Trees have so much to give....


I just discovered a new challenge called Five-Minute Fridays" (well, this time, it'll be a 10-minute Saturday...) by Kate Motaung. When I saw the prompt "GIVE", I thought it went perfectly well with these pictures I wanted to share.

Learning how to just relax and enjoy life's small pleasures seems to be my #1 struggle. Not working is not natural, but I'm determined to succeed in learning this basic need these days. 
How can we be really good at giving anything to anyone else if we are not really taking care of ourselves first? It's a big lie to think otherwise. Giving is all about balance. A balance between, what you give and what you receive and a balance between yourself and the people around you. That's one of the lessons I'm learning these days. This fall stroll completely brought that point home to me. 
After pushing my body to its limits, I'm realizing that there's no way I can't continue like this without unwinding from time to time. 
With that resolve in mind, my partner and I decided to take one day off a week (like we already should anyway!) and usually, when we're out, we take our cameras along.
I've always wanted to take pictures of falling leaves, the special light of fall, beautiful trees...

There's definitely been something about trees this year for me. I actually need trees, I realize. There's something soothing and calming about their presence. They remind us of the time that passes by, of the rhythms of the seasons, of our natural strength... There is something that remains atemporal with them. These are some of the beautiful gifts they have in store for us, when we just take the time to observe them and pay attention. It's also all about the small details, a pattern, a color, light...

Nature is never the same from one week to the next. It's in constant change and at the same time, everything is still there... It's there for you to come back to, yet, there's usually something slightly different for you to notice.

Sometimes, I can't believe that years can pass by before I actually DO something I've always wanted to do. I visited this place this summer (the Priory of Cayac, where St John of Cospostella pilgrims come and rest on their journeys) and it looks so different on that afternoon with the colors and light of fall. A different place altogether. 

I'll come back soon with additional photo stories. There are so many things to explore in Bordeaux. This city has definitely a lot to give, if only we bothered to have a closer look. Now that I found a partner to share these stories with, it makes going out much more fun than it used to. 

Hope you enjoyed this small post. You can visit Kate's blog to visit other people's contributions.

Sabrina S.


She/he said....


"There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in," Leonard Cohen.

This month, I'm taking part in Hannah Marcotti's Community Grace program and one of our prompts is to look at our correspondance to find words that other people have said about us, about the work we do. ***Tough one***

I've delayed doing this prompt because it's really making me feel uncomfortable. Culturally, I think French people are raised to disregard positive feedback. We always focus on what could be improved only. Why would we focus on what's already working? I remember when I taught in the US, it's the first thing my supervisor tried to teach me: focus first on giving positive feedback and keep a little bit of what could be improved for the end... To me, I was doing things in reverse. It took me a while to learn to speak like that. Still, going over my messages, emails and stuff to find positive things about me from people I know is close to being excruciating... 

But let's give it a try...

She said... Having that one conversation with you turned things around for me... You were right, I have every reason in the world to feel confident about myself. Thank you so much! 

He said... I remembered one of your sentences and my panic attack just vanished. (Apparently, I said something like, "Always look at the light, even if it's just at the flame of a candle"). He lit a candle and it did the trick. His anguish dissolved. 

She said... You reconciled me with learning English. You're the best English teacher I've had in 5 years. You make it so much fun, it's hard not to like it!

She said... You've inspired me to pick up my camera again.

She said... Your words inspired me to write again. I want to work on the novel I shelved 10 years ago. 

She said... You make my heart smile.

He said... You inspire me to become a better person.

He said... At least, with you, we'll know we'll have a real class and work!

They said... I can tell you things I cannot tell anyone else.

He said... The fact that you listen to me and do not judge or reject me helps me tremendously. Sometimes, it takes me a while to take in what you say, but you always make me think.

He said... You're the only meaningful relationship I've ever had.

Alright, I'll stop here... It makes me want to cry. I'm grateful for the people I've met and who made me who I am today. 

Now that I've re-read those passages, I'm realizing that every time I hear a compliment or something positive, I tend to pretend I didn't hear it. I feel too embarrassed to say anything in return (that's when I stare at my shoes, red as a tomato, and mutter something no one can hear). I need to change that. I need to learn to receive. Giving is natural to me (I'm a cancer! A natural nurturer), but I need to be fairer and learn to receive as easily as I give. At least, that would be fair to what people express. Expressing gratitude and saying something meaningfully positive is not easy, receiving it is part of learning how to connect wholeheartedly. It's a flow of love that goes back and forth. Why be unable to take it for what it is? I love prompts that make me shift... Thank you Hannah! You always lead me to those dark corners I usually carefully avoid... 

Sabrina S.


The August Break 2014

Hi everyone,

This year, I decided to do The August Break again, a daily photo challenge by Susannah Conway. My enthusiasm has been renewed and I will definitely do this challenge again next year! The community on Instagram was really awesome and the pictures taken, inspiring. Here was the program for the month:

And here is my take:

Day 1 (travelling): Lunch

Day 2: Pattern

Day 3: Window

Day 4: Orange

Day 5: Three


Day 6: Reflection (by far, my favorite)

Day 7: Today is... about crossing bridges

Day 8: Selfie

Day 9: In my bag

Day 10: Drink

Day 11: Handwriting

Day 12: On the table

Day 13: My guilty pleasure (a little game here and there from the early 1990s on my Gameboy!)

Day 14: Hands

Day 15: Blue

Day 16: Look down

Day 18: Bookshelf

Day 19: Black & White

Day 20: Peaceful

Day 21: Treasures

Day 22: Shadow

Day 23: Adornment

Day 24: Memories
My Grandpa's first wedding. I told the story here.

