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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 1w ago

The start of July means we are officially in the second half of the year. That means it's the perfect time for a mid-year goal evaluation to see where I am on my 2018 goals. Mid-year goal evaluations are super important. They allow you to celebrate the successes you've had, assess any factors that have kept you from making progress on any goals, and to debate if all your goals are still aligned with your vision for the year or if you would be better served by changing or letting go of some of them.

I've been thinking a lot about my 2018 goals a lot lately as I no longer feel attached to some of them and my priorities have shifted a little.  If you haven't seen my original 2018 goals post, you can check it out here- 2018 goals blog post. I thought it would be super interesting to share my mid-year goal evaluation with you so you can see how I evaluate my goals and you can do the process for yourself! So I left my usual hangout (my house,) and headed to a new environment (an awesome coffee shop I had never been to.) so I could focus 100% on the goals I had written down in my notebook; without the comfortable complacency that happens in my regular environment.

Mid-Year Goal Evaluation - 2018 GoalsBusiness/Blog Goals

1. Blog at least twice a week. Post a YouTube video at least twice a week. Consistent daily sharing on Instagram.
     Evaluation- I was slaying these goals at the beginning of the year. Then a few things happened, which made me reevaluate how helpful these goals really are to my end-game. Few people visit my blog anymore. Perhaps I need to blog/promote in a different way so I'm actually reaching people and inspiring them to live their best, most creative lives like I want to. End result- consistency is important, but I don't need to post that often. And I need to reevaluate how I'm blogging and using social media if no one is visiting my blog.

2. Keep my blogging and YouTube videos focused on creativity and/or self-love and things involving them in my life.
     Evaluation- I'm going to blog and do videos on what I want to. It's silly to place parameters on myself when I'm more than a niche. Especially when most of the things I want to post about are already in that niche.

3. Show up to online space and share what I post on my blog and YouTube. This means Instagram stories, facebook scrapbooking groups, studio calico forum, etc.
     Evaluation- This is still important and I've been doing it. Yay!

4. Finish creating the Body Love Art Journal Class and find beta testers for it. Release and launch the Body Love Art Journal Class.
     Evaluation- YES! I did this one! Woohoo!

5. Finally, for the love of God, start sending a consistent newsletter. Even if it's just sharing what I'm posting on my blog.
     Evaluation- I did this and noticed little engagement, so I stopped. I need to find a way to add even more value to my newsletter so my subscribers eagerly await and then open each email. I want the babes on my email list to feel like they are part of an awesome community with exclusive privileges, extra content, and awesome freebies!

6. Outline and start creating my premium self-love course.
     Evaluation- I need to focus on making my already existent classes more successful before jumping into the next one. This is no longer a 2018 goal.

Personal Goals

1. Continue pursuing minimalism and paying off debt which I did pretty good at in 2017. 
     Evaluation- this goal is still important and I'm still working on it.

2. Start a local art meet up that serves the refugee community. 
     Evaluation- Unfortunately this goal wasn't coming to fruition despite my efforts. Some organizations wouldn't host an art meetup that didn't teach "life skills" like sewing or cooking. Others needed me to do it within a specific time frame, which would have required me skipping some of my college classes or work, or they wouldn't allow creative freedom. (ie. I would have to dedicate each session to a particular thing like painting or sewing; people couldn't be self guided to do art journaling or scrapbooking as they please.) So finally, after much friction, I let this goal go. Instead, I donated all my extra art supplies (that I was going to use to supply the meetup) to the local Levine Children's Hospital and they were elated to receive the supplies for kids and teens to get crafty! This made my heart very happy and I'm going to look into volunteering for their arts section!

3. Really appreciate being a pet mama and be present with them.
     Evaluation- This goal was all about enjoying my time left with Oreo and making sure the dogs weren't totally ignored since my cat required most of my time, attention, patience, and love. Tragically, Oreo died a month ago. I exceeded in this goal with Oreo since he got sick, and now that he's gone I can focus on the pups without needing it to be an intention so I'm letting this goal go as it's simply habit now.

4. Spend more time with God. Devotionals, bible journaling, and studies and faith based books.
     Evaluation- I've made good progress with this goal so far and plan to continue doing so!

5. Be a light in this world. Encourage others with positivity.
     Evaluation- Still important to me, still trying to do my best at it.

