Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Take on Journaling

I am a proponent of journaling on scrapbook pages.  It is essential that you add explanation so as not to have to lean over the shoulder of the one who is looking at the page with constant finger-pointing and dialogue.  I mean... really?  Will you be here 100 years from now when your great-great grandchild is looking at this very same album?  I think not.  

That being said, I do not hesitate to write (in my handwriting) on my pages.  I even write titles!  How I became comfortable with this is a mystery to me.  I suppose it just happened that way.  When I think about it, though, I think this is how I overcame my fear.  

Before I started scrapbooking and with an interested friend, I took a calligraphy course taught by a person with a master’s degree in art.  She used her writing to make a very good living.  She claims to have written 1200 envelopes in one night for an open house using paint colors that she matched to the invitation.  She was an indisputable expert.  

She taught us to write correctly with a calligraphy pen filled from a bottle.  She eased our fears by telling us that it was all in the way you held the pen; properly and loosely.  The pen had to have a flow that we were comfortable with and that was up to us.  

We practiced.  The course lasted 6 weeks; we met twice a week.  We practiced some more. 

Surprisingly, our last class was short.  She encouraged us to develop our own style.  She encouraged us not to be such sticklers about the proper formation of certain letters.  Just go with the flow.  (No pun intended.)

So I took it to heart.  I wrote some wedding invitations for friends.  I invested in a light board to keep my lines straight.  I had my own swirls and tails and it was my style.

And I do believe this confidence helped me overcome my fears of journaling.  Heck!  I've always loved to talk!  I just needed to get all my thoughts down on my scrapbook pages. So I wrote just like I talked.  With all the expressions and just being myself. 

Recently, I found a favorite free-flowing gel pen that flows with all those thoughts.  These days I know I've made a great album if I've gone through 2-3 pens when it's completed!  

So if you have a fear... just sign up for a class!  These days you can YouTube it.  Read all you can about journaling and prompting your memories.  Tackle your fear.  Your handwriting is precious, beloved.

Man! It's a shame I can't remember that teacher's name.  ;-) 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 4th.

Just your average day?  Not really.  This day is the day that my sister graced the Earth with her presence.  Today is also the day my fourth child was due-to-arrive, 35 year ago.  Why, o why wasn’t my son born on this day?
My sister was very excited back then when I gave her the news.  I know she was thinking my delivery would be a c-section and therefore scheduled on her birthday!  But it was not to be.  We decided to birth him before the end of the year for a much-needed tax deduction.

This past year my sister left us behind and went on to Heaven ahead of us.  I cannot tell you how much I miss her.  If I tell you a little bit about her, then maybe you will understand what she meant to me.

My sister was 14 when I was born.  She helped take care of me.  According to her, she was my MAMA.  I don’t doubt that was the way it happened.  But I do know that acted like a dear and devoted mother all throughout my life; during the time our mother was estranged from us and even after mother had passed and we had all reconciled it.  Or did we ever?  A few years later, and she was diagnosed with her future path... the way in which she would go..

Defender.  As a child, when the other siblings teased me, she would defend me.  She was the most peaceful person in our family.  Not PERFECTLY peaceful, but pretty peaceful.  

Teacher.  My sister taught me the meaning of true love.  She demonstrated a loving, partnering marriage and as a young child of 6, I saw it play out during my formative years.  She and my brother-in-law were living proof that marriage could work and that it was hard work, but it was worth it all.  !

Historian.   My sister loved family.  Just the concept of it.  She knew all of our family heritage and proudly proclaimed that we all were RAWLs.   (That's plural to Rawl not Rawlses)  She could answer any question about any cousin in our family!  This history was important to her.

Manager.  She was a smart business person.  I’d have to say she got that from our father.  I believe we all got SOME business sense from our father who was self-taught and taught us with on-the-job training.  Some more than others.  She managed a household.  She managed a classroom.  She was a leader. 

Put-together.  She was an organized person.  I loved going to visit her; I came home with motivation to straighten and organize my stuff.  She loved knowing where everything was in her home.  “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  OK so she might have gone a little crazy if stuff was not in the right place... !

Teacher of Children.  She was an awesome teacher.  Okay, so she never actually taught me in school, but I believe she could seriously teach some sixth grade math!

Traveler.  She loved to travel and sought adventure!  The hubs and I traveled with she and my brother-in-law to Central America in May of 2007.  The memories we made together with be with me forever.  By traveling together for an extended time, we learned more about the two of them.  Every time I say, "Are you sure about that?"  I think of her.  :-)

Talented.  She loved music and had an incredible soprano voice.  Throughout her high school years she learned she had the talent and won many awards for her voice.  Later she enjoyed her church choir and the camaraderie associated with it.  But music gave her her infectious joy that I so wanted to imitate.  

Warrior.  My sister was a fighter.  She enjoyed quality of life and would strive to do everything she could to keep herself strong.  Watching her made me realize the true meaning of the words, battling cancer.  I could never accept the fact that she was not going to be around for my entire life.  I had never known life without her in it.  

When she attend my weekend crop at the Lake.
She didn't bring enough to do.
Preservationist.  She was an avid scrapbooker.  This fact about my sister is essentially the hardest one to live without.  She was my first scrap partner.  When we were together, my creativity just flowed.  She was instrumental in helping me create a “grief album” after I suffered loss.  “Choose your favorite photo and that will be your title page,” she directed.  She was right. As she was most of the time.

We discovered Creative Memories the same day in November of 1995.  We attended our first directional class the next week at the YWCA.  We were both hooked and our albums were the subject of a lot of our conversations.  We motivated each other and enjoyed each other albums.  It was our thing.  My sister taught me the importance of preserving her family history.  When she left Earth, her husband, her siblings, each child and each grandchild had their own albums to cherish.  I will always think of her when i scrapbook over 16 pictures on one page.  

I miss her so much.  "I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living. My Big Sister you'll be."