31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Future

Day 31: Future

It’s hard to believe that Day 31 is here, and I made it through every single day! There was only one day this month (just a few days ago) where I didn’t have my entry ready to post at midnight, but I did get it posted later that day. I have a problem with following through with things like this, usually because it sounded like a good idea at the time, then it gets boring or tedious or I take on too much. I feel accomplished that I stuck to it, and it tells me that I can do this!

You know what, though? I’m actually kind of sad that it’s ending. I’ve actually been dreading this day for the last week or so because it’s been really nice to already know what I am going to write about, so now I feel like I have to come up with all new content. I probably won’t continue to blog everyday and go back to blogging a few times a week when the words need to get out of my head. Strike that! I started writing this earlier in the day then received an email from BlogHer about November’s NaBloPoMo this afternoon and just might have been hopped up on novocaine from a dental appointment, but I decided that I’m going to participate. I’m making no concrete promises that I will participate every day, but I’m going to make an effort. It helps that the blogging prompts for November have already been posted. There’s no pressure from BlogHer to stick to those prompts, but they seem like reasonable prompts for my style of writing.

I purposely saved the journaling prompt of Future for the last day of the challenge because I feel like beyond this entry is the future of my blog. Well, duh! It’s the future of everything, right? Of course it is, but I feel like these past 31 days have really set the groundwork for what I’m going to do with my writing and this site. After a very long time, I’m really close to feeling like a real writer. I’ve learned that I don’t have to have a published novel or have a full time job writing to be a writer. I can be a writer for my own enjoyment and the people who read what I have to say.

I am a writer and this is the beginning of my future. I hope you will join me in my journey.

What does your future look like? What goals are you looking forward to achieving?

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” - Eleanor Roosevelt 

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days of Powerful Words @ Cindy H Ramsey

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Potential

Day 30: Potential

All my life I’ve heard that very few people live up to their potential. While I won’t argue with that statement, I do wonder at what level one would have to be in order to live up to the throne of using all of one’s potential? Did Albert Einstein, Marie Curie or Alexander Fleming live up to their full potential or could they have discovered something even greater? Where’s the limit?

When I was in high school and college, without a doubt I was smarter than the effort I put into my work. I wouldn’t say that I was lazy, but I know I could have tried harder. That pretty much sums up everything in my life. Let me pause here and say that I am NOT putting myself down or anything like that. I’m simply saying that there are numerous times where I know that I could try harder. I’m sure it’s the case for most people. There’s always going to be something that we halfway do for a variety of different reasons, such as lack of time, commitment, interest or resources. We live in a society where just getting by is good enough most of the time. Do the minimum to get it done. This isn’t always by choice, either. There might be a project at work that I would love to spend much more time doing and completing to perfection, but then there are other projects that need my attention.

I know that I could be a better writer if I ventured out more and tried other genres. As much as I enjoy reading fiction, I am not comfortable writing fiction. I’m sure if I worked on it or took a creative writing course, then I could excel at it or at least be decent with it. However, at this stage in my life, I am fine with the voice that I have with writing. It’s much easier to just be myself than to be someone else. Maybe someday I will try fiction again.

If writing is something that you are interested in, whether it be journaling your thoughts like I do or creative writing with fictional characters, I would like to encourage you to start exercising your writing skills by using the 31 Journaling Prompts that I have written about this month. They could easily be used for both fiction and non-fiction writing. Another great resource for me is Writing Through Life, a website with weekly journaling prompts, as well as a free 4-week Journaling 101 course. Finally, my awesome friend, Rebekah, wrote a Guest Post On Being A Writer that offers some practical tips on getting started. 

Whatever area of your life you have more potential than you are using, I encourage you to seek it out and try to be more than you are. In the long run, it will definitely be worth your time and effort.

In what area do you have more potential than you are using? Do you stick with just getting by or do you go all the way? 

