Posts from the ‘simple lifestyle’ Category

Divine Organization – Prayer and Theology Journal

On a earlier post I talked about getting back on the saddle and renewing my work/life vows. Another step that I am taking is starting a prayer/theology journal to organize my thoughts and study different sacred works, starting with the Bible and following with other sacred texts and authors . Of course this will become a lifetime activity, as I have felt the need to learn more about different faiths on this planet. I am not pursuing a degree in theology but instead want to learn as much on my own. After all, our time on this planet is so short, I think not enough to learn and enjoy everything that we want to experience.

This journal is divided into three sections – Journal – Theology/study – Prayers. Of course being creative, it cannot just be a regular journal, so I took my time to find the perfect one for me and did some decoration to its pages as well. This particular one I found at Staples, the same day I went looking for the huge binder for my Home/work/life Management System (see earlier post). The cover art couldn’t have been more fitting for this type of journal. I find that taking a bit of time in the morning to meditate and learn helps me become more productive during the day, as well as setting the mood.

Here is what it looks like.

Prayer/Theology Journal

Prayer/Theology Journal

Decorated pages

Decorated pages

002 003

 

Of course, as I continue this part of the journey, I will end up needing more journals, but I am happy to combine my regular journal-writing practice with the study of the sacred texts, and into a devotional time. It works for me. In searching for a better way to do the study part, I will keep some points in mind.

  • Start the study with my faith (Christianity/Bible) before moving on to other faiths
  • Pay attention to the title, time, and writer or writers, as well as language (original) and how translations have affected the book. In addition, how different groups have adopted variations on interpretation (for example – Christians and Jews interpret the book of Jeremiah differently).
  • Note any main topics/ideas of a particular book, chapter, or passage and cross-reference.
  • Note my interpretation and application to my life

One thing that I am not doing is following a particular study program/system because I don’t want to rely on a sole interpretation, but will use any material that will enrich my understanding or offer cross-reference points and enhance the learning experience.

 

 

Adopting a Life Quote or Inspirational Motto

Thank you to all who visited the blog while I have been absent recuperating from a broken arm. I am back to writing and happy to be back blogging. I had plenty of time to ponder, and of course, the mind starts asking questions and probing the spirit. I asked myself – “At this stage of your life, what would be your inspirational motto; what words would you live by now?” Immediately, I searched for an answer and I found it in one of my character’s lines – Dinorah Sandbeck (The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon). I decided to make it my own and designed a simple logo that I could place in my journal, planner, and anywhere else as a constant reminder. You will see it in this blog as well. I used Microsoft Office Publisher to create it. Here it is.

The Dinorah Chronicles - Ramblings of the Spirit

The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon

It is important to me that I live with meaning and purpose, and I welcome any idea that will inspire me to do so. Life is full of seasons, and each season brings its own inspiration – different for everyone. I am starting a new season and with it an array of motives, ideas, feelings and emotions, spiritual and material experiences, and the unexpected, which I welcome with open arms (pun intended).

What about you? Have you thought about what season are you in at this time? If you were to adopt a life quote or inspirational motto, what would it be? I hope that you give it some thought and design your life logo to inspire you during your season (or seasons to come). For me, it will be interesting to see when the creation of another logo is inspired by another season as it arrives. For now, I will enjoy this one. Feel free to comment and share your life motto with us.

000

This is how I’m starting the new year, at 000. It is a gift just to be here, and I want to start anew, fresh, without any preconceptions. I want to live 2014 as if it was my last year here. 2013 left its mark, and I am grateful for it all. I receive this year at 000. It is a new opportunity, a new beginning, a new purpose, a new living, a new second, millisecond … . I want to make the most of it, not in traveling or great accomplishments, bucket lists, or to-do lists, but in being present every second of my life, in seeing the awe in the minuscule, the humble in the majestic, the new in the old, and the old in the new, the love in everything, and the one in all. I don’t want to take anything for granted. I want to wake up everyday at 000, the second I open my eyes. I invite you to do the same. Happy New Year! 

