I'm grateful to you that I have this job

I just got hit with a bit whammy WOW moment… I don’t say thank you enough. I don’t think I could possibly say thank you enough, so expect more and hopefully you won’t get tired of my saying it.

My mom just sent me an email with info about gift cards. Many companies are closing their doors entirely or cutting back a great deal due to the economy and lack of shopping these days. I looked through this list and couldn’t help but think… wow, I am so thankful for the support and interest you all have for my work. I am not closing my doors, not only do I still have a job, I still have a business – and it is definitely because YOU are fantastic! Thank you so very much.

I know I’ve said it before, but it really is a magnificent feeling – It’s truly amazing to me that I can spend my day doing what I love… creating. While it also helps to support my family. I feel that although I’d like to continue to grow and expand my designs, this is really what happiness is all about. I think happiness is success.

Back to the idea of the gift cards… Yes, and you can buy gift cards for JGoode Designs, however that isn’t the thought that started this commentary. The following is the WOW moment for today…

Watch those store money cards and gift cards and credit slips!
Stores that informed the Security Exchange of closing plans between
October 2008 and January 2009.

If you have gift cards to any of the following locations, you should consider using them sooner than later so you don’t end up with a useless gift card. (I have not verified all of these locations/infos, so please make sure to confirm yourself).

  • Circuit City stores… most recent (? how many)
  • Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide are to be shuttered
  • Lane Bryant,, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 store nationwide
  • Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
  • Cache will close all stores
  • Talbots closing down all stores
  • J. Jill closing all stores
  • GAP closing 85 stores
  • Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
  • Wickes Furniture closing down
  • Levitz closing down remaining stores
  • Bombay closing remaining stores
  • Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January.
  • Whitehall closing all stores
  • Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
  • Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January. – Where will Mickey be now?
  • Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ (New Brunswick)
    Macys to close 9 stores after January
  • Linens and Things closing all stores – maybe they should have approved more affiliate marketer
  • Movie Galley Closing all stores
  • Pacific Sunware closing stores
  • Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
  • Sprint/ Nextel closing 133 stores
  • JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
  • Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
  • Wilson Leather closing down all stores – one of my first jobs in high school
  • Sharper Image closing down all stores – this amazes me, where do we do now for our unique gadgets?
  • K B Toys closing 356 stores – WOW what is santa doing for toys this year?
  • Loews to close down some stores – they just built a brand new location down the road this year
  • Dillard’s to close some stores.
  • AOL Money also has additional store closings. Kirkland, Sacs
    Friedman?s Jewelers, Comp USA, Dell, Pier 1

Look at that list… I’m nearly speachless. Not only are the stores closing a sad event, but think of all the jobs that just disappeared because of company preservation. So scary and frustrating and nerve racking. There has got to be something to help turn it all around.

Here’s another thought on the topic – all of these stores closing, I wonder how many considered really pushing for an online market. The process goes like this… close the retail venues to save on overhead then turn to focus on web based sales. Hire a staff to manage the site, the live customer service, shipping, etc. and then spend the marketing dollars on traffic building. How many of the above companies have changed their focus and how many are simply shutting down? I don’t know, I just stopped long enough to ponder it out loud.

Save the Frogs, cute little froggies

I was watching Animal Planet today and that cute explorer guy, Jeff Corwin, came on with a commercial/info message talking about frogs. I haven’t really been out and about enough this year to notice all the talk about the frogs, but this message caught my eye. Apparently frogs are quickly decreasing in population around the globe, so there is an active movement to help prevent possible extinction. Learn more about the Vanishing Frog while you’re interested in jumping on this information train…

So I was inspired. I made a frog…

Cute green frog - Save the Frogs

Show your support for the frogs

Save the Frogs Women’s Dark T-Shirt

Creativity is YOUR middle name, really!

“Everyone can draw – if you draw you look and if you look, you see.” Steve Eddy, a zoo keeper at the Exmoor Zoo.This is what inspired today’s topic, what does that mean?

I believe it means,

everyone is an artist because everyone “sees”.

I have always loved to create. My mother claims to have caught me coloring on the wall by age 2 or 3. However, I don’t think my perspective is skewed when I say, I honestly believe everyone is creative. What I think is usually the road block is the definition of creative. Creative doesn’t mean art… creative means thinking beyond the obvious, even for a moment. Creative means creating something.
Webster’s Dictionary says creative is “marked by the ability or power to create”. So really, if you can create, regardless of what it is, you are creative. Don’t argue, it’s true!

Image by Maven

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
~ Arthur Koestler

To take this one step further,

I believe that everyone is artistic in their own realm of the world.

Art doesn’t have to be a photo or a painting or even music. Art doesn’t have to be something that is pretty to look at. Art is an expression, a representation of an emotion or message that others can experience.

