Share a Shot for Giving Tuesday

December 2, 2013


Just in time for #GivingTuesday I want to share with you a creative new way to help give your voice and your talent, to give kids a shot at the happy healthy life they deserve. My friend and fellow Shot@Life champion Ciaran Blumenfeld have come up with a way to share our “snaps” to help spread the word about the “shots” that so many kids need to protect them from the preventable diseases that have the potential to kill them. Imagine if you thought you might lose your children to a common childhood illness like diarrhea. I know. I can’t imagine either! Because we don’t think any mother should suffer the loss of a child at all, let alone from a preventable disease, we need your help.

Please help us bring awareness to the important work that Shot@Life is doing by tagging your Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest “snaps” with the hashtag #snapshotatlife. Take it a small step further and mention our Instagram account as well (@snapshotatlife) so people can follow along and more importantly easily find the link to our Snapshotatlife team fundraising page where we are collecting donations to support the cause and vaccinate the kids who are at the greatest risk of dying from diseases like Rotavirus, Pneumonia, Measles and Polio. Won’t you join the team?

And speaking of donations, I am giddy to share something amazing! Ciaran is donating $500 to Shot@Life on behalf of the Snapshotatlife team. Yes, $500! You have got to pop over to read her Smile it Forward post. How crazy awesome and super generous is that? Talk about giving us something to smile about. $500 translates to 25 kids immunized for life! Amazing and totally inspiring. Thank you Ciaran (and Invisalign).

All that to say, I hope you consider shooting and sharing your “snaps” with us by tagging your everyday pictures (of family, friends moments and memories) with the tag #snapshotatlife and on this fine Giving Tuesday consider giving What you can to help immunize a child who deserves to live a happy. healthy life. We’ll be sharing photos, raising awareness and funds for the rest of 2013. Help us make a difference!

It’s Not Easy Being Teen

September 26, 2013


Sometimes I just cannot believe I have a teenager. I’ve always kind of felt like being a parent in general was surreal but, as time passes, the feeling only intensifies. I often find myself wondering how the heck I got here, how does time move so fast and how it’s possible that my child will soon be off to college. It just doesn’t seem real. And yet, here I am. Here we are.

With all the scary messages out there about how horrible, trying, difficult teenagers can be, I guess I was expecting the worst. I feel fortunate that it really hasn’t been much like what I had heard (knocking on wood). That’s not to say parenting at this stage doesn’t have challenges. But still, it’s not what I was anticipating. In fact, it’s way cooler than I ever thought it would be. And, I think my daughter feels the same way about her teenage years. Sure there’s the quintessential “issues” that are somewhat Universal to the teen experience, but I think she’s putting those into a healthy perspective as she pans out to the bigger picture of  her life’s journey. Not an easy thing to do for anyone, let along a teenager. I give her major props for that!

Last night, at yet another back to school night, my husband and I traipsed around her high school stomping grounds getting the scoop on what is her daily life. It was the 3rd time we’ve attended as my daughter is a junior now (see? I have no idea how that happened) but even as high school veterans, it still totally amazes/bewilders/eludes me. Tracing her steps from building to building, walking the paths, passing through the architecture, sitting in the seats and staring at the walls of her life outside of home is never lost on me. As I listened to each teacher’s jam-packed presentation, tried to keep up with the power points, and took notes of anything I felt like might be of importance for future reference, I couldn’t help but think how hard it must be to be in high school now. With so much academic pressure, so many extra-curricular expectations , and so much  responsibility to keep it all together. They are having to live in the present while focusing on the future, all the time. And that’s not even mentioning the social pressures. We all remember that. From navigating friends to communicating with teachers to hyper-active hormones, it just can’t be easy.

