Hello there, friends!
In November, we received our first email from a member of our community. It was Melissa Anne Groven, writing to say that she loved the project and that we needed to keep it up. Since then, Melissa has been an active member of the hello there, friend community, where she is very often leaving us sweet comments on Instagram. She is kind, encouraging, and so creative. We are truly excited to share a bit more about her with you today!
b + L
Melissa Anne Groven is the designer and maker of signs, arrows, and pennants full of truth and authenticity over at Melissa Anne Company. She is wife to the mister that she loves and likes, and mama to four kids ages 11, 8, 6, and 4. She's a fan of creamy coffee, pretty photos, my comfy bed, seventy-degree weather, the color aqua, being real, and making pretty things with paper, paint, wood, fabric and glue (lots of glue). You can find her on Instagram at @melissaannecompany.
I am right smack dab in the middle of the end-of-school into summer transition (hello, lots of chaos in figuring out our new schedule), where my days will look very different being a stay-at-home-run-a-small-business-from-home mama. Here’s the school version of my typical day: My day starts between 6-7 a.m. and usually with a walk. The older three are out the door for the bus by 7:40. My youngest, who is four, heads to daycare three mornings a week. During that time I do work for my Etsy shop. I make stuff to fill orders (signs, arrows, and pennants…mostly arrows though), package orders, do my computer and social media gig, order supplies online like boxes, packaging materials, and fun crafty supplies too. My youngest and I spend the afternoon together with me usually trying to work a bit.
Around 3:30 starts the flurry of backpacks, hugs, questions, details of the day, snacks, and papers. And more snacks. Lots of playing, sometimes a TV show, reading (sometimes), and more asking for snacks take place between getting off the bus and supper. The mister gets home from work and we all eat supper together. I don’t usually plan meals, and my 8 year-old son says I’m really good at making toast. But I somehow am able to still feed our family -- sometimes using the stove and other times using cereal bowls and milk. You know, either way.
After supper includes reading, board games or card games in the winter -- Sequence and Uno were popular this year (Uno can last a painfully long time with more than three people and a four year-old -- just so you are aware). Then it’s bedtime for the younger two, which takes a little while with their multiple needs and requests. Then the older two get some special time with me and their dad before it's bedtime for them.
I usually try to do a bit more Etsy shop work if needed before bed, a little talking with the hubs, and then turning in around 10 o'clock.
What does gratitude mean to you and how do you incorporate it into your everyday life?
I don’t think I’m all that great at being grateful really. I’m just not. I tend to not even use the word ‘gratitude’ because I have lofty, perfectionist tendencies when I use that word for myself. And my focus is on being real, not perfect. So I tend to phrase it in ways that sound truer for me. I notice and appreciate the feeling of the sun on my back when I use my chop saw, finally being outside after a long winter of working in my subzero garage with my fingers feeling like they’re going to fall off from the cold. I say hooray for librarians who show grace and don’t judge me when I have a fine or a lost book (or both). And I am so thankful for good friends that make me laugh and have my back.
I used to think in terms of ‘either/or’ when it came to being thankful. Like I had to push aside and ignore any other more difficult and very real emotions if I were to practice being thankful. And the rule follower in me wanted to do the right thing and be thankful. Just grit my teeth and be thankful. And then some significant life happened, and a lot changed.
Here’s the game-changer that I learned and am still learning and practicing: I can be grateful right alongside those more difficult emotions like fear, despair, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness, grief, uncertainty, and others (soooo many others). I can hold them in tension, side by side. I can be grateful and sad, or grateful and uncertain. Just because I choose to acknowledge and appreciate the small gifts doesn’t mean that I need to ignore or shove aside my emotions. There’s room for them all if I choose to hold them in tension. All together. And strangely enough, there’s also loads of peace and freedom in the tension.
How do you stay connected to those you love?
I think the best way to truly connect with others is to be real and authentic. I no longer pretend that everything is fine, that I am fine. It takes courage to choose to do that with authenticity and vulnerability. And I agree with Bréne Brown that this vulnerability is really what connects people in a genuine and true way. I want to show up as my truest self and I want to give others the space to do just that as well. I’m in process with that, of course, like everything. So, regardless of the means of connecting, for me it needs to be real.
What’s inspiring you right now?
People who make bold decisions (big or small) that don’t really make sense to anyone else, but they know somehow in the depths of their beings that it’s the right choice for them. Those people who are listening and awake and have acted with courage regardless of what others will think, regardless of how it will turn out (because they don’t know themselves), those people give me the courage to do the same. It somehow emboldens me to keep listening and stay alert in all areas of my life: mothering, creating, marriage, emotional health, business, and more. I also am jazzed by the song ‘Try Everything’ from Zootopia right now and all things Bréne Brown.
What is on your bedside table?
I actually don’t have a bedside table with the layout of our bedroom, but if I did here’s what would be on it (this stuff is on a dresser nearby, so hopefully that’s close enough): Some sort of fiction book from the library, Rising Strong by Bréne Brown (my current read), essential oils (peppermint, peace and calming, and lavender), a little notebook and pen, and a white ampersand (because the ampersand rocks my socks). And probably some dust, because I am not so good at cleaning.
On Monday, Melissa will be taking over the hello there, friend Instagram feed and sharing more with us. We hope you take the opportunity to check in and say hello to her!
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing with us! We're so grateful for you! xo.