Lily – the Strong Woman

Today, as we were exploring Vail Village, my friend April and I came across a store selling rugs, home decor and jewelry. Since I thought that was an odd mix for a boutique-esq store, we decided to check it out.

As we walked into the store, we found a beautiful mix of lanterns, rugs, homemade soaps and jewelry. And – not to be outdone by all the souvenir stores – there was a healthy mix of mountain/Colorado pillows and such. Cracks me up every time!

The proprietress of the store came over to show us some of the items and explained they were Turkish. There were gorgeous handmade items and beautiful Turkish carpets. (Which yes – Dana, Heidi and Jamie – brought back lots of memories of Turkish tea, rug sellers and April almost getting lost in Ephesus all those years ago. We were both cracking up reliving it!)

The lady let us wander around a bit and then came over to talk to us. She asked us where we were from and what we thought of the town. We came to learn that she was originally from Turkey and will be living in Colorado over the next year or so taking care of the store. Previously working at a Vegas location, she was new to the area. During our conversation, we came to find out she did not have any family in the States and how she had to do a lot of things on her own. She told us how she is exploring the area and learning what some of the towns are like.

She told us about a friend of hers whom she really looks up to – someone who bought a house, car and is very successful in other venues as a single woman. We spoke about taking care of your finances, your home, car, and basics of life as a single person and what that was like. She wants to invest in property and set herself up financially for her future since she won’t have family to help her out.

After asking us a few questions, she looks at us and says “You are strong women. You take care of things and you are hard workers. I can see this. Not many people know you are. You keep going.” Then the best part? “You come back tomorrow and I make you Turkish tea!”

I love meeting people who end up making an impact of you when you least expect it. Her name is Lily and she both inspired me and motivated me to keep living life and experiencing all I can while I can.

Do yourself a favor – ask a total stranger about their life sometime. They may end up surprising the heck out of you.

And if you visit Vail, stop in Lolo’s and say hi to Lily. You’ll be very glad you did.

Perspective

Do you ever wonder why you have to go through the things you do? Why life deals you certain cards than others in your life? Mostly the ones you never thought you would have to deal with?

I’m sure everyone feels this way at some point or another. And it’s normal – sometimes life plain sucks. Period. Not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it.

And, just like everything else in life, your attitude determines how well you deal with certain things. Sometimes we respond well, sometimes we fly off the friggin handle and light everything on fire.

What I’ve been learning over the past year or so gave me a different perspective. (Of course – it’s always different looking back right?) There will be challenges in our lives – in many different forms and venues. Sometimes you see them coming and some come at you like a Gibbs’ slap to the back of the head.

But there is always one constant – people notice the way you handle yourself in the midst of the chaos. How you deal or mask your pain. How you celebrate little wins because everything else is raining down in fire around you.

And the kicker? Most of the time you have no idea that they’re watching. That anyone is even paying attention to you. But through all of this – someone is learning just as you are – simply by watching you.

Maybe you’ve dealt with something in private. Alone in the pain. (Which stinks beyond belief – for the little I’ve dealt with this way anyway.) Your story doesn’t have to stop there – maybe someone else can gain experience through your struggle.

The cool thing about life is you never stop learning. There is always something new to check out or something you’ve never experienced before. And – along with that – comes another awesome scenario. The opportunity to TEACH. To show others that it’s okay to deal with (insert issue here) – that you’ve been through it and came out a stronger person. With more faith. With more empathy. Whatever.

I’m not sure why this is on my brain tonight, but it is. Maybe someone needed to hear it. Heck, maybe I did. Who knows? But I guess the point here is to not only learn from your experiences, but help someone else by telling your story. Or sharing your perspective. You just may help change theirs.

99 Problems….

99 problems

Does this ever happen to you?  Worrying about things that may or may not come true?  Running a thousand scenarios in your head trying to see what is going to work and what is not?  Worrying about things in the future when the future can still change?

Those of you who know me really well know that I can be a chronic worrier.  That I’m always trying to put details together because I love to plan.  To know what the story is.  What I’m going to do.  I’ve grown a lot in the past few years and don’t worry as much, but it’s still there.  Once you’ve been through things and watched them play out, you know not to worry as much.  Or at lease try not to.

I’ve been running short-staffed for over a month and working long days to help cover the work.  We’ve had plans to replace this position, and even interviewed a few candidates, but we had something specific we were looking for.  Things are hard but I could finally see the calm after the storm – in the distance, but it was there. Then, on Tuesday one of my best employees put in his two weeks’ notice – out of the friggin blue.  He was torn apart about leaving and there were even tears as he told me why.  He was leaving for a lot more money (and who can fault anyone for that).  I was a bit blindsided as we were just creating a new position for him and thought everything was fine.  Then, on the way home, found out my right-hand person was going to switch departments two months sooner than I had anticipated. This would be two of my core group of three people gone.  What the heck was I going to do?

I’ll be honest.  I was taking it all pretty dang well at first and thought “Well, here’s yet another challenge for ya, Kim”.  Then I went to the gym and my trainer beat me up so I thought about nothing.  Afterwards, I had entirely too much time to think and worked myself into a tizzy.  How am I going to do this?  Who is going to fill their shoes?  (Denver has a 1.9 unemployment rate at the moment – not the biggest pool going on) I’m already behind – now what’s it going to look like? What the hell?  Did You bring me here to fail?

Then, to make matters worse, my crazy mind went to….No one calls me anymore.  All my friends in Philly forgot me.  No one texts to check in, nothing.  I’m all alone and failing.  Life is a struggle….and so on and so on.  (Such. A. Girl.)

Thankfully Dana was home and answered her slightly freaking out friend – and she did a fine job of calming me down.  Reminding me to just take it a step at a time and handle one situation at a time.  She moved away from home about four years ago, so she was helpful in the “no one forgot you Kim” department.  Isn’t she just the best?

Anyway, on to the good news.  The next morning I was still not happy and honestly, a little grumpy.  I talked to a few people, got a plan, threw out most of it, and went with my gut.  (This was actually God but I didn’t see it at the time).  I spoke with another one of my employees to see if he wanted part of the one job, and turned out he wanted the job I was stressing over filling.  Some of it will be a learning curve, but he has a great basis to begin with.  My answer was right in front of my face and I couldn’t see for looking!

The other guy, the one that turned in his two weeks notice?  I offered him a counter offer (not even close to his offer) and pointed out some value adds, but left it up to him.  Long story short, we negotiated to a satisfactory end and he is staying!  He’s going to do this new position we created and he even helped me find someone to fill his current position.

See?  I was all wound up about all these (seemingly) terrible things and two of the answers were right in front of me.  All I had to do was keep calm and handle one at a time.  Everything I prayed about and left at God’s feet (well almost all, I had to worry a bit! lol) worked out – for the good of the whole team.  I have a really good thing going and I don’t want to mess it up.

I’m still going to lose my right-hand guy, but he’s moving on to something he’s dreamed about and I’ll still be working with him – just in another capacity.  I’ll never stand in the way of someone advancing themselves and this is giving us both time to transition.

Oh – and the other thing?  About everyone forgetting me?  I got over my freak out and then a few people contacted me in the past few days – I’m not alone people!  Thanks for keeping me ‘around’.

So I guess the point to this one is to stop before you freak yourself out and call someone you trust to help work it out in your head.  Most of the time we worry about things that will never happen in the first place.  Pray about it and see what works out.  If you feel lonely, reach out to someone.  They’ll be around.

Life is good.  Crazy.  But good.