Lack of Progress

If you’ve read here with any regularity over the last few years, you must be able to tell that things are not as “usual” here lately. While I’ve had bumps and blimps, I don’t think I’ve gone this long without updates in a long, long while. I keep thinking about the site. I keep thinking about my yearly projects that have been collecting dust since June. I keep thinking about the fact that 2016 is coming and how I haven’t made any plans. How I can’t tell if there’s a project I want to do because I don’t really trust myself to be able to commit to getting it done. I don’t feel inspired. But in fairness, that hasn’t stopped me before. I am one of those people who doesn’t wait for inspiration. I just sit and do it. But I haven’t been doing anything. So I can’t be sure that if I commit to things for 2016, I will actually do anything.

So that’s some of what’s on my mind. And it’s going around and around in my mind.

There’ve been some things I’ve done in the last five months:

  • I did 31 More Things in October
  • I’ve done some art pieces, a few of which I posted here and some I haven’t posted
  • I’ve done each of my monthly OLW assignments
  • I have a project from last January that I never posted
  • I created a class I love for Brave Girls University
  • I finished all my December Daily foundation pages
  • I’ve read a ton of books

But I haven’t done my Life Book assignments, I am so very far behind. I haven’t watched my class videos for that class or the December Stories class with Ali. Or some of the wonderful Brave Girls classes I’ve taken. I haven’t processed any of the photos I’ve taken back in June. I haven’t even been taking that many photos. Or at all. And the list goes on and on. And all of this is weighing on me.

This year has been a lot about work. I’ve traveled to Zurich 4 times since last December and I will be going again in January. I’ve been to NY twice. I know these sound nice, but often these trips involve a lot of jetlag and 14-19 hour work days. And there’s jetlag when I get back. And there’s all the other work and life stuff that didn’t happen when I was there so has to be made up when I am back. I’ve also been trying hard to walk 1 hour a day which of course takes time. (Though I’ve been eating badly lately which really doesn’t make this walking as effective as it could be.) I’ve been going to sleep really early since most of my days start at 4:45am. And, of course, the biggie has been working with David for all of his middle school applications which involved a bunch of studying over the summer, a lot of visits to schools, spending time working at nearby cafes while David shadows, writing essays, reading David’s essays. Rinse and repeat a lot. It’s been a busy summer+winter.

But, still. I firmly believe that “I have no time” is not only an excuse but it’s just untrue. I have plenty of time. I know because I spend some of my time playing CandyCrush and some of my time watching TV and some of my time just sitting there because I am so tired. And while some of this might possibly be necessary, I am confident that if I ate well and spent some of my “free” time doing art, I would be considerably more energized and fulfilled. And it wouldn’t take anything away from work, family time, or middle school. On the contrary, it would give me back some of the energy all these things are taking away.

And yet.

Starting is hard. Starting after a long pause is really hard. Starting after a long pause when you’re feeling guilty, and sad, and frustrated with yourself for letting things lapse this long is even harder.

And yet.

I want to break the cycle. I want to start making art again. I want to start updating here again. Writing my thoughts. Documenting my life. Creating things. These things feed my soul. I need them now more than ever. So as we close the year, I have been trying to make a plan for how I can structure my projects for 2016 to accommodate my currently demanding life. The fact is life is going to get harder in the short term. My job is getting more demanding. David will be starting a new school in 2016 which will likely require major changes in our schedules. Not to mention the support and help he will need. Nathaniel will be in second grade and will require support and attention and help, too. Things are going to be harder and tougher for a while.

But I still want to be back in the cycle of creating. I want to find ways to make this possible for myself. So I’m thinking. Does this mean monthly projects and not yearly? Does it mean simpler, more portable projects? Does it mean smaller projects that take only 15-20 minutes a day? What are the projects that give me the most reward? Which ones am I more likely to abandon? How can I balance my wishes around learning new things that are tough for me (sketching and lettering) and doing things that might be easier and more fun in the short term?

So I’m thinking.

I would love some ideas if you have any. I promised myself that I will come up with some ideas and projects for 2016. December has the joy of December Daily so I know I will be creating daily. I want to make sure that once I am on that wagon, I continue the momentum into the new year.

Here’s to hoping.

Infusing Life with Energy

still having fun with the fashion-y girls. this one is so-so but I still like her more than I liked doing the portraits.

here are all the shiny bits.

the quote says:

everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. if we are frantic, life will be frantic. if we are peaceful, it will be peaceful.

