Ch-ch-changes

After Ben cam home, and even in the hospital, Josh and I kept commenting about how quickly I seemed to be recovering. For the first time, I spent most of my last day in the hospital on my feet or in the rocking chair instead of in bed. We even had an out-of-town house guest before Ben was three weeks old. Of course I was exhausted, but not in pain or even in poor spirits. In fact, from the minute he arrived, after the most painful, yet quickest, delivery I’ve ever experienced, I was in a state of absolute bliss. I was happy to meet all my boys, but this was different.  I attributed all of this to my new doctor. I thought for sure she must have done something differently. It didn’t take long for me to discover that, although I love my doctor, it wasn’t anything she did; it was just God’s plan. He had a project lined up for me, and my normal, slow recovery would have prevented me from getting on board.

On August 13, I accepted a job that I interviewed for on the 9th and applied for on the 6th. From the time I first saw the posting through the conversation when I heard myself accepting the position, I was in my own personal (yet obviously less significant) Garden of Gethsemane. I didn’t want to go to work. I feel sorry for moms who think they have to work outside the home. I had my whole family-raising plan mapped out in a beautiful mural in my mind. But we all know what they say about God laughing while we make plans….

I knew from the moment I read the posting that God was calling me to apply. I kept trying to forget about it, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. And, as Josh so astutely pointed out, I’ve seen many job postings over the years that I’m well qualified for, but none have haunted me the way this one did. I spent a lot of time in prayer, mostly telling God I didn’t want it. I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself and my husband of all the millions of reasons why we couldn’t justify my leaving the home. I didn’t know what to do, so I applied for the position. I told myself that I would interview and not get the position. Then, I would know wholeheartedly that I had misunderstood what the Lord was saying to me. I reasoned that doing so would keep me from feeling guilty, since at this point I had convinced myself that there was no way God would ask me to work outside of our home.

As I spent more time in prayer, my prayers changed from “I don’t want it. Don’t ask me to do it.” to “I don’t want it. Don’t ask me to do it. But, Lord, I want to do your Will.” Funny how God works on our hearts like that… I just kept repeating Jeremiah 29:11 to myself, trying to remind myself that God’s Will for me was best, despite what it may look like to me. Meditating on that verse, Jesus’ passion, and Mary’s “yes” to the God through the angel Gabriel were all that kept me going. I was so stressed out. I did not want to leave my boys. I did not want to leave them in the care of someone else. I did not want any more responsibilities than those I already had.

But as I’ve already given away, the position was offered to me and I said yes. I know I’m perfect for this job. I never once questioned my qualifications and abilities. My whole life, educationally, professionally and personally, has prepared me for this position. I know if I interviewed me, I would have hired me too. I don’t say this to toot my own horn, but I am truly an asset to our parish. I am so humbled by and grateful for the opportunity that lays before me. It’s a huge responsibility, but I’m happy to take it on, challenges and all.

Josh and I are doing our best to adjust at home. Luckily, my hours are flexible, and we belong to a church that values life, so the kids aren’t so much of a problem. They’ve been up at my office many times when I’m supposed to be working. Right now, we don’t have a weekend, or even a single day off, together. If I’m at work, Josh is at home and vice versa. The exception is Wednesdays when we both go to work. We just hired an amazing babysitter and the boys love her. Leaving them with her was a little tough for me, but knowing how happy they were about playing with her made it so much easier.

I have no idea where this path will lead. And it’s definitely put a big hole in my mural. But as God keeps reminding me, He’s in charge. Not such an easy lesson for this control freak to swallow.

What’s Really Holding Me Back?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what direction I want to go with my business. Since the beginning of this pregnancy was a little rough, I took some time off. I’ve still been servicing all of my existing customers but I haven’t done much to generate new business or even grow my current business. As I was cleaning out the garage today in preparation for our big move, I found myself staring at my Mary Kay nook. Since our apartment is small, I keep a lot of my stuff (not product. I’m talking about booth display stuff and shopping bags and peanuts and whatnot.) in the garage. I realized as I looked at all my stuff that I needed to make a decision. If I’m going to make this “break” a permanent one, I need to do it. Otherwise, I need to get moving again.

I just don’t even know how to make this decision. I adore both my sales director and my adopted sales director so I’m sure I’ll be spending some time on the phone with them soon, but ultimately I need to figure out what I want and what is best for my family. And really, that’s just an excuse. Working my business in no way negatively impacts my family. The boys don’t mind at all when I’m gone. They love having Josh all to themselves. And what family would complain about additional income? Especially the significant amount that comes in for the small amount of time I actually spend out of the house. So, I guess what it really boils down to is do I want to do the work?

