Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's in a name?

I get asked a lot where I came up with the name of my business, The Prismatic Peacock, so I thought that it was time to put the answer in writing for you all.  I actually came across the peacock graphics first and instantly fell in love with them.  They couldn't have been anymore "me." They were colorful, eye-catching, flowing, and featured an animal.  OK, so I knew that my business name would have peacock in it, but when I started researching peacocks and what they represent I got even more excited.

Beauty aside, peacocks represent numerous characteristics and symbolism across multiple cultures and time periods.  To the Egyptians, the peacock represented royalty, immortality, and resurrection.  The Greeks and Romans viewed the tail feathers of peacocks as representing the "all seeing eye," and deemed them sacred and treasured animals.  In Hindu peacocks are associated with the deity Lakshmi and represent fortune, compassion, kindness, and patience.  Catholicism associates peacocks with resurrection, renewal, an immortality.  In Buddhism the peacock represents openness and living in truth.  Feng Shui uses peacock feathers to promote luck, enhance protection, boost awareness, and to attract a desirable mate.  Who wouldn't want their business to be associated with integrity, beauty, vision, royalty, spirituality, incorruptibility, and luck?

The next step was to figure out what the rest of my business name would be.  I thought about it, asked family members for ideas, and jotted down notes and catchy words in several brainstorming sessions.  Nothing was working out to be the right fit.  I knew that the majority of my business would be making soy candles, but I also knew that I didn't want to limit the possibilities for my business, future growth, or expanding my product line.  I knew that color, fragrance, and variety were key parts of what my business would be about.  So I jotted down some keywords and dug out my trusty thesaurus.  I looked up tons of words, played with different combinations, and then looked up name possibilities online to see if they were taken.  When I came across prismatic, I knew I had found my business name.  I loved the alliteration of the two P's and the meaning of the word.  Prismatic means like a prism, spectral in color, brilliant, and highly varied or faceted.  This was a perfect way to get across my love of color and to give me room to grow and expand my product line.

The Prismatic Peacock is not just my business.  It is my second "baby".  I love this business, nurture it, take care of it daily, and delight in watching it grow.  It's a huge time commitment and a labor of love.  It involves our whole family and is involved and interwoven into our daily life.  I take pride in it, and I'm proud to talk about it and promote it.  I take photographs of my products and shamelessly show them off to everyone.  It involves long hours, hard work, dedication, commitment, and perseverance.  It also takes love, patience, experimentation, sleepless nights, and courage.  The skills, experience, and qualities that I gained in becoming a mother are invaluable when applied to being an entrepreneur, artisan, and business owner.  The beautiful thing is that I have the amazing privilege of being both!   

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother's Day, A Celebration of Love

Mother's Day is coming up next Sunday, May 12, 2013.  This holiday is supposed to be a celebration honoring mothers, grandmothers, motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.  Unfortunately, this holiday has become highly commercialized.  In the United States, Mother's Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like.  It is also the biggest holiday for long-distance telephone calls.  Some people think that by simply buying a card and flowers for their mother on this holiday they have fulfilled all of their obligations for the year.  What a shame!  One day is not sufficient to honor the woman that gave you life, raised you, taught you, loved and nutured you, supported you, wiped your tears, defended you, cared for your needs, and would give her own life to save yours.  Maybe this day should be used as a time of reflection to remind us that we may be neglecting our duties as sons and daughters.  Definitely something to ponder.

The current holiday was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 when she held a memorial for her mother.  It became an official U.S. holiday in 1914.  The holiday is celebrated in various forms in many parts of the world, most commonly in March or May.  The United States currently celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May.  Jarvis ultimately ended up denouncing the holiday's commercialization and spent the rest of her life trying to remove the holiday she worked so hard to create from the calendar.  Many consider Mother's Day to be a "Hallmark Holiday."  It is possible that the holiday would have withered over time without the support and continuous promotion of the florist industries and other commercial industries.

The word mother is defined as a woman who has raised a child, given birth to a child, and/or supplied the ovum that united with a sperm which grew into a child.  Because of the complexity and differences of a mother's social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to specify a universally acceptable definition for the term.  I would like to simplify the definition by asking a very simple question.  Who loves you?  If you have a woman in your life that had a hand in raising you, nuturing you, teaching you, influencing you, protecting you, defending you, supporting you, providing for you, or loving you, use Mother's Day tell her so and make sure she knows what it means to you.  That might be your biological mother, your stepmother, an adoptive mother, your grandmother, an aunt, family friend, neighbor, or any other woman who loved you.  Honor the women who have made a difference in your life and helped to mold and shape you into the person you are today.  Though a gift may be part of honoring those special women, don't underestimate the power of a handwritten card or letter expressing your gratitude and appreciation.  Motherhood is by no means an easy job!

Though I have always loved and respected my mother, I don't think one can truly understand what it means to be a mother until you become one yourself.  You view your your childhood, your parents, and the whole world differently once you become a mother.  People will tell you that parenthood changes everything, but there is no way to truly understand that sentiment until you experience it for yourself.  Anyone can have a baby, but not everyone can be a parent.  Being a good parent is the hardest job there is.  Love is the easy part, but caring for another life 24/7 and being fully responsible for how another human being turns out is tough.  You grow to have a new appreciation for your parents when you have children of your own.  You begin to realize that there are things you should probably apologize really didn't know it all.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mom.  It took my husband and I two and a half years to conceive.  Frankly, I had begun to think that it just wasn't in the cards for us.  Boom!  Two lines on a stick.  People had been telling us that as soon as we stopping "trying" it would happen, and apparantly they were right.  Those two lines changed my whole life.  Brandon Thomas Croft was born on November 6, 2009.  He came into the world a full month early due to pre-eclampsia.  Despite his early arrival, he was absolutely perfect.  We had decided not to find out the sex of the baby until delivery day (Which I highly recommend as it is the single greatest surprise you can experience in your adult life!).  I will never forget the moment that my husband said, "It's a boy!"  This moment was complete because my mom was right there by my side to hold my hand and witness our son being born.  The day that I became a mom, my mom became a Gigi.

Becoming a mother has made me appreciate my mom so much more.  She has provided my sister and I with an incredible example of what being a good mother is.  Our mom had a fantastic example too in our Babci.  For those of you who don't know, Babci is grandmother in Polish.  Lenore Adamson, our Babci, was an amazing mother and grandmother.  We all miss her every day, but she left quite a legacy, a strong family, and a great example of motherhood behind.  My mom, Vicki Grauert, is an unbelievable mother, loving wife, supportive sister, loyal friend, and adoring Gigi.  I love her with all my heart and I am so grateful for her unwavering love and support.  My mom has always been there for me, and I know that she will continue to always be there for me.  She loves my son with all that she is, and I am so glad that we live close by so that my parents can have such a close and connected relationship with our son.  I aspire to be as good of a mother to Brandon as my mom is to me and my sister.

"I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My mommy you'll be."

This passage is from the book Love You Forever written by Robert Munsch.  This book has been special to my mom and I since I was very little.  We frequently include these words in our cards to each other.  They still make me tear up every single time.  I know that I don't say it enough, but Mom I hope you know how much you are loved, respected, and appreciated. Happy Mother's Day Mommy!

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