Day 26: Moment #write31days2018

What am I thinking at this moment? I am thinking how behind I am in this challenge! This weekend was not good for writing. But it was good for making friends and spending time with family and creating memories.

At this moment I am thinking about how fast the years fly by. My son’s eighth birthday is coming this week, and I am wondering how many moments I have missed by being distracted by less important things.

This moment finds me tired, but happy, after a sweet time at our church’s fall bonfire. I enjoyed chatting with friends and watching my children play hide and seek in the dark with the other kids.

I am thankful in this moment for courage to try new things and to invite new people into my life. My first time hosting a book study group for homeschool moms went well, and I am looking forward to next month!

This moment in time is one we can never get back. I do not want to have regrets, do you? Let us be purposeful and follow God’s direction each day so that we live in a way that pleases Him and blesses those around us.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

 

I am also linking up with the Five Minute Friday community today. To read more posts by bloggers on this prompt “moment” visit the link-up.

Day 23: Common #write31days2018

In the interest of honesty, I am not setting a timer for this post, and it will likely take me more than five minutes to write. But the word “common” prompted me to think of my somewhat neglected commonplace notebook…so I’m going to talk a little bit about “commonplacing” because I don’t think I have written about it here before. It fits within the themes of contemplation and creativity, too!

This week’s prompt brought to my mind my all too oft neglected commonplace book. I keep meaning to dig it out of the drawer next to my favorite reading spot and make a better habit of jotting things down in it. But I may be getting ahead of myself because I realize that some of you may have never heard of a commonplace book and don’t know what I’m talking about! Well, don’t feel too out of the loop. Until I started reading Charlotte Mason homeschool mom blogs a few years ago, I’d never heard the term before, either. 

A commonplace book is, in its simplest form, a place in which you write down favorite quotes and passages as you read so that you can come back to them again later. You can google “commonplace book” and find all sorts of examples, but each person keeps their commonplace a little differently. I don’t use mine as much as I perhaps should, but when I do take the time to write quotes, poems, sayings or meaningful passages from books (or articles, or even blog posts), I find I remember them better later on. And I do enjoy flipping through the notebook and seeing them again, sort of like looking at snapshots of good times with old friends. (Because I do think of really excellent books as my friends, don’t you?)

The first examples of commonplace books I’ve read about are from medieval and renaissance scholars. They used them as a way to keep and organize ideas and facts as they studied, and looking at some of these artifacts is truly a peek into the mind of the great thinkers of that time period! I don’t have any such grand visions of my own commonplace as being anything so intriguing to generations to come, but perhaps some day my children might find them and enjoy reading what I found a comfort or an inspiration. 

One little fact I found enlightening is the etymology of the word “commonplace” in reference to these keeping books. It made little sense to me that a word that now means ordinary or trite would be used to denote a place in which we record that which we find extraordinary and worth noting. But I discovered that the term originally was two words, “common place” and was translated from the Latin, locus communis, which was in itself a translation from the Greek words that meant “general theme.”

mid 16th century (originally common place ): translation of Latin locus communis, rendering Greek koinos topos ‘general theme.

Now that made sense to me, since many people did and still do organize their commonplaces according to theme or subjects. But I think a good many more of us are less structured than that and just write down whatever strikes our fancy. I like the idea of my commonplace being a spot where all the books I read come out and play together! As I read through the many quotes I have gathered over the years, I am sometimes surpised at how much the science of relations is at work as I find connections between the various books and quotes I might not have seen otherwise.

Writing all this has certainly inspired me to start writing in my own commonplace book more often, and I hope that it might inspire you, as well! If you want to read (or hear) more about commonplacing from some of my favorite people online, here are a few links you can chase:

  • The Scholé Sisters Podcast, Ep. 42: Carpe Librum–the whole podcast is actually about book recommendations, but they open with a short discussion about commonplacing that I thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Sarah Mackenzie’s “What I Keep in My Commonplace Book
  • Celeste at Joyous Lessons has started a whole online community around the theme of Keeping Company, sharing our commonplace entries with others! She and her children add a lot of illustrations and such to their notebooks, and they are simple beautiful. (GOALS!)

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 21: Start #write31days2018

For a procrastinator like me, the word “start” is sometimes a hard one to face. Starting can be the hardest part of a new project, or even an old one that has been set aside. When embarking on a new venture, I have a hard time facing my fears of imperfection or failure. So I procrastinate. I put off beginning the journey into the unknown. This can apply to creative projects, but it also affects areas of spiritual growth. And it definitely comes into play when facing tasks that I find mundane or distasteful.

The fact is, however, when I choose to start, whatever the activity may be, I almost always find my tasks less difficult, my obedience more rewarding and my projects more fulfilling that I thought they would be. My fears are unfounded. My distaste is overcome. And my reluctance is released when I just take the first step of faith.

Starting is active. Starting is strong. Starting is hopeful. Starting is energizing.

My hope for you today is that you will start that thing that you know you should do but have been putting off. I think you will be glad you did.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 17: Pause #write31days2018

If you have read my post about the Luddite Experiment, you know that I have pressed pause this month on my social media use. After half a month of being away from Facebook and Instagram, I must say that it truly has been good. Before this break, I was feeling frenetic, always afraid I was missing out on something. I sensed a pressure to be and to know and to have things that were not mine. I just had to take a step away and see what would happen.

I feel like this time away is refining me. It is helping me quiet my spirit in other ways, not just my internet consumption. I am finding creativity in the space. I am finding calm and room for thinking more deeply. I am finding my own true self again, without that pressure to conform to some arbitrary cultural fad.

Pausing is creating space to see, to hear, to be. It is taking time to breathe, to rest. It is leaving room for the question, “What is God’s best for me?” Pressing pause gives me fresh perspective and energy to step back into my real life in a more meaningful way.

What can you do today to press pause and give yourself some breathing room?

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 11: Door #write31days2018

Since moving to a more affluent area last year, I have been somewhat reluctant to open my door and invite people over. We currently live in a rather small, shabby old rental house with lots of quirks and annoying little problems that we can’t change since we don’t own the place. I haven’t decorated much since we know this is a temporary situation. It isn’t the color scheme I would choose if I owned the house, and the kitchen is far from ideal. I feel, quite honestly, a little embarrassed to have people over because I know that most of our friends have much, much nicer homes.

But I have to get over that embarrassment if I want true community. I have to be willing to open the door and be vulnerable because when I do, I show love for others in a very tangible way. The fact of the matter is that other people rarely seem to care about what the house looks like. They just want to feel welcomed, heard, and seen while they are here. I have to remember that. I can help the people I invite in feel comfortable, despite the color on the walls or the weird layout of the kitchen. By being open and loving, I create an atmosphere that says, “Come in and be yourself. I have opened the doors because I care about you.” And that is what really matters.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”