Scrapbook Your Year, January 2017 Pages

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking34 Comments

Learn to scrapbook your year the simple way with Cathy Zielske.

Light trigger warning: I’m going to mention politics in a very respectful way in this blog post today. If you are angry and like to post hateful comments, I’m asking you politely to walk away from this post. If you would like to share anything in the name of respectful discourse and understanding, please keep reading.

The new year is here and I am continuing my Scrapbook Your Year approach to year-long memory keeping projects. It looks like this: four pages per month and about 30 photos or less. And that’s it. Done and done. If you’d like to see how my 2016 album turned out, click here and read the post. I’ve got a video that covers it pretty handily.

Yesterday, I sat down to make my first pages of the new year. I started with a paltry 186 photos for the month (I know, right?) and ended up with the following pages.

Learn to scrapbook your year the simple way with Cathy Zielske.
The picture on the lower right? Notice how his highlights are on top and hers are on the ends? I love that. And them. So, so much.

Learn to scrapbook your year the simple way with Cathy Zielske.
Yes, health and fitness stuff dominated my month for sure. If I’m teaching women to document their health and fitness, I’d best be walking the walk, right?

Learn to scrapbook your year the simple way with Cathy Zielske.
Yes, my letterboard gets a workout.

Okay, those are all very safe pages, and here’s where it might get tricky.

I chose to write about politics on the last page for my January pages because right now in America, we’re all experiencing them in some fashion or another. That said, we’re not all experiencing them in the same way. Some people feel relieved that there is a new sheriff in town. Some people are very scared. And a lot of people are shouting and angry.

I am looking to understand. I posted something on Instagram last week and it was met with surprisingly little anger and a lot of understanding. Women who are completely across the political spectrum from me posted the most heartfelt support for respectful dialogue. I do not want to be afraid to have conversations.

Here’s my page and then I have a few more thoughts to share:

Learn to scrapbook your year the simple way with Cathy Zielske.
My intention today is not to inflame. My intention is to tell complete stories on the pages of my scrapbooks and not to make alternate pages to share on blog posts for the fear of offending someone. This stuff right now? It’s a big part of life and life, in all of its glorious complexity, belongs on our pages, regardless of what side of the aisle you hang your hat.

Bottom line: we don’t all have to think the same way. Diversity is what makes us strong. Compassion and the desire to understand? That will make us wiser.

I’d like to close with an anecdote that my husband shared with me years ago, and again the other day.

The pastor at our former church told a story where he’d gone to a synagogue to hear his friend, a rabbi, preach. During the rabbi’s message, our pastor was surprised at how many conversations were going on while the rabbi was speaking. He wondered if the community was being somewhat rude. Later, the rabbi explained that conversations among parishioners were part of the process. He explained it this way: “I do not hold the only truth. The truth is in the conversation.”

I wanted to share that today because I believe there is truth to be found in the conversation. Not in the anger. Not in the hatred. Not in the judgments. But in the earnest conversation.

If you feel this crafting scrapbooker is stepping too far out of the accepted bounds today, that is wholly your prerogative.

I’m all for more conversations in 2017.


Cathy ZielskeScrapbook Your Year, January 2017 Pages

34 Comments on “Scrapbook Your Year, January 2017 Pages”

  1. #1
    Nicky H

    You’re probably going to hear opinions from both sides after posting about politics. But one thing I’ve learned from 17 years of scrapbooking is that this is YOUR scrapbook and you can and should write what you want in there. I remember years ago in CK or maybe SS mag, I can’t remember who made the layout (I have two names in mind but don’t want to call either out), one lovely scrapbooker lady wrote on a layout that she enjoyed making love. Maybe it was a favorite things layout-that I can’t remember. It to me it was like BAM!!!! I can write whatever I please, I can cuss, I can talk shit, I can write about private topics- these are my layouts. So there ya go. Write whatever you want.

    That being said, the way you said it is very respectful of both sides. 🙂

    Hugs! 🙂

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Thanks, Nicky. I guess the thing is, I feel blocked creatively on some level by not talking about it. It’s been in my mind and my heart, you know? But just seeing the hate and the divisiveness… the lack of anyone listening to anyone, it’s disheartening to say the least.

      Do I have all the answers? Hell no. But I want to be someone who at least aspires to learn about more than just my world view.

