Around Here – Looking Back + Looking at the Year Ahead

by | Announcements, Storytelling Ideas | 34 comments

The end of 2015 was a whirlwind of life/work goodness, but I missed posting my final Around Here recap. To close out that series, I’d like to invite you to take a look back and a look ahead with me.

My One Little Word for 2016 is trust, so I also thought it would be fun to connect some of my initial thoughts on that word with this update. I hope what results here is an illustration of my strides toward a more purposeful life that feels balanced, creative, and whole.

What’s your word for the year? When you’re done reading this post, I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know.


Around here I’m trusting the power of routine.

I’ve invested a lot of time into creating and using systems that help me plan my weeks, months, and years. I’m not perfect (nor a perfectionist), but it is something I put consistent effort into.

I have some ambitious personal goals for 2016, but I know that it’s the sum of 366 days that really matters. The actions I take each and every 24-hour period are what my year will become.

I’ve had some success in creating a morning routine, but fostering multiple daily habits is not an area that I’ve mastered. 2016 will be the year that I give it a shot.

By crafting a more solid foundation that includes getting up at the same time, drinking more water, and reading, I believe I’ll stay more focused, make better decisions, and feel happier. #simplicity

Bottom Line: I’m using the Strides app to track the daily habits that support my goals, my paper planner for weekly planning, and Asana for long-term project management.

Around here I’m trusting the structures I’ve built.

The close of one year and the opening of another always has me considering what big changes might be needed. As is likely the case for you, my scrapbooking is not immune to consideration.

And while I mentally try on new formats or styles, I ask myself “would this be easier?” I’m always looking for the path that simultaneously both satisfying and simple.

For 2016 I kept coming back to bringing more digital techniques into my process, but I never felt ready to commit to digital layouts or a minimalist photo book. I like to play with supplies too much.

What I was able to do, however, was reconcile this craving while making a plan to stay the course. I’ve really enjoyed working in the annual context, but thinking about my stories thematically. I’ve felt content doing Project Life in my own unique way, while accepting that layouts are my bread and butter.

The addition of more digital techniques is only a win-win, creating a dual sense of newness and ease while letting me do what I do best.

Bottom Line: I’m continuing to explore using the Library of Memories categories to create divisions within an annual scrapbook album that includes pocket pages and layouts. I will include some printed digital layouts that I create with Lightroom.

Around here I’m trusting that false starts are an important part of the process.

Last year, as part of a sincere desire to grow, I wanted to venture outside of my comfort zone. Instead of doing more of the same, I wanted to shop around for something different.

As it turns out, I don’t like shopping (figuratively or literally).

First I cancelled my kit club subscriptions, because my backlog was out of control. It was the right decision at the time, but for me it turned out to not be a permanent one.

By the end of the year I felt frustrated that my 12×12 paper stash had dwindled so much, yet I could never seem to pull the trigger on an order. I would always fill up my cart and take things out one by one.

For me, the real benefit of a kit is that I can trust that something I like (or mostly like) will promptly arrive at my door without me having to wrestle with my own demons of indecision. It’s paid for and I can get to work without mental anguish.

This personal challenge also led to my inability to continue with the unKit Club. It was a grand idea, but perhaps too grand for me.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a business owner is to substantially leverage what you’re best at and delegate the rest. My zone of excellence is writing and teaching. I love scrapbooking and I’d like to think I’m not half-bad at it, but my business does not rest solely on my ability to make pages.

The mission of Simple Scrapper is to guide you to a more purposeful hobby that fills you up and fits your life. It’s about ideas, strategies, and processes that make memory keeping doable. Part of that is a deep sense of “we’re in this together” as a community.

Shopping will always be a part of our hobby. However, the most effective role I can play is not in tell you what to buy, but in helping you identify what shopping should look like for you.

Bottom Line: I’m subscribing to a scrapbook kit again and once I post my unKit #1 layouts, that project will end.

Around here I’m trusting that less really is more.

Part of embracing what I’m best at involves investing more (time and heart) in each thing I produce. To compensate for this shift, I must intentionally do a fewer number of things.

Internally this looks like more delegation and from where you sit, this looks like a smaller number of blog posts each week. However, each one will be more thoughtful and specifically-crafted to help you take the next step.

This era of content abundance means that you have plenty else to read. What I most hope is that each new free piece of content has a higher value and that you have more time to actually implement what you learn in your own scrapbooking.

Bottom Line: You can expect one blog post per week on average, generally on Tuesdays. Sometimes there will be more. I’ll likely post on the theme of “Around Here” on my personal Instagram account.

Around here I’m trusting what I’ve learned.

2016 marks a big shift in focus for the business.

As part of my internal conversations about content, I spent a lot of time thinking more broadly about how get to off the hamster wheel of more. More for the sake of more doesn’t do you any service.

So instead of being in constant development of new projects for new courses, I want to perfect a retreat-like, transformative virtual experience. And instead of hoping you’ll stick with it over six weeks, I want you to see results in just seven days.

