Onward and upward!

Thank you for being part of our journey these 3 years! We've so appreciated all your kind words and visits. Onward and upward with our journey!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

At the Bottom of the Cliff

Dear My Toy Garden Friends,

     A year ago now I stood atop a cliff with my toes hanging over the edge.  Behind me a journey of steps sure and straight at times and wandering and faint at other times. But each with a forward purpose guided by a higher power.   As I lifted my head, I saw an endless horizon.  Far below, a bottom I couldn’t see or know what was waiting there. A breeze that was faint months before was now whistling past me lifting my hair in ever changing arcs around my head.  My heart, while racing a bit, was steady.  It was time, I was sure, to take the next step.  This one was to be a different from the ones behind me. This one was to be off the edge of the cliff.
   And step off that cliff I did and fell, fell, fell.  You, my dear My Toy Garden friends, were there with me through the crazy journey of last year.  Thank you for all your kind words and support! Know that I miss you and think of you often.  I've now landed at the bottom of that cliff and wanted to share the recent and next steps of my journey with you in this one last newsletter.
    June, July, August brought wave after wave of there's a buyer!  Oh, hmm, nope.  There's a buyer!  Oh, hmmm, nope.  In early August, I was told by the landlord that he had a potential tenant who, if they signed the lease, would take over the space early September.   That news triggered several weeks of clearing the space to the walls.  Every shelf, every paper clip, every post it note, every curling ribbon I'd brought into the space had to be removed.  With each piece, a piece of my heart to be sure.  I followed the advice of a dear friend before disassembling everything and sat down in the dark of the space one night with a candle and a bottle of wine and said goodbye.  I slowly walked through the store, touching each piece and let waves of memories wash over me.  The wiggly faces at story time, the grandpa who loved science things, the mom whose child struggled academically and loved coming to chat, the amazing staff, the children with a few hard earned dollars in their hands ready to get what they'd eyed for so long, the birthday buckets filled, the events we held.... sooooo many great memories!!
    That was an incredible difficult period but one of great healing as well.  The new tenant didn't materialize. All the fixtures found new homes.  Some at the Carmel Library, some in a new toy store in Chicago, some at Lily's school, some to a food shelter.  The year has been an exercise in trust.  Trust in God's greater plan for me.  I have felt his steady hand guiding me through the year.  Nudging me when I've wanted to dig my heels in, cradling me when I've needed the strength.  I entered the journey of My Toy Garden as an unbeliever.  I leave more sure than ever of God's presence and abundant blessings.  This new year begins with incredible possibilities ahead and I can't wait to see what He has planned!  If you have questions and would ever like to chat with me about faith, I invite you to reach out to me.
      My work with Wildtree has continued to give me great opportunities to help others with taking steps toward healthier eating and/or making meal time more manageable giving them time and stress relief.  Two things I love to help with!  It has provided us income to pay the monthly rent that has continued to be due.  (Praise God that a new tenant officially takes over the space as of today!!  Painting with a Twist begins their build out in the space and expects to open soon.)  If our paths have not yet crossed on the Wildtree side, I'd be honored to work with you.  A hint of something magical has peeked into my world as well.  I look forward to conversations about that in the next few weeks to see where that might lead.
    So, my feet have landed safely on the ground at the bottom of the cliff.  There have been caves to curl up in and take the long nap of a hibernating bear.  There have been cool pools to float in looking up to the sky in wonder and awe.  There have been cactuses with sharp prickles to contend with.  There has been a path that led to my return home for the holidays for the first time in 20 years.  My stepfather passed away in May and I'm so thankful for the time I now have to reconnect with my family.  Below is a picture of my mom and I in her kitchen.  Proof that miracles do happen!
    Ahead, there are flat plains and mountains to traverse with dark woods to get through.  There are people to meet and help along the way.  I'm ready for the challenges and the journey ahead.  More than ever.  All we can do is trust and take the steps were are meant to take today knowing that they will lead us exactly where we need to be.  No need to worry.  Happy new year my friends!  May our paths cross again.
Janet Pillsbury
317-564-8204 (home)
317-600-8882 (cell)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Almost the End?

