The Misery of Waiting…

The last few weeks have been awesome and terrifying. Keola went to Utah a couple weeks ago to interview at two universities there to hopefully make a good impression and get admitted into their PhD program. He enjoyed his time at both schools, but by the time he came home, we hadn’t changed our minds about which school we’d rather attend. As “luck” would have it, the other school he didn’t like as much rejected him anyway so I guess the feeling was mutual. Since then he’s been rejected by one school and waitlisted by another school, which leaves our #1 school left. We haven’t heard a yay/nay yet, and we should be finding out within the next day or two, or by next week at the latest.

You know what’s worse than a rejection? Not knowing.

Last night I was telling Keola that this feeling reminds me of the week that I’m due to give birth. Every morning I’d wake up thinking “Today’s the day! We’re gonna have this baby!” And by night I’m dejectedly pouring myself a bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch and slumping on the couch, convinced that I’ll be pregnant for the rest of my life.

Sometimes it seems like we’ll never find out. We’ve jumped through every hoop but this last one, and just like waiting for labor to start, it is taking FOREVER. 

It’d an odd place to be in – stuck between life changing drastically, or life not changing much at all, and youʻd think Iʻd be used to it by now since it feels like 80% of our marriage was spent in this space, but I’m not finding it any easier.  So I’m trying to keep busy with work and…I donʻt know…mindlessly scrolling Facebook so I donʻt have to think about it, and watching Trolls on repeat because itʻs Leoʻs absolute favorite. Somebody put me out of my misery already. 

Fabric is Here!

I’m so pleased to share today that select patterns from the 100 Nature Pattern project are now available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper. I did several stories on Instagram showing photos of the fabric with my library card for scale, but in case you missed it, here are those same photos and videos that I shared a couple days ago. Some of the photos look a little fluorescent, and it’s because I took the photos using the Insta stories camera which I probably shouldn’t have done. The only one that actually does look a little fluorescent in real life is the kalo pattern (top left). Overall I love the colors saturation and the sharpness and detail of the print. They turned out EXACTLY as I imagined them to be and I’m very excited to make these available to you! Please feel free to comment here or email me with questions. I’m very new to Spoonflower so I’m open to suggestions/feedback until I figure out how things work on the site. CLICK HERE TO SHOP!

Lessons from the 100 Day Project

I have a knack for never following through with anything I announce on social media, so I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to do a 100 Day Project and share it with the world. I was sure I would quit after day 3, but for some reason, I kept going, and going and going, until I had 100 patterns under my belt.

When I started, my goals were to get into the habit of creating, expand my design skills, and build a cool portfolio of art, but by the time I finished, I realized I had gained so much more. Here are ten things I learned from participating in the 100 Day Project.

1. Just start. Even if you’ve got nothing.

Ideas come at a price, and that price is action. If you’ve got nothing, just get going. Your action opens up a portal for an idea to come through to the real world. If you’re stuck, you’re probably not doing enough.

2. It doesn’t have to be perfect

I often reminded myself that I didn’t have to come up with a perfect pattern, just a pattern. Some days were throw away days where I had time for was something quick and simple and that was it. Not every day was a  masterpiece (honestly, none of them were since you can’t make a masterpiece in one day.) Some days are going to be less than ideal, but who cares as long as you show up? 

3. Keep your original goal in mind

My goal was to get into the habit of creating, and create I did. If it had been to create high-end works of art, I would’ve failed miserably. If it had been to create something sell-able every day, I would’ve failed miserably. When we’re in the thick of working on something, it’s easy to lose sight of the original goal or intention. Part-way through I started to have visions of grandeur of what I could do with these patterns. I eventually had to remind myself that whatever I did came second to my original goal of being creative. 

4. There is no shortage of ideas

One of my greatest concerns was that I wouldn’t have enough ideas, and while there were some days where I struggled to come up with something, they were few and far between. Most of the time I had a steady flow of ideas and by the end of the project, I had many more waiting in the wings. I had learned how to escape the scarcity mindset.

