…building a creative business: this little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine.

This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine.

This little light of mine,

I’m going to let it shine.

Let it shine.

Let it shine.

Let it shine.

My parents used to take me to Children’s Hospital at the end of every summer to get my height and weight tested. I remember being held down while they stuck a needle in my arm to draw out little vials of blood. I was tiny. I guess they were afraid I was too tiny and wanted to make sure that I was growing the way I should be. In elementary school we were lined up for picture day by height. I was at the front of the line. For 6 years. When kids starting wearing shorts from the Gap in middle school, I had to try to shrink them in the wash. I wore jeans from the juniors in college, still cutting four inches off the bottom of the legs, and graduated at 82 lbs. I was always too small. Too short. Too little.

I was too quite too; my voice too small. Ah, but not really. It was actually very loud, but there was something in the way of my voice coming out in it’s naturally, loud & joyous form. It was blocked. Being little goes hand in hand with being shy. Why is that? There is something about this great big world that wants to squish us and make us small. The world wants to prove to us how big it is and we respond by shrinking back or pushing back. I shrank myself, saying “Don’t worry, I know I’m small. I will stay small and quiet and not bother anyone. Don’t worry about me.”

But, well, that didn’t work so well once I grew up. My voice wanted to come out and what was inside of me was really, darn sick of being stuffed down. I actually felt like I had something to say and knew stuff. I wanted to be big.

There is a part of me that understood that I was much bigger than what I was told and what my body expressed. Somewhere deep down was a girl named Christen that had no limitations, no boundaries. It was a flicker. Sometimes I got to see her mirrored in a special friend or in a poem or in my well-decorated room. Other times I forgot she was there when I was squashed by criticism and anxiety.

If there is one thing I know about light and the sun, you cannot hide it all the times. It comes out in flickers. It finds its way through dark corners and edges. The sun cannot be blocked. We cannot extinguish it. We cannot hide it with the thickest blinds and the darkest room. It always finds a way to shine right in our eyes. In fact, when it is blocked for a long time it radiates longer and brighter than ever. It shines right in peoples faces and eyes, blinding them for just a moment.

I think God meant for the sun to be an example. It personifies so many things. He wants us to shine our brightest every, single day. He allows for rest, but in the morning we are to rise and shine.

Is there a part of you that you are hiding under a bushel? Are you afraid that it is too different, too big, too bright to show the world? Are you making yourself small in order to keep yourself safe? I would bet that hiding is causing more pain then stepping out and risking the fall.

Let’s be big and bright today, Friends. Let’s try just one more time.

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…favorite things friday – birdcages

So, for the last few months I’ve been obsessing about doves. Real. Live. Lovebird. Doves. Not just lovebirds, but lovebirds in a French-inspired, enormous, chicken-wire cage to be placed on my foyer table.

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(Above is NOT an actual image of the French shop cage)

Over the Spring I went to the Luckett’s Spring Market with two of my kindred-spirited friends and spent some time walking through the quaint streets of Middleburg. We wandered into a lovely shop that sold imported European items that cost more than my house. The tapestries, furniture, statues and rugs were heavenly.

An older woman with a very fresh face greeted us and with an ever-so soft voice asked if we would like to see the new eggs that were hatched just this morning. Eggs? Hatched? In here? Why, yes!

She lead us into the back of the shop where I laid my eyes on the most amazing bird cage I’ve even seen. The bottom was scattered with beautiful, golden hay and sitting atop a natural branch affixed on either side of the chicken wire frame were a family of ringneck doves. Coo coo.

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They were white and soft. Before I realized what she was doing, her hand was through the front door of the cage and she was petting the lady-dove. Then she was picking up lady-dove! Underneath Lady was four, speckled eggs. It was the most gorgeous accessory in any shop I had ever seen. I was almost breathless and my friends turned to me and responded with, “Christen, you need this.”

While I was taking it all in, the woman with stretched skin told us that they had started selling the cages with a dove couple placed inside. I’m sorry, I could OWN this gorgous scene for my very own? Where do I sign up? She put my name on a list to be called when more cages had been handmade. I drove home and with the words along the lines of “This is a life need, DH,” told him about the cage, lovebirds and cost. The package was about $2,000. It was all about paid for in my mind when DH asked me if I had taken any pictures. Well, of course, DH. He studied the cage and within three minutes told me he could make one for me. Oh, Lord, did I choose the right man to marry. It would be the cost of a welder and material, but it could be done.

To make a very long story short, we have had a series of shake-ups here at our nest. Kane went to doggie heaven, Shelly-the-cat walked out on us, and we’ve been renovating. It has not been the time to weld cages or welcome birds. But, there remains a place on my foyer worktable for my birds. I am a September baby and for my 38th, I think lovebirds would be even more spectacular than diamonds!

I’d love to be able to show you an image of the birdcage, but I do not have one. Yet. I do, however, LOVE decorating with birdcages. They add interest to a space even if they don’t have live birds living in them. You can place books or a nest or a small moss ball. The more rustic the better.

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In fact, there are so many beautiful accessories that are birdcage inspired. I heart them all.

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I promised on September 29th to show you my birthday present. Don’t worry, DH will have a brand new welder’s mask for the project. He loves a project involving a torch.

 

…building a creative business – how often to blog

I think writing about your creative business is really important. It allows clients, future clients, press, friends & family to understand what you are working on. I think sometimes creative people can get stuck in a room by themselves creating and feel, well, isolated. I think sharing is an important way to motivate yourself and your work. Social Media is a creative person’s dear friend. It helps get the word and your product out.

As much as I love blogging and writing, it is definitely a huge part of my work load. I blog every day and have for the past six years (minus sick days, vacation days and kids driving me crazy days). It is a commitment I made with myself not because I owe it to anyone, but because I find that writing every day about what I’m working on keeps me moving forward.

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There are many, many bloggers that do not write every day and still have very successful site. There are also bloggers out there that do blog every day. The tricky part is always to come up with new and fresh content while staying true to your process.

I attempt to write and show what I am working on currently. I also allow my Tuesday to be about Building a Creative Business, which has become popular to those that want to start their own businesses. I do a question & answer day on Wednesday and a Favorite Things Friday on…Friday! This structure allows me to know what I’m going to write about during the week. The rest of the days (Monday and Thursday) I am able to show projects that I’m working on or have completed.

Again, writing about my projects, business and interests really makes me stay interested in what I have going on. It keeps the juices flowing. In fact, I find that I am less creative when I am not writing every day. This is what works for me. If you cannot write everyday or talk about your business then that is totally fine! You need to do you in order for it to work.