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In Three Years Time

I sent a text to Frit today that said, “Do you know what today is?”

“Monday,” she answered.

“Yes,” I replied. “AND my three year anniversary!”

“From your dismissal?”

“Yep.”

“That’s right. And look at ya now.”

“And look at me.”

It’s been three years to the day since I drove home in the middle of the work day, with my entire professional life sitting in a box in the passenger’s seat beside me, feeling fearful, hurt, embarrassed, and angry–but relieved all the same.

It’s been two years to the day since I felt anxious that my life wasn’t moving forward fast enough, like I wasn’t working hard enough to make things happen–that I had nothing to show for the year I’d spent on my own. Shortly thereafter I sank into one of the darkest times of my life.

And it’s been one year to the day since I flew back to Utah after having spent an entire summer by the seashore mending that dark little broken life, recapturing my passion and purpose.

Three years. So much happens in three years. And yet, it doesn’t.

I do still feel angry, although it’s not as fierce as it was. And I don’t know if it will ever go away completely. Which, quite honestly, is fine with me. It’s not an anger that eats away at anything. It just sits there deep inside and only bobs to the surface (pun not intended, although my word choice there is quite apropos) when I’m reminded of my “dismissal.”

But, I’m not fearful anymore, or hurt, or anxious, or embarrassed. Although I do feel those emotions vicariously whenever I hear of anyone losing their job. It doesn’t matter if they’re strangers or friends or mere acquaintances, if someone loses their job, I feel that familiar pinch in my heart. It’s the pinch I felt when I sat across from my former “boss” (quotes used intentionally, queue said anger) and heard the words, “we’re going to have to let you go.” And then I cry for that person, whomever they are–because I know the grief that will soon ensue for them, and it’s a devastating experience.

But–then I promise them that it will get better and that even though it feels like hell today, there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel. It might take a month, it might take a year, or it might even take two, but it does get better and there’s a whole world of possibility waiting on the other side of job loss.

And as I look back over the last three years, and see all that I’ve learned and all I’ve become, I find that I can say with confidence and surety, I am so glad I’m here and not where I was.

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In Less Than 24 Hours

Welp. It’s over. My Hilton Head Summer of 2011 has reached its finale. By noon tomorrow I’ll be back in Utah and ready to dive into life post-“blah period.” That’s the official term, in case you were wondering.

The past four months were exactly what I needed. I needed to get away. From everything. I needed to empty. I needed to breathe. I needed to read. I needed to think. I needed to sit. I needed the sea. I needed my sister’s wedding. I needed one of the people who came to the wedding. I needed the sunrise. I needed to not write. And then I needed to write. I needed to pray. I needed time.

And I got all of that. And then some.

A friend I hadn’t seen in years said to me earlier in the summer, “You just don’t sound like you. It’s like your passion is missing or something. You used to be so passionate.” And he was right. But it/I (perhaps both) had been extinguished.

But y’all…the passion is back. (Do you hear me?) And holy smokes. There are some big things ahead. Big, awesome, exciting, hard, things that I feel fire in my gut about.

(Finally!)

I know what I’m doing. And I know where I’m going.

And it’s right. Like the, “I-know-this-in-my-bones” kind of right. Which I haven’t felt in so long.

It will mean a lot of work and much about how it will all unfold is totally uncertain. But it’s what I wake up thinking about and it’s what I go to sleep dreaming about.

And is it weird to say that I can feel a lot of this in my eyes? Like there’s this familiar brightness, that has been missing–I’m not sure how to explain it–but it’s like my eyes, my old friends, are back. I doubt that makes sense.

But anyway, in less than 12 hours I’ll be on a plane. Headed back to life.

And I’m just really excited.

Oh and do you know what else? It’ll be two years tomorrow since I lost my job. Pretty great way to spend that anniversary, if I do say so. Two years. Crazy.

*Photo taken this morning as I mozied around my grand’s property. It’s what I saw when I looked up.

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Holed Up

I just had the strangest, but most revealing, revelation I’ve had in a while.

It was this: I. am. scared.

Yes. Scared.

It went down like this:

I was watching a TEDx event and thought, Wow. Wouldn’t it be cool to teach one of those someday? To have something worth sharing with other people that would inspire them and nudge them toward greatness?

And then I thought, I couldn’t. I have nothing to say. At least not confidently and passionately anyway.

That’s when the revelation came.

I am, scared to death of my life.

Any confidence that creeps out these days is feigned effort.

The thing is though … I used to be confident. I used to live with passion. I used to be strong and totally kick-ass. I used to have plans. I used to believe I was awesome. I used to be fearless.

Used to.

Used to.

Used to.

