I’ve written in a journal/diary since I was a tiny 9-year-old home schooler in East Tennessee and my mother assigned that activity as part of my everyday school work. Which, as an aside, I have to say THANKS MA!! I’m so glad you did! (Man, I was rocking that pink/red sweatsuit combo! )
I have 10+ little books mostly filled with silly everyday happenings and dramas (the teen years) and emotional outpourings that are hilarious. From age 9 to now I’ve always had a journal. I’d take months off from writing, but I’d always come back, marvelling over how much things had changed since the last entry. There were years that the journals were highly decorated, to the point they were difficult to shut! Other years I would leave them plain and bare as a tribute to the emotional desolation and definite encroaching maturity that was changing me each day so much so that people couldn’t possibly understand or recognize me when I went to school the next day. (oh gah, the angst!)
For the most part though, I would decorate them, draw, doodle, glue, cut, paint, even sew into them. I still do, I love to snip things from Magazines and beautiful scraps of paper and glue them in, it brings back memories, where I was when I cut out that bit of paper.
Recently I’ve taken great inspiration from a few fantastic makers on Instagram that focus on journals and snail mail:
A Paper Addict who focuses on wax and ink stamping, artwork and journaling, located in Portugal. Her desk photos will make you crave the smell of old books, dried flowers, and ink. Absolutely stunning.
Beautiful handmade and bespoke stationery, she inspires me so much! I love her vintage travel feel and her resourcefulness in recycling cut outs, envelopes and other bits and pieces.
Beautifully framed collection photos of anything having to do with craft journaling. Stamps, feathers, flowers and plants, natural light, polaroids, and watercolours. Makes me want to sit down right now and dress up my journal.
Check them out! Give them a follow! Inspiration guaranteed.
Love you guys, you got this! <3
Wow it has been a little while, hasn't it?! I missed you!
Life is crazy amazing and fast, so very fast. I love it. Right, straight in like the new kid in school who wears brightly colored Hawaiian shirts and has braces (he's honestly the coolest anyway)
I was speaking to my therapist recently,(everyone should have one as lovely as mine!) and she said "Ah, so you are a risk taker!", I stopped short... "Am I?" I thought to myself. "Yeah... YEAH! I suppose I am!" I was really happy to discover that.
For those of you that know me and my life story so far you might think to yourself "Um, yeah, you moved countries, honey." and I agree, that was the biggest risk that I've taken to date and it turned out great! I'm very fortunate that this was my experience, it could have turned out very differently.
I guess I'd only thought of risk takers as the people who do dare-devil stunts on motorbikes, sky dive, casually toss around massive amounts of money in poker games, leave town with no where to go and don't tell anyone where they are going. I've never been those things! I am kind of a wimp when it comes to adrenaline activities, even my Grandmother bested me there when she went skydiving for her 86th birthday! Shes a legend. I've always worried about how my actions might affect other people, I guess that come from being the oldest and "Moms little helper" in a family with 5 kids.
But I AM a risk taker, small ones generally, but I do take them!
Big risks I have taken: I moved countries, I left my job this year with no plans, I moved to a massive city, I then moved to a tiny village, I buy plane tickets like its a £12 t-shirt and a medium will probably... maybe fit. We'll see when it arrives. I've always been the type of girl to fall in love hard and fast because its fun, I trust my intuition, and I'm not afraid of being hurt
Little risks I take every day: I start making lunch by going through the fridge and thinking to myself "this might taste good together" then I make it and eat it regardless. (Lucky for me I am not a picky eater) I do craft projects with no idea if I've got enough material, I don't use patterns for 90% of the stuff I make and the stuff I do use patterns for I make the patterns myself. I leave plants growing in my garden that might be weeds because I like the way the leaves look and they might grow me food.
The point to all this is: I don't expect things to turn out a certain way. I rely on my instincts, I briefly consider the consequences and how that might affect me and my friends/family, I trust God to guide me because I'm constantly asking Him to do so. Every risk I take is more about the journey than the destination. I want to be on that journey! If something goes wrong and I run out of material I'll just problem solve and create something more unique than I'd imagined. If I don't like the lunch I made then I'll learn for next time but to get through this plate of tuna/pickle/cheese/toast I'll just switch on Netflix and chomp away. (Actually that sounds good... I know what I'm having for lunch!). I fail, I really do and sometimes spectacularly... but so what?
I trust myself. I trust my judgement. I trust God. I am not afraid of failure. But honestly it has taken me a long time to get that way.
My questions for you are:
1. What do you expect to happen. What if it didn't? Would it be the end of the world? Work on your expectations.
2. Are you excited about your journey? Not simply satisfied... EXCITED!!!
3. How can you take just a tiny risk today? Order something from your favorite coffee place that you've never had before. If you don't like it.... you know now... but what if it became you're new favorite thing!? Yay for Cardamom lattes with Coconut Milk!!!
I love you, you got this.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
It sounds great to be a Jack until you add that little nagging tag-on “King of none.” Then what?
