Nature's Heart

Nature's Heart

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three Lessons Learned

What an incredible year 2015 has been... so much growth, joy, challenges and oh what do you call that again? Oh, right that thing called life! Throw in some laughter, faith and prayer and a willingness to learn and you have what I would call a VERY full and successful year.

(I love being back home in the Pacific Northwest!!!)

Back in May (of this year), I tied the knot to my wonderful best friend. Planning a long distance wedding while Ben balanced career changes and finishing up his degree (Good job Babe!) and then unexpectedly moving back to the Pacific Northwest has certainly been a monumental year for me as individual and for us as a couple. It's hard to believe that we have already been married 7 months (and 2 days) because in my mind it feels like only a few months.

With only a day and a half left in this year and 2016 quickly approaching, it's that time for many (myself included) to reflect back on the year and look forward to the novelty and hope that is carried in by the new year. It is a time to celebrate, a time to hope, a time to improve in one way or another...Hooray for #2016GOALSETTING !

I am following Lara Casey's blog she posts some interesting questions from her book Make it Happen that I have really been enjoying diving into. Because of the move, I have recently found myself unemployed but I love that Lara is always inviting you to follow along with her and others regardless of if you have her book or her power sheets. She encourages you to use a notebook or whatever you have available to follow along in your own way. So I created this notebook to record many of my responses to the questions that she posts:

One of the questions that she brings up is to write down Three Lessons Learned from this last year (2015) that DID work, and three lessons that DID NOT work.

The Three Lessons that I learned from last year that Did Work:

1. God Time
This has had so much value in shaping my year morning by morning. Finding time to carve out or make time in my schedule delving into the Word has been a slow process but has been revealing a deeper and more permanent groove into the necessity of my mornings. I had played around with various times in the day and have found out the very first part of my mornings immersed into the Bible or a Bible study and message, this always, always, ALWAYS sets a positive tone to my day.

2. Being Present
It is so easy to get caught up in the "quicker and faster is better because then we can fit in MORE" mentality...this idea is very much supported by society, with readily access to "everything" phones and technologies that "connect" us in so many ways...allowing us to multitask and do more, or the vehicles that allow us to work or run errands miles away from home. This last year I have really been finding value in putting down the phone, turning off the TV or shutting off the computer...and giving people my FULL attention. Connecting with them, giving them the courtesy of eye contact and listening to hear what they are saying rather than listening for a way that I can respond to what they are sharing. There has been a learning curve for listening skills certainly were a little rusty at times but I am so happy that I have been learning give someone one of the most valuable things that I have to time.

3. Letting go of the "I deserve" mentality
So in a nutshell (and I still have a long way to go with this) I am so happy that I have gained awareness to the presence that this "I deserve" mentality has tried to have in my life. I hear and read this "You Deserve It" idea so much! Advertisements in magazines, online, in commercials... You work hard, you should treat deserve it, so buy this ______ (fill in the blank) because you earned it. When I fall into this thought pattern after "splurging" whether it be a coffee or an article of clothing, I would quickly find how short lived that feeling of happiness was. For example, when I would give in to that "You deserve a sweet yummy cookie because you worked out so hard" voice, this time and time again only left me feeling frustrated and derailed emotionally and physically.

The Three Lessons that I learned from what DIDN'T Work:

1. Mind numbing
Everyone needs down time... to rest and rejuvenate but there are positive/productive and negative/unproductive ways such as, going for a walk which allows me to relax and reflect vs. watching tv which only makes me want to eat snacks and that can easily slip into hours of which after I manage to walk away, I only feel empty and agitated.

2. Not having an edit button when I speak
Saying the first thing that comes to your mind when responding to someone is often times not the best way to go... Speak out of love not feelings

3. Leaving no time for creative play and exploration
I get grumpy...enough said.

So, what are some lessons that you have learned from that did or did not work?

P.S. Laura Casey is doing a wonderful giveaway that you should check out on her blog!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Those Golden Rules

Everyone has advice...or words to live by...or opinions that they are more than happy to share (sometimes even if you don't ask for it). 

Over the years these are my personal golden rules that I try to live by:

  • Take every opportunity to exercise and keep moving
  • Be gentle, with yourself and with others
  • Remember your P's: Pray & Praise continuously to God
  • Eat wholefully: Your meals should be colorful and bright (imagine a rainbow)
  • Let things move, inspire and stir you to tears
  • Black coffee: if its good coffee you shouldn't have to doctor it up
  • Dream Big...and then do something about it!
  • Don't be ruled by fear: purposefully put yourself in uncomfortable situations that make you push yourself to overcome those fears.
  • Make time for sleep
  • Laugh often and at every (appropriate...ish) opportunity
  • The only failure is to never try
  • Be disciplined
  • Become an expert at/of/about something
  • Take risks
  • Remember that anything of value or truly worth while requires effort
  • Use every opportunity to love

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Project life - 25 days of Christmas

I love scrapbooking. I have been scrapbooking for years now...I grew up watching my mother scrapbook back in the 90's however what scrapbooking was back then to what scrapbooking options, ideas and materials have become today is like night and day.

I am always on a new scrapbook project...whether it is making recipe/scrapbook hybrids or more traditional album scrapbooks...

My most recent project? A cross between Ali Edwards' Project Life and type/style of scrapbooking which tries to simplify the process of documenting every day moments. Thank you Thuy for introducing me to this idea. She and I decided that although we live in two different states, we are determined to stay connected.

We constantly text each other pictures of little passions that we both share...whether it be a win (however short-lived) on the penny slots while drinking hot cocoa or pictures and craft/sewing projects and scrapbook layouts that we recently completed.

We initially attempted to stick to three pictures a day to try to simplify things...HAHA, you can see how long that lasted with my Project Life 25 Days of Christmas.

Thank you again Thuy for inspiring and motivating me to get this project done! Check out Thuy's blog here.

I am so happy with how this project turned out!!!

I have so many scrapbooking supplies that I challenged myself not to buy any new scrapbook Christmas paper but rather to utilize the abundance of supplies that I already own. This push resulted in some resourceful surprises, like using my sewing machine, saving Christmas and holiday cards, finding thicker card stock from packaging material etc. 

I love how this confetti sleeve turned out!!! Oh glitter, how festive you are!

I did buy the chevron album, one package of photo sleeves and some of the white decal stickers...but much to the pain of having self control I stuck to those necessities only and refrained from the eye candy and tempting holiday themed everything at the craft store!!!!

I am in love with this little paper Christmas tree! It's so Darling!!!!

I had so much fun with Ben and his parents at the Natchitoches light festival! It was wonderful showing them where Ben proposed!

I'm so glad that I thought to include some of the Christmas cards into this book! 

Christmas Eve service program.

So glad that my penmanship turned out on this truly "Blessed Life"

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Capturing a family moment

I love capturing family moments!
I love photographing children in particular because they are less self-conscious and more carefree, wearing their emotions on their sleeve for all to see and this rawness translates beautifully through the lens. A huge thank you to the Collins' for entrusting me to capture your beautiful family.