Blog–Getting Moody With Oop

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
ENCOURAGEMENT

How You See Yourself Determines Who You Are

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

So one night I was lying in bed and I realized something–that when I woke up the next day, I didn’t have to do things the same way I had always done them. It sounds crazy to say that I actually had to have the realization, but I did. You can go through your whole life and just keep doing things the same old way, or you can wake up one day and start doing things differently. It really is a choice.

But here’s the deal. In order for your world to change, you have to change something in your world–and that starts inside you. You have to first change your mind. You have to understand that you have the power to make the change, and then you have to do it.

It all seems very elementary, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. I have learned that sometimes changing your mind once isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to think something one time and have that thought carry enough weight to last for the rest of your life. You have work to maintain the mindset you have adopted so that you can continue to live the life that you are beginning to live.

Here’s an example, and don’t get offended. I’m okay with all body shapes and sizes. For me though, I need to be under a certain weight to be comfortable and healthy. I lost about 65 lbs in about a year and a half. I did it by making different choices with food. My dilemma is this: my mind has not accepted the new version of me. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see my new body size. I see the same person that I have always seen looking back at me. I don’t have a super negative body image–I never realized that I was as heavy as I was. The only way for me to see how big or small I actually am is to look at a photograph of myself. It’s ridiculous to me that my mind can fool me the way it does when a photo tells the cold hard truth every time!

So what does my example really mean? It means that I am constantly obsessing about eating too much. I’m not worried about getting enough to eat–I don’t obsess over meals. I just always feel guilty when I put a morsel of anything in my mouth! Even though the way that I eat now is healthy and is good for maintaining a healthy weight, I am still in the mindset that I have always been in. That’s very dangerous for someone who is trying to keep excess weight from returning. Any time you throw guilt into the equation, you have problems. One of the first things an old comfort food eater wants to do when she feels guilty is run to food to numb the guilt. Constantly fighting that battle keeps it on the forefront of my mind, but not in a place where I can deal with it.

I know I have to change my mindset to get a victory in this area. I have to throw away everything I have ever been taught about eating, and form new opinions. I don’t think that people understand the damage that they can do to children when they constantly tell them, “If you keep eating that way, you are going to get fat,” or when they tease like “You are going to have to start wearing a wide load sign around your neck.” The damage from words like that can carry over to adulthood. So can “grabbing the rolls of fat” and “pinching an inch” and making fat jokes, or doing anything that changes a kid’s perception of what “normal” is in regard to body size. The worst part about it is getting to be my age and realizing that I let the world bully me into being overweight when I never would have been if I would have known how to stand up to it.

How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you see the old you or the one who realized that you have the power to make changes for the good in your own life? Taking personal responsibility is a huge step but it’s also a huge privilege! God has entrusted us with the free will to be who He designed us to be–we don’t have to accept less than what He meant for us to have! I’m not trying to throw any prosperity gospel at you–becoming what He intended you to be takes hard work and sacrifice and humility. Nothing that is worth having ever comes too easily!

I need to change my mind in the body image mentality department. What is it for you? I know that of course it isn’t always as easy as going to bed at night knowing that tomorrow you can wake up with a different outlook and mindset, but on the other hand–it has definitely worked before! Anyway, it’s a place to start.

Advertisements
, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
MOTIVATIONAL

“Embrace Your Inner Thug”

An In Depth Look at What It Looks Like to be At a Job for Dang Near Twenty Years With a Bunch of People Who Have Not, and Other Related Nonsense

So I walked into work this morning singing one of the oldest songs I know, “I Got Mexico” by Eddy Raven. I was knocking it out pretty good when I stepped through the door and stopped dead in my tracks. I know I looked like a tree full of owls when the music from the tiny player with the big noise assaulted my ears with some horrible pounding and an almost constant stream of profanity. It was at that very moment that I realized that I have to make this side hustle more than a side hustle, or my cheese will slide completely off my cracker before year’s end.

