The One Thing

December 10, 2009

I spent a good portion of my day considering several topics for today’s column… I even asked for advice while out social networking earlier! Then it dawned on me that perhaps with all the rush & stress of the season that today’s topic should be one that offers you a chance to let it all hang out and not be based on one particular topic like marketing or decorating the mantle. I hope today’s theme strengthens and encourages you to reflect on something that “clicked” personally in your life. So… I’m asking that for just a moment you can leave behind what’s next on your to-do list and join in here to see where this topic takes us… Ready?

The One Thing

What’s the one thing you’ve read recently (online/offline) that has resonated with you and made you think? Why? Go into as much detail as you’d like. I will participate in the comments section along with you.

If you haven’t found anything yet, actively search for something in places where you trust to find wisdom, understanding and/or inspiration. Or think back earlier this year, did you post something to your inspiration board or blog on a topic that really clicked for you? Then come back and leave your comment if you’d like to participate in this open discussion. I wonder how many others share your one thing?

(images: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply emily anderson December 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    My grandmother passed away a year ago and I have been slowly discovering the past by sorting through her treasure trove of memoribilia. I found many letters she wrote, to others and to herself. one in particular gave me so much peace. In it she is telling her daughter (my aunt) how she wishes she had been a more available mother when her children were small. But she explains how, because she and my grandfather were starting their business, she was always working trying to get things off the ground, trying to do it all. After reading that letter, I realized that she must have understood how busy I myself have been over the last 5-10 years, and that she herself had been in the same situation. I was able to let go of my guilt that I hadn’t gone to visit her more, called her more, etc. I really feel like she is smiling at me and that she is happy and proud of me.

    • Reply decor8 December 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm

      Emily I am so glad you brought up your experience with your grandmother. I think the one thing I have learned came through my grandmother’s death in June, right before I relocated to Germany. I wish that I had taken more time to spend with her and that I could still have her in my life. The hole that was left when she died is sometimes quite unbearable to me personally because I didn’t realized how much I truly cared for her until she died. I mean, I knew I loved her but I guess the intensity of that love wasn’t known until she was gone. I still recall sitting near her bed singing with her all the old tunes — she was once a singer in Chicago in the 30s, and I guess her long life and history never really clicked in my head until I realized she was dying. I wish as a teenager, I had not been so selfish and had taken more time with her while she was young and healthy. You know, as teenagers we all treat our grandparents and parents a bit like they’re “old” and don’t understand us… From her death I learned more about life.

  • Reply Iva December 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    It is so hard to choose just one thing. I guess the whole blessing of this community is that you are kind of “flooded” with inspiration – it’s absolutely everywhere!

    If I have to choose just one thing though, I’d say “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. It is a truly inspirational book. Yes, it did help that the main character is an architect and I am a soon-to-be one, but I think that the topics discussed in the book are equally important to all artists no mater what they do. It is just what the life of a creative spirit is all about.

    Can’t wait to read all the answers :)
    .-= Iva´s last blog ..Books: "The Medici Secret" =-.

  • Reply spindelmaker December 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I recently read that the Japanese are the people in the world who read the most newspapers. And that 7 of the 10 biggest newspapers are Japanese. I´ve always believed that seeking knowledge is an important basis for making good judgement and good decisions. Big or small.
    Now that the world keeps growing smaller (globalisation) and bigger (population) and faster (technology), trying to keep as up to date on what is going on out there is essential.
    Oh, and not just “out there” and “them”, but realizing how I, being a citizen of the world, am an active part of the big puzzle, and can contribute on different, chosen levels.
    This might sound very political, and I don´t know if it is what you were looking for, but I do think that even artists need to sometimes be in “the real world” as my dear sometimes reminds me :-)
    And wisdome never hurt anyone…

  • Reply Victoria Klein December 10, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Oh wow – picking just one thing can be surprisingly tough for me. I have almost 15 magazine subscriptions & delightfully read them every month. I often find inspiration, both personally & professionally, but reading so much.

    The most recent article I read that really “clicked” in in the December 2009 issue of Yoga Journal. Called “Pssst, Pass It On” by Sally Kempton, the piece is about the fine line between helpful & harmful gossip. I love talking with people & rarely “gossip” per-se as much as I used to when I was younger. The article really made me stop & think about how powerful words can be.

  • Reply Casi Leigh December 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Okay, this may sound a bit funny but the most recent thing I’ve read that has really struck has been….Facebook. (And this coming from a literature student; my professors would kill me if they knew!) What I mean is important to me is the fact that I’ve slowly been helping all my wonderful, close older female relatives who aren’t so tech-minded to create accounts and learn to use the features so we can keep in touch in another, every-day sort of way. I grew up very close to my mother, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and aunts. Now that I attend university in another city, it gives us all a twinge each day not to see one anothers’ faces. It never ceases to amaze me how open they are to new experiences and adaptation. I’m the first to leave my small town to pursue school so this makes it easier on all of us and I get to continue to learn from them everyday. It’s one thing to discuss just how much technology such as social sites like this have changed life but it’s another entirely to watch it first-hand.

  • Reply Robyn December 10, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I am currently reading a book called ‘The Mists of Avalon’, a popular book in the 80’s. It’s really got me thinking about the role of women in society. Much of the book focuses on the shift from when women were appreciated, revered as the givers of life, partners in council, etc. Then, in later times with the introduction of religious rules they became silenced, told they were less than men, temptations for evil, abused, etc.

    I know this might sound silly, but it made my heart ache for a time that women were truly appreciated at the deepest level. I think about how many women would be proud of who they are at a deeper level than their reflection in the mirror, how domestic abuse & rape would be less, and how political affairs might be solved.

    The book got me thinking about how the world could be different if male/female energy was balanced, whole, 50/50. Imagine that :)
    .-= Robyn´s last blog ..thrifty gifts from the heart =-.

  • Reply Julia December 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm


    I’ve been reading about aging, and this article, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/5201724/Turning-50-its-not-all-bad.html, linked from here http://yarnstorm.blogs.com/jane_brocket/2009/11/burn-out.html, is something I’ve kept on the top of my head for some days.

    I’ve been long fascinated with the subject of beauty and I always try to separate it from youth and artificial accessories: make up, phony expressions, dyed hair. When Paul Newman passed away last year, my friends would say “he was a great actor” and he was indeed, but I thought it was remarkable that he was a great looking young man who went on to be a great looking old man. How often can you say that?

    So, to stop the rambling, I’ve been reading about aging but I’ve been thinking about beauty and what makes a person beautiful. My conclusions so far don’t perspire from this particular piece of writing, but I believe that beauty has a lot more to do with health (body, mind and soul) and the lust for life that is both a cause and a consequence of health, than any anthropomorphic features (height, weight, skin color, eye color, etc.)

  • Reply lorijo December 10, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I’ve been an avid reader of many decor/home/lifestyle/political blogs for a few years now and I’ve been noticing that the comments have been getting nastier and nastier with the passing of time. (NO, it is NOT this one) At first I ignored them, but now, I can’t. I don’t want to.

    Bad behavior and negativity have somehow become the norm in many aspects of our society.I have come to the conclusion that my life is too short to have that negativity around me- even in blog form! Constructive comments are one thing, but I have decided that for my resolution this year I am going back to “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it”

  • Reply Marek December 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Reading the menu in a restaurant :) I thought about the places where we eat meals and with whom. and about, their impact on the celebration of life and joy of the moment

  • Reply Merry Fenton December 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I had an “aha” moment when I read this article in Prevention about the role of omega 3 and omega 6 in our diets. When I read it, the idea resonated with me and explained SO much.