I’d like to believe this is not true because I am one of those “frantic” people. Or maybe it’s not that I am frantic as much as that I am anxious or worried a lot. I don’t want the energy of the things I do to be filled with worry or rushing or stress. I want life to be peaceful. I want to go through the motions of life in a pace and energy that fills me up instead of depleting me and those around me.

The thing with this particular quote is that, deep in my heart, I believe it to be true. But I have no idea how to actually do it. Becoming peaceful instead of frantic isn’t just a switch. Some days, I can go from here to there, but not as often as I would like. I am also learning that I often feel tender now when I realize how worried I am about things and then it feels sad and not peaceful. So the way, for me, is still a little farther than I’d like but I am walking towards it and taking one step at a time.

At least I know where I’d like to end up.

Must Take the Stairs

After I did the four faces and found myself uninspired, I decided to try something slightly different. So I went back to being inspired by paperfashion. Since this is about getting back into doing something, anything, I figure whatever gets me there is what I should be doing. This makes me happier for now. Her work is always so awe inspiring to me.

and it’s super shiny too

The quote says:

There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.

This is something I seem to have figured out early in my life and I feel that, for the most part, I am very good at taking the stairs. I work hard and hard and hard. When i want something, I never assume it will be easy. Most things aren’t for me. Most things require showing up, doing the work, being tired, resting, showing up, doing the work, feeling like you’ve made no progress but knowing it takes a lot longer, being tired all over again, and resting only to repeat it all over the next day.

Getting thing done is hard. Getting things done well is even harder. And all of the steps in between here and there (where there is somewhere you want to end up, some definition of success for you) are all hard. They are showing up and hating what you’ve done (like i have for this project till today), they are adjusting things, making it different, working at it, getting frustrated, feeling lost, trying more, feeling lost, trying more, coming back, trying even more. It’s about showing up every single day and taking that next step. Having faith that it will eventually get you to the top. And trying to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the process in the meantime.

I feel that most of us are not taught this early on enough. Most of us don’t realize that people work extremely hard to be where they are. Even for those cases where it looks easy, there’s often much more under the surface that you don’t know about. Sometimes the work is physical, sometimes it’s emotional, and sometimes it’s mental. But it’s always there.

So, every time I feel like giving up or complain about why it has to be so hard, I will remember this quote and remind myself that the stairs take time to climb but I will reach the top eventually.

Becoming Wise

I like this girl more than the others. But I still realized that I am just not enjoying drawing these girls. Maybe it’s because I feel I am not good at it. Maybe it just feels bland. I am not sure but either way, I’ve decided to change course a bit so that the project makes me happier. We’ll see if it works.

The quote here says:

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

When I saw this quote, I smiled. Isn’t that the truth?

About ten years ago, I took this class and one of the most profound experiences from the class was the deep realization that I have no ability to change others so if I want my relationship with someone to change, I have to either change myself or I have to walk away from the relationship. This is not to say that the other person will never change. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t. But I am not the one who gets to control this.

All I get to do is change myself. And that’s hard enough as is. Actually, this is exactly why I used to find myself wishing for the other person to change. Because it’s so hard to change myself. Because it’s uncomfortable. Because it feels wrong. It’s easy to think that there’s nothing wrong with me and that the fault lies with the other person. Why should I have to change?

But here’s what I learned: if I want to be in a friendship with that person, then it’s on me to make the effort to create the kind of relationship I want. I don’t get to choose to be friends with her and then also want her to completely change who she is to fit my needs. The part where I have choice is whether I want her in my life. And I get to have choice around how I behave, how I feel, what I do.

And that’s about it.

These rules apply to husbands, children, parents, siblings, too. All I get to change is me.

And that’s plenty of work right there.

Not Thunder

Today’s girl was still a challenge to make. A bit better but really very, very far from where I wish I were. Alas we keep going.

As for today’s quote, it says:

Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. -rumi

Oh man.

This is something I really struggle with. And something I desperately want to be better at. I come from a family of screamers. Even though I make a resolution to not scream multiple times a day, I break it almost as often. I just can’t seem to control myself when the moment comes. Especially when David knows exactly what to say to step on every single one of my triggers. Especially when his words sting and bring me back to my childhood years.

Especially when I am back to being the vulnerable, lonely, hurt person who lives inside me.