5. You DO have enough time (and energy)

Through this project I’ve learned that there is more than enough time for your priorities. I made this project a BIG DEAL. There were some days that were crazy busy and I didn’t get to work on my pattern until 11:30 at night (my deadline was always midnight) but no matter how tired I was, I would drag myself over to my computer and make a pattern. Other days I would prioritize it in the morning and it always felt great to get it done early. Or sometimes I would find a pocket of time in the afternoon. The point is, it was always on my mind, and I ALWAYS made sure I got to it. This process is repeatable for anything that’s a priority. If there’s something you want to do but don’t seem to have enough time for, check in with yourself to see whether or not it’s important to you, and if it isn’t, don’t worry about letting it go. Life’s too short to spend it doing things that aren’t important to you.

6. Don’t beat yourself up for stuff you didn’t know

Would you believe I didn’t actually understand how to make a true repeatable seamless pattern until about pattern 85? I mean, I sort of did, but I really didn’t. It wasn’t until I watched this youtube video that it all clicked for me, and BOOM, it took my patterns to another level.  Everything before that seems kinda lame in my opinion, but it was all necessary to get me to that point where I could understand what that tutorial was teaching me. It meant I had to go back and edit my other patterns, but now I have this knowledge and I can make amazing things going forward. Why should I feel bad for not knowing it sooner?

7. Your way might be work, but there’s always a better way. Stay open.

In the beginning, I was using Illustrator exclusively, but it’s really tedious compared to drawing with a pen. At the time I thought that was the best way to do it, and consigned myself to this clunky work flow. Then I decided to try using my iPad to hand draw certain elements and all of a sudden I was able to draw much more complex patterns with greater precision and I had much more control over the final product. If I had been so stuck in my thinking, I never would’ve discovered a MUCH better way. I’m sure there’s an even better way, and this project has taught me to stay open to the “better ways.”

8. Trust the plan, and take it one day at a time.

When I was on Pattern 30, I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh I have 60 more patterns to make!” and I felt overwhelmed. It’s much easier to just focus on what needs to get done today, which in my case was one pattern, and that was enough. As long as I followed my plan and did that one small thing (which wasn’t always small…sometimes I’d spend 2 or 3 hours on a pattern), I would reach my goal. Consistently reaching daily goals will get you to your big goal.

9. You are so incredibly capable.

Dare I say that the pride I felt in finishing this project is similar to what I felt giving birth? Actually, giving birth might’ve been easier because once you’re pregnant, that baby’s gonna come with no mental effort on your part. Your body just knows what to do to grow and birth a tiny human. At least, that was my experience. With the 100 Day Project, I could’ve stopped at any time. I didn’t HAVE to do it, but when I released my last pattern, I looked back in awe of everything I had created. Some I loved, others, not so much, but I had done it, and now I KNOW I can do difficult things when I put my mind to it. So can you.

10. You’re not alone.

While I didn’t do the challenge with anyone else, I was always so encouraged by those who interacted with me about my patterns. So many awesome followers cheered me on, and I was so inspired by them to keep going. I think when we reach out and let people know what we’re doing and what we want to accomplish, we’ll find that we’re not alone, and that others are rooting for us to succeed. It definitely kept me going on days where I was feeling unmotivated.

This project really was a game-changer for me. It’s a marathon for sure. 100 days is a LONG TIME, and it’s mostly a battle with yourself to keep going, but it’s worth it if by the end you come out believing that you CAN. Others may know it, and we may know it about others, but for some reason we’re often slow to know it about ourselves. If you’re one of those and you’re not sure what you’re capable of, I’m officially challenging you to challenge yourself. It doesn’t have to be a 100 day project. Pick something that you’ve been wanting to do. Break it up into daily actions and attack it every day. Then tell me how much more you believe in yourself when it’s done.

Click here to see all 100 patterns, and here to shop tons of cool products that are made with the patterns.

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Welp, 2016 was officially my worst year for blogging with a whopping FIVE posts, most of which talked about how I don’t really blog anymore. Another blogger called 2016 a “year of rest” from her blog, and I guess mine was on an unintentional sabbatical as well. I can’t say I’ll do much better this year, but I’m going to try to make more of an effort. For example, I switched my website back to an actual blog, so now my writing will be front and center. Having three kids is no walk in the park, and my life has been consumed by so much this past year that blogging necessarily took a back seat. This year looks even busier so we’ll see how things go, but first a quick run-down of things that happened last year:

Business-wise

Printing and shipping shirts and attending events was starting to get overwhelming, and I wasn’t happy or being very creative, so after months of trying to get clear and honest with myself, I came to the conclusion that I had to stop. I began selling everything off, including my heat presses. I’m still not done yet, but most things are gone.

