Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Muse - The One with the List and a sneaky peeky...

I found an AWESOME list of truths on a cool little bloggy I read called "Marc and Angel Hack Life." You can read the whole list here:

60 Inconvenient Personal Development Truths

My favorites?

3. A good idea without action is nothing at all.

8. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.

36. When you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.

59. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It really is this simple.

And I love the final thought:

Remember, the extra mile is the stretch of road that’s never crowded.

Also, tomorrow is the reveal for the new Scrapbooking From the Inside Out Kit.

I thought I'd share some sneak peeks of what is to come:



Its BEAUTIFUL!!!

So, what is inspiring YOU this happy Monday??

Peace, ya'll!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wanna Win it?!?!?

See this amazing kit?


Wanna win it?

Yes, you say?

Head on over to Cathy Z's Blog and take a look. She't not choosing a winner until Sunday evening...

Peace, ya'll!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Slow Travelling, Unschooling and CouchSurfing

I love the internet.

It has presented me with amazing friends, some really radical (for me) ideas about faith and transparency and how to live low impact in some ways and ultra-high impact in others, about the birth of Jesus and the fate of earth in the face of sun flares...and the list goes on and on.

Recently, my wanderings through the internet introduced to an amazing blog/podcast called Raising Miro. It is the life story, as it happens, of a woman named Lainie and her son Miro (who is now around 11) as they travel the world together. In her words:

I am Lainie, mother of a beautiful soul named Miro. By the time we left on our journey, he was 10 years old. I have been entrusted with the responsibility of his well being, welfare and eduction and it is truly an honor. His presence in my life has been the greatest gift of all and he has given me the strength to follow inspiration.

The inspiration is simple;
Let’s live a simpler life.
Let’s experience the world.

Let’s reconnect with what really matters.

As I sit here writing this, we have been traveling for 10 months. However the process of preparation started much before that. I invite you to follow along as we support each other on the road of life, as my son keeps me present and I continue to do my best to Raise Miro.

Lainie has chosen to educate her son by slow travelling around the world, experiencing each country as a "local," eating what the locals eat, living where they live, and by providing as many experiences as can possibly handled through exploration of the world. I find the idea delicious and exciting and utterly amazing. What a way to raise a child...

He's definitely learning important life skills: They live on a very small budget (money skills), they EACH post blog entries and pod casts (communication and technology skills, as well as learning to be genuine and forthright), cook with local ingredients in home kitchens (math, reading, following instructions, etc),and serve in the communities of which they find themselves a part. They meet, befriend and at times live with those of a vastly different culture and often language. I am utterly fascinated.

Lainie is one of a growing number of people who espouse the concept of Unschooling (at times called radical unschooling), where, experiential learning is favored over curriculum learning. This kind of learning places a heavier responsibility on the parent to provide guidance, advice and enriching experiences. Again, an utterly fascinating concept - not so much that we all need a pre-defined body of knowledge, but rather that we need to learn to learn, that we need to be taught to think critically and with purpose, that we need to focus on literacy and curiosity and experiential learning, rather than rote memorization and test scores.

As the college-educated daughter of a public school teacher and an engineer, it would seem I'm an odd candidate for thinking Unschooling is a viable alternative. BUT, I've come to see much of my own education not as the things I learned in classrooms, but more the things I learned having relationships, reading books, and experimenting with ideas and concepts along the way. I'm nearly famous for saying that college wasn't about my degree, but about learning how to be an adult in the world. (sometimes badly and sometimes to great success)

I know I grew up keenly aware of where "the mark" was and always knowing how close (or far away) I was from it. Its interesting to consider what might have been different if my learning experiences had been different. Sitting in a highly organized world with lots structure and rules and any number of other highly educated people of a similar background around me, I'm in a particularly luxurious position to consider such things. I have nothing to lose with the thought of it. So...take that for what its worth.

