2017 Stories – 41 – Nathaniel’s Letters

Nathaniel started a new school this year. He was the only newcomer to the Third Grade and I wasn’t sure how it was all going to play out. He’s pretty outgoing and pretty easygoing so I was optimistic that things would be okay but I wasn’t sure. As it worked out, he has been adjusting fine for the most part (thankfully). 

There are many things I love about this new school but one of my favorite things is the Weekly Reflection letters he writes each Friday (I know it will come as a shock to you that I like exercises that help you reflect, he hee!) These lovely hand-written letters come in a lovely, colored envelope each week and contain tidbits from his week. He also writes a glow (something he’s proud of) and a grow (an area of improvement) each week. 

These letters are the highlight of my week and I savor them. I am so grateful to his teachers for creating such a wonderful memento for this scrapping mom and giving the kids an opportunity to reflect each week. 

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

October 2017 – Twenty Mantras – 7

karenika.comThis card says: Show up. If you can only do one thing, it’s this one. Show up. You have to show up to your life. To the things that matter. You have to participate in shaping it the way you want it to turn out. The universe has your back but you must show up.

I show up to so many things but not always to my own life. I need to remember this one the most.

Twenty Mantras is a Monthly Project for October 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

Living Intentionally 2017 – 41


Weekly Intention: I fly to Seattle for work at the end of this week so I won’t have a solid weekend and lately weekends are where I catch up on my life and even work. I also have promotion committee all Monday which means I have a foreshortened week. More reason to be super-diligent about getting things done this week. My plan is to use my time effectively. To sleep a lot. To eat really super well since who knows what will happen in Seattle. To get solidly on track since I know stuff will pile up while I am in Seattle and when I get home my parents will be here so I will want to spend time with them. So intention is to be productive, spend a ton of time with boys, and self-nourish.

The next few weeks have some culminations for our family. Things we’ve been working on and we’ll get to see the results, so I am also praying and hoping for some good results and the ability to handle whatever comes with grace and self-compassion.

Things I want to get Done: Here’s the list for his week.

  • Work: stay on top of email. 
  • Work: do the deck + come up with plan + email.
  • Work: do posters
  • Work: evaluate form results x2
  • Work: finish booking SYD
  • Work: make plan for life in SEA
  • Personal: exercise 6/7 times. 
  • Personal: kick it up a notch with eating clean. 
  • Personal: Journal three times.
  • Personal: Do mapmaker #11
  • Personal: start Brene’s art
  • Personal: November art plan
  • Personal: donate + cash check + call for taxes
  • Personal: Continue with the new scrapping/storytelling system.
  • Family: do math+spelling with N
  • Family: make a plan with D
  • Family: go to 3rd grade coffee for Nathaniel
  • Family: Check in regularly with my nephews and my sister.
  • Family: take photos!
  • Family: Make lunches for when I am gone.

This month’s intention is:  Shine On: You’re doing great. You made it through September. The year is starting its countdown and you can do this. Remember to keep going. Shine on. Don’t stop now. Just one day at a time. Each time these are the best reminders.

Ways to Shine this week:

  • One: Bold: Bold with getting things done this week.
  • Two: Open: Open to restructuring my life a bit, my schedule seems exceptionally bad.
  • Three: Heal/Nourish: Do at least 2 new self-care items this week.

I am looking forward to: spending time with my boys. 

This week’s challenges: Monday will be a long day. Here’s hoping it doesn’t throw off the whole week.

Top Goals:

  • Work: getting C+T teams into a routine.
  • Personal: exercise+food+journaling.
  • Family: time with kiddos.

I will focus on my core desires (bold, mindful, nourish, love) by: being kinder when i speak, having some perspective.

This week, I will say yes to: revising my calendar a bit.

This week, I will say no to: wasting bits of time.

