August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 09

Here’s today’s mantra:

Here’s what I learned: change is the one constant. I have kids, husband, friends, family, a house, and a job. Something is always changing in my life. A new school. A new project. A new friend. Someone moving close, someone moving away. Something breaks in the house. Things happen all the time. Life never stays exactly the same.

And I have so very little power over most of this change. I don’t get to decide it or stop it or change it. I just have to embrace it. I have to let it be, and have faith that things will work out as they always do. I have to have faith that I will learn to adjust. I will grow, I will be ok. I have to not only stop rejecting but actively choose to lean into the change. To welcome it.

This is how I learn. It’s always easier to swim with the current.

I have a lot of change coming in my life. Hopefully all will be for the good. In the meantime my mantra will be to embrace the change.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 08

Here’s today’s mantra:

The card says: There is so much magic all around me all day long. Every day. It’s incredible. The trick is not to add more magic. It’s to see it.

My life, just as it is, is magical. Really, truly, magical. I know that it’s normal for us to work hard to achieve things and then, once there, to start seeing things as ordinary over time and to get used to them and to take them for granted. But I don’t want to do that. All my life, I wanted to live in America. All my life, I wanted to work with computers.

I live in not just America, but beautiful California. I work with computers at a job I love and a company I love. I have an incredible family whom I adore. A husband who’s been with me and loved me and accepted me for 22 years. I am healthy and can enjoy the sunshine every single day. My commute is from upstairs to downstairs.

I can go on and on. My life is full of magic. My kids are magic. My husband is magic. I want to step into all this magic and let it wash over me.

Sure, I have hard moments too. Sometimes many many of them. Sometimes I worry they will never end. But even in those dark times, there are moments of magic every single day. And if I don’t look for them, I can’t see them.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 07

Here’s today’s mantra:

This has been my personal mantra since 1995. Since when my then teacher told me I couldn’t go to Carnegie Mellon. That I wouldn’t get in. And I told myself that she was wrong. Yes I can. I can do anything I put my mind to.

And I did. Of course.

Not only did I get to go to CMU but I’ve done thousands of things since then because of this little mantra. Especially when people tell me I can’t do something, I find myself feeling a strong desire to show them otherwise. No one gets to tell me what I can’t do. No one. Not even the little jerky voice inside me.

So I listen to the voice of the strong girl inside me. The one who knows that I always can.


Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 06

Here’s today’s mantra:

This one just here to remind me that I want to love without expecting anything in return. I want to love because I choose to love. Not to have anything. Just because it feels so magical to love and to share that love.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 05

Here’s today’s mantra:

If I can only do one thing from now till the end of my life, this is the one I want. I want to be kinder. I want to be kind to everyone I meet. To strangers in the street. To waiters. To people who sell me things at stores. To other drivers on the road. To people I see regularly but don’t even know the name of. To everyone.

But most of all I want to be kind to the ones I love. To my friends, my parents, my sister, my nephews, my inlaws, my husband, my boys. It’s so easy to take the people you love for granted. It’s so easy to assume they will be here tomorrow. That they will forgive you. That they will give you more chances.

And maybe they will. But that’s no excuse. These are the people who deserve my kindness most of all. They fill my life with love. They are there for me, they cheer me on, they pick me up. They are my people and they deserve so much more than the kindest version of me. So I want to be kind to them all the time. In small ways. In big ways. In all ways.

Each time I do something I will ask myself “how can I be kinder here?”

I also want to mention that this includes me. I want to be kinder to me. The voice in my head needs to be kinder, softer, gentler.


Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 04

Here’s today’s mantra:

The writing says: stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right. Try things. Be willing to fail.

The only way to grow is to fail more. Nothing worthwhile is easy and comes without failure. A few years ago, David and I took an online class at Stanford University. It was about math and growth mindset. One of the things the teacher said that really stuck with me was that we don’t learn when we solve a problem. We only learn when we make mistakes. When we fail. That’s where all the growth is. That’s when your brain pays attention.

So I want to fail more. Which really means I want to try more. I don’t want to live in the zone of safety. I don’t want to only do what I know I am good at. I don’t want to stagnate. That’s what doing all this art is about in the first place. Failing, learning, getting better.

Here’s to failing at something every single day.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 03

Here’s today’s mantra:

Hard things.

Here’s what I learned about hard things: different people have different lists of “hard things.” Studying for hours is easy for me. Working hard. Learning languages. Focusing, Getting things done. Teaching my kids math. These are my strengths.