It was apparent to my young and super giggly coworkers (I wanted to say uber but I don’t know how to make the 2 dots on top of the u) that I was not “down” with the music even though every once in a while I could distinguish a slightly redeeming quality to the song. Meghan, the girl who sits closest to me on the end that you are banished to right before you are kicked out the door for good, told me “embrace your inner thug.”

That struck me as oddly hilarious, and definitely copy-worthy, so here we are tonight with a long and drawn-out explanation of the first five minutes of a morning that reiterated my old age for me. Imagine my hilarity later when this picture from Beauregard Daily News was posted on the FB page of Jacob Jeane, my ex-son-in-law (that is a strange title to have, but he is a good guy and we all get along fabulously), and Tiffany quipped that Benjamin “didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose him!” I knew at that moment that “inner thug” definitely runs in the family.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

I’m definitely proud of my Grandson, who made the paper by being an outstanding student and who wants to be a paleontologist. When I was his age, I had no idea what a paleontologist even was. That’s probably because they weren’t needed when the dinosaurs were still alive!

My day job is not always easy, and I do want to summon up my thug self from time to time. I was more than a little tempted today when a customer threatened our office with potential violence because we weren’t giving her exactly what she wanted. The threat was (slightly) veiled, but it was there nonetheless. I believe that in this society that we have fashioned for ourselves, we have gotten so used to getting our own way that it is almost natural to try to use any means to do so.

I hope that I will not ever do that to someone–to try to use force or manipulation or the threat of what could “possibly” happen to get my own way simply because I don’t want to do the right thing. Sure, it’s inconvenient sometimes to have to change your plans! Believe me, when I’m standing in line at Walmart and there’s not a bar code on an item and I know I will have to wait five minutes–well, let’s just say I get pretty aggravated. But here’s what I know I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t say something like, “Well, my husband is crazy and he owns a lot of guns. You don’t want him having to come in here on his own to buy this item, and it’s for him!” Even if some of that is true….I will let you figure out which parts. Anyway, the question of Mr. Main’s sanity wasn’t my point.

See–that is really being a thug. The time for me to be silent when someone acts like that is long past–I guess that’s something that the years do for a person. I will call you out on being that kind of a thug to someone…that’s called being a decent human being. Hopefully, when that someone is confronted, they will go on to be a decent human being themselves the next time and think a little more about what they say to someone who might not have even been at her job for a month yet.

Just saying my inner thug is always bubbling under the surface–but she’s not the bad guy.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
ENCOURAGEMENT

A Thousand Things

That’s what I keep trying to do. A thousand and one, maybe. I’ve been doing it all my life and if I know me, I’m not gonna stop any time soon.

I’m gifted, and I know it. I’ve always known it. God has given me a little bit of a whole lot of different talents. Not so much that I excel at very many of them, but just enough to be pretty good at a bunch of stuff. So…I keep on going in this direction or that direction, trying to figure out where I’m supposed to end up. I wonder if I’m the only person who does this? I just imagine that there are a lot of creative people who are just like me, and can’t quite wrap their heads around just what it is that they are supposed to be doing!

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
REVELATION STRIKES

And so tonight, I’m wearing Minnie Mouse pajama bottoms and a semi-colon tank top (if you don’t know what that means, look it up) along with my poop boots (these are the ones that I wade through the dog pen in) with no socks and a black jacket that I threw on just to go outside to get Jaxson (my sweet Great Pyrenees) to bring him in for the night–when it hits me like a bolt of lightning, but not really because I already know it, and I always have. So I rush over to my computer and turn it on to see some new pink flamingos on my cover screen (it changes every day) and type in my pass code just to find out that the internet is iffy (as usual)! Anyway, I did all that because for some reason I feel compelled to pass my revelation on to you, so I wait it out. And here we are.

