Archive for the ‘Inspirations’ Category

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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When was the last time you looked at things in life as through a child’s eyes?

I read a great post today, Once Upon A Child, by Danny Brown.  I love what Danny said, “Our minds are so free as kids. We imagine anything and everything. Our creativity knows no limits and our imagination is boundless.”

Danny made me think.  In fact, I decided to give Annie’s Goat Hill (myself) an assignment.  This month I will be blogging about the things I look at with fresh eyes, allowing myself to look at things with no (fewer?) limits, with imagination.

When I was a child I loved to draw.  I drew a lot of animals (horses, cows, cats and dogs).  Then I started drawing interiors of houses.  Seriously! I drew floor plans, along with furniture and appliances, drawn to-scale.  I even hoarded the family Sears and JC Penny catalogs to see what the latest carpet, paint, and drapery colors were.  I still recognize my love for animals.  But interior design? Not so much.  I was absolutely fascinated by it, with ruler and pencil in hand, hours and hours of imagination.

So…today I forced myself to not touch a computer  ALL DAY LONG.  Instead I raked (most) of the goat barn.  I hand washed my truck.  I did a lot of healthy things, outdoorsy things, things that got me up and active.  We all need that! But, guess what else I did? I sat in the barn with the goats.  One by one the dairy girls came in and nibbled on my chin.  Even Annie, the farm namesake, a boer goat with an attitude, came in to visit.  I recently read a story about a photographer who got down on the ground, and in the water, at eye level, with the alligators.  I wouldn’t want to take that risk, but he did.  He found himself understanding the creatures at a level he didn’t expect to know, and he took photographs that were extremely unique.  He used his imagination, and he set his fear aside.  He learned a lot.  We can learn a lot by getting down to eye level, as I did today.  We don’t just feed the hay and the grain, we see the magic of the animals that we tend to.  We see the magic of the world that surrounds us.

Tomorrow I will continue this challenge (both business and personal).  It should be enjoyable and I look forward to sharing the adventure with you.  If you want to join me in this trek, leave your comments.  I would love to hear what you discover!

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

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I did not plan on a part II, but here it is.  Part two of (the blog post) Selling Goats – How I Changed My Business Mind-Set.

Pruning really is not so easy.

Today we pulled the ad that had listed goats for sale.  The last goats that went into trailers, down the road to their new homes, were dams with babies by their side.  One side of me loved seeing the small families stay together.  Another side of me was sad because I sold goats that we had raised from the bottle, raised for several years.  They are now grown, raising their own kids.

This is where pruning is not so easy.  It  is necessary.  It is needed in life.  It is needed in our homes.  It is needed in our businesses.  It hurts.  It stings.  It does not feel natural.

One of my favorite scriptures, however, ties this up perfectly, John 15:1-2.  I convert it to my life, my business life, my farm life.  In part, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

So, I take huge leaps, and I take baby steps.  I do this with a goal in mind – to do what is right, not what is easy, not what is comfortable, to produce fruitful branches.

Taking the leap of faith.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel 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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Imperfections are beautiful.

I think of people, embracing differences.  I think of soap, embracing the beauty of handmade, made from scratch.  We do not cut off the uniqueness from either.  Instead, we celebrate the character.

Love yourself.  Love who you are.  No discounting allowed.

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

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small business branding

No, I am not talking about taking a red-hot cattle prod, sticking it on you back-side to leave a unique mark.

What I am talking about is your presence on life.

Even if you do not represent or own a business, are you leaving your mark on life responsibly?

Are you being responsible in the sense that you promote positive feelings in others? Are you speaking in words that uplift, or are you speaking in words that leave other’s pondering, perhaps dragging them down with you? Are you speaking in words that etch out your future, the future that you are in control of?

When you write online (a blog post or comments, Facebook status updates and comments, Twitter updates) are you enjoying the freedom of speech (it isn’t always about fluffy soft place), yet, ensuring you represent yourself with dignity? If not, you may be branding yourself for failure.

Everything you do in life is a part of who you are.  If you are a business owner, you are a separate being from your business.  But what you do, each and every footprint, each and every word, each and every decision, is a part of you, and you as the business owner are a part of your brand.  No, you are not Campbell’s Soup, or Tide laundry detergent, but you are ______ (fill in your name) who has the reigns in their hands that will lead their own horse-drawn team into a more positive future (for yourself and others), or you can lead it into the trenches.  Tow trucks are expensive and can leave ruts that stick around for years.

I am not heading into the trenches if I can keep from it.

Are you?

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

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