The Refresh workshop series combines everything I’ve learned from you in the past seven years to offer a journey you can lean on to find your footing and keep your head in the clouds. It brings together a rotating suite of trusted and newly-developed exercises to help you intentionally plan, simply organize, and create with ease.

And as a Simple Scrapper member, you’ll not only enjoy Refresh four times a year but also receive support in between each session.

Bottom Line: A new session of the Refresh workshop will be held each quarter so that you can consistently feel focused, organized, and motivated. The January session is open for registration.

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Amy

    Jennifer, thanks so much for your honesty, really thinking through your both your personal and business life and sharing it with us! I am grateful for less blog posts, because I love them! But having too many was keeping me on the internet too long, getting my plans awry.
    One thought, if your paper stash was too small to inspire you, have you thought about maybe getting all those papers out? From the outside, it looks like those would be the things that need to be purged. I hope the kit club will bring you more joy and more peace, but don’t let those papers sit there and weigh on you!
    I’m looking forward to Refresh next week! It fits in with my word for 2016 – transformation. Talk to you more then! – Amy

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Yes, I do think that much of what’s left in my paper stash may need to be purged. That’s the one thing I’ve not yet touched with my Stash Bash challenges.

  2. Margaret

    Hi, Last year my word was trust and I learned a lot both about others and myself I hope you enjoy it. This year my word is choose should be interesting.
    I am enjoying my planner. It’s a great extension of my calendar. Thank you again for that. Margaret

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Ooh, I’d love to hear more about what you learned from “trust” last year. It’s such a nuanced word.

  3. Jenn McClure

    Hey Jennifer!

    This is my first year doing One Little Word, and I chose Joy for my word. It was a long year last year and there were a lot of ups and downs and I often forgot to remember to find Joy in things, so that is my goal this year.

    I too and a planner, I kind of create my own planner based off the Planner Perfect method and my travelers notebook! This is a huge help to my scrap-journaling because I am never caught up and don’t want to forget important things.

    I can’t wait to see what the new years brings you and watch you and your blog/ business grow!

    Love, Jenn

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks Jenn. “Joy” is such an uplifting word. I hope it guides you well!

  4. Rose

    Hi. Great post and it really resonates with what I am also trying to do. I keep trying to do MORE and therefore do LESS and get frustrated. First year for One Little Word for me and I have chosen GIVE. Also am starting with the PL App and doing the 52 weeks to document daily life. Also trying to catch up on huge backlog of paper scrapping. And finally, committing to blogging more consistently to hopefully get my 2 blogs off the ground. Also working on simplifying life in general and will use my word Give to drive that. Give more time to my family, friends and passions. Give more to others less fortunate and give up things that are causing clutter and overwhelm. Here’s to a successful 2016

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I’m so glad the post resonated Rose. For those who are ambitious, as it sounds you are, I recommend spreading out your goals/changes throughout the year, so you can focus on one at a time. You might pick just a couple each season and then switch it up for the next one.

  5. Kim Edsen

    Thanks for giving us a ‘peek behind the curtain’, so to speak, into the inner workings of Simple Scrapper and your thought processes! I share your angst about shopping for product, putting items in and out of online carts, rarely making purchases. I have long considered a kit club, researching options and making pros and cons lists, only to not go down that road either. After stumbling along the past few years, since the closing of my local Archivers, it may be time I find a solution for that roadblock!
    My word for this year is ‘reveal’. I want to do a better job of listening to my intuition as opposed to always making the smart, practical choice. Hopefully, tuning into my true preferences and owning them, will bring me greater contentment and enthusiasm for all aspects of my life in 2016.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      You might try just purchasing a one-off kit to see if you enjoy the challenge of someone else having selected the products.

  6. Sandy

    Jennifer, this is a really powerful post! I’ve read through it once and am moved to spend more time with it I’ll be going back through this post and thinking about each paragraph and how it might apply to me. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thank you for the kind words Sandy.

  7. Margaret

    Yes,I forgot to say I love the way you are already using your word trust it reminds me that I need to write about my word thank you for your help.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks. =)

  8. Ann Johnson

    Great post. This year my word is “Quiet”. I have made a list of more and less I need to do this year. I need to quiet my mind on new things. I get so overwhelmed with all the new things I forget what I need to finish. I am hoping to start new this year with my scrapbooking and go back when I have time. I worry so much about what needs to get done and make never ending lists that I just don’t have time to work on the present. I am using pocket pages this year to keep up and document the mundane fun loving life I want to live. If I get back to the old stuff, I do. Looking forward to keeping up weekly with you. This will fit perfect with my new “Quiet” 2016.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Quiet is a beautiful word and I can’t wait to see where it takes you Ann!

  9. Trish Allard

    Hi Jennifer, l loved reading your post. I took a whole year off from scrapbooking because I needed to reset my sense of purposfulness and evaluating my goals for scrapbooking. I love your idea of creating a daily routine as that is on my mind to do also. Time can be a guide or a taskmaster. I choose time as my guide. I think my one little word will be TODAY because I want to focus on this day only and what it will take to complete my “guide” for today and not wander in and out of future days, wasting TODAY. Thank you for being so available and willing to show us ways to keep our hearts fully engaged in our craft.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      “Time can be a guide or a taskmaster.” << Love this! Today would be a wonderful talisman to guide you in being present. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your refreshed goals for scrapbooking!