  2. #2

    That Wiesel quote about neutrality is one of my favorites. I simply don’t know how you could have written about this in a more respectful and gentle way. Any American who has gotten through January without feeling, at a minimum, the weight of the transition, has the luxury of not paying attention. Thank you for paying attention, listening, thinking, and speaking. And, yes, applause for not rushing to speak. It’s okay to feel and process first.

  3. #3

    The truth is in the conversation. I love that. I think the trick is in the earnestness of the people holding the conversation. So many people jump to judgement and blame. I applaud your stance to do otherwise and you have inspired me to do the same. Too often I have sat back in my quietness and I will let an authentic moment of expression pass me by. So thank you for speaking up and sharing your opinions with grace and respect. I think you will inspire many others to think more about having an earnest conversation in the future. ❤️

  4. #4

    I find it disheartening that you have to be so guarded, so. . .apologetic for exercising your right to free speech. Keep exercising, sister!

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yes, but it’s simply from observation, seeing what happens when people voice their thoughts. Freedom of speech seems different from responsible speech. 🙂

  5. #6

    I think it’s sad that you have to put so many disclaimers on posting your thoughts on something that affects all Americans…and really the world. I understand why you have to, but it still makes me sad. These have been very hard times for a lot of us and other than a picture of the Obama family and a single statement about how much I’m going to miss them, I haven’t scrapped it yet. I really need to if only to get my feelings down about it. I think you were very respectful and open. It breaks my heart that no one is listening to each other. There is so much hurt and anger and fear. The truth is in the conversation…yes…yes, it is.

    1. #6.1
      Cathy Zielske

      The disclaimers… yes, but I want people to know that just because you don’t think exactly like me doesn’t mean there can’t be civility.

      You see comments on social media that are so dismissive and cruel. It’s enough to make anyone a little gun shy, as they say.

  6. #7

    I love Kerri’s phraseology: “sharing your opinions with grace and respect.” Thanks, Cathy, for doing just that.

  7. #8

    Whatever our political beliefs are, we all need to come together and join forces, and support our President. That isn’t going away with rioting and wrecking other peoples property in anger. Yes, I did vote for this President, I live in the “rural uneducated area” of the country, and the last 8 years have not been kind to us. So for us we are hoping for change for the better. And the better of the whole country, regardless of political beliefs. I respect that you speak your thoughts, we have different opinions, thats what make this country great!

    1. #8.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I agree that’s what makes us great, and also that people need to understand how the past 8 years have been for parts of the country that felt forgotten. 🙂

  8. #9

    I was nervous (for you) to read what you would write…you shocked me Cathy! You are usually “edgier”? So true what you wrote about conversation. I think that is what scares me the most about the whole situation. I have to believe there are well meaning people in our government on both sides. I fear, however, that all of the volatility may undermine the ability for good conversation and forward motion.
    I respect our democracy. I am so proud that we can have a peaceful passing of power. I believe it’s my duty to support my president as a citizen. i have no sour grapes about the process, I have no bias or judgement against those who voted him in. I am deeply conflicted about having a leader who I do not respect. It is really heavy on my heart. I think that’s the hardest thing for me, feeling both my civic duty and my personal ethics in conflict. This will have a place in my January PL. Thanks for sharing

    1. #9.1
      Cathy Zielske

      🙂 I’m trying a new thing, it’s called thinking for understanding.

      Trying to be responsive and not reactive.

    2. #9.2

      I think we all agree, these candidates were not the “best” choice for any of us. I can’t for the life of me figure how out of all the smartest and brightest people in this country we had the two we had for choices.

  9. #10

    I’ve been trying to listen more and to listen without formulating my response at the same time. I’m not very good at that. Practice.

  10. #12

    It’s sad to me that you had to use disclaimers, although I completely understand why. I, personally, have backed away from some of the hateful places (FB) that social media has turned into because my opinion is so very different from most who share that space with me on FB. I simply cannot deal with all of the hatred. Emotionally, I am not built to handle that kind of behavior from others, especially those who are close family and friends. I truly believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions but there is not need for complete and utter ugliness if someones opinion differs from your own. That said, the beautiful thing about being a scrapbooker and a documenter of the stories of our lives is that we can freely express our thoughts and opinions in our books and no one else can do or say anything about it. My backing away from most social media has turned into a better use of my time through completing more pages for our family scrapbooks. I’ll take that over hatred fill pages on FB any day of the week. Your post was very well written and I am happy that you didn’t hold back and not share that page in your book out of fear of offending someone.

