Stories from 2020 – 22

Prompt: Adventure – 09 | Make a list of future adventures you’d like to embark on someday.

(I wrote this before covid-19, of course.) The big adventure of 2020 will hopefully be hiking Mt. Whitney. Jake wanted to do it in 2019 and was ok waiting for one year so I could do it with him. This means that I have to get in better shape. I have to work on improving my cardiovascular health as well as doing more strength exercises. 

Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous US. At 14,505 feet, it’s no joke to do this 18-hour hike. And while I am terrified and deep down I don’t believe I could ever be ready for this hike, the idea of preparing for it is actually exciting to me. The idea of completing it feels like a lifelong achievement. 

I am already doing some of the work of getting stronger but I have to start doing the cardio exercises and following an exercise plan. Then, I think this adventure will become real for me. It will be a daily reminder of why I show up and sweat. A daily reminder of how I am shifting my identity from weak to strong. 

A daily reminder of the adventure of a lifetime.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 21

Prompt: Seasons – 02 | One of the concepts inherent in the change of seasons is the idea of transition. What kind of transition are you experiencing at this point in your life – or can you identify a major time of transition in the past? Write about it..

In the last six months, I’ve started spending more and more time rock climbing with Jake. I am trying to deliberately shift my focus from a season of going inward to a season of going outward. 

I saw this quote a few weeks ago and it stopped me in my tracks: “Where there’s love, nothing is too much trouble and there’s always time.” (sidenote: you can buy the amazing print here. It hangs on the wall above my desk.)

I set so many goals and make so many plans that I can always keep myself busy. I can read for days on end. I can draw and journal and spend time curled up on the couch. Couple that with the tough, tough year that 2018 was, I just went all the way inward.

But in the last six months, I’ve been trying to shift this and start going outward. I’ve been going hiking with Jake and the kids, climbing with Jake, I’ve been trying to give more time, be more expansive. I’ve been trying to join, stretch, welcome and remember that there’s always time.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 19

Prompt: Rest – 05 | Give it a rest.

I have so many stories in my head about the early years of my life. My childhood was filled with moments of feeling alone, ugly, unwanted, different, and lack of belonging. I was always on the outside, always the weird, different one. Not pretty enough or capable enough or athletic enough or whatever enough. Never invited to things. Never welcomed. Not like all the others. I just didn’t fit in. 

I carried these stories with me for such a long time, I still am. I have continued to see myself as the outsider. As the weird one, different, ugly, unwanted. 

And yet, I have this magical life. An incredible family, a loving husband, two wonderful kids who are kind and sweet and hardworking. I have friends who love me. I have fulfilling work that stretches me. Parents who adore and support me. A sister and nephews who love me. I have a home I love and a life I built with my own hard work. I have so much. I am so grateful for everything I have.

So when I look at my life, I can see that the stories in my head don’t fit. They are not my truth. Maybe they were at some point, maybe they never were, but they definitely aren’t anymore. And it’s time to put all those stories to rest. 

It’s time to hug them, thank them, and release them.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 15

Prompt: Play – 02 | What are your childhood memories of play and playing?

One of my most favorite toys as a kid was the Speak and Spell Electronic Game. I remember seeing it during our trip to America and begging my parents to get it for me. When a few weeks later I received it for my birthday, it was the best present I had had in years. 

I played with that toy for months. Especially as a non-American, it was one of the best ways to learn how to spell words that were new to me. And having a toy that spoke out loud was extremely rare in those days, not to mention one that was so computer-like.

Maybe this was my first foray into computers and my first glimpse into the joy they gave me. Or maybe it was just a really fun way to learn. Either way, some of my best childhood playing memories have this toy in them.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 14

Prompt: Pieces – 05 | What makes you, you?

There are many things that make me, me. Like loving my family, working hard, being reliable, helping others, showing up, finishing things, doing it anyway. These are the pieces of who I am and they all make up what’s important to me. 

