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Hi Bryan,

I love it!  Fantastic Sculpture.  I love how you created it too!  Your thoughts remind me of my daughter.  She is 19  and completed her first year in college.  We keep telling her that even if she is not going into business, it is wise to have a business on the side to help bring in income.  Especially since you never know where the economy is headed, it is nice to have some control over your future and do something that doesn’t put a limit on earnings.  She finally decided to open up her own shop after helping me since age 11.  She wants to target your younger generation and I know you are both smart for doing that.

Okay, you asked for it.  I know you are probably just being nice and respectful like my daughter, but I will tell you what I have learned and try not to make the novel too lengthy.  I have had many others ask me how I have made it all work.  I couldn’t give them the real answer, because as you are about to read, it is quite involved.  As I’m sure you know, there are no shortcuts and days will be long.  It is well worth it.  If you build it and make it an obsession. . . they Will Come and more importantly, someone will eventually buy!

Concerning your store front and any other venues fill out your Bio.  I still need to finish and update this myself.  You may have already done this, but remember your Bio gives potential customers a connection to you.  Even though you are selling on the internet humans are still very social beings and want to feel a connection or something to engage them.  Your greatest asset isn’t your product, it is you and your passion.  Tell your story of why you create your product line or why you desire to run a business.  Let them know your hobbies and interests.  If you have a passion for what you do, customers will realize that you care deeply about your products along with pride in your reputation.  This carries into customer service.  Make it your greatest priority.  The customer is always right, even when we know they are wrong.  Protecting your reputation (even when it isn’t fair) and a customer’s view of you is more important than making a dollar.  Yes, a reputation is most important for character and ethical reasons, but it will also pay dividends financially long term.  Word gets around that you treat people right.  Going above and beyond feels wonderful!

Thank you for being one of the catalysts for me finally jotting some of these ideas down.  I have been relaying some of this info in bits and pieces to my daughter and others that have started stores, but had not taken the time until now to write this.  Though long, there are still volumes that could be written on each one of these tips, but alas, time is a valuable commodity.  These are my top ten tips, not in order of priority.  I haven’t touched on any of the financials like the hard reality that a great percentage of your profit goes right back into supplies and keeping the business running, especially in your initial phase.  That can be saved for another novel.

  1. Photos. Initially you are selling a picture.  Your’s looks great.   I only tell you this story because it is just one lesson out of many I have learned through failure.   You all live in the digital age so will not be making the mistake plus lack of funds to have a decent camera and photos as I initially did.  However, mistakes can be your greatest gift in the long run.  The knowledge they will bring you if you are open to the education can prove to be productive.   My sales were slow to come and I saw right away my photos did not come close to the professional quality of other stores so I  learned through free tutorials for photography on Etsy and requested a decent camera as a Christmas gift.  These days most have smart phones with cameras that give clear and crisp photos.   What I need to do is update all mine because sometimes up to 80% of people are shopping from digital devices and not sure my old photos look so great on phones.
  1. Tags. . . You’re up and running, now how do you get seen? Use all of the tags even in the material tags. After I have added the materials, I don’t hesitate to add other helpful tags like gifts for guys, dad gift, boyfriend gift, mario kart, geekery, Father’s day gift (although I think Etsy may not let you put the apostrophe in tags, then I just remove the apos.) etc.  I used to watch Dr. Who with my daughter so couldn’t believe the fan base ready with disposable income.  You’d be better at thinking up the right categories than me, but you get the picture.

2b. Check out where you fall in Etsy search.  To do this just go to the main search bar in Etsy and type in a search word like Mario and see how far down on the pages you show up.  If you don’t rank as high as you want, try to figure out what tags others are using to get them there.  Also, you can always add relevant search words to your title just separate them with a comma so that Etsy’s engine reads them as that word or group of words rather than one long string.  Another tip is  put at least the first three relevant search words of your title in your tags.  This helps it be seen more.  You can also go to Google AdWords.  They can be a little confusing for some,  and many are still attempting to figure out their algorithm (probably as people get closer they change it ) but you can do your own research without paying for advertising.

