Posts from the ‘the simple life’ Category

Moving On To New Pastures

Photo by M.A.D.

Photo by M.A.D.

 

I call it adventures in living. I will be absent from this blog for a while. The time is undetermined, as I will be working along with my sidekick, building a new life, new dreams, and taking a leap of faith. During this time, I will be unable to reply to any comments or comment on any of my favorite blogs. I will miss you all, and as soon as I am able to return to blogging, I will share some of the process. I hope you don’t forget Inkspeare and stop by to read some of the older posts. We will be relocating to more natural and bucolic surroundings, and disconnected for a little while.

Wish us luck, keep us in your prayers, and may God bless you all.

Love,

Inkspeare

Leave Behind What Does Not Fit

Life is a cycle. We are born, grow up, mature, age, and die, but during that time, we are being reborn over and over, not only physically as our organism regenerates, but also, mentally and spiritually. We go trough many experiences that shape and mold our thinking, our souls, leading to spiritual growth while developing our humanity. This growth is as personal as it can get, individual and unique. What may seem unfair for someone is what the person/spirit needs to advance to the next level.

Imagine a perfect life where everything is in balance at all times, where there is no conflict and things always work the way it is expected. How can there be growth? Many times, we observe the person who seems to have the perfect life according to our definition of “the perfect life” and that person seems to be going through a rough patch. Immediately, we put on our judgement glasses and we cannot understand how is possible for Mr. or Mrs. Perfect Life to even feel challenged in her/his environment. Our human minds cannot accept or comprehend it. However, if we take off our judgement glasses and put on spiritual glasses we see that the person is going through his/her own growth cycle and the experience is unique, and at a different level than our own. What that person feels and experiences is what is necessary for the spirit to move along the journey. Sometimes there is growth and sometimes there isn’t, and that is a decision that every soul in the planet has to make according to the choices presented and the opportunity to choose. The adage, “To each, its own” says it well.

When we are experiencing the challenges of life, the opportunities to grow spiritually and humanely, we get the chance to reevaluate our lives, the challenge, past and present experiences, and look into the future with new eyes. We are given the opportunity to leave behind what does not fit anymore, and change armor. We all do it throughout our lives, at our own level and pace. In order to grow, it is necessary to leave behind that which does not fit our Now.

On Falling Behind and a Carton of Eggs

Today, the dreary feeling that has haunted me for weeks grew stronger as I made my morning cup of coffee. The thought blinded my conscience as if plastered in large neon green letters all over my head – I AM BEHIND! Worry settled in another day and inspiration took cover behind my wishful thinking. One thought led to another and before I was aware a feeling of guilt creeped inside my heart. Desperation fluttered inside my gut and I gasped for air as I stared at the carton of eggs that I had just emptied. Somehow, the printed cursive blue letters called on me, and I read – “This is the Day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24  What an oddity, I thought, printed on the inside of the egg carton I found the perfect words that I needed to hear. I decided to make those words my inspiration today and every time I might feel that I AM BEHIND. Because it does not matter if I am behind or not, or my perception of it – my truth is that behind or not, “this is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And that is what I decided to do.

I realized that my perception of time and reality has nothing to do with God’s timing and plan; and that even when I might feel that I am behind (on work, on chores, on projects, on life … fill the blank) I might not be at all – I might be just where I am supposed to be on my journey. Although I have heard and read these words many times, it took a carton of eggs at the right time to make them meaningful when I needed them. I grabbed the scissors and cut out the words from the egg carton and placed them in front of me, at eye level near the computer screen, as a daily reminder. Somehow, breakfast tasted better. Here is a picture of the cut-out. I hope it inspires you as well.

Photo by M.A.D.

Photo by M.A.D.

 

Life Mapping

If you are a goal-setter you might like the idea of life-mapping. Life-mapping can be done in many ways. It represents the big picture of your many goals and dreams and what you would like to carry out in the long run. It is a healthy exercise as long as you use it as an inspiration to enrich your life, and it does not become an obsession, meaning that one might focus on it solely and not live fully because things are not happening the way one intended them to happen. Many times, especially if you believe in Divine intervention, things might not work out the way we want or plan, but in the end, it was all for a greater good – a better ending.

I have practiced life-mapping for some time. I have used time lines, picture boards, and even a treasure map style to highlight long-term dreams and goals. One thing I can say is that a lot works out as planned, but many other things do not, despite putting the work and walking the path. However, I still like the idea of life-mapping and practice it to keep me inspired and on track. Right now, I am using a different style that I thought about, and is easy to post anywhere and is more portable than a picture board. You can carry it on your planner, and it gives you an overall glance of your dreams and goals. I believe that you are never too old to do life-mapping. It is never too late to enrich your life and enjoy it more, so in my eyes, this practice stops at your death-bed.

