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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Who Moved My Cheese? Ever Timely

In 2003, I was given a copy of Who Moved My Cheese? written by John Spencer, MD. Eleven years later, I still marvel at the ever timely advice that this book presented to its readers.  It inspires many of us that are currently facing a change in our life circumstances.

At the time I received Who Moved My Cheese?, the non-profit corporation to which I was employed as a customer service representative (CSR), was facing some reorganizational changes.  One of the vice presidents gave each employee a personal copy of this book.  She felt the book would assist each of us to embrace the new changes ahead.  Most of us were not familiar with the story which proved to be very interesting reading.


The premise consists of 2 people and 2 mice who have a room full of cheese to eat.  The simple story may have seemed a bit like a child's book, however, the fears and complexities of each character in the book could easily characterize any person, old or young, who is facing something new.


The cheese moves during the story and does not return to the initial room.  Basic survival is at stake if the 4 characters do not venture out of the room to find the new location of the cheese.  In the end, it was the 2 mice, Sniff and Scurry, who embraced the change first.  Sniff and Scurry eventually went on to find the new location. 

After a time, the 2 humans, Hem and Haw, consider venturing out.  By the end, all have left the room for the uncertainty ahead to locate the cheese.  Change can be very unnerving.  It can also be the bridge to success.  Circumstances and personal attitude factor greatly in one's transition to a new situation.

A few months after I received the book, I left the non-profit company.  At the time, I did not embrace some of the company's new changes very well and decided to resign.  That being said, my personal life met with a few disappointments after that including a divorce.

In 2006, I embraced a major change by moving from the NY/CT metro area to relocate in North Carolina.  A sudden change in circumstances made the move short-lived and I returned to New York. 

In 2008, I relocated once more to North Carolina.  Now, I have lived here for the past 6 years in the lovely northwestern part of the state.  The mountain views are just breath-taking!!!  NASCAR and LOWES Home Improvement both got their starts here.  TYSON and WINDOW WORLD are also major corporations in this area.

In 2009, I made a career change myself to finally become self-employed.  This has been quite challenging for me who was used to my former set hourly jobs and steady pay checks.  I decided to use my down time to learn all I could about entrepreneurships. 

The local Small Business Center (SBC) located in Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC has proved to be invaluable.  The tireless assistance from the staff is excellent.  The SBC/Continuing Education seminars (BTW are FREE) have run the gamut in small business topics from A to Z

In 2010, I also opened my first Internet Retail shop on Etsy.com.  This modest shop has made 235 sales to date.  I named my shop Wilkes Vintage Finds.  This Internet retail shop has offered for sale many diverse items from A to Z as long as they have been 20 years or older per Etsy.com guidelines. 

Incidentally, the shop has assisted me in honing my own writing and photographic skills.  The need for descriptive listings and clear pictures are necessary to attract prospective buyers and close sales.

In 2012, I acquired the Wilkes Gazette company from my former editor.  I underwent surgery in 2013 and the digital newspaper had few issues that year.  This year, I renamed the newspaper, The Wilkes County Gazette and gave it a facelift and an overhaul.

I am embracing change once more to add a printed flyer for free distribution to the public entitled Wilkes County Gazette Shopper.  Hopefully, this new publication will be available soon.


 As I reflect a bit before advancing in my endeavors, I cannot but thank my former company vice president for her gift of Who Moved My Cheese? for its ever timely advice.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Expanding Our Horizons

As 2014 progresses along, JAE has expanded its projects to include a new shop on Etsy.com named ValJeanne Photography.  This shop features digital images for sale as instant downloads for buyers with Etsy accounts.

Valerie Jeanne Hynson a/k/a Jeanne Armonk has been taking pictures since grammar school when she received her first Kodak instamatic camera outfit.  She made great use of that first camera by taking photos of her family, the family pets, and vacation moments.


She was a Brownie and a Junior Girl Scout.  She began working on merit badges for her sash.  This included obtaining a My Camera Badge.  She worked diligently to take photos of all the required subject matters and finished the list while on a family vacation trip to Washington, D.C. in April 1971.  


That was a memorable trip in the viewing of National Monuments and of the famous cherry blossoms that were blooming that month.  One photo requirement was that the photograph needed to be taken through branches. The required photo ended up being one that depicted the Jefferson Memorial through nearby branches beautified with lovely cherry blossoms.


That family vacation ended with a trip to the National Zoo.  One photo of a gorgeous lioness who resembled Elsa of Born Free and one photo of a lovely Siberian tiger completed the badge requirements.


Well, a number of cameras later, and now in the digital camera age, Valerie Jeanne has taken thousands of pictures of all manner of subjects, particularly of nature and pets.

When Valerie Jeanne a/k/a Jeanne Armonk began writing/reporting for The Wilkes Gazette (Wilkes County, NC), she took many photographs for feature articles.  Valerie Jeanne took her dog Red with her for several years to many places in Wilkes County for her column Jeanne's Travels that highlighted pet-friendly recreation and activities available to pet owners and their dogs.

Red was a large dog weighing close to 135 pounds, yet he would wait by the car in the morning as if to say, "Where are we going today?"  Valerie misses her big dog and faithful companion who passed away in 2013.  Now, her newest dog Burnie will have big paws to follow as they begin a new circuit of travels.

I hope that you will visit ValJeanne Photography at www.valjeannephotography.etsy.com to view Valerie Jeanne's photos.  Several of Red's photos have garnered some admirers.  They traveled between New York and North Carolina a few times in the recent years.  There will be more articles regarding their traveling experiences in future blog posts.

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Wilkesboro, NC, United States
My interest with writing began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also co-wrote a play in my 4th grade class when I lived in New Rochelle, NY. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. I was fortunate to have a lead part. After my high school graduation, I entered the working world. For over 30 years I have been steadily gaining writing, editing and digital publishing skills. I began by composing letters and emails to company clients. I contributed to articles written for The Commuters Register based in Windsor, CT. Since 2009, I have added social media, digital publishing and blogging here in Wilkesboro, NC. Since 2010, I write ad copy for the listing descriptions for each of my 3 Internet shops open at Etsy.com. In 2012, I entered a poem about my dog Red in the World Poetry Contest. The poem was chosen for publication. I have written articles for the Winston-Salem Frugal Living Examiner and Hub Pages. In 2012, I acquired The Wilkes Gazette digital newspaper that was renamed the Wilkes County Gazette in 2014. I write under both my own name and my pen name, Jeanne Armonk.

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