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Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday afterthoughts

I feel sad today.

Is it day-after-holiday let down? I don't know.

I think I woke up hopeful this morning but then my mother-in-law, who had only been with us a day and a half, was up at 7:00 and already getting ready to leave. I should expect this, but it still hurts my feelings. Any time she has ever come to visit, once the reason she is here is over she is ready to go home - IMMEDIATELY. My hubby said he was surprised she didn't go home last night. Oh well.

Then, when we go to visit her, she is so ready to kick us out as soon as we are done with whatever we were visiting for. If we go to church on Sunday, after lunch she sits and looks at us and talks about how much she has to do and that the cat will sure be happy once we are gone. Cue to leave? I think so.

Ah, family.

Our holiday celebration was here and it was very nice. There were eight of us, so everyone fit around the table which was great. We laughed and told stories and everyone had a great time. Everyone being here also means lots of leftovers in my fridge. My parents did not eat with us yesterday but came to visit later, and my mom brought a whole pan of her mouth-watering cornbread dressing to eat with the leftovers. This alone will be breakfast, lunch and dinner for me for a few days! (I think the ingredients fit in all the food groups for all meals). I told the kids there will be no cooking today outside of the microwave. (They are 18 and 20 so I think they will survive.) Tomorrow we will celebrate Tara's 21st birthday and will cook shrimp and steak on the grill, so we will be somewhat back to normal.

I'm not a fan of Black Friday and have not gone shopping today (gasp!). Ashley called with stories about what she encountered at midnight madness at the outlets and then at Walmart, so I know I was right to stay home. To me, the money I would save is not worth the frustration. Oh my, am I getting old or what?

I will be going through Christmas decorations this evening so hopefully will get in the spirit. Wish me luck! For now, I'm off to the fridge for a glass of my beverage of choice.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday prelude

I've been excited this week about the upcoming holiday. I just seem to be feeling a lot more lighthearted lately, likely due to some help from natural progesterone that I started last month. I had been so down in the recent past, and I am grateful for the feelings of joy that sneak in here and there.

I needed to go into the Center today to finalize next week's schedule and hand out pay stubs and came in right when my normally calm and patient hubby was in the middle of a financial meltdown. Now, I know the Center is not in the best of situations right now, but for the most part he'd been telling me not to worry and I'd been trying not to. Seeing him upset and scrambling a bit to find alternatives to actually pay our bills almost sent me over the edge. If he's scared, I'm terrified.

In true form, I immediately start questioning why, if we are doing what we are supposed to and living the life God wants from us, are we being allowed to struggle in this way? We have always felt all along that God paved the way for us to open this business. We have catered to a lot of ladies who prayed for a place like ours to come along, and we feel that we've been blessed with an opportunity to make a difference in our community. I want to believe that He wants this business to succeed, but maybe we aren't the ones that are going to make it happen.

We've never expected to live off income from the Center, but it would be nice to have something extra to help us, our church and our families. We do have other jobs that keep our household running but the income from both has been cut back a good bit in the past year.

From the very start though, all I've ever truly hoped is that we are able to cover our expenses every month. For the most part for the past year and a half we've been able to do this. We've had some tough months in which we've scraped by with a little extra money stashed away, but October was the first month that we actually had to borrow money just to make it through. Now, at the end of November, we are having to do this again. This has caused us to reevaluate everything, and maybe we should have done this a long time ago, but I don't think we ever thought it would get as bad as it is.

I now understand what it is like when big companies have to take away benefits and lay off employees. It really all comes down to whether or not you can afford to pay the ones that are supposed to be helping you build your business.

To put things into perspective, this time last year we were handing out $100 bonuses and small gifts to each of our employees. This year it will be homemade salsa and a t-shirt. Kind of drives home as to where we really are. I think for the most part our girls are happy to have a job and I hope we are able to continue to provide this for them.

We are a business for sale and I have to remember we DO have a valuable asset to sell. There is someone out there who can do this better than we can and I pray that this person will materialize soon. We have started something that we hope is meant for someone else to carry on and be successful with.

I know all of this will happen in God's time and not ours. When I stop to think, I know this process is meant to teach me. Patience? Maybe. To trust God when the going gets tough? Definitely. I know I've made progress because my weak moments are just that...moments. They don't last for days and weeks on end like they used to. As impulsive as I might be at times to say and feel things I know are not true, I do know in my heart that God loves us and wants the best for us. Whatever we go through now is meant to make us better people for whatever lies ahead.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Life lesson

My day started unexpectedly early at 6:15 with a phone call from one of my employees calling in sick.

Oh, the joys of business ownership.

We are a business in which every position scheduled is necessary at every shift so when someone calls in, there needs to be someone else who can step in. Most of the time that person is me.

I suppose these moments are meant to help me grow because I have never been someone who takes the unexpected in stride. Instead, I bitch and moan about the circumstances that cause the intrusions into my life.

As it turns out, I obviously needed that time at the Center because I walked away happy with how the morning had turned out. I connected with the ladies and felt like I made a difference in some of their lives. I am ashamed of my attitude sometimes when I grumble and gripe about what I should consider a blessing.

Okay Lord, lesson learned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Okay, let's start over

Yes, I know it's been three months since I've posted anything, not that anyone is paying attention anyway! I read my daughter's blog daily (kindredly) and she inspires me to write, but then it all spills out wrong. I will throw caution to the wind once again and attempt to publish this one.

Things haven't changed too much. The main focus of our lives is still the Center and the need to sell it. We just keep praying for the right person to materialize and until then, we just keep plugging away daily (with a few tears over wine or margaritas on my part!)

I hired a new girl a few weeks ago as more of a utility person and she normally only works one to two shifts a week. Already I had some complaints from other employees about her and so I decided to have a chat with her about how things were going. That conversation went well, and after watching her for an hour or so during her shift I was convinced that she just needs more time to get to know the clients and become more comfortable in the position. Only working a day or two here and there didn't give her the time to develop the relationships yet that the other employee's had. Since I worked late this past Friday, it gave me the opportunity to see her at work during her entire shift. I was completely pleased with her ability to relate to the ladies and felt great until toward the end of her shift when I nicely corrected her on something, and she snapped back at me as if I wasn't HER BOSS. (Hair on back of neck stood up). Oh, what to do? I think one of the things I've learned throughout this entrepreneurial experience is not to react so quickly, to marinate the words before I speak, so I just kept quiet for the time. Before we closed she ended up coming up to me and apologizing, so for now I'm just letting it lie. Other than cutting her two days back to one, I am not sure how I will move forward on this one. Suggestions?

One of my insecurities in life is my ability to relate to people, and having employees has been a tough one for me. My husband says I'm too nice and that I talk with them like they are my friends instead of employees, but I don't know any other way to do it in our small business environment. What I do know is we have many employees that have been with us for more than a year and I feel blessed by that, and so maybe being nice isn't a bad thing...although being disrespected is.

On a lighter note, I have been running around our house like a madwoman fixing things up for the holidays. Walls that have too many picture holes in them are being repainted. White ceiling fans are being replaced with more appropriate bronze-black fans. I'm spray painting antique gold trim on mirrors and frames to a darker, more rubbed bronze look (a great budget-friendly way to modernize accessories). Also, Ross has become one of my favorite places lately. I am finding some great pictures, rugs and throws at great prices. Things are coming together.

And YAY! Three weeks from this next Saturday we are New York City bound! Can't wait!