5 easy ways to write about your childhood

I mentioned the other day that my grandmother passed away last week. My last living blood-relative grandmother is now gone (although, my grandfather’s wife is pretty fantastic). All the stories from Grandma Jaye’s long life are now gone.

It’s so cliche, I know. But I so wish that she had journaled more stories about her childhood. She was almost 6 years old when the stock market crashed in 1929. She remembers having to downsize to a smaller apartment sometime in the 1930s. She grew up in Ohio and worked in nightclubs during WWII (and did her share of entertaining soldiers and sailors).

Don’t let your own stories disappear over time …. Journal about your childhood this week.

write about your childhood

Pull out your photos

Hopefully you have at least a couple. I have a ton (or, rather, my mom has a ton and I need to get copies from her). Journal about what you are doing in that photo. Journal about who else is in the photo. Journal about what you are wearing, about how you got all your opposite-gender-cousin’s hand-me-downs. Journal about where you are, about how you lived 5 years in that house and only have 2 memories from it. Journal about who took the photos of your childhood. Journal about the visual, what you see.

amyReread your journals, letters, and hand-written notes

I used to have binders and binders full of hand-written notes from high school and at some point, during one of my dozen moves, I threw them out. AND I AM SO BUMMED. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Rereading letters you received, or your early diary entries or even school progress reports will help kickstart your memories and remind you of stories that you would like to write about now.

Review the media from that time period

What movies were in theaters during your childhood? What bands and music do you remember listening to? What books did you read over and over before bed? What stories were going on in the news that you have memories of?

Revisit the physical locations 

From your childhood home, to your school, to the 7-11 you walked to every afternoon in the summer to get a Slurpee. Here are some more tips on writing about your childhood home specifically.

Ask people who were there

Mom and Dad, yes, but what does your little brother remember about your 10th birthday party? What does your best friend remember about your 6th grade class trip? What about your babysitter? Your neighbor? Your Sunday School teacher?

BONUS: Register for MyDetails ecourse from Megan from Nerd Nest and Kristin from rukristin.

This ecourse has a TON of pre-class resources and new prompts begin May 4. Over the next seven weeks we will share with you twenty different creative prompts to document the details of your life.

You’ll be inspired by over 70 unique and exclusive MyDetails projects, 30+ of which are brand new to the 2015 Edition.

Megan and Kristin have spread the wealth and will be sharing projects in the form of mini-book pages, pocket page spreads, traditional scrapbook layouts, art journaling pages and more!

Return to these prompts again and again to document your details at any point. Return to them at a later date and translate them into documenting the details of the other important people in your life.

  I’ll be in the class! Hope to see you there!


Projects to capture your RIGHT NOW story

I’m catching up.

February and March have kind of been a wash for me, but I am getting back in it! I need a little jolt of completing a project to get the ball rolling again. I need a little RIGHT NOW memory keeping project. Baby steps.

Here are some of my favorites …


This project — with cards and stamps — from rukristin papercrafts is the simplest project. I love it. I love it! I love how easy it is. I love that I just grab a card and jot down a list and then I’ve got a little bit of my right now story recorded. I don’t do these on any kind of schedule, but just whenever I am feeling it.

Grab some Currently List cards for yourself here.

30 Days of Lists

You already know … this project is close to my heart. Kam and I have been running this jouraling challenge 2 or 3 times each year since 2011. I have lost count of how many times that is. I love my little stack of #30Lists minibooks.

For a 30 day period, you just commit to journaling a short list on a given prompt. Something like ‘books on my to-read list’ or ‘places I’ve lived.’ Easy. 5 minutes. Capture your RIGHT NOW.

One Little Word

This year my One Little Word is Practice (photo above is from 2014), and each month I get an email from Ali Edwards with a new project to record my Right-Now story of how my word is.

Something simple like a little journaling or a vision board or a collection of photos. Just an easy RIGHT NOW project to represent the work done that month. This is the 3rd year I’ve taken Ali’s class and I still love it.