  • Reply kristina December 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    i am revisiting ‘the alchemist’ by paulo coehlo – much of the book resonates because this year has been a year of many changes for me.
    it’s hard to choose one thing from the book, it’s excellent overall. this quote: There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. has been staying on my mind a lot.
    2009 has been a week of changes and growth for me. i wanted to become more active with my etsy store and actually dedicate more time toward creating things. the year is now drawing to an end and all the journeys i embarked on this year drifted me far away from that initial goal rather than draw me near it. however, even though i did not accomplish that particular task, i learned and grew a lot this year.
    it is now that time of the year that resolutions are thought upon, and this coming year i’ve decided to go with the lesson: that life definitely brings you many surprises and takes you to unexpected places sometimes and if you are open to learn and ready to act it can be a thrilling and exciting adventure :)
    .-= kristina´s last blog ..inside the artist’s studio: helen rawlinson =-.

  • Reply City Chic - Jamie December 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    The other week I was starting to get sick, but always feel the pressure of my day job and feel guilty if I call in sick. Coming up that weekend was an event that was really important to me in my personal (non-work) life that I did not want to miss. When I was talking to my mom about debating the possibility of calling in sick, she finally said “what’s more important to you?” meaning my day job (which is not my passion) or the event that really meant a lot to me coming up that weekend. So, I decided I needed to take a day off to rest so I wouldn’t be sick for the weekend event and I actually ended up not feeling guilty!

    Sometimes it’s something simple to remind us of the things that are most important. And I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for my day job during this time of job loss, it’s just that I have realized my passion is not in that line of work and have already started to set goals to change my path :)
    .-= City Chic – Jamie´s last blog ..Holiday Cards with Buttons, Tape, and Twine =-.

  • Reply francesca December 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    i recently read a post at creative kismet that made me realize i have been anticipating moving so much, i haven’t been truly connected to where i live. being in a state of mental limbo has slowly seeped into every aspect of my life. i have since been making a conscience effort to make daily connections with people and places, new and old. thank you for prompting me to really sit and think about this.
    .-= francesca´s last blog ..snow day! =-.

  • Reply kristina December 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    * i meant 2009 has been a YEAR of changes – not a week :)
    .-= kristina´s last blog ..inside the artist’s studio: helen rawlinson =-.

  • Reply styleosophy December 10, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I’ve recently been reconsidering freindships and reevaluating what’s next in my professional life. In one of his recent posts (written during one of his many travels) Chris Guillebeau, he wrote “To go from good to excellent is not always necessary. You can do very well in many areas of life just by being good. In fact, I think that the pursuit of perfection can sometimes serve as a form of life avoidance. It’s often better to face your fear and just get something out there, perfection be damned.”

    The aha moment for me in that statement is I have been avoiding failure by not even trying. I have stood in my own way for so long stagnation hurts. I know what I want to do next but have been fearful of all the what ifs, and pursuing perfection simply left me at a standstill. As I turn the corner on a recent birthday, at 42, I know there is more, more, more. And I have to get to it!

  • Reply Holly December 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    What a wonderful topic. Thank you!
    I find inspiration right here on your lovely blog. I really enjoyed the post about blog comments. I also love Sussanah’s blog, Ink on My Fingers.
    The other place I love to visit when I’m looking for inspiration are TED talks. This is one of my favourites, that I visit again and again. It helps to remind me as I work and struggle at times building my business that it is the simple things that help to build success.
    Lastly, I love love love my local Pecha Kucha nights. If you’ve never heard of them, they are world wide so check out your city to see when the next one is. It is a wonderful night full of inspiration where people do talks with 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide.
    Thanks, Holly, for another wonderful post.
    Holly T.

    • Reply decor8 December 10, 2009 at 1:43 pm

      Okay so now onto my one thing, because the thing I mentioned above was more or less thrown on in response to a lovely comment left here. :) Okay so recently I was recently I was reading in a British photography magazine an article about photographer Lee Frost and how sometimes the digital shots he takes do not inspire him in the same as the ones he used to take in film before the digital camera boom. But it wasn’t really the article that I’d say was my “one thing” rather something he said…

      “It may sound daft but failure was necessary because it made success even more satisfying”.

      I’ve been thinking of this lately, as it concerns personal growth, my career, and other things that have happened in my life years ago and even now, and how true it is. I remember failing a lot more years ago and a lot less now but as a result, I don’t always appreciate every single success in the same way. It’s something to think about, huh?

  • Reply fresh365 December 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Hi Holly- Great topic and I think it is perfect timing as the year is coming to an end and we all reflect on the past year and think about the coming one. Recently I came across the site http://www.goodguide.com/ and it has been extremely eye-opening! You can search the products you use each day (and some food) which are ranked according to healthy/natural ingredients, environmental impact, company ethics, etc… It is scary to see how many unhealthy ingredients I was using in my daily products. I am slowly changing over all my products to ones that are better for myself and the environment. I am also paying close attention to what I buy. Each time I make a purchase, I am in a sense “investing” in that company. I want to be educated and support the companies that are playing fair.

  • Reply Kat December 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Fascinating thread here to read everyones very varied aha moments and things on there minds.
    I think what’s been on mine lately esp at this giving time of year…is how we are often conditioned into thinking we must give only if from that sane person we get something in return. One of my biggest things to realise is we can give as much as we want wherever we want because somehow the Universe or God brings that giving back to us(like a circle). It maybe we don’t recieve back from the same person or place we’ve given to but we recieve something from somewhere else.
    I also have to remember to be open to this recieving and not let there be an imbalance there with how much I give.
    I hope this makes sense.
    To Julia above about aging and beauty your words resonated with me. I think it’s a person’s outlook that makes them attractive whatever their age. George Hamilton was just on our Tv in the Uk doing the Jungle program ‘Im a celebrity get me out of here’. I hadn’t known of him before,but what a gentleman he turned out to be,and full of positive warmth to others and for life. So though in his 70’s he often had the aura of being in his 50’s because he was so upbeat and just himself.
    Love Kat
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Red riding hood =-.

  • Reply Annie December 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Well as it’s coming to year’s end I’ve been reflecting a lot on all that’s happened in the last year as I’m sure most people have been. What a year, huh?! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind full of tremendous ups and equally as tremendous downs, but the end result is quite fabulous. I have mad respect for those that are pursuing their passions in life and are able to rise above whatever turmoil may occur during the journey. There is an amazing musician by the name of Damon Dotson http://www.damondotson.com/ who is truly an inspiration to me! The music and lyrics to his song “Glad to Be Alive” pop into my head just when I need them to and really open up my mind and heart to see the bigger picture and … They go a little something like this…”No matter how far down I get, well I know I’ll be alright with it, because I’m glad to be alive”.

    I too miss my grandmother dearly and think about her daily, and I think this is the motto she lived by!
    .-= Annie ´s last blog ..A Lovely Winter Palette! =-.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente December 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Oh, this is such a wonderful topic hun….I know exactly the thing. I was reading Oprah magazine(the January issue) and in it is an article about women loving themselves for how they differ from the norm. Lynn Yaeger is quoted in there and there is an adorable photo of her, I adored what she had to say about her quirkiness and marching to the beat of another drummer. “Early on, I decided to ignore the fashion industry’s stifling dictates and make my own rules” -L. Yaeger Her words reminded me to appreciate what you have, embrace it, celebrate it and not compare yourself to others. I think she is fantastic and adorable and she completely inspired me. It is the one thing I can’t stop thinking about and made such a great impression on me. Thanks for this Holly! Hope you are having a great week hun!
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..The little things: feeling silver =-.

