Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Instagram ate my blog [true story]

Do you ever come to a point in your life when you are at a "T" in the road, and one way looks the same old road, and the other way looks so amazing, and makes your dreams go haywire, but so scary at the same time?  That is where I was in October 2014.  We had just finished our final fertility treatment appointment, and there was such sadness in my heart.  I wanted to keep pushing, but did not want to go into a really dark depression and have to spend even more time digging myself back out.
I am a firm believer, that if you are going through changes, may they be big or small, you truly have to look at the big picture to see just how big and how many changes you need to make.  That was me, in 2014.  I set out to find myself, and to see if the world could accept me as I am, as my heart is, and I knew once I let go of such control, and fear, that everything else would fall into place.  Now, this didn't come without sleepless nights, or sweaty palms!  I mean, I was opening up who I was!  Who I really and truly am inside!  Before the tragedy, before I became a technical supervisor at America's top tech company.  Before the failed fertility treatments, and before I ever met my first true love.  There was a Rachel hiding in there, not many have known in my life, and I wanted to see if it was possible to get back to square one.
Making changes IS scary!  Making changes can leave us so worrisome, it can make us never begin to pursue them.  I do believe though, that sometimes we have to get back to our roots, get back to square one, and give our hearts a second chance to be what we really and truly are meant to be.

In late 2014, I took off all of the bandages, let go of all my fear, and created my INSTAGRAM account.  I dove immediately into the snail mail revolution {search #snailmailrevolution on ig} and quickly fell in love all over again, meeting lovely women from around the globe.  Thanks to many amazing women, I was introduced to #mailart as well, and truly the rest in history.  I've always had a great love for pens (I have a collection in a 30 gallon tub tucked away in our garage), paper (i've always collected journals), and stickers (don't you dare touch my 1991 Lisa Frank sticker book).  Upon joining this community I was constantly finding more and more women who loved those same things too, and sharing a common interest with them lead to even more amazing women.  Then came time to share my love of rainbows, and unicorns, as I really felt that set me apart from anyone else.  Let's not forget my secret obsession with Popples (early 90s stuffed animals), or my ever growing unicorn squad I keep out all on a shelf in my, now office.  

For many months the mail art and I continued.  Clear to the point I was writing 10-20 letters per day because the excitement of checking the mail was just absolutely beyond the need for sleep!  I would find pretty little decorated envelopes, along with amazing letters, telling me all kinds of things from day to day life for them, sharing family recipes, and from time to time even little goodies tucked inside those envelopes.  Most amazing though, was the life long friendships I made with these women.  We would instantly connect, and couldn't wait to catch up with each letter.  Sometimes it would take quite a while to get some of the letters, it seems like from Singapore was the longest, as they would take 2-4 months to arrive, but the wait was always worth it.  

 Along with penpaling, came my journey through faith.  My time to spend with God, and to really enrich my relationship with Him.  I found the bible journaling community, and then Documented Faith, and Illustrated Faith, and a new excitement came, to know I can create little drawings or paintings just for God, for him to show Madilyne, or whatever the case may be, but that I was on a journey, just Him and I, and each and everyday was to learn more, read more, and create more.  I could never draw to save my life, but I could doodle, and I have done just that.  I purchased my first journaling bible in November 2014, and have not looked back since then.  I find myself craving the time with Him, to learn more, and so excited to read and understand the bible.  I was one of those people who was intimated by the bible, because I could never understand exactly what it was that I was reading, and I was so fearful for anyone to interpret it and it be wrong.  Having a desire so strong to read it and understand it has become so, so important in my life, and thanks to some amazing ladies, some amazing groups, and amazing bible studies, I can learn at my own pace, and truly understand what it is I am reading. 
All of these amazing things, all because I wanted people to get to know the me that I protected so much inside my heart, continued to lead in new directions.  I wasn't going to be lost anymore, I was truly going to have a purpose, but much bigger than I could have ever imagined.  
December 2014 J and I decided to officially announce publicly what had been on our hearts for months.  That we were going to begin our adoption journey.  Where it would lead us, we did not quite know at the time, but what we did know is it would take a village.  We would need a lot of people, and a lot of help, and we did not even know where you start.  We had setup a crowd rise website, but we knew and still know that anything worth having is worth working for. Anything worth working for, is worth the fight.  We also know we were not in a position to have our parents help us, as they have plenty on their own plates.  And if we are honest, our financial situation was mediocre, we both had good jobs, but when it came to loans or credit cards, NO was their favorite response.  We set out, and made some huge lifestyle changes.  Being two extreme introverts, asking for anything is always difficult, even if it "hey can you pass the ketchup", because we are very independent yes, but we also have a horrible time asking in general.  Well, we had a solution!  Work for it!  No matter the bumps in the road, no matter what it takes.  MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.  Doodle Box.  
We created a subscription box for paper lovers.