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
~ Erich Fromm

In my mind, a skilled professional or a skilled trademan is more than likely artistic and creative in their skill. Artistic writing, thinking, building, helping, calculating, managing… each skill, each talent is a facet of what makes the world such a wonderful place to be; those creations of others make the whole that we each are a part of.

Image by Jef Safi

So the next time you think “gosh I wish I would draw” or “wow I wish I were creative” or “I can’t draw a straight line to save my life”,

stop and think about what you CAN do.

You have talents and skills, do them to best of your ability and do them with the ability that is uniquely you. This is your beautiful contribution to the rest of the world. Share it!

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Image by Kazze

Start seeing, and watch what comes of it.

More thoughts on creativity:

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.
~ Nietzsche

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
~ Scott Adams

Another word for creativity is courage.
~ George Prince

Gerber Daisy in Green by JGoode

I’d love to hear about it.

What is your perspective on creativity and art. Do you believe there is an artist in us all? Do you have a favorite creative quote?

JGoode Designs Now Offers Flip Minos (yes, penguins too)

A cool new product I am proud to be able to offer.. the flip mino camcorder. My own test version of the flip mino has arrived and I Love it! I hope you will too. This particular version features multiple mini penguins as the custom art printed on these adorable flip mino camcorders. I have a variety of original designs available. Makes for a fabulous gift… all year!

You can customize a flip with your own design by visiting CafePress or you can buy a flip mino featuring a fabulous JGoode Designs image (of course, that is my first choice). If you prefer one of my designs that is not currently available on a flip, contact me and let me know!

So much brain food, so little focus

Ever have one of those day where you set out to do a task that requires a tiny bit of research or info seaking to finishg completely, but in your hunt for info you run across 900 other interesting things that all catch your attention and the next thing you know its 5pm and all you’ve managed to do is make a bigger list of things you want to learn?


well thats me. I’ve finally figured out, most of my distractions are due to my constant need and interest in learning something new. The old “what did you learn today” from grade schol is a family motto here. There literally is a ton of things to learn and every day I hope to learn at least one… but my usual learning path results in my discovering of more to learn and less learning.. unless learning about things to learn about counts as learning.

Some say it’s too many hats. My attention span isn’t big enough to handle only one hat. I get bored of me too easily.

I have no real solution to this. Being my own business with no client expectations nor a boss, I don’t have the guidelines and pressure of “I have to get this done today or…”. However, fact that I finally realized the thinking process is a feat in itself. Although I’m not a huge list maker, I have recently discovered that I accomplish a heck of a lot more with a real pen and paper tangible list than any other means of note taking. There’s something about looking at and holding.. really touching the thoughts that seems to put the ideas into action that much quicker. So for now, I have a special little book, I’ll write down my thoughts and discoveries and ideas and as plug along, I’ll keep notes on what it is I want to learn later.

Do you find that your task  doing results in more tasks added to your to-do list? What techniques do you use to stay focused and on task?

Making the middle seat a great big hug

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks with various conflicts. I have found myself smack dab in the middle on more than one occasion for more than one topic and I’m feeling less and less like hugging anyone.

So how do we turn this around? Why bother being in the middle to begin with?

It’s a heck of a lot easier to draw straws, pick a side ‘n stick or just run the other way and pretend there is no reason to be involved. But that is not how I play. I stand where my beliefs are and as cute as I think cows can be, I don’t follow the herd unless the herd is where my beliefs live. (Ice cream herds, I’m SO there!)

Neopolitan Cows

An interesting fact about me and choosing sides
Because my beliefs often cross boundaries, I frequently find myself not only in the middle, but defending pieces and parts of both sides. Full body armor is usually not enough and my tendency to look for the peace keeping tactics specific to each side don’t always suffice. I am quite accustomed to hearing the rants and ravings from one side only to listen to just as many from the other… and there I sit, not always so quietly in the middle, absorbing it all so I can come out from the darkness with a light to shed on the entire situation.

Usually neither side realizes how much time I spend defending them to the other… I do it because I believe in them, not because I want treats and thank yous.

So I wonder, when my chair isn’t appreciated in that middle spot.. and someone feels the need to complain that I’m there, would their view change if they knew how much I just stood up for them? Or would they continue to complain about me? Honestly, I think they expect it more than they would appreciate it. Yet, I continue to sit in this chair I’ve created. Comfy or not, it’s mine and I’m proud of it.

I’m a big believer in direct communication
Although I will discuss issues behind closed doors and I will share insight and opinions in closed conversations. At the end of the day, the conversations are always opened to those involved regardless of how personal the issue might have originated. Why? because I think its important to be upfront. It’s important to let others know how I feel about them and how they are impacting my life. I also think its important to realize not everyone is going to agree and its ok to not follow the same path. The “end of the day” might be weeks from now, but it eventually comes and the whole thought process is shared. Heard or understood, I don’t always know. I put it out there and let it go.

