Relentless Persistence

My boys are tenacious. They're persistent. And they're relentless. Today I have aches and pains beyond my 42 years and the beginnings of a migraine the size of Texas. I feel like death warmed over, like moving the 6 feet from the couch to the coffee maker is just too far. AND YET... through sheer relentless determination, in under one hour of being solo with them, the twins wore my defenses down and convinced me to go out to the garage and shimmy between the treadmill covered in boxes for Goodwill and the queen size mattress and box spring that we've been meaning to get rid of, to search for the bean bag toss game that's been collecting dust for over a year.


They played bean bag toss yesterday at Nana and Papa's house. They're now OBSESSED. I've heard the replay of all 5.5 games they played at least 3 times... from each boy. I've quietly nodded my appreciation and expressed what I hope is the appropriate excitement and heartache at the score sheet and the winners list. I've said, yes, at some point, we can find the bean bag toss and you can play it at home. With "someday" meaning on a weekend when Mark is here to move the mattresses and there's a human buffer for me to put on my noise-canceling headphones and ignore the hours of fighting, screaming, and utter cries of desolation that are sure to come whenever these two compete.

But the minute Mark left this morning, it was all about the bean bag toss. Maybe they could just look in the garage themselves? Maybe someday was now? Mom did I tell you about my score in the bean bag toss? Did you know we're halfway through a game? If not now, when? In 30 minutes? Before lunch? After lunch?  And  because I just hoped the nagging would stop and I could drink my coffee in peace, someday came in less than an hour. And I found myself squeezing through the mattresses like a sardine and retrieving the box. And I put the game together, while they tried to grab it out of my hands. and I listened to them backseat drive that I should have put the black side up and not the wood side up, because that's how it is at Nana's. And I gave them the game and set it up upstairs so that I could have an entire floor separating us.

And now the screaming has started. The cries of injustice at the cheating ways of a 5 year old brother. The complete and utter heartbreak of losing your bean bag under a chair and being unable to retrieve it. The frustration of seeing your own imperfections, even though you envision hitting the target every time. The jealousy of someone else having a better score. And my heart is tired. These little trials of being 5 feel a lot like the tribulations of running a business.

Marketing research says on average you need to have 7-13 "touches" (interactions) with a customer to make them act on your call to action. I  am not a marketer, in fact, it's the part of running a business that I dread like nothing else. I don't like to repeat myself or toot my own horn. I hate to feel nagged and pressured and that's what so much of marketing, especially social media marketing feels like these days. But the proof is right there, isn't it? Seven to 13 bazillion "touches" from my boys and my sloth-like-can't-even-get-up-for-a-fresh-cup-of-coffee body was spurred to action. I felt defeated, but I acted.

I see other companies with their perfectly curated Instagram feeds and Facebook walls and daily emails and I get weary. I see my own weaknesses and imperfections as a marketer and know it is hurting my business. And I vow to try harder. But it feels wrong. It's like slipping on a dress that looks amazing on your best friend, and realizing it accentuates all your lumpy bits. You've got a different body. Your strengths are in different areas. You need a different dress.

So I'm trying to find my dress. The one that feels just right. The one that's classy and timeless, yet still says let's party with Verve!  The one that says, shop small because you're supporting a family. The one that says support this one-woman business, because although only 9% of small businesses make it past the 5 year mark, this woman has been toiling away for 10 years, through many trials and tribulations and nevertheless... she persisted.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.... and if you're still reading, thanks for taking the time to share the thoughts on my heart today.  The card shown is a throwback card to March 2015 that I thought really fit my words for today. Click here for the original post.

Stamps: Wings of LoveMasqueradeBetter Together (Verve Stamps)
Paper: pool party, basic black (SU!), manila tag (Ranger), cream (Neenah)
Ink: archival black ink, scattered straw and tumbled glass distress paint (Ranger), Pan Pastels, Stamper's big brush pens in white, dark sepia, sanguine and cobalt green, white Gelato (Faber-Castell)
Accessories:  Gown Die (A Cut Above by VERVE), baker's twine

11 comments

  1. I feel for you, Julee. I was a Creative Memories Consultant years ago. I was hoping that I could build a business so that I wouldn't have to work outside the home as much. But I am not competitive or aggressive enough. I usually ended up giving my hostesses more than I should have and never made a profit. My chronic sinus/allergies got in the way and beat me down so I couldn't put the energy into the business. You too are a very generous person. You have been such an influence in the stamping world, not only with the quality of products and service, but also as a sponsor in various blog hops, with Mojo Monday, Viva la Verve Sketch challenges, etc. I certainly hope that you feel the love from all of your followers & friends in the stamping/card making world. We appreciate all that you have given and still love your products!

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  2. From the heart and so eloquently stated!! Hang in there!! 5 years old are busy ( my sweet inherited granddaughter wears me out but, gosh I love that girl!!!!) I only deal with one- two would be a major project!! What I hope for you is that you can hang in there....enjoy what you do... spend the time on your business that you are comfortable with...... don't worry about competing with others.... and, know there will always be Verve fans out there!!

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  3. Julee, you are one awesome mama! I admire your trek through the garage to please your little men though you battled the onset of a migraine. Someday, this will be the sweetest memory, I promise! I also promise it will continue.

    We are in the throes of teacher inservice, sitting through long meetings and digesting questionable changes in curriculum, while really wanting to get in our classrooms and prepare to meet our new students. I left school "on time" today to make a trip to the grocery store and to fry chicken for dinner. "Why?" my colleagues asked. All because my little boy will soon return to college and it will be a long time before I can cook his favorite meal.

    Thanks for a glimpse of crafty goodness. I like to look at cards when I don't feel that I have time to make them.

