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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.

A Book a Week – The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P was another Amazon recommendation. It’s always interesting when writing crosses gender boundaries. And I think this female author did a good job of writing a book from a man’s perspective.

But the character was so unlikeable to me that I didn’t care how realistic it was.

It made me remember all the things I didn’t like about NYC and my twenties. Things I didn’t like about others. Meh.

If you’re interested in NYC and are similar to some of the characters in this book, you’ll like it. Or if you’re like me, maybe you’ll remember these people and how much you didn’t like them.

Savor Project - 2014 - Spread Eleven

This week’s about making healthier choices and doing art with the kids. I love having our family photos each week, too.

so grateful.


Savor Project is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

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?

Listen with Intent – Week 14

For April, I wanted to set a light intention. Something that would remind me to seek the light and look for the joy when listening. I think it’s easier for me to look for the substance, the depth, the “what’s wrong” then it is to be with lightness. I am not sure why. But this month, I want to listen with the intent of finding the joy. Listening with joy and for joy.

The lettering is somewhere in my pinterest board but I couldn’t find it for the life of me. And the image is of blowing bubbles, which gives me joy to do and to watch.


Listen with Intent is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Finally a Sport we can all Share

This is my Mix and Match page for My Mind’s Eye in April.

As I continue on my journey of two-6×12 page layouts, I’ve been thinking about this new style and pondering how I feel about it. I’ve received some thoughts and questions about this style and wanted to share some of what I think with you.

1. I love having the room to write longer journaling. When I switched to creating layouts with hand-journaling a few years ago, one of the things I missed was the ability to tell much longer stories. I know that, for me, handwriting my journaling means writing more randomly and naturally. But not always going as deep. I seem to be able to collect my thoughts better on the computer. So I love having this mechanism for telling my longer stories. Making deeper connections on my layout.

2. I’ve been asked a few times, why I like the 2 6×12 over the 12×12. On a purely mechanical level, I don’t have a large-sized printer and would not be able to print my journaling if I did a 12×12 page. But, even more significantly, with this system when I sit to scrap, I am still designing a 6×12 page. I always put the two blank pages side by side but, with the exception of the photos, I don’t think of any overlap until I’ve fully designed the right side. So my brain is thinking of a narrow rectangle (6×12) and not of a square (12×12) and different ideas come to me that wouldn’t if I started with a square. This month’s layout is a perfect example. I’d never have put an arrow in the middle of a square page, but with the split design, the arrow that splits across the pages makes it visually interesting.

3. More than anything, I like the process of doing something different than I usually would. Doing the same thing over and over again can get you into a rut. It might put you on auto-pilot and fewer creative ideas bubble up. Changing your perspective, changing your fundamentals (like the size and shape of the paper you design on) can really shake things up and help you see new possibilities.

So if you’ve been doing the same thing for a while, I encourage you to try something new this month. You never know what surprises you might get.

With that, here’s my page for April:

Here’s the long journaling:
My sweet boys,

When it comes to sports, I am not all that experienced or talented. I’ve never really played soccer, basketball, volleyball or football. I didn’t do any extracurricular sports at school or in my leisure time. I’ve never really had the natural ability or the encouragement at a young age. When it comes to sports, I am usually in the audience, cheering.

There are just a few exceptions: swimming, skiing, skating, and tennis.

I did all three of these relatively regularly as a kid and I while I wasn’t that talented at any of them, I did enjoy them.

Especially skiing.

Over the twenty years your dad and I have been together, we went skiing only a handful of times but when we moved to California, we both knew that we wanted to do it more. And then when you guys came, I knew that it was best to learn it at a young age, like I did.

Alas, the years passed and we never really made it a priority. With Daddy’s insistence we went to Tahoe last year but only managed to do some ice skating and came back home after a very rough twenty-four hours there.

When Daddy said he wanted to make sure we went again this year, I vowed to make the whole experience completely different. I got us a nice family hotel, made sure you had comfortable and cozy ski gear, and got full-day ski school set up for both of you. I figured if we were going to be there for just three days, we wanted to make sure those days were wonderful.

And they were.

In fact, I wasn’t prepared for how incredibly wonderful they turned out to be. All day ski school meant Daddy and I were alone for hours on end. It meant we could go on our own skiing adventures and spend the day just the two of us. I can’t remember the last time we spent so many hours together without you two. (Not that it’s not amazing to have you there, but it was also special to be just with Daddy for a while.) Since Daddy and I are about the same level in skiing, we joyfully went on the same runs and skied our hearts out.

Even more wonderfully, you guys not only loved the skiing but went from never having been on skis to level four for David and level two for Nathaniel. All in two days’ work! By this point David was already doing green runs. Incredible progress in such a short time.

We also loved our hotel and spent a lot of time snacking on the jelly beans, having salami sandwiches, watching movies, and eating yummy not-so-good-for-you food. Oh, and, playing on the iPad, of course.

All in all, I can easily say that this was one of our best family vacations so far. That fact, alone, makes me incredibly grateful and hopeful about our future skiing adventures.

But when I think about this trip, what’s most special to me is that there’s a sport where I don’t have to sit in the audience and observe. I can participate fully and share in the joy and excitement with the rest of you. I am so very grateful for that. I love you with all of my heart and I look forward to skiing together again soon!

and finally some closeups:

Weekly Diary – April 6 2014

Just a few photos from this week:

Not the best photo but I still like being in it with my boys. Taken from jake’s phone.

nathaniel made masks at school this week. cheetah.

and…

snake!

and laughter.

love all this laughter.

and here we go. so grateful for my life. i hope your week was lovely, too.


Weekly Diary is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Learning with David - Week 7

This class is by udacity.com and it’s a math class called Introductory Algebra Review.


Learning with David is a project for 2014 that I am doing with my 9-year-old son. You can read more about it here.

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.