Tag Archives: faith

What’s in a Cupcake?

I first heard about Gigi Butler when I was a music agent at a talent agency located on Nashville’s infamous Music Row.  Someone brought her cupcakes to the office one day. A couple of months; maybe it was only weeks later someone else brought some in for a meeting. After that, I began to hear even more people talking about them. I can’t say that I “loved” her cupcakes. I actually prefer a little less icing with mine so that I can better enjoy the cupcake itself. But after several months, I did know that there was a growing “buzz” about her new shop, Gigi’s Cupcakes.

IMG_5256

 

I switched jobs less than a year after she launched her company, and was no longer working at the same location, so as I continued to hear more about these cupcakes in other places, I realized it was no longer just another Music Row bakery shop.

Fast forward seven years to 2015, with several articles read about her company’s growth, and biographical information I’d come across, I was one of many who tuned in to the Undercover Boss TV show she was featured in to see how she would handle her own employees and franchisees’ feedback about the cupcakes, and the company as a whole. I found the episode very interesting, because she actually seemed more surprised by what she learned than many of other company CEOs and executives who I have seen on the show.

So when I learned she would be coming to the university where I teach, I made it a point of inviting myself to join the Business School students who were present during last year’s Entrepreneurship Week. I must say that I expected there would be more students in attendance. It still blows my mind that there are so many free opportunities for students to learn from people who are doing what they say they want to do; who they would never get a private meeting with, and yet so few, proportionately speaking, ever attend. I thought this was just an issue in my department. But that’s another story.

IMG_5253

As I sat in that auditorium listening to Gigi tell her story, I was taking mental notes, keying in on things that probably went right past others listening. I wasn’t interested in starting my own cupcake company, but I was interested in hearing about her entrepreneurial journey. And while I had read about much of it online and in various articles, I wanted to hear her tell the story of how as a teenager she started a small business to raise enough money to come to Nashville to pursue a music career. I wanted to hear from her how she built that first company into a success, made the move to Nashville, but struggled to make it in the music industry.

I listened intently about how she struggled financially, not making enough money playing the shows she was able to get (which is not that unusual for those seeking stardom in the music city), but still wanting to continue her pursuit of becoming an artist. And then she said it…

She talked about how she took on other jobs, and then decided to start up her former business again — a cleaning service. Gigi cleaned houses during the day, waited tables at night, and performed when she could.

Why did that interest me so much? Because I’m impressed with people who don’t allow their circumstances to consume them, but rather, will do what they can, what they need to do to keep moving forward. Gigi’s dream was to become a music artist. Her reality was that the years were passing by, and she had monthly bills to pay in order to survive.

She had to adjust her life to her new normal.

Too often we allow pride to get in the way of making the necessary adjustments in our lives when things aren’t going the we planned or things happen that we didn’t expect. Sometimes when our plans get altered, we get so bogged down in what we want to do, that we lose sight of what we need to do.

Of course, the rest of her story is obviously the bigger story that everyone focuses on. While coming to the realization that her original dreams were fading, she gave something else a try; something she had never anticipated being a part of her life, but it was the one thing that brought her the fame that perhaps she was seeking, and certainly more money than she could have imagined. Instead of building a singing career, she went on to build a cupcake empire.

If you’re curious for more information about Gigi Butler and Gigi’s Cupcakes, visit her website at: https://gigiscupcakesusa.com/about/gigis-story/

For now, I leave you with Gigi’s closing comments from that site, because they line up with words I would have shared with you as well.

“If I can convey just one idea to someone reading my story, it would be to believe in yourself, walk with integrity, work hard and trust in God. And maybe your life won’t turn out exactly how you were expecting or hoping it to be; but maybe, just maybe, it will be so much better than you could have ever imagined!

With God, all things are possible!

