It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

Beautiful Hankies

When I was a girl, I remember seeing Grandma with an apron in the kitchen and a small hankie in the pocket of that apron.  In the hankie was a small round box of snuff. Close by was her coffee can (we won’t talk about that).  She had a quilting frame hanging from the ceiling and a sewing basket was always nearby.  She sat in “her chair”, sometimes with her feet propped up, always with a hankie in her pocket or sitting in her lap.

It was white, most of the time. Sometimes it had lace, or ruffles, sometimes it was thin and transparent. Sometimes it appeared to be more of a face cloth.  But, ALWAYS a hankie on her person.

On the other side of town, Great Granny (other side of the family) rocked in her chair on the braided rug. She died when I was about 9, so my memories of her are not as complete.  She cooked, sewed (in fact she smocked our dresses), and could tell good stories when she wanted us to take a rest on her big bed with the chenille bedspread and tufted pillows. She always wore an apron (hankie inside the pocket).

Mom gave me Great Granny’s apron when I started my Hope Chest, at 16.  It was the first item to go in! It hangs proudly in my laundry room on a faux clothesline.  The pocket has clothes pins in it, a safety pin through it and a hankie peeking out, of course.apron

Her hankies were printed, I know because I gave her some for Christmas. It was a box of three! I wanted to buy them because I saw her using Grandpa’s handkerchief once and it seemed so big in her tiny hands.  I was so proud to give her that gift. Mom let me deliver the Avon brochures to earn the $.75 it cost to purchase that box with the cellophane lid.

Her daughter in law, my Granny, used elegant hankies. Her’s were more costly, I supposed,  and fancy, as she was the first woman in our family to become a business woman. She was very fashionable, could design clothing and then sew them for the public.  She mixed face powder downtown in her regular job and later took up bowling tournaments to win a little on the side. She finally landed in Real Estate, joining the Million Dollar Circle when I was 14.  She pinned her hankie to her dress with a sweet brooch in the 30’s, kept one in her bowling bag at all times and I found one folded neatly inside her Bible when I was a child sitting in church. She used her beautiful hankie to wipe my mouth clean of the Ruby Shock red lipstick from mom’s Avon box when she came for a visit. And in her 90’s, she kept one in her hand or pocket to wipe her eyes as age related Macular Degeneration slowly and viciously stole the vision from her soft blue eyes.

My mother used hankies many times through the years. She tied my lunch money in them (until it became fashionable to use socks) and pinned it to my dress. She embroidered initials and sweet little flowers on the corners of some for gifts to give. She made dolls from them and we used them once for Halloween ghosts. She pinned one across the v-neck of my sweater for modesty when I was 12. And once, she lost a lot of weight during an illness and her wedding ring fell off. I watched as she tied her treasured black-hills gold band to a hankie and then tied it to her bra inside her work uniform.

When I was 18, mom really didn’t want me to marry.  But sadly, she participated with a smile and a hankie. Her mother, my Grandma, had given her a beautiful blue hankie with small pink flowers on the corner and a white edge. Grandma didn’t get dressed up to go anywhere anymore and this was a fancy, sheer hankie – made for a special occasion. Mom tied it to my bouquet so I would have all the generations of love with me. I kept it in my wedding journal with the pictures neatly pressed with the dried boutonniere  worn by my dad. Later, I tied that same hankie to my daughters bouquet in order to send generations of love down the aisle with her.  I made a baby cap with some purchased hankies for my granddaughter and my friends daughter and made hankies for work peers as gifts, back when I could sew. For a long time, I kept a hankie in my Bible, like Granny.  It came in handy with small children, emotional moments and emergency spills.

My friend, Rita, slipped a hankie in a card when my mother died. I was surprised to find it there and appreciated it at that moment.  I used it for months as her absence became more and more real.  What a lovely gesture of thoughtfulness. That one measure of kindness has added comfort to my life so many times. The same hankie comforted me as I bid farewell to my sister and a few good friends since then.  I used it when I was nervous, when I was sad, and when I was afraid. It’s like the tears in that hankie brought strength when I needed it most.

