What I Learned – February 2019

I started keeping a bullet journal this month and as part of my month end migration, I put together a short list of the things I learned this month. With doing a daily reflection, it’s easy to see what happened!

2019 Vision Board
  • I learned how to do a bullet journal! It still needs tweaking, but it’s a good answer to not needing a daily planner with my new retired life.
  • I put together a vision board for the first time ever. I use the One Little Word class with Ali Edwards, but have never done the vision boards in the past. I’m not sure I’ll do it again – they really don’t appeal to me nor do I have the wall space to hang it up because of too many bookshelves. It was fun to try though.
  • I also clarified what I want to explore (a new life) – that stumped me for a little when I started working on the vision board. Of course, had I reread the January exercises first, I’d already had that answer.
  • I tried some new software – Trello, a digital organizer using an index card-type format as well as Dropbox Business for cloud backup. Trello didn’t work the way I needed, but Dropbox is doing awesome. I also relearned some things I haven’t done for a while – how to print photos on my Canon Pixma and how to use the laminator.
  • I found that two walks a day with the beagle makes us both really tired. Neither of us are young anymore. But we’re still doing it on the nice days. It won’t be long before it’s too hot again.
  • I’m trying two on-line book clubs. I’ve not done this before, so next month I’ll have to let you know how it goes. One is weekly for twelve weeks and uses Julia Cameron’s, “It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again“. The other is monthly for ten months and is reading Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book, “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness“.

How about you? What did you learn this month?

2018 Journey

This was my manifesto at the beginning of 2018

My word for 2018 was journey, and what a year it was! It included:

  • Retirement after 43 years of doing tax work (and 50 years of working)
  • Remodeling the inside of the house, then fixing the outside after hail damage. This was followed by fixing the collateral damage caused by the tradesmen.
  • Traveling nearly every  month
  • Taking care of three old dogs
  • Chasing after two very young and energetic grandsons
  • Reading, walking, and improving my photography skills

What was surprising was that the journey has been slow and small. I expected it to be big and grand changes and I kept looking for something more. It was more than transition though – it was changing my entire mindset and expectations for myself.

I didn’t take a physical journey, as much I changed my life in several significant ways. None of this was anticipated at the beginning of 2018. Even though I’m still unsure what I’m reinventing myself to, I’m confident that I’ve laid the groundwork for my future.

2016 Word – Hustle

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

In the early part of 2016, I used One Word to frame the year and my intentions. The word that chose me was “hustle” after I’d done Jon Acuff’s “30 Days of Hustle” in January. Although I’d initially picked something else as my word, it became apparent that was to be my word this year. I can’t say I was too thrilled with it and I didn’t quite warm up to it until this fall.

I didn’t want to hustle anymore. I wanted down time, time with family and friends, time to have more fun, and to not be constantly striving.

Continue reading “2016 Word – Hustle”

2015 Word – Create

House Taken at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia
Winter Scene at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia

Creativity should be an everyday experience.
Creativity should be as common as breathing.
We breathe, therefore, we create.
– Erwin Raphael McManus in the book, “The Artisan Soul”

2015 – Create!

For 2015, my word is CREATE.  Not nurture (like nurturing my creativity theme last October), practice (everything I’ve learned) or even creativity.  No, the word is create.

I took a number of classes last year – on photography, journaling, and being creative.  I took them to learn and have fun, both of which I accomplished.

But the time has come to just create.  Not to worry whether I’ve learned the techniques good enough or if there’s another something to learn.  It’s time to use it all and show it off to the world.  To not be intimidated as to who might be better than me, whether I’m worthy enough, or whether I’m even good enough.

I need to sharpen my focus, cut back on the classes and possibly other activities.  To create – whether writing up my blog, taking pictures or post processing pictures.  To create – keeping my journals, telling my stories, and writing up my observations each day.  To create – in each and every facet of my life, every day, every way that I can.

How will I do this?