There's my evaluation of my 2018 goals! I changed some, accomplished some, and am letting some go. All to better serve my bigger picture life goals. I hope this evaluation was helpful for you to see!

If you decide to reevaluate your goals, I highly suggest leaving your usual environment as I did. It really helps you to not be complacent and to instead be present and focused on really evaluating if a goal is serving you, if you're making progress on it, and how you want to move forward! Hope all of you babes are going into the second half of 2018 feeling inspired and ready for some magic to happen. I'm thinking of you!

xoxo,
Laura

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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 1M ago

Hey gorgeous peeps. It's been a crazy last month around here. If you read this post, you know life has been hectic lately. Well it didn't slow down the way I had hoped because I had finals for school, I graduated with my bachelors degree, and then I had to say goodbye to my sick kitty which was heartbreaking. So it's my first time posting in a month, but I've got some pretty crafting projects to share with you today! Earlier this year I was a guest designer on the Kelly Purkey design team. I was so excited to work with Kelly's kits and make some gorgeousness with them! Here is what I made the month I was on her design team!

Handmade Stamped Card using Kelly Purkey Kits 9x12 Project Life Page using Stamping and Kelly Purkey Kits

I filmed a process video so you can see how this project life page came together. I've been loving sharing my creative process with you guys on YouTube this year! Make sure you're following me there.

Kelly Purkey Process Video 9x12 Project Life Layout February 2018 - YouTube
Traveler's Notebook Spread using Stamping and Kelly Purkey Kits

This traveler's notebook spread turned out so gorgeous. I'm loving the color theme I stuck with using these kits. I was obsessed with the black, white, and pink with pops of green. This spread also has a process video too because I love you guys like that!

Kelly Purkey Traveler's Notebook Process Video Laura Rahel, Kitten Traveler's Notebook using the You - YouTube

I hope you've enjoyed this peak at my month guest creating for the Kelly Purkey design team. Happy crafting!

xoxo, Laura

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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 2M ago

My 2018 One Little Word is Visionary. This year I really want to step into my role as a visionary to help improve the lives of women with the knowledge I have to offer. My first part of doing that was launching The Body Love Art Journal class this year to help women make peace with their bodies and get creative. To track that and other goals centered around my One Little Word this year, I decided to make a bullet journal! 

This bullet journal is where I keep track of all my monthly goals centered around my OLW and my progress on them at the end of each month. You can see a process video for how I put together the start of this bullet journal on my YouTube channel here

2018 One Little Word Bullet Journal

Intro to my One Little Word Bullet Journal- I used a cute notebook (similar here) and got to work personalizing it. If you watch my YouTube process video, you'll see how I get creative and draw lots of flowers and floral patterns to create some of the gorgeous layouts in this new bullet journal. I started off this bullet journal with an entry on my 2018 One Little Word. I included the definition of my OLW, what it means to me, and how I want to live through it this year. Then I listed out my annual goals and created a cute vision board for my OLW and for my year.

If you want tips on how to create a gorgeous vision board for your goals and year, check out my post on it here. If you like this One Little Word Bullet Journal, please leave a comment down below! I would love to hear what you think of it and hear about your 2018 OLW or how you are tacking your goals this year! Until next time, happy crafting!

xoxo, Laura

PS. Here's the process video for this bullet journal!

2018 Bullet Journal Set Up, Annual Goals Tracker and One Little Word, Bujo with me - YouTube
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National Infertility Awareness week just ended and I thought about posting all week, but the truth is, I wasn't sure what I wanted to say. So here I am, word-vomiting it now that the week is over because I realized there isn't a right way to say all of these things...

Infertility- 9 Years Later- My Story- National Infertility Awareness Week

Of all my childhood friends, I was the first one to get married (at 19) and to try to have a baby. I am now the only one of that group who doesn't have children (at 28.)

The closer I get to 30, the more permanent my infertility feels.

I'll turn 29 this year. I've been with my current partner 5 years but we don't plan or talk much about marriage/kids, we are not TCC or preventing. Its a weird middle ground to be on. Because I haven't made plans like marriage/kids in the last 7 or so years, I've learned how to live with my infertility instead of fighting it. I've found other things that make me excited about life, I've worked towards other goals, found hobbies, and become ambitious about other things. There was a time when my biggest goal in life was to be a good mother and wife and have a happy family. Now I've created my own sense of self outside of that dream. Sometimes I want to adopt so badly and I just imagine how great I would be as a mum. But most of the time, I'm thinking about other versions of myself I've become in the 9 years of infertility. I dream about travel, helping other women life their best lives, being totally amazing at yoga, having a kitten and a bunny, getting my masters degree, all these other goals and ideas I've created since my diagnosis.

