Alignment, close to the heart.

Drawings, Writing
my one word for 2016, #suedle style.

my one word for 2016, #suedle style.

 

This past year was full of moments of joy, both the planned and the unexpected. When I look back on this year, I realize I had lots of big dreams. Dreaming is my way of finding joy.

When I reflected on my year of joy in search for a new word for 2016, I thought I would do something similar to other reflective posts – link back to a bunch of joyful moments of 2015. I have to admit I hesitated to do this & ultimately decided against it. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important to share the ‘happy times.’ I very much do, particularly lately when it seems our world isn’t so joyful.

It’s just that…Well, more than I want to share these moments, I want to hold onto them. I want to keep them in a private space, somewhere close to my heart, near my soul. I want to be selfish.  I want them to be mine. Some moments are not meant to be shared with my whatever-something followers. I’d rather call the few people I would share it with if we were all standing in the same room. Somehow, its more meaningful that way.

 

This may sound weird. I guess it is a little weird, considering I’m sharing this on a blog. But, 2015 really taught me a ton about private moments of joy and how I am in so in love with them. I want more of that.

I think I realized this in April when Dan asked me to marry him. (See? If you just followed me here, you probably had no idea this even happened! Don’t worry, I had no idea it was happening either.) At first, it was pure torture for the both of us not to hop online, update ALL the statuses and tell the world that we would be going on foodventures together for the rest of our lives. However, something pretty cool happened by not sharing right away – I recognized I LOVED not posting about it. Those few days where nothing was online about our newfound relationship status were total bliss. It was like our (and our families & close friends) little secret. I held it close to my heart, just like I wanted.

There were a few other moments over 2015 where I had moments like this. And that brings us to today. My ‘one words’ over the past few years have focused on action & experience. Finish. Do. Joy. During those years, I had listed out some pretty specific goals to go along with each one. I think somewhere in my mind I thought, Oh easy, I’ll pick a word, I’ll do these few things and I’ll feel great! Piece of cake.

But I’ve discovered, for me, that doesn’t really work. (I cannot believe it took me three years to realize that.) My ‘one word’ has to be more like a theme for it to be effective. A mantra, of sorts. ‘Joy’ was great for that – in obvious moments of joy, but also in moments that were complete shit too. It brought me back around, shifted my focus to turn and look at the good.

Les Brown quote

This year, I want to purposefully find the things that are close to my heart. I want to align myself with ‘those’ people. I want to be a bit more selfish. Development, whether personal or professional, has always been something I value. I want to find & invest in things that make me better, in people that strengthen me. This year, I’m working to align the things I want to do with who I am and who I want to be. I have a few ideas of what this might look like (more reading, more drawing, more walking and a suedle rebrand!) and what it might not look like. I definitely know that for now, I’ll be taking a step away from some social media platforms to have time to do other things.

I think the best part about ‘align’ is that those things could change. I think one of my favorite podcasters, Jess Lively, puts it best. She consistently says, ‘this thing might not serve me in this space I am right now. But, it could serve me if things change in the future.’ I dig the flexible, self aware nature of that statement. It aligns with what I’m trying to do.

So, for now, bye bye Twitter & Facebook. And hello to new drawings on Instagram and pictures of my cat on Snapchat. If you want to say hello, you can comment here, find me there or my personal favorite – we can chat offline! Preferably over a caffeinated beverage.

Or you can head over here to hear more about suedles and the update taking place soon. 

Thanks for hearing me out and I hope to see a few of you along the journey.

align

Choosing Joy. (Sharing my #oneword2015)

Writing

2014 was the year of ‘do’ for me.

 

Take on the responsibility.

Start the book.

Create the eSeries.

Open the Etsy shop.

Go to the conference.

Make the appointment.

Go to the interview.

Act on a conference committee.

Commit to the year after.

Submit the proposal.

Go to the yoga class.

Present.

Read the book(s).

Pick up the phone.

Say goodbye.

Draw.

Draw.

Suedle.

Draw.

 

I am a woman who hesitates. Sometimes, I like to think things through. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel right. Sometimes, I just can’t find the time. And sometimes, I need a nap.

 

I learned a few things, both good and bad, by focusing on doing this year. My biggest takeaway? I can’t do it all. Sometimes when I do it all, I am a real cranky individual. I am not my best, I don’t produce great work, and I am a real bitch to the people I love the most.

