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The Great Coffee Spill of 2017

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It happened in a flash

A split second, really. One minute, I was sitting with my coffee in the early morning hours. I was responding to work emails, as I often try to do before the kids are fully awake.

My older son, the 6-year-old, was sitting sleepily beside me, his head on my shoulder. He had just woken up.

And then, he saw our cat walk by.

In what felt like an nonsensical instant, he was suddenly fully awake and jumped up to go pet her, arms flailing. Correction: arms crashing right into my coffee mug.

I didn't even have time for my normal lightning-speed mom reflexes. It was that unexpected. And – you guessed it – the coffee spilled right into my MacBook.

We tried everything, but my MacBook was undoubtedly killed that morning. It was dead, dead, dead. Death by coffee and a six-year-old.

Thankfully (so thankfully!), I had backed everything up right until the moment of the Great Spill onto an external hard drive, because I was in the middle of working on a catalog for our summer trade shows. But few accessible computers had the type of design programs I use on a daily basis, and for a few days, everything had to go on pause until we had a solution.

While frustrating, those couple of days waiting for the replacement computer were also enlightening for me. I realized just how much I use the gifts I've developed in graphic design on a daily basis--and I didn't even know it.

Over the past few years, I've refined and honed skills in design programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to help me create things like catalogs, order forms, social media posts, post cards, package inserts, and product labels. One of the reasons we're able to release new products so quickly after development (like the ones further down in this newsletter!) is because I don't have to wait for a designer to adjust our labels with the new color/scent; I can just do small jobs like that myself.

Up until now, I've rarely given myself credit for honing those gifts...it just felt normal. But being without access to my design programs for a few days helped me to realize how valuable those skills truly are--and how often I use them in my work!

Long story short, I was able to restore all my files and programs onto a new computer by Friday morning, but it was now with a new appreciation for myself and the value of the graphic design gifts I bring to the table.

It also occurred to me: that's exactly what we've been encouraging girls to do all along with our SmartGirl Kits.

Recognize the talent and passion that's inside you, nourish it, and use it to pursue your dreams in the way that makes most sense to you.
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I think sometimes we don't even realize the talents we use on a daily basis--they just feel "normal" to us. But to the world, these talents are gifts that can be used to make things a little better, a little brighter.

I hope as we enter this week, we can all step back and give ourselves some credit for the gifts that each of us can share with the people we love and send forth into the world around us.

I know I will. :)

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