:forty-three years ’round the sun:

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At times I find it hard to believe I am in my forties, married, and have two children (one of which is my size).

Today I turn forty-three.

I love my birthday, though I don’t actually celebrate it in the traditional sense. For me it is more of a personal new year. It is a day when I love to think back on the past year and my life in general. When I would love to sit in a cafe bookstore, surrounded by the things I love: books, a journal, a good pen, and coffee.

A day to reflect, and then an evening with my family is all I would need to make my birthday special.

I do not shy away from it, or hide it’s existence, or wish I was younger. I don’t see the point. I know others do, and they have their own reasons for doing so. To me, a birthday is a celebration of the unique person who is me. On that day, at that hour, a singular being was born into this world. A person who will bring their own creativity and wonder and beauty to existence.

And that is reason enough to celebrate.

Today, I will actually not get the chance to spend my birthday as I wish.

Instead, I will be driving all over town as a homeschool mom. Tonight I will get home late and in the dark to make dinner. But after that, when the kitchen is clean, I will break open a hard cider, cuddle on the couch with my husband, and toast to one more year ’round the sun.

:planners set-up for the week:

I’ve got a crazy week ahead of me and a husband who is off for President’s Day, so today’s post is going to be quick.


Here is my #beforethepen in my Happy Planner.

And here is a new bullet journal spread I am trying out, inspired by Diana Meier-Soriat. I wish I could read German, so I could understand her blog!

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:my mornings:

Mornings are my favorite time of day. I love when I can be up before anyone else. Just a cup of coffee, a pen and my journal. I spill my heart onto those pages. Dreams, desires, hopes, fears. Everything comes out through the tip of my pen. There is no censure, no judgement, no fears allowed in this space.

At first, with my brain still groggy from sleep, the words don’t come easily. They are stubbornly out of reach. Still, I put pen to paper and write.

Some mornings it only takes half a page for the words to start coming to me. Others, I’ll be well into the second page before I feel myself relax into the writing. I don’t think I’m ever aware of the moment when I stop hunting for the words and they just come to me.

Solitary mornings are rare for me, since my husband also tends to wake early, but I cherish the ones I do get.

:january 2018 zentangle challenge

In the past my drawing efforts have been sporadic at best. I’ll do a big piece and then I won’t touch my pens for months. So, to go with my word for the year, I am doing a daily drawing challenge in my bullet journal this year. this is my first effort. Unfortunately, I did not start it until I came back from my trip to Florida, thus the crossed out days.

This month I am going to try a more free-form format. I may not always do zentangles, as I want to start doodling and drawing in other styles as well.

We’ll see how that works out.

:february reads:

Some of these I already started, but here is my current read pile. Don’t ask what’s on my to-be-read pile. That list is long and exhausting.

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Fearless Writing by William Kenower

This one I started just before NaNoWriMo, but once I began writing I stopped reading everything. It’s time to finish it.

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The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe. I saw this one recommended on YouTube. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at some lettering, and starting with your own handwriting seemed like a good place to begin. Also,….

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The Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship by “the Spencerian Authors”

…getting into very formal handwriting and fountain pens makes for a need to be unstructured.

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Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease form Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism by Nadine Greskowiak RN, BSN, CEN

This one I am half way through. My son is a celiac. I need to educate myself about this because not all doctors know or understand this disease in the United States.

:the right to make:

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When I was a child I loved to make things: stories, drawings, knitted scarves for my cabbage patch doll. All of it was play, the important work of childhood. It is the way in which children learn who they are and what they like. But, with age, comes responsibilities. Childhood things are left behind. I put my notebooks and sketchbooks away and concentrated on getting into college, getting a degree, and getting my first job. It was the sensible thing to do.

And then….

…then I awoke one day and found something was missing.

I was happily married. I enjoyed my job. I had good friends. We had a beautiful little girl and a boy on the way. Yet, there was something missing. I had already picked knitting back up. I would occationally write up a short story here and there. I kept a file of ideas on a USB key.

Having a second baby re-focused me on them. They were so little and they needed me. As they got bigger, I pursued other interests, both because I loved them and because I wanted a career. Still, in the back of my mind I continued to have the feeling something wasn’t quite right. Something was still missing.

