Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Things - Thanksgiving

Journaling doesn't come naturally to many people. Maybe you don't like the tone of your writing (I often cringe when I go back and read what I wrote because it's SOOO stream of consciousness). Maybe you get writer's block. Maybe it's just too difficult/time consuming an excercise when you're just struggling to get pictures in books.

If any of these describe your situation, lists might be the solution you're looking for.

A list can be short - just one word, or long - a description, even a paragraph expanding upon that, or somewhere in between.

Making a list of '10 things' is all the rage right now, but 10 is just a number. If that's too long a list for you, make it 5. Or tie it to the theme of your layout/story. For example, 6 things I love about you, for someone's 6th birthday/anniversary. You don't even need to tie in a number. Use a word or name to make a 'list' acronym. For example: things I love about Carina: Caring/Crazy/Crashing, Adorable/All-out/Appetite, Renegate/Roly Poly/Riotous, etc.

Start off with the short, and see where it takes you. A great card or layout doesn't need to have the long description. Short and sweet can be just as effective. If your descriptions are intimate thoughts that you don't want everyone reading, there are lots of great ways to hide journaling in tags, behind photos, etc.

I wanted to share my list of 10 things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, and I've actually created three lists so that you can see the short, the long, and the in-between of it.

1) God
2) Andrew
3) My daughters
4) Family
5) Our home
6) My job
7) My other job
8) The plan for next year
9) Friends
10) Time off

1) God - his grace, and the knowledge that he is sovereign.
2) Andrew - our marriage, it's a work in progress, but we are truly growing together.
3) My daughters - what a joy they are, how amazingly different and complementary they are, and how proud I am of them.
4) Family - that they are close by and for who involved they are in our lives.
5) Our home - we're so blessed to live in the shadow of the nation's capital, we're so blessed to have a home and to be so close to so many activities, parks, etc.
6) My job - especially during these difficult times, I am thankful to be gainfully employed.
7) My other job - I'm grateful to have found Close to My Heart, to be putting away money in our 'fun fund', and to have an outlet for my creative energies.
8) The plan for next year - to be able to work part time once Ellie goes to Kindergarten.
9) Friends - what would I do without them!
10) Time off - time away from work, to relax and be with Andrew or Andrew and the girls, our larger families, or friends.

1) God - for his grace as I am truly undeserving; for the knowledge that he is sovereign and that even when I have not idea what is going on, he is working out a purpose in my life; and for the promises he has made to me in his word.
2) Andrew - for our marriage - that we are working at it. It's often hard work, but we are working at it. That he is stepping out as the head of our home, and that we are setting aside time together each day to be together in prayer and the word.
3) My daughters - for the joy and blessing they are to me. Even when I'm so frustrated that I'm yelling, I wouldn't trade them for anything. They make me want to be better, so that they will be better. They challenge me, but at this stage in life love me unconditionally and with no holds barred. I can't imagine life without them and find it hard to remember life before them.
4) Family - for the fact that the geographic distance between family members is shrinking. Mom and Dad have been living in Virginia officially for just over a week now. I love that they will be so involved and accessible to the girls. I love that the rest of my family, though far away, makes the effort to get here and see the girls. They aren't strangers. The girls know and love each of them. I love that Andrew's family is close by also, and that Ellie has been able to spend extended periods of time in Lynchburg visiting with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. This is so different from when I was growing up and all our relatives were living across the globe and were essentially strangers.
5) Our home - for the blessing of having a home, and that we live in such an amazing area. There are so many opportunities here in Arlington, VA. And even more, for the gift of being able to live in the United States of America. I'm only a generation removed from growing up in a different country. I have often thought about how vastly different my life would have been if my grandparents/parents had made slightly different choices. I would be living somewhere else, speaking a different language, perhaps lacking many of the freedoms I enjoy and often take for granted. I love my home, and I love my country!
6) My job - for the blessing of having one during these difficult times. It's often not the most glamorous or even enjoyable work, but it allows me to contribute to our family's needs and to have the means to help others also.
7) My other job - for the gift of Close to My Heart. This is an endeavor I stumbled upon, but has allowed me to grow and learn and nurture the artistic side of me which has been busy doing other things for the last several years. I've been blessed to be able to save some spending money for the trip Andrew and I have planned next summer. I've been blessed to make new friends/customers/consultants. I've been blessed to meet and be encouraged by folks like you, and the rest of the creative blogosphere. I love this second job and I love how unsure I am of myself when it comes to this. It's been a step out on faith, and I continue to be amazed at how the story unfolds.
8) The plan for next year - for the ability to work part time once Ellie starts Kindergarten. Like many working moms, I have often felt the tension between working and staying at home. It's necessary to work, and I'm not sure if I would be good at staying home full time, but working full time makes life so crazy! I feel that in many ways I parent differently (even though I shouldn't). I make allowances because I want our time together to be fun, and wonderful, and I don't want to go down that difficult path of discipline where I know the rest of the evening will be shot. I want to be able to take time to let Ellie help me cook instead of rushing through it to get some food on the table so we can get to baths so bedtime isn't late. I want to be able to sit down and read and help with the homework. Maybe my rosy picture of what I'm going to do with all that time next year isn't realistic, but if I can even get to part of that list, be there when she gets off the bus, have that time to really be there and listen, it will be worth it!
9) Friends - what would I do without them! They put up with me, encourage me, help me, and pray for me. I'm not always great about keeping up with them, but I know that they are there, and that I can call on them when needed, and I think they know that I would do the same for them.
10) Time off - for time away from work to be with Andrew, or Andrew and the girls, extended family, or friends. To be in my natural state where I can say and be who I am without worrying about my appearance, or having to think about my words (although I should probably still think about that a little). To be me. I find that I crave these times more and more as 'grow up'. I need these times to recharge, refocus, and remember what it's all about.

So there you have it. A long post, and no artwork, but I hope that it's encouraged you to try making a list. Even if you don't have time to do the long or in-between, job down the short list and come back to it later. See where it takes you, but try it. Journaling takes practice, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

  1. OHHH! I love the idea of writing short, medium, and long versions of journaling--this will def. help me!! I haven't read your entire post--I'm a bit tired from our weekend....but I have bookmarked it:) I love your #1!! God is GOOD:)