Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A New New Year

Asian countries have started following the "Western Calendar", but traditionally they celebrate "Lunar New Year". China, Korea, VietNam and Japan all have their own specific traditions for this holiday. China, from research that I have done, seems to celebrate it the longest. If you get a chance, take a few minutes and look up "Chinese New Year". There are a lot of fun traditions that you can introduce into your own family and let your kiddos know a bit more about the world. Here are 20 Chinese New Year Facts. Here is an article with links to ways to teach about Chinese New Year. Here is a fun article on traditional foods prepared and eaten during the festival. And while I don't always agree with things Disney does, I do like this page on Chinese New Year.

 We have a lot of fun with Chinese New Year in our house. We have adopted some of the things into our own family with a Christian twist - we recommit ourselves to God, we symbolically sweep out the house to rid it of sin and the devil (great for little ones - they really latch on to that concept), ask forgiveness from family members we may have wronged or hurt, and then get together with friends for a major Chinese food feast! Throughout this time we will remember and honor those that are no longer with us and pray for their souls. This year the kiddos are old enough to understand and enjoy putting up "couplets" around our door. Once again we will do it according to our beliefs and post blessings around the door. We enjoy doing this because it recognizes and honors their birth culture. We also do it because it allows us a chance to step away from the Christmas rush and the New Year pressure of resolutions and create a time for setting some goals for the year. It is anther chance to celebrate during the gloomy time between Christmas and spring!  It is a chance to eat more Chinese food!  It is yet another way to create traditions that the cubs will remember throughout their lives (hopefully with fond memories!).

Let me know if you have any non-traditional traditions in your family!

In honor of Chinese New Year, Hat of Bunny has created a new kit. It will be perfect for not only Chinese New Year, but also to scrap all those visits to the Chinese Restaurant, as well as any picture that needs to be showcased in elegant, bold colors. Here is a sneak peek!
will be available at ScrapTakeout and With Love Studios

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Part of my purposeful goal this year is to make my decisions on how I spend time according to guiding word. One thing that always, and I truly mean always, gets away from me is control of my calender.  It seems as if events write themselves in without me ever touching the keyboard!  So one way I am going to attempt to tame the sneaky little calender imp is to sit down at the beginning of each month and evaluate what is already on the calender to see if it is in line with my goal of purposeful use of my time.  If it does not , how can I eliminate it or adjust it so it does.

This month I sat down on January 1 and decided what is necessary and what is not, what supports my family and what does not, and what encourages me to set an good example for the kiddos.  I created a scrapbook page for this exercise.  Being creative is something that is important to me because of the self-expression and the time to myself to reflect on what I am doing.  So I was creative about this subject and this is the result. 

Kit is Month of Beginnings  by Hat of Bunny
The calender is a freebie from FranB for the Calender Challenge on WLS

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 Book

I talked about, in my last post, about doing more scrapbooking.

While working on my scrapbooks I realized I had forgotten how relaxing it was.  I love to do lots of journaling on my pages.  Doing that helps me work through emotions of events and figure out exactly what was important about it.  It helps me let go of things and cherish the things that mean the most.  So here is my page from New Year Eve. 
I did not do a lot of journaling on this page since most of the important themes will be coming up in the next couple of pages.  I just loved the pics, though, and could not leave them out, nor the memory of a NY Eve that is memorable even if it did not turn out the way we had hoped. 

Kit - Month of Memories by Hat of Bunny

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Start

As I wrote my last post, I realized something that I needed to do this year....I needed to let go of the paralyzing effect of "perfectionism" and just have go for things.  One place where this really will make a difference is my memory keeping - scrapbooking!  I love digital scrapbooking because of the "undo" button.  But because of that ease, and because of all the beautiful examples out on the web, I find myself not creating because nothing I create will live up to what is in all those galleries I peruse.

