Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh the joy

2009 was a tough year. I've heard it from everyone. 2009 was terrible. People suffered financially, which trickled down into depression, acts of desperation... We all know 2009 was difficult. But we made it. What if it was all necessary, so we could rise like a phoenix out of the ashes?

Potentially, so many good things came out of 2009. If we all learned from our problems, then we are all wiser. We are tougher. But not all people seem to want to be able to better themselves through adversity, so I'll just speak about myself.

I learned how to hold my head up and protect myself when someone is trying to beat me down. I learned that my basic life skills of having systems in place (for shopping, problem solving, cooking, etc.) are good, and they are intact. I learned how to talk to those who are down and out so they know something besides despair... I couldn't change circumstances, I could just change their outlook.

2009 was a year of connecting with friends and family that I had lost touch with. Yesterday, my heart overflowed with joy as the birthday wishes kept pouring in. I've talked with people that I had not talked to in 20 years. The internet helps to make the world a little smaller.

I am thankful for 2009 for being the raging b*tch that she was. I am thankful for all the lessons I learned. I am thankful for human resiliency, and the ability to rise from the ashes after a trial. 2010 is going to be amazing. But 2009, I will remember your tough love fondly.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow Day?

I don't watch the news, and I don't follow the weather report. I figure I hear what I need to hear from everyone at work. Perhaps that's why it was such a shock when it started snowing yesterday! I left work after it had snowed for about an hour. My boss kept saying it was stopping, but it was white out there and I saw no signs of an end. I was slightly afraid. Not of the snow... but because people here do not seem to be able to drive in the snow! It's astounding... the Pacific NW. But it is true. Whenever it snows, there's a large number of vehicles pulled to the side of any given road or freeway and abandoned. I've never seen that anywhere before!

It had just stopped snowing before I went to bed last night. So, I tossed and turned, wondering what my work schedule would be like today. I work in a sand and gravel pit. Very few dump trucks will work in the snow.

I get a late start. Then I basically get to decide. I don't like that. Of course, I do live on a hill, surrounded by people who can't drive in the snow. Ugh. I'll go out and assess it when the sun comes up.

Today is my birthday. And it's almost 2010. The future is looking so amazingly bright! At one point yesterday, I told someone (about my blog) "I looked forward, then I looked back. Tomorrow I will write about the joys". And now, for the life of me, I can't remember what I meant to write about. However, if it comes to me, there might be a special post today for that. I can bend my rules on my birthday, right?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking back

Yesterday I blogged about looking forward... forward to the new year and new plans. Today I will write about looking back. 2009 was an extremely challenging year in so many ways. It was an uphill struggle much of the time. But, on the eve of my birthday (seems, always an inventory time for me), I know that while I'm still trudging up that hill, I am almost at the top, and the view is going to be the most glorious that I've seen.

I don't remember a time when I wasn't thankful for adversity. I have always known that the difficulties that I have to fight and claw my way out of have molded me to be the person I am. I simply wouldn't be ME without having gone through all of it.

I was talking to my dad a few months ago, and he made a comment about how he doesn't know how I survived being raised by my grandparents. That I had to tolerate things no-one should. His statement shocked me. I knew they were harsh, and very hard on us kids, but they provided for us. We never went without food, clothes, shelter. They were violent at times, but I was always thankful for all they did. My 2 brothers and I were basically dropped off there when I was 5. Not dropped off in the sense you are thinking. My mom was dropped off there too (her friend had driven us across country), and she had MS. Prior to our arrival, my grandparents were getting ready to retire and start traveling-- their lifelong dream. However, mom was soon bedridden and they had to get us through school. I'm sorry to say they never traveled. So I saw their great sacrifice. I didn't consider them to be as bad as everyone else did. I am thankful for them.

So, as I look back on 2009, the largest thing I see is the end of my marriage. The official end will be in early 2010, but the end came in 2009. I have to be thankful for that as well. I have learned so many things about myself through this marriage. I won't expand on this, as I am still in it. But I am thankful for adversity.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking forward

I took this photo on Christmas day. I was on a picture taking trip with my oldest son (he had gotten the camera in the photo). I love this photo! I was playing around on flickr and saw a self-portrait-a-day for a year challenge. Not sure I'm ready for that, but I am going to be taking one a week in 2010. I think it will help me with some photography skills.

I am so looking forward to the new year. I know that one difficult stretch of my journey is almost over. I should be able to look back on this leg of my trip by the end of February.

