Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm actually wearing socks today. Socks!  The weather has gotten the best of my vanity.  While I'm slightly neurotic over the point of putting my sandals away on Labor Day, I'll go sock-less until I turn blue.  The temps are in the single digits today.  I'm bundled up like a German immigrant at the turn of the century (fun fact: my great-great-grandparents were immigrants from Germany in the early 1900s).  Albeit a slightly more stylish immigrant, but seriously, I felt like launching into my "Give me your huddled masses" speech whilst layering this morning.

I made a decision a few months ago to look at this winter as a gift from God.  (The previous paragraph was for informative and descriptive purposes only.)  After complaining everyday last year about the freezing temps, and making myself even more miserable.  I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't worth it.  A.W. Tozer wrote in the book "The Sovereignty of God" that a complaint against the weather is a complaint against God.  Why not look at it as a gift instead?  I'm trying to get into the habit of thanking God instead.  Whenever I see snow now, I thank Him for reminding me that "though my sins were as scarlet, He washed them white as snow".  And really, how very beautiful is that?
kate spade mittens would kind-of be useless too.  Thanks to my Momma for such a cozy-wonderful gift!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Maybe this year will be the year of desire fulfilled.  
Perhaps, on the other hand, it will be the year of desire radically transformed, 
the year of finding, as we have perhaps not yet truly found, 
Christ to be the All-Sufficient One, Christ the "deep, sweet well of Love."

I came across this beautiful quote this morning while reading from Elisabeth Elliot's book, Keep a Quiet Heart.  It resonated with me, and I think it will with most, because, we all desire something.  Think about that thing that your heart longs for.  You fill in the blank.  And think, how much better it would be if that dream was "radically transformed" into something new, and suddenly, Christ became all of that desire and now He was all that you needed.  May this be true of my life this year.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12, 2012

I'd almost given up hope that winter would come.  We made it all the way to Christmas and even past New Years with barely a flake.  I was really hoping that this would be the first winter on record to have zero inches of snowfall.  Silly me.  As I type these words, our rolling country hills look like a scene from Currier and Ives.  Truly.  The snow is piling up on our rows of fence posts and starting to blend in as everything turns white.

I had the most fascinating meeting today with an older gentleman who stopped by the shop to talk about painting our front windows.  Goodness!  He is ancient and has the most wonderful, thick, European, accent.  I showed him my ideas for and old-fashioned design that would work well with the shop and he jumped right in with suggestions and advice.  We spoke of how does all of his own work.  Oh, he's tried hiring several people, but no one does as good a job as he.  He told me not to expect his work to be perfect, it will be very good, but there is no such thing as perfect when you're hand-painting.  My sister suggested that we hire him just so we can watch him work.  I like that idea.

We closed the shop early because of the road conditions.  I got to spend the afternoon with my crazy little siblings waiting for mom and dad to get home.  We colored.  Markers for them, calligraphy pens for me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012

High 50's all day today.  It feels so strange to walk around wearing a cardigan.  I shudder to think what the weather was like this time last year.  I even ordered iced tea at Starbucks, the barista and I agreed that it wasn't "that" warm out, but it just sounded good to me.

In other news, my health has been restored to me.  I started the day with a quick one mile jog (just to get the stiffness out of my joints) and a great breakfast with my baby brother.  He's the best two year old ever, and he read the back of the Panda Puffs box while I caught up on my blogs.  Then it was off to work for a meeting (the one that was canceled yesterday), I use the term "meeting" loosely. This is a family business and sometimes I think we have a little too much fun with our jobs.

Mom stopped by the shop today to pick up some things and to get some lunch with me at our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant.  She had the Moroccan sampler and I had the amazing falafel salad plate.  The owner makes the most incredible eggplant salad as well, it sounds strange, but one bite and you'll be smitten!

Another meeting this afternoon, placing orders and lots of other things made the day fly by.   Can you believe that this week is half over!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 10, 2012

I woke up with sick this morning.  I can't remember the last time that happened, I'm rarely ill.  Part of me wouldn't except it and wanted to just push through and go to work and the other part of me knew that I needed to spend the day resting.  My sweet family finalized the decision for me "We've canceled this morning's planning meeting and things are covered at the shop".  A good four hours of sleep helped so much.  Mom kept checking in on me.  I'm 23 and I still look forward to her knock on my door, she's wonderful.  How do mothers possess that?  The power to heal and soothe just by being present.

She also brought me a tea tray with some of my favorite goodies and a new magazine.  The sound of me biting into delicious, melt in your mouth, french croissant, was also the sound of my healthy eating plan jumping out the window.  But, my word, was it worth it!

Today was a blessing.  A gift if you will.  My weekend was jam-packed with no time to rest and just yesterday I was looking over my to-do list wondering when certain items would ever be done because they require so much thinking time.  Funny thing about being sick in bed, you have plenty of time to think and read.  It was so nice to be able to get several things done while working from my own comfortable bed.

After an a steaming shower (and tea tree aromatherapy action), I'm feeling much better.  I'm thinking some fresh green juice (to counteract the french croissant), some vitamins and a nice run tomorrow morning with have me raring to go.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

January 7, 2012

The weather today was unbelievable!  This warm-snap that we've been having is so very strange, but at the same time very welcome.  This time last year found us under many feet of snow, freezing and miserable.  This hearty northern girl went coat less today!  The funniest thing was driving home from the shop and seeing a man out mowing his lawn.  The last time I checked it was still January.  But, oh my word, it smelled so good!