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” - Winston Churchill

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days: The Thrift Project @ Beautiful Objects

 

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Inspiration

Day 29: Inspiration

In my writing, I seek inspiration for myself, as well as sharing with others in hopes that they find inspiration, as well. At the end of most every entry I write in my blog, I include a quote or Bible verse that has spoken to me. I write include it just as much for myself as I do for anyone reading. I also gather inspiration from the words that I read in books and blogs written by others.

Inspiration is everywhere!

There have been a few times during this 31 Day journey that I have had a bit of writer’s block, though I admit that it’s not been as frequent as I feared when I challenged myself to this project. In the past, I’ve tried writing fiction, and those times usually end with incredible bouts of writer’s block to the point where I realized that fictional writing is not my genre. The words that long to get out of my head and onto paper (or the screen) are my thoughts and perceptions of what is in and around my life, therefore the inspiration that I find to write is all around me everyday and everywhere. There are times that I wish I had something that recorded my thoughts so that it would be easier for me to write them out later. But really, who wouldn’t want that? Okay, except for those thoughts that you don’t want to share with others. I’d need an on/off switch for sure.

Pinterest is incredibly popular right now and provides an excellent source for inspiration, as well as procrastination*. While I’ll be the first to admit that I have wasted many hours scrolling through Pinterest and adding pins of interesting projects or yummy meals, I have benefitted greatly from using Pinterest as inspiration, as well. My creativity often requires that I produce some sort of craft, and we all know there is a multitude of inspiring crafts on Pinterest. There’s also been memorable quotes and words to contribute to my contentment, fantastic meals I might not have discovered and DIY Tips to make life a little easier. While I know that Pinterest has been more positive for me than negative, I do try to be aware of how much time I spend there so I don’t get behind in other areas of my life.

Inspiration can also be found in your surroundings. Art is everywhere, whether created by man or by God. The beautiful season of Fall is here, and while driving this past weekend, I noted how inspiring the changing colors of the leaves can be inspiring to me to recycle, renew and reuse things in my own life. Our lives can cycle through different seasons, as well. We don’t have to constantly stay the same and it’s okay to go back to what we know and love.

How do you find inspiration? What inspires you? 

*Note: I’m so glad that I didn’t choose Procrastination as one of this month’s journaling prompts, though maybe I should have!

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” - Thomas Merton

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” - Romans 15:13  

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Inspiring Days @ Ladybugs, Butterflies & Boxing

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31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Contentment

Day 28: Contentment

So far I’ve been ahead of the game with having my entries ready to post at midnight every night. Yesterday’s post was about Excuses, and yesterday was the first day that I didn’t have the next day’s entry already written. I could give some valid reasons as to why that happened, but in reality they’d just be excuses. It’s really as simple as saying that living life came first.

Contentment is a difficult topic for me because it’s something that I struggle with daily. I frequently fall victim to thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, there’s something I’d rather have or I wish, I wish, I wish… Seriously, it’s pretty bad. To be honest, when I got to today’s topic, I admit that I dreaded writing about it, because of how bad it can be for me. However, I know that I am not alone.

I’ve been reading (off and on), a book entitled, Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow. I started reading it with a few other bloggers but quickly fell behind in reading it along with the others. I picked it back up the other day when I was looking over my list of journaling prompts and saw that this day was coming soon. I wanted to feel more prepared to write this entry. In retrospect, it’s probably good that I fell behind in reading, because last night I read some really interesting information about why Americans are so discontent with what we have when we already have so much: marketing and advertising.

While I don’t also want to fall victim to giving excuses, I can definitely see how marketing has targeted us to believe that we need more and more and more. We’re given false hope that happiness can be achieved by what we own, so we continue to accumulate more stuff, only to find that it doesn’t make us any more content, therefore we must buy more. It’s a vicious cycle that is never going to get us anywhere, and it’s certainly never going to make us more content.