Continue reading “2015 Word – Create”

2014 Word – Remember




Who are you looking at?  I'll rip you apart!  Don't you look at my Momma!!  I'll make you sorry!  She's mine and I'll defend her!  I'm a 7 pound fighting machine!
Who are you looking at? I’ll rip you apart! Don’t you look at my Momma!! I’ll make you sorry! She’s mine and I’ll defend her! I’m a lean, mean 7-pound fighting machine even if I have very few teeth left!  The miniature pinscher photo was processed using Topaz Impressions – Cezanne 2.

As I worked on a post to discuss my “word” for 2015, I wanted to revisit and bring closure to last year’s word.  The purpose of the “word” is to bring focus and clarity to my goals for the year.

2014 Word – Remember

Last year’s word was remember – and what I wanted to remember was TO SMILE.  To remember to be joyful, to laugh, and enjoy my life.  Last January, I wrote out definitions for it that included, “to not forget, to mind; keep in mind” and synonyms  such as, “remind, recall, recollect; fix in the mind; call up.”

My quotes were these two proverbs:

A cheerful heart is good medicine.

– Proverbs 17:22

The cheerful heart has a continual feast.
– Proverbs 15:15

A cheerful heart is good and it’s not something I do very well with.  That is why my blog is about beauty and laughter.  It’s everywhere – I just don’t do a very good job of seeking it out or enjoying it.  My blog helps me to notice and memorialize it.

I also chose that word because I was concerned that the year would become a dark hole with nothing memorable to it.  That 2014 wouldn’t be anything special or worth remembering.

To help me, I took Ali Edwards class again “One Little Word“.  The class was very good but I thought I never really incorporated it into my life except in February, although my recent wrap-up showed otherwise.

Continue reading “2014 Word – Remember”

It’s About Having Fun

What can I say except it was just fun to see!

I enjoyed visiting some of the 2013 participants in 31 Days and as the 2014 participants are linking up, I’ve started visiting them as well.  To my pleasant surprise, one of the 2014 participants I visited happened to be one that I browsed nearly all of her 2013 entries for 31 Days!

As I left a note for her, I nearly said:

I hope you are even more successful with 2014 than you were with 2013!

Sheesh.  What a mistake.  Thankfully, I did NOT write that.  Instead, I wrote:

I’d like to say I hope 2014 is as awesome, but that’s not fair. You don’t want the trap of trying to top each year, you want to relax and enjoy wherever the ride takes you.

And she loved it!  But it wasn’t just for her sake that I wrote this, it was for mine also.

It’s about having fun, not about being perfect.  It’s about enjoying what I’m doing to be creative, not trying to be as good or better than all the wonderful things I see out there and that I think I could do just as well, if only I tried harder.

I need my own style, my own eye, and mostly, I need to smile and laugh more.

Interestingly, my word for 2014 is “remember” as in “remember to smile”.  My notebook has a Post-It on the front that says:



Be Joyful

I’ve been taking a class from Ali Edwards called “One Little Word“.  At the beginning of each month, I get a short handout and video, with a challenge to make sure I’m benefiting from my word.  In September, the challenge was a) what is the story I’m telling myself about my word; b) is the story accurate; and c) what is the real story.

I started the year with good intentions and did remember to smile, laugh and be more joyful.  But as the year has gone on, I’m not.  It’s been a bunch of things, from the layoffs at work to being tired (a common theme for me) to just not being mindful that I can be happier if I want.

So the story to myself to nurture my creativity is not let everything get me down so badly.  Have fun!!  Enjoy floundering around as I try out new things, whether photography related or not.  Be curious, be adventurous, stay flexible, and just relax into my wonderful and blessed life.

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
― William W. Purkey

Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.
― Mark Twain


To look at the 2013 posts for 31 Days, go here.  Two blogs I particularly enjoyed were 31 Days Creative Habit and 31 Days Without Armor (about living an authentic life).

To see everything I’m doing with my 31 Days of Nurturing My Creativity, click here.