Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘journals’


Happy Fall everyone. I’m so ready for it.  Time for a change. Agreed?

Cathy at nanacathy posted about her notebooks recently. That led to an online discussion when I said mine were not so pretty, mostly utilitarian. I have more notebooks in my house than dishes. She challenged me to show them. Since my children insisted they not be left for the fire to burn,  I had many in one location; the floor of the car. Do you know how heavy years of journals are?

A box of large journals and a couple of small notebooks

Some years writing was sporadic, others more consistent. I told my daughter they should just be shredded and forgotten. After all, my journals were full of frustrations about my behavior and everyone else’s in my life. When I looked back at my writing, I realized that I often complained about the same thing.  Then I realized it was finally time to make changes and the journals were for planning a new attitude. They helped me see my patterns and come up with ways to change those patterns.

I’m a person with little proper sense of time. Not like the kind where you are late for everything. I will never be late. It’s rude to think someone’s time is less valuable than your own. If you ask me when something happened in my life, I often can’t tell you. I have to look it up. Even if it was last week. Time is fluid for me so keeping it on paper helps ground me.

Cathy also keeps a daily planner. I had stopped doing that when I got a smart phone. It remembered and reminded me of everything. My grocery list went to my phone because I always lost my paper list in the store. That still holds true. When I decided to go back to see when I’d last had a haircut or a doctor’s appointment, everything but major holidays were GONE!

Now I keep a small daily planner and Cathy gave me new ways to use it. I’m making a brief note of anything I might need to remember later. It’s quicker than looking back through the journal like the day our city caught fire and we had to evacuate and another note when we were able to finally come home. It’s working out quite well and the planner takes less room to store.

Not much going on.

I have a separate small journal that is used nightly, no matter what to write what I am most grateful for that day. Just one line on a page to focus on what is really the blessing in my day. I can expound on that in the nightly dump journal which is only one page long.

Newest gratitude journal

I am still doing morning pages though sometimes it’s only one side of a notebook page. Other times it will be all three pages as I work through the days challenges and give them some order. Then I wander out for a cuppa and watch those plans go right in the bucket. It gives me something to laugh about at night.


Do you keep notebooks and are yours pretty or serviceable?

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open” ~ Natalie Goldberg

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Cure for the Blahs

It’s almost the middle of February! Where the heck did the time go? And where has everyone been? Like myself, so many other bloggers that I follow have been curiously absent. After the holidays, and the push to get my place livable again, I found myself sitting in my chair in the den after waking up in the morning and staying there till it was time to feed the body. I read, watched some news, always in fast forward with the sound off until they came to something that didn’t make my blood pressure rise and then I was tired and took a nap. It was a bad routine of sitting and barely motivating myself to read much less write a post.

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

Research was necessary. I found my journals from previous years and discovered  there was a pattern. The after Christmas letdown. Some years it was like I had gone into hibernation. When you don’t have a job, it’s easier to do but I think the need was there even when I was working. Retirement age makes hibernation easy. It seems so many are struggling with a lethargy from the post-election time through the holiday until the first signs of spring peaks through.

A new book to cheer me on.

A new book to cheer me on.

I’ve been sending out e-mail and cards to blogging friends and other friends to check on them. I learned years ago that the quickest way to feel better was to reach out to others. Many of us get caught in a rut and don’t know which way to go next. We feel…blah.  My friend at Gardening Nirvana must have had the same idea.

Today started out slow again with good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell being paved with them. By mid-afternoon I forced myself out of my chair to the top of the terraces in order to bury more green waste. I had planned a walk that didn’t happen so instead I grabbed the rake and shovel. After digging two large holes and burying the green waste, I raked a great deal of the debris that had fallen from the trees in the last wind and rain and snow storms this winter. That’s pretty good exercise for me. Getting ready to invite spring. Then I noticed spring was popping up its little head. I’m thinking that spending more time out there will smack the blahs right in the tush and get me moving again.

The blueberry bush was a gift from my friend that also blogs at “incahootswithmuddyboots”


Are you coming out of the winter blahs or do you just power through without a problem?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself





In Search of Thanksgiving Gratitude

It always seems like the holiday is a long way off, then all of a sudden, there it is. Making decisions whether or not to cook or let someone else do the cooking can be tricky. Some years ago, I would cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for between 17 to 20 people and enjoyed every minute of it. That’s how I showed them my love. As children grew and had their own families, I learned to make adjustments in my meals. Frozen lasagna, cooked and set out with vegetable, cracker & cheese trays along with plenty of cookies became the new norm and easier on me. It went from everyone sitting down at the extra-long table to setting up a buffet in the kitchen for a grab a bite, visit, and then go on to the next family. I could share them with others.

Bubbles is staying at my son's house for a while. How can it be Thanksgiving and not be grateful for all good dogs.

Bubbles is staying at my son’s house for awhile. How can it be Thanksgiving and not be grateful for all good dogs.

When we moved away, we made more changes to how we did holidays. Now that I live alone and my circle of family and friends has become even smaller, I’ve adapted once again. This year my daughter will drive us to her cousin’s very small house so we can share Thanksgiving with her four daughters, her mother and her significant other’s family. The place will be busting at the seams but the gathering of people who love each other outweighs any discomfort. For me, the hardest part is coming home in the dark. I have to keep my eyes closed as the lights and movement can make me quite nauseous. I’ve decided to take some wine to see if that helps keep my eyes closed. I’m an awful passenger seat driver in the daylight.

