Monday, February 16, 2015

Thoughts in the Morning.


Hearing mourning doves cooing
Memories of sleep overs at my auntie's house.
Hearing the tick tock pendulum swing and the chimes ring
Memories of the same clock in My Mann's parents' home.
Looking at myself in the mirror
Memories of fewer creases on my face.
Memories of things that are no longer but remain in my mind.

Wishing you a memorable week.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Vacation Smash Peek

I've been playing with "scrapbooking" my cruise last month in my smash journal.  I love that it is all in one place with the rest of my life since it all makes up my story.

On the fold out page I added an envelope where I was able to add the journaling about how my sister and her husband surprised us on the cruise.
On the back side of the fold out I made a pocket by recycling an envelope.  In this pockeet I added airline and cruise information along with other ephemora.
The additions of pictures and my thoughts allows me to give more of a glimpse into my story.
I used a Studio Calico 4x6 card to hold a 3x4 journal card where I typed additional thoughts about Grand Cayman.

Just some ideas and glimpses into what I've been doing.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Most Colossal Surprise, Ever!

I was so stunned.  I didn't know what to say.  All I could think of was, "What are you doing here?"

My Mann and I were exhausted.  We hadn't slept for over thirty-six hours.  We attempted to take a nap after our red-eye flight, no breakfast, and a six hour wait in a very chilly airport.  The half hour nap wasn't enough to clear our foggy brains.

But, no rest for the weary.  Literally. 
Photo taken by my sister

It was time for our muster drill.  We grab our bright orange life jackets and head to our muster station to check in.  I show my cabin card to the crew and move on to the station only to find one open seat.  My Mann and I wouldn't be able to be together.  I walk back towards My Mann who is pulling out his pockets finding nothing but pocket lent.  Somewhere between our cabin and our muster station he's misplaced his cabin card.  Darn muddled brains!

We finally get him checked in and together we go to find a place.  One of the crew inside directs me to a seat, which I take.  Getting myself seated and situated I look up to survey my surroundings.  Lots of people with lots of bright orange, bulky life jackets.  Then my eye catches something that doesn't belong there.

My sleepy brain has a difficult time trying to sort out what is wrong with what I my eyes are seeing.  Across the way I see myself in the mirror only it isn't a mirror and it isn't me.

I focus my brain and my eyes a bit more and I think that it looks more like my sister sitting there. 

I wave tentatively.  She waves back.

Still stunned and not sure what has happened I ask, "What are you doing here?"

I had just spoken to her via phone and text.  Not once did she say anything about being on a cruise!  Not once in the last few months had she mentioned a thing about being on the same cruise! 
Photo taken by my sister's husband

Sneaky, sneaky, sister.

She found out. through my mom, that we were going on a cruise and then went about stealthfully to find out which ship and when we would be on it.  She called the various cruise lines we use to see if we had booked  and finally finding us  booked the same cruise.   She was so good that she even managed to get the cabin next to ours.

I could have saved her time and told her but I knew they had their sights on an Alaska cruise this year and I didn't want to be the reason they didn't go.  It turns out that I am the reason they aren't going this year after all.

The  extremes my sister will take to spend some time with me.  I love her for it.  The four of us enjoyed being together and relaxing for the week.

It was wonderful.  I got to eat like a pig and come off the ship two pounds lighter than I went on.  That was a nice surprise, too.

Have you had any surprises lately?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

January Smash Peek

A new year means a new journal and figuring out how I want to document those large and small memories.  I have a plethora of scrapbooking supplies that I haven't used since scrapbooking, as the industry for the most part portrays it, has left my life.  I think last year was my year to fight with it and the need to do creative memory keeping. I tried journaling,  project life, mixed media art journals, photography, and digital and traditional scrapbooking and I enjoyed them all.   When I did one type of creative project the others fell away by the wayside with some nagging feelings left behind.  I struggled with the idea of having separate places to house these things because I somehow feel like they all have the same end in mind; my feelings, my thoughts, my memories, yet they were separated.  I wasn't liking how my mixed media lived in one book, my scrapbook pages in an album, photographs on the computer and my writings in yet another book.  They were all in different places but I feel that this year they are now feeling like a family instead of separate individuals.  They are coming together as a family to be a whole and, so far, very fulfilling project.   I call it my smash, project life, photo, art journal, scrapbook journal.