But the last 18 months I’ve been holed up in a dank cell of fear.

Fear that anything I try with any heart will collapse in failure like my job did.

I mean, the only reason you lose your job is because you’re not good enough. You’re replaceable. Someone can do it better. You failed.

I failed.

My biggest fear realized.

Seriously.

When I lost my job, the “boss” (intentional use of quotation marks) who did it stripped me not just of my position but of my fight, of my confidence, of my belief that I was someone with purpose, doing purposeful things with greatness.

I lost, so much that day.

And in the aftermath, I haven’t moved. At least not intentionally anyway.

Yes, I’ve tried this and I’ve tried that. I’ve done this and I’ve done that. And I have loved so many of the things I’ve done. I have. I also feel so blessed, please know, for the opportunities God has given me–signs, in a sense, that I do still have talent and creativity and greatness and ability.

But I’ve lacked any and all passion.

And pouring passion is what I fear.

I’ll have a Coke on the rocks with a twist of timidity, pleaseandthankyouverymuch.

Staying wrapped up in a cocoon of non-deliberate living means living a life of minimal risk, minimal hurt, and minimal loss.

Now don’t go all “advice-y” on me. I know that I don’t want that kind of life, or rather, this kind of life forever.

Passion is what I want.

For now though,

I’m still licking my wounds.

And just knowing why I’m cowering is enough for me right now.

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Cluttered, PreOccupied, and a Lemon Tart


Remember how I was nesting? Yeah, so it turned out differently than I expected. It was more of an internal nesting (although I really do still need to clean out my closet). Does that happen to anyone else? Where you feel so full of thoughts and emotions and memories and lessons and experiences you need to deal with that you just feel dizzy with it all? And unless you sort though it piece by piece you find yourself unable to take anything more on, because you’re already stuffed to the brim?

Well that’s where I’ve been. And when I feel that way, I retreat until I am able to come up for air (hence the blogging hiatus). I think maybe it was the 6-month mark of being unemployed that hit me. Well that, and this other thing in my life that has forced me to look at my worries and fears and scars and insecurities left over from past experiences. And that combined with the reality that this business has to work (it has to), I found myself digging deep inside myself, sifting through the rubble created by the whirlwind I’ve lived in for the last few months.

I’ve felt consumed by the “business side” of this professional venture and when I’m in that mode, I find it hard to be creative. Which is a tricky thing when you “do” creative for a living. And yet, I’ve also found myself extraordinarily happy (also due in part, I’m pretty certain, to this other thing in my life), which makes me feel creative. So basically I’ve just been a mish-mash of right brain and left brain, cautious and hopeful, scared to death and ready to jump, blank with no ideas and overflowing with so many ideas I don’t know where to start.

Are you still with me? (I’m not sure I’m even still with me so don’t feel bad if you’re lost.)

So anyways, I’ve been cleaning out the clutter, or trying at least. Letting go of things that don’t matter anymore and framing in front of me the things I want most. I’ve been pre-occupied with a gallon of happy possibility that I can’t drink fast enough. And I’ve been diving into what I really want from this life I’ve chosen and committing to making its success a reality rather than treating it like a hobby.

But I’ve lacked words, which is weird for me. And I’ve not known where to start when it comes to creating again. So in an effort to just take a baby step forward, I made a tart. Yes. I made a tart. It was #29 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days and I knew it was doable. And it was delicious.

So here’s to baby steps. Here’s to recommitting to the lives we want and are totally possible. And while you’re at it, go make a tart.

Orange-Lemon Tart

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  cups  crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 5  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1  (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3  cup  frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  large eggs, separated
  • 1  cup  heavy whipping cream
  • 3  tablespoons  granulated sugar
  • Garnishes: fresh mint leaves, lemon and orange slices

Preparation

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Press mixture evenly into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom; set aside.

Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, orange juice concentrate, lemon juice, and egg yolks until blended.

Beat egg whites at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; fold into condensed milk mixture. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or just until filling is set. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Remove tart from pan, and place on a serving dish.

Beat whipping cream and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Dollop around edges of tart; garnish, if desired.

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A Little Brighter

I’m a generally happy person. It’s just my disposition. I see the world in living color and want to take as much of it in as possible. But for a while there, the brightness faded just a bit. And I lost the color.

This happens when you don’t do the things you love. It happens when you stop being (for whatever reason) who you were really created to be. It happens when you don’t make time for the people who mean the most. It happens when you let others dictate what your life should be made of.

But over the last 6 months (yes it’s been 6 months now), the color has come back. In new hews and with greater brightness. It’s amazing really, to be living in technicolor again. Things seem possible. Things seem wonderful. New opportunities come my way daily and I see the providence in them all. And even over the last couple weeks I’ve found myself unable to keep from smiling due to another new something that has made everything seem particularly bright.

