Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Surprisingly Happy

The end of last year was so rough on me that I am shocked when I find myself saying and thinking, "I am happy!"  God has really done some fun things in my life to show me that even the bad things can be turned around for good.

I can pinpoint two key instances in my life that have really helped shift my perspective on life as it stands right now.

1. The first, as I mentioned previously, started out bad but has really taken a turn for the better.  Last year I spent a lot of time surrounded by negativity.  Obviously, I didn’t want that negativity, but sometimes it’s impossible to avoid.  I lost a friend very unexpectedly due to misunderstandings and assumptions, but after the dust has settled, I’ve come to realize that giving that friendship up (whether temporarily or permanently) has been one of the best things for me right now.  There was just a lot of drama surrounding that relationship, and getting away from it has really freed my mind of some of the stress that had come along with it.  I won’t say any more than that, but I’m just really coming to terms with the whole situation and finally feeling a release from it all.  For awhile, it was exactly the opposite, so I'm thankful for the shift in perspective.  It’s amazing how much someone else’s drama and negativity can affect your own mood, so even though it's been a hard adjustment and I've had to purge my picture frames of fond memories I had with this friend, I've really been seeing how God has been working to strengthen other friendships, give me new friendships, and even make me more content to just be alone.

2.  The other factor in feeling much more relaxed and content is when I started carrying a planner.  I have really enjoyed having one dedicated space for to-do lists, appointments, writing ideas, trackers… just everything that I want to accomplish in a day that I might generally forget if it was just written on a list and shoved in my purse or put on my desk at home.  Sure, I'm still behind on my Bible in One Year, and I do still miss things on occasion, but in general, it's working out great.  I have felt way more productive and organized since starting the planner and I’m so happy that I randomly discovered a planner video on YouTube that ignited that spark.  

Winter can be a hard time for people.  Many people suffer from seasonal depression, and while I don’t have to worry about that too much, I do notice that if I’m not kept busy and am not organized, I tend to slip into a funk.  I wouldn’t call it depression, but “funk” is definitely the right word.

I'm finding a groove.  I'm keeping busy, staying strong (my word/concept for 2015), and focusing on what's important and trying not to obsess over what I cannot change.  I am content, happy, relaxed, and I'll admit, slightly nervous that this will all come crashing down soon... but that is only a little needling in the back of my mind.  I'm living in the moment and being thankful for what I've been given!

What do you do to stave off the Winter Blues?

Oh, I'm working on a post about journaling.  Stay tuned for that.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Week in Review 2015 - Week 4

This was kind of a strange week.  I was supposed to have my first read-through for "Steel Magnolias" on Monday, but it was randomly postponed an hour before we were supposed to meet.  I still am not sure why.  He rescheduled for Tuesday, but the same thing happened that day, too (although that one was because people weren't available, I guess).  I was a little miffed, because I really wanted to get my script and start learning my lines, but what can you do?  

I had every intention of going to choir this Wednesday, but my friend texted me on Tuesday afternoon and asked me if I'd be available to go see Pippin at the Benedum Center Wednesday night.  Um... YES!  Pippin is such a weird, but delightful musical and really isn't that well-known, I don't think.  I have seen it a couple of times in local college productions and just love the music.  I'd been seeing the the commercials for the "new" Pippin that was touring and thought, "oh man, that would really be fun to see..." but kind of felt like I wouldn't be able to find someone to go with on such short notice.  Lo and behold, someone found me!  It was a lovely night.  We had really good seats and the show was just spectacular.

We FINALLY had our first read-through on Thursday evening at the director's house and it was just so much fun and I just know this is going to be a great experience.  The director is laid back, friendly, and welcoming.  The women I'll be working with are just delightful and we giggled and cried and everything one should do when they are with a group of girlfriends.  I'm so excited for this show.

The weekend has been rather hectic, yet delightful as well.  On Saturday, I visited a friend who's family just moved into a new house last week and brought her a gift.  I randomly went bowling with my parents in the afternoon, and spent the rest of the day doing laundry planning for the upcoming month of February.  I need, need, need to get my book club book done TOMORROW, so I'm hoping nothing gets in my way.  Lots of stuff got in my way Saturday.

Jan. 19 - Homemade
My mom sent me home with some cupcakes and cookies that she made today!  Yay for sweets for breakfast!

Jan. 20 - Window
I was stumped on what to do for this prompt, but I really like what I came up with.  It was snowing today, but it immediately melted when it hit my car windows.

