Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekly Favorites

I read a lot of blogs, ya'll.  I mean, a lot.  And the thing is, they are all quality blogs.  They all give me something that makes me laugh, makes me learn, or makes me mad (Yes, I like those too.  I'm open-minded!).

So I thought I would start something new here at The Journal Keeper.  I'll share a little bit about what I've read over the past week.  I know a lot of my blog friends are doing it, and I like that it's a great way to share blogs.

Anywho, I'm choosing Monday to be my "blog sharing day" because, well, I don't know why, really.  Just go with it, ok?  I haven't yet come up with a cool name for my Monday Blog Sharing posts, so if you have any suggestions, please put them down there in the comments!

The Blog Doctor: The Non-Niche Blog @ yes and yes

I have struggled for so long with not really having a niche that I felt comfortable claiming.  But I do love the idea of sharing my thoughts and my day to day journey.  I was so happy to come across this blog post by yes and yes.  She nailed it for me, and now I just have to start adhering to some of the points she mentioned.  Be patient, I'm working on it.

How to Manicure at Home @ Petit Elefant (by way of Just A Titch)

Oh. My. Gosh.  I loved this post for so many reasons.  First, I came across it at Just A Titch, which is one of my favorite blogs to read.  Second, I love lists, and this post lists out the step-by-step process for giving yourself an at-home manicure.  Win!  Third, I am a bad nail-biter, and have been relying on getting the "gel nails" now for a while.  But I'll be honest -- I'm not comfortable with the artificial nails for many reasons, and this gives me a great way to meticulously take care of my nails.  Now, if I could just get myself to sit still long enough to give myself a home manicure, life would be great.  But that's another issue.

Why Copying Inspires Creativity @ Write To Done

When I was a pre-teen, I was reading a book about teen life.  I don't remember the name of it or who wrote it.  But I do remember that the story drew me in and it was how I wanted my teen life to really be.  And for some reason that escapes my memory, I started to copy the story onto sheets of notebook paper, except I changed it a little bit to include the people in my life.  That was my first real experience of writing.  Ridiculous, I know, but I learned something during that first "copying" experience.  We all copy others in one form or another, except we learn a little something as we go.  I think that moment of copying was what spawned my desire and my need to create and to write.  This blog post brought back that memory, and made me realize that, although I am hard on myself about how far I've come in my writing, I'm still quite a ways from where I was in those pre-teen years.

How Irish Dancing Got Started @ Videos2View (by way of an email from my Mom)

Ok, this is just silly, but it made me laugh when I really needed it.  (Thanks, Mom!)  I didn't get it at first, but I finally realized what made it so funny.  If you get it at the beginning, don't tell me.  I don't want to feel like a doofus.

Writing to Write @ Kristie Was Here

This was another "Oh. My. Gosh" post that came at just the right time.  I've been suffering from the "I can't write anything because I'm stupid and should have never tried to be a writer in the first place" plague for a while now.  Say, almost TWO YEARS.  I quit a really good job in 2008 to "finish writing my novel and get it published and make millions of dollars."  You don't have to tell me how stupid I was.  I already know.  Anyway,  this post made me realize that since that very moment when I was trying to be a full-time writer, I have been trying to write for other people.  I have been trying to write what I thought other people wanted to read.  I lost my voice.  I lost my drive.  I had forgotten the reason that I started writing in the first place:  because it was what I was meant to do.  And so because of that I have been reborn, in a sense, and I'm trying to find my own voice again.  This blog is helping.  So, thanks for that, Kristie.  :)

Alright, that's enough for me.  What other goodies do you all have to share with me?  C'mon, I'm always looking for something good to read!  Please share in the comments below!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekly Review

Hi there!  Happy Sunday!  I hope you've had a great week.

My week was somewhat eventful, though mostly filled by undesirable things.  I'm not complaining, though.  Everything worked out in the end.

The first part of the week we were reminded that things happen for a reason, and when you work hard to help yourself, God finds ways to give you a little boost.  Things didn't turn out the way we had hoped, but they turned out much better than they could have.  For that, we are thankful!

