The Waiting Period

For years, I have had a day job while running my business at the same time. Most of these jobs clearly did not fit with my values, heart, and desires. With this last job, I prayed about it so much, I think God Himself was sick of my voice. I was sick of my voice. Should I stay or should I go? I had so much fear and felt that I would always be in this trap. I couldn’t see any way out. I now had a house to worry about, with piling bills. My photography business finally had a few years where it could be my sole income. But what about next year? And the next? The expenses for this business surpassed anything I could ever imagine. Three types of insurance, advertising, multiple sites behind the scenes, and all the normal everyday expenses… Y’all, I have to pay for a fake address because I’m online and that’s the way it goes. All those little things add up, and my dream… is extremely expensive- without equipment even involved. As I prayed, I heard nothing. I couldn’t get an answer. I finally got so frustrated, that I found myself praying angrily. “Just PUSH me already. Whatever Your will, just PUSH me.”

My last day at the day job, frustrated with no clear direction or answer, I was sitting at my desk and just kept repeating in my head, “God is for me not against me”, over and over. When I am struggling with trust, that seems to force my mind into it. What happened next was Divine Intervention. The details do not matter here, but I had no choice other than to stand up for myself and leave. I definitely got the push. In one way, I felt such a relief- to finally have an answer. On the other hand, now came the fear. Instability. Full-time entrepreneur. Could I do this? Did I mention that I was supposed to buy a car the next day because mine was kaput?

On my way home, I saw two signs on the side of the road, in front of a house, on a residential street, that had no business being there. The first said “It won’t be long”, and a little way down the other said, “So don’t despair.”

The next day, I was greeted by a cardinal and a blue jay in my backyard, hanging out together. These have always been signs to my family. A blue jay reminds me of my brother. It’s a longer story, which I will probably write about someday. The cardinal, because my grandma had just passed and there’s a thing with cardinals… I felt like they were telling me I was going to be fine. It always feels like a pause. Like they’re telling me I’m on the right track and that they see me. They’re there for what I’m going through. I have never seen cardinals around my house before that day.

These last few years I have had to put so much trust in my faith. It has been a struggle. I’ve grown through some pretty difficult situations. Presently, though, there’s nothing like clearing out your desk, driving home for two hours, and then sitting in the lobby of a dealership with your dad looking at new(er) cars, knowing what that monthly payment is going to be, and you have no steady income coming in for the first time in your life. That is Trust.

ADD IN the class that I NEEDED to turn my business in another direction. I knew that if I didn’t invest in this, I would regret it. Because I did that last year when it was offered. ADD IN household appliances bailing on me, a leaky roof, etc. All of this in mind, my dad and I were laughing and cracking jokes in that lobby. What else can you do but laugh at it all? I’m so grateful for my family. The panic always ceases when I’m around them. After the dealer put in my information, because in his eyes, I was still employed at the day job, I got the car. While he was walking both of us to my new beautiful chariot, he asked me, “Why are you so nervous?” As I was thinking, ‘Because I don’t actually have that job,’ I replied, “Well, it’s just such a big decision!” Side-glance over at my dad.

I have seen amazing things since that time a few months back. Clients hired me with urgent timing, needing a wedding photographer that same month, willing to pay in full. Guys, that just does not happen for weddings and it happened twice that month. People ordered prints from me when they already had the digital images. That never happens, either. A friend of ours sold my old car without me even having to list it. Also, my new pivot in my business gained some hits and gave me hope to continue. I have not only met wonderful women entrepreneurs, I am helping them grow THEIR businesses. I have gained a close friend through this venture, who I believe my soul really needed. None of the things that have happened lately would have happened if I did not quit that horrid day job. I have been the busiest I have ever been in my entire life. Other avenues and side jobs that are in my passion wheelhouse have opened up. Who knows where this road may lead…

I found out that my heartstrings are tied to helping bossladies. Yes, photographing anything, really, but it’s about damn time I start listening to what I really want to do and have faith in myself, and even bigger faith in God. Even writing these little blogs… It feels so good to do this at 2pm by the water. I’ve worked in the lobby of a mechanic (which I would’ve had to take two vacation days for, at a corporate 9-5). I have realized that freedom means more to me than “stability”. “Stability” can be a prison. What if I can actually have the life I’ve always dreamed of? What if?

