Friday, December 12, 2008

The Saviour: All We Really Need

December sort of crept up on me. After the Thanksgiving holiday, I ended up with a mild case of food poisoning. Not exactly the best post-holiday surprise. If you've ever had food poisoning, you'd know that it takes a very long time to recover. First you have the initial intense nauseated feeling. Thankfully that only lasted for a short time for me. Then there's the pain in the stomach and associated symptoms that I'll leave to your imagination. But once the really tough stuff passes, then there's the fatigue caused by the bacteria that has entered the blood stream.

I can remember walking around in the kitchen with my legs feeling like I was carrying ten pound weights on each leg; or like I had worked out for 15 hours. You're not exactly up to mopping the floors when you feel like your legs can't keep up with you. So, naturally, the housework and laundry pile up; and by the time you're able to do it without passing out after five minutes, you're up to your elbows in whites, towels, and 15 pairs of jeans to wash.

At this point, I'm feeling mostly like myself again, back to my usual routine. And it's a good thing, too. My cat Sophie was getting freaked out with Mom being in bed all day. Doesn't exactly make for an exciting feline experience.

So, back to December. Now that I've recovered, I'm still not feeling quite festive, even after shopping for Christmas gifts for family, which I have yet to wrap. I totally skipped sending out Christmas cards this year, a first for me in the 20 years I've been married.

I've been remembering all of those Christmases past when I'd know exactly what to get for my kids, and it would hit the spot every time. Without a list.

But now I have two teenagers. And lists: Music, music, and maybe a poster or two, or tons of clothes, which I can no longer generally pick out for them. I guess I'm feeling clueless, especially with my younger daughter. Our tastes, for the most part, are very different. With my oldest, it's a bit easier, since I know what she likes: anything with stars on it and hoodies. And soundtracks.

But the Christmas lists have gotten pretty boring. Nothing open ended. Just very specific stuff. NO IMAGINATION REQUIRED. I'm not saying that what they want isn't cool, at least for the most part (there are some things I just won't get. They know what they are.) But it's just not the same anymore. YAWN.

But I know Christmas is not just all about getting gifts. It's about love, and family, and remembering a certain birth of a certain Saviour. If everything else about Christmas was taken away except for that, I wouldn't miss anything else. My Saviour is enough; more than enough. If it weren't for Him, nothing else would matter. But with Him, all the colors of Christmas are just more colorful. With Him, the love is multi-dimensional. With Him, family takes on a whole new meaning, something eternal. And the eternal you can take with you.

So, put aside all the lists, and the holiday decor, and the shopping, and the wrapping.

Just Give Me Jesus.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A "Holiday" Assessment

It's hard to believe it's November already. This 2008 year must've grown wings early on, because it just flew by!

I don't feel very 'holidayish' just yet even though I've seen Christmas trees on display for almost a month. I saw one front and center in WalMart the other day. I told my daughter Hannah that I am not in the Christmas spirit. Not even a holiday spirit. I like to take my time with such things and not have them thrust upon me by the retail industry.

I often notice that Thanksgiving seems to get lost in the shuffle. It barely gets a nod, except maybe at a church service. Of course, November is the month that the kids get a day or two off from school for the holiday, so that is something to look forward to.

It's also a good time of year for an assessment: to look at all that God has done in His Faithfulness during the year. Count your many blessings, name them one by one.

One of my favorite hymns, and one that my sister enjoys as well, is called Great is Thy Faithfulness. It is such a fitting way to remind us to be thankful for all He has done.

Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not (!); Thy compassions, they fail not.
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy Faithfulness, Great is Thy Faithfulness.
Morning by morning, new Mercies I see.
All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

How has God been faithful to me?He always faithfully provides; he cares about our every need; he shows his compassion and care toward us every day; his presence is always upon our home; his lovingkindness is new every morning; that's why we always get out of bed in the morning! He strengthens us, holds us up when we are weary; he guides us in prayer; and he defends us and keeps us safe.

As tough as life can be, God is tougher. As big as those mountains of life can seem to rise, God rises higher. As scary as things can be sometimes especially when life throws us unexpecteds, God gives us the strength and courage to endure and persevere. As weary as we can get when life tires us out, God gives us a second wind and puts air into our sails so that we can make it to the other side.

How has God been faithful to you this year?
Happy Thanksgiving to you!

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's Party Time!!

Hang some balloons, lay out the confetti, pull out the party favors, and let's celebrate! There's a party going on right here! We've pulled out all the stops, set out some good Texas BBQ and have a cake decorated with a street sign that says "Open for business!" The detour signs and closed signs have been removed, new signs have been erected, and our street is now in full use! And it looks maaavelous!

It almost seems odd to see cars moving up and down the main road and the side roads as if they were never closed to begin with. But it looks sooo much better. And it sounds different too with traffic flowing again. Trucks and buses are back on the old route, and parents are using all the roads to drive their kids in to school in the morning, which means less congestion.

