April 2016 - Lettering Wisdom - 04

All of these cards are drawn with the Micron pens and then I used watercolor pencils for the borders.

Card four says: The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.


Lettering Wisdom is a Monthly Project for April 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

2016 Stories – 14 – A Weekend in Zurich

I know I am behind in my stories but I am in Zurich at the moment so it’s not possible for me to go back and add them. I figured while I am here I can tell the story of this week. I was scheduled to come to Zurich for a business trip this week. Actually, originally I wasn’t planning on coming. We have a quarterly meeting for my greater team and I knew the April one would be in Zurich and I had decided it wasn’t worth it for me to come this time around. It was to be right after my kids’ Spring Break and I felt like I’d taken too many trips recently.

I was invited to an amazing weekend that I really wanted to go to instead. Something special that would have been really good for my soul and it would mean I got to meet some of the people I’ve wanted to meet in person for a long time. Even though I really wanted to go to this event, I wasn’t sure it was ok to leave my kids and husband for something so much for me. Especially in the middle of Spring Break.

As I was grappling with that decision, another team that I work with in Mountain View and NYC decided they would all go to Zurich for this April conference.

Which now meant I was going too.

As I bought tickets for the flight, I decided I would leave a few days early and go home to Istanbul for the weekend instead and get to see my family. I was excited to see all of them in person for the first time since last summer (except my mom whom I was fortunate to see during my last trip to Zurich in January). As the date approached, however, I began stressing about the recent events there and got worried that something might happen or somehow I wouldn’t be able to get back to my kids. Even though I could tell it was supremely irrational, I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head.

I struggled with the decision for days, even up to the moment at the Zurich airport when I had to decide whether to get on the next plane or to leave and go to my hotel. I ended up going to my hotel and not taking the trip home. I then proceeded to be sad for the next 40 hours. I felt terrible for not being home with my family but I also felt emotionally and physically exhausted. On Saturday, I was so sad that I decided I had to leave the hotel room and go take a walk. I snapped this photo as I walked around Schipfe where I sat down with coffee and my book.

As I write this, I am sitting in my bed, still sad that I didn’t go home. Even though deep down I know it wasn’t meant to be this time around, I can’t stop myself from feeling like I disappointed my family, I chose not to be brave, and I missed my chance to see the people I love so much. I have been going round and round in my head and in my heart. I’ve been holding tight to the disappointment.

As it happens sometimes.

Sometimes I make a decision and I struggle with it for a long, long time. And maybe I will never know if this was right or wrong but I do know that part of being an adult is living with the decisions I make. I am trying to rest, write, do art, spend a lot of time video chatting with my family, and doing my best to enjoy this unexpected weekend in Zurich.

Grateful that the people who love me are kind enough to forgive me and love me anyway.


Stories from 2016 is a year-long project for 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

April 2016 - Lettering Wisdom - 03

All of these cards are drawn with the Micron pens and then I used watercolor pencils for the borders.

Card three says: It is not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not.


Lettering Wisdom is a Monthly Project for April 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

