Dare to be different……

  This is my birthday week. Normally, I would never, ever publicize this. I mean…..I’m not exactly turning 21. In fact, last September,  I had great plans for laying around in my bed, and lamenting being on the side of my thirties that is nearer to forty. But instead, I plan to celebrate that I made it through this year, fully alive, and mostly intact. For a lot of the last six months to a year, I’ve had so many difficult decisions to make, so much heartbreak to suffer through, and a “regular” life to try and maintain on top of that (which  includes a job, a husband I love dearly,  beautiful busy children, laundry, meals to plan and cook…like many of you) ….that another birthday seems delightfully significant, or better yet, something I am happy to have reached.  I haven’t wanted to openly discuss what is going on in my life, because it seems so private, and full of stigma. But, my beautiful, amazing, creative, and talented oldest daughter has been suffering from a few forms of mental illness, (which makes life so difficult for her, and has ended up hospitalizing her multiple times in the last 6 months), which makes parenting her the biggest challenge I have ever faced in my whole life.

I’ve driven nearly 3,000 miles in the last month…… seeking help, making visits to doctors, hospitals, and to her…..while simultaneously praying desperately that things will get better…and that I will have the wisdom to make the best decisions for her care and future. There have been times when I have not been sure that I would be able to get up in the morning, that I have not been sure I would live to see the next day….because I was sure that the anxiety, fear, sadness, and loss of control would consume me. But while we’re not out of the woods yet….I feel like I’ve emerged from a really dark forest…stronger, tougher, wiser, and more confident than I ever imagined myself ever to be.  I’m also older……in many ways. 🙂

So…..in honor of my 36th year…..I scrapped the thing I love most about myself. I LOVE the fact that I feel no need to follow the crowd, to conform or fit in. I never have (except for in ohh…6th or 7th grade).   I dare to be different.

  Case in point………..*This* is my new car, which I *adore*…it’s a sweet little muffin car……but it isn’t exactly what you see rolling down the street every 5 cars. 😉  I also cut my own hair this morning…..after accidentally coloring it a *bit* too dark this weekend (so dark, in fact, that my youngest daughter innocently said it”will look awesome for Halloween!” Yipes. Never good.) I cut the back using the clippers I use to shave my husband’s head, with the 1/2 inch guard on it, and no mirror. I had no fear that I may look deranged. My motto has always been “It’s just hair.” And really, it looks pretty decent.

     Also, with this birthday, I am celebrating discovering myself through scrapbooking…..discovering a style and a form of artistic expression I didn’t have before.  Last year in September, I was SO disappointed because I had worked so hard toward reaching a goal in a direct sales business…….and it just wasn’t happening for me. I felt I had done all the right things, put in years of work and time….to no avail. I remember saying a prayer one morning, (which I have done several times in the past when I am confused about the path I am taking), that if I wasn’t meant to achieve this goal, then I would like to have the desire to reach it removed from me……..and you know…..it was. And just around the time I was searching for new path? I came across Shimelle’s class “Learn Something New Every Day”. As I was creating the album for that class, I discovered that a different style of scrapbooking than I had been doing filled that void for me, and put me on a special, amazing path that I will never regret. Over the last year, my style has evolved a bit, actually a lot……but I’ve found something that’s distinctly me, that pretty much reveals my personality on a page. It’s layered, a little funky, a tiny bit too much and over the top, eclectic, unconventional, upcycled, a little dark, and quite bit rebellious (which is why I am THRILLED to be a Punky Rebel over at Punky Scraps!).

So……at the risk of seeming (or being) self absorbed; cheers to my 36th year (almost) on the planet.  Cheers to all of those amazing and supportive people, many of them scrapbookers from all around the world, who have made this year possible with their love and understanding. And cheers to paper, paint, mists, and embellishments….for being warm, caring, and nuturing therapists that have brought me through oh so much.

Blessings to you all……and lots of love.


PS- Lest I forget to add this about my layout………..it was inspired by the latest jack at scrapjacked.



8 Comments on “Dare to be different……”

  1. misty says:

    Wow, that layout is amazing and I absolutely adore your style!!! It is so creative and unique and you make it look so natural! I share so many of your feelings here! Thanks for sharing, and you and your family are in my prayers!!

  2. Oh, congrats to being over at punky scraps!! and I would have had no idea you were going through all you have been through. Praying your strength from all of this will keep you going and continue to make you stronger! Thank you for sharing…

  3. Amy says:

    Happy Birthday Amy!

    From one A to another – I think you are fantastic! I know what you mean about finding a groove with scrapbooking and how therapeutic it can be, I started when my hubby was travelling for work a lot and have made wonderful friendships and feel I have added a whole new dimension to my life.

  4. Wow! I had to check that it was really you! I love your new evolved style and I can see why you love doing it. Its so fresh and different Amy! So sorry to hear about your daughter and I hope they are managing to help her now. Mental illness is such a misunderstood weight that the entire family carries and I am sending you special vibes to share with your baby xx

  5. Paula Sykes says:

    So happy that you have turned your recent troubles into something positive and that you have found your inner strength. This is such an inspiring post x
    Your layout is stunning…I love it!

  6. Chipper says:

    “Happy Almost Birthday”!!!!!!! I hope that you enjoy it tremendously!!! I am really enjoying your blog and your layouts. You do the things I only dream of putting on a page … one day I may just get there. So may your next year be far better than this one, and all your dreams come true.

  7. Oh my lovely Amy. You deserve everything you wish for on your special day! I love this layout and can’t wait to hear how your special day went! Love you darlin!!!

  8. Wow amy I am in love with all your layers! Great job on the jack girl! Thanks so much for playing!


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