And my car is back home! (And the car wash is up and running again.)Yes, the groceries are just feet away from the back door with weekly delivery. And the sun is shining! What a relief to have those things back again that we can almost take for granted. It's funny how when you don't have the convenience of having everything close by, when you get it back, it feels like bliss.

Plus the weather has just been lovely with sunny skies, mild weather with a breeze; and now the Monarch butterflies are migrating. Sitting in my back yard on a bench with my teenager Sarah, chatting about day's events and the election, we could see groups of butterflies flitting from one tree to another. They come in October and stay just a few weeks, and then they are gone. So I'm enjoying the view while I can. I love butterflies, with the Monarch being my favorite.

Won't you join in the celebration?

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Musical Rooms

Have you ever heard of musical chairs? How about musical rooms? Just a couple of days ago we did a switcharoosy with a few rooms in our home which will lead to a more expedient and logical layout and functioning. We currently have three bedrooms, a living room, dining room, and kitchen, plus two offices, one for me and one for my husband.

We recently added a full size bathroom off of Bill's office, making my current office space a bit tight. So we decided to transform his office into a master bedroom suite, move his office equipment into my current office, and move my office into our current bedroom, which has always been a bit small anyway.

So far, I'm quite pleased with the change, although it will take a little getting used to. It took a bit of doing getting enough strip plugs in the right spots for my computer and other office equipment that needs plugging in. I'm glad to have a room to myself, which is something I've always wanted; a bit more privacy, more quiet for writing and studying. I have an extra chair in the room for any family visitors (especially my youngest who is home schooled.)

I'm trying to decide what kind of bath accessories to get. I've got a faucet of brushed nickel, but I noticed that metal accessories easily scratch. So I'm looking for something that will still work with brushed nickel, but not be primarily made of metal. I've got three different stores I'm researching and comparing. There are so many choices out there!

On a different note, our street is still being worked on, but is in the last stages of development, with areas being prepared for sod on the fronts of the properties (including ours), plus this week they've done the street paint. We now have a double yellow line from one end to the other, plus white lines for the side streets. Signs also need to be erected. The new sidewalks accented with Braille pads are being used already. It's so exciting to see how it has all turned out. It is such a major improvement for the city itself, considering how much our street is used (as a major truck route, being a state road.)

I keep telling my family that when this street job is complete, I will be having a par--tay! A celebration! I am just itching for the convenience of parking in my own driveway again. My car, which has been parked under a tree on a side street, has been the victim of a slow but regular, active, sticky dance of pollen which coats its pretty silver exterior, calling for weekly washes in the automatic car wash that is currently in need of repair! My car, I'm sure, will be grateful to return to its favorite spot, pollen free.

By the way, Happy Autumn!

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sweeter Also Than Honey

With summertime come insects, especially the stinging variety. Mud wasps and bees are ones that venture around our property. But recently, my husband noticed a new development right outside my office window in a brick-facaded alcove (where you normally would keep plants outside). He treated the area a few times after seeing some bee activity and could see where the insects were coming from (a very small hole in the outside brick facade).

But the bees weren't going away. He had planned to wait out til winter to take care of the situation; but with a new remodeling plan being ready to put into action immediately, he knew he had to do something about those persistent buzzers.

Just a few nights ago, at 4:30 a.m., Bill decided to go out there and tackle the problem. He got out his sledgehammer and started knocking out brick from the facade where the bees were previously active during the day. During this process, he uncovered something he was not expecting: a full fledged bee hive, complete with racks of foot high honeycomb! He thought he was just dealing with a very small nest; so this came as a huge surprise to him.

The noise he made during this event was a real surprise to our daughters, who thought someone was breaking into the house at 4:30 in the morning! (Of course, I slept through the whole thing so I was oblivious, until the next morning.) Of course, our cat Sophie was in on the act, at least from a distance, as she sat on the other side of the window in my office and watched the whole affair, keeping Bill company in the process.

Later, as Bill shared with me his discovery, we were both disappointed to know that there was a full hive in there, being unable to save the bees and the honey due to the treatment the hive had already been exposed to. They had picked a spot that wouldn't be safe for them or for us; much to our chagrin.

But one thing it did remind me of was a song, based on the scripture Psalm 19:10 that I learned as a child:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.
Sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.

I also thought about the promise to the Israelites about what they could expect from the Promised Land God would give them once they conquered it; it would be flowing with milk and honey.

I thank God for his promises and his ways, which are sweeter than honey, and for his provision. And for a glimpse into the wild, wonderful world of his creation.

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to School with New Roads

For those of you who have read my previous 'remodeling' posts, you'll remember my narrative covering the construction of the roads around our house. With only two weeks (yes, I said two weeks!) til school starts, the crew have their hands full; but they even worked on Saturday to keep on schedule. They've made excellent progress. Half of the street has already been set; they're working on the other half now. They still have two side roads and driveways to pour (including three driveway ends of ours); so, yes, I'm still parking on the side road, but I sure am grateful not to have to walk a mile to my house. Maybe we'll have a party when the roads are all finished.

