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Today I Know – Week 15

This week’s inspiration comes from this pin. I have no idea why I thought I could tackle this amazing piece of art.

I drew this page and then colored it using Montana paint markers. For the first time, I didn’t draw with pencils first, I just drew right with the marker and hoped for the best. I then added a bit more layers with watercolor pencils. For the background, I originally did purple and hated it so very much that I decided to gesso and paint over it. I don’t like how matte the paint is but i still like it better than the purple.

prompt says: today i know that i am not willing to give up

I wrote about working at home and about taking time to myself.


Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Regenerating Creativity

Today’s quote is:

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. -Maya Angelou

I have found this to be very true for me and it’s the exact reason I do these month-long exercises. I find that the practice of creating art every single day only fuels more creativity more. It gives me more ideas. It stretches me more.

So if you’re from the camp of “what if i run out” I highly urge you to use up all you have. Sit and do art. Again and again. Don’t hesitate, don’t postpone, don’t be afraid.

You will get more.

So much more.

So, sit and create.

ps: alas i don’t like the spacing and lettering on this one. but i keep trying. that’s the goal after all.

The Price

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.  -Thoreau

How true eh?

Yet another one that’s been on my mind a lot lately. What am I willing to exchange my life for?

To me, this shows up significantly in two different ways. One is how much of my soul (my core beliefs, desires, identity) am I exchanging for it? Is this going against some deep sense of self I have and what will be the cost to giving that up? Am I willing to pay that price? Is this worth more to me than what I am giving up?

Some of these questions are subtle and hard to answer.

But they are important, too.

This is one of the reasons, many years ago, I walked away from my Wall Street job. I wanted to make sure that if I was working 100 hours a week, it was for a cause I really believed in. That wasn’t the case with the job I had then. I felt like I couldn’t look my future kids in the eye and tell them I had to work when I was doing that kind of work. I respect other people’s choices, but it wasn’t a right fit for me. (I left that job to do Teach For America, I felt that, there, I was serving a much more needed and important role. That didn’t pan out for other reasons but I still don’t regret my choice at all. I still believe there’s a cost to doing something that’s really not aligned with who you are and what matters to you.)

The second way this quote speaks to me is more easy to visualize and define: The time you spend on doing activity X is time taken away from being able to do Y. It’s always like that. More than money, time is the one resource that runs out no matter what. We all get the same amount of it each day and none of us gets to save any of the minutes up. So we get it, and we use it. One way or another.

I feel like a lot of my choices would be better served if I kept asking myself, what am i exchanging for this? For this hour of TV I watch, for the trip I am taking, for learning lettering, for listening to a book. Even for the activities I like doing, they still mean that I can’t do something else. My self-induced todo list can sometimes get in the way, too. And it’s important to always ask what I am exchanging.

We often think about “what am I getting?” but not as often about “What am I giving up?”

In coaching, one of the exercises I do with my clients is “what are you saying no to?” So when you say Yes to watching TV, what are you saying No to? (like getting more sleep, reading a book, talking with hubby, etc.) When we’re clearer about what we’re exchanging, we can make better informed choices.

Remember This – Week 15

One of the assignments for week three of The Walk was about creating art piece around your guide on your journey.

As I mentioned in my previous art, when I did this a while ago, what came to me was a little kid who gave me a box that represented the light within myself and told me that when I let it shine inside myself, it would guide me.

So I decided to draw me sitting down and then the girl sitting next to me, on a rock, and handing me the box with the light coming out of it.

then I added my journaling on the light rays a micron 0.005 pen.

On the bottom, it says “thank you for helping me.” and the journaling is all the things I choose for myself even if they are hard, uncomfortable, etc.

This is one of those pages I will come back again and again. It’s good to remember that I have choice and what it means to make these choices every day.


Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Today I Know – Week 14

This week’s inspiration also comes from this pin. I started drawing this while I was on the plane and so it’s a bit wobbly but so be it.

I drew this page and then colored it using Faber Castell qrt pencils and some watercolor pencils and peerless watercolors. Then I went over it with my pitt pen to make it darker. I colored the background with watercolor pencils.

prompt says: today i know that i am hungry for

I wrote about how i am hungry for knowing what i makes me come alive.


Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

What Lies Within

Today’s quote is:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like that this is not as much about the present moment as it is about being you. I like the idea of thinking about what lies within me. And also what lies within the people I love. It makes me curious about what lies within each of us. I wish we talked about that more.

When we’re kids this question comes up all the time. What do you want to be? What do you like to do? What makes you happy? But as we get older, it’s as if these questions are no longer relevant.

Maybe we just assume that the career/path we picked must be the one we wanted. Or maybe others assume that. Either way, I don’t see this question come up in conversations. I can’t remember the last time anyone asked me any of these. Nor can I remember asking an adult myself.

So maybe this is a good time as any. I’ll start and maybe you can share, too.

