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THE OAK AND THE ROSE
by Shel Silverstein
An oak tree and a rosebush grew,
Young and green together,
Talking the talk of growing things –
Wind and water and weather.
And while the rosebush sweetly bloomed
The oak tree grew so high
That now it spoke of newer things –
Eagles, mountain peaks and sky.
“I guess you think you’re pretty great,”
The rose was heard to cry,
Screaming as loud as it possibly could
To the treetop in the sky.
“And now you have no time for flower talk,
Now that you’ve grown so tall.”
“It’s not so much that I’ve grown,” said the tree,
“It’s just that you’ve stayed so small.”
Umm. Guys. I just found the find of all finds for those in the photography biz. I’m not even shooting anymore, and I am super jacked about this discovery.
We all know how hard it is to find decent backdrops, especially modern ones. No one wants the marbled grey look anymore. They just don’t. Well, today I stumbled upon a personalized backdrop option. Brought to you by the one and only, always fabulous Minted, of course. I know, right. Gasp. The stars have aligned. The moment has come.
How great would these be for a holiday party, engagement party or wedding, valentine’s day bash, branded photo shoot. Oh, the possibilities.
I want one, and I’m not even shooting anymore.
In a survey released by Bentley University, almost two-thirds [of millennials] (67%) said their goal involves starting their own business.
If you think about your friends, classmates, co-workers and siblings, consider how many of these people have started their own business or are involved in a side business outside of a regular, full-time job. Band members. Fitness instructors. Jewelry creators. Photographers. Artists. Boutique owners. I can name a dozen people without even digging that deep outside of my friend circle. Everyone these days is getting crafty and putting themselves out there to create a life built on their passions. My question to you is… are you supporting it?
Being a serial entrepreneur myself (if you can call my side projects that), I know how important it is to have family and friend support at the beginning and throughout the life of my business. We rely on that support when we are questioning ourselves, needing encouragement and wandering through the lost channels of self-doubt during the many valleys of our business adventure.
In my goal to live a more purpose-filled life, and to make a greater impact on those placed directly in our lives, I put together this somewhat obvious list of things you can (and should) be doing to support your friends’ side projects and businesses:
- Support their efforts on social media. It’s so easy to like, comment, encourage, share, invite and rate things on social media platforms. But you already knew that. So why aren’t you doing it? With the algorithms associated with social media these days, every one of those little efforts counts to someone just starting out. It’s also free. So you have no excuse to endorse your friend’s project or business whenever you can.
- Attend their events. Open houses. Live shows. Craft parties. Fundraising extravaganzas. You don’t have to have money to physically show support of something.
- Buy things from them. Books. CDs. Paintings. Pottery. Photography sessions. Handmade jewelry. Get the warm fuzzies knowing you helped out a friend on something you probably would have purchased anyway. So instead of handing your money to a retail store or a stranger, opt to give it to a friend.
- Share your talents. Are you a designer? A copywriter? A bass player? A manager with 10-years of business expertise? Offer whatever skills you have to help further their cause.
- Send them a nice message. Encouragement. Excitement. Love. Constructive feedback. It’s always nice to hear from someone off the grid of the typical social media likes and shares. Personal messages are never forgotten.
So my challenge to you is this – do two of the above items today, and really, truly show your support of someone and their passion.
The wonderful painted piece in my header image is by my friend Carly. Her new store has prints, original works, coffee mugs, ridiculously cute pillows and tees. Visit her website at: www.artbycarly.com.
I stumbled upon a blog recently that’s easily becoming one of my favorite reads.
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a counter-cultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of over-consumption that surrounds us.
Man, I love that. I think I just adopted a new life manta.
So many wonderful words in there. Intentional. Promotion. Value. Removal. Conscious. Decision. Lifestyle. Culture.
The key word that sticks out to me is lifestyle. When you make an adjustment to a new kind of lifestyle (working out, eating healthy, diets, etc) it takes time. It takes baby steps. There will be set backs and failures and victories and accomplishments. There’s a push and pull type of force that happens when you are teaching yourself to live differently than what you are used to. It’s a slow process. I really love the idea of becoming minimalist, but I definately don’t see myself selling all of my possessions and living in a hipster van in the woods.
I desperately want to remove clutter in my life in 2016. I want to clean up the way my thoughts spin through my head, the things that I buy and the things that I keep, and most importantly, the way I spend my time. Living in a tiny little house with my fiance has forced us to de-clutter our lives a little bit, simply because there is literally no more room (anywhere), but I want to continue to de-clutter my life in other ways as well.
- I want to spend more time with people. And stop being a hermit.
