For everything there is a season

2020 has been challenging in just about every way. Between the pandemic and racial and political divisiveness, this year has been draining at times.

For me, this season has been for reflection and personal growth. It’s been a season for kindness and forgiveness. A season to slow down and reconsider priorities. A season to count every single one of my blessings and help others.

In this season I’m thankful. I just celebrated my 31st birthday and I’m carrying this gratitude with me. I’m not waiting for 2020 to flash by so we can celebrate a new year and forget this one happened.

Instead I’m laughing so hard I cry with my husband. I’m reading more because it’s something I love. I’m cuddling with my pets. I’m cherishing time with family. I’m journaling and writing as a creative outlet and praying about any anxious thoughts.

For me this hasn’t been a season for hustle. It has been a season to slow down and see the good in the bad. It has been a season for grace and self-compassion. Instead of wishing the next 153 days away, I’m going to continue to carry hope and thankfulness with me.

What are you thankful for and what are some silver linings you’ve found in 2020?

May 2020 bullet journal layout

It’s May 1st, the sun is shining, I’m blasting some music and enjoying a day off from work.

As always, setting up my bullet journal for the month was cathartic. I decided to leave out weekly spreads because my events and to do lists are pretty small these days. So instead I added some extra space for writing in the monthly spread.

For my title page I drew some potted plants and added in some color. I decided to add a calendar page but didn’t add a task page. I also had fun filling out the “currently” sticker I found at Jo-Ann Fabrics to show what I’m currently reading, watching, doing, etc.

Next I added another mood tracker, habit tracker, and highlight section. I’ve been having fun writing down the highlight of my day for the past two months. Especially when it seems a little like every day is the same. It’s a good reminder that there is something good about every day. I’ve also enjoyed tracking my mood. I’ve realized that even if I have an off day here and there, most days have been good.

I’m trying to stay active during the time spent at home. I’m joining the summer Tone It Up program by Katrina and Karena and added that into my May section. The program kicks off May 11. For the last page, I added a space to journal about things during this time. The first thing I’ve added is that I’ve learned I’m a sore loser at board games 😉 My husband and I have been playing sequence and banagrams and I don’t like losing.

So, that’s it for May! I might add weekly spreads back in at some point, but for now this is what I’m going with.

Bullet Journal ideas when you’re home during the coronavirus

A bullet journal is a great place to be creative, organize notes and thoughts, and keep track of your to-do list. But, what happens when your to-do list is dwindling (read: non existent) along with events and other tasks because of the coronavirus? What happens when each day is pretty similar and you’re keep yourself busy with games, journaling, reading, writing, streaming services, and puzzles? In my case, I created lists!

The first list is some of the songs I’ve been listening to that made me smile. It’s Holy Week and because there won’t be big gatherings for Easter services and events, I’ve been listening to some songs that remind me that God is with me all the time even when I’m home every day adjusting to this weird time.

The second list features things that have brought me joy while I’ve been home. Whether it’s bullet journaling or blogging, I really enjoy creating things. Those outlets have helped me organize my thoughts and not just keep them inside. Sunshine, fresh air, pets, and FaceTime are some of the other must-haves.

The third is full of love. I got married in June 2018 and I made a list of things my husband and I have done together in 22 months of marriage. Some of my favorites include traveling- Dominican Republic, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. We’re also big music fans and have seen a lot of concerts together. One of my favorite memories is seeing Johnnyswim. We did a meet and greet before the concert and told them about how our first dance was to one of their songs. During the concert they gave us a shout out and said the song was dedicated to us. Another couple came back to where we were on the lawn and let us have their seats for the song. we went to the stage and they serenaded us. Just thinking about it still makes my heart happy.

The fourth list was completely different than what you see below. I colored the page green and used a quote: “When this is over: may we never again take for granted a handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with the neighbors, a crowded theater, Friday night out, the taste of communion, a routine checkup, the school rush each morning, coffee with a friend, the stadium roaring, each deep breath, a boring Tuesday, and life itself. When this ends may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way– better for each other because of the worst.”
– Laura Kelly Fanucc

I love the quote. A lot. but between the green marker and my terrible hand-writing it didn’t look great. So, enter in the Washi tape, hologram paper, and white paper, it became a list of eight things that cannot be cancelled. I loved how it turned out and it made me happy to make a list of some of the good things that cannot be cancelled while it seems like every event is being cancelled.

My fifth list was a quote that I saw recently that I liked. A snippet includes: “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. some meditated, some prayed, some danced, some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently…” It’s a good reminder that this extra time at home is also a time to relax and heal. The sixth list is books that I want to read at some point this year. I’ve been reading my way through my bookshelf and have really been enjoying it.

What about you? Are you bullet journaling? If so, what are you creating right now?

How my bullet journal is helping me plan, organize, and keep memories in 2020

This new year I decided to start a bullet journal. Before getting started I read The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal. I was a little overwhelmed at first wondering if I would be able to keep up with it.

Although I’m still a newcomer to the process it really has helped me plan, track, organize, journal, and keep memories.

The Bullet Journal really clicked for me when I saw it all come together on the page. The future log (for the year), monthly log, and daily log helped me feel more clear-headed and like I had the capability to tackle whatever task, work event, or errand I need to.

In the past I would buy planners and use them for three months before I set them aside and used them less and less as the year went on. The journal has allowed me to keep track of both work and personal stuff. I added a section to each of my daily logs to reflect on the day and keep track of memories.

I also started a section to keep track of the books I’m reading. I created a double spread to write down the books I read each month as well as a bookshelf where I can decorate a book cover. There is another double spread of a “book bracket” where I will choose the best book I read each month and narrow it down throughout the year until there is one book chosen as the book of the year.

One quote in the Bullet Journal Method book is, “in a cut-and-paste world that celebrates speed, we often mistake convenience for efficiency. When we take shortcuts, we forfeit opportunities to slow down and think. Writing by hand, as nostalgic and antiquated as it may seem, allows us to reclaim those opportunities…true efficiency is not about speed; it’s about spending more time with what truly matters.”

The first thing I learned about the bullet journal is that there are a lot of different versions. The creator of the method keeps his journal minimal but very detailed and creative spreads can be found on Instagram and Pinterest. I decided to make my daily logs a little more detailed but have attempted to start small and simple as to not overdo it.

I have created some special collections outside of the monthly and daily logs and the book spreads. I created a gratitude log, a short-term and long-term goals log, a photo log that I’ll update throughout the year, as well as a spread where I tracked the kind of tea my husband and I liked.

Here’s what I’ve used to create my bullet journal: A5 Dot Grid Notebook by Archer and Olive, a six-inch acrylic ruler, Tombow brush pens with soft and hard tips, Sakura Pigma Micron 05 Black pen, Midliners, and Crayola super tips markers.

Do you have a Bullet Journal? What tips do you have?