Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



good life – by petra corcoran


Part of cultivating a good life is learning to find strength even in the hardest of times.

I feel fortunate that I have a good life. But it wasn’t always this way. I honestly want for little more than time and to spend as much of it as possible with those I love.

When I was 10, I lost just about everything. When my parents left what was, at the time, a communist home country “illegally” I could not have prepared for having my world turned upside down. Quite frankly, I lost everything that a 10 year old holds dear. Friends, grandparents, my bedroom with my bed and toys in it, all gone in the blink of an eye.

On that morning we left, my mother turned to me and said, “You can only take your one most favourite toy with you on this holiday.” At the time I had no idea what was about to happen, but within days my lifestyle and familiar surroundings were gone, never to be seen again. There was little time to mourn this loss; however, I was suddenly faced with the great unknown and a new feeling of not knowing where in the world we would end up, what and who we would encounter, or even what new language and culture I would be thrust into.

With no money and no possessions save for a few items of clothing in one suitcase between the three of us and my favourite teddy, we had to start from scratch. I won’t pretend it wasn’t hard, that I didn’t see things in a refugee camp that a 10 year old should not see and that the stress did not take its toll.

Fast forward 30 years and I feel blessed that it happened. I thank my parents regularly for the brave decisions they made to forge a better life for me. The life lessons I have been taught are now part of my character and are echoed though my everyday life. The experience has truly motivated me to find strength even in the most difficult times when your world is suddenly turned upside down. The strength comes down to these three things:

  1. Take chances in life – Make decisions, live by them, learn.
  2. Possessions are simply that. They are temporary, fleeting, and rarely fulfilling.
  3. Cherish those you love because you don’t realize how quickly you could lose them until it’s too late.

For the past 10 years since my first child was born, I have been wondering how I could pass on these lessons I learned. How could I ingrain in my own kids the values without them having to live through the frightening experiences, the loss and the hardship that I endured when my life took such a drastic turn? Perhaps sharing this story may be a small step and I hope that living and breathing these values will go a long way. For now, I truly want for little more than time to spend with those I love.


Note from Becky

Petra was a part of our 2013 Creative Team and is forever a part of our big Project Life® family. David and I had the privilege of spending some time with her when we visited Australia in March of this year. We even got to meet her sweet family, which was such a treat. David and I could have spent hours just chatting with Petra, like she was a lifelong friend. What she has shared in today’s Good Life post is just the tip of the iceberg of her life experiences, some of which we heard directly from her while together.

Listening to Petra explain what has transpired in her life, without so much as a hint of complaining, was remarkable. Talk about someone who really does count her blessings! Petra undoubtedly cultivates a good life and so beautifully records her family’s story with Project Life. I am so grateful that she has become a part of our own story.

Note: The bear shown in the photo is the same one Petra has had all of these years.


15 Responses

  1. Anna Norman says:

    Dear Petra, thanks for sharing your story!
    I was blessed to be born in the Czech republic after it was no longer a communist Czechoslovakia. And although the horrors of the past are gone for 25 years now, we still run into people like you – people, who lost their homes, friends and families at once and never have seen them again. It always makes me realize how lucky we all are. Thanks again! Anna

  2. Renea says:

    What a beautiful reminder of what really matters. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Lisamarie says:

    Thank you for the gratitude reminder. Even on this day of rest I need encouragement like this to keep my priorities and wisdom in place.

  4. Kristina says:

    Beautiful. I am blessed to call her my friend. Petra is truly a very talented, hard working and humble soul. Thank you sweet for the timely reminder in a world of crazy busy.

  5. Christine says:

    Thank you Petra for sharing your story. This is such a timely message as my family is going through a very difficult time right now. Even so, it is nothing compared to what you have endured. Your strength, positive attitude and message have truly inspired me. I so appreciate the reminder that I can find my own inner strength right now and that as long as I have my family everything will be okay. I very sincerely thank you.

  6. Pink Ronnie says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Petra.
    So much love,
    Ronnie xo

  7. Kris says:

    Petra, What a beautiful story to share with us. Thank you.

  8. I feel so privileged to call you my friend Petra. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration and a beautiful human being. Love you. xxx

  9. Petra this story is an eye opener for us all. I literally wish I did live closer now as I want to come and give you a big hug. I think your one amazing women, as I have told you many times and this just goes to prove that little more. THANK you for sharing a part of yourself with us all.

  10. Ellie says:

    Petra, you have such a beautiful and thankful heart. Thankyou for sharing :)

  11. Anna says:

    Petra! You gorgeous thing!! I had no idea about this part of your life story. Thanks so much for sharing – you have a beautiful heart and a strong spirit that I admire. You go girl xx

  12. Rachel Pomeroy says:

    Thank you Petra… x

  13. dawn says:

    Thank you for sharing this story and the reminder of how thankful we should be. All I ever ask for is more time with loved ones too, all the other stuff isn’t as important to me now. So happy you had a good life and now can teach your kids what your parents taught you. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  14. Janet says:

    Thank you Petra for opening up your heart to us all. I have always said to my daughters don’t feel sorry for yourself too much as there are many people out there that are worse off than you. So true and it’s a shame that sometimes we forget this and need to be reminded. Thanks for that reminder! Best wishes Janet x

  15. Sandy says:

    Wow, Petra. Thanks for sharing. It is so true that you don’t know about what people have faced (10 years ago or even 10 days ago or 10 minutes ago!) when you see them on face value. Everybody has some kind of invisible challenge in their past. Everybody has a story. Thanks for sharing this part of yours. No doubt you will inspire many people!