intentions : february 2017

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It's February!! I've really come to enjoy this month. There's more & more light, which makes the bitter cold slightly more tolerable. There's Valetine's Day, which I get to celebrate with my crazy handsome fiance. And...there's a lot of chocolate and wine b/c it's bitterly cold and it's Valentine's Day! Woo hoo! 

I'm going to greet each month this year with intentions around completing, creating, and celebrating. Ready? Let's go! 

Completing 

  • A debt management plan that I started a number of years ago. I am really proud that I paid it off more than a year ahead of schedule. 
  • Austin's December medical bills. Navigating Canadian medical care with American health insurance was a bit complicated...but I've made it to the other side! 
  • An unexpected dental repair. I thought that I had lost a filling, but I had actually lost a chunk of tooth! Happy to have that repaired.

Creating

  • My 2016 Project Life album. It has been so emotional (in the best way) to sort through photos of last year. We had such an amazing, full year! 
  • Ease in business travel. After a short break, I'm on a plane again tomorrow. I'm being intentional about creating ease around travel this year. 
  • A new Young Living Essential Oils business!! Even though I work with essential oils often, I have so much to learn. Excited about this new adventure.
  • New communities. I'm thrilled to be connecting with local Bonus Moms. I'm delighted to have people reaching out about essential oils. I'm inspired by Landmark graduates. And I'm having a lot of fun connecting with Mattress by Appointment "Plus Ones."

Celebrating

  • McCartney's sixth birthday! Can't believe that our sweet & sassy girl is going to be SIX!
  • Extending the lease on #thepalace. We really love our home, and we are so happy to be staying in it for the next few years! 
  • Valentine's Day. Cue the mushy hearts & flowers nonsense. It's not lost on me how extraordinary it is that I get to create a life with my best friend, and the love of my life. D&K for the win.
  • The richness & fullness of our life right now. We're definitely in a busy season...and I'm reminding myself that these are all possibilities that we've created. 
  • The return of Scandal! We may have lost Obama & Michelle, but we still have Fitz & Olivia. Deep sigh.
  • Leggings and wool socks. Because: February.

Wanna play along? Post a link to your blog in the comments OR simply answer the prompts! I'd love to do a roll call of who still checks in here. Raise your hands! 

Happy February, friends!

 


creative projects in 2017

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At the start of every year, I start thinking about which creative projects I'm going to commit to. And in the past few years, that's been about the extent of it...I commit, but don't actually complete. Will this year be different? Time will tell! Here's what's on my creative mind...

Scrapbooking - I am a lapsed scrapbooker, and I am in good company. I may get back to traditional layouts this year, and I may not. I've been thinking about cardmaking a bit. I had been scheduled to do a card project with MC's class, but had to put that on hold due to the unexpected BC trip. I'll get that back on the books and see where the inspiration takes me. 

Project Life - I only completed spreads through March of 2016, and I'm still committed to having an album for last year. I've organized photos into Smart Albums, and narrowed down to a handful a month. My plan is to "print & pocket" and pretty much be done. I still love the idea of PL, I'm just not sure how extensive I want my 2017 PL to be. Digital maybe? Hybrid? 

One Little Word - I signed up for Ali's class in 2016, and never completed a month. I wasn't really connected with my OLW. This year already feels differently. So, I may follow the prompts from last year & complete a "Celebrate" album.

Photo Prints - One of my 2017 creative intentions is to print more photos. Chatbooks, Collage Posters, and simple 4x6 prints are high on my list. I love the idea of having a small basket of 4x6 prints that the Littles can look at when they are with us. It's so inexpensive to have 4x6 prints done these days that I won't worry about them getting torn/fingerprinted/etc. 

