Tuesday, September 16, 2014

two-page tuesday: the baby gift

After a bit of a break from making cards, I stumbled upon another opportunity to make a card this past weekend. I had been invited to a baby shower; and when I went to Target last week to pick up the gift itself, I realized that not only did I have just the right wrapping paper, but also I had good "ingredients" for a semi-coordinating card.

So Friday evening, while enjoying a fun movie on TV, I got to work assembling a simple, but delightful little card.

For some reason, the coordination of polka dots on the wrapping paper and on the card was incredibly satisfying. Perhaps that speaks to the lack of creative endeavors in my life right now...or perhaps it's a reminder that life is all about the little pleasures.

Either way, I was happy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

this week was good because of...

...a Saturday spent at the Michigan Renaissance Festival with my own knight in shining armor.

...laughter, singing and conversations on our two small weekend road trips.

...a celebration for friends as they await the arrival of their baby boy.

...the opportunity to serve as a faculty adviser to an interest group that would like to start a chapter of my fraternity.

...all the lovely little creative details I noticed throughout the week (even the ones I wasn't able to photograph).

...interesting conversations with students that draw on unexpected previous experiences (hello, composting).

...the sense of accomplishment I felt after two very challenging yoga classes as the semester schedule gets underway.

...my truck becoming a Michigan resident with its new license plate.

...sirloin stirfry, eaten with my awesome chopsticks.

...recognition of what I find frustrating in working with my colleagues.

...my discovery that there are not one, but two nearby Paper Source stores. (My budget just got very nervous!)

...a win for my football team.

What made your week good?

Sunday, September 07, 2014

this week was good because of...

...the opportunity to do some great reading about leadership.

...having the support of my bosses in pursuing difficult conversations.

...coming across this quote (a longtime favorite) in my blog feed right when my soul needed it.

...the awesome season finale to my favorite dance show.

...another great hair cut from my new stylist here - and enjoying him as a person, as well.

...a gentle emotional nudge to remember that some challenges are two-way streets.

...the fun of watching college football on TV...even when my team loses.

...a beautifully written reminder of the importance of and value in taking care of myself first.

What made your week good?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

lessons from august

Oh, August. What a month you were! I learned...

...that my tendencies toward planning, organization and detail are being put to exceptionally good use in my professional role. (Also, I'm reminded that these are not skills everyone has in their arsenal.) The confidence from these realizations and recent experiences has brought me some useful comfort as I shift my focus to the next big projects ahead.

...how useful my new smart phone is. I still am not 100% comfortable using it, nor am I using it to its full potential. But in various moments throughout the month, I was super-glad I had it.

...new rhythms and routines as Wildcat Guy settled into his new job and we figured out new ways to make things happen around the house. And truthfully? I also have treasured the opportunity to have large chunks of weekend time to do with as I like.

...that, sometimes, there is nothing more satisfying than a day spent working with photos and catching up on episodes of a favorite tv show.

...to cut myself some slack. Not in the theoretical, "suuuurrre, of course I'm being kind to myself" kind of way, but in the real, genuine, "I am human and flawed and working at a pace in life that makes sense to me" kind of way. I want and need to maintain this.

(inspired by Emily Freeman's "What We Learned" invitation)

Monday, September 01, 2014

this week was good because of...

...the opportunity to take Friday afternoon off and hang out with Wildcat Guy for a condensed version of weekend fun. (He had to work Saturday, Sunday and today.)

...a partner who enjoys going out and doing things.

...our membership at the Detroit Zoo. Purchasing that on our first trip to the Zoo back in May was such a good (and wi$e) decision.

...delightful, mild weather that was unseasonable, yes, but still great.

...these lovely cards from Michael's that perfectly describe the feel of my three-day weekend.

...travel mail from friends and family.

...a tasty lunch at Panera, complete with some good magazine reading.

...feeling like my leadership development skills are really finding their niche as the semester gets underway - and being grateful for the emotional assurance that brings.

...the inbox of my work email account being under 20 for the first time in over a month.

...a relatively successful attempt at wearing a summer scarf (and faking an infinity scarf from a traditional, rectangular one, at that).

...working on the balance between vanity, simplicity and sustainability in my personal appearance.

...the fantastic combination of time spent scrapbooking while watching college football.

...a late-morning brunch (including delicious cinnamon biscuits) for us to enjoy before my love went to work this afternoon.

...the rhythms of using my "alone time" (i.e. the evenings and weekend days when Wildcat Guy works) well; and adjusting pretty successfully to our shift in household responsibilities.

What made your week good?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

the light i want to shine

"Let everything you say be good and helpful,
so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."
~ Ephesians 4:29

A few months ago, I read that verse in my nightly devotional. As these things often do, it came at just the right time - a time when I was starting to wrestle with the question I imagine most bloggers stumble upon at some point.

Do I want to continue writing in this space?

As the summer continued, so, too, did that line of thinking. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what this space was, and wondering how this creative outlet fits - into my life, and into the greater spectrum of blogging. In fact, a question posed in that same devotional was perfectly phrased:

"Do you have anything to say that has not already been said?"

All of this coincided with some major technical difficulties. My camera - which has always been testy in the process of transferring photos from the memory card to the hard drive - became downright uncooperative. This made even my regular "this week is good" posts (the only ones I'd been able to maintain any consistency in writing) a frustrating endeavor.

Finally, what I realized was that I had fallen prey to the simple burden of comparison. In many ways, my answer to, "do you have anything to say that has not already been said?" is no. Not really. There are women (and probably men, too) who write beautifully and genuinely about the creative life...about faith...about culinary experiences...about the topics I often choose...in ways I have neither the motivation nor the skill to do.

Then, a few days ago, there emerged a soft voice - slowly, quietly reminding me of the mantra my wonderful high school writing teachers used to emphasize so often. "Write what you know," the voice said. "Write about your life. Only you can tell that story." It was the mental nudge I needed - to worry less about what I felt I "should" write, and focus more on just writing. 

I'm not sure what that will look like, nor do I know how often I'll be writing. At the very least, it will be once a week, as I have come to treasure the weekly reflection on all things good in my corner of the world and am looking forward to resuming those now that my technical difficulties have been resolved. Beyond that, I will be holding this prayer (from that same devotional) in my heart as a guide:

"Lord...help me to keep silent at times when 
I am tempted to talk just for the sake of talking."

My hope is that this space can, once again, be a personally-satisfying collection of stories - big or small - that reflect even a little bit of light from my corner into yours.

(quotes from The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace, by Ann Spangler)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

this week was good because of...

...an opportunity to see interesting bits and pieces of Tampa.

...not feeling like things piled up too intensely while I was out of the office for most of the week.

...flying on Southwest Airlines. Oh, how I'd missed that! Even at 6:30 in the morning, it was a much better experience than my first trip out of DTW.

...the joy of coming home to my love.

...an amazing professional development experience that I am going to benefit from immensely.

...the emotional courage to spend time at the networking socials each evening.

...great views from our meeting room - be it thunderstorms rolling in or sunny skies above the bay near campus.

...time on my last morning in Tampa to do a photo walk around campus.

...the fun history lesson on a walking tour of Ybor City (and an American perspective on certain portions of Cuban history, as well).

...the summer issue of a favorite magazine.

...spending an afternoon watching the final season of a show I was late to appreciate.

...a lovely bluegrass-y rendition of a favorite worship song at church this morning.

...the delightful bouquet of flowers waiting for me when I got home.

...letting myself have a low-key weekend, knowing life is about to get busy.

What made your week good?