Today is kind of a bid deal around here.
It’s the First Birthday of Raise and Shine!
Woo Hoo! Cue the Celebrate Horn Emoji!
I threw myself a private little birthday party this weekend. More like a creative retreat for my team, my team of one. Well maybe my team of four but the COO of the company took the associates out and about for the day while I escaped to dream all of the dreams.
I began my creative retreat with a workshop in writing a mission statement for Raise and Shine. It was a way for me to look back on my writing, on my own personal beliefs, on what matters to me and what seems to matter to my readers. I LOVE this kind of personal reflection. I sat under a great big oak tree on a patio overlooking Lake Austin with a hot cinnamon latte at my side, a big pad of paper and all the pretty pens I could get my hands on, and I dreamed. I answer questions like “Who are you” “What do you believe” “What do you want to accomplish?” “What value can you offer.” And as I laid out each little paper in front of me I noticed common themes and messages. Seeing these words written down on paper brought them to life, it gave my dreams a purpose and a direction. I suppose, I thought as I began to craft a statement that reflected these big ideas, I suppose I have my very own voice after all.
From the statement came goals, dreams big and small. I was filled with life, with energy, with the big ideas that could change the world, or at the very least the small little corner where I reside. This blog and my plans for it were going places this year. And I have the bulleted multicolor checklist with clever doodles to prove that. Guest Writers! 3-4 posts a week! Article Publications! Newsletters! Book deals (No not that one. Not yet J!)
And then I got home. And dinner needed to be prepared. And bodies needed to be held. And opinions needed to be acknowledged. It was loud. It was demanding. It was urgent.
And it did not reflect the mission statement I had so carefully crafted earlier that day. It did not fall under the little boxes for checking off the milestones towards my ambitious goals.
What was I thinking? I don’t have time for big dreams. I don’t have the energy. I don’t have the patience. I don’t have the grit. How selfish could I be?
The voice that whispered over me all day that told me I mattered, my story and my ideas and my goals mattered, that little voice was silenced in one swift greeting at the door. The greeting by two little souls who are the sun and the moon and beyond for me but still, though they be small they are mighty. It is here that my mission lies, not in the silly words on a blog. It is their voices that need to be heard, not mine. This is not the time. The dreams would need to wait.
So with that thought, we fed them, we bed them, and I collapsed on the couch in honest defeated tears.
Don’t worry, dear readers, the story doesn’t end there. We have safeguards built into this organization for soul failures just like this one. My COO, a very wise and experienced man looked me in the eye not with pity but with empathy. Because whether you work for an organization with hundreds of employees and an even larger net income (blah blah blah insert accurate finance terms, I know nothing of these things), or you are managing a household of four with a side project that brings in negative dollars, you understand what it means to experience the post conference let down. You can come away from a retreat or a workshop or an exciting planning meeting with all these big ideas, but then you have to actually do the work. And the work is hard. The work is scary. The work is demanding.
And the only way to get from the “what great ideas!” stage to the “pour the champagne, we did it!” stage is to do the work. You have to show up, every day, and do the work. You have to be focused but full of grace. You have to dream big but pick yourself up. There are so many platitudes I could go on and on about here. But in the end, they are cliché because they are true. They are true for the corporate CEO and they are true for the mom with a small dream.
“You know what you need to do,” he told me, with kindness and encouragement guiding his voice, “you need to dream big but you need to you need to start with small steps first. Maybe you need to focus on just writing every single day. That’s the part that matters the most to you.”
And he’s right, you know. The writing is why I am here. The writing can take me to great places, but the actual writing part is what truly matters. And from that, the mission, the voice and the dreams can find life.
I will keep dreaming. I will keep writing goals. Because growing and learning are so important to me. Maybe I only write a few words. Maybe I wrote a thousand. There are no rules to this practice. But I will also recognize that it is here where my thoughts reach my fingers that touch the keyboard that communicate my voice. Here in these words, in approaching writing as a practice and not a to-do list, as a creative expression and not end product, it is here that my heart can speak. This home will still be noisy. The mighty little voices will still demand my body and my mind and my time and my energy. But they won’t take my voice. Those dreams are still there. I’m tacking that pretty little goal list and Statement of Belief right up here on my bulletin board so that when I come to my desk and sit down to write, every single day, I will see it and be heard.
Curious about this voice? Read on for my Statement of Belief. These words communicate what I believe and how I want to express myself in this space (however frequent that might be.) I imagine I’m not alone on this one. What’s on your to do list this year, wait, correction, your to dream list? Where do you want your voice to shine? Let’s do it together, shall we?
Happy Birthday, dear Raise and Shine. And many more.
Statement of Belief
I believe each morning is a fresh start and I believe hot coffee is step one. I believe in setting goals. I believe in learning and growing from the struggles and celebrating the strengths. I believe in love of God, in love of every individual, and especially in love for our own self. I believe in raising our children to live up to their greatest potential. But I believe this begins with rising up to my own potential. I believe there is a creative in each of us and this is fulfilled in the daily pursuit of a life well lived.
It is here that I will share my story, my insights in child development and my creative pursuits, my highs and my lows of this parenting journey, through honest self-discovery and celebration of life, so that you may feel inspired and encouraged to believe in your own inner creative, to raise your children to their greatest potential by first raising up to your own.
It is here that I will take each day to celebrate the creative inside both child and self so that we can all raise and shine.
Because creativity is more than just art.
It is about teaching and learning. It is about leading and following. It is about challenging and encouraging.
It is about raising and shining.