Tangles, Twists and Treasures

Romantic Jewelry and Fine Things

Archive for the category “Living”

Blogging vs. “Real” Life

questionWhy is blogging so hard when one is actually LIVING?  I’ve been so busy and dealing with multiple illnesses over the last year and a half – pneumonia twice last year, hurricane Matthew, evacuation, being ill again, shows; a new boyfriend on January 1, building a new and different life, working on updating the studio and getting photos ready for the store, painting again, then two hospitalizations, hurricane Irma, and sick again with bronchitis.  (Why am I always sick around hurricanes?)  – that blogging just fell through all the cracks.  All of this living happens, and it never gets recorded in any of my journals, and my blog sits empty, while everything happens.

Irregardless, I’ve fallen into the trap of so many others.  (As a matter of fact, one of the bloggers I follow just recently posted about it as well.  If I can find the link, I’ll throw it up here.)  I kept sitting and thinking, “I need to start blogging again.  I need to have a schedule, and think of really good topics, and get something going.”, and then I wouldn’t have time for all that, and the post would get put off till next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.  I kept falling down that elusive rabbit hole of expectation.  If I didn’t have something worthy of posting, then I shouldn’t post.  So the blog remained empty.

 

I realized today, that big, gaping emptiness was never going to be filled by thinking and planning; and only by doing.  It reminds me of a Buddhism story a friend told me many years ago – was it Oliver Rendellman?  He’s something of a business/thought mentor to me, and always has good stories! – it went something like this:

You are walking through the woods when you spot another person in front of you.  Suddenly – seemingly from out of nowhere – an arrow penetrates the forest and hits the person, who crumples into a heap before your eyes!  What do you do?  Do you stand there wondering where the arrow came from, why someone shot the man, and worrying about your own safety?  Or do you rush forward and bandage the man before he bleeds to death?

The point, of course, being that there is a time for reflection and a time for action, and the time for reflection is not when you or someone else is bleeding to death!  This blog has been hemorrhaging for long enough.  Time to get it moving again.

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Why Community Involvement is Good for Business

IMG_4827I recommend that no matter how busy you are, you make time to get involved in your local community. Most people consider big charities as a worthy recipient for their time and money, but community involvement is equally important. This is where *you* live, after all. Helping to make it a safer, more beautiful, brighter and caring place benefits you directly.

Did you realize, however, that being involved in your local community can also be an invaluable source of networking and free marketing for your business? When I began volunteering at the Garden Club at Palm Coast, I did not. As an individual, the opportunity to volunteer fills an empty spot inside of you. Knowing that you are doing something to benefit where you live, or a specific cause, can be a great source of pride. I firmly believe that no matter how bad off we think we are, we always have something to give, and that giving it benefits ourselves as well as others.

Which Charity Should You Pick?

The charity you select can be anything. You might sponsor the Boy Scouts so that their after-school programs are funded and young men continue to have a place to go. Or you might volunteer at an animal shelter, helping after-hours to find homes for many of the animals held there. Libraries are always looking for volunteers, and are involved heavily with other community groups.  If you enjoy books, the library might be a good beginning.  You could patrol streets and pick up trash on weekends, help clean up the beaches in your area, or volunteer at a newspaper covering community news. You might even decide to join a group that isn’t a charity – like a local social club.  All of these things help to enrich your life, and the lives of so many others.

Why Get Involved?

As a business, volunteering can be priceless. The opportunities for networking are extensive. When you volunteer, people get to know you. They see how hard you work, they see the passion inside of you, and they appreciate what you can give – whatever it is. Over time, they become familiar with you as a person, and as a business. Volunteers come from all walks of life, and when another volunteer needs help with something, they’re more likely to think of someone they know through the community. Further, when your group has fund-raising events and needs vendors, or other types of paid support, who do you think they will go to?

Shortly after becoming a member of the Garden Club at Palm Coast, I was offered the opportunity to vend at their Spring Expo. I was thrilled at the opportunity, and was told that they were looking to make a permanent list of reliable vendors. Not only would they do the Spring Expo, but also smaller events. Since then, I’ve sold my pieces at a monthly meeting, participated in the District VI meeting as a vendor, and I have a third event lined up for a sister club in February. That’s four sales opportunities from one club. Through my involvement with a social club – Palm Coast Game Night – I’ve also shown my work at parties hosted by individual members. I can credit most of my sales to these two clubs. If a member didn’t buy a piece, they were directly responsible for putting me in a position where someone else would see me, and either purchase a piece or ask me to work another event.