I started taking on more graphic design jobs.

I started my own 100 Day Project, and designed 100 nature inspired patterns in 100 days. I put my favorites onto Society6 and am working on getting them onto Spoonflower as well.

I also randomly started writing psychological reports for a psychologist friend in the last quarter of 2016. It’s fascinating work and it gives me something fairly steady while I work on creating new patterns and building up my Society6 and Spoonflower shops.

Kiddos

Welina turned 1! Whaaaat?! I seriously feel like I JUST gave birth…AAAANND I look like it too…

Leo was diagnosed with autism. We were able to get her into DOE preschool right when she turned 3 in August. So far, she’s thriving there and seems very happy, and we’ve noticed quite a bit of progress socially, though she doesn’t speak (yet.) It’s been an adjustment, and yet it hasn’t, because she’s still our Leo. I’ll probably talk more about this later.

Noweo represented Kindergarten as one of the May Day princesses at school. She looked and did an amazing job and made us so proud!
Noweo represented Kindergarten as one of the May Day princesses at school. She looked and did an amazing job and made us so proud!

Noweo started 1st grade, and started losing teeth this year. Again, Whaaaaat?! What happened to my chubby baby? She’s bright, intelligent, responsible, articulate, and also a crazy 6-year-old. She loves school and has great friends. She’s amazing and I really don’t feel like something as awesome as she is could come from me. 

Personally

Having Keola home with me has been great. We’ve learned a lot and have done a lot to support each other, and I think we’ve gotten into a good groove, but we both want him to have a career that he loves, and nothing he’s done so far has really felt like his thing. Ever since he finished his Master’s he’s wanted to get a PhD and become a professor, and we’ve made half-hearted attempts at getting in somewhere, but it never worked out. So, last summer we sat down and decided we were really going to give it our very best effort, and so for the second half of the year we worked our butts off on applications, studying for the GRE, and talking with professors he would like to work with. His application has never been stronger, his scores never higher, and his chances never better. We feel like this year is THE YEAR. Applications are in now, and we’re just waiting to hear back, but if all goes well, we’ll have a white Christmas this year and every year for the next 3-5 years in either Utah, Washington or Oregon. Yay!? Coming to this decision makes it all the more logical to stop selling a physical product for the time being (and probably forever because I like being able to work from anywhere and buying inventory sucks.)

And, to finish off the year, my little brother got married in December! His new wife Mandy is literally the sweetest person you will ever meet. EVER, and we’re sooooo happy for both of them and can’t wait to see what their next moves will be.

Overall, 2016 was a year of reflection, growth, and change. I think we got really honest and clear about what we want (and don’t want) and started to take some real action on it. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings. Hopefully I’ll make the time to blog about it. I’ve missed writing here and I’ve felt the urge to write lately, so I’ll likely be riding that wave in the coming weeks. Talk soon!

Two Friendly Reminders for When You’re Feeling Stuck

It’s funny how random events in our day will teach us profound lessons. This morning Welina shut herself in our bedroom. As soon as she realized that she had trapped herself in there, she started hitting the door and crying. When I tried to open the door I found she was sitting right in front of it and I couldn’t open it. For several minutes we sat at an impasse with her screaming hysterically and me trying to tell her to move away from the door. Eventually she gave up and crawled away, and I was able to open the door and let her out.

The whole incident taught me two things:

  1. We are the key to solving our own problems – I was completely helpless in this situation. Me helping her was completely dependent on her helping herself. So many times I find myself looking outward for the someone to bail me out of a tough situation, when really no one can help me unless I take action first, whether it’s asking for help or putting myself in a better position to receive help.
  2. Often a problem will resolve itself once we get moving – If all I want to do is sit on my butt and cry, that’s all that’s gonna happen. I am the poster-child of sitting and crying (which is probably where Welina gets it from) and making decisions is NOT my strong suit. Seriously, I wish I could make a career out of NOT making decisions because I would be set for life! I can’t even decide what kind of candy I want or what I want for lunch or what I want to watch on Netflix after the kids go to sleep. But in those moments where I suddenly become a responsible, decision-making adult, and act on it, I get stuff done, and it feels amazing. Being stuck in analysis paralysis is a sure-fire way to end up sitting and crying and wallowing in self-pity.