  1. SEO. . . this is what it’s all about. You want to put up your full URL link in as many places as possible. Not just the Resource name (etsy.com), but the Protocol Identifier http://etsy.com.  I am old school from the primitive days of html, so I’m still putting my triple w’s in my URL.    You probably already know this, but it is how you get ranked higher in Search Engine Optimization.  If you don’t already have them get yourself a Pinterest account and start boards with varied interests to help you accumulate more followers.  Pinterest viewers don’t like for people to appear self-serving, but it is okay and I advise some boards to market your own products.  Just make sure you pin and have boards of other interests so you are rounded out in their community.  Their allotted ratio right now is 2:1  on following to followers.  That is in accumulating new followers that have not already followed you.  You can always follow people already following you even if you are past the 2:1 ratio.  The reason Pinterest and an Instagram account are important is free marketing and they are getting ready to roll out a Buy it Now button.  They are bringing payment methods like paypal on board to process  payments so that people do not have the hassle of going to a secondary link.  The same with Instagram.  Pinterest will roll out their Buy it Now button hopefully sometime this month, Instagram possibly in the near future.   This can be golden for small businesses!   I built up followers over a period of 3 years on Pinterest and just recently started working on Instagram.   I have never forgotten that I received my first large sale through a pin a customer saw on Pinterest.     Since these forums can be a time suck but are worth a consistent investment of time, I usually give myself 1/2 hour per day when trying to gain followers.  That does not include the time I relist an item and plug it.  This was crucial for me so I could still do all the admin duties for the business along with creating and shipping product.  Consider a Facebook business page, Deviantart, Tumblr, Youtube and any other social media site where you can plug your product for free.  The more your URL is seen, the more relevant to search engines.   Since advertising dollars are not always available to small businesses, I consider it time equity, but definitely set a limit and goals because business owners are generally wearing multiple hats until they can afford employees to take over some of the roles.
  1. It’s a numbers game. While waiting for sales to come in or if things get slow, start working towards listing more product.  If you can come up with small items to produce for example, keychains, pendants, smaller sculptures, digital information to supplement income and help increase the number of items in your store. . . go for it.  Really use these months before Christmas (only 7 months away?)  use it wisely.  It comes before you know it and people NEED /want gifts and you can provide them with unique, hand made gifts!  Sounds like you already have many ideas.  If not, I know your time investment is much greater than for my jewelry items.  I understand because I also do Copper signs which are more labor intensive so can take up to two weeks.  Whatever works best for you, just set daily goals and work towards completion of product, photos, listings promoting on every free site you can fit into your schedule.  I noticed a substantial increase in sales as I increased my inventory.  I realize it may take time, but there are days I set my goal to have anywhere from 3-5 new items listed because that will help increase the views to your page.  I don’t know their algorithm, but views definitely increase when you add new product to your storefront.  On the other side, if you have more than 5 items to add at once, list 3-5 over a period of days so that your views may be increased for more than one day.
  1. Community is important. Get involved with the perks Etsy provides.  Once again, caution must be taken as you do not want to absorb all your valuable businesses hours reading and building exposure, yet their is a lot of value so constant balance is required.  My favorite Pastor said “Be ye balanced is the 11th commandment.”  So true!  You can also do many of these things in your free time as the business tends to consume you.  Lucky you, you are not managing a family yet so can really by obsessive!  Don’t hesitate to join Etsy teams as they help promote each other.  Yes, there are requirements to fulfill at times, so you use discernment in which team will work best for you.  During free time go to Etsy’s trending items page and like products then even favorite stores you like.  