  • Reply My Owl Barn December 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    “It may sound daft but failure was necessary because it made success even more satisfying” I agree with this 100%. There were times in my life when nothing seemed to make sense despite all the hard work put in by me. Now, when I look back those things which were hazy then are clear now, they hold a meaning now. Success does becomes sweeter and more valuable if you have failed and yet mustered courage to rise again.
    .-= My Owl Barn´s last blog ..De Beaux Souvenirs =-.

  • Reply blue bicicletta December 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    One thing I have read many times in the past year or so, and recently read and really felt moved by is these lines:

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

    These are the beginning lines of the poem “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver. They make me think: why do I continue to struggle against myself when all I have to do is “let the soft animal of [my] body love what it loves?”

    This poem means so much to me that I did a podcast about it on my blog last week. Check it out here: http://bluebicicletta.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/wild-geese-the-podcast/
    .-= blue bicicletta´s last blog ..Link Love + Triangle Love + Letter Love =-.

  • Reply Sarah December 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Ok, there are so many things, but today I was really feeling how much I love the Christmas season and even the cold weather here in New Hampshire. I have decided to accept it and not fight the weather anymore…I also got a magazine that has an article about an author who has just written a book about how to be happy. I think we forget how powerful the mind is and the saying, if you just put your mind to it…this is so true. You are what you think and feel every single day. So, the author suggests one thing to focus on every month for example, January is ‘boost energy’, February is ‘remember love’ and March is ‘aim higher’ – the book is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (available in the US Dec. 29 for $25.00).
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Holiday decorations… =-.

  • Reply Mrs. M December 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    another wonderful thought-provoking post :)

    the thing that has resonated with me recently was reading the statistics about how much waste is generated during the holidays – over 4 million tons of trash from wrapping paper & shopping bags alone! its mind-boggling to think about all that needless waste. even more alarming is the mis-placed emphasis on gifts/cards/material stuff during this season, which I think is really sad and misguided. people kill themselves over buying the “must have” gifts and fighting the department store mobs… all the while being rude and inconsiderate to each other. Its all making me approach the holidays with a whole different attitude.

    I’m decorating and gifting more consciously and thoughtfully, and forgetting about the shopping-frenzy and commericalism. I haven’t set foot in the mall once and I’m all the more happy because of it. All my gifts & wrappings will be homemade or handmade, and I think that makes giving that much more special. Its enabled me to really enjoy this season and focus on the *real* important things. x
    .-= Mrs. M´s last blog ..pretty papers, pretty ribbons of blue =-.

  • Reply s. eileen December 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    i’ve always loved a good story to escape into

    i’ve discovered the beauty of design, fashion, craft blogs- they have become a great escape for me at work when i am overwhelmed (thus the life of a social worker)

    yet i like things that help me process my overcrowded brain (one being my blog)

    …i love Trish at eatingisart.com
    …i finished reading ‘Little Bee’ by Chris Cleave, a lovely book on hidden hope
    …read ‘Half the Sky’ by N. Kristoff (features a good friend of mine) inspiring beyond inspiring.

  • Reply Akiyo December 10, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    The most recent thing I read was a children’s book called An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton. I don’t have kids but I came across it through another blog and was able to read it online through Clayton’s website. By the time I was half way through the book, my eyes were watering with tears. I loved the concept of teaching children, even adults, to dream big. It definitely inspired me to really enjoy the concept process of my work and reminded me that the outcome isn’t always as important as enjoying the journey to get there. I ended up purchasing two copies of the book. One for myself and another for a gift to our friend’s kids. I read it every now and then to keep me inspired. :)


  • Reply ishtar December 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I feel inspired today for being ALWAYS faithful and true to your self. For listening your innervoice and for following it no matter what or who. For learning to grow in hard times and getting the BEST out of the experience and shine a bit more if it leads you to your true self.

    I love freyas postcard saying:

    “We have waited so long to emerge with our wings,lets never be afraid to use them again”

    .-= ishtar´s last blog ..Etsy finds =-.

  • Reply Claire Quilter December 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    These answers are a joy to read. What a wonderful thing to find in the middle of the day.

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. One of the basic story problems in the book divides people into two categories: those, if given the choice, would learn to maintain and understand their own motorcycles and those who would buy perfect, wonderful motorcycles they expected to work perfectly. It made me realize my favorite people in the world are the motorcycle maintainers — truly and metaphorically.
    .-= Claire Quilter´s last blog ..Art Deco Leigh Potters/Leighware Platter – Green Wheat c. 1928 =-.

  • Reply J. December 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I was recently reading a fascinating profile of film director James Cameron in the New Yorker. I am not a fan of his work, and he seems like the sort of person whose God complex and drive to realize their creative vision leaves a lot of casualties in their wake. But he is also the sort of person who has pushed himself to achieve adacious things–a high school dropout who directed the highest grossing movie of all time. He’s quoted in the profile as saying “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” It’s made me think about how sometimes you can learn a significant truth from people who at first blush don’t inspire you creatively.

  • Reply Kiran December 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I lost my uncle almost a year ago. I never got the chance to say goodbye. When tragedy occurs, it is so easy to realize that we ought to spend more time with our loved ones. Do we actually try pursuing that? As for my case, I am here in US and my family is in Malaysia. Sigh. So difficult.
    .-= Kiran´s last blog ..Part 2 – A visit to the Astronaut Hall of Fame =-.

  • Reply Sophia December 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    The one thing I want to say is how I am appreciating reading all these posts and the sense of community and oneness I feel with the comments.

  • Reply amanda December 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    i think for me it is not one but many things that :clicked: in my head/heart. i realised i’ve grown so much in the past couple of years from making wrong decisions or being with the wrong kind of people, that i nearly forget how it feels to be me. i startet to see a lot of things more clear in this year. said goodbye to a few ideas, “friends” and things and now it’s kind of: yes, i am happy with myself. i am starting to grow in that kind of woman i always wanted to be(more or less-you never stop growing or learning, do you?) i am allowing myself not to compeed with other people in any kind of way i realised that it’s not good. well, not for me ;-)
    .-= amanda´s last blog ..whatcha wearing wednesday =-.

  • Reply rdekko December 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    well, i don’t have a topic yet, but from all the above comments i remembered what Salvador Dali said and i keep it since then:
    Don’t worry about perfection, you’ll never reach it! That’s all folks! Do your best, don’t care what other say, fall and rise otherwise life is too boring.
    .-= rdekko´s last blog ..???????????? ??? ????? ? {Christmas Fireplace} =-.

  • Reply Laura C December 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    It’s hard to choose just one! I will pick one though that sort of sums up something I have been learning/working on this past year. It’s a blog post on Pecannoot by Jess Gonacha Swift called “Let go of your rocks.”


    I’m an artist working on building up my own photography business. I’m also an introvert. So… artist + introvert = easy to feel like I’m not good enough. But lately I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone and take chances… building up relationships and being confident in my art.
    It’s so awesome to have a blog like Pecannoot (and many others!) that are full of inspiration and encouragement! It’s ok to think you are awesome! :)
    .-= Laura C´s last blog ..Holiday Deadline Reminder =-.