Yesterday, while cleaning a buffet drawer, I came across a stack of hankies. The fabrics are all different, some are printed and not, lacy and plain. hankie They are everyday hankies that were owned by some great women. I started collecting them as the powerful and loving women in my life left the earth. Today, I washed them fresh and pressed them (yes, with an iron) and made them ready to give someone else comfort. I hope the new owners will feel comforted by the generations of love carried within the tear-filled and lipstick- stained threads of the women who came before me- full of love, faith and determination.  My heritage.

I think it’s time these treasured hankies get back to work, don’t you agree?

 

It's About Living Better, Thoughts of the Day

It’s Been Awhile

I’ve never taken a month off in my life!  This was a first.

No writing, no recruiting for my direct sales endeavors, no creating posts or following up. No phone calls for orders (I just took what came in and felt grateful), no suggesting new products or looking for new affiliates. No cooking or dishes, no yard work.

I didn’t even enter my office.

The laptop was more of a dust-top!

So, how did I spend that valuable time?  We took a little 10 day road trip, then a smaller 3 day road trip and then…  we did whatever the day brought.  vladislav-babienko-703733-It's Been Awhile.jpg

Studies have long suggested that vacationing was good for productivity, creativity, employee morale and our overall health.  Many workers still don’t take vacation due to work constraints or finances.

In our case, Honey was physically worn out and needed to just lay around and let his muscles recoup. After years of physically carrying his day to day load, walking more than 7 miles with it and the time pressures of completing his daily rounds successfully, he was tired, sore and finally required hip surgery. These days, those same workers drive that 7+ miles and work in clusters. I guess it took the old guys time to get to the decision influencing level to save those following in their footsteps.

Later, workload didn’t keep me from going on vacation, it kept me from taking time to plan a vacation. We would choose the date in January and then, months later, the appointed day would appear and nothing would be in place to make it a good, quality release. So short “vacays” or combining vacation days with other events became the norm.  I’m here to tell you that those are just not the same as the last month we took off and were spontaneous most of the month.

We are not big travelers. Airlines have their share of issues these days and the airports are so crowded. There are just too many people around for us.  We don’t live off the grid, but my children would tell you we are in the middle of nowhere.  We like our peaceful surroundings, trees, no traffic (about 6 cars a day)… so traveling to big cities, in airports, train stations, etc. have no appeal.  Been there. Done that. It was fun.

We like to drive.  We like to be close enough to see the mountains, the trees, the animals, the local restaurants, the artisans and walk around small town streets.  I like visiting local museums, playing with grandchildren, cooking with my daughters and swimming alone.  He likes sleeping late, hotel waffles and looking at old stuff.  If we could figure out how to travel with both dogs, we would be in heaven.  Leaving them overnight, much less 10 nights, takes planning! And not worrying about them while we are gone uses up half the time of the “no stress” theme. They are so spoiled, boarding just won’t work. Besides, they always stink when they get home.

The dogs are big and what I call, yard-dogs.  They are mixed up breeds, sweet, affectionate and loud.  We didn’t train them to walk on a leash or socialize them (because that wasn’t a thing in our rural home), and they really like running in and outside all day. We won’t be traveling with them anytime soon.  They think the only time you get in the car is to go to the vet for shots and pedi’s.  Walks down the oil top road are familiar routes and don’t require leashes that keep control.

We planned half this vacation. I put my direct sales business,  Avon  on auto and we hired our friend to come each morning to feed the dogs, give them access to the yard and play with them for a bit. Then, our daughter stopped by each day to rub on them and hand out the treats. Our friend returned again and locked them up for the night because in the pasture and woods there are coyotes and now, a lingering bobcat.  See what I mean, it takes planning.