This can get you some reciprocal likes and fave’s which never stop being valuable and are crucial when first starting out in business.  Also take advantage of their forums and tutorials as they are a great source of information.  Weigh in once in a while with comments and encouragement on featured sellers.  It doesn’t hurt to favorite some of their items and shops as some reciprocate for you and many on Etsy love to contribute to that sense of community.  Commenting on featured artists also get’s your store logo seen.  Finally, be willing to invest time in doing treasuries.  You are not supposed to feature your own store items in treasuries you curate, but if you feature other store’s items, you can send each seller featured a quick email.  Some of these sellers will follow up and do a treasury featuring you along with other sellers, and if they don’t have the time, it still get’s your store more exposure as you are the curator.  You also have the opportunity of an Etsy admin liking your treasury and if it gets featured on their front page, that is money!
  1. Double up! If you don’t have your items in another venue, get it set up fast.  eBay has an archaic interface and can be challenging, but no one can argue their success and notoriety.  They have the proven numbers to bring you much sought after viewers.  Amazon may be a possibility for you.  You may be able to sell your items now, and if not they are rolling out  a hand made storefront in the near future.  There is also ArtFire if you want to check them out.  I have found that having two stores keeps things moving along.  While building my customer base in Etsy, I found I was receiving almost double the sales in eBay, even though I sold some products at a little lower retail value,  it still paid dividends in ready income.  Having at least two stores, as long as you can manage them just makes sense.  Also, you do not have to pay store front fees in eBay until you feel you want to expand.  You are given around 25 free listings.  I am not sure if they have changed this as they recently revamped a few things.  I apologize in advance for their old, 1998 clunky interface.  No, I do not work for them and if I did I would make many changes.   They are not as user friendly as Etsy, but they do work.
  1. NEVER give up, put a positive spin or a positive investment of time working towards promoting your business when sales are slow. Of course slow sales can be a reality at times, but you getting your URL plastered out there in cyberspace , more Etsy community involvement, and a demonstration for your creative passion will only help drive you forward while increasing your chances exponentially of making more sales in the future.   If things seem stagnate or you are not growing as quickly as you like, consider doing shows.  Called the craft or art fair circuit in my day.  Most artists have done their time and these events.  They can be very useful for getting your product out there.  When starting up we tried to find events where the entry fee wasn’t so high as we started with no capital, no loans and no investors.  There are many of these starting in fall as people are preparing for Christmas gift giving.   Wake up each day, set annual goals, daily goals and as my dad always says, “just do it!”  Say this over and over to yourself when you feel sluggish or worn down.  You are your greatest motivator.   You will succeed!
  1. Pray, this would be the one to prioritize. There are a multitude of tasks vying for your attention and it can be hard to know what to focus on first.  I find that asking for God’s guidance helps you weed out wasting time on inconsequential tasks and focusing on what really needs to be done at that moment.  Clear written daily goals can really help.
  1. Don’t Stop Creating. Even when you are making consistent sales, what drove you initially is probably a creative passion.  Well, that and needing to pay bills anyway.  You fulfilling that drive helps push your business forward.  Fresh ideas and creations only help you grow as a person while increasing your business success.
  1. Pay it Forward. I didn’t  put this one only because I have been writing for so long that I may as well have a number 10 rather than leave it at 9.  Rather, it really is part of why we are on this planet.  I am blessed to have people around me that are wonderful supporters.  I couldn’t make it without them paying it forward, so it makes me feel great when I can do the same no matter how small.  Charity auctions are a great way to help out others.  It is a double bonus because you get to help and you are allowed to send along promotional materials many times in the form of brochures, business cards, etc.  Also free giveaways in one of your social venues for receiving favorites or likes also helps you with exposure.