But for short I call it my smash journal.

I've kept a smash journal for over five years now and the process of how I keep it has been evolving over those five years.  About the only thing that has stayed the same is that I still use a simple composition book to house it.

On the first page of this year's book I put this picture of a front porch.  So far I haven't written or glued anything on it.  Although I have an itch to write "WELCOME" over it so that may come soon.  I love the way the light plays with the shadows of the porch railing.
Right after the porch picture I added some journal cards from Ali Edwards "First"  Story kit as well as a monthly calendar and a couple older project life cards that I used to document my monthly goals and some notables of the month of January. 
Inside the January notable I wrote things like the price of gasoline,  the first earthshake I felt of the year, and noted the large variance of temperatures from one day to the next. 

The first few pages I've done some daily journaling, art journaling and collaging of my thoughts and goals for the year.
So far the process has been enjoyable and the various arts seem to get along well together.  I am also feeling comfortable with my experiments living together with the tried and true.  I have some "scrapbook pages" that are coming together in my smash journal but that peek is for another time.

What new things are your trying?

Monday, February 2, 2015

What I Learned In January

I learned to what extent my sister would go to spend some time with me.  And I love her immensely for it.

I learned about the history of the Cayman Islands.  Such a intersting place.  Did you know that there are 670 banks on that little island?  And no one pays taxes.  Of any type.  Oh, except for a gasoline tax.  

I learned that there is a physical place called Hell and I was there.  I had a very enjoyable time there and found it very fascinating. 

I learned how caring My Mann can be when I'm  not feeling well.  Usually I am not the one who is sick.  I can't even remember the last time I felt so bad.  I blame it all on fatigue and being around so many germs on a small island in the ocean with about three thousand of my closest acquaintances.  He took real good care of me and gave me lots of back rubs to help me relax.

How about you?  What did you learn last month?  Share in the comments below.  I'd love to hear.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January -ing

Finding - that I moan when I feel really, really bad.  I currently have a nasty, messy cold with head congestion, sneezing, coughing, and itchy,sore throat.  I noticed along with all these miserable cold symptoms there was a sound emanating from my throat.  I was moaning!  When I noticed my moaning I remembered I've heard the same sound coming from me when I'm in recovery after surgery.  I realized before now that I must moan when I don't feel well or I'm hurting.

Hearing - the warm Santa Ana breezes blowing through the trees for a pleasant 81 degrees while also listening to Arbonne training videos.

Watching - two Mourning Cloak butterflies flitting back and forth and up and down.  They look so free and like they are having fun frolicking in the air.

Wondering -  how to wash your hands for 20 seconds.  With this cold and having to blow my nose so frequently I'm washing my hands. A. Lot!  As I wash my hands the notice on the ship we just de-boarded in all the bathrooms to "wash your hands for at least 20 seconds" pops into my mind.  How does one do that?  Is it 20 seconds of just lathering and scrubbing or is the rinsing also included in that 20 seconds.  If it's just the lathering part of hand washing that is a long time to stand there and wash your hands.  I don't wash long enough if that is the case.  How about you?  Do you wash your hands for 20 seconds?

Reading -  I actually just finished reading two books this month.  Yeah!  I feel so accomplished. I read "The Walk"  by Richard Paul Evans and "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In" by Louis Zamperini.  Louis Zamperini is the same person the movie Unbroken was based on so the book was very interesting in that it shed more light on the movie and even going beyond the movie with snippets of lessons from his life.

Thinking - about my goals.  I have several goals I want to accomplish but I would like to define why I am selecting the goal.  When things get rough, and I know they will, I can come back to the why, what is it that is driving me to get that certain thing done in order to push through those difficult times.

Trying - to make time for being quiet.  Things have been fairly busy and cluttered with activity.  I would like to have some space to just think.  In some reading I've done I've had it confirmed to me that creativity comes out of time that is uncluttered and time for meditation.  I would like to seek more of that quiet time.

Learning - how to build a networking business so I can be relaxed about how things will go financially in retirement.  Building a business and retiring broke are both scary to me.  If I had to choose one of these scary items to deal with I think I prefer building a business to retiring broke.

 Showering - my orchids with water.  We came home from our vacation to find two of the five plants with flower stalks in bloom.  Such a happy sight.