Since that defining day, I have dealt with more wrenches. I am confronted with more responsibilities, that I have taken on willingly, which I realize means more monthly bills. I am calm. I still have to fight the fear some days. I fight downright panic on some days. But I am reminded that I have overcome obstacles before and I will keep doing it. “Do not fear” is written in the Bible 365 times. One reminder for every day of the year. “I have not given you fear.” I was listening to the radio when they were talking about how worry is actually a sin. That hit home. I never thought of it that way. I come from a long line of worriers. Of all the miracles that I have seen in my life, and there are a ton, that COULD ONLY BE Divine Intervention, why does my trust still waiver? It might be because I trust God but not in my ability to hear Him correctly. I analyze endlessly, scared to trust myself, to make the wrong decision. I love that quote, “God’s Will will happen in spite of you, not because of you.” It just may take a different route to get there. But there will always be essential events and people, whatever route you take, that are necessary for your growth and meaningful to your life.

During that time that this all went down, I entered this piece into ArtPrize. It is called “Politics Erasing / Erasing Politics.” I started it when the politics of our nation turned tumultuous, and at the same time, I was resistant to the corporate world, its confines and limitations. What was happening in my little day to day environment was a sampling of what was happening in society as a whole. When I started, it came from a place of turmoil, anger, and defiance. When I had finally made the decision to fight the fear, go forth as my own boss, and to help other women entrepreneurs, it shifted into an expression of strength and beauty.

Isn’t that always the case? Out of a time of turmoil and chaos comes strength and beauty.

And in the waiting period, is God.

charcoal drawing lisa shaw


Wishing you all a happy holiday season.
Be grateful.
Let your heart be light.
XO,

Lisa

INAPPROPRIATE and Ill-timed Prayer

I'm wondering if other people do this too... but before I get to it, some backstory--

So, I used to be that person that wouldn't bother God with my trivial stuff. I always felt like He had too much on his plate already. It was weird to me, in my true softball days, that some teams would pray beforehand. You know, He's got the homeless, dying kids, wars, etc., to deal with. I just didn't see it.

After hitting a pretty huge plot twist in my life a few years ago, I was reminded that God could take that load off my shoulders. "Oh yeah!" I almost FORGOT about talking to Him, aside from the usual "Please watch over my family, etc." that I do everyday. I immediately felt lighter. Holy... I don't have to do this myself. Sometimes we forget that.

Isn't it crazy? I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic private school for eight years, church... all the stuff. And I had to be reminded.  I had to be told that God wants in on EVERYTHING. Even the silly stuff. He wants to be my best friend and have that continuous conversation. And only then, when it becomes a part of you, when it's habitual, will you never "forget" again. And you will never be alone, either.

This is my issue---
I've grown accustomed to praying so much- especially in the beginning when that plot twist was too strong for me, it was like every five minutes when I felt I had no control over my thoughts. There was obsessive worry about a loved one, and I couldn't get a hold on mindfulness just yet.  Everything has calmed down since, with a lot of work, but I pray so much now- just shooting up a quick sentence here and there- that I have to remind myself not to pray when I'm on the toilet (especially #2, am I right?). It's always when I'm peeing. Potty Prayer. I don't know what it is. Is it because I have a few minutes of quiet? When I'm not multitasking a million things? My mind drifts, does it's wandering, and I catch myself shooting up a prayer over whatever it drifts to. I have to tell myself, "Do not pray when you're peeing." I apologize then. This can wait.

By the way, I still play softball. And I do pray. Not to win or anything ridiculous like that, but to not get hurt, basically. Every 300 pound man that gets up while I'm playing 3rd or 2nd-- you bet your ass I'm praying that a line drive doesn't hit a rock and hit my temple or something. (That movie Simon Birch comes to mind a lot). I'm not as fearless as I once was. I try to grow into the youth that I once was. It doesn't always work. Things are different when you get older. I have to work tomorrow. This is a beer league. So, yeah, I pray on the field now.