My list of hard things include riding a bike, leaving my kids for any length of time, trusting that the people I love, love me back. Doing most things athletic. Driving. Social events. These are hard for me. I work actively on each of them but it takes a lot of work and a lot of courage for me. And 2015 was all about this. All about being brave and doing hard things. What I learned then is that I can do hard things. I am definitely capable when I decide I want to. And I really want to.

July has been all about the hard things. It started with trying to learn how to ride a bike. Falling and getting up and trying again. Cleaning up our garage, which has not been touched in 7 years. Doing a crazy race that I definitely do not belong in. Traveling halfway around the world. Packing, unpacking, repacking. Leaving the kids. Meeting new people. Working hard. All of these are July and August.

But here’s what I know: These things are hard for me but they are not *really* hard. I still have all of what I need in my life: loving family, financial security, a job i love, a roof over my head, and my health. I am so incredibly grateful for these and I want to remember to have the perspective: May I never have to do *really* hard things.

While I get to be this lucky, I want to make sure I remember that the things that *seem* hard are things I can do. I can do this. I can do hard things.


Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 02

Here’s today’s mantra:

Here’s what I believe: everyone has some good in them.

I believe that people are well-intentioned and given the options, they would choose to do good over bad in the world. And when they are acting differently, it’s generally a reflection of a tough time in their life, some area where they are struggling, some area where *i* am struggling so I am biased in what I see, or some current issue is bringing out their anxieties.

It’s possible that another person and I might have very little in common. It’s possible we might have mutually exclusive values. It’s possible that we might see the world from very different perspectives.  It might seem like there’s no way for us to be close friends. Or friends at all.

But they still have some good in them.

And I want to focus on seeing the good in everyone. I want to look for it actively. Especially when someone is triggering me: making me mad, jealous, sad, frustrated, making me feel small. Driving me mad. Whatever it is, I know that these feelings are more about me than the other person. I know that if I look for the good in them, I will also be helping myself step out of my own triggers. My own damaging way of interacting with this person.

And I know that if I look, I will see the good. And I love that. I love being able to find the good.

Daily Mantras is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

August 2016 – Daily Mantras – 01

I’ve been worried about my art for August because I usually work on these a month in advance and July has me traveling to Seattle, Sydney, and Boston, so I knew I wasn’t going to be in town enough to be sure I could pull off twenty pieces.

But then I got Ali’s July prompt for One Little Word and that very same night, I created all twenty pieces of art I wanted for August. All in one breath. Her prompt was about creating a summer manifesto. Something you want to tell yourself again and again in July.

As I listened to her presentation, the first thing I heard in my head was “Be here now.” As I mentioned, I have a lot of upcoming travel. Any one of these destinations would be enough to have me stressed out, but I will be doing all three in a matter of 2.5 weeks. I am arriving back from Sydney the same day I am scheduled to fly to Boston for a two week trip. I am flying to Sydney to meet a team I don’t know at all. I am nervous about all this. Not to mention I am really nervous and sad about leaving the kids.

It’s very easy for me to worry all day about things that are coming up. It’s very easy for me to sit there in regret of where I am not or what I didn’t do (or did do.) What’s considerably harder for me is to be here, now. To enjoy this very moment. To shut off all the noise in my head around worry or regret and to just step into the moment I am already in.

While it’s stressful, it’s also magical that I get to go to Seattle and especially Sydney. I have never been to Sydney and I get to spend almost a week there and will have two other work friends in town. I will get to be in Boston and Martha’s Vineyard with my family. I will get to see my wonderful nephew Aksel. All of these things will happen in the month of July. Not to mention I am here for the first 13 days and will have almost every weekend in July at home with the boys. I also get to do a crazy race. I get to have a 4 day weekend. July will be a full and crazy month. And if I blink it will all be over.

What I don’t want to do is ruin any of these moment. I want to fully soak in all of them. I want to fully experience every one of these things. Be with my family when I am in town. Do the crazy race with my friends. Enjoy Seattle (and work hard). Explore Sydney (and work hard there too but especially establish some connections.) Hug my kids as we walk all over the magical Vineyard. And run around in the wonderful yard of my inlaws. Visit the Cambridge office. I want to do it all. I want to live it all. I want to live all of it without any regret or sorrow. I want to be here, now.

In this very moment. So I can make the most of it. So I can really experience it.

So I can live it.

Watercolor Food is a Monthly Project for June 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.