I noticed that most of the time when I am yelling, it’s about me. It’s about how I feel. Not about the other person in any way. I feel disrespected, entitled, sad, and hurt in that order. And those feelings are uncomfortable so instead of sitting with them or swallowing them, I just scream. It allows me to discharge the discomfort.

And even though I intellectually know all this, it doesn’t bring me any closer to emotionally being able to control myself in the moment it’s happening. In that moment, I am back to my ten year old self and I just want to have a tantrum.

After it’s over, my 41-year-old self wallows in the shame of it all and apologizes and swears not to do it again.

Until the next time.

I just hope that each of these times is a practice for me to get a tiny bit better. So that eventually there will be this one magical day where I sit with the discomfort and let is wash over me instead of taking it out on those I love.

I will keep trying and wishing and hoping and trying until that moment comes.

Holding on and Letting Go

Full disclosure: not only am i not crazy about today’s girl, I actually had to correct her right eye because it was way too high and just crooked. It bothered me so much, I couldn’t help it. Even with that, I am not crazy about her. But I am keeping it. As I mentioned yesterday, it all counts. Little by little, I’ll get there. Wherever “there” is.

As for today’s quote, it says:

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. -rumi

Nothing teaches me the truth of this better than having kids. Especially as they get older. My son has some big milestones coming up and I am constantly battling between how much I hold on and how much I let go. And I can never seem to decide what the perfect balance is. I am constantly second guessing myself. Constantly putting pressure on myself to get it “right.”

And, of course, I have no idea what “right” looks like.

I just often feel that I’ll know it when I see it. Or when I feel it. But I never feel it. I always feel like I am tipped over to one side or another. Often times, I’m holding on too tight, trying to control the situation. I was like this for myself, in my own life, too. But it’s so much harder for my kids. I want to be able to control the outcome so much more for them because I feel such a strong desire to protect them from grief and hardship. Even as I know that those are the experiences that make us grow. They are the roads we must walk on to get to appreciate our journeys. They help us become who we are. I know these tougher moments are a necessary part of life.

But it’s still hard.

I spent much of this morning trying to navigate this dichotomy. And I have no idea how to do it. Most days, I just end up being exhausted and hope that I do better the next day.

A Second Chance

In May of 2014, I did a project where I painted faces each day and then coupled those paintings with some quotes I liked. I then took the opportunity to write about the quote. This gave me an excuse to do art every day and to write here everyday; i miss both of these things dearly.

So I’ve decided that for the month of September, I will try to draw a quick girl and watercolor her everyday and couple her with quotes again. The drawings will be quick and imperfect and likely I will not like many of them. But the goal is to start flexing my drawing muscles again. I miss drawing. I miss watercolors. I miss doing creative things. September promises to be stressful so I am not sure if it will work out. But I will try.

We have to start somewhere, right?

So, for today, I drew this girl. I drew her in about 10 minutes and then spent the next 15 tinkering with her because I didn’t like her. I considered ripping the page about 11 times but wouldn’t let myself do it. The fact is, I make more bad art than I make good ones. I never really studied art. I forget how to do it right. I don’t have the instincts. I don’t like most of what I make. But I still keep trying. I like doing it. I like trying. And when, in one in a million chance, it looks like what I intended, it feels like my birthday and Christmas rolled into one. So I keep trying and I will keep trying. Nothing is wasted.

Today’s quote says:

You decide every moment of every day, who you are and what you believe in. You get a second chance, every second.

I believe this with my whole heart. It is never too late to be who you want to be. I believe all humans mess up. None of us are perfect. But I also believe that every moment is a new opportunity to do better. When I yell, I apologize and start over. When I make unhealthy choices, I try again for the next meal. I think there’s so much grace in giving yourself a second chance. So much kindness in allowing yourself to start over.

But it’s more than that. If I don’t believe that I get a second chance every second, then I give up. Which then gives me an excuse to continue the behavior that’s out of alignment with my values. I am constantly going against them and there’s nothing quite as draining as stepping on one’s values. Then I feel bad, then I do more of it, then I feel really bad, I feel ashamed, and that causes me to behave even more badly, and this story never ends well. Yet, if I believe in second chances, every second, any moment is an opportunity for me to course correct. Any moment is an opportunity to step into who I am. I don’t have to wait till tomorrow or monday or the beginning of the month. I can do it right now. I can be who I want to be. That’s so liberating. So empowering.