May God Bless you and your business.  I am excited about your ambition and the fact that you are wisely building a business at such a young age.  Can you imagine where you will be in just 5 or 10 years?  I wish the World Wide Web was this accessible when I was your age.  Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.  I will be doing a treasury featuring you, my daughter and another wonderful girl either tonight or tomorrow.  If you want to make a treasury including one of their items each, I will ask them to do treasuries including your item.  Their etsy links are  as follows;

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BleuCanoeDesigns?ref=search_shop_redirect

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DJsChainmaille?ref=shop_sugg

Best Wishes,

Melissa M.

Check out his site at https://www.etsy.com/shop/eightbitblockart?ref=pr_shop_more

 

pearlandbows

Glass Fire Opal Post Earrings with Bows and Pearls https://www.etsy.com/shop/BleuCanoeDesigns?ref=search_shop_redirect

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Down Syndrome Day 2014

Hey everybody,

I haven’t posted in a while with the business growing and it being Cassie’s senior year.  Needed to take some time to acknowledge a very special member in our family on this great day.

My brother is Down’s.  Does that mean he is Down Syndrome, has Down Syndrome?  Is it what defines him or will people see the incredible contribution to society he is?   We understood he approached life differently when we were little, but the main thing he was to me was . . .  a brother.  There were up sides, down sides, learning moments and teaching times.  A give and take from both of us.  As an admitted work-a-holic it goes against my grain to “stop and smell the roses.”  Andy has done  his best since childhood to remind me of this.  As a child it came in offers of “sissy, bikes!   “Sissy race.”    As in adult it comes with a statement of “let it go, sissy”,  and offers to take me to coffee.   He is still there as an adult to lend a helping hand.  He has cleared rooms in my house and done his best to make things tidy.  It might all be piled in a closet, but hey you can close the door to a closet.  Plus he definitely got it cleared faster than my type A of needing to sort and laboriously organize for hours.

Maybe Down’s stands for the way his love comes through when he stands up for you or  delivers a hug.   No one is allowed to raise their voice at his sisters or nieces, he will let them know.   He is quick to “be in the moment”  and enjoy the fullness of life.  One of my favorite times with him is in the car.  He rocks out while creating an entire air band.  As the radio belts out a variety of music he is rather adept at keeping the beat with his air drums and making the guitar scream.   I ask you, when was the last time you had a concert in your car?   The best is when people in other vehicles at the stop lights or passing by look our way.  They seem bored, but my brother and I are having a great time!  I guess Down Syndrome to me stands for  DO Whatever Necessary . . . Succeed.   It may not be done the same way you expect.  You just might have to rearrange your thinking and approach to a situation.  Sometimes it takes longer and more patience to get there.   Along the way the journey will be filled with reminders that God created these beings to demonstrate a powerful concept.    Life’s seeming hurdles are often our greatest gifts.  My brother Andy is one of the most special guys in my life.  I hope he knows how very proud I am he was chosen to be my brother, and I get to be his sissy.  I love you little brother!

Photos of my brother Andy with my Dad, Mom, his nieces Cassie and Kelsey, and his brother-in-law Nathan.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_2708 IMG_2698 andy's bunch DSC05456 DSC03661 DSC03636 DSC05451 DSC05450 DSC05455 DSC03658 DSC03639 DSC03624 DSC03598 DSC03546 DSC03717 DSC03715

embossed raw copper prior to torch firing for unique patina

embossed raw copper prior to torch firing for unique patina

Torch fired after cutting and embossing careful watch and flame movement rearrange the molecules in the copper to hues of violet, orange, red, blue and verdigris

Cut medium gauge sheet metal emboss letters and torch fire being careful to paint the patina with the fire and keep the flame moving so as not to destroy the copper or overheat in one area.

silversmithThis is so true!  What a great way to help explain character building to kids.  Whenever I torch you really have to watch the changes in the metal.  As it goes through it’s transformation the heat creates a beautiful patina, but overheating will ruin the entire piece.  Such a fine line between beauty and destruction.

Malachi 3:3 says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”    This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.    That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot;then she thought again about the verse that says: “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.”

As I watch our nation, friends and family, go through difficult times I become even more dependent on the ultimate silversmith.  When I thank God at night for family, friends and second chances I realize it hurts going through that refining, sometimes a great deal.  I know he is trying to mold us into His own image.  Without the lead silversmith guiding us through the fire, how would we manage?  If you, like many of us are going through a hard time, just take a moment to ask for God’s guidance.  He will hear you.  II Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face.  Then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and heal their land.   If you would like us to pray for you, please leave us a comment or email.  May you find and always seek the one true Silversmith.

