Finally, It’s Up!

Some of my sold fused art creations

As some of you may know, I have a creative side. For many years I’ve dabbled in craft and art projects, from card making, jewelry, costumes, to fused glass creations. I love figuring out how to make things that are functional art. Then I’d give them away as gifts to friends and family and occasionally sell at craft fairs, which lead to people asking, “Do you have an Etsy online shop so I can tell my friends about you and they can buy something?” And the answer was always, “No, I haven’t had time to get that done yet.” It’s that cobbler shoe story, the one where the cobblers own family has no shoes because he’s so busy making shoes for everyone else. Well I get so busy helping my clients with their web sites and social media, that relaxing time for me is making arts and crafts, not sitting in front of my computer working on my own sites (or writing blogs about it, for that matter). But the creations are piling up so I had to just get it done!

My photo booth

Part of what held me back from making an Etsy site, was I felt like I needed to be a semi-pro photographer to showcase my creations. The fused glass is especially hard to photograph to show the true colors and shape. But thanks to Pinterest (my guilty pleasure) and all the do-it-yourself ideas listed there, I made a simple, fold up white photo booth, which sits on my dinning room table during photo shoots. Now I can take decent pictures with my iPhone and iPad that give a pretty close representation of what I’ve created.

No More Excuses

No more excuses were in my way of not getting this Etsy shop done! I took a weekend (during one of our northern California flooding events this winter, when going outside anywhere was pointless) and created my shop. As I started filling the blanks in the various Etsy templates, looking at other successful Etsy shops for examples, I realized how detailed it had all become. The in-depth descriptions of each product and the artist too (should you care to read about us), many categories, key words, searchable descriptions, shipping info and the option to add multiple photos (the better to see all angles of an item, which is very nice), the option to pay to promote your products (like Google Adwords), all made me feel like I was creating a WordPress web site for a client. Otherwise I felt right at home and was putting the things I do for others to work for myself.

So now its done and I continue to add creations I’ve made. I try to do something with my new shop everyday, whether it’s photographing stuff and adding them to the shop or self-promoting it on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. I’ve sold a couple of things too, so it’s working!

Click here to check it out!

*Etsy.com has been known for many years as the online place to buy and sell all things handmade and many could be custom ordered.  Now Etsy is allowing things that aren’t all handmade to be sold on their site.

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New Year ~ Positive Changes

I welcome the New Year of 2017!

Steampunk goggles

Cheers! This new year is going to be better than last year. I’m putting those positive thoughts out there in the universe.

I’ve renamed my business – Mindful Confetti Solutions Inc. It’s a bigger umbrella to cover the multiple hats that I wear. I’m joining new groups, meeting new people and having fun making new friends. I’m walking in nature more, eating better and finding things to do that make me happy…basically taking care of myself. My arts and crafts have become more important to me because it’s gives me such pleasure to do them. To find people who like my stuff as much as I do is a huge bonus for me. It makes me happy to help people, whether it’s through some sort of business support or creating something that makes them feel good. Really most of what I do, even in the business end of things, is being creative; from creating newsletters for other businesses, writing articles, helping build and maintain websites, to helping people get healthier. To find something I enjoy doing and make a living at it – is all good!

How I Survive Grief

craigkim
When Things Were Good

My best friend and love passed away from cancer in April after a bitter struggle. I did all I could for him to go in peace, surrounded by love. Everyone is unique and deals with the loss of a loved one differently.  Now for me, the hardest part is when my mind runs wild with all the “what if’s,” especially at night. I’ve found that keeping my mind busy either with work, reading entertaining books or watching shows, until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, helps me not go down that depressing path. Ending my night with something positive or funny is always good too. Being creative also brings me peace. As long as I’m concentrating on something, I’m not dwelling on the past or feeling sorry for myself.

I try to write my feelings down sometimes, just so that I can get the feelings out. Many times I go back and delete it later but that is me. Just writing it and trying to put what I feel into words is cathartic. When something triggers a memory and the tears start to flow, I let them come. As the grief washes over me, I know that it is only for that moment. Then I dry my tears and get up to do something else.