Once I made that realization, I decided to scrap all my expectations (yes, pun intended) of perfection and just create so that my family actually has some scrapbooks!  That is all well and good, but I also need some encouragement to actually create.  One way for me to do this is to be on a Creative Team for a designer.  I looked and looked until I found a designer that I really like, filled out an application to be on her team, closed my eyes and hit send.  

And she picked me!!!!!!!!!

So now I am an official member of the Creative Team for Hat of Bunny.  Her attention to detail in her kits is fabulous.  

So here is to creating memories with the family and recording them in fun books!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Words and Actions, Not Resolutions

We are almost half way through the first month of the new year.

The last couple of years I have adamantly refrained from making New Year Resolutions.  Instead, I have chosen a word on which to focus - a guiding thought for the year.  Last year was SIMPLIFY.  I went a long way towards simplifying my life.

I let go of some things emotionally and I simplified and shortened my list of what was truly important in my life.

I let go of  "stuff" and surrounded myself with things that matter - faith, people, and treasured memories.

But as I wrote on the 11th, I still have some choices to make.  I need to simplify even more.  So the word I chose for 2014 is PURPOSEFUL.

Template is by AnitaW Designs for the Template Challenge
Kit is Technogeek
Both available at WithLoveStudios

I further clarified my word and created how I want this word to look in action....
Kit - Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly
Alph - APennington - BFT - AlphaJumbleFreebie (recolored)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What I have learned

Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of the death of my father.
He was and will always be a lot of things to me.
He was my hero.
He was the first man I fell in love with and wanted to marry (he informed me he was already taken, but would always love me)
He was the man who understood me, often times better than I understood myself.
He was the person I went to for advice with all sorts of issues - personal and professional.
He was gentle.
He was kind.
He was fair.
He understood people in ways I can only dream, and usually his understanding was within minutes of meeting them.
He was quiet, until he did not want to be.
He a laugh as big as the sky.  It was a laugh that make you smile because it was just so full of joy.
He had blue eyes that could be cold when he was in his cop mode, but more often were twinkling with his latest practical joke or love.
His hugs were strong and long.

I miss him. I miss him a lot.
I miss all those things I wrote about.  But I just miss his presence in the world.  One of the biggest feelings I had those first few weeks after his death was anger and disbelief that the world did not realize what was gone.  The world should have stopped, even if only for a day, an hour, to mourn a man who impacted so many people.

There are parts of this past year that I don't even remember.  I feel like I have lost time. I was wading through a muddy fog that sucked at my legs and blocked my vision of everything around me. There were times I would get angry with myself because I could not "just get over it".  Sometimes I would feel so overwhelmed by the rawness of my emotions that I felt as if someone was pouring salt and sand on blistered feet and forcing me to walk miles without end.

As the year progressed I would forget for a moment what I had lost.  I could see a break in the fog.  I could laugh and joke.  I could sing and play games with the Cubs.  And I knew that is what he would want me to do.  He would not want me to wallow in grief.  He would be angry that I had lost even one precious moment with my Cubs and with Papa Bear.  This was the man who always told me "I did not make much money when I was in this world, so you better have a cash  bar over my coffin so that you can make some money off me once I am dead".  He called his 8 year battle with cancer "just a bump in the road".  Those are things that he would want me to remember and cherish.

As 2013 ended and I contemplated this upcoming anniversary and the beginning of a new year I knew I had some choices to make.  Before I could make those choices, though, I needed to reflect on what I had learned this past year.

I learned that grief can be so overwhelming that it almost becomes a physical entity.
I learned that there are people who truly love me for me and are willing to sit by my side (physically, in cyber space and on the phone) and pass me tissues as I cry.
I learned I could cry and laugh at the same time.
I learned that no amount of preparation can reduce the pain of loss.
I learned that grief is definitely not a straight path.
I learned to be vulnerable.
I learned there is strength in vulnerability.
I learned that even in the midst of the deepest sadness God is there, waiting with open arms.