I do know that some challenges will remain. The lightswitch won't just turn on goodness and light by March. No... work will still be work. Bills will still be bills. The day to day will remain sort of unchanged. But I do know that a huge stressor will be gone, and the future will seem much brighter.

2010 is looking like it will be quite amazing, in so many ways! So many people that I've talked to online and in person have expressed the same thing to me. What is it about this upcoming year that has us all so excited?

What does 2010 mean to you?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Taking Inventory

I think many people take inventory towards the end of the year. Businesses take inventory at the end of their fiscal year. Perhaps married couples take inventory towards their anniversary. Bosses do reviews at the anniversary of the hiring date...

So, as this year is drawing to a close, I have been taking inventory. It has been a difficult year, in so many ways. But those difficulties have brought me closer to finding my true North than I've ever been.

And it's been an amazing year for connecting with people. I've reconnected with so many friends and family members, thanks largely to facebook. I've met the most amazing souls on Etsy. Even twitter has connected me to the right people at the right time.

I'm ready to see 2009 go on it's merry little way. But without the tears and the joy of this year, I would not be on the path that I'm now on. Those close to me, those who enrich my life, will be carried with me into the amazing year that 2010 will be. Those who do not add positive to my life, I will be saying goodbye to.

I hope that your inventory process goes well. Mine has taught me how amazingly blessed I am.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hidden paths, Locked doors

I find so often in life that there are hidden passages. Little doors, that as soon as I figure out a code, or find a key, I can unlock it and what I find beyond is amazing. Marketing is like that. I love those 'a-ha' moments when I have a thought and think 'oh yeah, I should do this'! I have become much better at thinking outside the box and looking for the hidden doors.

Of course, it doesn't only happen with marketing. I go out to take photos, and I take that path less traveled, and get the most awesome photos! In any kind of creativity, you have to strive to think outside that box. Because, really, it's all been done before. You just have to find a way to make it YOURS.

I'm still looking for those unknown passages, and digging into my soul for the keys. And while I do so, guess what? I am making the most awesome discoveries about myself. For instance, I didn't really know how much stick-to-it-iveness I really contained. I'm learning that I'm not a quitter. I am also learning that the more I discover, the more I want to share.

I know I've been beating this drum a lot, but 2010 will be amazing. I have a feeling that I'm just barely brushing the surface of my soul so far...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Positive attracts positive

There are amazing things happening in my life! I have been making local connections to show my photography, and it's looking promising! I will keep you posted as I know more.

I have done a lot of reading over the past few years. I have done The Artist's Way several times, I have read The Secret. I have been following positive thinkers on facebook and twitter. And I have noticed (more lately than say, a few months ago) that my mindset has completely shifted. A year ago, or more, I would've said "yes, things are going well for me now, but that will change, and all will go to crap soon. It all balances out." And I fully believed it.

I don't think I believe that any more. Yes, some days won't be as great as others. But I work hard, I am a positive force. And positive attracts positive. Those are the things I now know. That's not to say that there won't be things out of my control in life. What matters though is how I handle it.

A wonderful friend of mine shared a story the other day. She had dealings with an ex. Things didn't go as they had both worked out, and she began fuming. She started thinking about who to call. Her husband. His mom. Friends. She wanted to vent, because things were not right and she had been wronged! However, that didn't feel right to her, and she calmed herself, not calling anyone. Long story short, he soon called her, apologized for the mistake and fixed it. (I did not get permission to share that... that's why it's so vague). She chose not to be a crazy maker. And I believe due to her recent positivity, it all turned around. The best thing? She was able to recognize the positivity. She was completely blessed by it.

I am so lucky to know the people I know at this part of my journey... their energies uplift me and keep me going.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One Day at a Time

I'm realizing more and more what an exhausting time of year this is for people. So much pressure. So little time. And the pressure doesn't necessarily stop with the new year.

One year, many years ago, I showed my friend, Eric, my list of New Year's resolutions. He laughed at me because I listed some outrageous number of them... 13 I think. He told me that was ridiculous to have so many goals, and that I'd never accomplish them because I don't have just one or 2 to focus on and get done. I believe he had 1, maybe 2, New Year's resolutions.

He was right. I had too many, I became overwhelmed, and I'm sure I didn't realize many of them. However, life had other things in store for me. Eric was killed by a drunk driver the day after Valentine's. My life changed forever, and growth occurred throughout the rest of the year in ways I could never had imagined. He still touches my life today, and I no longer make long, lofty lists of goals. I take life one day at a time, moving forward, and always looking forward. Life is too short. I try to squeeze everything I can out of every day.