000 

Thanksgiving – In Poverty and Abundance

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Whether you live in abundance or in poverty, one thing is for sure – you will be thinking about “giving thanks.” The mere act of thinking about this day that we celebrate makes us ponder about the “state of our lives.” Whether you are thankful or not for your current situation has nothing to do with the level of satisfaction you derive from it.  Whether you live in abundance or poverty, your mind will reach for the file that reads “I am thankful for …” There must be something you are thankful for, just one thing.

I am thankful for many things in my life now, as well for many in the past. The future is not here yet but I aim to be grateful for it as well. When I asked myself, “What are you most grateful for and why?” I came to a halt. I could name many things I am thankful for, but I could not settle on naming just one – “the one.” Then, the answer became clear. The thing that I am most thankful for is the present second, the now. Why? Because without it, without the awareness of it, all the other things disappear from mind. It is in that second that I am alive, processing thought, that I can think of my wonderful husband, my cats, my family, friends, and all the good things around me. It is in that second, in the now, that I can experience life through my senses and brain. The scent of a traditional thanksgiving dinner, the sounds of holiday music, the pine cone candle aroma … so much to take in.

On the other side of things – the misery side – your senses and brain are probably processing different information. Maybe hunger, or pain, or heartache … so much to take in. The same milliseconds of Now, in misery and abundance become “the one thing to be grateful for” when we become one with life, with the miracle it is, beyond physical barriers. It is then that we become so grateful for the experience … just the experience.

To all of you who celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I wish you a wonderful and happy day, and to the rest of you, I wish a wonderful and happy NOW!

Ghost Words

A trashcan at a food court in Salt Lake City, Utah

A trashcan at a food court in Salt Lake City, Utah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The more I think about our kind, I see the complexity of our being.  This morning for example, I went for my early walk, and saw this complexity unfolding.  I am a hello, good morning person, so when I am walking and happen to see another of my species, I usually say the words.  Many times, I get some kind of response – a smile, a gesture of a head tilted sideways with a subtle up movement, a hello or a good morning.  Other times, I get nothing, a stern look, or a head down, avoiding eye contact.  This has puzzled me for so long – why do people do this?  Even animals, acknowledge other species, and theirs.  This morning, I said Good Morning to a woman who was cutting some flowers, and who politely answered with a short and quick good morning, the kind with the absence of a smile.  Later on, I said good morning to a man who had come out of his home and was ready to collect his garbage cans.  He looked at me, as if I had just insulted him, and said nothing.  As I walked further, I spotted a crossing guard who was walking to reach her morning post.  I smiled, but instead met with the quick head down to avoid eye contact.  Later on, I encountered two neighbors driving to their destination flashing smiles and waving. Thank God I’d just reached home and that was the last image I had on my mind – my happy neighbors – because I was beginning to feel a bit uninspired and yes, puzzled, about why people behave that way so early in the morning. I understand when people have had a rotten day, but so early?

It is true that we are living in a fast technologically “challenged?” society, and that we seem to “need more hours” to keep up the pace. However, we seem to have forgotten good manners while we spend the 24 hours we have. It seems to me that two very important words/phrases are almost nonexistent these days – GOOD MORNING (or Hello) and THANK YOU.

It may be my perception, but I seem to hear them less these days. It was very important to say Thank You or Good Morning, not too long ago, although it may seem another century, or as if these words have been relegated to retail pleasantries status. It puzzles me when a door is held or opened for someone, something is given, or someone takes the time or effort to do something for someone, even for a stranger, and these words are never said. As if the person at the other end was a ghost.

What has happened to us? Why are these words less important today than a few decades ago? I am not sure if the speed we live our lives has to do anything with it, or is it that our values have changed, and good manners are not important any more? Sometimes I get more thank you’s from automated systems/services or machinery than from human beings. It is not that I want to be thanked all the time, but more of a concern about “where is our kind headed.” A world where everything is taken for granted? One without gratitude? One where machines seem to have better manners than humans? Or are we there?

