Identity

Nothing Past Nine has been around for going on five years – FIVE years! During that time, many things in my life have changed…and many haven’t! NPN has been a constant, always hovering on the edge of my active thoughts. In all that time, however, I’ve struggled to give the idea of NPN a true identity.

If you go back through this blog, there are many declarations and good intentions. Hit and miss stretches of quality work followed by prolonged silences. At times, Nothing Past Nine has recounted the different projects I’ve been working on around the house or in the craft room. Other times is been focused on the small business world. I’ve done mini business workshops and crafting classes. I’ve tried consistent scheduled posts, thematic posts, designed posts, random posts, thoughtful posts, funny posts. You name it – I feel like you could find it here!

This particular post isn’t meant to be any of those things, but rather…all of them! There isn’t going to be a grand declaration of “THIS is the identity of Nothing Past Nine!” Instead, this post is meant to provide myself with a little grace. Our identities as individuals change throughout the course of our lives, and I’ve decided to think of NPN as growing with me. I know that’s not the way to grow a following or “make it big,” but I don’t want or need that. I need an outlet for my creativity, my projects, my goals. Perhaps Nothing Past Nine’s identity is just that; a safe space to share me.

However that evolves as we approach the big five year anniversary and beyond, I’m excited to take NPN with me. Whether that’s a post every other day or every other year. Anyone who wants to share the journey knows where to find me!

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Small Affirmations

Don’t the proverbial “they” say that the first step is the hardest? Or…getting started is the toughest part? Something along those lines? Regardless, I’ve been thinking back on how much work it was to set up Nothing Past Nine, and the anxiety I felt before getting my first real sale. (Sorry friends and family, you didn’t count!) It feels similar as I begin to build a foundation for working from home.

There are so many aspects of creating a new career for myself that I can control such as which jobs or tasks to apply for, how many hours to agree to, etc. I’m a recovering control freak so these are the pieces I live for! What I can’t control, however, is the stuff I dwell on and fret about for hours on end. Will I be able to make enough to support a family? When will the right opportunity present itself? Will my “big idea” take off? Ultimately, my fears boil down to “What makes me special?” and “Can I do this?”

I read a lot of articles/books that tell us we can’t be too hard on ourselves; we need to be positive and see the good. So, I am trying to find these small victories and moments when I feel confident. Such as…my first article was recently published on Goals.com and while it only had 14 views after being live for two days (8 or 9 being me, my husband, and my friends….), I am a published author!

It is a small affirmation that I have talent that someone will pay for. It doesn’t matter how long it took to hear back, how much money I made or how many views it gets – I DID IT. First step taken, and I didn’t fall down. I may be impatient and need to adjust my expectations to be a bit more realistic, but I CAN do this and I WILL do this.

Welcome to Entrepreneurship!

You haven’t heard from me in quite some, sorry! My goals, my business and this blog have taken many turns over the last few years, but I am excited about some recent developments and hope to start a shift that will make a big difference in my life.

As my husband and I slowly inch our way closer to possibly, maybe, considering the potential of thinking about starting a family, I’ve had to take stock of where we’re at. Myself in particular. My best friend recently lost her baby boy, Jonah, at 30-weeks pregnant, and if that doesn’t shake someone to the core, I don’t know what would. Her experience and thoughts of my future family put different lenses on my view of life – my career, my schedule, my values.

In nearly three decades of living, I can’t say I ever thought I’d be, or want to be, a stay at home mom. It wasn’t that I thought the role beneath me or didn’t want to spend time with my children, but that I truly love what I do and always want to be a contributing partner in finances. There wasn’t even a dream that I could do both.

Now, I see potential. I have inspiration from my courageous sister who changed careers, my brother-in-law who left a lucrative position to find happiness, and as usual, my best friend who is a pillar of strength and light in my life. If I want to eventually work from home while continuing to contribute to finances and the well-being of our family, I can do it!

So, as this blog and site take another turn, I hope to create a place that promotes me, my story, my talents and my interests. Sound selfish? It kind of is! BUT, I do it because I know I’m not alone and because I know I’ll need support. I’m starting to hone my skills and figure out how I can support myself without the comfort and stability of a “normal” job. There will be struggles I want to share, learning moments that I hope will help someone else, and hopefully successes to thank you for participating in!

This bumpy road of on-again, off-again blogging and sporadic social media presence has lead me here. I’m not “special,” but I’m willing to learn, to try and to work my tail off. I think I’ve finally turned the corner from being a hobbyist, and am excited to step into being an entrepreneur!

What I’m Reading

Some people chuckle at the fact that my library card was one of the first things that made me feel like Charlotte was home, but I have devoured books as long as I can remember. Even when it meant Mom had to read “just one more chapter” before I would consider sleeping! I am a huge fan of our metro library system and almost constantly have something checked out. Usually multiple somethings!

20151013_205530Lately I have been rather selfish in my book selections, choosing to read a lot of “self-help” and personally uplifting materials. Currently on my nightstand – amongst the Bible, devotional, study book, puzzle book, Sudoku book, lotions and glass of water! – are The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman.

Before I wrap up this post, let me remind you all that I am no superwoman. (Case in point – this post is going out at 9:30pm my time!) Reading is one of the first activities that takes a hit when I am tired, behind schedule on posts, or feeling overwhelmed. That’s actually part of the reason I’ve chosen to read these books!

