Archive for the ‘General Reflections’ Category

www.anniesgoathill.com spotlightMost of us, with the exception of my friends (whom I sort of envy right now) that reside on the bottom side of our globe, are into winter – dark and cold days. As I was scrolling through blogs, photos of animals, the promotion of small businesses and farms, and posters of positive thoughts, I thought about all of the brightness that those people brought to me and came up with the idea of an Annie’s Goat Hill spotlight. Why not bring good news into the world during this, seemingly, long season? We can all use a Spotlight of Warmth, it spreads.

So, beginning today, if you would like to share, or link to, one of your photos, blog posts, an article about your small business, most anything of taste relating to natural, farm, small business, encouragement and faith, and handmade personal care products on this blog – I encourage you to contact me (anniesgoathill@gmail.com) with your submissions and ideas.

I have some folks in mind already, which leads me to remind those of you that are small business owners and authors to always provide contact information.


Share, Encourage, and Grow

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For a large chunk of my life I settled to the idea that I did not expect myself to be perfect. I was missing important steps due to that mindset.  I now know that a person cannot go towards perfection without study, practice, and experience. I also learned there is a difference between being a perfectionist and being someone that expects to do their very best.

These examples sum up my thoughts on perfection; if you want to be the master basket weaver, you may or may not be born with fingers that are given the talent to weave, but your basket will look like a two year old infant wove the vines through the staves unless you practice. If you want to become a successful soap maker, even if your intentions are to only produce wholesome products for your loved ones, you have to practice definitive steps to get there. If you want to write well, you must read and write often; extensively. If you want to mature as a Christian, you are given the gifts from God to proceed, but you won’t get there unless you study, follow His word, experience life, and study again.

To excel you must believe (trust), have courage, and know that you are never a finished character in life – and really, do you ever want to give in to “I’m done”? I think not. You will likely never be perfect at everything in life, but you can have the peace of mind that giving your best brings.

How do you find the courage to do what you believe in doing? Stand face to face with fear, look it straight in the eyes and say, “You are not a good thing. I am going to hurtle you to the side.” This is an absolute in life; either face the fear, send it packing, or never land with your feet firmly down on the other side of the obstacle. What is fear? An absence of courage and trust.

You have a choice. I have a choice. I love making the choice. You too?

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) ASV

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The most important thing is to just do it.

shining light www.anniesgoathill.com

If I work at a high level I have responsibility to do better than what I’ve done before.

Sometimes the best happens – beyond possibility.

Just do it.

Can’t worry about it.

Leroy Neiman

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In the half-light, I looked out the window and saw large pieces of white paper strewn about across the back lot. There is no trash here, not a speck. How did that happen?

Last night, as made one last round  through the house, I thought the crickets were chirping louder than normal. Was there a window open? I checked the window seals. No, they were shut.

This morning, as I let the scampering eager dogs out the door, I saw a large green grasshopper (those giant “bugs” that used to scare me as a child) sitting happily next to the mop I laid out yesterday to dry. Good morning, Mr. Grasshopper. Welcome to the beautiful morning that we share!

Then, as the sun continued to rise, I saw what caused the strewing about of paper. Beautiful spider webs, strung from blade to blade, covered with morning dew. Nature made its own form of art…no paper involved.

It truly is a blessing to see the little things.


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apples www.anniesgoathill.com

In this age of technology it is easy to fall into the pit of comparing ourselves, or our businesses, to others. The surface becomes slippery when we start pondering, “What am I missing?”

More times than not, we are not missing anything. We are unique. And we need to work at doing what we do best, rather than glancing over the fence line for self-measurement.

Savor your distinct qualities. Unless you enjoy giving yourself beatings for not being like your neighbors. I have better things to do…you too?

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As I was pulling soap for orders today in the Red Barn Studio I thought about the colors, the smells, and beauty.

What looks like stainless steels racks to one person, with bars of soap lined up in rows, is a vision of beauty to another, “Beauty is the best treasure for, one’s eye.”

goat milk soap www.anniesgoathill.com

What is beauty?

There is so much beauty in life
Beauty is a gift of God
Beauty is in the heart which touches,
Simplicity is beauty.

Beauty of sun setting in to ocean,
in evening
Truth is beauty, beauty is truth
Beauty is the best treasure for,
one’s eye
the beauty of a love that is real.

Bright colors of the rainbow,
the beauty of spring
What is beauty?
Beauty is you.

Maria Luisa Taylor

Beauty is freely what you want it to be.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps…where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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Trailing in halfway through my month of seeing life through the eyes of a child blog series, Seeing Life with Imagination,  and The Best Day Ever, I began to think it was impossible to stay on top of this way of thinking.  But, much to my surprise, I am very much aware of it now and am beginning to spot the new attitude.

