December starts now. The last month of a very unusual year. I’ve been attempting to create more routines to my days, and am trying to build in specific times during the day where I can read, pray, and reflect.
This nighttime one can be difficult, because I’m very good at working or distracting myself until exhaustion, then falling into bed. Even now, it’s quite late, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts.
Going into Advent, it’s supposed to be this quiet, penitential time where you prepare yourself for the miracle of God made flesh. Too often, it ends up being a blur of planning and frenetic activity as the days tick by faster than ever. We have decorating to do, cards to send, presents to buy and wrap, outfits and meals to plan, and countless other tasks that seems to all gang up and attack you at once.
I have this vision in my head of winters as being a time where you can curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate and a good book. My winters are not often this way. I don’t take that space in the cadence of my days to lean into the change of the season.
Do I want to change? This is a good question. I quite like being busy and feeling productive. But productivity without real purpose feels like so much wasted effort. In 6 months, will the things that I have chosen to do have benefited me in some way?
What work am I doing within my soul? How are the choices I’m making (or not making!) helping me to be the person God envisions me being? What good can I do in the lives of others, if only I take the time to get out of my own thoughts and look outward?
We shall see. 🙂
Let me know what your dreams are for yourself this December.
Watching live on NASA TV was a fairly low-res event – most of the time, the images displayed were dim and hazy. But this did nothing to curb my excitement as we first saw images of Crew Dragon entering the Earth’s atmosphere, releasing the (counting… one… two!) drogue parachutes. Then, the four main chutes. Keeping pace with them as they decelerated (“Speed is nominal.”). And finally, SPLASHDOWN! (And, of course, the interminable waiting while they “sniffed” the spacecraft for hazardous gases and decontaminated it, before we could see the successful extraction of the astronauts.)
I took a few screen captures as I watched, but really, the actual photos from NASA are vastly superior. 🙂
“Welcome back to Planet Earth and thank you for flying SpaceX!”
Well, not technically. But I did sign up to participate in a NASA media program.
“When Perseverance launches to Mars, it will carry three dime-size chips with 10.9 million names submitted by people all over the world. Those who already submitted their names can get a special “Now Boarding” stamp on their boarding passes….”
Below is my mission badge!
This is really exciting! I cannot wait until they send people to Mars!
Launch is currently scheduled for July 30th at 7 am EDT.
I am coming to love handing over my phone to my goddaughter and her sisters. I always get cute videos and photos. It’s so special to be able to see the world through their eyes and hear their ideas and stories when they are playing on their own.
These are some pretty successful images: of flowers near the rectory, and a kid’s perspective photo of her parents.
I love how she included so many photos of her feet. As adults, how often to we take the time to document the kids in their tiny shoes? Or look at the sidewalk?
All images in this post (except for this one), are courtesy of #RosaliaMercyC!
It’s been a hot minute since the last time I got a new toy to aid my photography habit.
There have been a lot of random things which have entered my Amazon cart for consideration. Usually they sit in there for quite some time, while I decide if they are worth my money.
This one snuck in there one evening after looking at some planner photos from Instagram and looking at the lighting. I am not, in general, a studio photographer. I do have some studio lights, but I tend to prefer natural light, macro photography. However, having uneven, poor lighting for my planner photos (not that I’m at all consistent in taking them) is irksome.
So I bought a light box. It has a front opening and top view port, and two USB light bars to provide more even lighting (it gets pretty bright). It also comes with four colored inserts (blue, gray, white, and black) and folds up to be more portable.
In an ideal world, I would have purchased a slightly larger version, so that I could get a good photo of my planner laying flat without seeing the edges of the light box, but this works well enough for my purposes, and doesn’t have the price tag of some of the larger light boxes.
Yesterday, our senior director shared this cute video with us. It talks about caring for both our physical and mental health while we are sheltering in place, and how creating distinct functional areas within our homes (and being diligent about reserving certain tasks for only that space) can help us to be more focused on the task at hand.