- I want to eat real foods. Less processed food. Except chocolate. Must. Have. Chocolate.
- I want to give away what I don’t use. I like to think that there’s someone out there that would use and truly appreciate the things that just sit in my closet.
- I want to put my phone down more. It’s time to delete a lot of very unnecessary, time-sucking apps.
- I want to spend each moment intentionally. Less internet browsing, tv-watching, list-making. More being present.
There are days when I struggle with being happy. I think a lot of us have those days. There may or may not be a reason. We may or may not have a right to be sad. We may just feel this overwhelming weight sitting upon us that we can’t, no matter what, seem to lift. I’ve been there. I think some of you probably have too.
As I’ve battled these days over the past few years, I’ve found that choosing happiness and choosing joy is a decision, a mental choice. My heart and soul may be dragging me downward, but it is my responsibility to have my brain push me upwards, towards hope. Choosing joy is not a feeling or something that just happens. Choosing joy is a decision, an everyday decision.
The message that hit home for me was from Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. “Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.” Ultimately, to me, depression was selfishness. It was a lack of gratitude toward what God had given me. It was a lack of gratitude that I owed myself. It was a lack of gratitude for those around me. Depression was (and is) selfish. This may or may not true to you, or someone you know, but to me, this was my truth. I’ve always been hard on myself, a perfectionist, but I realized that perfection was not what was important, and that I owed myself the opportunity to be happy, to be the best me I could be, to be the kind of friend to myself that I would want from someone else.
If you know me, you know I don’t spew rainbows or get totally stoked over something or show a wide range of emotion too often, but if you do know me, you know how much of that is channeled inside me. I think many of us channel things inside, and if we shared our real thoughts, fears, joys, dreams more often, we might create some deeper friendships, or give someone else a reason to be real and open with us too. Less fake, more real.
I highly recommend the One Thousand Gifts book that I mentioned above if you’d like to gain some outside perspective on joy, gratitude, or living life fully. I was only a few pages in when Ann’s message hit me, and I’m sure there is a nugget or two in there for you as well that you may find useful.
In the meantime, chin up and carry on.
One year ago today, Marc and I got engaged.
I still can’t believe how ordinary that day seemed until I saw my favorite person ever kneel down on one knee with a big smile on his face. We had been looking at a new place for Marc to rent, we ate at Ruby Tuesdays, I got poisoned (glutened), the weather was freakishly nice for a March day in South Dakota, and we drove around the hills planning on going for a hike. So ordinary (minus the glutening, but at that point in my life, that was normal).
Having a commitment like an engagement with someone is so beautiful. To me, it means they will never give up on you, and they are in this thing called life for the long haul. Through good and bad. Always forgiving. Always hoping for the best in each other. I just love the meaning behind the ring he gave me. He chose me. And I chose him.
To get a little personal, it’s really pushed me to be more selfless. To be more patient. Two things that are a bit tricky for me at times. Marc has qualities that I wish I had more of, so I remind myself that he gives me the best of himself, all the time, and I owe it to him (and myself) to do the same. I will love you all the days of my life.
In one year, we have done SO MUCH. I mean, life jumped into full gear. Here are some major highlights from the year:
- I sold my house.
- I moved to the Black Hills.
- I started working remotely for DocuTAP in Sioux Falls.
- My sister got married.
- Marc’s sister got engaged and married.
- We traveled to Arizona (twice), San Diego and I went to Las Vegas.
- I started learning how to dirt-bike.
At this point, we are five months away from walking down the aisle. Excitement is an understatement.
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If you’re decorating easter eggs this weekend, here are some decorating ideas to keep things fabulous, cool, or classy.
If you ever have the change to work from home, or be your own manager, here are my tips for staying productive on your own account.
- Shower every morning. Even if you put sweatpants back on, make sure you shower. It wakes you up, gets you going, and is just downright healthy.
- Stick to a schedule. Don’t mingle your work hours with your getting ready hours or your eating lunch hours. Set schedules and stick to them. Eat breakfast before work. Take a lunch break, even if it’s short. Cut yourself off at the end of the work day.
- Get out of the house. Work at a coffee shop for a day. Go for a long walk at mid-morning. Run errands over your break. Meet your friend for lunch. These are the things that keep you from going insane at home all day.
- Over-communicate with coworkers. If you have an instant messaging system, keep your online status up-to-date even if you just go make lunch quick. This let’s them know exactly when you are available and when you’re not. It doesn’t look too good if they instant message you when it says you’re online and you don’t answer for half an hour.
- Work hard and be grateful. If you are lucky enough to work from home, don’t take advantage of it. Work your ass off and be grateful for every opportunity and task that comes your way.
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