Loving - that my kidlets try to seek me out to talk and visit with me.  I think they are the best people and so much fun to be around.

Giving - away surplus items I have around the house.  Passing those items that are no longer loved or needed on to someone who would love or want to have them.  I love the feeling of freedom I get from doing that.  I would love to make it a more consistent action in my days and weeks.  

What is currently going on in your month of January?  Share in the comments.  I'd love to hear.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

December Daily Peek

This is the beginning of the December Daily portion of my smash journal.  I began it as I did all the other months of the year with the first page of the month dedicated to some goals for the that month.  What is different for December is that one page or fold out is dedicated to a day of the month.  On that page I would journal about the day or a prompt I wanted to focus about.

For December I got a little crazy and sewed pockets and tabs to hold journal cards or ephmora.
I loved writing over pictures and doing "Story of Today" cards to tell about the day.
It's kind of hard to tell but the center page has a clear pocket I made to hold a 3x4 project life card.  It is attached to the page at the top so by flipping it up you are able to continue reading what I wrote on the back of the card.  On the right I had attached on an envelope with washi tape the same way I created the fold outs.  You are able to open the envelope and see the Christmas card we sent out this year.

I had a lot of fun seeing this all come together.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Mullings

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."  Henry Ford

This quote resonated with me today as a reminder for those feelings of  discouragement I had experienced over the last week at work.    I need to remember to learn from my experience and keep movinng in the right direction.

We had been working on closing out the books for last month and the year.  Thing didn't go very quickly due to errors that popped up.  December was basically the first month I did the accounts payable and billing by myself.   In the process of closing things accounts were balancing out due to some accounting errors I had made.  This lesson has taught me that there are still some things that I don't know about my job or that I missed in the training.  So even though it was discouraging I have learned some more and hopefully those mistakes won't happen again.

Are there experiences that you have taught you some things?  If you feel comfortable sharing  them in the comments, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Smash Book Peek

 Last year I had to say "no" to several creative outlets.  The only one I stayed fairly consistent doing was working in my smash journal.  This journal turned out to be the fattest ever and the only one with out and cover art.  It still sports the boring black and white composition book cover. 
 I enjoyed painting, cutting and pasting to create art journal pages sporadically throughout the journal.  There are several pockets of various types to hold journal tags, letters received in the post, or private thoughts.

When we had our two family reunions there was a lot of memorabilia that I wanted to include so I added flaps, file folders, and even an accordion picture book that folds out and folds back into the book..
The page on the left is another pocket page which has  a 3x4 project life card, journaling on a paint chip, and a little booklet taped to its front with washi tape.

The page on the right is something that I would do at the end of every month.  In some way I would document some things I learned during the month.
Towards the end of the year I began to change things up a smidgen by adding a flip page to the right.  On the left I did snippets of journaling, to do lists, appointments, quotes or something significant for that day.

In December I did a form of December Daily in my smash book.  I'll let you in for a peek of that next week.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Simple Calm

Photo Description

With  the New Year, New Beginnings, people are thinking about how to better themselves and their circumstances.  There are goals set to  get physically fit, to be more healthy, to de-clutter our homes, de-clutter our lives. I came across a few blogs writing about minimalism and the challenge to pare down belongings to 100 personal items.

You read that right.  100 personal items.

I carry 1/3 of that around with me daily in my purse!

Thoughts of  that challenge kept creeping into my brain during the past week.  First: That's crazy!  How could anyone do that?  Next: How would it be to have fewer things to take care of and worry about?

I feel that there are times that having too much stuff stifles my creativity and hinders my productivity.  Too much stuff means making too many choices.  What should I wear?  Which scrapbook embellishment should I use?  Will this look good with that or would this be better?

I had at one time, for a vacation, created a journal/smash book travel kit.  I had to pare down my tools, embellishments and papers.  I think I got more down in the bits of time I journal/scraped than I did the whole year at home with all my wonderful stuffsa.  When I look back over scrapbook pages I've done it always seems to be the pages with a lot of white space (ala Cathy Zielske style) that make my heart sing.  They give me such a good feeling and I can't help but linger and enjoy them.

I would love to pare down so I could enjoy the peace that comes without the clutter.   I would like my house to have that IKEA kind of feel to it; simple, clean, yet beautiful.  I wonder if I could really pare down that drastically.  I admire those who do.  How could I adapt the challenge for me since I'm looking for more of that simplicity?

