If you aren’t familiar with Elf on a Shelf you might think this picture is a little odd. The idea is that you use the elf doll and tell your children that the elf is watching good boys and girls for Santa. Now the elf moves at night to a different location to further convince your kids he is real. Sometimes this little elf will even play tricks at night while children are asleep. An example would be you find him on the kitchen table with your cereal ready, or maybe he picked out your clothes while you slept. You get the idea.
Now this sounds like great fun BUT most parents start this little game around Thanksgiving and it’s played up and until Christmas. This can be troublesome in many ways. Trying to come up with different ideas as to where to put the elf while the kids are asleep and what trick or new discovery the elf might create. That’s a lot of work! Or heaven forbid the parent is to tired to do the elf relocation one night, then you have to come up with why the elf did not move. The worst or maybe best idea is the elf is partially eaten by the dog, hence the picture.
I started my small online business in September of 2014. I was worried, frustrated, and somewhat confused about selling my handmade crosses online. I survived the first year and have enjoyed ever year since. The best part for me is the creative part of business. Unfortunately the other “stuff” (ie; finances, social media, marketing, shopping, ok maybe not shopping since it’s fun too) all come with the job. I have learned so much and have never been as frustrated with myself all at the same time. So much of what I have learned is from customers, other sites, competition, and trial and error.
I try to learn new ways of creating because I want to improve on my product and make the buying experience enjoyable for my customers. Today I took a trip down memory lane and looked over my past catalog. Yes, it took an hour. I have sold over 5000 crosses since my start in late 2014 and have made no two alike. My crosses are 100% one of a kind
So as I’m looking through I notice a few things about my designs. Maybe I have paid too much attention to my competition and haven’t always stayed true to myself. Is better always better? While trying to keep up with volume have I lost my nerve to be more creative? Is was worth the trip down memory lane. I learned something new today, to stop and think, “is this really my best?”
Now I’ve blogged about this once before ( see blog “I’m an old lady too” February 2021). Teaching an old dog new tricks is code for they won’t change their way of doing anything. Now it’s not new tricks that I would like others to learn as stated in my previous blog post, but rather old tricks that I would like to lose. I have so many that it almost seems like a challenge with little possibility of a good outcome. My list includes:
*Stop worrying about how I spend my time. It’s my time and I need to forgive myself for not doing something every minute of everyday.
*It doesn’t have to be perfect. This one is a little hard for me to do as I have always been the fixer and doer of my family.
*Stop thinking about the next five things you need to do. I use to make list of everything that needed to be done and every errand that needed running. I rarely finished the list in one day but I worked myself to death trying to reach the end of the list.
*Stop comparing your life and yourself to others- this one came as I aged – I just cared less about it.
This is the list I care about now……..
Listen more, talk less
Live everyday like it’s my last ( very hard to do grocery shopping, cleaning house, and doing laundry )
Try something new every week ( easy enough, as long as you don’t set the bar too high in what you learn). The learning is the most important part.
I don’t really think any of this has to do with old dogs (age) or new tricks (anything that is different from what you do now). I think I am more self aware of is what is needed to make my life mine.
I’ve always been a talker. I love people and I love being around people. Now don’t get me wrong I like my alone time too, but my teachers didn’t call me jabber jaws when I was in elementary school for nothing. The teachers would write on my report cards ; “she is a great student but needs to stop talking”. I was reading an article the other day which explained that children who are left alone a lot tend to well, run at the mouth , so to say.
I definitely fit in that category. I always did all the talking for my introverted little brother. He liked listening to me and it always made him feel more secure when I did all the talking, or so he told me once. My little brother passed away 24 years ago but I’m still talking.
Now the problem with this is it’s nervous talking . Not necessarily good conversation. I have been practicing meditation to help me silence that inner child who needed to fill the awkward silence. When I was young silence was always scary, nothing good ever came from silent moments. The meditation helps, not a cure, but it helps, and that’s all I have to say – for a change.
I think one of the best things about being born and living your entire life in the same city is nothing really changes, not really. Yes new streets are paved and old ones torn out, buildings go up and are torn down, people move into the city and move out, but your memories in the city never change. I can drive down any street in my city and it will bring back a memory, some sad, some not. Change is hard for all of us to some degree or another. Most of us when we are young we see change but it doesn’t seem to bother us a lot. Now as we age we have a tendency to resent change. I’m sure you have heard others say, “ things were better in our time” or “things aren’t as good as they used to be” These statements are true of course, or maybe you just roll your eyes when you hear someone older than you express that sentiment. The loss of someone you love is heartbreaking and of course this brings change. Change you are never ready for , but still it comes- relentlessly. I have found this to be true , this time right now, this very moment is everyone’s moment. As long as you are alive this is your time.
The weather has been warmer and my walks have been longer. I live in a neighborhood that has parks, sidewalks, and friendly neighbors. I ran into a neighbor that I heard had lost his wife in 2020 , but I had not had the chance to tell him personally how sorry I was. His booming voice called me over and I told him how sorry I was to hear of his wife’s passing. He and his wife would walk in good weather even after hip and knee replacements. His voice started to break as he talked about her. My heart broke as I listened. He explained that the “virus took her”. I finished my walk and began to think about everything he had said. This couple was not young but they took good care of each other. They got their flu shots, pneumonia shots, and went to the doctor annually. I thought even beyond his loss and about the total loss of life to COVID. To date 500,000.00 people have died of COVID in the United States. If you consider for one moment that each life lost affects 10 other people spiritually, emotionally, and financially then that total comes to 5 Million. Five million + souls walking around in 2020 trying to understand what happened. Be kind people, it was a very hard year.
2020 passed so fast and drug on so long. I look back and say to myself, “Where did 2020 go?” My 2020 started out with so much excitement. Two new grandchildren were born just a day apart and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was so see new life come into the world. I spent 5 years burying all of my family so new life brings new possibilities. I felt so content, and then came March 2020. Everyone has their own story for 2020. My year was odd. I was so caught up in the virus and the election year that it took the place of things I would normally do; volunteering, the gym, activities with family. Everyone had to make a new kind of day for themselves. I watched in horror how Americans were dying so quickly and Americans that were so divided in politics, or was it because I just had more time to notice? One thing is for sure my life is good, I’m not wealthy, or a world traveler, or even good looking, but I have a good life. I did learn a couple of things this last year. I was reminded to be more humble and more grateful. It was just one year but a year that no one will forget, no matter their story.
This photo is one that was given to me by one of my daughter’s friends. The photo was taken the day after the home and land that his family owned in southwestern Kansas burned to the ground. Thankfully the land and buildings were the only loss and everyone survived the blaze that burned for hours.
The photo was taken with a simple camera, no special lens, no added effects, no touch ups. Is the figure in the sky just a rement of the fire that burned and lingered or is it an angel watching over a family? Do we see what we want or need to comfort ourselves? Is that not what faith is, just believing?