simplifying · writing

Love Affair With Looseleaf

Today I was at the grocery store and I found myself lovingly placing a discounted pack of loose leaf paper in my shopping cart.

It was 49 cents and that’s a small price to pay for the happiness I get from a fresh new pack of loose leaf paper.

There is something about a fresh, new package of looseleaf paper that makes me SO HAPPY. The paper is clean and white. When I write on the top sheet, with a good pen – Pilot Easy Touch Fine Point, for example – it feels so good.

I have always loved the physical act of handwriting. I, somewhat vainly, have always loved my own handwriting. I started journaling in elementary school, and then leveled up in college, when I started to carry a journal with me everywhere I went in case I had a thought I needed to chronicle on the spot.

Of course, times change. I don’t need a journal to chronicle my thoughts. My phone is always close by, usually actually in my pocket, and I can (and do) write an idea for a blog post quickly and easily at any moment.

In fact, I might be even more nostalgic for looseleaf these days because I recently abandoned my paper planner in favor of using a combination of my bullet journal and the Google calendar on my phone. I’ve always loved having a planner – picking out a new planner has always been a major treat to me – but it just doesn’t feel practical anymore. The bullet journal is way more flexible for my day-to-day planning needs, and for big picture things, like weddings/play dates/writing groups, using Google calendar makes so much more sense.

But it still makes me sad.

I will soothe my soul by drafting an essay on my new looseleaf paper.

self-care · simplifying

Digital Detox (Baby Steps)

I am considering breaking up with my phone.

Every so often, I do a little inventory, considering the impact technology and social media are having on my life. I am definitely not anti-technology; I can see so many benefits that modern technology has had on my life. I can keep in touch with old friends easily; I can research issues, become informed about topics, with little effort; I can be connected with my communities, local and global.

I also see the negative impact my phone has on my life. It’s a way that I check out of my day-to-day life. It’s a way that I cope with anxiety that doesn’t actually make me any less anxious. It’s a thing that keeps me from being fully present.

I haven’t tracked this at all, but I know I look at my phone a LOT. Sometimes it’s legit, like when I’m using Google maps – but sometimes, I look at my phone simply because I haven’t looked at it in a while, and that feels kind of gross.

I definitely use my phone way more when I’m anxious. If I’m feeling uncomfortable and not up for social interaction, I like knowing that my phone is in my pocket.

This is my inventory, and it makes me think that maybe my phone and I need some time apart.

It’s so HARD, though!  There’s a lot of great stuff I get from my phone. I listen to a ton of audiobooks and podcasts, and I am newly obsessed with the Netflix show The Break with Michelle Wolf. But I don’t really think of those things as interfering with my life and my happiness.

Image result for someecards social mediaI guess the biggest trouble spots for me are:

  1. Social media – mindlessly scrolling and comparing myself to others.
  2. Zoning out – looking at WHATEVER – texts, websites, my bank account, etc – rather than being present in my actual life.

This is what I’m planning to try:

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA DAY. I’ll only check my social media one day each week – I’m thinking about Thursdays – and when I check in, I will actually engage, rather than just scrolling and skimming and clicking ‘like.’ I’ll write comments or respond to others. I’ll actually READ articles. I’ll check in on links I’ve saved. For the time being, I’m not planning to limit the amount of time I can use social media on that day – so I could wake up Thursday morning and be on Facebook ALL DAY LONG if I want. (I don’t want.)
  2. Designate official Phone Time – meaning that all other time is NO PHONE TIME. This is so much harder to tackle, since I use my phone for so many things. (Even now, I’m listening to a podcast on my phone as I type this!) There might need to be many times in a day for Phone Time – typing a note to myself, adding an event to my calendar, responding to a text – but I really want to give myself permission to actually do ONLY ONE THING AT A TIME. The pressure to multitask is so strong. I often feel like I’m actually SUPPOSED to be doing many things at once – but I’m not. I am allowed to focus on just one thing at a time, and I’m better at everything when I operate this way.

I’m going to check in with myself about these two strategies – Social Media Day and Designated Phone Time – in my June All The Things post. Until then, I’m hoping I can take baby steps toward a more peaceful phone life.

simplifying · writing

Doodling

I have a new hobby, and it all started when I checked my checking account and realized that a) somebody had CLEARLY stolen my debit card and made a thousand small purchases that they don’t need or remember, and b) that somebody must have been me.

