Your life is a story …. scrapbook it!

What do Scrapbooking, Makeup, Nail Wraps, and Retirement have to do with each other?

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking ​a lot ​about my direct sales businesses and being retired and how they fit together.
I started working as a waitress for my parents when I was 13.  I continued doing that until I got a “real” job after graduating from college with an associate’s degree.  I went to work for an electric utility.  Turns out it was a great place to work and I have lots to be thankful for.  I got married at 19 and had planned to work 2 or 3 years, and then get pregnant and start my family.  I was going to be a stay-at-home Mom and live “happily ever after”.  Well, it didn’t turn out quite like I’d planned.  I finally had the baby I’d dreamt about at 27.  But my marriage fell apart. I became a single parent pretty quickly and was thankful for the stable job and benefits I had.  Fast forward several years and I found myself at the age of 39 owing a lot on ​my charge cards.  Enter PartyLite, my first experience with direct sales​. It wasn’t easy but I did tons of parties and ended up paying off every last dime on those cards.  What an awesome feeling of accomplishment that was.

About 6 years later, along came a hobby to change my life.  Creative Memories.  I truly thought people were crazy to decorate pages to put pictures on.  I felt it was a success if I got my pictures into an album, nevermind all the hooplah that came with scrapbooking.  Four years before going to my first CM party, my niece Robyn tried to get me into it.  I honestly thought she’d lost her mind.  I looked at her catalog, handed it back, and said “no way”.  But there I found myself, at a CM party surrounded by all kinds of paper and stickers and telling myself that I had a hundred things I ​should be doing at home.  But it was my son’s girlfriend’s mother who had invited me, so I’d politely agreed to go.  She had this crazy idea that we could do an album for our​ kids​ for their high school graduation in June  (this was in April).  The first hour was torture.  But then something strange happened.  It suddenly made sense.  This was fun!  It was meaningful!  I loved it so much I signed up to sell it.  And for the next 2 months, 2 mothers made gorgeous scrapbooks of their kids’ lives, and yes, gave them to their kids the night of their graduation.

I retired from the electric utility in 2011 at the age of 55, thanks to an awesome formula that adds your age to your years of service.  Mine hit the magic number and I said I’m outta here.  I now get a paycheck once a month for not working.  I still wonder how this is even possible.  Some people may take a pension for granted, but not me!  I just feel so grateful and thankful for it!

I was at a Women’s Expo in early April this year and saw all kinds of amazing women representing their companies.  Two jumped out at me:  Younique and Jamberry.  I’ve known the Younique Presenter for years, and it was great watching her having so much fun with her business.  The Jamberry Demo was a cute ball-of-fire who took great joy seeing me go nuts over my sample accent nail wrap she had put on my little finger.  It was an impulsive decision, but I decided to join both companies.  (To be fai​r to myself, I thought I would be helping out: my husband had been laid off 6 months prior, and we had been experiencing the anxiety of job hunting and unemployment.  He’d found work fairly quickly due to it being the Holiday Season; but it was seasonal, so we still kept looking.  We finally thought he’d found the ​right place​ in February, but it turned out that he could never get 40 hours per week.  He would be told there was no work, so it would be 3 days one week, 4 days the next, then 2 days the following.)  So I ​had thought that I could help out by making some extra money.

Turns out it wasn’t a good idea for me to join 2 companies at the same time.  I spent hours upon hours watching videos, reading, learning, taking notes.  And I got stressed out.  And more stressed out.  What had I gotten myself into?  My doctor told me my blood pressure was way up and wondered what was going on with me.  I saw posts about people giving up and I didn’t want anyone thinking I was the type to give up.  And all the reasons listed as to why people give up didn’t apply to me.

​But I knew that this wasn’t working for me.  ​I can’t be involved in these businesses and not give my all.  It’s not in my nature.  I realized I was 59 years old and I was retired and I should be doing what I want to be doing.  I’ve done my time.  When I heard myself telling my Mom I couldn’t do something because I was too busy with my businesses, I asked myself what was the matter with me?  One of the main reasons I wanted to retire early was to be able to spend more time with her.  I’m one of the lucky ones who still has their Mom on this planet with them.  Plus she’s right here in the same town as me and I’m her only child in this town.  Then this past weekend I went to a yard sale with craft items.  I found some counted cross stitch kits and as I was holding the ones I wanted to buy, I said to myself that I really don’t need these because I have some at home that I haven’t done yet.  And then I heard myself say the following words:  “It’s OK, I can get all of them done when I retire.”  What?  Did I really just say that to myself?  That did it.  Time to make some changes.

