Category Archives: Inspiration

I Wish You A Day Of Ordinary Miracles….


I give you a favorite snippet sent to me once, that I’ve embellished upon.  I do not know who the originator was.

“Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles….
A fresh pot of coffee you didn’t make yourself.
dandelion_wallpaper_1280x800An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work.
The fastest line at the grocery store.
Your keys right where you left them.”

And I tried to think of more ordinary miracles and added…

A good sing-along song on the radio.
A meaningful compliment paid to you.
A coupon for your favorite snack.
A discount at the gas station.
A $20 bill you forgot in a pocket.
A word of gratitude paid to you by another.
An “A” on that test, or equivalent at work.
And a chore already done.

I’m sure you can think of more ordinary miracles as well!

As we move into this holiday for Gratitude, I just want to say thanks for sharing with me, for brightening my day with your responses, for supporting my quirky dreams and for sharing with others.  Thank you for your bright lights and thanks for your feedback each step of the way.

I wish you the brightest of daily blessings….
~ Julia

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Filed under Inspiration, NaBloPoMo, Writing

I Give You Permission To Thrive!


This past week’s evolving discussion on entrepreneurial, service and creative business has been really enjoyable! :)

I love hearing the stories, reading everyone’s comments and even being disagreed with. We have really dug into some issues that are on the minds of the majority out there in our fields and I know that all our thoughts and input are helping others now and will in the future when they are searching.

But there is one thing I really want to give some attention to that I keep hearing in the voices of artists, and massage therapists and musicians and a myriad of other creative right-brain, heart-led thinkers out there.

And that’s this general sense of guilt that it’s not OK to thrive.

There are two angles to this: Those who don’t have confidence that they can thrive and those who do have confidence, but don’t think they should thrive.

I keep hearing things like, “My motives are not money, I just want to make enough to get by.”  “I enjoy this kind of work, so I don’t charge much because I’d do it anyway.”  “I can’t afford much, so why should I expect others who can’t afford much to pay me?”  (That’s a big one.)  “I’m not good at business stuff.”  (Another big one.)  “I don’t want to seem greedy, or too focused on money.”  “I don’t need to learn about business. Only greedy people do that.”

And on it goes.

Umm, hello!  This may be news to you, but I don’t want to just scrape by.  I know what that’s like and I don’t want to live it.  I don’t want my kids to live it!  My father was an entrepreneur with 4-5 employees, and we just got by.  Thank goodness for Grandpa’s garden some years, because when there wasn’t profit after paying everyone, there wasn’t profit.  And profit is how Dad got paid.  And he was seen as a leader in the community.  (He also had trouble getting paid by his customers.)

We survived.  Obviously I’m here to tell the story.  But we did not thrive.  We did without shoes, scraped by on food and cut every corner we could.

Stop what you’re saying to yourself and to others and really think about that.  Because I don’t think you really mean it when you say things like that.  Because that would honestly just be weird to only wish to “get by.”  We cannot grow on “get by.”

And I don’t want to just survive.  I know how to do that and it’s not enough for me.  I want to thrive.  And that’s where I’m heading.

And you know what – you can come too.

I give you permission to thrive.  And permission to say no to what’s unhealthy for you.  Including poisonous customers and relationships.

I grant you permission to create a plan, a strategy and a structure that is good for you and good for growing your business.  And if you get paid for what you do – you have a business!  It’s not a bad word!

Learning and becoming good at business is not greedy.  I give you permission to go forth and conquer – not the weak, but yourself.

I give you permission to be confident, brilliant and excellent – no apologies!  No dissing your accomplishments, talents or yourself.

I give you permission to be successful.  And you know what else?  To define for yourself what success means to you!

I give you permission to earn a living doing what you love.  And permission not to feel guilty because others don’t (yet).

I don’t however give you permission to be unkind, dishonest or apathetic.

I give you permission to be yourself fully and to enjoy making money.

I give you permission to take risks, to stray from the sidewalk, to do something breath-taking.

I give you permission to let go of “supposed to’s” and instead embrace “want to’s.”   And to release all scarcity mindsets.

I give you permission to ignore advice! And your parents and your siblings and anyone else who is harming, not helping.

I give you permission to ignore good advice and strike out on your own path!

I give you permission to fail!  And fail again!  And to not see that as a bad thing!

