I've not done one of these since New Year's Eve, and here is, practically half the year gone by. I've been having a rough time seeing the good lately, and thought listing the things I feel blessed to have in my life and things I've been loving recently would help me see things with a rosier tint... ^-^ So without further ado...
♥ Blessings: Always first on the list is my love, Jacqueline, who makes all things better, and my family, Antonio, Esme, JoAnn, and Lia, who amaze me everyday with their Beings. I have a car to get me to & from work and places I need & want to go. I have a shelter from the cold & rain and a place to bathe and get clean water. I have a phone and the internet and lights to see at night. I have a soft bed with blankets & pillows and clothes to wear that look nice on me even if I don't particularly like them. I have a camera and lots of art supplies and access to thousands of books & media, and I have friends and family and even strangers who will help when things get really hard.
♥ Blissings: The hummingbird is back at the feeder and neither rain nor wind nor sun will keep him away! Fifth & sixth grade classrooms, the rediscovery of Flatrock in the Spring, the flowers in our yard, the sounds of the birds and bugs and frogs that fill the air of our woods 'round the clock... Glee time! (sadface that there's only one epi til Fall!) Volkwagons and the sweet guys that drive them. Key Lime candles, lilacs in bloom, Baltimore orieles, warm chocolate chip cookies & brownies, the smell of coffee...
Today I created a fun treasury featuring animal-themed items from the Unschooler Etsy Team. Do check it out, and be sure to check out the other team members' shops too; lots of very talented unschoolers out there!
It's time for another round of Mosaic Monday Bunday! This week is the Full Flower Moon and our Mosaic Monday Bunday reflects that theme. Next week I'll be giving you all a chance to win a Mosaic Monday Bunday prize by guessing the theme! (Click here to see some of the previous prizes!)
I want to write (and perform) slam poetry, to transform the anger and hurt and frustration in me into beautiful words that hit the air with rhythm, and slide away, leaving only awe and ions in the air in their wake, like the feeling after a summer thunderstorm, but I've no bravery for performance, and the words don't come like I wish they would; so half a poem on the internet - no rhyme, no meter, no rhythm - is as far as it ever gets...
I've been running Faerie Garden Fancies for almost 3 years now, and sometimes it frustrates me how slow things are going. I had expected sales every day, but truthfully I've been lucky to get sales every week, and some months there have been no sales at all. The times I did better were when I did a lot of promoting for my shop all over; I felt so spammy. And it's discouraging, you know, to love what you do so much, but feel like no one else does. There have been many days when I thought, "Why bother?" But I keep plugging away. Part of why I keep going is that I love to experiment with my art, and I can't keep everything, so selling it makes sense (and cents). But beside that, I've discovered a few things that keep me motivated.
Find a Partner in Crime. Someone who sells too. Someone to share tips back & forth with. Someone who will celebrate your successes with you, as well as commiserate when things aren't going so well, but who will also kick your butt back in gear when you've wallowed in self-pity long enough. This could be your significant other, someone in your family, a friend, a co-worker, or a combination of all of those; however if no one around you really gets it, find someone online! Search through Etsy's Team pages and find a group of people you fit with, now you have a whole TEAM of people cheering you on!
Follow Your Heart, but Listen to Your Head. When it comes right down to it, only YOU know if something is working for you or not. If something causes you more sorrow & worry than joy & contentment, then perhaps it's time to let it go. But if something brings you so much happiness that you stay up all night doing it, or jump up out of bed early in the morning to get started, if your feet start dancing or your fingers start itching to get at it, even if everyone around you is saying, "Whoa Nellie!" Then you keep going. Keep doing that thing that makes you so excited. Find that group of people who will get excited right along with you, and forget what the naysayers say. But *do* take time to listen to your head. Just because you want to stay home all day and make art, does not mean you should quit your job right now and do that.
Read Inspirational Blogs. Sometimes your Partner in Crime won't be enough. They won't get what your're going through or you'll feel like that anyway; they'll be AFK and you'll need encouragement ASAP; or maybe they're looking for help from you, and you just won't have the right words. That's when hearing other people's stories - or just a simple quote from someone - helps. There are a few I follow regularly: KindOverMatter posts beautiful photos paired with meaningful quotes interspersed with inspirational stories and kind art & projects; RootsOfShe is a whole tribe of women coming together to share their wisdom, their joy, and their stories; and perhaps the one that most often seems written directly to me, Goddess Guidebook, by Goddess Leonie Allan, who writes about creativity & art, spirituality & healing, magic & miracles, and lately a whole bunch of business inspiration!