I was talking with someone last night about the best things, happiest things, and most exciting things in our lives right now. It was good to take inventory of this life of mine.

And for so many reasons, but especially for a particular few, I just want to say …

I am happy. So very happy.

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Holy Cannoli. I’m Going to Be on Good Things Utah Next Week!

Yes! You read that title correctly. I am going to be on Good Things Utah next Tuesday, January, 12! The show airs live at 10 a.m. MST on channel 4 (ABC). I don’t know what time my segment will be exactly, but I’m being featured as a fabric craft expert with tips (and a step-by-step project) for home decor.

Can you believe this?! I’ve been a beach bum, sans the beach, this week, and I’ve got to kick it into high gear ASAP. Things to do:

1. Finish my designs and a step-by-step tutorial for the featured project
2. Get my website finished!
3. Send the producer talking points and a bio for the segment
4. Find something cute to wear (this should probably be #1)
5. Film a practice segment at home and critique myself so I don’t look like a total oaf on camera
6. Figure out what to do with my hair

This is going to be SO fun!

(AND I’ll get to cross #70 off of my 101 in 1001 List! Who knew THAT would happen so quickly!)

p.s. if you live out of state: Good Things Utah is the #1 rated lifestyle/variety show here in UT. They usually upload the segments to their website in the days follow the taping so I’ll be sure to post a link for you as soon as it’s up. That is, as long as I’m not a bumbling fool.

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Success

It was 9:45 a.m. Fifteen minutes before showtime. The three of us had been up for 26 1/2 hours at that point. All through the night we had been sewing, cutting fabric/paper/ribbon, painting, and cleaning with Elf, then The Holiday, then While You Were Sleeping on in the background. There had been no time to think. Just sew.

But at that moment, at 9:45a.m., as I was madly attaching price tags to everything (so beautifully displayed if I do say so myself), as mom and Frit were making 5 gallons of hot chocolate and setting out the doughnuts on the crisp white table cloth, it hit me.

This is it. The thing I’ve been working towards for two months now. The thing I’ve invested all my time and money in…What if no one comes?

Internally I started to freak out. (I mean really freak out.) Externally I kept my focus. But Frit took one look at me and could see the fear in my eyes.

I went outside to hang a banner on the porch. She followed me out, and there on the porch, on a cold, snowy, morning we huddled together and said a prayer. A prayer that God would bless my efforts. That people would come. That it would all work out.

At 9:58 she arrived. My first customer. A complete stranger. A nod from heaven that this “thing” would work, or at the very least be ok. She left having ordered two custom aprons. (Huzzah!)

The next eight hours were a flurry of people and snow. And at the end of the day, when it was dark and I was plum tuckered, what had begun as a fully stocked boutique had become quiet, leftover remnants of hard work, hopes, prayers, and the support of friends new and old.

Thank you for coming. Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart.

***

This week’s task: to get everything up online for you out-of-state shoppers. Just in time for Christmas! :)

And an extra special thank you goes out to my mom. You worked your fingers to the bone. I’m ever grateful and I love you mucho. So glad you could be here.

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When God Says “I Know”

Photobucket

The blinds are shut. The curtains are drawn. And the lights are out.

It’s cold and gray beyond the front door, with clouds that spell snow’s on the way. The leaves that were red and orange and gold not more than a week ago are now brown and fallen, and crackle into a million broken pieces under foot. The wind blows and carries them away into oblivion, leaving the trees are bare and trembling.

I’m bundled in sweat pants and fleece, huddled under blankets of feathers. My new best friend, Kleenex, (sorry Frit) is sitting on the table beside me with the cough drops and syrups close by. I’m bleary and fuzzy, but unable to sleep. And it is in times like these, when I’m left only to my thoughts, that I tend to wax philosophical.

____

Last weekend I was in St. George attending a women’s conference–a women’s conference run by the company I used to work for. I wasn’t nervous about going. In fact, I was really looking forward to it. I was excited to see the authors and artists I’d once marketed. But when Kenneth took to the stage and opened the conference with a song from an album I’d given months of my life to (happily and willingly), it was almost too much. And the tears fell.

Frit put her arm around me and asked if I needed to leave. No, I said. I just really loved my job … in the beginning. I really, really, loved my job. I loved the artists I worked with and the message they share was the root of my passion for so long. I just hate how it ended. And I guess it still stings.

It’s not fair, I told Heavenly Father. I know, He said.

