Tag Archives: gratitude

Saturday Random: a bit of gratitude, planner woes and cat pics

Starting today’s Saturday random with a little gratitude. This morning Dylan was sitting next to me in bed, much as we do most mornings, only no schoolwork for him as he gets the weekends off. It was just me and him. I was on my phone and he was playing with a couple of LEGO cars he’d created. He turned to me and said, “I like it when it’s just the two of us in the mornings, and the cats.” I hugged him right there and then.

Mind you, this is the same kid who woke me up at the ungodly (to me) hour of 6:45 a.m.. I’ve been so tired, I actually had to take a short nap before I started writing this post.

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Some planner woes. After a week of using the Passion Planner to track my time, I’ve come to the conclusion it won’t work for me. The reason? The planner charts the day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. As you’ve probably guessed by now, my typical day is more like 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

So now I’m on the hunt for a planner that will accommodate my typical day. I suspect now I probably won’t find it in a ready-made product (with all the stuff I read online about productivity and your morning routine, I think a 6:00 a.m. start is not only more common, but also seen as more productive). I’m hoping there’s some freelance creative person out there who’s made a really awesome planner printable to help her account for her day, a day that looks more like mine than the typical planner does.

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The requisite cat photos. Mainly because I still haven’t gotten around to designing a Saturday Random graphic yet, and the way the blog works, I need to have a graphic in each post or there will be a yucky big blank square beside the post title in my “latest posts” list on the sidebar.

Creeper says “hi”.

 Creeper says hi, sort of

And so does Hobbes

Hobbes says hi

How is your Saturday shaping up? 

Happiness Jar

I’d heard about them before. And then around the new year, I saw someone talking somewhere about Elizabeth Gilbert’s post on Facebook about her happiness jar. And I thought, oh, how nice.

And then I forgot about it.

But then yesterday I was on Flipboard and I read this post at Huffington Post by Stephanie Weaver: Lessons from my Gratitude Jar.  And in it, she wrote one thing that leaped out at me.

It’s like re-reading a journal of the previous year while eating fortune cookies.

Most of you who’ve been reading my blog posts will know that journaling is something I keep trying to do consistently.  I didn’t make it one of my 2015 goals (and doesn’t that say something about my relationship with journaling?!) but I’ve found a lovely list method in Lynda Barry’s Syllabus that I’ve been trying to use. She calls it the 4-minute Daily Diary and really, how much easier could it get?

Except I haven’t been doing it. I don’t know why, and yes, it’s on my list of things I really want to do. After all, it only takes FOUR MINUTES A DAY.

But in the meantime …

As soon as I read the post, I said to myself, “I’m going to start a happiness jar!” Actually, I was so excited about it, I tweeted it.

“It’s like re-reading a journal of the previous year while eating fortune cookies.” That’s what I want! I have no shortage of big glass containers around here (I’m using an IKEA vase that we’d repurposed as a candle holder. And now it’s being repurposed as a Happiness Jar), so I grabbed one, washed it, and it’s sitting on my desk waiting for me to fill it with lots of good things.

(I’d take a picture but it just looks like an empty glass vase or rather, since it’s a modern design, a supersized glass tumbler. Plus my desk is on the messy side again because I’m on deadline and it appears messy desk syndrome hits me when I’m on deadline.)

And I had another wonderful idea. Why not use pretty paper to write my happiness slips? I have never scrapbooked, but I’ve also never been able to resist the pretty bundles of scrapbooking paper you see at the craft stores. I keep buying them, but have never found a use for them. Until now! I’m going to be cutting up a batch of these pretty papers to use in my Happiness Jar!

Photo 2015-01-07, 8 53 25 PM

I think this is one type of “journaling” I’ll be able to do consistently. As motivation, I keep thinking of a big jar filled with all my happiness moments at the end of the year …

What about you? Do you have a gratitude jar or a happiness jar?

A Quiet Grateful Celebration Tonight

I’d intended to blog about the final five books from my TBR stash that I want to read next year, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

My heart is just so full right now, and I want to let it all spill out. My blog seems like the best place for the words to go.

For the first time in over fifteen years, I don’t have to work through the holidays.

This is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time. As a freelancer, it can often feel like feast or famine, and during the feast times, you acquire the habit of saying “yes” to everything, because after you finish that last project, it may well be famine. Because most of my indexing clients are textbook publishers, traditionally the busy season for me has been from November to February, with the worst of it being in November and December. As a result,  I have had too many years where I was only able to take Christmas Day off work – and I felt thankful that I could.

But this entire year, it’s been different. Partly, it’s because I’m not doing as many indexing projects as I used to. Three years ago, one of my major clients decided to outsource all its editorial overseas, indexes included, and since then, while I still do some of their indexes via the overseas editorial firms (and when they do keep anything in-house, I often get the project), I’m now preparing only a fraction of the indexes for them that I used to. Each year that number has dwindled.

The publishing industry is in a state of flux, and outsourcing overseas is a very real possibility with my other clients too. So with this in mind, I’ve started to focus on freelance writing and social media management.  I started out this year with one client, thanks to my good friend Brette Sember, and then I added another client (thanks again to Brette). I think that’s helped in terms of a steadier workload.

And it’s funny the way life works. Instead of having to deal with a big empty hole in my work schedule because of the dwindling workload from this one major client who’s outsourced all its editorial, my other clients began filling the gap. In fact, two of them in particular have kept me steadily indexing throughout the year, so that this year and last, I never really felt that “famine” part of the freelance life. While I have a little less work, it’s spread out much more evenly through the year.

The best thing is, this is the first year I’ve been able to take so much time off for the holidays. I have one writing assignment due next week, but that’s it. Even better, my time off isn’t at the expense of my bank account, either (if it was, I wouldn’t be feeling so happy!).

 

Photo 2014-12-19, 2 56 19 PMI even had time to take pictures at the mall!

So I’m really really looking forward to the days leading up to Christmas. Today I took my youngest Christmas shopping, and we had such fun! He’s a great kid to take to the shops, because he really gets into it. In the past, I’d have to scramble to find an hour in my schedule to whisk him to a store to pick a present for his dad, but today we spent the entire afternoon wandering the mall, browsing and having a great time. This year, we had time for him to pick presents for his older brother and sister too, as well as for his dad.

Photo 2014-12-19, 4 14 16 PMHard to see, but shimmery beauty decorates one of the mall windows

And tonight, it’s just the two of us. Christmas music is playing, the tree is lit, and we have wrapping plans. I feel so rich, so abundant, so grateful.  I want to keep pinching myself to make sure this is real.

A steady workload and the ability to take time off, without any guilt or stress. More of the same throughout all of 2015, please!