Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blast from the Past - Journal excerpt from Sat. December 29th, '07 & '08

I'm sure I have said this at least once on my blog - I love to journal. This could be why I don't blog as much - I have already recorded the day's events in my small, hand-written journal that I carry everywhere with me. I got this fabulous idea from my mother-in-law (MIL) who has been keeping a journal like this for years. Her style is different, of course, but the goal is the same - record our lives' mostly mundane activities so we can access it later. I love the accessing later part! I have been journaling for 2 years now and I wish I had started years ago. I love reading what I did on this day in 2007 and 2008 and I will look forward to "repeating" 2009 in the same manner. I was inspired by my MIL because I saw it as a tool to sharpen my scrapbook journaling skills. Unfortunately, it really hasn't helped with that but I am still glad I have done it and that it continues to be a part of me. I have even inspired a few friends to join in with me and I hope you will do the same. You won't regret it!!!


I chose a small, spiral bound notebook by Mead. It's a 1 subject notebook that measures 7x5 inches and has a pocket page in the very front. I use the pocket to carry small notes, a 3x5 card with our contact info on it, misc. sheets of small paper, etc. Each notebook holds 3 months worth of journaling (100 sheets) with extra pages for note taking that I tear out once I'm done with the notes. Then I tear off the card stock "ad" on the very front and tuck the notebook/journal away to view a year from now.



Most days are pretty boring but every once in a while I write something that makes me laugh, smile or cry a year or two years later. And I love it!!!! This is why I was inspired to share this idea - I read December 29th's excerpt from 2007 and 2008 and it brought back some great memories.

Saturday December 29th, 2007:

We had the opportunity to chat with our East Coast family since, for whatever reason, Bill was not golfing on this Saturday morning.

I must have misplaced my camera lens because I found it "today".

I drove down to Palm Springs with my friend, Susan and her daughter Sydney. This is always a production as I have never loved the drive out of town or "down the hill", which is at least an hour drive. We arrived in PS safely and enjoyed dinner and pie at Marie Calendar's. If you are not familiar with Marie Calendar's it is similar to Mimi's Cafe - though I like Mimi's Cafe better. I believe our main goal of our trip was to you use the "coupons" we earned at Kohl's by spending a certain dollar amount before Christmas. We had "money" to burn and a deadline to meet so shopping we went!!!! I really miss shopping at Kohl's, along with shopping at Target - they are my favorites and I found myself spending over 4 hours in a Target in Hawaii recently to get my fix. Shopping at Kohl's is especially fun when you have a "coupon" and a friend to shop with. I don't remember what I bought because I didn't write that tidbit of info down but I do remember having a great time with Susan and Sydney. We accomplished our mission and headed back "up the hill" to rejoin our husbands who were found competing on the Wii.

At this point we did not own a Wii and I had never played on it. I'm not very competitive so this kind of activity doesn't usually entice me but, in the spirit of friendship, I agreed to a game of bowling. Just so you know, I do not care to bowl in "real life" and so I am not good at it. Also, I am a right-hander and the Wii controller I was using is usually used by a lefty. So, I was bowling for the first time and using my left hand and I beat the pants off my other 3 competitors, to include my husband - who, by the way, use to bowl on a league! Obviously I am very proud of my post-Christmas accomplishment back in 2007 and I am so glad I have it etched in pen, and now on my blog, FOREVER!!!!!

Bottom line: Saturday December 29th, 2007 was a great memory building day that I will not soon forget!!!

December 29th, 2008 was not nearly as exciting though!! I was not able to locate a 2009 calendar at the BX/PX, Bill went golfing and I actually posted our Christmas Eve activities on my blog. We did close out the evening by going to the movies with Jen and Stephen Sutton - we saw "Marley and Me" with a box of tissues, of course!!! Though the day might not have been exciting the movie was great and the company was fabulous!!!! It's interesting because I just called the Suttons to see if they were up for dinner at our favorite Thai food place and Steve is down with a bad cold. I'm bummed that we don't get to spend this December 29th together but it's intriguing to see how some things are repeated on the same day a year or two apart!!!!

One of the other things I love about keeping a journal is that one small, incomplete sentence written in list style can provoke a huge memory. My small notebook/journal only allows me to write a short and usually incomplete sentence on each line so I have to keep it simple. So, what I wrote above is not what was written in my journal - my journal looks like this:

Checked e-mail, face book, etc.

Did dishes; learned to download pix

Chatted with Kim (I now include the initial of last name so I can remember which Kim)

Nail appt. with Yuko

Kadena BX: No good calendars left

Chatted w/ Jen about movie tonight
Posted Christmas Eve blog

6p.m. Bill back from golfing

Dinner: Taco Bell

Movie "Marley & Me"

This is not a complete view of that particular day - I left the really boring stuff out! One short sentence, however, can spark the entire memory that I can write about later in a blog post or journal in my scrapbook - as I have done in the above sentences! I chose a small notebook so that I wouldn't' get overwhelmed. I wanted to set myself up to succeed and I knew that if I could carry the journal with me and only have to fill a small space that I might actually create a habit of journaling every day. Mission accomplished!



