CGB Book Club: Good Morning, Good Life #2

This book club is being run by my friend, Cindy Guentert-Baldo, on her Facebook group: Llamas Love Lettering. She will be doing livestreams every Saturday at 9 am PST (12 pm EST), and will send out an email the prior Tuesday, so you know what to read.

Week 2! I just received the email notice for Week 3 this Saturday, which reminded me to post for Week 2. Last Saturday, I was at an all-day planner event getting set up for the new year.

Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life

Our assignment this week is to read Chapter 1: Decide. Here are the questions that Cindy gave us to think about while we read:

  1. What is your “why”? Only share what you are comfortable sharing.
    I think I’m still working this out, but I want my life to matter, to have a positive influence on others.
  2. How did you feel when Amy shared what her “why” was? Did you feel a little judgy, or maybe relieved that her why wasn’t some Pinterest-worthy altruistic concoction?
    I guess I was a little surprised that she was so blunt about it, but it’s not a bad thing. She has a vision for her life and decided that acquiring the resources to make it happen is her motivation. Good for her. I just know for myself that acquiring wealth is *not* a motivator.
  3. What is it you truly need out of your mornings (really, out of your days)? Not what your family needs or your boss needs or your significant other needs… what is it YOU need?
    To be able to end my day with a sense of accomplishment, or to know that my day had meaning and purpose? I probably need more time to reflect upon this.

“The more you beat down your belief in your ability to know what is right for you, the more you start to think you don’t actually know.”

Pg. 28

Amy suggests removing some decision fatigue from your life, so you can concentrate on the important decisions. Some ways she suggests are to lay out your clothes for the next day at bedtime, creating a “usual order” for your morning beverage, and scheduling your exercise time.

She provides an interview with someone about his morning routine. My biggest take-away from that was when he was asked what helps him the most to get a productive start to the day. He replied that it was gratitude. “Think about the things that you are grateful for and you’ll be more motivated to do the things that you need to do.”

At the end of the chapter, Amy gives us 5 questions to help us discover our Why:

  1. What’s a moment that you remember being truly excited about something?
    I seem to be the most excited about interacting with others. It sounds silly, but I am a true extrovert at heart. Nothing makes me happier than being around others and sharing our experiences. Take this weekend for example: I went to Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village. It was super cute and there was a lot to do and see; however, it was made 1000x better because I was there with friends. I could really feel all of the joy, awe, and wonder of Christmas because I was sharing the experience. This is probably also why I blog, photograph, and post on social media: not for attention, but to be able to connect with others.
  2. Think of something that has sparked passion in you, what was it?
    My goddaughter and her sisters, photography, blogging, reading, being a part of the Planners Gone Wild community…
  3. What do you need more of in your life that you’re a little (or a lot) afraid to say out loud?
    Focus? I picked that for my “word of the year” since I allow myself to get distracted and sidelined a lot in my personal life.
  4. What’s the real reason you need more of those things in your life?
    We only have so much time. I’d rather fill my life with things that are truly important than with filler. I want to have made an impact and a difference (for the better) in other people’s lives.
  5. At the end of your life, what would you like to be able to say about how you spent your time?
    That I loved God, I loved others, and I gave 100% of myself every day.

My question to myself right now is:

If I had a lousy day and were sick and feeling miserable, what would it take for me to feel good about my day in spite of that? I think some part of that is to give myself the grace to not be on top of my game every day, but I think there is also some room to redefine what a “good day” looks like.

This reminds me of the concept of redemptive suffering. Even when you feel useless and powerless, you truly are not. See also: On Passivity vs Activity in Suffering.

See you soon for Part #3!

Candles

Look at all these vigil candles. Some are lit. Some have lived their life and now we can no longer see their flame. They all represent some some hope, some desire, some yearning. There is a peace and a comfort in their light. Yet their course is not entirely steady. In some candles, the flame dances around violently, struggling against some unknown air current. Others burn quietly and steadily. Some have char and debris littering the wax, while others are clean and pure with no blemishes. Some have burned cleanly all the way down, while others have left deposits of themselves — large gobs of wax — along the side of the candleholder. While one is beautiful, all of them assembled together is inspiring. They are like God’s people. Each individual flame was lit by the hands of someone else. Each one contains Christ’s light. There are no expectations of a candle, other than it shine that light.

CGB Book Club: Good Morning, Good Life #1

This book club is being run by my friend, Cindy Guentert-Baldo, on her Facebook group: Llamas Love Lettering. She will be doing livestreams every Saturday at 9 am PST (12 pm EST), and will send out an email the prior Tuesday, so you know what to read.

Of course, I’m coming into this a tad late. No surprise there. The first livestream went up yesterday, so I watched the first few minutes of it, then paused the video so I could read the Intro (our homework), then follow along with the replay. And, I started writing this blog. Because I love to distract myself.