I popped out of the shop for a little while to visit the thrift store around the corner.  After making my baby brother a fabulous little tie for Christmas, several of my friends have requested them.  Thrift stores usually have tons of men's button down shirts that cost only a few dollars and are great fabric for small sewing projects.  I'm really excited about this project because the little ties are lined in a contrasting color that peeks out on the underside.  I love monograms and thought my friends might get a kick of me personalizing them for the boys. One of the little boys has two middle names, which really threw me for a loop.  But a quick google search turned up some neat ideas for incorporating the extra letter.  I think might work.  This is another one of those "instant gratification" projects that are so much fun!

May you have a blessed (and restful) Lord's Day tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6, 2012

My top priority this week was to create a new window display in the shop.  I love my shop location, it's on a historic square and the building is over a hundred years old.  The large display window, however, is one of my biggest trials.  

The previous shopkeeper (she expanded and moved three shops down from me) had a gorgeous home decor store and her specialty is displays.  Her background was actually in theater set design and every three months she closes the shop for several days, completely re-decorates the shop for the next season and then throws an invite only grand re-opening party.  The parties are always themed, the food is delicious and the mayor comes out to unveil the new window.  It's such a big deal in our small town that there is actually security at the door.  But anyway, enough about the town social calendar, back to my window.  She's a tough act to follow and even though we're in totally different industries, I still feel that people expect something amazing.  

I try to stay sharp and notice other shop's displays and of course the Internet can be helpful too (my sister and I are always debating who's better at google image search!).  But I was armed with an idea, or actually a picture from Pinterest, and took off yesterday afternoon to visit all of the antique shops in hopes of finding all of the items needed.  My goal was to have this finished by closing last night, but the table wouldn't fit into the back of my Jeep.  That meant coming in today, on my day off, and getting it checked off my list.  Ah, the perks to being the person in charge.

But it all worked out fine.  I'm pretty happy with the results.  That scale was a total find and I think it adds a lot to the whole look.  And it only took me about an hour to get everything set up, not too shabby.  We'll see what the customers have to say about this.  They're usually pretty good about voicing their opinions.

Now let me tell you about my coffee!  I'm hanging out one of my favorite coffee shops this afternoon.  It's a local place that is really amazing!  I had a meeting earlier this week with one of the owners to talk about bringing their coffee into my shop.  That will be happening later this month and I think it will be a great new product offering.  The only bad thing is that the actual cafe is too far away to visit regularly.  Today, I have the time to spare.  I'm currently sipping a Jamaican Blue pour over.  The poor Batista was totally scared to make it, either that or I was making him nervous. It's a really complicated technique that includes scales, precise grounds, and swirling hot water.  But very much worth the extra effort.  The best part was drinking it out of a ceramic mug.  I love days that allow me to take my time and enjoy the simple things in life.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January 4, 2012

I'm becoming one of those girls.  You know that small-town girl who knows everyone she passes on the street.  My daily jaunt for a tall cup of coffee is becoming longer and longer.  Today, my trek included two "hello!"'s to the UPS guy, one on the way there one on the way back, he's from Argentina, a quick chat with Barista #1 about the new blonde roast of which we are both excited, sweet comments from Baristas #2 and #3, they remind me of "church ladies" and are both delightful, and one more greeting was exchanged as I walked past the angled parking spots and noticed an old co-worker.  Community is a beautiful thing.  

The clincher today was when I made a much-needed trip to Wal-Mart.  Because of my shop, I try to keep my Wal-Mart trips down to a minimum, but unfortunately, I couldn't go another day without my favorite hairspray.  And my sister needed pore strips.  To much information?  Should I say, "needed to pick up a few personal items?".  There, much better.  Anyway, I had barely greeted the greeter when I crossed paths with my neighbor, the one who lives next to the shop, he and I have the kind of relationship where I wonder who was wishing harder that the other hadn't seen them.  Probably me.  And then there SHE was, another customer, right there!  I tried not to look in her cart and kept moving forward.  All the while thinking, who could possibly be next?  My second cousin Steve?  Don't laugh, it's happened before.  Thankfully there wasn't anyone else.  The check out lady said it looked like I was having a party.  I assured her I was.  With pore strips and hairspray.  

I didn't get around to the book on guerrilla marketing today.  But I actually placed an ad today and several other things were crossed off my to-do list.  Small victories.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

January 3, 2012

Goodness, 2012 already.  Today felt very much like the first of the year, and now that I've successfully caught up on sleep, thanks to the past long weekend, its time to get back to other things.  Things like work, fresh book lists, and life in general.

It was a great day back at the shop.  Physical inventory for the new year began, funny customer interactions were had by all (gentleman standing in the window display talking on the phone, true story), a quick meeting with a new vendor, and putting away the Christmas decor.  I called city hall to find out what this year's policy on Christmas tree disposal was, would you believe that they asked me what time I'd like it picked up?  We settled on 3:30pm.  I love my town.  That left me with the impossible decision of either taking my brittle tannenbaum through the shop, down the stairs  and out the back door to the alley OR out the front door and past the attorney's office, through the parking lot and up the street to the alley.  In the end I decided on hauling it out the front.  I chose not having to sweep pine needles for the next six months over my pride.  It must have been a sight, me hauling a six food tree by my cashmere mittened hand down the sidewalk.  And then to see me come sprinting back up the sidewalk two minutes later.  In my defense it was 17 degrees out and I hadn't worked out this morning.  How invigorating!

So that was work.  How about my book list?  Last year (you know, that thing that ended three days ago), I read 26 books.  I failed miserably at completing my goal of 52.  It seemed easy at this time last year, one book per week.  But it got away from me and I was farther and farther behind.  This year I have every intention of making all 52 happen.  I started two new books today, after spending some time in personal devotions this morning, I settled on Desiring God by John Piper and a nutrition book from the 1970's.  I'll tackle the guerrilla marketing book tomorrow.

And life in general.  Happy and blessed.  I'm incredibly hopeful for this beautiful new year.  And I took my multivitamin today. That always makes me feel on top of things.

How was your day?