I have gone through phases of decluttering and I've experienced that feeling of freedom as I've cleared out things that are no longer useful or loved.  Just last week I went through a rolly-cart file drawer thing that I haven't opened in, gosh, over 8-10 years.  As I went through it I found 3 file folders.  Count them 1 - 2 - 3.  That's it out of three drawers that were of any real significance.  I need to be more consistent in these type of exercises.

Maybe I can adapt the challenge by making a more conscience effort to DO serious de-cluttering.   I wonder if I can or throw away or bless another's life by giving away 100 things a month.  Maybe I'll give this idea a try to start things off.

What do you think?  Could you, would you find it easy to pare down your belongings to 100 personal items. Are there things or habits in your life that need to be pared down?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Finally Tried It

I don't know why I didn't try this before.

It wasn't like it was a bid deal.  There would have been no great loss if it failed.

So why did it take so long for me to do it?


All it took was a little time, a lb of hamburger,  an onion, some garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, black beans and Cayenne pepper.
I've had the recipe clipped to try out for a very long time.  I had found it in one of those little recipe books you see tantalizing you with delicious looking pictures of food while you wait in the grocery checkout line to pay for your food items.  

This recipe has remained all these years in my "to try" notebook.  Good grief.  I think the kidlets were in middle school when I found that recipe and now they are grown and married.

The result was a tasty bowl of chili just the way we were hoping it would turn out.  Not at all spicy.  Just a lot of good flavor.  I think that was the hang up all this time.  My Mann and I have sensitive taste buds.  We just don't handle spicy food well.  Even recipes with too much black pepper can ruin a meal for us.  We like to taste our food without it biting us back.  You would think that I, coming from a Hispanic/Latin heritage, would like spicy foods and that chilies would be an accouterments to every meal.  But that just isn't the case.  My Mann was never raised on spicy food.   Us kiddos got my dad's palate.  At dinner we would all ask my mom "Is the chili verde hot?  Is the green chili hot?  Are the chili rellenos hot?"  If she said, "No, it's not," the rest of knew to add no more than a couple drops onto our food for a meal that our taste buds could tolerate.  Mom would ladle it onto her own food and complain that the chili wasn't hot enough.

This recipe made enough for us to have two more dinners of leftovers and each time My Mann smacks his lips and comments about how good it tastes.  I guess I'll be making more of this chili.

Question: Have you put off something and then wondered what story may linger behind the why?

Monday, January 5, 2015

You Should Do It

Image Credits
It is the first Monday of the first month of the New Year with a new journal, a new word, and new possibilities.  How exciting!

It kind of reminds me of how I get all giddy about new school stuff.  A fresh steno pad or notebook, the smell of a new pink eraser, brand new pens and pencils. They hold the promise of something big.  An adventure not yet realized.

Early December I figured out what my new word for 2015 would be.  With that realization came the excitement to figure out what that would mean for 2015 as far as my goals and personal growth.

This will be year five for me since I've followed Ali Edwards in choosing one little word as my focus for the year.  Some of those years there was a lot of progress and a couple where there was not so much.  Regardless of the amount of progress made in the year I was glad to have that one year of awareness due to the changes it brought about by the end of 365 days.  I can see myself continuing this practice for the rest of my life because I like the results so well.

For this year my one little word is the smallest yet.  Any smaller and it would be the word I, not a good choice in my humble opinion, or the word a, which really doesn't focus on anything.  I read a scripture early last year and when I started to think about my word for 2015 this scripture in Colossians 3:23 came back to me.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men;

My word is DO. 

I'm feeling the drive to Do things. Things that would make God happy and things that would make my heart sing. 

DO first things first, like prayer, reading scriptures, and working out first thing of the day.

 DO gratitude living.  Be aware of the good around me and having an optimistic attitude about my circumstances.  Let's face it if I wasn't alive I wouldn't have circumstances.  So if nothing else I should be grateful to be alive.

DO a photo a day.  I am hopping on the Capture your 365 train again this year.  I did it a few years ago with good success.   After a break I tried again last year but it didn't go well at all and I hardly picked up my camera.  I'd like to change that.

DO good.  Do something good for someone else every day.