Dear My Toy Garden Friends,

It’s been climbing.  It’s been falling.  It’s been twisting and turning.  It’s been slowly inching up another hill only to plummet 6 feet before climbing slowing again.  And now, it’s stalled in a tunnel of darkness.

Summer is the time for roller coasters and what a coaster ride we have been on at My Toy Garden. For those of you who have been following along on this journey, you know that we announced April 10 that due to the needs of my family, we were planning to sell My Toy Garden and if a buyer did not step forward by the end of May, we would close the store.  My Toy Garden has been an intertwined part of my heart for the last 3  years and so that decision was one made slowly, with great deliberation and announced with a deep sigh.  The store has thrived in its 3 years and our customer base has grown quickly and has become like family.  Although there were frowns, sagged shoulder and tears, I appreciated that many of you understood that my children and my marriage needed to come before the store.

April came and went.  May began and the staff wrapped up their journeys on the 2nd Saturday.  I stayed on for four more days to clear out the last of the inventory.  I had always felt the store would sell and, while I did begin to have doubts that it really would in those last few days, lo and behold, at 4 pm on the last Tuesday, a man walked in and was interested in buying the store.  

We have talked and waiting and talked and waited all summer long.  At times, signing the closing documents seemed a day or two away and others, weeks away.  At this time, I am letting go of that possibility with him.  I also said I would not sell the store unless I felt it was the right owner who would continue it on with love, integrity and with a passion to help families.   So…here’s where we are…time to decide.

Do we sell the fixtures and close it forever?  Perhaps.  I’ve decided to send out the word before making that step to see who is out there….one of you?  Someone you know?  Who would love to turn the lights back on at a turnkey, beloved community toy store?  Everything is in place and ready to go.  The new owner would simply place orders with my guidance and the shelves would once again dance with possibilities.  Please share this newsletter with those you know and maybe, just maybe My Toy Garden will continue on.   Interested in knowing more about the store itself?  Contact me at toyladyjanet@gmail.com or 317-600-8882.  Interested in the financials?  Contact my broker, Dick Hester, at 317-496-3503 or rhester@indianabusinessadvisors.com.  If enough of you read this and share this, maybe, just maybe My Toy Garden will continue on.  Thank you truly from the bottom of my heart for all who have supported my family.  It is such a bittersweet time for us.

With much love,
Toylady Janet

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Word of the Year

Dear My Toy Garden Friends,
Who knew such power could be found in a pizza place? Surely not I. My friend, Mary Kaye had invited me to a new adventure of hers and the location she choose was a meeting room at Donato's Pizza. Who knew? What happened that night has played a major role in my life decisions of the last few months. But before we go there, let me tell you a bit about Mary Kaye.
This woman is one of those women you never forget meeting even it is was for just a brief moment of time. She is always wearing something with a splash of color that announces her arrival and makes dark clouds hide in shame. Her sincere smile draws you in and you know you are in the presence of someone special. Her zest for life is huge and her love for others is a driving passion in her life. In one visit, you are likely to be laughed with, cried over and have her eyes connect with yours in simple understanding. She is one of the craziest people I know and I adore her!
Her new adventure was called the Word of the Year Project. Have you had a word or phrase that when you heard it, it popped out from the others around it? A word that when you heard it, it rang through you to your toes? A word that continued to whisper through your actions for days, weeks, months to come? A word that you needed to pay attention to? The goal of this new adventure was to help people identify what their word is and then to help them create a piece of art that captures the essence of that word. Mary Kaye was just the person to lead us through.
After some quiet meditation steps to center our thoughts and some other guided imagery activities, the word that lit on my shoulder was just the word I've needed this year. Patience. Oh so not an easy word though is it? It is only through focus on this word that the events of My Toy Garden have unfolded and led me to where I am now. Patience is truly paying off now!
So where am I now, you are asking? I so appreciate the stalking of the store Facebook page and the messages asking for updates. It's an exciting time for My Toy Garden! The man who appeared that Tuesday afternoon and I have meet several more times since that day. He is still very interested in buying the store and having it remain as much the same as possible. Let's all say, "Yeah!" He had been doing planning to open a store in Fishers when he realized that it might be the better option to buy a store that is already all put together and has a fabulous customer base. Smart idea, right? We are working through the details of things and are hoping to announce the official sale of the store within the next week or two. That means My Toy Garden will reopen this summer...one day very soon! Can you believe it?! God is amazing! Thank you again for all your support! Stay tuned for reopening news soon!
The agreement with my husband was that when the store sold, I get to go on an all inclusive beach vacation for a week by myself. Oh, pinch me please! It will only seem real when I sink my toes in the sand there. Now I'm pondering where....thoughts to share with me on that? Comment below!