I try to find happiness around me in the small things…

Someone’s smile
A child’s laugh
Kindness from a stranger
The amazingness of nature
Watch a hummingbird fly (they are so fierce yet so fragile)
A hug from a friend
A song that makes me want to dance or sing along
Something that makes me laugh
Doing something for someone else that makes them smile
Driving anywhere with the music turned up really loud
Talking to people

There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. I think of the millions of people who have lived through horrible loss and somehow they manage, until it’s their turn to leave this world. This isn’t my first loss and I’m sure it won’t be the last either. I can survive. I also hope that something good can come out of something bad. Maybe my loss can help others someway. All I know is I will never forget the good or bad times or the friendship and love we had, as it is part of who I am now.

 

Winter Storm

I have been temporarily staying in North Carolina and experienced my first ice storm. The trees surrounding the house looked so beautiful coated with ice. When the light hit them at different times of the day, they looked like glass trees. I tried to get a few decent pictures but nothing that I could take with my iPhone did the beauty of it any justice. But I managed to get a few decent pictures and then decided to mess with the slideshow feature on my computer to see what I could create. Pro photographer or video editor I am not. There are features, programs and many other aspects of technology that I never use as it has little to do with my current work. This is in the category of things I want to learn how to do better “someday.” So to all you people out there who are pros at this, don’t laugh. For those who have no clue how to do any of this and I seem light years ahead of you…enjoy! This has been a fun learning experience.

Part II ~ Shayla’s Story

By Kim Murphey

I have three daughters, Shayla is my youngest. She is so similar  to her oldest sister Lauren that we used to joke they were twins separated by 9 years. They both have dyslexia but yet Shayla’s  learning journey has been completely different than Lauren’s.

Lauren, Kim, Shayla, Nikki
Lauren, Kim, Shayla, Nikki

I didn’t know for sure that Shayla had dyslexia but by the time she was in third grade all the signs where there. I had her  tested by a professional to make it official. With her form of dyslexia she saw things differently than Lauren. What helped Lauren learn didn’t work for Shayla. She had no younger sibling pushing her to try harder either. As long as I read everything to her, she had good retention and could answer questions. If she had to do it herself, she’d just give up and start crying. Other things were going on in our family that made it harder for both of us to work together. There was a death of a close family member, financial troubles and more. Homeschooling was not working for Shayla. We needed help. I found a small private school that specialized in kids with learning disorders and disabilities. Shayla started going to tutoring two days a week, even though she needed more, it was all we could afford. The next year, the school offered to take her in as a full-time student on a scholarship. That offer was a godsend.

From fifth grade through eighth grade Shayla was surrounded by a wonderful group of caring teachers that not only helped her overcome her reading problems, they gave her a passion to learn. She went from being a loner who was embarrassed because she couldn’t read well to a confident, outgoing leader in this supportive environment. She still loses patience with herself when she doesn’t get a math concept fast enough, misreads words, and spells things wrong but she doesn’t give up easy anymore. The skills she was given in that special small school have given her the ability to succeed with the next part of her learning journey. Shayla will be going to a public high school this year which she is excited about.

Shay, Lauren, Nikki
Shayla, Lauren, Nikki

Every child and learning situation is different. What works for one might not  work for the other. Having three daughters with completely different learning styles, strengths and weaknesses would be a challenge for anyone.  In Shayla’s case I had to admit to myself that I couldn’t teach her anymore. Finding a different school environment provided her with the skills she needed to get over her own self doubts. The love and support from caring teachers, family, and friends helped too. Yes, her story is far from over and I look forward to watching her grow up.

2013 Update: Shayla has had a wonderful first year in public high school. The school is very supportive of her struggle with dyslexia. They made sure she was in the right classes and let her know they are there to help her should she have any problems. Shayla makes a good advocate for herself too. She has no qualms about talking to the teachers about what she struggles with. The teachers are more than willing to help a student who wants to learn. So far it is a win-win situation for her.