  • I don’t know what I want to be anymore. I am a bit confused and lost.
  • I feel inspired by art more than anything else at the moment but I am not sure I have any deep desire to be an artist for a living. However I know I don’t want to stop doing art or learning art.
  • I also love learning in general. I’ve been on duolingo a lot with David for Spanish and also practicing my Italian. I love it and feel excited when I do it.
  • I love reading and listening to books. They make me happy.
  • Teaching my kids, explaining something i know, seeing someone else “get it” makes me happy.
  • Nature makes me happy. 
  • Volunteering makes me happy
  • What lies within me is a deep desire to make people’s lives better, to be of use, and to fully come into my own.

And there we go. This is my short list as of this moment. I wish we regularly asked people around us:

What lies within you?

The Way Out

And today’s quote:

The best way out is always through. -Robert Frost

Robert Frost has always been one of my favorite poets. I’ve written his Nothing Gold Can Stay on many diaries in my childhood. When I saw this it spoke to me and I started thinking about where I am in my life, how I feel, what I would like “out” of and what “through” might mean for those situations.

I am not sure I know the answer.

I think the point of this quote is that there are no shortcuts, no work arounds. You have to do the hard work it takes to move out of a situation that’s not working. And when you do, that’s when the reward comes. None of us come out the same on the other side. We’ve grown, learned, conquered and made it through.

I don’t even think through has to mean hard. It just means we didn’t take a shortcut. Or that’s what I am making it mean. (what do you think?)

And looking at my situation(s) with that lens, I am trying to put together what through would mean. How do I find my way out? What would out even look like?

I don’t know the answers but sometimes the first step starts with more questions.

Changing the World

So today’s quote is:

You must be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

In 2003, when I had my Teach For America training, on the very last night they had a celebration and they blasted Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. Which is one of my favorites of his. I remember going back to my dorm room that night and calling Jake and telling him that this work was so important and worthwhile that I didn’t know why more people wouldn’t want to do it.

I learned the answer to that over the next year but that’s another conversation for another time.

I’ve been thinking about what this means for where I am today in my life and what I want. I am a firm believer that the only person we can fundamentally change is ourselves. And that if we want others to do/behave/feel differently, we have to start with ourselves. This is the same as role modeling for your children. It’s easy to tell them no to lie but much harder to never lie ourselves.

If we want to see a kind world, we can start by being kinder ourselves. If we want to see more people helping others, we can help others ourselves. This applies to everything I can think of.

Which makes me think, well what do I want?

I want to be kind. I want others to be kind. Open, accepting. I want to be present and I want all of us to be more present. I think our attention span is not what it was. I think it’s easy to work/surf 24/7 now and I want to be present. I want to be with others who are present. I want to take care of nature because it gives me so much peace to be in nature. I want to eat well and move away from processed food. I want all of us to eat more naturally. I want us to be willing to be vulnerable with each other and work together. I want everyone to shine their own light. Step into who they are and embrace that wholeheartedly.

And it needs to start with me.

And you. What do you want?

Remember This - Week 14

Week seven’s Life Book assignment was by the amazing Jane Davenport and it was to pick three of your positive qualities and create a pop-up.

The first thing I did was to pick my three qualities and draw three girls that symbolized them. I used the amazing Willow Tree statues as my examples and drew one girl reading, one girl holding a heart, and one girl with a bird. I first did rough sketches with pencil leaving a half of an inch in the bottom to fold over:

then I went over each of them with a micron 0.005 pen.

I then used watercolors to color my girls:

The next thing I did was to use the same paper in the same size (4×6 in this case) and create three flaps. I then painted the flaps and adhered them to my blank page:

here they are open:

Now it was time to make my page. I took all the 3×4 and 4×6 cards from the Record It! line from My Mind’s Eye and pulled out a bunch of them that spoke to me at that moment. I layered them all over my page without thinking too hard about it. I regularly reminded myself not to think too hard. Here’s what I had by that point:

I then took them all off and covered the page with Mod Podge and adhered them all down. At this point, I moved stuff around mostly because I couldn’t remember where I had originally put them. I also cut some of the cards. For example, I cut out the love circle and the words out of some of the cards and the see through white heart, etc. I added a few bits and pieces of washi tape and layer one was done. The next task was to cut out the flaps I’d adhered. I used an exacto knife to find the seams and cut them. It wasn’t super-easy but it also wasn’t super-hard. At this point, it looked like this:

Here’s a side view so you can see the flaps:

The next thing I did was to glue my girls inside the flaps. At this point, I realized I hadn’t thought this through really well and I needed the bottoms of the girls to be longer, so I adhered some more paper to them and painted it black. I journaled all over the background of each flap on why this quality was important to me. Then I added some paint to the cover page and I was pretty much done. Here is a look with the girls in there:

and a look at each girl popped up. Authentic, holding the bird:

Curious, holding the book:

Kind, holding a heart:

and here’s a look with the journaling when the girl is laying down:

And a final look at the page closed.