But I don't want to discount the unbearable emotional pain I went through for years during/after my diagnosis process. (You can still read old blog posts from when I was going through that time and some of them hurt me to read, knowing just how deep in all the sadness and despair I was back then.) It took years, so much self-development, meditation, self-love, and therapy to get here. I was clinically depressed for years and I fought so hard to get out of that.

The childhood friends I once had have come and gone. Most of the ones from my teen years have as well. I ended relationships with people from my past who didn't align with the new person I became or if their presence in my life made me feel worse because they were irresponsible or ungrateful parents (ie things that made me feel worse about the fact that I couldn't have a baby yet some how they could.)

Since my diagnosis, I've surrounded myself with life-giving people. People who are incredible humans doing awesome things, who I think deserve everything in the world they could ever desire. Now so many people in my close personal life are having babies and I am overwhelmed with pure joy for them and for me; for all the baby cuddles my life will soon include.

Yet, when I look at people I don't know having children, (or those people from my youth who I am no longer close to because we have totally different lifestyles and personalities now,) I can still find myself still being very judgmental and emotionally charged about how they get to have babies and I don't.

This life is so messy. I am a human full of contradictions and plans and nothing makes sense or happens the way I planned it to. In fact I still can't figure out why I keep making plans when nothing works out the way I intend lol. 

"I am a human full of contradictions and plans and nothing makes sense or happens the way I planned it to."

I was going to get married at 24. I was going to have my first baby that year too. I was going to be an amazing work-from-home mama who some how also home schooled and hand made her baby's organic food at home. I was going to have my degree and some how also being a successful career women while all this was going on. I was going to be happy. I was going to have an amazing marriage and feel so in love with my husband and my babies and my life.

Well none of that happened. And when none of those things happened, I made other plans and worked really hard to make those new dreams come true. Many of those new dreams and ideas also didn't happen

What did happen, was I changed. I became kinder. I became more ambitious and saw my potential for positive impact on the world grow. I became a much better friend. I went to college, dropped out of college, went back to college, and will be graduating in just a week and a half. I started scrapbooking and art journaling and meeting amazing women online who were also kind and had the same hobbies as me. I became closer with a couple of in real life friends and learned how to be truly vulnerable with them, and how to be a really good friend to others (which I wasn't in my youth.) I learned how to be the kind of woman I want to be (though I am always a work in progress.) 

My whole life changed when I spent years not being able to get pregnant. And my whole life changed again when I started accepting that instead of fighting it and hating it.

Some of my adventures from the last couple years

Now back to to the bit about contradictions because it's a key part of why I didn't know what to write about last week for National Infertility Awareness... I am mostly happy with my life now. I have goals I want to reach, things I want to do, and so many dreams for who I want to be and places I want to see in the future. I know now that I have a high propensity for heightened emotions which means I am very easily happy (very happy,) and also very easily sad (and prone to bouts of depression if I don't actively work against it all the time.) I am so joyous about the new babies in my life and at the same time, I also want to cry when people I don't love or don't know have babies. I am blessed, I have found things to appreciate about my infertility and my childless life, and I am also sometimes heartbroken that this is my story.

Some days I am really happy I never got pregnant back when I was trying. Other days, I really wish I could get pregnant if I wanted to (and occasionally, I do want to in the present moment.) Some days I think about how I have come to appreciate childlessness and all the free time and money I have to pursue travel and my hobbies. Other days I am really sad that I have all those all other hobbies and dreams because I couldn't have what I wanted most/first.

9 years of infertility has taught me that the human experience isn't tidy. We aren't symmetrical shapes with straight lines and logical feelings. Our lives aren't perfect or happy all the time, regardless of what image some people portray online, never sharing the real shit in life. Things don't always work out. We don't always make sense. And sometimes there aren't adequate words for our complex feelings.

9 years of infertility has taught me heartbreak- how to heal it and how to live with it (because not all heartbreaks fully heal.) 9 years of infertility has taught me that disappointment and sadness are going to happen in life. And sometimes they will happen often, in overwhelming amounts. 9 years of infertility has taught me that being childless isn't the end of the world, it's just the end of the one I had planned. But life does go on, and eventually, so did I.

