I’ve been working my way through The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte slowly but surely. Heavy on the slowly, light on the surely.
It’s a work in progress.
In the meantime I try to at least keep up with her blog and this afternoon I found myself inspired by her most recent burning question asking “what do you suck at?”
When you cop to your shortcomings a number of wonderful things can happen. You become more accessible to the people around you, you invite other people to step up and shine, and you create space for support to come into your life — you actually don’t have to be awesome at everything. Go figure.
-Danielle LaPorte (via WhiteHotTruth)
So what do I suck at?
I suck at death and illness. I’ve been through my fair share of illnesses and funerals, but I’m not typically your go-to support person during these times. I have a disturbingly rational view on mortality and, as a result, I never know what to say. So it’s always - always - painfully awkward for everyone involved.
I have a hard time being interrupted. I hyperfocus on the task at hand and when it’s interrupted by anything – spontaneously or planned – it usually elicits a highly emotional response from me. It’s something my family gives a wide berth, bless their hearts, but it makes me a bear to live with during periods where I’m juggling a lot of projects alongside my responsibilities as a regular human being. Responsibilities like eating … and sleeping … and generally being pleasant company.
I not great at follow-through - and I’m positive that this little nugget is 90% of the reason for the one above. The list of unfinished books and projects, the unreturned phone calls, the unanswered emails – they all serve as a reminder that when I shift my focus I tend to lose interest in the previous project and my backburner becomes so full that it’s more like a backbonfire.
I suck at being silent together. I can forge my way through a lot of tasks every day, in solitude, without saying a single thing. But just as a for instance, if my husband happens to be in the vicinity while I’m watching The Real Housewives of Someplace Somewhere (and trust me, he’s NOT watching the show) I feel the need to pause it at regular intervals and interject commentary and analysis. As if he cares. For some reason the silence between two or more people makes me incredibly anxious.
I’m not good at sharing. I missed that day in preschool, I guess. Maybe it’s because I was the youngest child. Or maybe it’s because I’m not the greatest with the concept of abundance. The bottom line is – do NOT ask to borrow my favorite sweater or try to sneak a french fry off my plate. It’s a good way to wind up on my shit list.
I suck at sports. Pretty much every sport I have attempted. But to be fair – I haven’t played ALL the sports. I’m not exceptionally coordinated. Also I am not a fan of getting injured, which happens frequently if you’re not coordinated. Plus I’m not all that competitive when it comes to games and competitions. You really need to care about the outcome at least a little bit in order to be any good at sports.
I could go on – gardening, accepting compliments, handling surprises, mailing packages, making appointments – I’m readily aware of many of my shortcomings.
The point of the exercise was to acknowledge these areas of suckitude, accept that they’re a part of who I am, and then come around to a place where I’m grateful for all the things that I don’t suck at.
Like I have a crazy amount of respect for other people’s things, because I’m so cautious about sharing my own. And I’m a good person to call when you feel lonely, because I won’t allow any silence between us. And if it’s your task I’m working on – you can rest assured that I’ll need to be dragged away from it kicking and screaming.
So really, some of my greatest strengths are only possible because of the things I suck at.
Doesn’t that just put a lot of things into perspective?
What do you suck at?
If you decide to share your own, let me know!
As many of you may already know, I participated in a design contest back in June where a couple dozen digital artists submitted their designs for consideration by Echo Park Paper Co. I am eternally grateful for all of the people who voted for me in the contest - it’s an embarrassment of riches to have so much support. My heart is full!
The contest wasn’t won on votes, alone, and Echo Park chose designs from another extremely talented designer. Beautiful designs! And while it’s always a little hard to enter a competition and not be the ultimate winner – I don’t even kind of consider it a loss, because I was able to round the entire concept out and turn it into a digital product.
Because my heart belongs to digital, after all. Also, I’m hopeless with paper so I’d probably never have been able to use my own product. And neither would many of you. So it all works out in the end!
Now Available @ The Lilypad
I’m pleased to announce that Scenes From Real Life is now available at The Lilypad as a part of my guest stay there for the month of July. You’ll can save 20% off through Sunday, 7/15/12, and receive my newest template (below) FREE with the purchase of the kit through 7/18/12.
Free With Purchase
I haven’t had much time to sit down and actually scrapbook lately, but I unwound with Photoshop after a hard day yesterday and added the page design to my collection of Flight Plans. Flight Plan No. 18 is also 20% off through the weekend, but you can grab it for FREE when you purchase the kit. Just add both items to your cart and the template will zero out. (As always, if you get a little “click happy” and forget to add it, just contact me and I’ll get you squared away.)
A Little Glimpse Of MY Real (Glamorous) Life
JOURNALING | It’s been happening little by little, really … but it has finally become apparent to me that the days of you worrying about spilling something on yourself are in the distant past. People would have a hard time believing that you’re the same kid that used to change clothes with a speck of dirt, but your new goal seems to be to get as much stuff on your clothes as possible.
MATERIALS | Scenes From Real Life & Flight Plan No. 18
Inspiration from The Flock (and Pollys!)
One Little Bird at The Lilypad?! Frogs and birds, living together? Mass hysteria!
But you should sit back down, take a few deep breaths and gather your wits about you … because this is soooooo happening.
