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.

Living Wild – 09

Weekly Intention: I get to travel for work at the early part of this week. I will be in Houston for three days with 60+ colleagues in a leadership training. Then I get to be home while Jake travels to be with his siblings. My intention this week is to be kind to myself. I’ve been struggling and I really need this reminder.

This month’s intention is: Wild Air:  Go outside. Smell the spring air. The seasons are shifting again and it’s time to try new things, new  places, take new chances. Pick one thing and go big. Drink the wild air.  One more week left in February. I still didn’t make a list of people to reach out to and date nights to do nor did I make the exercise list from February. For March, I think my plan is to make a hike list and see how many we can complete. We also have to apply for our Whitney and Half Dome.

One way I will show up this week:  focused.

I will go into the wild:  I am hoping that Jake and I can take a hike this weekend and I also want to get out for 30 minutes every day.

This week, I will pay attention to: getting ahead at work, and starting the food plan.

One new thing I will begin this week: I am planning to start eating the wild again this week. Let’s see what I can do.

One magic I will create: Maybe I will give myself a celebration party for being done with the packet.

One thing I hope to release: I am actively working on acknowledging the anxiety and listening to the voices inside that don’t seem to be rational. Paying attention to what I say and what I hear and how I feel. First step to releasing is noticing, I hope.

One thing I will join in on: I have a trip to the kids’ school on Tuesday night which involves a community dinner.

One area I will practice being open: that it might work. just maybe.

I am looking forward to: having jake back.

This week’s challenges: just so so so much work this week.

  • Top Goals:
    • Work: finish perf. stay on top of email. spend some time with nbu and tokyo.
    • Personal: figure out a routine that works for me. journal. get into a groove. eat the wild.
    • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake. taxes.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): i am hoping the journaling will help me here.

This week, I want to remember: all the kind words i heard this week.


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 08

The Wildest Part of this Week was: Getting to be on the NASA observation room at the Johnson Space Center and watching the control room and the scientists at the ISS. How amazing!

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: did docs for draft 2. cleaned email. traveled.
  • Personal: did not figure out a routine that works for me. did journal. did not get into a groove.
  • Family: supported nathaniel and david and jake.

I celebrate: Traveling and coming home and supporting both my kids.

I am grateful for: finally committing

This week, I exercised: i didn’t do much this week, just a thursday night session with Jake but I did stand and walk a lot earlier this week

This week, I answered the Call of the WildSome awesome outdoor time in Houston. That will be it this week.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: Pretty solid journaling over the weekend and I am planning to do a lot more in March.

This week’s Wildcard was: Houston was a wildcard.

I said yes to: going climbing, work trip, going to work all Saturday.

I said no to: hmm, staying late on Friday I guess.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: I’ve been working on these, and I have a plan to make a plan, lol.

My mood this week was: tired. full. overwhelmed.

I am proud of: coming home Wednesday, feeling ok changing my ticket and not staying an extra day.

I release: all the nervous energy of this cycle. let’s see where it goes.

Here’s what I learned this week: I have a lot more support than I thought I did.

What I love right now: I love my family so so much right now. I always do but right now I am just so grateful for exactly where we are.


Weekly Review 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Moments of 2020 – 08


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 08

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Weird (4 stars): “But believing that your weirdness is your superpower can also be hugely beneficial. There is evidence that thinking about your circumstances in a different way—a process called cognitive reappraisal—can help you cope with challenges better. Perceiving what makes you weird as being what gives you strength can, ultimately, make you happier. If you already possess the lemons of social rejection, you might as well make a really odd lemonade.”

I’ve had a mixed relationship with this book. From the get-go, I should have realized that maybe I was putting too much pressure and had too high expectations. I have always, always felt weird and lacked a sense of belonging regardless of where I was and how I got there. It didn’t matter if I passed exams, if I got promoted, if I made it through an interview, or if I was invited. I have constantly had a voice in my head that repeated that I just didn’t belong there. Regardless of where “there” was. And that I was different, weird, and would never just be like others.

So when I came upon this book, I was like: I will finally have all the answers.

I assume you can see why it might not be possible for this book to meet my expectations. And, alas, while it did not, it was quite a good book to read.

