When I pulled my blog up to revive it and realized that I had not posted since last year, I was shocked! It is amazing how time flies. The lack of entries has not been for a lack of desire but for a lack of time.
It has been a busy year!
But today, I am sitting in the front room of our cottage in Maine, wrapped in a blanket because Fall has arrived here, staring at the lake and feeling inspired to write, as I so often do when I’m here. We come in September to close the cottage but I also come here to PAUSE. To catch my breath. We need that once in a while.
This year, For the Girls International has experienced tremendous growth, which has kept me extremely busy. We moved into our first ever “bricks and mortar” space – a very exciting development and a dream come true. Then, in essence, we started 2 new businesses (both social enterprises) at the same time as continuing to run the non-profit. Crazy? Maybe a little, but I have learned that you need to jump in the river while it’s flowing! << that’s a whole other blog for another day, right there!
First, we opened the FTGI Boutique. An adorable little shop, full of unique jewelry, t-shirts, gifts and clothing. It took time to build the space out and stock it with inventory to get ready for our grand opening in May. We brought in outside vendors who were willing to help support the mission and hired a few people to man the shop while it is open.
Second, we opened a FTGI Co-Working. This is housed in the same building as our office, in the back of the Boutique, and is a collaborative, creative shared work-space. We have several women who work independently but together there and it makes it a really fun place to be. Big ideas are dreamed up there, dreams are brought to life and we laugh a lot which is good for the soul! Between people popping into the shop, and the work going on in the back, there is rarely a dull moment.
One of the highlights of the year was a personal one. My husband and daughter and I had the opportunity to join a group of teachers traveling to China to help at a summer camp in the same province where my daughter was born. (in case you didn’t know we adopted her from China when she was just 7 months old) There is much to be said about the emotion of that trip for me. I am not sure I have even processed it all yet, but for now I will just say that it was a gift and a real “full circle” journey for us all. << that is probably more of a book than another blog!
Then, this past summer, we took the loooong (in the emotional sense) drive over to Palm Beach to drop our daughter off at her first year of college. Our last little bird to leave the nest.
That’s what I’m reminded of as I sit here and gaze out over the trees, whose leaves are just beginning to turn beautiful hues of oranges, yellows and reds – the telltale sign that autumn has begun.
I remember just after my first son left for college, I was driving down the road and the song Landslide by Stevie Nicks came on the radio. The song asks the questions:
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I wasn’t sure I could, as I drove, trying desperately to see the road because I was bawling my eyes out. Yes, there are people like me out there on the road – be aware!
But, I did sail (maybe more like trudged) through. I’ve now sent two more children off to college. The son I was grieving going off to college now lives near and has given me a beautiful daughter in law and granddaughter to adore.
Letting go is painful but it leads to new growth.
So, here we are, in the Fall of 2016, and I sit here thinking about what needs to go in order to make room for new growth in 2017. I challenge you to think about it too.
Don’t be afraid of the changing seasons. It’s part of the life cycle.
Drop me a comment and let me know what has been happening in your world this year.
It’s good to catch up! I’ve missed you!