Except I Don't Know How....
Except I don’t know how…….
I have found over the past year I have used this phrase a lot. “I don’t know how to do that.” You see, when I bought a business with my brother I was excited about the BUSINESS part. I didn’t realize all the OTHER bits that came along with the business. I quickly realized that small business owners are mostly super heroes with concealed capes. They fix their own broken equipment, they repair leaks, toilets, doors, windows, tractors (YES, tractors) and anything else that could possibly break and break things have. At least something once a week…. (Insert sigh.) This week was no exception. As I walked back through the kitchen I slipped and slid ice skater style, “OH CRAP!” now dear ones, you may be saying to yourself “she said something besides crap.” You might be right but I’ll never tell! There was water spraying into the air, across the three compartment sink as if we were trying to do an impression of the fountains at the Bellagio!! I rushed to turn it off, no luck. I twisted and turned hoping the spraying would stop. NOPE. As I stood in front of our latest challenge the thought occurred to me how many “I don’t know how to…” have turned into “I know how to….” I have been faced with every challenge you can think of. Each situation was unique. I have gained skills I never thought I would have or even that I wanted but now that I DO have them, they are valuable. When I think of it that way is frustrates me less and makes me a little proud. It’s the kind of knowledge nobody can teach you. Life has to teach it to you. Experience has to teach it to you. So, now when I face a new challenge I find myself thinking, “I have to figure out how to.” That’s a good thing. It’s sometimes a scary thing, but I have found that the growth and learning doesn’t really occur in the comfortable places. It occurs in the uncertainty. In the scary places. When I was looking at our new “learning experience” spraying water all over the kitchen, I started brainstorming ideas. I am not afraid to ask for help. Yet another thing I have gotten better at this year. My dad is a good problem solver. An engineer for over 30 years, he tried to help me repair it first. No luck…so he instructs me to start looking for something that can deflect the water down. That would be great since we are about to be swimming! We fiddle with this and that and get the spray slowed down from Bellagio level to annoying level. Next step, deflect downward instead of upward and floorward! We settle on a funnel over the hose and slid down to cover the leaking bits. HA! Success. My dad chuckles that he has an engineering degree and just had to fix a sink with a funnel. I chuckle because we solved the problem and saved the budget for at least one month because faucets for industrial sinks are PRICEY! We both smile and move on to the next task. So stay strong fellow humans! We are all struggling to find solutions for the day to day. The point is, whatever you face in your day start finding a way to say “I have to figure out how to…” I bet you can figure out a solution. Even if it’s just a temporary one that gets you to the next month!
In the Midst...
We had a chance once again last week to debut a new product on Talk of Alabama morning show! Sassy pineapple jam. It is delicious. Everyone who tries it has given rave reviews. It was the wonderful creation of our beloved jelly queen, Janet. As I found myself prepping Friday morning for our t.v. spot I was missing my jelly queen. The message she sent me the night before read as follows, “love you more…you go sell that sassy pineapple!” You see, there are some days that are great and some days you wish you could forget. A week ago, the Alabama Sunshine family had one of those days we wish we could forget.
In the past year of owning this business I have had several of both. I find life whizzing by me at the speed of light and for a while I would say things to people like, “ok, when I can.” Or “when work slows down I will try to” Then I realized the place we live is in the midst. In the midst of the chaos and the busy is the extraordinary. The everyday special will pass you by if you don’t take time to enjoy it now. When I look back at this year I see times I have recognized that and times I have been completely blinded by chaos and let precious moments pass me by. We have celebrated triumphs and suffered defeat but at least we’ve done it and we are still hanging on. We have laughed and we have cried and somehow in the midst we manage to live life.
So I leave you with this. Do the things you think you don’t have time for. Go, be bold, tell others you care, love BIG. Because you see, our time here is short. If you lose yourself in the midst you will miss the best parts. This week we remember one gone far too soon and we let it be a reminder to us all. Life is precious and never to be taken for granted. R.I.P. Mike, you made our jelly queen smile and for that we are eternally grateful! We know you are looking down on us and probably already passed along the recipe for sassy pineapple in heaven’s kitchen!
Julie Smith Madison , co-owner of Alabama Sunshine