“When we hear a dissenting view, we think more critically about what we’re hearing.”

The book is full of stories. Many of the people in the book are different because of an outwardly visible trait. There are a handful of examples where it’s an invisible difference but many of those are also things like religion or cultural background, etc. and even though I am also outside of my country and culture, I felt this way when I was back home, too. The closest, maybe, example for me was the author herself and I appreciated her honest account of her own life and her own journey with feeling weird and the anxiety this has created for her.

There were some really wonderful bits in the book, ideas for me to try, ways in which for me to feel less alone about who I am and how I feel (which is where the comparisons to the book “Quiet” come from, I assume.) Seeing the ways in which others have found their ways around has been tangibly helpful to me. But, of course, there wasn’t the one true answer to how I could either feel differently or suddenly just be ok with who I am. No such answer exists.

‘I told Chloe that my boyfriend naturally takes criticism in the Joyable-approved way. “When you criticize him, he seems to say, ‘That’s interesting! I’ll assess your viewpoint along with all the other evidence,’” I said.’

I loved this because it’s a similar experience to how I feel with my husband. I think there’s a fundamental sense of belonging that many have which makes taking this type of feedback more palatable but if you don’t have that grounding sense of belonging, well everything is up for grabs.

There are two things I wish this book had more of. One is stories of people more like me. People who feel weird and different but not for any obvious reasons. That might be too much to ask and I understand that.

The second thing that I missed was the author’s summary of her findings, the book ends with a story and I found myself craving for the author’s distillation of all she learned, all she’d recommend, just one more reiteration for me. Many non-fiction books have this and sometimes it does get on my nerves but alas this time I found myself looking for it.

with gratitude to netgalley and Hachette Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Perfect Little Children (3.5 stars): I was craving a fast-paced mystery this week so I started this story without knowing much about it. I knew it was going to have some craziness and hoped it would be enjoyable.

It totally delivered.

I read this one in a single breath. It was crazy, twisted, but also really enjoyable. The characters weren’t well developed, there was much suspension of disbelief and just a whole bunch of crazy. But I expected it all and wasn’t looking for anything else. So it was perfect for me at that moment in time.


The Holdout (3.5 stars): After my last crazy mystery I was ready for some more. This one promised the same kind of twisty mystery so I picked it up and started reading it. I enjoyed the twists in the story, a handful that I didn’t see coming at all. I liked the characters and the plot. It wasn’t deep or literary but it also wasn’t silly and completely unbelievable like some of these stories can be. It also didn’t assume the reader was stupid like some of the plot twists can do. All in all, it was another super fun read for this week.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

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.

Living Wild – 08

Weekly Intention: I get to travel for work at the early part of this week. I will be in Houston for three days with 60+ colleagues in a leadership training. Then I get to be home while Jake travels to be with his siblings. My intention this week is to be kind to myself. I’ve been struggling and I really need this reminder.

This month’s intention is: Wild at Heart:  Take new chances with your heart this month. Try new date nights. Reach out to new people. Create new connections. Strengthen your heart with exercise. One more week left in February. Maybe I make a list of people to reach out to and date nights to do and maybe I finally make an exercise list.

One way I will show up this week:  intentional.

I will go into the wild:  not sure if I will have a lot of opportunity to go into the wild this week between my trip and jake being gone, so we’ll see.

This week, I will pay attention to: see if i can finish the handful of docs I have to write to be done.

One new thing I will begin this week: I am hoping to being both journaling and scrapping more regularly starting this week. Let’s see if I can pull of either.

One magic I will create: Hmm maybe some alone time in Houston…

One thing I hope to release: maybe this feeling that’s come over me that seems to be crushing my soul.

One thing I will join in on: houston will be all about joining.

One area I will practice being open: to the possibility that everything might turn out ok.

I am looking forward to: houston.

This week’s challenges: travel is always a bit challenging for me

  • Top Goals:
    • Work: docs for draft 2. clean email. travel.
    • Personal: figure out a routine that works for me. journal. get into a groove.
    • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): let’s see if i can find my way back to peace again.

This week, I want to remember: i can do hard things and i am so incredibly lucky.


