Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I miss the days that it was easy to sit and write. I had journals filled with pages upon pages of my thoughts, ideas, feelings and observations of my life around me. Even when I first started blogging I would write regularly and honestly about my life and the things that filled or weighed on my heart and mind. 

But somewhere along the line, I lost that drive. That ritual. That release. I've never lost the need. But I lost the ability, or perhaps the bravery, to continue pouring myself out there in such a way. 

My life is filled with many amazing highs. Happiness. Love. Friendship. Peace. And then there are the darker parts of me, hiding in the spaces and caverns that I have built to lock them away. I became afraid of my feelings if they were anything less than positive and hopeful. Afraid of what others may think of me and afraid that they would turn on me if they knew all of my heart and my mind. 

I read an article yesterday about facts or qualities of the highly sensitive individuals. It struck me because it had been shared by the people who I knew that to be true of. But who I also know probably aren't aware of how much that it applies to me. I carry myself with a front of strength and security and an assuredness that others see and never bother to look beyond. Because if they knew how I absorb every little detail of life around me, they wouldn't be able to handle it and the pressure that ultimately comes with that. 

There have been a few times in my life where I have tried to speak up, tried to express my true feelings of hurt or sadness. Honestly, I can't think of a single time that it didn't backfire on me and end up on me being told how I was wrong for my feelings. And so often by those who are the self proclaimed highly sensitive ones. I don't doubt their own sensitivity, but even highly sensitive individuals aren't always sensitive in such a way to anything other than their own reality. I bear the burden of being highly sensitive myself, as well as to everything and every one around me. 

I don't want to sound bitter. The fact that I feel everything very deeply and intensely is something that I would never change. But I would very much like to change how others react or completely overlook that fact about me. I know, I know. You can't change people and how they act or react. You can only change yourself. But the only thing that I can think of to change myself is to change who I allow in my life. But I don't know how to do that. 

When I love someone and let them in, I let them all in. And to let go of that is dauntingly terrifying. Because at the end of the day, I always value others happiness over my own. I don't know how to stand up for or take care of myself in that way. I know I need to. I can feel it reaching the crisis point for my own personal sanity and health, but I don't know how. Because I can't stop thinking about the other person above myself. Burying my hurt and frustration in those deep hiding places in my heart until they are so far in they ultimately become scars. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Project Life Essentials

Honestly, I feel a little silly posting about how I do project life. This is my first year doing it, and we're only 10-11 weeks in. But as someone who resisted and even disliked project life in the past, I've been surprised at how easily I've fallen in love with it, and the process.

These are my project life essentials. If I have to pack up a small amount to create with, these things are what I would (and do) pack:
1. Chipboard shapes
2. Tiny attacher
3. Black journaling pens
4. Glue, scissors and tape
5. 4x6 and 3x4 cards
6. Wood veneer
7. Small alphabet stickers
8. Flair
9. Washi tape
10. Ink and date stamps
11. Sequins
12. Puffy stickers, enamel dots and bling
13. Labels
14. Diecuts, journaling spots, etc

Here are some sneaks from my week 7 weekly spread where you will see how I used a lot of the items on my list. 

I've got a couple of exciting weeks I need to work on in my album and I'm excited to work on them when I get the chance. I'll be back soon with my week 7 spread and inserts!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Project Life Week 6

Week 6 started with going to see the special release of the Frozen sing-a-long.  It was a great time... even if I was the only one in the theater singing.  But it was a sing-a-long gosh darn it, I was gonna sing!  We were also surprised with a quick visit from Grandpa John.  I went to the thyroid to start the process of getting my thyroid treated as well.
Week 6, Page 1
We enjoyed a special family night at the Raven Cafe for the monthly singer/songwriter night where Drew's student Caelen was performing his original songs and Drew played with him  We are so proud of him!  We spent time with Kristin and Gunner, I got my hair done and we partied at Ava's birthday party on Saturday as a family.  It was a fun time!
Week 6, Page 2
Thanks, as always, for stopping by and reading! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Project Life Week 5

Week 5 started out with a celebration of the birthday of one of my very favorite people, Jane Cheek!  It was a gorgeous day on the Brick & Bones patio full of music, friendship and celebration.  Such a great start to our week!

Week 5, Page 1

Some of the highlights of week five were spending my days with Vivi, wandering around town, being silly and of course, snuggling with her; family night Thai House; and spending some extra time to really get to Roslyn's level and understand her better as she is growing up.  It was a beautiful week!

Week 5, Page 2
We ended the week with a fun full day of cropping with friends for me, followed by going to the 7th anniversary of the Cheektones show.  It was a blast!