  • Reply Natalie December 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I recently started a new job (in October) which I absolutely hate. I drive an hour each way to sit at a desk and do nothing. Previously, I worked a mile from my home at the College I graduated from, at a job that I was known, respected and had a lot of responsibility. However, I had major issues about feeling like i was never going to leave that College so I took another job, at an art institute…in all honesty, partially because I would feel more proud telling people I worked there.

    Over the last few weeks all I want to do is quit, but financially I can’t really do that (getting married in May!!!!). My fiance supports me quitting, he knows how miserable I am and how miserable he is worrying about my drive and just the complete unhappiness I feel. This has lead me to focus on finding a job I love, or finding a job that allows me to have time to do what I love. I almost feel like this unachievable, but I know I might have to make the first step by quitting and spending time with art to rediscover myself. It won’t be easy, I’ll be stressed, I might cry, but I truly feel like I’m too talented and smart to sit around doing nothing.

    Sorry this isn’t more profound, but it is completely consuming.

  • Reply casapinka December 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    The book “29 Gifts.” The idea is to give away 29 gifts in 29 days (sometimes a gift might just be a smile or a hug.) I’ve been so sick lately and it made me take stock and start thinking outside myself. They have a website where you can keep track of your 29 gifts and read what others do for theirs. It’s such a nice way to reach out during the holiday season rather than thinking about it in a stressful way.
    .-= casapinka´s last blog ..Stream of consciousness at 3am =-.

  • Reply ishtar December 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm


    Yes! do it! and as Rumi the poet said:

    Let the beauty you love, be what you do”
    .-= ishtar´s last blog ..Etsy finds =-.

  • Reply Winter December 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Natalie- I want to encourage you to stick it out-make this job a stepping stone, and make the job what you want it to be. I know the commute is awful and I am sure there are many who would say differently- but artists like any other profession need networks; and gain from being amongst those who are different than themselves. You sound as if you are stretching yourself and sometimes that hurts…( I know the commute alone must do so) but you find the new shape gives you room for something you didn’t know you had.
    I may well be out of line enouraging you in this direction, but there was a reason that you felt proud that you were going to work at this institute. Zero in on that pride- Is it the other people that work there? Ask a new person to lunch each week- start a brown bag conversation inviting someone to give a talk on what they are working on. The fabuous collection? Volunteer as a docent during your breaks Start a blog about the work the institute is doing. The students that come through? Ask to see their work, help them on their journey as you might have been helped at your previous college. Feeling pinched in the art department of your own voice? Sketch each day when you have nothing to do at your desk- one sketch per day then turn the page.
    I know it may be overwhelming- I wish you luck it is a challenge to be under so many differnt stresses- I admire your guts for leaving what was a comfortable place to finda new edge.

  • Reply Winter December 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Oh and Natalie- when the wind says it is time to go- go. YOu can have your favorite job, it is small steps that will get you there.

  • Reply Jane @ the Borrowed Abode December 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I’m in a somewhat similar position as Natalie. I realized this year that I can’t stay in this corporate world, or in DC, forever. I don’t hate my job, but it wears on me. It’s not my long-term career, that’s for sure. It inspired me to start thinking about how I can change my situation. The first task, which I have started, is to focus on saving money so that I am able to break free of my dependence on the corporate salary when I have a plan in place.

    Also, I don’t mean to sound trite, but entering the blogging world inspired me tons this year. I’ve always been a fan of DIY projects and creativity, but there is SO much inspiration and encouragement out there that I was previously unaware of! Now I have a new mindset: I go shopping with the approach of seeing fun products and asking myself: “How can I make that and save money?”
    .-= Jane @ the Borrowed Abode´s last blog ..Totally Turquoise in 2010? =-.

  • Reply decor8 December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I have to chime in and say Winter has given some excellent advice here, thank you so much for stepping in to show support of Natalie. I know the feeling Natalie, I’ve had jobs like this in the past. What I did was I started to take a night class here and there to relieve myself and to start getting into a creative field and I also started to plan lunches with friends or a gym appointment each day since we had a health club downstairs. I found that exercise and a night class once a week helped me. I also took random workshops at a local art school. I felt like a secret spy going to work each day with a game plan in my head, I knew I was outta there in a year (that’s the time I gave myself) so I had this power and happiness and almost this lust for what I could someday do outside of that job. I believed in myself and most of all, connected with others at school and in these workshops.

    :) YOU CAN DO IT NATALIE. Think of your game plan and make what you have work for YOU until you are able to uproot and replant.

  • Reply daisy janie December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    What a great, great topic! I was reading a post (http://designerjots.blogspot.com/2009/12/nate-williams-q.html) on designer jots about Nate Williams’ ecojot quote journals and loved this one:

    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

    Whoosh! It really resonated with me b/c I tend to amplify the weight of a task before I delve in…it’s the old analysis-paralysis thing at work. I make such a big deal in my head out of what I’m about to do that I end-up procrastinating to the nth minute. Once I finally start, I realize it was not nearly as monumental as I made it out to be. I get so jazzed-up and energized once I get going….and I kick myself for waiting around!! I don’t want to miss opportunities b/c of my inertia!!
    .-= daisy janie´s last blog ..brown paper packages tied-up with string =-.

  • Reply daisy janie December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    p.s. i’ll be singing the INXS song “one thing” for the rest of the day now!! :)
    .-= daisy janie´s last blog ..brown paper packages tied-up with string =-.

  • Reply Jen December 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Not so much what I’ve read as what I’ve seen and I wrote about it within the last few days as a matter of fact. Your site is very much a part of it Holly. I love love love the clean, spare northern-style design that you feature a lot along with many of the folks in your bloglist. I want to make things like that. My current art style however tends toward the very textured, very dark, very hands-on while I’m searching for the hands off look and for the line that tells me when to stop, when enough is enough.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..I`m bushed =-.

  • Reply Amy Crossan December 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    One thing that has inspired me lately has been reading Stephanie Nielson’s blog, http://nieniedialogues.blogspot.com/. It has lifted my spirits, humbled me, made me feel sadness, joy and appreciation. A lovely view of life from someone who’s been through it all and is coming back. Truly makes me grateful for my roles in life and certainly makes me take a closer look at things I let slip into complacency.

  • Reply Jeni December 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I have been thinking a lot about traditions and crafting lately. I am thankful that I grew up with a mother who liked to make things with her hands. My Mom always baked cookies and cakes from scratch, and also liked to sew and crochet. I consider myself lucky that I “allowed” her to teach me, as a teenager, how to bake and sew. Meeting people through my college has made me realize how rare this can be. I am thankful that I sew and bake homemade cookies and make things. While there is such a large crafting community, especially out here online (which I am so grateful for!) it scares me to think how easily a craft can be forgotten or left behind if my generation and future generations don’t value crafts.

    I am proud to continue to make folded paper german christmas stars (which I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of Holly!). My grandmother moved to the United States from Germany when she was 18. A year or so before she passed away she taught me how to make the paper christmas stars that she made when she was a girl. The tradition could have so easily been lost in our family. I could have found instructions somewhere online I’m sure, but it was so much more valuable to learn them from her. I just hope that the handmade and homemade traditions can stay strong in competition with the ready-made and store bought.

    Excellent topic :)
    .-= Jeni´s last blog ..Lights =-.

  • Reply Noelle December 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    lorijo, I really agree with your thoughts on the negativity! Funny I should decide to pop over here. My grandmother died today too and it’s so nice reading what people wrote about their own grandmothers.

