Monday, October 21, 2013

New Blog

I started a new blog to document my thinking related to my professional career, as well as to document my Slice of Life stories. In Search of Balance will always be a special blog as it was my first blog ever. I could never have imagined how powerful of a role blogging would serve in my life when I started. Now I am consolidating my blogging efforts to weave together my professional passions and reflections as a parent. Please join me over at Read. Write. Think. Grow. as I continue on my journey as an educator and mother.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Revising, Revising, Revising SOLS

My eyes skim and re-skim the lines. Deleting words here, a sentence there, combining here, rewording there. I wonder how I will capture all of my thoughts for this moment at this time in that small 3x4 text box. And yet, I do. I see it lined up next to the other two completed text boxes on the page and notice the other four that are yet to be filled.

I think about how I almost deleted one of the boxes - my happy, cheery, filled with gratitude box from Sunday morning. I know that it did not reflect the swing of emotions that came later in the day with wondering whether or not an offer on our house was going to work out after all right smack in the middle of packing and saying goodbye to the house.

Yet, I left it. It was accurate in the moment and it taught me something as I worked through those emotions in order to step back and keep the big picture in mind. I left it and tried to move forward with the story in the new text box, giving a glimpse into what had happened since typing up my last entry as well as my current perspective.

My One Little Word for 2013 continues to teach me so much, including that once again, my August intention of Nurture Kindness will mean what I thought it would back in January while also taking on a completely new layer. Most importantly, I can see that it will be just what I need as I move forward with this transition.

*And for those of you who have been following our transition slices - we will be moving this weekend and our house IS officially pending!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nurture Movement SOLS & OLW

Nurture Movement
My July OLW intention

I thought it would mean nurturing
walks around the neighborhood
plenty of stroller rides
in the crisp summer morning air

I thought it would be focusing on exercise
blended with time with family

Instead, nurture movement is focusing on moving
Finding a rental
Ordering a stove for the rental
Trying to decide which phone/Internet option to go with
Thinking through in my mind how we will utilize our new space
Wondering whether our house will sell or if we will rent come September
Considering the logistics of not being in our house
Packing, packing, and packing some more
While still nurturing the girls and embracing summer
Trying to schedule some last minute moments with friends in town
Having some aspects of normalcy (piano lessons, swimming, etc.)
In the midst of so much change

Nurturing Movement means
Drawing on all of my other nurture related intentions so far

Nurturing Movement doesn't necessarily
mean what I thought it would mean
And yet, once again, it is just what I need
Right here. Right now.

*We'll be moving in less than 2 weeks now (this weekend we were at a point of two weeks to pack up and two weeks to unpack before I start working again full time)

*I didn't slice the last three weeks, but I had the same post rolling around in my mind that I wanted to capture. Instead it is housed in one of my writer's notebooks, ready to transcend into a digital scrapbooking layout for my oldest daughter. It feels good to be slicing again!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What I Need To Hear Right Now - Slice of Life Story

Last week Cecilia begged me to get the Vacation Bible School CD and reminded me to get it the next day. As I was driving around running errands after dropping them off, I found myself still listening to their CD. Number 8 came on, and it was exactly what I needed to hear, "Don't worry about anything. Instead pray about everything."

Back in January when Ali Edwards prompted me to set a monthly intention related to my One Little Word Nurture as part of her class, I was not completely sure which transitions were in store for our family. At minimum, I knew we would be adjusting to the first full month of summer break with the girls at home and still getting used to our new life with the baby. So back then I set Nurture Transitions as my June intention and wrote, "Carefully observe the impact of transitions and nurture a vision of how I want it to be - a focus on happiness regardless of the circumstances."

Just as earlier on in my March reflections, this intention ended up being just what I need right now; it is turning out to be more perfect than I could have imagined. A message to my future self, letting me know to focus on what is important and to choose happiness.

So I keep reminding myself to take deep breaths, to keep things in perspective, to be grateful for so many things that are going right in my life. I keep trying (some moments more successfully than others) to not think too much about our house that is sitting on the market with hopeful showings but no offers, about how we don't know where we are going to live when we move in a little over a month since we will be renting and won't be able to set something up until closer to our moving date, about what our new life will be like...

Sunday, when I came back from the store with all of the items we needed to pack the girls' buckets for Girl Scout Camp, Cecilia asked, "When are we going to make that cushion?" Right, that cushion to add padding for when the storage buckets double as seats. Yesterday morning as I drove to JoAnn's to buy supplies for the last minute DIY project, I turned on the CD and clicked forward to Number 8. I needed to hear that message amidst the swirl of activity and uncertainties and transitions.

And yet, as I neared JoAnn's I realized that shortly after the opening lines my mind had drifted to our house and whether we will have an offer before we move or whether we will need to figure out the logistics of renting... I clicked it back to the start of the song again as I pulled into a parking space and again as I drove home.

Yes, I need to hear those words right now over and over. I need to hear the words I wrote to myself, setting an intention for the year. I constantly need to make myself step back and refocus, to enjoy the people in my life and all that is around me, to think about how my current anxieties won't be permanent and that they pale in comparison to what many people in the world are facing right now.

"Don't worry about anything. Instead pray about everything."

Choose happiness.