We decided to arrive a bit early for school registration; and it amazed me how much time we saved doing that. My eldest is a junior this year. It's hard to believe she's that close to graduation. My youngest, who is home schooled, will be in 8th grade.

Sometimes I wonder how many families out there have their kids in different school systems like we do, with one in public school and one home schooled. Most of the home school magazines I read represent families who have all of their children at home. Perhaps there are more families like mine than I realize. If you have more than one child and one of them is home schooled and the other attends elsewhere, you are welcome to leave a comment about your experience.

There was a time when both of my children were home schooled, but once my eldest entered public high school, and my youngest went to public middle school, only one child decided to go back again. The other child decided they preferred to be home schooled.

It took a little getting used to having one student in public school and one at home. I still had to follow a school schedule with holidays and after school pick up times while I also experienced the more flexible schedule with a home schooled student. It will be the same for this school year.

But I choose to be available for both of my kids, regardless of what kind of schooling works for them. And with new streets, that just makes the start of a new school year even better.

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Remodeling 101 Part 2

The remodeling continues! Our side street has been repaved, but since both of our driveways open to the main road, we still don't have access. Patience!
As the construction has progressed, I have noticed, with the work being so close to home, we can often 'feel' the work being done out there. The 'reverb' can be felt in any room of the house. And occasionally we'll have a mild 'earthquake' as a result from the work of an assertive digger. It's an interesting way to wake up in the morning.

With all the 'shaking, rattling, and rolling' going on, one of our older trees in the back yard gave up a rather large branch that is currently taking up the majority of our backyard. Thankfully no one was injured, and there was no damage to the house. It just landed quietly in the night, revealing itself as a mildly surprising leafy display in the morning.

Over the weekend, our house looked like a random collage with misplaced furniture, some of it upended, in almost every room, as all three bedrooms were emptied out at the same time to have new Berber carpet installed. My vanity table, which contains most of my jewelry, was upended in the bathroom during installation leaving me with an interesting mass of chains, hooks, and metal to reorganize.

It is amazing how a new carpet, with that new carpet smell and new color, can transform a room, giving it a completeness that becomes a pleasurable visual. It's like have a whole new bedroom!

When our cat Sophie was let out after the installation, she went through each room in the house as if seeing for the first time. I guess the changes left a strong impression on her, too. Of course, she meowed her consensus at the conclusion of her inspection. (She has transformed into a chameleon with the new color!)

With so many changes, surprises, and progress being made, this summer will be one to remember!

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Monday, June 2, 2008

Remodeling 101

May was certainly a busy month with Mother's Day, my husband's and father's birthdays and...
Braces! Yes, my youngest teen and I took the plunge into the metal, our molars bracketed, and our pearly whites accented with metal 'jewels.'

The one thing I noticed right away was my need to fall into a routine with teeth brushings, cleanings, and changing the rubber bands between meals. Once I got that down pat, I was a bit more 'at home' in my newly metalled mouth.
Wax is a orthodontict best friend, I tell you, for all those sore spots that inevitably arise.

There is more 'remodeling' going on besides in our mouths. The main road outside our front door is being completely dug up down to the utilities to have drainage and sidewalks put in, solving flooding issues which will give us a very nice new street when it's all done. In the meanwhile, it will be interesting getting in and out of our driveway while it's being partially dug up this summer. (Yes, we will have alternate places to park, so the groceries will have a trip to go on before they land happily in my pantry and fridge.)

One thing you can count on when there's construction going on is NOISE. Enough to get my cat Sophie meowing and scampering from one window to the next so she can get a 'bird's eye view' of the action outside. Just another adventure for the furry one in our family.

I just need to remember that with remodeling comes improvement, even if it causes a bit of inconvenience or personal discomfort. Here's to progress and a job well done... and a pretty smile in the end!

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Out with the Old and In with the New: An April story

April has certainly gone out with a bang, or at least a drilling. In preparation for future orthodontic work, I had all my old metal fillings from days gone by removed and replaced with white composite fillings--all 8 of them. I decided to take care of this preventative work all in one sitting, you know, just to get it over with. I knew the appointment time would last about an hour and thirty minutes.

Of course, the dental chair is, often, the place most want to avoid. The term 'dental anxiety' comes to mind. I have many a memory of visiting the dentist office as a child, with that horrid smell that would hit me in the face as soon as I walked into the waiting room. I usually would end up with a cavity to be filled, needing novicane for treatment, which would, of course, leave me with a wicked headache afterwards.

Sedation is now available through many dental offices, but my choice is to remain awake (to keep an eye on things and deep breathe) and just take the novicane for those tender moments.