As we work at things and get involved in various capacities, it can be hard to say “no” and to enjoy the journey that we’re blessed to be on. I know I have been so focused on growing Nothing Past Nine that I hit a wall and wanted to quit. The Happiness Trap talks about the stories we tell ourselves – like the idea that we aren’t good enough – and how to accept the thoughts without letting them consume us. For the Love discusses living gracefully in a world of unattainable standards like those we women tend to create for ourselves. Cough, social media cough, cough! Lord knows I need to give myself a break on some things! Finally, Simply Tuesday focuses on small moments when life is beyond fast-paced. I cannot believe how fast the last few years have gone, much less the last week! Appreciating the small moments takes me back to enjoying the journey.

Enough talk for now! Need to save a few minutes for reading before bed! What’s on your nightstand? Are you a non-fiction or fiction reader? I LOVE good book suggestions so please share!

Cross Country Inspiration

imageLast year, my brother got married in wine country in October. Growing up in the midwest, an outdoor ceremony in October could mean a threat of snow! Even here on the East Coast, we get a lot of cool, wet weather that can dampen the excitement (pun fully intended!). As you can imagine, packing for 90° was a bit of a mind bender!

imageMaking my first trip to California was exciting for so many reasons, not the least of which was watching my brother marry his beautiful bride! The creative side of me was enthralled with all of the fall decor that greeted us at every turn. My sister-in-law did an incredible job complementing the natural beauty with her floral and design choices. I mean, look at this bouquet (and her delicious signature drink)!

imageIf you caught our post when we talked about non-traditional fall color palettes, I could have done a whole separate section on Californian Fall. The tans, browns and grays provided by the scenery are punctuated with pops of green and deep oranges. It reminded me of the stereotypical Californian vibe, stylish and polished, but also relaxed and casual. Each venue and winery we went to was stunning, but maintained a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.

This post has me thinking. What look do people see when they come to my neck of the woods? How about my home back in the midwest? How would you describe the style your region uses when decorating? What colors, what feelings, what motifs do people use?

Waiting out Joaquin

Football and KnittingJust in case you haven’t heard, the East Coast is being pummeled by rain associated with Hurricane Joaquin. Gopher wood is in high demand and grocery stores are low on bread and water.

Joking aside, many on this side of the country are smartly playing it safe and staying home to avoid flooded roads and torrential wind and rain. I consider myself blessed not to have an event this weekend, and instead can hole up at home with three of my favorite things. Football. Crafts. And my husband. Wait…maybe I should reorder those things…

Today is going to be full of college football games and knocking out a mile long project list. Rainy days make me feel ambitious because, well, there’s nothing I can do outside! No guilt for not getting there!

How do you wait out rainy days? Do you take advantage of the good napping weather? Wrack your brain for kid-friendly activities? Does the overcast sky make you more ambitious or low key? Let’s get some brainstorming going because who knows how long we’ll have before this system moves on!

PS – one of my favorite rainy day kid activities is fort building. That makes even normal toys and games seem more fun!

Light Bulb Moments!

I wish I could pull off saying, “ya’ll” because….. ya’ll, I’m so sorry! I haven’t kept up with my summer series, and the relaunch is now a week away! While I feel awful for not executing the adage of “under promise and over deliver,” there are a couple of silver linings that I’m dubbing Light Bulb Moments.

If you’ve been following along for behind-the-scenes information and insight into life as a small business, it’s about to get real!

First Light Bulb Moment

All the talk about having a purpose behind your business, and a purpose behind everything you do, has finally hit home. No, it’s not a new idea. Yes, I’ve heard it a thousand times. Someway, somehow, the concept just clicked in my mind over the last couple of weeks. I learn a lot from the beautiful souls behind With Grace and Gold, and have been working on their latest project Signature School. Thoroughly recommend it if you’re looking to define who and what you are as a business! (Early stages or late!) I’ve also been reading The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. Among others, these two sources have got my wheels turning.

Second Light Bulb Moment

Less truly is more. Again, I know you’re shocked by this original revelation! All my life I have been a “yes man.” Disappointing people and failing are two of my deepest fears. Haven’t gotten over that completely by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m coming around the idea that saying “no” is ok. In fact, it’s a good thing! Not only are you taking care of your sanity by saying no, but you’re actually able to do more with the things you say yes to. And those things you say yes to…..are the things that mean more and align with your purpose!

Alright, alright. These might not be earth shattering concepts, but they are rocking my world on a personal and professional level. I would challenge you to look at what you’re doing and how you’re feeling and ask the simple question, “Why?” As I’ve started to do that, I find myself learning a lot about myself and what I want out of this special life I’ve been given.

So enough of the sappy stuff. What does all this mean? Most notably, I’ve abandoned my original plan of finishing the three summer series on this blog, and the site will be temporarily offline for updates leading to the relaunch. How/when posts will be added is also going to change. In general, you’ll probably sense a scaling back that is wholly intentional. I did not set out to create Nothing Past Nine in order to blog or create a website. I founded the business to create. These additions will help grow the business and I enjoy doing them, but the pressures can become too great very quickly. I am excited about this relaunch and re-energized to give more to less!