i still owe you my portland story.
so if you have been following along with me, you know that susannah conway was coming to portland for a book signing of her new (and awesome) book this i know. the book signing was going to be at kelly rae roberts studio in portland. i have been following susannah's blog for about two years, and i have been a big fan of kelly rae's art for even longer. so it was the perfect combination for me, but the session had filled immediately and i was on the waiting list. i was sure that i would not get a spot because i thought that there was no way that anyone who did have a spot wouldn't go. the book signing was on july 9th which was the day of my dermatologist appointment and the day before my scans.
on the night of the 8th, i thought about how great it would have been to have had the chance to go to that signing instead of going to my dermatologist appointment. but i knew it just wasn't meant to be so i didn't dwell on it and mentally prepared for the week ahead.
on monday, i checked my personal email on my phone at work which i hardly ever do. but i checked because i thought that i might be getting an email about my scans with my instructions, etc. i checked my email right around noon, and i had an email from kelly rae's studio assistant telling me that they just had a cancellation, and if i could be there the spot was mine. since i had my dermatologist appointment, i had my car at work (which is not common) and most of the afternoon already scheduled to be off work (which is also not common). so i said yes, hopped in my car, and headed to portland while hoping that traffic wasn't bad so that i could make it in time.
i made it with 15 minutes to spare.
it was one of the best experiences i have ever had. ever. hands down.
i got to meet kelly rae and susannah in person (jen - that is when i told her you were reading her book in bali and she loved hearing that). i got to hear susannah read from her book. i got to see that her own words even make her tear up because there is so much emotion behind them. i got to see where kelly rae creates her art. i got to be in an artists studio and think about how awesome it would be to see your dreams come true. in my dreams, i too would have a studio and could make cards and other paper crafts all of the time and would spend my days doing what i really, really love. it was so inspiring.
i literally could not believe that i was there in that moment, it was surreal to say the least. on the drive down to portland, i felt like fate was telling me that i deserved to have a good day in a week that was going to be a tough one. in my gut, i knew fate gave me monday because wednesday was going to be rough. but i appreciated it nonetheless.
i was forever changed by that two hours that i was in that studio. i left there with so many good ideas on different projects that i want to try. i will of course continue to make cards because those make my heart happy, especially when i know that others really appreciate receiving them (hi jen hutchinson!:)).
the ironic part of going to portland with no notice was that i didn't have time to come home and get my copy of "this i know" which was the entire focus of the event. i love (with a capital L) this book. i could.not.put.it.down. there were so many parts of it that resonated with me.
here are a few of her words that i especially identified with:
"as life is one long tangle of todays...i don't worry too much about tomorrow anymore. all we have is today. this i know for sure."
"you don't get over grief - you move through it as you learn to live with the loss. you have to learn how to swim with it."
she also includes in the book some exercises, and i really loved two of them. in one of them she writes "we never know when loss will sweep into our lives, and while we're doing our best to make ends meet, it's easy to let the important things remain unsaid." she talks about creating a list of all of people that matter to you and write down all of the ways that they make your life better, and then doing something to reach out to them. "make a regular date with yourself to continue working through your list in this way, one person each day or week. if there are loved ones on your list who are no longer here, write them a letter and read it out loud. tell them what they mean to you. start today." i will be creating my list this week.
in another exercise, she writes "having something to look forward to is a potent motivator; the promise of a reward has convinced generations of children to clear their rooms. we grown-ups are not that different."she talks about writing down a list of 20 things that that are small treats you enjoy - food, places to visit, sounds you love to hear, things that make you feel good. write those 20 things down on individual notecards, and once a week (or more), select a card and then treat yourself to whatever is on the card. i am going to do that this week as well, i already have a list in my head of the treats that make my heart happy.
taking pictures of the ordinary moments in life is another one of her strong reminders. "pay attention to the smaller moments you'd usually overlook - buying a parking ticket, locking the front door, standing in an elevator-what do you see? bring your attention to the moments that aren't usually considered "beautiful." remember that this particular day will never happen again....look out for the moments you wish to cherish. when you collect your child from school, where do you stand as you wait for them? when making dinner for yourself, do you use a special glass for your wine? or a favorite mug for your morning coffee?...investigate your world as if for the first time."
one of the passages i loved most in the book says "unraveling is not a bad thing. it's not coming undone or losing control. it's letting go in the best possible way, untangling the knots that hold you back, unwrapping the gifts you've hidden for too long, unearthing the potential that's always been there, finally ditching the labels and should-haves, and letting yourself be what you were always meant to be."
since i have felt like i have been unraveling quite a bit lately, those words brought me comfort. susannah has an on-line course by the same name that i just signed up for to give me something to look forward to and focus on. if nothing else, i know that it will make me slow down and take more pictures.
both of those are good things.
i can't wait. let the unravelling begin.
+++ loved this quote
+++ got my copy of elevate the everyday and it is stunningly beautiful, i can't wait to dive in and read about ideas on how to better capture motherhood