The author of the book even goes on to say that she met a family from Poland when Poland was still under communism who asked why Americans need God when we already have so much. Can we say WOW? It was an eye opening experience for me to consider that someone would think that we don’t need God because of material possessions. But truly, isn’t that what we’re striving for even if we don’t realize it? I don’t consciously say to myself that buying things will lessen my need for God, but that’s what I am doing. I need to seek contentment by seeking God and not accumulating possessions.

In addition to marketing and advertising, we also fall victim to comparing ourselves with others. It’s so easy to notice that person who appears to have it all: the great marriage, excellent job, nice car, a beautiful home, perfect kids, and so on. We only see those perfect traits of that apparently contented person and think that if we have all that he or she has, then we’ll be more content just like that. If we just had one of those things…or even all of those things, then life will be perfect, and we’ll never have problems ever. Come on, you know you do it! I do it all the time, and it makes me miss out on the joys of what is in my life that truly make me happy. We can’t see the good stuff in our life when our focus is on what others have. I encourage you to take inventory of what is in your life that leads to contentment and focus on finding your contentment in God and not what you don’t have or what others have.

Do you fall victim to the greener grass of other pastures? What could you do differently to finding contentment than what you’re currently doing? 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough” ― Oprah Winfrey

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”  ― Dale Carnegie

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days Away from Comparison Island @ Daily Bread & Butter

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Excuses

Day 27: Excuses

Oh my! Excuses? I can’t believe that I chose this as a journaling prompt. It’s probably good that I saved it for the last part of the month, as I can only imagine the excuses that I would have come up with to NOT write about it.

You know, as the end of the month draws near, I am admittedly surprised that I have not come up with excuses to not write or to skip a day here and there. It’s Day 27, and I have written everyday on time. There were even a couple of days earlier in the month where I had a few written early, and I’m glad I did since we had a death in the family this month that could have put me behind if I hadn’t been prepared. That would have been a good excuse to pause my writing or quit all together, but thankfully I kept going.

I have been working on making it a conscious effort to not make excuses to do things or to excuse bad behaviors. In the long run, it’s better to just accept it, learn from it and move on instead of excusing it as something normal. However, don’t worry, as I am far away from perfecting this behavior. Just ask my dog, who sometimes doesn’t get his monthly flea/tick and heartworm medication until it’s almost time for the next month. Also, ask my husband about the clutter-filled tables that end up being junk catchers when coming from the car to the door. I’m SO guilty, but I’m working on it.

For the past month or so, my motivation has been slowly waning when it comes to keeping a clean house, picking up after myself, eating better and exercising. I shrugged it off and told myself (others)  that it happens every year around this time, and while that seems to be mostly true, it’s still a very (lame) excuse of bad habits. Why does this year have to be like the previous years. I can certainly break that cycle if I truly want to…and I do! I just need to make it happen.

These past 27 days have been an excellent example of starting a good habit of writing every day instead of making excuses as to why I can’t write or no one is reading my writing. I know I can do it!

What are some (lame) excuses that you give? How would you plan to start acting instead of excusing? 

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” ― George Washington
“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ― Steve Maraboli

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days of (Lame) Excuses @ A Slob Comes Clean

 

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Joy

Day 26: Joy

If you’re familiar with (in)courage, then you’ve probably heard Sara’s Story. If not, then I encourage you to find 30 minutes, grab a box of tissues and watch this video. It’s incredibly inspiring and a reminder how fragile life truly can be. Sara’s motto for her life was “Choose Joy.” She was terminally ill but refused to let it bring her down and focused on the relationships she had with her online community even to her last days on Earth.

Sara said this in her blog about Joy: But here’s a question: have you stopped long enough to figure out what brings you joy, define what that joy feels like to you and realize that, like everything in life, it can be a choice?

We have to choose joy in this life because of what is going on in our life and not despite it. We can’t let those negative things get the best of us, so we choose the alternative and know that God has given us this life for a reason. If life was always good, then we wouldn’t know what to appreciate.

Joy is not those transitory moments when our favorite team is winning, we get a promotion at work or we find some fabulous shoes on sale. Joy is what continues in our lives that show us just how beautiful life is. It’s taking our focus of those trying times and focusing instead on the positive in our life. We can choose to feel oppressed but we can also choose joy.