I am a writer. That’s my big news. It’s what I am, what I have always been, and what I always will be. It is my most treasured God-given talent. I started writing about as soon as I started talking. I can remember making up poems in the bathtub (I can’t help it if the bathroom is where I do my best work) when I was as young as five years old, and I started writing them down at around seven or so. I have spent a lifetime writing different things like stories and plays and songs and poetry. I was hired to work for a newspaper fresh out of high school, but I let someone who didn’t even matter tell me that I would never amount to anything, and I believed her, so I didn’t show up for my first day of work or any other day after. That’s a confession that I am embarrassed to make, but I’m glad that I finally had the courage to tell. I don’t know where I would be today if I had swallowed my fear and done it anyway. It’s not the only time that I have let fear beat me out of something I really wanted.

So if you know me at all, you know that I can draw, paint, and create some pretty cool stuff. I’m pretty good at building and coming up with awesome solutions for my house. I’m a merchandiser and an idea person. I can DIY with the best of them, and I’m very handy with power tools. I can speak in public and teach and do workshops and lead and sing karaoke (I don’t do that one too well, but it’s still fun). God has gifted me in wonderful ways, but when it comes down to it, those are things that I do.

What I AM is a writer. All that other stuff is just extra.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
ENCOURAGEMENT

When You Can’t Find Your Motivation (and How I Don’t Have the Answers)

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
Get Your Shine On

I absolutely get discouraged. Looking back over this journey we’ve taken over the last year, it would be easy to overlook all of our accomplishments and just focus on the failures. Today has been one of those days when it has been hard to stay on the positive side of things.

Yep, it’s more than discouraging sometimes. Looking back can be downright debilitating. If you focus on your missteps, or what you perceive them to be, you may find yourself motionless–staring at the wall in kind of a blurred-out unresponsive daze. Letting go of where you thought you were going to end up is so hard! Giving over to what is real rather than what you were expecting can break your heart if you let it. I can’t fix any of that.

What I can do, is look at the big picture. I know that each attempt to do something new comes with mistakes, if that’s what you want to call them. What I have learned is that a lot can be gained in finding out what not to do! Somewhere along the way, if you are paying attention, you can get some doses of clarity and start to put together a plan that is different than the original, but not lesser than. You may find that it was the plan you should have had all along!

A lot of the ideas that we had in the beginning were great, and we will save them to use them again later. Some of them will go in the trash can. I am glad to be done with them. Here are some bits and pieces that I have gathered along the way:

I’ve learned that I love taking broken things and showing other people how they are actually beautiful. I realize that I really want to spend time writing my book, designing and promoting my encouragement cards, making random things, painting lighthouses, and helping other people like me figure out exactly what they are meant to do so they can do it too! God gave each one of us a certain set of gifts and talents, and I believe that He gave us a love to do whatever it is we are called to do…..You can tell what your calling is by the way time passes for you. If you are working on something without noticing that 8 hours have gone by, that’s a good indicator that you are on the right track! Constantly watching the clock means that you probably need to find something new to do with your time.

I know that I have a lot to give and teach other people. I’m excited about getting the chance to do that. I’m eager to finish my book, if only for the ones who know about it now and are waiting to see how it all turns out! Oh and the cards are such an amazing blessing! I am so super-excited about having the time to develop and market these! They are turning out so wonderfully and they say things that people so badly need to hear. Things like, “Man, today sucked but we got through it,” and stuff like that. I don’t know about you, but I need to know that other people feel that same way sometimes. Like maybe today.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
ENCOURAGEMENT

Go Buy Yourself a Shovel

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
It may be time to start digging up the real you!

Y’all, I am literally testing something new tonight, so bear with me as we learn together! It may or may not work, but here is my intention by way of a disclaimer: there will hopefully be an affiliate link in this blog post to some really cool lounge/pajama pants! Now I don’t expect that I will normally dump my business on you like that, but since I have no clue what I am doing, I figured an announcement would be in order this time in case I mess it up pretty bad. Technology sometimes mystifies me. I think sometimes that my three year old grandbaby can do more with it than I can.

Okay, also, I’m not sure that a blog post is the best place to put one of these, but like I said, I’m just learning, and Amazon gives you a limited time to do that before they jerk the rug out from under you. So I’m trying to hurry and get some of my education in pretty fast! By the way, I checked out the lounge pants, and if you’d like to pop over to buy me some, they really are a great price and I want some! I will take medium…They look super comfy! But let’s get back to the age thing.