9 years of infertility has taught me that I can be whoever I want to be and even though I can't do whatever I want to do all the time (having a baby being one of those things,) I can change course and pursue new adventures and totally crush those. It has taught me how to fall in love with the life I have now, after teaching me how to create the life I have now. 

It's also taught me that I inevitably always return to feelings of desire for motherhood and sadness about my situation. Sometimes just for a moment among all the joy and gratitude I have for the way my life is right now or could be in 6 months from now or 3 years from now. Sometimes it returns for months on end and I have to work really hard to get out of bed and participate in life. 

It's all complicated and it doesn't fit into a neat package with a bow tied around it. There are so many feelings, thoughts, and experiences that I have surrounding my infertility. They don't all make sense. Some of them are totally opposite from one another. And that's just who I am and how I feel. 

I wish there were a more eloquent way to write about living with infertility now days. In the beginning, I could do it so well because I knew exactly what I felt and the emotions all made sense with one another (sadness, disappointment, heartbreak, despair, etc.) But 9 years of infertility has given me time to be grateful for this experience and to still resent it. It's given me time to create new dreams and to realize that sometimes, I still really want the old one. It's given me time to learn that there is no easy or right way to talk about my infertility journey. It's a hard thing to live with and it totally changed my life and continues to impact my life and my decisions. 

The most important thing to know is that infertility looks different on everyone. Every person who lives with infertility has a different journey. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad. Sometimes we are grateful, other times we are devastated. Some of us eventually have success stories and miracle babies, and some of us don't. Each of our lives look different. We all experience different emotions at different times in reaction to different things. Each of our lives has been changed by our infertility. And most of our stories and experiences don't fit into neat, little packages. 

And if there's one thing I can always say for National Infertility Awareness, it's this:Infertility is challenging and if you experience it, you are not alone. I love you and I hope and pray that whatever dreams you have, they come true. I think about you all the time and I hope that you're able to find moments of pure joy and happiness in between the less stellar moments of infertility and life in general. Your story matters and your feelings matter. If you ever need someone to talk to, or cry to, or celebrate with, you can always leave me a comment here or email me (laura.rahel.crosby (at) hotmail.com). I will email/comment/dm you back. Sharing our stories and finding community with one another is sometimes the best way we can unburden ourselves.And if you are a loved one or friend of someone with infertility, the best thing you can do for them is to love them through all of it. Even the parts that you don't understand. Reading stories like this is a great start to listening and understanding a little more about life with infertility. Thank you for showing up and caring. It really does mean everything.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far. It was a messy post with contradictory words and I'm so grateful for you taking the time to care. Wishing you all heaps of love and joy. Leave a comment down below if you wish, I like that :) You can find all my past infertility blog posts here in case you want to read or know more.

xoxo, Laura.

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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 3M ago

Going to Harry Potter World last year was one of the highlights of my life. Seriously. It's right up there with my baby sisters being born, the day I adopted my dog, and the day I launched my Hello, Gorgeous class. It was absolutely incredible. It was so inspiring and gorgeous and amazing, I can't put into words how much I loved it. So I'll let these pictures of my Harry Potter World mini album, scrapbooking the day, do the talking. I'm sure you'll be able to see all my positive vibes, memories, and gratitude shine through the pages I made. Here it is! 

Harry Potter World Mini Album 6x8 Scrapbook
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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 3M ago

Lately, life around here has been interesting, to say the least. It has certainly been busy since last October and a season of slowing down is desperately needed. Here's a run down of all the things that happened in my world October-March....

October
> Go to Arizona to see family.
> Come home, realize my cat is sick, take him to the vet, rush him to the emergency pet hospital where he stays for 36 hours, and cry a lot when he is diagnosed with kidney disease and the vet thinks he may not make it a few more days.
> Spend $2,000 on the above cat/pet situation and all the medical bills.
> Pray a lot, cry a lot, do hours upon hours of research on kidney disease, treatment, medicines, join a support group, buy all the things that may help Oreo (my cat.)
> Start cooking my cats meals (roughly 5 hours a week,) and try to convince him to eat 20 times a day (roughly 2.5 hours of each day.)
> Learn how to give him under the skin fluids on a bidaily basis with my boyfriend's help.
> Go to California for a wedding that was already scheduled and paid for before I found out Oreo was sick. Worry about him the whole time we are out of town, but fall in love with San Francisco in the 2 days I was there.
> Return home to find that Oreo is a picky cat and doesn't eat enough when I'm not home.