There was a time in my life when I was in an unsatisfying relationship, a stressful job, and it seemed like my car was in the shop more than it was out of the shop. My finances and health were in the pits, and I was showing deep signs of depression. I wish I could say that I chose joy more often during that time in my life, but I do know for a fact that I did not let all of those bad things in my life get me down. I sought help in a variety of ways and slowly started to pull myself out of that hole and begin to see the joy that I had in my life. And you know what? Life got much better! I am in a very satisfying relationship, working a job I love, and my car is in decent shape. My health and finances still struggle sometimes, but they’re in much better shape.

How do you define joy? What ways do you choose joy?

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” - Helen Keller

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” – James 1:2

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days of Beautiful Things @ Small World At Home

Guest Post: On being a writer

I am excited today to introduce a dear friend of mine, Rebekah at We Live Inspired! She is writing a guest post on today’s 31 Days of Journaling Prompts series that I am hosting this month. She is truly a sweet and thoughtful woman with a beautiful heart for homeless and feral cats, and I am blessed to call her my friend. Please welcome her today and take a moment to stop by her blog to read more of her writing. 
 

A warm Hello to Tonya’s Readers at Nearly Missed It!  My name is Rebekah and I started a website/blog called “We Live Inspired!” just a few months ago.  I am so blessed to have met Tonya through a 5 minute Friday exercise that we both participate in through this cool online community!  She is a kind and caring person :)  I am guest posting on one of Tonya’s word prompts today on the word “writing” (thank you Tonya for having me).

Let me start out by saying that writing is such a vast activity that it can mean many things to many people.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, it is a practice that can build self-awareness and also be therapeutic (not to mention fun!).  For myself, I think writing came from a love of books and parents who constantly exposed me to the written word from a very young age.  If you would like to read more about my bookish beginnings check out a little something I wrote called the “Book Nook” HERE.

Since my website name is We Live Inspired!  I would like to start my post today by hopefully offering some inspiration to you, the reader.  I believe every one of us has something unique to offer the world.  It doesn’t matter if you are a literary genius, or if you feel that you don’t have writing talent, you still have a story my friend.  Whether you choose to share your words with the world, or keep them to yourself- your life itself (be it exciting or mundane) is a story.

I recently have started reading the Bible from the beginning and am currently in Exodus.  God must have been speaking to me today, because after hearing the word Tonya wanted me to write about, I opened up my bible app to where I left off yesterday, Exodus 4:10, and immediately felt a message coming across that ties in with this topic.  I would like to share it with you.  God was speaking to Moses.  He wanted to use Moses as His spokesperson for the very important task of leading His people out of Egypt.  Moses did not feel worthy because he didn’t think he had the talent to perform the task at hand.

Exodus 4:10 (NLT) says: But Moses pleaded with the Lord, ” O Lord, I’m not very good with words.  I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me.  I get tongue tied and my words got tangled.”  If you go back to Exodus 3, you will see Moses protesting some more with God, saying “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh, Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”. How many of us have felt this way before?  I know I have.  While writing has been a dream and a passion of mine since childhood, there are times in this new blogging venture of mine when I have thought, “Who am I Lord, that people would want to hear the words I write?”  There are so many bloggers and writers in the world that it’s easy to feel lost in a crowd and ask “Who am I?”.  In response to Moses God says, ” Who makes a person’s mouth?  Who decides whether people speak or don’t speak, hear or don’t hear, see or do not see?  Is it not I, the Lord?”  Then He tells Moses to go forth with it because He will be with Moses as he speaks and will instruct him in what to say.