 While I would love to tell you it was a great, HUGE success, we learned a ton, and we made some conscious decisions.  In August 2015, we discontinued the Doodle Box.  Among many reasons, the biggest was simply space, and time.  It was rapidly getting much bigger than something just J and I could handle on our own.    

 From there, I was unsure where to go.  I began looking at new paper crafting techniques, and came across mix media.  Signed up for the swapbot website, and participated in many swaps.  There was still something very much missing, and I wasn't sure what it was, until a friend recommended I follow my heart, to see what I could do.  I hesitated at her thoughts, because i've never been one to hop on a bandwagon, or so it seemed at the time.  Making stickers.  How could I be unique?  Could I still incorporate penpaling or bible journaling into what I would build?  Could J and I handle it, should it become something large, or handle it if a venture turned into failure again?  Well, we would not have known had we not tried.  Fear not, right?
First I should preface this.  I am a planner newbie, I will never consider myself anything more than a newbie, as there is so much to learn from everyone.  Everyone has their own way and style, which is what I love most about creative planning, and I was excited to see what I could contribute.  Let me be very honest though, the first 3 or so months of "planning", it often times was awkward. Very, very awkward.  My to-do list often resided in my imaginary check list.  My sticker books often "threw up" on my spreads, to the point there wasn't much writing space.  No matter how I tried, it wasn't working, until I finally realized, it was a growing process.  A learning process all in its own.  Once I let go of expectations, I easily found my groove for what worked best for me, and my ever growing to-do list.  One will quickly find it to be exciting, and overwhelming, but once we let go of the comparison, and see what works for us, there really is a rhythm you get, and it stays with you.  Not having to have the perfect layout for pictures.  Allowing myself to often times write tasks down after they were completed, was okay too.  Whatever it turned out to be, I knew it had to be a system I could and would use, with the goal of it turning into something long term, vs day by day.

Pinterest and Youtube became a great source of inspiration.  As did the hashtags #plannercommunity #plannerlove #plannernerd on Instagram.  Gathering inspiration from everywhere I feel at ease with the system I use, even months later.  That is not to say I haven't tried every method there is, or every planner for that matter, but you can easily do it on a budget by finding preloved planners on Ebay, Instagram (#plannerforsale) and in one of the many Facebook Group Marketplaces from the various types of planners.  You don't have to have a money tree to make it happen, I promise.  So where do you start?  Where do you begin?  Anywhere, just jump right in, and try something, anything to see what works best.

While experimenting, we did find our groove to continue our fundraising efforts, but keeping our Easy shop open, and turning it into a sticky boutique called The Happy Doodle.  We have had our fair share of ups and downs, but the blessings places in our hands from hard work are simply and utterly amazing.  What else is amazing, women from this planner community came together, and raised over $13,000 for our adoption fund, and the number continues to grow a little bit each and every day.  There is no way to sufficiently say THANK YOU for that, or what it truly means.  I can, however, promise you that not one day passes without the thought of the generosity of the planner community, and how our lives will be changed once we bring home our little unicorn, Baby Puckett.
Friends, I know I have been away from blogging for quite some time, and I can not promise a certain schedule, or anything of the sort.  What I can promise you, as I always have, is my heart.  When I sit down to write, it is always in the raw, from my heart, with no expectations.  I know I can be long winded, and that is just part of the process, but I hope I can help you, if even just by making you smile, and that we too can connect, and form a life long friendship.  That is what this is all about!  Numbers are not important to this girls heart.  Friendship is, and knowing who I am talking to/sharing my heart with, is what I hold in a special place.


  1. Just a fleeting thought, but with your doodling abilities, have you ever thought of becoming a digital scrapbooking artist?
    If you ever do, I would be happy to promote your work!!!


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