Whimsy in Work November Feature Dreams Achieved, Now What?

Finding Whimsy in Work November Feature
Dream Achieved Now What

 

We all have dreams and hopes for our lives.  Many people are still planning and trying to pursue their dreams.  My October  Whimsy in Work featured a woman who was actively chasing her childhood dream.  Then there are people who are able to say they achieved their dreams. The November person I am featuring, Jenny Sparmo of CookiesCoffeeandCrafts.com, achieved her childhood dreams, so now what?

 

I first “met” Jenny on Instagram. As a card maker myself, I really enjoyed her fun designs; they look as if they could start to move. I really appreciated the time and love Jenny clearly put into her cards. You can take a look at more of Jenny’s cards at her shop website, follow her on Instagram or Facebook or check out her blog.

November Whimsy in Work
Jenny Sparmo of Cookies, Coffee and Crafts

Childhood Dream Achieved

Jenny is one of those lucky people who achieved her childhood dreams of becoming a teacher and then a mother. “When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of being a mom and a teacher…” Jenny was a Kindergarten teacher before she decided to stay home with her children. But after a while, Jenny felt what many stay-at-home parents feel, a blurring of self.  She felt like something was missing. “I had my dream job of teaching Kindergarten before I had my two children and now, I have the joy of being a mom to two adorable munchkins, but I felt like I was becoming lost in being a mom”.

Many stay-at-home parents who left a job or career they enjoyed feel this blurring of the person they used to be. Career used to take priority and it was one of the ways we described ourselves. But as stay-at-home parents, priorities become the daily needs of your children and household. It is hard especially when children are very small and can’t do much for themselves. It is so easy to focus on the day-to-day care of small children that everything else is secondary if it is even lucky to make the list.

There would not be so many articles on self-care for parents if we were good at making time for ourselves. But Jenny learned like all of us eventually do, we need to make time for ourselves and give some time to the people we were before we became parents. I needed to do something for myself. I have been a fan of scrapbooking, and a huge of fan of Pinterest for a long time.” Jenny realized she needed a creative outlet.

The Push to New Dreams: Blog and Business

Like my other Whimsy in Work features, the Push factors into Jenny’s story as well. For some people, the push comes from a person who doesn’t know you, but in Jenny’s case, the push came from someone who loves her very much. My husband motivated me to start my blog and share with the world all the projects I create.” He was so inspired by the things she creates that, “One day he created my blog for me and I started blogging.”   With her husband’s love and support, Jenny was able to find a new dream, her blog and then her online shop. “He is my biggest supporter and my tech support (this is his career field). He helps, encourages, and supports me every day and keeps me motivated to keep learning and creating to help my blog grow. Without him, I would have never started. My husband is the best thing that ever happened to me because of his love and support I will move outside of my comfort zone.”

This little turkey is so cute!!! Jenny has 4 other crafts that would be adorable for next Thanksgiving.

Jenny’s blog features craft projects and tutorials. My favorite post so far was the tutorial on how to make this adorable wooden turkey and several other Thanksgiving crafts. I can’t wait to see what she will create for the Christmas season. She also opened an online store to sell her lovely and whimsical items, you can check them out here.

Jenny’s Take-Aways Finding a New Dream

  1. You need to invest in yourself: Whether it is tools or time, you are always worth it. “For Christmas a couple years ago my husband bought me a Cricut Explore and it changed my crafting game forever.
  2. Find an outlet that makes you happy: “ My favorite thing to create with is paper and I love creating anything with paper…  I started making handmade cards and the cards made everyone so happy that received them that I decided to create and sell my cards, gift tags and banners… The joy my cards bring is priceless and I love the smiles when someone opens one of my cards.”
  3. There is never enough time: creating blog posts, creating and promoting items for my shop, and being a mother to two small kids and a wife.
  4. Think about what is important to you and what is your big picture: “Time is my biggest challenge to make all of the above happen because my children come first.” But you find a way to find a few moments here and some moment there to keep working on your own dreams.
  5. Find a community: “The most rewarding part of blogging is meeting other bloggers and the positive feedback on my crafting projects. The blogging community is amazing with everyone helping and encouraging each other. Plus I love knowing my crafts and tutorials help other people create and make beautiful crafting projects.”
LoveBugCrafts
Beautiful cards and other gifts made by Jenny Sparmo.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about Jenny, how she had to find some time for herself and when you achieve one dream set your sights on another.  To see more of her lovely work, make sure you follow her on Instagram, Facebook and check out her website and shop.