For my direct sales businesses, (retired doesn’t mean dead) I used Hootsuite.com to schedule all the posts on the pages and groups, packed note pads and copies of brochures to have at my fingertips.  I notified everyone that we would be on vacation, left them the website addresses and promised them a treat if they placed orders on the website during my absence. These businesses, can run automatically because they can use technology to get service and I’ll still earn a bit. I just need to work ahead.  Knowing that everyone is taken care of makes leaving for a few days, quite easy.  The few messages I received on my phone were forwarded to my lovely daughter for handling.  She was able to fill some emergency orders (gifts) from my very limited inventory and enter a few orders for non-techy customers in the Avon app, so I could complete it when I arrived home.

A couple things came up (with the dogs) during our half-planning that made us delay our trip by a week. But, when you are driving and retired, a week is nada!

Finally! The day has arrived.  Did we get up all energetic and ready to go?  No… we slept late, ran some errands, had lunch with friends and left at 5:30 pm on a half planned 3,000 mile road trip! No reservations, just the gps app and an end goal.  First stop… Ft. Worth (3 hours), to drop off my favorite living plant. Daughters-in-love are grand, especially when they have a green thumb!

No stress, no mess, ready to drive. Looking for mountains and grandchildren out west.

 

 

 

Growing the Business, More Than Just Makeup, Products!

Play in the Traffic to Build Your Business

Building a business?

Whatever you do, MAKE A PLAN TO PLAY IN THE TRAFFIC!

We learn to make friends as children. Usually with our cousins or siblings, first. Then at day care or primary school. Remember, the teacher reminding us to be kind, to share, do our own work and to be fair?   Those rules in relationship building still work today, especially in business.hannah-rodrigo-320734-unsplash.jpg

So remembering those lessons, let’s consider our business contacts.  What type of person do we want as business partners?  How many new business partners will it take to make a positive change in your business?  What will my new business partner act like in our relationship?

Photo by Hannah Rodrigo on Unsplash

Having identified the type and number of similar behavior-ed partners needed, it’s likely you’ll identify their traffic pattern.

Where do they play?  Do they spend time at ball fields, on running trails or online?  Do they eat at great restaurants, shop at finer clothing stores, travel to places you love?  Do they love a great deal and wear your brand?

Where do they work?  Do they work in offices, dressing trendy? Do they work outdoors and have sun-kissed skin and calluses?  Are they tech-smart or tech-challenged?

Where do they live?  In apartments, with lots of people around them or in single residences, maintaining beautiful yards and entertaining others at dinner? Are they rural, soaking up the peace and quiet or in the hub of controlled chaos or excitement?

Discovery is important as you intentionally plan to Play in Their Traffic!

After you PLAN to create new contacts, build your strategy for meeting your new business partners. Having friends as business partners will definitely be a better way to live.

Practice giving compliments.  Genuine, beautiful statements of truth.  Take a couple of hours to play in their traffic.  Where are your ideal partners sitting on park benches? Where are they having coffee, what are they reading, which walking trail do they visit, which events will they attend and very important… may I join them in social media groups.

That’s where you meet people.  For every person you make eye contact, find an amazing attribute and compliment it!    “You have beautiful eyes”, “you should wear blue everyday”, “what an adorable bracelet”,  “precious children”, “I love the way you wrote that post”, “thank you for helping me understand” – –  be real!

When you make eye (or private message) contact,  your door is open!  

Now practice those relationship building lessons you learned as a child.

Be kind, polite, share, do your own work and be fair in all things. 

So… PLAN.   Choose a time and be prepared with information, conversation starters and yes, your short 30 second blurb about your business (in case the opportunity presents itself) . Enter your plan on your calendar and highlight it when you completed your task. Share your calendar with a partner who has agreed to ask you about your day.

INTENTIONALLY, sit in the traffic until you have met your goal of contacts.    That means you started the conversation, received their contact information and have their permission to contact them again!

How will you continue to build the relationship?

Connect through Social Media… text a “hello, I’m glad we met… here’s my link”, text.