    1. #12.1

      I too, had to leave FB. I couldn’t deal with all the anger. And the abusive way people responded to it. It was ugly. Not healthy for anyone. I wish people could just stop and think for a second, no one has walked in any of our shoes and maybe we could all just show a little empathy for that. We all have our issues, but in the end, we all need each and every one of us, no matter our political beliefs, race, or religion, to come together.

  11. #13

    Bravo, Cathy! I agree the hate needs to go…from all sides. I love your comment to another poster:
    Freedom of speech seems different from responsible speech.

  12. #14

    I haven’t scrapbooked yet about the election or the transfer of power, but I will. I have opted to keep my political posts off of FB. I’ll occasionally comment on a cousin’s post or “like” something a friend posts. Anything else, however deeply felt, on that platform just feels like a waste of time. I *am* choosing to participate on Twitter. Here is what I am trying to do: I pledge not to get lazy about paying attention to what the government is doing. I pledge to call out injustice. I pledge not to paint all members of the media with one brush; some have risked their lives to report the news. I pledge to look for common ground in people with whom I disagree; we are all Americans & God’s children. I pledge not to blame vague groups containing millions of people for the wrongdoings of DJT and other individuals. I pledge to refrain from calling people who disagree with me by rude childish names. I pledge to tweet and retweet information from sources I trust and to remember to verify in multiple places.

  13. #15

    Cathy, this definitely has been a difficult experience for everyone, on all sides. Thank you for sharing in such a caring way. Here’s to listening to each other and working to build relationships that will make us all better! Love your pages!

  14. #16

    The blogs I follow have always been for inspiration. And escape. I am undone by this all; I’m not escaping very well. My heart goes out to all scrapbooking bloggers who have shared their lives with us so fully that I feel like I know you all. And wonder how this is affecting you and your families. And understanding if you choose not to say a word in fear of retaliation. “Fear of retaliation”….I worry about who we are becoming. And appreciate even more when any of you admit you are affected. But the gift you all keep giving? Reminding us that our lives, and families, and homes are what are more important than everything…no matter what. Thank you Cathy.

  15. #17

    This is bar far one of the best posts I’ve seen. I love your journaling on the layout because it speaks your truth, and that’s the way it should be. I understand your trepidation; I have personally found that many people who say they are willing to have an open conversation about politics, really just want to have an argument. If I present a calm, cogent statement, with evidence to support my line of thinking, they just start yelling louder about their opinion. I’m not afraid to say that I am not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican; I am an Independent… but that often means I get beat up verbally by both sides, sadly. That is not what we need to show that we value diversity and free thought/speech. I have decided to band together with those who also believe in social justice and can have an actual open dialog, no matter what their political leanings. It sounds like you’re on the same path, so kudos to you.

  16. #18

    I don’t believe that any scrapbooker/Project Lifer could document January 2017 and not have mention of what is going on in our nation- no matter what your views. Whether people choose to make it public is up to them, but I hope we all include it so that future generations can get a better understanding of our political processes and it’s part in our nation’s history. I will definitely include my thoughts on this month’s pages. I also love the photos that you chose to represent this time. Thank you for your honesty and being a proponent of conversation!

  17. #19

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the political front Cathy. I haven’t added anything to this year’s album yet about politics and you have inspired me to at least think about doing it. I’ve had to turn off seeing posts from some friends and family on FB because they were not posting anything positive or helpful but instead we’re just passing on all the nastiness. I’m all for positive change and am happy to read and learn of ways that I might be able to change things in a positive and peaceful way.

  18. #21

    Bravo and amen! We need so much more of this and so much less division. Thank you for your transparency and courage. You have talked often of how you are trying to deal with your stuff- well, I applaud you! You have a wisdom and a beauty to share and I appreciate being the recipient of the fruit of your hard fought battles. Thank you. Oh and I Love your pages. Of course.

  19. #22

    I can’t imagine what it must be like for you and can’t begin to understand your country. I watch on the news here and it scares me and makes me worry for the world because even in little New Zealand we are affected by this. And yes I have scrapbooked this as a lesson in history and life for my son when he is older.Love what you wrote. Here’s to a world of love, peace and understanding ?

  20. #23
    Lydia S

    I’ve never commented on your blog, but have followed you for quite some time. I have to say- well done and many words of wisdom. I have read so many articles, blog post that spew hate and despair-you’ve given a fresh perspective. Thank you.

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