I understand that my conventional education was invaluable for me getting started in the world. I understand equally that my husband's lack there of has made life unnecessarily difficult for him. Why? Because people judge you based on your diploma (or lack thereof) and give little heed to your actual skill set. I know my husband is brilliant about the things he wishes to make a business out of, but there are those who want the piece of paper to "prove" he's "qualified."

The world, however, is changing. In many places, where you graduated, or the fact that you even did, doesn't hold the same power as it once did. These days experiences reign supreme when looking for employment, when finding a career that brings you joy and fulfillment in addition to the paycheck. Its becoming a world where Miro's experiences will give him an advantage over his conventionally raised peers.

One other thing that Lainie and her son are a part of is a growing number of people called Couch Surfers. This isn't your destitute college buddy's Couch Surfing, people. This is now a way of life for some people. A way to see the world and expand their relationships and experiences. There is a non-profit network of people, neatly organized and verified, who either couch surf or provide couches to surfers as a means to create positive experiences through relationships with those from another country, culture, language, etc. You can read some more about on the CouchSurfing Website.

Again, I find this utterly fascinating. I have to admit - there is a fear factor here for me...dragging my kids into a situation where I don't know who it is they are going to be meeting. BUT I'm terribly intrigued about the prospect of it all...

So...what do you think about these radical ideas?

Slow travelling the world with your children over a period of years as a means of education?

Unschooling - radically disconnecting from the notion of a core necessary body of knowledge and teaching children through life experiences?

Couch Surfing - literally travelling the world on other people's couches?

Let me know your thoughts... I'm curious.

Peace, ya'll.

PS...Jackie, if you are reading this, you knew I'd get to these kinds of thoughts someday, didn't you?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

See Through and Stepping Stones

At last its time to show you the final two layouts from the Scrapbooking From the Inside Out Vulnerability Kit. It doesn't seem possible that I'm already nearly finished with the March layouts and its time to show you my final two.

I've saved these two for a reason - they are both done with transparent backgrounds. (and tremendously difficult to photograph in a way that conveys what they look like in real life!)

Love working with transparent materials, using them as backgrounds, layers, and features. It takes a bit more planning than my traditional layout style.

The first is about BEING transparent, abot how we hid behind our masks, how we hurt in private, hoping somebody will notice and take care of us, how we admire people who have been sculpted and tanned and whitened and airbrushed beyond recognition, how we hide our true feelings about ourselves and others always wondering "What will people think?"

Its an interesting concept to live transparently...I think in some way we are seeing both more and less of this, depending upon what circles you find yourself. I believe the biggest issue with transparency is that the choices of one person lived in transparency can deeply offend the sensibilities of another, and that offense causes rather unnecessarily violent responses. I think back to the political debate prior to the last election.

Rather than educations, the news, break rooms and blogsphere were filled with hate laced rhetoric...not a good petri dish for experiments in transparency.

Anyway, I strive to live a transparent life..the more I strive, the more I feel the masks I've come to wear over time, the things I hide behind, the things left unsaid because I fear what others might think of me:


This second one is about how moments of vulnerability can become the stepping stones to deeper relationships, greater understanding, making me a better person.


Would you like to explore Vulnerability in your own art or journaling?

Here are a few challenge prompts from SFTIO. Remember ANYONE can create and participate in the challenges. If you create a layout or art piece for one of these, make sure you head on over and post it in to the challenge gallery.

February Vulnerability Challenge #1:

Strength and Weakness: What have you thought of as a vulnerability that turned out to be a strength? Are there areas of your personality that you thought made you strong, but tuned out to be liabilities in certain situations? When others' vulnerabilities come to light, do they remind you of your own? Do you feel compassion and a kinship with someone who shares your weaknesses, or would you rather ignore that truth?

Two ways to go: pls create a LO about a weakness that turned out to be a strength, or a strength that turned out to be a weakness. Design twist? Use the crackle medium in an meaningful way...

February Vulnerability Challenge #2:

On the Edge: What feels precarious about your future? Does the transient nature of life frighten you, or are you at peace with it? Are there specific areas where you feel that instability more heavily - in your intimate relationships or your work? How do you manage uncertainty or fragility? Are you able to experience life with fluidity, or do you attempt to control the outcome of certain things?

