Saturday, January 1, 2011

So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehn, Goodbye...

Since only four responses have been logged for the survey, I'm guessing that this blog has run its course and I won't be continuing this year. I'm not sad about it, though - it was a good exercise for me and I learned a lot through this experience! Among the things I've learned is that I am better at participating in challenges than I am at hosting them...

I appreciate each and every one of you that stopped by even once, and am especially appreciative of those who took the time to participate in the challenges now and then. I realize how limited everyone's time is, so I'm so grateful that you ever took a snippet of that time to turn your attention here!

I wish you love and light and all good things this year! May your resolutions be within reach (except at least one or two that require some stretching on your part), and your day-to-day activities be blissful!

If you want to see what I'm up to this year, feel free to stop by my other blog, Random On Purpose, which is currently idle because of a re-thinking and overhaul, but which will become active again sometime in the coming week...


~ Sue

Sunday, December 26, 2010

52CP52: Hello, Goodbye

Hello again, and welcome to the final inspiration/challenge of the year! I've learned a lot this year coming up with things to share with you (and about regularly-scheduled posts - that weren't always as regular as I'd hoped) and I hope that some of what has been shared here has been helpful and/or inspirational for you, as well...

This coming week will be a time of reflection, evaluation, and mapping out of the coming year for me, and probably for many of you, as well. I've found several useful tools in my Internet wanderings that you might want to implement, too, so here are a couple of links for you:

Susannah Conway shared her "Unravelling 2011" worksheet in her newsletter this week - which, of course, I can't find now - but you can find last year's (which I'm fairly confident is much the same except for the dates) HERE.

She also shared a link to Reverb 10, which is " an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead." Susannah shares her responses to the prompts on her blog, starting HERE, and working back through the newer posts to see all of them.

Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Nonconformity, takes some time at the end of each year to reflect on the past year and map out the new one, as well. He shares his process HERE.

I also tripped over this blog post about "Planner Hacking" that looked interesting...

Now that I've shared a few directions to maybe take your thoughts for the reflection/planning process, I'd like to share a tidbit of inspiration from the ever-brilliant Seth Godin (you really should sign up for his updates - SO worth it!):

What are you working on?

If someone asks you that, are you excited to tell them the answer?

I hope so. If not, you're wasting away.

No matter what your job is, no matter where you work, there's a way to create a project (on your own, on weekends if necessary), where the excitement is palpable, where something that might make a difference is right around the corner.

Hurry, go do that.

That little blurb is my motivation/mantra for the coming year...

Stamps: Stampin'Up! Holidays and Wishes; Ink: SU! True Thyme, Ranger Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain; Paper: SU! Naturals Ivory and Holiday Thyme dp; Accessories/tools: SU! decorative label punch, Nestabilities Labels four, Close to My Heart stubble tool

Lastly, I'd very much appreciate if you could participate in a very quick survey (completely anonymous, no way to track who answers what), so I can decide whether or not to continue on with this blog in the coming year:

Thanks for a great year! I hope 2011 is everything you intend it to be!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

52CP51: Everyday Heroes

It had been a rough year. Divorce, losing her custody battle, relocating for a new job only to have it fall through after traveling over 3,000 miles - not a lot of bright spots... Her fifteen year-old son had recently come to live with her - that was a good thing.

Of course, she didn't have a lot to offer him. A mattress on the floor in his room, a mattress on the floor in hers, two beach chairs in the living room with the leaf from the borrowed kitchen table propped on a crate between them serving as a coffee table - "spartan" was an overstatement for her apartment, to be sure!

At least he had found a nice girl from school and spent most of his time there. They fed him, fortunately, since there was rarely food at home. Her job as a waitress allowed her to buy a meal at half-price either before or after her shift, so a kid's meal every couple of days was pretty much the norm...

Christmas was coming soon. Her son had requested gloves and a red baseball cap to wear, as he had to walk to school through the snow every morning, and home again every afternoon. She'd found some gloves on a great sale, and those were ready to go, along with a cheap chess set she'd picked up at the drug store. The cap was another matter altogether. It was difficult to find a red one, and they were usually a licensed product and, therefore, out of her price range.

Well, the guy she'd just met had promised to take her to find one after her shift on Christmas Eve. Maybe she'd still be able to come through for her son.

Christmas Eve came and she got off later than she'd hoped. By the time they were able to get to any stores, everyone was literally locking the doors in their faces. Despair was looming...

"What kind of hat does he want?" her new friend asked.

"He just said he wanted a baseball cap, and he'd prefer red," she replied.

"I have a lot of baseball caps back at my apartment, if you want to come and check it out."

A little voice in the back of her head warned to be wary of ulterior motives. This was, after all, only the second time she'd spent any time with this guy. Of course, the first time they'd sat in Denny's and talked - literally - all night until he had to go to work. There was a glimmer of something possible... She decided to take a chance and go with him to his apartment.

He wasn't kidding, either. There was a rack on one wall of his apartment (a true bachelor's apartment, complete with weight bench and bar lights) that held at least thirty or forty caps. He pulled a brand new red cap from the rack and asked if it would work. She looked at it - San Francisco Forty-Niners. Her son's team! Hard to get more perfect than that!

"Are you sure?" she asked. "You've never even worn it."

"I probably never will, either. You need it - take it."