INTENTIONALLY, revisit the traffic area, you’ll know them the next time. If there’s interest in the beginning, you may choose to visit the traffic weekly, monthly or maybe more. Go with your gut. Can this person be my friend, my business partner? Should I introduce this person to another partner?

Follow the rules of your youth: Be kind, polite, share, do your own work and be fair in all things.  BUILD the relationship from contact to friend.

Email or text:  ” I wondered if you’d like to visit when I see you at the coffee shop tomorrow” “I’m thinking I need to buy some new running shoes, do you mind if I ask what brand you wear”. “The friend I mentioned yesterday will be running with me next week, I’d like to introduce you”…  “I don’t know if I mentioned, but I …”

Mail:  Send cards for holidays, birthdays (it’s on FB), etc.  Write personal notes to your new friend, share experiences.

Consistently, work the plan to build contacts.

Consistently, work the plan to build the relationship with each contact.

Change, the “contact” label to “friend”.   By really getting to know your new contact, you’ll build a friend. We never have enough friends.

I’ve read that people find more jobs and opportunities by networking with those they know.  I personally find this to be true.  Every team member I have personally recruited started as a contact and progressed to acquaintance and then friend.  Sometimes it’s months before they need my business, sometimes it takes years. But, always, we are working on the progression of contact, acquaintance and friend. Maybe, they’ll choose me as a partner, maybe I’ll choose them by  being kind, polite, sharing, doing our own work and fair in all things. 

So, go Play in their traffic.  Remember the childhood rules of relationship building and enjoy building your own team… and growing a group of friends that fit in your life, and business, in a most comfortable way. It’s about living better!

 

 

It's About Living Better

It’s Grandma and Poppie Night!

Thursdays are Grandma and Poppie Night at our home in Texas.

The two youngest grands use the IPhone (better than us) to call and share their week with us.  It’s truly a blessing to watch them grow, even when we can’t be in the same location. They are so funny and we truly enjoy their laughter over the phone.  I wish I could have stayed in touch with my grandma like that.

 

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Photo by Diego Passadori on Unsplash

Our princess told us about Elon Musk last week. She’s fascinated.  She has real books that are read at her request and after she hears the story, she absorbs the info like a super thirsty sponge.

You should see her eyes twinkle as she thinks of questions to ask. She can tell you when he built his first rocket, the consequences of that take off and his goals for the future, among other things. Then with a bound, she’s on top of the “stage” tapping away and demonstrating the new steps from dance class.

She’s 3!

Isn’t it a great thing that little girls can be princesses in pink tulle, interested in science and get excited about going to dance class in the same day? I’m thrilled for her future.

She and her brother are close… like the sun and the sky. They are brilliantly being challenged by their parents and intentionally led to explore this world of ours.

Times have changed.  I remember my mom saying that same thing: times have changed! Times change, thank goodness. What a boring world this would be if time stood still.

While I question many millennials attitudes about politics and religion, the young parents of today have new obstacles and great opportunities to give their children the future they deserve -just like we did. The challenges are similar, but move faster. The roles are no longer defined, but blended – as it should be.

Both women and men can work for themselves, work for someone else, create their own earning opportunity and write about it! Equally, life is available to be lived. No defining categories needed – just life.  And balance.  Balancing independence and togetherness is just as important as work and home balance.

My own millennials are doing an exceptional job of building our future! I hope they continue calling on Thursdays, after the grands are too busy and I have to resort to texting (will we still text?).

Family is forever and always important – funny how that never changes.

 

Growing the Business, More Than Just Makeup

Running Out Of Time?

How many days do you run in circles?

Today was my day. I had three items on my Bling list.

  1. Change the beds.
  2. Schedule social media posts
  3. Listen to 2 development webinars.

Have you used Bling? It’s a fun and Free Messenger App that helps me stay on track… if I keep my phone close.

I find using a digital calendar and keeping the deets in the notes section to be a grand help. Every evening before I retire, I check my calendar, lay out everything I need, enter the quickie notes in Bling and wash my face.

