For those of you that follow along, from the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU. It has been a great eight months for Sparks of Magic. I still can't believe that it's still just less than a year that I began this specific journey!
I thought it would be great to end 2014 in a reflective mindset. So, pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hey, some wine. Sparks of Magic began as a place for me to share my heart and my thoughts and a magical take on what life offers. It then quickly shifted with a major outlook on Disney which is one of my greatest passion,s. However, even the Magic cannot be contained within Disney. I LOVE my Disney. But I also LOVE life. It's been humbling to take part in so many things this year. Being chosen to attend Disney Social Media Moms On The Road this summer was a pinnacle moment in my life and for my blog, especially since I was literally just getting started. I learned so much and made some awesome new friends. I was reconnected to the magic I grew to love since I was a child, and it filled a void since I no longer work for Disney Baby.
One of the hardest things initially with keeping up with the blog was that I worked outside of the home full time concurrent with working towards my bachelor degree from home. Add in five kids and a hot hubby to the mix and my hands were not just full, but overflowing. Life was overwhelming me. I was becoming burnt out and struggled with keeping my head above water. Writing, like running, is my solace, and initially I would find time to write. I'd stay up all night after homework or wake up early. It kept me going. I loved it so much and still do, and I wanted to make time to write more, regardless of opportunity or sponsorship from brands.
Since the start of Sparks, I've been honored and privileged to meet so many new friends, write for some great brands and contribute to other amazing sites (DisneyExaminer, The Magical Blogorail, Entertainment New Media Network)... Not to mention being able to attend some awe-inspiring events like Disney Social Media Moms On The Road, BlogHer 2014, and Bloguettes in SF! Throughout the year, I saw Kerry Washington, met Arianna Huffington, Faith Popcorn, and David Tutera! I got caught up with my favorite Disney bloggers - the Disney Sisters, met phenomenal cast members for Disneyland Resort, and was honored to learn and grow with some of the best. Here's a quick visual of some of my fun in 2014!
Lately, I've struggled with MAKING the time to get my thoughts out to share. I say "making," because I believe that when you want something or love something you find time to do it. Sometimes even that is trying. I was on the go so much before my transition to working from home that I literally have been catching up with household, kids, life, school work, and figuring out my next steps for the blog and our business for the past 2 months! I think a tiny part of me was hoping it would be a hit the ground running feeling, but it's taking a lot longer than I hoped. It can be quite discouraging, but it has to be done.
I want to share my experiences and creativity with all of you. In my opinion, I have some of the best ideas and conversations with myself in the shower. Unfortunately, no pen or paper or laptops allowed in there for more reasons than one... I'd have broken technology, mushy journals and a really high water bill. I guess I could go the vlogging route, but that would be oh-so-awkward and highly unnecessary.
I've been much more contemplative since I've begun this full time work from home transition. It's been kind of crazy, had some amazing highs and some real lows, which were to be expected. But, I am happy to say that regardless of everything...
I feel so free.
Up until about a week ago, I struggled with the thought about whether I made the right decision - stepping outside of my comfort zone and taking this bull of entrepreneurship by the horns. I wondered what was wrong with me and why couldn't I just suck it up and clock in and clock out like a great majority of people do. Why can't I just do a job as a job and be okay with that? I continuously find myself wanting to be stretched and help others realize their passions. Maybe I'm just not cut out for the 9-5 unless it IS Disney related. But then again, something I love, so it wouldn't really be work.
It has taken nearly 3 months to finally get into the groove of things. Today, I am no longer seriously stressed or unhappy because I really truly love what I do now. I see my kids and my husband more, and I'm excited that my creativity or drive for more didn't dry up while I was plugging away at a job that just wasn't fulfilling my soul.
Spending extra time with my kids has been the greatest benefit. We see such differences in attitudes (I know, right? They're all angels), but also with their schooling and report cards were delivered with great progress and high achievements for all of our littles. Our youngest doubled his reading score, blowing his Reading Counts goal out of the water. One of our daughters continues to see a rise in both ELA and Math scores, her IEP seems to be helping and we are taking baby steps through the Common Core learning. Ugh, let's just say it is not friendly when it comes to modification or special needs and learning disabilities. But being home has helped as I am available and can spend extra time with them. The remaining three kids received Honors and High Honors. I can't say that just because I'm home they saw progress, I'm not overanalyzing anything. But I do know that me being more present has given them more stability and confidence.