January RESET

This project is new for me this year. I’m still feeling it out, but so far I love it and I think it could be a really great project to do year after year. I’m working on a 3-month check in now to add to this book and it’s so great to have this spot to record my progress on this year’s goals. I am so looking forward to what this looks like at the end of the year.

What are your favorite RIGHT NOW projects?

P.S. 10 projects to capture your summer (which is either coming up, or just finishing, depending on where you live)


January Reset: Action Steps

This is the last of the January prompts for this (awesome fantastic new favorite) project: January RESET.

I totally intend to update this mini album at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and a year. And do it all again in January of 2016. I really hope you join me!!

I have been absolutely loving this project. I can’t wait til I receive all my photo prints and these layouts can feel more DONE. I didn’t do any scrapbooking (except WitL) in 2014, and I am loving this start to 2015.

I guess I just feel like I need more journaling in my life. I love photos and photography, but sometimes the editing gets backed up, or I have to size them for the right pockets or I forget what the photo is of (my husband takes a lot of photos of his recording sessions and things, for example).

But journaling? That I can do any time. Any where. I’m working on writing as a daily practice, so this journaling-focused memory keeping project was ideal.

I really (really) would love if you joined me!

If this is the first you’re hearing about it, check out earlier posts:

SO! Moving on to this week! ACTION STEPS

Action steps are basically … breaking down your bigger goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. It’s all well and good to say I’m going to publish 4 novels this year, but there are A LOT of smaller steps built into that. First I have to finish 1 rough draft … then revise that draft. Then polish that draft. Then cover, then marketing, then get it to market, etc. Times 4.

Action steps.

For another look, read: Stop trying to change your entire life in one night

This section opens with a couple journaling cards and photos. Again, my apologies for the lack of done-ness in these spreads, but it’s really important to me that I do these prompts throughout the month instead of all ahead of time like a fancier blogger would.

The ‘Take Action’ and ‘One Day at a Time’ and >> stamps are all from Ali Edwards’s One Little Word mini kit. I love it. I really just bought that kit for the stamps. The black chevron washi tape is Freckled Fawn

The #1-10 journaling card is from the RESET digital kit that Allie designed. It’s perfect for this. I didn’t write down specific action steps, but rather the daily habits I want to PRACTICE this year.

The opposite page is a 5x5x8x5 page broken into 1 section for each of my 4 big goals (front and back). 2 tiny notes on this page, I haven’t 100% decided what the fourth novel (late November) will be. Possibly book 3 of my series but that’s not written. Possibly a stand-alone more literary-ish novel. We’ll see. Also, Andrew and I haven’t been on a proper vacation since summer 2013, so it’s time. No idea where/when/etc.

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Again, as I noted last week, blank space left for details about private goal. I’ll let you know when I accomplish it. But not til then.

(since I took those very first ‘before’ photos a couple weeks ago I have actually done a couple teeny tiny action steps on the bedroom/office front. Can’t wait to show you when I check-in at the 3 month mark.

Opposite page is just a time-capsule-type page of what I am planning on working on this week. Each one of those works towards my goals. I will obviously be doing other stuff (like dishes. Bleck), but this keeps the focus on the action steps that will help me accomplish what I dream of.

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And finally, the back page is the same concept but for the month of February. Writing this all out was a bit of a wake-up call. I might be busy this month!

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This is the last of the JANUARY prompts … but I’ll be posting again in early April with a 3 month check-in. This project is designed to be a foundation for the full year, and I am so excited to see how this year shapes up. The next section will probably open with progress photos!! ESPECIALLY since I plan to publish my first book March 3! Expect an Amazon screenshot or something to mark that.

Don’t forget to grab the digital kit here. You can do your own RESET project any time. There’s nothing magical about January!


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January Reset: Goals

First and foremost — this post was meant to go up on Monday, but didn’t because I was completing a HUGE STEP toward accomplishing one of this year’s goals! Hurrah!

Both Saturday and Sunday I woke up before 6am, and sat at the computer all day and finished my revision for my first novel. I was writing (and thinking) all day, both days until about 7pm on Sunday night. My back still hurts a bit.

At that time I sent emails, delivering the draft to my beta readers! My first novel is actually in front of readers! It’s not done, and I’m sure they will all come back to me with lots of suggestions, but finishing the draft and delivering a readable copy is a big big step!