Photo Collections - I've done photo collections (in the form of scrapbooks) in the past - A Week in the Life, A Day in the Life, December Daily, etc. - I've had other collections on my mind lately - photo collections about our house, about what the Littles are into, about our travels, etc. I'll likely end up dong Chatbooks instead of scrapbooks.

and finally...non-photo related...Writing! Once upon a time, I not only blogged a lot, but I was also a contributing writer for Parenting Squad, and P&G Everyday. Given that I have Littles in my life again, I may delve back into the parenting world. Or perhaps I'll pursue a new path? Either way, I think that I'll rekindle my relationship with the written word. 

What's your creative plan for 2017?


celebrating forty-six.

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I turned forty-six yesterday! It was a wonderful day, full of celebration, friendship, & laughter. In honor of both my birthday and my OLW, here are 10 (b/c 4 + 6) people, experiences, and things that I plan to celebrate this year...

  1. Dan. Sometimes I'm sad that I missed out on so many years with him...and then I remember that we have so many years ahead of us. 
  2. The Bigs. My baby girl will be 25 years old this year...how did that happen? I really do celebrate the fact that she still calls her Mom pretty regularly. And Mister Mister certainly keeps us hopping with medical challenges...but aside from that, he's just a super interesting & creative guy.
  3. The Littles. McCartney is learning about a million new things every day, and that is worth celebrating! We love crafting together, and I hope that we'll celebrate a few roller coaster rides this year. Wilder Our can be a handful, AND he has the best laugh ever. He is learning & growing, and is so full of energy. I love when he gives me a kiss attack and says "you my best fwiend, Tweena!"
  4. Our far-away family. Our sets of parents, my brother, Aunt Betty Jo, and a variety of Aunts, Uncles, cousins...looking forward to celebrating the love that brings us together, despite the distance.
  5. Getting hitched! We're planning a very small wedding in Hawaii in May...and then all the parties when we're back on the mainland.
  6. Coffee, wine, brunch, etc. All the coffee. I'm looking forward to the return of coffee dates at Scout...especially with Dan, and with Mary Beth. Evenings hanging out with Dan & a bottle of wine. Brunch at The Spot is always a win.
  7. Friendships. I seriously have the best tribe ever. I'm looking for more ways to celebrate them in the coming year. 
  8. Our neighborhood. I've missed a few Lake Ladies get-togethers due to travel, so I'm really looking forward to reconnecting in the new year. We made great use of the park & the bike path last summer, and I'm looking forward to even more outdoor fun this summer.
  9. Travel. As I type this, we're finishing up packing for a trip to the Dominican. Exploring & adventuring is my favorite
  10. Creating a life that I love. That is definitely worth celebrating.

2017 One Little Word® : celebrate

So...I wasn't sure that I was going to choose a word for 2017. 

I pretty much abandoned my word in 2016. I realized the other day that I never even blogged about it! My word was and...meant to honor all the parts & pieces of my life, to encourage inclusion, and to replace "but" in decision making. Anyone who has been to my house knows that ampersands are prominent in our decor. Maybe that even made it a little too everyday for me...didn't give me something to reach for? Anyway...

I hadn't really given much thought to OLW for 2017. And then a word started showing up. I've found that those are the words that end up having the most impact for me...the words that I don't look for, the words that find me. What's my word? 

Celebrate

We already have a lot of celebrations planned for 2017...the "usual" birthdays & holidays, D&K get hitched (hint: aloha!), seeing friends & family, neighborhood parties, etc. I want to celebrate the little moments...the quiet mornings, small victories, date nights, family adventures, my tribe...all the pieces of our life. Celebrate is also choosing to see the good in the challenging moments...I'm sure I'll be asking "what can I celebrate in this?" often. It's about finding the fun, and continuing to create a life that I love. 

Here's to a year to Celebrate - bring it, 2017! 

 


thoughts on magic : mid-year.

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My One Little Word has been fairly quiet this year. It has hung around in the background... occasionally whispering when I needed a mental boost. It hasn't been particularly sparkly & extraordinary, which is okay by me. Magic has shown up in ordinary, everyday sorts of ways.