Good Morning, Good Life: 5 Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life

Here are the three questions that Cindy provided for us to reflect upon while we read the Intro:

  1. Do you consider yourself a morning person? Why or why not?
    I do consider myself to be a morning person. This is when I am most productive and have the most energy. When on vacation, my roommates can attest that I’m generally one of the first people out of bed and out the door (and typically on my way to Starbucks…). I’m actually one of those *annoying* morning people who is super cheerful upon waking up. Unfortunately for me, I don’t generally have time to do all the things around the house before I need to go to work; and then don’t feel like doing them when I get home. #messyhouse #thankgodformymom
  2. What is it you’d like to get out of a morning routine?
    It would be nice to not have to run around stressed out in the mornings, and probably better for me if I have a routine of taking my meds, having more coffee at home ($tarbuck$), and in general, feeling more prepared for my day.
  3. Which of the five habits Amy discusses in the Introduction do you think is going to be the most difficult for you to incorporate?
    Rise. LOL! I’m notorious for setting a bunch of alarms, then justifying sleeping in longer. I even set my alarm to require me to do high-level math problems to get it to shut off. Turns out, they were too easy. *sigh* Plus, who wants to get out of bed when the house is cold??

“…To build the life I wanted, I had to do more than just show up for everyone else… I have to show up and choose myself.”

Pg. xii

Amy gives an example of jumping out of bed and immediately rushing to work, something which I do all too frequently. Mostly, because I only allot myself about 4-5 hours of sleep per night. 🙂

“What if the first task of the day was to make myself happy?”

This is an interesting question. I’m not particularly motivated by seeking out my own happiness. In “The Four Tendencies” language, I’m an Obliger and am primarily motivated by what I can do for others, and am best at keeping external vs. internal commitments.

The 5 Habits:

  1. Decide: Choose for yourself what you want your mornings to look like. A good “why” will help keep you motivated.
  2. Defy: Combat your personal obstacles.
  3. Rise: Actually get up. (LOL!)
  4. Shine: Build the morning of your dreams.
  5. Thrive: “We are here to live a life. Not just a morning.”

See you soon for Part #2!

Thanos Snap

This afternoon, I finished the fiction book I had been reading over the past few weeks and debated what I was going to pick up next. It had been the end of a series and I didn’t really want to jump right into some other fictional world just yet.

I drifted from bookcase to bookcase, glossing over titles and colored spines. Finally, I landed on a volume on my Catholic bookcase, “Apostle of the Crucified Lord,” by Michael J. Gorman. This is a book from my Pauline literature course at Seminary. We had read a good quantity of the book, but not everything. Perhaps now would be a good time to go back and read the remaining pages?

Apostle of the Crucified Lord by Michael J. Gorman

As with most of my Catholic books, I have underlined and annotated the pages as I have read, so I know that reading through the remaining pages will take me more time than reading a work of fiction. I think that I want to turn this more into a reflection/Bible study as well, so the sections where we are going to examine, E.g. Galatians, I want to read that chapter in the Bible before reading that part of the book.

Just as a disclaimer before I begin: I am not sure if I will share the entirety of my reading/studying experience here, and I will likely *not* complete the study questions at the end of each chapter. However, if I do write more blog posts for this book, I’ll tag them with apostleofthecrucifiedlord, so that you can find them more easily. 🙂

Now, for what caused me to write this blog post in the first place. I was reading about Paul’s conversion, and how he went from being a zealous persecutor of the early Christians to a zealous evangelist for Christianity, especially to the Gentiles. We probably all know the story: Paul was riding to Damascus, had a vision of the Lord, fell off his horse (was there really a horse, though?), and was blinded, etc.

As overly dramatic as that might sound to modern ears, it is clear that Saul/Paul had some intense encounter with the Lord and a swift change of heart. And, thinking about it, his experience does have some similarities to my own conversion. (You can read a little more about my joining the church here.) But, basically, I woke up one morning and without really knowing what the Catholic church was about and not knowing any Catholics, I had the conviction that I was going to be Catholic. It wasn’t really a decision, but more like a recognition of an inner truth. I haven’t looked back or questioned a thing since that day.

Prevenient Grace: The species of actual grace which, as an illumination or inspiration of the Holy Spirit, precedes the free determination of the will. It is held to mark the beginning of all activity leading to justification, which cannot be achieved without it, but its acceptance or rejection depends on man’s free choice.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

By prevenient grace, the Holy Spirit flipped a switch in me that day. As I read I came across this, “A conversion may be defined, more fully, as a radical reorientation of one’s fundamental commitment that is expressed in three things: convictions, or belief; conduct, or behavior; and community affiliation, or belonging.”

