On the first evening of this year, after countless ‘The Nanny’ re-runs, I admitted to myself that I wasn’t particularly excited about 2016. The thought of building one more website or designing one more brochure or speaking to one more client was making me want to run for the hills. In that moment (after a culmination of similar moments), I decided that first thing in the morning, I’d start job hunting for full-time work.
The next morning (2nd January), I was participating in my usual pre-getting-out-of-bed-Facebook-scroll and one of the first things I read was a quote a friend had posted to Facebook;
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning
As the day went on, I became obsessed with this quote. I loved the thought that everything ‘common’ was significant and bursting with heaven. This idea helped my mind (and soul) gain fresh perspective. I thought that maybe I could give it a few more weeks. If I were to consciously look at the beauty in the mundane, maybe that would help.
While considering this, I picked up my paintbrush (to continue my #100daycreativechallenge), dipped it in some watercolour and wrote out Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s timely words. Once I’d finished, I sent this photo to my friend.
She told me that she loved it and would happily buy it off me. I said no, I’d give it to her for free as it was just practise and I was going to bin it anyway.
This sparked an idea… I wondered whether there would be others that would be interested in having my ‘practice runs’. I posted a Facebook status on my personal page asking people that very question (with a one week time limit). Since posting, I have had HUNDREDS of requests for free (and paid!) designs.
I am blown away to say the least.
I’ve been flooded with thank yous and kind words, but the truth is – I’m the one that should be doing the thanking!
THANK YOU to every single one of you that has loved my work and encouraged me so far. Your response and kindness has literally saved my business.
Through this whole process, I have been reminded why I began my business in the first place.
The number one reason – people.
The reason I began in the first place was to help people. To help small businesses see their business flourish through great branding and to help people create gifts for their loved ones that were personalised and from the heart.
It has been an absolute privilege to hear many of your stories about yourselves and loved ones. Words are such a powerful tool and it has been a real joy to hear why particular words are dear to your heart.
This connectedness reminds me of one of my favourite quotes (quite fitting really, hey?) by Thomas Merton;
I have the immense joy of being human, a member of a race in which God became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
It was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time.
You are all kinds of wonderful – every single one of you. Thank you.
PS: The freebie offer is over 😉 but, you are welcome to contact me if you are looking to purchase some prints here