Thanksgiving is a special day to remember things you are grateful for. How many of you are grateful for the fact that you have such abundance that dieting is often a necessary part of your life. A lot of the world is looking for food, I have more than enough and choose to eat sparingly most of the time anyway. Yes, we donate to the less fortunate and I’m grateful I can do that as well.

For me, this holiday is about seeing people we don’t always have close by. My sister-in-law (sister-at-heart) has flown in from Missouri to spend both holidays with her daughter and granddaughters. Even after her brother and I divorced, we were still sisters. I’m grateful for a family that loves me even when they could choose to not.

Teaching my daughter to use the machine. Gifts are being made.

Teaching my daughter to use the machine. Gifts are being made.

There is no shortage of gratitude in my daily life. I write them in the morning and again at night. Instead of looking at all the things that present a challenge to me, (fixed income, health challenges, way too much solitude) I have so much more for which to be grateful.

On Monday, I had to change planes in San Jose, CA with a bit of time between flights. Wandering around for some exercise, I went back to the same gate I got off the plane at. It was time for my flight to leave and I didn’t understand why they weren’t calling for boarding. At the very last-minute, I heard a whisper in my head to check my boarding pass. I was at the wrong gate. A quick jog allowed me to be the very last passenger on my flight, but I didn’t miss it. I was oh so grateful.

I'm grateful my niece can make me look human again.

I’m grateful my niece can make me look human again.

Tomorrow I will be grateful for a noisy crowded house with plenty to eat and a daughter that is willing to get me back and forth. Each year the celebrations are different from the last. I’m grateful for adaptability. Thanksgiving comes every day that I allow it. How are you showing your gratitude for what is on this day of remembrance?

Happy, happy Thanksgiving everyone.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a New Story

For the first time in my life I am getting the opportunity to take a creative writing class. It’s at the senior center and I have become an early member at the ripe age of 63. I fit in quite nicely there with my silver cane and cautious step. They have been warm and kind even though I still find it hard to express myself verbally as the facial paralysis continues. That’s where the writing comes in.

Writing is something I have been doing for the past 25 years to preserve what sanity I had left. I know, it’s questionable as to the amount of sanity still available. I’ve never been a story writer per se but I love a good story. So many wonderful writers out there weave a web that draws me in and I can’t put the book down until I see what happens to the characters. I recently read a story of a woman whose husband had left her for someone younger. When that didn’t work out he came and tried to manipulate his way back into her life. I had decided then and there that if the writer had her heroine take back the louse, I would never read another of her books. Lucky for her the story turned out how I wanted it too. I was caught up as though I knew these people. That’s the kind of story I want to write. I want to find where my creativity and imagination have been hiding and bring them out to play. Daily journal writing documenting the chaos that is my life is what I do and in a way it’s a story. It’s a “just the facts ma’am” kind of writing that if I told the whole story it could make you laugh, cry and curl your hair. It’s a story that I will eventually need to tell in full.

Though I am without formal education, at my heart level I think I’ve always been or at least wanted to be a teacher. Now I am trying to use my words to teach. For the time being, my subject is Bells Palsy; how I’m trying to heal from it and the consequences of not heeding the bodies warning signs that something in life isn’t working. My life was out of balance and now my body is trying to get its balance back. Funny how that worked out. It would help a lot if the Bells Palsy hadn’t short circuited the pathway in my brain that helps me find words but slowly and with certainty, new circuits are forming and old circuits are healing. Sentences are coming quicker and writing anything helps that healing process.

I’ve written well over 20 volumes of the same old story of my life. When I hear others that I know continue to whine about their lives I think to myself; either do something about it or shut up already. I’m pretty sure my family and friends were thinking the same thing about me. Thank goodness I’ve finally turned the corner with that. These last two plus years have brought the greatest and most positive changes in my journal writing.

Now I write about the actions I’m taking, like signing up for the class or getting the sewing and needlework back out. I write about the house I want to buy when the house I still jointly own with my ex-husband is sold. No, I’m not holding my breath. I have written the description of every room down in detail. My cozy cottage has a welcoming and spacious covered front porch with several wicker chairs and small tables so my neighbors can come and sit; sip tea or wine while exchanging ideas and stories. There is a library in this house and a comfy white wicker desk and chair to sit at and write. The kitchen is optional. I’d prefer take out from the local health food store or just fresh fruits and veggies.

I believe we create the life we live with our thoughts, attitudes and actions. My thoughts become words and then they can become real things. My life so far has me really wondering what the heck I was thinking back then. Through my writing I want to create the most interesting and fun life ever. I want to tell you about all the places I have seen in the world and all the interesting people I have met. Will I ever be a real writer? I don’t have an answer to that though I would like that very much. That’s why I’m taking a class. What makes a writer real? At the end of the day, I guess it’s the need and desire to put words together to express ourselves in print. Each of us does it a bit differently. That’s what makes it so very interesting. Vive la difference!

The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home
. – John Campbell

From my heart to yours,