It doesn’t always feel that I had this radical reorientation, but my life is definitely very different and my faith has colored every aspect of my thoughts and actions. Instead, it feels comfortable and inevitable, like *of course* this is how things were always supposed to be. However, the reality is more like the drama as Paul tells it. Whether it felt momentous or not, the Holy Spirit did a Thanos Snap on me that day and my life has never been the same. Thanks be to God!

Doing Something I Love

Last week, I had a meeting on the main medical campus and took the bus there from my office. On the way back at the end of the day, I got extremely nauseated – I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and die. Instead of commuting home right away, I thought to take some photos of the fall leaves in the Arboretum. But there was no great place to park, and I wasn’t up to a lot of hiking, so I eventually decided to go to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens instead, with the idea of walking through the woods there.

I didn’t make it that far. I went into the Conservatory, and started snapping away with my iPhone. I’ve photographed Matthaei a bunch of times, but I always enjoy it. Here are (some of) the fruits of my afternoon:

I even edited my photos, uploaded them to an actual album on Flickr, and made them into a photo book via Blurb. It’s nice to do something you love to do, every now and then. 🙂

Fall 2019 TV

Ever fall into the internet rabbit hole? Where one thing you look at leads you to the next, and the next and … ?

My daisy chain of events went like this: Catch up on YouTube subscriptions, click on a suggested video about Shawn Johnson’s pregnancy, watch more of The East Family‘s videos, Google Shawn Johnson and view her Wikipedia page, see that she was in Dancing with the Stars, look up where you can watch previous Dancing with the Stars episodes (I still haven’t found a good solution – if you have one, please let me know!), look for what shows are premiering this Fall.

And this is how I ended up on “Fall Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series On Broadcast, Cable & Streaming: 2019 Edition” by Deadline.

From that list, these are the shows that I am most interested in for Fall 2019. I may not have time to look at them all, but I’ll at least program the DVR and give them a shot. There were some series that I know I can watch on Hulu or Netflix, so I didn’t list them in particular.

What shows are you most interested in watching this Fall?

Good Job, Brain, But Why?

My mind is an interesting place sometimes.

Take last night. I was dreaming, and at one point, I came up with the concept of sinks in elevators. Not tiny sinks, but full length counters with full sinks, like you would find in a master bathroom, with running water.

Then, I started working out how I would get running water and plumbing into an elevator car that traversed up and down multiple floors.

Because that’s what my brain does. Obviously, I need to work out viable engineering options for things like this in my sleep.

I came up with two fairly workable solutions before I woke up.

YouTube Tuesday: @Julies_Plans

Hi Everyone! Today, I’d like you to meet Julie Garza from @julies_plans on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

I’m trying to think of the best way to describe Julie to you. Isn’t always the hardest to try and introduce friends?! What are they like? Sit down and let me tell you stories for 6 hours….

Julie is … Trend-setting

I’ve known Julie for some time, and yet I am still continually surprised with what she discovers. It could be a new product or shop I’ve never heard of before, or it could be something that’s been around forever which she’s managed to use in a new way.

Look at this review of the Aura Estelle B6 planner! She goes over all the features of the products and how she puts her own personal stamp on them. I always leave feeling like running to the shop and placing an order. 🙂 She will also frequently get some PR/launch products from Erin Condren to show you what is coming out soon, like these Valentine’s Day themed products!

And more recently, the Erin Condren new Life Planner Binder system. I love that you can see what the product is like before you buy!

Julie is … Relatable

Of all the people making content in social media, I find that Julie has an extremely relatable personality. She fits is well to many different social circles and has a nearly universal appeal.

I love this video, because you get to know Julie herself more than if we are focusing on planning or planner-related content.

She was in the Army herself and has also been in the role of military spouse. I am former Navy, and if you have ever been in the military, you know that there is a camaraderie between veterans that is unlike any other. These are your brothers and sisters and you will defend them to the death. You will also slap them upside the head when they do something stupid, like violate OpSec and PerSec. Julie has a way of bringing heart, hope, and humility to any discussions involving the Armed Forces. She is a fantastic mentor for new military spouses and has so many spot-on, must-note recommendations to make deployment just a touch easier. (Get your shizz in order, folks! Julie can show you best practices and what to have on hand.)

She is a fantastic parent with two children in their late teens/young adulthood. Sometimes she will share glimpses into her home life and you can see how much she loves her family. She also has a talent for organizing and decorating her home so that it feels elegant and cozy at the same time.

Julie is … Creative

I love Julie’s aesthetic, both in her planner and in general. It is neat and organized, fun and colorful. Her photos tend to be high-key and vibrant, which is exactly my taste! She has a great blend of elements in her planning style that she has found which fit her needs, but at the same time is not afraid to branch out to try something new.

I love watching her Plan with Me’s to get inspiration for my own planner. She uses a lot of PlannerKate stickers, which are also within my own aesthetic.

