Instagram

Is there anyone not on Instagram these days? I cannot think of a better platform for sharing a business venture than Instagram! I do love how it is so useful for networking, bullet-posting, minimal sharing, and free advertising! There is something to be said for being able to use the algorithm appropriately, however, and mastering it is something that continues to elude me. Any useful tips any of you may have for me, I am ALL ears! Please come follow along over there and say hi!  www.instagram.com/greylilycalligraphy

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Any old September Sunday

And just like that, August has rolled into September. I am still not sure where August went. Our schools here started school on August 1st again (the premise being that the earlier start date allows for a full week off to enjoy the Fall break). In any case, it literally ATE the entire month. There are still so many things I had wanted to get accomplished this summer. A trip to the lake…(why is it that NONE of my friends own a boat?!?!?!), another long hike with the family, a picnic, and some painting of furniture that has been on my to-do list for too long to be novel.

However, with my ever-increasing dizzy- nausea- headaches from needing a surgery that we cannot find a surgeon to do in my particular circumstance, and a few other ailments that often times keep me from being as productive as I am used to being or want to be; a hubby dealing with his own issues with health, and work, the days that we could get busy, we don’t always get to be busy doing the things on our bucket lists, as it were.

So, today, we made a marked decision to go sauntering in our neighboring town of Abingdon, Va. It was a beautiful day, weather wise, and we needed to get out of the house, as the children have been at each other’s throats, quite literally, and I was feeling an itch to blog, and an itch to hone my photo taking. Yesterday was such a yucky day, both rainy and cold. Our only excursion was the dreaded grocery store visit. I have never understood it, but car riding provides some of the best talk time also. It was a good time for the hubby and I to discuss some important things, to make some plans, and to examine ourselves. That was a hefty obligation to place on a little car ride, but it really does provide the best respite in which to hash any emotional chow-chow, I have always felt. Am I the only one that does my best thinking and talking in the car?

Now, I am a BIG fan of Abingdon, Va. Blog-worthy? Check. Photogenic? Check. Plus, going there provides the best (albeit, bittersweet) trips down memory lane for me. My late mom and I used to go several times a month often times just to “Sunday drive”. It is such a beautiful town, with its old brick buildings, its old-fashioned feel, its antique feel. But my very favorite part of Abingdon has always been its brick sidewalks with moss, and the real shuttered windows. Often times, the windows are still the old, handmade ones with the beautiful wavy glass. I LOVE the historic part of downtown. Something about it speaks to my soul, whispering secrets from times long-past. You can read some of the history of Abingdon, Virginia here .

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I can just feel the history on these bricks..

One of my favorite things about upcoming fall is Halloween. I just love a good ghost story. Especially one of local lore. One of the best ghost walks I have ever taken was the one in Abingdon. It was just a surreal experience walking the same bricks on which the people in the stories the docent was relaying to us travelled. You can get a good idea about it on this page.

So, without further ado, walk with us, friends…

The first building I will show you is my favorite, The Tavern. It opened its doors in 1779. It has had an interesting, storied past, as often times old buildings do. During the past two centuries, the Tavern has served as a tavern bank, bakery, general store, cabinet shop, barber shop, a private house, post office, antique shop, and, as it is now, a restaurant. It also served as a hospital for Confederate AND Union soldiers during the Civil War. Most importantly to those of us that do love a haint, it has a ghost attached to it.

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The Tavern is also known for its mossed roof
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A ghost lingers here…

Next on our little Abingdon tour was the Martha. The Martha Washington Inn is aptly named after our first president’s wife. It was built in 1832, and it too, has a storied past. Its history includes a women’s college, a private residence, and a Confederate hospital. You can read more about it’s history on this page.

The Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Va

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Couldn’t resist adding one with my two cuties, Grey and Lily

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Old Glory, may she fly high forever

From The Martha, we travelled around the rest of downtown, taking random pictures. Following is a selection of the ones we took today. Enjoy!

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Thank you for joining my family today on this little excursion. Its always good for the soul to wander. “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
― Anita Desai

All photos on this post belong to Lisa Jones, greylilyco. Please ask permission before using.

Some real stuff…

I am going to share some real-life drama stuff today here on the blog. As you know, I have two children, Grey and Lily.  Normally, cherub faced angels that fulfill our lives as much as a Hallmark movie would portray. And then there are days like today. Days that leave me crying while hiding in the bathroom on the toilet days.

