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Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (02/06/2017)

Here is yet another installment of the “Into My Journal” series, where I share a snippet from my own journal in order to show you the benefits of journaling, and to (hopefully) encourage you through the lessons I’ve been learning through my own writing.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from December 13, 2016:

…It’s not like I don’t have any ideas on what to write — I have TONS of ideas!!! It’s just this dang fear… fear of my writing being “not good enough”, and fear of doing all the work and not getting anything from it (eg. comments). I guess part of that is impatience, too, as the longer my content is ‘out there’, the more likely it is to be found.

God says that I should be writing, anyway, because I at least have an “audience of One” — “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). It’s all for Him, in the first place (or, it should be).

And — AHA! — this is a TRUST issue, too! By worrying about my writing not being seen, not being good enough, or not getting comments, I’m in essence saying that I don’t trust God to take my writing and accomplish His purposes for it! Not to mention, I’m being selfish by wanting my writing to give me something in return for my efforts (that’s entitlement), and prideful in expecting it to all be so good that people can’t help but comment.

I’m people-pleasing… seeking my readers’ approval, rather than God’s. Yet, God’s approval is the only thing truly necessary or important (or, it should be).

Thanks for all of these insights, Lord. Please renew my mind so that I write for You… give me the desire to do so, please. And help me to trust You to do with my writing what You please — to use it for Your purposes. Help me to see & remember that my job is solely to faithfully write and be obedient, and to leave the outcomes to You.

(FYI… other than omitting the first part, which was too personal to share, this is exactly what had been written in my journal.)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (01/02/2017)

Once again, I’m sharing a snippet from my own journal, in order to show you how you can get clarity through writing, and how God can use your journal to teach you things.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal (2) | Life Unleashed

This entry is from July 20, 2016:

…That makes me wonder if my whole blogging premise is worth it? But, I know that it is not me who will change people’s minds. In fact, it’s like God and I are tag-teaming! All I can do is write about my own beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. Then God can step into the lives of my readers, and help open their minds to what He wants them to see.

My job is not to be successful, or to change people’s lives. My ONLY JOB is to be faithful and obedient to God, and to write. He will do the rest.

(FYI: nothing was changed… this is what I’d written in my journal. Though, I had to omit the first part of my entry, as it’s too personal)

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal

In order to give you guys an idea of what journaling can do for you, I’ve decided to be really candid, and let you peek inside my journal, once in a while. I’d like to show you how my journals help me get clarity, and how God speaks to me through the pages.

Sneak Peek: Into My Journal | Life, Unleashed

So, here is an entry from November 17, 2016:

I’m back to the same old sticking point — the “quicksand” that stops me every time I try to move forward…the fear of writing content that others will read.

And, as I just wrote that last sentence, God whispered, “Why don’t you give Me that fear, just like you gave Me your fear of flying?” He reminds me that I’ve never offered Him this fear, yet.

So yes — here you go, Lord — I am handing over my fear of writing to You. Please take it from me and don’t let me try to grab it back! I’d really love to move forward, and this fear needs to go! It needs to get out of my way!!! (Get behind me, Satan! In Jesus’ name!).

After all, God does NOT give me a spirit of fear & timidity (that’s Satan’s work). Instead, God gives me self-discipline, along with His power & love. So I am ABLE to write what others need to hear from me (through Jesus at work through me).

Please, Jesus, take this spirit of fear from me. Help me to be BOLD like the lioness that You are calling me to become! I want others to see the transformation in me, so that they will have the courage to pursue it for themselves!

(FYI: nothing was edited… this is what I’d written in my journal)

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

Journaling: Why It’s Beneficial & How to Start

If you have ever thought that journaling just isn’t for you, or you don’t think that you would get anything out of keeping a journal … or, heck, maybe you do want to start a journal, but have no idea how to go about it … this post is for you.

Journaling - How to Start | Life, Unleashed

I have been a journaler since grade school, when an older friend gave me my first diary as a birthday gift. Nowadays, journaling is a practice I can’t live without.

There are so many benefits to keeping a journal! To name just a few of my own personal favorites:

SELF-AWARENESS

You can start to see patterns in your behavior, if you journal on a regular basis. And once you see them, you have a better understanding of yourself and how you act in certain situations.

PROCESSING

I am one of those people who needs time to process things before I can give my full opinion on them. One of the best ways I know to do this is through my journal. Often times, writing out my confusions, troubles, worries, and anxieties in my journal allows me to gain clarity and peace. I can’t even tell you how many times the journaling process has helped me figure out how to move past blocks I’ve had in my understanding of things!

REFLECTION & GROWTH

Somewhat similar to what I said regarding self-awareness, keeping a journal is a good way to notice patterns in your behavior. When you are frustrated with yourself for continually making the same mistakes (or the same kinds of mistakes), your journal can help you figure out what to avoid doing in the future, so as to make course corrections and change your behaviors. It’s only in learning from our mistakes that we grow!