Day 25: Little

Day 26: Morning

Day 27: Lines

Day 28: Something new

Day 29: Nature

 Day 30: Love

 Day 31: Soft

 Sabrina S.


Daring to be creative - new blog direction

Hi everyone,

It's been a while... I needed to rethink what I wanted to do with this blog. I changed its name, as you may have noticed. I had to change names to regain anonymity. It really bothered me that my students could read it. Now, it should be fine. Then, I spent a month trying to use Wordpress, but I just couldn't like it, so I just changed the name of that blog and decided to go on with blogspot. So much easier! Then, I took Blogging from the Heart by Susannah Conway and I did a lot of soul work to decide what I wanted to do with this online space.

Now I have a firmer plan for it but also about how I want to lead my life in general. The soul searching of these past few months led me to this realization: It all boils down to injecting more creativity in my daily life, as well as more balance and self-care. Overall, creatively speaking, I've made progress compared to before, but there's really a lot of room for improvement. I also realized that I, like many people I know, make up so many excuses for not being creative. You know the cult of over-busyness or the "damn, not enough time" one... Let's face it: I'm just too scared to just dare, hence the new name of this blog: 


It encapsulates my new focus. Little by little, step by step, opening up and daring to express what I feel and envision inside. I'm lucky not to suffer from a lack of ideas, but it's more a question of being afraid to be seen and fearing rejection as well as a fear of not being skilled enough. Now, I feel I can go beyond these self-imposed limitations and just give my creativity a serious try and see how things go from there. I have always been boiling with ideas and stories, materializing has rather been my #1 issue. When you were really creative as a child and that your wings were clipped, it takes a lot of soul work and effort to grow them back and reclaim your right to it. 
So here I am today... Daring. Finally!

Sabrina S. 


Hello 2014! This is the year to COMMIT

Hello everyone,

First, let me wish you a Happy New Year! May your goals get accomplished and your wishes come true this year. 
Like many people, I'm not a big fan of setting resolutions that will get lost two weeks later. However, for the past 3 years, I've participated in ALi Edward's One Little Word adventure.  I find that choosing a word for a year really sets the tone for the year to come and you have the whole year to let it evolve, unfold, and surprise you. In 2011, my word was CHANGE, and man did I change that year. Last year, my word was HEAL. And I did, however in very unexpected ways. That word really led me where I had never thought I would go. This year, I decided to 

Over the years, I have found that the people I admire the most are those who can commit to their dreams and just work on them. Do the hard work. Sit down and get their hands dirty and show up for the work. I don't necessarily see the word COMMIT as only hard work, but more like a full dedication to something that is both important and meaningful. I have goals that will require years of hard work, but you can also commit to other things that require less "hard work", like building healthy routines (sleep, food, exercise…) and just commit to practice art or other forms of self-expression. 

ART is where I want to commit the most this year, because that's usually where procrastination sets in and where I flee the most. Why? Because it's where fear is. There's nothing academic about creating a piece of art and it's completely revolutionizing the way I usually relate to life and things in general. It both feels exciting and freaky. But this year, I really want to sit at my art desk and go through the fear & create. Every time I've done it in the past has been amazing (not necessarily the result, but the feeling). It also requires me to accept being a beginner, letting go of control, and perfection, hence the opening flower on the picture. I can kill quite a few birds with this stone, huh!

Last year, I registered to quite a few classes:
- Journal Your Life by Susannah Conway (by far, the best investment I've made in my life)
- Painting with your Muse by Petra Hansen-Adamidis (awesome class! A life-changer)
- Surrender, The Joy Up, and Spirits of Joy by Hannah Marcotti (made me discover the power of visioning, so very thankful!)
- Inside Out by Shannon Kinney (by far, the best class to open up to art journaling gently)
- 21 Secrets (an art journaling workshop by 21 different instructors)
- Her Story by Danielle Daniel (Learned a few things about drawing faces)
- Mondo Beyondo by Andrea Scher (so much fun to be allowed to dream like that)
- Writing in the Digital Age by Tammy Strobel (was a good class to take before Onward and  Upward)
- Onward and Upward by Amy T. Schubert (I still have a few lessons left, but it definitely helped me gain perspective and set goals)
- Self-Authoring (very powerful writing to make!)
- Winter Joy Retreat by Cigdem Kobu (as usual, Cigdem knows how to help us build momentum before the new year)
There were other mini-classes but that would be too long to mention everything.

Now that I've written the list, I committed to projects way more than I thought before writing this post! Overall, I've strengthened my writing skills, and eased into art journaling a bit, but I still feel too shy in that field. I registered to Life Book 2013 by Tamara Laporte last year, but was too scared to really plunge into it. But this needs to change.

This year, I've registered to the following, so far:
- Blogging from the Heart by Susannah Conway (well,  registered last year, but kept it for January onward)
- Life Book 2014 by T. Laporte
- Roots by Kristal Norton
- Root: a 30-Day Journal Project by Lisa Sonora Beam 
- Create.2014 by Karen Walrond
and One Little Word by Ali Edwards, as said earlier.

This year, I plan to write less than I did last year and create more art. I'm still a bit shy to share what I do here, but who knows, it might come sooner than I think… Of course, I don't plan to complete all these classes live, but I'll spread the lessons over the year, so I can grow organically. Anyway, I'm really excited about what 2014 has in store for me!

What are your plans for this year?

Sabrina S.