• March 22, 2017

    Bullet Journal

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    I am willing to bet that you’ve already heard about bullet journaling – it seems to be all the craze right now.  I wanted to try it out before giving my assessment and thoughts on the idea, so I’ve been using my journal since the new year and am ready to share my experiences with you.

    First, though, for those of you who are not yet familiar with the system, here is a video from the original creator to help explain the idea/process:

    Ok, got it?  Pretty simple, right?  And fairly ingenious, really.

    First, my journal is a simple Moleskine, dotted, in the extra large (7.5×10) size.  My favorite thing about this journal is the dots.  While setting it up, I had considered a lined journal, but opted for the dots which afford wonderful guidance as I draw and create graphs and date boxes.  I think a lined journal could work, but you’ll have more obvious horizontal lines in your open spaces and you’ll struggle more getting the vertical lines at proper right angles.

    As I use it, I am finding that it’s a bit large to carry around and use away from home.  I like that I have room for my little drawing and such, but might give a smaller size a try next year.  I also am finding that this journal’s pages are quite thin and ink shows through so that  I can really only use one side of the page.  I have heard that the Leuchtturm brand has a bit thicker paper.

    Now, for the set up: I kept to the, sort of, standard way they recommend to start.  I have key, yearly calendar, and index pages:

    Key

    Index

    Year

    Pages to track goals, books, movies, and travel:

    Resolutions

    Books

    And then I start my months and calendars.  Each month starts with a page that includes a habit tracker, a month calendar, and space for goals that I have that month.  I also include a picture or quote here to liven the page  up a bit:

    Month

    After the initial month page, I have a page to write daily gratitudes.  These pages go along with the theme of the first page or with a holiday/feeling that I associate with the month (so, for February, it was hearts and for March, it was thistles and tea).

    Thankful

    Finally, after the gratitude page, I have each week for the month drawn out.  These pages include space for each day, a menu for the week, and a space for notes or a to-do list (this is where I use the transfer system with the >, <, X, etc symbols as suggested in the video and my Key page.

    Week

    Overall, I really like this system.  It has helped me to hold myself accountable and to remember things like sending birthday cards and scheduling appointments.  The set up time is a bit long and the book is less convenient than having an app in my phone, but I find the time setting it up and physically writing or drawing in the book is sort of meditative and does help my brain to slow down a bit.  I’ve also discovered that I am in love with washi tape and I really love experimenting with different hand lettering styles and art!

  • November 23, 2016

    Hawaiian Vacation: Aloha, Mindfulness, and Meditation

    flower

    Welcome to my third and final post about my Hawaiian vacation!  I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting the beautiful island of Maui with me this month!  You know, I’ve always heard people say that Hawaii is a special place.  I always assumed that they meant it was beautiful and fun and a good place for a vacation.  While these things are all true, there is really something special about that place.

    waterfall

    ocean

    While visiting, I spent as much time as I could learning about the history and culture of Hawaii.  I talked to a few locals, including some fabulously interesting Uber drivers, and I feel like I really gained so much from their insight.  You see, Hawaiian culture is incredibly inclusive, respectful, and spiritual – something I think the mainland needs a big lesson in right now.

    lei

    friend

    It seemed like everything done and everything said had special meaning and history.  People would go out of their way to help or to share a smile with you.  This was at the resort, restaurants, shops, tours, car rides… literally everywhere I went.  People were so happy to share their culture and stories with me, it was really wonderful!

    church

    You’re probably familiar with “aloha” meaning both hello and goodbye?  That is true, but it also conveys respect and love and spiritual connection.  One tour guide explained that native Hawaiian language has limited words and many words are combinations of words, so “alo” is like the uplifted face – the connection you have with another person or god or nature, and “ha” is like your life breath – your spirit and being.  So, “aloha” is that respectful, spiritual connection to people, to god, to nature, to… everything.  And remember in Lilo and Stitch when Lilo says that “ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind”?  That is true, but ohana also extends to all Hawaiian people.  And notice that “ha” also shows up in ohana?  They put caring for the whole community very high on their list of priorities.

    celebrate

    Every encounter I had while in Maui was extremely positive and I could feel the energy of the people around me.  Once away from other tourists, I could sit and think and absorb the good vibes that I’ve only ever felt in Hawaii.  I took as much time as I could to meditate on the things people told me, to really feel their words.  One gentleman I met spent a good bit of our conversation encouraging me to bring Aloha to the mainland – to spread their love and peace to a nation that is in turmoil and feeling so much hate right now.  I hope I’ve done this… I hope people meet me and feel loved and respected.  I hope I don’t lose the lessons I learned  in Hawaii in the coming months and years.  And, while I don’t necessarily expect that you really get what I am trying to convey by reading these words alone, I do hope that you will also go out and be a light to your community.  Connect with your life breath and treat every relationship as sacred.

