Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How does one leave a legacy?

What’s in a legacy? And how does one go about leaving such a thing?

Last weekend, my cute mom mentioned that she doesn’t know if she’s created any kind of legacy for herself. Of course, this is nonsense because she’s amazing in every way, but it’s a valid question. She’s naturally dealing with issues related to her own mortality right now, and these are the kinds of questions that are going through her sweet head.

My mom’s question and other recent developments have got me thinking…what counts as a legacy? Have I left one? If I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow (knock on wood), would there be anything left that would count as my “legacy?” I dunno.

If the answer is “no,” then what would I need to do to change that answer? I don’t have lots of money to donate to a college. I don’t have the cure for leprosy. Is it things of this nature that count as a legacy, or is it simpler than that?

My mom says that we, her children, are her legacy. (I love you, Mom.) I don’t have children. I have dogs. Do they count? What about my work? Is it something I’ll be remembered for long after I’m gone? Or is it my Barbie collection that’s going to leave my imprint in the history books? Doubtful.

Shoot. I don’t mean to depress. These are just some of the questions on my mind as of late, and I thought that perhaps you could help shed some light on the subject. What’s in a legacy and how do I go about creating such a thing for myself? I want to make the most of my time on this earth, and there’s no time like the present to start living.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's hit

It just hit me. And I sit here, sobbing. I don’t know why, but bad news always takes a while to sink in. Well, it’s in, and I’m sad.

Simple Scrapbooks, the magazine I worked on for the better part of a year, is going away.

They made the announcement yesterday at the office. It was a bad day.

I know I chose to leave the magazine a little over a month ago, but it was not because I didn’t love the publication. As wonderful as my new job is, and as much as I love the new magazine I’m a part of, there’s a part of my creative heart that will always be with Simple.

I know that change is inevitable. I know that times are tough. I know that no good thing can last forever. What I don’t know is how to connect that knowledge in my brain with the feelings in my heart. I’ve tried chocolate. I’ve tried pep talks. I’ve tried watching silly TV shows. It’s not working. I’m still sad. I’m sure time will help, but…for now…I’m going to be sad.

I {heart} you, Simple! Thanks for helping me grow, both professionally and personally. You will be deeply missed!

Here are some picturse of my good times with Simple. It was more than a magazine; it was a happy family!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Card Group Creations

As I mentioned in my last post, I belong to a fun card group. We met last weekend to exchange thank-you cards. (I’m already putting some of mine to good use, thanking people for their great Christmas gifts.)

Here's the group (most of us). We're putting our creativity to work making paper crafted calendars. Thanks for the fun activity, PK!

This group is super talented. With their permission, I’m going to share some of their cards with you. Enjoy!

Group director, sassy P. Kelly, created this fluttering card. It doesn’t show in this photo, but the butterfly has delicate glittery details. Very pretty!

Jennifer was kind enough to host our little gala at her home. (Thanks, Jennifer.) This is the card she created. I love the colors she used!

Jennifer’s friend (and now my friend) Tracy is new to the group, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her great card. Isn’t her color combination fun? And you should have seen her go when it came time to create our calendars. She's a natural.

I’ve always been a fan of Brandy’s creative style, and this card is no exception. I adore her paper flower. It even has velvet ribbon leaves. Beautiful!

Brandy’s friend (and now my friend) Sara made this bold bloom greeting. Isn’t the large flower a happy addition?

Beth’s design says thanks in many languages. She started her design on Wordle but had trouble printing it, so she re-created it in Word. She's a Word wiz, I tell ya!

Talent runs in the family. Susan (Beth's sister) created this lively number—a fun combination of animal print and bling!

Our group is made up of 11 crafty chicas. Unfortunately, three were unable to attend. I’ll have to give you a glimpse of their styles next month. Until then, I hope these awesome designs have your creative wheels turning!
Also, if you're in a crafting group of any sort, whether it's online or at a store, and whether you're making cards or quilting up a storm, I'd love to hear about it. Our group is new, and we welcome any advice for making it successful. Thanks!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting All My Owls in a Row

Last night I had the pleasure of joining a bunch of super creative gals for our monthly card group. This time is spent exchanging handmade cards, eating tasty snacks and creating a project. But, more on the details in my next post, including pictures of all of the wonderful cards exchanged. Until then, I’ll tell you a bit about the card I made to exchange.