Save 20.0% on select products from CYZ Collection with promo code 20LOUNGEPANT, through 2/20 while supplies last., BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

It does not matter how old you are. If God has given you a vision for your life and the gifts and talents to pursue that vision then you don’t really have the right to throw that in His face and say, “I’m afraid, so I’m just going to bury this over here until You come back.” We aren’t “fine” accepting a mediocre life just because it’s easier than stepping out of our comfort zone to do more. We aren’t “okay” if we are making excuses or creating chaos to avoid taking charge of our own lives and doing something about the situations we find ourselves miserable in. We surely aren’t living our best life if we are living one that someone else has created for us!

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
I am not too old to live out my dreams!

I’m at the age where it would be easy and also expected to look back at my life and say, “Oh well, I could’ve been more,” or “I could have done this or that but that ship has sailed now.” Well, it HASN’T sailed for me! I still have dreams, and I still have the belief that I can make those dreams come true. I don’t have to be stuck in someone else’s definition of what my life should be. I know what God has put on MY heart, and that is to pursue a ME that is better than the ME I used to be, so that’s what I am going to do.

My dream doesn’t diminish anyone else. In fact, the Bible says that no one lights a lamp to place it under a basket, but puts it on a stand so that it lights up the whole house (Matthew 5:15). The thing that light diminishes is darkness.

If you are doing what God has called you to do, it may scare some people. They may think that you don’t need them anymore, the closer you get to your goals, or they may realize that in order to remain a part of your life they will have to step up their own game! Maybe that person who is discouraging you has been accepting the lies that society and culture has been throwing at them since they were old enough to catch.

It isn’t your job to try to convince anybody to get on board with your dreams and plans. They don’t have to be. Your job is to use what God has gifted you with, to do what He wants you to do and to live the life that He intended you to live. If you have forgotten your vision or if you have buried your dreams, go buy yourself a shovel and start digging. It’s not too late.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
ENCOURAGEMENT

A Place Downtown

January 2019 came really fast! Tiff and I started Willow Dreams Design in April 2018. MoodyOops has been around for several years, but not as an official business, so what we decided to do at the time was to operate MoodyOops under the umbrella of the Willow Dreams LLC and open a brick and mortar where we could sell both our art and design work.

It has been such a joy and a blessing to be able to serve our customers in a place we love! We designed the shop the way we wanted it—used our signature colors. I threw one of my famous brick walls up (y’all, I’m going to show you how to do that pretty soon), and we opened for business. Meanwhile, we posted pictures on Facebook, and a few on the website and that’s when we started to get educated.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

The first thing that we found out is that our location sucks. Well, that’s not a very diplomatic way of putting it, but it does. We are far enough out of town that nobody wants to venture out. Plus, we are down a hill and in front of another business that is wildly popular. Secondly, we found out that we didn’t really need the location. We do the majority of our sales by posting photos online and then arranging to deliver or ship the items. Sure, we get some traffic in the store, but most of our money is made through orders and other ways.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

Sooo, all of this got us thinking. I am already working on the webpage, where our art and design will eventually all be uploaded and customers will be able to purchase directly from there. Easy peasy. I’m writing a book that will hopefully be ready in a few months. I have the blog, where I keep in touch with our customers and I love it the most! We are publishing the greeting cards which can be displayed along with our art at festivals and other events (and we can’t even attend those now because we have to maintain a presence at the shop). Our design work has NEVER been sold out of the shop anyway, and we are primarily a Graphic Design business. The website is also not set up yet for the design part of the business, so I have a lot of work to do.

 I absolutely love the shop!! It makes me feel happy and blessed just to walk in! Also, I absolutely fell in love with talking to my customers and helping y’all in person. I have always enjoyed merchandising and remerchandising the place! Tiff says I change it every day (I really do it, too).

But—I think I have gotten away from my vision. What happens when you don’t write your goals down in the very beginning is that things can get cloudy and you can forget what you are aiming for.