I give you permission to allow yourself some clarity about what you really want in life and to let go of those inner blocks that are getting in your way and standing between you and the rest of your freedom.

Why am I giving you permission?  Because apparently we haven’t all given ourselves permission.  And hopefully, if you know what I’m talking about, somewhere in here is a seed that you can adopt and take home with you.  Go with my blessing!

It’s time for us to commit if we’re going to master the calling of being an entrepreneur.  Business is like a garden that requires love and tending.  And it either thrives, or dies.  Or gets overgrown and sidetracked by weeds.  All of us artists, writers, musicians, and consultants – we’re all entrepreneurs.  Don’t kid yourself otherwise, we are in business for ourselves.  Art requires discipline and skill, just as does business!  So we know we can do this!  If an artist can sacrifice and pour out our soul to do what we love – you tell me why we can’t succeed at the core principles of good business!

I invite you to write yourself a code of ethics that embraces responsibility, integrity and ingenuity that you can embrace heart, mind and soul.

I invite you to be selfish and think about your needs: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental.  Who does it benefit if you are not nurtured?  Seriously! Who?  Kill the starving artist mentality!

I invite you to think of your business as a child you are bringing up and to nurture it and yourself.  To nurture the relationship you have with business and money.  To provide it structure that it cannot provide for itself.

I invite you to forgive yourself and to be tender and kind in your dealings with yourself.  And yet, not to be too easy on yourself either.

I invite you to analyze your business inward, not just outward.  Find your unique value to the world.  And find who benefits from that?

I say these things as much for me, as I do for you, because I need that encouragement too.  I want my children to have it someday too.  There’s been an unhealthy disconnect between the creative soul-driven worlds and business and we do not need to feed or foster it.

The key is our mindset.

What does thriving look like for you?


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

When Designers Hear “Can You Cut Your Price?

Dear Artists: Your Prices Are Not The Problem – Or Are They?

Dear Artists: There’s A Problem With Your Pricing – Part 2

Please Help Me Travel The World To Study Crochet Hooks!

How Much Are You Worth?

When Artists Hear “I Can Make That!

Disparaging Handcrafts In The Name Of Law – How Far Does It Push Us Back?

Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet


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Filed under Business, Inspiration, NaBloPoMo

Five Positive Things…


I remember hearing once that humans need an emotional and experiential bank account, just as much as we might need monetary savings.  That every positive experience is a deposit into that bank account.  And that every negative experience draws against our savings.

Since negative experiences use up so much energy (why is that?), it’s important that we have a larger bank balance of positive things to make up for the negative draws that come in life.  It’s our job in life to invest in our positive returns.

However, when the balance sheet gets out of whack, when negative experiences (and actions) outweigh the balance of the positive, we can actually go bankrupt, emotionally and mentally.  The withdrawals finally pushing us into the red and even taking a toll on our physical health.

I believe that attitude is a magical place of being that magnifies our experiences, both positive and negative.  I believe that when we focus on nothing more than survival, we do not really live and do not really fill up our banks.  I believe when we are too afraid to take risks, we deny ourselves potential growth in returns.  I believe that the relationships we forge in this life are gems that accrue interest.  And that the memories and experiences we choose to create are like the parable of the talents.  We are all given them.  How rich and colorful they are is up to us.

No matter what experiences others may place in my path, I have the ultimate power to create any experience for myself that I wish.  And with good tending, those positive experiences beget more positive experiences.  And eventually, my returns are so great.  Like stocks, my “money” begins to work for me to make more “money…” and I am simply rich… if I choose to be.

I don’t believe the Law of Attraction is simply a wishing game, but a life of active investment and participation.

And so…

I choose…

Five Positive Things

1. No matter how tired my dear hubby may be, he comes home to me with an evil smile, a swooning kiss and a love I never doubt.  Today he worked from home, which made it easier with son home sick too.

2. I had the most amazing meal tonight, especially for a Tuesday, cooked by my dearest.  Going out to eat is often a disappointment thanks to him.  He cooks on Tuesdays while I take dear daughter to taekwondo.  And to think we’re saving money!

3. The people at Whole Foods were incredibly positive and polite to me today.  I’m sure they are all the time, but I haven’t been there in a while.  It was nice to have someone cheerfully ring me up.

4. I spent some lovely one-on-one time with my daughter today.  We shared a few jokes and hid a t-shirt for dad for Christmas.