Here are some pointers:

Figure out why you don't journal and fix it. I didn't journal because I always wanted to fill the 8 1/2 x 11 page or I didn't think I had done it "right". My MIL uses a 81/2 x 11 spiral bound notebook and only writes as much as she wants and then keeps adding days on the same page until it's filled up. That works for her. A small notebook works better for me and a pen attaches nicely inside the spiral area of the notebook for convenience.

Figure out why you want to journal and focus on that reason - this is your motivation. I wanted to create a habit of writing memories down every day. This was not an easy goal to accomplish so I made the journal small so it would fit in my purse and I could write in it through out the day when time permitted. Now that it has become a habit I usually only write in it before I go to bed, even when I'm tired. I'm motivated because I know I will want to record this day and read about it in a year. Bill asked me last night what we were doing in March of 2007 and I was bummed that I didn't have a journal to turn to since I started journaling in December of 2007.

Choose a notebook that works for you. I chose this particular notebook that can be found in the office supply section of many stores to include Target, Wal-Mart and all the BX/PXs I have been in. I wanted my notebooks to always be the same size, for continuity, so I chose a notebook that I thought would be around for a while. It is practical, as well, since I can carry loose notes, business cards, etc. in the front and have a little room, in the back, for note taking. I always have at least one empty notebook on hand so I don't run out.

Get started. This is the hardest part. I didn't want to start in December because I knew that one entire year would not be in my notebooks. I did it anyway because I didn't think I would be as motivated in January of 2008 so I just started it in December. It doesn't bother me anymore.

What to include:

It's up to you. I just wanted to remember what I did that particular day. Sometimes I include what our pastor spoke on through his sermon that Sunday to remind myself of what God was teaching me that day. Sometimes I close out with "One Cool Thing" - a concept I got from my friend Ginger. You just write one cool thing that happened that day or one cool thing that God showed you that day, etc. Write only one line to keep it simple. Some people like to journal about a quote or scripture they read and their feelings on it. You can do anything as long as it works for you. You can use this as an opportunity to record all that you are thankful for that day or your goals for the future. I just read a great idea from one of my favorite scrapbookers in the industry, Ali Edwards - check out what habit she has started and has kept at for three years now. The "one little word" concept just might spark your motivation to journal!!!! (If you are a face book friend of mine I just posted this info in my notes.)

Leave a comment and let me know if you journal and how you journal. Or, if you will be creating this new habit for the new year!!!! Looking forward to hearing about all the boring, mundane stuff you do everyday!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Have I accomplished enough today?

"Finish each day and be done with it.... you have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you will begin it well and serenely." Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote was posted on my friend Debbie’s status, via face book, and I couldn’t resist “borrowing” it and sharing it on my blog. It’s amazing how God speaks to us in so many different ways and, if we are listening, He will minister to us right where we are. This quote came at a perfect time. I always thought it would be fun to blog about a recent quote I had read and I have been encouraged to just sit down and write on my blog without worrying about the topic – so I’m not ignoring the fact that it has been months since I have posted here, I am just adopting this quote as my new motto. I am finished with this day and I’m going to be done with it and look forward to tomorrow.

Why are Emerson’s words so hard to apply, even after a practically perfect day like today?

I had an AWESOME day with several of my friends today and yet I found myself slipping back into that “I didn’t accomplish enough today” mode. This usually happens when I am making my way home, a small commute from Kadena to Courtney, and assessing what I had accomplished thus far in that particular day. Why is it that I feel I have to accomplish anything in a day to feel justified in how I spent it? Do you feel that way? I do feel this way a lot, unfortunately. Even on days that I have accomplished a lot I still wonder if it was enough!

Was it enough that I devoted most of my day to creating a craft for an upcoming PWOC program?

Was it enough that I laughed with my friends today?

Was it enough that we talked about what God was doing in our lives this week?

Was it enough that we prayed together and shared a meal together and we even used a coupon?

Was it enough that we laughed until I thought we were going to cry?

Was it enough that 6 of us piled in my van and we ran our errands together? (3 of “us” were kids)

Was it enough that we did everything in our power to get said craft done today?

Was it enough that we visited with other friends along the way?

Was it enough that I turned up one of my favorite songs on my iPod, “Sweet Escape” and we sang our hearts out while others were watching us drive down the road, dancing and singing?

Was it enough that I drove over 30 minutes each way just to spend time with my friends?

Was it enough that I did the dishes and a load of laundry once I got home?

Was it enough that I tried to put out more Christmas decorations but found sitting on the couch with the hubs more tempting?

When is it enough?

Today I am allowing “it” to be enough!!! I laughed, I cried, I listened and I even acted as referee for a few disputes over the Wii and “they” aren’t even my little peeps!!

Today I have done what I can do and absurdities definitely crept in. And that is okay!!!!