Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life outside the comfort zone and a new journal page

Update: The journal page in this post is no longer available for download. For a selection of free, printable journal pages, please visit my Printable Journal Pages collection.

I've been stepping out of my comfort zone lately.

All of the experts say that it's good for you -- growth and personal development and such -- and I don't disagree, but you know what else?  It's exhausting.

The transition back to school, for example, has been a rocky one.

Have I ever mentioned that my daughters attend a French language school?  They do.  The husband's mother tongue is French and we decided early on that French would be a major part of their education.  It sounded awfully romantic when the children were babies.  I imagined a seamless transition from one language to the other and back again.  Now that we're there, educating our daughters mainly in French while living in an English-speaking province, it is more of a challenge than I expected. 

I am not fluent in French, although I am getting closer every year.  And yet, every time I walk into my daughters' school, I leave my comfort zone at the threshold.  I struggle to understand teachers and school staff (because I think it's important to work at communicating in French and they very kindly oblige me) and I struggle to carry on meaningful conversations with teachers and other parents.  Switching to English feels like giving up and I hate that feeling.

This year, on top of the usual challenges of managing two languages, tackling new math problems and sorting out the homework assignments, my oldest daughter has encountered some interpersonal challenges.  There were moments last month when I was sure my heart was breaking.  Or at least I thought so at the time because it involved -- you guessed it -- stepping outside of our comfort zones.

My go-to mechanism for handling conflict is denial.  Very mature, I know.  This is a practice I am not keen to pass along to my children, so we are instead working on facing challenges head on.  Head on.  So far this school year, that has meant making awkward telephone calls and working with the school to find careful resolutions.  Every effort has been met with amazingly understanding and productive responses, and all is well and good, so why such angst, Christie?  Get a grip.

And then there's the work I'm doing behind the scenes to turn this place into more of a going concern.  Flailing around in the dark is how it feels, even with how-to books and articles and feedback from trusted sources.  Much hand-wringing, all of it self-initiated and likely unnecessary, but the wringing of hands continues nonetheless.

All of which is to say that working on this week's journal page was a welcome relief, a happy return to work that feels natural and uncomplicated.  I hope you'll agree, dear friends. 

You'll find this week's journal page here (border-free) here (border-full and colour-free) here (border-full and multicoloured).

Happy Thursday, friends!


  1. Thanks so much for the page! I applaud your efforts with the French education as I can relate to it in some ways.

  2. Thank you- as always I love the page! My whole year has been about stepping outside my comfort zone - took a business course, started a blog and am trying to get a business off the ground after 8 years at home with the kids.

    Sadly, one thing that fell by the wayside has been my journaling with your pages - that changes today - i miss it- you inspired me before and today you are re-inspiring me.

    Thank you!!!!

  3. Bon courage!
    Madame Tut

  4. Thanks so much for the newest journal page. You must be a really deep thinker to come up with so many thoughtful things to write about. Just amazing!

  5. I just found your journal pages and I´m amazed. Last night I saved them and now I´m printing them.

    Amazed, amazed, amazed.

    If you ever decide to translate them to Portuguese, count me in.

  6. Hi there, I've just discovered your blog and find I can't leave it without saying thank you for the beauty you've added to my day today! I love your journaling pages and am so excited to get started with them - I'm a terrible journal-keeper and that's something I've wanted to change for a long time. Thank you a million times for inspiring me to renew that goal!

  7. Hooray for stretching your comfort zone boundaries! School is another language entirely (and not one of the Romance ones either ;-) and I hope the productive responses have made the challenges a faint memory for all of you so it was truly a happy Thanksgiving weekend.

  8. I just found your blog and I love it! I have printed most of the pages, and I can't wait to start using them. This is exactly what I needed, amazing! I have spent the entire evening reading your blog entries starting with the newest ones and I really enjoyed it.

  9. You really are a great example to me of the kind of mom that I want to be for my own children. Thanks for the breath of fresh air... and I love the journal page!!!

  10. Yay! I found the newest one!!! Thank you so much love!

  11. I just found your blog through Pinterest, and I love your journal pages! Thank you for making them available and I look forward to coloring and filling them out. :)

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I also just found your blog through Pinterest. What a gift you are giving to those of us who are creatively-challenged! I love the journal pages and how they are making me think about things that probably would never have crossed my left-brained mind!

  13. Another gorgeous journal page that I can't wait to dive into!!! (And a great blog post.) Thank you again for sharing your art with us!

  14. I like your Journal page printable and I am going to include it on my blog. thanks


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