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Thursday, January 2, 2020

She Tried, She Failed and She Tried Again

I’ve been very, very blessed this year. My focus has been on mothering my seven amazing children including a new daughter-in-law, keeping my house more organized, preparing nutritious meals and exercising every day. I recognize most people my age (I’m 47) have children who are older, in school and busy with activities, but I still have a one and four-year old at and homeschooled 4th grader at home. 

In a thrift store dress I paid $9.99, worth $180.

Ruby's dress was $2.99, worth $35.

I’m thankful to know this is my path, because when the days become long and the kids start to bicker, the dinner burns and the dishes are piled in the sink, I have a deep understanding that I am meant to be their mother. I have been given the gifts, love and purpose to raise them in love, intelligence, creativity, spirituality, confidence and health. How many times do I fail a day? Too many to count. Do I lose my temper? Yes. Do I eat cookies for dinner more often then I should? Yes. Do I forget one of my kid’s appointments or lose my car keys? Yes, but I’m good at getting back up.

Falling, failing and getting back up.
That was a big lesson for me this year.

This has been the year to embark on many different endeavors. I illustrated and published my second coloring book, The Girls Guide toFriendship.

 on Amazon Prime.

I listened to daily motivational podcasts from Abraham Hicks on the law of attraction and at times, literally felt like I was floating because of the things I was feeling and learning. I know these lessons have changed me in big, marvelous ways.

I'm blessed to be a sales rep for Monat Premium Hair and Pura Vida bracelets.

I’ve considered going back to school for a masters degree, but my love as an entrepreneur encouraged me to consider investing in a course on running my own business and marketing.

I made a big leap and invested in Alison Prince’s course BecauseI Can. I immediately started learning about everything from getting my wholesale license to running a website to marketing to influencers to purchasing inventory. It was a lot to take in and like most things I feel passionate about, I gave it my all.

I decided to call my business My 100 Daughters and donate a certain percentage of proceeds to help sponsor 100 girls from India through Rising Star Outreach.

What would I sell?

What would I market?

After many prayers and taking personally inventory of what I felt I should dive into, after looking at current trends, google searches and purchase/resell ratios, I decided to sell dresses and overalls. I absolutely love dresses and overalls and when I sold name-brand, used clothing on eBay, they were always my best sellers.

I also met an amazing young woman named Alicia who absolutely, positively felt like my business idea was brilliant, that surely through my sales we would help all these darling girls in India and change the world.  Alicia encouraged me like a loving sister, like a best friend, like a smart business savvy entrepreneur woman like she is. And we laughed a lot!!

Ruby  with Alicia's baby Hollyn.

So, I started.

You know what happens when you decided to sell dresses and overalls? You spend hours and days shopping/browsing wholesalers and purchase huge shipments of inventory. It starts coming to your home in big, heavy boxes and it piles up in your den and closet. You see the purchases on your credit card bill and think “You know, you better get this right. You’ve got a lot riding on this. You don’t want to let your family down.”

Derek’s cousin Joe, the computer genius that he is spent weeks helping me build my shopify account and away we went. Sales, sales, sales galore, right!!!
At least, that was what was supposed to happen.
But, it didn’t.

I only marketed my store twice on facebook, maybe once on instagram. I just didn’t feel passionate about it, no matter how hard I tried. I mean, there were the carefully selected inventory in my house. There was the beautiful website, accepting credit card. What happened? Why?
I’ve taken several months to think about what happened? Don’t I love dresses and overalls? Yes, absolutely. I sold used clothing on eBay for six years and loved it.
Click here to read one of my old post on eBay sales.

 I understand inventory, shipping, customer service, I mean, I was born for this!  But, I didn’t like it with new inventory. Isn’t that weird. I mean, who knew, right??? But at least for me, there was no creativity in it, at least not enough, and where was the adventure? Because of my love for thrifting, my concern for the environment, the working condition of people in third-world countries and here my shipments from China, the Philippines, -  with stuff that was great and all, but . . . I don’t even buy things like this for me. I just run out to the thrift store and find something fabulous second-hand, that thank heavens has not ended up in a landfill. I don’t know how else to explain it, but for a creative person who wants to CREATE, not just push product, I just wasn’t digging it. I know people do it and love it, and I'm not judging anyone here, this is just my own experience. 

Even thought it all sat there in huge boxes in my closet, I let it all go. I stopped listening to the course. I stopped listening to crazy youtube fast-talking entrepreneurs who record their videos on some remote tropical island over that super annoying uncopyrighted music playing in the background (you know who I’m talking about, right??)! It all stopped!

I just focused on my health, my kids, good food, a semi-clean house and it was still crazy land over here, but nothing I can’t handle. 

