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Be Inspired

How to Eat an Elephant + Giveaway

When I am faced with a daunting task or an impossibly large project my husband always asks me the same question. “How do you eat an elephant?” To which I have instinctively come to reply, “one bite at a time.” Aside from the fact that he knows how much I love elephants, he succeeds in accomplishing two important things. {smile}

First, to remind me that big picture problems break down into small, manageable tasks. There is no sense in trying to eat an elephant in one big bite- that’s not only impractical, but it’s also rather impossible. And ultimately a good way to set yourself up for failure. Instead, we accomplish big picture goals by focusing in on one bite- or one step in the direction of the goal. Do that, and overtime you can’t help but run out of bites- or steps to your end goal.

And second, he asks me this silly and sometimes annoying question to make me smile. Which is so important. Whether you are running a business or catapulting your career or most importantly, living your life- if you are not having fun you’re missing out on, well, fun. {wink}

The days will pass, time will slip away, opportunities will come and go and we will be left with… whatever we’ve done to pass the time. Each day we’ve toiled away, each task we’ve checked off the ‘master list’ will add up to something bigger. So this week, go on! Make that move; take that small step in the direction of your dreams. Be consistent and keep going forward. Before you know it, the mountain in front of you will be a pile of bones behind you.

“What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Begin it and the work will be completed.” – Goethe

Let’s challenge each other to challenge ourselves. Comment below that this week, you will take one step/bite/move/etc toward your big picture goal. Do that, and two magical things will happen. First, you will be on your way to tackling very big things. And second, you’ll also be entered in to win a freebee from the blog. The winner will receive a greeting card of their choice from my little biz, RC&D. Head over to www.RaleighCalligraphy.com to see all the options. Deadline to enter is this Friday.

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A Year From Now…

What can you do in a year?

Take up a new hobby… Finally read through War and Peace… Master a new skill… Learn a foreign language… Fall in love… Write a book or a blog {wink}… Enroll in classes to advance your career… Start a business or a family…

The possibilities are endless here. Karen Lamb said it best when she said, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” This is one of my favorite quotes at the moment. I especially love how it can apply to both personal life and business life. A year (okay a year plus) ago we started our family and took a gamble on our dreams, and I am so glad we did. A year from now, I will be grateful I never gave up on my business despite the many challenges of entrepreneurship.

A year is a long time. Or is it? People will often tell me that they love my work and that they wish they were as talented. {blush} I am always quick to stop them and encourage them to try. Okay, confession time: my regular handwriting is not glamorous and my grocery list does not warrant framing. {smile} Like most things in life, calligraphy is a learned skill. A skill that took me roughly a year to ‘master’. Which to most people may sound discouraging, but the year is going to pass whether you’re learning skills and doing things, or not. So why not give your future self something to thank you for, maybe she’ll buy you a drink to celebrate. {wink}

So what will you be doing now, that will earn you a watermelon martini a year from now? I’d love to hear what you are working on/planning that will pay off done the line. Feel free to share in the comments. For me, I’m a writer, so I’m writing…

Make Today Amazing

Hustle… Fold Laundry… Clean the House… Get the Groceries… Weed the Garden… Rake the Leaves… Jump in Leaves… Bake Cookies… Coloring Books and Fall Crafts… Story Time… Reorder Packing Supplies and Ship Boxes… Build an Empire… Meet with Suppliers… Marketing Campaign… Launch New Product Line at Midnight… Take over the World… But First Coffee…

Around my house, we keep things hectic. You see, if I’m not chasing after my busy toddler, I’m running errands, growing my business, or simply trying to keep it together. {wink} But, I have come to the realization that I can’t do everything. Sure, I can try as hard as I’d like, but in the end there will always be items left on the To-Do list. And sometimes, despite feeling like I’ve been running around all day, I find myself asking, “what did I even accomplish today?”