Week 5, Insert Page

If you are working on Project Life or anything crafty related, I would love to see it- please link in the comments so I can see and comment! :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Project Life Week 4

Our fourth week was full of fun and all things LOVE.  Drew and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary!
Week 4, Page 1

Drew and I watched Parenthood as much as we could find the time to do so!  Such a great, well developed show!  I also decorated our mantle for Valentines Day and brought back the ever popular #howvivisleeps.  That silly girl always keeping me laughing and smiling!

Week 4, page 2

Hope everyone is having a great week! :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Layout Share- Tale As Old As Time...

I created this layout for our December 2013 trip album.  Sometimes, with the selfie style pictures of Drew and I on trips, you can't even tell that we were at Disneyland.  But we were and I will always include them with those albums.

Something that helps me include them in a meaningful way is to use the photo to tell a bigger part of our total Disney story, like I did with this layout.  When I picked up this photo, the song from Beauty and the Beast popped in my head... "Tale as old as time, true as it can be..." and my concept for the layout clicked.

The journaling reads:
Boy meets Disney girl.
Disney girl takes boy to Disneyland...
he becomes a Disney boy
and together they go on so many
Disney adventures...
even having their own Disney baby girls...
Dreams do come true...

To add a bit of Disney touch to this layout, I added small punched out Mickey silhouettes to each of the embellishment hearts.  The "Dream" bingo card is also a nod to Disney and the prevailing theme throughout the movies and the parks of dreams.  The title is the lyrics to the song "Beauty and the Beast", the inspiration to this layout.

I used primarily the DCWV Vintage Collector line of products.  I added thickers from American Crafts, some twine and a label from the Target dollar spot, chalk ink from prima and some doilies to complete the page.  The journaling spot was created with my absolute favorite new scrapbook tool, the tag punch from Stampin' Up.  

Thanks so much for looking! :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Project Life- Week 3

Our third week of 2014 saw our first week that was a little more "normal" as far as weeks go.  No extra inserts were needed and I truly felt that I was documenting our average, daily life.  the biggest adventure of the third week was when our Christmas tree suddenly, without any apparent reason fell over and crashed to the floor!  I blame angry holiday purists ghosts who had decided we had left our tree up for FAR too long.  

Week 3, Page 1
During the third week, Roslyn had a great playdate with her friend Ava, Drew got *really* excited about  me doing project life, Vivi and Daddy played guitar, Drew took care of me and the house while I was sick, Roslyn finally got a Pikachu hat, Vivi and I went on a thrift store adventure, and Daddy and mama and Vivi spent a Saturday afternoon together while Roslyn had a playdate with her friend Mia.  It was a good week.

Week 3, Page 2

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Hazy Shade of Winter...

I promise you that I meant it when I started to blog again and seemed to do so regularly for about a minute.

And then I got sick.  And I got sick again. And again.  And again.  And again.

It's been a bad season.  Almost everyone you could meet has had "the crud" as we've all taken to calling it.  Some have had the flu, but most that I know have at the very least had this crud that has been spreading itself and lingering and lounging about in our sinuses and in our lungs.

I've been down 5 times since September and ended up on prednisone and antibiotics 4 of those times and most recently on another course of antibiotics this last week due to a raging case of tonsillitis that had me almost literally becoming one with my couch, planning my "goodbye cruel world" speeches to be left to be read at my funeral, because surely, I was dying.  Dramatic, much?

I really try to go along with the flow and forge ahead even if I don't feel my best.  I don't like to say no to people and things and experiences and possibilities and I find that I have simply ran myself to the point of 4 sinus infections, 4 lung infections and tonsillitis.

At some point, I hope that I will learn to rest.  To simply be able to say "no" and to trust that those who hear that answer won't want to leave me or walk away or be upset with me.  I carry a pretty unconditional love for everyone in my life, but some how I have never quite learned to have faith that people do in fact have that for me.  Logically, I know they do.  But my heart is vulnerable and insecure and worries.  A lot.

In addition to the physical hardship that being sick will put on anyone- I've been dealing with the mental hardship the most lately.  My body is letting me down.  I feel like I am failing my body and my soul somehow.  My lungs don't seem to like to do their job lately.  This last week, I haven't even been able to swallow without crying.  I'm anxious and I'm sad that I just haven't felt good enough always to do the things that I want and need to do.

I don't know what I am hoping to accomplish in writing this and inevitably hitting the publish button.  But I have to get it out... it's been bubbling up inside me and I don't want to blow.  I don't want to carry this negativity, self doubt and sometimes even self hatred around inside me.  I don't want it to run me down even more and get sick again.

