Taking the First Step into Fear

fear

What do you fear? Is it spiders and snakes? What about the dark or thunderstorms? Do you start having anxiety over heights or flying?

I remember during the summers growing up I spent e.v.e.r.y. day at the pool. Our neighborhood pool had two diving boards, a low one and a high one. I very much doubt that in this day and age either of these would be allowed. We lived in a much different age and time back then…trampolines without nets, rode bikes without helmets, roller skates with no knee pads, and ran all over the neighborhood with no shoes on.

Although I was at the pool every day, all day long, I never got over my fear of the diving boards. My friend Wendy had no fear. She’d cut flips forward and backward, on the low board AND the high board. Me? On the low dive, I could do the step, step, spring and maybe sorta do a swan dive. But more than likely it turned into a big old kerploosh. And the high dive? Well, about two times a year, I would slowly climb all the way to the top, and with my knees literally shaking. I would walk verry slowly and verrry carefully to the end of the board. I hated being up there! My stomach would be in knots and I just wanted to be off of there. But I tried to conquer that fear by taking a big breath and taking a step off the board. I’d come to the surface pulling my bathing suit out of places it shouldn’t have been and feel a little bit proud. (Then Wendy would be right behind me doing a backwards flip with a twist and flair. oh well.)

etsySo here I am facing another fear. Although my feet are planted firmly on the ground, my knees are still shaking and I’ve got knots in the stomach. I know I need to open an Etsy shop. What am I so afraid of? What’s the worse that can happen? I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid that I will put a lot of time and effort into it and no one will come knocking. I’m just afraid.

Again, I have no idea what I’m doing, but as usual for old Mar, I’m strapping on my big girl panties and taking a step forward. I’ve written many times about my foray into the craft fair business. I was afraid then of putting myself out there. And yet, I’ve been able to give over $2500 to different missions and groups who serve, encourage and feed the poor here in my hometown and around the world. Not all of my friends and family can come to a local craft fair where I am selling my goods, so opening an Etsy shop will be a way for me to reach a few more people.

I’ve poured over sites that teach you how to open a shop, read articles on how to up your SEO, how to tag, words to use. I’ve thought about buying a “proper” camera, a tripod, lighting system and even looked at plans to make a photo box. I’ve spent so many hours researching, talking, dreaming I guess to make me feel like I’m doing something, but actually I’m still just climbing that ladder on the high dive. I bet every week for a year now I’ve said “I’m gonna do it….starting Monday.” IMG_1854

Well, today is Thursday many moons later and I decided to JUST DO IT! I never bought a fancy camera, lighting system or photo box. I grabbed my I-phone and set up a photo staging area here in our ghetto basement entrance area. Much of my decision making has been trying to figure out what my background was going to look like. When I opened the back door, immediately the bricks spoke to me, so I got to work. (Why did I waste so much time thinking about light boxes and the such?JPEG image-7315DFF1DE5C-25I stuffed my little cosmetic bag with salvaged pieces of quilting batting to give the bags some shape and also to help them stand up a bit better.5D923D87-39B5-4D40-8997-44E4C38E301BJPEG image-7315DFF1DE5C-29Then I tried several different surfaces for it to sit on. The ultra white tea towel caused too much glare. Grey polka dots didn’t match the fabrics. The suitcase was ok, but it didn’t work with all of the bags. The dark beige looked a bit…umm..dark. In the end, after consulting my marketing team Facebook friends, we came to the same conclusion that the off white drop cloth canvas worked the best.

Don’t you agree?JPEG image-7315DFF1DE5C-21Then it was off to the races.JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-42I stuffed…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-36Shot pictures of the front…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-24Of the inside (because you just don’t know what cute fabric you might find inside!)JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-39The backside got photographed too!JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-27I even found a few props to show off some of the extras in a few bags.JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-11Since I was in the photographic mood, I pulled out a few of my hoop art pieces.JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-7Oh Yeah!! Mary’s poppin now!JPEG image-AF57B5D57FA4-3Show it…JPEG image-AF57B5D57FA4-4Turn to the right…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-3Nice, very nice…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-4Girl! You are lookin good!…JPEG image-2E624E2B07B0-9Whew! I was done. The humidity is like at 90% and I’m dripping wet.