On occasion, my husband and I will set aside a day to conquer a half a gazillion tasks together. Strangely, these days often end with us wondering what happened to the day and why in the world the to-do list is still here… {sigh} But honestly? It does make sense. When we have too much to do in too little time to do it, we are setting ourselves up to fail. And setting ourselves up for one heck of an overwhelming day. Lately, I’ve instituted a new rule for tackling the all encompassing business/family/nesting to-do list.

So what’s this new method you may be wondering? I set 3 goals that I most want to accomplish for the day. Whatever three things that will make me feel like I got the most out of my day. Take this past Sunday for instance. I decided that the three big (doable) things that would have the most impact would be to tackle the yard work, move boxes into the attic and organize the closets. Low and behold, before the day was over all three things were done. completely. And though many other things got done like the dishes and writing this blog, other things like folding the laundry didn’t. And that’s okay. {smile}

For all of y’all with a lot on your plates right now, you may want to give this a try. Just ease up on your mile-long-to-do list and hone in on 3 biggies that will have you feeling really amazing.

What 3 things do you want to accomplish today? Please feel free to share with us in the comments!

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A Toast: Here’s to Life and Having Fun…

Remember when you were little and the world seemed so big and full of wonder?

I’m reminded of this every time I watch my toddler encounter something new. Take for instance a butterfly fluttering by him. He stops. His eyes widen. He drops whatever he is doing (or holding) to stare intently at the new thing before him. I’ve seen so many butterflies I sometimes forget to look at all life’s little details.

It’s funny how finding wonder is something that seems to come so naturally to children. Yet for most of us who are powering through another day, it’s almost hard to notice the details never mind take the time to marvel at them. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our very busy lives. All those emails filling up our inboxes, phone notifications flashing, our to-do lists get longer and the days get shorter. {sigh}

Enter autopilot. Sure, we all have things to do and places to go, but sometimes we get caught up in the tasks and errands and to-dos that we get into a routine. The autopilot routine. And sooner or later we’re just going through the motions… Wake up. Go to work. Get home. Go to Bed. Repeat. Well my friends, things are only as important as you make them.

So on that note, I propose a toast. Yes, I know it’s early. And the beginning of the work week. But if there’s a rule against champagne for breakfast or seizing a Monday, that nonsense ends now. {wink} So let’s raise our glasses!

“Here’s to remembering to smell the roses

And to knowing you catch more bees with honey.

To always being young enough to be mischievous

And old enough to get away with it. {smile}

Here’s to breaking the rules we make for ourselves

And to enjoying every bit of the journey.

To hoping these good times last forever

But praying forever doesn’t come to quick…”

 

Happy Monday Y’all. Knock ’em dead! Speaking of which, I’m dying to know: where do you find inspiration? For me, it’s fresh cut flowers, a walk down the art isle or sitting alone on a park swing. Care to share with us some of the things that inspire you?

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Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Just Start

Entrepreneurs seem to be everywhere these days. And I always love meeting passionate people with big dreams! Excitement like that is contagious. {smile} I often hear aspiring entrepreneurs say they are ready to take their dreams to the next level. Great!

But… they just don’t know how to ‘launch’ themselves forward. Usually they feel stuck. Waiting for just the right time or waiting until their entire business model is perfect. I get that. As a creative business owner and recovering perfectionist, I’ve been right there. And maybe this is where you find yourself, too, as we head into a new workweek.

Well my friends, here’s what I’ve learned: Start right now. If you wait for perfection, your opportunity will expire. When I started my business, I didn’t have all the details figured out. And honestly? that bugged me. But here’s the thing, you’re in control. You can change your business as you grow and as your ideas evolve. But first things first. You have to believe in yourself and your dreams. The only way you’ll get closer to the finish line is by stepping over the starting line.