I was super excited to learn that Elizabeth Gilbert launched a podcast in support of her upcoming book, Big Magic.  I listened to it on the way to work this morning and LOVED every minute of it. Oh, and get this....near the end of the episode, I pulled up being a car with a vanity plate at a red light. The license plate was "GOMAGIC." For reals. (I desperately wanted to take a picture, but hands free, y'all.)

Clearly, I'm thinking about my OLW today. And here's my reminder-to-self - magic is something you make. Sometimes it just happens, but sometimes you have to create it. I revisited my 2015 Intentions list (here) and I'm pretty pleased with how many I've incorporated into my days/weeks I'm pretty certain that the 2nd half of the year is going to be FULL of magic...and it's up to me to make it so. 

Here's to more MAGIC.


2015 One Little Word® : magic.

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(source : WhiteCellarDoor on Etsy...and yes, I'll be ordering the print)

Before Dan & I left for Florida in mid-December, I signed up for Susannah Conway's Find Your Word e-course. I knew that it was unlikely that I'd actively participate...one, b/c I am a bit of an e-course dropout, and two, b/c FLORIDA. So. I read each email, glanced at the posts in the FB group, and generally just tried to stay open to finding a word. I read through a few archives of OLW posts on my own blog, and on Ali's. At one point, I thought that my word *might* be miracles, but it just didn't feel exactly right. And then, the Universe kind of whispered...

Magic

Okay, listen. I was in Florida, but I was NOT at the Magic Kingdom, nor was I picking out a wand at Harry Potter world (or whatever that is called). I tried to brush it off. It's NOT a Katrina word. It's so unicorns & fairy dust. I wanted a word that had more substance. Something that I could gauge progress against, set goals around. Oh, and did I mention that a hugely-more-popular-than-me blogger had magic as her OLW a few years ago? I didn't want a me-too word. Sigh. I decided to just wait & see if magic faded, and/or another word appeared...

As the Universe would have it, magic has kept coming up...so I'm just going with it. I'm getting comfortable with it. I've started a Pinterest board for it. I'm starting to think of ways that I can embrace it. I still feel a little silly saying it, but maybe that's part of the magic

What's your One Little Word® for 2015?

My past words - 2014 Forward, 2013 Soar, 2012 Shift, 2011 Abundance, 2010 Mindful. 


starting september with mad Qi.

Hello september

I extended my weekend by a day, planning to take a little time to simply exhale. The start of the school year is busy, even in the older grades, and this year's last firsts added to energy. My day quickly became filled with projects, and I had to remind myself to breathe. I headed to a late afternoon acupuncture appointment, constructing yet another list in my head of things that must be done. As I settled in, Julie (my acupuncturist) took my pulse & asked me how I was doing. I detailed the middle-of-the-night back pain that has spiked over the past few days, and explained that I just feel like there's a lot going on. She laughed quietly and said "Yep, you've got some pretty mad Qi." 

When I texted that quote to my brother later (b/c that's precisely the sort of thing that I know will make him laugh), I explained that in this case, "mad" is not good (it's not as if Julie said "Girl! You've got mad Qi!"). By the end of the treatment, my Qi had apparently settled down, but was still a bit on edge. 

I have this feeling that "mad Qi" may be a theme for September

I happened across the Big Goals PDF that I created last October. As I scanned the "one year" list of personal, health, work, and home goals, I realized that I've only checked off ONE thing. There's still a possibility that I'll accomplish one or two more by the end of this month....but "date a successful, incredibly handsome guy" seems like a stretch, and "lose an additional 15lbs" would take some unhealthy effort.

September is a month of re-evaluating (it's the new January, y'know), resetting expectations, and rethinking what life is going to look like over the coming 6 months. I'm disappointed that I haven't made more progress, and discouraged that Forward feels a lot like stuck

So, my singular goal for September is really to pay attention to that mad Qi, and find ways to clear space, to calm, and to center. 