Well, since this appointment was comprising 8 fillings being removed, with both sides of the mouth involved, I was in for a numbing treat. The first one wasn't too bad, just a pinch at the site. Number two was a bit more intense; it reminded me of an extremely mild spinal in preparation for giving birth with what felt like electrical impulses shooting through my muscles. That's enough to give one dental anxiety if anything is.

But I made it through the application, and with lots of deep breathing through the nose to calm my nerves (after gagging twice from triangle-shaped pads placed in the sides of my mouth), I managed through the rest of the treatment.

Now, I'm in the recovery stage, with very sore, tender injection sights to contend with. Don't ask me to yawn or laugh since I'm feeling a bit like I've got lock-jaw.

All this to prepare for orthodontics. We don't want any teeth breakage in the middle of a two year treatment. So now my teeth are all white; you'd never know I had any fillings in my mouth. That's a nice cosmetic benefit. Smile for the camera with your mouth wide open, please.

By the end of May this year, my teenage daughter and I will be swimming in orthodontic waters together. I figured at first that I could be a comfort to her in times of "why did we do this, again?" moments when we both get an orthodontic adjustment. But she's a tough cookie; meaning, she'll be the one telling me that I'll make it and not to be such a wimp. (Mind you, we haven't gotten them on yet, so we'll see....)

Well, we'll both be in this together. Metal in the mouth. (Maybe we'll take a picture or two to commemorate the occasion.) In just two long years, we'll be smiling with our pearly whites properly placed.

A big bang will be reduced to a flash of the camera!

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Catching Up

February was quite a memorable month. So much so, that I had to wait until March to talk about it. The waning winter months are often riddled with the flu and other illnesses. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to leave the month of February, the love month, untainted. Just in time for Valentine's Day, I was flat on my back with bronchitis and the flu; not exactly romantic activity. But the husband followed in my footsteps, so at least we walked through it together. Lots of soft tissues in every corner of the house, with trash bags in strategic spots for easy disposal.

It had been a long time since I was flat on my back. I always take some satisfaction in being able to get the house cleaned and run my errands, keeping the things moving along for the family. It's always a given (at least you hope) that you don't get sick as a Mom, so you can take care of things. So at first, I was a bit frustrated by this serious delay in responsibilities being fulfilled. The first week I didn't even think about being bored. I was just too busy sleeping and watching my cat Sophie check on me every so often and meow at me like, what is the problem here? Sometimes she would stay and sleep on the bed and keep me company. She didn't do as much tearing about the place, since I wasn't up and running myself.

Week one passed in a blur; week two was tiresome and frustrating since I was still dealing with dizziness and fatigue. I didn't want to experience the black spots in my vision, or the hot vibrations in the back of my neck again, telling me to sit down or lay down, before I fainted. Hanging onto walls, attempting to make my way to the kitchen was a slow moving process.

What really amazed me about the whole experience is that the muse only went to sleep for the first week. My mental energy revived before my physical energy did, much to my pleasant surprise.

My husband recovered more quickly than I did, which was a great advantage, since he has an electrical contracting business to run. He took care of the food shopping for a time to give me the extra rest needed for full recovery.

After having such a month of the unexpected, it's been good to be back in the swing of things. I never thought I'd be happy to clean my house again and run my usual errands. It's amazing what a bit of perspective will do. One thing I realized in all of this was that there is a time for everything. Sometimes it's good to relax and do things you enjoy instead of working all the time. It felt good to just sit and read a enjoyable fiction story or write a bit of poetry or the next scene in my novel without thinking first about what else needed to be done.

Of course, I don't want to just take this realization for when I'm under the weather, but all of the time. There is a time and purpose for everything under heaven. When I see a moment of rest awaiting me, or a few minutes to do something enjoyable and relaxing, I'll seize the moment, put up my feet, and thank God for another blessed day.

(c) 2008 by Dawn Herring

Saturday, January 12, 2008

2008 is on a roll

It is hard for me to believe that 2008 has arrived and is already full steam ahead. It just amazes me how quickly time goes by. I know it has been said that time goes faster as you get older; but I never realized how true that really was until now.

I noticed in 2007 that I just couldn't seem to keep up with the pace of things. I think once the new school year started in August, September seemed to roll around all too quickly. Then next thing I knew Autumn was upon on us. I had to keep looking at my calendar to remember what day it was. After Monday passed, it seemed liked Thursday was right on it's heels.

It's a good thing I keep a schedule minder in my purse, otherwise I think I would forget about appointments, since they would come upon me before I had a chance to think about looking for them. (Although there are some appointments that I just wouldn't forget due to their vast importance.)

As an office manager, keeping track of the days, weeks, and months is very important in promptly taking care of business. Those quarterly reports and daily updates keep me hopping and more aware of the time passing. But they still seem to sneak up on me at undue times.

Due to my experiece with time racing by and my attempting to keep up with it all, I've come to understand that there is no time like the present to do what you desire in life. It's so easy to always think toward the future, even to just the next weekend in pursuing something you want to accomplish. But today is the day for those desires that are deep inside your heart to come to fruition.

