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Nathaniel Reads to Mommy – Week 19

Nathaniel Reads to Mommy is a project for 2014 that I am doing with my 4.5-year-old son. You can read more about it here.

Today I Know – Week 38

This week’s inspiration comes from Sketchbook Skool. I was taking one of their classes and the assignment was to draw a self portrait. Apparently it doesn’t look like me but alas, i tried. I used pencil and pastels on this page. I am not sure if I like it….

prompt says: today i know that i feel best when I am

Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

A Book a Week – Goldfinch

I finally picked up Goldfinch after seeing it on too many lists. I decided I wanted to listen to it on audio and not read it. I am not exactly sure what prompted me to do this, especially after the really long Luminaries.

But I did.

And it was long, really really long.

It took me almost two months to really listen to the book. But I kept at it. I listened to it everywhere. In the car, at home, while I was walking, in line at Starbucks, and on and on.

In the end, I think I really liked it. I felt connected to the story but I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters in particular and even though I am not sure I will jump to read another Donna Tartt soon, I still am glad I read this one.

Savor Project – 2014 – Spread Thirty-Two

Still catching up from the summer.

so happy.

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

Getting (re)Started

Just a few days ago, I wrote about taking time to pause and then I wrote about the Whole Life Challenge and how one of the components is a LifeStyle challenge that changes each week.

As if they read my blog, the challenge team picked the best LifeStyle challenge for me this week. It’s called 123 ToDo:

Every day of week 2, you will start the day by making a list of ONE thing that you must get done, TWO things that you’d like to get done, and THREE things that would be nice to get done. By the end of the day, you must have completed the ONE thing that you said you must get done.

You get your point if you make the list and cross of the one item that must get done.

This has been the push I needed to get back to my productive space. Since Saturday, when this challenge began, I’ve been able to knock off at least 3 of the 6 items in my list each day. Some days I do them all but as long as #1 gets done, I feel awesome. This meant that I finally got my blood tests done (after putting it off for 4 years, and it turns out it was a good thing since my vitamin d levels are too low!) and I sent emails I’d been putting off for weeks, and got back on track for my daily sketching, and scheduled David’s orthodontist appointment and I could go on and on, in only four days!

Sometimes, all we need is an excuse to get back on track and once we are, the momentum keeps us going. (Just like inertia has its own momentum and keeps you in the space of inertia.)

As I often say when people ask me for advice on how to create more art or get better: you need to just start. Get up and sit at your desk and push paint around if you need to. Once you start, the universe works with you to make it all happen.

You just need to do your part and show up.

Remember This – Week 37

Life Book week 30 was an assignment from Carissa Paige. It was about doing transfers and since I don’t like those I decided to do rubons instead. I just had fun with this one.

I put some patterned paper down, colored over it and then colored over the whole thing once more. Some lovely rubons and i was done. The journaling says: Life is ephemeral. Capture it. Savor it. Soak it in. Live it.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.


I’ve been spending a lot of time in the last week worrying about a decision I might have to make.

You read that right: I don’t even know if I will have to make the decision or not yet. And yet I am still worrying.

So much so that I’ve dreamt about it and had a hard time falling asleep.

The reason the decision is tough is because it will change my day to day life and if things don’t work out (which is always a possibility) I might be very sad I made the change. I feel like the unknown seems so overwhelming that I’d rather not change anything just not to risk the unknown.

Which can’t possibly be a good idea, can it?

I’ve been thinking about taking leaps in general. Walking into the unknown more often. Being braver.

And then the little voice inside my head says “but what if it all goes wrong and you regret it forever?”

Indeed. what if?

The threat of regret is so daunting.

But here’s what I do know. Life changes constantly. There’s no guarantee things will stay as they are now. There’s no way to know how the paths I didn’t take would have turned out. And most importantly: everything is always ok in the end. Sometimes it’s not about doing all your homework or thinking really hard. It’s definitely not about worrying for hours on end.

Sometimes it’s just about making the leap.

And having faith that it will all work out.

Or simply just having faith.

And taking the leap.

On a side note, as I was writing this, one of my colleagues found out his dad had a heart-attack and had to be airlifted to the hospital. A reminder that life is so fragile and I need to just stop wasting mine by worrying. period. Instead, I need to remember to be grateful for each and every day.

Listen with Intent – Week 38

For this week, I picked show up. As with most things, the first step is the hardest. For being social, that’s often showing up. Once I get there, I find a way to navigate through it but leaving the comfort of my home is generally undesired for me. So this week’s goal is to show up again and again.