Life can sometimes feel like a series of doors we can’t get past, and I think we’re allowed to sit and cry for a little while, but consider this a reminder to us all that there is always a way out if we’re willing to look for it.

I’m Still a Writer.

10397019_10155983007320322_2086221009044193351_o

It seems like every post I write here starts off with “It’s been a while since I’ve written here.”

Not an apology, just an observation. We all know that the world of blogging has morphed and shifted and I know I’ve definitely changed along with it. It’s been harder and harder to find the motivation to write with three small kids and a business to run.

But there’s also this feeling of over-crowdedness. Blogs used to be a small, one person show – your neighborhood grocer so to speak, but now these giant Walmarts of the internet have popped up sucking everyones’ content and making the small blogger feel EVEN MORE insignificant. Of course, there are still those small operations that do quite well, but it’s not really about sticking with any one person anymore and watching a life journey unfold. It’s more about trying to write something that goes viral, and if we’re judging our success by how many “viral” posts we have, and with so much content being shoved down our throats 24/7, its hard to feel motivated. There always seems to be somebody saying what you want to say, only better.

The last several days have been rough on us. All our kids are sick and we’ve been cooped up in the house waiting it out. We’re all starting to go a little crazy. I can’t remember the last time I got a good night’s sleep. I was up at 4am this morning giving Welina (sounds like Veh-lee-nah) a steam bath because she has croup and was coughing badly. I was hoping the steam would soothe her poor little lungs as I sat with her on the toilet and watched the first 15 minutes of Apple’s keynote like the closet geek I am.

I woke up a couple hours later and immediately reached for my phone to tell Facebook in a long and drawn out post how beat up I was feeling, and how I need a break and yet I’m grateful for my kids and modern medicine and blah blah blah.

And it dawned on me.

I’m still a writer! I just write everything on Facebook – long, thought provoking posts, snarky commentary about my day and everything in between.

This was an exciting revelation. I’m still a writer.

But I do want to be a blogger. I do. It’s more curated, more intentional, with less crap in between the good posts, and definitely, DEFINITELY less cat videos and political mud-slinging.

So I’m going to try something new that will maybe help me be a better blogger: Any long posts that I start writing on Facebook will be published to the blog instead. I suppose it doesn’t matter where I write, as long as I write, and it’s immensely comforting to know that I still have content, I still have things to say, but there’s something special about looking a blog in its’ entirety and being able to see your body of work.

We’ll see how this goes. This could also just be my flavor of the week (or with my Facebook induced short attention span, the morning.)

Bloggers: Do you have a hard time blogging? What makes it difficult for you? What shifts have you made to try to keep it worthwhile?

Draw Upon Your Innate Power to Persevere

12373364_10156279894805322_3606494474287514933_n
12373364_10156279894805322_3606494474287514933_n

I’m currently watching my six month old daughter on the floor, pushing her top half up with her hands, hoisting her bottom up over her knees and trying over and over again to get her hands and legs coordinated enough to give her some forward motion. Sometimes she manages to do a little bit of a seal crawl where she scoots forward and falls on her chest. Other times her arms push her backward and she ends up losing ground. The only thing that remains constant is that so far, she hasn’t given up. She hasn’t even become discouraged. She just tries again, over, and over and over, and like every able-bodied human before her, she will learn to crawl, and then walk, and she’ll forget all about the struggle that I’m witnessing right now.

Often times I encourage her, sitting 2 feet away with my arms outstretched, saying “Come to Mommy!,” cheering her on, telling her she can do it. She smiles, revealing two tiny white peaks poking out of her gums, sticks her tongue out, saturating her chin with drool, and rocks back and forth like a revving engine.

It doesn’t bother me that she goes absolutely nowhere, because I know, in time, she’ll come, and then eventually she’ll follow me everywhere like Mary’s little lamb. It’s the reality of virtually every able-bodied human.