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

Please create a LO about a part of your life that feels uncertain, transient or precarious. Please use a butterfly image in some way, and for extra credit, use one of the DT's ideas for butterfly usage - Felecia's ribbon backing, Diana's masking, Nancy's patterned paper backing (see the exclusive content section for how-to's).

February Vulnerability Challenge #3:

Your Body: Do physical limitations or infirmities impact your life? What parts of your body have been subject to injury? Does your mental or emotional state affect your physical well being? Are certain areas prone to weakness? How do those areas connect with your state of mind - does pain in certain part of your body reference your emotional pain? Do you consider yourself a robust and strong person?

Please create a LO about the connection between you mind and body with regard to physical vulnerability. Does your mental state contribute to how you physically feel?
For the design twist, use something broken, or broken and mended.

February Vulnerability Challenge #4:

Dependence: Whom and what do you depend on to create a sense of security? Are you good at providing that for yourself, or are you more free to allow others to care for you. If different people have allowed you to be safely vulnerable at different times, why were they the right person for the right time?

We all need somebody to talk to. It would be good if we talked... not just pitter-patter, but real talk. We shouldn't be so afraid, because most people really like this contact; that you show you are vulnerable makes them free to be vulnerable. Liv Ullmann

What shames us, what we most fear to tell, does not set us apart from others; it binds us together if only we can take the risk to speak it. Starhawk


Please create a LO about who you have leaned on, and why you could at that moment in time.

For the design twist, please lean an element, either tilting it, or leaning it on something...

Some interesting food for thought if you have creation in your plans for the weekend!

What would you do with one of these?

Peace, ya'll!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Things I want today....

Its not like me to be utterly selfish...

I have a husband, two adorable little boys, magnificent friends and a job I love. So most days, I'm content to let others have their way with very little resistance. I cannot say NO resistance, because, as my husband would tell you, that is simply not true. I resist plenty often...but not a lot...just a little...

Anyway...I don't know if its spring upon us and my first peek at daffodils, or the fact that my house is once again in the throes of seasonal illnesses, or that I have just passed a 5 year anniversary with a company I thought I would only work at a couple of years, or of the fact that I have been swept far away from my own dreams by the life choices of those around me...whatever the reason, today, I feel SELFISH.

Utterly SELFISH.

I want only what I want and nothing else.

I don't want to take care of anyone else, listen to anyone else complain or brag, accommodate anyone else's needs, desires, whims or follies, pick up after anyone else, cover for anyone else, anything. Period. for. anyone. Else.

See...selfish!

I don't think this is an entirely uncommon feeling, especially among working mothers...I just think that women are often better at putting themselves aside out of duty than men and children and teenagers. I'm probably GROSSLY over-generalizing, but that is how I feel today.

So...anyway...I've been thinking, day dreaming really, about how I would spend time on just me. Here is my list so far:

Scrapbook...lots.
Clean my house.  Ok..that one is weird, I guess. But i would love to see a spotless floor, no laundry and shoes that remain put away for a longer period of time than the usual 10 minutes it lasts.
A long stint with coffee and the news paper
Get my journals, magazines and some tea and sit for a few hours just putting things into my journals.
Reading my Bible
Writing - It is not my personal wish to write a book...but I do like to write...maybe if I sat down and did it uninterrupted I might get something reasonable down on paper.
Pedicure
Massage
TV - lots of it...rediculous amounts of NCIS, NCIS: LA, Bones, all the CSI's, the Glades, White Collar, old SG-1 episodes, all my "death killer shows" as my hubs puts it.
Organize my computer files - I know where everything is, but it would be nice if I knew where it was AND it was someplace that made sense!
Walk...long, drawn out, meandering, walks of curiosity and pictures
Chocolate...I would need some chocolate
Paint with my new water colors
Experiment with different art projects.
Read my period mysteries with a bit of tea and some scones.
Go to the beach. Sit on the sand. do nothing else.