Blessings,

gigisignature

Advertisements

Self-Care is Self Survival

For the most part, I hate undoing things. Or should I say dealing with the aftermath of having done something. Just like most people, I prefer putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house for the holidays. But I dread the January time period of taking everything down and putting them away. I love planning and hosting parties, anytime a year, really, but loathe the clean up afterwards. And when it’s time to travel, whether I’m going 500 miles back home, or traveling 5,000 plus miles overseas, I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to unpacking and putting things away after the trip.

If I could figure out a way to monetize a new business model, I would start a company where I would come plan your parties, pack your luggage, and decorate your house for whatever season, but only in return for people coming to my house to put all of my things away. Not sure how that would actually work, but that’s how much I hate doing it.

So I’m four days returning from my Christmas vacation, and my luggage still sits in the middle of the floor; an unopened one by the back door in the den, and the other one I’ve been picking through on an as-needed basis, in the bedroom. But I have made a little progress, in the form of sorting through my cards and gifts. Now I’m not saying I’ve made any progress with putting them away, or to use yet. But the fact that they’re out of their gift bags and on my bed — okay, stacked together next to my bed — is forward movement.

As I look at several of the little items gathered together, a theme seem to jump out at me. “Self-Care!”

Maybe I was looking for it without realizing it, but all of the thoughtful gifts were messages and reminders for me. And something that made starting 2018 more perfect.

Two of my friends bought me a bottle of doTERRA Frankincense essential oil that I’e already begun using. Now that may not seem like a big deal to you, but my friends didn’t just grab something off the shelf. They know me and knew about my health struggles I’ve dealt with over the years. And Frankincense is said to help relieve chronic stress and anxiety, and reduce pain and inflammation. I need help in all of those areas.

A week later a colleague gave me a placard for my office with the word “REJOICE” and the scripture Psalm 118:19-24 written on it. The phrase that stands out to me most, that I want to read each day I come to work, is the reminder to rejoice and be glad. Glad that I have a job to come to. Glad that I enjoy what I do (most days). Glad that I’m able to make a living at what I do. And glad that I’m making a difference in the lives of young people, even at times when I think I’m just talking in circles.

“…let us rejoice today and be glad.” Psalm 118:24b

IMG_5647

With the extreme drop in temperatures during the start of this year, I’ve been wearing the moisturizer and aloe-infused socks that one of my sisters gave me to bed each night since I got home. Today, I’m enjoying my second visit to Starbucks this week, compliments of a Starbucks gift card my other sister gave me. But I have to also admit, after popping four or five Truffles in my mouth in less than an hour, that sometimes denial is as important in the name of self-care! So I had to put the remaining box of that delicious treat in the freezer!

I appreciate all of my Christmas gifts from family and friends. There’s no one thing better than the next, because it’s always the thought; that someone even thought enough about me to want to share a gift this holiday season. But this year I’ve taken to heart those items that also point me in a direction I need to daily remember — to take care of myself.

There is a difference between self-care and self-obsession. While there are many people who spend way too much time and money on pampering and overindulging themselves, mostly at the exclusion to what may be going on with other people in the world around them, there are still many others who spend much of their time helping and giving to others; being there whenever someone calls; sacrificing their own needs for the needs of family, work or friends.

We have to remember to take care of ourselves if we are to survive. The overused airplane analogy is nonetheless a perfect picture of how we should approach life, in terms of how we give — emotionally, financially, physically, and relationally. And that is to remember to put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others around you with theirs. No matter how tempting it is to reach for your children, or to assist your aging parent beside you, if you are not in a healthy state first, you will not be as effective to assist others. And quite possibly, you both may suffer as a result.

I’m looking forward to lighting one of my scented candles, slipping on a pair of those super soft socks, and enjoying a hot cup of tea in my large “HOPE” mug, while writing in my new journal. Yes, FAITH makes all things possible!

So as I kick off this new school year, and the pressures and workload of collegiate teaching in this environment grow, I’ll look to my gifts as subtle reminders of some of the things that should really be important.

REJOICE. HOPE. FAITH.

What great words to remember and to live by this new year!