  • Reply Marissa December 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments! My latest read was Anna Karenina, and it’s made me really thankful for the changes over the last 150 years that have enabled women to be assertive in the choices they make for their lives. While Anna is clearly not a great role model in many ways, I appreciate that she had the guts to make a change when her life became unsatisfying. I’m searching for a new career path, but haven’t yet settled on something I’d really love to do. I hope that when I find it I will have the same courage to make a change!

  • Reply MichelleP December 10, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    DWR wrote about ceramist Eva Zeisel turning 103 recently. Talk about inspiring! She still designs! And, she made a jump from ceramics to furniture design at age 80. (Anyone think it’s too late to try something new?) She calls herself a “maker of things”, & approaches her designs with “the playful search for beauty.” The concept of playfulness in art/design is something that always resonates for me, as does the success of someone who has carved their own path.

    Here’s the article & a link to her Ted talk if anyone is interested:
    .-= MichelleP´s last blog ..How to Amuse Strangers =-.

  • Reply Katie Stephenson December 10, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    My “one thing” has a lot to do with the last “talk it out” discussion about commenting on people’s blogs. I have probably 200 different blogs in my reader and I’m not sure why I choose the ones I want to read on any given day, but for some reason, on November 13th I chose to click on Jessica from Sweet Eventide’s post titled “fate.” http://www.sweeteventide.com/2009/11/fate.html It turned out to be one of the sweetest and bravest posts I have ever read. It was about gratitude and how someone (a stranger) really helped her through a very tough time in a very small way. Since then, I’ve been thinking more and more about that post and the story behind it, and I’ve been trying to do more “small” things for people including taking the time to leave people comments on their posts, especially when they write something brave or that might leave them feeling a little vulnerable.
    .-= Katie Stephenson´s last blog ..lonny magazine’s december issue is live =-.

  • Reply Tracey December 10, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Wonderful topic! Timely too as I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately due to some major decisions I’ve made.

    I’ve worked in the corporate world for 15 years, working like mad for very little in return (except of course more work… sometimes it stinks when you’re good at what you do), and, for the last several years have hated my job. The final straw was dealing with this job while going through my father being diagnosed with terminal cancer and, the week he passed was back at work a few days later, dealing with the same stuff, the same difficulties, the same dissatisfaction.

    My father’s last Christmas, for the first time ever he and I made Christmas cookies together. (this is why I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately) It was just the two of us and at one point he turned to me and said, “I’m having such a wonderful time with you. I’m so proud of you and I love you so much. You will do amazing things. Don’t be like me. Go do them while you can.” I’ll never forget it because he was never one to say anything like that. I knew I needed to live up to that but I didn’t know how… until…

    In September, I started selling my photography and, in three short months I’ve had so many amazing things happen. It’s a lot of work and a lot of hours not to mention a lot of frustration (in addition to the day job I still have and, sadly, still hate) but I keep thinking of my Dad who passed away wishing he had more time. I have that time (thankfully) and I’m taking it. In 2010, I’m moving completely to NYC and pursuing my art full time. It will mean cutting back, and perhaps dipping in to savings, perhaps getting a part time job to help pay the bills, but, in the end, it will be worth it.

    Natalie- I totally understand where you’re at. I am in the same situation. I have actually found myself mentally shutting down, and sometimes shedding tears, because of it. But I can tell you, want something enough, work hard enough to achieve it, and you will. Yes, you hate your job now but like others said, it’s a stepping stone. Pursue other avenues while using your job as a means to fund those side ventures. I feel so much for what you are going through but have confidence in yourself that you’ll be able to move on and do what you love and you’ll get there.

    Wow, sorry, this was a novella. Clearly, I needed to write it out… where’s my journal??

    Thanks for this topic!!
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..What I’ve Learned…my first 3 months selling. =-.

  • Reply Tracey December 10, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Sorry, I should have added that, what I’ve read lately that actually inspired all this thinking WAS my journal from when we were dealing with my father’s illness. It made me realize that I needed to pursue happiness otherwise I haven’t learned anything.

    There are so many quotes and other things I’ve read that I can add as well but I’ve already written a short novel. :)
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..What I’ve Learned…my first 3 months selling. =-.

  • Reply Jamie December 10, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    My aha moment came to me a few months ago when I was frustrated that everything I wanted seemed as if it was going to take longer than I want/expected it to. I was so angry that I couldn’t just have it my way which was NOW!, then one afternoon I was out on a run and a thought crossed my mine. “If I give you everything you want right now you won’t know what to do with yourself.”

    I believe it to be true, if I had it all I wouldn’t have anything to work for. So I’ve slowed my pace and things have been coming together smoother ever since. I know it’s only a matter of time till my next dream becomes a reality.

  • Reply ni December 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Two days ago, in a (very good) book called “Change your life in 7 days” (by Paul Mckenna), I read: “If I wish to get something for what it will make me feel, feeling this way first is the fastest way to get to what I wish for”. I’ve been thinking about it since.

  • Reply emily anderson December 10, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    What an awesome thread. Holly, I too have also been profoundly shaken by my grandmother’s passing away. Uprooted, really. I just had to chime in to the Natalie/Winter/Holly convo. Natalie, I was you in 2004. Exactly you, at a crossroads, the company I loved was in a major transition, so I went to another company and I hated hated hated it. I started plotting my departure. It took me a year or so, but by the time I was fired from the job I loathed, I had created a website, taken an online writing class, put together a book proposal, and I was ready when the axe fell. It took me 4 years, and I started at the bottom, but I am finally where I wanted to be. I was also about to get married, fyi. Now I have 2 little babies :) Getting married is the perfect time to reevaluate where you want to go, how you want your life to look. Everyone else is 100% right–take small steps everyday, and eventually you will find yourself walking right into your dream job/life. Good luck!!
    .-= emily anderson´s last blog ..i don’t like petals in my paper =-.

  • Reply Yvonne December 10, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    This was the year I started blogging…triggered initially by the need to have a “home” for my craft challenge entries. But the support I’ve gotten from the online craft community has certainly made me “craft” out of the box and have my little spot in the crafting blogosphere. Perhaps it’s because we don’t meet in real life that people let their guard down a little and friendships are formed. While I’m happy to have made so many online friends, it saddens me that it is so hard to catch up with real life friends. With all the technology available for communication, I find myself emotionally closer to those further to me in physical distance. I miss the days when people in real life turned up on time and face-to-face communication can happen without interruptions from cellphones/blackberries.
    .-= Yvonne´s last blog ..With grandma =-.

  • Reply jessica December 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

    i read today in a magazine that winter should be a time to reflect personally and, the part that hit home, to count your blessings: that we can go home and have a nice bath after a day of yucky weather – that we have a home, walls and a roof, hot water – that we have heating or nice warm blankets. simple things like having a winter jacket, having boots, or even having shoes. i find when winter hits you just hear a lot of people complaining about the weather, and i personally get bothered because mother nature doesn’t really care if you like soft snow over wet and rainy snow, but especially that people (myself included!) complain oodles about the awful weather and don’t always necessarily appreciate the privileges we have. sometimes we take things for granted. i’ve been trying to be less complain-y and more grateful lately and it just really spoke to me about that.

