What Fuels You?

whatfuelsyou

Aside from caffeine, right? Of course, that is going thru your veins.

But what gets you out of bed and even head to said coffee? For me, it is my son. I became a SAHM one month before my son was born. I wanted to get ready to be at home and nest and get everything ready. Flash forward to having to buy a bassinet 2 weeks into Ben being born haha.

I knew I wanted to stay home with him. What I didn’t know, was how lonely I was going to be. My husband worked long hours, my own mom lived 100 miles away at the time and my mother in law had a job and my sister in law had her own two kids. So I was starting this very new life and I felt really disconnected.
I worked in retail for a LONG time where every single day I was interacting with people, that said more often than not, they were assholes but still, I was interacting.
Humans are social. I am loud, but shy, but social. I am also the random person who may muster the courage to compliment a stranger. And seeing that stranger LIGHT UP, after a small honest compliment, lights me up! Is there a job where I can compliment people all day? If there isn’t, there should be.

Ok, so how could I interact with people from home with a baby? Grocery store? Sure where I look like a zombie and trying not to scream at screaming baby. Eh? maybe not.

Life and the universe has indeed given me the resources to do just what I wanted. I am connecting to people through designing fun, inappropriate and encouraging decals for mugs.
So here is my struggle this week, be careful what you ask for right? So I have this way to connect to people but I have also attached a financial burden to this because it is a shop and takes money to run. But the root of that is this fear that if  I am not making money, I am not doing it right or like I am failing.
But REALLY, every post, every like on IG except the bots, those people are connecting with something. Maybe they are even smiling at something I have posted.
THAT is what fuels me. That is what I was yearning for when I was so alone.

The financial stuff is me having to have self-discipline and being smart with my money because here I am at 28 and
still am an idiot with my money.

Connecting with people and making people feel good, that is what fuels me. I do it easily every day with my husband and my son. I am a nurturer first, a profit-er last. I put this pressure on myself and it gets so bad that I feel like everyone else is putting that pressure on too which is Bullshit.
If you are stuck, I suggest going back to what fuels you? What keeps you going? How do remind yourself of that when shit gets tough? Please tell me in the comments!

trustyourjourney

 

When I first started putting words on mugs, I needed some inspiration so I posted on facebook asking people what some of their favorite sayings were. I got a great response and this one, in particular, has always stuck with me. I have probably styled it 20 different ways because nothing seems to do it justice.

Recently, I have struggled with this kind of trust. Everything seems to weigh down and there is no light at the end of the tunnel and it feels like everything is falling apart.

As it may seem that way, I still wake up every day. I still go thru the motions of what I need to do, want to do, am expected to do. Day in and day out. The amazing thing is that nothing is permanent. So what seems like the end of the world today, in 3 weeks or 3 months or 3 years, will be resolved.

The calm that comes over me when I think about things that have happened and that I have already gone thru, how happy I am that those things are over, that is the calm I wish I had while the shit is happening. Trusting your journey means that the bad times will not last forever, but at the same time, nor will the good.

I truly believe in appreciating the good for however long it lasts but knowing that it will not last forever, and trying to endure the bad knowing in my heart that I will grow from this and it too will not last forever.

Once we get thru an obstacle, it is the biggest relief and we want to bury it, be done with it.

But remembering how good it felt to get thru that thing, might help us trust and have faith that whatever the current thing is, will end too and we will eventually feel that way again.

 

Stopping the Cycles of Unhappiness

Happiness.

I want people to become happy. Not just my family, friends, so on, I want strangers to be happy. I am unhappy that so many people are unhappy.

I know unhappiness. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was miserable, angry and did things to make others unhappy. Because well, misery loves company.

You know who loves company even more? Happiness.

I was raised by my mother who did the very best she could! She also happened to be an alcoholic. For years I didn’t know what made her the way she was sometimes. I didn’t know why she would tell me “Shut up, God, your voice goes right through me.” I didn’t know why she was violent toward my step dad or not warm and fuzzy or affectionate. It wasn’t until freshman year of high school that I realized I was being raised by an alcoholic. I swore up and down I would never touch a drop of alcohol because I didn’t want that to be me.

Unfortunately, those years of not knowing and too few years of knowing that did make her do it and that I saw my mother drunk more than I saw her sober, all made me exactly who she was drunk, while I was sober. My nature had become my mothers drunk nature. I didn’t need a substance, I just had that anger and misery in my heart at all times.

And it reared it’s ugly head at every single situation in my life. I do not know how anyone hired me, kept me, dated me, loved me or even liked me. I found the worst in everything, everyone. All day. I became abusive, emotionally and physically.

At 22 years old, moved out of my mother’s house for 5 years, I realized I had become what I didn’t want to be, which led to self hate and depression because I didn’t want to be this way but didn’t know how to stop. Should I go to AA? But I wasn’t drinking. I wasn’t doing anything.

There were no meetings for “I wake up like this.”

