Finding One's Niche

I spent a lovely evening with two of my dearest friends. Tami called midweek and said we should get together (little did I know there was a real reason, not just our usual hen party). This means the three of us. Me, Tami and Karen. We have so very much in common. And I guess after they left last night, sitting and thinking back over the conversations I realized just how much. We are all about the same age. We all have wonderful kids and wonderful husbands. We all LOVE coffee and love sharing a meal together. We talk about our families, our successes, our failures, our work, our plans, our dreams, religion, politics…all those things you can only talk about with people you trust.

I hadn’t seen these two friends since I got by from my very brief, albeit very enjoyable, trip to Paris and beyond. They wanted to look at all my pictures and hear all about the real reason we came home early. But before we got to the trip, Tami had a huge announcement. They are moving. I know Karen is just heartbroken. She said as much and she and Tami are very very close. They at one time even worked together. I am sad too. I dont see Tami as often as I would like or should but I knew she was about 3-4 miles up the road if I needed her. Or if she needed me. But you know people need change sometimes. Even as difficult as change is. Personally I am not a big fan of change but at times in my life I would have welcomed it. What has changed is my need for change. Five years ago, maybe less, if Husband would have come home and said “I think we should move to Maine.” I would have said “When do we leave?” Now, I would whine and cry and beg not to have to pack 31 years worth of stuff. And it has always been a dream of mine to live in New England. Had been I suppose now.

At the same time I kinda envy Tami for her new adventure. The winds of change are blowing.

Then we got on to what I want to do. What do I want to do? 2007 brought more changes in my life than I planned, that’s for sure. Husband’s job took him 6000 miles from home a month at the time. My mom was diagnosed with inoperable cancer the first week he was gone. The next 6 months of 2007 were spent by her side. A job I was happy to have though wished it werent necessary. If that makes sense. I sold most of my soap business and desperately clung to the local business I had retained. Not feeling like I should just shut it down, all the while allowing it to dwindle to the point of it “not being worth the trouble”. I felt very unmotivated. And still do. Then the liability insurance comes due. Now it seems even less worth it. You have to sell a lot of soap to justify the insurance. I am not willing to work that hard at it any more. Not getting lazier. Just need a new “thing”. I will never completely quit making soap because family expects it. And I do enjoy it on a small scale. But frankly, the market is flush with handmade soaps and lotions and such. It isnt as unique any more and I don’t have any new or better ideas for marketing mine.

So what is a middle aged woman to do? Sew? Check. Bake? Check. Garden? Check. Plant a BIG pumpkin patch? On the list. My two friends totally understood my dilemma. And encouraged me to take my time deciding. They know how much turmoil last year brought to me. And how much is still left to do with my mom’s estate. So while I feel like I am spinning my wheels, evidently it is quite normal to go through these times of not knowing your niche.

I still want to finish my cookbooks. I seem to be able to push those to the back of the pile too easily. Though they are on my mind almost constantly, I havent felt very creative lately and they have suffered for it. I have been working on this project for 10 years. I am not kidding. I find the enthusiasm to get rolling again and then something distracts me. But I do want to finish. Honest.

Karen suggested last night that I might want to fall back on my catering experiences again. My mom, oldest daughter and I catered for about a dozen years. She was telling about this lady in Pennsylvania (Karen used to live there) who did bake sales. Just during the holidays. She would bake during the week and then have like an open house on the weekend and sell plates of cookies, breads etc. Sounds intriguing. And then I have my pumpkin patch if Mother Nature sees fit for it to succeed. Several years in the past I have sold veggies and pumpkins during the fall and even early Spring. I used to be a member of a local green market and would take my stuff and set up a booth. I dont think I am up for that but folks could pop out here couldnt they?

Can you tell I am in a quandary? Oh well, I can sort it all out one day.

Tami if you read this, I will miss you but I am truly happy for you. Really, what a life changing adventure. Karen if you read this, we are just going to have to get together more often. Once every few months is ridiculous. I expect you to help me sort out my next project!!! And plan a trip to see Tami!

Now for your photo of the day:

Rachel is really enjoying her new macro lenses! Isnt he lovely?

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Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Chris Moran

What about your soap?

I think we all reach points in our lives where we feel the need to re-assess what we are doing and which direction we are going in. I think it’s healthy to stop and weigh out all our options thoughtfully and prayerfully. Change can be good and very motivating. Rachel’s pictures are just getting better and better!


I have spent the whole weekend reflecting on how blessed we are! We can leave jobs and careers and reassess our lives, because of these great husbands! So many women can’t do that today!

Thank God for Great Friends and Husbands!

Talk soon,

Oh Kim, I don’t know what to tell you about soap. I am on the fence about whether to make any at all except for family. I have been making soap for 20 years and I think it is time for a new “thing”. But you know maybe I will publish my Soapmaking 101 on the web so that anyone can make their own if they like!

*sigh* Are you still making it for MJ? I totally understand how you feel about it. You have the opportunity to do something new and different now, I’d take it and run with it. Not many people get that chance.

Oh how I wished I had gotten in on your last sale! I have one bar left that I am coveting. lol!

I’m afraid to make it the way you do. But, if you never make soap again, I’ll start buying it from the Farmers Market here in Texas. And if you DO, my book club wants me to have a soap party.

And I can’t wait for you to finish your cookbooks and I really miss your newletter that you used to have.

Kim you are too sweet. You know, I am still trying to figure out the MJ thing. The insurance has really skyrocketed and I HAVE to have insurance. I just am having trouble sorting it all out. No definite decision as of today. I have talked to “her people” but still have to talk more to my husband about it. He is much more logical and business minded than I am.

But hey dont be afraid of making soap. You just have to be cautious but put it in perspective. It is certainly not the most dangerous thing you could do. After all you get in a vehicle and travel down the highway with lots of other vehicles all going 60-75 miles an hour, many times in opposite directions…now THAT’S dangerous!!!

Understandable. Insurance is out of this world and you need to protect yourself.

When you have your soapmaking book ready, I’ll buy it. But if you make any more batches for the public, pu-leeeese, e-mail me!!!

You probably know this already, but your lack of direction and all the rest is really normal after losing your mom just last year. It takes a long time to wind your way back from an event like that. (I know from experience.)