The inside scoop on Change

I mean change, as in things are different not that jingle in your pocket after buying a pack of gum. There’s been quite a bit of pep-rallying about change over the last year both in the media and in my own mind on a variety of levels and topics.

change is good

Then and Now

I used to really thrive on change and spontaneous re-directions. Now, 3 kids and a husband older, I find myself really avoiding quick un-thoughtout change and thriving more on planning. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with my family’s inability to keep up with me when I do attempt a new angle without warning.i can no longer make split decisions and run with them. I stop to check how it will effect everyone else and often even ask if they like the idea. Not a bad thing, as long as I have an additional 2 weeks to act on whatever this is. I’ve learned to be more particular of actions taken that involve more than just me.. which is just about everything I do.

Happy Constants

When I was young I used to have a pile of silly little plastic barrettes. I don’t actually remember wearing them myself, but I do remember sharing them with anything that I could doll up. While I was in Target shopping a few weeks ago, there were those same barrettes. They were more updated colors, but the silly shapes were just the same. This inspired the topic to begin with. All this talk about change and something as small as a little plastic barrette seemed to bring a bit of comfort to me as a time that feels so unpredictable.


As I thought about change all around me, I noticed more comforting contants…. Smurfs are coming back. Christmas cookies were made again this year. The snow is still beautiful when it sparkles in the night, no matter how cold it is.

The Realization

Although we need change to keep things fresh and moving forward… its still important that we have something to hold on to that is the same, even if it’s something small and appearing to be insignificant. It’s important to be able to know when we go to bed at night that we will still wake up on the same pillow in the morning. I can stop trying to change everything to make it better because half of what is so great about today is that it’s just an extension of yesterday.

A few things to look forward to

With the end of the year here, many of us stop to think about New Year’s resolutions and the change of the year to come. For me, I’m trying to clean up my internal clutter and let out my hidden edginess a bit more. I can no longer find myself within my own thoughts because there is too much stuffed into my head and too many directions I’m trying to focus on.

I’ve started allowing myself to change some much needed areas… I am actually letting go of piles of belongs (mostly clothes) that I don’t need to keep. It’s taken me years to be ok with this. It’s definitely an attempt at the less is more approach.

I’m also revamping my business visual presentation;  Soon the straight measured lines will be gone. What I’m removing from the closets, I guess I’m putting back into my design.That clean line business look just isn’t me. I’m truly a rough edged, go with the flow kind of gal. So, I’m allowing my design to flow with this attitude more and more.

The Old look…

JGoode Designs original look

The New look..

JGoode Designs New version

I hope you find your own place in the midst of all the change. In the process, I’m positive you too will rediscover a path you’re happy to be following.

What are your thoughts on change?

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.

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?

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

Deep Cleaning

It’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve written, and not because I have nothing to say. I’ve been cleaning. If you saw my house at the moment you’d laugh hysterically and wonder what I’m talking about. Seriously cleaning. Cleaning up my ideas and my thoughts and priorities… or at least, that’s what I’ve been trying to do, with little progress. Regardless of mental or emotional or physical surrounding cleaning, I always find myself with a bigger mess at the end of the day than when I started. I need a new plan, a new strategy.

This is how cleaning works for me… I set out to clean one little cabinet. No big deal. It’s 4 shelves tall and only 12″x12″ deep. this kind of project should take an average person, maybe an hour. For me, this takes months. I pull everything out and as I do I find things I forget I had. “Oh look, there’s those beads I bought last spring”. Which then turns into my remembering the projects I want to do. “I should dig out my other beads and make a few of those bracelets before the weekend”. So then I go hunting for pieces of things I know I will need “before I forget”. In the hunting process I find things I was looking for yesterday along with more things I forgot I wanted to do something with. Occassionally I’ll actually find what I set out to find, but probably less often than I’d like. By the end of the day, I’ve found 4 new things, remembered 10 new things, brainstormed 20 new ideas and the cabinet is now spread across the entire kitchen table and the counter.

Hear See Speak No Evil Monkeys

So what happens when the mess is overtaking the kitchen?

If my family is going to eat, I need to clean up quick, so I usually stash everything (old and newly collected items) back into the cabinet. OR, if I am really determinded to clean up, I’ll grab a box and dump everything in it.. only to store on a shelf somewhere else.

This is exactly how my mind cleaning works as well. I set out to focus on one thing, start looking at the details which reminds me of other topics… so then I sit and ponder the pieces and parts I need to remember. By the end of the day I’ve completely forgotten the first focus only to have rediscovered, brainstormed freshly today and sparked more brain clutter for me to sift through later. I then have to just dump it all into a “gotta remember this later” box and continue on with the path of the day.

