Ahh…1st Quarter In Review

The first quarter of 2017 is over and it’s time to review goals.Tweet: The first quarter of 2017 is over and it's time to review goals.

While creating an editorial calendar in January I set some goals for 2017.   Now that I’ve had some time to work on them I think it is important to sit down and review how I am progressing.  This helps me stay on track and continue positive momentum setting new goals going forward.

Goal #1: Post at least once a week.  In 13 weeks I have made 10 posts for the year 2017.  In quantity my posts are almost on track.  However, my posts have not been regular in timing.  Going forward I want to increase my frequency to solidly hit once a week and do so more regularly.   One way I can do this is to pay more attention to my weekly feature categories like Wrap it Up Wednesday.  Just doing one of those weekly would meet this goal so it is definitely attainable.

Goal #2: Add website pages leading to online store.  This goal isn’t very good because I didn’t make it measurable.  Going forward in the second quarter I will be more specific and plan to add plant picks, garden flags, mailwraps, and Pure of Heart to both website pages and our online store.

Goal #3 Begin placing videos on blog posts.  I did it!   This has been so much more fun than I expected.  To clarify this one:  I would like to post at least 3 new videos each month for the remainder of the year.

Goal #4: Increase number of followers to 500 by the end of 2017.   I didn’t specifically say where I want these followers to be – the blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn – What was I talking about here?

To define this a little further I’m going to say I would like to have 500 followers to Little Gift Shop OH and on at least one social media platform. This goal has so many components to it for implementation that I think I’d be better off to break this down with some sub-goals.  Such as … create interactive posts on Twitter at least twice a month or consider when the time is right and promote posts on social media once a month.

Goal #5:  Monetize website.  I have our Square shop in place and have set up some affiliate links.  My goal for 2017 is for Little Gift Shop OH to be in the black.  I expect this might not be attainable for the first few years, but one can dream right?

Over the next week I will be celebrating my accomplishments thus far and fine tuning my direction for the second quarter of 2017.

How often do you review your goals to help stay on track? Once a week? Once a month? Once a quarter?

What goal have you met or worked on this year that has you most excited?


Feature photo by Christopher Campbell

 

18 More Days and Counting

I am hesitant to get excited about spring just yet. Although it will officially be here in 18 days.  I am doubtful that our unseasonably warm weather is here to stay.  I am waiting for old man winter to give us a final blast or two.

wp-1488669102488.jpgWhile I’m waiting I have been planning out my gardens.  I love planting annuals .   I always plant pansies.  I have one from last spring that has managed to survive and is blooming already.  I also love petunias and marigolds.

I had almost no perennials at my old house, but our current home came with lots of perennials.  I am learning to appreciate them.  I used to think perennials were high maintenance and got out of control easily.  Now I have seen the light.  I fell in love with coneflowers last summer.  Although they do require maintenance they are easy because they just come back year after year like magic.  With regular tending hopefully they won’t go wild.

My daughter and I have been playing with some new concrete molds that she received for Christmas along with some of our older molds that we bought last summer.

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Soon to be Painted

We’ve been doing a little painting with our sculptures.  We still have lots more to paint.  We are considering having an event where people can choose a piece and paint it for their own garden.

This year we are planning a fairy garden.  We thought about it last year, but never made progress other than to read some articles.  There is no doubt in my mind that this year we have a sweet little fairy garden.  We have been dreaming of the idea in our minds for almost a year so it should all come together pretty quickly.

If not now, When?  Tweet: If not now, When?https://littlegiftshopoh.com/2017/03/03/doubt

The only thing that concerns me is it is in a high traffic area and right next to the garden hose.  Hopefully it won’t get trampled or squashed.


We also have a tree in our woods that came with some gnomes in it.

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The gnomes we painted to add aren’t to scale with the old ones.  I’m not sure how it will turn out.  Even if it doesn’t exactly match, I think it will be a fun spot to visit on our walks.

Comment below to share your favorite annuals and perennials.   Are you planning anything new in your garden this year?


