Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Balanced Approach

Quote of the Day:  To-do List
Guest Blogger:  Penny Neville on Openness

A while back, I asked you, beloved blog readers, to tell me what to write.  And I bookmarked your suggestions, and have written about several topics you've requested -- the Bay Bridge trips, business tips for jewelry designers (I'll be continuing those, I haven't forgotten), and more stories about Zack.

I was busy this weekend.  I made some jewelry for my book (not what you see below!), cleaned house, spent some chill-out time with my husband watching American Pickers, cleaned and reorganized my lampwork studio, and caught up on my email.  I visited blogs for the Fairy Tale/Spring Bead Blog Hop and wrote more posts.  I put together packages to be mailed out tomorrow.  I'm preparing to leave on Friday for the Bead and Button show.

As I was re-reading the list of comments on that "tell me what to write" blog post, I found this comment:

......I love your balanced approach to jewelry, inspiration, and day to day life. It's what makes me tune in because it makes you a very real person. And that is one of the things I love most about the connections we all make through blogging.

I believe in the connections people make through blogging.  It's one of the reasons I want the Bead Soup Blog Party to continue to be a success.  So many people out there have come to know each other through the keyboard.  So many people have various limitations on their time and their lifestyle and location that often, these keyboard connections are the closest ones they have.

The map of the Feb 2011 Bead Soup Blog Party, with over 200 participants.

Balance is a matter of perspective.  From where I sit, the man on the tightrope seems to be leaning to the left and about to fall off.  From where you sit, the man may look to be leaning into the wind and going too slowly and he is just NEVER going to get there.  From the man's perspective, he may feel he's having his best day on the tightrope ever.  

You just never know unless you're that man.

The jewelry -- which, really, is my job.

Some think that because I don't have a job in the regular workplace, I have all this free time just to make jewelry.  First, I'd refer you back to this post.  And then I'd say, being my own boss, and a mom, and a wife, means there is never, ever a time when one of those jobs isn't on my mind.  Ever.  I plan to make those few sentences an entire post in the Business Tips series, because it's really a hard nut to crack, and the part of the equation most people forget to factor in when they get excited about buying beads and making things that sparkle and shine.

But it can be done.

Notice the words on the page in the picture above?  It starts with "limitable", but ends with "limitless".  What's it going to be?


When I write, I want to either make you laugh until the coffee comes out your nose, or inspire you.  Believe it or not, I think both can happen at the same time, although coffee/nose/inspire is a strange combination (and an often painful one!).

Growing up, I didn't have typical role models to boost me up and cheer me on.  There wasn't much that inspired me beyond what I read in books, and the lessons I learned in books dissipated quicker than snow on the stove.  I tried, though -- I really did.  And I think, from the emails and comments I've received from some of my posts, many of you grew up feeling uninspired, too.  It's a tough cycle to break when you spent 20/30/40 years stuck in that deep, muddy rut, so I added a Quote of the Day page to help keep a little snippet of inspiration going when I can't seem to muster the words myself.

Inspiration is something that can be, and should be, shared and passed on, whether it's by phone, over coffee, or by the internet. 


I've always loved to write.  I wrote my first "book" when I was six, a book called "The Mysterious Missing Mummy", hugely influenced by all the Nancy Drew books I was inhaling.  Each block-printed page had a crayon drawing on it, and of course the hero saved the day just in time for the notebook to come to its final page.

Later, I filled piles and piles of journals.  Seriously.  Piles.  The ones above are from my years in Korea to a couple of years after Zack was born and I discovered blogging.

Writing, for me, is recording Life.  My journals comfort me two-fold -- I can either sit down and settle in for a long read, or I can flip through the pages and, just by seeing what's been pasted to the pages, remember the events surrounding the dates.

Spring break from college with my friend Jen, riding a roller coaster.  
I'm the one in sun glasses.

Memories from a trip to St. Paul to visit 
my friend and roommate from the USAF.

Life is for remembering, and life is for living.  I do both.  Some days are going to be marvelously memorable.  Some are going to be dismally forgettable.   Some will be packed to the brim with activity, and some are going to be slow and tame.

What matters is how you feel about your life.  If it's not going the way you want, pick one thing, no matter how small, and change it.  Pick a doable thing, something that can indeed not only be written on a list but checked off in due course.  That achievement can spark a fire of momentum.

If your life is going the way you love -- own it and celebrate it and cherish it but REMEMBER it in some way.  Snap a photo.  Write it down.  Save a ticket stub in a dresser drawer.  

Walk that tightrope.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. As you know very well jewelry is seen often as a "hobby" if we make it from home. I guess some people think I am home in my nightgown, sitting with all my equipment going from the drill press to all the other big electrical and soldering things about me without a worry in the world, or about my clothes catching on fire.

    This is my job, one that I have chosen and one that has given me plenty of good and not so good things but one that I love and I will not retire from as long as I can do it.