Better than on the toilet.

Have a Silly Monday,

Lisa

Big Sisters Are Jerks

My big sis is turning 40.  No idea how we got to this point. Our parents were having "Over the Hill" parties at Camp Dearborn, like, yesterday. How are we are there already?

So, upon wrapping her gift, I started reminiscing. By the way, I am so proud of this gift! It had to be good for the big 40. I got her something for every decade that had a part in her big 40 years.
--70's- cool sunglasses that are the size of my face.
--80's- We used to fight over this one mixed cassette tape. I ended up with it somehow, and her old tape player. 
-- 90's- some of her favorite movies from that era. (Side note: "She's All That" is still a bunch of bullhonkey. You put glasses on a beautiful girl and she's supposed to be the ugly duckling. Cray-cray. We always teased her about that one, but she loves it.)
--2000's- a Life photo book on how that decade changed the world.
--2010's - leggings (because I honestly believe that they are the best thing from this decade).

So, going through all those cassette tapes, I remembered when we were moody teenagers escaping into our deep dark selves just listening to music with candles and shit. (Remember Shakespeare's Sister's "Stay"?) Oh my, memory lane. 

So much time spent on feelings feelings feelings! At times, pining over someone stupid, yes. Big sisters are jerks. You are figuring out your newly growing interests in the opposite sex- more so than the previous Kirk Cameron or New Kid- and a big sis is your biggest bully. You then realize that's never going to change. Your biggest bully is going to be with you your whole life. The only bad thing about someone knowing every single thing about you is that there is someone that knows Every Single Thing About You. (And that Kirk Cameron poster would always fall in the middle of the night and scare the shit outta me. Do you remember his best friend was "Boner"? I feel like that wouldn't fly today). The pre-teen years came with some real winners for me. "I'll never find someone like William Baldwin from Backdraft!" Then came Ross, from Friends. She'll remind me of it for the rest of my life. Then came the serious real-person crushes in high school that were an advanced heartbreak. One dude that I crushed on had this model girlfriend the entire four years. I remember her laughing at my pain. What an asshole. ;)

female memoir writer.jpg
I call this her "Ronald McDonald Hair Phase"

I call this her "Ronald McDonald Hair Phase"

However, if someone were to really hurt me, I do believe she would cut a bitch. She always has my back. That's the thing about big sisters. That love-hate contradiction starts when you're toddlers and carries through well into adulthood. I believe older siblings teach us humility, resilience, how to laugh at ourselves (because they already are laughing at us anyway), and how to stick up for yourself when it really comes to that. They designed the crazy line- when people finally cross it and you get to go haywire. They teach you to toughen up-- 'cause it gets a lot worse! Ha! There will be bigger, darker difficulties to overcome. We are better equipped to  deal with those difficulties because of these bullies. (Note: I am not advocating for bullying here. I am very anti-bully. I do believe it’s a different matter in reference to siblings.)

My sister and I have this thing with ninjas. We started this when we were each going through arduous hardships with other people, realizing that our circles needed to be a bit pruned. They remind us that no matter what, we have each other's backs. We don't live super close to each other, so it's a symbol for cutting negativity out of your mind, out of your life. I keep a tiny ninja figurine in my purse. Just seeing it when I'm dealing with an idiot, makes me smile and  helps in detaching from that person's behavior. I also imagine us drop-kicking the doof. 

(Speaking of toys in my purse, my nephew gave me a figurine too, and so did my friend's little boy. Some dude saw these in my purse the other day and asked if I have kids. "No." From the stink-eye he gave me, he totally thought I was a creeper. Looking back, I probably should've explained. I'm a fricking busy woman. Oh well.)

I still have celebrity crushes. Lately, it's been Phil Dunphy. I don't care what you people say. That guy's awesome.

Happy Birthday, sis. You're still my favorite person to tell stupid Lisa stories to...

Have a Silly Monday,
Lisa

"I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!" What I Learned From a 5yr old

One weekend I was back home, hanging out with my sister, bro-in-law, and the kiddos, reveling in some cozy at-home time. The kids must've been razzing my nephew, Joshie, 5yrs old, because all of a sudden he yelled, "I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!!!"  "What's happening?" asked the adults. "She's saying that I don't like yellow and I do!" fumed Joshie. He was TICKED. The anger amplified by the minute. We adults snickered at the ridiculousness of this. They said something parental, which I don't remember, and Joshie moved on.

