Saturday, January 24, 2015

Present... my intentions

“Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.” 
-Oprah Winfrey

Inspired by the January prompt from Ali Edward's 2015 "One Little Word" workshop, I have set intentions for the year.


PHYSICAL:
I want to be fully present for the birth of my son. As his due date is just a few weeks away, this opportunity will probably arrive before the month ends. For the last few months, I have prepared for a natural, unmedicated childbirth experience, and I hope that circumstances allow that to happen.

Before pregnancy, I was in the best shape of my life... I hope that I am able to reestablish a fitness routine of some kind, both to lose the baby weight and for the confidence boost I get when I'm able to beast through a set of burpees.


POSSESSIONS:
As always, I dream of uncluttered and sleak spaces; however, I am learning that perhaps minimalism is not my most authentic decorating style. Instead I hope that my focus on living in the present inspires me to let go of the "junk" that I'm not currently using, that which I've been saving for the proverbial rainy day.


EMOTIONAL:
I want to be fully present to appreciate the moments as they happen. I want to notice the small things and be grateful for them. I don't want to wish away the hours, the days, the weeks.

I want to find a balance and a rhythm to my days. There are sure to be days (and nights) that just plain suck, and I want to learn to see the beauty in even them.


SPIRITUAL:
I hope that by living fully in the present I am able to notice, recognize, and give thanks for the "God moments" in my life, big or small.


RELATIONSHIPS:
I want to be fully present for my family. I want to build a relationship with my son that we will treasure throughout our lives. I want to support my husband in his new role as daddy.

I want give myself and others around me grace as we adjust to this "new normal." We will not always live up to our own expectations, and I hope not to dwell on those moments.


CAREER:
I want to embrace the idea of "working mother." I want to be fully present when I am at work, while never forgetting my priority to my family. Leaving my son at day care and pumping milk for him throughout the day will be new challenges to overcome, but I also see value in supporting my family financially as well as in establishing a successful personal identity outside of motherhood.

I want to leave myself open for new career possibilities... especially for ones that offer opportunities for creativity and growth.


CREATIVE:
As I focus on being present in so many other areas of my life, I must not forget to make time for creative pursuits. Being creative is the pulse that keeps me going, and without opportunities to stretch myself creatively, I know that I will not reach my full potential in all of the other areas.

Specifically I hope to document my pregnancy and my son's first year with scrapbooks/photo albums/memory keeping projects. But perhaps I can also set aside time each day to be creative... to make something with my hands, to design something graphically, to write down a story, or to plan a project.



2015 One Little Word: Present

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
-Annie Dillard


2015 will be my fifth year to align myself with a word [2011, 2012, 2013, 2014] and my third year to participate in Ali Edward's "One Little Word" workshop. Never before has my next word spoken to me so early in the preceding year. This past summer I ran across a quote from Shauna Niequist that begins with the phrase, "present over perfect." From that point forward, I found myself repeating this mantra whenever my perfectionist tendencies threatened to suck all of the joy out of something.

I noted the power of this quote in my 2014 OLW album as part of my journey to discovering and celebrating authenticity. Also documented in my 2014 album is my big aha of the year: that choosing to be authentic means choosing what feels right and real in the present moment. And, it struck me that here was the word "present" again. It seemed to be calling out to me, begging me to grab hold. I tucked it in the back of my head for awhile, giving "authentic" the last few months of the journey that it deserved. But, with the arrival of 2015, I am eager to unleash the word "present" into my life... to see how it will inspire and influence my decisions, big and small, in the coming year.

Sitting here on January 2, I am currently 36 weeks pregnant: my first child is due at the end of the month. Being a mother has been my biggest dream since I was a little girl, and I'm finding myself both excited and overwhelmed knowing this dream will soon be coming true. I'm hoping that regular reminders to "live in the present" will help me make the most of these new mother moments, as well as to avoid getting caught up in trying to make each day impossibly perfect.

Right now I see two seemingly oppositional ways to look at living in the present, and I'm curious to see how the two play out throughout the year:
  • Being mindful of the present moment, not regretting the past nor worrying about the future...
  • Making choices in the present that may affect the future....

But I'm also intrigued by other definitions of the word, and I wonder about how they, too, will influence my year:
  • Present as a gift... what presents will I give and receive this year?
  • Present meaning to display... how will I present myself to others this year?

Follow my progress and be inspired!

Bring it on, 2015!




Friday, January 02, 2015

2014 Christmas gift round-up

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."
-W.T. Ellis


This year wasn't a super crafty Christmas, but I did put together a few gifts that I was really excited about giving. Here's a round-up of my favorite creative gifts that I gave this year:

For my good friend who was dreading her first divorced Christmas
A "Christmas Afternoon" box filled with fun goodies to create new Christmas traditions, including a jigsaw puzzle, a dvd movie, a hot cocoa and tea gift set, Handmade Charlotte ornament craft kits, a candle, a cute ornament, and a chocolate lollipop.


For my sister-in-law's family
Knowing that my nephews (age 5 and 11) would receive gobs of toys for Christmas, I opted for a "Strikes and 'Staches adventure" package that included a gift card to the local bowling alley, fake mustaches, and a pair of fun socks for each person.


For my Sunday School friends
Last year I surprised my friends by leaving a roll of wrapping paper at each of their doors, and I was then surprised by how much it meant to some of them. I found this cute idea from Kristen Duke on Pinterest and thought it would be great for this year. I wrapped up a set of paper plates and napkins from IKEA, stuck my own tags on, and gave them out as combination Christmas/baby shower hostess gifts.


Christmas wrapping for everyone
Even in a year when I tried to scale back my Christmas planning, I was still eager to coordinate my wrapping. It's a tradition that I enjoy so much that it really doesn't feel like work to me. I was inspired by this One Fine Dae packaging that I ran across on Pinterest, but I jazzed up my zigzag-stitched kraft paper envelopes a bit by including red and lime green masking tape and my own graphic tags. Download the printable tags here.


Here's hoping that the recipients enjoyed the gifts as much as I enjoyed giving them!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Daily 2014

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!"
-Buddy the Elf, in the movie Elf

I've always been inspired by Ali Edwards' December Daily project, but for the last couple of years I just couldn't imagine taking on another "project" during the month of December. This year, however, motivated by a 6"x6" pad of Christmas paper that I picked up at the dollar store, I was determined to record the memories of this December.


The Reason Why
Advent and the month of December are times for waiting and expecting... usually counting down until Christmas celebrations. However, this year Rob and I are also eagerly anticipating a baby of our own in early 2015. So, in addition to the dreams of red and green, we're also knee deep in the world of birth classes, car seats, diapers, and onesies. Which means the holidays will probably look a bit different this year. While we have never been ones to go overboard for Christmas, we're hoping to streamline our decorations, commitments, and to-do lists. Hopefully while still keeping the magic and spirit of Christmas alive.


I embraced a simple layout with one 4"x4" photo per page with a sentence or two of journaling and an added embellishment just for fun. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen some of these pictures, but here they are all together telling the story of our December.


Thanks, Ali, once again for your inspiration. I am sure that once our family grows, future Decembers will have a much different rhythm. How special this album will be to remember the quieter December days!

--

Supplies used:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas... from us to you!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
-Charles Dickens



Even scaling back on our Christmas demands this year couldn't keep me from sending Christmas cards. Any excuse to design something fun to send out!!

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