November
> Decide that applying to grad school isn't the right path for me right now because Oreo is taking up so much of my time and I don't want to sacrifice his last days/weeks/ or months being distracted somewhere else when he needs me.
> End of semester projects and reports are due and take several weeks and a lot of work to finish.
> Work a lot because of how expensive it is to take care of a sick/dying pet.
> Do a lot of memory keeping, journaling, and praying to work through Oreo's terminal illness and my new role as a full time care taker for him.
> Go to therapy more than usual because of all the feelings.
> Realize that if my cat dies and I have nothing to do after I graduate school in May, that it'll probably make me focus on the fact that I don't have him to take care of anymore. And realize that I can't throw away my future because of my cat's present situation. And decide that I need to apply to grad school after all, just a month before the application deadline.
> Figure out everything I need to do to apply to grad school. Schedule and pay for the MAT, study for the MAT (which is an insane test by the way,) and take the MAT. Ask for letters of recommendation. Order all my transcripts from previous universities.

December
> Write my letter of intent and academic resume and apply to grad school.
> Have my 28th birthday.
> Cry a lot about my cat, some more.
> Take end of semester finals.
> Stress a lot about all of my transcripts and letters of rec. making it into the grad school in time for the application deadline.
> Cater to how needy my cat is when he is stressed. (Moving the litter box up to our bathroom and feeding him alone up there because he was too afraid to go downstairs when other people were staying with us over Christmas and started peeing in our closet. Relevant- research neural degeneration in cats and how paranoid cats can get when they have kidney disease.) 
> Worry a lot because Oreo lost a lot of weigh and was eating very little over Christmas break.
> Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve and thank all of my lucky stars that I didn't have to go through the grief of losing my cat at Christmas. (Though processing his condition and deterioration and grieving through that was still very present throughout the month.)
> Wait to hear back about grad school.

January
> Figure out my 2018 direction and goals and get everything written down on paper so I can start making things happen for the year.
> Resume making my Body Love Art Journal Class which got put on the back burner when Oreo got sick in the fall.
> Finish recording and editing all videos for my class, uploading them and all other class content, making freebies, and schedule blog posts announcing the class.
> Instagram daily, blog a couple times a week, post YouTube videos 3xs a week (which all required a lot of time editing photos, recording videos, editing videos, uploading, sharing, etc.)
> Worry a lot about if I got into grad school. Waiting to hear back was excruciating. Like a game of "Will the last 2.5 years of crazy hard work pay off?"
> Oreo gains back a little of the weight he lost over Christmas and I realize he goes through periods of time where he will not eat for several days, and then he will eat a lot for a week, etc.
> Freak out because Oreo refuses to eat my home cooked meals anymore, even though I've tried crock-pot chicken, fried chicken, baked chicken, baked pork, and more.
>Freak out because Oreo refuses to take any of his medicine which was previously mixed in with his food.
> Concede to the fact that I can't control everything and I just have to do what Oreo will accept. So prescription canned cat food for kidney disease it is. 
> Find out I am invited to interview at the university for the graduate school program I applied for. 
> Pay off all my credit card debt and plan for how I can pay off my car by the end of the year. Work a lot to make all of that happen.

February
> Launch and promote the Body Love Art Journal Class.
> Continue blogging, posting on instagram, and sharing YouTube videos like crazy.
> Focus on bible journaling and growing in my relationship with God.
> Interview for graduate school.
> Worry and wait to hear back about graduate school. Previous year's students heard back the same day and they told us we would hear back in one week. Big surprise here- it would be more than a month before I heard back. That's a lot of worrying and waiting.
> Start a craft room makeover because I have gotten into minimalism in the last few years and I have way too much storage and no longer have a crazy large stash to utilize all that storage. I need to rework the room, the furniture in it, and my storage, and get rid of a lot of stuff that I'm no longer using because I've gotten rid of so many craft supplies in the last couple of years.
> Email the grad program director about why I haven't heard back and it's been 2 weeks since the interview. 
> Find out I was waitlisted for the program and the only reason I know is because I emailed the director, I never got an email or letter from the school, and my application status was never updated online. 
> Have a lot of sad/disappointed feelings about getting waitlisted.