I am worried that:  i won’t exercise. i’ll continue not eating well. i will fall even more behind. david will be sad. i won’t give enough attention to nathaniel. i will get bad news for me. i’ll disappoint even more people. i am just feeling worried in general lately because i feel more disconnected and like i am dropping more things on the floor.

This week, I want to remember:  that i am just one person and while i like to do a lot of things it’s good to be clear on what matters most and give myself grace on doing the other things less well.

October 2017 – Twenty Mantras – 6

karenika.comThis card says: Be gentle with yourself. This is going to take a while sweet girl. It’s not a shortcut when you want to change your life. So it’s going to have ups and downs. That’s to be expected. Do not be unkind. Be gentle with yourself and allow for faltering. Then go on!

I I’m not that great at being kind to myself and it’s all too easy to just give up when one thing goes wrong. So this is a reminder to keep at it. And to be gentle!!

Twenty Mantras is a Monthly Project for October 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

Weekly Reflection 2017 – 40

How I shone this week:  This week started with the horrible news of what happened in Las Vegas. I woke up 6am on Monday morning and before I did anything, I saw the CNN alert on my phone. I had gone to bed early enough on Sunday that I hadn’t seen it. It made me so sad that the undercurrent was there all week. I always find myself worrying about the smallest things all the time and this was a reminder that I need to have more perspective and a better understanding of things that matter. (and things that don’t.) I am still really sad about all that’s been going on in the last few months in the world. (not that there aren’t really horrible things going on all the time but I feel like there’s been a lot of devastating natural disasters back to back recently.) I feel like while I am still mourning one horrible tragedy, there is a new one and I haven’t even processed the previous one yet. Just a lot of sadness. 

This week was another hurried one (are there any others at this point?) but I managed to support my kids, their school, work and my family. And still exercised and ate relatively ok. I am proud of myself for making it through lately. That’s just going to have to be good enough.

Things I wanted to get Done:

  • Work: wasn’t great about email this week but I just sat down and cleared all of it so I am caught up now, did some initial plan for October, didn’t even look at the dashboard, did the deck but not email this week, did posters, didn’t evaluate form results yet. 
  • Personal: exercised 6 times, had two client calls, eating 5% better than last week, journaled once, did mapmaker 9 and 10. Finished Brene’s class (nonart work). Scrapping is also going well.
  • Family: supported david all week. went to 3rd grade social, didn’t check in with sis and nephews as much as i would have wanted, will do better this week. Took photos!

I celebrate: having a good balance between work, me, family, school and friends this week. I went to the kids’ school 4 times, met with a friend once, supported both kids with school work, took six exercise classes, and got some decent work done and even managed to have some lovely time with my husband this week. I put this week in the win column. 

I am grateful for: the amount of support i have in my life. a really loving family, an incredible husband, kids who are the kindest, a few solid friends, and a really supportive manager. I am quite lucky.

I nourished myself by: exercising this week.

Reflecting on my worries: i did a bit better on the eating over all. also gave myself some more grace. i think i need to still work on chocolate but i won’t take it on now. i’ve been better about catching up. one day at a time. i am sure i did disappoint some people but i am trying. everyday i get to try again. and david’s week was okay so far.

I let go of: knowing the answers, controlling the outcome. cause who am i kidding?

Core Desire Check-in (bold, mindful, nourish, love):

  • bold: driving to the high school for a many-hour meeting.
  • mindful: mindful that i am still feeling overwhelmed and seem to have an undercurrent of sadness.
  • nourish: i need a daily dose of nourish. healthy nourish. make the time each day. 
  • love: love feeling done with a big item on my list. even if it only lasts a moment.

What made me laugh this week: Jake and I laughed a lot. 

What I tolerated this week: still craving some alone time. also some more downtime.

My mood this week was: sad.
I forgive myself for:  being really stressed on Thursday.
What I love right now: i love that i booked my tickets to SYD. it’s a big relief.

Here’s to a great week 41. 