But when I am careful about what I do choose to do? I freaking ROCK that shit. I go all in, all Sue, all the time. When I focus, I create and complete projects in all areas of my life. (Major testament to this: holiday sales on my Etsy shop! I was focused and pulled it off. I laid out a timeline for myself and didn’t over promise or extend. Win!)

 

This year, I’m switching it up with my #oneword2015. I’ve focused on finishing and doing in the past two years.

 

This year, it’s joy.

Joy

Being a woman who hesitates, I also tend to over think things. I can let my emotions get in the way of being in the moment, recognizing the good times and being grateful for them. I burrow, not giving myself the opportunities to feel joy.

 

This year, I’d like to focus on the joyful moments that we can overlook everyday. To help, I’m increasing my suedle-ing to at least one sketch a day, using my 365 Sketchbook. I’m also making a Joy Jar to capture joyful moments throughout the year. Last but not least, I’m going to use a daily practice I developed as a Healer’s Art faculty member this year – a mental journal. At the end of each day, I will quietly ask myself, “What brought you joy today?” This could be fulfilling a long term goal, dreaming up a new one or finishing a good book. Recognizing joy, in all shapes and sizes, is a skill I hope to hone in the new year.


Cheers to a joyful 2015!

suedles on stage.

Drawings, Multimedia, Writing

this Saturday marks many firsts for me.

 

it will be my first time traveling to Indianapolis.

ACPA will be my first national conference.

and (drumroll) it’s the first time #suedles will be on a national stage.

 

nervous excitement at its best!

nervous excitement at its best!

 

i’m excited to announce that  i will be sue-dlinglive

for the opening & closing sessions (and more!) at the ACPA National Convention

 

bringing visual language to our field can help ‘reinvent’ how we communicate with each other, process information and encourage this kind of expression in our home institutions. i’m pumped to be involved in such a unique way and grateful to those who helped make this happen.

 

if you are attending the conference be sure to say hi. oh, and keep your eyes peeled during the rest of the conference. you never know where you will find a suedle… 🙂

 

follow the backchannel using the #ACPA14 and #suedle from March 26th – April 2nd for conference fun and illustrations galore! 

finding the batman to your robin.

Drawings, Writing
the dynamic duo.

the dynamic duo.

there have definitely been moments this past week where i have felt like part of a dynamic duo.

if you haven’t heard yet, my partner in crime Amma Marfo released her first eBook, which i had the pleasure of illustrating. this was such a surreal experience in itself, but i am SO incredibly proud of her (and us) for getting it done. in true introvert fashion, the amount of attention the book received left me craving for some time to reflect. so i did what any person would do – watched a documentary about one of my favorite childhood shows – ‘Holy Batmania!,’ featuring Adam West as Batman and more tacky pows and bamfs than you could ever want to see.

different people can push you towards your goals in very different ways. i have found that there is nothing more motivating than a partnership – someone who shares your goal (or a version of it) and someone who is in the trenches with you. the recent collaboration with Amma was refreshing; it felt like finding the Batman to my Robin. here’s a few reasons why having a partner is uniquely motivating.

it’s someone to be drafty with.

i’ve written before about how showing your drafts can leave you feeling very exposed. in the right situation with the right partner, being drafty often encourages growth. this growth can happen rapidly and deeply, in a very organic state. in Steven Johnson’s book, “Where Good Ideas Come From“, he talks about slow hunches. slow hunches are ideas that are ‘half-baked’ and develop from a series of connections over time. a partnership is one way to enhance your slow hunches by sharing them. Batman didn’t sit there and twiddle his thumbs when he was pondering the Joker’s next move. he talked to Robin about his hunches.

share your tissues and your pom-poms.

when Amma approached me about illustrating her book, i was quite excited. i soon realized ‘much to be done’ was an understatement. during a collaboration, prepare yourself with two things: tissues and pom-poms. many would expect the latter; it’s exciting to work closely with someone, celebrate the wins and see the end result. but the tissues are just as important – for the frustrating times, the times of doubt and to wipe up some sweat from working so hard! keep both in your utility belt. your partner will appreciate it whilst scaling the side of a building.

showing your diversity. 
personally, i prefered Robin’s colorful attire as opposed to the muted Batman garbs. but, you have to appreciate Batman’s calculated way of devising a plan and serious driving skills. in many ways, this dynamic duo displays why diversity is key in partnerships. Batman and Robin both have different ways of handling situations. this can be a struggle and a benefit of teamwork. partnerships can work the same way. experiencing this first hand as an illustrator to an author have given me a greater sense of appreciation for my strengths and the will to work on my weaknesses. not only is Robin better under the guidance of Batman; they are a better team because of one another.

what do you love about partnerships? who are you collaborating with? how has it helped you grow?

find what speaks to you: lessons learned in @Pier1.

