"Ancora Imparo" - I am still learning ~ Michelangelo
I am a 60-something, 'career-graduate' librarian. One of the items on my life list has been to learn quilting, especially to explore the arena of journal and art quilting. I see that quilting, art journaling, blogging and scrapbooking are all facets of creativity and learning in this phase of my life.
Thursday, I met two friends for breakfast and a long overdue gathering. We were so busy catching up, eating, etc, we forgot to grab a picture to memorialize the event. But, that’s OK; our hearts are warmed and the memory of our gathering, indelibly impressed on our minds…
Friday, I waited all day for a service call re: my washing machine. It walks. The service tech arrived at 5:15 pm. No service performed!Suffice it to say, I was not a happy camper! Second service call scheduled for Wednesday.
Friday’s fiasco not withstanding, in the overall scheme of things, I am more happier – as Gretchen and sister, Liz share on their twice a month Saturday podcast. What’s making you more happier these days? Have a great holiday!
Apologies for the disatrous formatting – last three paragraphs. Word Press strikes again and frankly, I’m too irritated to bother.
I have had on my daily agenda for days running: publish blog post. That directive presupposes that one has, first of all, written a draft —- or at least made a list of topics I want to share… where are my notes? Can’t say I know! Probably because I’ve not written any…
Last week, in one of my daily de-stashing purges, I ran across the image of the little girl and her shadow in a Charles Schwab advertisement. She’s wearing yellow – my fave color; I was immediately, smitten. I found the background paper among my scrapbooking supplies and added the sticker words. I cut the butterfly from a table paper napkin; I attached it to the paper using a pop dot. And it sits on top my printer, in my direct view as I sit at my computer. And that just makes me happy!
Over the past week and days plus, I’ve spent hours going through my quilting stash and supplies – years accumulation of “someday maybe” projects that are never going to see the “finish line.” Sadly. Best laid plans…
But all is not lost. As I’ve reviewed and touched fabrics and leafed through books and patterns, I feel the stirrings of the desire to spend more time in my quilting space, with my quilting resources: fabrics; books; patterns; my imagination and creativity. And that, well that makes me just plain happier.
A quiet day, punctuated by a delightful 2 PM afternoon walk, bright blue sky, and colorful flowers in the ground, pots and on trees.
Before and after my early afternoon walk, I spent time on several Zoom calls with scrapbookers from around the world, sharing, gathering ideas and making plans to document daily our individual lives via photo and words, the last week of this month, April 24 – 30. This is a project I’ve done off and on over the past 10 or so years.
In today’s mail, I received a surprise package from my Delaware friend Kathy, filled with scrapbook papers, embellishments and ephemera ~ perfect for the upcoming week’s documentation. Most of the items are yellow and I have the perfect yellow 6 x 8 album waiting in the wings. Yes! Yellow is absolutely my favorite color. Just the thought makes me happy.
These moments today clearly made me happier… and I hope they have the same effect for you!
Spring in Washington DC has arrived! Several years ago, my word was “color.” In all its glory, my daily walks -even on those days when it was a tad, ( a lot ) chilly – have been a sheer visual delight. Spring and Autumn in the nation’s capital are generally beautifully colorful. Come, join me on a quick tour .
Yesterday, Friday, was rainy and cool… t’was still the best for the work Mother Nature does to provide daily colorful journeys and happy Spring memories.
3.26, was Friendstitch Sunday … the six of us always, always look forward to these monthly gatherings, now in the 9th year. This past Sunday, we met at Michelle’s and were greeted with gorgeous spring flowers: daffodils and amaryllis. For Christmas 2019, I gave Michelle (and the others, each) a bulb… Michelle has the magic green thumb. We were delighted to see the amaryllis in full bloom. In addition to being treated to a spectacularly colorful array of flowers, we had an absolutely delicious meal. Yum! The memory of Sunday makes me happier…
My walks, most days, weather permitting, I am greeted by the constant display of signs of Spring: magnolia and cherry blossoms, daffodils, maple trees and forsythia bushes. Delightful.
For the past year, I’ve focused on s-l-o-w-l-y retelling my AmaZe – about me, A-Z – life story that I hope to publish as a memoir style photo album/book. My goal is to have completed this project close to June 1, 2023…If I meet this self imposed deadline, I’m confident I’ll be happier!
The star is a needlepoint I found as I’ve been weeding my stash of projects – a project long overdue but also one that has very tangible results. And this too, makes me happier.
You know, happier is a good place to be! What’s making you happier these days?
… Catching my own is more than a notion. A lot vies for mine, as evidenced by the “plethora” – a favorite Norman word – of notes, both sticky and un – that I write, on whatever’s available, usually with a pen. And, as I am prone to handwrite, know that I avail myself liberally. Quite.
I believe Habit was my word for 2019. A chosen word for any given year – and I’ve been choosing one since 2009, easily – doesn’t just disappear when the clock strikes 12:00 AM of the new year. The words become and stay a part of one, forming a “dictionary,” so to speak.
