Carefully Chosen Words (or...Your thoughts are more important than your grammar)
Odds and Ends (and links)
I sat in a used bookstore last week to do some writing, which is always a humbling act. So many good words have been written already! I do not write to fill a void or deficit, and this is a post where I do not apologize for being sporadic here. This is just a post where I exercise flabby muscles and get back to this joy called blogging, where I get to share fun and serious things with my readers. It’s also a display of faithfulness, I think, because I long for consistency but returning to a work faithfully is the key to my long-term existence. No apologies, just an admission and a coming alongside—has it been a long time since you did something you enjoyed? Remember—it doesn’t have to be perfect.
// I have a newsletter. Remember that? It’s about making up your mind with truth, goodness, and beauty, and my own pursuit of what I call my Homeschool MFA. Here’s a sample. This is the time of year when I habitually give it a go again and I’ll be sending one out at the end of January/beginning of February. It includes what I’ve read, listened to, and watched, with several links and a short intro essay. If you’re interested you can sign up here, and I promise you will not be bombarded with emails from me. My last newsletter was July 2019, after all.
// This is also the season of new planners and plans, and I am going with a combination plan this year. I am using the Monk Manual for the first time and so far I’m loving it. It’s a beautifully put together quarterly planner with monthly, weekly, and daily sections. The selling point for me is that it forces a regular evaluation of life—something I may do in my mind but not enough on paper. Writing out what’s working and what’s not working is key for me, as well as the simple way the planner forces me to focus on the top three priorities for the day. I tend to make long lists, but a narrowing of options is always better and in my first week of using the Monk Manual I have accomplished all three priorities on the majority of days. Another aspect I appreciate is that the planner is not pre-dated, so if I have a restful day without much work in it, I don’t need to use a planner page for it. I will probably skip Sundays.
In conjunction with the Monk Manual, I am using my traveler's notebook with inserts I made using AlibiDesigns printables, available on Etsy. I love the aesthetics of my leather notebook, and making my own booklets to go inside allows me to customize according to my current needs. I don’t love having two different notebooks going at once, but the Monk Manual is only quarterly so I need a place for longer-term planning, as well as a place for lists. If I had a larger traveler’s notebook I would tuck my Monk Manual inside.
Whenever I find something that “works” I get excited. I might tell you about it (in the newsletter, for example) and then months later when I read back through what I’ve written, I will be discouraged because that thing that was so exciting to me is no longer working. This is just life and I have to get over my desire for everything to be always the same, consistent, easily measured. Looking at the year in terms of quarters rather than as a whole block of time helps with this hang up of mine. Plans and routines change with the seasons. That seems perfectly natural.
I used this insert last year for my weekly schedule (replaced by Monk Manual currently), and this one for the months.
// Cranberry fig scones. You probably need to make these. Scones are simple but fancy, and if you whip some honey, grated orange peel, and a little heavy cream into some butter to go with your scones, you will die happy.
// Word of the year. Do you choose one? I don’t do this every year but the theme of finishing keeps popping up in my life, so I’m treating that like it’s something important. FINISH will the be word I go to again and again this year—with projects that have been in the works for a long time, small daily tasks that I tend to put off, the hard and good work of parenting, and the forever work of becoming more like Christ. Finish means not avoiding the work God has called me to and doing the work with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, as love for God.
// I’ll end with this quote from Oswald Chambers because it speaks to the fervor of this time of year—be better, do better, improve, fill the abyss!
The saint who is intimate with Jesus will never leave impressions of himself, but only the impression that Jesus is having unhindered way, because the last abyss of his nature has been satisfied by Jesus.
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When will I ever use this?
An effort to be more practical
Creating an outline for good things to run wild
What 'Much Ado' teaches us about the benefit of the doubt
Commit to narrowness