In my observations I’ve noticed several qualities that allow her to work toward and accomplish her goals. Here are eight:

  1. Optimism – Doubt is simply not in my daughter’s vocabulary (well, nothing is at her age, but you get the idea.) When I watch her, there is no indication that she doesn’t think she can do whatever it is she’s trying to do. She fully believes that the best will happen. If we truly live like we believe the best will happen, chances are, it will.
  2. Patience – It doesn’t matter how many times she face plants, she always gets up and tries again. She never complains about not being able to do something immediately. Yes, there are moments of frustration, but she never gives up. We need to be comfortable with not knowing how to do something. It’s ok to be a beginner and cut ourselves some slack. We should be kind to ourselves, especially when we’re learning something new.
  3. Focus – My daughter has no desire to jump or write or ride a bike, though she’s seen all these things demonstrated. She’s focused on just one thing: crawling. Because she’s so laser focused, she will achieve her goal in no time, and be on to the next step. She doesn’t try to skip ahead or do too many things at once, and as a result she makes steady forward progress.
  4. Fearlessness – Of course she’ll cry out if she feels afraid or threatened, but when it comes to sitting up, crawling, or pulling herself up to stand, she does not let fear of failure hold her back. If she did, she would still be an immobile blob (a cute immobile blob, but an immobile blob nevertheless) There would be no growth.
  5. Dependence – It’s true that most parents want to raise their children to be able to take care of themselves, but this can backfire when we start to believe that we’re somehow weak or defective if we can’t do everything on our own. My daughter knows she can’t do everything herself and isn’t afraid to ask (or scream) for help when she needs it. It’s ok to need help and it’s ok to ask for it. No one does it alone, and those who achieve success in whatever they strive for often have a support system behind them.
  6. Pride in accomplishment – It doesn’t matter if she scoots herself 1 inch or 100 inches. She’s proud of what she does and enjoys her accomplishments even though her main objective is not yet realized. “Not good enough” is another phrase that’s not in her vocabulary. Likewise, we should celebrate a win no matter how small because it stands for progress. It keeps us motivated to keep reaching for our big goals.
  7. Sense of Boundary – My daughter knows her limits. She pushes herself, but she’s quick to pull back and rest when she’s had enough, and she feels absolutely no shame in doing so. Somehow we’ve been fed a lie that slowing down and self-care are signs of weakness when it’s really a sign of maturity that we know and care about ourselves enough to say “Enough.”
  8. A never-ending desire to progress – I know that once she starts crawling, she’ll want to stand. Once she stands, she’ll want to walk. Once she walks she’ll want to run,, and jump, and climb and swim. Work is something we need to do to stay happy. What that looks like for each of us is vastly different, but there should always be something more for which to strive. That doesn’t mean the same thing as being constantly busy. Some of our greatest work happens when we slow down and create space and quiet.

We all have things we want to accomplish. Maybe we want to pursue higher education, get married, buy a house, sell a house, find a new job, start a business, travel the world, pay off our debt, get rid of stuff we no longer want or need…

Whatever you’re hoping for right now, your dream won’t be realized with this article. Nothing you read will be a magic bullet, but maybe it would do us some good to tap into who we were when we were just getting started on this planet, before we made huge mistakes, before people told us we couldn’t, before we suffered loss. We were all babies once. We all believed in ourselves enough to push up off the floor, deny that gravity that threatened to keep us down and MOVE. We kept moving until it was second nature to walk, run and jump. We did it, and we can do it again, with kindness and compassion for ourselves, joy in our accomplishments, laser focus, an understanding of our limits, and undying optimism.

On Resisting the Urge to Change Things and Learning to Appreciate What Is

2015-07-09-17.52.04

One of the weaknesses that I’ve recently noticed I’ve developed is that when I’m at home, or with my family, I often see the need to change things somehow. If it’s our home, I feel the need to purge stuff, or organize something, or clean something. Sometimes I just look around and sigh, because IT. NEVER. ENDS. I think my feelings are understandble. With 5 year old, 2 year old and infant, messes come with the territory.

Sometimes I feel the need to change my family members. Sometimes I can’t stand how messy my daughter’s hair is, and I absolutely need to brush it before I do anything else. Sometimes I stress about all the mistakes she makes as she’s learning to write. She in Kindergarten for crying out loud. I mostly leave my two year old alone, because well, she’s two, but she does throw the most stereotypical two-year-old tantrums, and I try to think of ways to keep her calm.

And then there’s Keola, who’s an amazing husband and father in so many ways, and yet I often find myself running a list of things I wish I could change about him – most of which are things that we just don’t see eye to eye on, and that’s ok. Sometimes I think my life would be easier if we always had the same opinion about everything (or at least that my opinion was the only one that mattered) but I doubt that’s ever made for a good marriage.