5. My son was home sick today, but between naps and moaning, his fever came down and he read 3/4 of a book and enjoyed it.  Two years ago, he couldn’t see well enough to enjoy reading.  Today, we have just 10 more sessions of vision therapy to go.  (We hope.)

6. (I had to add one more.)  Our house is officially sold in just little more than another day.  I have spent 16.5 years here.  I spent 17.5 years in the house I grew up in.  Change is afoot.

What about you? What are five positive things for you?


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Filed under Inspiration, NaBloPoMo

Unconditional Receiving…


This is more philosophical/spiritual in nature, something I am exploring personally and within my spiritual circles, but thought I would share it with you.  In part, because I think it’s something many of us in the creative fields can relate to, especially many of us who are women, mothers and other servants to greater causes than ourselves.

You see, around New Years this year I had an epiphany about receiving. I’ve always been a proactive advocate about the cycle of give and receive. It’s important to value things in life. Ourselves included. We often do not value when we do not give in exchange. And as artists, we often find ourselves having to learn much about this when we look at pricing ourselves and valuing ourselves and marketing/selling ourselves and the work of our hands.  So many women and so many artists feel guilt for charging for creation.  Or guilt over asking for more.  So understanding the divine nature of the cycle of give and receive is greatly beneficial in coming to a place of balance in this.

Is it logical?  Is it balance?  Is it even love to devalue oneself?  Because devaluing oneself is not being humble.  It is not an act of giving.  And it is not unconditional love either.  It is not the same energy by far.

These are subjects many of us are already exploring and more familiar with.  But earlier this year I came to realize there was something more. An augmentation of this understanding.

We know about unconditional love. We know about unconditional giving. But we rarely hear about unconditional receiving. It’s bad enough when we put up rules about when we will give and who we will give to.  Dictating a type of giving only where we deem it is “deserved.”  However, too much of the time, we put up rules about receiving, either blocking all together, or placing parameters and requirements on how we will allow ourselves to receive. We say we will allow ourselves to receive, but only this way, or with these conditions.

Sometimes it takes us becoming downright sick or injured before we allow ourselves to receive help of any kind. As if only then we have permission. We even do this with friendship.  And we avoid delegation.

Of course, in order for someone to have the benefits of giving, there must be a receiver, but when you look at unconditional receiving, as in – no conditions, just receive in gratitude – it takes on a whole new energy. No Conditions! No judgement! No comparing to what others have or don’t. No negative views on one-self, or others! Just purely receive! Unconditionally! I am blessed and whether expected or not, whether “deserving” or not, I will accept! And I will not turn down another’s gift of giving and deny them that experience either. And I do not have to work harder before I’m finally “deserving” of it either.

It’s a continued exploration, but something that really struck to my core when the phrase popped into my head. “Unconditional Receiving.”  That conditioned receiving is not really love. And I’m pretty darn sure, we are not supposed to judge too harshly the things that flow into our lives. If I were to meet Jesus, or the Dali Lama or another spiritual master, and offer them a gift, would they judge it?  Do we reject the gifts of children when offered?  So if I desire to be love, why would I do less for another, or to God?

I’m still exploring it and what it means for/in life, mine and others. Many times in my past, receiving was either forbidden, or it meant being owned in some way. And so blocking that was a way to comply with the rules, or to be free of bondage. It was also a way to avoid disappointment and judgment. And there was all that “deserving” stuff. Being open to receiving can make you feel vulnerable. Being honest about need can make you feel vulnerable. Even being honest about your feelings, or where you came from, can leave you open to judgment from others.

But I am not in need of those views or protections now. I haven’t been for a long time.  It’s an interesting exploration. I cannot claim to have absolute understanding of this, but I can say that the exploration of this is teaching me a lot.

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Filed under Editorial, Inspiration, Random Thoughts

Home To Market We Go!


1005 East Austin Avenue.  I can’t believe how good the colors we picked for the outside paint job look! There is a rock wall in front and in back of the entire property.

Actually, the house has been on the market a few weeks now.  But per expectation, life and the craziness of this selling process, along with the end of the school year and details inherent, I haven’t had a chance to post about it yet.

