Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today is a New Day

Today is as good as any to start doing the things that I want to do, the things that make me happy and healthy. This message seems to be all around me, especially this morning. 

For instance, several weeks ago I decided to go back to using By Jen for my blog, because it feel like it encompasses all of me whereas Running on Inspiration is really just a portion of who I am. So in prep to go back to my By Jen identity, I contacted Etsy and Facebook about changing. After a little bit of processing, today is the day that my Facebook page officially changed from Running on Inspiration to By Jen.

And this morning is also my usual Weight Watchers meeting morning. But I hadn't been to meetings for several weeks partially because my leader, Teresa, had gone on vacation, but partially because I had managed to return to meetings all summer, yet still gain weight. So I thought maybe it wasn't the right thing for me now. But something made me check the meeting topic online this morning (maybe it was knowing that Teresa would be back today or maybe it's because I'm preparing to start a 6 week weightloss challenge). Nonetheless, I checked the meeting topic and learned it was A Simple (Re)Start which couldn't have been more perfect. So rather than following my original plan of forgoing meetings, I signed myself back up and went to what turned out to be a perfectly inspiring meeting.

So today I've decided it's time for a fresh start. It's long overdue, but better late than never. I hope to return to those things that make me happy, like crafting, photography, running, writing, sharing, etc.. I am also ready to regain my health since emotional eating is catching up with me. As I mentioned before, I'm participating in a 6 week health/weightloss challenge which starts this weekend. My plan is to actually use Weight Watchers to lose the necessary weight (it's amazing how successful Weight Watchers is when you actually follow the program). I'm also running more consistently as I prepare for my third Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco next month and the 49er Half Marathon in December. So with all of that said, I'm happy to be taking action rather than just wishing for things to get better. Today is a new day. My fresh start.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Magic * 40 in 40 * Week Eleven

Magic outside the comfort zone    f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 200

When I chose "Magic" for my next theme, I did it with intention of sharing this photo of my husband. He was about to push outside his comfort zone and participate in his first triathlon (that's his assigned race number written on his arm) and if I've learned anything, magic happens as you push yourself outside your comfort zone. My marathon gave me the chance to experience that kind of magic firsthand. And it was inspiring to witness my husbands own magic moment. I'm so very proud of him.

With the theme, "magic" I also intended to share a photo of my girls, especially the magic in their smiles. They are just the most amazing girls and I am grateful everyday that I have the privilege of being their mom.

I was also going to share my husband's and my motto, "Believe in the magic," which we even have engraved in our wedding bands. Our motto came out of our love story (best friends for 5 years and then the realization that we were meant for each other) and getting engaged in Disneyland (a magical place for so many reasons) and getting married during Christmas time (the most wonderful and magical time of year in my book).

But then last night I came to appreciate the magic in an even deeper way. Yesterday evening, after work, I went to my dad's grave site. I had just visited over the weekend, but at that time his grave was still marked with a temporary marker. From the number of stones surrounding him on Father's Day, it looked like he'd be receiving his permanent gravestone soon. It's an hour drive to the cemetery, but I needed to visit. I wanted to see it, but I also feared seeing his gravestone. A lot of the time, I walk around in a cloud of disbelief and I worried a gravestone with my dad's name on it would shatter my protective bubble. 

I arrived at the cemetery to find that he did receive his gravestone. It's beautiful, but so very sad. I still find myself waiting to wake up, hoping this is all a bad dream. But it's not a dream. I "talked" to my dad last night, because most of my cemetery visits have been with family and I've been too shy at this point (it is all so new). I let him know how much I love him and miss him. And as much as it hurts, I'm still continuing on, staying strong for me and my family. I then cried. And then cried some more. And then I looked up. 

At that very moment, my eyes went straight to a gravestone near my dad. And even though the glare from the bright sunlight was making it difficult to read most of the gravestones, my eyes landed on the words, "I love you babe." And in that moment, I felt my dad with me. He would have said that. That was his term of endearment that he often used with me and my brother. That moment was absolute magic. Thank you, Dad.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Moving forward

A couple weeks ago, my friend Kelly invited me to participate in an ongoing blog tour and I accepted her invitation thinking it would be good for me. I thought it might help get me going again with my blog and photo project. But life has been busy, so I'm not as caught up or prepared as I was hoping. But I'm trying. So here goes. The tour comes with several questions:

What am I working on?
This is where I should be sharing my creative projects, like my 40 in 40 photo project, but if I'm truly being honest, what I'm really working on right now is taking life one day at a time. My dad recently passed away and needless to say, it's been hard. Each day comes with new challenges. The first couple weeks, I took time off, I cried, I talked, I reflected, I grieved, etc.. I slowed down and paused. But then somehow life started rushing by again and it's been difficult. The world is carrying on around me at a fast and busy pace, yet I'm still standing still, struggling to adjust to life with a broken heart. Joining this blog tour is just one of the ways I'm trying to encourage myself forward.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My art, my writing, and my photographs all differ from others simply because they come from me. We are all unique and our creative productions reflect that. We all have different life experiences to share in our art and our writing. It seems simple enough, but it hasn't always been that simple to see.

Why do I write/create what I do?
I create because I enjoy making things. I value beauty, inspiration, and happiness, and being creative allows me to honor that. I may not always find/take the time to create in my craft room, but each day I find ways to be creative. Even if it's the simple but powerful act of creating a home for my family (i.e. cooking meals, doing laundry, helping with homework, making memories, etc..)

How does your writing/creative process work?
Inspiration is a huge part of my creative process. Not only is it the start of many projects, but often it's the subject of much of my art. I like celebrating the positive in life with much of what I make and write. I like having space in my schedule to create, but with a family and work, space is hard to come by. So I must sneak in moments to create or write. And sometimes that's hard to do. I find myself waiting for space in my schedule but when it's important, I need to make the space.

There you have it. Another step forward in my journey. Thanks so much for stopping by. Hopefully there will be more to see as I continue to move forward.

And next Monday, June 16th, this ongoing blog tour continues with my friend, Sylvia Drown"...I’m a recently retired Database Techie who was really an Artist underneath it all!  I have been scrapbooking for 13 years with a little painting, sewing, quilting, decorating, etc always thrown in.  For the last few years, I’ve been playing more and more with paints, paper and glittery stuff.  I’ve recently started selling at Craft Fairs and opened a new Etsy Shop…still experimenting and searching for my niche.  I have a special interest in Journalling and Documenting Life…lets see where that will take me?..."