What words do you need to hear right now?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hello Story at Big Picture Classes Giveaway

Congratulations Beverly. You won the spot in Ali Edwards' class. Enjoy!

What perfect timing - I am set to retire and there are so many stories just bursting to be told. Would love to win a spot.
Bev at

I first heard about Ali Edwards on the Two Writing Teachers blog as Stacey and Ruth talked about her concept of One Little Word. Eventually I started to regularly read her blog and register for her classes (such as One Little Word and 31 Things at Big Picture Classes and Storyology on her site). I was drawn to her perspective on documenting everyday life authentically. Her posts and classes align well with the focus of Slice of Life Stories at Two Writing Teachers.

Over time, Ali has greatly influenced the way that I scrapbook as she helped me to see how two of my interests, participating in the Slice of Life Story community and scrapbooking, could come together. Now, I intentionally focus more on documenting the stories with bigger chunks of text and photos, rather than mainly photos with headings and brief explanations. Often her blog posts provide inspiration for slice ideas that can also be incorporated into my scrapbooks.

This summer Ali will teach Hello Story at Big Picture Classes as one of the 4 Experts for the year. Since I have been excited for it ever since I heard about it last fall, I signed up for Hello Story as soon as I heard it was open for registration. I am pleased to announce that I am hosting a giveaway for a spot in Ali's class. I think it would be especially perfect for members of the Slice of Life Story community because of the natural complement.

You can read more about Ali's class below. For a chance to win, leave a comment that includes your name and an email address to contact you in case you win. I will be announcing the randomly selected winner on Saturday, June 22nd.

Hello Story

12 weeks of creative storytelling techniques with Ali Edwards
7/8/2013-9/29/2013 $99

Class Description:
What's your story? This summer, say hello to a dozen fun strategies for sharing more of your words, and more of yourself, on your scrapbook pages.

In her new 12-week workshop, Hello Story, Ali Edwards will introduce you to 12 storytelling techniques—never-before-seen in her prior journaling workshops—that will bring creativity and clarity to both your writing and your page designs. Every week, you get to sit over Ali's shoulder and watch her transform her story ideas into timeless, authentic, story-rich scrapbook pages.

Through dozens of in-depth videos that cover storytelling and design ideas as well as 36+ exclusive layout examples from Ali (12" x 12" and 8 1/2" x 11" layouts, plus Project Life inserts), Hello Story will inspire you to take action and give you the tools you need to tell your own stories with confidence. 

Are you ready to discover (or rediscover) the fun that comes from the interplay of design and words? By the end of class, you may even enjoy the writing process just as much as you love taking photos and playing with paint and paper!

You can also see a video of Stacy Julian of Big Picture Classes talking about Hello Story and an excerpt from one of Ali’s class videos.

New to Big Picture Classes? Learn more here

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cake - Slice of Life Story

"Just a minute. I have to go get the candles," I said.

"I already did it," Diana replied.

I looked at the cake and noticed she had in quite a creative way. The 7 candle that Alice chose was in the center while the 7 individual candles that I selected were around it in a circle tilted out. I lit the number candle from our gas stovetop and used it to light the rest.

"I don't want wax all over my cake," Manuel said, but it was in vain because as I continued lighting the wax continued spilling.

We stood around the table: Diana, Alice, Manuel, my mother in law, and I. We started to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish - the Feliz Cumpleaños translated version, not the traditional mañanitas.

When we finished Diana said she was going to choose a different wish this time, different than the wish she did just a day before as she celebrated with her cousins, aunt, uncle, and grandparents with the special cake that Grandpa bought for her.

"I want you to push my face in," she had said before we got started the day before. I had told her that we wouldn't, not wanting to ruin the cake because it was "too small" for that. It didn't matter that a day later her cake was even smaller. She asked once again if we could please push her face in.

And so, after she finished blowing out her candles, taking them off, and picking off the wax spots, I started the chant, "¡Qué lo muerda!" She leaned down to take her traditional first bite. Manuel lightly pushed her head in and she came up, but she wasn't satisfied. She had just seen her prima with her face covered in frosting at her birthday party about a week ago. She doesn't realize things like different types of frosting making a difference.

She put her own face back into the frosting until she could come back up with some stuck to her face and a big smile of course. The whole center of the cake was caved in.

"Eww," said Manuel. It didn't look that appetizing anymore to either of us, but I cut some pieces from around the edges for us. As for the girls, they didn't care.

My girls are growing up with some traditions that I had never heard of when I was there age - a blend of the known and unknown as they grow up bicultural.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Home Again - Slice of Life Story

9 days back at home - a mixture of whirls of activity and time to relax, time to celebrate big occasions (birthdays, a graduation, and a wedding) and time to savor the everyday ordinary. Summer vacation means there is more flexibility in our schedule, or I guess flexibility within the context of navigating life with a newborn once again. We are enjoying time with my parents and extended family on both sides.

With 6 more days, here are some activities we are looking forward to. Of course we might not do them all, but here are potential ideas:

  • Go see the animals at the biggest, annual event that the rural community where I grew up hosts each year
  • Watch Epic at the movies
  • Visit parks in two communities
  • Go to the library
  • Spend time with cousins
  • Go fishing with an older cousin (for the first time)
  • And so much more that I would be able to write about if the baby was not crying from the other room