I’m thrilled, overjoyed and (dare I say) SUPER PUMPED to be invading The Lilypad for the month of July as a Guest Designer. The Pad and I have some history together, starting back in 2008 when I shamelessly sucked up to Amy Wolff in a community forum not knowing that she’d read it and ask me to join her creative team. Fast forward a few months and I decided to go for the whole enchilada – a spot on The Lilypad’s Creative Team (otherwise known as The Pollys).
Although I reluctantly gave up my position on that team once One Little Bird became my primary focus, I’ve been extremely fortunate to maintain close ties with some of my old friends at TLP. As a matter of fact, at least half of MY creative team (the Flock) consists of Pollys and Lilypad Designers, past and present. Because when we become friends it’s a lifelong commitment, folks. There’s no getting rid of me.
So frogs and birds have been intermingling all this time. It’s not so scary, see?
Maritime | July BYOC
You can save 20% on these new products (and the rest of the July BYOC products) through Sunday, 7/8/2012. Mix and match your favorites into the summer collaboration of your dreams!
Inspiration From The Flock (And The Pollys!)
This was my birthday present. A new bike.
It’s not a fancy bike … I’m not a fancy bike rider. But it’s my first bike store bike. And it’s so much easier and more comfortable to ride than my previous bike, which was an inexpensive mountain bike type from a big box retailer.
I never really knew what a difference a bike could make in the overall bike riding experience.
I love this bike.
The bike rack has become a semi-permanent fixture on the back of my Jeep now because the new bike is so much lighter I don’t need Tom’s help to get it loaded.
This is actually both of our bikes loaded back up after a 14 mile bike ride on Friday afternoon. Tom’s bike has always been light. My old bike weighed as much as a Volvo.
But now? Have bikes, will travel.
One of the things I love most about the city we live in is the attention that has been paid in recent years to developing the recreational trails throughout the city. An ever-evolving labyrinth of well maintained (and highly trafficked) trails that are making good use of areas that have been under-appreciated for years.
Like the converted railroad bridges that criss-cross the Chippewa River. They freak my mom out, but she’s a trooper.
This particular one pops up at Mile 3 or Mile 6, depending on where you begin. On Sunday this was Mile 6 of a twelve mile ride with my mom. A ride that caused her to return home and tell my father that she thought I might be trying to kill her.
Kill her with beauty, perhaps? Trust me when I say that the only sentiments I heard coming out of her mouth during the bike ride were ones like “This is so beautiful” and “I didn’t even know this was here”. She wasn’t exactly blowing her panic whistle or anything.
Now that I can throw the bikes onto the back of the Jeep on my own, there’s nothing stopping me from forcing Nicholas to ride these trails with me all the time. We can ride around our neighborhood, too, but it’s not as spectacular.
I frequently tell Nicholas that I couldn’t even begin to guess how many miles I put on my bicycle as a kid. I don’t like to exaggerate, but surely it was a gajillion miles. He started off complaining about the bike riding frequency I was proposing, but halfway through last week he was disappointed on a day that it rained all day.
Although when I said “It could still clear up! Don’t count today’s bike ride out yet!” he was very quick to interject “No no .. I saw the radar. It’s going to be raining FOR A WHILE, mom.”
Speaking of the boy…
That’s him with a 20 gauge shotgun in his little arms on his first night of Youth League for sporting clays this past week.
This is his first year, and only his second time shooting a shotgun period. Shooting sports (and hunting) are not my bag, they never have been, but they’re something that my parents are very involved in and would like to share one day with Nicholas. One of his friends at school had participated in this league last year, so we decided to give it a try this year.
His first night didn’t go off without a hitch, but it went far better than I expected. We’re not quite sure if it was the adrenaline rush that accompanies being responsible for a powerful weapon, or the fact that he hadn’t eaten anything but junk food ahead of time, or possibly a combination of both. But he got 3 rounds into his set (hit two of 13 clay pigeons) and then was hit with a sudden wave of nausea and had to let the rest of his squad finish without him.
Frankly I was just happy that he made it as far as he did. He tried this exact same set-up at his Spring Camporee for Boy Scouts last month and was so alarmed by the recoil on the gun that he refused to take another shot. He hit that target, too. So he was 100% for the one shot he took and thoroughly perplexed his Scout Leaders by not wanting to continue.
He might actually be a natural at this, if his stomach cooperates. Hopefully it was just a fluke and didn’t totally kill his desire to finish out the season. He’s not unlike me in that he can get himself all worked up over the mere prospect of feeling sick again.
It has been quite the adventurous kick-off to our summer so far, though. The warm days are in finite supply here in the Northland, so I look forward to what’s in store for the rest of them.
Nights that can’t really be called ‘nights’ anymore because I catch a glimpse of the rising sun reflecting on the metal chair outside my office window.
Nights like these have been happening more frequently for me lately for a variety of reasons. But I know that if it weren’t for nights like these I would never greet a sun rise or hear the birds wake up, because the only time I seem capable of experiencing 5am is when it’s marking the end of my day – not the beginning.
Nights like these mean that the dishwasher got loaded after all. Imagine that. There will be clean dishes today!
Nights like these mean that I get to text my parents to ask if they want to meet up for actual morning pancakes. Not the lunchtime pancakes that I typically make them eat.
Nights like this mean I’ll be able to make it to the Farmer’s Market before all the best things are gone.
Nights like these mean that somebody is grumpy. And he doesn’t want to talk about it.