We all have our slip-offs and moments of “zombie awareness,” but when our hurried steps/lives become more significant than the generous acts of others (who happen to have the same 24 hours that we have), maybe it is time to stop the purposeless frenzy and think about how long  has it been since we said the Ghost Words.  By the way, Thank You for reading this.

 

Watercolors Friday – Celebrating Nature from Indoors

Every time I see the miracle of Nature, I can help but feel happy, and humbled by the perfection that surrounds us – Us, imperfect humans … are we?  We are part of Nature.  Today, I want to celebrate Nature, birds to be exact.  I enjoy bird watching (and that is the extent of it; I don’t know many of the names), and I am blessed, living in an area where birds are abundant, even that I am not in the country, but surrounded by wetlands, and the shore – Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey (USA).  Birds are beautiful and delicate, sweet and predictable, predatory at times, but also interesting to watch.  For the past couple of months I have observed and photographed birds every time I spotted one near my house.  I have enjoyed and watch with awe, the many birds that are around the area. I have learned to recognize a few everyday guests, many with their significant-bird.  Amanzingly, they do the same things or follow a routine, as we do many times.  Now that the trees are covered with leaves, it is hard to spot them, so I am happy that I took a few weeks to watch, as they came back for spring.

All the pictures have been taken from inside my home on purpose – I wanted to feel Nature’s blessing without stepping outside – a way of celebrating the wonders of Nature, knowing that it can trespass walls, if we are willing to be receptive.  Call it an experiment. I had fun with it and found a new depth to my surroundings. Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

Photo by Maria Diaz

 

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  For those wondering what type of camera I used, it is a Canon PowerShot SX500IS 30x optical zoom.  I know nothing about photography, so please forgive any mistakes, as I only admire, point, and shoot. Just for the joy of it 🙂

HAPPY WATERCOLORS FRIDAY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Productivity Recipe and Boredom Blast

When inspiration runs dry and you get a case of the blues, whether writer’s block is operating on the background or frustration knocks at your door, productivity suffers and boredom settles in – life’s loses its luster, gray days abound, and opaque hours seem to stop time.  This may happen to anyone, at any time; I have been there.  I want to share with you a simple system I came up with that will help you fight those blues and keep you from becoming bored or uninspired.  I assure you that you will always have something to dream about, something to be grateful for, and something to do.  That in itself can jumpstart your inspiration.  I call this system my Inspirational Jars, and that is just what it is.  I use three empty glass jars and I label each one – Love Notes, Pick a Chore, and Promise Jar.  Each Jar has a purpose; each jar gives me something to do.

  • PICK A CHORE – I fill this jar with all kinds of single chores written in small cards (make them colorful for fun and visual impact).  I write as many things that come to mind that I have to do, whether soon or in a near future.
  • LOVE NOTES – In this jar, I write the things that I would like to do for others (in small cards so they fit in the jar), whether it is to make a gift, visit someone, call someone, invite someone to dine, wash my husband’s truck … It is all about giving and Love.
  • PROMISE JAR – This jar is very important to me because it contains many dreams and things that I want or love to do.  Things that are in a distant future or things that I can do right away.  It doesn’t matter how big the dream is; it goes inside that jar.

The idea is to sit down and write as many small cards you can and fill those bottles, and if one day you think of something else, just write it and deposit it in the bottle.  If you ever feel bored, uninspired, and not knowing what to do, pick one card from one of the bottles and do/dream/plan/execute whatever you wrote on that card.  If it is something you cannot do now, you can always put it back and pick a card from another bottle or from the same jar, or you can sit down and dream/plan how to work towards that dream or goal.  You will never ran out of things to do if you keep filling those inspirational jars.  Make them pretty, colorful and enticing.  Have fun creating this system.  Create your own system depending on what you want to do.  For example, a jar for blogging topics, a jar for writing scenes or character names … Mine are just what I use to keep productivity and inspiration alive.  Here is what my Inspirational Jars look like.

 

Inspirational Jars

I hope that you enjoyed this tip.