Jan. 21 - In a Row
I like things to be neat and orderly, even my booze!  These little bottles were a gift from a coworker for Christmas this year.  I haven't even tried them yet.  I need to figure out what I need to make these.

Jan. 22 - Collection
I have a small collection of money from around the globe.  Some of it is quite old.

Jan. 23 - Something Far Away
This was kind of a weird one, but the only thing I had time to photograph today was the December section of my Bible-in-One-Year checklist.  I'm behind already, and I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of keeping it up for a whole year.

Jan. 24 - Play Time
When I took this photo today, I thought that there would be no playtime for me.  I had laundry and housework out the wazoo.  Then my mom called and asked if I wanted to go play a couple games at the bowling alley, and I can't pass that up!  The laundry can wait.

Jan. 25 - Black & White
I wanted to do something really pretty and artsy for this prompt, but when I was flipping through the birthday cards I had made for one to send to a friend, this one just jumped out at me and I knew it had to be the photo I used.  Plus, if I'm going to document everyday life, this was about as exciting as it got today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't Take it Out on Me

I know I've been doing a lot of photo posts and upbeat things lately, and that is really what I want to focus on this year.  I want to focus on planning, scrapbooking, photography, and just general fun stuff.  However, I've been mulling over an issue for a few months now, and I really felt like I should just get it out there as something for people to think about and maybe start seeing situations in a different light, or maybe you can help me see things in a different light.  I'm open to discussion (but not arguing!).

I'm going to be a little bit general in my intro here, because this has to do with the situation that made the end of my 2014 very hard for me, but I don't want to run my mouth about the other party involved.  Basically, I was chastised by someone for sharing my opinions too freely.  Now, I really do not consider myself an "opinionated" person.  There are many, many times where I hold my tongue when I don't agree with someone, favoring a peaceful environment over getting my own voice heard.  I do not relish confrontation!  I don't think that it is particularly important to always have the last word, nor do I think people always care what I think.  They shouldn't always care.  I'm nobody special, generally speaking, so if my opinion really has no point for the betterment of the situation, I'm not going to share it.

BUT, there are certain situations where I believe sharing my opinion is warranted.  The big one is when I am involved in dealing with the other person's problems.  This is the thing I've been mulling over.  I know a lot of people say that sometimes they don't want advice and just want people to listen.  Okay... I kind of get that.  I want to bring it to you another way, though.  I believe that if you are going to talk to someone about your issues, you need to also be ready to hear something you might not like.  Don't take it out on the other person for sharing an opinion, even a harsh one, because ultimately, it was YOU who brought it up.  If you hadn't brought the issue up, the other person wouldn't have offered their advice or opinion on the matter.  They wouldn't know so they couldn't contribute!

Also, as adults, I think we need to have stronger backbones, both as the talker and the listener.  If I give someone advice on a matter, I also have to realize that the recipient is an adult and may not take my advice.  I have to be okay with that.  The recipient, in turn, has to evaluate the counsel of the person and decide whether or not to take the advice and if they don't like it, decide whether or not to continue to share their feelings on the matter.

In general, I think we need to stop playing the blame game.  If you're going to engage in a conversation, you have to be ready to hear the other side.  If you don't like it... shut your mouth!

But... this is just my opinion. :-P

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 3 - Sunday Ramblings

This has been quite a week!  You know how I auditioned for a show last Sunday?  Well, I waited alllll week for a reply and basically had myself convinced I wasn't getting cast.  There was a lot of competition.

Just when I'd given up all hope, I got a call on Saturday morning while I was out with some friends.  I answered the phone and said "what's the verdict", expecting to hear, "Sorry girl, you didn't get anything this time," but instead I heard, "you're playing Annelle!"  What!!?  I neglected to say that the show is Steel Magnolias and apparently, I will be playing the part of Annelle, the awkward, new in town hairdresser with a sorted past).  I actually paused on the phone when she said that, because I just wasn't sure I heard right.

Obviously, I'm pretty excited about it, but I'm also pretty nervous.  This will be my first major part in a long time and I'm psyched to show my stuff, but also scared that I'm going to screw it up.  I know that ultimately, I'll be fine.  This isn't my first rodeo, but it's still a nerve-wracking process.  Ah, such is the life of an actress.  I love it!

Anyway, that is my huge excitement of the week!  I've been keeping up with my resolve to take a new photo every day, and I'm going to try to keep it going, but I'm not sure how it will go come show month.  I'll give it the old college try, but for now, here are my photos from this past week.

