Sunday, October 27, 2013

When I grow up



My major announcement this week is that I have resigned from my position as manager of the animal shelter.  After very long work weeks that put me home most nights between 7 and 8 (or later), nightmares, insomnia, and countless frozen pizzas I have realized that I cannot sacrifice myself or my  family for my job.  I'll be done around Thanksgiving and will continue to volunteer and help fight the good fight for an organization that has my heart.  I am very proud of my time served, and my hat is off to those who have committed their lives to this mentally, physically and emotionally very challenging work.

I have seen things and helped do things that most people will never see or do.  Every single day, I have consoled someone who was crying.  I have been yelled at, threatened, covered in vomit, urine and feces, I have tried to handle every situation with strength and grace, and when I was feeling really unsure about what was going to happen now, I would say out loud to myself: I am not afraid of anything.  Just under 3,000 cats and dogs have come into the shelter's care during my five months at the shelter, and my staff handled all of them professionally and with great heart; I am really proud of those men and women.

What this means to you is that I am going to go back to designing, but do it full-time from home.  After 17 years in the cross stitch industry, this last year had me feeling very burned out, because I had spread myself way too thin, and could no longer do a good job at most of it.  Trying to run a shop and a web site by myself, in addition to traveling to teach and attend shows, and designing under two different lines (Raise the Roof and Shakespeare's Peddler) had gotten to be too much for one person.

But I've missed it this past six months, and one of the reasons I left this newest job is that I had no time to stitch anymore, ever (I went probably four or five months without picking up one needle).  In the last few weeks, I've been picking it back up, and it makes me so happy.  I am not re-opening my online store, although I have a new Etsy site called "Letters Great and Small."  My son Harrison is going to be packing and shipping orders for me from there, at least for the time being while I get back to the business of the needle (Harrison attended a few trade shows with me in the last few years; he's 22 now and getting a degree in psychology to become a counselor.)

I thank you with your patience with me this past year -- I've been a bit of a flake, and this was probably some sort of mid-life crisis.  I am learning that a person cannot be all things to all people, and what I would like to do now is do three things: design needlework, help this area's animals as a volunteer, and most importantly, take care of my family.

I have a whole stack of old samplers that need reproducing, and a mind full of design ideas for original designs.  My needle is waiting.

(The picture at the top was taken about eight weeks ago.  A group of eight puppies was brought to the shelter one day; they had been saved when a woman bought them for $20 each on the side of a country road from a man who was just hoping to sell them to be bait for dogs that were being trained to fight and kill other dogs.  All eight of them found homes.)

29 comments:

RC said...

I spend 2 hours a week working at an animal shelter and not a city shelter but a private, non-profit one. I see enough in those 2 hours every week to know that I'm not a strong enough person to work there full-time. The amount of sick and injured animals due to terrible situations is overwhelming. I can imagine the last year has been incredibly hard on you. I wish you luck in going back to your designing passion. *hugs*

Unknown said...

God bless you, Theresa! Looking forward to following you through the next "chapter" of your story, and happy that stitchery is included.
Best wishes, Laura

Tinka said...

Keep following your heart; it will keep you on the right path. I'm very happy you will continue designing and reproducing.

Merry Wind Farm said...

Hi, Theresa,,
Your son looks exactly like you! Bless you for all you have done in your tenure with the shelter. I'm sure countless lives were saved. You just can't do it all,and I look forward to more reproductions.
Melinda

marly said...

In no way do you need to thank us for our patience and you are anything BUT a flake. We all admire and respect you for the emotionally demanding and heartbreaking work you chose to take on. And we thank you for that, and your decision to continue to offer yourself. Hope your needle brings you some comfort and a smile.

Nataly K said...

God bless you for the work you have done for the countless animals that have been in your care. You are right, family first! Best Wishes.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Welcome back--you have been missed! A portion inside all of us is trying to decide what we want to be when we grow up. Just keep growing

Christine said...

Congratulations on getting back to what you love. And for all the animal lovers out there, I would like to extend a thank you for the work that you did in helping to save animals.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are back. I love your work. Thank you for posting your Etsy site so I could find it and add it to my favorites. If we give up everything we love to help others, we won't be healthy enough to keep going. My stitching and my wool keep me sane.

Cindy Huxtable

diamondc said...

Welcome back Theresa: We have missed you tremendously, I look forward to seeing your new samplers.
Catherine

Koala said...

Dear Theresa, whatever you do - you do it with your full heart! Good luck to you and welcome back - I always miss you here in the cyberspace :-)

Cindy said...

I'm sorry the shelter was so stressful. I am very happy you are returning to designing. Welcome back!

Lisa M said...

Yay you are back designing :) The time you spent working at the shelter is invaluable but balance is essential. I'm sure you will find a way to balance your passions - all of them - trust yourself :)

Margaret C said...

I'm glad you are coming back to the stitching world - your designs and reproductions are great!