This is how it happened today.  It is Sunday, the birds are singing, the ground is damp from the rains we had overnight, the sun is finally peeking out – the fog burned off.  There is promise of so much.  Promise of green growing things.  Promise from the sound of live tiny creatures – the songs of birds.  I am reminded once again of being a child.  I am taken back to my grandparent’s expansive yard.  I am walking through the rows of the garden, with plants trellised much taller than myself.  I am walking between the apple and pear trees.  Like a beautiful mansion with no ceiling to stop the view.  I can hear the bees buzzing, the birds singing, and I can see the grasshoppers jumping.   The sun is sheer warmth on my shoulders.

I then find myself at grandmother’s flower garden.  It isn’t so tall, so large, that it allows me to walk through and pretend that I am the master gardener, creating the beauty of nature and green growing things from my own hard work.  There is no maze to wander through.  No, the flower garden becomes my palate.  I can grow those flowers, painting an intricate design in my eyes with the colors, and with beauty that touches my soul through my nose.

Hours upon hours I am the master of the gardens.  I am at peace.  I am in the land of the giants, of nature alone.

Big sigh.

Now, how do we hold onto that child-like thought while sitting at our desks on Monday morning sorting through the pile of paper? Or while checking in with the screen filled with technical challenges?

You become what you want to be.  I am a strong believer in you are what you think.  30, 40, or 50 years ago, would you have imagined having thousands of contacts at your fingertips at one very moment? Seriously, I write a blog post, 150 people read it tonight.  I do not know who many of my readers are, but they obviously enjoy reading.  I keep writing because they are reading.  See? I post a Tweet that could potentially reach 1700 followers, and then when retweeted, 25,000 more (or more).  I am not just affecting my own moment, my own life, I am affecting many, many more.  So, when life becomes overwhelming, boring, intimidating, frustrating, you (I) can (and should) become the owner of what we are doing.  We are the Queen (or King) of our desk, our office, our studio.  We have so much to give, so much we can do with imagination.  We are the master gardeners at whatever we do.  We are writers because we think we are.  We are weavers because we think we are.

It isn’t about what we think we can or cannot do for the world, it is about what we are that is unique (and that includes our imagination, because each one is unique).  Our value is about what we teach.  You are the teacher.  Believe.  And share.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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The Best Day Ever

With the mindset of Seeing Life With Imagination, a blog post I published a few days ago (with a focus on seeing through the eyes of a child), I saw this beautiful stray violet this morning.

The violet popped up alone, right below the utility trailer where I store the hay for the goats, in a patch of dirt that we recently worked – hoping to sow and grow some lush green grass.

What did I see in the tiny violet? Hope.  Beauty.  A promise that even though we may feel tired, alone, overwhelmed, and even discouraged, the small things in life are wonderous.  We need to pay attention.

My remarkable coach and friend, Donna Maria Coles Johnson from the Indie Beauty Network, said the words yesterday (and it isn’t the first time I’ve heard her say it), “Today is the best day ever!” Donna Maria sees the violets.  She sees life with gusto.

The best day ever.  Be the violet.  Make your world happen despite anything else in life.  Are you there with me?

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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A few days ago I was reading up on the topic of women that aspire to do what they feel passionate about doing when they reach their 40’s, and even their 50’s and 60’s.  I am not referring to speeding around in a hot little red sports-car, throwing caution to the wind, looking for a man who looks very much like the one on the cover of the little paper-back book, the one that carries the princess off into the sunset, happily ever after.

What I am talking about is the ultimate desire to do whatever a women can do in her lifetime.

What passions I am referring to in this article are those that say to us “I can do this” (not so much material items):  I can now write that series of books, I can now sail the ocean for 90 days, I can now become a doctor, I can now start that farm, I can now start and grow a business.

Is it a mid-life crisis? I am not so sure I can term it as that.  I do think it is an awakening, but is it related to age? Or is it related to women that are now aware of their own question, “Who am I, and how do I become the person that I have always wanted to be?”

The latter.  And don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it.

P.S. See the little black 1953 Chevy Bel-Air in the photo (via http://cars.oodle.com)? I want one.  No, I do not plan to get one.  Do I consider it a mid-life crisis? No, I think the car is beautiful.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feed the Goodness

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I treasure Seth Godin’s work.  Even when I do not agree with what he has to say, he still makes me think.

A recent post on Seth’s blog, titled Stick To What You (Don’t) Know, hit home with me.  Seth’s words, “No one knows more about the way you think than you do. Applying that approach, combining your experience, taking a risk–this is what we need from you.”

That is what I need from me.  That is what you need from you.  That is what we ALL need from each other.  People are not born experts.  And even the experts are still learning.  When you lead you step forward, you trust in yourself to say the right thing at the right time.  You just do.

Believe in yourself, what you have to say, what you do.  Do it for yourself without fear.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness

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