As you probably know by now, I’ve been talking about getting our house on the market and sold for…  awhile now.  It’s taken us a long time.  And aside from John’s deployments and even my car accident when I lost the use of my hand for awhile, the whole process leading up to this final culmination has been one of the most important and emotional challenges in our family’s history.  It’s been a healing experience as well.  It’s also been a LOT of work and a lot of funds.  In fact, as we filled out the seller’s disclosure and had to provide all the receipts we could, it was both amazing and cathartic to realize that we have indeed sunk over $45,000 into this place in the name of major repairs and necessary upgrades while we’ve lived here.  That is, from what I could quantify and find the receipts for, as unfortunately a lot of my paperwork is all packed up.  Holy cow.  I knew we have spent and updated a lot.  I knew it felt like life was eating us up at times, but I did not have a clear number on the total picture until now.  No wonder… about a lot.

I made the pot rack the first year that John deployed.

The last year in particular has been a year of tears and more work than I thought I could survive at times.  A lot of it was about letting go. But we’re here – the house is officially finished, our clutter is gone. She’s staged, on the market and everything was done right.  The way I wanted.  As long as it took, we did it! No future owners will ever have the headaches we have had.  Everything is DONE.  There is nothing major left and the house looks great.  Can it be?  We did it!  

More red pine on the ceiling of the master bath. This room is large enough to be a master bedroom.

The house is not only beautiful, but she feels like a confident and graceful lady in her prime now.  I’m in love with my home again.

That said, no, I don’t love her enough to stay.  That’s not the kind of understanding we’ve had, this house and me.  She’s cared for us and we have cared for her.  But it’s time to set us all free.

Original wood floors. And we preserved this corner with the bead board wall.

She has no room for the studio I need, the workshop hubby needs, or the separate bedrooms and closets the kids need.  Besides that, the property is about to become part of the new residential historical district in our home town of Round Rock, TX.  (Bit of trivia: the very same town where the original 1974 flick “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was filmed.)

The rock wall that has served as a back drop for so many of my photos.

It will be an honor to receive the historical note, but it also means this house needs someone who will love her 1950’s bungalow style, the coming tax breaks the city will give and someone who will keep her well-loved and preserved.  And on a more personal level, someone to love and care for her very old, giant trees.  The old oak in the backyard alone is somewhere around 500-600 years old.  A majestic old tree and my children’s favorite.  Then the two old pecan trees, some of the largest in all of downtown.  (sigh)  Not to mention the old rock wall that surrounds the property.  The rock wall I photograph many of my hats in front of.  I will miss a lot of this place’s charm.

More tongue ‘n groove wood. The biggest hallway I’ve ever seen.

It won’t be emotionally easy to leave here.  This is where my kids have grown up.  All their memories are here.  Climbing trees, forts made in the rock wall, dirt they fought over, slides combined with kiddie pools, neighborhood cats, the cardinal families that eat at our back yard bird feeder, bringing new babies every year.  The butterflies that fill our backyard trees every spring, the dragon flies that fill our front yard every summer.  Even the kid on the back side of our lot who plays in a band while we take turns lazing in the hammock outside.  The giant hallway the kids played in, the living room large enough for two pianos and ten floor puzzles, the garden tub they pretended to swim in, that bathroom large enough to accommodate an XL changing table next to tub, sink and shower.  So many unique things this house offered us.  So many stories.

Yes, there are two pianos in this living room. It’s that big. Tongue ‘n groove red pine planks decorate the vaulted ceiling.

Our kids have worked hard on this place and left their mark too.  They helped pack, paint and fix and even know how to run a good bead of caulk now.  And before saying goodbye, they feel the need to share their home with their friends.  And provide a meaningful closure to a chapter ending.  JT has had his friends over for his recent birthday party.  My baby is now 13.  Now it’s time for Jessica’s birthday party.  My 15 year old.  It’s going to sound funny, but having this last birthday party gathering with our daughter’s friends is really important not just to her, but to all of us.  She wants “Thanksgiving Dinner” for her birthday and we will enjoy baking and smoking a turkey just for her.

I’m not sure exactly what to expect, or what the summer brings for us.  We got it all done, and now it’s a waiting game of finding the right buyer, someone who would consider living in the historical district of one of the most “recession proof” towns in the US.  Or so we hear.  I hope that timing will work out so that we can move before school starts.  Find that someone who will be so excited to live in an older home that has nothing left that it needs anymore, aside from the typical carpet allowance, though we’ve already replaced most of that.  The rest is waiting on my antique pianos to move, since it costs more to move them than to carpet the entire house.  When we first moved here, the house was so not up to speed that American Home Shield wouldn’t cover anything.  Now it will cover everything.

