“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denials into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Part of my new morning ritual is to read daily a book I discovered quite serendipitously: Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
She shared the quote above – so beautiful, so true- and a challenge to note five reasons to be grateful each day.
Some mornings I can be in solitude to read my book and note the previous days gratitudes, although this morning, Mon Cœur was up with me. First she scribbled her gratitudes in my journal, then I reminded her about her journal and she noted her gratitudes there.
less stuff, less clutter, more simple, open spaces
less waiting, more action
less multitasking, more prioritizing and focusing on one thing at a time.
less trying to do everything for everyone and more trying to do something for me.
In 2022, I will aspire to be less. Sounds counterintuitive. I have realized that I try to overcomplicate …well, everything. By doing less complicated things, I can focus more on the simple, wonderful gifts that are found all around me.
I can not take credit for this idea of word of the year… this comes from Gretchen Rubin, who co-hosts the Happier podcast. Hear more about the word of the year at her podcast here. Gretchen is the author of The Happiness Project and Outer Order, Inner Calm, among others.
“But Mommy, Christmas is every day!” Mon Cœur told me matter of factly, as Mooma grabbed a Christmas votive holder and switched on the LED votive light.
And for five minutes, she sat mesmerized by the snow covered scene changing colors by the candle light.
It gave me pause…
Every day can feel like Christmas. We can celebrate or remember people, birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays any day of the year we choose. It just depends on our mindset. And honestly, I needed this reminder from MC.
Last Friday (October 15) was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. Of course I remembered Millie Bonheur on this day. My remembrance, love, and celebration of her short time with us is not relegated to the 15th, or even just the month of October. I remember her every day. I remember her in September, when I realized I was pregnant, in May for her birthday, every holiday, and then I remembered her today, in the aisle at Target, shopping for a baby shower gift.
And I try to find ways to celebrate her throughout the year, and to find positive outlets for the many emotions that I feel throughout a day, a week, or a season.
This weekend truly did feel like Christmas – I was able to spend much time with some of the people whom I love the most and I was gifted with a salon experience. I shared wonderful conversations with family, serendipitously caught up with an old high school friend, and met new friends.
We spent most of our days outside, taking advantage of the gorgeous fall weather. I watched MC meet new friends and run around playing hide and seek, and I watched Mon Amour learn to pedal around on a little car. They played together in the kitchen. And giggled. Oh, they’ve giggled and smiled. It’s done my heart good, just like the warm smiles and hot cocoa on a Christmas morning.
Allow yourself to be proud of yourself and all of the progress you’ve made. Especially the progress no one else can see.
@tinybuddhaofficial via Instagram
We’re mid-way through March, and I realize I had not shared my March daily “gratitudes” I’m noting.
As I was choosing what to focus on daily, I wanted to give myself a little credit. I feel like I am trying to take on and focus on many different projects right now, in addition to the daily Mom gig. Today I was especially frazzled. Fridays are supposed to be Fantastic, Phenomenal, Fabulous. Not Frazzled. I had to readjust my lens more than once today.
The projects I have chosen to take on and the things I choose to do are for me. So if I am finding that I am losing my patience or becoming stressed, I need to take a step back, and give myself grace.
I feel like there is an abundance of information (both in my home library and online) and things I could fill my day with. I see, create, or plan ideas and activities, and when I can’t accomplish them or lose the purpose, I get super frustrated at myself. But I need to think about quality. And keeping my sanity. And giving myself the space and time and credit for all that I do accomplish daily.
So when I saw this quote, I thought…Yes. It should be all about this month. I should celebrate little successes and progress that I make. Last month I shared outwardly my gratitude for others, and this month I am taking some time to turn inward and give myself some credit.
I hope that you take some time to give yourself credit for all of your successes and progress whether it be mini or monumental.
Read more about last month’s gratefulness challenge:
I was so excited to start my new bullet journal in October, and with the new freedom of a DIY format, and expecting Mon Amour at the end of October, I went ahead and mapped out my pages through the monthly view for December. As I have been filling pages, I have learned different ways that I want to format the journal and organize my calendar and daily snapshots. Below are six lessons I’ve learned while bullet journaling these past three months.