I began writing this post during Writers’ Hour last week – I had only typed 92+ words. Note to Self: remember I have Apple Notes on all my devices and can not only type but also write with the Apple pen and my voice, i.e., the microphone, which comes in handy when walking, too!
I think I want to embrace the “technology” just so I will a) break the habit of writing on assorted pieces of paper and b) have more time to spend exercising my creativity vs shuffling through random notes and thoughts and ideas and, and, and…
Doing so will, I am 100% certain, result in my being:
9:45 AM: My day begins sitting in Honda dealership, waiting for a nail to be removed from a tire … it is probably a good thing that there is a sensor that detects such “incidents’ and alerts – thereby allowing me to avoid a possible accident. It is however, a wrinkle in my day’s plans and unfortunately, I’ve had too many of these messages that were “false alarms.” Most precipitated by extreme drops in the temperature – which was, coincidental – so it seems – the same circumstance this time.
Last Thursday, February 23, we had temperatures in the low 60s. Spring had arrived. Everyone was out. That next day, the sensor message came on: “ low tire pressure…” Since I’d experienced this same message too many times – all false – before, I was skeptical but of course, I needed to know, and thus, my raison d’etre for being here today. And as luck would have it: not a “wolf cry!”
So, as I wait, I write, journal, as my time – MSQT (morning solitude and quiet time) was shortened this morning. Knowing that I was probably going to be here a while, I brought my morning journaling tools: iPad/iPhone; paper journal and pens; settled in the lounge, fixed myself a cuppa caramel latte – ready to read and write…
In my email: an article from Mindful.org. Aimed at newbies, the article lists seven “expert-recommended” writing tips to help newbies (and even oldies, such as me) “find ourselves on the page.” Good prompts as well as a useful tool for looking at my own journaling habit…so, as I read, I thought: “this is great for today’s blog post!” You can find/read the article at https://www.mindful.org/7-exercises-to-help-you-journal-your-way-to-mindfulness/?
Here are the 7 tips:
1. Write your personal story: I began in 2009, I suppose with this blog and in 2014, started a project that I’ve dubbed my AmaZe project, initially scrapbooking stories of my life. Last March, 2022, I decided to digitize all my handwritten notes, using the app DayONE. To date, I’ve entered nearly 600 stories to this digital notebook. I’m currently taking one more pass through the alphabet and- fingers crossed- hope to finish before the end of this month!
2. Break down bigger goals: My usual approach is to create a mind map; I also have a bad habit of jotting random thoughts on any ol’ available piece of paper. Not a good technique so I’m working on at least using the paper and dedicated tech solutions: DayONE and Apple Notes to corral them into some semblance of order…
3. Keep a gratitude journal: My goal is to create a “Ten.10.X” daily entry, listing the events, activities, etc of the day. This I generally hand write in my journal and I aim for the evening – before I fall asleep. I need to work on this…evening might not always be the best time of the day for I’m likely to fall asleep…
4. Try my hand at ‘artistic journaling’: This can and does take many forms, from stitching to collaging to drawing to snapping photos from my walks or gatherings with friends or catching the sunrise, sunset, seasons, the sky, etc… I get to know my own creativity – what appeals to me, what I can and will do … I like this aspect of journaling – a lot!
5. Untangle thoughts/feelings thru journaling prompts: Most days I begin writing by hand in my journal. This is a habit I’ve had for two dozen plus years. I’m more awake in the morning than the evening, so if I need to think through an idea, insight, new piece of information, inspiration, etc, I’m likely to do so mornings…
6. Go inward with reflective writing: Areas of concern, interest, books I read, questions aroused, ideas generated and plans made or to be made fall into this area…I probably describe this as “thinking out loud” with pen and paper.
7. Release stressful emotions with a “word dump”: Tho’ I seldom use this technique, I sometimes take a deeper look using the convention of “plus delta” – what are the pluses and what changes could be made? And then I write.
I hope that this look at how I engage in “mindful journaling “ offers some ideas and tips that you might try. Enjoy! Write on!
Slow start to the day; grumpy: Don’t have any decent AM tea! – didn’t like the cup I brewed. My hand hurts when I write – YUK! Grey. Cloudy. 50 F – why is heat pump on? How does one type the“degree” sign? Hmm… look up… Didn’t complete “Ten.10.X” last night – will do next. Agenda created: If I do all the items on the list, I’ll be waaay ahead of the game…
ORGANIZE is a word I have in the index: Spent time last week RE-organizing and it seems that I’m now “back to the future”! What’s needed is a “restructure,” a fresh and different approach. A shakeup. Yeah! Or perhaps acceptance of what is: “I am disorganized!” [deep sigh]. Perhaps I’ll begin my blog post – t’is a Simply A Moment day…why not? …TBC!
Continuing …it’s currently 5:54 PM.
