This is the other half of the "Full Circle" in my journey of quilting - this one being the more difficult of the two parts to write! Many of you have been asking about the shop and pattern design company - perhaps sensing the change that is on the horizon - change that I've not yet shared with all of you.
Uugghh, this is a toughy - but here goes!
Oh - and - a while back, I promised not to do any more long, boring posts with no pictures - so I'll throw in some random pictures here!
The BIG 4 0
As some of you know, I turned 40 last December - and thus crossed the line into being a middle-ager! Around 40, we hit a dividing line in life.
The first half of our lives is all about success. It's all about building. We are building homes, careers, families, retirement funds, etc. And, we live as if we have all of the time in the world.
But, in the second half of life, our focus begins to shift from success to significance. We begin to realize how short our lives really are, how little time we really have. And, we start to think about leaving a legacy, leaving the world a better place than the way we found it, how to live with meaning and purpose.
I've been thinking A LOT about what is really important in the last several months. I've been thinking, when I'm 80 (should I live that long) and I look back on my life, what will I think about how I spent my time? And, how can I live my life now so that I have as little regret as possible?
Wasting Precious Time
All too often since I started the shop, I have found myself over-worked, tired, and just too busy and distracted to do what is truly important in my life!
All too often, I have put God, my husband, my children, my mom, my brother, and my friends on the back burner - because "I have to work" or because I'm worn out from working. I'm ashamed to admit it - but, I take for granted those I love the most.
But, the truth is - I don't "have" to work. I am very blessed that I don't have to work, that by divine providence and Studly's hard work - I have the opportunity to be a home-maker.
Yet, sadly, I've not taken advantage of that opportunity. I've not just worked - I'm a workaholic.
As I've been reflecting over the last several months - spending my days selling fabric seems more and more insignificant - and an incredible waste of time - as I compare with the time I could spend with those people that really matter!
Even Quilting Sometimes Loses Its Luster
I've been thinking a lot about the quilting part of my journey - and, yes, I believe there is a "dark side" to quilting for me. Don't get me wrong - I believe quilting is a gift of God - if kept in proper perspective. But, like all things - it can go wrong. Like work, it can divert my attention from what is really important in life.
Shortly after I started quilting, I began to acquire tons of fabric and patterns. And, this leads to pressure to "get 'er done" so to speak. And, it also leads to some guilt and frustration (for not having had more self-control)!
And, instead of being a simple joy - instead of being a gift - it becomes a burden, and a goal to produce. And, I begin to wonder - why do I even quilt in the first place! How does quilting serve the greater good? Is this not just a waste of time - I mean how many quilts can a family use anyway?
My Greatest Joy and Significance
My greatest joy in life and my greatest significance, in the end, is not to be found in a career, but in walking with God, in loving and being there for family and friends.
As for quilting, my greatest joy (aside from the opportunity to share it with all of you Charming Girls) was in making my first two quilts. They are the ugliest quilts I've made - but still my favorites (and my family's favorites)! Why? Because they had meaning - significance for us.
The first quilt - "Love Is" - has 1 Corinthians 13 embroidered in the border.
The second quilt - "Anyway" - which still hangs in our foyer, has the verses of my favorite, most meaningful poem embroidered on the blocks. It serves as a powerful reminder to me - and will hopefully give that same meaning to my children, and my grand-children.
The Coming Changes
The shop will be reduced to a very small shop. We won't be carrying near as much inventory! And, our shipping policy will change. Effective Friday, June 4, we will be shipping on Tuesdays and Thursdays only! Eventually, as the inventory gets lower, we will shift from Gift Certificates to monthly prizes for the Charming Guys & Girls Quilt Club.
We have ordered precuts and some bolts of "Bliss" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - and will post those items soon.
As for pattern designing, I had thought, originally, that I would prefer being a "pattern designer" to the shop. But, as the true desires of my heart become more clear - I realize that churning out patterns would be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
It would not be good for me to design and make quilts for the purpose of selling patterns.
My heart desire is to be Studly's wife, to be my children's mother, to care for our home - and to design quilts that have will have meaning and significance for my loved ones.
Should there be enough interest in those, then I'll be happy to do patterns.
I am working with Sue to publish the patterns for "Jolly Ole' St. Nicholas", "New Beginnings", "Acadienne", and "Katiebug"! I anticipate that those will be available this fall.
We all know that life can change in an instant - and, there may be a time in the future where there is room or necessity for a larger shop. But, for now - Studly and I believe this is the best choice for our family.
That Wasn't So Bad
I told you this was a toughy to write - it's always hard to admit those areas where you have missed the mark in life! And, even moreso I know that many of you love the shop -and it pains me to disappoint you, because I'm so very grateful for your support and friendship.
I was talking with Studly about having such a hard time with this post - and he reminded me of a quote I loved from a few episodes back in "Lost." He said:
"Aw, Babe, remember what Jacob said, 'There is only one end - everything else is progress.'"
Now - how could I not want to spend more time with a hubby like that???