My second career ended, and my focus turned to homeschooling. I spent a large part of the first year lost as we went through the deschooling process. So, I took up my knitting more seriously. I began to draw again. I started stepping away from Facebook political fights to chase hashtags on Instagram. I made my first poorly timed attempt at NaNoWriMo (we were moving.) I learned to spin. I started taking photos again.

Slowly my inner self woke up.

At first I felt a bit guilty, but then I realized I was showing my kids by example. I was teaching them to use the resources around them to teach themselves. I was teaching them to go after the things they wanted.

Last year I also started to come to the realization I wanted to make making my life’s work. I’ve come to believe that it is everyone’s life work. Creating is part of what it means to be human. We all do it in different ways, as scientists, as poets, as surgeons, as teachers, as sculptors.

I want to make every day for the rest of my life.

I want to write novels.

I want to take film photographs.

I want to knit sweaters.

I want to spin my own yarn.

I want to cook.

I want to play music.

I want to create.

 

 

 

:TEDx Talks: Why Write? Penmanship for the 21st Century:

Due to my fascination with pens and paper, and having been a life-long journal keeper, I have always been interested in handwriting.

Right now I am helping my son with his penmanship. Due to some of the issues I mentioned him having from when he went to school, he has hated writing.

He avoids it like the plague.

Now, he is ready and interested in learning cursive. Mostly because he wants to read my writing. So, I spent the weekend surfing the web, looking for the best way for us to approach this. In my surfing I watched a whole bunch of videos.

Videos on how to, on methods, on curriculum reviews.

And I came across this gem:

Now, I want to go practice my own handwriting.

:writing it out:

I can’t remember the first journal I used. It may have been in second or third grade. All I know is once I started, I have never been without one. There have been breaks in my writing, but putting pen to paper is one of the things I do. When the words pounding away in my head get to be too much, I can come here and spill them out onto the page.

I’ve had cheap composition notebooks, fancy hand stitched leather beauties, Moleskines, glittery diaries with a unicorn on the cover and a key to keep my ten year old secrets locked up tight.

Lately, starting my day writing instead of checking Instagram has proved centering. The method is Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages if you want to look it up, but it’s been around for a long time. I had gotten away from journaling first thing in the morning to get sucked up into the internet and see what other people were doing with their mornings.

Now, I don’t think I could start my mornings without my journal, a pen, and a cup of coffee.

Many times, it’s not even what I write.

It’s the act of writing.

The feel of the pen in my hand.

The way the ink stains the smooth surface of the page.

The movement of the pen across the paper.

Sometimes the words are secondary.

:goals for 2018:

So the first half of January is gone and I have my goals for 2018.

No, I won’t be sharing the entirety of them here, but I will be talking about a few. Mainly I’ll be sharing the ones having to do with crafting, homesteading, making, and writing.

Here are a few:

  • Write two full novels.
  • Blog every weekday.
  • Teach myself yoga.
  • Lots of road trips as a family.
  • Create every day.
  • Learn to sew.
  • Learn hand lettering.
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal, and write in it daily.
  • Study herbalism.
  • Finish the declutter I started last year. (so close!)

I made myself a GOALS Page and stuck it in the front of my planner. Every morning, after writing my Morning Pages, I read my goals and make my my lists based on what is really important to me.

 

 

:writing pains:

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So, one of the souvenirs I brought back from the cruise is a sprained wrist. I’ve had sprains before, but this one has proven to be painful in more than one way.

It is a bad sprain. Probably aggravated from what it was originally by the fact that I did not get it in a brace until I got off the cruise ship.

But what is really hurting is the way this sprain has thrown a wrench into my writing. It hurts to type. These blog posts are just about the limit of what I can do with it, and I am scared to push it much more because I want it to heal fast.

The novel I started in November is still waiting for me to finish it. My plan had been to come back from my vacation and use January to complete the first draft. Just do a single-participant NaNo.

You know what they say about the best laid plans.

I know I can still write it out longhand, but the times I have tried have felt…awkward.

The flow just isn’t there.

I started the draft in Scrivener, and I enjoyed the software enough to buy the full version (with my NaNo winner discount!) I am hoping to be able to get back into it in February. I am not really able to dictate my writing. My hands are my best tools for storytelling.

My plan had been to do 1,500 words daily for January, but now I’m thinking I may need to throttle it back to  750 words in the first week of February and see how that goes.