That question really bothers me. I’m not at all a lazy person. I’m organized and get a lot done on a daily basis. But, for some reason, when it comes to getting my business moving again, it seems like laziness is exactly what my problem is. But even that doesn’t make sense. The work it takes to get moving isn’t hard at all, it’s a lot fun. I love holding parties and skin care classes. I love getting to know new women and helping them feel beautiful. I love watching other women fall in love with both Mary Kay products and the company. I love the products and the company and its so much fun to share that.

This is why I can’t make a decision. I keep going around and around with myself and I can’t even pinpoint what the problem is. So, I told myself I was going to get rid of it all. I was going to have a big going out of business sale and give away all of my supplies, training materials and other goodies. That very literally made me want to cry. I don’t want to get rid of my Mary Kay stuff. I’m a really good consultant, and, more importantly, I really enjoy it. I achieved a lot of success very quickly and then dropped the ball.

Why? The truth is, I know the answer, but I don’t like it. And I definitely don’t want to admit it. But I’ll lay it out here. Maybe if I just admit what the real problem is, I can finally make a decision and get moving.

I’m not satisfied with mediocre. I never have been. Not personally and not with my business. But in my business, I reached a point where I was going to have to stretch myself, step out of my comfort zone and overcome some personal belief barriers to keep moving. So what did I do? I froze. The truth is I froze before I even moved to Texas. Based on what I learned about my business doing my taxes, it appears I froze right before seminar last year. Then, the move and the rough start to my pregnancy were perfect excuses to watch my momentum slip away. Sad isn’t it? I was faced with an opportunity to grow, something I claim I want to continuously do, and I didn’t. I told myself I couldn’t. I just shut down.

But knowing is half the battle, right? I don’t know if that’s true or not. I know very well what the problem is, but I still haven’t faced it. I keep trying to call it another problem: a family conflict, a time conflict, and energy conflict. Deep down I know, as I’ve already mentioned, that none of those are really the problem. I guess step one is to refuse to make excuses for what the problem really is. From now on, when thinking about or talking about my business, I will be honest about the real reason I’m not working right now. Step two is to decide whether I’m going to put on my big girl panties and grow or if I’m going to stay in my comfort zone and look back fondly at the time I spend in Mary Kay.

To further complicate the problem, either choice comes with its own brand of fear. If I move forward with my business, I’m going to have to face the fears that shut me down before. Walking away from my business comes with the fear of regret for what might have been. I’ve spent far too long trying to make this decision based on which fear would be easier to deal with. (I’ll go ahead and tell you. For me, it’s the later.)

As I said, the thought of walking away from my business honestly brings tears to my eyes. I love Mary Kay, the woman, the product, the company, the women, the mission, the charity, everything. I suppose I’ve come to that crucial point that all relationships eventually reach. The point where love the feeling isn’t enough. It’s time for love to be a verb. I just have to decide if I’m going to take action.

New Beginnings

sunny beginningsWhen I was younger, one of my favorite times of the year was back to school or the beginning of a new semester. I relished shopping for school supplies, often coordinating my pens and folders by color or theme, and the potential for success that lay before me. I made similar resolutions each time usually related to organization, time management, and procrastination (or more specifically, not procrastinating). I absolutely adore new beginnings of any kind. Naturally, celebrating New Years and making new year resolutions is something I really enjoy.

This year I put a lot of thought into what my resolution would be. I’m not really a fan of the generic goals like lose weight, get finances in order, get healthy, etc. All of those are great, but they basically predetermine your failure. They’re just too generic. There’s nothing measurable or concrete about them. Yet, I kept coming back to the same generic statement. I just want to be a better person. I’ve been hovering around this thought for a little over a year, but haven’t done much about it. Why? My guess would be because it’s too generic and I never formulated an action plan. So, to make my new year resolution, I decided to break down this concept of being a better person. If it goes well, perhaps I’ll continue expanding and elaborating on the same theme each year. For now, year one of becoming a better person, here’s what I’ve come up with.

I took a look at my life and picked out the major pieces that define who I am as a person. After all, how could I improve who I “am” if I don’t know who I am to begin with. I came up with these subheadings to “me”: spiritual, personal, wife, mother, entrepreneur, friend. I ultimately decided to sufficiently improve me, I would make a small, daily goal for each of these categories. In effect, instead of making one broad resolution, I’ve made several small daily resolutions.

  1. I will pray the Rosary each day. (This will probably require getting up a little earlier so I have the time to myself.)
  2. I will read the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month. For example, today is the second so I read chapter 2. Following my chapter I will play a round of “Bible Roulette” to allow the Lord to speak to me/learn a little more about the Bible.
  3. I will read at least one chapter of something I enjoy each day. (This one kind of stresses me out. I have no idea when I’m going to sit down and read for pleasure, plus I’m really bad about not taking time out for me, but I think this will be a much-needed daily “recharge” time for me.)
  4. I will greet Josh with a smile and a kiss and tell him I’m glad he’s home each day. (This sounds obvious but after several years of marriage and dealing with kids all day, Josh doesn’t usually get the welcome he deserves when he walks in the door.)
  5. I will spend individual quality time with each boy each day. (Research shows that just 15 minutes of quality one-on-one time with a child does wonders.)
  6. I will do one proactive activity for my business each day. (I’m not focusing so much on building new business right now, since the baby will be here before we know it. However, I definitely don’t want to lose all my momentum in the meantime, so this is what I’m starting with.)
  7. Each day, I will attempt to brighten one person’s day.