DO the routine, Baby.  I want to get back to a routine for house blessings (Fly Lady lingo for house cleaning.  Blessing your home with love, tidiness, and less clutter is much better).  I also want to create routine for blogging (writing), journaling, hooping, creating, and meditating.

DO what is right.  In everything.

DO always remember my dependence on God, that He loves me, knows what is best for me, and He wants me back Home.

DO more reading.  I am still thinking about how I want to set this goal and be stretched yet successful.  I did quite a bit of reading last year but I don't have any documentation of all I did.  I'd like to see it documented this year.

If you haven't given the one little word a try I think you really should Do it.

What are you wantinng to do this year?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Rear View Mirror

I was driving home tonight and couldn't stop looking back.  Looking in the side rear view mirrors.  Looking in the rear view mirror.  Looking at the remains of the day.

This is the time when everyone seems to be thinking about the year that is coming to a close and the new year beginning.  Looking back and looking ahead.

I've been thinking about what I've done, experienced, and learned over the last 365 days.  Here are some of the things I'm seeing in the rear view mirror of 2014.

I got to know Tucson, Az really well this year.  And I think I like it.  I was there twice this summer during their heat wave.  Twice.  The first time for a family reunion and the second time for a family reunion.  Yes, you read that right.  Two different families reuniting in the same location within a few weeks of each other.  I know our families don't seem to be terribly original.  But they are both fun groups to hang with. 

I experienced the shock of how old I really am.  I kind of lost track of my age around the time I turned 35 or 36. I kept getting mixed up about my age.  After a couple more years of confusion I just quit trying.  This year I realized that I was just one year from the big six-0.  I can't believe it.  I don't feel . . . "old".  I still don't believe it's true but no matter which way I figure and calculate it still comes out the same.

I get to experience being an empty nester.  When we started out our marriage we thought children would follow after a short period.  But instead we learned what it was like to be empty nesters except we called it our ten year honeymoon.  After that experience we knew we would enjoy being empty nesters so to find ourselves in that situation again is very comfortable.  Sorry kiddos.  We love you.  We enjoy seeing you. You are the sunshine of our lives.  Life would be so incomplete without you.  But, we also enjoy being just us.

I learned that my employment change is so much more than a less stressful job.   I learned that my current employer is a very generous and giving company.  I hadn't realized that a company could be so kind and aware of its employees.  One of my responsibilities is to write all the checks that go out.  This puts me in the position of working directly with my employer as he expresses his desire that everyone have a very nice Christmas.  Over the holidays one of our employees passed away from natural causes and again my employer expressed concern that the family need not worry about the financial burden of the funeral services.  As the one to tell the family this I realized how fortunate I am to be working for this company.

I experienced the feelings of some regret along with acceptance towards myself.  I choose a  focus word a year.  This year it was surrender.  Surrender my feelings of pride.  Surrender my feelings for the good of others.  Surrender my will for God's will.  I regret that I wasn't very good at surrendering my feelings.  I did horribly actually, but I think I have improved a bit from how I was earlier this year.   That is where the acceptance comes to play.  I've accepted my poor progress because I still see a smidgen of progress was made.  I love having the one little word each year because no matter how poorly things work out they are working out.

What interesting things have you experienced or learned inn 2014?

Have a great 2015 my darlings.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's in the Little Things

My.  It's been a while.  How are you, my little blog?

I had to take some down time and make a few changes in my life.  The dust seem to be settling and I've been thinking about you lately.

With said dust settling I now have time to do some reading.  And there just happens to be a library right  around the block from my new job.  So I walked into the nice air conditioned building with the beautiful surroundings and signed up for their library card.
I don't know about your area but around here we have fewer county owned libraries and more city privately owned libraries.   In a way it's a pain because I now have to carry 3 library cards in my wallet.  On the other hand the privately owned libraries seem to be much prettier

and have a much better selection and stock of books.  So I got my card and checked out my book,  and took it home to happily read.  Then a few days ago I received an email from the library reminding me that I had a book checked out and that I could either return or renew it within the next few days as my time was running out.

I've never had a library remind me that I had a book checked out and to take measures so no late feeds are accrued.  Can I just say I love this library?  Every day since the email I get all giddy inside thinking how nice that was to be reminded. Typically I forget and end up paying fines.  Who tries to cut their profit?  Who is more concerned about their patron's finances?  I like this library.

I think I"ll be visiting this library a lot more.   They just won a customer.