I want a place downtown—in the old part of town—the grassroots division, and I have settled for something else. Have you ever done that? Have you ever snatched the first opportunity instead of waiting for the RIGHT opportunity? Our goal in the beginning of this thing was to promote local artists and crafters while also using our own gifts and talents, but for us to stay afloat in our location, we had to bring in merchandise and other gimmicky things that detract from our original mission. That’s not good enough for us.

We are artists! We are designers. We are crafters and builders. We are for a way of life that is all but lost in the busy traffic flow and the hustle and bustle of “today.”

I reject that it HAS to be that way! I believe that we CAN blend the new with the old and keep tradition along with innovation. I want to walk barefoot down the street and drink a malt while snapping photos with my new iPhone. And, I want YOU to be comfortable at our shop—and be okay with who you are. I want you to not only remember where you came from but I want the stories! I need to hear them. Tell me how YOU walked down the railroad track, picked peas, fished with your Daddy, drew your first cartoon character, read your first poem in church, and got baptized in the cold lake.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

I don’t want us to lose our history as we forge our path in this world. I want a place downtown! It doesn’t have to be this town, but it can be. We can’t have that without some sacrifice—it’s going to cost us more than what we have. Because of this, we have decided to close our shop temporarily. We are NOT going out of business. We are getting a better plan together, saving money, rejecting the things that don’t fit, and looking for our place downtown. We will be online as usual. The shop will be moved to a “virtual” store—I think you will really love what we have in mind! Of course, I will keep you updated here! This will not be an immediate thing–we are looking at the end of February or March, when our lease runs out. Obviously, we won’t start moving anything without extending some MASSIVE savings to our customers!

Please continue to support our art and help us to change our inventory to the things we believe in, hand-crafted, artist-inspired, REAL treasures that you can’t buy just anywhere.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
ENCOURAGEMENT

A World Without Color

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was writing a book. My book is sort of a humorous look at life growing up in the South but with some serious undertones as my main character tries to work out some realities like sadness, trauma, and death. I wrote a character into the book that I hadn’t intended to be there–because something that I learned recently touched my soul on a deep and heart-wrenching level and I believe that there was more than one story that needed to be told.

I’m going to insert a small section of my book here, like I did before, because I think the book says it like it needs to be said. You have to read it in a Southern country way, or it won’t be right, and I think it’s best to do it out loud so that when the hard stuff hits, you won’t feel like you are alone. Y’all bear with me as my brain will take me places that you probably never intended to go–but see if you can imagine what it must have been like to be this little boy.

–“My friend Tommy came to school with striped legs again. I could tell they had been bleeding, and this ain’t the first time either. I don’t know why he always wears blue shorts with stars on them though, because he kind of looks like we should be sayin’ the Pledge of Allegiance to him instead of to the flag, with as many stripes as he’s got!

Anyway, I was gettin’ pretty tired of seeing those legs looking like that, so I asked Tommy, ‘What are you doin’ to get in so much trouble all the time?’ Tommy told me, ‘My Daddy gets mad at me because I don’t know my colors.” Well, we sure are old enough to know our colors by now, so I said, ‘Well, good grief, Tommy, I can teach you your colors!’, and so every day for a week we stayed an extra ten minutes on the front steps of the schoolhouse, and I tried everything I knew to teach him how to tell the difference between green and red! That’s how long it took me to figure out that Tommy will never know the difference between those two colors and even a few more, because they all look the same to him. I wish his Daddy could just see through Tommy’s eyes one time and in more ways than just that one, because I can tell how scared he is to go home every day, and I also wish I could think of some way to get Tommy out of there for good, before he gets big and scarred up and mean to everybody else, because he ain’t ever gonna know his colors.