Our big day was approaching.  23 years of marriage and the promise of a new toilet, maybe even two if a good deal could be had.  We figured we had done our time plunging for those not following bathroom protocol.  Would an extra flush really hurt to ensure no plunging?  This concept has not taken hold for the younger generation in our household no matter how many times seminars are conducted.   Our toilets are rather old so we felt perhaps advances in pressure, flush performance and of course efficiency have been made in the last 20 years.  We were all psyched about the toilet hunt and almost giddy over the thought of a plunger free lifestyle.   The garden department at Lowes stopped us in our tracks.  After purchasing weed killer and contemplating yard clean up, the thrill of a new toilet lost it’s allure.  People could see the outside of our house.  The neighbors would be more appreciative of a weed free yard and probably were not concerned with our toilets’ performance or lack there of.    We did what any couple who has battled it out for years would do.  Figured out a way to compete.  We  decided to purchase tennis rackets and balls for a battle on the court.  Possibly new thrones for our 24th or hey, Nate’s birthday is in November!   Nothing says happy birthday like a new toilet and the chance to install it on your special day!

31196_1326085587917_1104216359_30789364_4051451_n[1]aunt mary lou chicago

It started out with a bulbous area underneath the skin near her ear.  We took her to vets and they seemed to think she simply had an ear infection and one thought they could see a polyp.  Next, they suggested a surgery for thousands of dollars.  We got another opinion and they wanted scans and didn’t know if treatment would work.

This is the sweetest cat in the universe.  She came to us as a thin stray when my youngest was only 18 months and my oldest just 6.  She tolerated years of the girls dressing her up in doll clothes through slumber parties and get togethers with friends and never once bit.   She goes to the door and makes sounds to be let out for the bathroom .   Never an accident once!  Steers clear of friends or family that come over and are “not cat people.”   She used to be kept outdoors, but when another cat got hit when we lived in the country, we couldn’t bear to lose her and started letting her come in from the cold and in the evenings.  A few days of sadness and seeing her deteriorate when she was always so healthy prompted me to find another avenue.  That is when I found the h202 known as a cancer alternative.  I got the food grade 35% which is extremely corrosive unless mixed properly.   I mixed it with a ratio of 11 parts distilled water and 1 part H202.  Tap water has minerals that interfere with the extra oxygen molecule.  The pharmaceutical grade you can get at the drugstore may be used topically, but should not be ingested due to stabilizers and metals used to give it a longer shelf life.

After the dire predictions, I began daily treatments 3-5 times a day with cotton balls dipped in the solution and soaked into the area where the cysts were.   I also put 1-2 drops in distilled drinking water and some milk as we were trying to help her gain weight.  This was safe as it is food grade and dispensed in the proper ratio.  Eventually  a couple of cysts burst leaving open wounds.   In the absence of suture materials, I packed the wounds with a mixture of olive oil and sugar.  The sugar kept the bacteria out and aided in collagen depositing and the skin healing.  Three vets thought she would die 4 weeks ago, but  h202 adds oxygen to her body and she seems energized even though she gets dizzy and has trouble eating due to a cyst across her entire throat.  After her second treatment today she was able to swallow better, but I’ve been feeding her with a syringe of a high caloric substance since her sense of smell is off.  Her left eye, which is the side caved in from the cysts causing nerve damage, was almost completely closed and watery, but it got better in 4 days after coconut oil treatments.  Hoping she still has her 8th or 9th life in there.

I will continue the topical treatments and drops in the food and distilled water mixture.  Even for her loss of weight she is surprisingly capable.  She looked from the litter box we set up in the garage, back at us, then she pointedly looked at the door as if to say, “really, I’m not that old and decrepit!”  Indeed, she requests to be let out numerous times a day even with her wobbly walk and pieced together face.  I tease her and say she looks like someone’sImageImageImage stuffed animal they keep putting back together.  She is worth all the effort.  The vet sent us home with pain meds in syringes for us to dispense twice a day.  I didn’t give it to her today as she was almost too spry and wandered beyond our house.  He said we would basically be providing nursing home care and trying to keep her comfortable.  I think Bitsy just may have an 8th or 9th life to live and she’s not going down without a fight!  Go Bitsy!

