Thursday, July 26, 2012

My momma raised me right. And it stuck!... {a tiny Thankful Thursday tirade}

I have a few things to say this morning. Not anything new, I know. But I feel they must be said, so here goes...

First of all, I am so very thankful that my Mom and Dad taught me about hard work, responsibility, generosity and, perhaps most of all, simple courtesy. They didn't just teach me; they showed me everyday by simply being themselves. I think they both would have done just about anything for anyone. My dad worked, in some form or another, nearly everyday of his life. And he always gave his best to whatever it was he was doing. My mom worked equally hard at home. They were highly responsible people. Until later in my life, they never even had a credit card. My dad was old school: paid for everything with cash. If he didn't have enough cash to buy something, he waited until he had saved enough. And they always treated people with respect and courtesy.

Not only did my parents show me the importance of these qualities, the life lessons I gained from them actually stuck! I feel pretty good about the person I grew up to be. Sure I've got faults. And who doesn't? But, all-in-all, I'm a pretty decent person. And I'm so glad for that.

Now, here comes the tirade part. If you'd like to surf off to another page and read no more, I completely understand. And I won't be offended at all. Truth is, I won't even know you didn't finish reading! So feel free to ditch the whole thing right here and now :)

Events from this morning have shown me all too well how the simplest of virtues can be so easily thrown out the window. Then again, maybe that's phrased incorrectly. I guess if you don't have those qualities in the first place, you can't really throw them anywhere, now can you?

I simply don't understand how someone can be raised by two decent parents, pretty great parents actually, and somehow turn out to be one of the most indecent people in town. (Perhaps on the planet, but I don't want to get too carried away. lol) Seriously, I wonder how none of the lessons one learns as a child can stick with him or her. And I wonder why it isn't obvious to this type of person that something basic is missing from his or her life. There is a certain happiness, after all, that comes from being a person who is considerate of others. A person who works hard for the things they want in life and who is responsible for his or herself and the actions he or she takes. There is something to the old saying that what goes around, comes around. And, maybe it's just me, but I enjoy being a good person. It's so much easier than wasting my time trying to figure out what I can do next to get under someone else's skin. Let's face it, being an angry, bitter person takes a lot out of you. So does being a person you aren't even proud of. Despising yourself is downright exhausting. I know. I've been there before.

So let me just say again how very thankful I am to be good with who I've turned out to be. I can't thank my parents enough for instilling in me the qualities of decency, integrity and responsibility. And I'm glad, too, that their lessons stuck. That I didn't lose sight of those qualities as I got older and came to be on my own. If you possess those kinds of qualities, you should be glad too. Because there are plenty of people around these days who simply do not have them. And, I tend to believe, being devoid of decency and courtesy must make for a pretty lonely life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday... A Day Late. A Dollar Short.

Last week I wrote my Thankful Thursday post on Wednesday. This week it's Friday. What can I say? I'm a busy gal and can't keep a schedule to save my life!

So this morning I was thinking about how I missed writing my post yesterday and the phrase "a day late and a dollar short" popped into my head. There are plenty of times when a day late isn't such a big deal. Take this post, for instance. I didn't get it done on Thursday. Whoop-ti-do. Life happened. I simply got too busy.

There are also times when being late does count. You miss an important deadline at work or to sign your kids up for an activity. Sometimes you can fix it. And sometimes you can't.

But then there are the really big things. The things you simply cannot afford to miss out on. Those life-changing things. Maybe it's a moment. Maybe it's a lifetime of taking someone for granted. Until, one day, you've missed the boat. That person is gone suddenly and you're left with nothing but regret. That's the one I want to talk about this morning.

Sometimes it's easy to take things and people for granted. You settle into habits. Things and people become everyday and normal and you forget just how precious they really are. I think we all do that now and again. The saddest part of this scenario is that the closest people to you are the ones it's easiest to overlook. Because the special things they do, the unique qualities about them, become regular and, in doing so, start to be nothing more than normal. We take it for granted that they will always be around. That we'll always have them in our lives.

But, of course, life is fleeting. I say nothing profound here. We all know it. But it sure is easy to forget sometimes. Life can be so darn busy. And we all get caught up in the whirlwind of schedules and appointments. We lose sight of the bigger picture: that life is not about how many events or relationships you can fit in but, rather, how amazing those moments and connections are.

When I thought of this post title, one of the first things that came to mind was my parents' deaths. It's probably because I was talking with someone just a few days ago about losing a parent suddenly and feeling somewhat like an orphan, even at my age.

For those of you that don't know, I lost my dad to cancer about 9 years ago. It wasn't an extremely prolonged period of time between his diagnosis to his death. But, I was somewhat prepared when we lost him. I was a daddy's girl, and I relied on him for a lot. We had a very good relationship and that helped when he died. I didnt have regrets or sadness for what we didn't mend in his lifetime. But, rather, had only good memories of how we were with each other.

Even still, it really does indeed hit home just how much you take for granted when you lose someone. There was so much he did for me that became so very evident when he wasn't there to do it anymore. What I realized most, the thing that I had completely taken for granted, was what a rock he was for me. I always felt safe knowing that, if I fell, my dad would be there to catch me. And then, suddenly, I didn't have that safety anymore. It was scary.

Now, with my mom, the scenario is a bit different. We had a good relationship, too. But we bickered  A lot. I think that the biggest problem with my mom and I was that we were a lot alike. And some of the things I didn't like about myself, I blamed indirectly on her. Little personality traits that I picked up from her would get on my nerves. She worried and got stressed about things too much. So did I.  She was picky. Me too. As a teenager and a young woman, these things overshadowed all the good things I also inherited from her. Like a kind heart and a giving personality. The ability to love big.

