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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 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 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.

Stitching Circles – Week 13

This week’s stitching comes from urban threads. I wanted to have some fun and do something simple after last week’s girl. I used satin stitch and back stitch on this one. The little word is aim. I like the colors on this one, they make me happy.

Stitching Circles is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Never Too Late

This particular thought has been on my mind often lately. Especially as I count down to my fortieth birthday, I’ve been thinking about the concept of “too late” and about how I had expected my life to turn out and who I had thought I might grow up to be, etc.

I was one of those unusual people who knew what she wanted from a very young age. Before I was in middle school, I already knew I wanted to work with computers (and some form of art ideally) and I knew that I wanted to study in the United States.

As I step back to look at my life now, I joyfully acknowledge that I have had many of my dreams come true. I have now been living in the US for twenty years, I own a home that I love, have a truly wonderful husband who loves me probably as much as any human can, I have two young kids who are gifts that I am grateful for each day. I have a job at a wonderful company who treats its people as well as can be expected from a company. And I get to work with computers and help build a product I care deeply about. I get to coach people who inspire me. I also get to do a lot of art in my spare time and have the honor of designing for a few manufacturers whose products I love.

I am not sure I could have designed a better life if I tried.

And yet.

Of course, it’s far from perfect.

I still think about “what i might have been.” I wonder what that even means. I think about the kind of person I turned out to be. The way I treat the people I love. The peace I seem to yearn for but never allow inside. The changes I would like in my day-to-day life. The amount of stress I am carrying at any moment in time. How much I’d like to do with my kids. How much more I might want to do for myself.

There are parts of me that I wish were fundamentally different.

But then I think, wouldn’t that change everything? If I had been a different person, wouldn’t my life also have turned out differently? Would I be willing to give up all that I have to be this other person? My husband, my kids, my life?

Likely not.

I have always chosen to take the known over unknown. Partly because when I sit down to think about things seriously, I realize that there’s more good about me and my life than the bad. Most of which I wouldn’t be willing to give up in exchange for other possibilities.


This doesn’t mean I couldn’t change and shift things now. In this day and age, forty is not old at all. If I am lucky, I might get to live another fifty years. That’s more years than I’ve been alive so far. It means that instead of being near the end of the road, I am not even halfway yet. So this is no time to give up.

It is definitely not too late to be who I might have been. Every day is a new opportunity to recalibrate. I get to choose who I am each moment. Who I am and who I want to be.

It is not too late to be who I want to be.

I had a lot of dreams at the age of nine and I followed through on almost all. Now that I am almost forty, it’s a good time to sit and make some new ones.

How about you, do you think it’s too late to be what you might have been?

A Book a Week – The Lake

The Lake was a recommendation from Amazon. I’ve never read Banana Yoshimoto but I felt compelled to give it a shot. Not sure why.

But I am so glad I did.

This was an unusual, weird, but very very interesting novel.

I haven’t read anything else by her and I don’t know if this was typical for her or not. But I know I will read more.

If you’re up for something unusual, I recommend this one.

Savor Project – 2014 – Spread Ten

This week’s all about tennis, speech therapy, Nathaniel’s art, and schoolwork from David.

so grateful.

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

Leveraging what You Have

I finished my monthly project in March and will be posting it next week. For April, I decided I will try the “A month of writing phrases.” When I saw Lori was teaching a class in February, my intention was to take the class and then schedule this for a month later. From having taken her previous class, I knew she’d inspire me and she did not disappoint!

I have also been sad that I am not posting my thoughts posts anymore, so I thought maybe I can couple the two and see if I can post more in April. No promises as I am doing a lot of work at work but let’s see how it goes.

This is one of the phrases that I have in my inspiration board for this year. When I first saw it on pinterest it immediately spoke to me. This whole concept isn’t even new to me. Years ago, I read Now Discover Your Strengths, which fundamentally talks about the idea of focusing what you’re good at. I remember one specific example of how when your kids come home with an A in English and a C in math, you spend a lot of time asking them why they got the C and how to improve it but you don’t focus on why English is an A and what that might mean. We don’t focus on the good. Instead we have this idea that we should be well-rounded and “good enough” on everything.

While it might be valuable to have a solid base on many different things, clearly we’re never going to be excellent at everything. And if you’re going to pick something to be good at, why not start where you’re already excelling?

I also feel like we tend to assume that what we’re good at is as easy for others as it is for us. Or as fun. And neither is true. Each of us has her own unique cross-section of things we’re good at and enjoy and like to spend time doing. This list is not to be dismissed or undermined, it’s to be looked at really carefully. This is your essence. The stuff that comes “easily” to you or the stuff you like dedicating your time on is your stuff. It’s where your passion and talent meet.

It is not to be undervalued.

I feel that if we all did more of what we love and came easily to us, and less of trying to round out the parts of us that are less natural, we’d be happier and the world would be a better place. Not to extremes, of course, but to some extend. We do not all have to be good at Calculus. We do all have to understand some basic math. We do not all have to be able to write incredible poems. But we should all read some. To me, the balance is not in the “doing it all well enough.”

The idea is to pay attention to who you already are and cultivate that deeply. Take those seeds and really grow them.

And then you watch them bloom.

Remember This - Week 13

We’re back to Life Book this week. This is week six which is taught by Tam. The Lesson was on playing with spray inks. Spray inks are not and have never been my friend. I just don’t like how they are never easy to use. I have sprayed my face, hands, and all the items on my table in an effort to use them before I just gave up.

When I saw that this week was sprays, I almost walked away, but I decided it was a sign and that I had to at least give it a try.

so I did.

Even though the paper wasn’t perfect for it, I did the spray part on the right page first and then I drew the profile on the left and painted it with oils. The oils are still a challenge for me to use and I am trying to learn. They also take forever to dry.

Once it was done, I did some pen-work like Tam did and wrote my little reminder message, which says: We accept the love we think we deserve.

That’s from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. A book I love.

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

Monthly Projects - January - Birds

One of my goals for 2014 was to do Monthly Projects. My intention was to do a daily art practice every day on something I wanted to get better at. In January, I picked birds. I posted one update a long time ago. Even though I never posted more updates, I did do a few more. I didn’t end up with 31 but merely 14. That’s still 14 more than I would have done otherwise.

Here they all are:

None of these are original to me. All of the birds come from artists in this pinterest board.

And here are larger versions of the ones I didn’t post back in January.

So here we are. A whole lot of birds.

You can read more about my monthly projects in 2014 here.