    jellyfish

    sunset

    Peace.

    beach

  • November 9, 2016

    Hawaiian Vacation: Resort and Luau

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    Did ya’ll remember to vote yesterday?  Did you cling to your tv/radio/social media to follow every second of the tally?  Well I did and I’ve got to say, I am ready for a break from the politics and drama and fear and sadness… I’m ready to go back to Hawaii.  Since that isn’t really possible, though, let me take you on a little trip down my memory lane and you can live a little vicariously through my adventure for a while!

    mermaid

    My friend and I went to Maui and stayed at the Grand Wailea resort.  She was there for a work conference and I was just lucky to get to tag along.  The resort was the fanciest, most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed.  We had a ground floor room with a view of the ocean and it was perfection!

    patio

    celebration

    The first night we were there we went to a luau.   I felt a little strange asking native people to put their culture on display in such a commercial setting, but I did enjoy the dancing and the stories that were told.  It’s amazing to watch!

    hula

    ribbon-dancer

    The second day we had to do some conference things and I didn’t get too many pictures.  It was pretty laid back and I got to touch the ocean for the first time in my life!  It’s so weird to me that some people grow up playing in the vastness of the ocean without a second thought.  I felt sure it would swallow me up if I stayed too long.

    fresh-fruit

    There is a small path at the resort that is lined with trees and plants that are all fruit producing which are maintained organically.  Because of this, you can literally just pick what you like and eat it right off the tree!  So, we had a little harvest party on our walk and a very kind man helped us reach the too tall star fruit.  It was glorious!

    gf-fried-food

    Another day we were there, I dragged my friend to a dedicated gluten free restaurant where I ate way too much.  I haven’t had fried food in 10 years… so this was amazing and horrible all at the same time!

    hula-statue

    I hope you’re enjoying my pictures and stories.  Check back next week for more of my trip!

  • August 3, 2016

    Photo Session

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    If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I got a shiny new toy for my birthday:

    Camera

    It’s a Nikon Coolpix B500.  I’m still learning my way around it, but so far I’ve been very pleased.  It’s not a DSLR, so there are some limitations as far as zooming and focusing and the manual aspect that higher end cameras offer.  That said, I think this is about as close as any point and click camera can get to a DSLR – the zoom is amazing and the images are crisp and clear!

    The reason I asked for this camera is because the DSLR we have is wonderful, but also big, expensive, and hard to take on camping, hiking, and vacations.  I needed something  better than my phone camera but less intense then the Canon Rebel!

    The first day I had the camera, we went to a winery and I snapped a few pictures of the grounds.  Totally forgot to take any of the actual wine tasting… I guess I’ll have to go back and try again!  *grin*

    Vineyard

    Grapes

    One day these will be delicious wine… and I will be back for them!

     

    Wine

    Then, last weekend, we went camping.  The spot we had wasn’t super great for pictures – truly lacking in flowers, moss, or any color really.  I did manage to get some nice shots of the lake, though, and the wildlife as well!  

    Tent

    Heron

    That zoom! O.o

     

    Fly-Away

    I hope you will enjoy watching me learn my way around this camera and getting a glimpse into my world as I go.  It’s been a lot of fun for me so far!

  • June 29, 2016

    Hello Again

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    Hello, it’s me.  Hello, can you hear me?  Hello from the other side; from the outside.

    How are you?

    It’s been a while.  What I thought would be a short break from everything turned into a much longer break.  I’m not apologizing for that, just acknowledging the facts.  Pressures from work and travel combined with feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and despair made it impossible for me to write over this past month.  Sometimes life is too much.  Sometimes I need to hide and cry and grieve and try to accept my pathetic little life.  And that takes time.

    Now, I’m trying to come back.  I’m trying to write and take pictures and be happy again.  Because I can’t stay in that lonely place forever.  I can’t allow myself to think that nobody cares about me forever.  At some point I have to acknowledge that there are some who do.  There really are some good and beautiful things in the world.

    I’m still not in a place of feeling good or happy or fulfilled.  I probably never will be in that place.  Not for long, anyway.  The world isn’t often a good or happy place and it’s impossible not to focus on that sometimes; especially with so much hate and loss over the past few weeks.  I’m trying, though, to find meaning in what I have in my little corner of this world.