Flashlight in the Darkness

Dear My Toy Garden Friends,
Friday was the day the tears began and fell through the weekend. May 9th was a date I'd had in mind for weeks and weeks. On May 9th I'd know I'd told myself. On May 9th, I'd know what the next steps for My Toy Garden would be.
For months I've felt like I'm surrounded by pitch black darkness. The kind of darkness you can taste...that presses against your eyes in an invisible blindfold. In my hands is a small flashlight that shows me a tiny bit. Enough light to show me just one more step to take. I've been blindly following this path wondering where it will lead and trying hard not to worry. Trying hard to trust that His plan is always the best one. The post it on my desk says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light onto my path." I've uttered it many times a day for the last few months.
My steps are quickening right now as I even more tightly focus on today and today alone. Friday, May 9th, came and went leaving me with the feeling that perhaps His plan is for the store to close. My Toy Garden was created in a whirl of magic that sparkled on it's walls for the last 3 years. Maybe, just maybe, the purpose for which it was created has been fulfilled. Tears flowed for four days as I struggled with wanting my plans to be THE plans in my constant battle for control. Perhaps you have those battles too?
Then at 4 pm yesterday a man came into the store. A man who had been here a month ago in the early stages of the clearance sale. A man who told me he had been planning to open a toy store in Fishers. "You know," he said. "I've been thinking. Rather than create a store from scratch, it might make lots more sense for me to look at buying this one." Um...yup! I totally agree!
So the conversations begin and my flashlight continues it's search one step at a time. In a blink that light can land on a pair of shoes that might, just might, allow the store to continue to on. There is still time for other pairs of shoes to step onto the path but not much. I plan to begin to sell the fixtures very soon. (If you have had your eye on any bookcases, tables or other pieces, they might be yours next week.) Now is the time to think who do you know that has had a dream to own a toy store? Invite them to contact me and we can chat. Today, today...where will my path lead to today... Thank you so much for being part of this journey! I will so miss the many conversations I've had with you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Free Falling

    Almost 3 weeks ago now I stood atop a cliff with my toes hanging over the edge.  Behind me a journey of steps sure and straight at times and wandering and faint at other times. But each with a forward purpose guided by a higher power.   As I lifted my head, I saw an endless horizon.  Far below, a bottom I couldn’t see or know what was waiting there. A breeze that was faint months before was now whistling past me lifting my hair in ever changing arcs around my head.  My heart, while racing a bit, was steady.  It was time, I was sure, to take the next step.  This one was to be a different from the ones behind me. This one was to be off the edge of the cliff.
    So step I did.  One last exhale and my finger pushed send launching the “I Have Something to Tell You” newsletter to your inboxes.  No returning to the ledge.  Trusting that this step was certain.  For the last 3 years, the My Toy Garden journey has felt one far beyond my doing on my own but one guided by a higher power.  As sure as I was to begin the journey, I am sure that the leap off of the cliff was the right step too.  A time to trust in a greater plan than I could ever make on my own.
    So now here I am….falling…falling…falling….  For days now….falling…. falling…  To my surprise though, I am calm.  I am peaceful.  I am happy.  I am not sure how this fall will end but I am sure that all will be as it is meant to be.  The picture of my nephew below has resonated in my thoughts.  I have felt since last October when I first listed the business for sale privately, that it will sell. That it will continue with a new owner who has the time and talent to maintain and take it to a new level.  To make the next dreams I have for it reality.  But who?  I can see the seeds that were strewn about years ago blossoming and growing into a beautiful garden.  In the center is something missing.  It’s time to find the centerpiece that will begin the next season of the store.  I need your help to find it.
     My business broker has met with a woman who would be a wonderful new toy lady.  She is someone who wants to keep the store as it is and sprinkle more seeds to grow it.  She is someone with the time, talent and enthusiasm to take over.  She is working on the financial pieces of it and that’s where you come in.  I feel that it’s not one person I’m looking for but two perhaps:  one to run the store and one to invest in the store.  I believe I have found one.  Now I need to find the other.  Who do you know that is ready to make a difference to families in the Carmel community and partner to keep it open? I feel it is one of you or someone you know that we are looking for.  Please share the press release below anywhere you can to help us find an investor or a new owner.  Time is running short as the shelves empty.  I suspect in another 2-3 weeks the shelves will be bare of almost.   All things truly are possible though.  I believe.  If you or anyone you know has questions, please let me know.
      I think I see the bottom coming clearer and my parachute beginning to open.  I’m looking.  I’m listening.  I’m trusting.  And praying.  What cliff are you standing at the edge of? Be brave.  Listen for guidance and if you hear that your next step  is to step off, then step off and know that you will be caught somehow, someway.  The way is not for you to know.  Trust.  Thank you for being part of this journey.  It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Journey