The few minutes that little routine requires, allows me to sleep peacefully and wake up confident. There’s nothing like an organized mind and a clean face on a lavender scented pillow case!

To make it even easier, I have beautiful containers labeled by day. Each time I schedule a follow up or delivery, I place materials in the coordinating day container, schedule any tasks I need to complete before the appointment and relax. When I schedule every step, I know the meeting will be a success because I consistently plan. By the time I’m ready to prepare for that day, I can usually find it already assembled. Just grab my materials for the day and go!

Each week I take time to prepare 30 sets of handouts. Sometimes it’s labeled samples, sometimes postcards, some are brochures or flyers. Each morning, as I enter the office, I pick up five or six and determine how they’ll be distributed. Maybe they go in the day container or the mailbox. However it gets done, the day is not done until I’ve made the contacts. How can I follow up, if there’s nothing to follow?

As your own organization system takes shape, you’ll be finding extra time for fun or work. Just remember… leave some white space so you can join an impromptu lunch with friends or a video call with the granddaughter. Networking with friends and business associates is never wasted time.

Take it one step further… Here’s an example: Monday I work from home – no scheduling of errands, but it’s a great day for changing the beds, etc. Tuesday is volunteer day, errands are scheduled before and after. Wednesday mornings are a great time for recruiting, as long as I get home to be with my granddaughter by 3. See, you may find breaking down your days for maximum efficiency helpful and while it takes time to get in the habit, it’s well worth it!

Hint: if you prefer a paper schedule use a pencil for flexible appointments, ink for the unchangeable. Using a white eraser keeps it neat. On my digital calendar I end each flexible entry with F (flexible).

Granddaughter’s are not flexible and she loves gingerbread cookies-they go in the Wednesday container!

Becoming the organized master scheduler of your time allows more flexibility for you! Believe it or not… creating an intentionally organized life is… a matter of living better!

Growing the Business, Thoughts of the Day

Friday… day

Fridays (before retirement) meant the end of a hard working week… at some places I worked.  My last job – not so much.  When you work with lots of people, encouraging them and answering their questions, facilitating their actions… you work when they need you.

When their work is also their past time, it normally involves some weekend contact.  So, Friday’s take on less meaning.  There is no end to your week when you work like that.

So, after a time, I managed to lose my work/life balance.  It wasn’t intentional… it just occurred.  It wasn’t even what the company wanted for me… it just happened. Even the team members  apologized every time they called on the weekend.  I was tired, not clearly focused and in the end, less motivated.

So, really… being available 24/7 didn’t do anyone any good.

I missed the grandchildren’s school programs, trips with girlfriends, seeing my sisters when they all got together, a musical at the local college, the birds building the nest at the edge of the porch, game day at church, my old friend’s funeral, time at the piano, organization meetings and local events I had loved before and most important, meaningful time alone with my love.

Balance is a fleeting skill.  When you don’t exercise the core muscles, you lose your balance.  If you don’t visit, go see the masses, have a drink with a friend, or watch the birds, your core muscles get weak. You can’t stand straight. You can’t carry on a current-content conversation, and you can’t listen to soGorgeous Purple flowersmeone who needs to talk… because you are not there.

So, while I search for that elusive balance in my retirement, I have made a plan.  Every Friday… with intention, I will visit someone I haven’t seen in awhile.  Since I know it’s easiest to start in one’s “warm market”, I’m choosing my friend Dianne for today.  Last week, I stopped to visit my long time friend, Lou, at her volunteer station. We had a great visit and I felt so good when I left.

Today, Dianne… who is a former co-worker and now, friend, has lots of interests. I love to hear about her travels, the music concerts she attends with her husband, her adorable grandsons and of course, her new business interests.  I’ve made a list.

As usual, I am reminded that I don’t think I am through working yet… but I’m exploring the realms of retirement – on my terms – in balance with the rest of my life.