#1818 Unfinished Business

I had a pretty productive day yesterday. My goal was to get the 15+ orders that I had cut out all packed and shipped by the pickup time at our local post office and I was able to accomplish that. It may not seem like a lot to some of you, but it takes a great deal of time. Since most of the shipments are international, I have to fill out customs forms for each package and make sure everything is right. I was happy that my partner Keith decided to give a hand. It made a huge difference when two of us were working compared to doing it all on my own. I really appreciated it.

I spent the rest of the day (once again) reorganizing things and catching up on emails and phone calls. This “business side” of the business is something that a lot of people don’t see or understand and sometimes it can take much of the day. I only mention it because we normally don’t hear about that aspect of the business from other designers. It is that quiet part of the job that mostly goes unnoticed but at times takes a huge bite out of our day.

When I was caught up on that, I had to go to the shop to complete a couple of small orders. There were a few things that came in over the weekend that I hadn’t had enough stock to fill and I wanted to get those out as quickly as possible. I will be sending them out today and can officially say that I am “caught up” at this point, with some stock left for many of my items. It was time to take a breath and look at which direction to head.

I had intended on doing some painting in the evening, but by the time I cleaned up and had supper, I was just too tired. Again I want to blame this cold for that. Although I am better, the recovery is still a bit of a process. I opted for the ‘early to bed, early to rise’ school of thought and shut down for the night.

I am happy that I did because this morning I feel even better than yesterday. I am not the most patient person in the world when it comes to myself. It is odd because I am patient with other things beyond reason. Maybe that is from hanging around cats most of my life. I have no trouble in allowing things the time they need to fully develop and play out as they should. Except when it comes to my own self-imposed standards. I have this little voice in my head telling me that if I don’t try my best every single day, I will have no one to blame if I fail except myself. I don’t quite know where that voice comes from. Over the years, I have tampered it down quite a bit and have allowed myself some room to be human and to falter from time to time. But it is one of those weird, double-edged blades that pokes at my heart and mind.

There are times when it has actually helped me. The extra push that my sub-conscious thoughts impose on me can be helpful in achieving my goals. But there are also times when those thoughts nag at me to reach some impossible standards that (once again) I set for myself that any mere mortal would fail to achieve. That is when it can be most destructive. The trick is to figure out which is which and act accordingly. Am I setting impossible standards for myself, or am I just setting goals that are attainable and motivating?  It is at times difficult to figure.

I think we all go through this cat and mouse game with ourselves. Some of us are more conscious of it than others. I think those of us who are aware of this train of thought are also more aware of it in those around us. We see those struggling as either ‘problem solvers’ or unsettled, as they switch from one thing to another without really completing anything. I think though that most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

(Wow! What was in my coffee this morning?!?) 😉   On to the point of this post . . . Unfinished Business.

While I (like many of you) have some things that I start and don’t finish, I have one large project that NEEDS to be done. It is my “12 Days of Christmas Ornament” project that I have been working on for the past year. My goal for the year was simple – One “Day” ornament a month for a year. By December I would have all 12 done and a beautiful keepsake, heirloom quality set. Sounds pretty simple, right?

But that demon inside of me that I spoke of earlier convinced me to make not two or three sets, but SIX. I had five very close family members and friends that would be recipients of this beautiful set and give them the home they deserved. Oh – I could have picked ten people to give them to. Or twenty even. There are so many people in my life that I appreciate, I wouldn’t know where to start. But six seemed like a reasonable number and not really too far out of reach for me to do. So six it was.

I went ahead and set up a Facebook group called “12 Days of Christmas by Lynne Andrews – We are Making Them!” and I met many wonderful painters who wanted to join in my adventure. There were others who were making multiple sets and some were making just one, and the painters in the group have been wonderfully supportive.  It was one of the best decisions that I have made.

I did well with keeping up month for month, but then something unexpected happened – we moved, and I lost my footing. I fell behind the self-imposed month for month deadline as moving to a new home took up a tremendous amount of time. The home had to come first for a while, then the business and then this project. Life is just like that. Our priorities change day to day and those of us who succeed need to allow for that and be flexible. So I was kind to myself and let myself off the hook. After all – the theme of the page was that we would be there for the duration and there was ‘no time frame’ that we had to follow. There was no shame in having family or “life” get in the way. We would be there when whenever the members were ready to proceed.

So I swallowed that pill for myself and sometime in November finished up “Day 9”.  I felt I could possibly squeak by and get them done by Christmas.

And then December hit and all that entailed. And things came to a grinding halt on this project.

So now I need to be my own example and take my own advice. I tell everyone that there is “no shame” in falling behind. I need to believe that for myself. We aren’t transporting kidneys here, we are painting. Certainly those worthy of receiving this beautiful set understands the turmoil of the past several weeks and understand the delay. Otherwise, they would not be on the “A-list” to receive these ornaments in the first place.

With that said, I am moving forward. As the ‘fearless leader’ of the group, I take no shame in my tardiness in completing my six sets. I should only feel shame if I abandon the project altogether and not follow through with what I started. But for me, that isn’t an option.   So I present to you my “Day 10” ornaments:

Ten Lords-a-Leaping.

Here is the back of the ornament:

The beautiful Opal Dust by JoSonja gives each piece a magical shine, as do the tiny crystal rhinestones in the crown:

And both the front and the back together:

Times six sets . . .

And then there were TEN!

Part of the reason that coming back to this project was because I remember what I was doing when each “Day” was painted. In each and every of those instances, my sweet kitty Pancakes was ‘involved’ in some way. Days 11 and 12 will be ‘different’ in that he won’t be here with me.  I know it is a silly thing, but it is things like this that creep into my head sometimes. So getting over this hump and moving on will be yet another step in healing. Little by little. . .

Thank you all for being cheerleaders and indulging me on these. We are still getting new people that want to join our Facebook group, and I will be there for the duration. As will my counterparts Lynne Andrews, Vera Souther and Lynn Barbardora. We will always be there to cheer you all to the finish.

On to Day 11 . . .

Happy Thursday!

(PS – you can get the book to paint these beautiful ornaments on Lynne’s website Here: Christmas Blessings  We would love to have you paint with us!)

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