I know that timing can be everything; jumping into something too soon can really throw a monkey wrench into the whole business. But I honestly think procrastination comes too easily. I'm especially guilty of this myself. Putting off typing and revising (again) the next scene in my novel or rereading and polishing my latest memoir piece will not help me get any closer to crossing of yet another goal on my writing 'to do' list.

You will not accomplish today what you put off until tomorrow. Taking that ten or fifteen minutes to get started on a new project is certainly better than leaving it on the shelf or just stewing in your mind. (I have two projects that sit on a shelf, one being sorting out my photos.)

What is your latest desire deep inside your heart that you would like to accomplish, or a least get started on this year? One thing that helps me get going is writing down what it is I want to do with practical steps or reachable goals that I can (hopefully) easily maintain and especially keep momentum with throughout the year. Another helpful step for me is talking about it with my spouse, my kids, and my friends. Accountability is one of the best ways to keep things moving, especially when the husband asks about my latest project and wants to hear about my progress.

I enjoy writing my accomplishments down in my journal each day so I can look back and see my progress. I look forward to seeing those goals reached and recorded throughout the year, so when I arrive at the end of 2008, I'll be able to look back and see the evidence: I've accomplished what I've set out to do!

There's no time like to present. (Especially when time seems to snowball right past you!) There's no day like today; it's all you have right now. Go for your dream; you never know what opportunity might be just around the corner if you're ready for it.

Happy New Year!

(c)2007 by Dawn Herring

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Wednesday's Pick (4/10) 4 Ways to Use Journaling to Calm Your Inner Critic by Hannah Braime

Tuesday's Pick (4/9) Kicking Fear to the Curb with Journaling by Jasmine Cianflone

Monday's Pick (4/8) Why Journal Writing is Soul Work by Lynda Monk

Friday's Pick (4/5) Continuous Reinvention=Blossoming Potentials by Tina Bradley

Wednesday's Pick (4/3) Write Into Your Pain by Amber Lea Starfire

Tuesday's Pick (4/2) Self Care Is NOT Selfish Care by Amy Frost

Friday's Pick (3/29) I Am sure of myself by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (3/27) Speed Journaling: Get Your Self Unstuck Write Away by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (3/26) Journaling for Self-Care: The Healing Power of Writing by Lynda Monk

Monday's Pick (3/25) Emotional Vomit on the Page by Julie Luek

Friday's Pick (3/22) Thursday Q&A // Journaling by Sarah Danaher

Wednesday's Pick (3/20) Which Is Better: Inspiration or Influence? by Cynthia Morris

Tuesday's Pick (3/19) Behavior Modification for the Creative Soul by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (3/15) 3 Tips to Attract Abundance by Bethany Butzer, Ph.d.

Wednesday's Pick (3/13) I AM These Thirteen Things by Debra DiPietro

Tuesday's Pick (3/12) Wings--Art Journal by Norma Gomez

Monday's Pick (3/11) Clarity Heals Suffering by Nathan Ohren

Friday's Pick (3/8) Journaling Techniques: Writing on the Stream of Consciousness by Amber Lea Starfire

Wednesday's Pick (3/6) The Many Health Benefits of Journal Writing by Beth Miller

Tuesday's Pick (3/5) Art Journal Tip: Meditate with a Mandala by Valerie Storey

Monday's Pick (3/4) Feed Yourself Images-It's Good for You by Jill Winski

Friday's Pick (3/1) Tossed Aside by Daisy Ann Hickman

Wednesday's Pick (2/27) How to Use and Create Masks with Mixed Media Collage by Erin Leigh

Tuesday's Pick (2/26) The Doodle as SoulStory by Kristen Radden

Monday's Pick (2/25) How Food Journaling Helped Me Become a More Intuitive Eater by Sean Devenport

Wednesday's Pick (2/20) Taking Action on What You Know by Jill Winski

Tuesday's Pick (2/19) Journal to Find Your Core Self by Mari McCarthy

Monday's Pick (2/18) 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow, and Thrive by Loran Hills

Wednesday's Pick (2/13) Want to Start Journaling? Write One Sentence Per Day by Chamonix Thurston-Rattue

Tuesday's Pick (2/12) The Best Kept Secret in the Business of Ideas! by Kerry Kilpatrick

Monday's Pick (2/11) The Benefits of Keeping a Work Journal by Madeline Stilley

Wednesday's Pick (2/6) Keeping a Cancer Journal: Your Private Healing Journey by Dr. Laurie Nadel

Tuesday's Pick (2/5) Journal to Memoir: Planting Seeds for Story by Kathleen Pooler

Friday's Pick (2/1) Write Your Way to Change in the New Year by Debra Marrs

Wednesday's Pick (1/30) 10 Famous Authors on the Importance of Keeping a Journal by Emily Temple