Speaking and writing are similar.  One is done on paper or computer, and one is just verbalized, but it’s still the same thing.  Knowing the right “words” to say.  You may be like a Moses and think that what you have to say is not as good as the next guy, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of your own unique words.   Your words could make someone laugh, or inspire them to try something new, encourage them, make them feel less alone, help them understand themselves better, or offer them a new perspective they could have never thought of on their own.  Words are a powerful thing!  Maybe God will even use you to “lead his people out of Egypt” (in the metaphorical sense…meaning leading people out of oppression or bondage and freeing them with your words) by speaking through you.  I know I have been touched in one of these ways many times in reading other blogs, books, etc.

Not that I am a writing expert or anything, but I do have 4 major tips that have helped shape me as a writer.  Number one is read, read, read.  I think that reading a wide variety of things helps us to learn new words (expanding our vocabulary) and writing styles, gather inspiration, and find our unique niche.  Since I was very young I have read everything from comedic books, to fantasy fiction (like Harry Potter for example), romance novels, classic literature, philosophy, self-help books, Christian devotionals, art books, and tons of famous poetry type books (I think the poetry is what shaped me most, because I tend to write flowery or in a poetic way a lot).  The wider the variety the more you learn and the easier it is to find your niche of course!

Number 2 is just as important if not more important- Never compare yourself to others (I know, easier said than done right?) It’s helpful to learn from others and tweak things to become a better writer, but you don’t want to be a carbon copy of someone else.  You want to develop your own unique voice.  In fact when I first created my blog, I purposely did not look at or read other blogs (minus one friend I know outside of blogging) so I would maintain a pure vision.  (ok so maybe I am a bit OCD on that, but that is what works for me :) )

Number 3 is to get to know yourself really well.  You need quiet time of reflection to get to know yourself better, so I suggest some type of journaling.  As far as keeping a journal goes, ANYONE can do that!  As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to share your words with the world to be a writer. Private writing has many advantages for you.  There are even different types of journals you can keep- for example a dream journal to record the dreams you have at night, a regular everyday events journal recording your daily life, a feelings journal to help yourself work through different life things, and one of my favorites-a Gratitude Journal.   All of these forms of writing can help you to get to know yourself better ,  provide a safe and therapeutic way to purge yourself of negative emotions that would otherwise build up (not healthy!), and maybe even spark some creativity in you!  Writing can be like a form of meditation- very cathartic.  Sometimes writing can even be life changing-as in the case of my particular experience in keeping a Gratitude Journal (click on those words to read about that).  Bonus: Studies have even shown journal writing to be an effective tool in treating anxiety and depression!

Last but not least Number 4: Be an observer.  Taking time to notice things-the beauty in nature, animals, how you interact with the world, and observing people and places around you can help.   I know that observing everyday things and God are my biggest sources of inspiration!

Writing can be as simple as starting a journal for your private use, blogging or even the old fashioned art of letter writing.  So you see, you don’t have to be a professional writer to reap the benefits or have fun with it.  :)

This post ended up way different than originally intended! I started out writing more about my own journey through writing and then God inspired something totally new through that verse I read today.  Maybe I wasn’t meant to talk about myself so much today, but to share something that may be of use to you, the reader.  If I could leave you with the overall message I learned from today’s writing, it would be that God believes in you.  He believes your voice is important!

Blessings~Rebekah

Have you ever had a “Moses” complex?  What are your favorite things to write about?

Rebekah lives in Michigan where she loves spending time with her family, her fiance Matt, and all of her animal friends.  She donates some of her time to help a homeless, feral cat issue in her neighborhood, knits prayer shawls for people in need, and has worked with a “going green” wellness company from home (for the past 4.5 yrs) where she educates people on getting rid of toxins and helps other women make an extra income from home.  She lives to create and also sells her paintings, artwork, and hand knit creations on the side.  She has recently decided to revisit her childhood dreams of becoming an author or artist one day by starting a blog called “We Live Inspired!” , where she shares her inspirational stories (including those of the cat colony), artwork, photography, & some poetry, along with tips, recipes, and other fun stuff to inspire creative living in her readers.  She would love to sell giftable items using her art and also get a couple of fun books published in the future!  Among other things, she enjoys having themed tea parties with friends, singing and playing her acoustic guitar (but mostly just for her own enjoyment), laughing & being goofy, and spending time in God’s creation (nature).
Rebekah can be found at We Live Inspired!, Facebook and Twitter

 

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Writing

Day 25: Writing

Today’s journaling prompt was supposed to be about Health, but I had some serious writer’s block when it came to that topic for a couple of different reasons. One is that I just wasn’t feeling the words flow out of my head and into my fingertips. Another reason is that I feel that I’ve already covered the topic of Health through a couple of other days this month, like Motivation and Exercise. Besides, what else can I say about the subject?