I’m hoping to get back critiques by the end of the month, another draft, another round of beta-readers, final tweaks and releasing the book March 3.

It will be free to my newsletter subscribers … and then I have to get to work on the next book….

Because (as you will see in the next few images), that is my #1 goal for 2015.

If this is your first time hearing about the project, check out my first post here with an introduction and my first pages, and then the first prompt REFLECTION and my pages here and last week’s prompt RIGHT NOW and my pages here.

This is the THIRD prompt for our January RESET project: Goals.

These are the big ideas, the where-I’d-like-to-be, the long-term projects.

This week is not the time to worry about the next step (that’s next week), but instead a time to figure out what your priorities for the whole year are.

As we go through my pages you’ll notice there’s only 1 spot that I have a photo to include. This project truly is journaling-heavy. It’s almost all pages, labels and journaling cards from the RESET kit — grab yours here.

Here we go …

The left side is 3 journaling cards and 1 (still-to-be-taken) 3×4 photo. The two ‘filler’ cards are from the Seafoam Project Life kit.

The GOALS journaling card is from the RESET digital kit and I held myself to 4 goals for 2015, noted just briefly in bullet form. I actually love that the smaller card only left space for a reasonable number (one of them is still private).

The opposite page is one of my favorites for the WHOLE PROJECT. That gray label says ‘Write your number 1 goal for this year. Now write it another 10 times.’

I love that. I love the commitment. I love the repetition. I love the burning into my brain that happened when I got to number 8, 9 and 10. I love that it forced me to actually think about if this was what I wanted by writing it so many times.

My current plan is to self-publish a novel March 3, June 30, September 15 and late November/early December. Visit my author site and get on that email list if you’re interested.

So this page was a reminder that all my actions for the year should in some way support this number 1 goal.

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The back side of that page is still a 5.5×8.5 page with a label from the RESET kit — A year from now.

This list includes both my BIG concrete goals, as well as I-hope-I-can-manage-it goals. None are particularly audacious on their own, but if I accomplish all of them I will throw myself a party (again, one censored).

The opposite page is one of the Quick Pages from the RESET kit, all about acknowledging what the obstacles I have to overcome are. Because, yes, of course, it would be awesome to accomplish all these goals, but it’s not magic. There ARE things standing in my way that I need to move past/around/over/etc.

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The last layout for this prompt begins with the GOAL / Action Steps Quick Page from the digital kit. I only printed out one (though of course, you could print out 1 page for each goal you are going to pursue). This is a great transition to the next prompt for next week.

But, really, the goal that I will be MAD at myself if I don’t accomplish is publishing four books this year, so that is the only one worth the attention.

The opposite page is another series of journaling cards from the digital kit. ‘Just say no’ is blank in this photo because the journaling on that relates to my private goal.

I loved using the Just for ME journaling card in this section too. Not all my goals have to be I’m-going-to-be-awesome. I love reading and it’s my only real hobby and just for me I’m going to set the challenge to read 52 books this year. Considering that is way less than my average for the last few years, I think this is just an easy ‘goal’ that still keeps reading in my schedule no matter how busy I get otherwise.

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I’m excited to see how much of this I can accomplish in 2015.

Next week’s prompt is ACTION STEPS — the nitty gritty, actual steps to make these happen.



January Reset: Right Now

Welcome back to our January RESET project!

If this is your first time hearing about the project, check out my first post here with an introduction and my first pages, and then also last week’s prompt REFLECTION and my pages here.

This is very seriously new favorite project. I am so excited to invite you to reflect along with me throughout the month of January…. And I’m already looking forward to reviewing my progress in a few months and doing it all again next January.

SO great!

Throughout the month I will post different journaling prompts and topics to help you review the year behind and RESET for the year ahead.

I have been using the brand new RESET digital kit designed by Alexandra Rae Design (with some input from me). It includes lovely word art, prompts and elements, as well as pre-made quick pages to get you started right away. This kit can be used any time, but throughout January, Allie and I will be leading the way through reflecting on the past year and resetting for the year ahead using this kit as a base.