Part I ~ Lauren’s Story

By Kim Murphey

My first daughter Lauren started talking in complete sentences at a young age. She could repeat whole passages from her favorite Disney movies, write her name and many other short words by the time she was four. When she asked me to teach her to read, I thought, how hard could it be?

Lauren (3) with baby sister
Lauren (3) & baby sister Nikki

I started buying books that taught reading, writing, and basic math. We worked through them and had fun. I read tons of books to her. I met people who homeschooled their kids and it intrigued me. I had another daughter who was 2 by then and I was running a small part-time home based business. I thought I would give homeschooling a try and see how it all worked together for us. I registered with a local private school and joined their homeschool support group.

The first five years went by quickly. As we started fourth grade Lauren was doing well with all subjects but was still struggling to read by herself despite her verbal and memory skills. Spelling retention was becoming a problem. She learned her words each week but she would forget them the next week or spell the word right in one sentence only to spell it wrong in the next. When she read back to me, she didn’t see anything wrong with her misspelled words. To her they looked correct. She still turned letters and numbers around, something I was told was normal for kids through the third grade however it’s a sign of dyslexia by fourth grade. She was starting to really struggle with certain math concepts now as well. But everything I read about dyslexia at the time said most kids hated reading, were slow learners, and had memory problems. That didn’t describe her at all. Her younger sister who was doing first grade work was reading already without any problems.

the girls reading
Shayla, Lauren, Nikki

I had Lauren tested. She was diagnosed with dyslexia. She apparently saw mostly consonants when she looked at words. She struggled with phonetically sounding out words. It seemed very easy for her to memorize things. I didn’t realize that she was memorizing everything. When she was reading, if she got to a word she didn’t know, she would guess at it based on the first and last letters and what made sense. Most times she guessed right as she had a huge vocabulary. But if you put a word out there without anything to give it a context and asked if it’s spelled right, she had no idea how to decipher it. They all looked the same to her, especially if it was the same word but spelled incorrectly. The advice that came from the specialist that tested her was to accept that she will always struggle but there were “tricks” to help her learn. Also in today’s world of calculators, computers, and Spellcheck, she’d succeed as long as she was encouraged to.

I went on to find examples of successful people who had dyslexia and told her their stories (Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Richard Branson, even her own pediatrician, to name just a few). I found in my research that many famous actors are dyslexic. Their skill in memorizing greatly helps them with lines in plays and movies. Armed with these stories, we went forward with our continued journey.

Nikki & Lauren Ready to Dance
Nikki & Lauren Ready to Dance

Lauren loved to dress up and make up stories. As she learned to type on the computer (which was way easier than writing by hand for her), she would write a short story or add to a story every day. She was discouraged by the fact that Spellcheck seemed to underline almost every word she wrote but eventually she got better. I had her read her stories out loud. She would catch some mistakes that way. We used cooking, something she was interested in to help teach math concepts she was struggling with. She loved to act, so she started taking classes at a local theater.  I found she learned better by listening then reading textbooks. We found courses on CD and DVD’s that came with highlighted notes and assignments which we continued to use all the way through high school.

As I look back at the journey we took together, there were things that worked for her situation that wouldn’t work for someone else. My second daughter is three years younger and didn’t struggle with learning. There is no motivation like that of having a younger sibling who can keep up with everything you can do. It made Lauren try harder. She loved being a big sister and teaching her siblings too. By sixth grade she was finally reading easily on her own and she started to devour books (she lists reading as one of her hobbies today). When she was in 7th grade, she started taking ballroom dance lessons. A few years later, she joined a ballroom dance team who performed locally and taught younger kids how to dance.

Lauren SRJC Make-up Final
Lauren SRJC Make-up Class Final

When Lauren was 15 she was encouraged by one of her acting teachers to enroll in the local junior college theater classes. She started off with two classes. By the time she graduated high school two years later, she had her certificate in theater from the college, had been in several plays and met a great group of friends. She was tested again for dyslexia by the college so she could have access to textbooks on CD, tutoring and other help if she needed it. Somewhere along the line she decided she wanted to be a teacher. If she could take her love of learning and theater to children who struggled to learn like she did and help them succeed too, she’d have a career and be doing something she loved at the same time. This journey isn’t finished for her yet as she works towards getting her BA and also teaching part-time at the pre-school level.