March
> One of my best friend's has a baby shower. YAY!
> Travel to Florida the following weekend for my sister's baby shower. YAY! 
> Worry about my cat the whole time I'm gone because he hardly eats when I'm not home. Check in with my boyfriend approximately 3 times a day on how my cat is doing every day that I'm gone. I'm not sure how long I'm going to be in Florida, I have 12 days for spring break but it's a play-by-ear situation to see if I need to go home earlier for Oreo which I anticipate I will have to do. Be eternally grateful for my boyfriend doing Oreo's under the skin fluid therapy every day by himself while I'm out of town. Stay in Florida 3.5 days and then head home.
> Put out a call for beta testers for my Body Love Art Journal Class. 
> Deal with self-doubt because no one bought the class the month it launched (February.) Worry that I put in all that work for nothing and that no one would take the class and benefit from it, therefore I'm not helping women live their best lives like my visionary role is to do this year. (Slight panic, a lot of self-doubt, and disappointment. Real life, real talk.) 
> Try cooking pulled pork for my cat and buying him bad, non-prescription cat food because he has refused to eat all home cooked meals, lunch meat, and prescription canned cat food he was eating before.
> Worry a lot because the deadline to apply for grants to pay for grad school next year is March 15th and I still haven't heard back if I got in or not and if I don't hear back before the 14th, I will lose out on more than ten thousand dollars to help pay for school.
> Email the program director again about the grant deadlines and my application status. Hear back that they aren't making any decisions on waitlisted people yet and I will not be able to apply for any of the scholarships or grants because they aren't letting us know if we are in or not yet.
> Try, yet again, to go with the flow regarding Oreo's care and the fact that he will only eat crap food, will only eat sometimes, and hasn't taken any medicine in months now. It's not good for him or his kidneys, but there's nothing I can do about it. I've tried my very best, spent a lot of time, energy, and money to do everything for him, and I can only do what he allows me. If he will only eat crap food, I will have to feed him crap food. Get a lot more relaxed about his status and his care. Start daily fluids instead of every other day to help deal with the building toxins in his body since he won't eat homemade food or take medicine.
> Find out that I did not get into grad school. (More on this in a later post, probably.)
> Have a few weeks of sadness/depression because I did not get into grad school with over 200 hours of community service, and a high gpa, and all the work and money I put into trying to go to grad school. Think about what I will do next since my only plan was getting into grad school and I worked so hard to make it happen, I didn't create a plan for if I didn't get in.
> Find out I'm graduating magna cum laude in May and laugh at all the hard work I did and how even graduating with honors, I didn't get into grad school. Laugh and cry at different times, over the same fact. Feel some resentment that I worked so hard, and worried so much throughout undergrad, for honors that I did earn but that didn't get me into grad school.

So that's an overview of the last 6 months of my life. And after all that, I'm feeling the desperate need to hit the reset button. To slow down, not worry so much, not work so hard, and not be so invested in external measures of success. It's been a crazy 6 months and it's still not quite over. I have my last set of finals in undergrad coming up next month, as well as graduation in May, and a baby niece coming. All within the same 12 days. That's a lot of stuff haha. 

But I'm hoping that this summer and for the rest of this year I can take some time to slow down once I'm out of school. Work on paying off my car and some of the student loans I have from undergrad, and just learning how to enjoy life again. I'm hoping to travel a little, take a few trips out of state, go to a few new places to reinvigorate me and inspire me to be passionate about life again. 

Sometimes we go through tough stuff and it can leave us feeling worn down, defeated, with nothing left to give, and nowhere worthwhile to go to or to works towards. I'm trying to combat those feelings and plan a few things that will get me excited again and inspire me again. Most of all, I'm hoping to have a period of time where I can slow down and just enjoy life. I've been working so hard for so long the last few years in undergrad, plus releasing online classes of my own, and running my blog, instagram, and youtube channel. It's all been a lot of work and lately it's felt like it has been a failure. So I want to get re-inspired to do what I want in these spaces to share not just with the purpose of reaching some external measure of success (selling x number of class seats, or getting into grad school, etc.) I want to share who I am, what I love, what I'm going through, and have a strong community of a few people who I can rely on and they can rely on me to inspire and encourage one another as we go through life together.