    I’m trying to do what I love because I love it.  This little blog is for me, not readers – nobody reads this anyway – so it has to be for me.  Sometimes I forget that, though, and get down that I’m not successful with my writing, that I’m too afraid to advertise it or tell people about it.  I start feeling pathetic and sure that there’s no point, even if it sometimes makes me happy.

    So, if you’re reading this, thank you.  I hope this little moment of honesty doesn’t put you off.  Or make you sad too.  I hope you can look and what I’ve done before and hope with me that I’ll get back to it again.  That it’s not all pointless.  I hope you have love and peace in your life and are able to do something to share that love and peace with someone else today.  I hope you take the time to lift someone up today because you never, never know what people are going through in their heart of hearts.  You never know where people are in their journey, so I hope you respond to all you meet with patience and grace.

  • April 27, 2016

    Remember How We Talked About This?

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    So… remember a couple weeks ago when we talked about self care?  Well… I’m taking this week off to practice what I preach.  I just can’t seem to get ahead of things and I need a chance to breathe right now.  Don’t worry, I have plans for next week’s post, so I just need to put it all together now!  :)

    Now, go do something fun, ok?

    Tea

    P.S. This tea?  In the pictures?  It’s ah-maz-ing!  Seriously, chocolate tea?!  Best. thing. ever.

  • April 13, 2016

    Treat Yo’Self!

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    Ugggh… you guys… I am so tired!  The past six weeks or so have really taken the life out of me!  So much so that I am even struggling to write this at all.  Between Dad’s surgery, family obligations, house projects, financial burdens, typical work stressors, and extra special work stressors on top of it all… I’m beat.

    During this stressful time, I’ve been thinking a lot about self care and how I can get better at it.  I brought it up with my mom and was surprised to find that she wasn’t particularly familiar with the term “self care.”  I guess it’s such a talked about concept in the mental health field that I forget not everyone learns what it means to take care of themselves and why it’s essential to successful living!

    Self care is pretty much just what it sounds like: taking care of one’s own mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing.  This includes managing stress and finding balance with the different facets of one’s life.  Most importantly, self care is a continual process, not a onetime thing!  You have continually take time to find your peace and feed your soul.

    “But that sounds so selfish!  Who has time to get away from work?  The kids?  The house?  The husband?  If I don’t pour my heart and soul into everyone and everything around me, I’m a bad mom/wife/woman!”

    Feet

    I hear you, my dears, and I understand where that feeling comes from!  It’s not always easy to remember that you have value all on your own, is it?  It’s easy to martyr yourself and feel that that is what makes you a good person.  The best way I know to explain that this viewpoint is so flawed is to ask you to remember the last time you got on an airplane and the speech they give before takeoff.  If you need to put on an oxygen mask, they tell you to do yours first and then help others.  That’s not selfish!  You are completely useless to help others if you’re passed out!  The same is true of regular life stuff!

    Have you ever noticed getting grumpy with your coworkers when you slept poorly?  Or snapped at your significant other when dinner is late and you’re a little hangry?  Ever yelled at the kids after a long day at work when all you want to do is draw a bath and drink a glass of wine?  That’s why self care matters!  If you don’t do it, not only do you suffer, but so does everyone else around you!

    So, then, what do you do about it?  Consider what you naturally do to reduce stress and feel good.  From there, you can expand your positive self care strategies and incorporate these things more naturally into your life.  Once something becomes a habit, you won’t have to work as hard to do it on a regular basis.  Discuss your thoughts with your family or friends so they can help you stay on track and to help them understand any changes your self care plan will make in  how  you interact with them.

    Here’s a short list of things to help you get started.  Please add to it and mold it to fit your own, personal needs!

    • Be self aware – know your limits and make a plan to help you stick to what you can handle – it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.
    • Develop a support system – talk to family, friends, people online, and seek out professional help if needed
    • Take care of your body: exercise, eat right, sleep enough
    • Take care of your mind: take time off, read, do something relaxing, practice mindfulness
    • Take care of your spirit: laugh, meditate, attend religious services, spend time in nature or visit a spa

    When in doubt, be like a corgi!  Play outside with your favorite person, drink lots of water, and SMILE!

    Happy-Face

  • February 3, 2016

    Lent: 40 Days and 40 Nights

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    Can I be really honest and serious for a minute?  I’m struggling.  I mean, for the most part, things in my life are great.  I have family and friends who care about me, a nice home and plenty of stuff to fill it up with.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that my spiritual self is feeling pretty lost and lonely these days.  I’ve drifted away from my faith and don’t have a clear path back.