So, you see...my time alone, if I ever had any, would be spent QUITE differently than it is now.

Its a shame we don't get "selfish" time...or...that I don't get "selfish" time.

I could use it.

How about you?  Could you use it?  What would you do with it?

Peace, ya'll!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Muse - The One with the Great Wall of China

For some reason, China has always fascinated me...I've been enamoured of the idea of getting 1/2 way around the world for some time now.

In 2007 one of the bloggers who I read regularly moved to China for a year. I lived China vicariously through her. It was amazing and sort of torturous as well.

Then a woman whom I admire greatly for her courage and honesty, decided to adopt from China...three times! She allowed me to live vicariously through her process, including the trips to get her babies. I have been hooked ever since.

Lately, I've been watching snippets of a documentary series called Wild China about China's wild life and natural history. Its some of the most gorgeous, eye-filling, peaceful imagery I've ever seen. So far, Jayden and I have both been mesmerized by the Asian Elephants.

In my effort to find information about the documentary series, I stumbled across a travel blog, also called Wild China, but with out the space...like this: WildChina. FASCINATING stuff about the travels and tours of others visiting China.

I think its fair to say that I have an obsession nearly bordering on insanity.

So, for today, the Monday Muse is something I LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG to see for myself:


I know, I know, I know...its trite and everyone says its not what they thought...

But I am mesmerized by the size, the concept, the gorgeousness of it.

It conjures some interesting things...what is YOUR great wall? What fascinates you to obsession? What is the most stunning scenery you've ever seen? Where on this earth would you like to travel?

I'm thinking this will find itself on a page VERY shortly...like maybe an SFTIO page!?!??!?! HMMMMM.....

So...what would you do with this muse?

Peace, ya'll.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Books and Thoughts on No TV

Well...its been officially one month since we cut off the cable TV.

I'll be honest...the withdrawl wasn't that bad.

We had a few bumps...no Mickey Mouse, no My Friends Tigger and Pooh, no Food Network.

We've discovered some cool things - Veggie Tales movies, a cool documentary series called Wild China, and a fascinating Nat Geo program about Tigers.

My husband became an addict to Heroes and 24 after the fact.

I'm learning how to watch my favorite programs on MegaVideo and discovering Bones episodes I've never seen.

We get a LOT less screen time because the TV is not on for background noise.

We never seem to know what the weather will be like. This fact is kind of odd, because we could easily look at the weather channel provide by our Wii, but don't.

Satellite TV has been discusses as an alternative to cable. I'm both intrigued and not that committed to the idea. I rather like the quiet, the radio we seem to listen to a lot more and the fact that my children are blissfully unaware of the latest toy, gadget or game.

However, I do miss Ina Garten and would love to be able to watch Basketball playoffs with my hubs - one of the few sports I have learned to love watching.

We have learned two pretty awesome things from this change:

1 - Noah can sing. Yes, my 14 month old can sing, in perfect pitch. He has the opening tones of the Backyardigans theme down perfectly and when he sees their picture, he will break into song "YA YA YA YA YA-YA-YAAAAAAA YA-YA." For those of you who know me well, you know how absolutely amazed and thrilled I am.

2 - Books are fun. (For all of us but Scott.) My 4 year old is reading. My 14 month old is interested in reading (though not in being read to, because that would mean he would have to sit still and he's not having any of that!) And I'M reading...since my parents gifted me with my Nook the second week of January, I've read 7 books and have two more in progress (one non-fiction and one fiction).

What an amazing discovery! lol

I've always been a reader, but honestly when coming home from a busy day at work and spending time in the kitchen cooking dinner, it was WAY easier to turn on Cash Cab or the Food Network (or some other appropriatly G-rated programming) and let it sort of wash over me. I can't believe how much time I've found to read since this auto-pilot enabler was turned off.

Now, if I'm going to watch some programming, it takes a bit of effort - more than just pushing a button. And may even involve searching for an acceptable program, not something I necessarily have time for while dinner is waiting to be cooked.

