helping him become independent. To the fuzzy little wren, the outside world looked so scary. He wanted to stay in the comfort of the garage. But eventually, he spread his wings and took the leap.

Baby wren makes me think of two things:

(a) How often am I afraid to venture out into the world- to spread my wings and fly. The familiar seems so comforting and "safe."

(b) God is a lot like the adult wrens. When His ways seem harsh and unloving, He's really acting with our best interest in mind. We don't have the capacity as humans to always see the big picture. God does. He knows what He's doing, and He will never let us down.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Influence Conference

Are any of you going to the Influence Conference? I'll be there! If fact, I'm even going to be selling my goods at the Sashes Market


There are so many ladies that I've only seen through this computer screen that I can't wait to meet in real life! I know it's going to be an incredible weekend.

So... will I see you there?!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Little Miracles

I loaded my kiln Saturday night and programmed it to start early Sunday morning so that it would be finished firing by that afternoon. I checked on it on my way to church and things were looking fine, but when I stopped on my way home from church, it was a different story.

The kiln had stopped and there was an "error code" displayed on the screen.

Panic set in.

This had never happened before so I wasn't sure what the problem was (not to mention I had part of a huge, HUGE wholesale order in the kiln that I have to ship by the end of this week!)

After much staring at the kiln, trying to figure out what to do, planning the not-so-wonderful email to my wholesale customer in my head, it started up again when I pressed "start." I was slightly relieved, but concerned that if an element in the kiln had given out, it would shut off again once it climbed a few hundred degrees. I headed back home, and my (wonderfully-supportive) dad said a prayer on the way home that everything would be alright.

When I came back a couple hours later, same thing- "error." 

I wasn't surprised (oh me of little faith), and decided just for kicks to start it up again (just to watch it do it's shutting down mode, I guess).

Well, waiting around for half an hour to see it shut down prematurely turned into waiting 4 hours to watch it finish it's cycle with no problems.

Why do I share this with you? To remind myself to trust God more. I don't know why this had to happen at all, but I'm just counting it a little miracle when I had lost all hope. 

I don't know what the problem is yet (and I may have to order replacement parts), but to say I was happy on the way home would be an understatement.

Then it rained. And it poured.

Do you know how dry it's been in Ohio this summer? We're in a drought (as you can tell by the lovely brown grass).

I decided to tromp around in the rain for a few minutes to relieve some of my excitement. I came in looking like a drowned rat and my parents thought I was crazy, but I didn't care.

Recognize those little miracles in the every day. 

Have a blessed week!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Faith & Deeds

I'm going through Beth Moore's study on James with a group of young women from my church right now, and I have been so challenged this week.

What good is faith without action? According to God, it's not any good.

Sounds pretty harsh, doesn't it?

Now I don't believe James is saying that we receive salvation by doing good works, but it is very clear that if works are not a part of our lives, our faith is useless- dead. Faith and deeds go hand-in-hand. After all, if our lives are not bearing fruit, is our faith real? Real faith will naturally be shown through the way we live.

If people can't see that we are different, what good is it?

Monday, July 9, 2012

10,000 Reasons

Today, I'm so grateful for a God who is faithful and strong in the good times and the bad. He alone is worthy of all my praise!

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman on Grooveshark
(one of my current favorite songs- enjoy!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Herb Magnets

I have a new item in the shop! Stoneware Herb Magnets
I make the magnets by gathering fresh herbs outside in my garden (thank you, aunt Cilla, for the chamomile!), so you can bring the outdoors inside with you all year round. :) Each box contains four different herbs- sage, thyme, rosemary, and chamomile, and they come perfectly packaged for gifting. I love the look of the fresh herb sprig tied on top, but I'm not sure how well it will hold up in shipping during this hot weather. I'm going to see how long it will last, and I may have to dry some herbs to tie on top instead.
You can see them in the shop HERE.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Art of Balance

I've been thinking a lot about balance lately, especially in the realm of business and social media. I think most people would say that social media is important in getting your business out there, but sometimes I struggle.

How much is too much? How do you keep people informed without being annoying? I don't want to be annoying. Ever.

I watched this interview with Nichole of The Paris Print Shop last week, and it really got me thinking about how I view and use social media. In the video, Nichole talks about how she uses twitter for sharing about herself personally and rarely, if ever, talks about her shop.

"I look at social media as a place to connect with me, not the product," she says.

I like that.
But where do you draw the line between letting people know who you are (and what you're up to) and knowing that your chatter is just white noise?

I also struggle with balancing different areas of my life.

How do you balance working from home with your social/family life?
How do you make time for fun when you feel pressured to work?

Don't get me wrong, I would rather have a wopper of a to-do list anyday then feel like I have nothing to do. I thrive on productivity. Yet time away with friends, having fun, doing nothing... these things are so important.

Everything is balance, I suppose.

Balance is such a tricky thing. It's something to always strive for, yet seems virtually impossible to achieve. I don't think there is anyone who is always perfectly balanced.

How do you use/view social media?
Do you struggle with balancing your business/personal/social life? 
Do you have any guidelines that you follow to keep yourself on track?