Monday's Pick (1/28) What Are You Committed To? by Debra DiPietro

Friday's Pick (1/25) What to Write in Your Fancy Schmancy Journal by Ian Duncan

Wednesday's Pick (1/23) How to Restart Your Journaling Habit by Nathan Ohren

Tuesday's Pick (1/22) Art Journaling: Eyes Like Rudolph's Nose by Julie Kirk

Monday's Pick (1/21) Keeping a Writer's Journal by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (1/18) Three Fun Journaling Techniques to Open Your Heart after Brain Injury by Barbara Stahura

Wednesday's Pick (1/16) Uniquely You by Rachel Thomasian

Monday's Pick (1/14) What Should I Write In My Journal by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (1/11) Keep a Daily Journaling Practice Forever by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (1/8) Blueprint for Daily Living by Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (1/7) Create the Life You Want- Start an Action Journal by Sherri Carter, MS

Friday's Pick (1/4) Preview 2013: Ten Journaling Questions to Help You Envision Your Ideal Life Next Year by Rosetta Thurman

Wednesday's Pick (1/2) Awakened Consciousness by Dr. Micheal Pearlman

Wednesday's Pick (12/19) Journaling by Rachel Thomasian

Tuesday's Pick (12/18) The Secret to Happiness and Productivity by Ken Makovsky

Monday's Pick (12/17) Journal Joy by Rebecca Jensen

Friday's Pick (12/14) 5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals (and creating the life you want) by Dolly Garland

Wednesday's Pick (12/12) Writing From Your Heart by Jacqui Malpass

Tuesday's Pick (12/11) Eleven ways to write away worry in a journal for a better night’s sleep by Debra DiPietro

Monday's Pick (12/10) Vulnerability and Courage by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (12/7) 7 Astounding Benefits of Journal Writing by Juliet Platt

Wednesday's Pick (12/5) Make Travel Journaling Fun! by Jennifer Miller

Wednesday's Pick (11/28) Writing Tools: The Journal by Nutschell Windsor

Tuesday's Pick (11/27) 5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Journal Writing When the Words Won’t Flow by Adela Rubio

Monday's Pick (11/26) My Gratitude Journal Taught Me I am a Food-Obsessed, Greedy Cheater Who Still Loves Life by Jayleigh Lewis

Friday's Pick (11/16) Finding the Real You by Lynn Sambrano

Wednesday's Pick (11/14) Do You Aspire to Mediocrity? by Dolly Garland

Tuesday's Pick (11/13) Wouldn't It Be Interesting If...By Debra DiPietro

Friday's Pick (11/9) How Writing Saved My Weary, Pushed-to-the-Edge, New-Mother Soul by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, PhD

Wednesday's Pick (11/7) Travel Tuesdays: Writing and Reflecting by Michelle Cusolito

Tuesday's Pick (11/6) From Journal to Memoir: The Floorplan of Your Mind by Rita Jacobs, PhD

Monday's Pick (11/5) From Journal to Memoir: Capturing the Past through Sense Memory by Rita Jacobs, PhD

Friday's Pick (11/2) Just the Way You Are by Melanie Kindrachuk

Wednesday's Pick (10/31) A Journal Writing Prompt Blooms in My Garden by Ruth Folit

Tuesday's Pick (10/30) Want to Know Yourself Better? Ask Yourself These Questions by Gretchen Rubin

Monday's Pick (10/29) Moments Journal Writing Prompt by Karna Converse @LiteraryMama

Friday's Pick (10/26) Writing in My Journal by Carol Berg

Wednesday's Pick (10/24) Dealing with Fear This Halloween by Debra DiPietro

Tuesday's Pick (10/23) Journal Writing Ideas: Daily Gratitudes by Melissa Donovan

Monday's Pick (10/22) Art Journaling: No Rules by Leah Michon

Friday's Pick (10/19) How Writing Saved My Life by Amanda Duran

Wednesday's Pick (10/17) Make Journal Writing Therapy Your New Wake Up Call by Mari McCarthy

Tuesday's Pick (10/16) The Importance of Journaling by Ehen Akpan

Friday's Pick (10/12) Use Your Journal for Storytelling Practice by Amber Lea Starfire

Wednesday's Pick (10/10) 15 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Right Now by Amy Shearn

Tuesday's Pick (10/9) Feeling Like a Fraud? Fearlessly Embrace and Own All the Good! By Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (10/8) Journal Writing Therapy Playing Word Association by Mari McCarthy

Friday's Pick (10/5) A Weekend Wondering Exercise: What Will You Change? by Stacy Vajta

Tuesday's Pick (10/2) How to Get Past Fears That Stop You From Living Your Dreams by Dolly Garland

Tuesday's Pick (9/25) Writing in Your Dream Journal by Debra DiPietro

Monday's Pick (9/24) Letting Go by Sarah Richardson

Friday's Pick (9/21) A Weekend Wondering Exercise: Your Inner Critic by Stacy Vajta