Christmas 2019

I didn’t carry any guilt or regret over paying off those credit card bills and eventually, I put the boxes of inventory high up on a shelf so I didn’t even see them anymore. I started gifting dresses and overalls for birthdays and bridal showers. I focused on gratitude, clarity, abundance, joy and listening to my own inner voice that knows I will follow my ideas, even if I fail because when I listen to Abraham Hicks or Rachel Hollis or Dean Graziosi, Tom Bilyeu, President Nelson, my own mother for heavens sake, my husband, my friend Amy or any Christian song in the entire world, they tell you “You are worthy. You were born for a purpose. Your dreams are worth it. You can do it. Work hard. Believe. Journal. Vision. Love,” and on and on and on. I really believe this stuff. 

I have faith. I understand ideas and momentum, clarity and gratitude, and I know failure is just a stepping stone moving me in the right direction. I know when I follow my impulses and trust in myself that mistakes show me I’m willing to take risks, that persistence is the key to success, that if I get up and try again, I’ll be better because I’ve learned, trusted and grown.

Chandler's 20th birthday

So there you have it, that’s how I failed this year and moved on instead of feeling sorry or beating myself up. I've had so many blessings, with Canyon doing so well and Chandler happy and married, Payson graduating in the spring 2020, Mayer excelling as an athlete, Derek's so blessed with work, Ruby is healthy and active, Eden is loving home school, Reef is on the honor roll and I'm running again. 

I don't have to look far to see and feel all my blessings. And, wouldn’t you know it, in September as I prepared for Ruby’s first birthday I had an idea, a dream, a vision (literally, it was amazing!!) and I wanted to give Ruby a homemade dream catcher. I shared this dream with my incredible darling friend Kristin who made Ruby the most beautiful dream catcher ever.

To read more about Kristen, her friendship and talent, click here

Ruby on Christmas Sunday

 I started making dream catchers on my own, I'm going to make 100 of them for each of my 100 daughters and now, very soon, I will launch dream catchers and dream catcher kits because I’m not sure if there is any better feeling then making one of those beautiful, inspiring, magical dream catchers with bamboo hoops, cotton doilies and second-hand, vintage, upcycled fabrics that, thank heavens, have not ended up in a landfill!!!

It’s a niche (perfect!), I know it, but man, am I excited to talk about dreams, support dreams, put dreams into people’s homes, motivate, soften, encourage and just beautify the world in anyway I can. I'm most excited about the kits because there is such an amazing feeling to make one. Eden talks about how good it "feels" to make a dream catcher. Hopefully the website will launch by the end of January. I love Alison's course and have the knowledge I need to move forward. She has an amazing podcast called Because I Can. Give it a listen.

My dream is to sponsor 100 daughters of India. What’s yours!!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ruby's 1st Birthday and 100 Dream Catchers

September is a special month to my family. My dad was born the 23, I was born the 24 and Ruby was born the 25. 
The night of Ruby's birthday party. Me and my dad!

I wanted to have a gorgeous 1st birthday party for my darling girl, the last 1st birthday I would ever throw for my little babies, so what did I do? About a week before Ruby’s party, I texted my incredibly creative bestie Kristen, “What should I theme Ruby’s birthday party? I want it to be over the top!” Honestly, I assumed I would get some images of mermaids and the beach, which was fine with me, as long as I had input/confidence/support from Kristen, I could do it. I considered the beautifully decorated birthday parties I’d seen on social media.

A gorgeous picture of Kristen with her husband Scott. They are the best neighbors.

I wanted that for Ruby so much, but knowing my skills don’t usually involve organization, decorating or getting things done on time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it off. Then, I got this text, with these over-the-top images she'd found online.

Kristen’s idea? 
“Why don’t you a gypsy/India-themed party, bohemian and hippie.”

The minute I saw these pictures, I was like “Forget the birthday party! I want to decorate my entire house like this.” I was completely in love, like rip down the walls, throw everything away and completely redecorate your house in love. I could almost taste it!

I immediately texted Kristen back with a huge heart emoji and told her my desire to make Ruby a gorgeous dream catcher. I’d purchased a couple at TJ Maxx, but I wanted to make one of my own, especially with the vintage fabrics I’d been using and collecting for Ruby’s photo shoots. 
Here is a collection of those photos with the gorgeous fabric.

Years earlier, Kristen had made a couple of homemade dream catchers that made my heart skip a beat and I’d wanted to make one ever since, but how? I’d recently finished some art work for my coloring book where I’d drawn dream catchers and felt really inspired by the whole thing. I wanted to create the dream catcher of all dream catchers.\

But, with a baby and limited time, I could feel my vision slipping away. Let’s face it, when you have young kids, you can plan out your day all you want, but essentially, your best self goes to the caring, feeding, cleaning, loving of your kids. I was doing my best while out thrifting to gather gorgeous fabrics and anything that would fit the theme of my girl’s party, but time was running out. 