The motivation for me to write this post came from another such blog; in fact, I didn't even get all the way through the other post when I felt the need to write all this! The post I started reading was Four Habits For Long Term Success on Etsy by Kim at EverythingEtsy, and in it she quoted a story about a king who didn’t believe in miracles from the blog of MichaelHyatt.com. This king asked for proof of God's miracles, and the wise counselor to whom he had been speaking gave him four acorns, told him to put them in the ground, then gaze into a pool of water for a moment. When the counselor told him to look up, there were four enourmous oak trees where the acorns had been planted. The king praised this miracle, but the sage then told him he had been looking into the water for 80 years, even though it had seemed to the king only a second. Indeed, his clothing was threadbare, and his reflection in the water showed an old man. Angry the king denounced it as no miracle, but the sage replied, "It is God’s work nonetheless, whether he did it in one second or in eighty years.”
While this story refers to God's miracles, it's also a good parable for any endeavor you might undertake. Success doesn't happen overnight. You have to keep going with patience and persistance (as Kim said in her post) in order to reach your goals, whether running your own business, getting your Masters, or raising your kids right. Tough times pop up, but you don't have to let them knock you off track. Turn to your partner in crime, keep following your heart & listening to your head, find some inspirational words, and you'll find the strength to push through and things will get better.
That's right! Today's theme is Furry Hurry Rush and Scurry! That was *just* what you were gonna guess, wasn't it? LOL! I've got so many things I've been working on, that I'm running out of steam at the end of the day to tell you all about it... and I really should get that planner, so I can write down the things that need to get done!
I've been painting, and taking pics, and hope to be adding prints to my shop very soon! I've also been investigating selling to or through galleries and commission shops locally... But the thing I am most excited about? Totally not related to my art at all! I'm going to have a very special guest blogger soon, who will tell you all about it! Shhh... it's a secret til then!
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today Mexicans celebrated their victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on this date in 1862. It is *not* their Fourth of July, as I once believed; their Independence Day is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is more like our Veteran's Day, with military parades, speeches by political leaders, and not many people really observing the holiday, and those that do, celebrate in a more subdued manner than we do here in the US. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is only an official holiday in the state of Puebla, although in other parts of the country there is some recognition.
Here in the US, however, Cinco de Mayo has taken on the same significance of other holidays like St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, and Chinese New Year, which are celebrated to honor the Irish, German, and Chinese cultures. We immerse ourselves in their music, their food, their games, their way of life... and maybe learn a little bit about their history. It's a reason for a party! And here at Faerie Gardens, we'll take any little reason to celebrate, and Cinco de Mayo usually means a big Mexican feast for dinner. Tonight we had one of my favorite Mexican dishes:
Now I know, it's not *really* a Mexican dish, but it's got great Mexican flavor, and that's enough for me. So how did I make it? It's easy. I started by making this awesome dressing:
2 parts bottled ranch dressing
1 part lime juice
cumin to taste
just enough sour cream to thicken it back up some
Then I set that aside and tore some iceberg lettuce into a bowl to which I added a few spoonfuls each of:
fresh diced tomato
avocado (tossed in lime juice for flavor and to keep the green color)
black olives (halved)
seasoned ground beef (you can use a taco seasoning packet or add spices like chili powder, cumin, black powder... Or if you're vegan you can use meatless crumbles or leave this out altogether...)
you might want to add some chopped onions, but I didn't want any tonight...
After adding all that to a bowl big enough for mixing in, I added my special dressing and mixed thoroughly. But WAIT! There's more!
We were having some Mexican seasoned chicken breast (same seasonings as the ground beef) on top of our salads and I love BBQ flavor with my chicken, so I created a BBQ salsa! OMG YUM!
1/4 c salsa
1/4 c Memphis- or Texas-style (thin, tomato-based, not too sweet) BBQ sauce (we used the legendary sauce from our local Dinosaur Barbecue)
1 T Kansas City-style (thick, tomato-based, sweet) BBQ sauce
I finished my salad by adding 3 dollops of this delicious BBQ salsa, 1 dollop of sour cream, a small handful of crushed corn chips, the chicken (still steaming hot from the frying pan), and some shredded Mexican blend cheese. On the side, I had a small dish of my favorite Lime flavored tortillia chips! (And yes, I know I spelled it wrong, but that's how we say it here in the Gardens: tor-TILL-ee-ah. We like to play with language! It's more funner! ~_^)
I even had a bottle of Lime-melon wine cooler to wash it all down. Not as fun as a margarita maybe, but pretty tasty! ^-^ So, feliz Cinco de Mayo to you! Did you celebrate at all? Have you ever? Any favorite recipes you prepare?
Many thanks to Google and to Wikipedia for helping find out more about Cinco de Mayo!