Now, at 27, I am happy! Like stupid happy. I married the man of my dreams. I have a wonderful little boy who I just love to watch grow up and learn and explore. We just moved into the perfect house for our little family. I am lucky enough to stay home with my son. And just started a new business that landed a pretty big account two weeks ago!

What happened?

I woke up to the fact that I was the problem. I had let my whole person become a victim of my environment. I was sucked into believing that this is just the way things are, the way they will continue to be. I now know the truth, and I wouldn’t wish that stuck, unhappy mentality on anyone.

I found Buddhism. I learned about cause and effect. I learned about karma, human and family revolution. I learned that I could stop the seemingly never ending cycle of unhappy marriages, horrible parent-child relationships and substance abuse in my family. I have the power to stop years of unhappiness.

I am about spreading happiness. I am about enlightening people to the fact that their happiness is theirs to take control of.

The power that moves the universe, is also the power that is inside of you.

Use it for good.

 

Do Something for You First!

I am writing this as my son starts to wake up from a nap. I see him on the monitor rolling around either trying to get comfortable again or deciding he isn’t tired anymore.

My days revolve around that little guy. I have managed to get yoga in 2 days in a row and read some.

I just started the Fire Starter Sessions from Danielle Laporte. I read the Desire Map last summer and it made a lot of sense to me but I have not quite applied it to my life.

The Fire Starter Sessions is aimed for people who have a business. I technically started a business in January this year. It is called Mamabird Studio. So far it has been a way for me to photograph products and share them with the world. I have done some work for 2 friends of mine who have their own Etsy shops and that has been spiritually rewarding. They are happy! It makes me happy to see them light up at images of their items they have put so much into.

Even better, they have gotten more sales and more views! So that is awesome. And that is what I hope to do for many other people as well. I love product photography. I am completely inspired by people who think, design, create and make wonderful things AND have the courage to share them with the world.

I am excited to use the Fire Starter Sessions as a tool to hone in on how to brand, how to share, how to network. I look forward to a summer full of festivals and shows and hopefully connecting with people.

This business is close to my heart because I think that imagery is very important when selling stuff. I know what they are selling is close to their hearts as well. I genuinely want to give them the best images of their items. I love to photograph the stuff they have made with love.

Also, I have really enjoyed having something for me. When my son goes down for a nap, I have something to do that makes me feel good. Of course there is other stuff to do, dishes (like right now) laundry, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming (not that I can do that while he is sleeping, that would be rude).

Here’s the interesting thing, I feel better doing the stuff I need to do after I have done what I want to do. After what I want to do is done, the stuff I need to do is happily done! I am not rushing through it to get to my personal stuff.

That makes me happy, stuff gets done happily, I am happy, my husband is happy, my son is happy! Everything is connected!

I am about to say I was unhappy but when I say I was unhappy, I mean I was unhappy when my son wasn’t awake or my husband wasn’t here or he is here, but he was working in the shed. Please do not get me wrong, life is so good, I think I will wake up and it might all be a dream.

But, not having something that wasn’t connected to being a mom or being a wife left feeling aloof and frustrated. Sometimes, I would get angry and take it out on my husband. That is not fair. And my husband, Mr. Honesty, told me, “look I need to do something for me. I feel accomplished working in the shed. It isn’t my fault you do not have something.”

And he sure was right. I didn’t. I had books to read, sure. I had laundry to do, yeah, but nothing I really felt good about. So now here I am, doing something for me! It feels amazing.

Do what you want to do first. I am not saying ignore the stuff that has to get done, but once you do what makes you happy, the other stuff isn’t so doom and gloom!

Happy Wednesday!

SAHM vs Time

As a stay at home mom, I think about how my days are going to go by what meals we will have. If it is a crock pot dinner night, I know I need to get that started before noon. If it is not a crock pot dinner day,  then I know I need to start around 3. That is usually how my day gets planned. It works out pretty well except before I know it, I am laying in bed wondering what the hell I did all day.

Sometimes, when we get older, we say things like, I am no spring chicken, or I do not have the energy I once had as a teenager. And I get it! But what fundamentally changed over those years? We stopped going to school. Maybe after high school, maybe after college. But one way or another, we are out of school. School is on a… schedule! We fit so many classes and activities into one school day, why on earth am I only getting dinner cooked and hopefully the dishes are done too.

If I wanted to, I could say well my son needs me all day, he was up my butt, he was so snuggly, he needed me. While some days that is true, most days he wants to be Mr. Independent. So while he is being Mr. Independent, what am I doing?

Probably and terribly, I am on my phone. It’s awful and it’s true.

Let’s thing, ok what would a perfect day look like for me? What are some of the things I would like to do but do not get around to doing for whatever reason?

Here is a list:

Yoga
Exercise
Writing
Photographing an item
Reading
Chant
Go on a walk
Clean.. not that I want to, but its just gotta happen.

