First, I must say: Go Portland Trail Blazers; Yea, Tiger Woods!

Today was a great Sunday. I love my church. I love to go to church. But some days I need to not go anywhere, and today was a great day to make that choice. I worked at home while I watched Tiger Woods win his fifth masters and our Trail Blazers beat OKC, which was not a slam dunk! The excitement people had for Tiger Woods (myself included) reminds me of so many things. Among them, that we want to see people do their best. That we cheer for the hard worker. That tenacity pays off. That redemption is possible. That paying your dues makes a difference. I could go on, but I’ve got a word count goal.

I have a file folder called: 300 Words a Day. I learned that from one of the writing books I read last year (Marion Roach Smith or Anne Lamott, I think. Well, maybe 300 words a day was my idea; I don’t remember.). I had a good running start, but I have not forsaken all else to even come close to being in a runner’s race. A writing mentor would be disappointed in me. Maybe that’s why I don’t have one. We’d be arguing over what my real ambitions are, she’d lose faith in me and move on to someone who is more dedicated.

I could be disappointed in me. There are always valid reasons for not pursuing what we say we want, but I don’t think my case is textbook. A divorced woman who must navigate a new life demands extra energy that sometimes even I have difficulty believing. Every person’s journey is unique, and yet there are millions of women who are doing just that, navigating a new journey in all areas of their life. From income, employment, parenting, housing, spiritual fulfillment, dating (it seems fraudulent for me to include that on my list, but I know I’m an anomaly, and I know it’s a big deal for many women), home upkeep, personal fulfillment such as hobbies, volunteering, health and wellness, etc. And if you don’t have family nearby, the amount of energy is doubled, because we are not designed to do this alone. So there, imaginary mentor friend who did not fire me. I am not disappointed in myself.

I would love to tell you about my two huge commitments of the last few months. One was co-facilitating a group at our church called Rooted. The other is, starting a new business. Both have been intense and rewarding. Rooted is a type of bible study that digs deep (Rooted!). It begins with creation, takes us through the fall, salvation, and addresses our stewardship of this earth, our resources, and in bringing others to Christ. We commit to confidentiality and our groups share our personal stories fairly early on. Trust is established which allows us to explore God’s word honestly and with vulnerability, identifying how we fit into his story and how he fits into ours. The study lasts 11 weeks and includes three extra sessions that are dedicated to prayer, volunteering, and the culminating celebration. Our dedication to this study strengthens our purpose with Christ and bonds us with new brothers and sisters.

I’d taken Rooted 2 years ago and since that time I’d wanted the honor of facilitating a group, but I just couldn’t find the time. Winter is the best season for me to do this, as fall is busy with the beginning of the school year, kids’ birthdays and the biggest commitment of all: Bradley’s football every Saturday. With church on Sunday, that doesn’t give me much time. This year was super busy with Bridgette’s wedding, but I prayed about this commitment and really felt God’s blessing on the decision. It was no less than 10 hours a week (as a facilitator), and sometimes more, hence, writing took a back seat.

Last fall I discovered something that I thought could help me with my ongoing endeavor to increase my income. A mom friend whose son played football at our high school and now plays with my son at George Fox introduced me to a little machine called a Silhouette Cameo 3. I was in awe of what she could do. I trolled the Internet for information on what the Cameo could do and talked to a couple of friends. I considered the costs of purchasing the necessary equipment, considered the flexibility it would give me, versus other things I’ve done or considered, I closed my eyes and bam, I have a side hustle (the new term I’ve recently learned).

It’s been a slow process with a steep learning curve, and it’s not over. I’ve had moments that were not my best as I’ve burst out in profanity (and I don’t swear) and cried. But I’ve accessed my vision and a few podcasts that encourage me and persevered. If you’re thinking, “Oh, Joni. Seriously? What happened to dog walking?” I understand (I actually address dog walking a little in this blog). I say that same thing all the time (or my imaginary mentor says it to me). But as I look back over the last several months, I realize I’ve got a lot to share with you and I’m goin’ public, and the store is open for business!

At 58 (yikes, nearly 59), it’s scary to branch out into something brand new. Right before I decided to spend $250 on a heat press via Facebook Marketplace, and then more money on a heat press for coffee mugs, I told my friend that I was anxious. Was I spending this money wisely? Was I going to regret it? But I was also excited. My friend assured me that it probably means I was going in the right direction. Anxious and excited are better than the scary feeling I have when I think about never taking a vacation again, not keeping my home, or cringing every time I look at my unmanicured hands or feet.

If you’re someone who can’t imagine doing something brand new, take this lesson from me:  Every effort counts for something, and bravo to you for any effort you make toward improving your quality of life. God will bless you regardless of your successess or failures.There is no mistake that can’t be redeemed, so there’s no reason not to go for it!

Here are pics from my business efforts.

My new dedicated work space. Over spring break I transformed this family room into a space I will enjoy, set up with my equipment. Next to come is a stand up table my friend is building, so my back can get a break.

A different view of my workspace. That is an autographed picture of Hank Williams Jr. on the wall that I worked very hard to get. 

Mugs I made for my Rooted group.

My friend in Seattle has cancer and loves flamingoes. I thought this was a great way to send her some Valentine’s Day love.

T-shirts I made for my niece and her 6 month old daughter. Inspired by my good friend, Jen.

A great way to celebrate that special occasion. More of these to share with you later. For some reason this photo reminds me of an image on Perry Mason.

I felt like I’d delivered my baby when these finally worked out. It was all worth the effort, I think! I decided not to show the top part with their names, and the cool part is at the bottom anyway.

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