    • Helen

      Oooh, Today…good one! I’ve been thinking of a word and haven’t settled on one yet. I have Connect and Accept floating around in my head, but Today is striking a chord with me. Will have to give that one some serious thought. Thanks~

  10. Kim Faucher

    I always love reading your posts. I feel like your thoughts hit so close to how so many of us really feel. I cancelled all but ONE of my kit clubs as well and am just seeing how that goes the next few months. I love coming here to re aquaint myself with WHY I like to create scrapbooks and cards and am always so inspired to take action on them. My word this year is KINDLE and I am hoping to spend quite a bit of time here really using my membership and completing some great books.. great pages/ the me album that is started but just sitting there.. lol Glad we all have each other in this community!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thank you Kim, so glad to have you here. Kindle is a really intriguing word with so many layers!

  11. Carrie Anderson

    Great post Jennifer! Youre such an example to me! My word this year is HABIT …I’m looking to build some habits into my life that make it easier and help with my decision fatigue! Simple scrapper has been such a great part of making me better…i feel like ive found my people 🙂

  12. Marina

    Such an insightful look at your previous year. You’ve really looked deep at your habits and outcomes and made some beautiful choices based on trust for the coming year. Can’t wait to see how it comes together. So happy I’m along for the ride.

  13. Gayle

    Jennifer, For me, the perfect word for 2016 is PURGE. I need to purge my extra weight, as well as my stash. We just made a large move and we decided to downsize our house as part of this (hopefully) final move. Some major purging is required.

  14. Delanie

    My word for this year is INTENTION. With my first baby due late February, I wanted a word that supported making goals and working to build the life I want through a year of intense change, but was also gentle and non-judgemental. 😉

  15. Kathy

    I think my word for the year is PLAN. I often just let things roll along and I sort of cope as stuff comes and goes. I’m tired of that, and forgetting that I have appointments scheduled (not that I miss them but that I’m rushed at the end) so I don’t have sufficient time to prepare for them.
    I am trying the planner but I don’t hold out a lot of hope. I have had them before and they go by the wayside in a week or so because I hate dragging them with me (and my phone is too old for that sort of thing). I’m forcing myself to keep it with me throughout the month of January so, by February 10, we’ll see if I can change that habit.

  16. Sonja Gortzak-Hughes

    Thank you for this very detailed post. My Word for 2016 is Purpose and I have some of the same issues to deal with that you have. For me I want to use my word to consider all the things in my life and constantly ask: “Is this purposeful?” or “What purpose does it serve?” I also hope to find out what my Purpose in Life is but not quite certain how to go about that.
    I totally recognize your Kit Club reasoning. It can save so much time shopping and deciding if there is a coordinated kit that just arrives at your door. I wish we had some good ones in The Netherlands or that the international ones were available on a bi-monthly or quarterly option so the cost wouldn’t be too high. Shopping my stash sounds good but I always spend too much time on that and then have too little time to Scrap left.

  17. Nanelyn

    What a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Donna C

    Jennifer you are an inspiration! This post was so thoughtful and eloquent. I really savored it to let it sink in. I’m not doing one little word in paper form this year, but perhaps I can think of a word and mentally engage. A few years ago “accomplish ” was my word and maybe I will dust it off for 2016. I want to think about it in a positive sense, not just as as a “to do” list. More like a state of being, and just follow through. I deal with ADD so finishing and accomplishing can be challenging ????

  19. Patricia M

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us. You often hit on the very thing I am struggling with and offer a lot of wisdom. I am excited about the Book Club. Don’t know anything about the 1st author, but had just stumbled on to the Happiness Project. When I bought the book for Feb, I was offered 22 weeks of emails to get me ready for the book. I have learned so much already…came just at the right time.
    Last year was a difficult time for me and my family. I struggled to survive in so many areas…was considering giving up scrapbooking when I joined Simple Scrapper. I want to do more than survive… SO this year I am choosing “thrive” as my word.

  20. Gab

    Great post. I think my word is clean … clean eating, clean home, clean body (and hopefully lean body as well!).

  21. Kelly Jean

    Love this post Jennifer. My word for this year is COMPLETE. It began as inspiration to complete unfinished projects, but is also a goal to recognize a better version of myself. Maybe that’s me now or maybe I need to do some tweaking. I’m not really sure yet. I’m excited for Refresh!

  22. Terri Torrez

    Great post. I love seeing what worked and didn’t work for other people. My word is Renew. I love that it has,p multiple meanings that all work.

  23. Libby Wiers

    I always love reading your thoughtful posts, even when I don’t get to them in a timely fashion. I thought being retired would give me more time, and in some ways it has, but settling into a routine is more difficult than I expected. I couldn’t seem to decide on a word for this year, lots came to mind but did not resonate long. Given my inability to schedule, perhaps I should choose PLAN. Refresh has helped a lot, so maybe that will be my focus for 2016.



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