So, I turn to my Nook or to one of the Kids books or to coloring or to games or dancing with the kiddos or to any one of a thousand other options that don't involve the mind-numbing programming.

Its fabulous and mostly peaceful.

It makes us feel like we are in control of our household again, and not the TV or the DVR.

Still...there are longings for our old programming - a fact that makes me even more determined NOT to turn it back on. If you LONG for something so frivolous it surely cannot be a good thing.

I'm not sure how much longer this experiment will go on. I hope the rest of the year.

But we may cave for Basketball...

Hard Choice.

Peace, ya'll!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Design Team

Vulnerability is something that I'm keenly aware of...I'm a good little wall builder! When I began to explore Vulnerability for Scrapbooking From the Inside Out's February kit, I realized that one of my insecurities is my scrapbooking.

Odd...

Hmmm....

I am a furious look-at-it-again-girl...one more time...does it look ok? Will they like it? (Will they like it!??!?! REALLY!?!?!?) So, I thought a layout about Design Team layouts was in order:


I used some of the really amazing butterfly lace paper on this, but chose to cut it out and back it...


Art is such a subjective thing...and to be chosen for a design team was a personal dream come true...but it is not without its nervous moments. There are first the nervous moments of creation - the asking of myself to dig deeply and creatively into my heart and mind.

Then there are the moments where the creation is done and I nervously page through each layout wondering if its good enough, right enough, "me" enough, artistic enough...well, you get the picture.

After that, there are those moments when I hit the send button and hope that what I have created is appropriate...and knowing that I cannot at this point take it back!.

And lastly, there are the moments when I read and ponder the layouts of my fellow design team members, admiring their insight, wondering why maybe these thoughts never crossed my mind, thinking about how much I appreciate that they, too, dug deep and created from the heart, shared their art.

These are moments of furious and fabulous vulnerability...but also courage and then reward. There is nothing quite like sharing your art with the world...

Peace, ya'll!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Loving You

Normally, I'm so much better at posting...it seems since January, I've been flying by the seat of my pants in this bloggy thing.

This too shall pass...

Its a cycle, this life thing...a cycle of seasons...this happens to be a busy season for me.

The Scrapbooking From the Inside Out Vulnerability Kit has been an amazing kit for me...this is the second of the layouts I did for the kit.


Perhaps opening ourselves up to being vulnerable to our significant other is one of our greatest risks...what if it doesn't work out? What if they cannot be trusted? What if they simply don't care?

For years I plunged headlong into loving...and was rewarded with a significantly shattered heart each and every time...sometimes I shattered it myself...and others it was shattered for me. In all cases, I added bricks to a wall, boards to a fence to keep others out.

Now, you understand where this dogmatic quest for "transparency" comes from...I'm no longer interested in surrounding myself with bricks and fences...I'm more interested in surrounding myself with people who are supportive and encouraging. This purpose necessitates the taking of risks, the extension of love with the full understanding that my heart could once again become damaged.

My amazing Scott is one of the people who fits this...he has broken my heart, I will not lie. BUT he's always fully particiapted in helping me piece it all back together and continue to live an open and unguarded life. Its a magnificent testimony as to what God can do in a relationship if you give him the wheel...and what it means to truly love without borders.

Peace, ya'll!!!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Monday Muse - the One without one...

So...Today I wanted to post a Monday Muse with all the creative commercials from the Super Bowl.

I didn't go to the Super Bowl party as originally planned.

So...since we don't have cable...I didn't WATCH the Super Bowl nor any of its commercials.

This is the time when I get to say WAHOO for Youtube, because I can find any commercial I want to and vote on them too...

But I'm torn...I don't actually think most of the commercials are all that good this year.

And some of them are downright crude.

My friend Shaina likes this one:



My friend Kathy liked the Pepsi Max commercials...this one was the best of those, I think.



I loved this one, because this little boy reminds me of my own little boy:



So, what were your favorites???

Peace, ya'll!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Gadgets?

I'm not really a gadget person, per se...