I thought to myself, wow, how often do I do that too? I'm probably doing it right now. Holding onto things that don't matter at all, really? My situations don't ever FEEL ridiculous, of course, because adults deal with heavier issues, but it still is the same thing when you get down to it. 

"I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!"  Very much like the key phrases:

  • "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"
  • "How important is it?"
  • "How cheaply am I willing to sell my serenity?"

These quotes help when I find myself over-analyzing or obsessing over a situation out of my control and not giving my energy to the present moment, or what really matters. My thoughts can drift to past conversations, situations as unfair as all get out (narcissists are everywhere here in adulthood! You deal with one and ten more come out of the woodwork!), the woulda coulda shouldas...  Resentments, memories that barge in uninvited, caring about what other people think-in any way, other people's words or behavior, a misunderstanding, a complete misconception of me- or my work, or a flat out untruth, etc. How often am I bellowing out “I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!”, deep down, subconsciously, instead of letting go?

At that time, I noticed the correlation with Joshie's anger and some floating feelings of mine, stemming from my boss, company politics, which then expands into a downward black spiral of national politics, and maybe some intrusive unnerving memories of an ex-headcase that comes with random instigators once in a while, trying to get an uprise of mental anguish from me. In such a case, I feel like God is the adult and I am the child, and He’s telling me, “It doesn’t matter. The point is that you are out of that situation. Focus on what’s important- what’s in front of you.”

This correlation is also pertinent to interactions with family members and friends. And again,  politics- any situation out of our control. When you feel like people just don't "get it", or, in Joshie’s case, don’t “get you"-- even if it's your circle, your tribe, the ones who should above all others "get you"--- and you have to defend yourself... You really don't. Ever.

I have a wise old friend that always reminds me, "You know the truth. God knows the truth. That's all that is necessary."  I never thought that I needed those words as much as I do. I've always considered myself one that doesn't care what people think. But that emerges for all of us in a deeper sense everyday. There will always be cases where we have to practice this logic. Detach. There are people we come into contact with daily that will just never "get it".  Their behavior and words could really get me seething... Or I can detach from it completely and cut that string. It doesn’t have to affect me. 

We expect our families to truly know us. But, do you know of anyone who actually feels this way? Me neither. We are human. It can feel comfortless and isolating, but that's all a part of it. It's why we need God so much (or whatever you deem your Higher Power to be), and why it's imperative to strengthen that spiritual relationship continuously.
 
Because I am a sucker for quotes, I will also lay down these well-known gems:

  • "Never waste time on people who are committed to misunderstanding you."
  • "Be a good person, but don't waste time proving it."

Now, when I find myself upset or holding onto something that I need to let go of, when I have this awareness, I hear Joshie screaming "I DO TOO LIKE YELLOW!!!"  And I am aware that I am being silly, and I move on.

Silly Monday to you,
Lisa

Did you like this post? Tell me a trick or quote that helps you to detach and let go in the comments below. Please share this post and subscribe below to receive this silly blog in your inbox twice a month.

"Boss Lady Brain"

Over sushi with a friend, I was recalling all the stupid shit I've done because I have so much going on in my head. It's like having five hundred and fifty tabs open on your computer at all times. That's what it feels like, in the head. So, instead of "pregnancy brain", this would be the correct term for entrepreneurs--and moms-- alike. My friend is both. I don't know how she does it.

"Boss Lady Brain". Because life is chaotic and that's how the remote control ends up in the freezer.

Being a boss lady, you are making decisions all day long. While you're working on one project, five hundred To Do's pop up in your head for other projects. Your day planner is full. No white space. Post it's are on top of post-it's, which are on top of your actual To Do list, because you have no more space to write. I have NINE organizational tools/planners (digital and old-school),  just for To Do's, in different areas of my business/life/artistic endeavors.  It's messy. 

