Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Diary Challenge: A New Beginning

How did your month of diary-keeping go? Did you poop out after the first week? First two weeks? First two days?

If you finished out the month with all or most of your days filled in—congratulations! You have established a new habit. If your energy, interest, or will ended after the first week, take heart—you have eleven more chances this year to start again!

As I noted earlier, our house began the new year as a diary-keeping family. My three children were all given new diaries—each embellished with the new year and their name on the front—so that they, too, could start a diary habit.

The news isn't so good. Out of three children, only one wrote regularly this month. Not coincidentally, she's our oldest, at 12. She also has strong self-discipline and an inherent need (sometimes we call it an obsession) to finish whatever she starts. So, 1 out of 3 ain't bad.

And me? I confess that I skipped about 7 percent of my days, because of illness, fatigue, or forgetfulness. But I filled them in quickly, before I forgot what had happened.

In our house, then, one child will be rewarded for meeting the challenge. The rest will be gently urged to try again starting
February 1. It's a short month.

And you? If you filled 90 percent of your pages, leave me a comment, and I'll send you a reward, too.

And for everyone else, February 1 is only a day away. A day to take a deep breath, stretch your fingers, roll your shoulders, and make a pledge to try again.

And remember, February is a short month.

© 2007 by Marilyn C. Hilton

Up next: Be a sleuth: Finding clues in your photographs!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Diary Diary: Checking In

Dear Diary Challengers,

How was your first week of keeping a diary? Did you find a diary that will work for you? Did you write every day? Did you write just one page a day? How do you feel about this—eager to continue, or having second thoughts?

I hope you were able to keep up with the challenge and write every day. It's a great habit to get into. If, however, you skipped a day (or two), don't be discouraged. Days are long and hard, we get sick, we forget, or we just don't feel like it. Believe me, I know.

If you skip a day, don't worry: you can recover the next day by recounting the skipped day's events. And it's OK to write "I'm writing this on ." You will be forgiven.

In our house, my kids' diary-keeping efforts had mixed results. It seems that there is a direct correlation between age and dedication. My oldest child, who's 12, wrote faithfully every night without my prodding. My second, 10, needed to be reminded. And my "baby," 8, rebelled and decided this just wasn't for him. He and I need to recalibrate our expectations and commitments.

Whether you wrote seven days or three days, the purpose of this month of writing is to form a habit. As with all new goals, we're going to trip once in awhile. We're even gonna tumble. What's important is that we get back on our feet and keep moving toward our goal.

If you wrote every day, give yourself a huge pat on the back--you wrote every day for a week! If you skipped a few days, give yourself a pat on the back, too. You wrote x more times than you did the week before. And that, my friends, is progress!

Book drawing: We have a winner of the drawing for Real Women Scrap. Congratulations MaryLu! And thanks to everyone who entered.

© 2007 by Marilyn C. Hilton

Monday, January 01, 2007

Starting a New Page in 2007: A Review of Real Women Scrap

Happy New Year! While we are making resolutions and setting goals for the new year, we also remember the past and wonder where all the time went—and how did it go so fast? A great way to solve this problem is by creating scrapbooks.

Are you a scrapper? Do you have one or two scrapbooks tucked into a bookcase, a memory box, or on a closet shelf? Have you tried scrapbooking and failed?
Those of you who are die-hard scrappers, those who have done it in the past, and those who have tried and failed all understand the rewards and the challenges that scrapbooking pose. Carving out time, creating a space, overcoming the insecurities of being “artistically challenged,” and the uneasy and debilitating sense that your pages aren’t as good as those of more experienced scrappers are only some of those challenges.

Author, speaker, and scrap coach Tasra Dawson’s new book, Real Women Scrap, addresses these challenges and fears one-by-one with the wisdom and experience of professional scrapper, and the heart and voice of a girlfriend. Presenting new insights into this age-old and boomingly resurgent craft, Real Women Scrap will guide one-time scrappers, would-be scrappers, and even experienced scrappers through the process of creating a scrapbook—from planning and organizing, to journaling, to removing doubts and insecurities, and finally forming a sisterhood of scrappers. Checklists, quizzes, and how-to’s help readers get organized and stay on track. Visually, this book is a delight, with illustrations, embellishments, and details that create the feel of pages in a scrapbook.

Scrapbooking, as Dawson reveals, is a metaphor for life. In each chapter, Real Women Scrap shows parallels between elements of scrapbooking—such as laying out pages, cropping photos, creating balanced page composition, and quelling comparisons with others’ pages—and areas of our lives—such as making a plan, keeping a healthy balance, telling stories to create legacies, and not comparing our lives with others’. As you plan, create, and finish a scrapbook, you also develop insight into how to create a life that leaves a legacy of joy and love.

Even if you’re just an armchair scrapbooker, Real Women Scrap’s deeper insights and advice for creating the life you’ve always wanted make this one book you’ll want to add to your library in 2007.

Real Women Scrap is available now from Amazon.com and Dare Dreamer Press

Book Giveaway! I'm giving away one copy of Real Women Scrap, signed by the author. To add your name to the drawing, just leave a comment. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

© 2007 by Marilyn C. Hilton

Diary Challenge, Day 1: I’m so pleased to see that many of you are taking the diary challenge! I’ll be checking in with you throughout the month and will give updates on my kids’ progress. (We had our training session today at the kitchen table. After lots of questions, like “Mom, why are we doing this, again?” and much nodding of heads, I think we’re off to a great start.)