    Here’s the thing, I believe in God, but have little confidence in churches as they (in my experience over and over and over again) currently exist with so much focus on the negative and nitpicky details, exclusionary behaviors, and political leanings.  I believe in salvation through Christ, but can’t stand the behavior and beliefs of the extremely vocal (hopefully) minority in America whose outspokenness has alienated not only those who don’t believe, but many, many followers of Christ as well.  I don’t want to be associated with people who use the Bible as a weapon to hurt and shame people or a soapbox to stand upon and to hurl their bigotry and hate from.

    That is not my faith.  That is not my Bible.  That is not my God.

    Because of a combination of these problems and many personal hurts and wrongs from the Church, I have not had my butt in a pew in a very long time.  For a while it felt fine because Hubby and I had a regular Bible Study with friends that kept us connected to God and allowed for questioning, conversation, and learning that is impossible to fully achieve on one’s own.  As all good things do, though, this too fell apart and left me on my own to maintain my relationship with God and continue to learn what I could.  You can guess how successful that was.

    So, now, looking at the season of Lent that is before us I wonder what I can do to bring myself close to God again.  How do I cultivate my faith with no leader and no others with a commitment to study or pray or learn other than myself?

    I don’t know.

    I do have an idea, though, that I hope will be a good place to start.  I found this book, 40 Days and 40 Nights by Ilene Segalove, that is intended as a journal guiding the reader on taking time out of each day (for 40 days) to focus on self-discovery.  It’s set up in such a way that you choose your own intent – love, relationships, career, religion, etc – before starting and let that focus area color your responses to each journal prompt.

    Book-Pages

    So, this is where I begin.  Starting next week until Easter, I will not be giving up things so much as adding to them.  I will follow the daily journal prompts and try to open my mind to God’s plan for me.  Perhaps by the end of it all, I will have either built such a routine that I am able to study on my own, or I will find others to study and share encouragement with.

  • April 1, 2015

    Spring Fever

    Egads, I’ve been busy!  How busy have I been, you ask?  So busy I missed a post for the first time in 6 months last week.

    *sigh*

    This hurts my OCD and delusions of perfection.

    A lot.

    But rather than focusing on a small gap in an otherwise very good (consistent!) thing, I am choosing to look forward!  After all, so much of life and one’s perspective has to do with choosing how you’ll allow things to affect you.  Right?

    *steps off soapbox*

     

    Anyway, I have what I consider to be some pretty big plans for the next 6 months or so that I think you’ll find exciting.  At least I hope you will.  In the meantime, bear with me and forgive me if I’m a little spotty with posts.  I’ll be as diligent as possible, I promise!

  • February 18, 2015

    Galentine’s Re-Cap

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    I love being a woman.  I love all of the things we get to do and say and be.  I love dressing up and looking nice.  I love kicking butt when nobody else thought I could.  I love making beautiful things and sharing them with others.  I love being friends and sharing life with other women.  I love the women in this world who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there and become amazing role models for the rest of us.

    One such woman is Amy Pohler.  I have loved her in SNL and Baby Mama, but her portrayal of Leslie Knope in Parks and Rec is by far my favorite character of hers!  I love Leslie’s tenacity, enthusiasm, and the way she so deeply loves and commits to her friends.  She’s the woman who knows how to play the corporate/government game but doesn’t let it get her down.  She’s the one who never gives up.  She’s the woman who makes cakes and cards and plans whole day excursions for the birthdays of her office-mates.

    This is a woman who is all in all the time.

    I watch her and think to myself, “how can I be like her?  She is smart and fun!”

    So, this year, I took some notes from her playbook of loving on the people you love:

    What a great idea, isn’t it?  Galentines day?  I love it!

    *grin*

    The trouble I have, though, is that so many of my dearest lady pals live far, far away from me.  We all started out in a tiny Colorado town and were as close as any girls could be.  But, as we grew up and outgrew that tiny town, we were scattered to all of the ends of the earth.  Literally.

    This makes Galentine’s Day brunch a little difficult, so instead I decided to send cards to each of my favorite girls to let them know I miss them.  I admire them.  I am so happy that they are happy.  None of us have built a life like another of us – one has kids, one just left the military, one took some time to drift before jumping in to a career in art and beauty, and one writes this blog.  We’re all so different, and that is what I love about us!  Despite different life choices, we remain good friends.  We are finding ways to stand the tests of time and distance.

    Maybe Galentine’s Day is a little corny, but I think we could all use a little more corny in our lives.  There’s nothing like knowing how much someone else adores you and wants you to be happy, no matter how that looks for you.

    I think this is a tradition I want to start and keep up.  And I think next year I will try to be a little more organized and get my local gal-pals together for some actual brunch and celebrating each other.

    Mmmm-Cake