And that’s it. The girls aren’t popping up as smoothly as I’d like but I still loved this assignment. It challenged me and I was able to sketch, watercolor, acrylic paint, and collage all in one page!


Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

The Power of your Thoughts

Ok so today’s quote is:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right. -Henry Ford

I forget the truth of this all too often. I am one of those people who often lives in the land of negativity. I worry, I fret, I assume things will not work out.

But, interestingly, this doesn’t seem to stop me from going full steam after things I want. One of my personal mottos is “yes I can.” Over the course of my life, I’ve had people tell me I can’t do things or that certain things are not possible and I’ve proven people wrong enough times to know that no one else gets to tell me what I can or cannot do.

Except for me.

And therein lies the problem.

When I am feeling low about myself or in a valley instead of peak, it’s tougher to remember that the power is within me. What makes something possible is my personal belief in it. My ability to believe it to be possible. And when I am feeling rotten, I don’t believe in myself at all. I think I can’t do anything. And so I end up being right, of course.

To me, the most important part of this quote is to remember it during those tougher times in life. When we’re feeling up and happy, we feel optimistic and believe in our ability to move forward, do things, make change. But when we’re down, we don’t think we can do anything to change it. Which then means we don’t do anything. Which, of course results in no change. So, when we’re struggling the most, our own thoughts get in the way of our ability to get out of the dumps.

Talk about a chicken and egg issue.

This made me think quite a bit about what I can do differently. How can I use the power of thoughts to my advantage during the tougher times. One idea I had was to write down a list of things I think I can’t do. Brainstorm as much as I can and then take them even one level deeper and write why I can’t do them. What’s in the way? What’s wrong with me? On and on until all of it is out of my system. And then to take a step back and try the opposite. What if I could do these things? If I thought I could, where would I start? What would be the first thing I would want to do/need to?

This way I allow the whole “wallowing” bit to get out of my system and then I move into a space of possibility. I am not saying I can do it, but I am asking what I would do first if I could do it. I am sort of tricking my negativity mindset here by short-circuiting it.

Not sure if it will work, but I am willing to try.

For those of you who believe in the power of thought, too, what do you do to help yourself when you are down on yourself and think you can’t do anything?

Today I Know – Week 13

This week’s inspiration also comes from the Craft-A-Doodle book. Again from the artist Pamela Keravuori whose projects are amazing.

I drew this page and then colored it using Faber Castell qrt pencils and some peerless watercolors. Then I used some other water color pencils and I used some pastels. Some neocolor 2s as well. Then Stabilo All to trace it all once more. I colored the background with the gelatos.

prompt says: today i know that i have made it through

I wrote about how i made it through all my goals and dreams and it’s time to make new ones.


Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Where You Fear to Live

I was looking at quotes last night to see what I might want to write today and I realized that Rumi and Ram Dass are speaking the most to me at the moment. As I scrolled through my list of quotes, this one jumped out at me. I tried to ignore it but no matter how much I went through the list, it would not let me go. So there’s today’s quote.

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.” ? Rumi

There are so many parts of this quote that speak to me. I’ve always been a cautious person by nature. It’s just who I am. But even so, the idea of forgetting safety really appeals to me. When I read the last two lines, they sound extreme but also there’s this quality of total letting go. Not caring about others. Living whole. Just as I am. I love the sound of that.

The part that stands out the most for me, however, is “live where you fear to live.” I love this idea. I love the idea of walking towards the fear. Living in it, instead of running away from it. One of the things I’ve noticed for me is that as I’ve aged, I’ve become more fearful. (Izabela mentioned in yesterday’s post, too.) I am not sure what it is. Maybe I have more at stake. Maybe I have more to lose. Maybe the repercussions of a mistake seem much larger. Or maybe I haven’t been practicing bravery enough and my muscles have atrophied.

Earlier this week, I watched this wonderful video by Danielle. And I loved the very beginning where she says: “Your mantra of choice is: I’ll figure it out.”

I love that.

I want that.

That’s how I want to think. I don’t want to stay away from things due to fear. I don’t want to worry. I don’t want to not try. I want to keep saying that mantra in my head “I will figure it out.” Because I know I will. When you’re determined to figure it out, the universe moves with you. So you just have to have faith and jump in.

And I just don’t want to be afraid anymore.

I remember telling my husband years ago (he was my boyfriend then) that we have to quit our jobs on Wall Street. That we have to be willing to walk away so that we get used to looking for new jobs, knowing our worth, interviewing. So that we never feel afraid to leave. So that we never feel trapped.

I don’t ever want to feel trapped in my own life. I don’t have to feel like a victim of my choices. I want to be able to move into places I fear and have faith that I will figure it out. I will survive.

Nah. not just survive.

I will thrive.