But at the core of everything is my burning desire to grow. To learn more, to do better, to be better. Intentional growth is the fuel that keeps me going. Setting goals and creating projects that enable those goals is who I am. It’s what makes me, me. 

I’ve learned over the years that if I wait to be in the mood to do something, I will likely wait forever. There are very, very few things I am in the mood to do. However there are many, many things I am very happy to have done. Even the things I love doing can fall into that category: like art and reading. It’s easy for me to not want to do anything. But when I look back at all that I did, I am always unequivocally happy and proud and grateful.

So I set intentions, I make plans, I get intentional. 

This is how I grow and learn and become the person I hope to be. This is the biggest part of what makes me, me.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 12

Prompt: Move – 02 | Tell a story of the last time you were really moved by a comment, movie, song, etc.

My husband has been obsessed with rock climbing for the last two years. He spends hours and hours and hours of his week climbing. During this time, he watched tons of movies about climbing and for reasons that aren’t clear to me, I refused to watch them with him.

Finally, a few months ago, I decided I was going to get on board and start watching some of these movies. 

He started with “Dawn Wall” which he said was his favorite of all of them. In the beginning of the movie, I was thinking that I would not end up liking this movie and it was just a favor to my husband. But within 30 minutes I was not only captivated by the climber’s crazy life but also by his determination. As I got more and more involved in his story, what ended up moving me the most was his determination to share this journey with his climbing partner and his unwillingness to leave him behind. It made me cheer both of them on with all my heart.

“Dawn Wall” was my favorite movie of 2019. I loved every minute of it. I am so glad I finally gave up my stubbornness and was open to sharing this amazing movie with my husband


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 10

Prompt: Listen – 04 | Use “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory.” to tell the story of a specific song that brings back memories for you.

When my husband and I first started dating back in college, I spent a lot of time in his dorm room, hanging out with him and his college roommate, Jason. At the time, they were really into Quentin Tarantino and while I hated the movies, I loved the soundtrack. At some point, we started listening to “Son of a Preacher man” and couldn’t stop.

We put the song on repeat and basically never turned it off. We would lower the volume and just keep it going in the background the whole time. When one of us entered the room, we would yell “Oh it’s my favorite song, turn it up!!” and we would increase the volume and sing it together. 

This kept going for the better part of many, many months. I never got sick of it.

Even now, when I hear the song, it makes me smile and brings back all of the memories of that time of my life. The best memories.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 09

Prompt: Light – 06 | Who is your sunshine?

I am not a naturally happy person. I work hard, I am reliable, I am kind, I am thoughtful, but I am not always happy. My default state of being is pensive, sad, and often worried. I spend a lot of my time hustling for worthiness and trying to earn the space I take up in the world.  This is likely why I feel very drawn to people who can lighten my mood and quiet down my thoughts. At the very top of this list is my amazing husband. 

My husband and I met and started dating back in 1994. He was always so happy and light and joyful. It didn’t matter how hard a day was, he would go to sleep and wake up like tigger: full of hope and joy and excitement. 

Even now, twenty-five years later, he is still the light that fills up my life. He walks into the room and I feel like the sun is shining on me. Of course, he has his tough days too and he’s not always tigger-like but the joy my husband exudes is enough to fill both of us up most days than not. 

I often tell him that he doesn’t even have to do anything, he just needs to be around me and I feel filled up with sunshine. I feel optimistic and grateful and happy. His presence alone is enough for me.

I am so grateful that I found him.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 08

Prompt: Learn – 02 | What are the big lessons you’ve learned so far in your life? So much wisdom comes from each of us sharing what we’ve learned up to this point in our lives.

I went to a leadership class a few weeks ago, for work. I am grateful to work at a place where I get the privilege of taking a week off work to focus on my career and have my company pay for and support me. I am even luckier to work at a place where there are so many smart, interesting, and kind women who support each other. 

