on finding balance

do you remember my little word for the year?  BALANCE.  i think its the ever-illusive, non-tangible that so many of us, especially mothers, seek out constantly.  my days almost always seem out of whack.  don’t get me wrong – i love this crazy, messy, chaotic life that we live.  it is full of blessings.  but i can’t help but think:  can i be doing this better?  can i be honoring God more?  is this what i’m made for, or is there more?  or… is there less?

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as i’ve thought more and more about the search for balance, and how to make it really work, i look back on what i’ve tried already.  and really, i’ve tried.  same as many of you, i have a very full plate, and i am constantly trying to keep everything on the plate!  besides normal everyday stuff, like being a mom, wife and keeper of the home, i also home school my kids 3 days a week, do a bit of design-type work at our school, work a bit at fred & betty’s (our school’s thrift store), and have run a small handmade business from my home for the last 6 years.  especially over the past year, i have added more things onto my plate.  the plate keeps getting more full, all with wonderful things – i mean really, how lucky am i that i get paid to do fun, design-centric jobs?! but nevertheless, it gets  more full.  i have worked to constantly have a running list of all the to-do’s i have for the various responsibilities, trying to get each thing done.  both of us being entrepreneurs, my husband and i often look at each other at the end of the day and sigh, because we didn’t get everything done, that there never really is a “done” as a small business owner because there is always more to be done.

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towards the end of last year, there was an instance that made me really question what i was doing, and why was i doing all that i was.  within an hour of talking things through with sean, we layed out our options and decided to think and pray on them until the new year, then come up with a decision.  on january 1st, we decided to close down the shop side of my business, with my primary focus on blogging going forward.  wow, just typing that out is a little scary!  i’ve told just a dozen or so people, beyond family members, and most of their reactions are shocked and a little sad.  but you know what?  i am super excited!  i know this sounds crazy to be excited to close up shop, but for the weeks that we prayed about this, there was not one moment where i questioned that closing was the right thing to do.  it has been clear the whole time to me and i am so thankful for that!  i am looking forward to doing all that i do, but better.  i want to be more focused on my kids when we’re doing school.  i want to have time to make dinner for my family and not have to hurry and prep work for an employee first.  i want to have margin, so i can hang out with my family and just enjoy them, rather than stress about what needs to be done for the business instead.

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i want to make it really clear:  the shop has been a huge blessing to me and my family.  what began as a creative outlet, became a financial necessity.  and i have always been so thankful that i love what i do.  if i had to have a full time job, this was the job i wanted to be doing!  and the best part was that i was still able to do it from home, be with my kids, and still school them part time.  i am so excited to have run a successful handmade business, made amazing friends because of it, been blessed by thousands of wonderful customers, been able to employ local women so they could in turn provide for their families.  but most of all, i was able to provide for our own family when we needed it most.  and i really believe that is why God blessed my business for so many years.  when sean and i sat down to make this decision, the one thing he said that really stuck with me was “the need has been lifted”.  and in an instant, the weight came off my shoulders and i thought, “well then why on earth would i continue adding stress to my life?!”  and my second thought was “i could have coffee with friends!”  as silly as that sounds, when i only have 2 days a week to work without the kids around, those hours are almost entirely dedicated to working.

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so what now?  i’ll be giving you more details on what’s to come for me (i will definitely continue blogging!), but for now, i am closing up the shop.  my goal is to completely sell out my entire inventory.  we have made everything there is left to be made (other than a few bags in process) and i will not be restocking any items.  if something says *SOLD* then it is gone for good.  if there’s anything you’ve had your eye on, or want to get a jump start on gifts for others, then now is the time!  i would consider it a HUGE blessing to finish this business well and sell off every last thing!

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also, hopefully within the next week or so, i will start selling off a ton of my supplies:  everything from covered buttons to fabric to zippers to purse handles.  i’ll be sure to let you know when to expect those to go into the shop.

so to get things started, i am offering free shipping on every order placed in the shop!  use code FREESHIP at checkout.

and, if you have ever won a giveaway for shop credit, or have a gift certificate lying around, be sure to use it now!

i’m sure some of you have questions for me!  feel free to ask away in the comment section and i’ll do my best to get them answered right away.

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i want to stress above all things, that this is a happy ending for me.  i am honored to have had the opportunity to bring colorful accessories into so many lives across the country and around the world.  i have been blessed to have been a part of gifts given.  i am thankful for each of my customers not only supporting my shop, but in turn supporting my family.  i know i will miss a lot of things about running this handmade shop, and i’m prepared to be hit with sad feelings and a time for mourning.  but i am excited about this next stage of life, a little more freedom, and room for a lot more creativity!  i am also looking forward to getting back to blogging as a creative outlet – i have great big plans for this blog and can’t wait to get started on them!

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so how can you help?  by shopping of course!  but really, spreading the word would be so appreciated!  i’d love to cover social media with this news – facebook, instagram, twitter… i’ve got a few images below for you to use if you’d like to share the free shipping code with your friends and followers!  i am so grateful for this community!

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linking up my weekly phone pics with jeannett!  i’m thepleatedpoppy on instagram if you want to follow along!

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last week’s impromptu trip to san francisco was awesome!  while sean was in meetings all day, the kids and i got city passes and went all over town!  we started at the exploratorium – it was so fun!  the kids had such a good time that we stayed until 2:30 without having lunch!

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after a cozy lunch of clam chowder bread bowls on pier 39, we went to the aquarium of the bay.  i was able to sit back and really enjoy my kids in this wonderful stage of life.  i’m blessed!

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and then we headed back to the hotel to meet seanie and poor gracie got a yucky fever!  sean took the 2 younger kids out while grace and i got cozy and tried to bring her fever down.  she is always such a good patient, saying “thank you for taking care of me” and “i’m sorry for being sick!”

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thankfully, her fever broke after a few hours and she was feeling much better by morning!  the kids and i went to the academy of sciences for the first half of the day then sean picked us up for some family time.   someone on Facebook told us about the concrete slides and with a little google searching, we found one of the 3 sets – so. much. fun!  even sean and i took turns!

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we always love to walk through china town – and it was extra fancy for chinese new year!

it was really nice to come home friday night and have the whole weekend still!

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my best friend dropped her youngest off to his first day of school so a few of us got together for a celebratory breakfast!  yummy food and great friends – it was perfect.  and filled my heart.

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i spent another few hours at fred & betty’s finishing up the window display – ombre balloons and love notes!

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this pen was sent to me in hopes to earn my business in buying promotional pens.  i can’t put my finger on exactly why, but i’m just not thinking this is the company to go with ;)

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this boy got his first stripe on his belt this week!

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a little blessing when i am doing the dreaded dishes, and my eyes are open to the beauty in my hands!  color is so important to me in my home.  and really, pretty dishes makes washing them much more fun!

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the girls and i picked up a few new houseplants at home depot this week.  the last ones i bought died within a week.  after 4 days their still going strong!

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sean has been out of state for a few days so we had to get out of the house!  we moved school to the coffee shop and it was such a welcome change.  we got much less work done than i had hoped to, but it was a nice break from the routine.

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and praise the Lord its raining!  this is only the 2nd day of rain we’ve had since thanksgiving and mom oh man do we need it!

what are you up to this weekend?  sean comes home this afternoon – yay!  besides a couple parties, we’re laying low.  looking forward to it!