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Prompt: Doubt

Feature photo by Katherine McCormack

Magic of Love, Part 1

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Some slippery ideas are running through my mind.  Forgive me if they don’t make sense.  I want to try to capture them before I lose them.

According to polling, our readers’ favorite thing to give for Valentine’s Day are dinner and/or candy.  My husband falls right in there with you because he gave me a lovely box of Godiva chocolate.  My daughter sent me a little book of inspiration which I love.

This morning as my younger daughter was padding around getting ready for school her Ursula socks made me smile.  She got them from her grandmother for her birthday recently.  The cool part is that her grandmother didn’t know my daughter had spent the last several months drawing Disney villains.

For Valentine’s Day I gave my daughter a collection of romantic rock-n-roll songs performed by the Vitamin String Quartet.  “I love the Vitamin String Quartet!” she texted me when she received it.  She told me she listened to their music regularly on Pandora.  Hmm.  I didn’t know that.

One of the books I’m reading now is  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  My son gave it to me for Christmas.  In it, Gilbert reveals her notion that ideas move among us until they find a person or people who will work with them.  Although it sounds unlikely, I totally agree with her.  I’m perfectly content to accept it as a mystery of life.

I think love moves between us like that as well.  When we love others it allows us to learn the song in their heart.  That is how we hear, “How did you know?” when someone we love opens a gift we’ve picked out for them.  Truth is, I didn’t know for sure, but loving someone helps us make a pretty good choice.  It is a choice to love those who we share our world with isn’t it?  My notion is that love is alive and moves among us.  It is available to all of us if we want to work with it.

My question is does the magic of ideas and love simply happen to us or do we make it happen?

I’ve got to run now, but I’ll try to finish my thoughts in Part 2.

 

 

 

 

My First Meetup

Finally made it to my first Meetup!  I met with the Cincinnati Blogging Group earlier this week for a discussion about 2017 Editorial Calendar Planning.  As a newcomer to blogging this was a great topic for my first Meetup.

I had already decided that I believe in the importance of having an editorial calendar to keep me on track.  I learned some things to consider when creating my calendar, as well as some great resources for planning and brainstorming ideas.  Plus, I enjoyed meeting some fellow bloggers and website owners.   For me it is important not to isolate myself because I feel I really benefit from collaborating with others.

So I’ve hammered out a solid plan for the next month or so and have a good start on the rest of the year.  It’s January in Ohio, but I’m already thinking of summer flowers and vegetables.  Be watching for Down In The Garden posts.   I will be doing some Tuesday Travels and giving you some Thursday Thoughts from time to time.   I’ve also got some fun videos (!!! 🙂 ) coming your way.

I often recommend to patients who are struggling with a life event or circumstance to join a support group.  The thing is – we don’t have to wait until we are struggling to join forces with people who share our own interests.  Why not mingle and create a network of friends that can help keep you from reaching the struggling in the first place?

 

 

 

I Will Make 114 Mistakes

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Imperfect Silverware Ring

For 2017 I have joined a book reading group and am currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  So far this is my favorite quote from the book:

“I am a man because I err!  You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen.”

This is the ring I bought at a craft show toward the end of last year.  The woman making the jewelry was crafting bracelets, necklaces and rings from old silverware or flatware. When I was looking at the rings she explained to me that this one was the first ring she had made.  That was why it was not perfectly round like the rest.  I bought the ring because I immediately wanted it as a reminder not to get frustrated with myself when I make mistakes.

I need to always keep in mind that my mistakes are just part of learning. Tweet: I need to always keep in mind that my mistakes are just part of learning.https://ctt.ec/nptYs+

Prior to that I had started making sleep masks and was frustrated because in effort to produce more at a time I miscalculated and ended up making slightly smaller masks.  Not the end of the world, but I wanted them all to be the same.  (Another previous mistake has taught me that too much choice in size and color sometimes paralyzes customers and they end up not making a purchase.)

Not only do I make mistakes when crafting, I also make mistakes at work.  I make mistakes when I’m baking.  I make mistakes when helping my kids with their homework. Most frustrating of all, sometimes I make mistakes when I hear someone’s idea and think it is true and believe it for a while letting it influence my actions.

