Take time for the things that make you happy!

Take time for the things that make you happy. Easy to say right? But are you?

For me, stamping and creating is one of those things. But I’ve come to a realization that while I love it, I don’t want the tug of feeling that I should be making samples, writing blog posts (or feeling bad when I don’t) and planning stamp nights. I will still remain a Stampin’Up! Demonstrator and hope you continue to follow me. But let me fill you in on a few things that have been happening.

Being busy with work, business travel and church activities, I was trying to keep up with stamping and sharing other info regarding wellness products that I sell. I do pretty good keeping up on Facebook and Instagram, updates are easier to make on a daily basis. I just kept falling short of my goals on these blog updates and worrying about doing them right with SEO and readability ratings.

This summer I attended my cousin’s celebration of life. It was shortly after the Amazon fires were making news. Lin’s husband, Dan, is a US Geologist and has been working most recently at Yellowstone. I asked him about climate change and for his opinion about the fires and whether it is too late to turn things around. He said it had to happen now, with our generation, not with the next and not in the future. That really inspired me and I began researching climate change more fervently. I found Catholic ecology groups and re-examined Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on our responsibility to care for creation. I also began to read about Greta Thunberg and the climate strikes and marches. I prayed to better understand what I could do to make a difference.

Be careful what you pray for! Shortly after those events I got a message from an acquaintance on Facebook. She is the current chair of the Diocesan Catholic Conference of Women for the Peoria Diocese. She mentioned that the topic of the 2019 National Conference was care for creation. She returned from the conference hoping to find someone to invite to the board to focus on creation and the environment. Then she saw all my posts and my interest in sharing what I was learning. Wow! I had to pray about it and also needed to focus on an important parish retreat. But everything kept telling me I needed to accept her offer. So this month I attended my first board meeting for the DCCW for the Peoria Diocese. 

It isn’t the type of role that is going to prevent me from doing other things I do, like stamping, but it did help me clarify what I wanted to spend my energy on. So what does that mean for my involvement with Stampin’Up!  – not much, I will remain a demonstrator and hope that you continue to order from my site if you choose to order. However, I know that some of you have found other demonstrators to stamp with when I stopped hosting my events. I totally understand if you choose to shop with them. If you order from me, I will keep your name on my list for catalog mailings, etc. I will continue to post cards when I stamp or see an idea I want to try, but I probably won’t just stamp cards just to post on social media. There are so many great Stampin’Up! videos or posts I can share to help with ideas for your stamping. Those updates will be on Facebook or Instagram. I will keep this website through end of December but not after that, it doesn’t make sense to keep paying for it every month. This site is separate from my Stampin’Up! demonstrator site. I may return to Constant Contact as a tool (free) for a monthly newsletter or as special sales or events come up. I know I will get excited about the Occasions Catalog when it is introduced to demonstrators in the next couple of weeks and will want to share products I order or updates on Sale-a-bration, one of best Stampin’Up! events.

I hope all of you will want to continue to receive updates from me in the new year and I as I mentioned earlier, I really appreciate your business and hope that you will remain my customer. Before we start getting very busy with the holidays, I thought I would let you know the changes that I see for me in the new year. It’s going to be an exciting one! 

Also if you live in the Illinois Valley, stay warm and have a cup of cocoa on hand, the weather for Monday doesn’t sound great!

Create Joy! Deena

Bright colors, bright lights and busy hands

What makes you happy? Really happy? That “at peace” kind of happy? It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a simple formula – bright colors, bright lights and busy hands. On a drive home from Rock Island I thought about the joy of creating cards or working in the garden or that peace I feel when I see all the bright lights and colorful decorations at Christmas. I don’t mean store decorations and the hectic pace of shopping. The past few years I’ve been trying to focus on enjoying and savoring the spirit of Christmas and spending precious time of family, not getting caught up in the commercial version of the holiday.

This 31 Day Blog Challenge has been a challenge! It takes much more work and planning that I thought. But I have enjoyed learning and sharing with each of you. I’ve been reading a lot about successful blogging and social media posts. A common theme is that it is important to share things about ourselves, not just focus on product and technique sharing. So today’s post will be a little different than you have seen from me. Maybe a little bit more like the newsletters I used to write when I had a retail business and taught personal growth and development workshops. I hope you find something of benefit within.

I am a Benedictine Oblate, which means a lay associate of a Monastery.  I am associated with St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Illinois. Saturday was the annual Oblate Day at the Monastery. We gather monthly in our regional areas, or as a bigger community annually at the Monastery, to reflect on ways to live Benedictine spirituality in our daily lives in the “real world”. Oblates come from different religious backgrounds and we live and work in many different communities and types of employment, while attempting to remain faithful to the Benedictine Rule (way of living).

Our presentation today was by Sr. Sandra Brunenn, the Prioress of the Monastery. She talked about the Monastery as a center of peace and how The Rule gives us an outline of how to live, to be a path to peace.  Benedict, in 500 A.D. said “seek peace and pursue it”.

Sr. Sandra, also shared a poem that is a beautiful perspective on faith and spirituality but it also reminded me about creating or having a creative spirit.  We have to remain open, accepting and mostly at peace in the process.  I’d like to share it with you.

Mary Oliver:  The Fist

There are days

when the sun goes down

like a fist,

though of course

 

if you see anything

in the heavens

in this way

you had better get

 

your eyes checked

or, better, still

your diminished spirit.

The heavens

 

have no fist,

or wouldn’t they have been

shaking in

for a thousand years now,

 

and even

longer than that,

at the dull, brutish

ways of mankind –

 

heaven’s own

creation?

Instead: such patience!

Such willingness

 

to let us continue!

To hear,

little by little,

the voices –

 

only, so far, in

pockets of the world –

suggesting

the possibilities

 

of peace?

Keep looking.

Behold, how the fist opens

with invitation.

 

“The Fist” by Mary Oliver

Text as published in Thirst: Poems (Beacon Press, 2007)

Look around for beauty. Look around for the good and be open to it.  My creative expression in cards and projects is simple. I want it to be light, bright and joyful.  Just like putting my hands in dirt when working with my plants and flowers, it is a peaceful escape and meant to be a expression of a love of life and an expression of the joy I find in it. 

Look around…

Create joy! Deena