What do you think? What do you consider yourself to be? I’m definitely a Jack. I’ll try my hand at most things and they generally turn out okay, sometimes more than okay, sometimes awesome!! Sometimes terrible… but I take it as a learning experience in those (many) cases. There is that little niggling doubt, nurtured by society, that if you aren’t “King” that you couldn’t possibly be very good. Does anyone even know any true Kings?
Being a Jack does make it difficult to describe what you do in a succinct fashion: “I sing soprano”, “I’m a crafter”, “I cook”, etc. doesn’t go far enough. Someone else might also say “I cook” and they make incredible cinnamon buns while my favourite thing to make is soup. Such a different set of skills! Additionally, some folks love a good cinnamon bun but could do without eating soup for the rest of their lives (SHOCK! HORROR!!) Demand for those skills and products that are tucked far away from the general understanding of a skill varies wildly. When I say “I sing soprano” what I might mean is that I can imitate the mice in the movie “Babe” or it might mean that I can shatter widows with my stratospheric sonic spears of super C’s(under the correct controlled circumstances of course).
I’m not sure I’d every be happy being “King” of one thing. The absolute best at one thing. Sure, it would feel great for a while, but then wouldn’t you get a bit bored? Maybe not, maybe I’m just that distractible. Alternately, I think being the King of something would be quite stressful. Like the King of Country, the King of Calligraphy, the King of Corn on the Cob…would they be allowed to venture outside their realms of rule if they wanted to? Would the results of this rebellion be received with respect? (Oh I do adore appropriately applied alliteration!)
I greatly admire people who are extremely good at their specific craft. I think it means you’ve found that one thing you can’t live without doing every day. That is wonderful! Until I find my one thing to be King at I’m going to try everything and probably many times each. Maybe I’ve already found my thing? I don’t care! I’m a Jack for life!
Love you guys. You’ve got this. <3
We’ve moved this summer from bustling, rushing, social London to slower paced, quiet, green Village life. Until we left London I didn’t realize how much of a difference it would be. Of course I knew it would be different, I’ve lived in the countryside for most of my life in the States, I just hadn’t planned on the vast amount of difference! And I FINALLY HAVE A GARDEN!!
I am slowly getting used to waving and saying hello to your neighbors instead of passing on the stairs and nodding with minimal eye contact and a possible “lo” just in case. You don’t want people to think you are unfriendly but you must not intrude into personal lives unless specifically invited. I am notoriously terrible at remembering names but I am making a concerted effort out here! Before we moved in, one set of neighbors knew from another set of neighbors that we were musicians! I know to some it sounds like a nightmare but I am loving every second of it! Give me all the community you’ve got!!
Settling into the community has been smooth and quick, settling into the cottage is… otherwise? I’ve only ever moved one room full of stuff. Granted, one of those times was over an ocean, but I managed quite well. Moving a flat full of stuff belonging to two people who both work from home and require copious amounts of space for equipment, sheet music, craft supplies, etc. is a whole ‘nother THANG!!! Woo!! I cannot imagine the strength of constitution of the folks who do this sort of thing with small children around!
That being said, things are getting sorted and stashed away, slowly but surely. I even managed to wrangle the 2nd bedroom as a craft room until which time it shall be needed for a baby room. Then baby and I will share 😊. Here is a photo of my craft space so far, still some shelves to install and things to hang but it works! Also, a photo of the edge of my village... I mean, come on people!!
Anyway, I wish for you all a beautiful Autumn and ever changing seasons bringing new and exciting chapters.
Love Y’all, you got this. <3
I'm in a funk y'all.
Ever have one of those times where that thing you love to do, that you are known for, that thing that is your passion is suddenly stripped away? I'm at a Choral Conducting course in Ireland where I'm supposed to give a workshop on vocal technique and 15+ voice lessons and I came down hard with Laryngitis the day I got here. Poop.
To be honest, even though I'm sad about it, I have to laugh at the irony! A vocal technique workshop with the silent/squeaky door diva!!! It's a real hoot I tell ya...( I wish I could hoot. )
The organisers of the course are being so kind and flexible, even took me to the doc to see what could be done. There is absolutely no pressure being applied by anyone but myself... but man, could I just give myself a break for a second? It's out of my hands! I am doing everything I can and should to mend quickly! Back off, SELF!!!
So, what do you do when you can't do the thing you love?
Here is my personal checklist:
1. Pretend it's a dream and will all go away the next morning.
2. Really give it your all in the "get better quick!" Department.
3. Cry about it when #2 doesn't work. This really helps... especially when hydration is key to your recovery. 😑
4. Watch Netflix for 475 hours.
5. Do a little soul searching.
6. Decide there is more to life than that thing you can't do. There will always be things you can and can't do. Like speak French... Say la vee.
7. Seek out the things you can do and get inspired!
8. Do them!! No time for Pity Parties here!! Life is for living!!
*(Steps 1-4 are optional)
Love you guys. You got this. ❤️
What is it about travel that we crave?
I am often told by folks that they live vicariously through me. I’m always a little taken aback by that, I know what they really mean is “I don’t get out of town much, you must be in different countries all the time!” I don’t travel all the time, just sometimes and I post pictures about it. That’s social media though isn’t it. Living vicariously through someone just means you imagine that their life is somehow better than yours because of what you see, hear, imagine it must be like to live that way. No harm in dreaming… as long as you DO as well.