So those are my 7 daily goals. I got a new planner (the kind with both a monthly and a daily view) to help me track my goals. Each day, as I complete each goal, I will write the corresponding number in my planner. This will allow me to see which goals I’m struggling with and help me get back on the proverbial horse after I fall off. For me, tracking it the most important part of goal setting. It’s really easy to set goals, but sticking with them and eventually achieving them all comes down to the tracking. I think I’ll also report my progress here in my blog, since its important to have some accountability. It’s much to easy to make excuses to myself, but if I have to tell someone else what a slacker I’ve been, I’m much more likely to stay focused.

It takes 21 day to form a habit, so if I find I’ve accomplished (accomplished meaning successfully made it a true daily activity…like eating) one of these goals, I may replace it. I may also modify these goals as needed. My tracking sheets will speak for themselves.  But, for now, this is my plan to become a slightly better person this year.

Here’s to a great 2010!

Why do I want a Mary Kay Consultant?

This is an old post. I am no longer a Mary Kay Consultant. I stand by the value of their products and the amazing women who make up their sales force, which is why I chose not to delete this post. The contact information at the bottom of the page is no longer in service. To find your own consultant, visit marykay.com.

divider2I wrote this as a note on my MK Facebook page. It’s one of my favorite descriptions of what I do, so I thought I’d copy it here. Enjoy!

The benefits of having your very own Mary Kay Consultant are innumerable! First and foremost is my commitment to unsurpassed customer service on your terms! I pride myself on my customer service and I do everything within my power to keep you well informed, unharassed, and up to date with the all latest and greatest of my product line.
I maintain a full store, so your moisturizer or mascara is available immediately and you don’t have to make time to fight the crowds at the mall. I also know exactly what colors you like and what formula cleanser you use. No need trying to describe it to some sales person who neither knows or cares about you!
Speaking of sales, every product you purchase from me is backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee! There is absolutely no reason to have any MK products in that “cosmetic graveyard” collecting in your bathroom drawer! Regardless of the reason, I will exchange any item or, if necessary, refund your money.
Oh, and don’t you hate it when you seem to be running out of all of your favorite skin care the same week that all your other bills are due? When you have a MK Consultant, that’s no problem! Get your closest friends together for an hour or two of some long overdue girltime and (on top of all the fun you’ll have) get your items at significant discounts or even free!
And while we’re talking about discounts, when you’re my customer, you can shop 25% off the entire month of your birthday with no limits! Even when it’s not your birthday, my customers get showered with presents! Every package I ship or deliver includes fun samples, and when your order totals more than $40 before tax, you get an extra gift with your purchase!
On top of everything else, my customers are entitled to 4 complimentary appointments with me each year with no purchase requirement! I want to make sure that, despite changing seasons and hormones, you have the right products for your skin year round and the opportunity to see the new products first! You can also use those appointments to try out a new look, play with any products that intrigue you, for showers, wedding parties, or fantastic girls’ nights in!
What about gift giving? I can work with any budget!
Fundraising for your organization? I have multiple fundraising programs to suit organizations of any size!
Quality products? You bet! Mary Kay has been the best selling brand of skin care and color cosmetics in America for the past 14 years straight!
So what about price? I dare you to compare our products to any other quality line and find somewhere you get more for your money!
Not convinced? Give me a call today and schedule an appointment for a facial. I’ll introduce you to all that MK has to offer for the price of your opinion! I love hearing from women who are new to MK or who are dedicated to another line. I learn so much from them and love expanding my industry knowledge!
So what are you waiting for? I can’t wait to start spoiling you like no other skin care or cosmetic company can!
Mary Swafford
Independent Beauty Consultant
Mary Kay
800-694-4219
meswafford@marykay.com

Hello world!

My name is Mary and this is my first attempt at really blogging. I’m married to my college sweetheart, the mother of two very active boys, both under the age of three, and proudly self employed. Working from home has definitely proved more challenging than I envisioned, but I’m very motivated by both the opportunities it allows and those it promises. I always have a million things floating around my head, and often don’t have an adult to share them with, as I’m at home with the boys during the day, so I’m excited to have a venue to voice the randomness that abounds! I have no plans for the course this blog will follow, but I expect it to be some strange concoction of me, family life, working and my business, odd thoughts, movie and/or product reviews, and anything else that pops into my head! Enjoy!!