Wednesday, September 11, 2013

with gratitude...

next time you think about making a purchase,
any purchase, any where, stop for a minute and think of the power in that purchase.

because, i can tell you from up close and personal experience, there IS power
in our purchases.

i have been on the other end of your purchases for years now.
and your purchases have literally fed, warmed and clothed my family.
and as if that isn't enough - your purchases encouraged us to believe in ourselves,
and EVEN spurred my sons on into their own careers.

i am not exaggerating in the least.

i started bone sighs out of a marriage break up. it was my decision to divorce,
leaving my husband feeling pretty darn angry. in his anger, he 'punished' me at every
turn and vowed to leave me with nothing.

not the best way to start out.
but then again, maybe it was.
because i believed his promise of leaving me with nothing.
(turns out that logistics and laws saved me there - but i didn't know that at the time.)

all i knew was that i needed to pull this whole bone sigh arts thing off and that
i certainly didn't have any money to spare. and i had three sons i would be raising -
and schooling. and somehow, i knew i was gonna do it.

i have always said i was 'fool hardy' back then.
no kidding.
no no no no kidding.
looking back now, my eyes go wide just thinking about it all.
i honestly thought i was completely on my own with absolutely nothing.

and seriously, i am so glad that's where my head was.
because it took that feeling to dig in like i've never dug in before.
there was such deep desperation.
and a KNOWING that i had no choice - i HAD to make it work.

as i went along, i learned i wasn't alone.
not by a long shot -
you guys were there.
and what i needed always seemed to come.
be it emotional support, encouragement, money, or ideas.

and here we are, you guys -
years and years and years and years later -


ohmygosh, it really really worked.

i raised my sons.
with you guys right next to me.
and i cannot type that out without getting choked up.

noah (my middle son) was the one who first said we needed a website so long ago.
he didn't know how to make one - but knew we needed one -
i think he was 15 at the time.
so he taught himself how to make one and he built one!
i am not kidding.
and guess what noah does for a living right now? he builds websites
and does graphic design work!!

zakk read programming books as if they were harry potter stories.
he read and read and read and taught himself languages i had never heard of.
and he learned how to give us the quote of the day, our shopping cart,
our newsletter, our e-cards - those are all zakk projects.
guess what zakk does for a living now? he is in partnership with noah,
and they own their own company. zakk's the evil programming genius.

josh, always the people person, was my 'hey! you gotta check out my mom's work' guy.
he'd pop into shops and tell them about his mom. we have one of our best shops
because of josh's salesmanship! can't surprise any of us that josh's work now is
in the music industry and the entertainment field. always out in the public!

they're grown, you guys. they're grown. and moved out (well, any day now as zakk
and noah finish work on their new house) - and when i think about it, and all that
we traveled together, the tears just well up.

in the very beginning, we wandered in the car going from store to store
peddling bone sighs.
i was so scared and so shy.
we camped over nite at places to participate in festivals -
always on a budget.
we sat thru festivals that were just empty or rainy.
we loaded up our tiny tiny tercel that couldn't possibly hold all of us, a festival tent,
art for the festival, screens to hang the art on, and our own packed stuff,
and we drove and we talked and we dreamed.

we cried together over the hurts of the divorce.
we brainstormed together over business ideas.
we gathered around and cheered when our first fax came thru on our fax machine.
and when i made a record amount of money at a festival and called to tell the guys,
i came home to a sign the boys had made that had a $ symbol on it and 'way to go!'

we talked about the possibility of slim christmases,
and always managed to pull off beautiful ones until they got old enough where it didn't
matter, and by then finances had slowed again and the slimmer christmas happened
but they didn't care anymore. everything was precious.

we pulled our finances together to get noah an air compressor he had drooled over.
zakk coming up with the idea and being the first to offer to pitch in.

they boys learned how to do mechanics so that we could have a car to drive.
the stories there would amaze you. that in itself is a book.
they literally saved us and rebuilt our cars to keep us going.

we lived with engines in the kitchen, cars breaking down, and grease becoming a way of life.

we brainstormed more.
we reminded each other to trust and keep going.
i worked so many hours in the beginning days that my eyes always felt like they
had sand in them. i whispered mantras to myself to keep me head in a good place.
we laughed often.
we brought sandwiches everywhere we went.
and when we splurged and went out to eat, we knew how great it was.

times got better and we started having executive lunches out every friday barinstorming
business ideas thru lunch.
times got tighter and we changed the lunches to going out for snacks and tea.
times got tighter and we dropped the snacks and went for tea.
times got even tighter and we stopped going out.
but we'd still sit around my table and brainstorm.

there are times i sit and cry for some of the heartache that my needing to leave my
marriage caused my children. there's a heaviness that i'm sure will never go away.
but there's some incredibly powerfully good stuff that i can finally really really see
outweighs that heartache -

my boys learned some amazing stuff.
they positively knew that they mattered and what they did kept us going.
they could see how much value they had.
they were a part of everything we did.
they learned about following your heart.
they learned about daring and trying and succeeding and struggling and struggling
and struggling and making it anyway.
they knew the joys of succeeding. and the sweat in keeping it all going.

they learned how to be grateful for small things
and how not to take things for granted.

and they watched the bone sighs touch people.
and they saw the connections of us all.

they learned and grew.
i learned and grew.

we would not be here without you guys.
you guys helped raise us, you guys were there every step of the way.
you guys were a part of us every single day.

the boys are men now.
and in a few days it's just me on my own.

obviously the purchases still matter as i need to survive.
but it's different now. i won't lay awake at nite and figure
out how i'm gonna pull it off and keep my boys happy.

they're happy.
they're grown.

and i cannot find the words to thank you for being part of our lives.
your purchases matter. your purchases have power.
your purchases change lives.

thanks for letting us be part of your world.
thanks for being such a huge part of ours.

it's been one heck of a journey.
and i wouldn't trade any of it.
not one smidgen.


cathy said...

Ter - you are my (s)hero!!!

terri st. cloud said...

grinnin'. well thanks, cathy! but honestly - YOU guys are mine!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, Terri, but it is "with gratitude" that I thank YOU for the difference you have made in MY life! At first, it was a "silent" difference, but now through the miracle of technology, I can "talk" to you and reiterate how truly wonderful it was to discover your work so many years ago. So love and blessings to you all as you embark on new adventures and new eras in your lives. Your children will always "return to the nest" on occasion for their mother's love. As the saying goes, we must first give them roots....and then wings. Thank you are truly a force in "women helping women."

With love and "with gratitude,"

terri st. cloud said...

marsha......thank you.......

Diane Stefan said...

Though it's only been a little over a year since Lisa told me about you and bone sigh arts - your words, your work, your heart make each one of us feel like forever friends. . .we are all proud and grateful to be part of your life and the guys. . .and blessed you've become a part of our lives. . .stars. . .

terri st. cloud said...

you know, diane, that's what it's like, it's like i got friends outta the deal...not customers....friends. it's way way cool. so glad you're out there..