Wednesday's Pick (9/19) What to do with the "E" word by Yvonne Root

Tuesday's Pick (9/18) What You See is What You Remember by Quinn McDonald

Monday's Pick (9/17) 16 Life Lessons Learned from Journaling by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (9/14) The Confusing Lines We Draw by Quinn McDonald

Wednesday's Pick (9/12) Do You Feel Guilty When You Don't Journal? by Dolly Garland

Tuesday's Pick (9/11) From Journal to Memoir: 8 Reasons to Keep a Journal by Rita D. Jacobs, PhD

Monday's Pick (9/10) Key Words: The Madeleines of Journal Writing by Joycelyn Campbell

Friday's Pick of the Day (9/7) How to Journal with Your Teen by Candy Gibbs

Tuesday's Pick (9/4) Wise Choices by Bruce Black

Friday's Pick (8/31) Journal Writing and Memoir: Using Your Journals for Research by Kat Collins

Wednesday's Pick (8/29) Journal Writing Shifts by Shannon

Tuesday's Pick (8/28) De-Clutter Your Cranium to Make Room for the Good Stuff by Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (8/27) One Journal for Everything or Separate Journals for Different Things? by Dolly Garland

Friday's Pick (8/24) Spark Your Self Acceptance with Three Small Questions by Rosie Molinary

Wednesday's Pick (8/22) Ahhh...Am I Really Ready for the Next Level?!?! by Molly Rider

Monday's Pick (8/20) Celebrating a Reached Goal by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (8/17) Writing the Chapters of Your Life by Patti Testerman

Wednesday's Pick (8/15) Daily Creative Practice by Effy Wild

Tuesday's Pick (8/14) Warp Your Journal by Joel Basgall

Monday's Pick (8/13) When One Door Closes, Another Opens by Debra DiPietro

Friday's Pick (8/10) Re-Frame Your Fear of Failure by Terri Cole

Wednesday's Pick (8/8) 5 Ways to Develop Your Writing Style by Lisa Cherry

Tuesday's Pick (8/7) Journaling as a Coping Device by Kelley Harrell

Monday's Pick (8/6) Seeking Serenity: Journaling for Mindfulness by Bruce Black

Friday's Pick (8/3) Why I Gave Journaling Another Try by Leary Gates

Wednesday's Pick (8/1) How to Make Your Writing Pop and Shine by Jessica Morrow

Tuesday's Pick (7/31) Self-Confidence: What Is It, and Where Does It Come From by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (7/30) So I Will Write It All Down by Vivienne Borne

Friday's Pick (7/27) The Naked Writer by Laura M. Talley

Wednesday's Pick (7/25) The 5 Blessings of Keeping a Journal by Bruce Black

Tuesday's Pick (7/24) The Elevator Pitch the Write Way by Joanna Tebbs Young

Monday's Pick (7/23) Something Yours by Patty Froese

Friday's Pick (7/20) Journals and A Writing Exercise by Lauren B. Davis

Wednesday's Pick (7/18) Do You Have the Disease to Please? by Terri Cole

Tuesday's Pick (7/17) The 7 Benefits of Keeping a Daily Journal by Michael Hyatt

Monday's Pick (7/16) Jealousy: How to Work Through It by Quinn McDonald

Friday's Pick (7/13) What Are You Making Time for in Your Life? by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (7/11) Journaling After Brain Injury by Barbara Stahura

Tuesday's Pick (7/10) 8 Ways Journaling Can Help Simplify Your Thoughts by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (7/9) I Create; Therefore I Am by Julie Flygare

Friday's Pick (7/6) Journal Writing with Children by Michelle

Monday's Pick (7/2) The Art of Journal Writing by Elizabeth Beck

Friday's Pick (6/29) Write for the Health of It: Five Reasons Why Writing is Good for Us by Debra DiPietro

Wednesday's Pick (6/27) Where is the Happy Happening? by Terri Cole

Monday's Pick (12/26) Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing by Quinn McDonald