It’s really no wonder then that things can get dicey at home. I get stressed out just watching my teen live her life. True, I might be a little more involved than I have to be (my husband tries to remind me to take a step back for my sake and hers) but even still, I can hardly keep up with her and everything that she’s got to squeeze in every day,  and it’s not even my life. I know that she’s exhausted and often pushed over-capacity. I know that when I get frustrated with her for forgetting things, staying up late, waking up late, wasting her time, it doesn’t help. At all. I know she is doing the best she can under overwhelming expectations.  Which is why that even when I’m fuming mad at 11pm waiting for her to get released from musical theater rehearsal, I try to remember that she needs me. When she calls in the middle of the day in a panic that she forgot her homework on the printer, she needs me. When wakes me, home late from an evening with friends and she wants to tell me all about it over tea, she needs me. For help, for support, for understanding, for guidance, for companionship, for unconditional love. And no matter how fast the time passes, no matter where her wings take her, no matter how grown up she gets,  I am so hoping she will keep needing me for all of that. Today, tomorrow and for always.

I recently shared a story and a project on my Babble Voices blog Reframed that relates to the subject of my daughter and how hard I know it is growing up and being a teenager. If I can continually repeat the uplifting, inspiring and encouraging messages I believe she needs to hear, then I know I’m being the best advocate I can be for her. Plus, I know (and she knows) that these messages ring true even when I’m unable to keep my cool on the tough days. Thankfully, the Rhonna Designs app offers all of these amazing messages and more. It’s a photo app dream come true and helped me say the things I always want to say to my daughter. The collection of cards I made for her (and the ‘how-to” part) can be found at Babble. I also made cards for her that are OF her. using pictures of her that I love, paired with words that I know fit her to a T. These few probably mean the most to her. And to me. Sniff sniff.



Diving into Project Life with Another Video

September 2, 2013

As promised, I documented my first day experimenting with Project Life. It was one of the most creative, fun and relaxing (yes, relaxing) thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. And who would have guessed I’m learning things about myself in the process of diving head long into uncharted waters? I guess putting it that way, it would go to figure. Anything new, different and out of the ordinary usually does teach us a thing or two about ourselves.

I appreciate all of your kind comments and encouragement on my first Project Life video post. I’m excited knowing so many of you are doing something like Project Life for yourselves and/or are willing to give it a try with me. I know I keep saying it but I think it’s going to make for an amazing, important and transformative part of remembering and embracing my creative joy.

How is your Project Life process coming along?

Elevate the Everyday With Project Life

For more about Project Life, visit Becky Higgins site. Visit Amazon to purchase Project Life Products. If you’re out of the country and are looking to purchase the products, Scrapbooker’s Inner Circle sells internationally. How cool is that?

The PL Products I am using right now:

Project Life Core Kit – Seafoam Edition
Photo Pocket Pages – Big Variety Pack 1 (60 Pages)
Project Life Binder – Seafoam Edition
Project Life 3 x 4 Textured Cardstock – Honey Edition
Project Life 4 X 6 Textured Cardstock – Honey Edition

For more about Picture Everyday at Big Picture Classes, read all about it on the registration page. Class starts Sept 12th. The Project Life part of class will be during the final week (week 8) of class. Hope to see you there!

My Project Life Adventure Begins

August 20, 2013

I’m pretty excited about this. As if you couldn’t tell.

For those of you on the Project Life train already, how do you like it? What’s your favorite part about it? Any hints for the newbies?

And for those of you like me, who are just starting to dabble, where you at with it? So happy we’re in it together. It makes it so much cooler!

And lastly, if you’re scratching your head thinking, “Wait, Tracey is scrapbooking? What is going on over here?” let me just say that I’m as surprised as you are. But hey, new adventures can be fun and I’m really looking forward to this one. I will be sharing my process as I go so if you want to join me, I would love that! Leave comments, leave links, share your story, your thoughts, your process. You can also join me in my class Picture Everyday where the last week will actually be about getting our lovely photos off of the computer and into Project Life pages. Woohoo! It’s going to be awesome.