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 07

The Wildest Part of this Week was: The climbing. We went outdoors climbing at New Jack City and it was totally wild. My second time outdoor climbing ever. My first time lead-belaying Jake. It was fun fun fun.

Top Goals Review:  none 🙂

I celebrate: A really lovely time away from home.

I am grateful for: Recovering and managing to have a lovely time after the first terrible night.

This week, I exercised: We went on two hikes and an outdoor climbing session.

This week, I answered the Call of the Wildso much outdoors time this week! Joshua Tree National Park and New Jack City and Palm Springs!

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: A small amount of journaling this week.

This week’s Wildcard was: Sunday night’s fight. But we recovered.

I said yes to: going climbing, going in the pool, driving crazy long.

I said no to: working.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: I did it all this week. I am proud of myself.

My mood this week was: tired and grateful.

I am proud of: my family, we all showed up.

I release: whatever else i am carrying this week, i just want to let it all go

Here’s what I learned this week: wild is my happy place.

What I love right now: so grateful to have gotten to take vacation.


Weekly Review 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Moments of 2020 – 07


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 07

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Followers (3 stars): I kept putting off reading this book even after I started it. For some reason, I thought it was going to be terrible. I really didn’t want to read another book lecturing about how bad social media or internet is. I don’t disagree with the premise but I was just not in the mood. Alas, I started reading it anyway and I found myself enjoying it. The characters felt true to the story and the plot twisted and turned. I didn’t love it and I can’t say that there was much too surprising in it. But if dystopian is your genre, you might also enjoy this one.


Weather (4.5 stars): I am such a fan of Offill’s writing. It’s not the plot of her books or even the characters in her novels that get me. It’s the small, everyday moments and thoughts that Offill shares through her characters that are just magical. She manages to make her books touching, funny, sad and poignant all at the same time, packaged in a small but profound book. I loved this one.


Loveboat, Taipei (4 stars): I am delighted to have met this author as she’s a friend of one of my friends. I am always anxious to read books of people I know because what if I don’t like their books? I make a point to be honest in my reviews and I don’t believe in lying even for people whom I might know but I also know how much love and effort and soul and sweat goes into a book so I also don’t ever want to hurt someone’s feelings or undermine the enormity of the effort.

Not to mention I never read series books until all of the books in a series are out.

And so, I put off reading this book just in case it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. Until I broke down and read it any way.

And it was! I enjoyed how the book mixed serious topics with funny and sweet moments. Each of the characters were complicated and both flawed and well-intentioned in their own ways. Their imperfections and their ability to forgive made this book much more enjoyable for me. (Though I will admit there were a handful of things in there that my teenage self would have never forgiven – or done.)

I loved the time I spent with this story and can’t wait to read the second one.


Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes (4 stars): Despite the ending which was a little too perfect, I loved my time with this book. Living where I do, this story could be from any of the schools in my area. The story, while entertaining in parts, didn’t even feel overdone to me. The plot and characters are both well done and tight in this book. It could have easily gone over the top but it didn’t feel like it did. Unlike The Gifted School which completely devolved in the end, I felt this one held it together even if the ending was a bit too optimistic for my taste. Really enjoyed my time with this one.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

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.

Living Wild – 07

Weekly Intention: I am on vacation this week so my only intention this week is to live my word. Be out in the wild. Enjoy my time with my family.

This month’s intention is: Wild at Heart:  Take new chances with your heart this month. Try new date nights. Reach out to new people. Create new connections. Strengthen your heart with exercise. I’ve done some of this already, I feel grateful. I still have to try new date nights and reach out to new people.

One way I will show up this week:  calm.

I will go into the wild:  we will get to do hikes at Joshua Tree and we will get to climb. I will be in the wild this week.

This week, I will pay attention to: my feelings

One new thing I will begin this week: outdoor climbing

One magic I will create: just being on vacation will be magic

One thing I hope to release: i really would like to not work this week if i can avoid it.

One thing I will join in on: rock climbing. pool. being present.

One area I will practice being open: to the possibility that i can be brave.

I am looking forward to: getting to be with my family.

This week’s challenges: just downtime is challenging some times.

  • Top Goals: none this week, just being present.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): this week i am for just being as kind as i can be.

This week, I want to remember: life is all about the small moments.


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.