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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dust and sparkles

Last week, I had the opportunity to help my daughter, Rebecca, and her friends make personalized t-shirts. They are all very enthusiastic band members and had formed a quartet to perform at a special function for extra credit. They practiced whenever they could, even missing several lunch periods. And to top it off, they designed a t-shirt and needed my help with the execution. It was the perfect opportunity to dust off my computer and design skills, as well as my Cricut die cut machine. After a few avoidable hiccups, some sweat and tears, and a couple cupcakes (my knee jerk stress response) the girls had gorgeous, sparkling t-shirts. And not wanting to leave little sister Katherine out, I designed a dazzling drama club shirt for her to proudly wear. Too much fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A happy plan

A lot of life has happened between blogposts. And in the future, I'll hopefully share stories from the time that has passed, but not today. Today's focus is taking action. It's about returning to the habit of doing what speaks to my heart and sharing that. Over the past several years, as I've mentioned before, I've retreated a bit from life as I've dealt with unexpected turns, both good and bad. But it's time again to reopen myself up to life. Time is marching on whether I'm ready or not, so I might as well make the most of this precious gift of time. I'm ready to reestablish a routine that includes doing what I love and value. It's time to get moving again, rather than standing still, frozen by overwhelm, sadness, and fear.

This summer, despite more unexpected life turns, I slowly began to get moving again by starting a Happy Planner by mambi. I found my way to the Happy Planner, inspired by both friends using similar planners and by watching my daughters (age 9 and almost 12) document their daily activities over the summer using a simple desk calendar. The planner offers me a pretty place to be creative and inspired, and write my thoughts and goals. It also helps me cherish life by serving as a cheerful meeting place for my memories (the past), my thoughts (the present), and my goals (the future). And as a bonus, it's a fun activity that I can now share with my daughters, since I bought them each a planner of their own.

With my newly forming planner routine, I've also found much inspiration hunting for ideas on Pinterest and searching for fun products online and in the local craft stores. My creativity has been reawakened after being ignored for too long. Not only that, I've discovered new opportunities because of my Happy Planner. I learned about the mambi Design Team open call and I'm proud to say that I took the plunge by submitting an application. Applying gave me the opportunity to take action, to look back at my creative work, and to say "I believe in me." The new team will be announced soon, but honestly I already feel like I've won just by filling out and submitting the application. And whether I'm chosen or not, I still plan to use some of the team guidelines to keep me moving, like sharing a minimum of two projects per month. Sounds like a happy plan and a good start!
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

my daily CARE

www.byjen.com
It's the new year and January is really chugging along. Like many others, I've done my best to start moving towards better physical health. But when choosing my word for the year, I also thought about all my goals for the year, including those unrelated to physical health. Normally my word would encompass what I wanted out of the year, but in choosing Innovation, I feel its more about looking for new ways to view old problems. So this led me to think of a new method for reminding myself of what I want to reach for each and every day.

I would like to be creative on a daily basis, whether it be the more traditional making of art and crafts, or less traditional creative activities such as cooking, baking, and even problem solving. On the same note, I'd like to make a greater effort to work on my photography daily. I would also like to practice gratitude on a daily basis, possibly with a journal or just sharing with my family at the dinner table (or both).

Keeping these daily wishes in mind, I tried to think of a clever way to remember these goals. My first idea was 3 C's for 366 (it is leap year): Create, Capture, and Cherish. The create is an obvious choice, but then capture refers to taking more photos and writing more, especially in a gratitude journal. And cherish reinforces taking time to be grateful everyday. But then the 3 C's didn't include my desire to regain my health with more activity and better eating. So I continued to think....

At this point, I also realized I needed to focus on caring, both self care and feeling committed enough not to give up on myself. This led me to my daily CARE goals: C=Create, A=Active, R=Reflect, and E=Emerge. Not only did this include Create for daily creativity, Active for my health goals and desire to get moving on other goals, and Reflect for daily gratitude, but it also gave me Emerge (a word my husband wisely suggested).

Emerge was perfect because when I started contemplating my word for 2016, I kept thinking I needed the opposite of retreat. After losing my dad in April 2014, I really retreated from much of life. It wasn't done intentionally but that was my reaction to the pain of loss. Just as everyone has said, the pain never really goes away, but my ability to handle it has changed. It's time to emerge from my safe cocoon and really live my life to the fullest. My dad would have wanted that. So here I go with my daily CARE in mind....