Communication - Penguin Humor

Now here is a disappointing reality
What I am learning most recently is that no matter how upfront or forthcoming I am, there will always be those that face-to-face will be on one side, yet when out of sight, join the other team. Maybe they were a competitor all along or maybe they just didn’t want to hurt my feelings with their criticisms face-to-face. Either way, its dishonest, disappointing and disheartening. It makes me deeply sad to witness this kind of behavior, even moreso when its individuals I hold close to my heart.

How tiring would that be to play both sides? How exhausting is it to have to carrying around so many faces or game bags? I can’t do it. I have a hard enough time remembering where I put my socks I just put on. How could I doodle big grins if I spent so much of my time angry or disappointed or irritated? That’s like trying to enjoy a delightful slice of cheesecake with a green olive in your mouth.

There’s a fine line between respect and polite behavior vs pretending to get along just to save face in front of whomever.

So how do we make it all work when things seem to be a tighter squeeze than we’d like?

No, we don’t run and hide or pick a side we don’t 100% support. We stand our ground. That’s it. In the long run one side will loosen up, lose interest or move on. Until then, pretend its a great big hug and find that happy place way down deep in the midst of your being. It is there and it is waiting to embrace the you that you are trying to hold true.

I Love Hugs

My Penguin is a tattoo – now it's more than just a coloring marker!

I started my day today with a fantastic email from a JGoode Penguin fan. I think I now have to dub her the penguin’s biggest fan. Yay! We actually have a biggest fan- today is a historical moment for JGD…

This is a photo from her message to me…

This is the original design:

Blue Fairy Penguin
Little Blue Fairy Penguin

I personally think its pretty darn cool that someone likes my art enough to permanently attach it to their being. That’s the whole point of the penguins… find your own penguin personality! This fits right in with my newest penguin themed site, Penguinality. Here you can find the penguin you like most and then personalize it just for you. Check it out!

Now I know, some of you may wonder, as some have mentioned.. copyright issue? Sure, could be. usually you need persmission for artist use their art… but really, is it an issue? Probably more so if the tattoo owner is planning on selling her arm – which I highly doubt she is. ha!

Special thanks to Kayla for sharing this with me. It really made my day!!

What is my real job?

I am a work at home, business owning wife and mother of 3. Nothing chaotic like 3 under 3… I have a teenager, a 5 year old and an infant. I am the duty master. I am the czar of jobs. The empress of tasks. I am the mom.

Everyone in the house has their daily and weekly duties. We have our “family jobs” that we’ve each been designated. Typical, right? I’m sure it is. I’m sure my entire thought process today is just like a million other families, but to me, its a unique situation in my life and I’m trying to figure out how I let it get to where it is.

Now here is where my train of thought fits in today…

The cleaning ladies are coming. YAY!  It is a proven fact that I am a pack rat and a slob about daily nit picking and dusting and all. I’m an anal organizer, but I’m also a habitual pile maker. If you actually read above, you know that my family is probably an unlikely source for the deep cleaning types of duties. So yes, every two weeks my favorite ladies arrive with their mops and dust clothes and they tackle my corners that would otherwise be neglected for most of the year.

With this routine, I run around the house the morning of cleaning day, picking up odds and ends, hopefully just gathering things that have been left out throughout the week so the cleaning can begin. Today I realized, I am no the job manager, I am the job doer with helpers that ponder helping… when reminded. I am doing all the jobs. The jobs are getting partially done. However, it’s only 8:30am and I have… taken out the trash, swept the floor, picked up toys in 4 rooms, cleaned 2 bathrooms 1/2 way, laundry, kitchen counters, dishes, homework space pick up… and the list goes on. I’ve only been awake and dressed for just over an hour. None of those jobs are mine – ok, washing the clothes is. No no, as a mom, they’re always mine, I mean, had everyone done their their jobs as they should, I would have been writing a completely differently blog… 45 minutes ago.

How and when did it get this way? When did half a job become ok and when did I sign that agreement? Am i just a bad example? My kids don’t sit around doodling or managing their websites either… so what happened?

I like being in charge, I like making the decisions (sometimes) and formulating plans, guiding and coordinating. This is out of control.  No wonder people ask how I get so much done in a day – I don’t know either.

So the now plan of action… resign or go on strike? I’ve done the strike thing before. I promised to not cook meals if the kitchen weren’t cleaned after meals. That worked, but then I got hungry.

I’ve boycotted bathroom cleaning – did you know boys pee on the floor? That didn’t work, they still pee on the floor. I’ve threatened to just do all the jobs as a guilt trip tactic – everyone says “no, don’t do that” but then the excitement for the argument ends and what am I stuck with? That’s a dumb move.

I have no answer, but I’m pretty sure something will change… Good thing it’s just me and my biz — can you imagine the doodles that would result? Wow!