UGH.

I did a little inventory, and I found that I’ve had a habit recently of nickel-and-diming my money away – buying sodas, snacks, tiny things, none of which cost much, but accumulate to make holes in my bank account where dollars should live. So I resolved to tighten up and to not make those kind of expendable purchases.

And then, the next day, I sat down with my new bullet journal, and I realized that I needed some more stickers.

So cute, right?! But this was a prime example of something that was not a necessary purchase.  Even though it seems necessary to me because I want my bullet journal to be adorable.

BUT THEN – this is the moment when being short on cash led me to a moment of creativity.

IMG_5108 (1)

The main reason I like the stickers is the adorable fancy-ish black letters. I like my handwriting, but it’s not that fancy, and stickers bring variety to my journal.

Then, I found this website, One Artsy Mama, and it was a game changer.

Literally, all you have to do to make your lettering fancy is add a few extra lines here and there, and then color them in.

I’ve been practicing like mad, and it’s so fun.

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This was one of those fun reminders not to limit myself. I have always characterized myself as “someone who is not good at fancy lettering,” and what I found was that, with a little practice, this is something I can do.  I’ve also characterized myself as “someone who’s not good at doodling,” and I’m challenging that belief, too. I checked out a bunch of instruction books on how to doodle from the library (when in doubt, go to the library!), and I’m trying out some of the easier designs in my bullet journal.

New things!  Good for me, good for my bullet journal, and good for my bank account.  WIN-WIN-WIN.

self-care · simplifying

How To Be KEM

  1. Let go and let goddess.
  2. Do the next right thing.
  3. Go with the flow.  (SYNCHRONICITY!)
  4. Live with intention.
  5. When in doubt, do nothing.
  6. Embrace rhythm and rituals.
  7. Do one thing at a time, fully.
  8. Keep it simple.
  9. Take things less seriously.
  10. Help. Care. Connect.
  11. Be(lieve in) you.
  12. Choose peace.
  13. When you’re feeling lost or restless, take a nap.

nomudnolotus1

 

family · farming · parenting · simplifying

#heart #mind #SimplicityParenting

Yesterday, after a day at Wild Peace Farm harvesting and weeding, Tee and I joined some friends for a cookout.  It was my favorite kind of weather – sunny and beautiful, with a slight breeze – and we spent time coloring, playing, eating amazing food (kimchi bacon burgers!), and talking.  Simplicity-Parenting

I got a chance to talk with one friend about a book she recommended to me – Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne.  This friend is a teacher at a Waldorf school, and Payne is also associated with Waldorf, though I can’t recall in what capacity.  The principles he teaches in Simplicity Parenting are certainly aligned with many Waldorf principles and techniques, from what I have learned from my friend the Waldorf Teacher.

I am often drawn to teachings and readings focused on simplicity, and I enjoyed a lot of what Payne had to say about simplicity in parenting.  He talks a lot about keeping things simple – helping your children to not become too overwhelmed by choices or by stimuli.  And it’s been causing me to think about what we want our house and our life to be like when Our Baby comes home.  As I’ve read, I’ve been peeking into Our Baby’s room and thinking about the things that often get out of control in the houses of other family homes – toys, clothing, even books.

Sidebar: One of the weird things about being an Adoptive-Parent-In-Waiting is never knowing exactly when your baby is going to come home.  You’re never sure exactly how much time you have, and, if you’re like us, you don’t want your baby room to be completely set up and waiting during the long days, weeks, and months.  Additionally, one of the standard traditions for expectant parents – having a baby shower – doesn’t really fit in well with the adoption wait, so we (somewhat presumptuously) anticipate that we’re going to have an influx of presents and stuff that will come several months after Our Baby comes home.  So, I’m glad I’simplifym reading this book now so that we can plan ahead.

Anyway – I have a feeling that Simplicity Parenting is a text I’m going to come back to over and over again during our parenting years.  There’s a lot of information about the effects of television and screen time, new and the media, and even adult conversation and habits when it comes to kids.  What Payne had to say about schedules, environment, and rhythm was really significant to me as well – very meaningful food for thought.