Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

The Parable of the [Movie] Transformation

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Tonight I opted to turn off a show instead of watching it. The show wasn’t bad; I just knew I could do something more constructive with my time. (I was tempted to watch a show because I’ve been under the weather without much energy to participate in other activities. I’m finally starting to feel better, though!) As I reflected this evening on that decision, I felt a sense of renewal and growth—a sense of putting off the everyday man for the hope of the eternal. And I wished for an instant that I were a professional photographer who could visually represent that feeling by capturing a young woman standing on a rock in a river, having just stepped out of the water—leaving a heavy coat of the world behind—and standing tall on the rock with a stream of light pouring upon her in a light, clean dress. Then I remembered I’ve seen that image many times before.

It’s Ariel when she bursts from the water as a human princess instead of a mermaid. It’s the Beast when he sheds his animal appearance for his human royalty. It’s Mrs. Potts and Chip as they transform into humans and run to each other’s arms. It’s a sense of renewal, of growth, and of becoming one’s true self. In the movies, this transformation is depicted as a one-time milestone. Yet tonight I remembered that it’s a daily occurrence. It’s the conscious decision to “put off the natural man” and live as a beacon of hope and light in a world filled with despair. But more than serving as a beacon for others, it’s a transformation that serves each of us personally first. It’s the decision to become one’s true self. And in becoming one’s true self, one can’t help but serve others.

Daily Creation

Today I downloaded MP3s of CES fireside archives so I can listen to them more frequently. These firesides are addressed to young adults ages 18–30, when they’re making many decisions that will shape their future (of course, I believe that’s true of any age). For me, listening to these firesides is like drinking a glass of water on a day spent working in the sun. It’s refreshing and gives you the strength to withstand the heat.

Today I created a playlist that’s good for the soul.

P.S. Why the “Daily Creation” section? It’s a new goal of mine. More to come about it in the near future.

Small and Simple Means

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Sometimes we make goals harder than they need to be. Small goals are great, too. Take my experience on Monday for instance, when I was in the middle of a workout and made a goal to continue exercising until the timer reached 23 minutes. I looked at the panel only to realize it did not show 22:15 minutes like I thought it would,* but rather 19:59. I’d eaten too many sweets that morning, so 23 minutes seemed like an eternity away. But I made it. In fact, I was so thrilled about reaching my goal without falling off the exercise machine that I decided to go even longer—until 40 minutes, in fact. Making it to 23 minutes—that’s a great goal. Making it to 40 minutes—that felt even better.

* Yes, my lofty goal was 45 more seconds. But to my credit, I was fighting off a cold and was more tired than normal.

From M.E. to me

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

The Parable of the Girl Who Decided to Reclaim Her Life

This WillowTree is called "Happiness," with the caption "free to sing, laugh, dance . . . create!" It has always inspired me.

This WillowTree statue is called "Happiness," with the caption "free to sing, laugh, dance . . . create!" It has always inspired me.

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who loved to edit (much to the dismay of her middle-school and high-school peers who thought she used too much red pencil when peer editing their papers, thank you very much). When the girl went to college, she decided editing would be just the ticket for her (and she was right—she loves it). During a business class, she met the founding editor of Creating Keepsakes magazine. She knew immediately the company would be the perfect place for her and hoped to one day find a home there.

Shortly after graduating, she applied for a position at the magazine. Heavenly Father blessed her very much, and she was able to obtain the job. A year later, she was promoted, and she was very grateful. A little while later, she was promoted again and then again. The girl felt very blessed and humbled with each change. She’d dreamed of going to the moon, and she found she’d been able to travel through an entire galaxy—what an incredible ride.

Then one day the girl realized her world had changed a little. She’d always dreamed of being a girl with many adventures, one of which was working for the magazine. With each promotion, she viewed the change as a great step in her grand adventure and didn’t mind working more hours because she enjoyed her job. With her great love for the magazine, she soon developed a habit of working way too many overtime hours each week, and she didn’t have time for many other adventures anymore. The girl wanted adventures and wanted to keep in better touch with the people who mean so much to her, so she realized she needed a change—one where she could still fulfill her dream of working for the magazine but where she would also have time to pursue other dreams (and get a little more sleep at night).

She made the decision to apply for a new position where she would have more time to be with her family and friends, develop new talents, play in the sun, and explore the kingdom. At first she was worried people may think she made a bad decision in her career by stepping away from her current job, but she knew the change felt right, and so she decided not to worry anymore. To her delight, she received the job offer. She couldn’t wait to begin a new adventure and reclaim her grand adventure, and she smiled ever time she thought about the change and the new job.

Now her story begins again, once upon a time. . . .