MEMORY-KEEPING

Obviously, when people talk about journaling, this is one of the top things that comes to mind. Many people use journals as a way to keep a record of special things that have happened in their lives.

For me, it’s been very helpful to have a written record to go back through, especially from certain periods in my life. For example, the years when my kids were newborns and toddlers, and I was a walking zombie due to the lack of sleep! Without my journals to remind me of things, there would be a lot from those years that’d be lost.

STRESS-RELIEF

I have often been very much a lone wolf — I don’t get out all that often. So, when I’ve had major upsets, I have turned to my journal and written out my stresses and frustrations. Not only did I get clarity, but I also found that the stress melted away through the pen and onto the page, and I ended up calming down quicker than I would have, had I not had that outlet.

elegant-1769669_1280

So, you see, there are great benefits to becoming a journaler!

My friend, Judy — a lady from my church who is in her 60s — never liked journaling. So, when we were asked to keep a journal throughout the weeks of our one Bible study, Judy made a fuss. Yet, she agreed to try for the sake of getting the most out of the study.

Several years later, after her house had survived an electrical fire, Judy recounted how worried she’d been that she would lose her journals! She had kept up the habit since the study had ended, and she’d grown to love it! For her, journaling had become her way to spend time in prayer with God and, in going back through them, she could see how God had been faithful to answer prayers. Her journals were a precious record of both her relationship with God, and her own spiritual growth.

So, while you may think that taking up journaling isn’t for you, I challenge you not to give up on the idea so easily! You just never know. Maybe you need a new perspective on what journaling could look like for you. Or, perhaps you just need to try a different method than one you’ve tried in the past. Consider the following ideas:

  • Instead of writing daily, try writing only once a week
  • Rather than keeping a record of what went on during the day, just write about the best part (or, reflect on what could have been done / gone differently)
  • Try writing just one sentence each day, instead of a full page
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, just list 3 things you are grateful for (studies have show this to have numerous benefits to your health!)
  • Keep a “work journal” where you write out your to-do’s/schedule, and even reflect on successes or mistakes that happened

There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Experiment with different methods to see what could work best for you.

For more on how to get started, and an expanded view of the benefits of journaling, check out these resources:

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN A JOURNALER FOR SOME TIME, LEAVE A COMMENT WITH WHAT YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT IS! AND, IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE WHO IS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THE PRACTICE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL US WHY!

The Creative’s Everlasting Struggle: Dealing With Perfectionism

The Creative’s Everlasting Struggle: Dealing With Perfectionism

Do you ever have the desire to create something — whether it’s painting, drawing a picture, or writing a blog post — and you just can’t seem to express it the way you want to? This has been one of my biggest struggles in blogging.

The Creative's Struggle | Life, Unleashed

I have so many ideas of things I would love to write about… topics that set my soul on fire. I have so much I’d like to share! Yet, when I set out to write what’s on my mind, I can’t seem to get things to translate properly from my head to the page (or screen). It is extremely frustrating!

I think a lot of it comes down to perfectionism, though. Instead of just getting something out there, I feel like, if I can’t say it the way I “see” it in my head, then it’s not “good enough”, and I can’t share it at all. Sometimes (okay — quite often, truth-be-told), this fear completely disables me, and I end up doing nothing — which only adds to my frustration.

artists-struggle

One of the things I’ve discovered, recently, is that when I feel like I have to write posts for my blog (because it is a part of my business), then I am even more stricken by this “perfectionist” disease. This is a part of why, in changing websites from A Daily Rhythm to Life, Unleashed, I made the decision that — at least, for now — Life, Unleashed will not be a business but, instead, solely a blog. I had lost the joy of blogging just for blogging’s sake, and needed to get that back.

So, as of right now, I am still in the process of “recovering” (I hope) from the need to have everything I write be “perfect” in order to send it out to the world. I am learning that the only way that my writing will improve is if I give myself permission to “write poorly” for a time, and to just learn to post consistently. The more I write, the better I will get. And the better my writing gets, the less this need for perfection will haunt me.

Your turn... | Life, Unleashed Do you ever suffer from this struggle — unable to get things from your head to the page, and have them look how you “pictured” them? What do you do to overcome this?

Bullet Journaling: Why I Chose This Method

Bullet Journaling: Why I Chose This Method

Have you heard of the Bullet Journal system? It’s a method for planning that was developed by Ryder Carroll, and I have come to really enjoy it!

BulletJournaling

I have always loved the idea of being organized and using a day planner. I’ve previously written posts about using the popular planners, and also about DIY planners. Suffice it to say, I’ve tried many times — and many planners — to be someone who keeps track of their days in some sort of written fashion. But I hadn’t yet found the “right” planner — or system — for me.