I've been slowly making the journey to healthier living.  Getting some issues under control medically (thyroid, blood pressure, etc) has been my main priority lately, as well as focusing on putting things in my body that promote health and healing.  I'll get there. I will.  These have just been bumps in the road.

Thank you for reading my rambling... looking forward to writing and sharing more thoughts and art soon.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Layout Share... Ava & Roslyn

When Drew sent me this picture of Roslyn with her sweet friend Ava before school last week I know that I would scrapbook it in it's own page.  I just love it, their smiles and the love they have for each other simply shine through.  They have a special friendship- truly two young kindred spirits.  We are so grateful for this happy friendship for our Roslyn.
One of my goals for scrapbooking this year is to be more mindful of using what I have.  I have a lot of stuff.  I have beautiful stickers, embellishments and papers that deserve to be used and it's time I do exactly that!  One of my favorite scrapbookers, Susan, has created a 2014 stash challenge that I am participating in.  This is my first stash challenge layout.  I used one of my back-logged monthly kits, some old prima and Heidi Swapp as well as misc. embellishments that I have had for a while.

I'm looking forward to having a creatively productive year and enjoying using my supplies more than simply buying them. :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Project Life- Week 2

Our second week was definitely as full and exciting one!  Drew, Vivi and I went on a weekend trip to Anaheim and Disneyland to see the final performances of Billy Hill & the Hillbillies at Disneyland, I met one of my favorite online friends Tami, and Roslyn had an epic three night adventure with one of her best friends, Anna.  

I used our Disney trip as the perfect opportunity to use the Say Cheese line from Simple Stories.  They provided the perfect color schemes and sentiments to all of our adventures.  Just two weeks into this, I am noticing some favorite products and techniques that I am enjoying using in my spreads and having fun using up the odds and ends and bits and pieces of stuff I have in my scrapbook stash.

Week 2- Page 1
Week 2- Insert front & back
Week 2- Page 2

Can't wait to work on and finish up week three! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Project Life

It's official.  I've drank the kool-aid that is Project Life and I love it.
The last three years have seen me increasingly stressed out by scrapbooking, what it means to me, and what I want from it.  I still love it.  I still find joy in it and most importantly, I still find it to be a priceless way to document and tell the stories of your life.  It has always been the perfect hobby for me, combining a love of photos, words and pretty papers and things.  It was love at first sight and I still love it.

But I have been overwhelmed.  The sheer amount of photos, stories and more can be cumbersome to begin to try to overcome and get down in an album.  Roslyn's first two years of life aren't merely in yearly albums, they are in volumes of at least ten full size albums.  I have piles and boxes of layouts that need homes.

It is overwhelming.  And it leaves with me visions of my dead body being pulled out from under a pile of scrapbooks when the neighbors finally noticed a smell.

I've seen Project Life pop up in the blog and scrap world since Becky Higgins introduced her products. It's looked nice and I've even drawn some inspiration from the layouts and used some of the products in my traditional pages.  But I dismissed it- I wasn't one of "them".

This year- I'm trying to be one of those people.  A Project Lifer.
Week 1- Page 1
Week 1- Insert Page front & back
Week 1- Page 2
As a family, we try to adventure a lot.  We document a lot.  We take a lot of pictures and we tell a lot of stories.  And scrapbooking all of that traditionally?  Overwhelming.  It's simply too much.  So this year, I am doing Project Life.  To get all of our photos and stories documented.

This doesn't mean that I am not scrapbooking traditionally anymore.  I still very much am.  I am just looking at our stories and my layouts as the greatest hits of our story being told.  I won't feel pressured to scrapbook awful pictures because it's a story I want to tell.  I will tell the story in my Project Life album, and I will scrapbook the pictures that inspire me.  Sometimes they will be the best pictures, sometimes they will be noisy nighttime iphone photos.  Sometimes the best pictures will simply be a 4x6 in my Project Life album.  No rules.  Just heart and stories being told and art being created.  I'm excited.  My family is excited.  And our stories are being told.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Things No One Told Me About My Friend Getting a Divorce

If you Google the words “my friend is getting divorced”, you will be greeted with approximately 6,040,00 results.  The range of wording varies, but they are all about the same thing, ways in which you can help your friend, what to say, what not to say.  Basically, how to be a good friend to your friend who is divorcing.

It is very one-sided and I can understand why.  Divorce is not easy; it is (hopefully) not done lightly.  It is often compared to experiencing a death.  The grief and experience cycle is the same.
But what you won’t see?  Warnings for what may happen to you; the good intentioned, wanting to be helpful, but confused friend.