In my High school/College days I never had a real urge to travel. My sister did, she would go on all kinds of trips with our schools, saving her money for months in order to have a great experience. I have always admired her for that. I went on a few mission and choir trips, sometimes to other countries, and really enjoyed it, I just never had the feeling of needing to travel. Little did I know I’d end up living in a different country and travelling for a job! Life, eh?
I recently read an article by Jonah Lehrer in the Guardian called Why We Travel.
It is longish but an absolutely fascinating read about how travelling is being proven to make people smarter! That got me thinking; How can we get that travelling thrill, that unknown destination excitement, that escape factor without physically going anywhere or spending any money, because let’s face it, we can’t always be forking over wads of money for flights to exotic locations whenever we feel like it. Occasionally, yes, but what about the in-between when we really, REALLY need that get-away?
I found a great couple of blogs that give suggestions for what to do:
- How to Travel without Travelling
- 7 Ways to Travel without Going Anywhere
- How to Go on a Vacation without Actually Going Anywhere
Here are my own suggestions for scratching that travelling itch without even leaving town:
So apparently the most depressing day of the year is Monday, as in, tomorrow!…. WHAT?!?! I know it’s important to know about these things, especially in dealing with depression and mental health, but could it also be a self-fulfilling prophecy? I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder but that is usually easily remedied by my S.A.D. lamp (Shown here as I imagine him to be when I leave the room):
Anyway! I will not allow this coming Monday to have any effect on me! I challenge you to BREAK FREE from the chains of failed diets, failed fitness plans, too much chocolate, too much booze, tumbleweed bank accounts, tax bills looming, nasty weather, and cranky people!!
THEY WILL NOT GET US!!!
(This is where you imagine us just making the jump to the foot of the helicopter that will take us to safety as the Zombies break through the door on the roof of Walmart or Tesco’s. I was the one with the amazing escape plan and talent for group morale but you were the one with the guns and the muscles! You may have had a bad attitude at first but one of the others in our group of non-Zombies was a kid and they looked up to you as a role model and that’s when the soft side of you started to show and we all worked together and made it out alive!!)
Follow this plan for survival of (dun, Dun, DUUUUUN) the most Depressing Monday ZOMBIES!!!
Love you guys! We make a great team!
Wow! We are here in South Korea now but only for 3 days! Our lovely tour guide, Pete, honoured us with an amazing Korean BBQ last night and then we crashed early after our 14 hour flight.
We are staying in the Gangnam area of Seoul. Gangnam translates as “South of the River”, it’s very international and there is so many cool things to see and do here. I hope we get the chance to snoop around, our Swingle concert is in Daejeon tonight.
Every year the Swingles do Secret Santa and on our plane journey Jo did the ceremonious “passing of the name hat” although this year the “hat” was a barf bag (clean, mind you). So, the names have been drawn and the clever gift cogs have started to turn. I love it! Last year we were in Russia and got those coasters that also have funny faces on them and hook onto your nose! Jo and Kevin look stellar. I believe this year the party will be in Italy as it’s our last tour date before Christmas. That means lots of time to find the perfect gift!
2016 has been a heck of a year. Many historic things have happened worldwide as well as life changing personal events including my Dads death. I could be sad and angry about these events, I could spit about how 2016 better run for the hills and 2017 is our only hope… but I don’t believe that. I believe that 2016 has molded me and formed me into a person who knows more about life’s beauty. If everything were awesome all the time then how would you ever know? It would just be normal.
A while ago I drew a picture of a Jack Pine. A Jack Pine is a North American conifer that only spreads its seeds after being exposed to heat, usually a forest fire. The tree is small and usually crooked and the cones remained closed for long periods of time until a heat source causes them to open. This type of release is called Serotiny: a specific environmental change leads to the release of new life. What I find really interesting is how many of these types of plants open their cones in a fire but will not drop their seeds until the rain comes. Then there is hope. The fire may be long and burn fiercely but hold on, the rain is coming and so is your new life.
I hope this song inspires you...
I grew up in a family full of creative people. I was allowed to try my hand at making most anything I wanted to try making, even if it meant using up my mother’s precious embroidery thread stash that she’d so carefully colour coded on friendship bracelets. My grandmother taught me the basics of sewing and quilting, my parents passed down their drawing and painting skills to me, and my sister and I would bounce very important ideas and business plans off each other constantly. We were very ambitious 7 and 9 year olds. We made multitudes of crafts, from Christmas ornaments and necklaces, to bean bags and oil paint-by numbers. We sold things at church craft fairs and to neighbourhood kids and their parents. Our family members could always plan on receiving at least one home-made Christmas present each year.
While we were mostly looking to make some pocket money at that time, the feeling of creating and sharing has never left me. I am a fulltime professional singer, every time I stand on that stage or record a song I am creating and sharing. I also plan and lead educational events based on creating music and creative confidence and then sharing it with others. Although the avenue for sharing is new, the concept of the Twinkling Traveller box is not. I want to create and I want to share. I want to bring joy and inspiration and fun! Here we go!!