And there she is, on display, ready to be bought for a price. I never imagined our house could look so nice. It’s been a blessing to see it through the eyes of others.

Living here has big city convenience with a small town feel.  We live at the heart of the community, middle of everything, but far enough away from the busiest street.  Quiet neighborhood, pleasant sidewalk strolls, 5-star dining, local library, my favorite coffee shop, the city pool, the monthly Market Days shopping (and vending when I have a booth), the new Main Street Plaza Fountains and Round Rock Donuts just a few blocks away.  Kind of awesome when I slow down and really think about it.  I’ll miss living just down the road from those donuts on the weekends I crave them.  Not to mention the light walk each year for the free music, cookies, hot cocoa and bonfire at Round Rock Christmas Family Night.

What I do know is that as summer break is here, I’m going to soak it up.  Sure, I need to have things 24/7 “show ready.”  But we can do that.  Not a problem.  Not really.  Flylady style routines go far to keep us on track.  And true, most of my life is packed up into boxes now.  But I can enjoy this last bit of respite, a simplified life with my pretty, pretty house.

Both my attitude and life has become more reverent.  Knowing that something sacred is taking place and a life-altering transition awaits for us all.  Awakening at each moment, drinking in each picture, capturing each step, smell, and emotion in this place, like a movie in slow motion.

She’s happy now… brimming with excitement.  And so am I.

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Filed under Editorial, Friends and Family, Inspiration

After Crochet Cama – Birthday Retreat!


So as most everyone at the Crochet @ CAMA 2011 Retreat learned, I stayed at Cama a couple extra days after the retreat to celebrate my 40th birthday this year.  As clichéd as it may sound, turning 40 has bugged me a bit, which tends to gripe me more.  I guess somehow I thought I would have figured out more of life by now.  Perhaps conquered some of it.  And aside from needing a break from motherhood and work and rush-rush demands, I knew I needed some time to settle, sit with the water and pull my thoughts together, mourn Grandma Dot.  I wanted to take accounting of my life. I did not want to make this transition thoughtlessly or without meaning and somehow I found Grandma’s recent transition to the after-life to be assisting my own transition into something as well.  Some new thing whose outlines I can’t even quite perceive.

A little wistful perhaps, but I believe in embracing life and celebrating every moment we can.  After all, what is it that we have that we can take with us to the here-after?  No matter what we believe?  I know there are many things I won’t be focused on upon my death-bed.  And I know there are many memories I have not lived yet that I want to.  Deployments, lay-offs, near-death experiences – all lend to my views today.  Forty is a nice round number, somewhere around the average American mid-life, to take accounting of oneself.

I didn’t take photos as religiously as I did for the crochet retreat itself, but I did take some.  I was also given permission to copy some photos others took of me at the retreat.  So I finally have proof that I was there!  :D  Here they are for you now.

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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Inspiration, Random Thoughts

Cro-pocalypse: The Rise of Crochet


When the subject of crochet comes up, and I begin to talk, it’s like a door opening to sunshine and happiness. Or sometimes, a door to a fascinating volcanic firestorm.  (Gee, what does that look like anyway?) And people always comment, “Wow, I never realized ____, and you’re so passionate about crochet!”  Usually there’s a new spark in their eyes, a little like the one in mine.

And I know I have accomplished my goal:  Infection. 

That’s what I call it.  It’s a term I coined in speech class and later applied to marketing on a shoe-string for charities.  It’s always been my secret weapon, something I’m really good at.  But all contagions have to start somewhere.

Before I can do my thing… I have to care.

How did two people start with $0, no budget and create a charity event that drew thousands of children from 10 cities, live news coverage, local celebrity appearances, and get a community together for the cause?  Even surprised the crud out of me?

Infection.

You take your vision, your passion and believe in it so much, know how to communicate effectively and show everyone, from the inside out, their own reason to be excited too.

Infection can be evil, or it can be good. I propose we have a lot to learn from viruses.  I propose that Joy is just as easy to spread as Hate, but your heart has to be in it if you are to become a Source.

Me?  So far my talent for infection has largely been used to help charities.  And I’m excited if after our conversation someone is more likely to pick up a hook or consider crochet in a new light or be even able to tell the difference between crochet and knit or even weaving.  I’m especially excited when I have demystified something. It’s been a little while since I’ve actively infected someone. 