On Wednesday I stayed home from work with some sort of stomach bug.  I hate staying home from work. I always feel so guilty.  But I also think it's rude to go to work when you are sick and risk spreading germs to your workmates.  By Thursday I was mostly feeling better and went back to work, and by Friday I was good as new again.

Thursday was the First Day of School for the girls!  They were both sorry to see their Summer come to an end, but excited to get back to the classroom and to be with their friends again.  We have one on her last year in elementary school, and one on her last year in middle school.  Big year for them both!

Friday was spent waiting and preparing for Hurricane Irene's arrival, and Saturday was spent watching her.  We are in Central North Carolina, so fortunately for us we only had to endure her outer bands.  We did have a little bit of rain and quite a bit of wind.  Our only damage was to a beautiful tree in the circle of our cul-de-sac.

I hope you've had a good week.  Did you do anything exciting?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Review

Hey there!  Happy Sunday (well, what's left of it, anyway)!  How did this weekend go by so quickly?  It's just not fair, I tell you!

The past week was somewhat eventful.  Let's see, there was...

~ Dinner out with a few girlfriends to celebrate a birthday

~ A surprise party for a friend to celebrate her awesomeness

~ A night of karaoke to celebrate our second anniversary

Wow, that's a lot of celebrating!  It was a fun week, and I was happy to spend it with so many friends.

The weekend has been pretty quiet.  Yesterday was day four of a headache that would just not quit, so I took some of the hub's left-over Tylenol with codeine.  The good news is it got rid of my headache in about ten minutes.  The bad news is I was pretty much a zombie for the entire day.  I took a four hour nap!

Today has been spent catching up on laundry (I used to love doing laundry...) and working on a new project. Yes, I know I don't need another project.  I have several other projects that have not gotten the attention they deserve.  Well, I'm hoping this new project will help me with the old project.  I'll tell you more about that later.

Right now my comfy cloud bed with it's fluffy European goose down comforter is calling me.  I hope to get some reading in before I doze off.

I hope you had a great weekend.  Did you do anything exciting?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How To Not Be a Coward

rainier n.

I need your help.

I'm failing miserably at this blogging thing, and I know why, but I don't know how to get past it.

I have no problem writing for myself.  I have journals filled with my ramblings.  My journals are my best friends.  But I want to branch out.  I want to write for other people.  I want to share things with you, and make friends, and build relationships.  But here's the problem.  The little voice inside my head (he's this nerdy little dude who really gets on my nerves, but he won't go away) keeps telling me my posts are stupid, and that no one wants to read them, and why in the world would I want to put myself out into the internet void where they will just drift aimlessly forever.

I know I should not care about what other people think, but the point of my blogging is to put myself out there for others to read.  If no one reads me, then no one likes me.  And I can't tell you all the issues THAT brings up.

So, how do you get past that?  How do you quiet that mean old internal voice and just do it anyway?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A List: Things I'm Good At

This is part of a series of posts for the "30 Days of Lists" project.  To read more of my posts related to this project, go to my "30 Days of Lists" page, or click on the "lists" tag.

To learn more about the project, visit the ladies at 30 Days of Lists!  They're awesome!

  1. Singing
  2. Writing
  3. Procrastinating
  4. Relaxing
  5. Driving
  6. Organizing
  7. Taking Charge
  8. Notebook collecting
  9. Planning
  10. Worrying

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Tool That Helps Me Remember The Milk

Today's installment of My Favorite Things focuses on the one electronic tool that helped me break my 20-plus-year paper planner habit.

Remember The Milk is perfect for those who love to make lists and keep up with to-dos.  It's an application that comes as a downloadable client, a web-based application, and an iPhone app.  All of the tools sync together (once every 24 hours with the free version, and unlimited with the paid version), so you can access your lists whether you're at your desk, at a friend's house, or at the grocery store!

When I used a paper planner, I religiously wrote down all of my tasks and lists.  Oh, the lists -- I had a slew of them!  I was constantly rewriting the tasks I didn't complete on a certain day, or the tasks that recur on a regular basis.  Worse than that, though, was that my planner grew to be so large, I rarely took it with me when I left the house.  That meant that I frequently forgot those items in my lists.  I wasted a lot of time.