1. Plan just far enough ahead.
I was so, so, so excited to begin bullet journaling, that I planned for a few months in advance. Even though I didn’t change much, what I did change, changed drastically.
Layout options for calendar views aren’t numerous, which is totally okay. However, the weekly layout options as well as how I wanted to track and plan for my blog did end up evolving, and I could choose to either stick it out through the pages already designed, or get out the white-out and re-do the pages.
I picked my battles – weekly layouts I stuck with (too much re-doing there), however I did change the one page layout for blog planning, and that has helped my planning. As I began January, I mapped out my monthly pages, and then decided to do the weekly spreads, well…weekly.
A note on doing the layouts monthly – I did initially forget some of the monthly spreads – the kids’ milestones, and my daily gratitude, so I made a quick simple sticky to remind me of my monthly layouts and their order, and stuck that on the first monthly page for February.
Speaking of daily gratitudes, I love this idea, and yet I wanted to change it up for January. I felt like I was being a little too serious and wanted to lighten up and laugh and smile more. So for this month, my guiding quote is “A good laugh is sunshine in the house.” -William Makepeace Thackeray. Each day I try to note one mini event that made me laugh or smile.
2. Layouts matter.
Be mindful of your spacing. I am so glad I made a spacing key and counted and divided space for columns and rows in advance. This is absolutely a time saver.
I mentioned changing weekly layouts – I went from vertical columns for days to a horizontal day planner with a dedicated space for events, work schedules, three daily priority items, and a small memory I don’t want to forget (like when Chouchou gave me a spa day and said, “You deserve this.”).
I like having the dedicated space for particular information, because then I know exactly where to look when planning for the day and what sort of tasks I can try to accomplish, given work schedules and planned events.
3. Keep it simple.
I had started with a habit tracker…and decided that on top of trying to summarize milestones, memories, and gratitudes at the end of the day as well as lining up tomorrow’s tasks, the habit tracker was redundant. Additionally, with the new blog layout, I was tracking publishing dates for the blog and my Instagram, which was one of the “habits” I was already tracking.
Other habits? Read thirty minutes a day? with a newborn? HA! that was a habit I never started. Meditation? with a newborn? HA! I chose sleep.
I do still have layouts where sometimes I feel I struggle or they overlap: the daily gratitudes, MC and MA’s milestones, and daily memories. Sometimes I can’t think of something for each space, and after a few minutes of mentally rewinding through my day, if I can’t come up with a concrete memory for the day, I give myself the grace to just move on.
4. Take the time to reflect and grow.
It’s nice daily, to take a chunk of time, and instead of getting lost online, take a moment to think about what I did that day, what we as a family did that day. Taking this time to recap the day and focus on the positive helps me keep a positive, grateful mindset.
I think this is so important. Also, I am investing the time daily to write down daily milestones, so it makes sense to go back and read through and make a short summary. This will also be a huge time saver when we go to write their birthday letters and say what they did throughout the year.
Taking time to focus on a monthly goal and action steps as well as weekly affirmations will help keep me focused and stay positive as life happens week by week and month by month.
5. Color helps organize – (see number 3, though).
I keep my journal mainly in black ink. However, I have one color designated for work schedules, one for events, and one for birthdays. By choosing colors for each of these bits of information, I can simply write a name in green (it’s his/her birthday) or write a time in mauve (that’s Chouchou’s work shift). Event information (time/event) are jotted in purple.
The pops of color are nice and allow me to jot minimal information. I also like to use these same colors to make other information stand out – whether it be in an inspirational quote, or a note for one of my daily milestones, gratitudes, or memories.
6. Brain dumps are more effective than habit trackers.
Goodness gracious, habit trackers could be good for some people, I suppose. I have concluded they are not good for me, though. I forgot about them mostly in the first month, then struggled to catch up, then dropped it. They’re not for me, at least right now. I like to have a dedicated page where I can just literally “dump” my thoughts at the beginning of the month. Anyone else have a million thoughts swirling through their head right now? It’s nice to give them the space on the page, and create a little mental space to breathe.
After my first bullet journal post, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from others how they had been inspired to start their own journals. I was humbled and so excited to hear from you all!
I would love to hear from you: what lesson have you learned since starting your journal?