As I sat there grappling with what I wanted out of my career for the next few years, I realized that I was unable to answer this question because, for me, my career is never the part that matters most. I love working and I’ve been incredibly blessed to work at places that were full of smart, interesting people I could learn from and do work that I found interesting. And yet, what fills me up is how I do my life. When I lean into the parts of my life that fulfill me the most, I am at my happiest. 

So for me to do work well, I have to first do life well. I have to be clear about what my life goals are and then figure out how work fits into that. This is an important lesson for me because in moments of my life where I have been unclear about this, I’ve always been unhappy and chosen to opt out of my career. 

It’s time to sit down and design a life I want. Align on what matters to me and how I can make it happen. And then see how and where my career fits into that picture.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 07

Prompt: Journey – 05 | Trust the journey.

I am not a fan of unpredictability. I don’t like the unknown and maybe because of this, I spend so much time designing my life, being intentional, and focusing on the things that matter to me. 

All this intentionality can make it seem like I get to control how my life turns out. And of course, there are parts I definitely did get to choose. I always work hard and give my all to the things I do. I am picky about where I work, who I spend time with and what I do with my time in general. I think a lot before I say yes (or no) to things. 

But. 

There’s also so much of my life I don’t get to control. Especially as my life expands out to include the people I love, to my parents, my husband, my kids, there’s no way I can (or should) control how all of it turns out. There is so much that’s in fact out of my ability to control. And it’s so much easier to live life when I learn to lean into it instead of trying to bend it to my will.

When I find myself fighting what is, trying to speed up how things go, change the people I love, it only serves to make me frustrated and defeated. Whereas when I think about life as the journey and not as a particular destination, I get to participate in it. I get to be present and focus less on the outcome and more on the path itself.

Those moments when I can focus on the journey are always the best moments, the moments when I am living my life to the fullest. The moments when I am feeling my feelings. The moments when I am looking around in awe and drinking all the magic of life in. When I trust the journey, I am here in the now. 

Present to the magic of it all.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 06

Prompt: Habit – 02 | Are there new habits you hope to adopt in your everyday life?

As we approach a new year, I always find myself hoping to adopt practices I want to cultivate. There are a handful of items that make my list each year: drawing/painting more, journaling more, moving more, mediating more, sleeping more, eating better. These handful of items are at the crux of who I strive to be so there is always some goal around each of them on my list. 

But if I could pick only one item for 2020, it would be getting fitter. I really would like to be able to go on big, adventurous hikes with my husband in 2020 and to be able to do that, I am going to have to get much fitter. I am going to have to build up my stamina, my muscles, my heart, and my endurance. I don’t have a history of focusing on these so it’s going to be that much harder for me to build the habit of showing up and keeping at it even when I want to give up. It will be hard and painful. 

But I want to do it. I want it so badly that I can taste it. So I am going to have to come up with a way. So that I can really live the days of my life. To give each day my all and to drink the wild air as often as I possibly can.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Stories from 2020 – 05

Prompt: Gratitude – 04 | There’s something good in everyday

my beautiful friend Kelly

I entered 2019 in the middle of a major depression. I had spent the last six months extremely sad and unable to see any light as I looked down the road of my life. It took me three months to come up with a word for the year and I ended up having to create a spreadsheet with all the options until I found the one that spoke to me: magic.

I picked magic because I knew I had to get intentional around both adding more magic to my everyday life and also about seeing the magic that was already there. I had stopped seeing anything good about my life, let alone magical. I needed to make a concerted effort. 

Throughout 2019, I exchanged weekly emails with my friend Kelly, listing all the magical things from that week. In June 2019, I finally started to feel better again. I could breathe again, I could imagine possibilities again, and I started seeing the magic of everyday again. 

I don’t know how much the weekly practice contributed to my healing but I know that it was the most tangible way to remember that there is indeed something good in everyday. That every single day I get is a gift and is magic and I am so very grateful to get to have one more.

And so grateful to finally feel better.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.