Related links: homeschoolingdyslexiaballroom dance

Part II “Shayla’s Story

New Year Thoughts

Ferns by Kim Murphey

New Year Thoughts by Kim Murphey

Today,  New Year’s Eve,  I’m  reflecting on all that has gone on this past year. It has been a year of major changes for me. As a new way of life is emerging from the old thoughts, habits, perceptions and even living space, I look forward to the changes with hope and anticipation of the good that will emerge. Just as the baby ferns are emerging from the old crumbling wall, sometimes we have the chance to do the same in our lives.

I am thankful for all the wonderful friends that I have and for the opportunity to try to make a difference in this world, whether it’s through helping someone, teaching someone or just being a friend. Here’s to a new year and new opportunities!

Modern Day Nightmare

By Kim Murphey

I had a dream this morning. Well more like a nightmare. My laptop and iPhone were sitting on a desk next to an open window and when I came back into the room, someone had taken them. I was distraught to say the least. Aside from being upset that I had lost something valuable that I don’t have the money to replace, the sheer terror of realizing that I now have no way for anyone to get a hold of me or me them. I am one of those people who have turned off the land line. I don’t have a little paper phone book anymore with all my contacts in it either. Everyone I know has been put into my address book on my phone and computer. I only have a few key phone numbers memorized . Yes I back it up to an external hard drive but I only have one of those and it was gone with the computer. I use both computer and phone constantly for work, school and to keep in touch with everyone. Without them I would be lost.

I came close to this nightmare being partially a reality a few months ago when my phone got wet and shorted out two days before I was traveling somewhere. I couldn’t imagine leaving without a phone. After a trip to the ATT store only confirmed that I would have to spend a boat load of money to replace my phone, I tried the Apple Store next. To my amazement they replaced the phone! It was 2 days short of the end of its one year warranty and the fact that they don’t cover water damage, which I was well aware of, made their decision to replace it all the more surprising to me. But I gladly accepted their generous one time offer and went off on my trip with a working connection to my world, feeling so much safer and with peace of mind that I could get a hold of anyone or have any information I might need at my finger tips.

It made me think how for the most part, people have embraced the use of daily cell phone and internet use. Gone are the days of using a pay phone or even the phone in your hotel room other than to order room service. Most research isn’t done with books and if you want to know the answer to almost any question you just Google it. With the upcoming cloud based servers, maybe my nightmare wouldn’t have been so bad as all my important info would be accessible from any computer. Then it would just have been about the replacement cost. Wait, that would still be a nightmare! I was so happy when that little alarm went off on my phone waking me up this morning.

Book Review: Thyroid Mind Power

ThyroidMindPowerReview by Kim Murphey

Everyone should read Thyroid Mind Power  by Richard Shames, MD , Karilee Shames, PhD, RN, and Georajan Shames, LAc. If this book doesn’t help  you, it will help someone you know. In fact every doctor and therapist should read this book too. If you know of someone who suffers from any of these symptoms: constantly tired, depression, addictions, insomnia, narcolepsy, anxiety, panic attacks, memory loss, feeling foggy, cold hands and feet, chronic irritability, angry for no reason, ADD, ADHD, alcoholism, eating disorders, dementia and more, it is possible with the right testing, that their thyroid
is too low/high. Thyroid affects how everything else functions in our body yet most people don’t know that their problems could all stem from it not working correctly. Many doctors don’t understand what tests they should order that will show true thyroid levels either. They use the standard test and tell you if you fall in-between these ranges, you don’t have a problem, even though there are more precise tests out there that will tell you otherwise.

Part I of this book describes all of the symptoms and many of the problems caused by too low/high thyroid levels. There is a self assessment questionnaire and recommendations on where to get properly tested. There are many natural supplements and acupuncture that can help with this problem as well, which are also covered.