      It started off innocently enough….a postcard in a gift shop with a picture of an emerald green lake surrounded by a lush forest.  Green…hmmmm… curious..interesting color for a lake.  The picture invited me to step closer, bend and peer, intrigued.  Where did that say this lake was?  At the top of a dormant volcano?  One that was accessible by foot?  The entrance to the trail started behind the gift shop?  It was more than my gypsy spirit could resist so hiking shoes donned; off we went in search of the elusive green lake.

    The beginning of the journey filled our eyes with plants that must have come from Dr Seuss’s imagination….shapes and sizes not found in Indiana.  Bark in camouflage stripes of light green, bright green and creamy almond.  An giant army of leaf cutter ants steadfastly carrying their hard earned payloads over the riverbank to their home in an endless line we watched for several breathless minutes.  With a start like that, my gypsy soul longed to see what lay ahead.  

   The terrain began to turn upward gently and the tree trunks grew a bit thicker. The thickening branches thinned the sunlight streaming down.  Ferns covered the ground with their curling fingers beckoning us forward.  The roots of the trees twisted and peeked through the soil in rivulets.  30 minutes later, the roots grew thicker and more challenging to step over.  The canopy became a floating carpet of green allowing peeks of sunshine to filter through.  Another 45 minutes later and the climb became quite steep with steps being methodically taken.  Place one boot thigh high up on a root and....deep breath...uuuuuuuppppp.  Whew.  Repeat.  Repeat. Repeat.  Repeat.  I became a human fountain of sweat.  Another 45 minutes of sheer upward focus refusing to quit now but determined to see the journey through.  And there....there is was....the green lake!!  Amazing!!!

As I've reflected on the past three years of the My Toy Garden journey, I've been reminded of this day in Costa Rica years ago.  Creating and running My Toy Garden has been a ton of work.  Many, many late nights.  Many, many decisions to be made and parts to juggle.  Days, weeks taken one slow but giant step at a time....uuuuuppppp!   And along the way...wondrous things to behold making it totally worthwhile!  So many special people I've met and had the pleasure to help on so many different levels.  The busy swarms of children who have spent many a happy day coming to play and learn and enjoy.  The meaningful conversations sparked by something found in a newsletter.  It's the journey I was meant to take.  Now that I'm at the top of the mountain...looking at that miracle of a green lake.. having accomplished so much, it's time to begin the journey down.  The next few weeks will be challenging but a long rest is just ahead.  I do hope that we meet on the pathways ahead for us both.  It's been an honor to serve you!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Have Something to Tell You