OK so those are somethings I don’t do that I would like to do more of. It is almost March. My son is almost 2. I had him almost 2 years ago. And I have done maybe 4 days worth of exercise. Not going to do me any good.

So today my husband took the car and left me the stroller. It is going to be a good weather day so I am getting my son and I outside and taking a walk! After breakfast.. which I need to start soon.

I am writing right now! Started right when I woke up, before my son woke up so I could get some me time.

Maybe the walk will be the catalyst to get my butt on the elliptical I begged my husband for months ago. Thank goodness it was used and not a brand new one, whew.

So if I had to make a schedule for myself, which sounds silly but I think I miss that part of being in school. Not waking up crazy early but my son decides that one. I can decide what happens to the rest of the day.

Wake up at 7
Chant
Write
Ben is up at 8 (mostly)
Chant with Ben
Breakfast
Clean up after breakfast (theres that cleaning I should do more of)
Go for a walk
If crock pot day, start dinner
Color/read/play time
Nap time (for Ben for Ben)
Yoga, right when Ben lays down or else I won’t do it.
Elliptical? We’ll see.
Ben is probably up, if not earlier.
Lunch
Find something we can clean “together”
Start dinner if it is not a crock pot day
Set Ben up with a movie/Sesame Street
Go into studio and photograph
Finish/eat dinner
Bath time for Ben
Bed time for Ben 7:30.

Notice there are not times on here because I have no idea how long these things will take, I may have to take something out if the first things run too long. Or add something if it turns out something did’t take as long! That would be great. But at its core, this is the perfect day!

New months resolutions if you will, to have more days like this. I think this is step one for sure. And now it is 8:09, Ben has been up for like 20 minutes so I am off to start breakfast!

Thanks for reading, have a good day!

away we go

So that title may be very typical but it does capture how I am feeling about this blog thing. And I do happen to love the movie as well, so really, it is a win win. So ok, why a blog?

I am pretty comfortable writing pen to paper. I love paper. I love watching ink strokes and pencils make their mark but I am in dire need of practice on a keyboard. Just these few sentences have resulted in an embarrassing number of typos and misspelled words. However, no grammatical errors (yet). < That might be one.

Ok hello, my name is Shirley. I am a stay at home mom to an almost 2 year old who in increasingly independent. I am a wife to my wonderful husband who works his butt off so that I can stay home with our son. We met 5 year ago this year.

I am also a Buddhist. Guess how long? 5 years! Yes! I met my husband right after I started practicing Buddhism. Coincidence? Some might say yes, I say no! The universe knew what I needed and walked him right into my store of my miserable job. And even in all my misery, he still thought I was pretty, funny, adorable and asked for my number! In all honesty, what was assumed to be a fling, as I was moving to DC from Philadelphia for a new job, and I did. So it was a fling, then long distance, then only a few months later I was packing everything I owned into the trunk of my car and driving to move in with him!

Here we are, 5 years later with a wonderful toddler and a lovely house in GA. If you had told me my future 5 years ago, I would have yelled and screamed and cried at you because I did not deserve to be this happy, so I thought.

I had made so many mistakes, as I once saw them, but now I see that I needed to do those, to end up here. And here, I am happy. Goofy, stupid happy.

I owe it to my husband and my practice. So now! Ok I am a stay at home mom living the dream! But it is lonely! OMG, so lonely! And finding moms you click with and finding kids your kid clicks with is a circus. I am not sure if there is a perfect balance out there.

Born and raised in Maryland, photography school brought me to Philadelphia, where I met my husband. Photography gave me a few different jobs that I now appreciate everything I learned from each one. My most recent job was a product photographer at a high end consignment eBay store. That is a mouthful.

It was fun, mostly because of my coworkers but all in all, I was not a right fit for the company. I was not as fast as they would have preferred. They were nice enough to move me to a different department when I got pregnant, but alas, pregnant me was most certainly not fast enough at that job either.

But, the highlight of those couple years there was I fell in love with product photography. I fell in love with angles, the challenge that everything was different, the manipulation of the lighting, the fact that a vase didn’t have double chin to be concerned about!

It was fantastic. I got giddy when they brought in plates, paintings, fun vintage toys, oh the list goes on!

My heart was just not in the indulging of consumerism. Discounting a $40,0000 handbag to an affordable $500 was not my idea of helping people.

I am a nurturer. I am not a salesperson. If you don’t need it, I don’t need it and I am not going to make you think you need something you and I both know you do not. That is not where my heart is. Never was. Never will be. So how do I combine both worlds? My love for product photography and helping people?

Etsy. Etsy and even Amazon now have spaces for people who are putting their hearts and souls into creating, designing and making amazing things by hand and bravely putting them out into the world! I want to help them. I want to use my photography knowledge and my love of product photography to showcase their items in the best way possible. So this is my mission. Photographing the well loved and made things that make the world go round with all the love and space I have in my at home studio!

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I really appreciate it.