The couch helped you … couch ….
My favorite line from the video!
I felt personally attacked by this video. 🙂 I have been dealing with wound healing issues for quite a while and have been largely restricted to my bed (I *wish* I had the run of the entire house!). So, creating different stations within my house for different tasks has been impossible. My bed has been my sleep/work/recreation station and exercise has not even been on the agenda. (It’s amazing how much you need your feet for!)
Blessedly, last weekend I was finally able to walk around a little bit and have been slowly increasing what I am able to do around the house. Today is the first day that I’ve attempted wearing socks and shoes! I have really missed that!
The video mentions that if both your physical and mental health are suffering, it may be easier to try to work on improving your physical health first. Which is probably why I spent a good amount of time last night researching bicycles. LOL! I’ve wanted one for a while, especially since Gabby is learning how to ride a bike now. There is a lot of stuff that you need! Bike, kickstand, helmet, storage, bike lock, carrier for your car… I think I have everything picked out, but I’ll pause that decision for just a bit.
I’m a planner girl and I love making order out of chaos (although, I’m also pretty talented about creating that chaos in the first place). So I was really motivated by the video to take a new look at my “spaceship” and see how I can make personal improvements. Also, lucky for me, I have a metric ton of planners, productivity journals, list pads, sticky notes, and pens at arms reach to assist me!
This will take some thought, especially as I am still healing. I’ll keep bicycling in mind, but will likely start with short walks (and build up) and some free weights. Having contingency plans for inclement weather and other obstacles will be key to maintaining a good schedule.
I generally do pretty well with falling asleep, and I typically get up at the same time every morning without an alarm. The part I need to work on is going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting up in the middle of the night. I’m fairly used to operating on little sleep, but I’m interested in finding a better balance here.
This station runs amok all around the house! Usually into the Sleep and Creation stations. I have made a little headway in this area by cleaning off the kitchen table and putting my personal computer there. Even before watching this video, I had tried to make a cognitive distinction in tasks by leaving my desk after the workday is completed and moving to the kitchen if I wanted to watch YouTube, etc. Just a small change in scenery to tell myself that the workday is done (otherwise, it’s really easy to just keep working – there’s nowhere else for me to go, after all!).
I’ve tried to find recreational activities that I can use to connect with others. Since I live alone, I really miss human interaction! I bought a Nintendo Switch Lite (for entertainment when I was stuck in bed) and have jumped on the Animal Crossing bandwagon. It’s a cute game and I have been able to play with my brother (hopefully, with more friends soon!). I’m also buddy-reading a book with another friend.
I find this station the most interesting. What to do for personal growth during this time? I always have it in the back of my mind to blog – I miss it, but I’m horrible about completing posts. I must have a million drafts, but I try too hard to make them perfect before I publish and as more time passes, I don’t circle back. “Done is better than perfect,” is a phrase I’ll need to keep in mind.
I’ve also taken advantage of some of the language software out there and will see if I can gain more foreign language skills during my time in space. The hardest question is which one to focus on first?
I’ve joined a Bible study (Ruth) through our parish, which helps feed me spiritually as well as give me a small group to talk to and share my ideas.
Being creative with my planning is always a fun pastime for me. I’ve been doing really well with meal planning and daily to-dos, and am eager to create more structure and accountability into my days.
A friend recently sent me a card – just to say that she was thinking of me and provide some encouragement. I think this is a great idea, so I’ll make sure to spend some time writing *actual letters* to my friends.
Creation Station is probably the hardest for me to control, since I always want to do ALL THE THINGS. But, ultimately, I think I’ll feel more accomplished if I try to limit what I do and actually follow through on that. Check one thing off, *then* start the next thing.
As the video says, we are all alone …. together. How are you maintaining your Spaceship You? I’d love to hear (and see!) your ideas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
I think this is going to be a great solution for me!