So I'll be sharing more personal stories in the foreseeable future. I remember in the days when I used to blog regularly about my infertility and personal journey, the engagement was so much higher. As much as I love all the crafty projects I share here, people just aren't engaging with me over it, and it's left me feeling flat the last year or two. So I will still be sharing them as I wish, but no longer feeling the need to only be a crafty blog with that one purpose. I'm excited to be inspired about what I'm sharing again, to write more, and to do some cool stuff this year as I try and get my passion for the future back. Life is hard sometimes. But how we react is everything. And me, I'm trying to get back up and still create a beautiful life that I love despite all the failures and hardships that have happened and will inevitably happen in the future. 

I would love to hear from you. Send me a message or comment down below with something you've been struggling with if you need some community or encouragement. Or share something you're really excited about as I plan a few things that will get me excited and passionate about life in the next year. Thanks for reading.

xoxo, Laura

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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 3M ago

Hey there, I'm sharing another batch of scrapbook layouts I made for the 100 day project last year. You can learn more about the project and see all the other things I've made for it so far by checking out the previous posts on my blog or YouTube channel about it. Today I'm sharing layouts/days 31-40 of the 100 Days of Scrapbooking I did last year!

Watch the YouTube video- Days 31-40, 100 Days of Scrapbooking

I adore so many of these layouts and I'm so glad to finally have completed some awesome scrapbooks! Doing this project last year helped me learn and grow so much in my creative life and I look forward to doing it again this year. I just shared my intro video to the 2018 100 Days Project and what I'll be doing for it on my YouTube channel yesterday. Check it out here.

And if you want to get started scrapbooking but you don't know where to start or it all seems overwhelming, check out my class Minimalist Scrapbooking to learn how to make gorgeous, easy pages! Happy crafting!

Minimalist Scrapbooking Class

xoxo, Laura

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Last year I went to Florida over spring break, to visit my sisters, and to finally go to Harry Potter world for the first time ever. Today I'm sharing the Project Life pages I made to document my trip. I love how colorful and bold all these pages ended up being. I love them! Here's a bunch a gorgeous photos, or if you prefer, you can watch the YouTube flip through video of the album, here- https://youtu.be/uDalTPAM5Q4.

Watch the YouTube Flip Through Video

To start this section of my album, I made a really cool vellum divider that says "Florida" across it, with bold palm leaves and banana leaves around the boarder. I LOVE how it looks, in all of it's hand drawn imperfection. I just used Sharpie on my vellum to create that page.

The next thing I did was divide up my trip for each day I was there. I used a 3x8 pocket insert and alphabet stickers to write "Day 1," "Day 2," or "Day 3" on the front of the pocket, and then on the back of each pocket, I wrote some journaling about each of the things that happened that day. We were only in Florida for a couple of days so each day was packed with activities and catching up with old friends, and my family. 

I used a lot of Project Life cards that I designed in this mini album. You can check those out in my etsy shop. I love how bold and graphic they are, they complimented my pages perfectly. I also did some stamping here, using Kelly Purkey stamps, and I love how that turned out in this part of my 2017 Project Life album.

Here are some of my favorite supplies I used in these pages-
6x8 Project Life album
6x8 Page protectors
Black alphabet stickers
Project Life filler cards I designed
3x8 Page protectors
Home photo printer

I hope these pages leave you feeling inspired to document your own travels and vacations. Does anybody else love the 6x8 mini album size? I've loved using it! I'll share the rest of this trip (Visiting Harry Potter world,) next week!

xoxo,
Laura

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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 5M ago

Let's talk about something dramatic; like the dramatic hair change I went through a couple months ago. I cut 14 inches off my hair. One day I came home from work, tied my hair in a pony tail, and took scissors to it using my bathroom mirror to guide my cut. 14 inches in total. 

What I looked like before....

I felt gorgeous with my long hair. Long and blonde. Totally meeting those American beauty standards. (rolls eyes, because you know how much I talk about body positivity and how much those standards suck. Yet, even I get caught falling for them and wanting to adhere to them.)

It was also like a shield. I felt like people noticed my hair before they noticed me. They commented on my hair before they asked anything about me. And most of all, I used it as a way to feel safe, protected, because I could hide behind it. Like Violet in The Incredibles, I experience social anxiety like crazy, and often hide behind my hair in the back of a room because talking to new people is scary. It's like this shield of safety, this shield of fitting it because I'm "pretty," and yet not standing out  because people noticed the hair but often didn't care to notice or learn other things about me. (I'm talking about strangers here, like the hundreds I might walk past on campus or sit in a classroom with each day. I got comments about my hair all the time but few times did anyone introduce themselves or ask anything about me.) My hair felt pretty and it felt safe.