Since I've been home, my youngest still will look at me with his big brown eyes and ask, "Mama, do you have to work at a meeting or will you be here with us after school?" There's something to be said about being available for your kids. If you CAN be there, be there. When I couldn't be there, they knew why. But it still kind of stinks when you can't. But, we press on. I still love scooping up my babies and getting random loves and hugs. It can be trying when I'm attempting to work when they wanna hang all over me, but it's always a blessing. My family sometimes likens me to Beverly Goldberg from ABC's The Goldbergs show, I can't help it. I love my scrumptious babies. If they ever read this they'll probably freak out. Too bad, I'm not sorry! They can never say they didn't know they were loved.
Achieving My Goals
Working from home now also means that I'm finally able to control my schedule and do my own homework to finish up my degree at normal hours of the day, not when I'm half awake. I would rather be up all hours of the night writing for Sparks of Magic and not analyzing the competitive market for microeconomics. Don't get me wrong, it can be interesting, but not at 1:00 am. Still, I am going and moving. I can tell you that October 2015 is going to be one amazing month. I'm seriously counting down the days to graduation.
The holidays have somewhat set me back in work and blog life, for the main reason being that I am home with 5 children or more, depending on the day. I made it a point to remember that kids are on break so I was going to force myself to take a break. I spent a few days unplugged from my laptop. It was kind of amazing. But on the bright side of the hustle and bustle, I am constantly reminded of why I named my blog Sparks of Magic; I am more motivated to search out magic, especially in times where I am feeling overwhelmed.
I'm learning to be free in my decisions and life in general. I can be a bit of a control freak, apparently except when it comes to putting away my laundry, as my hubby can attest to. I don't know what it is, but I find my clothes better when they are in a pile. I'm accepting the fact that while I can be a master organizer for everyone else, I am probably one of the most disorganized people in the world.
Just finding a tiny sparkle helps, A LOT
And that my friends is it. So many times I'm been asked, "How do you do it?" and I want to reply, "do WHAT?!" Well, I don't really think about "it" honestly. I just do it. It's easier to do something that you're submerged in 24-7. It wasn't like an overnight thing. I didn't wake up one morning married with five kids at my doorstep, haha.
But, I don't have a list of "how to's" mainly because that's just a silly list and everyone's list will look different depending on his or her circumstance. I don't have all the answers, and never will. That's what's exciting! We get to find them together. And while we figure it out, we can take trips to Disney Parks for inspiration, ha!
Surround yourself with like-minded people who love you and stay positive.
All I can say is that you should look for a tiny little spark of magic and work towards whatever goal you've set. Take it one day, one moment, at a time. Ask for help, find a friend that can help you stay accountable to your goals. I have some of the greatest friends that are extremely supportive, dream with me, laugh and cry with me. They bring me to reality when needed and I love that I get to do the same for them!
Don't be too hard on yourself, but don't give up. I have a fighting spirit, but I am my worst critic. As a perfectionist, it's hard to see without tunnel vision. Open up your eyes to the world around you.
For me, my magic is a lot of things. It's waking up in the morning next to my best friend. It's not just knowing that I am loved and supported by family and friends, but feeling it, too. It's the cold wind on my face as I take a long run, hearing my kids sing and laugh as they play together, and finding times of peace when I am feeling overwhelmed. It's the excitement that comes over me when I take that first step onto Main Street U.S.A.; Magic can be found everywhere and it can be pretty much anything that makes you happy, and reminds you to keep your head up and move forward. Magic makes you laugh, reminds you of how far you've come, and really shows you possibilities of where you can go. It's special, and it should be seen in your everyday life. It can be. Sometimes you have to look extra hard, but it's always worth it.
I just wanted to end my year sharing my heart and hoping that you'll hear my thoughts and perhaps they will encourage you to find your magic in life. Thank you again, this was more of a novel than a blog post. I appreciate the time you took to read this far. I am happiest when I am helping others by spreading magic and love.
I am so excited for 2015 and the opportunities that are beginning to surface. I start my first class at the JC, teaching Intro to Fashion, the blog turns ONE, there are some media trips in the works and fun events. My eldest daughter begins High School and my other 2 girls start Jr. High. My eldest son will turn "double digits" and my youngest will be part of the "upper grades" as a 4th grader. Oh and did I mention I am finally GRADUATING with my Bachelors?! I would love for you to continue to follow along with me as I plan to #SpreadMagic another glorious year! See you next year!!
How are you closing out 2014? What are your goals for the new year?