Check out Allie’s first post here.

There are some great word-art and quick page for this in the RESET kit, but as always, make it your own.

A reminder that this project is YOURS too. If you want to skip the quick pages altoghether … If you want to double-up on the last-year-reflection. If you want to use only the kit or none of the kit.

My pages are meant to be an inspiration and a loose guideline — but I’d love to see your take too. Please leave a link in the comments if you are posting your January RESET project!

On to this week’s pages … on the prompt RIGHT NOW:

The very first page is going to be THIS:

right now

Yep. MY FACE. In big-ish 6×8. And yes with that text.

I actually had my brother-in-law take a couple headshots of me specifically for this page, but the selfie (even with slightly wide-angle distortion) felt more authentic for this particular project.

As a reminder, the last page of the previous section will also be a 6×8 photo, so this will open the new section …. like so …

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The page across is an 8.5x5x5 simple white cardstock with one of the kit’s label prompts adhered across the middle. With a little bit of washi tape for decor. And then my streat-of-consciousness to-do list journaled down the page.

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The back side of that page is this Right now I am … quick page. Mostly about my mental state.

And a small 3×4 pocket page to close it out…. The flower and Today is for… journaling cards are from the kit. The Right Now card is from the Midnight Project Life kit and the Practice card I designed myself (for my 2015 OLW)

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You’ll notice this section is a lot smaller than the previous (and likely the section for the next prompt). This is for a few reasons, but really it’s more of a transition prompt than anything else. I don’t have anything more than this to say about my right now.

This is my right now. … and now I’m ready to move forward for the year!

Next week’s prompts is GOALS. For the month, for the year, for life. Whatever you want. I’m super excited to start dreaming big this next week.

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January Reset: Reflection

Danielle LaPorte Desire MapWelcome back to our January RESET project!

I am so in love with this project. I like Cathy Zielske’s November Thankful album, and I have loved participating with Ali Edwards’s December Daily album the last few years …. but I am all about the journaling, and the goal-setting, so this January project is the one I love the most.

Reminder that the digital RESET kit is on sale this week — it will work for this project (and others) throughout the year, so don’t miss out on the lower price.

You’ll notice that there are mini-post-its throughout indicating what photos will go in which pockets. I order my photos printed online, so I have to wait. I suppose if I were a better blogger, I could have done these pages weeks ago so they were all ready and complete to show you …. but that’s not what this project is about.

I want to do this project real-time along with you (this blog post was finished yesterday). I want to reflect on 2014 during 2015. I want to tackle each topic as we move through January together. I don’t want this to be a pristine, already-finished project.

That wouldn’t do me any good.

So forgive the post-its, and know that I am totally right here with you.

This week’s focus is to look back at the last year. With honest eyes. What went right and what went wrong. What do you want more of and what do you need to say no to?

There are some great word-art and quick page for this in the RESET kit, but as always, make it your own.

Pro tip: I listened to dancey pop music while I worked on this section. It kept my spirits and energy up while I was reflecting on the worst parts of the past year.

If you can’t read my hand-writing, the tl;dr of all this journaling is:

  • Andrew’s freelance career is flying. I could not be more proud of him. He is VERY well-known in the Los Angeles music scene and had out-of-state and an out-of-country bands come to CA for him last year.
  • My writing career has gotten a giant jumpstart from the Austin event I went to last year. So grateful for that. I am currently working for those guys (just a few weeks so far) and loving it.
  • Mine and Andrew’s time together has been essentially non-existent and correcting that is our #1 goal for 2015

On to my pages …

A reminder that this project is YOURS too. If you want to skip the quick pages altoghether … If you want to double-up on the last-year-reflection. If you want to use only the kit or none of the kit.

My pages are meant to be an inspiration and a loose guideline — but I’d love to see your take too. Please leave a link in the comments if you are posting your January RESET project!

Reminder that just before this bit, I included an 8.5x5x5 page about where I am at right now ….