I’m so Excited to Picture Everyday at Big Picture Classes

August 12, 2013


It is such a treat to be able to announce my next photo-centric e-class at Big Picture Classes, Picture Everyday: Finding and Photographing the Magic in your Daily Life.  Although this class is brand new, with all new content (including video, photo prompts, teacher interaction and community activity) it’s bringing lots of what I love together into one class. It’s Picture Series class #9 (9!?! Can you believe that?) and it’s the next chapter, so to speak, in my book Elevate the Everyday as the content is inspired from the book. It’s also a kick off of something totally new for me; Project Life. Yes, I have decided to get crafty again (it’s been far too long) and try my hand at this revolutionary approach to scrapbooking. I’m seriously giddy about it! Just to recap; the majority of the class will be guided photo prompts for participants to shoot and the very last week of class will be a kick off of my Project Life inauguration as we put all the images we capture over our weeks together, into Project Life pages.

I do hope you choose to join me as we Picture Everyday together, starting Sept 12th. Wheeeeeee!!

Thoughts on Creative Joy and a Lightbulb Moment

May 14, 2013


Funny how things come to you when you need them most. For me, the path toward rediscovering my own Creative Joy came with the nudge from the Universe about a year ago when I was asked to teach with Jen Louden and Marianne Elliott at the Creative Joy Retreat. At the time, I had no idea that somehow when it came to the topic, I had lost my way.

The definition of Creative Joy is at its essence, doing something creative that brings you joy. Period. No end result needed. No monetary expectations. Heck, no expectations for anything at all. Creative Joy is all about a creative act or process that makes you happy. Although it’s true that if the process AND an end result makes you happy (a finished painting, a blooming garden, a blog post, a novel) it’s perfectly find to work toward an end result. But, if the end result came as more of just an added bonus of doing what you loved, instead of an expectation, then it would make the process of getting there much more joyful.  The past year I’ve been on a quest to crack the code on what creative practice makes me happy, in a “joy for joy sake” kind of way. I have found myself riddled by the question that if time or money was no object, what would I do just for Joy?

Of all people, I would have never thought this could be such a challenge for me. I live a creative life and my creativity is tied to my livelihood after all, and I love that about my life. So, how could it not bring me joy? Well, it does. It most certainly does. But somewhere along the way, all of this creativity has gotten got all tangled up together and I have had a hard time untying it enough to decipher between my processes. What am I doing creatively with an outcome or an end product in mind (for “work” let’s say) and what am I doing just because I really love doing it with no outcome or product in mind (for “play” let’s say)?

I’m not pitting one type of process against the other. There’s room for both for sure. But, I’m realizing that I maintain a creative cycle of “work” in my life that although I do enjoy, doesn’t always refuel, replenish or rejuvenate me. And I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m working so darn hard at this creative life. How ironic. By not balancing it with the play of Creative Joy I’m just not filling up my own well, which quite often leaves me depleted. Here’s the big light bulb moment for me: Creative Joy is filed under the self-care category. Unfortunately, I don’t prioritize self-care like I know I should which means Creative Joy isn’t at the top of my to-do list. But, I want it to be. I wish it was. I would like to move it closer to the top.

I really do want—and desperately need—to engage in more Creative Joy in my life. I have started a list of things that I want to do, just for the joy of it, that I will be engaging in for my own happiness and well-being. Joy for joy sake. There’s no better time to start than right now! Can I get a Hallelujah?

Please join me…and Jen Louden and Marianne Elliott as we engage, celebrate, and share our own unique Creative Joy for the next month, together in perfect creative harmony! La la la la… how does the hashtag #mycreativejoy sound???

And to start it all off on the right creative note, we are offering  a free download of The  Creative Joy Workbook (or better said, playbook) full  of wonderfully inspirational insights into Creative Joy from a number of amazingly creative people, plus prompts to encourage and challenge you. YAY!

And, of course, if you want to dive deeper into the exploration of your own Creative Joy, you are invited to join Jen Louden, Marianne Elliott & myself at The Creative Joy Retreat in October at the Garrison Institute in NY. It’s going to be quite joyful and deeply restorative, I promise.

Can’t wait to see what kinds of Creative Joy you discover, WE discover, as we play together this month. All the details for participation are on page 65 of the book. I’m so excited!