Eric and I shared a birthday. It's coming up very soon. Right before the new year. Each year, I think of him, and of how fleeting life is. And I honor his memory by being the best I can each day.

I *do* believe that 2010 will be amazing. I do have goals. But not New Year's resolutions. I have goals that I've been working on, that I will continue to work on.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Working towards Simplification

I am at the end of a very long work week. But in this economy, more than ever, I am thankful to have a job. I could complain about many aspects of it, but that would just be ingrateful. So, today, I am thankful. Thankful for every moment of my job.

I'm also thankful for the energy I have to pursue my dreams. Life is hectic, life is crazy and stressful. Yet, I am moving forward. I am glad that I have the ability to do that.

The things I'm not so thankful for? Well, they are being dealt with, and being packed up to move out of my life. I've said before that I have a move coming up in a couple months. I have been packing stuff for awhile now, but mostly I have been boxing stuff up to donate. I am working on simplifying. Simplifying my decor, my wardrobe, my collections. Simplifying my life.

Christmas seems to be an odd time to be thinking about simplifying... with all the gifts under the tree. But, I have been very specific in my requests and each thing I asked for has a specific place and purpose in my new life. I tried to be very mindful of 'necessity' when gifting to others as well. I think I will have a grand plan for it all by next Christmas.

How is your world?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Let it go

Despite everything, I had a very stressful day yesterday. I had an inner turmoil going on. I had lectured myself in my blog yesterday morning. I know this is the storm before the calm. But it didn't help. I stressed beyond reason.

But towards the end of the day, I let it go. I did what I should have initially done. I made a list, prioritized. Looked at it. And realized that it's not bigger than I am. Then I was fine.

As the days go by and we get closer to Christmas, I'll get everything done. Family gatherings will somehow fall into place (having a hard time arranging this year due to everyone's work schedules), and a good time will ultimately be had by all.

Sometimes I am a control freak. I want everything to be just right. I want this to be this way, and that to go that way. I am learning to let go. And just as food is better when cooked by someone else, things are done in wonderful new ways (that I wouldn't have thought of) when I allow others to help.

So, today... I am practicing again. breathe... let it go... breathe... let it go...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tis the season

Christmas is only 9 days away. I can hardly believe that it is upon us so quickly. I still have to mail stuff to my family and finalize my shopping. But I won't freak out! I'll list what I have to do and check it off.

Grocery shopping. Present shopping. Cooking. Baking. Cleaning. Wrapping. Wow. Is this really what this season means anymore?

It will all get done. And I will have a wonderful Christmas, together with my family. All of the chores will be done soon and I will be able to spend time with them. That's more like it... that's what the season is about.

It is so easy in this day and age to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. That's why I *attempt* to be mindful in all things (sometimes I don't quite succeed) so that I can breathe through it and fully appreciate the joy before me.

This is the storm before the calm, as it were. Like the craft show a few weeks ago, all of the prep and the craziness ahead of time. I know that as soon as it begins, I am fine. Nothing that I can do at that point but be present and do what I am there to do. I know this about me, that's how I am.

So, even in the busy-ness, I will be calm, knowing that time is coming.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act." --Anatole France

I have dreams and plans for the coming year. I have spent the last few months searching my soul and deciding exactly where I need to go. My first big plan is to move, and that will happen in February. When I do, I will create a peaceful, inspiring home to exist in.

But 2010 will bring lots more to me than a change of address. I will be exploring photography much more, and putting myself out there more. I've already started this and have a place to hang my work for May. Working on several other months as well. Becoming involved in my local art community is important to me.

I am working on my book, and hope to complete it by the end of the year.

I am rethinking my etsy shop and trying to come to some decisions about it. I am sure that it will evolve as my photography does. I also want to try my hand at leatherbound journals. Kicking it up a notch as Emeril would say :-).

2010 will bring some experimentation with both abstract photography and photography of people, as well as learning new editing techniques.

It is going to be an amazing year! What plans do you have?

Monday, December 14, 2009


As you know, I've been on the journey of a lifetime in recent months. I am becoming more positive, more self confident, more self-aware, more uplifting. All of that has been a wonderful thing. However, those crazy-makers in my life are now going absolutely NUTS!

They want me to stay: depressed, needy, they want me to rely on them to make choices in my life. They want to drive! The crazy makers are finally aware (it takes them awhile because they are so self-absorbed) that I no longer need them. Not only that, that I no longer will tolerate their crazy-making ways. And they are pissed!