Not to sound too much like Dr. Evil or anything….

I think it’s time to set my sights on new goals and higher aspirations in crochet as an art form.  It is time to infect the internet and the world with global domination of the versatility, practicality and coolness of crochet.  I seek a cro-pocalypse.  A veritable domain of the hook, with zombie-like contagion and cult indoctrination – only without the blood, flesh craving and Kool-aid.

But let’s leave the Borg mentality out of it.  Crochet thrives best on flavors of individuality.  It is after all derived from a single, lone hook.  (Though I’m not against experimenting with two, who knows what new species that could bring!)

It’s time fellow crocheters. Whatever it is in crochet that you love to do.  Whatever part of the large crochet umbrella you specialize in… fill your soul and infect your world!  ;)

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )


If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

Help Me Travel The World To Study Hands And Crochet Hooks!


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Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Community, Inspiration, Random Thoughts

The Gift of a Mother


I don’t often share my poetry and prose.  But today, I finally share this as my Mother’s Day Gift to you, dear reader.  If you like it, please thumb it up and share the link back to my blog post.  Thank you for sharing.


The Gift of a Mother
06-10-2005


It just happened,
The Way
She was lying in bed
When I chanced
By her open door,

That her silhouette
Suddenly appeared
Just as that
Of her 3 year old self. 

I was about
Morning Chores

When Suddenly
Out of the Corner
Of my Eye,
I caught Her
Sleeping Visage. 

Back turned,
Laying sideways,
Head buried
In her pillow

Bedclothes piled around,
There she was…

My Toddling Little Girl. 

 I stood There,
Caught. 

The lighting
Trickery
Brought out her short
Tousled Curls,

Back when
It was just finally
Starting to grow. 

Head turned,
Her Face appeared
Smaller
And Younger. 

I felt the pangs
Of Beauty
Of Sorrow
Of Fear
As I turned to continue. 

Sorrow that Time
Seems to pass so quickly

That I Haven’t
Held
My Baby
As Much
As I’ve Desired. 

Fear that Time will
Escape
From my grasp
Completely

And I might
Forget
Or Lose
This Moment Forever. 

Beauty because a single Glance
Holds an Infinity
Of Joy
And Knowing. 


As I passed on
Through the house
Capturing
The Reflection in my Mind,

I Saw that it was
The Gift
Of a Mother

To see Her Child
So. 

To Know Her
So. 


For a Mother has the Privilege
To See Her Child in Ways
Even her own beautiful Child
Will never See. 

 To watch Her Child
Grow and Develop.

To Remember
The Quirkiness,
The Sweetness,
The Sheer Innocence,
The Purity of Heart. 

To Remember
Their Boldness,
Their Courage
And Determination,

Their Worries,
Their Challenges.

The Privilege to
Nurture them,
Teach them,
Guide them,
Protect them,
To Set Them Free… 

It’s all Summed
Within a Glance. 

As I came back
By her room…
There She was again.

Face returned,
Angelic in her dozing,
Cuddled into blankets,

Transformed
In a second

From
The Toddler
To the Girl. 

All that She Is,
Flooding Back
To Me
In Pride
And Joy. 

A rare Moment
Of Experience;
Remembering
With Feeling
Yet again,

How our Time
As Parents
Of Little Ones
Is so Small. 

I have Seen
Beauty
That no one else
Will See,

Nor ever can. 

I have the Privilege
Of the Truth:

You don’t know Her
As I Do.
You haven’t seen
What I have Seen. 

It is My Prize.
My Gift.
As a Mother. 

It is the Gift
Of my Mother. 

To See
The Face of God.

Copyright © 2005 by Julia Meek Chambers, All Rights Reserved.

She turns 14 soon, but it is still the same as 6 years ago.


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Filed under Friends and Family, Inspiration, kids

Maintaining the Spiritual Status Quo…


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Everything about this physical life is connected to the spiritual. That’s what being Here is all about. That’s why we incarnate Here. To be blessed by what we learn and overcome on this very dense plane of existence – to benefit our Souls. There is not, as some would prefer to believe, a separation between the two facets. It is yin/yang in teamwork and action.

Life is about the overcoming. This does not mean that Life is not about Joy too. But we came here to to this greatest school of all to get something out of this existence. Easy wasn’t part of the picture. Like all things physical, it takes testing and trial to bring growth and expansion. Smooth sailing is not necessarily desirable to grow.