While I’m mostly this way with my family, I have noticed myself being increasingly critical of all sorts of things throughout my day. Why did they build they wall there? I can’t see the oncoming traffic. Why is that sign so small? Why is it taking so long to see the doctor?

Shouldn’t my common sense be everyone’s common sense? After all, don’t we call it “common” because everyone agrees on it?

But then I thought about things that I generally don’t try to change, like nature. I don’t go around coloring white flowers purple, moving birds’ nests from the tree to the ground, trying to change the course of the wind. I simply let those things be, and appreciate them for what they are.

When I was younger, I accepted just about everything this way, and rarely thought anything should be different. I easily saw the good in people and was slow to criticize. I didn’t complain about the high school and college I attended and the way they were run. I didn’t complain (too much) about the student jobs I had. I really didn’t have much of anything negative to say about my professors or my friends or roommates. In fact, I often wondered why my friends were so critical of some of these things/people.

I guess adulthood has made me “wiser?” Now I can see a million ways to improve on everyone and everything, but the truth of the matter is that being critical sucks away at my happiness, and takes away my ability to see the positive qualities in any given moment (and there are positive qualities to just about everything.) That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage and worthy causes and try to make the world a better place, but when the majority of what we notice are things that are wrong with the the world, society, my spouse, kids, house, HAIR, etc., we waste a lot of time, energy, effort and headspace on things that should for the most part, just be allowed to be.

This blog of course, can potentially talk a lot about change. I still want an orderly home, a healthier diet, a better hold on our finances, etc., but at the same time it’s also about being grateful, appreciating each moment  and cultivating happiness. I think it’s possible to do that without feeling the need to change things or think about what it’s lacking. Sometimes what needs to change the most is not what we’re looking at, but the way we see it.

How Long Before You Try?

10491177_10154410332075322_5894507722993818351_n
10491177_10154410332075322_5894507722993818351_n

I did some pretty cool new things this week as a writer:

I submitted 2 posts to The Good Men Project. One was rejected (it was a little off brand for them since I’m a woman and I wasn’t really talking about men at all) and I’m still waiting to hear about the other one.

I signed up with a writing agency and immediately sold a blog post.

I submitted the post that was rejected by Good Men Project to the Huffington Post.

I’ve been a blogger off and on for a pretty long time. I first started a personal blog back in 2010 while I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, but I never had the courage to write for other blogs…until now. Something just clicked in me, and I’m simply over being afraid of this.

I’m done being afraid of reaching out and putting myself out there, so I just started. 

Now that I’m on the other side of trying this difficult thing, I’ve been examining my feelings about it, and I honestly don’t know what I was so afraid of. Literally five minutes ago I submitted a post to one of the biggest websites in the world (if not THE biggest), and I’m completely calm about it. I did my part. It’s out of my hands, and here’s the kicker: My worth is not tied to my success anymore. If they don’t like my post, it has nothing to do with me as a person or even my writing ability. It simply wasn’t a good fit. It’s not a sign that I should give up.

Here’s the other thing: I wasn’t successful because someone bought my post. I was successful when I faced my fear and submitted the post.

I wonder where I’d be if I’d had the courage to put myself out there from the very beginning?

I’d probably have more of an audience. I’d probably have had some pretty cool experiences getting to know and connect with my readers. There may have been opportunities to make a living and care for my family through my writing. What a dream that would be!

All this can still happen, but it could’ve happened earlier. I’ve lost nothing but time. Time is finite. It’s limited. We know this, and we still treat time like it’s a renewable resource. We value our egos and our feelings more than we value time. We pamper them and shield them and do everything we can to keep them from being hurt in any way. If we’re afraid of taking risks we live in comfort but every minute we spend remaining comfortable is a minute we lose experiencing something potentially great.

This applies to anything that challenges us:

Going for that raise.

Starting a family.

Returning to college.

Asking someone on a date.

Starting a business.

Training for a marathon.

Letting go of limiting self beliefs.

Beginning the monumental task of simplifying our lives.

The longer we wait to start, the more time we waste, the more time we spend in mediocrity.