Earlier, during Writers’ Hour, at 8:43 AM, I wrote: I interrupt my daily AmaZe entry into DayONE, my digital journaling tool of choice, to begin my ONE LITTLE WORD – Happier – entry for the month of February. Heart themed of course, since this is the month of Valentine’s Day, just passed yesterday and birthday of a dear -also, passed – friend and today, the anniversary of my Dad’s passing 39 years ago and , and , and. Tho’ sadness describes these feelings, I am eternally grateful that they and many others, graced my life …
As I look out the window, the sky – cloudy and grey. Tho’ the thermometer sez it’s 50 degrees, the heat pump belies, for it busily churns away (adding to the electric bill). I think: As I pass houses on my daily walks through the neighborhood, I see more houses with solar panels on their roofs & I make a mental note to pursue that for this house. And oh yes, I cannot forget the plumbing. Does it ever end? Who indeed said home ownership was a dream. Nightmare perhaps a more accurate descriptor.
8:55 AM – Writers’ Hour is nearing the end – our hosts are reading text comments and preparing to call on two, unsuspecting – always – writers to share a bit of their writing achievements during the past “50 focused minutes.” I was once called and totally surprised. Thankfully, I indeed had the morning’s written words to consult. Somehow, re-reading my words to myself versus aloud to an audience of “writers,” is just not the same… But one survives .
I’m not sure when in the past 10 -12 years I started blogging on a fairly to somewhat regular basis ( minus the past two years or so). I believe 2019 was the year I actually blogged daily, 365 days. I should verify that stat.
Each day, on my list of things to accomplish: “slow stitchin” – my stitching project for 2023. Since mid January, to “prepare” for the project, I’ve read – borrowed and/or bought- at least 8 new books on the subject; written I know not how many notes, capturing inspiration and ideas; created order out of the chaos that lived in my sewing “studio,” barely used during these years of Covid and major disruptions to all our lives, most noticeably, the passing of loved ones.
Writers’ Hour has ended. It appears that the cloudy sky is eventually going to give over to some sunshine; patches of blue begin to peek through. I end the session with this note: “489 words*, thus far…tbc!
PS. And thus were the moments on the 15th day of February… It is now the morning of February 16; Writers’ Hour is underway and my goal is to hit “publish” on this post – now *645 words. This morning, as I was preparing my second cuppa tea before the session began, I saw a flock, albeit a small one of five Canadian Geese flying northwest. The first I’ve seen since the migration season began. My heart was filled…and that makes me happier.
8:30 AM. Friday, January 27, on my to-do list : “write blog post.” I’ve not started it yet -tho’ I am in Writers’ Hour… *8:50 AM. My watch tells me: “Time to stand and replenish my tea. “ Ah, the wonders of technology!
I spent Thursday afternoon, after Daily Pages (certainly the hi-light of my day and the subject for another post) organizing monthly paper work and getting ready for “tax season.” I am not at all like my father who a) was meticulous in keeping financial records and b) could make sense out of bits-n-pieces of paper, receipts, all gathered in a brown paper bag or a shoebox brought to him by small entrepreneurs. Asking myself: Could that be my answer – a brown paper bag and/or a shoebox? – to a task I don’t especially like? T’would that make me happier? Doubtful…
For sure, one thing I KNOW: my mostly morning – daily walk, at least 23 -30 min per outing – makes me happier. I clock using my Apple Watch. My daily walk is just restorative and exciting to see what I discover as the seasons change. A fave sight is that of preschoolers, tethered by a walking chain, out on their morning walk, too … Several often wave at me; we’ve seen each other before. Tho’today was indeed brisk – frigid – their waves warmed my heart and made me happier.
One of the “things” I often write during morning journaling is the phrase: “birds flocking…” Generally, in the Fall and Winter months, I see any number- 5 to who knows how many – birds flocking and I write myself a note: Answer question: “Why do birds flock?” Yesterday I finally answered the question watching stunning visuals via YouTube and a new word – Murmurations – that somehow escaped my lexicon. Check out this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/DLuEwFblaN4 for more info. I think this is what I like best about the Internet – answers and information about the obscure, mysterious, everyday, wonderment question. Reminds me of the pleasure I got just reading a print dictionary or encyclopedia article that caught my eye as I was looking up something else. In today’s world, I can highlight a word, e.g., wonderment, and in DayONE -the program I use for digital journaling – look up the word’s meaning…
Tiago Forte’s book/concept of a “second brain” appeals to me, to an extent. My preference is to use my own brain – for its better or worse storage/retrieval capabilities. I’ve come to the conclusion that I really don’t want to learn how someone else thinks – I’m having enough challenge figuring out how (if ?) I think… Guess that’s why I’m not much of an app advocate. A pencil/pen and piece of paper or sticky note (Yes! I know there are apps for them, too!) make me happier… On the other hand, my 8.5 years’ old great grand nephew is a whiz with “second brain” tools and toys. I remember once complaining to my mother about all the graffiti gracing the buildings and street signs and sidewalks and billboards and, and, and… Her response to me: “Remember the cave man!” Perspective! Thinking about that conversation makes me smile, happier…
The questions I’m allegedly answering in 2023 with my One Little Word: “ What indeed makes me happpier? Will doing X, Y or Z make me Happier?” I do know it isn’t ‘French Fries … And of course, the answer is: I won’t know until I do!
What is making you happer these days? TBC… to be continued!