  • Reply Heather December 11, 2009 at 2:38 am

    Rain just starting falling here in LA, and I feel so peaceful and cozy reading these comments as I listen to it! Great topic! I just finished reading “The Power of Serving Others” by Gary Morsch and Dean Nelson, and I think it should be on everyone’s read-it-now list! I loved it and was so inspired by all of the amazing stories that detailed how one simple act of service changed the life of someone else in a significant way. We all have the power, every day, to help someone in need. Sometimes I think I can’t be of service because I don’t have the time or the money or the resources…but this book reminded me that often the simplest gestures of human kindness can be the most profound. We find meaning in our lives when we are actually less focused on ourselves and more focused on others. One of my hopes for the new year – and the rest of my life, really – is to embrace that sentiment and feel empowered knowing that we all have unique abilities to make a difference in the lives of others.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..An Unconventional Christmas Tree =-.

  • Reply a pretty trip December 11, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Meditation and buddhism are everywhere I look at the moment – which I’m sure is no coincidence. I’ve struggled with an anxiety disorder for years and psych’s have basically told me they can’t help, because I’m too insightful and I have to just face my fear (which is not being able to breathe, which is totally related to me having a chronic lung disease).

    I keep coming back to meditation… which is interesting. Particularly with its focus on breath..

    I’ve really loved everyone’s posts too!! Thanks Holly. Merry Christmas.
    .-= a pretty trip´s last blog ..If I had some children.. =-.

  • Reply Leigh @ Constant Cravings December 11, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I started re-reading The Alchemist on Sunday, my second day in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Reading it affirmed my decision to move here to work for an NGO for a year, espcially since I was bombarded with negative noise from family prior to leaving. Thankfully, I had super supportive friends. Moving here awakened something in me, a desire to do good for the world while also being the passionate creative traveling soul that I am. Reading the familiar words of The Alchemist reminded me there is no perfect time to do something, no reason to wait but instead just the desire and the decision to leap. So, here I am. In Siem Reap, Cambodia.

  • Reply Sílvia Silva December 11, 2009 at 6:25 am


    Lately, or in the past few years the issues on career and vocations are always on my head. Yesterday I read this http://www.swiss-miss.com/2009/12/career-advice.html and I have been thinking: that’s it!

  • Reply sidsel_._ December 11, 2009 at 6:45 am

    it really blew my mind – and made a lot of sense at the same time when I recently heard in a tv-program – that the biggest growing market worldwide is…. Women!
    .-= sidsel_._´s last blog ..Belli Bellucci! =-.

  • Reply Suze December 11, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Ciao! What an amazing collection of personal stories and little-big revelations. Thanks for this to Holly and to you all!

    I can’t write down the one thing I read (just this morning!) and I would like to share with you because it’s actually an awesome artwork… Please have a look here to the original source: http://www.h34dup.com/artwork/typcut-are-you-happy/

    The starting point is the question “ARE YOU HAPPY?” and… well, as simple as that!
    If you’re not happy (about an aspect of your life) change something.
    How comes putting this crystal clear diagram in practice is so difficult sometimes? :) Is it just me? Anyway, this is something basic I absolutely need to remember always. One should always ask to self this question no? Why do we forget sometimes?
    (And specially dedicated to Natalie: good luck!)

    Have a lovely (and happy) day!

    .-= Suze´s last blog .."Are you happy?" =-.

  • Reply Beautymist December 11, 2009 at 7:55 am

    WOW! I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments, ALL very inspiring. I’ve even followed a couple of interesting links and ended up in the SPRING website. http://springinspiration.com/

    I think my one thing right now is GRATITUDE for everything that happened this year.

    I’ve lost my grandfather in late March this year, but we’ve been close to each throughout my whole life, through childhood (see pic here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19237938@N00/3507970288/) and as a teenager I went to a different museum with him every Wednesday, and I spent his last three years cruising the countryside and discovering new places with him. So I’m grateful for all that precious “together” time.

    On a creative/artistic side, I’m grateful I’ve met very inspiring people on Flickr who introduced me to the world of ATC’s, that is Artist Trading Cards. They are small cards, so they are as intimidating as a big canvas and that helped go creating collages and drawings again. See: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19237938@N00/sets/72157622715913184/

    And finally, you can read my latest post on my blog. These are a few “Thoughts for Christmas”.

    .-= Beautymist´s last blog ..Thoughts for Christmas. =-.

  • Reply Diana December 11, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Holly this week’s topic is pure genius. Between holiday art shows, shopping, and then getting sick I was feeling stressed and my house was a disaster area – yeah, more stress. This article (by a BYW alum!) made a huge difference in my attitude and definitely made me feel less overwhelmed during the holiday season.


    It enabled me to take all the chaos and narrow it down to one corner. Instead of making a half-hearted difference house-wide, I made that one corner awesome and it felt great. I’m planning to tackle small creative/decor projects like this throughout the season. It’s so important to me to have a beautiful creative space, but now I don’t feel frozen in the face of a task that’s too big for me.
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..I’m ‘Fessing Up. =-.

  • Reply Natalie December 11, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Thanks Winter, Decor* and Ishtar. You all have given me some really positive things to think about and ways to improve my situation without losing myself.

    Happy Winter!

  • Reply Sarah December 11, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Reading Natalie’s post and the others following really inspired me. I took to heart Winter and Holly’s thoughts and started wondering how I can apply them to my situation. I’ve been toying with finding some night classes or craft workshops to flex my creative muscles and I think this post has given me the inspiration to do so.

    Thanks everyone, and Natalie I hope you find the change that makes you happy! :)
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Presents on the tree =-.

  • Reply juliette December 11, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Ditto on the encouragement for Natalie! I had a similar situation for nearly 2yrs – it was ROUGH – but financially required. I had strategies, too, to get through it. The first of which was knowing it was only going to last as long as my husband was finishing grad school. I had a great coworker who regularly cheered me on when I arrived to work in the AM already worn out from my 2hr commute. She knew I was only there for so long and was in a similar situation. Sometimes having 1 trusted colleague can brighten the daily grind =)

    I also used my commute time to read and learn things and plan mini-strategies for ‘what’s next’. I also found a regular group of people to ride the commuter rail with each day and found some good friends and networked that way. However, I was by no means regularly optimistic! It is a hard phase of life to be in, I hear you!

    What Winter said about a stepping stone is so true. I’m currently using skills from my crazy-commute job to run my own freelance business. Working freelance has helped provide income in an international environment where otherwise finding paid work w/my degrees is insanely difficult. Oddly, this was never on my list of ideas for ‘life after the crazy job’ =) yet it’s been a real blessing in so many ways.

    Hang in there!
    .-= juliette´s last blog ..2 wreaths and a dose of perspective =-.

  • Reply Tennille December 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I recently came across a simple quote that said it all.

    “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy” – gratefulness.org

    It is so true that we often run around seeking happiness (especially at this time of year), but rarely stop to share gratitude for our current situation and blessings. But that simple act would in fact bring us happiness.
    On that note, I am grateful for your wonderful blog and these discussions!
    .-= Tennille´s last blog ..Design Make a Great Gift! =-.

  • Reply Jessica December 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I really enjoyed reading all of the comments so far. They are truly inspiring and I wish the best for those of you who are struggling and had rough years. One quote that has always helped me when I’m having a hard time is:

    “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

    It reminds me that you have a choice how to react to things; whether its to back away from challenges or to met them head on. It may be hard to face a challenge but you’ll always learn something from it and – hopefully – become a better person in the process. I hope that we are all courageous enough to make our lives very full and exciting.

  • Reply Cheryl December 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I listen to my four year old grandson and he teaches me in just a few words:

    “don’t be sad, nana, be happy.” ah, happiness is a choice, isn’t it? and for those who don’t have the choice, I personally mourn.