Which brings me to our hand lettered quote of the week. Christopher Columbus once said, “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” So pull up your anchors and let’s do this. {wink}

I hope y’all have an excellent (& courageous) week! Oh and Kristine, please send me an email with your shipping address to RaleighCalligraphy@gmail.com so we can send you a free print. {yay!} For everyone else, please sit tight, this print will be available shortly in my Etsy shop just follow the links to the right. >>>>>>

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Three words to sum up life…

You know that friend at the party who tells that totally crazy story that couldn’t possibly be true? Yep, that’s me. Hi, my name’s Tiffany Anne and I seem to be a magnet for disaster. Well, either that or my husband is. {wink} Take for instance the time we moved to the great state of North Carolina…

The hubby and I had quit our jobs, packed up the cars and on Friday night at 9 o’clock we were ready to hit the open road. And that’s when we realized we forgot to pick up the wedding tux from the tailor. {awkward pause?} Stay with me I’ll explain.

You see we planned it just perfectly to allow us enough time to drive from New England to North Carolina. Then leave the cars, hop in a rental and drive to Florida to be at a wedding for Monday. (we’d worry about unpacking when we got back from the 5 day reception cruise) In theory it should have worked. Unless you forget to pickup the chocolate colored designer tux that was being altered at the tailor. And since my husband was the best man, there was no way we could leave without it. {sigh}

So we spent our last night in our first apartment on the floor of our empty living room. Well fast forward to just outside of Baltimore, when our transmission blew in a really, very bad area. Fortunately, the cops were already there. Why? Well the president of the United States would soon be driving past. This is where you say, ‘I don’t believe it’ and I start to loose some of you. Hang in there I’m not done yet.

Anyway we finally got the car running shortly after that ordeal. And since the police officers were leaving anyway they offered to follow us, caravan style with lights flashing. {Yay!}

Well not exactly. We would break down once more, get towed to a Dodge dealership in VA, have to leave the jam packed pickup truck parked in their lot and pray none of our belongings went missing. We squeezed into the other car and kept on ‘truckin’. But wait, a deer! Dead in the road well before we got there but, unfortunately still ended up all over our car. There was no avoiding it. {gag}

And then we finally made it to North Carolina.

But what about the wedding? Well, there wasn’t enough time now to drive to Florida to be at the dock before the ship set sail. So we hopped a last minute flight and made it with plenty of time. It was lovely. In the end it all worked out and although it poured in VA damaging most of our belongings, nothing was missing. {sigh}

And that brings me to the quote by Robert Frost that sums up this and most of my stories. He said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

And if you have a hard time believing even half of this story, I won’t take it personally. {smile} What quote do you want to see hand lettered next week? Share your favorite inspirational quote in the comments for a chance to win an original hand lettered print from the blog!

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Keep the Promises You Make to Yourself

SOMEDAY I WILL: wear that polka dot bikini…. Plan my dream wedding… Backpack through Europe… Finish writing that novel… Take a ski trip to the Alps… Start a new business and work for myself… Learn to speak Italian… Take a cruise to some exotic place with tan lines and alluring accents… Live on a vineyard and make wine for the rest of my life…

Sound familiar? We all do it. We make promises to ourselves. And most of us do it year round… not just after the holidays. {smile} Some promises get written down as lists or journal entries while other promises are kept locked up inside for safe keeping. If you’re like me, you’ve made more promises to yourself than you can stuff in a closet. {wink} Or maybe you’ve been carrying around one big promise for as long as you can remember.

And sure what we want out of life changes making some of our promises less relevant to our happiness. But one thing that doesn’t change is the fact that life is unpredictable. Maybe that hard earned vacation fund had to be drained a time or two. Or your time and attention is constantly pulled elsewhere. And when that happens you may find yourself putting those self made promises on the back burner.

Our busy lives are full of interruptions and ever growing To-Do lists. {sigh} Sometimes it may even seem like the only thing we have control over is our willingness to do whatever it takes to make our dreams come true. Ultimately, life will keep getting in our way if we let it. Today might just be the perfect day to sit down with a empty notebook and put your promises to paper.

Keep the promises you make to yourself.

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