Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Project Life

I have mentioned Project Life before via Instagram and Facebook, but I know most of you that read my blog are not scrapbookers, or you once were but just don't have the time anymore.

At the end of 2008, Creating Keepsakes was selling a scrapbook kit titled "Project 365" designed by Becky Higgins. I didn't know a whole lot about it except for what the magazine had to say about it. My first reaction was that there was no way I could take a photo every single day for 2009. Sounded crazy to me! But as the thought mingled in my brain and I saw photos of the kit I began to have a change of heart. I wasn't actually doing much scrapbooking for myself and "Project 365" was designed in an easy way to capture the everyday moments, moments that usually didn't end up on a "traditional" scrapbook page.

The morning it went on sale I was at my parent's computer ready to purchase. The site was overloaded with people trying to buy the kit. I don't know how many times I would almost get to submit payment just to have to start all over again. I was exhausted (I think it may have been New Year's Eve the evening before) and tempted to go back to bed and try later in the day. But something caused me to keep trying and somehow I was able to grab two kits, one for my mom and one for me. Turns out that the kits sold out in record time and there were many unhappy with Creating Keepsakes for not being prepared. I don't think they realized how popular this idea was going to be. I felt so blessed that I listened to the prompting and didn't go back to bed.

Becky Higgins then quit working for Creating Keepsakes and started her own company. Everyone was on pins and needles wondering if she was going to come out with a new kit. People wanted to keep documenting their lives using her system. She did indeed come out with a kit titled "Project Life" (it is now referred to as the Cherry Edition). This time she made the kit so that you could do a photo a day, capture a week at a glance or a month or even do it just by events in your life. It was more versatile. I believe the first batch sold out, and she had to order a second one.

Since then the concept & products of Project Life have grown by leaps and bounds. Becky Higgins has partnered up with American Crafts (huge scrapbooking manufacturing company) so that Project Life will be available for retailers to sell (starting next month). Project Life just recently made its TV debut on HSN, where two editions were available to buy at a special price, and they went like hotcakes. Other scrapbooking companies are now following the trend and are providing cards/page protectors/cardstock, etc. that you can either mix with Project Life products or use on your own.

The concept is genius and is one that anyone at any age can do. I am in my fifth year of doing Project Life. 2009, 2010 and 2011 I took the photo a day approach. Last year is still in the works, but I am taking the weekly approach. I knew I wouldn't be picking my camera up as often as I struggled with depression and anxiety. 2012 also includes inserts of memorabilia and extra photos. It looks like it will take up four scrapbook albums while the first three years only took up one each. This year I am back to doing a photo a day with the idea that it would leave me time to work on 2012. Well I loved including inserts so much that I'm doing that again this year and getting a little more creative with the spreads. I'm not scrapbooking "traditionally" yet, so this gives me the perfect creative outlet.

There is a cute short video on Becky Higgins's blog that visually shows what Project Life is all about. If you are at all curious, I definitely recommend watching it. You can find it here.

Project Life has many editions (seven new ones coming out in May) and is also available digitally and on Shutterfly. I am hooked and can't imagine documenting my life without it. I wish that it existed back when I first got married so that I could have the past seven years documented this way.

Project Life Editions I have used:

2009: Project 365 (no longer available)
2010: The Cherry Edition
2011: The Amber Edition
2012: The Cobalt Edition
2013: The Clementine Edition

P.S. I also own Baby for Her Edition (to document my baby years), The Olive Edition (hopefully to document about my grandparents), The Wellington Childhood Mini Kit (document missionary experience), The Bridgeport Childhood Mini Kit (to document our time with Bryce), The Mayfield Childhood Mini Kit (to document our time with Josalyn), The Blush Edition (just because it is my second favorite of the new ones that will be available and I couldn't pass up the good price on HSN), various page protectors, 12x12 envelopes, 6x12 envelopes, 9 Mini Albums, grid cards, patterned paper, cardstock, etc. As you can see I have a weakness for all things Project Life. I'm planning on owning all the editions I don't buy in physical format digitally (ummm...have already purchased a lot). Next on my list...The Honey Edition!