    “this bug has wings, nana.” then he flaps his arms and soars around the room. we both take flight.

  • Reply Ashling December 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    My story is abit like Natalie’s, I am unemployed at the moment and it is so difficult, I have started a course and also get an odd days work but boy does it get you down. It is difficult to have very little income however as I am a good saver and dont spend my money foolishly I am ok at the minute, but it gets very depressing when the government say unemployed people should re-train and gain new skills as I already have a honours degree, a diploma and 2 masters degrees from 3 different universities, I have a professional qualification but there is no work in my field and now as the recession has hit Ireland there is no work for me :( I have began to appreciate the simple things in life, nature, crafts and my loved ones. I have thought about moving abroad in search of work however my partner lives here and cannot move, I’m a home bird at heart anyway! I live in hope and try and keep upbeat about the whole situation, applying for jobs each day while trying to keep my mind occupied. But once Im happy I dont mind, who knows what the futue will hold for me..

  • Reply Natalie December 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I just want to say thank you to Holly for this post and all her wonderful readers. I am a new follower of this blog and it kind of spurred me into reality of what I’m missing. I thank everyone for sharing their stories and giving advice and helping me realize I’m not alone. I never realized until today how wonderful the blog world is. I feel like I just made some friends…which is always a good feeling!

    (I’ve been researching and sketchy all day today :o)

  • Reply Gosia December 11, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I agree with Natalie. I never realized until today how wonderful the blog world is. All the entries here are so profound, so intimate. Great read. To Think to rethink. Blessings for all of you.
    .-= Gosia´s last blog ..Winter Fruit =-.

  • Reply Morgan December 11, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    What a great topic — I’ve been very inspired recently by two quotes by Paulo Coehlo:

    “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream. ”

    “We have to stop and be humble enough to understand that there is something called mystery. ”

    If ever you’re in need of a pick-me-up or a little inspiration — great quotes to ponder will surely fill the gap!
    .-= Morgan´s last blog ..Despite the Dreary Weather… Colorful Inspiration! =-.

  • Reply Lori December 11, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I’m not sure what one thing changed for me this year but something clicked and my career desires changed from corporate america to more of a creative outlet. Which is funny because I don’t think I’m a creative person. While I don’t know whether I’ll ever be to change totally (ie full-time) I’ve taken small steps to do what I can to help me in the meantime by reading what I can on interior design, I’ve recently started a blog, will be taking Holly’s class, started playing with a little photography and started an Etsy shop (no sales yet though). So sometimes it’s more frustrating than I’d like and I wonder why I do it when I look at my shop see no sales and see my blog with no comments for a week at a time. But then I come here and read the ‘Talk it Out’s and see that others have been where I’m starting now and it’s very encouraging. So maybe that is my ‘One Thing’. Just the encouragement I’ve gotten from this blog in the last week as I start out on my new creative adventure. So thank you Holly for having the blog and the forums and Ladies for your participation. I really do appreciate it. I have a lot of blogs and articles to read that I’ve linked to just from this post. :-) I’m off to do that now!
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Plug Lighting =-.

  • Reply Beth December 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I recently read the Dec. 6 issue of the New York Times Magazine. Their cover story (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/magazine/06marriage-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine&ref=magazine) is about a couple’s quest to “improve” their marriage. Being freshly engaged and months away from my wedding, I have plenty of time to explore the concept of a “healthy marriage.” At first reading this article scared me silly. Then, when I finally reached the end, the author’s words resonated with me and made me realize that “healthy” is what we make it. And our definition will likely change over time. Some of the article’s antidotes still leave me a litle apprehensive, but it definitely was a thought-provoking read.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..First Christmas? =-.

  • Reply Kirsten December 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I Just finished re-reading ” A Winter’s Tale” by Mark Helprin.. It is so astonishingly beautiful, so full of the near-mythical urgency of life and love, it is a heartbreaking ( in a wonderful way…) book. I bought it years ago because of a review excerpt on the front cover : “A great gift in an hour of great need..” from this review:

    The scope, the intention of this book is magnificent, read it this season if you need any sort of restoration, hope, anything. Or just for the crazy joy of it.

  • Reply pixie December 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I just read online (and I’m sorry I can’t remember where) that life is like the seasons and nature. Sometimes we’re in spring where we’re popping with energy and ideas ready to be hatched or planted. And other times, we are in winter, dormant, waiting for the thaw and the creativity to come back to us.

    That was just so smack dab on for me and I wondered why I’d never thought of this or realized it before. Why did it take someone who I do not know to point out this simple fact to me?

    But I’m glad I read it. I gave me patience with myself as I seem to be in one of those fall / winter periods right now. I have some ideas but not the energy to plan them out or act on them, but I know that soon it will be spring.
    .-= pixie´s last blog ..Rockefeller Tree 2009 =-.

  • Reply Jessica December 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm


    I am truly touched that my post about fate & gratitude resonated with you so much. I have really appreciated every post & tweet you’ve sent my way and it reminds of me of another BYW classmates blog titled A Beautiful Ripple Effect. Kim sent out a ripple to me 11 years ago that affected you and now you are positively affecting others. It’s a lot of ripples that add up to a wonderful community supporting one another, often without realizing the impact they are having. Thank you for all that you’re doing and thank you for letting me know how my post affected you! :)
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..A California Native =-.

  • Reply Jillian December 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments tonight, cozied up on the couch. Every year around Christmas, I pick a few of my favorite childhood books and reread them for the pure joy of it. For instance, this year, I chose to read all eight of the Anne of Green Gables books in succession (I’m almost through with #4). I love snuggling into bed every night and escaping into the beautiful language and familiar stories. There’s no intellectual pressure, no pop culture, nothing but me and characters who, after twenty years, feel more like friends than fairy tales. I wake up in the morning feeling reinvigorated with creativity, much more so than if I had been binging on bad tv or stressing out about finances, holidays, etc. I highly recommend this as therapy to anyone who loves to read.
    .-= Jillian´s last blog ..Friday Flickr Favorites =-.

  • Reply Lisa December 12, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Woody Allen said “90% of life is just showing up.” I’ve been repeating this to myself often.

  • Reply goshery December 12, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Our book club just read a book called, The Art of Racing in the Rain and it really hit home with me. I am not an animal lover – I dont mind animals but I don’t want to touch them and I sure don’t want them to lick me! However, my daughter is a total animal lover and has a 12 year old Golden Retreiver. Because she is in college 1/2 way across the country I’m left to care for her dog. I do my best to take good care of him because he is her BEST friend.

    The book is written from a dog’s point of view; he’s an old dog and his owner doesn’t want to let him go even though he starting to really show signs of his age. Just like my daughter’s dog. The owner’s wife is suffering from an illness (I won’t give it away here), the same illness that took my dad’s life.

    The book touched me on so many levels. If you haven’t read it I really encourage you to do so! I finished it a few weeks ago but still haven’t stopped thinking about it.
    .-= goshery´s last blog ..Places We Go mini album kit =-.