Our card group theme this month was thank-you cards, so I made a “Thanks for Giving a Hoot” card, inspired by this Pottery Barn Kids stuffed animal:

Isn't he cute?! If I didn't share my bed with an incredibly handsome man, I'd be all over this bedroom set!

Wanting to capture the playfulness of this leggy owl, I reached for my yarn and braided long legs for each of my stamped hoots.

First, I knotted the top of three pieces of yarn:

Next, I punched holes where I wanted my legs to go:

I continued by inserting the knot end of yarn through the holes and sticking them down with tape (on the back). By securing my yarn to something, it was easier to braid.

Once the legs were braided, I knotted the bottom end and trimmed off the excess yarn.

Finally, I perched my owl up in a tree where his legs could dangle.

And, here’s the pink version of the same card:

And, here's the one with the longest legs in the bunch (nothing wrong with long legs, after all): ;)
Thanks for giving a hoot!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Because there IS something we can do.

Mom starts her chemotherapy today. This is a hard thing for so many reasons, but it’s necessary. It kills the cancer. That’s what we want. Unfortunately, it kills some other things along with the cancer, which is why hair can fall out as a result.

One of the worst parts of watching a loved one go through this ordeal is the feeling of helplessness that follows. Sure, I try and do research so I’m as educated as a layman can be on the topic. I call Mom and talk to her on a regular basis. And I go to some of the doc visits. But the reality is I can’t do a whole heck of a lot.

Locks of Love is something I can do.

My cute friend Wendy Smedley suggested the idea. Unfortunately, her mother has also had breast cancer, so she can relate firsthand to the pain, frustration and fear I’m experiencing. Feeling my pain (she’s one of the strongest feelers I know), she made this suggestion, and it was just what I needed. So, we’re donating our hair, as is our friend Angie Lucas, yet another woman who has a female family member with breast cancer (who also happens to be in treatment right now).

Why Locks of Love?
It gives wigs to underprivileged children who’ve lost their hair due to a medical condition. Since there’s a chance Mom’s hair is going to fall out, I feel I might as well lose some hair along with her, especially if it’s for a wonderful cause. (*Gulp* I've never been a big fan of short-hair Meg, but I'm definitely a fan of Mom, so short-hair Meg it will be. Sorry, Cor.)

Some of the details:
Your hair has to be in a ponytail, and that ponytail has to be at least 10” long from tip to tip.
Colored hair is okay (as long as it hasn’t been bleached).
Layered hair is okay (as long as the longest layer is 10”).
Men can donate, but the same length rules apply.
Curly hair can be pulled straight to reach the 10” mark.
For more, check out the organization’s website (linked above).

What next?
Angie, Wendy and I need to grow our ponies. As you can see, as measured from the nape of the neck, I’m at 8", Wendy’s at about 5" and Angie’s at 6.5", so we all have a ways to go before we can make the cut. Plus, I don’t think any of us want super short haircuts, so we’re all shooting for about 12" of hair (it will give us each a bit of a bob, at least).

Me on measure-in day. I've got about 2"-4" to go before I make the cut.

Wendy on measure-in day. She's got about 4.5"-6.5" to go before she makes the cut!

Angie on measure-in day. She's got about 3"-5" to go before she makes the cut.

You can help.
Do you want to donate your own beautiful hair? If so, we’d love to have you join us in this cause.

Just leave a comment on this here blog, saying that you’re in. You can also mention the name of the person you'd be doing it for, if you do desire. If you have a blog of your own, it would be fun if you made a kick-off post of your own, complete with a measurement photo showing your starting point.

Please know that there’s absolutely no pressure to do this. If it’s not something you can commit to, you can show your support through words of encouragement and prayers for those out there who have cancer (or any other hardship for that matter), which is just as important as any donation.

On Facebook
I’ve started a group on Facebook called Locks of Love: Because there is something we can do to help. If you’re on the book, I hope you’ll join. If you plan on donating hair, you can post pics of your progress and your big cut. If you’re donating your support as a cheerleader, you can join to cheer us on as we work to get to the big cut. Either way, I hope to “see” you there. Angie, Wendy and I will be updating you on our progress and posting pics as we go.
Read all about it.
Wendy and Angie will also be blogging on this topic. Wendy will post on her personal blog (a super cute place to visit, BTW) and Angie will make mention on the always entertaining Simple Scrapbooks magazine blog (which is also a great place to go for lots o' giveaways).
Together we’ll spread the word and share the hairy love! :) I hope you'll join us on our journey.