If anything, I hope for others to see that it’s not that different from working out at the gym. Most people today can begin to see that in spite of how physically uncomfortable it might be in the moment, stressing our bodies in a proper workout can be very beneficial. As we push our body limits so they grow, our bodies become healthier and stronger. Our mental and emotional attitudes also improve as a result. Our abilities to multi-task expand. And as we commit ourselves to the ritual of challenge and overcoming, we find that we really do often enjoy it. And yet if we neglect this need, we miss it. And yet, at the other extreme, life is not supposed to be the gym either.

Life, and the Spiritual aspects of our Soul, in and of themselves are not much different. We basically take adversity and turn it into joy and triumph. We take a lower vibration and learn to transmute it into something higher. We take a negative experience and learn to create something positive from it. It is our purpose. To create. And to learn from, and improve upon, that act. The entire process of the world around us reflects this truth. And Nature wholeheartedly embraces it.

Healthy living involves challenge on all levels. And then celebration of that triumph.

No where in Nature or Spirit is atrophy desirable.

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When Someone Goes Beyond Courtesy to Kindness….


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Yesterday was a busy day. I had a customer to meet to deliver two custom hats for. It was actually a bit of a drive for me. He was a return customer, though, and for that thanks, I was happy to meet him closer to his home. And I knew he was studying for finals all day as well, so it’d be hard for him to take off a lot of time just to pick up his order. Dear hubby kept the kids so I could take care of business. And besides, it gave me an excuse to go by Central Market.

When I got to the Starbucks we were to meet at, my customer was nowhere to be found and I hadn’t realized my cell phone was dead. To make matters worse, the cigarette lighter in my car is broken. (And I mean broken.) So there’s no way to charge my phone on the run.

So I talked to an employee at Starbucks to see if there was a phone I could borrow. He said they didn’t have a public phone, but to check out the AT&T store.

When I walked in to AT&T Mobility, down on the corner of 45th and Lamar, a sales support rep named Sajid Sanchez was there to greet me immediately. I explained that the folks at the coffee shop had sent me over to see if I could borrow a phone. He immediately said, “Sure! Use any demo phone on the walls.” I was grateful. Especially since I’d just realized that my customer’s number was actually a long distance number. Never matters on my cell phone, but would have mattered had I borrow a land line.

I managed to make my call. My customer was so busy studying that he forgot the time and said he’d be right over in a few minutes. I hung up relieved that I hadn’t driven 30 minutes just to turn around and go back home.

I thanked Mr. Sanchez for the loan of the phone and explained that I really did appreciate it since I was due to meet a customer and my own cell phone was dead. “Well,” he said, “What kind of phone is it? Perhaps we can charge it up for you here.”

I hesitated, wondering if this would turn into a hard sell to buy an AT&T phone. “Well,” I said, “It’s a Sprint phone….”

And that’s where Mr. Sanchez surprised me. “No matter, let’s see if we can try charging it anyway,” he said.

Mr. Sanchez proceeded to try several jacks around the store. Then he even raided through a box of oddball chargers they had stored away in a closet, trying out each one, looking to see if one of them might help charge up my phone a bit so I’d have a little juice at least for a little while. He was very polite and professional and not once did he say anything about buying a phone or switching my service.

In the end, there wasn’t a charger he could find to help me, and I needed to get back to the coffee shop to meet my customer. But I appreciated, none-the-less, that he went above and beyond. And I really don’t think it had anything to do with the season either.

I wasn’t even an AT&T customer. I’ve never had any cell service other than Sprint. But here was someone, even in a sales environment where time really can be money, who stopped and offered the time to see if he could help me out. With no strings attached. That to me really stands out. That’s the way business is supposed to be. When you focus on helping others, the rest just falls into place. And as a small business owner who knows a little something about sales, I really appreciate it too. So I went back over, after making my delivery, and asked Sajid for his business card so I could blog about his customer service and share this story with you.

So folks, if you might be in the need for a new phone or service, perhaps you might want to talk to Sajid Sanchez over at AT&T Mobility on the corner of 45th and Lamar in Austin, TX. I was very impressed with his professionalism and I’m sure you will be too. The main number there is: 512.879.8156.