In addition to this, a mother-daughter relationship just has a different dynamic than that of a girl with her father. I didn't idolize her like I did my dad. Plain and simple. But when I lost my dad, I came to realize what a true gift she was to my life. How much I had always counted on her too. And then, most suddenly and shockingly, she was gone as well. And I found myself alone. I had my own children and plenty of people to rely on. But no one to catch me if I fell. No one to provide the unconditional love like only a parent can.
I didn't have regrets when I lost my mom either. I felt good in knowing that, even with all our bickering, there were never any hard feelings between us. We argued and then forgot about it. And we had grown even closer within the 7 years between losing my dad and losing my mom. Simply put, I'm confident that she knew how very much I loved her. And I know how much she loved me too.

So today, I am thankful for the peace that comes with losing someone and yet knowing that, if you could do things over with them, there really isn't too much you would change. I know a person who continually takes his parents for granted. Who basically cuts them off from most of his life because of his own short-comings, not theirs. And I know, from experience, that one day he will lose them. And have to live with the regret that he didn't appreciate what he had while it was his. I feel sorry for him. Because I know how hard it is to deal with losing people that are important to you without any regrets. I cannot imagine what it must be like when your heart is not only full of sadness over their death, but also with the sadness that you lost them long before they died.

If you read this and it means anything to you, please take a moment to really think about what others mean to you and how you would feel if they left. Would you have peace looking back on your relationships? Or would you have a heart full of regret? Once you lose someone, you don't get a do-over. Try not to be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to what truly counts in life. Make an effort everyday to appreciate the things that people do and the amazingness that makes them who they are.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our First Show...Success!

Some of you may know that we had our first On A Whim booth this past weekend in Lowell at the Riverwalk Festival. I am pleased to say it was a great success! :)

We sold some of our products, including a nice whitewashed and stained end table and an ever-popular laundry room sign, both pictured here. We sold the pallet sign in this picture too.

We received a lot of compliments on our products, especially this chippy welcome window sign at the left entrance to our booth (sitting aginst the bottom of our booth sign, which I happen to just love to pieces!).

We also had a lot of compliments on our presentation. That was exciting for me personally. I really wanted the booth to look great, like some of the wonderful booths I see on other blogs and on Pinterest pics. With all the nice words people had to say about the way we had things set up, I guess we didn't do too bad in that area. :)

And, most importantly, Eric and I had a lot of fun talking with everyone and spending the day together. I think I can speak for both of us when I say we feel like this weekend was a great accomplishment and a success. Especially following on the heels of our first 4 etsy sales. It felt so wonderful to hear good things about the products we had made. It's very gratifying to know that people like your creativity. We really feel like our little business is taking off. And couldn't be more pleased. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thankful Thursday: playing the hand I'm dealt

I know it isn't Thursday yet, but close enough! :)

One of the surest things that in life is that things don't always go as planned. Sometimes this can be disappointing. And sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise. But either way it ends up, one thing is for certain... we're all going to have to deal with the unexpected sometimes. Now comes the tricky part: how we deal with it.

Some people have it mastered. They never seem disappointed when things don't work out like they thought they would. Well, I am not one of those people, that's for sure. I don't think I would even want to be, if I'm being honest. I think it's okay to be disappointed when people let you down. Inevitably, it's going to happen to all of us. There isn't a perfect person out there, so even the best people occasionally fall below the mark. And if we are disappointed in something someone did or didn't do, we should be honest enough to tell them, as kindly as possible.

Then there are those people who cannot handle it when The Plan goes awry. I capitalized that on purpose. Because, to some people, The Plan is of the utmost importance. They simply do not know how to delve away from it. I can relate to that a little. I used to be the kind of person who hated it when things got out of wack. If I was supposed to do something and it fell through, it really bothered me. Bothered me to the point of eating me up a little. 

Well, I am happy to report, I am no longer that person. I'm not sure when it happened. Perhaps it was just going through one setback after another let-down followed by yet another bummer that brought me to a place where I can look disappointment in the eye and laugh whole-heartedly at it. And, well, I'm so completely and absolutely thoroughly thankful for that! I can't tell you what a relief it is to not have to follow much of a plan. It's not like I'm going through life willy-nilly or anything. Of course, I have a rough plan. But it's pretty vague. And guess what? If I don't stick to the plan, I don't fret about it. No siree!

It really helps to have this new sense of non-direction, shall we say, when your life is a little topsy-turvy. Which mine definitely seems to be these days! It isn't that I gave up caring. I just gave up worrying. (For the most part anyway. lol) And it's such a relief. We went out on a limb and started this little side business and it's starting to pay off. The old Denise wouldn't have dared, because she would have been too worried that it wouldn't work out according to plan. But the new me is different. I figure if we make this stuff, which I happen to like, and don't sell any, then I guess I'll be stuck with a bunch of cool, antique furniture and findings. I can live with that prospect. Doesn't sound too bad to me. :)

The moral of this story is, we all get dealt a hand. It's what we do with those cards that counts. Sometimes you get a royal flush. Other times you feel like you have a handful of jokers. But I thank God everyday that I have learned to play the hand I'm dealt. When it's bad, I might fold. Or I might just keep playing my hand for the fun of it. If you enjoy playing the game, winning and loosing doesn't seem so important anymore. I'm enjoying my life, as ridiculously off-track as it is most days. And that's what counts after all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Short and Sweet

We finally had our first sale on etsy. I'm so excited to look at our shop and see an amount in the revenue column. :) It was even sweeter that our second sale came only one day after our first! And it makes us even more excited about our booth at the Riverwalk Festival. It's always very gratifying when you create something and people like it. So I am thrilled and very thankful that people like out products. And thankful, too, for everyone's support of our business! It's just an awesome feeling. :)

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