Believe it or not her face used to look more caved in than these photos!

True Monster Cookie Bars made by Pamela Overmeyer

This week I came across a great idea from a wonderful young woman.  I found this very creative and loved the idea for kiddos.  Whether baking for your own family or kids at parties, these are sure to be a hit!  I have heard of monster cookie bars before, but never seen them done with great colors.  What kiddo doesn’t want to eat a delicious bar with bright, crazy colors.  I have to do this the next time my girls have friends spend the night.  The creator, Pamela, is the mommy to two beautiful little girls.  A big thank you to her for sharing this recipe!

Cream together 1.5 stick butter, 1 Cup sugar, 1 Cup Brown Sugar (or you could use 2 Cups Brown Sugar). Add 1.5 (not precise measurement) Cup PB. Add 3 room temp Eggs, then 2 tsp Baking Soda. Add 4.5 cups Oatmeal 1 cup at a time. The green mix has mini Reese Pieces and chopped Reese cups and the Purple mix has Milk choc chips and White Chips (each addition is 1 bag or less to your liking) Bake in a 9×13 greased cake pan for 15-20 minutes and DONT over bake, best gooey and soft. They may seem “not done” but will set up over night. The picture is a double batch…Green food Coloring in one bowl and Purple food coloring in the other ENJOY!!

the golden rule, karma, positivity, realist, dreamer, negativitiy

Will they do the same? Will circumstances turn out better?

I have always believed in Karma a.k.a. the golden rule.  Growing up in my family this was taught, however it didn’t take long before I realized not everyone subscribed to this rule.  Sometimes not even in the same household!  You know that gem, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”    Apparently the other rule is “I’ll do whatever the heck I want and what’s it to ya?”    You see it in places you purchase items at times or occasionally when you go to Customer Silence Control – I mean Customer Service.  Mom and Dad taught it well though, so it was a way of life for me.  I have to say thank you to them for this as it is something my husband and I have tried to pass down to our children.  Sadly, they too have noticed in their generation not everyone upholds this rule.  On the upside, their friends who do, make life that much more enjoyable.

Does Karma really exist?  Is it all just the luck of the draw if we have good or bad happen to us or are we just a victim of our own circumstances?  Does God bless some more than others?   I have to admit, sometimes I felt a victim of my own circumstances.  There were, and probably still will be, times I feel God always says “no” to my prayers and turns a deaf ear to my family’s needs.  Some would say that is a lack of trust and faith but it is hard to stay positive when problems and disasters keep coming your way.  It is hard when Karma doesn’t seem to be working out.  The bad seem to get rewarded at times and those who strive to do good seem to get shanghaied.  Others may say, “Hey, if you look around someone always has it worse off than you.”  That statement doesn’t resonate as well when it’s you going through misery.  Last but not least I was told, “If you reflect or focus on what you are thankful for, you won’t have to worry about the disasters.”  I will reveal to you how rotten to the core I can be sometimes.  My answer back to that, in times of extreme trouble, is, “I will try to do that”, as the roof literally comes crumbling down and water pours into my house daily.   I will continue giving thanks that I am alive to experience a court system that stands up for large companies who steal others’ money, lie in court,  then win their case in spite of photo evidence because the town is known for delving into dirty practices and bribes.   I will be ever grateful as I am forced to pay a company that lies and does poor work and still gets paid.   The other side of the coin is, I do believe in giving thanks for what I have.  I thank God every night for the family I have under my roof, the family members we are close to, and friends who have given us their love and support.   Gratitude is important and should simply be a way of life.  In spite of it all, it seemed Karma just wasn’t working out.  What were we doing wrong?