Tuesday's Pick (12/20) Journaling for Self-Discovery by Rosie Molinary

Friday's Pick (12/16) Journal Writing Prompt 31-Priorities by Dolly Garland

Monday's Pick (12/19) Keep a Dream Journal-Why Bother? by Patti Testerman

Today's #JournalChat Pick of the Day

Thursday's Pick (9/15) Journaling video by Will Steger

Thursday's Pick (9/1) A Challenge and Some Journalng Prompts by Amy Sorensen

Friday's Pick (8/19) Altars to Remember by Amanda

(6/14): Journaling Your Travel with Book Journals

(6/13) Last Seen....Journaling

(6/10) Joy of Journal Writing

(6/9) Using Your Journal to Clear Your Clutter

(6/7) Personal Journaling Sure Beats a Bad Day

(6/6) 4 Journal Writing Prompts to Spark New Insights

(6/3) "What Oprah Knows For Sure"-#1

(6/2) Sharing Your Thank You and Love through Personal Journaling

(6/1) Kid Quotes are the Best

(5/31) Journaling-The Art of Deep Communication with the Self

(5/30) Spiral-Bound and Spellbound

(5/27) Dare to Dream

(5/26) What Lies Beneath

(5/25) Biggest Mistake Forgiven

(5/23) Journal Writing Your Wrong Ways

(5/20) Journaling Techniques for Writers with Tina M. Games

(5/18) Travel Journal For Kids

(5/17) Planning Ahead, Looking Back

(5/16) Journal Writing Prompt 21: Right Now

(5/13)Mind Your P's and Q's: Part V

(5/10) Art Journaling Prompt: Happiness

(5/09) Journaling with Photos

(5/6) MIA by Rachel with Pen to Paper

(5/5) How to Combine Reflective Writing with Meditation and Yoga

(5/4) Journaling

(5/3) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: The Nature of Resistance

(5/2) Collages, Your Mom, and more

(4/29) Dear Diary: The 4 Payoffs from Writing a Work Journal

(4/28) Secrets Journaling Prompt

(4/27) The Miracle of Mindfulness

(4/26) Your Philosophy

(4/25) Journal Writing Basics: Ask How

(4/22) What Inspires You? What Excites You?

(4/21) Journal Writing Prompt 18: Busy Life/Stress/Responsibilities

(4/19) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: Expanding Creativity

(4/15) Journal-Keeping: Tips and Ideas for Writers

(4/14) Mind Your P's and Q's: Part I

(4/13) Journal Writing Through Life's Passages: Moving

(4/12) Appreciate Journaling: Children Need to Write

(4/11) Journaling for Healing, Health, and Happiness
(4/7) Yellow Legal Pad

(4/6) Meet Brooke Snow! An Amazing Mom!

(3/30) Let the Left Brain Know What the Right Brain is Doing: An Interview with Dr. Lucia Capacchione

(3/28) Movies Journal Prompt

(3/25) The Power of Forgetting

(3/24) Ten Ways to Keep a Great Diary

(3/23) Journal to the Soul

(3/22) A Reflective Writing Honoring of Women's History Month

(3/21) A Week's Worth of Journaling Prompts: Vulnerability

(3/18) How Journaling Changed My Life: Receiving Journal Insight

(3/14) Let Them Play in the Backyard

(3/11) How to Keep a Journal When You Don't Ever Have Any Time

(3/10) Memories

(3/9) Journal Writing through Emotions: Disappointment

(3/8) Revolutionary Act 3: Reclaim Your Mornings

(3/7) 7 Reasons to Start a Journal

(3/4) "I Wish.."

Three Steps Toward Yourself (as published in SFC Newsletter, Dec 08 edition)

Accountability: to give a reckoning or explanation for one’s actions, responsible.

When most people think of accountability, they often negatively associate it with answering to others, such as a spouse, a friend, a mentor, or, in most cases, a boss. As a writer, you are your own boss, which is one of the reasons that you need to be accountable to yourself. And it can be a positive experience rather than a negative one.

The first step in being accountable to yourself as a writer is setting goals for your writing and keeping track of projects you want to finish. Incurring a deadline for yourself can help
motivate you in this area. This step can also include daily writing goals. Some authors plan how many words or pages per day they will write.
I’ve set goals for myself as a writer by making them reachable and attainable. This year I have set a goal to write at least one scene for my novel per week and at least one other piece,
whether it be memoir or essay, per week. That can mean just making notes, writing a first draft, or revising a draft.
As long as your goals keep you moving forward and you’re making progress, then you know you’re headed in the right direction.

Once you have your goals set, the next step in accountability to yourself is writing down what you accomplish each day. You can use a daily calendar just for writing or keep track of your
daily accomplishments on your computer. I designed a custom monthly writing calendar. It helps me track what I write daily, whether or not I’ve met my goal for the week, and it has
space for ideas for future writing pieces. I also have a spot to keep track of books I’m reading for that month. I use abbreviations to keep the daily writing easier and to save space. As I review each completed month, I can go back to see what I’ve accomplished and keep track of when I wrote each piece.
Whether you use something pre-made or customize something for yourself, use whatever works for you and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

A third, and perhaps most important, aspect in accountability in your writing is taking care of yourself as a writer. Than can mean giving yourself space and not being hard on yourself if
you don’t reach your goals each day or each week.
Flexibility and refreshment are paramount to your health as a writer. It also frees up your creativity and can actually help you produce more quality writing in the long run.
I enjoy writing in my journal, reading fiction or memoir, and watching a good movie with my family. Taking a walk, listening to music, talking with your family members, and just taking time to sit and enjoy life are all ways you can be good to
yourself—and ultimately accountable—as a writer.

Learn to celebrate your accomplishments and your uniqueness as a writer. That’s one of the best ways to be accountable—to yourself!