Dear My Toy Garden Friends,

      I have something to tell you.  Those words do have a way of knotting the stomaches of both the giver and the receiver, don't they?  For the giver who is about to deliver the news, the days tick by so very slowly as they ponder what words to use that can lesson the impact of what they are about to say.  An invisible weight tethered to their heart wishing there was another way.
   For the receiver, a day that is zipping right along comes to a sudden stop as their mind races wondering what, oh what, can the news be?  Their imaginations run wild imagining all of the worst things.  The moment their ears first hear those words, their pulse quickens.  Their eyes search the face of the giver searching for clues.  They breath in but not out.
   Well, My Toy Garden friends, I have something to tell you and today is the day.  Um, well...hmm....for once my fingers are at a standstill at the keyboard.  How do I explain?   Perhaps like a bandaid to just rip off?  Perhaps to slowly reveal what is behind the creaking door?
      Imagining, designing, breathing life into My Toy Garden has been a great joy.  For the past 3 years, I've challenged myself in so many ways and learned a few lifetimes of lessons along the way.   I truly feel that God led me to open the store and those steps were part of the plan for my life.   That path is taking a new direction now and I believe that My Toy Garden is not part of that direction going forward.
     A little over a year ago, I stepped back a bit from the business to spend more time with my growing miracles, Lily and Nicholas.  They were 1 and 4 when I opened the store. This month they turn 4 and 7.  Wow.  While I love My Toy Garden dearly,  I love my children more.   Try though I have to balance the store and motherhood, it's been very difficult.  When I look back at my life, I want to be more proud that I raised strong children rather than a strong toy store.
    So, what now?  Want to buy a toy store?!  I'll make you a deal!  Really.   My Toy Garden has been privately listed for sale since last October.  If you or someone you know wants to take the reins from here, now is your chance.  My Toy Garden has become a beloved place in the community and I would love to find someone to take over.  I so appreciate the many very kind comments you make about how much you love the store.  I'm so thankful to have been part of special family events in your life and to have donated to local charities and programs.  I know it's very sad news for many of you that My Toy Garden is likely to not be here much longer.   If taking over My Toy Garden is something you want to explore more, just let me know.  Soon though please.
      In order to enjoy the summer with Lily and Nicholas, my plans are to start clearing the shelves as of today.   (Most everything is officially 15% off now)  If a buyer comes forward great!  If not, then all will be okay too. Either way, I'm looking forward to more time with my children soon.  I am sorry to let any of you down in any way.  I do hope you know how much I have cherished your support and kind words.  I also hope you understand that I must put my children first.
    A few other things to note:
- Next Friday, will be the last story time at My Toy Garden.  We'll enjoy The Enormous Carrot and do a fun Easter craft.  All other story times are cancelled.
- Additional markdowns will be taken as we go along.  I would invite you to stop by often the next few weeks or join us on FB to get the latest news on that.  
- All fixtures and furniture are for sale.  If you don't see a price on something and you think you want it, just ask!
-  There will be two more Society for Young Magicians Meetings held here.  One tonight and one on Thurs., May 8  They normally take the summer off.  Stay tuned for new location info for the fall from them.
-  Have you enjoyed reading the newsletters?  I do enjoy writing and appreciate hearing that many of you enjoy reading what I wrote.  I plan to continue to write and will do so at my new blog at www.theoddmom.com.  Come Follow me there to get the newest posts!
- This step would not be possible without the blessings of Wildtree.  Many of you know that as passionate as I am about child development and play, I am also passionate about nutrition.  Direct sales has been part of my life for many years and I am loving being back and, this time, with a company committed to helping families learn how to put a healthy meal on the table fast and easy.  In just 8 months, I've double promoted to Senior Team Leader with Wildtree and earn enough to be able to meet the financial obligations of leaving the toy store. If you have a dream that you think is impossible, talk to me.  There might be ways you can't or have not seen just yet. Anything truly is possible!  My Wildtree website to go explore more is www.mywildtree.com/janetp
- Many of you have asked when the next Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop will be.  I've decided to host one last workshop at the store the end of May.  Let's do Get Your Grill On on Thurs., May 29 at 7 pm.   We'll get those freezers stocked and ready for summer before the kids are officially out of school!  See below for more details.
- Last, if the freezer meal workshop doesn't sound like the right fit for you right now, you can join in the Wildtree April Mystery Host Party happening right now until Sun., April 27.  Place an order online on my website under the Mystery Host Event and you could win all the free host credit that will be anywhere from $30 and up!  More info is found here.  

Whew, I think that's it....thank you so much for being part of this amazing journey!  I look forward to seeing you at least one more time and hopefully our paths will cross many more times in the months and years ahead.  It truly has been an honor to be part of your lives!
Toylady Janet