So when does this cycle end? When I finally find something of interest and importance enough to focus and finish. Even then, the cycles only ends for that one thing… and then it starts all over again.

There are numerous people that have commented over the years “gosh Jen, you do so much… how do you do it all?”

Reread that path above… while you hang upside down from your chair, trying to drink pink lemonade from a straw  and whistling any number of kid themed songs…

No coffee or soda… it’s 100% me – A Happy Pig.

Happy Pig


I just recently learned something new about myself and challenges. I just returned home from a 60 mile breast cancer walk. We walked basically 20 miles a day for 3 days. Although this was physically difficult, quite painful at times and it was extremely wearing, tiring and trying on an emotional level, this is not the challenge that was hardest for me. Where I struggled was choosing between where my heart wanted to go and where my group wanted to go.

Every person has their own reason for getting involved in an event like this. Each individual has their own goals, expectations and hopes for accomplishment. I arrived hoping I would make it to the end. I left realizing that just making it to the end wasn’t the full goal. I really was wanting to learn more about what inspired people to get involved to begin with. I really wanted to hear the stories of those touched by breast cancer. Those walking for a loved one. Those hoping to make a difference. I wanted to hear their stories and I wanted to stand beside them. I wanted to get a glimpse of what it was that was driving their own path.

seattle space needle and the breast cancer 3 day walk dreams banner

This doesn’t sound that difficult. Just walking, I would be near hundreds of others with their own stories… all I needed to do was talk to them. However, what I discovered is that the more places I didn’t go, the less opportunity I had to cross paths with these stories. So instead of following my group in all the directions they went, I stood by my gut instinct to find the direction that was right for me. This was hard for me. I’m all about the group. I want to be apart of the group and support the group. What I learned from this was, we can be a part of group with a group goal, but still have our own path within that group. Thats what makes a group so fantastic. I struggled with the idea of diverting, but in the end, I felt better about me for standing up for what I knew I needed to do. I felt glad I didn’t ignore my own path.

Moral of the thought… believe in yourself and your goals. Listen to your heart and don’t put yourself last. Follow your dreams.

Be a Winner!

Winner: “achiever: a person with a record of successes”. I personally don’t think you need a “record of successes” to be a true winner. You need a goal of reaching success and a interest and effort level to achieve that goal. Besides, we really need to define “success” before we can define a record fo success, don’t you think?

Let’s skip that for now…

A friend of mine is holding a fun little contest – you post a comment on her blog about your favorite tshirt from cafepress or your favorite CNN tshirt design and you’ll win a free tshirt. So it got me thinking.. people love to win – why? DO they just love free things? Or maybe people love to win because they love free things AND winning gives a sense of accomplishment on a level different from anything else. If you’re a winner, you have accomplished something great just for being you.

So my thought is, maybe we are all just winner waiting for someone else to tell us so. So, why not just tell ourselves? Dangit, I am indeed a winner! Sometimes I am a dorky, goofy, silly, or as my mom puts it “unique” girl.. but that doesn’t make me any less of a winner than Joe Blo the quiet, reserved oh-so-serious guy… does it? I’m just a different kind of winner. So are you – We all are!

I think this calls for corn..

You’re a winner
I’m a Winner
We’re all winners –

woo hoo!


— glad I got that out of the way, aren’t you

We are currently all surrounded, to some degree, with the Olympics. The ultimate in competitions and winning. Only a minuscule percent is able to be present, in person, to watch this phenomenal event and a tiny percent of that is even “good enough” to participate. These are the best of the best in so many ways. yet, that doesn’t mean those not involved are less.

Everyone is a winner in their own way. We need to give ourselves a little trophy and “way to go” once in a while. AND, Sometimes we need to take a minute to stop and remind each other what champions we are, because being pat on the back by a friend or collegue or family member is so much more valuable, many times, than patting ourselves.

Now, I’m writing this as I’m watching the women’s gymnastics in the Olympics… I remember watching these events when I was a little girl, and thinking – wow! I’d like to be one of those — not in the sense of participating in the sports, but more that I wanted the flowers and the medal and the sparkly moment. I have those sparkly moments, they just aren’t televised for the rest of you to see. I could go on an on about my winner-ness and winning moments, but I think I’ll leave it here for you to ponder your own winning greatness.

I’d love to hear about your winning moments!

Some fun contest infos in case you feel as though you really need to win something today:

My friend’s contest- win a free t-shirt from 365gear

Contest Alley – a great list of contests, sweepstakes and freebies

The “Contest Guide” – a fun list of current contests you can enter

If you’d like more fun “winning” designs, you are invited to visit my online store.