I realize I sound just a LITTLE bitter.  Well, the truth is, I was.  Just like many of you, as stated in previous posts, my family had an inordinate amount of disasters and trials come our way.   I have always considered myself a realist and adhered strongly to the saying, “hope for the worst, then if it turns out better . . . what a surprise for you.”  The addendum to this special saying for me was,  “That way circumstances can’t get ya.  You already expected it to happen poorly.”  This is the way I have lived most of my life and I have really believed in this saying.  It seemed to work.  Disappointment was already expected so fate had not pulled one over on me!  Life is hard but life is supposed to be hard for people like me isn’t it?  Well, until recently, I firmly believed this.

My family would tell me I was just a downer and I would say, “no, I am a realist!   All of us would do better in life if you would just face reality instead of living it through rose colored glasses.”  That was my pat response and defense on my way of thinking.  Of course I tried to tell my kids to stay positive when things didn’t work out for them but it was hard for them to believe when all they heard from me was, “things are supposed to turn out badly.”  I also told them that hopefully they could escape what seemed to be a kind of family curse and God definitely loved them more than me so there was indeed hope for them.

So how can a 40+ year old person (I still consider myself early 40’s – I am a positive thinker now!) so quickly leave behind this fundamental way of thinking and existing?   Off topic, but I just got another bonus.  I asked my husband how old I am and he said 43.  I thought I was 44 but that didn’t sound quite right.  That is another positive; as we get older we don’t even realize what our age is.  I’m Lovin’ these new rose colored glasses!

Believe it or not, as more water was pouring into my house, I did a turn around in my thinking.  I must tell you, if you have not read my earlier posts, this is two residences after the home where Sherrif Goslin didn’t properly install a roof or repair the damage caused from that incident.   Yet we were court ordered to pay them anyway.  Fast forward to present.   This past week my husband walked into the back room of our basement, the room directly under the kitchen, and water was pouring through the top of a daylight basement window all over the carpet.  At least half of the room was wet.  My normal way of dealing with this is to panic.  As I am going for the “Mom of the year award”, I simply gave the best words of wisdom I could conjure up.   “Oh, dear God, what are we going to do now?”  My oldest is such a gift.  She hugs me and tells me it will be okay.  How did such a sweet, positive child persevere through all this insanity?  Then, just in case some other well meaning member of my family chimed in with something positive, I reminded everyone less than three weeks ago we had just recovered from another water disaster of a plugged basement pipe where water was seeping under the carpet so we were due for more.  As I started to go down my usual road of despair it dawned on me, in order to prepare myself, I have spent so much time thinking and wondering what the next disaster would be I was not prepared, and no more ahead today, than I was for all of our previous trials.  I wanted it to stop.  I NEEDED it to stop.  So, to my family’s utter amazement, I stopped reminding everyone about how trouble seems to come our way.  In other words I finally just shut up.    It didn’t come easy.  As I wallowed in despair trying to figure out why we hadn’t come to the back room sooner, or what prevention steps we should have taken, it dawned on me; We have no absolute control in this life and I am going to be okay with that.  Why did I always consider it my DUTY to inform the family of the enormity of the situation?  Why was I so concerned that they wouldn’t understand all the implications and how we were not going to benefit from this problem?  They already see for themselves it stinks!  Literally, it stunk.

As a side note, apparently when the people built the house they did not seal a connection where the pipe bent to go another direction.  Apparently this is a common way of doing it in some homes just in case there is a clog.   So this was the pipe for the kitchen sink.  Think dishwasher, garbage disposal all gross, filthy water heading down into the walls and carpeted floors.   NASTY SMELL!  For us, we preferred the sealed pipe.

Back to my conversion from reality to positivity.   The alternative was to wait for the next disaster.  What if I had been doing it all wrong?   We know from physics that thoughts are energy.  What if I had been contributing to my own disasters by giving them priority in my thinking?  Wouldn’t it be better to expend all of that energy in positive thought?  At least now I can be happier with the view from my new rose colored glasses.  I have to say things do look much shinier in this new realm.  Now, I’m going to get in there and fight those disasters and try to beat ‘em off with a stick.  Why should the bad side win?  I’ll not help out by giving voice to it.