Tommy don’t deserve to be hurt for the way God made him. I don’t know if I could stand to live in a world without colors, and especially if I got beat on by my Daddy every day. My own Daddy never has laid a hand on me in anything but love, but my big brother sure does get his butt whipped a lot. He ain’t never been left striped though, and I doubt he ever will be, and it ain’t got nothin’ to do with whether or not he sees red and green.”–

So that’s the part that I wrote into my book, and I did it because my heart just cracked when I found out that someone I love was punished as a child for being color blind. First of all, I can’t imagine not being able to see the wonderful world as it is–in its radiant glory, designed by God Himself, the Master of all Artists, but secondly to punish a child for what he can’t help and doesn’t even understand…but it gets worse. The Tommy of my story didn’t realize that he was color blind until he was around 20 years old. All those years of being called stupid and mistreated for it, and he had no reason to believe that it wasn’t true.

Let’s try to see the world through the eyes of others–even if you don’t agree with them all the time. Sometimes there are tragic reasons for their scars, and when you know that, forgiveness, grace, and understanding are easier to find.

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
BUSINESS OWNER, ENTRE SUCCESS

What’s Your Side Hustle?

Things Are Different Now.

The world is changing, and the way that we do business is changing with it! The things that used to get you through life don’t work anymore. The good old Internet has caused a dramatic shift in the mindset of entrepreneurs. While it was once the norm to have one job, lots of people now have a job and a side hustle.

Women, especially, have taken on the task of creating businesses with an eye toward the future. One of the main reasons for this is the uncertainty of the economy. Another is the long term sustainability of retirement programs and social security.

I Get That You Want to Contribute.

But Do You Have the Support You Need?

These goals, no matter how much we believe in them, aren’t always met with acceptance and support from those closest to us. People who have vowed to stand beside us through thick and thin sometimes have trouble looking down the road. They don’t always see the myriad of possibilities and potential benefits of personal business ownership. Instead, they feel an overwhelming sense of impending threat. There isn’t always a clear answer for why this happens. It seems that rational decision making flies out the window, and it becomes a struggle for power and control instead.

Instead of embracing the reality of mutual benefit, sometimes a significant other can pull so hard on the other end of the rope that you are either forced to let go of the rope, or be dragged into chaos, control, and confusion. That cannot be the way that God intended relationships to be.

A situation like this is made even more impossible when the initial response was positivity! Later, that pseudo support suddenly morphs into a hostility which makes the person and relationship completely unrecognizable. It can be a sad postscript to a relationship that was troubled from the start but showed great promise.

I Have Something to Ask You.

So this reality leads me to ask the questions: What’s your side hustle?

And if you have a side hustle, which most of us do, does your spouse support you? In what ways are you supported or not supported? Is it worth pursuing? In other words, is the benefit worth the cost?

What are your long-term goals? Your reason for starting the business? What’s your WHY? How would you feel about someone who tried to steal your dreams? If God starts something, does man have the right to stop it?

Asking for a friend….😂

, BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG
MOTIVATIONAL, RECOVERY

BAH HUMBUG, CHRISTMAS IS A HUMBUG

I’m better now. I put up a tree every year. This year, I sang some Christmas songs without crying. I want to feel Christmas in my heart again. It’s still hard, and I know it always will be.

People who haven’t buried a child don’t understand, and I’m hoping you never will. Mikey loved Christmas. I loved Mikey. It’s really that simple. You can’t replace a lost child with other children, grandchildren, alcohol, drugs, work, distraction, church, ministry, or anything. It is okay to feel how you feel.

If you have lost a child, don’t be ashamed if you need to take time to grieve—again. It doesn’t matter how long it has been, or whether your child was born when they died, not born yet, a child, teenager, or grown! That’s your baby. Your flesh and blood—the child of your heart. Take your moments, and take your moments with you. Sorrow and joy can live in the same heart. God made us human, yet in His image, which means our hearts have the capacity to carry both sorrow and joy and to do this with LOVE. Instead of letting your pain cripple you, let it strengthen your resolve to forgive greater hurts, show more grace, walk the extra few miles, and speak to others the truth in love.

We are equipped because God has equipped us. We are victorious because He teaches us how to fight. We are safe because we are engraved on the palms of His Hands…one nail at a time. God bless you, and Merry Christmas! Isaiah 49:16 forever.