    Feel better soon!

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  4. I think Verve stamps are unique and you are an amazing, world-class juggler of all things that life throws at you. All the best to you and Verve!

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  5. Yes, yes and YES! I feel exactly the same way with GraceWorks. I don't want to be a marketer, but I want to be a blessing. And I don't really want to be all over FaceBook and Instagram and everywhere. But without it??

    I'll be praying for you. I love your work and your sweet spirit, and the fact that Verve still feels like a family. Hugs!!

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  6. Love your card and your post. You have a sweet spirit and is shows in all you do. May God continued to bless you, your family and Verve.

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  7. Your one touch every few days feels more like 50 so you've got it covered. I personally don't like the bombardment of all the companies in my face. If you've got a good product, people will buy it. But I know that's not what business experts say. Your card is beautiful and so full of love and inspiration. The boys already know, the squeaky wheel gets the oil! God bless their teachers 💗 Hope you're feeling better and that your art is feeding your soul. Ox

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  8. Precious and loved Julee! YOU ARE LOVED! I read this myself and then read let me DH read it while we were out to lunch today. I told him about you and reminded him about the many stamps and dies I've purchased from you (including the many Scripture stamps that I LOVE). He smiled, and then he commented about "five years old...two...yes...what a handful!" And that's a dad. Bless your heart for doing what 99.99% of moms would have done in your condition. My heart ached for you...thinking about how terrible you felt and how you just wanted to go to bed in silence and get some rest and shut the world out. But you didn't. I'm so glad you've shared with us. I love transparency, and we are blessed to go to a church/church plant where transparency is encouraged. How else will we know how to pray for people and encourage them. Again I say that you are dearly loved, and I praise God for the wonderful woman, wife, mom, and business owner you are. I love that you have persisted for these ten years with Verve (I remember Visual Verve...that's how long I've been around). And I love how you operate, and you are generous...and thank you! It's one of the reasons I love to purchase from you...to bless you and let you know tangibly how much it means to me for you to continue on and press on with Verve. I love your creativity and the wonderful sketches over the years. It's hard right now with your twins, but soon they will be off to school. Perhaps that will give you a few hours. And before you know it, they will be off to college...but not yet! In the meantime, again...many love you dearly and love Verve...and always will! I've been long-winded (usually am...sorry), but I am passionate about how I feel for Verve and you! I'm stealing Maureen's heart above me...and sending love. Hugs! xoxo 💗

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  9. I am having flash backs after reading your story! Benjamin got close to learning how to fly off the front balcony a few times between the ages of 2 - 5 as he only had two speeds - go and sleep - and just about wore me out more than once! Being an older mom didn't help either as the energy level was not a 20 year olds LOL! Bless you for getting the game out for them - it no doubt gave you peace in one way and no peace in another. Hang in there as these are the busiest years and soon enough they will be in elementary school and you will have the school day to yourself to catch up on some much needed "mommy time".

    As for Verve, just be you, Julee. We are our worse critics when we compare ourselves to others. Know that your heart shines through all you do via Verve, many of us LOVE your uplifting and scripture stamps, and you are a one man show while they have others to help. Life has seasons, and as hard as they are to walk through at times, that is what they are - seasons. I am on the other end of the kid spectrum and my heart is aching at the thought of having my kids leave home sooner than later. At 17 and 19, Benjamin is a senior in HS this year and Janina will be in 2nd year or uni and if things keep going the way they are with her boyfriend, she could be married in the next two years - that one is really throwing me for a tail spin!! Love watching them grow up and become independent etc. and yet it hurts my mama heart to let them fly on their own, even though that is what we are training them to do. Also dealing with dwindling friends as you have a large social circle via your kids school activities and when they are older that circle shrinks significantly as activities get dropped and you don't have soccer moms etc. to mix with. Throw in three octogenarians (aka our parents) who have health issues, are downsizing to retirement homes etc. and it is quite the gong show around here and very draining in many ways. The last two years have been very challenging to say the least, so though my kids are not young and squabbling, I am facing the same feelings you are but in a different format - I fully empathize with you ((hugs))!! Blessings on you for pouring into your kids - it pays off in the long run, trust me! Many compliment us on our kids, and we know that is the grace of God that has worked through us and been multiplied through the time we spend with them.

    All that to say, God knows your heart, your frustration, your pain, exhaustion, desires etc. and will be there with you, even when it feels you are battling life on your own. Looking back, I can see how He carried me so many times (and continues to do so now) when I wanted to run away from the world and hide to get some alone time or simply a bit of "me" time as I felt I was losing who I was etc. Being a mom is THE toughest job in the world, and I am so thankful to have Christ by my side as the job description constantly changes with each stage of life. I continually remind myself that "good" is the enemy of "best" so focus on what is BEST. That may mean doing less of some things and more others, but it is what works best for YOU (and your family). Only so many hours in a day, and society tells us we have to do it all, however, that is simply not true! Make some time for something that feeds your soul and focus on best, because if you do a lot of good you will never be best at the good things as you are spread too thin. Focus on what is best and your impact will be greater ♥♥♥ (preaching to myself here while I type too LOL).

    Finally, know you are dearly LOVED and APPRECIATED, that God shines through you and Verve and if you ever need to chat, you know where to find me :) Hugest of ((hugs)) and much love xoxox!

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  10. Julee, knowing you deal with migraines (my daily nemesis) on top of all that you do just makes me admire you even more! Kudos to your dedication and sweet sweet spirit. Keep doing what you do, one foot in front of the other! You touch so many lives (including your sweet boys) and the seeds you've planted will come to fruit~ God bless~

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Thanks so much for taking the time to brighten my day with a comment! I love hearing from you.

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