Thursday, February 13, 2020

Craft Space Clean Up

One of my "projects" for February is to clean, purge, and reorganize my craft space.  These are my BEFORE photos...

I'm posting here so I can be held accountable to get this project done!

If I haven't posted my AFTER photos by March 1st, you can all ask me where they are. 

Not only is this mess embarrassing, it hinders my creativity because there is no space on that table to actually work!

The set-up of the room won't change much because this is really how everything fits best.  But I do plan to purge stuff I will never use, clean up the mess, and get things organized so I know what I have and where to find it! Stay tuned for the transformation!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

One Little Word

I never got around to posting my OLW January pages.  Confession:  I didn't even finish them until the beginning of February!  Pretty self-explanatory, so I'll just leave you to peruse!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Catching Up

I seriously can't believe it has been a full month since I posted!  But there you have it.  My goal of weekly posting out the window before the year really even got rolling.  🙄

January was a bit rough around the edges.  I had a head cold.  Then our furbaby Ashley passed (she was just shy of 19). That was truly sad. In the process of burying her, I pulled a muscle in my back/hip and couldn't stand up straight for four days. The house is too quiet now (she was a very vocal kitty).

The truth is, I'm struggling right now.  Struggling to keep up with ALL.THE.THINGS.... struggling to stay positive... struggling to get clarity around my next steps.

I set myself up to have a super productive creative year with a slew of online classes. Most of which have already fallen by the wayside.

 I did manage to get Jay's birthday page done.

And my Christmas Cards 2019 layout.  Seems the art of sending cards in the mail has definitely fallen off.  We used to get so many photo cards that I would have to cut them down and I'd still have 4 pages for a single year.  Now I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 photo cards.  For those of you still sending me handmade cards, know that they are much appreciated and most of them are included in the layout and become part of our Christmas card exchange documented memories!


Mostly, I've been doing the job search thing. Drafting (and redrafting, and tweaking and re-tweaking) my resume, updating my LinkedIn profile, talking with my career coach, attending online seminars, attending networking events...

The last time I actively searched for a job was 1996!  I was extremely blessed to be recruited to join TREND in 2004, at a time when I knew I needed to leave my law firm practice.  I was extremely blessed to work at TREND for 13 years with wonderful people who became my second family.  I was blessed to survive the merger and another three years of employment before having my position eliminated.  I have no illusions about just how lucky I was to be gainfully employed for 16 years straight without having to think about resumes or profiles or personal branding.

Turns out, ALL of the rules for job searching have changed!  Everything I thought I knew is worthless. I'm a beginner in the job market at the ripe old age of...  well, it doesn't matter.  I just have to get on board with being back to square one and figure this all out. 

If you are still reading, thanks for being here for me!  I've re-committed to blogging more often and will be back soon!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

One Little Word 2020 | RISE

The process of choosing my One Little Word…

As I've mentioned previously, my position of 16 years has been eliminated. Losing my job threatened to pull me under. The panic, loss of control, fear of the unknown, was a black abyss I was falling into head first.  The “position elimination” although not unexpected, was still a shock when it came, a real punch to the gut.

Rather than be angry, I tried very hard to be the consummate professional.  I went into temporary hyper-drive, doing all I could to transfer knowledge so those I was leaving behind were set up for success… if they chose to take it and run with it.  If not, I kept telling myself, it’s not my problem any longer. This is not my circus; these are not my monkeys.  Do you have any idea how easily that can become a daily mantra???  Not my monkeys, not my monkeys, not my…

With each task I relinquished, I felt a little relief. I had been, for the past three years, trying to run a department with no clear understanding of what was expected of me.  It’s exhausting trying to aim for an undefined target and never knowing if you are even close to hitting the mark.  Despite the lighter feeling that comes with letting go, I suffered way too many sleepless nights last month.

That time of spinning my wheels is now behind me and I’m working out how to best approach 2020.

Complete.  Before I found out I was losing my job, I thought my word would be “complete” – as in finally getting around to finishing a lot of tasks, projects, classes, challenges, ideas that had been started but not finished, or on my to-do list since forever without ever being started.  But with the prospect of a full year job search and a lot of rejection ahead of me, that word no longer held any spark.  

Transform. Having rejected “complete,” my first thought for a word to guide me in 2020 was “transform” – as in change into the person I am meant to be, like a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly … in fact, butterfly was a perfect symbol for transform… but when I looked up the definition of transform it was described as “change completely” – it felt like a step too far.  I’m not in need of a complete overhaul, just some program and user interface tweaks.  Cheri 5.8 transitioning into Cheri 5.9. 