Here’s the pin where I got the lettering..

Without realizing it, I picked the same lettering two weeks in a row :)

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

Today I Know – Week 37

This week’s inspiration comes from this pin. I used pastels, stickles and pen on this page. I appear to be addicted to stickles lately.

prompt says: today i know that i am stuck in the rut of….

Today I Know is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Permission to Pause

Last Friday, I turned 40.

It was a whirlwind weekend full of wonderful surprises and the very next day my Whole Life Challenge started. The week before mine was my husband’s 40th birthday so we had a whirlwind for him, too. All this has meant a bunch of days off work and out of routine. And since Saturday, a bunch of really tired days as I move more and eat differently. Most nights this week, I’ve pretty much wanted to do nothing after work. My kids go to bed and pretty soon after, I do, too.

That doesn’t leave a lot of room for my ever-growing-never-getting-done todo list.

Or my ever-growing email.

And I know it’s okay to take breaks. But I also know that all this postponing will eventually catch up with me. I also know I wanted to set some projects for myself for the fall and possibly reorganize things.

And yet, all I want to do now is lie down.

So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

This week has been all about the Whole Life Challenge. Eating healthier. Moving differently and being sore and getting better. All this will make me more energetic in the long term but it leaves me pretty tired for now. So, since my health is indeed one of my top issues for 2014, I give myself permission to take the rest of this week off.


This weekend, I will get organized. Take stock. See where I am and what’s really falling behind. And next week I will slowly start catching up.

By the week after, I expect to be back to my regularly scheduled life and tempo.

Let’s see if any of that is realistic. But sometimes you just need to start doing things to get back into the groove so I am trying to balance giving myself permission to pause with making sure I do have a plan for being productive again because I know that productive is where I feel happiest.

I think for people like me, who thrive on routine, it’s really tough to have things that knock you off your schedule. Even when it’s good things, like birthdays. And the trick is giving myself grace but still gently coaxing myself back on schedule.

That balance is always the tough part.

I know this post seems pointless and maybe it’s just me trying to work out how I can get back on track. And also wondering how do others do it….

Constraining Joy

I’ve been thinking a lot about rules lately. About two months ago, I took a wonderful Sketching class at Sketchbook Skool (in fact, I am taking all their classes now) and I really loved it. I immediately started sketching more regularly.

But just as immediately, I noticed myself making up random rules. Or maybe not random but just rules.

First it was that I couldn’t sketch from a photo, it had to be from real-life or nothing.

Then I decided I couldn’t use pencil and had to do it straight from pen.

Then I made up new rules about type of sketch, time of sketch, duration of sketch….on and on.

By this time, I had constructed so many rules in my head that some of them were even conflicting with each other. One part of my head said sketch quickly and the other one screamed for me to seriously slow down and pay attention to detail. There was so much going on in my head that I wasn’t sure I enjoyed the sketching anymore.

This has happened to me a lot in different hobbies I’ve taken up. I’ve heard people say things like

“If you don’t use Manual mode on your camera it’s cheating”

“If you scrap the same photo multiple times, it’s cheating”

“If you don’t journal, it’s cheating.”

“If you use pencil first, it’s cheating.”

on and on.

Doesn’t matter what the hobby is, apparently there are rules and judgements even on something we do to spend our free time.

As soon as I realized the pressure I was adding to my life, I decided to step back and take it all off the table. I decided to wipe the slate clean and say “there are no rules.” Let’s start fresh.

I decided the only rules I wanted to create were around a specific area of growth I was planning to tackle. If I specifically decided it was important to learn to sketch without pencil, then, fine, no pencil could be the rule but I wasn’t going to then add 4 more rules to that. If my goal is to work on perspective, who cares if my camera is on manual?

Instead of adding arbitrary rules that others have created, I decided I wanted to get very clear on my own goals and then make my own rules to meet my own goals. If my only goal is to practice sketching as much as possible, then all the other stuff goes out the window so I can just sketch, sketch, sketch.

Are you also creating rules to restrict your joy without realizing it or am I the only one driving myself crazy?

A Book a Week – Americanah

I read Americanah for book club. Even though it was on many best-book-of-2013 lists, I would have never picked it up on my own. IT just wouldn’t have crossed my list.

So when I listened to it, I was really glad my book club picked it.

It’s a really interesting and enjoyable read.

I learned a lot and, more than anything, just really was glad to read something so outside my own list.

This is why I love book club.