I struggled for a couple of days on what to write about. I really enjoyed writing about what the seasons mean to me, so I guess it was kind of a let down to go from excited writing to dreaded writing. I toyed with a couple of ideas, including addiction, extended family and more about gardening. Finally, I came up with Writing. Why not write about what writing means to me?

My mom has been commented recently on my posts. She has always enjoyed reading what I write and likes to talk about how I would write several sentences for spelling word definitions when only a few words were necessary. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed reading, with the exception of high school and college when SO MUCH READING was required.

When I was in elementary school, I decided that E.B. White hadn’t told the complete story of Charlotte, and I was determined that I was the one to complete that story. Another boy in my class agreed to be my artist. I wish I knew what happened to that story that we put together. Charlotte’s Web is still one of my favorite books.

A few years later when I was around 12, I wrote a series of short stories based on the same group of characters. It started out being similar to The Babysitters Club (LOVED those books at that age!) but evolved into a little more than just a repeat of Ann M. Martin’s work. I think I wrote 12 or 13 ‘books’ in that series. A few friends in my class would read them, and at that age, I just knew that I would get them published someday. I’m pretty sure that they are all still at my parent’s house…somewhere!

Sometime around junior high, I lost that sense of creativity and imagination, or maybe I just matured and that creativity and imagination changed with age. I continued to read some, but with so much required reading over the next several years I didn’t read much for pleasure again until after I graduated from college. My writing during that time had ceased beyond the writing required for school.

Off and on over the years, I have kept various diaries. With the internet becoming more mainstream, in 2002 I looked for an online diary and eventually discovered LiveJournal. Back then, you had to be invited by an existing user to get an account on LiveJournal, and there were only a certain number of people one could invite, so you had to invite your friends carefully so you didn’t waste those invite codes. I wrote regularly in LiveJournal for about 5 years, making lots of friends and also meeting the guy who would become my husband several years later. I still have a LiveJournal account but my writing there has lost it’s frequency, especially now that I am writing publicly now.

The dream of becoming a published author has come and gone several times over the years, but for the last several years it’s been gone. While I deeply enjoy this form of creativity, I have no real desire at this time to be published, have a career in writing or pen a novel. I fear that if writing ever became a job for me that I would lose interest in it all together. I also lack confidence that there are many people who want to read what I have to say, and I would end up disappointed.

So here I am. Blogging and private journaling is what works for me. I enjoy reading comments that other people post and love knowing that someone has taken the time to read my words, but most of all this is my creative outlet, and this is what works for me. And you know what? I guess I am published, because every time I end a blog post, I click the Publish button. That’s really all I need right now.

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” - Graham Greene

What is your creative outlet? Do you have dreams of being a published author? 

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days To Change One Habit @ Random Reporter

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31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Summer

Day 24: Summer

Over four days, I’m going to write about my thoughts on each of the seasons. I’ve written about Fall, Winter and Spring, so Summer is the last season in which to write. The cat’s out of the bag that Spring is my favorite season, but I’m pretty sure that when I was still school that summer was my favorite season because of the summer break between school years.

