"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16
I figured it fitting, after my post yesterday, that a Rainbow is what I chose to giveaway on Julie's blog today. It was after all, agreeing to be her Giveaway Guest, that started the flood.
It began with a tweet Wednesday afternoon. Julie needed a last minute fill in when her scheduled Giveaway blogger had to back out. Haute Tots had been incubating in my mind and heart for over a year, and just recently I'd felt I had the extra time and energy to bring it to life. But I wanted to do more than just open a shop. I wanted my shop to matter. I wanted my crafting to have purpose. I wanted my profits to make a difference. When Julie's plea came through, and I realized the Giveaway would be happening exactly one month to the day until the CHOC Walk, my heart told me this was a radtastic opportunity too good to pass up!
Radtastic because Julie and her blog are kinda a big deal. You don't have to jaunt around the blogosphere long before stumble upon Joy'sHope. That colorful button is everywhere and it's too beautifully enticing not to CLICK.
Before you know it, you've fallen in love. You're inspired by a quiet, graceful strength that grew out of a painful dark place. Moved by the honest spirit of a woman who actively chooses everyday to make her life matter. To see the good, find the love, be the beauty she's looking for in this world. Before you know it, Joy has given YOU hope, just like she did her beautiful Mommy. And I love that.
Apparently a lot of other people love that too! Because, like I said, Julie's kinda a big deal. I knew being a Giveaway Guest on her blog would mean traffic. And traffic would mean a greater voice. Greater voice = more opportunity to make this little place of mine on the world wide web matter.
Later that day, as I was in the trenches of constructing Haute Tots and facilitating the ever expanding team of Etsy Crafters for Carter, I was contacted (for the third time) and invited to become a Featured Blogger for Wellsphere.com.
I had put off accepting Wellsphere's invitation twice before. First, merely because I didn't think it was sincere. I thought the email was one that probably appeared in every blogger's inbox. It wasn't until 2 weeks later, when I was contacted again, this time by Dr. Geoff himself, and his email wasn't generic, that I realized maybe they did really want ME. Maybe they did see something special in Bringing Up Burns. Maybe, just a little of what I had learned from Julie and Joy, was shining through, and making people fall in love with me too!
Tappity. Tap. Tap.
That's silly, I told myself. That's conceited, I told myself! Just chill and blog. Wait and see.
So on Wednesday, when Dr. Geoff contacted me for the third time, you can imagine the thoughts and emotions that began to rain down inside me.
You can imagine how I felt the water level break the surface and begin to flood when I learned Wellsphere.com is visited by over 4 million people each month.
You can hear the storm that followed when in just 24 hours of becoming a Wellsphere Blogger, Bringing Up Burns' average daily readership had doubled. In 48 hours it had tripled. And I hadn't even been a guest on Julie's blog yet! I hadn't even announced Haute Tots or Etsy Crafters for Carter to friends and family yet! What would happen then?
Lightning. Thunder. Kerplunk!
I began to take on water.
I began to lose sight of the shore.
Somewhere in between Sprinkle and Kerplunk my rain had turned from refreshing and sweet to torrential and bitter. And down it came. I began to panic. I use our real names. My children's real names. My contact info is my real contact info. I've posted pics of our cars, our street, our schools.
I began to drown in information of copyrights and trademarks, image captures and captchas, stat counters and trackers, blog analytics and analogs.
I was this close to being washed out when a ray of light pierced the water and caught my eye. I recognized this light as one of the first sunNIE places I felt at home on the web. The water broke this light into a million tiny pieces and it was breathtaking. A rainbow of colors suddenly here for me to see, because of the water. I understood that it wasn't the water that was making this light beautiful. She had been beautiful all along. But without the water, she never would have caught my eye. For sure, she'd still be burNIEng vibrant and white as ever, but too far off for little ol' me to see. I remembered her middle name is Aurora. Fitting I thought. Goddess of the Dawn. First light of day. Had the water muted her spirit or put out her fire? Heck no! Not even a plane crash could do that. The water had made her light possible for me to see. The water had bore wittness a testimoNIE.
The panic began to wane. My frantic flailing slowed. I could feel myself leaving the deep dark behind. Warmed by the light and beginning to tread.
My heart settled into a hum that lulled me towards a sense of calm. I recognized this beat as one of the second places I felt at home on the web. The water amplified it's intentional rhythmic pattern and it became impossible for me to remain still. A powerful and intentional dance suddenly here beckoning my soul to join in because of the water. I understood it wasn't the water that was making this beat move with purpose. She had been purposeful all along. But without the water, she never would have turned my ear. I remembered her name is LOVE. Fitting I thought. A strong positive emotion of affection and regarrd. Had the water weakened her passion or derailed her devotion? Yeah right! Not even the Atlantic Ocean nor the Continent of Africa could do that! The water had made her heart possible for me to hear. The water had Let Love Grow.
My muscles relaxed. My strokes began to come with ease. I could feel myself remembering how to swim.
There were parts to the water that were still scary and deep. But I decided to look for the beauty in the darkness rather than blindly get swept into it's abyss. In doing so, I was filled with an unusual peace. I recognized this peace as the most recent place I've felt at home on the web. The water helped dissapate her fears and questions, her pain and anger until all that was left of her unusual peace was HOPE. A personal journey, battle and triumph suddenly here for me to feel because of the water. I understood it wasn't the water that made her peace hopeful. She had been working at it all along. But without the water, her journey never would have crossed my path. I remembered her daughter was named JOY. Fitting I thought. The emotion of great happiness. To make glad. Had the water robbed Peace of her JOY? Squashed all that was happy and faithful and fun in her? Yeah right! Not even having to wait until Heaven to hear her daughter's voice could do that! The water had allowed her journey to be mine too. The water had taught her (and she me) that even in your darkest hour to look for the rainbow. There is HOPE. There will be JOY again.
So here I swim in the rushing, rising tide. I am no longer scared. The water is no longer cold. I actually almost feel like I am home. Like the deep end of the ocean is where I was always meant to be. After all, I was lead here by light and love and hope. How could that be wrong? This conclusion makes me smile. Almost giggle at the change in my perspective this week. Gone from black and white to Full Color. Like a rainbow. I've come full circle and it's funNIE. "What's In A Name?" EVERYTHING.
Come shop Haute Tots HERE 10% of our total sales until CHOC Walk on 10/18 will be donated to Carter's Crusaders
Wellsphere.com is an awesome site. I rarely ever think this - but THEY SAY IT BETTER THAN ME - so click the link to learn all about 'em. The more I familiarize myself with the place, the more I believe this is the (not so distant) future of Health care and management. I love how they combine medical expertise with knowledgeable and compassionate social support all in one personal, individualized place.
While it's still a little hard for me to wrap my head around, the possibility of 4 million visitors a month is no longer scary. When I think there are women from all over the nation (and Canada too!) crafting for Carter, even tho the only place the've ever met him is on Bringing Up Burns....I say bring on the rain.
Post in the AM linking to all the Etsy Crafters for Carter. We're talking jewelry, hair accessories, stationary, party favors and more. Time to get your shop on!