Living Intentionally – 14

  • Weekly Intention:  Without officially deciding it, I somehow decided to take March off. Days passed and I didn’t feel like writing so I just gave myself permission to feel that way. But now it’s April and I’d like to try to get back into setting intentions and trying to be a bit more aware. So this week I am in Zurich. I plan to work a lot as I often do while I am here. The intention I’d like to set this week is to be present, to be patient, and to be effective. I’d like to be able to be very organized and effective but not aggressive in the usual sense. I am normally very rushed and busy when I am here, which is fine, but I’d like to also make sure to be as calm as possible and to listen more than I talk. Let’s see if I can pull it off.
  • Choices I want to make:
    • One: I will choose to listen.
    • Two:  I will choose to take some time to rest and recover each day so I can last the week.
    • Three: I will choose to be really present and organized and effective so it feels like a very productive week.
  • I am looking forward to: some face to face time with all the people I work with, I love how much work I usually get done when I am here.
  • This week’s challenges:  I have to straddle four different agendas this week: two summits and two teams’ worth of meetings and I want to make sure I get through my whole list. I want to do all of it and I want to sit on the plane on the way back with a strong feeling of accomplishment. It will be hard. This is also the longest I’ve been away so I want to also make sure to talk to my kids each day.
  • Top Goals:
    • Work: I want to meet with each engineer, make sure the projects are in good shape, feel like it was super productive to come.
    • Personal: I want to listen more. Be kind to myself. Forgive myself.
    • Family: I want to talk to my family as much as possible.
  • I will focus on my core desires (kind, strong, true, generous, brave) by: 
    • I will be kind to myself. I will forgive myself.
    • I will be strong by working hard and long days.
    • I will be generous with my time and do all the work I can.
    • I will be true to my heart and my gut. I will listen to my soul even when it’s hard.
    • I will be brave by letting go and by forgiving myself.
  • This week, I want to remember: that I will get work done. I always do when I am here. It’s always a tough, long week. I had an emotional weekend but now I need to take the time to buckle down and work. Before I know it, the week will be over and I will be on my way back. And it will all have been worthwhile.

Here’s to a wonderful week!

April 2016 - Lettering Wisdom - 02

All of these cards are drawn with the Micron pens and then I used watercolor pencils for the borders.

Card two says: Honor the space between no longer and not yet.


Lettering Wisdom is a Monthly Project for April 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

April 2016 – Lettering Wisdom – 01

As I finished my March project, I knew I wanted my next one to be about lettering. I couldn’t stop thinking about it but I was also scared of trying. My lettering isn’t so great. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But then I remembered that this was supposed to be both fun and practice. The goal was to just try. And if it’s not perfect, well so be it. Nothing I do is perfect. It’s just fun and as long as it continues to be so, it’s worth it! So it was decided. I picked some wise quotes I love and decided to letter one a day.

All of these cards are drawn with the Micron pens and then I used watercolor pencils for the borders.

Card one says: You only fail when you stop trying.


Lettering Wisdom is a Monthly Project for April 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

A Book a Week – A Separate Peace

I read A Separate Peace because most people read it in high school but I never had and I decided it was time that I fill up this whole in my education. I read this little book in a few sittings. I enjoyed reading it so much that I often found myself wanting to put it down and think about it. I found myself wanting to slow down to enjoy the writing.

I found the story interesting, sad, poignant and I am glad that I read it after having been here this many years because there is a lot about being at an all-boys prep school that I would not have understood when I was in high school in Turkey. I kept wanting to ask Jake questions as I was reading it. Even though he didn’t go to an all boys school, he did have a somewhat relatable experience so I was curious how on point it was. But Jake didn’t really remember much of the book from his high school years.

I was very happy to read this one.

March 2016 – From the Back – All

And here we are. All the from-the-back drawings I made. Here’s another quick look at them all:

and set two:

and finally:

Another fun project. Looking forward to April to see what that one brings. Back with more daily art in a few days.


From the Back is a Monthly Project for March 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

March 2016 – From the Back – 20

All of these cards are drawn with the Stabilo All pencil and then watercolors.

Card twenty says: Only from the heart can you touch the sky.


From the Back is a Monthly Project for March 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

March 2016 – From the Back – 19

All of these cards are drawn with the Stabilo All pencil and then watercolors.

Card nineteen says: Never suppress a generous thought.


From the Back is a Monthly Project for March 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

March 2016 – From the Back – 18

All of these cards are drawn with the Stabilo All pencil and then watercolors.

Card eighteen says: Be your own biggest fan.


From the Back is a Monthly Project for March 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.

A Book a Week – A Reunion of Ghosts

I read A Reunion of Ghosts because amazon said it was the best book of the month. I liked the premise of the three sisters in Manhattan. I thought it would be good story. Even though I didn’t like the book, I kept reading it. (Actually, I listened to it on audible.) I kept going and going even though I can’t remember a moment when I actually enjoyed it.

Not even in the end.

Even though I wanted to like this one, I just did not.