I agree with some of the other comments - it's important to reach a balance; and certainly family shouldn't be sacrificed for other interests.

Lianne said...

I have read your blog for a very, very long time and never felt that I was a "good enough" stitcher / blogger to comment, but that stops today.

I have admired your dedication and devotion, seeing the love you lavish on the kittens that were lucky enough to find their way to you. Showing your blog posts to my husband, sharing in your sorrow when you lost some of your little ones and feeling your triumph when they made it and found loving families.

With your transition to manager at the shelter and most recently seeing that your website was taken down and that you had stopped listing on eBay, I hoped things were ok, but knew that when things improved we would hear from you.

You are not a flake. You did and do what others hesitate or refuse to do, follow your heart when it called you. Giving all that you are and have to something, making a real difference through your efforts. Thank you for being an inspiration and sharing your journey. I wish you only the best in this new direction and look forward to what will come.

Talk care,
Lianne

Chris said...

What a hard decision. I am happy for the stitching community that you will be back.
Wishing you peace in all things.
Hugs!

Jean said...

You have been so missed to us stitchers, but I so appreciate all you've done for our four-legged friends. You always pick the best samplers to reproduce. I have all but a couple, have stitched several, and my Ann Dale got 3rd place at Woodlawn in VA last year. I am looking forward to more great charts and I hope you still have time for your volunteer work. Jean

Anonymous said...

Theresa--

You've done good work at the shelter in the time you've been there as manager, and you'll continue to do good work as a volunteer. Thank you for all the work you've done on behalf of the animals there.

As fulfilling as you found the work with animals, if you are missing your stitching, you have to find a way to do that as well. I'm glad you'll find some balance.

Carol S.

Melody said...

I can't imagine the horrible things you dealt with as an animal shelter manager. But, bless you for all the work you have done! Our family members are all animal lovers, and have had countless pets in our lives through the years.

I am glad to read you are following your heart, and stepping back from the shelter manager. Hopefully you will regain the balance you are looking for in your life and your family life.

I'm also glad to hear you are coming back to stitching, we've missed you!

cl said...

Welcome back. You have been missed. I have always admired your work at the shelter and could not imagine the heartache of seeing the horrible, cruel things that people do to animals. I look forward to seeing the beautiful little faces of the kittens you foster.

Stitching Noni said...

Welcome back! As they say when one door closes another opens... And sometimes we have to make the hard decisions to ensure that we are doing the right thing for ourselves. You are an amazing person and I have so admired you for the work you do with animals at the shelter... And the work you will continue to do. I am looking forward to seeing more of your stitching and designs. Enjoy life!
Hugs x

donnacrafts said...

Welcome Back. I am so looking forward to your reproductions. You are so very talented. Best to you always. Donna

woolwoman said...

WOW - I'm sure you've been thru the mill this past year Theresa. As someone who bred and exhibited purebred dogs for 25 years - I can attest to the absolute insanity and complete insensitivity of some people and I use the term loosely. It is very frightening just how cruel and inhumane people can be. Finding forever homes for the very few pups I ever bred was difficult indeed and one reason I am no longer involved in exhibiting dogs. We are thrilled to have you back in the stitching arena, you have been sorely missed. I'm just glad you realized you were needed worse at home. Good luck to transitioning to a different pace. Mel

Nina John said...

You raise many queries in my thoughts; you wrote an excellent article, but this articles is also thought provoking, and I am going to need to ponder it a bit more; I will be back soon.

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Charlene ♥ SC said...

Just because you have love/passion in your heart doesn't mean that it should be your main focus. Only experience can show that sometimes. Glad you figured it out before it really got you down. Will be watching for your future endeavors - sounds promising!

Jeanne said...

It doesn't seem quite right to start cheering about you quitting your job but we here in the XS community are glad to have you back! I was very sad when you kind of left us for your job at the shelter. You are so right...you can't possibly try to do all that and have a family and a life too. I hope this will lead you to just the right balance in your life so you can continue contributing to both the stitching community and the animal shelter! Think of all the wonderful work you have done to help so many poor animals - God Bless!

Mary said...

Welcome back I have missed your stitching. Anytime spent to help animals is never wasted whether it be six minutes or six months. I could never do it, I would be crying all the time such sweet animals. You saved and cared for many, thank you.

Southpaw Stitcher said...

What a sweet little puppy! Thank heavens for the woman who rescued him and his littermates, and for your shelter for being there for them all. I volunteered at an animal shelter for five years and I know just how stressful that job can be. Glad you will still be volunteering and so happy that you will be designing again! I love your pieces!

Susan said...

Welcome back! Your missing stitching is only equal to our missing you. I commend all you have done and are doing with the shelter. You had a chance to save lives and you took it. You never have to apologize for that.
Thank heavens for the person who rescued those puppies and oh how I hope that the man who was selling them finds that special place in "you know where" that I hope people who abuse animals and children go.