Collage, Drawings, Writing

inspired by my #oneword2014, i recently committed to a new challenge: read 52 books in 52 weeks (otherwise known as #52in52.) in true sue form, i tweeted this earlier in the week:

20140107-212803.jpg

despite new-challenge-excitement-jitters, i hit a bump in the road in the form of my first book, Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do. i started this book a few months ago, read about eighty pages and stopped. something just wasn’t grabbing my attention and i was struggling to power through. i was puzzled as to why i was having such a hard time doing something that i enjoyed spending time doing.

20140107-211047.jpg

i figured out the answer over the holiday break. i ventured into Pier 1 Imports to partake in my normal after Christmas sales when i spotted one of the characters from their commercials. my mind immediately played their catchy jingle:

find what speaks to you.

i had an ah-ha moment. finding things that speak to me often lead to moments of reflection, revelation and most importantly, production. as Tim refers to in his post, it’s not the quotes or the catchy jingles. it’s beyond that. the book i attempted to read wasn’t inspiring to me at the time. overwhelmed with other projects, my focus was elsewhere. i was just looking to read the book because, honestly…i thought i should.

i restarted and finished the book in the first few days of the year…because i wanted to do it.

projects, relationships, jobs, life – they may not be inspiring every minute of every day. however, the importance of why you are taking action is. find your why – your real why – and your inspiration will follow.

relax, just DO it.

Writing

20140103-101545.jpg

a few days ago, Mallory Bower wrote a post entitled “It’s the things you DO that make you good.” before you continue on, you may want to head over to Mallory’s corner of the interwebz and read up. (it’s okay, i’ll wait right here while she rocks your world.)

being that i just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s OutliersMallory’s post really hit home. up until this, i was caught between two ideas for my #oneword2014. i hesitated writing this post…and then quickly realized that said more about which one i should chose than anything else!

my #oneword2014 is DO.

so often action is halted by intricate thoughts and the mulling over of options. thoughtful reflection is very different from a shameful delay. it bugs me and causes anxiety, especially when it puts a damper on creativity.

so 2014 will be the year for less shame, and more do.

answer the call,

sketch the thought, 

write the post,

paint the picture,

draw the #suedle,  

present the idea,

run the race,

practice the lesson, 

read the book,

have the conversation,

submit the application,

just do it already.

are you participating in #oneword365? what’s your one word for 2014? 

making it yours: lessons from the Queen B(ey).

iArt, Writing
owning it like Beyonce.

owning it like Beyonce.

today at midnight, Beyonce dropped an album that the world is aTwitter about. her stunt was releasing the album – exclusively on iTunes  – with visual cues associated for each song, and then some. her explanation of the album is nothing short of awesome:

i see music, its more than just what i hear; when im connected to something i immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhold, thoughts about life, my dreams or fantasies. and they’re all connected to the music.

–Beyonce

if you haven’t figured it out by now, this pop artist is one of the few that makes my heart happy. not only does Beyonce make me proud to be a woman, but she makes me want to be a better artist. her sentiment when describing her creative process ‘sings’ to me as she states, “the visions in my head is what makes it mine.”

whatever you are working on – whether it’s a #suedle, a blog post, a book or another project – make it yours. own it, in all its beauty (or not). recall every minute of effort that you put into it and make it worth more than the outcome – make it worth the lessons you learned too.

letting it all hang out: the creation station.