Cheers, Amy

Gratitude should be year round

Practice Gratitude All Year
Simple ways to practice gratitude every day.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, the decorations, and the pumpkins; I did a whole post on my love of all things pumpkin.  The weather in November is perfect sweater weather and a holiday centered around sharing a delicious meal is perfect. But most of all I love the message Thanksgiving sends about counting our blessings and reflecting on what we are thankful for in life. November is a month where gratitude is in style, but I believe gratitude is something that never goes out of style. Gratitude is something we should practice all year round.

Over the last two weeks, I really have enjoyed seeing people’s public declarations of gratitude on Facebook and Instagram. The 30 days of gratitude challenge is a great idea since it helps people get into the habit of thinking of all the ways they are grateful and building reflection into their day.

I have informally practiced gratitude for a long time and I definitely attribute it to my generally happy and positive disposition. I do not always have tangible proof of my practice, so that is something I want to work on and to become more consistent with a tangible process like a gratitude journal.  So in the spirit of gratitude, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I like to practice gratitude.

Simple ways to practice gratitude

I try to do as many of these things on this list, but my real goal is to make some kind of gratitude practice a part of each day.

1. Daily Gratitude Reflection: At some point during the day, think about a few things for which you are grateful. Maybe you could think about it while in the shower, during your commute to or from work, or do it while on a walk.  Make a point to think about 1-3 things each day. Start with the easy ones, such as I am grateful for my family, my health and my employment, etc., but try to come up with new things each day. Try daily gratitude reflection for a week, and see if you feel different? This is the practice I do most often since it only requires me to change the course of my thoughts for a moment, but it has a huge impact on me and how I am feeling.

2. Gratitude Journal: This is one I need to work on. You could get a notebook, any notebook or you could use post-its to jot down the items from your daily gratitude reflection. Another way to record your gratitude reflection, you could make a quick note on your calendar, it could be a paper calendar, or digital. I want to do this since I want to be able to see my gratitude progress.  I think it would be great to see what I was grateful for over the course of a week, a month, and hopefully a year.

3. Verbalize gratitude several times during the week: Make a point to tell someone you appreciate them and most important,  why you appreciate them. It can be anyone!! If you are shy, start with someone you know.

4. ‎Send a thank you card: I love sending and receiving happy mail. My new goal is to send one thank you note each month, this would be different from and in addition to any thank you notes in response to gifts. So take some time to write a nice thank you note to someone.  If you need some cards, check out the ones in my Etsy Shop.

5. ‎Set an example of gratitude and offer opportunities to practice. I want to raise grateful and kind children, so we talk about what we are thankful for, I say thank you to others in front of my kids, I encourage them to say thank you, and my oldest son sends thank you cards for gifts. Right now, he is still too little to fill out thank you cards by himself, but I read the cards back to him and he has to “sign” each one. There are also some great kids books on gratitude, check out my kids’ book Pinterest board.

 

 

Today, I am thankful for the tools to write and publish this blog.  I am also extremely grateful and humbled by the fact the people take time to read this blog. I know we all have busy lives, so thank you for taking time to read my musings. So take some time each day to think about your blessings and who and what you are grateful to have in your life.

 

I hope all of my readers have a wonderful holiday season with their family and friends!!


Cheers,

Amy