It’s true: after 3.5 incredible years of working as the managing editor for Creating Keepsakes magazine, I’m making a change. It’s time to reclaim my life in full, and I’m excited for what’s coming. I’ll still be at CK (of course!), but starting tomorrow it’s time to go from M.E. (managing editor at the magazine) to me (plain and simple me who happens to have an extremely cool job of senior online editor for Creating Keepsakes). Wish me luck on my new adventure and the many more that are soon to come as a result. :)

The Parable of the Ten-Minute Layout

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Ten-Minute Layout

On Wednesday, I challenged myself to create a layout in just ten minutes, following these five parameters:
* I had five minutes to gather products before the clock started for the ten-minute period.
* The layout needed places for photos, but I couldn’t add the photos until afterward. In fact, I couldn’t base the layout on any specific photos.
* The layout needed to contain at least one embellishment.
* The pages should be primarily made of cardstock or paper.
* There must be room for a title and for journaling.

The layout above was the result. Granted, I did adhere the ribbon and orange blocks after the ten minutes were up, but I feel like this was a good start. I still needed to add the photos, which would then allow me to create the title and journaling. For spending only ten minutes, though, I was pleased with the result. Here are a few lessons I learned:

1. Ten-minute pushes have incredible power. The next time you have a task to do, set the timer and pretend you only have ten minutes to finish. You may not be completely done after the ten minutes, but I guarantee you’ll be much further along than you would have been had you not pushed a ten-minute time frame. Without my challenge, I’m sure I would still be looking through my papers after ten minutes—or even after twenty minutes.

2. Sometimes it’s okay to have a vision and a goal without knowing what the road you’ll take to get there actually looks like. My goal for this challenge was to have a nearly complete layout and to enjoy some creative play. I had no clue what cardstock colors or design arrangement would help me reach that goal, but I knew the parameters I’d set would produce the finished result.

3. It’s okay to be “good enough” on certain tasks. That’s a painful sentence for perfectionists. I could have spent hours creating a layout with perfect alignment and balance, or I could create a page today that’s done and is still “good enough.” I think we need to make choices between “good enough” and “perfected details” on the projects on our to-do lists. This Saturday, making an only “good enough” lunch or completing a “good enough” workout will give me extra time to iron out the details on a slideshow I’m creating. Next Saturday, I may decide that a “perfected detail” workout is just what I’ll need. In prioritizing, we need to remember that sometimes “good enough” is good enough.

Are you ready for a challenge?
Find an item on your to-do list and try to complete it in just ten minutes. See how much you get done! If you’re a scrapbooker, create a ten-minute layout like I did and then send me a link to your post when you’re done—I’d love to see your work.


Here’s the nearly finished layout. I still need to print my pics and then add the stitching around them and in a couple other spots on the layout. But this provides the direction I’m going after another ten minutes.

Backyard Swing

The Parable of the Spider on the Car Window

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

When I hopped in my car this morning to head to a book club, I noticed a tiny spider on my driver-side windowsill. I assumed he would blow off when I started driving, as most spiders usually do. Every so often, I looked to see if he was still there, which he was. When I stopped at a stoplight, he started to move for the first time since I hopped in my car. The stoplight turned green, and as I took off, he stopped moving. The more I stopped for red lights, the more I noticed this pattern: when the car moved, the spider braced himself so he could remain on the windowsill as the air rushed by; when the car stopped, he took the opportunity to roam—only to brace himself when the car began to move again.

I am inspired by the courage of this spider. Rather than letting the winds of life blow him away, he held fast when his circumstances grew difficult. As life eased up momentarily, he moved forward and explored. He never let the winds get to him. (Well, perhaps he was complaining in his thoughts, but I pictured this hero holding on and thinking, “I can do this.”)

I became even more inspired by the spider as my drive progressed. After numerous times of simply holding on when the car moved, he developed additional courage, willpower, and knowledge. He slowly started to move even when the car moved. After each stoplight, he moved a little more on the next segment of my drive. And when he started to move toward the top of my window (which I didn’t want him near in case he found a way inside), I rolled my window down slightly. Each time I did, he moved back toward the windowsill, where I think he knew was the safest spot to be when the car moved. I love that he returned to his place of safety when his terrain began to shift.

I learned a lot from this little spider. He reminded me that when life becomes difficult, we don’t always have to plow forward at the same speed we’d been moving during more comfortable times. If we are tempted to lose hope, we can instead brace ourselves or return to our places of safe foundation (be they spiritual, emotional, etc.), grounding ourselves so we can at least hold on even if we don’t feel like doing so. (I was going to write “even when we don’t feel like we can,” but then I realized this spider must have believed he could hold on; otherwise, he wouldn’t have tried. Faith in ourselves, he showed, is part of developing courage to move forward during adversity.) Once we learn how to hold fast in the spot we’re in, we can start moving forward through our adversity a little bit at a time, just as this spider did. Eventually, we’ll see how we can move forward even when the metaphorical car we’re riding on may be moving faster than we’d like.

When our life experiences seem to be too much to handle, we can remember the example of this spider:
1. Take courage to not let tough winds blow us away.
2. Fortify or brace ourselves in principles and places of safety.
3. Learn to move forward one small step at a time.
As we develop courage one step at a time, we’ll be better strengthened to handle even fiercer winds ahead. The top speed on my drive this morning was only around 40 mph, but I have a feeling that had I traveled to the freeway, this little spider would have found a way to hold on.