The Working journaling card I made with word art from the kit; the Celebrate filler card is from the Seafoam Project Life kit. I haven’t completely decided what 4×6 photo I’m going to add to this page, but Andrew building his own studio is definitely one of the most amazing things in our life right now, so that’s the focus.

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The backside of that page includes a Not Working journaling card (again which I made using the kit), and the floral card is from the Sunshine Project Life kit with my own phrase on top. The photo I want to add to this page is this one on the right — which I realize seems kinda sad being next to the ‘not working’ card, but really our lack of time together in 2014 was basically the low point.

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The next page is just a simple 8.5x5x5 white cardstock.

The prompt label is from the digital kit and the gray and white striped washi is from Freckled Fawn.

This page is to remind myself what we are moving away from. The first one, for example … we hired a gardener over the summer. We don’t *really* have the extra money for that luxury right now, but we have more money than we have time, and if we didn’t hire it out neither Andrew or I would ever make the time to mow the lawn.

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Just a look at those pages side by side.

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The back side is still white cardstock, all just my handwriting.

These are my BEFORE bits. … I have plans for this year. We have about 14 million things that need to be done on this house, but these are the 3 I want to focus on now. Small. Making our master bedroom more of a haven (we still use sad Walmart TV trays for nightstands), our backyard (disaster) and my office (switching rooms, for a start).

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After this page of journaling I’m going to print out these photos in 5×7, adhere back to back and add in as pages.

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After the ‘before’ photos, I am including one last page of 3×4 pockets that reflect on 2014 more generally.

2 photos on this page (this one and another from Andrew’s studio), and journaling about how my 2015 OLW was manifested in 2014 (which of course ties in to why I chose it for this year), and journaling about the highlights of 2014.

Because as awful as the year was in some ways, in others it was incredible.

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Back side …

This photo of Sean and me and a little note about how meeting the SPP guys was the best part of my year … and a couple filler-ish cards about creating.

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And then finally will be a big 6×8 print of this photo (from December 23):


 I am loving this project so very fast — Each new page and each new step are so personal and perfectly what I need.

Next week’s prompt is all about RIGHT NOW. How am I feeling, what am I doing, how am I spending my time. A good, thorough check-in.

Are you joining with January RESET?

P.S. Don’t forget the digital kit is on sale this week only!


Giveaway: January Reset digital kit

reset digital kit

GAH, you guys! I hope you can tell how excited I am about this new January RESET project!

I hope you are joining me, and I doubly hope you are investing in the digital kit to give yourself a little break on having to create everything from scratch.

Be sure to grab it soon — it’s on sale for a couple days!

or you can enter below to win one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Digital Memory Keeping resources

I’ve been thinking about learning more about digital memory keeping resources for … um. Years? It was one of my goals 2 years ago for sure. I’m doing better, but since Allie and I started talking about creating the RESET kit, I knew I needed to dig deeper and PRACTICE this more.

These are some videos and resources I’ve been looking over recently … DEFINITELY link up your favorite digital scrapbooking resources too please!!

I think a goal this year is to feel comfortable enough with digital scrapbooking to apply for Ali Edwards’ creative team. Not get selected. Just apply. Baby steps. PRACTICE.

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4 Reasons to try digital scrapbooking

This is a guest post from Allie of Alexandra Rae Design, co-creator of the RESET digital kit.


Hi L&R friends! Allie of Alexandra Rae Design here! With the release of the Reset kit from Amy and myself, many of you may be wondering about this “digital scrapbooking” concept… or taking it even a step further and asking how we can possibly do digital art journaling, or why you might want to trade in your paper, glue, and paints in for digital supplies!

You may be asking, “Why should I try digital scrapbooking and art journaling?”

I’m a big fan of digital scrapbooking, obviously. But why do I try to convince others to “convert” to learning digital scrapbooking?