January 12: Bright
I still have some hardtack candy from a coworker leftover from Christmas.  Now that my decorations are put away, it's the bright spot in my living room.

January 13: Lucky Number
I don't really have a lucky number, but coupons often make a girl feel very lucky, right?  Especially when they are 60% or more off!

January 14: New
I'm a Project Lifer, and I ordered this small kit in the mail for my 2015 spread.  It took a long time to get to me, but it was worth the wait!  I can't wait to use these cards.

January 15: Old
This is "My First Bible".  I still have a lot of my memorabilia from childhood, and this book is one of the cutest things.  I remember staring at the pictures for a long time.  I loved them!

January 16: Nature
It was so cold this day that nature was best observed from outside my window!

January 17: Jump
Obviously this is not a jumping photo, but I was at a bakery when I got my call that I got a part in "Steel Magnolias" and I wanted to jump for joy!  Instead, I bought a cupcake.

January 18: Today Is...
Today is a day for reading, planning, and getting things done!  My life is about to get wicked busy again, so I'm going to enjoy the peace while it lasts.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week in Review - Week 2

Hello, Friends!  How has your 2015 been going so far?  Mine has actually been pretty busy and a little crazy.  Last Sunday, my car wouldn't start after filling it with gas at the gas station, so after my dad tried to fix it for me in the parking lot, we ended up getting it towed to our mechanic.  Two days and quite a bit of money later, it's running again, which is great because I really didn't want to learn a new car in the middle of winter.

I digress.  Other than that, work has been crazy!  Everyone has been in the office this week (most of my coworkers only HAVE to be in the office one day a week) and as much as I like most of them, all that commotion, on top of some other stuff that goes on there, just makes for a very tiring week!  

It's been great to get to do at least one creative thing during all the crazy of life.  I printed off an already written portion of my 2nd novel I'm writing, since one of my 2015 goals is to finish it.  I'm going to aim for 10,000 words per month.  I'm still going strong on taking a photo a day with Fat Mum Slim and I'm aiming to keep it up for the year... we'll see if it happens.

January 5: Square
This little square box held a Christmas gift from my aunt.  It was such a nice surprise, because I had a similar necklace that I just lost not too long ago, and without even knowing about it, my aunt replaced it for me.  How sweet!

January 6: Round
Today was the first day it was bitterly cold out this winter, so I dug out my earmuffs since I'm not a hat person.  I played around with a Photoshop action to give the photo a snowy effect.

January 7: Currently Reading
My title at my workplace is a "clerk typist", so the minute I saw this book at the bookstore, I had to read it.  So far, I'm loving it and it kind of makes me laugh from time to time, because I can totally relate, even though the novel is set in the 1920's.  Notice my wine on the nightstand.  Perfect for a Prohibition era tale.

January 8: Landscape
Another freezing cold morning this day, but I pulled off in the parking lot of a church on my way to work to snap this beautiful sunrise.  God does some amazing work!

I took some other photos while I was out from a different vantage point...

(did a little creative editing on this one.  I love it!  It's going to be my new desktop theme.)

January 9: Pattern
I wore this blue sweater today in honor of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.  I work in the law enforcement field and really appreciate those who strive to keep us safe.

January 10: Hello
I spent last evening scrapbooking and when I was trying to think of what to do for this prompt this morning, I remembered these little embellishments that came in a kit. Of course, once I got down to my scrapbook room just to take a photo of them, I started playing around with another page

January 11: I See...
... another audition in my future.  Actually, it was today.  I have never auditioned for this particular theatre before, so I'm interested to see what comes of it.  There was a big turnout, so I'm not particularly confident, but it was a fun audition and it's just nice to reconnect with some people I haven't seen since Christmas.

Well, it's been a busy, busy week and I can't believe it's already time to start another one.  I"m tired just thinking about it!  Have a great one, ya'll!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Week in Review - Week 1

I didn't set out to do a Project 365, but I just might try it... I did the Fat Mum Slim PAD in December, but didn't always take a new photo, although most of the days were new.  When January came around, I thought, why not try to take a photo a day this year?  I'm giving myself permission for them to not always follow the PAD prompts, and to not always be anything more than a snapshot.  I'm also giving myself permission to miss some days.  I don't want to miss, but I'm not going to give it up just because I missed a day here and there.  I have a lot of things I want to do this year, and I have to give myself the grace to fail once in awhile.