The little voice in her head not only decided to stop warning her, but had actually switched sides. "This could be someone we could love," became the new idea, and there was an unexpected, but very pleasant, warmth in her chest...

Thus began the love affair I've had with my husband for nineteen years now. We celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary yesterday. While this story may not seem heroic to many, trust me - "The Saving of Christmas" for my son was the only happy thing that season. My five daughters were still across the continent, and I wouldn't be able to scrape enough of anything together to send them until Valentine's Day. Greg was definitely my hero that holiday. He's done even more heroic things since then, but that was when I really started paying attention to who I'd met and what he was about. Here's the anniversary card I made for him:

I think that we have a tendency to consider heroes only in the context of 9/11 or war or some other equally epic event. I would propose that any time anyone fills a deep need for someone else, that they are a hero. I would further propose that any time you push through fear or self-doubt to do something that you feel strongly about, that you are a hero, too.

Mariah Carey agrees with me, too, I might add. As evidence, please view this video:

Who's your hero? Whose hero are you? What will you create this week to share with us? Here's Mr. Linky: Oh - and have a wonderful Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

52CP50 Featured Artists

Hooooly! Where did this week go? I spent the first half sick and snow-bound and the rest playing catch-up , and the whole thing is just a blur! You, too? How pathetic is it that I forgot to post my creation for my own challenge - doh! Good thing we had a couple of other players!

Mary made two beautiful cards to wish special people in her life a good Christmas and a good 2011. Make sure you click on the links to see all the gorgeous details on her cards:

Stephanie made a stunning sympathy card with - of course - the BEST sentiment ever! Just lovely...

And I made a semi-fancy envelope for someone special. I'm planning to write a letter that tells them how much they mean to me and send it off. I've left the to/from portions unembellished and unfinished for now:

And that's all for this week! See you tomorrow for our next-to-last challenge for the year (can you believe it?)!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

52CP50: The List

I've been trying for two days to finish my project for this week's inspiration and haven't managed it yet (which is ridiculous, since it's not very involved - I just keep having other things come up that pull me away), and I don't want to delay this post any longer, so I'll just add it later when it's done, okay? Oh - and if you're wondering where yesterday's "Featured Artists" post was, there were no participants last week, so there was nothing to post...

This story was not written by me. I have no idea who wrote it. I received it in an email a couple of years ago and saved it to my computer, where I found it a few days ago while looking for something else:

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling.

"Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much" were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

And that is your inspiration for this week... Have a good one!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

52CP49: Miracles

Sorry for the late post - I wasn't quite prepared to schedule it last night, and I've been away from home (and my computer) all day today!

Miracles have been on my mind quite a bit of late. Earlier this week I read a very interesting article on finding miracles by Martha Beck (I know, I know...) that triggered quite a reaction for me. I blogged about it, if you're interested. Among the interesting things she had to say, she included this:

If you need help taming your inner skeptic, think of psychologist Abraham Maslow: He warned against coming under the sway of "the antirational, the antiempirical, the antiscientific," but he also wrote, "To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous." A rigorously trained social scientist, he found that seeing everything as miraculous was only logical.

This time of year ("the most wonderful time of the year") is a celebration of miracles.

Those of the Christian faith celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ - a two-fold miracle: the (virgin) birth of the literal son of God, and the entry into the world of the Saviour of mankind.

Those of Jewish persuasion celebrate Hanukkah. According to Wikipedia:
From the Hebrew word for "dedication" or "consecration", Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (Second Temple) after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes and commemorates the "miracle of the container of oil". According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.
There are many other festivals and celebrations of a non-miraculous origin - and non-religious origin - as well, such as the Winter Solstice and Kwanzaa, and I want to include reference to these here, as well, because I feel that the true miracle of this season is that, for a brief moment or two, the whole world sets aside their differences to acknowledge a desire for "peace on earth, good will toward men". For the short holiday season, "love and joy come to you" is more sincere and heartfelt a greeting than at any other time. Whether we share the belief - or non-belief - of our friends or neighbors, we still wish them well and celebrate the season and the bonds of love and friendship that we share.

For my project this week, I chose to make a non-specific holiday ornament. It could be used to decorate for any of the occasions discussed here, and encompasses all nationalities and beliefs:

Stamps: Stampin'Up! The World Over and Many Merry Messages; Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Versamark; Paper: Paperbilities black, Georgia Pacific white, coaster donated by bar owner friend, Wilton doily; Accessories/tools: Lion Trellis ribbon yarn, "bangle bling" from Michael's, detail white embossing powder, Crop-a-dile, Bic and Prismacolor markers

Here's Mr. Linky so you can link up your creations:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

52CP48 Featured Artists

Good Saturday evening to you! I hope your December is going well so far! I've been decorating trees all day, but wanted to take a quick minute to share the two lovely cards submitted for the "small things" challenge.

Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends at the holidays and made this card that says, "Snowflakes are like friends, each unique and each a gift to treasure." 'Nuff said...

Very fun stair-step layout, too, eh? Thanks, Lisa!

The other card was from Steph, who says that the things she remembers about the holidays "aren't the decorations or gifts ... it's the time spent laughing with family and friends that are the moments I remember and treasure", which the sentiment on her card sums up, as well:

She used a wonderful double-embossing technique on her card - click over to her blog for more details!

Thank you both for your wonderful contributions, ladies! See the rest of you tomorrow for a new challenge!