For instance, I once believed the idea I heard or read when I was younger not to write about your own life because people don’t want to read about your boring life.  Now I can see that obviously that is not true.  We have reality shows all over the place and blogs of ordinary lives sometimes go viral.  I can see some truth in the idea, but at the same time I can now allow myself to use ideas and scenes from my own life in my writing.

I purposely used a couple of harmless examples, but there are many more I could remember that had worse consequences.  However, I have also learned not to dwell on mistakes.

The best thing I can do when I realize I’ve made a mistake is to own it, fix it if possible, and keep moving forward. Hopefully I won’t have to make a different version of the same mistake 114 times, but if I do I’ll have to accept that the cookie crumbles that way sometimes.

Sometimes mistakes aren’t even noticeable to others.  People can’t tell my ring isn’t round when I wear it.

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I don’t have to get everything right on the first try. Tweet: I don't have to get everything right on the first try. https://ctt.ec/KnEH9+

LuLaRoe Nicole & Hope

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West Union Flower Shop, Ohio

A couple of weeks ago I didn’t even know who or what LuLaRoe was.  Now I do.  I was invited to a party on Facebook by a friend I haven’t seen since grade school and thought- why not?

From what I gather, LuLaRoe is a clothing line including some crazy printed leggings that must be totally comfy because everyone seemed to be buying them.  I am not a big wearer of leggings so breaking one of my own rules, I bought a dress named Nicole.  Apparently all the dress styles have names.

The rule is: Don’t buy clothing online.  If I can’t try it on inevitably it won’t fit.  With all the vanity sizing that goes on these days who knows what size I really am?  I decided to hope for the best and get a small which sounded like it wouldn’t fit because I’m not generally a small.  It was supposed to fit a size 6-8 so and the last dress I bought was a 6 so….

Naturally I get it and – surprise!- it doesn’t fit.  I don’t think I have gained any weight because all my other clothes seem to fit.  Never the less, it leads me to an evaluation of my current diet and activity and I see that I have been a bit of a sloth recently.  So I make the pledge to myself that I’ll exercise everyday.  Right?  That lasted about a day.  Then I decided okay, I’ll exercise every other day then.

I was texting the story to my daughter and I said, “So I think we know where this is heading.”  Her response, “Not necessarily!”

Awwww. That is one of the things that I love, love, love, best about my kids.  They are so hopeful and they always know how to bring me up when I am spiraling downward.

We all need people in our lives who do that for us.  Unfortunately not everyone has that luxury.  I know this may be what some people would call a petty example of hope.  The fact that it is small is the exact reason that it’s a good example.

Hope needs to be woven into our lives in everything we do – big and small. Tweet: Hope needs to be woven into our lives in everything we do-big & small.https://ctt.ec/8f42F+

When it is, it makes it easier to share the gift of hope with others.  I want hope to flow out of me the same way I see it flowing out of my kids.

We all get judged everyday for a variety of reasons: what we wear, how we move, ethnicity, the car we drive, our voice, our size, our hair color etcetera. Etcetera. The list goes on and on and on.  At the same time, we all pass judgment on the people we interact with daily without even thinking about it.  Our actions reflect those judgments.

Our judgments change when we take the time to get to know someone.  Maybe that man in Walmart who looks like someone you wouldn’t want to say hello to is really in need of a smile today.  Maybe the woman over there all decked out in her finery without a hair out-of-place is actually someone who goes deep and is not just all about the superficial.  Maybe  that business man isn’t just an empty suit.  Maybe that forklift driver has a degree in physics.  Maybe that lawn care technician is really a pro golfer.

The key to finding out is engaging with others.

I think part of the reason hope can be lost is due to everyone being tied up in their own lives.  When we move beyond our own little world into someone else’s it not only allows us to bring them hope, but they might surprise us and give some hope back to us too.