And as I grow older, I realize that I am allowed to change my mind, too. I am allowed to change my mind about what matters. About who I wish to be. Life is short, and I am only bound by the rules I create for myself. I get to choose what matters most to me and then I get to choose to be that person. When I mess up (which I always do), I get to get up, dust myself off, apologize, give myself grace, and then try all over again.

And, if I am lucky, most days, I do more good than bad. But, either way, I get a second chance, every second.

And thank goodness for that.

And So It Starts

School started yesterday for us, so I figure it’s about time I go back to writing here. I have so much to say but I never seem to be able to have enough time to sit and put thoughts down on paper. So I figure we’ll start with snippets and maybe it will help me get in the habit of writing again.

I’ll share some of what’s going on with me and I’d love to hear some of what’s going on with you.

  • This summer has been long and hectic and I have been completely thrown off my schedule. I haven’t touched art supplies in months and I am craving it so much but I also feel so insecure. It’s been so long that I am not sure I remember how to do anything. I am dreaming up ideas in my mind but then never delivering on them. The only art I’ve done all summer was my class for Brave Girl University. I keep thinking about creating  a schedule for myself for the fall. Something to get me back on track. Something that excites me but I am too wiped to even make plans most days. I am even behind in my Life Book classes, which never happens!
  • My oldest one started Fifth Grade and around here that means Middle School applications, shadow visits, interviews and exams. I am not looking forward to any part of it. I am going to try to go through it as gracefully as possible and I am hoping we come out of it with as few scars as possible. Most importantly, I hope he ends up where he will be happiest for the next seven years. I wish him belonging, contentment, and enthusiastic curiosity.
  • Brave has been a really good word for me this year and I am hoping it will continue to serve me well. I’ve been braver this year I can remember in a long, long time. I’ve already chosen my 2016 word and I think it will serve me well, too.
  • I’ve been pretty bad with taking photos, too. I am going to make more of an effort this fall. Even if the days are busy, I know I always love looking back at them and I want to make sure I have some from this moment in our lives.
  • I finally said good-bye to the last scrapbooking commitment I had. I am not sure what this mean for my scrapping. But, for now, it was the right thing to do.
  • I am always trying to work on my schedule and always trying to be healthier. I find that exercise, eating well, journaling more, and getting the “best” schedule are always on my list for things I want to be better at. I don’t know what this means but I am making peace with the fact that I might never get any of them perfect and they might need to have permanent residence on my todo list.
  • I am deeply grateful for my husband and my family. They are the rocks in my life that always always make me feel like everything will be okay.
  • I was doing my August OLW page a few weeks ago and one of the things I realized is how amazing my life turned out. How it is above any expectations I could ever have had. I was born in Istanbul, Turkey and have dreamt of moving to the United States for as long as I can remember. And here I am. I live in beautiful California. Have an amazing husband, incredible kids, wonderful job, and so much more. How did I get this lucky?
  • I’ve been listening to a lot of books on audio lately and I’ve been loving it. It allows me to walk while I listen or listen while I drive. It’s reduced TV time because I so often prefer to listen to books instead. I really have been enjoying it. At the moment I am rereading 1984 so I can discuss it with my nephews and I am listening to The Corrections because I never read it way back when it came out. I cannot wait to start reading Brene’s new book.
  • I cannot, cannot, cannot wait until Brave Girl University launches. I hope you’ll join me. Kathy and Melody never create anything that’s not magical, in my book.
  • I really love my job. It’s not perfect and some days I wish many things were different but most days I am really grateful for it. I’m so glad I took the leap.
  • Some days I feel so on top of my life, my choices, my values and I feel like I behave the way I’d like to. Other days, I’m a total mess and do the exact opposite of everything I claim to want to be. I really disappoint myself. And then many days I am too tired to even figure out what to do, how to feel. I find myself living day to day more than I ever have and while this is good for some things, it’s not good for many others. I like having a plan and working day in, day out for my plan. I would like to be able to be flexible but still have a plan so my goal is to have it be so by mid-September. I hope I can do this.
  • I am thinking of starting to do some Yoga. It will come with this magical new schedule I will create.

So that’s a bit of what’s going on with me. How are you? Here’s to a magical Fall!

Choosing Well

While I’ve still been posting a lot of art projects, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve done a personal post on the blog. It’s been a whirlwind of a year, so far. In a matter of weeks, both the boys will be out of school and the summer days will be here. Summer is usually when I find myself going into my relaxing space where I don’t tend to follow my strict schedule as often. But this year has been such a mess that I have no idea what the summer will bring.

I am more than six months into my new job and I still don’t have my new rhythm down at all. I am not eating well and I am not moving at all. I am often tired and my days are very disjointed.


But I love my job. And I’ve been so much more involved with the kids’ school this year and directly involved in their lives that it’s wonderful. I’ve made a lot of new friends at the school. I’ve made huge strides in some of the areas of my life where there has been no change in years. Things that had been on my wish-i-could-do-this list year after year, like driving on the freeway. Like having a community. These items were on my list and didn’t move for many, many years. And then, this year, they exploded. All at once, with no warning. Which also meant that a lot of other things fell off the list, to make rooms for these big changes.

That’s how life works. You do one thing which means you don’t do another thing.

So a bunch of things fell off my list for months. But each time I thought of them, I reminded myself that I was focusing on these other things instead and that it was ok to do that for a while. And so here we are. It’s been an unusual year. I’m not complaining; just trying to find my bearing and see if I can develop some kind of structure within my new life. I am also trying to be patient and kind with myself. And give myself grace for the things that are falling on the floor. Not everything can bloom at once.

So here we are. I have so many things I want to write about. So much on my mind. So much in my life. So many things I want to share, but most evenings I find myself too tired and choose to go to bed instead. Life is an ebb and flow and I know this, too, will change at some point.

In the meantime, I thought maybe it could be time for a quickie status update again: I’d love for you to join me in the comments :)
Making : Fun little pages in my planner (which is on my list of things to share)
Cooking : Nothing. Still not cooking.
Drinking : More diet coke than i’d like to admit. ready to quit it again.
Reading: Several books at once as I haven’t found one i am in love with at the moment.
Wanting: A lot of downtime. Sleep. A Routine.
Looking: Forward to mid-June when I get to go see my family.
Playing: Way too much Candy Crush when I am tired and don’t want to do anything.
Deciding: How to support David through his middle school applications this Fall.
Wishing: Some parts of my life could be easier.
Enjoying: My kids and husband so much. I am so grateful for them.
Waiting: For summer.
Liking: my new job.
Wondering: when, if ever, i will have a routine again.
Loving: spending time with the boys and jake.
Pondering: What our life will be like after next year when David will be in a different school.
Considering: all of our options.
Watching: A bunch of Netflix and Life Book videos.
Hoping: the summer goes smoothly and the rest of this year is a joy.
Marvelling: at how much my kids have grown. how quickly time passes.
Needing: sleep. to take care of my health again. to figure things out.
Smelling: the vanilla candle burning beside me.
Wearing: a comfy jacket i got from work. love it.
Following: my gut a lot more this year. the whispers, too.
Noticing: how much can change in a year.
Knowing: that everything will be okay in the end. it always is.
Thinking: that i am lucky to have my family. and in so many other ways.
Feeling: tired. grateful. worn out. content. worried. all at once.
Admiring: my son’s ability to play an instrument. his courage.
Sorting: through lots of scrappy supplies. and other drawers.
Buying: things to bring home.
Getting: clearer on what matters.
Bookmarking: middle schools. parent association work. things to remember.
Disliking: when i feel less than. when i feel scarcity. when i try to measure up.
Opening: in ways i haven’t before.
Giggling: with nathaniel.
Feeling: grateful. always grateful. so deeply grateful.

Life is always full of something and lacking something else. I am learning and trying to remember that my choices matter a lot and I have to be wiser with how I use them.

Here’s to choosing well.

February Checkin

I was out of ideas to write to day but I really wanted to write so I figured I’ll do one of these currently kinds of posts since it’s been a while. (here’s the list i used):

Making: a fun planner for myself and loving it
Cooking: more vegetables and healthier food in general.
Drinking: more water this week. making an effort.
Reading: the book of strange things (for weeks now) and a spool of blue thread, just finished all the bright places and loved it.
Wanting: to find a schedule that works for me
Looking: for a good idea for my daily March project. Any ideas?
Playing: candy crush still. way too often.
Deciding: if i can take tomorrow off work. feeling really sick.
Wishing: i could function on less than eight hours of sleep so i had more time each day
Enjoying: watching my kids read. just enjoying my kids in general. and, yes, my new planner too
Waiting: for nothing. trying to be in the moment. trying to remind myself not to run ahead of it.
Liking: some of the recent life book lessons. i love sitting and painting.
Wondering: how it’s already almost March
Loving: my kids and my husband. so much. so so much.
Pondering: the car that was hit by a train by my house yesterday. poor soul.
Considering: schedule blocking my time. been thinking about this for months but haven’t managed to do it.
Watching: life book class videos
Hoping: i can feel healthy again
Marveling: at the beautiful weather here
Needing: sleep
Smelling: the vanilla scented candle on my desk, it smells yum!
Wearing: jeans but I think they are making my back hurt
Following: my plans this week. making plans and sticking to them.
Noticing: that i can never make it to bed at the time i plan to.
Knowing: that these days are precious. every day is precious and trying to enjoy mine.
Thinking: that the daily journaling really helps ground me.
Feeling: good about spending time with my kids. encouraging them to work hard.
Admiring: people who are always easygoing. people who can always see the upside. people who are comfortable in their skin.
Sorting: my plans for March. I have a vacation with Jake and a trip to Zurich on the books.
Buying: sandwich boxes for the kids
Getting: excited and worried about the number of approaching big deadlines in April
Bookmarking: middle school pages
Disliking: drama. not a fan.
Opening: my mind. my heart.
Giggling: with nathaniel. always giggling with nathaniel.
Feeling: grateful. tired, wiped, worried, overwhelmed but always so very grateful.

how about you?

Choosing Curiosity

Twenty Fifteen has been a tough year for me, so far. Or maybe that’s not a fair statement. Many things have been going well but I feel like some of the fundamental things that make me feel grounded or feel in charge of my own life haven’t been moving forward the way I’d like them to and that has made me feel like everything is going badly.

I’ve been fretting over this for a few weeks now and all that has done is make things worse. I find that when I am hard on myself, it doesn’t help me get back on the wagon, it just makes me wallow in pity longer and continue to make not the best choices. None of this is news to me. I am well aware of the negative cycle and how self-reprimand doesn’t stop it.

What I don’t know is how to find something that does.

So, last week, I decided to take the advice I often give my coaching clients: be curious.

I decided that instead of berating myself for not being able to get my work done, I would choose to be curious about what’s standing in the way. Curious why the systems that worked for me before were failing me now. Curious about what changed.

The thing that makes curiosity such a better choice is that curiosity doesn’t come with judgement. Curiosity doesn’t mean I am doing it wrong. Curiosity is about exploration. It’s about digging deeper and looking and trying to understand. It doesn’t assume one option is more correct than the other. It’s open to the possibility that maybe what worked before is no longer the best option. It’s open to the possibility of finding a new normal. A new definition of “good” and “bad.” Curiosity is so much more rewarding.

So I got curious. I quieted the voices that were judging me and took a look at my life and what’s getting in the way. What choices I’m making. What’s changed. Etc. etc. I’ve had a lot of changes in my schedule in the last three months and I still haven’t found my new normal. I’ve also committed to a lot more things outside of the house than I usually would. So both of these changes have meant that what was working for me before is not anymore. It’s not that I was doing a bad job. It’s really that it was impossible to continue doing some of the “good” things I was doing in this new life.

This meant that I had to go all the way back to the beginning and make a plan from scratch. A new plan that would work for this life. I bought a planner, I made some pages that contained the things I want to track, and I decided to treat today as day one.

Combined with the curiosity, I also gave myself grace. It was hard to figure out a plan that worked for my old life. It took multiple tries and many changes to get it right. I realized that it would be the same with this plan. I would be starting from day one and it would take several iterations to get it right. I would have to be open to failing. I would have to stay curious and keep paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. And, more importantly, why it doesn’t so I can figure out how to modify it.

So that’s what I did. I made a new plan. I woke up this morning, as it turned out, very sick and very tired. And, before, this would have stopped me from trying anything, but this morning I just did as much of my plan as I could. I was kind to myself. I acknowledged that this was only one of the many days it will take to find my new norm so it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect. I am tracking what I do and what I don’t do so I can get a sense of how off base my new plan is. And then I will change where and how I need to make it work.

Here’s to new beginnings. And to staying curious.

2015 – More Thoughts and Goals

Like each year, after I thought about my word and my plans for 2014, I began to think more and more about what the word and the priorities meant. Since I tend to be self-reflective during this time of year, this is very long and mostly for my benefit (I like having a record of my plans and my thoughts) so feel free to skip. I won’t be offended.

By the way, this is influenced by Chris’s annual review article. I’ve read this before and have always liked the idea. I’m a technical person at heart and all these specific goals, measurable steps, etc. are right up my alley. Since I have my list of six priorities this year, I thought it would be a good exercise to see if I could come up with a few goals for each.

I will post about each of the projects I mention here, over the next week. I’ll then come back and link them here but I promise it’s all coming in the first week of the year.

The theme for this year will be brave. I want to do what feels brave. What makes me come alive. What makes me feel serene and generous. I want to take care of myself, inside and out. I want to open, to expand. To try new things. To find out what makes me come alive. To set new boundaries. To thrive in my life.


  1. Remind both kids that their lives have much to celebrate (David and Nathaniel’s Books of Happy Memories)
  2. Read daily to Nathaniel
  3. Work with David to help prepare him for the ISEE and help improve all of his academics
  4. Take photo of full-family and write updates weekly (Project Weekly Diary)
  5. Create a weekly celebration ritual as a family.
  6. Volunteer in both David and Nathaniel’s schools
  7. Reserve one night every other week to do something special with Jake.
  8. Capture and Tell our family stories (Stories of Twenty Fifteen)
  9. Visit my family and Jake’s family. Take a skiing  and camping trip together.


  1. Create an exercise routine for the week that involves running, weights, strength exercises and do something each day
  2. Take a minimum of 10K steps daily
  3. Do the 5-2 plan all year long. Even on my 5 days, eat whole and healthy
  4. Get my vitamin C levels tested again and take the vitamin daily to bring my levels back up
  5. Get minimum 7 hours of sleep every night and 8 on the weekends
  6. Take regular walks with the kids, go out in nature regularly
  7. Take care of my skin regularly.
  8. Floss daily.
  9. Drink 45oz of water daily.
  10. Eat a vegetable with each meal.


  1. Drive on the freeway more regularly
  2. Keep track of my daily brave acts  (Project Everyday Brave)
  3. Take my kids on a vacation just the three of us
  4. Go on a vacation alone
  5. Go on monthly adventures with Jake
  6. Block out the hours for each of my weeks. Designate what i will do in each block.


  1. Read a book a week (Project A Book a Week)
  2. Journal each morning.
  3. Carve Stamps. (Project Fifty-Two Stamps)
  4. Go camping
  5. Take daily walks
  6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each day
  7. Do a body-scan each night.


  1. Learn to carve stamps (Project Fifty-Two Stamps)
  2. Practice Collage. (Project You Choose)
  3. Practice Sketching (Project Everyday Brave)
  4. Do something brave every day
  5. Learn new art techniques (Project Remember This)
  6. Continue to coach clients
  7. Spend some time outside every day
  8. Hug and kiss the kids a lot every day!
  9. Learn something new each month


  1. Volunteer in the kids’ schools.
  2. Spend time with Jake and the kids each day.
  3. Regularly attend both book clubs
  4. Extend an invitation to someone new once a month
  5. Create a monthly night to reach out to people I love
  6. Go out to breakfast/lunch once a week with a good friend (or a potential good friend). If not possible, call/email a friend to reconnect
  7. Donate something each month.
  8. Find a volunteer opportunity to do as a family or with David.
  9. Volunteer at work.


  1. Make and keep regular pedicure and hair appointments
  2. Come up with a self-care routine (lotion, floss, etc.)
  3. Say yes to invitations
  4. Show up at events/parties
  5. Say yes to my boys. Say yes.

There we go. As more creep up over the year, I will likely come here and add/alter as needed.

Schedule for Blog
I’ve also come up with a tentative schedule for my blog for 2014:

  • Mondays : Everyday Brave
  • Tuesdays : Note to Self
  • Wednesdays : A Book a Week + Fifty-Two Stamps
  • Thursdays : You Choose
  • Fridays : Stories of Twenty Fifteen
  • Saturdays : David and Nathaniel’s Books of Happy Memories
  • Sundays : Weekly Diary

I wanted to have themes for my thoughts posts but it never happened. I am going to attempt to try this for next year but I have learned that I should make no promises since I seem to always fall short with this. Here are some topics I’d like to possibly write about:

  • Coaching
  • What I Learned
  • Productivity
  • Brave
  • Lessons from Ordinary Life

These coupled with my core desired feelings are what I hope guides me this year. I know this year will come with its own challenges and surprises. I want to be open to all it plans to offer to me and I want to stay serene in the face of my challenges. I want to live each and every moment of my life fully alive and brave.

Here’s to a wonderful 2015!