October 2017 – Twenty Mantras – 5

karenika.comThis card says: Do the next right thing. You can’t think too far ahead here. There will be things you can’t plan for and things that are tough to deal with. It’s okay. Just do the next right thing every single time and you will see that it all works out.

Honestly anything more than that is just fooling yourself. Making plans is nice but you can’t count on anything but this moment.

Twenty Mantras is a Monthly Project for October 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

October 2017 – Twenty Mantras – 4

karenika.comThis card says: Just a little more. When you feel like you want to give up, just remind yourself you can do a little more. Just a small amount more and you will be done. Just a tiny bit more each time will be a huge change over time. It will work out. Just give a little more.

drop by drop. one step by one step. a little more and next thing you know, you can do it! 

Twenty Mantras is a Monthly Project for October 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

Books I Read This Week 2017 – 40

I am slowly catching up to the rest of my life. I am also trying to rest along the way. I have too many books checked out so I am trying to prioritize the ones I want to read over the ones that can wait.

 Dinner at the Center of the Earth was different than books I usually read. I thought of putting it down several times but didn’t. I am glad I read it to the end.

I then moved to The How of Happiness which was practical and data oriented. It’s a book i’d like to be able to go back to again and again. a book I’d like to write in the margins of. This was just my first pass.

Braving the Wilderness was at the top of my list the moment it came out and I tried to wait patiently until it was next in my queue. I read it in one breath which means I will need to read it 5-6 more times. Brene’s books are always always always full of gold.

Little Fires Everywhere was also at the very top of my list because I loved her previous book. Even though I still think that one was better, I really loved this book, too. Celeste Ng’s ability to write about people and their inner worlds and the impact of our lost dreams/pieces on others around us is really beautiful.

My pile is still 35 thick from the library so I’m slowing wading my way through it.

Books I Read this Week 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

Nourish Me – 40


  • I read: I’ve been keeping away from websites. Since I am pretty behind in all things lately, I’ve been heavily prioritizing and reading my internet feeds have been at the bottom of the list.
  • I learned: I’ve still been doing Stephanie’s Map Maker class still but sadly still haven’t begun the Courageworks class even though I think about it constantly. 
  • I watched:  A lot of TV this past Friday night. Just felt too tired to do anything else. This is Us and Suits. Also Jake and I went to the movies last weekend to see Brad’s Status which I really liked. 


  • Exercise: I did 5 classes this week:
    • Monday: Yoga
    • Tuesday: Body Pump
    • Wednesday: Pilates
    • Thursday: gBarre 
    • Friday: Pilates.

My body pump teacher comes back this week so I am excited to see get back into it. I’ve also been thinking about how I’d like my exercise to be ideally and here are a few things on my mind:

  • Ideally, I’d like to:
    • Meditate 5 mins in the mornings
    • Cardio: twice a week for 20 mins each
    • Plank: practice daily, start with 1 min, move to 3-5mins, then move to side plank
    • pilates, yoga, barre -> do at least one of each weekly
    • body pump -> at least two a week

So I need to figure out how to slowly incorporate some of these into my routine.

  • Food: 
    • So food’s gone off the rails more than I’d like partly due to my sister’s visit but mostly due to my just making bad choices. It’s nothing extreme but I can see myself slip sliding and I’d like to get myself centered. When I eat well, I feel well. When I eat poorly, I don’t even like the taste often. So I want to do better here.
    • I’ve been thinking about alternating my foods a bit. So instead of always using the same protein, I can try new ones. Here’s my variety list that I want to rotate through (this list is all things I have at home right now.):
      • Fab 4 smoothies:
        • Protein powder : collagen, vanilla, whey, plain, variety (strawberry, chocolate, etc.)
        • Veggies: zucchini, spinach, kale
        • Fiber: chia seeds, raw fiber, flax seeds
        • Fat: avocados, almond butter, MTC oil, coconut oil
        • Other: ashwaganda, macha, maca, hemp seeds
      • Salads/meals:
        • Protein: chicken, ground chicken, salmon, other fish, tuna, ground bison, eggs
        • Fiber: Spinach, baby kale, zucchini, okra, broccoli, brussell sprouts
        • Veggies: squash (winter+delicata+spaghetti), eggplant
        • Fat: cashews, almonds, avocados
        • Fruit: berries, figs, watermelon
    • For me it’s easiest to schedule stuff for days of the week so that I can be sure to be rotating so that’s my plan each week with what I have on hand. We’ll see how well it works.
  • Body Care:
    • I’ve also been thinking here:
    • Soak feet in salts once a week
    • Monthly pedicures
    • Paint my nails weekly
    • Soak in a bath 1 month
    • Do face masks twice a week
    • Floss+cream daily