It started declining pretty much as soon as I opened my eyes. My son (who is almost 8 and is a highly-functioning autistic) is standing in front of me in tears crying because he got banned from his favorite online game for using a less-than-child-like word that he picked up at the end of the school year when another little boy shared it with everyone. My tactic with things like this is to down play it so as not to make it seem more interesting to him by making a big deal of things. Apparently, this is a word I should of dwelled on the fact that is a B.A.D. word. So, after dealing with the fallout of this (punishing him by taking away his computer privileges for two days), I get further bombarded with hearing him screaming in his room, “I HATE MOM!!” Ok. So, this adds insult to injury. I confess, I didn’t know how to handle it, much less what to say. This is something I hear other parents deal with, not us. In my naivety, I never thought it would EVER be something we would be facing, much less having to deal with. So, I cried. I stood there and cried. With “normal” kids, they see a parent doing this, they deal with the issue in the moment, and more often than not, kids get over things quickly. Not my son. Not in his little mind. He sees me cry (or any emotion, really), and it sets off a tail-spin of fits, stemming, and o.c.d. behaviors in him. Its almost more than I can bear on a good day, much less a day that was already hard.

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He is such a high-functioning, that most everyone do not see what he is enduring trying his best to “fit-in” or be “on” as I call it. It drains him. I am still trying to determine if our putting him in public school was the right choice. On one hand, I knew he learned best from a small amount of peer pressure. But as he has just finished first grade, it is already becoming a little more than “a small amount” of peer pressure. Yes, most of the children treat him wonderfully, he rarely gets made fun of, but what is changing is the fact that he is aware of the difference and the patronizing. It seems an impossible choice most days. We just pray. Pray over him, pray for him, pray ahead of him, and behind him. And we try to go with the flow the best we can, and most days, we get through just fine. Then there are days like today that end in tears: mine, his, sissy’s, dads. Tears and feelings of failure and frustration. Did we do the right thing? Did we address it the best we could? Did he understand what we were saying? Should I have talked to him more than I did? Less? Days like this are ones that I truly wish came with a manual.

Greylily expands

I have been wanting to delve into the world of holistic health for many years now. Something has always held me back…wasn’t the right time, too busy, children too young for me to divert my attention… you see where I am going with this. But I have decided that no time is like the present, so after much research and asking questions of companies that I respect and love, I have found the proper fit for my online continuing education.

I am excited to be applying to the American College of Healthcare Sciences. I am already a college graduate (in 2004, BS Criminology). I have been out of school many moons, and this is a little intimidating for me, but I am excited to get this journey on a roll. My interests lie in both herbalism and aromatherapy. I threw around the idea of obtaining two MS degrees, but after speaking to the advisor, I think the best fit for me right now is the certification in natural product manufacturing. I plan to make my little tinctures and salves at home, and sell in my etsy store. Ah, the old etsy store. That is another entire blog post on it’s own. Tell me friends, are you finding selling in an overly-saturated marketplace exhausting, intimidating, frustrating, time consuming? Is it just me?

I have busied myself trying and reaching out to other all natural companies whose products I love and appreciate, and use. I am excited to try a few new ones. I received one in the mail today, from Herbivore.

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I hope to begin this journey this summer. My plan is to begin manufacturing all-natural (organic when possible) products and using my calligraphy for my labels, packaging. This opens a whole new world for greylily. We hope to help fill a niche in the market for educated holistic skincare. Wish me luck friends!

The business of writing

I am going back here, to how it all began for me. This is a little bit of my journey to how I arrived here, today, writing.

Hello, friends. I have been debating on whether or not to take on the added responsibility of a blog for some time now. I decided to go ahead with this endeavor because there are so many times I would like to share something on my mind about this stage in my life and business, or just to get to “get things off my mind”. So, here I am.

Allow me to shamelessly plug my website that may seem so basic to most of you, but for me, it represented a triumph. I built it, and I am darned proud of it. You can find it here.

I am currently on Instagram (who isn’t these days? – as I am finding an overly saturated market) as greylilycalligraphy and, for lack of a better way to put it, am learning the business end of a craft while learning the craft itself. I am finding this isn’t for the faint of heart.

I took a step out of my comfort zone the other day, and sent out a “questionnaire” to some of the calligraphers I admire the most. I was at a loss as to how to grow my following, and thereby, grow my orders (shop here ). I got some very interesting responses, some positive, some not so much – from surprising sources. In any case, I did receive some helpful information.

I am going back here, to how it all began for me. This is a little bit of my journey to how I arrived here, today, writing this.

But, my friends, learning while doing is a difficult task, no matter who you are. My background is in criminology of all things. Years worth of work in a degree field working  to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree, and during the years of hard work, working up to 4 jobs at a time, carrying a full load of course work, taking care of my mom in the end stages of cancer, all while assuming the responsibility of caring for an invalid sister…well, they were difficult years. And during those difficult years, I knew my heart was not in the field. My hopes were to go straight in to my MS in forensics, but life had other plans for me. I sacrificed my life for others. Not as noble as that sounds, because I have regrets, I let fear be in the driver’s seat. Much of what I did was out of fear…letting people down, trying to keep all the balls juggling in the air. And, as is the due course of trying to keep too many things going with not enough resources, dropping many of those balls (re: finances) with devastating results. However, looking back now, I see the silver lining. Not finding work in my field for years (while being at home with my sister and then, later, my special needs son) led me to reach for the things that were in my heart. I brainstormed at one point and discovered, if I had listened to my heart to begin with (and not been afraid of letting my family down), I would have gone into history from the start of my college career. Of course, that path may not have led me anywhere but where I am now, so who knows? Fickle fate, or being led…I am not certain anymore. However, my path did lead me to dig into what my passions really were, and through finding history, I specifically came to realize that I have always had an admiration and love for writing and communication, and then, “beautiful writing”. So I set out to study it, that was a good 15 years ago now.