I picked this Quote sticker to hold a spot of prominence in my planner this week for a couple specific reasons:
Sunday, May 19th, my friend Kristin celebrated 9 years with her company, Krissyanne Designs. She has grown from a hobby shop on Etsy, to hosting her own website, becoming a corporate sponsor for our (huge and amazing) Go Wild planner conferences, to having a line in Michael’s stores across the nation and beyond. Through her shop, she has brightened countless lives and inspired those around her to celebrate their lives. Of herself, Kristin is a dear, sweet, creative, kind, caring, brilliant and fun sticker scientist who is a fantastic role model, not just in the planner world, or in the business world, but an overall prime example of what it means to be a compassionate and loving person. The vibrancy of her dreams, the strength of her determination and hard work, the consistent choice of kindness that is the backbone of her world-class customer service – these are truly things to be proud of.
In the planner community, we #KADdicts (the Krissyanne Designs (KAD)-addicted members), are celebrating with her this week. Her shop (www.krissyanne.com) is offering special anniversary items, discounts, and daily deals all week long. Many of us are recognizing this by featuring her products and giving shout-outs on social media, and using her stickers in our planners. This “Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud” sticker is one of her “vintage” stickers. It was printed in the older formatting, before she moved to vinyl stickers (which have since changed again to a reposition able formulation). In my planner photo (featured), you can see stickers from Krissyanne Designs from near the beginning of when I discovered her shop to stickers from her line at Michael’s.
One of the things that I struggle with in my planner is how to plan out my week when I don’t have a lot going on at home. For a long time, I’d plan out my work day meetings in my weekly planner, but so often these are repetitive – I have a schedule of Monday meetings, Tuesday meetings, etc. In addition, I have a Daily Emily Ley planner that I use and keep at work, so putting these things in my Weekly Erin Condren doesn’t really add any value for me.
So, I’m trying something a little different this week. Well, a couple things that are different, but we’ll get to the #pencolorchallenge in a minute.
First, I am following some inspiration from both Laken (@planwithlaken) and Julie (@julies_plans on IG), who use either quote full boxes or checklist full boxes to mark off the times in their planner where they are at work, since they both also use separate planners for work. I don’t typically have a lot of to-do items any given day, but I can use smaller checklists/quotes/decorative stickers as needed. I’m thinking that I’ll keep these at the top of every day to either be motivation or putting right in front of me the things I want to accomplish before I go to bed.
Second, I’ll use the middle and bottom boxes to put any appointments, activities, or notable things about the day. It’ll be (mostly) in chronological order from top to bottom, but I may/may not make a distinction between things I did before work vs. things that I did after work, unless there’s a reason I might need that information later.
In this spread, I currently have a lot of text. Mostly, because I didn’t do too much other than dishes, shopping, and watching YouTube while I ate dinner. What I did do, was spend some time in introspection, which I don’t do all that often.
On Monday, I asked myself the question: What is one small thing that I can do today to make myself proud?
These cute daily log sheets are part of Kristin’s line at Michael’s, and I had a really fun time filling it out. It made my very boring day seem important and allowed me to celebrate my mundane daily #adulting accomplishments. Like keeping up with the dishes. I even took all the recycling out of the house and into the bin.
Today, I worked a couple hours past my shift, then spent probably another hour having a great conversation with a coworker and her husband. How often have we done that? Taken the time to really get to know those we work with? Not as much as we’d like, probably.
One interesting part of the conversation concerned our reactions to horrible/dangerous/clueless drivers around us. Both Eric and I have a tendency to be – let’s say less than charitable – in our hearts and thoughts. I have, over the years, really tried to be aware of this and the reasoning behind it, and have come up with a few things that I try to keep in mind to re-train my heart to be more forgiving and compassionate. I’ll follow up with more details on this in an upcoming blog post.
For now, I’ll leave you with the question I left for myself today: