Beauty and grace for this life
HOW THE WHITE ORCHID BECOME A REALITY
My name is Jane. I think life is plenty messy enough, don’t you? I also believe that beautiful stationery is a small thing that makes a big difference in lives of every customer. Each product from The White Orchid is created to fill a specific purpose: to acknowledge the human in all of us and create beauty and grace for this moment.
maker + designer
Here is the place where I tell you my story.
I’ve always believed that these pages that hold business stories are supposed to sound magical and wonderful. Most start out with a dream and end up with a beautiful reality. Then I’m supposed to use this page to tell you how it’s grown and how much bigger and better than I ever dreamed possible and has grown beyond my dream. I’m also supposed to tell you how this business is totally blessing my life and yours.
Or maybe I need to tell you that this wonderful product that I made for myself then lots of people wanted to buy it – so it became a best seller overnight and now we donate $x amount to charity every year. Oh wouldn’t that sound like this was the real deal…
That’s not my story.
What if my story is different? What if it’s messy? What if I don’t believe that the product I sell makes a big difference in the world? How do I make a pretty story out of a disappointed life? What happens if I can’t make it sound all pretty, glamorous and professional?
So here is where I own up to the truth of my life. I admit that owning ‘The White Orchid’ or anything remotely like it – never ever has been a dream of mine.
I remember saying that my dream job would be one where someone paid me to be creative – but that meant working for someone else and certainly didn’t mean running my own business.
I thought being a ‘stay at home’ mom would be the perfect position for my planned life of creativity. (Go ahead and do an eye roll here if you like. I’ll wait.) While I waited to get pregnant, I started making hand stamped cards and selling Stampin’ UP! I received a few requests from friends to purchase greeting cards and some wanted birth announcements and that quickly a small hobby business was formed.
My dream of motherhood shattered into a million pieces. Maybe I should rather say it slowly imploded or eroded because it certainly didn’t happen fast. And the idea of this little hobby/business becoming what I do full time seemed like a lousy consolation prize. ‘I cant’ have kids so I’ll have to make do with owning my own business’. All of a sudden it felt like this hobby business of mine was supposed to be the big meaningful, fulfilling and give me purpose?! I felt hollow and empty. I was frustrated. I was angry. And I hated myself.
It turns out…
What I was I was feeling was grief… but I didn’t know that at the time. My mind was spinning in a million different ways trying to make sense of what I had left. I felt like if I actually admitted to loving what I do – didn’t it mean that I hadn’t really want to become a mother? I felt ashamed for how messy my emotions were and how confused I felt. How am I supposed to make this whole thing sound wonderful when I would gladly ditch the whole lot of it at the first positive pregnancy test?
During this very difficult time it was exactly this creating and this hobby of mine that helped me get out of bed and face the day.
How can something be beautiful and yet so hard at the same time?
I’ve come to learn that there is almost always pain behind beauty. Or Beauty is hidden by pain. For every inspiring pretty story – there is a mess of daily living, a chaos of choices and some kind of pain behind the outward facade.
I’ve also discovered just how seductive the trap of the quick fix is: ‘Once I’m married’, ‘earn more money’, ‘have a child’, and the list goes on. When I get there I’ll be happy. It’s easy to believe that the next step in our journey is the one that will bring fulfillment. It’s even easier to think that everyone else’s life is perfect, successful, glamorous etc. Yet these things are all just outside fixes.
Yes, there is still sadness, I respect it’s presence in my life. Some days I am still blinded by grief. I find comfort and beauty in small things and daily moments.
Today I’m owning my life – even if it’s messy. I’ve come to see it as a mess of ‘both’. Both love and disappointment, joy and sadness, meaningful and empty. Learning to embrace the truth of what my life actually is.
The best part?
Yes, maybe my life isn’t how I expected it be. I’ve learned to find happiness and fulfillment in other unexpected ways. I’m ever so grateful for what I’ve learned along the way. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that I’d love to share with you:
- Writing my thoughts and feelings helps me understand what’s going on inside. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s joy or pain. So I always have a journal.
- There is power in acknowledgement. (I still have the letter from a school friend who told me how I inspired her.) I try to pass on the encouragement and write that letter and send that card.
- Celebrating the little steps of progress is a big reminder to me that hard doesn’t last for ever.
- I believe that when I set myself up for success – I am better able to help others also succeed. Together we can do far more than by myself. Using a day planner has been incredibly helpful.
- Surrounding myself with beauty matters far more than I ever gave it credit for. This means I’m careful with what I allow into my home. I am also committed to creating beautiful calendars, planners, journals, cards etc. – especially items like these that make such a difference in my own life.
- I believe that beauty + success + a meaningful life looks different for everyone. I know that just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will for you. I embrace our differences.
- Life is NOW. This moment. It’s not coming later. It’s not a big thing.
I don’t know where all this journey will take me – but I know this is just the beginning of a fabulous life. I am anticipating growth and joy and wonderful opportunities yet to come.
So meanwhile – I’m choosing beauty and grace for THIS life and THIS moment. Right now as it is. Not when, Not if. Not tomorrow.
Welcome to my life and my story.
I’m so glad you are here.