There are also secondary benefits to volunteering which should never be overlooked. Since becoming a member I’ve met hairdressers, printers, lawyers, mathematicians, engineers – you name it. If I have a legal question, I’m far more likely to go to the lawyer in our group, than a stranger I don’t know. If I need a haircut, or I’m looking to branch into hair accessories, I’ll go to the hairdresser who’s a member of our group. In this way, it’s a benefit for everyone. I get services from people I trust, and they get business as well.

All of this proves that community involvement should be an important part of your strategy for living. The spiritual benefits are innumerable, and should never be ignored. Trust me: I’m not discounting the pride or happiness you’ll get from helping out. I feel it! However, most people overlook the business benefits of community involvement.  Now, you’re armed with all the knowledge you need to make a wise decision.


The Garden Club at Palm Coast handles memorials and plantings around Palm Coast, FL, teaches community members about native plantings and ecology in the area, and sponsors a scholarship fund to help the local area high school. Once a year, they have a Spring Expo, which features sales of many garden-related items, booths from outside vendors and food, as well as recognizing a young artist for the year through their poster contest. The second Monday of each month, they host a general meeting and luncheon at the Extension Office in Bunnell. These meetings cover a range of topics such as low-maintenance plants, herb gardening, environmental concerns such as water conservation, or purely aesthetic topics such as flower arranging. They are entirely funded through member contributions, donations and time.

Palm Coast Game Night is a social group based out of Palm Coast, FL.  Individuals host a variety of game-related events at member houses or various public locations around town. Sometimes events are themed to a particular holiday, but all revolve around food, fellowship and fun.  Games of all kinds abound.

Welcome!

Opening a business has been a scary prospect for me.  Fibromyalgia took my life years ago, right when I was finishing a degree in accounting.  Within two years, I couldn’t retain a job, no matter how hard I tried.  My illness made me too unreliable.  I lost all faith in myself, and it took me years to pick myself up and realize that there could still be something out there for me – I just had to work *with* my illness and not against it.  I started a blog at Netjera.com so I could share my journey with others.  I started a Facebook page for Netjera, for the same reason.  I was searching, I knew others had to be as well.  When I was diagnosed, there were no resources and even less understanding.  I wanted people to understand, and I wanted to keep moving forward.  It took me more years of searching to find something I loved, that fit my needs.

Even so, it took me years longer to feel comfortable enough to take the first step – an Etsy store last November – only to have it taken away from me.  (I’ll be posting about some of the things you should know about Etsy later.  I learned the hard way, and would hate for you to learn that way, as well.)  Losing the store almost crushed me, but I defiantly moved the store to Aftcra.com and then watched, demoralized, as the store sat for six months without a single sale.

What encouraged me to keep going was love.  I LOVE what I’m doing.  For the first time in my life, I feel as if I’m truly “home”.  I also have faith.  Faith in my product, faith in myself, faith in the goodness of mankind, and faith in a higher power.  That faith enabled me to see opportunities where others may not.  It also placed people in my path whose hearts were filled with kindness – like the lady who paid my Garden Club membership, feeling that it would be critical to my networking.  It was.  I booked two events because of the garden club, and when people think of pendants, they think of me and contact me about them.  There are many people who have taught me, who have reached out to me and helped me up when I’ve fallen, whose faith in me was unshakable, even when my own was not.  I keep going as much to repay them, as for myself.  The hope they provided could not be repaid by giving up.

A couple of months ago, my ISP informed me that Netjera.com was destroyed when they tried to move it to a new server.  Nothing is recoverable.  I still have the Netjera Facebook page, but the loss of the website was like a physical blow.  I put my heart and soul into that blog for several years, hoping to ease the way for others.  The entire database was destroyed.  Every post is gone.  I will never recover from it.

The last year has been full of things – including broken relationships, forced moves and deaths in the family – which have hit me in the soul.  Oddly enough, though, I’m in really good spirits.  I feel as if I’m on the right track.  I’m making beautiful pendants and earrings that people seem to love.  I’m learning new skills and experimenting with incorporating old ones into my jewelry making.  I have no right, based on past history, to feel so optimistic; but for some reason I do.  I feel that the future is incredibly bright.

I am finally ready to put my fear aside.  I’ve jumped into this start-up with both feet.  Business plan, grant applications, crowd funding, doing odd jobs to buy materials, joining trade groups, business cards, packaging, and finally a website.  Scary stuff, but I’ve never come this far before and I know I’m on to something.

“Tangles, Twists and Treasures” – most people say “I love your name!”, which is flattering.  I love it, too.  I picked it because it picked me.  It’s what I do – I make tangled drawings, crocheted fiber creations and all sorts of treasures.  It reflects my life, and all the things in it – as well as all the things I hope to put out into the world.  It’s been quite a journey.  It promises to continue to be better and better.  I hope you’ll join me for it.

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