Ambition is not a bad thing. Having a lot on your plate because of ambition is a good problem. Be grateful for this problem. It means you have passion(s), which is good, even if they all come with their own amount of stress.  But, "boss lady brain" is a signal. 

This is when you know you need to slow down: 

I have bought gas, got in my car, and drove for about a half hour before I realized that I never put the gas IN the car. 

I forget to eat.

I have gone to a meeting, locked my car with my keypad on my key-chain, then lost my keys somewhere in that building. This lead to hiring someone to make a key for my car on the spot, realizing everything on that key-chain that pointed to my address-- with my house key included!, changing locks, getting new business keys, and oh yea- my key to my fire-safe is now missing. I had to get my passport for my photography business on a quick deadline, and my birth certificate was in that fire safe. Not a relaxing week for me. 

Years ago, I was watching a movie with an ex-boyfriend. Because of the five hundred tabs open in my head, I had asked him to rewind the movie because I missed something. I was scolded. (Let me just say that I feel that most of the time I can be fully present when I am with loved ones because we all need that quality time. It is essential. I have things that I do to "turn off" and be fully present.) But sometimes, you open your email when you shouldn't. Sometimes, it takes just five more minutes to "turn off".  He called me flaky, ditsy, etc. Boss ladies aren't any of those things. They are warriors. They are Boss Ladies! It is an amazing superpower to be master of all the balls in the air. Boss ladies have three million more things on the brain at any given time than the average human. If we give way to "pregnancy brain" as understandable, we can have some compassionate understanding for these warriors too.

It is assumed that everyone knows how much it takes to run the back-end of a business, to being creative, or even being a mom. They don't. They don't know the million things that are on your plate to run your business life, your creative life, your social life, your spiritual life, your healthy life, your family life, your love life. No one truly knows but you. It can be frustrating and lonely when people just don't get it. 

(Just while writing this post, I had to write down three things to learn on newsletters and site design/marketing, and four To-Do's for my business.)

Then, add creativity on top of it! The artist's mind is moving even faster. I can be watching a movie, and hear something that would make a great drawing, or a great article, etc. It never stops. In conversations, in just taking a walk... It rudely interrupts, like a disrupting toddler pulling on your shirt, screaming "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!", that you simply cannot ignore. "Interrupting Toddler" is what I name my artistic inspirations. I am so grateful for them at the same time and I love that toddler. However, sometimes, it's such a gentle whisper and won't even finish the idea before it runs away. Those ones can't be re-called for the life of you, so you better have one of your nine tools with you to write it down before it vanishes into the black abyss. So, sometimes I have to hit rewind on the movie. But, that one minute that I took to write down an idea- that art piece was in two different art galleries this year- so I'm ok with that.

The key to "boss lady brain" is your own awareness. When you need to "turn off"-- to avoid burnout, including mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. When you find yourself with "boss lady brain," it is a signal that you haven't taken time for yourself. This is not a luxury. It is essential. You can't give to others when you are depleted. The aim is to take time for yourself regularly, even schedule it, BEFORE the burnout hits. (So, when I  drive onto expressways by habit instead of where I'm actually headed, adding more time to my already crazy schedule, I know that I am already off and I'm headed into the danger zone of burnout.) "Mindfulness"- practice everyday. Find quiet time. Get in nature. Take a bath with calming music. Exercise. Yoga. Play with children. Meditate. Say a favorite quote to shush everything to healthy perspective. Bring yourself back to the present. SLOW DOWN

I never intended to mix my business with these blogs, but this case is different. I will be sending out ways to "Overcome the Overwhelm" in my photography newsletter. I find that it helps brides and grooms, mothers, and even seniors in high school. I will be sending out many helpful tools on this topic throughout the year. Even if you only have five minutes, there are things you can do to reset your "boss lady brain".  Even if you don't have five minutes- I will give you my favorite quotes to repeat to yourself. You are welcome to subscribe here.

What silly things have you done because you had "boss lady brain"? You are not alone. I get it.
What's the #1 thing that you do to slow down and "turn off"? 
Tell us in the comments below. 

Do you know an amazing boss lady? Please share this! 
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Have a Silly Monday,

Lisa