…Until now.

Last year, I discovered Bullet Journaling via Pinterest. Basically, you use a notebook or journal (the preference seems to be for either Moleskine or Leuchtturm 1917 journals), and you create your own planner layouts, etc.

For someone like me, who is constantly changing things up ((grins)), the flexibility of this system cannot be praised enough!

With my first attempt, in 2015, I bought a Moleskine (squared) journal from Amazon, and set it up like I’d seen others do via Pinterest. However, after a while, I found myself using the book as a “brain dump/ideas” notebook, more so than a “planner”. That, and I’d fallen behind on indexing everything, which is a key part of this system.

I’d really thought that this method was going to be “it” for me, but this “mess” that my journal had become left me discouraged. And so, I set it aside for a time. Meanwhile, I kept saving pins about bullet journaling on Pinterest — I guess the hope hadn’t completely died.

A short while ago, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy started using the Bullet Journal system. And, since she’s a blogger who I find to be extremely similar to me, both in personality profile (INFP) and interests (books, psychology, faith), I was super interested in hearing her take on things!

After Anne posted her 3-month update of using her Bullet Journal, I was inspired enough to try again. So, I ordered a Leuchtturm 1917 journal (dotted, this time) from Amazon, and avidly searched Pinterest for ideas while I waited for my new book to arrive. By the time it got here, I was armed and ready with a solid plan.

Part of where I went “wrong” with my first attempt was that I didn’t section anything out; I just tried to go page-by-page. As I said, though, this left everything too scattered for me, and because I’d fallen behind in indexing, it really made my book more time-consuming, rather than time-saving.

So, this time, I chose to create different sections for the various parts and layouts. This was partly thanks to Anne’s update of how she usesher journal, but also partly based on my own idea, given what didn’t work for me the first time around.

I should mention that the first thing I did, before I even got this new journal, was think about what I needed this system (and book) to do for me. Honestly, I don’t think anyone who tries the Bullet Journaling method should skip this step — it’s really key. After all, they say that “if you don’t know your destination, you’ll never reach it”, right? Same thing applies here. You need to start with WHY you’re using a Bullet Journal — what do you need to track? (credit for this goes to Kim at Tiny Ray of Sunshine for her post, “The 8 Stages of the Bullet Journal Addiction).

My own needs (at least, right now) were to track my business & blog-related activities, as well as my healthy-living pursuits. There are other things, too, of course, but those are my two BIGGEST reasons for wanting a place to keep track and plan.

With that said, I chose to set up my Bullet Journal with the following sections, and in this order:

  • 12 pages for the Monthly spreads
  • 52 x 2-page spreads for Weekly
  • a “Lists” section
  • a “Brain Dump & Ideas” section

Here are some pictures of my Bullet Journal, so far:

cover    index  weekly view

weekly view  monthly view  lists view

lists / books  tabs  braindump

(click any of the images to see them larger)

 

The nice thing about the Leuchtturm 1917 (as opposed to the Moleskine) is that its pages come pre-numbered, and they also give you three (3) pages already prepped for your Index, which is super-handy! I also like the two ribbon markers, and the pocket in the back (similar to the Moleskine).

So far (a few weeks into using this new method), I’m loving it. This time I have a “plan” for my planner, and it’s making things so much more enjoyable.

And again, I cannot tell you how awesome it is to have such flexibility! I only set up one week’s spread at a time, thereby allowing me to change things up as I go along, should the need (or desire) arise. And, of course, it already did! LOL. The first week, I found the “to-do” section too small for everything I wanted to note, and the other space too empty. So, for week 2, I added a second column for ToDo’s (one for personal, and one for business), and it’s worked out a lot better. But again, I can still change it up (later), if I need to.

Lastly, the addition of the “brain dump/ideas” section in the back of the book was kind of genius (thanks, Anne!). It allows me to jot down any random thoughts or doodles, without worrying that I’ll “mess up” my weekly spreads, or the order of things, as I’ve set them up.

So, there you have it. I think I’ve finally stumbled upon something that works for me!

Your turn... | Life, UnleashedHAVE YOU USED THE BULLET JOURNALING SYSTEM? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? Share in the comments!

Do We Have These in Common?

Do We Have These in Common?

Just for fun, let’s see how many things we have in common, shall we?

Do We Have These in Common? | Life, Unleashed

 

STATIONARY STORE JUNKIE

I absolutely love stationary stores! One of my earliest memories includes going to the stationary store with my Dad, and watching as he chose new markers (Dad was a sketch artist for the police department, back then). He had a whole bin full of different markers at home, and I do believe I got my love of browsing these stores from him.

PEN PARTICULARS

I’m very particular about the pens I use. My favorites are the Bic Cristal (usually blue). They write smoothly, don’t usually leave any smudges or ink drops, and they’re comfortable to hold.

