I'm Still a Writer.

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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?

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

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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.

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.