So, I will happily now become a Jamberry customer not a consultant.  I’ll continue with Younique – very part time – because I have some inventory I’d like to sell and Younique doesn’t charge for your monthly website.  But primarily, I’m going to enjoy the time I can spend with my Mom; I’m going to enjoy getting back to feeling creative by scrapbooking and making cards; I’m going to enjoy going for walks with my Molly.  And I’m really going to enjoy not feeling stressed out.

Thank you Patty & Stephanie.  I couldn’t have asked for better leaders.


So Thankful for Scrappy Friends

Earlier this month, I heard the news that the new spinoff company of Creative Memories – called Ahni & Zoe – will start selling 12×12 white refills and 12×12 page protectors. While to some people that might sound like a good thing, to me, it is further betrayal by a company that I was fiercely loyal to for 12 years.

Last May when I began to learn of some of the goings-on at CM, I had a feeling that it was the end of something that I didn’t want to say goodbye to. I wanted to believe that CM could hold on, and that the scrapbook supplies I loved would continue for myself and my customers – whom I also call my friends. But educating myself meant that I had to face reality. The Company that I represented was mired in debt and had made bad, and in some cases, unethical decisions.

I knew pretty quickly that I was through with CM. I helped my friends buy the supplies they felt they needed to finish any projects they hadn’t completed. I bought what I felt I needed. Even though CM had made me angry, I loved their quality products. There was this very tiny part of me that thought maybe if they did great their last few months, they could pay off their debts and start fresh. That tiny part of me was very naïve. They didn’t even come close to paying off their debt even though they brought in an enormous amount of money.

During July through October, I listened to their conference calls telling us that a great new company would emerge. Thank God for a facebook group I belonged to, called Hope But Plan. I would listen to CM’s calls, while posting to HBPs “Peanut Gallery”, as we affectionately called it. HBP was started by a CM consultant from Alabama who couldn’t stand the dishonesty and who was committed to sharing all the Court documents – public material – with any consultant who wanted to know what was going on. She wanted a place for CM consultants to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The worst being that the CM we knew and loved was not going to recover from its second bankruptcy in five years.

In this group, I met the most amazing women. Women that CM turned its back on. Incredibly intelligent women. Witty women. Women that had so much going for them, I couldn’t believe what CM was throwing away.

In the Hope But Plan group, reading between the lines was allowed. Venting was allowed. But we couldn’t vent about the venting. There were other rules, but the bottom line was for us to have a safe place to air our opinions without the fear of retribution. We had to be kind to each other, even if we didn’t agree with each other.

I learned from the documents that HBP provided us that CM owes the Make-a-Wish Foundation money. The products that CM sold for the last several years that were designated Make-A-Wish items, promised that a portion of proceeds would go to Make-A-Wish. To this day, CM has not honored this.

CM has created a Facebook page for Ahni & Zoe. Just this week, there was a post on how they support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It is beyond belief to me how they can say something like this, when their bankruptcy papers state that they owe MAW tens of thousands of dollars.

I am hoping that by posting this to my blog, that I will stop feeling disappointed in myself for representing such an unethical Company. And it’s time to be thankful. I’m thankful to CM because I found a wonderful, meaningful hobby that I love, and I have met the dearest friends through this hobby. Thank you my friends!


Latest news on my consultant status

As of today, CM’s website is “closed down” and a new one has appeared.  If you are so inclined, take a visit:

The latest official word on CM’s status is this:

Restructuring News

Creative Memories has taken the difficult but necessary step to reorganize our company by filing a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in order to become a more efficient and streamlined organization.

We believe this action will allow us to make the changes necessary to return the company to long-term success in the
direct selling marketplace.

We are as passionate as ever about our mission, and we plan to emerge as a more nimble business, focused on a strategic set of core offerings that help families tell their stories and celebrate their lives through photos.