Getting ready for the  big day.
The day before my birthday (the 23rd), I had so much energy. I was getting more and more excited for Ruby’s big day. I ran out on my own, running errands, finishing up edits/formatting on my coloring book, just feeling so alive and grateful, ate frozen yogurt (something I don’t do very often because it’s my drug) and before I came home, I did a little thrifting. Let me tell you, I was on a mission. 

There was something in the images Kristen had sent me, how she had absolutely nailed the vibe I was feeling, my love for Ruby literally out of this world, this beautiful child with ocean eyes and red curls given to me from the God above, I just had to manifest my love, my gratitude, my adoration somehow or I would spontaneously combust. While thrifting that night, I found lace, yarn, fabric, absolutely beautiful, feminine, whimsical textures at the thrift stores from vintage dresses, quilts, curtains, anything I could find and I laid in bed that night feeling, cutting, tying, threading, drooling over this dream catcher I wanted to make, I mean I didn’t’ sleep a wink. It was like this energy just kept me on the edge of my seat like I was watching a movie when suddenly, it wasn’t just one dream catcher, but 100 dream catchers, all for 100 daughters of India. That’s right, I was making 100 dream catchers for all these beautiful brown-skinned, black hair, glowing, precious girls and there was Ruby, right in the center of it all!

Now, if you’re wondering “Um, what does Ruby’s 1st birthday party and your goal to help 100 daughter of India have in common?”

Everything in the world!

My little Ruby, prayed for, dreamt about, her little presence around me, how sparrows, doves, ducks, robins, butterflies, especially humming birds were so drawn to her, they were all around me as she was forming in my belly. I had to travel to the ends of the universe in sickness, fatigue and somehow defied age for her, God manifested her gender and then granted me her presence, after I dreamt of, researched, illustrated, wrote, painted, created a book, cried for, begged, almost touched my own little girl from India. You don’t have to look very far to see somehow, a loving God, in His utter brilliance, gave me a little girl that fulfilled these desires.

My little black-haired, olive-skinned Ruby at birth.

Ruby has a connection to India I can’t quite explain and she and Eden hold me to my commitment, to help those beautiful girls who seem to be forgotten, almost invisible to the rest of the world. During the year I illustrated 100 girls of India, I stared at them with tears in my eyes and wondered who they were, why was life so difficult for them. 

Eating the remnants of a broken coconut off the road.

I learned about their culture, language, religion, clothing, hair styles and felt their dreams, their connection to the heavens and earth, how the animals are drawn to them (just like Ruby), how they are loved by the sun, moon and stars, how the world does revolve around them. 

They are literally painted with gold. 
I painted the illustration of these girls with gold-metalic paint.

Sharing my art with Becky Douglas.

Just look at how the world holds them in contrast with who they really are. 

These are the girls that will change the world, these are the girls that are in alignment to fulfill their destiny, but only if they have a chance to rise out of the dust and ash, to be seen, to learn and grow, to be nourished and cherished, to have a voice and sing in their tender glorious chorus.

But, they can’t do it alone.

These are the feelings/visions/dreams I experienced as I laid in bed and the sun rose on my 47th birthday.

I know, crazy!

Of course the next morning with Ruby in my arms, I was at Kristen’s doorstep, crying, emotional, all wrapped up in this vision and she let me in, heard my dreams, listened to my idea, and not only did she validate me, but she created something that absolutely showcased what I had went through.

This is what she made for Ruby’s birthday party.

A dream catcher on speed, a dream catcher that has never before been seen or envisioned, with its glorious vintage fabrics, textures, lace and charms.  I thought about changing my profile page on facebook from being married to Derek Lofgreen, to:
"Laura Lofgreen- In a relationship with a dream catcher.”

Kristen made one for the front door.

So, this is the goal.
100 dream catchers for 100 dreams of the girls of India.

Taking some risks here, being a bit untraditional.

Teaching Eden and Zola how to make them too.

My first attempt. I'm not finished, more work then a thought it would be.

100 dream catchers and with Kristen’s support/talent/vision/commitment as my partner, maybe, we will catch the dreams of these 100 daughters of India and their perfect dreams will fill our hearts and somehow, someway, we can help/sponsor/love/touch these beautiful girls of India.

Our goal is to finish by mid-January. I am working with Rising Star Outreach on the project. I hope to have a gala/event/launch to showcase this beautiful art. At some point, we will have some for sale, but not until we complete our goal.

What is the meaning of a dream catcher? It's fascinating. Read here.