  • Reply Gosia December 12, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Holly, this was a wonderful post, and the inquisitive question you’ve introduced brought about the avalanche of very inspiring comments. Thank you for that thought-provoking process.
    It’s amazing how I can identify with so many of your readers. I, too, left the corporate world of 16 years two years ago, went back to school, and now am in the process of easing into a job that I enjoy and which leaves room for the creativity times I was so desperate for while on my previous job. A few days ago you had another interesting topic on decor8 about maintaining a blog, dealing with shy readers, and leaving comments (by the way, I was one of those shy readers for many months). It was an exact time I was highly sensitive to the idea of creating my own blog. Your reply to comments of your readers, in which you plainly stated that blog-writing was not a popularity contest, helped me make my mind and today, I have a three days old blog for creation of which I am greatly indebted to you. First, I am so grateful for the daily dose of design inspiration I find on decor8. Second, your insight about the lack of comments not necessarily indicating an inferior blog, was all I needed at the moment.
    I guess the whole concept was nicely framed by Sugata Garbha “Have a mind that’s open to everything and attached to nothing”. Thank you, everyone for sharing. Be well.
    .-= Gosia´s last blog ..Daily Bread =-.

  • Reply Lizzy December 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I just finished reading “Mozart” by Peter Gay. I was in an airport, desperate for something to read, and this seemed to be the best option. I like music, but I have no training or skill for it, so it was a random choice. But it got me to thinking about genius, and for those of us who do not have what Mozart had, simply our gifts. I’ve been realizing that we don’t have good qualities and bad qualities – just our strongest qualities. In other words, our most prominent character traits can be our greatest strengths and our greatest weaknesses, depending on the situation and our moods. I’ve been thinking about how I can use my skills and gifts for my own and others’ benefit. This is sort of hard because it requires acknowledging that I do not have some of the traits that I admire in others and that I do have abilities that I may not value in others – even if others may value them in me.

  • Reply dragonfly December 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I’ve been studying the Course of Miracles this past year and it has taught me that we don’t have to experience fear and anger in our lives. In every present moment we can choose to live in peace, joy, love and forgiveness. I’ve grateful for the tools it has been giving me to make this a reality in my life.
    .-= dragonfly´s last blog ..The Hunt for Green China =-.

  • Reply PenelopeLovesLists December 12, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    My aunt died just a few weeks ago and I’ve been reading this Emerson poem and thinking of her. She truly succeeded.

    “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
    To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
    To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
    To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

    I’ve also been wondering if I am doing all I can to succeed by this definition.
    .-= PenelopeLovesLists´s last blog ..The Genius of AquaNotes or Why I Think Best When I’m Wet =-.

  • Reply Marilyn Gallas December 13, 2009 at 1:45 am

    I’ll jump right into this conversation. While blog hopping the last few days, someone had a post in which they shared this bit of wisdom. And I’ve been pondering it ever since. It was something we’ve all heard a million times – “Be yourself and follow your own inner voice. It’s not important to be like others” or something to that effect. For some reason it resonated with me as I try to find my own style with my art. I’m old enough now that it really isn’t important to me what others think of me. And yet I see so many blogs that seem more interesting than mine or so much art posted that intrigues me and I want to do something just like it. Though I don’t care what others think of me, I want to feel satisfied with my blog or my art or…….. Perhaps this is good from the standpoint that it keeps me striving to be better for myself. Anyway I hope everyone has a full of wonder holiday!
    .-= Marilyn Gallas´s last blog ..It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas! =-.

  • Reply ermy December 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    My one thing is… after i read this book ‘Cradle to Cradle’ by William Mcdonough & Michael Braungart. There are so much in this book and i feel overwhelmed to digest. And it really made me think HARD in every single decision that i have to make everyday and try to be responsible as much as i could but its not easy.

    One of the fact stated in the book is :
    “He told how he had visited the largest chromium extraction factory in Europe – chromium is a heavy metal used in large-scale leather tanning process – and noticed that only older men were working there, all of them in gas masks. The supervisor had explained that it took an average about twenty years for workers to develop cancer from chromium exposure, so the company had made the decision to allow only workers older than fifty to work with this dangerous substance.” – pg.13

    This really struck me, as much i love leather goods, does it worth to sacrifice someone else health to provide them.


  • Reply rosecampion December 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    The one thing I’ve come across lately that resonated so strongly is a bit of a poem by Lynn Unger. The part that stuck with me goes like this

    Come down.
    Try to remember a life gentled by daily acts of domestic faith:
    the pot set to boil, the bed made up, the table set in calm expectation
    that when the sun sets, we will still be here.

    It just seemed like such a reminder of the power of everyday life and that it’s the little things, the daily tasks, are what ground us and center us.

    Hoping my life is made gentle, Rose.
    .-= rosecampion´s last blog ..wanting pink =-.

  • Reply Bethanie December 15, 2009 at 2:04 am

    The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect, just when I was feeling all my interaction online had become swallowingly shallow and all my creations entirely emptied of passion. We talk and talk and talk about little nothings, which sometimes don’t had up to somethings. Right now I feel as though they have only added up to that feeling of an empty undiscovered canyon that just evokes the desire to scream into it just to have your frustration truly heard.

    So Holly, my response to your question is this. Lately, I’ve been most impacted by the William Blake quote, that Hillary Swanks’ character HOLLY says when she first meets Gerry in P.S. I Love You;

    “I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans;
    I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”
    William Blake

    Living in NYC for 4 years I became a professional critic on every subject imaginable. From the best wine, cheese, places to shop, shoes, fashions, and especially politics, you name it I have an opinion that I feel could contend ought to contend with those published in the NY Times. As I was leaving the city, though I had gained an incredible sense of self, I realized that I had come to create and left in the business of only reasoning and comparing. I did nothing to add to this world but rather, sucked up by the high of being heard and respected by friends and colleagues that I made criticism my business. Reasoning and comparing are not in and of themselves a sin, they show intelligence, consciousness, that one is well-informed and well-educated, but if they are alone, if they produce nothing new, nothing of moral virtue they are empty and one is left to the depression that nothing is as it ought to be. They are the tools by which we can create, but used as end in themselves they only produce darkness.

    This quote and this post planted a little hope of new life, or at least the hope of life, as I began to realize that without creation, without the risk or rejection and criticism I’m simply recovering the wall words, already heard, boring gibberish that in the end amounts only to carbon dioxide being readministered into the atmosphere by a mouth that more often than not tells tales of bitterness and drudgery. If we do not bring something lovely into the world, something positive we bring little more than more emptiness.

    So, I’ll let you know when I can actually escape the prison of escapement of this dark fate I willingly submitted myself to become in order to become something. But as Coco Chanel said “How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.” So I anticipate these thoughts and reflections will only continue, but I hope that I can relearn how to stop criticizing myself but instead create something new and wonderful. In the meantime, I’m putting down my sword of destruction even against myself. Or at least I’m going to try.

    Here’s to hoping life as I know it will end.

  • Reply Emma December 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you Holly for the wonderful subject and my answer is: this post!

    Like Natalie I am currently in a job which I no longer find stimulating and I am starting to set my ‘game plan’ (thanks Holly!) The way everyone supported Natalie with their friendly and helpful advice was just wonderful. Thank you for giving me the inspiration and boost that I also needed.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Reply sungting January 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Hi there,
    I guess my one (or two, hahaha) thing(s) from the past year would be setting up my own blog and establishing a new concept for my crafts store. My blog has been part of helping me recover from a relapse in depression. And needless to say, crafting is my therapy. Reconceptualizing my craft concept actually helped me take a more positive look on life and my situation. And my blog has become a place to share the little things in life that are important and bring joy to me.

    Thanks for your postings, Holly! And also to the wonderful community here who contributed your thoughts! I have learnt so much from all of you! It has really helped me in the process of all the things I mentioned above. I wish you a meaningful and abundant year ahead!

    cheers, sungting
    .-= sungting´s last blog ..Announcing Season 1:Spring 2010 =-.

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