Yes, I’m excited. And I’m happy. And I feel free. And something needed to change. I really was so dead at the end. But I’m also still angry sometimes. Really angry. And I’m still confused sometimes. I feel aimless sometimes. There’s still so much I don’t know and can’t seem to figure out. I don’t know if I’ll be ready to launch my own company by Dec. 5. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t even know if it’s the right thing.

But I’m just trying to remember, and believe, that when God says, I know, He’s also saying, I’m here.

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The Plans for my Immediate Future

I must admit.

I am scared to death.

I’m scared I’ll fail.

I’m scared it’ll flop.

But I have to do it.

I want to do it.

Even if I do fail when it’s all said and done.

It’s where my heart has been drawn to,

as I’ve thought and prayed,

and prayed and thought,

over these last few weeks.

And so today,

I’d like to announce

to you,

my dear friends,

that I’m staring my own business: KQM Creative,

a creative services company,

complete with PR/Marketing consulting,

freelance writing,

a photography business,

classes,

and,

drumroll please …

my very own Boutique and Bakery,

whose Grand Opening (and Holiday Sale) will be held

Friday, November 13 – Saturday, November 14.

So mark it on your calendars.

I do hope you can come.

More details to follow.

(p.s. I’m BEYOND excited!)

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My Pot is Bubbling Over

Is that like my cup running over? Hmm. I’ll have to think about that. In the meantime, I have a hilarious story about Frit … that I will be sharing on Monday (oh good gracious, you REALLY want to stop by on Monday. I don’t even know if I can wait that long!), but today I want to talk (write) through some things I’ve been thinking about, as it pertains to where I’m headed. I know! Aren’t you so excited?! Me TOO!

As I’ve faced unemployment square in the wide-open-with-possibilities face, I’ve had daily visions of all the things I’ve always wanted to do but never did because I didn’t have time. Before, when I had a job, it was all I could do at the end of the day to put on pajamas, fix a PB&J for dinner, and watch Cosby Show (best show ever) on DVD until bedtime.

But now, having 8 hours of my planner not tied to a job, makes me feel full of life and excitement for what my life can/could be. Having said that, I don’t want to diminish the time I spent in my last job. I knew, as a young college graduate, that when I said “Yes” to the job offer, that it was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was exactly what I was supposed to do. And over the last six years I have gained a vast and varied skill set that now makes me highly marketable & incredibly knowledgeable. I mean, I was the publicist responsible for the nomination that led to a Grammy-win for Gladys Knight for cryin’ out loud! I produced and managed a regional musical tour seen by almost 150,000 people over the last three years! I placed media stories & appearances for our recording artists that resulted in 10,000,000+ media impressions in one year! No, my time there was not wasted. I gave so much. I learned so much. I became so much.

But seasons change and now it is time to put that knowledge to use to support my passions, and my dreams. All of them. Some people think that the trouble with us Pisces is that we’re always swimming in two, three, ten different directions. But the great thing about being a Pisces is that I’m always swimming two, three, ten different directions! I love the energy I feel when my brain cranks are churning, dreaming, flying in different directions. Particularly the dreaming. That is how I’ve spent much of my last two weeks.

And as I’ve looked at and thought about all my ideas and dreams, I’ve begun to realize that our desires/ideas/dreams contain clues to what we’re best suited for and capable to achieving. If you want big things, you’re capable of doing big things. If you feel inclined toward a certain thing, then you’ll be able to do it. But too often we limit ourselves because of fear, or uncertainty, or lack of know-how. But as my friend Laurel so appropriately quoted Lee Iacocca recently:

So what do we do?
Anything.
Something.
So long as we just don’t sit there.
If we screw it up, start over.
Try something else.
If we wait until we’ve satisfied all uncertainties,
it may be too late.

I’m not certain that my ideas are right. I feel like they are, but if I’m wrong, I’ll start over. If I fail, I’ll try again. And never in my life have I looked at things with this type of an attitude. I’m one who appreciates certainty, safety, maps, outlines, step by step instructions for success. I’ve always steered clear of doing things I knew I wouldn’t be good at. But I don’t know if I’m going to be good at this. But I’m at a place where I can’t help but try. The pot is bubbling over and I can’t put a lid on it. I don’t want to.

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The Rules of Unemployment

Are as follows:

1. I will be out of bed by 7:00 a.m. daily
2. I will be showered and dressed (with make-up and jewelry) by 10:00 a.m. daily
3. I will go to the gym daily
4. I will read my scriptures and other spirit-lifting literature before noon daily
5. I will make my bed before noon daily
6. I will do at least one productive thing every day. List of options? Oh yes:
a) service
b) visiting
c) tasks associated with future professional plans/job searching/job creation/etc.
d) cleaning/organizing
e) yard work

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