  • I rested: Doing okay on the sleep but I just didn’t get enough this week. I am catching up here, though.
  • I connected: A lot of connection last week. Monday, my sister was still here, Tuesday night I met a friend when we went to Together Rising, Wednesday, I went to the kids’ school and connected with another parent, Thursday I met with a friend in the morning and then had lunch with a work friend. And friday, I had a 4-5 hour chat with another friend. a LOT of connecting this week.
  • I journaled: I did journal for MapMaker but not doing a lot of other journaling still except for my happy planner. I’d like to get myself to 3x/week journaling. 
  • I made art: I didn’t do my last mapmaker homework yet so no art this week but I plan to catch up.
  • Flowers: I bought lots of beautiful flowers, they make my soul so happy.

So grateful for my progress, I have more shots on instagram though not that many recently.

Nourish Me Week 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

October 2017 – Twenty Mantras – 3

karenika.comThis card says: Stay Strong. This is the goal, sweet girl. The end game. You want to remind yourself that the goal is to get and stay strong in your body. To do this, you need to stay strong in your mind. Let your strong head remind you to show up and do it so your body can be strong.

I need my mental strength to get off the couch and show up. So I can build actual strength in my body. I need to stay strong mentally.

Twenty Mantras is a Monthly Project for October 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.

2017 Stories – 40 – Together Rising

A few months ago, within a week both Glennon and Brene announced that they were doing tours. I, of course, wanted to go to both. While Glennon’s was nearby, Brene was all the way in Seattle. By the time I really wanted to go, her tickets were completely sold out all over the US. 

But Glennon’s weren’t.

I emailed my friend Haven and asked if she’d come with me and she said Yes! I bought the tickets within minutes of opening and it was finally time to go this past Tuesday. As it worked out, I had a meeting two hours before the event and by the time it was over traffic would be too bad for me to make it on time. So I left work in the middle of the day and drove down to San Jose with plans to take the meeting down there.

On the way, i was looking at my Google Maps for directions and a police officer pulled me over (for the first time in my life) and gave me a ticket for holding the phone. Which of course ruined my day. Then I rushed to make it to my meeting on time and walked around in 98F heat to buy a phone holder (which I wasn’t able to find.)

By the time I made it to the event site, I was soaked from head to toe and incredibly exhausted and just not in the best mental or emotional state. The program was amazing, of course, but I also realized that since I follow Glennon pretty closely all over the internet, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of “new to me” things. I am still glad I went. I always need reminders and she is one of the few people whose words touch my soul and my mind, so it never hurts to hear her words again and again.

Not to mention I had a wonderful time with my friend Haven.

All in all, it was worth every penny.

Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

October 2017 – Twenty Mantras – 2

karenika.comThis card says: One day at a time. Nothing happens overnight. You didn’t get to this place overnight and you will not leave this place overnight. It will take effort. It will take showing up. It will take doing it every day: one day at a time. You will get there.

It took so many cumulative bad decisions, or no decisions to be here today. If I want to reverse things, I need to make at least as many good decisions in a row. Every single day, one day at a time.

Twenty Mantras is a Monthly Project for October 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here. You can read about the start of this project here.