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My sister and I during those difficult college days. She has always been a ray of sunshine in my life.

I started reaching out to (harassing, really) calligraphers years ago. Where I live, the arts are not a focus. It was difficult in those years (these were the days before having the internet was an everyday thing for everyone) to find people to reach out to. Eventually, I was successful, I found IAMPETH (here) on this journey. I could not travel because of the responsibilities of caring for my sister and son, so I reached out. Eventually, people started putting things online, resources, and even classes. I grabbed for those every chance I got. I have now been practicing (I call it that, because calligraphy is one of the arts you never really “arrive” at…you simply continue to practice and hone your hands. There are those few that reach such a level of perfection they are deemed “masters”. To my knowledge, there are around 10 of those in the world), for around 5 years now.

During the years of practice, and taking my little photos of my “aha!” moments, there was a change in the social media world. A “professionalizing,” with people seizing the opportunity of a free means of advertising, both with good and bad consequences. Hence, up arise the individuals offering the “business skills” in “getting you followers.” I once made the (possible) mistake of telling one of these such people who were offering me a “follow and follow back” that I was looking for “quality over quantity”. Silly me, I didn’t realize what I was doing. After I realized I was going to have to step up my game with social media, I began taking courses in business…in Instagram itself (of all things!), and any other part of selling of myself and my skill I could find. This business is not easy. But I am learning.

So, in the end, I have found that I need an outlet to discuss and share the things I am learning and doing other than the business arenas of Facebook and Instagram, and even Twitter to some degree. Therefore, I am writing. I do love a good blog, and have made some connections with people who are so dear to me. I have hopes of doing the same with this one myself. Won’t you join me?

These are the days

It has been hot here. East Tn. is not known for temperature fluctuation the way we have been experiencing it the past couple of years. I can only guess climate change. And our a/c unit picks the hottest day to caput on us. So, we (the children and I) decided to use the opportunity to get outside for fresh air & a scenery change.

It is so true that nature heals- the soul along with mind & body. We really enjoyed Spring’s beautiful abundance this weekend. There was so much beauty, I feel I must share it with you, friends.

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I have never known Irises to grow in a marsh! These were breathtaking in person, and filled the marsh!
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Grey looking out at the mist created from the generating at the dam. It was so cool and felt wonderful in the heat.

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There is so much folklore about the area in which we live. I adore history, and especially folklore, so I read up as much as possible. This island we visited is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the Native Americans that lived in this area who thought this island to be sacred. I am not certain of that as fact, but it sure adds to my love of this place. Is it not beautiful? I hope you all are keeping cool in the oncoming heat, and getting out into beautiful nature.

Welcome

Welcome

 I am so glad to meet you!  Here you can learn about what greylilycalligraphy is all about. Please feel free to post any comments with questions or any interesting discussions you care to share with us! I would like for my blog to be a place of open communication with other artists, calligraphers, business minded people, or just anyone loving the arts and willing to share! I believe in open and honest communication to foster a spirit of friendship and community, and if it helps anyone on their journey, my heart is grateful.

 

About

I will never forget the day my mother gave me my first fountain pen as a ten-year old. It sparked an interest that stayed with me throughout my life. I’ve had a love for writing for as long as I can remember, and was always fascinated with how beautifully my grandmother wrote. As I got older, I realized the older generations had been taught penmanship- based on a form of calligraphy. 

My interest in writing never waned, nor my love of the arts. I took several art classes in high school and college, but went in the direction of science in college, & graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. After graduation and starting a family, my interest in calligraphy re-awakened. I began researching the foundations of writing itself, then the history of calligraphy (meaning “beautiful writing”), and that led me take courses in calligraphy. Several years later, I am still researching and learning and practicing this beautiful art form while raising my two beautiful children, Grey and Lily in our beautiful hills of east Tennessee. I want to instill in them what it is to pursue your dreams, to never forget the true love of what is in their hearts…  

 

Neglect not the gift that is in you  1 Timothy 4:14 

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Why Us?

With a deep love of history and the foundations of elegant writing, my fonts are rooted in the historical foundations of Copperplate calligraphy. This pointed pen “writing” is much loved for its elegance and universal appeal as a beautiful hand. 

As a member of Letter Writers Alliance and IAMPETH (International Association of Master Penman and Teachers of Handwriting), I am committed to the continued preservation and education of this beautiful art form.