Six years ago, on the very last day of April 2011, I opened Heartfelt. The retail business I owned with two partners closed at the end of February that year, victim of the economic downturn and ill-timed expansion.
I was not ready to stop being a retailer with a small business though. At my husband’s suggestion, I began calling everyone I knew, along with several people I didn’t know very well, to ask them to lend me funds to start again. Asking people for money was very hard–I quickly realized that if I was willing to make those difficult calls, I must really have wanted to do this thing that became Heartfelt. In the end, I had thirteen lenders; I signed promissory notes, agreeing to repay the loans over a five year period, at 5% interest. The total amount I borrowed was not quite enough to open my business but I did it anyway.
Flash forward six years–Heartfelt is still in business; my lenders were paid off in 2015. I am very fortunate that my husband has “a real job” as a financial planner. Without his support, Heartfelt would have remained just a someday dream. Instead, when I look around the shop on a busy Saturday or during a “crafting tsunami” on school release days, I can’t quite believe it. It’s so gratifying to enjoy the hubbub of families crafting, kids playing in the tree, dogs visiting–it’s a wonderful life.
And yet, too often these past few weeks, I have felt on the verge of tears as I close the store at the end of the day. Some of it has to do with my inherited mood issues, yes. But some of the grief and fear are bigger than that. I breathed a sigh of relief when the health care bill was pulled for lack of votes–that the uber conservatives didn’t think it went far enough was a disturbing but seemingly small wart on the failure of that mean-spirited bill.
But since then, there has been one blow after another–gutting the EPA; bailing from the climate accord; a supreme court nominee who thinks it’s reasonable to fire a truck driver who left his trailer behind in order not to freeze to death; a frightening budget blueprint that takes from the poor and gives to the rich, while abandoning support of the arts. And then there is the investigation into possible (probable) treason by Trump and others.
There are many recommended actions to voice our objections to these policies and we must stand up for what is right. Equally important though is living with the people around us in a peaceful, loving way, to feel a sense of connected-ness. Let’s help each other to stay grounded in the face of crazy. Let’s love all the children, even as it seems their future is in peril. My hope is that the current debacle that is our federal government will lead to better things in the not so distant future. We can’t let the bad guys win.
Making bunnies helps me, it really does! As does the feel of the warming sun on my face. And fairy gardens too—how about a cute hollow egg with tiny eggs inside? Or paint a wooden dolphin family. Come on into Heartfelt to craft with us!