I'm pretty happy with my submissions this week.  It was a short week and tomorrow starts back to the regular grind... and I've been feeling like poo for a few days now... so it might get harder to get a photo among all the other things I want to do, but I'll work hard at it.  If my friends with kids can do creative projects like this, surely I can carve out space in my day for things like this, as well.

January 1: The Sky
I was very ambitious this morning.  As soon as I got out of bed, I went outside in my pj's to take a photo.  It's not often that we get sunny skies in January around here, so these last few days have been lovely.

January 2: Something Yellow
 Bright colors are hard to come by in this neck of the woods at this time.  I was wondering what I would photograph for this prompt, when my parents picked me up to go to breakfast Friday morning and my dad was wearing his Steelers parka.  Yay for good fortune!  We took my grandparents out to the casino for their birthdays and you can't take photos in there, so this was the only photo I could get of the day.

January 3 - Me Today
This is right before I consumed the biggest piece of cheesecake I've ever seen.  It might have been bigger than those at the Cheesecake Factory!  I only ate about half of it before I conceded defeat.  This was at the Chop Shop for my office's holiday party.  It was a small crowd this year, but we had a good time.

January 4: I Hear...
My kitty meowing, wanting my attention.  Actually, this is my parents' kitty, but I was at their house this morning and anytime I'm sitting on the bed in the guest room, she thinks I'm solely there to cuddle her.  I'm usually pretty willing to comply.

Do you have any creative goals this year?  What are you going to try to accomplish in 2015?

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I was going to post this in my New Year's Resolutions post on New Year's Day, but decided to split this up into a couple of separate ones (every time I can get more mileage from posts, I need to take it!  Am I right?)

It's no secret that I've become a little obsessed with scrapbooking/journaling/planning YouTube videos.  Well, a couple of days ago, I started seeing videos popping up called "One Little Word".  Apparently, it's a scrapbooking/journaling class you can pay for, but the general idea is that at the beginning of the year, you pick a word that describes something you'd like to see in yourself in the next year.  From what I am getting, you can journal about it, scrapbook it, or just visualize it and see if you can incorporate it into your year.

I'm not generally into this kind of thing, but 2014 was such a weird year for me, that I needed something to focus on in 2015.  Therefore, I came up with a word to describe something I want to work at making a focal point in my 2015.

That word... Strength.

I have always been a person who likes to keep the peace.  Often, this means that I concede guilt when I feel none, apologize when I didn't do anything, make excuses for people when they are mean to me as a way to more easily put the past behind me and make amends.

Well, this year I decided that I need to be stronger for myself.  I need to remind myself that I'm worth more than just laying down and taking whatever people throw at me.  Sometimes, I'm not wrong.  Sometimes, people are just plain mean and there is no excuse for it.  Sure, God instructed us to forgive over and over, and I am still going to work on that, but I have to go about it in a way that doesn't leave me feeling like I gave something up in the process.

Strength to get through the hard times.  Strength to put myself out there and possibly out of my comfort zone, strength to forgive when it is time, and strength to trust in God's plan for me.

What would your one word be for 2015?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello There, 2015!

Happy New Year!!  I cannot tell you how excited I am to start 2015.  I'm not entirely sure why, but there's just something about starting a new year that just makes me feel refreshed.  I like seeing where the year will take me (hopefully, to good places).  January always seems like a good time to dream of what you would like to do and where you hope to see yourself by next January.

A big part of my 2015 is going to be my planner/writing/documentation journey.  I have found the YouTube planner community and from that, have rediscovered my joy of writing in journals, using paper instead of technology all the time, and just documenting everyday life.

So, with that said, I created an insert for my 2015 Arc Planner.  It will go in the front and be the first thing I see when I open it up daily.  It is... my 2015 Resolutions.

It's very simple and basically focuses on a few key areas in my life, and almost everything centers on documenting life (I had to throw that exercise one in there... I gotta get back on track!!)  What looks like only 5 little resolutions/goals really will be quite a task this year.  Start up my novel again?  Finish backed Project Life albums and keep up with a current one?  Yikes... I will have my work cut out for me.  I'm going to give it a go, though.  I will probably get behind.  I will probably not finish everything I've started, but that's okay.  These are goals/hopes, etc.  I really think I can make a good crack at these things this year, especially if they'll be staring me in the face daily.

I am going to do another planner post here shortly.  I just have to actually sit down and write it and take some photos.  Hopefully, I'll be able to keep you up to date this year on how these resolutions are coming along.

What are your goals/resolutions/dreams for 2015?  Are you excited about it?  Are you dreading 2015?  How could you strive to make 2015 your best year yet?