My dad worked a lot when we were growing up with both a full time job and the National Guard. Our summer vacations were usually spent wherever my dad’s summer camp with the National Guard was. He wasn’t an officer, but he was ranked high enough that he could stay off post at night in a motel nearby so that we could have dinner with him. A few years his summer camp was at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I have some very fond memories of Mississippi summers in Hattiesburg, Camp Shelby and nearby Gulfport and Biloxi. I have a not-so-fond memory of a summer afternoon in Mississippi when my brother went missing (spoiler: he was found, safe and sound!). During a couple of these trips to Mississippi, I talked my parents into taking us to New Orleans. As a pre-teen, I was fascinated by the city. I haven’t been back to any of these areas as an adult but should probably add that to the list of places I want to (re) visit some day.

While growing up, we didn’t have central heat and air in the house, so I remember at least one summer (maybe two) when I was around 12 or 13, my parents had bought a used camper. My dad hooked it up to the power, and my brother spent most of the summer in the cooled camper, both day and night. I think we only took the camper out once or twice to the campground, but I have no doubt that my parents got their money’s worth out of it with Matthew and me playing in it.

The summer when I was 14, my parents opted to skip a summer vacation and bought an above ground swimming pool instead. Over the years, we had a few of those cheap pools you can get at WalMart, but that year they invested in one of the good ones. That would have been around 1991, but that pool is still standing today. They’ve replaced the liner a few times, as well as the filter and steps and whatnot, but the sides have stood strong, and we’re still enjoying that “summer vacation” to this day. Well, not today since it’s too cold, but you know what I mean.

When I first started this post, I wasn’t sure I would have enough to write, but now I feel like I could keep going, talking about trips to Opryland, playing outside with my cousins, trips to visit my parent’s friends in Florida (and visiting Disney!). We might not have had a lot of money when I was a kid, but Summer seems to be where a lot of happy memories were made with my family. There’s a lot that could be learned from that statement.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” - Anton Chekhov 

What’s a memorable summer vacation for you? Have you ever had a Staycation that turned out awesome?

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days of Social Media @ Gretchen Louise

 

31 Days of Journaling Prompts: Spring

Day 23: Spring

Over four days, I’m going to write about my thoughts on each of the seasons. Yesterday I wrote about Winter, and the day before that I wrote about Fall. Both days I mentioned that neither are my favorite season. Did you guess that maybe Spring is my favorite season? Well, you guessed correctly!

I love Spring because of all the new beginnings in nature remind me that our lives have seasons, too. Sometimes in life there’s miserable heat like Summer, then changes like Fall cold and dark like Winter, but then Spring rolls around to give us a fresh start. There’s almost always opportunities in life for a do-over or a restart, and if it doesn’t fall exactly like that then we can always learn from our past so that we’ll be better prepared for the future.

For about as long as I can remember, I have loved Spring, especially when it starts warming up and the color returns to the earth. I am usually in a much better spirit when Spring arrives, and I often start wanting to do more. A few years here and there, I have planted a small garden, and this year was one of those years. I love cooking with fresh herbs, so my dad helped me transplant some sage and rosemary that I had grown at my parents house a couple of years ago, then I added some dill, cilantro, oregano, thyme and basil to my garden this year. I live in a suburb with very little land, but my dad built me some boxes for square foot gardening, which made it a bit easier to weed and not take up too much space. I also grew some tomatoes, banana peppers and tried to grow some bell peppers (that never really grew before the bugs attacked them). Dad also got me two cabbage plants that I didn’t think were going to make it, but just in the past couple of weeks with the weather cooling, I think they might end up producing. I’m already looking forward to seeing what green I can add to my garden next year!

With Spring, we get all the beautiful flowers blossoming and showing us their beauty. The previous owners of our house planted a couple of irises and daffodils that grow in front of my house. Tennessee is more known for purple irises (our state flower), but our irises are a beautiful white. Forsynthia bushes with their bright yellow flowers are another favorite of mine. Seriously, I could go on and on about my favorite flowers!

What’s your favorite part of Spring? Do you plant a garden or flowers where you live? 

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”” - Robin Williams 

Read more about the 31 Days of Journaling Prompts
Today’s recommended 31 Day Blogger: 31 Days of Organizing Fun @ Organizing Made Fun