Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Better than Hallmark ...

Just had to share my birthday cards from my family tonight, which they presented after Jacques & I had returned from a nice dinner out at The Mint ...

First, from 12-year-old Kody:

And we all had a good chuckle reading the card from my hubby ...

Now what could possibly top that??? :)

How about this cake secretly baked & decorated by 14-year-old Karstin? First attempt and no one to ask for help ... tasted pretty good, too!

Apparently it took a few matches to light all those candles... LOL.

Throw in a nice little envelope of spending money for my upcoming "girls weekend" with my mom and sister and it all added up to a very nice 40th birthday.

Couldn't ask for anything more. :)

Favorites @ 40

1. quiet, uninterrupted mornings with my 3Cs ... hot Coffee, Carbs and my Computer!
2. new inspiration and ideas

3. great photos that really show the heart & personalities of my kids
4. tortilla chips with a mixture of fresh avocado with sour cream, fresh tomatoes and salsa
5. chicken and artichokes at The Mint

6. Cherry Zero
7. watching 14-year-old Karstin perform on the drums
8. Facebook
9. the Internet
10. watching 17-month-old Danica break into spontaneous dance whenever she hears a strong beat

11. my black Clark's slip-on shoes
12. Ali Edwards
13. real life scrapbooking
14. having found the right business for me ... finally!

15. Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Rosenthal
16. the Today Show
17. Brothers & Sisters on Sunday evenings
18. online shopping
19. Barbara Delinsky

20. playing with the Loving Family dollhouse with 3-year-old Skylar
21. working for myself from home
22. a clean house
23. listening to an enthusiastic 12-year-old Kody share a story
24. digital scrapbooking

25. rising book sales
26. a clean, organized desk
27. giving away free books and more free books!

28. the movie "The Proposal"
29. cheesecake
30. unsolicited offers of a dinner out with just my hubby (just got one!!!)

31. my Kindle loaded with my biz blog, the entire Twilight series just waiting to be read & a couple great new business books!
32. the click of a great D-SLR
33. brainstorming new projects
34. Christopher & Banks

35. our flowering crabapple tree in the spring
36. Adobe software
37. french vanilla lattes

38. a very supportive hubby
39. banana chocolate chip muffins from Crabtree Coffee
40. this quote: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Time for a shift of focus

I have blogged every single day since officially launching Log Your Memory on October 8th, yet since that time I have only done one post here on my personal blog. That seems like a pretty good illustration of why I've chosen this particular word as my "word" for 2010.

If you recall, I blogged and scrapbooked not quite a year ago about choosing one word to serve as a mantra of sorts for the year. This particular practice was inspired by scrapbooking queen Ali Edwards, and thousands of us have adopted it for ourselves. The act of choosing a word kind of lodges that thought into the back of your mind, serving as a pretty consistent reminder as you go about your day. Almost like your conscience.

Last year was my first year doing this. As you might recall, my word was "begin." It proved to be a pretty effective word, particularly in the scrapbooking realm. I went from calling myself a scrapbooker, but not really ever doing it, to BEGINning what turned out to be a scrapping frenzy. I've created just short of 300 scrapbook pages since last January, which includes two complete theme albums and tons of other pages for our family and individual scrapbooks. The number would be even higher, however, if I had managed to continue my scrapping after BEGINning my new business this fall. Since that time, I've only created a handful of pages, and they've all pretty much been driven by something I wanted to illustrate at Log Your Memory.

Hence my new word.

Finding balance has always been a struggle for me. When I get interested in something, I tend to have a very difficult time focusing on much else and it becomes something of an obsession. A more flattering word might be "passion," but whatever it is, it does a good job of throwing the rest of my life a bit out of kilter.

Granted, there are generally good reasons for this focus - at least that's what I tell myself. It's pretty tough to get a business up and running and make it successful without a lot of time and attention. All of that focus has paid off, too ... Log Your Memory is quickly becoming known throughout the online scrapbooking realm and I have a very steadily growing membership base on the site, as well as continually growing book sales & customer numbers. We're getting the attention, and hopefully the respect, of some pretty well-connected scrappers. Best of all, it's been fun and I feel more strongly every day that this is the right biz for me... finally.

But as my husband pointed out early on, this level of attention is simply not sustainable over the long run. You can only put in so many long days and short nights before it will catch up to you. My house could use a pretty thorough cleaning - and not just right before company comes. If I don't get my butt out of this desk chair and get some exercise and do a little menu planning instead of throwing less-than-healthy meals together at the last minute every night, I'm going to need to squeeze in time to shop for new clothes - literally. And if I don't take time to just sit and actually scrapbook once in a while, I'm going to lose touch with that which prompted this whole thing in the first place. It's been at least three months since I updated our family's photo site at Shutterfly because I haven't taken the time to process our photos. I haven't even touched my jewelry-making supplies, crochet hooks or other hobbies in almost a year. And at some point, I need to go through the girls' closet and sort clothing so maybe they can wear clothes that actually fit for a while before they've already outgrown them.

I need to find a balance between my online pursuits and the rest of my life.

How am I going to do this? I'm not real sure. As I mentioned, this is something I've struggled with my entire life. Looking back on my younger years, I can remember many "phases" where a particular interest consumed my every waking moment. When I would read a book, I would read it start to finish, pulling it out of my desk at school at every little opportunity and barely pausing to eat once I got home. I could literally sit for hours drawing imaginary floor plans or devouring dollhouse catalogs or designing Lego houses. As I got older, these obsessions were replaced with new ones - new jobs, new babies, new (short-lived) diets, new homes to decorate ...

So now by choosing balance as my word for 2010, I'm hoping to make it my new obsession. And if I'm successful, it will be one "obsession" I can sustain. If you have any good tips on how to achieve this goal or examples of how you maintain balance in your own life, I'd love to hear them! And if you're curious about my progress, keep an eye on this blog. It seems to be a pretty good indicator of where my attention lies!
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