Oh and hey, if you do decide to call or come by and check them out, please tell them that you read my blog post about Mr. Sanchez. I think his superiors ought to know they have a valuable employee. It would be a wonderful gift to him if you said a kind word on his behalf too.

So thanks again Mr. Sanchez – and Merry Christmas!

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Grandpa….


My grandfather died two weeks ago and my life has been in a whirlwind as I run back and forth in and out of state to be of help to my grandmother (88 years old) who is fighting cancer. So much of who I am is because of them, so I decided to honor Grandpa here with what I wrote and read for him at his funeral:

Jack H. Meek was my grandfather. I grew up just down the street from his home. It is the perspective of a grandchild that I share with you and honor him with today.

It was a blessing for me to grow up with my grandparents right here at home. They were not some strangers, far away, who I didn’t really know or only saw once in awhile. They were a part of my life growing up. Though I’ve come to visit frequently since I left home for college, a few months ago I had the opportunity to come visit my grandparents alone and without children, for the first time in years.

Without the daily pressures and responsibilities of being a mother, it was easy to feel like a kid in their home again. I found myself chattering away freely with them, sharing my life’s aspirations and worries, just like the little girl who grew up down the street.

This trip was unique for me, as Grandpa and I had time to talk quite a bit. And it became obvious that he had some things he wanted to say. Grandpa surprised me. He tried to tell me that he had not been there as a grandfather enough for me growing up. That he too often had been too busy. He had been busy with work, busy with his church, busy with the things that demanded his attention in life. He believed he had not spent enough time with me and for that he was sorry.

I tried to argue with him. His presence in my life has been profound. His home has always been a home to come back to now that I’m grown. As I started out in life, uncertain and scared, there was always a safe place to visit and refresh. His presence acted as a solid part of my foundation and my development as an adult, as a student and as a professional. Not everyone is observant. Not everyone looks up to others. But I did look up to my grandfather.

I began to tell him what a difference his presence had made in my life and how important he was to me. And it’s because of him that I dared to break out on my own, to work for myself, start my own business and even help create a charity project for kids. He did so much in his life it seemed to me, and without pretense. And in watching, I knew I could too. But Grandpa just told me how much he loved me, was proud of me – encouraged me to forge on. He gathered me up in a hug, prayed over me and blessed me. I didn’t get to say as much as I wanted, so I share this for him today.

Grandpa may have felt that he had been too busy, but I feel he and his example were always there for me. As every parent begins to realize, children really do learn by example. And grandparents, without the barriers that parenthood sometimes present, teach in every move, word and image. Perhaps it’s because we children look forward to seeing them so much.

My grandfather was a small business owner. He might downplay the facts, but having an idea, following through with it, giving it life and maintaining it over a length of time is something that takes discipline, confidence and guts. Though I’m sure he had his worries, he never gave the appearance of insecurity or hesitation to be his true self. He seemed confident, successful and strong. He never seemed to me to be a pretender. Grandpa was who he was. What you saw was what you got.

I was often down at the shop and watched my grandfather as he worked. I saw him work hard, and it seemed that whatever he put his hand to do, he did it with his might. The work he produced was of quality and it was done right. I learned from that.

When I had an event or awards ceremony, at school, at the county fair, or when I won at the science fair in town, I remember seeing my grandfather and my grandmother there. When I won my place to a regional talent contest, my grandfather without hesitation congratulated me and showed his support. When I graduated with a few scholarships under my belt and started college at the tender age of 15, my grandparents were among the first to clearly say “You can do it!” Grandpa always gave me a hug and kiss, always seemed to know what I was up to and always welcomed every visit and bit of news when I went to college, got married and had children of my own.

He was never afraid to learn something new and remained interested in continuing his education on a variety of subjects. And he always encouraged me to be the same.

I can only give the perspective that a child would have about her grandfather. But between my parents and my grandfather, I felt encouraged to reach farther and beyond what I knew to achieve even more. When grandparents back up the support parents strive to give, it can mean everything. By example, I came to believe that no matter what happens in life, hard work and a good heart can get you almost anywhere. I feel I learned from Grandpa that success is not a destination, but a state of mind and a place of being. As a result, no matter what life has thrown me, I have been able to meet it with confidence in who I am.

I love my grandpa. I could only know him as a child would. But he meant a lot to so many.

And he meant everything to me.

Written by:

Julia Meek Chambers

March 3, 2008

9:01 am

Copyright © 2008 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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