I love Remember The Milk because it helps me keep track of all of the tasks and lists I used to keep in my paper planner.  I don't have to rewrite a task if I don't get to it today -- it will faithfully show up to remind me tomorrow.  I don't have to waste time and gas running errands that I forgot to do while I was already out, and I don't have to go back to the grocery store when I've forgotten an item.  Remember the Milk literally helps me to remember the milk!  

I can also stay focused by creating several different lists.  I have a list for chores, books I want to read, my goals, shopping... all kinds of subjects to keep my life organized.

I use Remember the Milk on the web so I can use it while I'm at my computer, and I also have it on my iPhone to review and update when I'm out and about.  I haven't used the download client yet, because I really haven't needed it.

Remember The Milk has truly, truly transformed my life.  I'm not getting paid to say that -- I really mean it!  If you're looking for an app to help you stay organized and on task, give it a look see!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Review

Hamed Saber

Hi there!  Happy Sunday!  I hope you've been enjoying your weekend.  In my part of the world we've had a cool(er) few days, but this week the heat and humidity are supposed to fire up again.  Booo.

My week has been fairly uneventful, mostly because I've had a Horrible Summer Cold that forced me to stay home from work for two and a half days.  I'm feeling much closer to normal now, thank goodness, and should resume my regularly scheduled life tomorrow.

One thing I did get to do (when I wasn't in a self-induced Nyquil coma) was a lot of thinking.  I've passed the half-year mark, when I typically take stock in where I am goal-wise for the year, and whether I need to re-adjust my coordinates for the remainder.  I was not surprised to realize that I've fallen short on making any progress at all.  And that's simply because I get too distracted.  There are too many times my attention and my time are spent on things that steer me away from my goals.  Sometimes I don't even realize it has happened, but then other times I choose to let it happen (but always regret it).

So for the past few days I have reviewed and revised my goals and am going to try to get back on track.  The first half of the year may have been a wash, but I'm going to try hard to make the second half ubber productive.

Oh, one other thing we did this weekend is see the last of the Harry Potter movies.  I think it was very well done, as was the entire series.  It's a little sad to see the end of Harry and the gang.

What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A List: A Few Things About Me

This is part of a series of posts for the "30 Days of Lists" project.  To read more of my posts related to this project, go to my "30 Days of Lists" page, or click on the "lists" tag.

To learn more about the project, visit the ladies at 30 Days of Lists!  They're awesome!

  1. I love snow.
  2. I hate being cold
  3. I am working on my first novel.
  4. I love cereal.
  5. I hate beets.
  6. My middle name is Lynn.
  7. I rock the karaoke stage.
  8. I will faint at the sight of blood.
  9. I am grouchy without my coffee.
  10. I am learning to meditate.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Favorite Things

I'm starting to use this blog more as a place to keep track of things that are interesting to me, what I'm doing, where I'm going, and such.  So far I have shared my bucket list, my favorite blogs, my journey to build a better blog, and my goals for the year.

Today I started a page for my favorite things.  My tastes change frequently, but I thought it would be fun to make a list of those things that bring me joy, feed my soul, help me to be a better person, and just make my days more enjoyable.

You can find this pages and the others I have created over there on the right under "Other Stuff."

Do you have a favorite item that I should try?  Post your suggestions in the comments below!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hit Like a Ton of Bricks

Ugh.  Yesterday I went back to work after a 10-day vacation, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don't mean to sound like a baby, but Waaaah! 

I had gotten used to sleeping until 8:00 AM, sipping my coffee until late morning, and having life run on a very relaxed schedule.  I stayed busy, mind you, but it was a busy that I wanted to do.  It was fun!

Now Mr. Babycakes has started his 4:00 AM work schedule for the month, I've gone back to work, and reality has set in.  Booo.

One of the things I did during my vacation was to set my goals for the coming year.  Let me tell you, that is really easy to do when you are, well, on vacation.  Anything seems possible.  Now that I'm back to my normal schedule and routine, my plans for reaching my goals are HARD.

That's okay.  My bad.  I just have to regroup.  Replan.  And take one day at a time.  This was, after all, just my first day back.  Things will get better once I get back into my routine. 


Monday, January 3, 2011

My List of Google Reader Items

I love Google Reader.  I started using it several years ago when my blog-reading started to blossom and I needed an easy way to keep track of all of the new posts.  Since then, I visit Google Reader almost every day.