Think about something you’ve been meaning to start but haven’t. If you had started a year ago, where would you be today? I think about this a lot, with different areas in my life that need improvement. We all do. Sometimes we’re just lazy, or it’s simply not a priority right now. That’s ok. But if there’s something you true want to do, and it’s simple fear that’s holding you back, do yourself a favor and ignore that dissenting voice. It’s only an illusion. You can do it, and in the process, you’ll probably learn what I learned, that there really wasn’t anything to fear in the first place.

Here’s a challenge: This week, start something you’ve been putting off because of fear. Let me know how it went in the comments!

What I’ve Learned about Tackling Scary Things.

Hi Everyone!

I’m in a bloggy (it keeps auto-correcting to “bloody.” ugh.) mood tonight so I thought I’d hop on and do a little brain dumping. I’ve had so much on my mind lately that I wanted to kind of get some thoughts out of my brain and turn it into a post. I’ve been SO BUSY lately with work. If you don’t know, Keola left his job and is now helping me with SoPupuka full time. It’s kinda really scary sometimes but I think we’ve figured stuff out enough to the point where we’re ok. I’ve been SO BUSY with work. It’s kinda weird to call SoPupuka work, because I never took it myself seriously enough, but now I do, because it’s our livelihood. So. I’ve been so busy with work because it’s the Christmas season, and I signed up for every craft event I could find. I ended up with Friday-Saturday craft fairs every weekend for a MONTH. I’m halfway through them now. The first event was good. Great traffic, good sales. The second fair was kind of pathetic with not much traffic (though it was the weekend after Thanksgiving and with Black Friday and all, we had a lot to compete with.) This weekend I’m headed to what should be the biggest event of the season, and I’m so excited for that! It should be a good one.

I’ve been learning so much as I’ve gone to these and other events over the months, the biggest lesson being that it’s NOT THAT HARD. I remember when I first started doing events, it was Wailuku First Friday and we lived on Maui. I was so nervous about it I did a complete set up before the event every single time I went. I had crazy butterflies in my stomach. Even after I had been doing them for a while I’d still get nervous. For a long time I wouldn’t want to try for big events because I didn’t think my stuff was good enough and they wouldn’t let me sell at their event. I thought other vendors would be mean or stingy. I thought no one would want to buy my stuff.

NOT TRUE, NOT TRUE, aaaand NOT TRUE.

I’ve been accepted into every single event I applied to (and the event planners have all been very nice). I’ve made wonderful friends with other vendors. NOT ONE has been stuck up or unwilling to share their own insights and experiences. People buy my stuff. Some people buy A LOT of my stuff (which is really cool.)

12249872_1048473325216736_771542186755653009_n

I’ve gotten into a groove. I have a “set up.” I no longer have to plan out my set up in advance. I just pack everything up, head over and set up when I get there, making the best use of the space I have.

12308340_1051789891551746_944341394066831147_n

It’s NOT THAT HARD. Of course, it takes time to learn these things. I go through a lot of trial and error and I’m constantly changing things up and figuring out what’s the best way to do things. I learn more with each event. But the cool thing is, that the more I do this, the less scary it becomes.

Tomorrow I’m heading to my biggest event to date. Earlier this year I would’ve been a nervous wreck. Heck, earlier LAST MONTH I would’ve been a nervous wreck. I would obsessing over my set up, loading of the car already and making sure  I have EVERYTHING. What am I doing instead? Writing a blog post. Later I’ll probably make some cocoa and watch an episode of Supernatural (or Downton Abbey but I think Keola wants to watch Supernatural). I’ll make sure all my electronics are on chargers tonight, but other than that, it’s just another event and everything’s been ready to go since my last event.

11219046_1045388148858587_8655654796451762737_n

I could never have imagined this being easy when I first started, but each event brings new information and new opportunities, and after a while, it’s no big deal. Seriously. January and February are already half booked because I met people and events who have told me about them.

I love doing these events and meeting new people and growing my fan base. I’m hopeful about next year being a year of even more growth as more people learn about my brand and as I shoot for bigger and bigger opportunities.

The takeaway? If you’re just getting started with something new and it scares the heck out of you, just keep going. Take every opportunity to try. Scary things are scary because they exist in the unknown. Once you shine a light on it, it won’t be so mysterious. It’ll get easier. I look back on where I started and there’s no way that girl could’ve imagined what I’m doing now. I’m sure in the future, if I continue on this trajectory, I’ll look back at my present self and think “Wow. I’ve come a long way from that.”

Progress is progress even if it’s slow progress. Don’t stop.