I love my new NOOKcolor. I've alreay read 4 books on it, figured out how to do the whole music thing, got my Pandora working, checked out books from the library...its a great tool for killing the endless time I seem to spend waiting. And it keeps me off of facebook.

I love my scrapbook punches, my Blackberry, and the Wii which brings me Netflix (since we no longer have cable - more on that later).

While I have an Ipod, its the older version that is no longer available with the non-color screen. I use it for podcasts, and music and books...but I've no urge to run right out and buy a new one while this one still works..its old and its metal and it handles the frequent 3 foot drops that seem to accompany my 4 year old child.

But in essence, give me paper, some glue, a good radio station and I'm pretty content. I don't need a lot of gadgetry...I'm not blown away by the Iphone, nor the Ipad. Maybe its because I work with technology all day and the people who are spoiled by it.  Maybe its because I remember the first cell phone...and MY first cell phone...and getting up to turn the channels on the TV for my dad. Iguess I think of these things as tools and, thus, feel no need to have them unless they will do a job I don't already have a tool for. I'm not into excess tools...(well...except for scissors and pens. Now THOSE I could use a mountain of...more on that later too, I guess).

BUT I've been pondering the purchase of one (or both?) of two gadgets I'm just tickled with.

The first is this amazing thing...not new, I know...but new to me and I'm totally in LOVE with it:

the Polaroid Pic 300R Instant Analog Camera


Now, my uncle LOVES Polaroid pictures...this would be JUST the thing for him! oh...and ME!

The second gadget is just as amazing, but not so retro:

The Polaroid Pogo Instant Digital Camera


ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?! a digital camera that can take and then PRINT your pitures on the spot..oh, bring me some smelling salts, I feel faint!!!

Serious luciousness, in my book.

I'm torn, tho...the modern sleek version, or the retro cool version?

Oh, I just can't decide!!!!

Which would YOU get?!?!?

Peace, ya'll!!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Life through the eyes of a 4 year old with a cell phone

I often hand my cell phone to my 4 year old when I need him to be still and occupied - like in the cart at Walmart or when I have to use the restroom and I don't want him slithering into the adjoining stall on his belly.

He looks at all the pictures I have in there...there are TONS, hence the slowness of my cell phone upon occasion.

I was browsing them lately while waiting in some line and I came across some photos that I definitely did not take.

I'm thinking that the little man TOOK some photos while in control of my cell phone.

Here is what I found:

Hmmm..."guys" on the stairs, all lined up in their "cars" ready for a race...definitely not a picture I took.


Yep, there is one of me...I would never have taken a picture of myself from BELOW! Hello, doesn't he realize that makes you look like you have six chins?!?!?!


There he is in the cart at Walmart...


Another one in the cart at Walmart...with me behind him...


His Veggie Tales Jibbitz shoes...


OH, and joy of joys another picture of me and my chins...obviously I have something to say and I find it amusing.


Its funny to see the world through his eyes.

He has a camera of his own.

I wonder what works of art he's composed with that thing?

Peace, everyone!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Vulnerability

Its February First 2011...

Somebody pinch me!

I can't believe that January is already gone and here we are in the month of love...

Its also time to reveal the new Scrapbooking From the Inside Out kit. This month the theme is Vulnerability. I am not a pink, flowery person, but this kit...oh I fell in love with it!!!


There are lots of surprising little elements, along with a gorgeous rasberry and aqua pallette.

This theme brought out lots of things in me...the places, perhaps where I make myself vulnerable, how I deal with being vulnerable and what sort of ways I might have over come it.

My first layout from this kit is "Open." This one is about all the places I close myself off because I feel vulnerable - a reminder to keep myself open, to take the risk of being vulnerable for the sake of what awaits me when I allow those areas to breathe freely.


I did a nifty little technique with ribbon on these butterflies...but more on that later.


Where do you find you are most vulnerable? How do you deal with it? What sort of things have you discovered in facing your vulnerability, in allowing it to take up residence in your life?

JOIN US as we explore being vulnerable!

Peace, ya'll!