The idea was inspired by my icon to-do-list. It is life-mapping by using icons that represent what you want, and you can do this as a time-line or as a step by step map to guide you. Here is the life-map I came up with, and I can share it here because the icons mean something to me, and not necessarily mean anything to anyone else, so in a way it is still somewhat private. A picture or an icon can have as many meanings as you give it. The meaning is up to you. This life-map was done using Microsoft Publisher. I started using footprints and changed to cat prints because after all, our family includes 6 cats, so they are in the journey as well. In addition, I left empty fields at the end to fill as needed, and these are represented by a potted plant with an interrogation sign. I used two pages for mine, but you can make your icons smaller and fit them on one page, or use as many pages as you would like. You can also use only a few icons to represent the important points only, and not necessarily every detail. It is a good idea for visual people. You may also do it in 3-5-10 … year increments or overall. Other ideas include drawing your icons if you are artistic, or painting them. In addition, if you want to make it more detailed you can dedicate a journal or planner just for life-mapping. Mine is just a more general approach. Life-mapping is ever changing, but it serves as visual inspiration, and it can be adjusted as necessary.

Life-Mapping

Life-Mapping

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I hope you enjoy this idea.

 

 

 

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

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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.

 

 

Home – Work – Life Management System

One thing that I needed to do was to consolidate my home, work, and personal logs into one mega system that would make tracking things in the future easier. I’ve tried the electronic method (s) and it doesn’t fill all my needs, so I thought about it and came up with a solution.

This idea came to me after trying various ways of organizing myself throughout the day and beyond and using various tools, which led to scattered efforts and duplicates faltering my purposes and hindering progress. Because I work mostly from home, it works for me, but it wouldn’t work if I had to carry it around. In that case, a small agenda will do. It can always be transferred to the main log. What I had to eliminate is mostly duplicate calendars that made things confusing at times.

Now, I keep everything in one big binder under different tabs. I bought the biggest binder I could find at Staples. I separated it into three main areas – home, work, personal, and kept the months from January through December as a separate section. Later on, I added a miscellaneous section, and one for notes. The way I organized these sections works better for me, and my working style.

In the Home section I track everything related to home keeping, including projects, to do’s, chores … I added two subcategories – budget and expenses. The work category is divided into four sections – writing, book marketing, future projects, and The Owl, Book & Candle. The personal section has to do with personal goals, health, dreams … . The calendar section is where everything is scheduled monthly, weekly, and daily. In addition, each month has a to do list, as well as a monthly goal section, and project section. Each month has a pocket sleeve for important information, or things that will come up that month. The other sections have a pocket as well. I added a dashboard to the personal section, to highlight things that I want to prioritize and to include any uplifting thoughts or inspirational quotes at the time. The miscellaneous and notes section serve to keep anything going on that has not yet been scheduled or assigned a category, or may not fit yet into any section. Notes will track any new ideas that need follow-up in the future but do not fit in the calendar yet. In addition, there are certain things that I do daily and some things that are always done quarterly and yearly that required a check list, so I don’t have to write those over and over. I didn’t want to use a standard checklist, so I came up with a check list that uses icons that I can cross out, and visually tells me quickly what I did and what is left to do on that day. I added a small to do section to it as well. It all fits in one sheet of paper and it is divided by sections – work, Me (personal and chores), weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. These are things that have to be done always. I added a fun and other tab for things that may come up in planning that day. So far it is working great.

The result is a mega life management system that takes a lot of space, is very heavy, but most important, works for me.  I wanted to show you some pictures to give you an idea but for some reason the WordPress picture feature is not working today, even that I still have tons of space available. If I am able to figure out what is wrong with it I will post the pictures.

I hope this idea inspires you.

Home Management System

Home Management System

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Here’s the Icon sheet

 

 Note: I was unable to upload the pictures while in Explorer; however, by changing to Firefox, I was able to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s New

To me, reviews are just opinions and the reason I never leave negative reviews. What I don’t like someone might enjoy. When I enjoy a book I leave a positive review, and if I think the book will be of great help to writers I will mention it here. I just finished reading Never Too Late – Your Roadmap to Reinvention by Claire Cook. I enjoyed this book. It is her first non-fiction and shares her experiences as a best-selling author and her views on reinvention. It is written in a conversational and warm tone, as she talks to the reader and shares her wisdom through many years of hard work and dedication to the craft. She shares many personal and significant experiences that many writers will appreciate. The book is great for aspiring writers who are looking for an honest and real view of what navigating these waters feels like. In addition, it will benefit people who are on a journey of reinvention and betterment of their lives. As most of you know, Claire Cook is the author of many novels and she has a unique style. One of her first novels was made into a movie – Must Love Dogs.

I added her book to my website under the recommended reads on writing. In addition, I added a FAQ on writing and indie publishing. I am planning on sharing a few posts on what I am doing to get back on the saddle and sort of renew my vows to myself and my work/life. I see it as a way of reinvention or starting a new page. There is no such thing as jumping out of your skin into another but you can certainly shed off what doesn’t serve you anymore. It is one journey with many roads, detours, and wherever you need to turn, backtrack or rest along the way, there is a place to reflect, breathe, and figure out your next step. After all, it is your journey and you make it whatever it may be.