I could go on and on about this and maybe I will another day.  Right now I don’t have time because I have to go get my exercise in.  I am happy to say I’m still on my every other day program and the medium LuLaRoe I exchanged the small for fits just fine.

via Discover Challenge: Hope Gone Viral

Inspire Them With Your Gift

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Demdaco Journey of Grace Dream’s Possibility Angel Figurine

This week for Wrap it Up Wednesday 2016 our gift idea is to give an inspirational gift. Inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”  People are inspired in different ways, although some items seem to have a universal ability to inspire.  It is important to keep in mind the person you are buying for and what you think would inspire them.

There is an abundance of gift items available with inspirational quotes.  Consider notecards, stationary, or a journal with motivational quotes.

We have classic figurine collections by Demdaco such as Pure of Heart, Willow Tree, and Journey of Grace. We also like Enesco’s Children of Inner Light and Foundations.  We also have Eden’s Angels.  These gifts are a nice way to show your family or friend how much you appreciate their guidance.

In the past I have received tickets to a show, a spa day, and relaxing music which all gave me an inspirational boost.  Music can have the abililty to relax the mind and body.

A pocket piece or a piece of jewelry can be a beautiful and thoughtful gift that will inspire the gift recipient each time they see it or put it on and will hopefully provide comfort and guidance.  One unique idea I like is a singing bowl also known as a Himalayan bowl which is supposed to be helpful in meditation.

Inspiration is a powerful gift. It can offer comfort, motivation, and joy to those you care about on your list.

edengroup

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Happiness and Engagement

So if you have read any of my previous blog posts you might be asking why I’ve been reading about happiness. I want to stop here and clarify that I am happy with my life. I’ve been given opportunities that not everyone gets.  Some of them I’ve blown, but I like to think that more often than not I open the door when I hear opportunity knocking.  If I were to quit right now and do nothing different for the rest of my life I’d say I’ve been successful.

However, at a recent employer for the first time ever I felt the message coming from others that I’m negative and “not happy.”  What? Me? The same person that often gets accused of smiling too much?  What I discovered is the people pointing at me were only doing so because I disagreed with some of their practices which I felt to be unethical.  I didn’t follow along and do everything I was told to do without question which I’m sure was frustrating for them.  So they labeled me “unhappy.”

I must admit that I do have a little bit of sadness the creeps in when I see others struggling.  Some people I know would say that those struggling do so because of the choices they make.  I don’t believe that to be full-proof reasoning.  I know that people often struggle due to circumstances out of their control.

The challenge I face then is how to remain positive and hopeful despite some of the injustices that I see all around me.

I am thankful for this good life I have. Tweet: I am thankful for this good life I have. https://ctt.ec/KdAby+

How do I speak up for myself in a non-confrontational manner?  How do I speak up for those being trod on that can’t or won’t speak for themselves?

That leads me to engagement.  It seems everywhere I turn I hear conversation about increasing engagement.  I think it is hard to have positive, happy, and engaged people if they are made to feel powerless.  When people feel powerless people lose hope.  When hope is lost, happiness and engagement are lost too.

So the question leaders should be asking themselves if they want engagement is how do I empower others?  The answer is simple.  Start by caring about them and the things that matter to them and impact their lives.

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Random Acts

I was in the drive thru line at McDonald’s with my fourteen year old son riding in the front seat beside me and my daughter in the backseat.  The line was backed up and we were contemplating bailing out.  Then I started eyeing up the woman behind me wondering what she was planning to order, and considering if I should pay for her meal or if it would be too expensive.  I had someone pay for my meal last year at Christmas and I know it’s one of those popular “random acts of kindness” that people do.

Eventually it was our turn and we placed our order.  Again, we were waiting to move forward and out of the blue my son piped up with, “We should pay for the person behind us.”  Well that sealed it.  It was strange that I hadn’t said anything out loud about considering paying for the order behind us and here he was with the same idea. Not wanting to squash his feelings of goodwill for another I paid her bill along with ours.

For less than $10 I was able to confirm my son’s feelings of generosity and maybe put a smile on someone’s face. I don’t know how she felt about the little gift of having her meal paid for. Hopefully it made her happy.  I know both of my kids were tickled to look back and see her face when she was told her meal was already paid for.