Part II has five chapters on what type of person you may be (Moody, Edgy, Foggy, Sleepy, Needy) and the symptoms, causes, and help for this type of person.

Part III sums it all up and gives you recommendations for where to find help, additional thyroid boosters, advice about eating better, hormones, how and why to reduce stress, vitamin recommendations and reasons why you should meditate, exercise, and various other helpful advice.

I now realize why I had these health problems all of my life and that I had inherited the thyroid problem from my mother (who never knew she had one). Between that and the constant barrage of offending carcinogens that are in our water (fluoride is a huge culprit), the food we eat and the air we breath, it’s pretty hard not to have your thyroid affected over the long run these days. This book will help you deal with it and hopefully get you the care you deserve.

This last part is My Personal Story

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 19. I took thyroid medicine for a year. When I was 25 and expecting my first child, I was told that I was low on thyroid but nothing would be done until after the baby was born. After that I was put on synthetic thyroid medicine again and have been on it ever since. My first few doctors rarely ran blood tests to monitor it. Most would feel my neck and say everything was just fine, no need for tests, just keep taking the same dose. Yet I had horrible menstrual problems all those years, hot flashes, headaches, tinnitus, freezing hands and feet and other things. I was told repeatedly that this was also normal (now I know they were all signs of thyroid imbalance, even though I was already on thyroid medication). By the time I was 40 I had endometriosis so bad that I needed a complete hysterectomy, which threw me into instant medical menopause. At the same time, my mother who had similar problems all her life was diagnosed with endometrial cancer (of which she died from 3 years later). It wasn’t until I started researching endometriosis and endometrial cancer that I realized I had probably inherited her problems.

It was a few years after my hysterectomy and in search of relief from the unexplained weight gain and constant nausea that I had while wearing my hormone patch, I discovered a doctor who explained what thyroid should do and how it affected my hormone problems. Between readjusting my thyroid medications, adding T3 and adding some natural bio-identical hormone replacement creams, my life was turned around. Everything was not 100% better but I now understood how things worked and that it would be a constant process of tweaking the various medications to deal with the changes my body would naturally go through over time.

I believe in using natural products and therapies. It’s a sorry state that we live in when we can’t get or afford the natural remedies we need because our insurance doesn’t cover it, a doctor doesn’t know anything about it, or a pharmaceutical company doesn’t sell it. I have gone to holistic doctors, massage therapist, chiropractors and acupuncturist, including Georjana Shames, one of the authors of this book, and believe in their healing ways. But it’s all been at my own expense, which is financially hard on most people these days. Some insurance companies are realizing how these area’s of healing can help. Even Kaiser has started adding many of  these specialist to their list of providers. Give this book to your doctor or ask him/her to read it. If your doctor won’t or can’t help you,  Dr. Richard ShamesKarilee Shames, PhD, RN, and Georajan Shames, LAc. would be glad to help

endometriosisendometrial cancerbio-identical hormone replacementThyroid Mind Power

The Party Planner

By Kim Murphey

I have been the family party planner since I was a teen. Yesterday I was asked to plan a wedding party. In a week. Five days before Christmas for an intimate group of twenty or so. Not a big deal. It’s just a surprise. No, it’s not for any of my daughters either. It’s for my father!

I have catered Christmas office parties for my father’s business for the last 25 years or more. My mother loved to plan the food and decorations but she didn’t deal well with the stress of putting it all together and cooking everything. That’s where I came in. I became the chef and glorified dish washer/maid all in one. It was a lot cheaper for them than taking everyone to a restaurant and I made some extra money. I put on some pretty good parties over the years too with the menu getting more elaborate as I gained experience in the kitchen. I managed it through three pregnancies and three infants in bouncy seats sitting on the kitchen floor while I buzzed around the kitchen cooking, serving and cleaning. As the girls grew up, they too would help me, eventually becoming my sous-chefs and waitresses, charming the socks off the office staff. But all that ended when my mother died and a few years latter my father retired. No need for parties.

Now my father has found a new love. I’m happy for him too. My job as the party planner continues yet again. Here’s to last-minute weddings!