My experiences in this have varied.  I’ve read all of the articles.  I have done my best.  And I have had friends and loved ones tell me that I did all the right things, I was there when needed the most, I was supportive, I was a good friend.  I sent the inspirational quotes, I shared books, I sent funny messages and I made sure to always be willing to drop everything to simply sit with my friend who was hurting.  And my experience showed me that that worked.  It might not have fixed everything, but it helped.  It wasn’t always easy.  But I did it, because it mattered, it was important and my friend was worth it.

Imagine my surprise when recently, I had a friend who that didn’t work with.  Every well meaning, loving and deliberate word and action was simply not good enough.  Ignored, or worse- criticized and somehow held as a reason to lash out and blame me for problems in our friendship.  Honestly?  I was dumb-founded. 

It’s simple.  Divorce changes people.  It can make you into someone completely new, or it can reveal who you are, have always been or grew to be.  And that is probably part of, if not the whole reason, that no one ever wants to talk about it from any other insight that what it means to be a good friend to the one who is going through it.  Because it is hell.

But I think it’s time that someone says it.  Someday, you will have a friend or loved one who goes through a divorce, and NOTHING you say or do will be good enough.  Because there are casualties in every war.  And every well-meaning article is simply a hopeful guideline to try to not become one of the casualties of the war-zone that is your friend’s new reality.

The reality: not picking a side may be seen as picking a side.  Because in all of those emotions raging on in the person experiencing this life-changing reality, the act of simply not flat-out rejecting the other may very well be seen as not choosing them.

The reality: your marriage, your thoughts on marriage and the fact that you have to continue to live your life as a married or coupled person may very well be a slap in their face that they can’t take and no matter how you try to separate it, be considerate and thoughtful to them… the fact that you do not share their reality may come between you and your friend. 

The reality: you and your friendship with your divorcing friend may be a casualty for the new life they are building.  Your friend may choose to divorce you right along with their spouse and the life that they are leaving behind.  It will hurt.  Sadly?  There is nothing, and I mean nothing, which you can do to spare yourself of this fact.  Your friend may simply be unable or unwilling to preserve aspects that they associate with their lives before their divorce.

The reality: you may not be allowed to acknowledge or talk about the reality of their divorce.  Any mere mention of it, inquiries into their well-being or simple care or concern about it may be seen as a personal affront to them and how well they are moving on or forging ahead with their new life.  It may be viewed as stifling, meddlesome and with malicious intent.

The reality: you may simply realize that in the journey of his or her divorce, your friend has become someone who you no longer know or even want to know.  You may discover that they are not a person that you wish to have in your life.  Because experiences like these change people, and there is no guarantee that the person you knew and loved will continue to be a person that you would want to have in your life.

If I lived in a perfect world, this would have a happy ending of a long, heart to heart with my friend where we cried and hugged and walked away feeling closer connected than we ever had before.  We would have used the struggle to strengthen our bond and live happily ever after with a TV show glow, as the camera faded on us sitting in the coffee shop laughing and talking and smiling.  The voiceover would sound like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City as I spoke of the lessons I’d learned and the strength of the bond of womanhood, no doubt ending on the note that no matter what life threw at us, we’d at least always have each other.

But my life isn’t perfect.  I am not in a hit TV show or feel good movie.  My friendship essentially ended in a series of Facebook conversations and arguments.  I hit the almighty “unfriend” button and that was it.  Unceremonious, ridiculous and honestly- an insult to what friendship is, or at least should be.  But that was what my friendship had been reduced to over the months post her divorce journey.  Scattered, electronic, impersonal and in the end- confrontational, accusatory, cold and ultimately the very definition of every thing that I felt was wrong for weeks and months.
Maybe this would have been better? 
There is a saying that tough times don’t build character, they reveal them.  I found this to be true.  Little things that stuck out before as weird and that I dismissed as a fluke or chalked up to a bad day became the normal in what I would see in my friend.  I found myself more and more uncomfortable with their words, their actions and the intent that seemed to lie under the surface.  I ignored and excused all of the things that I wouldn’t tolerate in anyone else and tried to forge ahead.  I think that that was my mistake. 

The reality isyou can do everything in your power to do the right thing, and still be told that you have done everything wrong.  That doesn’t make it true.  As long as you have acted with genuine love and interest and desire for good, you did the right thing.  Sometimes, the right thing simply isn’t what someone wants and you can’t hold responsibility for what they want or need.

I just wish someone would have told me about these things.