To say that I have the greatest of friends may be a bit cliche, but it's the God's honest truth.
To say that I have had one of the toughest years of my life would also be true.
To say that as I look back over the past year that I would change very little or nothing at all for that matter, would also be true, because of the rare gift I was given of reinforcing existing frienships, revisiting old ones, and forging new friendships.
And it all caught me by surprise.
About six months ago, I had taken a serious look at folding up my lemonade stand and calling it a day. I was tired, alone, broke, and walking around in a cloud of confusion and insecurity, of a level which I had never experienced in my forty years. The shop on the corner was flagging, and so was I. So, I figured it was time for a new direction maybe. I started searching the want ads and checking career websites, hoping to maybe find the answer to my financial problems and my life dilemma.
To say that every door leading in that general direction shut, is true.
Somehow, every call I made and resume I sent, led to nowhere. And what a blessing that was. I felt like I was a bowling ball, and God was the bumpers guiding me along, keeping me from the gutters and bumping me forwards toward something. A call in my head and my heart to dig deeper and focus my energies, on the Little Store that Could...maybe that was where I was supposed to be. Maybe this little shop of hidden treasures was something different, something more than just a shop. A mission field of sorts, maybe. Something to inspire people.
And so, I started some Facebook advertising, worked my fingers to the bone day and night to create some new concepts, and thought a lot about in what direction to take this shop. And now, six months later, I'm seeing the fruit of sanding, caulking, painting, schlepping, sore muscles, aching back, and too much Starbucks. And that is maybe...just maybe--a living.
I'm not much of a dreamer. I am a pragmatist. And this shop at times, was just a means of an income. But this period of focus, has reignited the spark in me, and is catapulting me to inspire others. My new motto is "Be Inspired".
But it took the faithful words of so many friends..the late night calls, the afternoon coffees, the hot bowls of soup and tears--to really inspire ME to keep going. The hardworking hands of a friend who cleans for me at the shop without pay, the friend who takes pictures to make my junk look great not just good, the friend who was my cheerleader when I was so tired and sad. The friend who had stood exactly where I had been standing many years ago, and lived to tell me the tale of how to not just survive, but thrive....all these friends were and are, my greatest inspirations and the reason I'm still here in West Point. And so, if this shop of mine ever really takes off--I would turn to them and say, "I give the credit all to you." For any tree that grows only does so if it has roots anchored in firm ground and is warmed by the sun. Love to you all, my friends.