As a recovering realist (okay, fine negative person if you will) I have been doing very well in my 2 step program.  My old way of thinking starts to come back when I realize that a toilet is broken, the tub still won’t drain correctly, and even my normally positive husband is saying that water will be the downfall in the house we are in now.  I start to agree and then remember the second step – Negative thoughts will still come in this new realm but there is still time to beat the negativity by putting a positive thought out there.  Sure enough I make a statement that, prior to my earlier conversion, was unheard of in my home.  I say “You will get all the water problems fixed Nathan  and we won’t continue to have problems.”  Do I really believe this?  I am trying.  It is hard to throw years of a fundamental belief system down the drain.

Ha, we had three drain problems but who is counting in the new realm.   Sorry…that was really bad.  I find humor in the oddest places.  That must be residual from my old lifestyle.  It is difficult for common sense and experience not to overtake my thoughts but that wasn’t working for me.  There is a feeling that even if positive thinking doesn’t work, maybe I can be happy having the hope of such an ideal.  Plus, I feel that I do contribute something to how I am living my life rather than polluting up the atmosphere with my realism.  Ahem, excuse me, I mean my negativity.

If you are a hard core realist I encourage you to give this whole positive thing a go.  It’s fairly invigorating.  Did the air conditioner give out in your car on a hot day?  Don’t start talking to yourself and saying things like, “of course, why would I expect anything else?”   That is the old you.   Instead say, “What a wonderful thing it is having the opportunity to roll my windows down and enjoy the breeze.”  Yes, it is hot air, a lot like the hot air coming from traffic while commuters flip people off and yell profanities, but it is still a breeze.  Some people don’t even have a breeze.

So maybe I went a little too far down the lane wearing those special glasses but you get what I’m saying.  Immediately go to step 2 and turn that negative around.   You, after all, will be out of this traffic soon safe at home where you can continue living your dreams by attending to your water problems.  You will think your way out of your water problems soon enough.  As my husband skillfully fixes the issue I think to myself (due to my new positive thinking) he is slowly and surely fixing every water problem.  He has even told me how amazed he was at how I handled the last disaster…ahem “challenge”, and if nothing else – this spurs me on in the new world.  Soon water problems will be a thing of the past.  If they are not, I will be happier dreaming that the day will come that, instead of contributing to the downfall, I contribute to the solution by believing there really is an upside.

Maybe some of you can help me out.  How do you navigate your disasters?  I’m sorry.  I meant “challenges” as they are known in this rose colored realm.  I would love to hear your comments and experiences.

The positives that came this week are, we pulled in enough money with the family business to pay for school supplies and lunches as my youngest started school last week.  I started worrying…I mean I started giving meaningful thought to (that is what I should say as a converted dreamer) my next daughter starting school and her needing school supplies and lunch money as well.  Through my positive thinking I got a few extra sales and will be able to get what is needed.  Hey, someday my positive thinking will help our business grow enough to fix our country’s social security blunder. Oops, I mean mathematical error.  That still isn’t quite right.  Let me think…  As a new positivist we will help social security out and make sure we can take care of ourselves.  There it is!  That is the upside.  Social security does work.  It teaches self sufficiency as we remind ourselves there won’t be any left when we are too old to work!   Busy, busy, busy.  I must work on positive thoughts today!  I’m putting on the special glasses pronto before I start analyzing too much again.

Aaah, the view from here is much better now!  Please leave thoughts and comments.  Anxious to hear how you all navigate life!    Have a great week!

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One of our exclusive designs sold this week to help with school supplies and lunches.  http://www.etsy.com/shop/artistiquejewelry

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The 2nd design created because we couldn’t keep up with orders for the larger floating opal last year. Stock runs out quickly as we approach the holidays.

Ordered and shipped last week! Best seller during fall and Christmas last year.
Gearing up for an even greater year!
Yes! We were able to get school supplies and have lunch money for the girls! Thanks to my family for working together as a team!

pay for school supplies and lunches! http://www.etsy.com/shop/artistiquejewelry

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