I thought it would be fun to share the list of my favorite blogs.  Please keep in mind that this list changes semi-frequently as I find new blogs to read or discover that a blog I've been reading no longer holds my interest.

So here they are, in alphabetical order.  Please check them out.  They'll be worth your time.  I don't read junk.  :)

  1. A Big Creative Yes
  2. A Daddy Blog
  3. A Life In Translation
  4. A Working Mother's Daily Rant
  5. Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online
  6. Be More With Less
  7. Better Writing Habits
  8. Caffeinate Me
  9. Calvin and Hobbes at GoComic
  10. Confident Writing
  11. Journaling Saves
  12. Just One Week
  13. Lateral Action
  14. Life in Development
  15. Make A Living Writing
  16. Men With Pens
  17. Mnmlist
  18. My Escape Velocity
  19. Pick The Brain
  20. ProBlogger
  21. Procrastinating Writers
  22. Stepcase Lifehack
  23. Stirrup Queens
  24. The Positivity Blog
  25. The Reflective Writer
  26. Write It Sideways
  27. Write To Done
  28. Just A Titch
  29. Zen Habits
  30. {Courage 2 Create}

Do you use Google Reader or some other type of RSS reader?  Do you use it for another purpose, other than blogs?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Week In Review

Something I have done for years is to review the past week.  I go through my planner for the past week to see what I've done, what I've accomplished, and where I still need work.  I also go through my journal and read the entries from the past week to see what I was feeling and doing.  What insights or discoveries did I make?

This exercise helps to keep me on track with my goals.  I am able to see at a glance where I am exceling and where I am falling behind.  It's an empowering exercise for me.

This Week's Review:

I've been on vacation from work this week, so I've had LOTS of time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.  I used the time to catch up on household chores, personal matters that needed attention, and of course my planning for 2011.  I had a follow-up doc appointment (My blood pressure has been too high for three visits in a row.  Not good.), and a much-anticipated phone call (more on that later).  My brand new nephew, Alex, arrived right on time (congrats and much love to Melissa and Gregg!) and I've really enjoyed our time with the girls.  What I am most excited about, though, is my renewed productivity.  I have gotten so much done over the past few days -- all things that are very important to me and will propel me towards reaching my goals.  And I've made some concrete plans for the year to come to make sure that productive trend continues!

I typically get sad about the end of the holidays.  The week between Christmas and the New Year tend to be a bit gloomy.  I LOVE the holidays and hate to see them end.  But this year is different.  Sure, I feel a bit melancholy about another holiday that has come and gone, but this time my spirit has been renewed and I have a new vigor.  I have so much to look forward to!  I'm anxious for the days and weeks and months to come.

Here's what you may have missed:

Thursday:  How Do I Make The Most of This Vacation Day?

Friday:  Six-Month Review and End-of-Year Wrap-Up

Saturday:  Happy New Year!

Plans for the Coming Week:

This coming week may be a bit tough.  I have to tend to some things that will be difficult for me, and I'll be working to add some positive habits and get rid of some negative ones. I also am going to get back to my novel.  That's something I want to do very much, but I've got to get past the wall that's been holding me back for several months.  There's much determination behind me, though, so I'm confident I'll be successful!

Do you have a regular ritual to help keep you on track with your goals and/or responsibilities?  I'd love to hear from you!

I hope you have a great first week of 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Sally M*

Can you believe it's 2011?  Doesn't it seem like we just celebrated the first day of 2010?

I don't know about you, but 2010 was a whirlwind for me.  There were tears and laughter, struggles and wins, failures and successes.  There were times when I felt so beat down I couldn't imagine getting back up. 

But most times I was lifted up by the loving, caring support of those around me.  And it's to those wonderful people that I'd like to send this message:

Thank You.  

Thank you for being there for me, for listening to my whines and cries, for making me laugh, and for helping me to remember that life is a dance that should be enjoyed and treasured.

I also want to wave to my new friends out there.  *waves frantically*  I'm so glad to have you in my life.  Your friendship and encouragement means more to me than you know.

I wish you all the most successful and joyful year to come.  2011 is going to be a year to remember!