I feel like I'm at war right now. And I have to engage to an extent. I will participate in this war enough to defend myself and fight the takeover off. I will try to do as little damage as possible, but as I saw yesterday, the crazymakers are not too ashamed to try to rip my positivity and self-awareness apart.

War is against my core. But it has begun. I will do all that I can to protect ME.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Busy Month

December is always an amazingly busy month. All the last minute shopping, wrapping, putting up the tree, cleaning for company, work parties, family get-togethers. It's no wonder so many adults I know dislike Christmas. It's very hard to remember to breathe.

My plan for the weekend is to go through all the gifts I've bought throughout the year, sort them, and wrap them. That will be a huge task, but perfect for a weekend when freezing rain is in the forecast. I will also be mailing 2 custom orders. Those being on their way for gift-giving will be a huge load off of my mind.

The new year will bring much change for me. I may put my shop on vacation for a period of time in February. I will be moving, and even though it's a local move, I don't think I want to stress over other things while I'm doing it.

Speaking of change in the new year. I am phasing out my handbound journals. They are currently all in my clearance section. They will most likely be replaced with something exciting and new... at some point.

I know that you are all feeling the time crunch. Try to make some special time for yourself. And try to remember to breathe. Make lists, prioritize, delegate, whatever it is that works for you. The holidays are *supposed* to be joyous.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Some days, I really don't have a lot to say. I woke up to a friend's email about heartbreak. And it's nothing I can fix. I can console her. I can offer to tell off the offender. I can offer a band-aid. But I can't fix it.

That used to not be enough for me. I'd go crazy trying to fix all the problems around me. It would send me off into a depression because so many things can't be fixed, and I feel so deeply. But I have learned over time how to isolate those feelings. How to not let them become personal, and not let them affect me physically.

That took me almost 38 years. I'm that kind of stubborn. I can compare myself now to the me of 5 years ago. The change is amazing. And the farther back I go, the more remarkable the change is. Friends that I have now, would not have befriended the Robyn of before. I don't think I would have either. I have come so far.

However, the me of today probably won't be recognized by the me 5 years from now either. Personal growth is changing me and shaping me every single day. And that's a good thing. I hope that change never ceases in my life...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I will be 38 years old this month. I have had my share of disappointment. I've lived, I've loved... I have never shut myself off from feeling, and I have felt the agony and the pain of being disappointed. And I must admit, I have wallowed in it. I have used it as an excuse to build up walls, I've used it to explain to people (quite dramatically) why I have built up walls and have a hardened outer shell.

However, yesterday, I faced some disappointment. And I did none of those things. Initially, it saddened me, but without even thinking, I moved on. Moved into understanding. People can disappoint. But I thought about the why's of it all. And I understand that when people are involved, they are all on their own journey. Perhaps it's simply not time for their paths to cross.

I know I'm being cryptic... but the lesson is what's important. Not the details. Life is good. Sometimes its necessary just to roll with it. And when you can do that... when you are no longer controlled by those negative emotions... then growth has come.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A lightbulb moment

Someone told me one time that if I were looking to buy a Volkswagen Beetle, that's what I would notice everywhere. That particular car would be on my mind, so everywhere I would go, I would see one. Not because I was making them appear, but because I would NOTICE. They were there all along... I was just aware now.

One of the comments on my blog yesterday said something about how positive attracts positive. I have actively tried to move positive into my life, and am working on moving negative out. And now, everywhere I look, I notice positive. I do wonder if it's like the Beetle, though. And I think it is. I think it was most likely there all along. And only now, while I focus on it, do I fully become aware of it's presence.

A lightbulb moment, indeed. What lightbulb moments have you recently had?

Monday, December 7, 2009


The craft show didn't have a lot of traffic. It was very well-advertised, but perhaps the location was not the best. I made enough to cover my table, plus a little. Most of the vendors there also had etsy sites, so it was awesome to get to know them! The craft show gave me a lot of confidence about my work, though, so it was a wonderful thing to have done!

I found out last night that I'm booked for a one month show in a restaurant in downtown Portland starting May 1! I will post more details as it gets closer. This coming week I will be checking out the space and deciding on sizes of prints to hang. It will be a pretty large undertaking for me.

I also woke up to find that my shop is included in a gift site listing on this blog today! I'd love if you could check it out!