Create.  “Create” also came to mind.  As in create a new version of me.  It also tied into all those unfinished projects…. If during my job search time, I could allow myself time to create in the art world too. I got excited about it. Briefly. Create is honestly a fantastic word with so much possibility.  It just didn’t feel strong enough, bold enough, tough enough for what I know lies ahead of me.

I wanted a word that gave me a feeling of courage or bravery, a call to arms if you will, without actually using the words courage or brave.  

I saw on Facebook that someone was using the word “Phoenix” – I like the imagery and symbolism that goes with Phoenix.  But I didn’t want to use the actual word.  It felt like using the word “butterfly” would if your intention was “transform”.  But it had a pull.  I looked up phoenix imagery.  I looked up quotes about rising from the ashes.  And then I became excited.
RISE feels like a real touchstone.  A word that can remind me to be brave, be strong, keep trying when I get kicked down – rise up, rise above, rise to the challenge, rise again, rise and shine.  It feels like the perfect antidote to being "eliminated."  It feels like precisely the call to action for which I was searching.

Thursday, January 2, 2020


I didn't have any photos of some of the other best moments of 2019... visiting with Krystal, visiting with Deanna (they both came here at separate times and we got zero photos together... ugh). Despite the unfortunate circumstances, visiting with my Texas family for my mother's memorial service. I need to get better about getting photos on MY phone so I have them!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Saying Goodbye to 2019

I started 2019 with high hopes and a lot of enthusiasm.  It turned out to be a difficult year in so many different ways.  I'm not sad to leave this year behind.

On the difficult side, I struggled physically with plantar fasciitis, then IT band syndrome, both of which interrupted my physical progress in TRX class.  I lost my mother, dealt with my grief by eating my feelings, which resulted in reaching my highest weight EVER (seriously, I weighed less when I was 9 months pregnant with twins).  Sarah lost a good friend to cancer and then had her own health struggles - and you know as a Mom, when your child struggles, you feel it - deep in your core.  I was finally getting myself back on track, losing weight, feeling good about life, when I learned that I was losing my job.  Now unemployed, I am once again working on getting back on track.

On the happier side, there was a lot of positive in 2019.  Becca passed her PTA program, passed her Boards, got a job, and got engaged.  We had a fabulous family vacation at Disney. I walked and kept up with my family with minimal pain. I found a craft shop that I LOVE and took several in person classes.  We did a LOT of wedding planning stuff. I handled my position elimination with extreme professionalism and left on good terms with all.  And I ticked a LOT off my 2019 goals...

Remember this list?  Here's the final tally:
1. No - changed my mind.
2. DONE! Plus CMLX2 and ICC as well.
3. DONE! 47 books read. Audible really helps.
4. Yes?  Final tally 729 items plus 13+ pounds of paper (old files purged). Paper averaged 100+ sheets per pound, so if we are counting individual sheets of paper, I made it.
5. Progress, but not complete.
6. DONE!
7. DONE!
8. DONE! Plus 3 bedrooms upstairs too!
9. YES! Not yet consistently, but after TRX class I usually can.
10. No.
11. No. I started off well, but then not so much.
12. DONE!
13. DONE!
14. DONE! Even the "repeat" part!
15. DONE!
16. DONE!
17. No.
18. Not even close.  I think I completed two lessons all year.
19. It sure did. Not in ways I had imagined.

So, 13 of my original 19 goals complete.  I'm happy with that number, all things considered.  Now it's time to make plans for 2020... I'm excited for a new year, a new decade, and the promise of so many possibilities to come.  You can remind me I said that if I get all whiny and depressed during the upcoming job search.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


I've been absent for three months.  A lot has happened in that time frame.  My travel schedule did threaten to ruin me and my last trip to Rockville was... well... my last trip to Rockville.  My position with my company is being eliminated.  I will officially join the ranks of the unemployed on December 27, 2019.

I've already been through the seven stages of grief.  The shock/denial phase lasted all of about five minutes.  I knew when my boss left back in March that this was a possibility and in some ways I'm surprised I lasted through the end of the year.  Anger, bargaining, depression, and testing has been somewhat circular over the last month as I worked through knowledge transition and wrapping things up with our human resources department.  Today I sent out my farewell email to my colleagues and I'm honestly glad to have that task done. 

All that remains is acceptance.  And writing a resume - something I haven't done in 17 years.  And starting a job search.

All of which will wait until the New Year.  Right now I want to slow down, enjoy the holidays, take stock, and be truly deliberate with my job search and finding the next right thing for me.

I'm reaching out just to let you all know what has happened and why I've been MIA.  I'm guessing that after the holidays I might have more time to be present here!

Happy Holidays everyone!  Catch you soon!