P.S.S. I am hoping to share Project Life 2013 pages here on my blog. I thought before I do I would share a little more information so that you know exactly what it is I'm sharing. :o)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Reason

Many of you know that I am a fan of Josh Groban. I have been since I first heard him sing. I thought he must be in his late 30's or early 40's with such a voice. Little did I know that he is my age. :o) Josh has recently come out with a new album. I have only listened to two of the songs, and I own the single "Brave." As I started to listen to it more closely and looked up the lyrics, I became puzzled. It made me also reflect on my own life because so many of the lyrics relate to my life and how I have felt for over a year now. I love the chorus but it is the last two lines that has caused me to reflect on my experiences over the past year and what I'm experiencing now.

"You wanna run away, run away and you say that it can’t be so.
You wanna look away, look away but you stay cause’ it’s all so close.
When you stand uṗ and hold out your hand.
In the face of what I don’t understand.
My reason to be brave.
There have been so many instances when I have wanted to run away, whether that meant jumping into the car and driving off, leaving the apartment with Tom chasing me down and following me, (making sure I stay away from the river), or having moments where I wanted to physically end my anguish. I thought moments like these were behind me, but once again, as I have been struggling with my physical health, which also makes the emotional & mental more difficult, I have wanted to run. And nothing has scared me as much as an unpremeditated episode that took place the beginning of January. My therapist asked me, "What stopped you?" when yet another attempt was made later. What is my reason?
I wish I could look away; sometimes I can compartmentalize my actions so that I'm not haunted by memories. My psych nurse even has a hard time imagining what I've had to tell her at times. She looks at me and just can't simply see it. But there are moments where it does hit me strong, and I can't look away.
Recently a close friend was in a car accident. He was on his bike and was hit in a cross walk. At first I thought, 'a cross walk of all places!' He has biked both coasts more than once. He is an avid biker and has had moments where he has had to jump off a road with his bike for his safety. He wants to bike cross country once he retires. When I heard the news, (and not much was known then), my heart stood still. It was like time stood still, and I pleaded with God that he wasn't dead or dying. He is like an uncle to me. He has been there for me in all the big events of my life. He even created a nickname for me that now all his family members call me. My friend, (his daughter), and I rode down to southern California to pick him up from one of his biking trips, and we spent three days at Disneyland. I went on a small roller coaster with just him. It was one that he would never had gone on had his sister not encouraged him. She has since passed away. It was a moment for me to share that experience with him. I love him dearly, and life wouldn't be the same without him. Thank goodness for miracles! He is alive and I'm told improving a little each day.
But it caused me to reflect on the gift of life. Tom found me next to the couch crying my heart out. I felt that I had been so selfish. In my weakest moments I don't care how my actions will impact my loved ones. Thinking about how life would be so different for myself and especially for my friend's family made my heart heavy. I couldn't look away. And once again I contemplated what is my reason for being brave? For stopping before it is too late?
For almost over a year I wouldn't have been able to give you an answer. In those short moments what caused me to turn away? I am physically, emotionally, and mentally weak. It is hard for me to mentally take in much. Poor Tom. So many times I've cut him off mid sentence telling him I can't take any more. My brain just can't process it. Emotionally I'm still struggling with depression and anxiety. I never imagined in a million years that I would still be struggling this long. My physical weakness has a lot to do with why I'm still struggling. I'm getting stronger, but there are days that taking a shower drains me of all energy for the entire day. I have to take at least one nap a day. I don't sleep through the night very well, and I often wake up at 4:30am and am not able to fall back to sleep. Overall I'm one weak individual. So what keeps me moving forward? What is my reason for being brave?
Many of you know and share my religious beliefs. Some of you may not. I believe that we existed before we came to earth. That we are literally spirit sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Our spirits are sent to earth to gain a body, learn, grow, experience the good and the bad and ultimately become more like our Heavenly Parents. A soul is the combination of body and spirit. My body is weak, but I have been impressed upon that my spirit is strong. Stronger than I realize.
My reason for being brave? I wish I could say that at the last minute I think of loved ones or how I still have a full life to live, but I do not. I don't completely understand it all, but I believe it is because my spirit is strong. It causes me to turn around at the last minute, move forward, hang on for one more day...I strongly believe it is a HUGE reason why I'm still here. It is my reason for being brave.
Watch the Music Video Here