By November 1, there should be some answers as to what products the new company will be offering.  I am still planning on pursuing a different scrapbook company, but need to wait until I find out more info about my contract with CM.

In the meantime, I am planning to get back here much more often than I have been.  The last several months have been challenging.  I have been busy trying to take care of any customer needs as well as unloading my inventory.  But it is time to get back to the joy of creating pages (and cards too).  And then turning those pages into albums.

Thank you for visiting!

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Ok, I just added a new post including pictures of borders I made for Christmas gifts; added nice descriptions; and it’s not showing up on my blog.  Not a happy camper here!  Sometimes this electronic stuff just baffles me….

More later…

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12-12-12 Birthday

Gratitude for today:
1. all the birthday love I received
2. faith
3. long-time and dear friends
4. warmth
5. surprises

more tomorrow…..


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Gratitude 12/11/12

5 things: (all people who visited me in the last 24 hours)
1. Ginger
2. Dana
3. Sara
4. Theresa
5. Julie

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Gratitude 12/10/12

I didn’t post yesterday, but I did write down on a notepad next to my bed 5 things I am grateful for:
A roof over my head
A pension
My dog Molly
My cat Cuddles
A bed that rises up & down so I can keep my ankle elevated above my heart

Today’s 5 items are:
A breath of outdoor air! (I opened my bathroom window this morning and breathed in the awesome outdoors)
Warm socks my Mom made me
A friend who brought lasagna for today’s supper

I’m on a roll! hehehe
Thank you for reading! Those borders are coming, I promise.

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Gratitude Journal 12/8/12

While being laid up, I’ve been listening to some CD’s a good friend bought for me.  The author talks about the power of expressing gratitude every day.  So here goes my first day of of listing 5 things I’m thankful for:

1.  God

2.  A husband who has taken awesome care of me the last 5 weeks

3.  A mother who has helped my husband take care of me the last 5 weeks

4.  A happy, healthy, grown son and his wife

5.  Supportive friends

I could actually list more than 5 things, but the instructions are 5 a day.  Plus, the 5 are supposed to be in no particular order; just 5 things I’m thankful for.  So there is my first gratitude journal post.

I hope later to take some pictures of some borders that I made for my Borders 101 Class a few months ago.  Thank you for reading!

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I’ve Been Distracted 11/15/12

Hi, I can’t believe I’ve been away from my blog for one month!  I was busy preparing for my Croptoberfest weekend, which by the way, went off without a hitch and was a fantastic time.  Thursday afternoon, November 1, it all started and by 3:00 Sunday afternoon, November 4, everyone was on their way back home so happy with the wonderful weekend we’d just had, and looking forward to our next weekend April 4-7, 2013.

Ten days ago I was dropping my dog Molly off at the Groomer’s when I took a tumble on their stairs and hurt myself pretty bad.   A trip to the ER and xrays showed that I’d broken my left ankle; dislocated it; and tore ligaments.  (I also sprained my right ankle.)  I was almost operated on that day, but after going back and forth a few times, the doctors decided to wait; so I had surgery this past Monday, November 12.  I’m bedridden for an amount of time that noone has shared with me yet, but I should find out more at my first post-op appointment on the 26th.

I hope to get back to posting on a regular basis, but it may be a little difficult with me being stuck in bed, but I’ll try.

Hope all is well with my followers!  Thank you for reading!  🙂


Mountain Meadows Group Nov. 2012

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3 1/2 Months Post-OP

Huge changes in the last 6 weeks.  I no longer have to worry about my range of motion – per my doctor’s orders – although I still need my knee to bend more than it is.  It WILL get there, just will take time.  I also graduated from 2x/week physical therapy to 1x/week physical therapy.  The only thing better than that will be no times a week.  I love riding the exercise bike being able to see my right knee go around, and can’t believe that I ever had the thought that I would NEVER get it to go around again.  And the pain has decreased a lot.  The last time I had a lot of pain (knock wood) was about 10 days ago, so I’m hoping those days are behind me.  Can I now say that I’m glad I had knee replacement surgery?  I’m going to finally answer that question with a yes.   🙂

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