My top 4 reasons I think you should digi scrap and art journal:

  • You learn valuable skills. I knew how to use Photoshop before I *really* started digital scrapbooking, but playing around and attempting to get the results I wanted on my pages allowed me to explore Photoshop in ways I never would have learned in typical college classes. I truly believe that any computer program you learn will be valuable to you in the future– even if you just build upon the knowledge later. You learn new programs, you learn more about your computer– you become a lot more familiar with technology, and with the way the world is going very, very tech heavy, no digital skills will go to waste!
  • It’s super easy to clean up! I don’t know about you, but when I create with paper, paints, and glue, I get EVERYTHING out, and I make a HUGE mess. Which usually takes FOREVER for me to clean up. With digital, it’s just “File, Save” and turn off my computer. Easy. Peasy.
  • It’s super portable. I’ve witnessed other paper scrappers unload entire mini-vans worth of supplies when they go to group crops. That’s a little crazy to think about. When I want to scrapbook on the go, I just bring my computer. Easy.
  • It’s affordable. I’ll be the first to admit, I go too crazy buying digital kits (“It’s less than $5!) but overall, it’s less expensive than paper scrapbooking– all the “tools” you need are on your computer! No buying 4 different die cut machines or 8 bottles of glue and mists– and you don’t have to print the pictures! And, best of all….
  • You can reuse the supplies! Unlike paper scrapbooking and physical art journaling, you can use the same piece of paper AS MANY TIMES AS YOU WANT!

So, what do you need to get started digital scrapbooking and art journaling?

Most importantly, you need a computer. (I use a Macbook Pro and an iMac, because I’m an Apple girl, but any computer will work!). I also recommend digital editing software– especially ones that let you use .pngs. Personally, I think the best programs are Photoshop CS or Photoshop Elements. I use the full Creative Suite ($$!) but you can do everything you need to do with Photoshop Elements. There’s a little bit of a learning curve with these programs, but once you get the basics down, they are such fun and versatile programs!

On top of the software and “hardware” that you’ll need, you’ll want some digital photos and digital “elements” to make your pages gorgeous!

Some of my favorite resources for digital art journaling supplies are:

Are you ready to get started with digital scrapbooking and digital art journaling? Have more questions? Be sure to check out my (long!) post on Getting Started Digital Scrapbooking!
Allie Trumpower of Alexandra Rae Design is a crafty designer, a photographer, and is marketing obsessed. She loves great design, memory keeping, pinterest, twitter, and instagram – and loves meeting new people via social media! She is on the creative teams for One Little Bird Designs and Simple Scrapper and loves the excuse to create! Follow along with her creative projects and everyday life & sarcasm on twitter and instgram at @abandy.

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Current favorite: Thursday3

One of my favorite regular memory keeping projects in the last year was Thursday3 — a weekly documenting challenge from Kristin of rukristin papercrafts.

From Kristin’s Instagram: “Join me for #Thursday3! my weekly selfie photo challenge — snap a picture, caption it with 3 right-now about you facts, and tag a few friends to play along.” And be sure to tag @rukristin if you play along!

I have been lazy and distracted about documenting in 2014. I have photos from back in January 2014 that I haven’t even looked at, let alone edited. I didn’t do anything for Project Life. I successfully finished a small Week in the Life album, but probably only because I bought the kit (let’s be honest) …

And yet, in spite of all this, every Thursday Kristin or another of my friends would tag me for #Thursday3 and I would be reminded to take a selfie and jot down a couple quick notes.

I literally forgot every single Thursday until someone tagged me. I forget to tag other people. I *almost* forget to use the hashtag #thursday3.

And that’s one of the many reasons I love social media. Friends, and gentle accountability and creative challenges. Miraculous. Because of this weekly project I have a small collection of documented stories from throughout the year that I definitely would not have had without the challenge.

I post these on Instagram (on Thursdays, surprise surprise) if you’d like to follow me there! Here are a few …


And — you know what? — today is Thursday as well!

This image just went up on Instagram, but here it is too …


  1. I have had these socks since high school. True story. At least … 15 years. I have no idea how they have lasted so long without being lost or destroyed.
  2. I want to take 10,000 steps each day this year. Part of my #olw #practice2015. My pedometer counts jumps on my trampoline, so I don’t have to leave the house (hopefully)
  3. As of right now I still have a couple posts to write for my blog party (to be published tonight), but once I’m done I’m going to read Harry Potter and eat enchiladas the rest of the day.

What is your favorite creative challenge?