Julie is … Positive

Everyone knows that life is a mix of joys and sorrows. Through it all, Julie remains a very positive person, but not in the fake positive, superficial way that makes you roll your eyes. She’s very pragmatic in a way and can break down difficult situations into What Needs to Get Done and What Is Out of My Hands and then focus on the stuff on the To-Do list.

She is great about showing people how to make the best out of any situation.

Julie … on Social Media

You’re really going to enjoy Julie’s content! But don’t just take my word for it; check her out for yourself!

Do I Have That Book? Challenge

A lot of people on YouTube are doing this Do I Have That Book? Challenge. The premise is that you have a list of 20 questions and you have to search your bookshelves to find books that meet the criteria within the shortest amount of time.

Original Tag Video from Keeping Tabs: https://youtu.be/e4YnTYrGs48

But I found it by watching Kayla from Books and Lala, Jesse from Jesse the Reader, and Lala and Emma from Emmmabooks.

Challenge Questions:
1. Do you have a book with deckled edges?
2. Do you have a book with 3 or more people on the cover?
3. Do you have a book based on another fictional story?
4. Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?
5. Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter?
6. Do you have a Mass Market Paperback book?
7. Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?
8. Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?
9. Do you have a book with 2 maps in it?
10. Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?
11. Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (celebrity/athlete/politician/tv personality…)
12. Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?
13. Do you have a poetry book?
14. Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?
15. Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?
16. Do you have a book of short stories?
17. Do you have a book that is between 500-510 pages long?
18. Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?
19. Do you have a graphic novel?
20. Do you have a book written by 2 or more authors?

Video is not my preferred medium, but I did complete this challenge. Here are my receipts:

2. Do you have a book with 3 or more people on the cover?
Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
4. Do you have a book with a title 10 letters long?
Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy
5. Do you have a book with a title that starts and ends with the same letter
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
6. Do you have a Mass Market Paperback book?
Executive Orders by Tom Clancy
7. Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
8. Do you have a book with a character’s name in the title?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

9. Do you have a book with 2 maps in it? Yes! Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff has several maps throughout!

10. Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show? Not that I could find during the challenge, although after the fact, I probably could have also used City of Bones for this prompt, too.

11. Do you have a book written by someone who is originally famous for something else?
Living with Honor by Salvatore A. Giunta
Famous for being awarded the Medal of Honor

12. Do you have a book with a clock on the cover? Not that I could find.

13. Do you have a poetry book? Not that I could find.

14. Do you have a book with an award stamp on it? I’m sure I do somewhere, but after spending too much time looking, I gave up.

15. Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
16. Do you have a book of short stories?
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke
18. Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?
The Martian by Andy Weir

I finished my challenge in 12 minutes, 18 seconds and had a score of 16/20! Please link your video/post in the comments; I’d love to see how you did!

Frankenplanner

Every year at new planner launch time (typically May), I get very conflicted about my planner.

I like to keep my previous planners for reference, and even if I’m in school, I prefer to keep to a calendar year schedule. The idea of having all of 2019 in one volume makes me a lot happier than the idea of having July 2019 – June 2020 in a volume.

But, FOMO….

When Launch Day arrives and people begin posting their images of the new planner designs, I really want to use the new style and patterns along with everyone else, but my calendar year planner doesn’t change until 6 months later. What to do?

My friend, Kristin, sympathized with me, but told me that she finally switched to an academic year schedule so she can always have the new patterns as soon as possible. I was nearly convinced to do the same, and a little disappointed that I had already purchased my 2020 planner in an 18 month style and ripped out the duplicate July-December 2019 pages. Now, I’ll have to wait an entire year until next Launch Day to flip over… Right?

Well, I think I’ve come up with a plan that will work for me!

I still had the July-December 2019 pages that I had snipped out of my new 2020 planner sitting on my desk. Since they were snipped, I could just pop them into my 2019 planner and use those pages for July going forward! Now, I can have my planners remain in a calendar year bind up, but have the old style from January-June, and the new style from July-December! I’ll just have to uncoil/recoil my planners when I get the new one every year at Launch – no problem.

Crossover Month

This is the current look of my hybrid planner. I could have taken all of the pages out of the new planner, so that I had cohesive monthly spreads, but I had left those in the new planner along with the new goal setting pages. I may decide that this bothers me and transfer those pages over to my 2019 planner as well. For now, I’m not too concerned about it.

The first half of 2019 will be the Woven Wonder pattern:

And the second half of 2019 will be the Kaleidoscope pattern:

As I was writing this post, I realized that there’s about 0% chance of me opening my 2020 planner just for the goal planning pages, so I moved those over to my 2019 Frankenplanner. This is the final look:

Goal Setting Pages
Monthly View in Kaleidoscope Pattern

I think this is going to be a great solution for me!