Back when I worked at Staples Business Depot (I know, right?! See my first point, above), I once asked my co-workers about a different kind of pen — I thought I’d maybe change things up. They couldn’t understand why I was making such a big deal of choosing a pen … they reiterated that the store had plenty! LOL. However, they didn’t understand how important it is (at least to me) that a pen meet certain criteria. I write a lot — I’m a Writer … duh! — so I need my pens to be “just right”.

NEW NOTEBOOKS | JOURNALS

There is something about a new notebook or journal that always draws me in … I just cannot help myself. I should never be allowed in the stationary aisle of the local Dollarama store, as I can’t help but walk out of there with at least ONE new notebook or journal. It’s a serious problem. It’s not like I don’t have any at home. LOL. But, I will always find a new excuse to buy another one. Maybe it’s the “possibility” that comes with a fresh book?

TREE-CLIMBER

Finally, something NOT stationary related! LOL. When I was younger, I used to love climbing trees. We lived in the country, so we had a bunch of good climbing trees in our yard … and Grandma lived across the street, and had a whole 4 acres of woods behind her house! If I had the strength (and I’m working on that!), I’d probably still be climbing trees! Who cares how old I am! (heck, I still wear pigtails in my hair, too!)

SO NOT GIRLY!

I am not a fan of getting all dressed up, and I do not care that much for pink or sparkly things … sometimes my nails will get a sparkly or pink coat, but that’s close to the extent of it.

I much prefer to spend my days in t-shirts, jeans, and my Converse (“Chucks”).

00_myConverse

FEISTY & STUBBORN

Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve had a super stubborn streak. My family loves to remind me of the time when I told my Grandma (who was babysitting me while my mom was in the hospital, giving birth to my brother) that I was going to “take these 2 feet” and walk all the way home, since she was refusing to give me a ride. Ha!

I can also be quite feisty, given the right circumstances.

The stubborn streak can come in handy, sometimes, though — for example, refusing to give up hope on my desire to remain self-employed. I’ll do whatever it takes.

SWEET TOOTH

I love sugar … especially Coca-Cola (classic) and chocolate. I’ve tried so many times to give up drinking soda, as I know how bad it is for me. But it never lasts for long. I’m still working on finding a fair compromise for this. And the chocolate … well, I’m never giving that up, thank you very much! (Faves: Reese Peanut Butter Cups & Snickers)

VROOM-VROOM!

I’m a girl who can appreciate a beautiful car. My husband might beg to differ (I don’t care for Corvettes), but to each their own, right? I love Ferraris and Lamborghini Aventadors… plus a wide range of more reasonably priced vehicles, of course. My Audi A4 and I were good friends… and I got plenty of kudos from others, given she was a manual. Now I drive my “beast” (a Dodge Ram pickup) … love her, too!

NON-FICTION

I used to read mainly fiction. I loved mystery novels, and romances set in Regency-era England. Somewhere, in the last several years, my tastes changed, and I’ve been reading primarily nonfiction. I’m like a sponge — I can’t get enough of learning through these books I read!

While it was already hard to find people who shared my love of reading (I was averaging 80 books per year, while most of my family & friends maybe read a handful of books each year), now it’s next to impossible … most of those who I “know”, online even, don’t read as much nonfiction as I do. But I love to learn all I can about things I’m interested in … so I just can’t seem to help myself!

Mind you, I have set myself a goal to read at least 4 fiction books, this summer! I’ve requested a couple of them for review, specifically because of this … and I have a few that I bought last year that are still waiting to be read. Here’s hoping!

CREATIVE, DREAMER, & VISIONARY

I’m a dreamer. I do better at seeing the “big picture” than I do keeping grounded in reality, or seeing what’s right here. I love possibility, and thinking of how things could be. I am always looking for the hopeful side of things, even if they seem impossible.

Creativity runs in my blood. My parents are both artistic, with Dad –as I said, earlier– having previously worked as a police sketch artist, and my Mom being into Interior Design. Music has also always been a big part of my life, with all of my mom’s family being musically-inclined (also a creative pursuit).

And, of course, the visionary bit comes into play in that I have great visions of where I want my life to go, and of changes that could be made. I’m always envisioning bigger and better … not just for myself and my own life, but also for other businesses or organizations, or even for other individuals.

SELF-AWARENESS

I’ve always been a huge fan of the self-help genre, and psychology. I also love personality quizzes! I’m naturally very introspective, always questioning why I do what I do, and thinking of ways to improve. I journal almost daily, reflecting on things that are going on in my life, or just the thoughts buzzing through my head. As a result, I feel like I know myself pretty well, compared to the general population. I don’t think many people take the time to really sit and dig into their personalities as much (I’d love for you to correct me, if I’m wrong about this!).

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So, tell me … is there anything in here that you can relate to?