I think it’s time to shut this place down for the day.

I took the first step. I held my breath, faced my fear and jumped into the world of online selling. I have many more steps to take before my shop is up and running, but I’m in the game. I’ve got the ball rolling. I don’t know what the future looks like, but I do know that this shop has the potential to help so many in need. I know that God gave me the gift of creating and the heart to give. I know that He is going to help me every step of the way. He doesn’t expect me to know all the answers, but He does ask that I trust in Him for the details.

So my friend, what are you afraid of? What is holding you back from achieving your dream? Are your fears grounded in truth or in fleeting feelings? Let’s be brave together.Do not be afraid i am with you. isaiah 41.1 edited printer sharper 5 x7 printable

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When is Enough Enough?


Lake Murray at sunset
Enough: adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire.

Is it ever enough?
Me and Michael's dog, Idgie, enjoying a boat ride

Sam and I walk four 2-3 miles four times a week and I play tennis, is it enough exercise?On Michael's boat with Mom and sisters Annie and Jane

I do my best to cut out sugar, drink lots of water and add more fruits and veggies to my diet, but is it enough?Enjoying the cool marsh breeze at my sister Sue's house

I read and study my bible daily and pray fervently throughout the day, but is it enough? Lunch by the beach with Annie (photographer), Sue and Mom

I open my house on Wednesday nights for a ladies bible study. I make things to sell for various missions. I volunteer time, skills and money for the poor. But is it enough?
Waves crashing over us at Fernadina Beach

I've struggled this summer with feelings inadequacy, that I'm just not enough. No matter what I try to do it just never feels enough. I go around and around with feelings that tie my gut into knots. I've been walking on a very thin tightrope, always on the edge of falling over into the depths of crying my heart out.Ahhh the cool ocean

I've actually sat in church and compared myself to the women sitting around me. I've asked myself "Why can't I be as skinny as her?" …"Why can't I dress as nice as her?" …"Mary, why don't you give more of yourself like her?" …"Why can't your marriage be like theirs?"And the biggest lie I tell myself is "If you were a better Christian, you wouldn't be having all these crazy thoughts to begin with!"

Oh sweet Jesus, save me! And He does. Getting my hammock on at Folly Beach

He comes to me in the quiet moments when I cry out to him. He reminds me that I am enough.Big beach umbrellas and low chairs on the beach with some of my favorite people

He tells me he thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am. Sipping and rocking on the big front porch of our house the beach

God doesn't judge my curves, cellulite and aging skin, but looks at my heart. He sees me trying to love, share and serve. He thinks that is enough.God made me in his image, not as an exact copy. He knows I am flawed, emotional, ditsy, dented, forgetful, self-centered. He knows my mistakes, my thoughts and my desires. And he loves me so much just the same.
God speaks to me through that friend who grabs my hand as tears are flowing and calls out to Jesus for me. He speaks in that quiet moment of the day when I least expect it. He speaks to me through the pages of my bible. And every time he says "You are enough for me."Oyster shells outside Bowen's Landing

I know I'm not alone in having these feelings. We are bombarded with ideas that we should have bodies that look like this; we should think like this; we should accept this and but not that; we should strive for more; we should pack more in our days; we should eat this, but not that; we should act like this and more "shoulds" than should ever be allowed. It can make a person crazy. It has me. You?
Honestly? The only "should" that should be in our life is to give our lives to God. That's it. Completely and totally give our lives over to him, because that is enough.

I have enough. I have more than enough. I have family, friends and purpose. Even when my circumstances are more painful than perfect, I have enough. I have all that I need. I have Jesus. I have a hope for the future. I have a power greater than me, that is in control. I have another day. I have everlasting life. And that is more than enough.

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