I love you, Mom. You’re going to get through this, and if that means a little hair loss, so be it. Hair’s overrated anyway.

P.S. I also want to mention two wonderful people who’ve already made the cut:

My sweet niece, Katie. (She was only six years old when she decided that she wanted to do this. Yes, it was all her idea. Her mom is a leukemia survivor who also happens to be my beautiful sis-in-law. Love you, Bina!)

My cute friend, Jen Wozab. She has a pretty ponytail of hair (that she lovingly calls her rattail) already bagged up and ready to go. WTG, Jen! Doesn't she look cute with her short do?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Realistic Resolutions

Year after year, I find myself making resolutions that I undoubtedly end up abandoning about a month in. So, this year, rather than set myself up for failure, I’ve decided that honesty is the best policy. These are my anti-resolution resolutions for 2009:

1. Be Less Active: Improving my fitness tops my list of resolutions just about every year, but I keep gaining weight and adding to my muffin top squish, only to feel bad about my enormous failure (pun intended). Not this year. No ma’am. This year I’m going to embrace my lethargic ways. Okay, I’m not going to just let myself go, but I’m not going to beat myself up for taking a nap after a long day of work when I should be hopping on my elliptical.

2. Eat Worse: So, this may be a bit extreme, but it’s my way of saying I’m not going to start a diet I can’t stick to. I’m not going to go out and stuff my face, but I am going to enjoy my tasty snacks without feeling overwhelming guilt. After all, life’s too short to go without funnel cake.

3. Embrace My Bad Habits: The nail biting. The excessive gum chewing. Eating dinner in front of the TV on my comfy couch. All things I promise myself I’m going to take care of each January. Well, not this year. In fact, as I write this, I’m chewing a mouth full of delicious Double Bubble, while watching TV on my comfy couch! Take that Resolution Rulers!

4. Forget About My Body: No, not really, but I am going to stress less. I tend to be one of those people who freaks out over each new bump on my skin (it must be skin cancer), only to find out that it’s just a pimple. (Yes, I know I’m too old for pimples, but that seems to be a cruel trick life wants to play on me. Of course, with burns like this in my past, maybe I have good reason to be concerned.) In other words, I’m going to spend less time stressing. Lord knows it’s that stress that’s doing my body the real harm in the first place.

5. Throw My Money Away: Nah. I’d like to think I’m smarter than that, but I’m doing away with the resolution to be better with my money. I have a savings account. I donate to charities. I contribute to my 401k on a regular basis. If you ask me, that’s being wise with the cash. So, if I feel like buying a sweater I don’t really need or I get the urge to make a Wendover run (small gambling town on the UT/NV border), by gosh, I’m going to do it. I work hard, and I deserve it!

6. Waste More Time: I like a mean game of Guitar Hero. I enjoy blowing my evening on a good blog hop (reading your blogs always makes me happy). And I take joy in throwing away precious minutes (sometimes hours) wandering the aisles of my local Target. So sue me. Sure, there are better things I should be doing with my time, like reading up on world issues or donating my blood, but I believe it's the “wasted” moments that make a busy life balanced.

7. Mess Up My House: Well, this one isn’t really possible, as I don’t think my home could be any dirtier, but I’m going to start off this year with the idea that this is okay. It shows that my home is lived in and enjoyed, and it doesn’t get much better than that, now does it?

If there’s anything my hardships in 2008 have taught me, it’s that life’s fragile. There’s no sense in dwelling on the shouldas, the couldas and the wouldas. Instead, we should recognize the great people we are, despite the things we should be doing. We’re only human after all, and we’re just doing what we can to survive, which seems pretty admirable to me. So, this year I’m taking my usual resolutions—the ones I rarely keep and then feel lousy about blowing—and I’m stuffing them. I hope this blog post will help you do the same and motivate you to make a resolution worth keeping: LOVE WHO YOU ARE!

Happy 2009!