Life is pretty amazing. I'm enjoying the forward movement. My plan is to keep the momentum going. Life is good, and I am thankful... gratitude is a constant with me, and I am grateful for so many things. Thankful for readers of my blog and their amazing support. Thankful for a wonderful etsy community, thankful for friends around the world thanks to the internet. Amazingly thankful for my loving, supportive family! Those who are related, and those who aren't.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The future is bright

Last night I did more craft show prep. Double checking everything and finalizing after a half day of work today. The First part of the craft show is this evening from 6 to 9:30. I am excited, nervous, worried, apprehensive... I will be fine once it starts though.

I have been doing a lot of research. Research for freelance work, stock photography, travel photography, and research for my book. In addition to the craft show prep. I always seem to be looking several steps ahead. That used to not work so well for me, because my focus would never be on what's right NOW. But I'm getting to that point where I can give now my attention, and still have plans and thoughts for the future.

Know what I can tell you from all that? The future is bright! There are so many doors open to me, and the ones that aren't open, I most likely already have the key, I just need to use it. Life is absolutely amazing. I do realize we're in a depression. Our economy sucks. If you have not read my post about the economy, I urge you to do so.

Look for those open doors. And the ones that are locked? Search yourself for the key! It's in there!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Take a chance

Man, it's cold outside! Not as cold as in this snow picture from last year, but it seems like it's getting there. I'm ready for the snow. So ready.

Yesterday at work, I listed out all the things I needed to do last night, prioritized them, and estimated how much time each task would take. I went home with over 3 hours of work ahead of me. Somehow that energized me, and I got each item done way faster than I had anticipated. I ran into one snag, but rolled with it and moved on. Tonight will be more of the same.

My craft show is Friday night and Saturday. I will rest on Sunday. I am about 90% ready for the show. And I'm about 95% ready for it to be over! I have had a lot of anxiety about this show. Wondering how my photography will be received in my local area. Wondering if I will make any sales. Wondering if my table display will be adequate. So many questions. And I will find my answers within the next couple of days.

When asked to do this show, my initial response was Yes! Then, however, I freaked out. All of my insecurities bubbled to the surface. I wanted to run, screaming into the hills. Dramatic much? Perhaps. But it's easier to NOT follow our dreams. It's so much easier to pull back into the corner and watch life pass by. I made a choice with this show. Put myself out there. Become an active participant in attaining my dreams.

Setting myself up for disappointment? No, because I'm already involved in this. I am doing the work, and putting myself out there. Rejection is a possibility, I assume. But it's not about that anymore. It's about ME believing in myself enough to dive right in.

Baby steps. This will be one of millions....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Time is something I fight with frequently. I judge myself according to productivity, according to how much I can get done. Last night, I was not very productive. Instead, I did a few things that I've put off forever, and I played with Pandora radio, discovering tons of new music. I danced around the kitchen as I emptied the dishwasher. I looked into Ben Harper's soul. I rediscovered Floater, one of my favorite bands of all time.

I will not judge last night as a failure. I enjoyed it. I breathed. Life is good.

However, with the craft show just a few days away, tonight I will work by a list and get many things accomplished. And I am sure that I will enjoy that as well, because of the breather I got yesterday.

Balance. That's another thing I'm trying to apply. An easy, smooth balance in my life. Between discovering all the joys, and working hard. Relaxation, play... they do not come easy for me. But I am working on that. Ha! Working on relaxing. Seems like an oxymoron. But I'm driven to a fault. I need to learn to relax. I need to rediscover me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time Grew

Last night, I had an amazingly productive evening. I finished many little steps in prep for the craft show. One thing I've noticed about myself (for awhile now) is that I am energetic and very gung-ho... right up until the last couple steps of something. I am productive, more productive than ever, until the end. Then I drop it off... I get bored, I get excited about something else, and I move on.

So, last night, I didn't make a list. I just looked around, at my house in total disarray with pieces for the show everywhere. And I started a box. I packed everything that was ready for the show in that box. I looked at piles. Saw photos that were already bagged that I just needed to seal. Ok. I sealed those and put them in the box. Saw other photos waiting to be matted and bagged. So I did that, and placed them in the box. I had some journals that only need end papers put in. So they are stacked, and ready for me to tackle them today.

An interesting thing happened while I was doing my show prep. I started cleaning up some areas in my house. Not as a distraction, and not taking me away from my productivity... it's like time grew and I had more and more. It was very odd. I feel the main shift comes from all the soul-searching and re-prioritizing that I've been doing.

I know where my focus is, and time is growing for me to do it. Pretty amazing! I hope you discover wonderful, exciting, and surprising things today...

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