I had thought about cutting it for such a long time and always talked myself out of it. I would edit one of my YouTube videos and see myself on screen and think "But it's SO pretty, I can't get rid of it." Or I would dance and love the way it felt flowing around my body and over my face. Or I would like to hide behind it. It was safety, comfort, and beautiful, and I loved my hair. I really loved it.

And that thought alone was what did it. I LOVED my hair. I was attached to it. It meant so much to me and did so much for me to make me feel pretty, this long, blonde mane. I realized that my attachment to a meaningless object, my adherence to societal beauty standards, wasn't doing me any favors. Feeling safe and pretty doesn't make for progress, it makes for comfort. I didn't want to rely on this object to make me safe or pretty. I wanted to make waves in the world. I wanted to do cool stuff and make noise, take up space, and not apologize for it. I wanted to stand out and say important stuff. I wanted to leave my comfort zone and I wanted to stop feeling like my contribution to the world was "being pretty." 

So I put on some Taylor Swift music ("I Did Something Bad," in case you're curious,) and took scissors to it in my bathroom one afternoon. After more than 6 months of thinking about it and being sick of all the money and maintenance my hair required. After more than 6 months of being tired of all the migraines I was getting from all the weight of my hair (seriously, this is something I notice whenever my hair gets crazy long, I get migraines way more often.) After more than 6 months of talking myself out of it because I liked being pretty, I finally grabbed the scissors.

And after I chopped off those 14 inches of long, beautiful, blonde hair? I felt liberated. 

My short hair felt great. I felt free, lightweight, and oh so happy for change. I felt bolder, and sassier, more myself. I loved my long hair, but I love my short hair too. The difference is, now I don't love it too much. It's not holding me back or making me feel physically bad (migraines.) It's not my safety net of pretty. Cutting off 14 inches of hair was a good way for me to practice non-attachment to meaningless beauty symbols and societal beauty standards.

And I have no doubt that I will at some point have long hair again. After all, I did love it and it was pretty. But it's always good to notice when we are placing too much value on meaningless objects or falling into society's expectations of us, especially as women, to look pretty.

My short hair feels amazing and I feel amazing with it. This has already started to change as my hair grows back out and has recently entered that awkward growing out length, no longer the cute, short hair but also not the long, pretty hair. But overall I am feeling great and wondering WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS SOONER?! I know why, but seriously. I am saving so much money and time not having all that hair to take care of. I was going through conditioner like crazy before haha.

Bonus points- I also felt great because I donated my hair, which I recommend to anyone wanting to cut off their hair. Different non-profits benefit different groups of people (women with cancer, vs children with cancer,) and they all have different rules (can it be colored, does it have to be virgin hair, how much is the minimum required to donate, etc.) Knowing that someone else somewhere will get to feel beautiful because they get to have any hair at all thanks in tiny part to my donation (it takes several donations and donors to make even one wig,) is incredible. I'm so happy to play a minuscule part in that.

My short hair feels great and I feel free with a fresh new start. Funny how a hair cut can do that!

Now here's my question to you: Are you holding on to anything that might be holding you back? 

I would love to hear your experiences with your hair or holding on to things that shouldn't be important but somehow are. Leave me a comment down below and share one of your stories with me!
xoxo,
Laura

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Laura Rahel by Laura Rahel Crosby - 5M ago

I've shared the latest of my 100 Days of Scrapbooking project on my YouTube channel, and here are the photos! If you want to hear about the new techniques I tried in these layouts and hear more details about how they came together, make sure to check out the video

Check out the YouTube Video

In these layouts, I documented so many memories. Some old (from 2013!) and some newer (from 2017.) This 100 day challenge has been great for getting me to document all my memories, old and new. I love that!

If you want to get started scrapbooking but don't know where to start, check out my e-course Minimalist Scrapbooking to learn how to make simple, gorgeous layouts in 5 minutes or less.

I love that my style started off simple and with this project, I've learned new techniques and tried new styles which are more intricate and busy. The mix of the two is gorgeous in my albums! Are you doing the 100 Day Project this year? I'm so glad I chose to do 100 Days of Scrapbooking and it's grown my skill so much in that time! Let me know if you're doing the project and what you think of these layouts in the comments below! 

xoxo,
Laura

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