    I am a wife first, and I am a jewelry designer first as well. I love to write as you know and do that every day. Each space and time allotment do not seem to cross the line of the other. I see no reason why they should. By allocating time wisely I never think I am neglecting my duties or my choices.

    I share with my online friends what I see as important or fun to share. Some may profit and some may not for it. But I refuse to stop and take balance before I try. Or for that matter after. I don't have the answers for anyone else, and even if I thought I did I would never presume to impose my values or my ideas on anyone. I share my experiences some times with humor, all the time in trust. I have met and become close and dear friends with some of my online peeps, and I am so grateful for that! While some have walked the same road and we could comfort each other and give words of encouragement and sympathy, it has shown others how to extend their own comforting thoughts to those in need I have been told. I don't believe in giving advice but I do believe in sharing my experiences. The choice is always of the reader, don't you think?

    So please do as you have always done. Years ago in College I learned a valuable lesson about paying attention to naysayers about choices and paths chosen. It was from Don Quixote and I am going to paraphrase: " Sancho, if the dogs bark it means we are moving". Amen.

    PS: I am sorry for hickjacking your blog :)

  2. "Pick a doable thing..." Lori, that is such wise advice. I can't ever imagine attempting something really huge, but little things add up and soon bigger things happen.

  3. Beautiful post, as usual =] I love the snapshots of your journals! I started when I was in 6th grade and am on my 8th now!

  4. Great post and pictures Lori - thank you.

  5. Lori, What an amazing post! I'm sorry I won't get to meet you at the Bead and Button Show this year, but life has happened, and you know why I can't go. That's just the way it is. Have fun, and keep writing your great blog!

  6. I always love reading your really have a way with words! I may not have time to comment all the time but always know that I do enjoy reading your entries...

    Oh and I love the pictures of your journal!!! I used to have diaries when I was younger but for some reason I got out of the habit...would love to pick it up again!


  7. It's so wonderful that you have those journals! I wish that I had written journals, or at least kept a better scrapbook. I have a bunch of journals around, but unfortunately they are mostly filled with blank pages.

  8. I love reading your blogs, I used to be a lot better at writing than I am now I even wrote a book,years ago poetry, songs now I find it difficult to write at all. Lara writes though she has written a diary ever since she was 11 or 12, she has written a book and writes every day in various places online.

  9. What a great post. I think your reader gave an insightful description of you. I too love how your blog is very diverse and not simply about jewellery. Don't get me wrong, I love to see pictures of beautiful jewellery or clothes or art,.. but I dislike bloggers who merely post their stuff without offering a deeper insight into their lives, their passions as well as their fears and concerns.

  10. Lori this post really resonates with me for many reasons. I art journal and I love that you said "life is for remembering." That is beautiful.
    Love the comment from one of your blog readers.
    The picture of the St Paul Catherdral. I have lots of memories there. Mostly the times I ran past it doing the Twin Cities Marathon.

  11. OH LORI! This your blog is so much like having coffee with a friend! (Even the nose part)I have gotten away from things for a bit and this post reminded me why I love blogging and visiting blogs. I so know what it is like to be wife, mother, chauffeur, therapist, and maid that I admire so much that you can also fit Jewelry Artist in there too. Thank you for reminding me to again be true to myself AND not to stray too far or stay away too long from you and my other blog friends.

    Hugs Always

  12. Thank you Lori! What a beautiful and inspiring post - I really enjoyed it. :-)

  13. Lori, I really love reading your blog I too use to journal but got away from it when my husband retired. Journaling is better than a thyprist. When I journaled I listened to my heart for direction in any given life situation. My journals were letters to GOD. Be Blessed

  14. Wonderful Lori! Another entertaining, heartfelt and thought provoking post. Wonderful inspiration. Riki

  15. Anonymous12:41 PM

    It is always so inspiring to visit your blog!
    Have a happy day!
    Take care,

  16. I love all the Zack posts, but then I'm a slightly obsessed mummy who could talk about her amazing duo to kingdom come, but who thinks it would be boring to others! You're doing an amazing job Lori, and it's wonderful to know you xxx

  17. I love stopping here daily to get a dose of your heartwarming stories and, kids, goals and dreams....I think with the invention of blogs, we all get to practice our Irma Bombeck-ism's and what a fun thrill it is....

  18. Great post - but that is why I love to visit your blog:-)

  19. Beautiful post, my friend. I am very sorry I will not get to meet you at bead and button this year :( While the trip is an easy one for me, it was the same week my husband was off work so we are on vacation at a cabin in the mountains.

  20. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Reading you is always a pleasure and every single time I learn something. Thanks for all the inspiration and the coffe coming out of my nose.


  21. Lori, I think we grew up in the same household. I can totally relate to what you say. I love your blog and your quotes. I am a quote person too and try to keep inspiring myself. We just keep on keepin' on and try to make everyday a good one. I am aim to make everyday creative in one way or another. Thanks for your wonderful blog.


I appreciate comments! Thank you for contributing to the conversation.