Drawings, Paintings, Writing

balancing the creation station.

this weekend, Dan and i finally transformed our new place into a home by adding some finishing touches. one particular area that needed some extra TLC was our spare room.

when we were apartment hunting, extra space was a key factor in our decision. Dan is a music teacher rockstar and i have more paint than i’d like to admit. we both needed a door to close and a space to accommodate our creative needs.

the end result?

my own little space.

my own little space.

after stepping back to admire the space, i found myself wondering why we hadn’t done this sooner…and why i had never dedicated a place where my supplies were easily accessible. Dan pushed for our ‘gear’ being out in the open. “if you have to unpack something, or take it out of the closet, you’ll never paint.”

he was right. it’s easier to find an excuse when your paints aren’t staring you right in the face.

how creepy are these guys?

creepy paint #suedle.

after watching an interview with artist’s James Victore (from The Story Of Telling) i kind of figured out why i hadn’t prioritized this room. finishing this space would mean that i wouldn’t have an excuse. i was, as Victore puts it, “resisting what i needed most.”

producing and creating on a regular basis means letting it all hang out, having no excuses and preserving the space and time to do so.

20131104-164755.jpg

scribbles during the interview.

good thing i have three nice little shelves, a bunch of paint and a Dan to remind me that my work is a gift.

hey, you. your drafts are showing.

Drawings, Writing

if you live in my house, a ‘draft’ references one of two things – football or a piece of art that’s halfway done.

both raise my blood pressure, but let’s go with the second example for this post.

 

the most common draft that i experience looks a little something like this:

20131029-173220.jpg

the many by-products before a suedle.

however, they take many forms.

a policy that needs editing,
a run that wasn’t the best,
a presentation that contained stutters,
and a conversation that resulted in a mess.

drafts rear their ugly heads everywhere.

20131029-173438.jpg

we all have our own version of a draft monster.

drafts also offer something else.

a chance to step outside the box,
the time to practice it once more,
the gift of reflection and revision
and the opportunity to make it better than the first time.

it can be very difficult to let your drafts show.

but hey, every once in a while, it might be worth the risk to get a little drafty.

seein’ Sparks: Light the Night.

Drawings, Writing

 

a #suedle for the walk.

a #suedle for the walk.

a few posts ago, i wrote about a student of mine who passed away recently.

i’d like to share a letter that i wrote for his memorial service this past week.

 

Dear Branson,

I remember sitting in the Servery of your second home the day you left us. It was pretty late and I was staring at the leftover food from the transition session. Through sadness, I remember smiling as I put the leftovers in the Student Refrigerator; there was actually a decent vegetarian salad that you would have claimed had you been there.

As I sat back down, the day’s emotion caught up with me; I opened my notebook looking for an outlet. I thought about you, your family, friends, peers and staff members.

I sat there for a little while longer. I guess I didn’t realize it at the time but I was listening. Listening to how quiet the building sounded without your laughter or comedic voices. Wondering how many chocolate pieces would go uneaten in our offices and how many IT issues would go unsolved. Figuring out how I would get all my work done without your daily emails about the latest stamp released or latest artist you had heard of. Worrying about all the members of our community. I know many other people in this room are wondering similar things.

My mind turned to the good. I remember the moment I ‘met’ you. It’s a moment someone has actually spoken about – your application picture. I remember specifically commenting to my supervisor, “oh I think I’ll get along with this one just fine.” I remember your first OBGYN Initial Clinical Experience and how you had me doubled over with laughter describing your day. I remembering helping you pick out a piece of art for your room. And I remember you telling the story of how you found our school and couldn’t wait to start your life as a physician.

The funny thing about all of this is Branson, you were already a doctor in your own way. Besides your unshakeable faith in what this school stands for, you have taught us so much about resilience and courage in the face of an absolute mess. Your daily rounds took the form of conversations and laughter with the people in the School of Medicine. In a lot of ways, we were your patients and your goal was to make our lives a little brighter.

Upon further reflection, one of my fondest memories was a conversation we had about a post on your blog “a little bit of the best of everything.” It was dated October 5, 2011 – right around this time two years ago. It goes a little something like this:

“There are many times that life intervenes in things that we like to do. Despite what everyone has said, medical school is tough. Please note the thinly-veiled sarcasm in that last sentence.

I will post some pieces when I can, hopefully very soon. I’ve got some interesting projects in the mill, but none of them are quite ready for primetime.

Know that even though no activity is immediately discernible here, the wheels ares still cranking behind the scenes. I promise!”

Knowing that you are still behind the scenes definitely gives me some comfort. I feel blessed to have known you and learned from you as an administrator and friend. Thank you.

Big hugs,
Sue

it’s amazing how one little ‘Spark’ can have such an affect on our world(s).

in honor of an amazing medical student, i am walking with our school to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. your contribution, no matter the amount, can make a difference. please join me in remembering Branson & looking forward to a bright future. many thanks.