P.S. Let me save you the google search - in Chinese medicine, Qi (chi) is your life force/energy. 


magic & miracles.

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My great-Aunt Betty uses "magic & miracles" as her signature line, so the combo always reminds me of her. 

There's a Buddhist proverb that says "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." I'm confident that's how Gabby's first books came into my life. I picked up Add More -ing several years ago when I was just getting "into" meditation & yoga. I read Spirit Junkie immediately after, and then anxiously awaited the publication of May Cause Miracles

Gabby is a student & teacher of A Course in Miracles. I've tried to read ACIM, and currently have the workbook & manual sitting on my bedside table. To be honest, I struggle with the SundaySchool-esque language in the Course. Even so, I very much believe in the teachings of love & forgiveness, and often feel like i'm just starting to understand the concept of the ego as fear. Gabby is often hailed as a spiritual teacher for the younger generation. She's in her early 30's (I think)...so a full decade behind me. She often refers to one of HER spiritual teachers - Marianne Williamson - who, at 61, is almost two decades ahead of me. I find myself reaching to both of them as I figure out what that middle ground looks like.

I have Gabby and Marianne's latest books on my meditation altar, and read snippets of each of them daily. They offer guidance, but what I like most is that they encourage practice. One of the #MiracleMessages in Miracles Now that I turned to this week...

#59: Honor your Commitments. Show up for yourself and the world.

This message got me thinking about the tendency that I have to show up for everyone else - but shortchange myself. Whether it's time & space to just be, or marking things off of MY to-do list to create time & space - I'm often near the bottom of the list. Changing that means believing that I am worth the effort - even when it's "only" my effort. Gabby makes the teachings of ACIM accessible and relate-able - which is precisely the reason that I consider her to be one of my spiritual teachers.

Marianne's book, A Year of Miracles, offers short daily reads. I started out following the numbered days, but got frustrated when I'd miss a day (due to travel or whatever) and then got all spun about what day I was on, and what day I was "supposed" to be on. (yes, I overthink...that shouldn't surprise you) So, now I just flip to a random page, and read...and it usuallys turns out that the passage isn't random at all, but is instead EXACTLY what I needed to hear/read at that moment. Marianne's teachings remind me that there is only love, and which is pretty life changing.

Both women teach from one of the basic truths of ACIM - "A miracle is a *shift in perception from fear to love." I don't know about you, but I could use a few more miracles in my life. Thanks, Gabby & Marianne, for helping to show me the path...

*I don't think that it's a coincidence that my 2012 OLW shows up in this work. The Universe is tricky like that.


sticks & stones (and being brave).

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We all know that it's the most untrue rhyme EVER - sticks & stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

Substitute "words" for "names," and the adage fails even more. Words are powerful. I know this. I choose a One Little Word to guide me every year. Words define my Core Desired Feelings. I've been known to write epic emails and pithy texts. I send a birthday email to a dear friend every year - a numbered list that corresponds with his age that contains painstakingly chosen words. I grew up with an Uncle who lovingly (and teasingly) called me "Worth Even Less"...words that stung even though I knew that they came from an innocent place. My first marriage was full of hateful words, followed by apologetic lies. I was skilled with words as a speech & debate competitor. I now fill my life with words...adding them to photos & projects, hanging them on the walls, weaving freelance passions around them. 

The end of this week was punctuated by hurtful words. A co-worker described me as "an emotional wreck who cries & yells"....I have been turning those words over in my mind, asking myself if they are true, and finding some comfort in knowing....to my core...that they are not. Was there a time that they may have rung true? Yes...but that time is in the past. Another statement (from someone else) stripped my self-worth in the span of a brief text. 

In response to the hurt, the universe practically shouted at me - nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do when they settle 'neath your skin.  I woke up thinking of that song, and have listened to it on repeat all day. Let your words be anything but empty. Why don't you tell them the truth?

I just wanna see ME be brave.