Journaling in 2018

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I’m making a renewed vow of journaling in the coming year, and I’m inviting anyone along who wants to join me. I used to be a daily, consistent writer of my thoughts, prayers and dreams, but somewhere along the way I stopped. It’s time to start, again.

fullsizeoutput_3d11   Why journal? I could mention a couple of things: 1) journaling helps with critical thinking and reflection, 2) it engages our mind and body, multiple senses working together, and 3) it helps us stop.

I’ve experienced all that in the past. Journaling helps me frame my thoughts and it creates a safe space to go deeper in personal reflection. I also like the feel of paper and a fine pen in my hand. It creates a quiet space, a refuge from all the hustle and hurry of the day. When I plan to journal and invest the effort to make a special space and time for journaling it becomes a respite, a place of healing and quiet in my hectic schedule and unrestful days.

   What to journal? You can always journal your thoughts and prayers. You can keep a record of your thankfulness. You can track and explore your plans and dreams. I’m going to be keeping two official journals in 2018, one for my thoughts & prayers and one for my plans & schemes.

   When to journal? When it’s valued. When it’s easy. When you can. That’s the reality we all face… journaling needs to be a valued practice, given it’s own space and an investment of materials. Pick a good journal, treat yourself with a trip to the bookstore and and get a good one. Do you like a fine pen? Do you not even care and keep $.29 ballpoints? It all works. When should you journal? Do have more time at the beginning or close of a day?

just abide   How to journal? Make it a habit, write daily. Write something: consistency. Look, I’m no recognized journaling expert, but this is what I have found in my experience: I need to do something every day to make it a habit and maintain it, and that means writing something, anything, each day. I will write something even if I’m writing the sentence, “Today, I got nothing.” 

Why two journals? You may only want to carry one journal around for the year, but I have a bunch of stuff on my mind. I have now been out of full-time ministry for two years. I didn’t expect to still be out after two years. God and I need some time to chat and explore stuff in the new year. That’s a journal all to itself. The other one? I’m feeling creative and I have some projects in mind for 2018. Projects are great, but I need a journal, lists and captured creativity to help me get some of them finished! Let me know if you’re journaling and how it goes! Hold me accountable and ask me how it’s going!

AMDG, Todd

October 12, 2012 Redux in 2016

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Oct. 12 ~ An opportunity of civility: opposing ideas working together can result in creative new options. #civility 

Only when we recognize that both sides of an issue or argument will have some merit, some usable contribution, some wisdom and some worth, can we bring together all our variety of thoughts and experiences to create imaginative, new options.

The polarization of incivility simply divides us into camps devoted to the destruction and dominance of the other side, often in ways that block our own ability to be reflective or to adapt when needed. But if we can ever set aside some of the barriers that we build to “win” we just might be able to replace them with bridges that bring us together in amazing new ways.

Here’s some great work written on the creativity that holds opposing ideas in a constructive tension… The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin. It’s a great book that I highly recommend!

2013 Daily Advent, Week One

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advent 2013Happy First Sunday of Advent!

Advent Week One 2013 For Web (pdf)

It’s my favorite time of year… I mean I do love me some Lent and Easter, but I LOVE Advent and Christmas! To celebrate the season and help make Advent a little more meaningful I am creating a daily devotional guide that can be used with prayers, or for any kind of creative exercise from poetry to photography, from sketches to prose. Each Sunday of Advent I’ll post the new week’s seven day guide. You’re invited to use it as you’d like; each day has a reading (some person or piece of the Incarnation narrative), a creative focus (a word or short phrase) and a few words for the day (one or two thoughts or questions). That’s the link to the pdf at the top of the blog. =)

You can resonate right off the text of the day, or just use the Creative Focus of each day as a spring board for some kind of an artist endeavor. You can use the guide to keep a personal Advent journal, fill a 25 page sketch book, or inspire us all with cool Facebook posts. It’s yours to enjoy and put to use however you choose. The devotions will cover every day of December right through Christmas Day!

My prayer is that your Advent and Christmas celebrations are rich with all the best blessings of Life: God’s presence, fun times with family, deep prayer, lots of rest and delicious food! May your body and soul be filled by the best!

AMDG, Todd

Breakfast Is Not Infinite

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breakfast is finiteIt’s such a shame that breakfast is a finite quantity and experience. One moment I was enjoying an absolutely amazing breakfast sandwich here at La Madeleine this morning, and then it was gone. Why wasn’t I taught that breakfast was finite? Why wasn’t I prepared for the consequences of eating?

Yeah, I’m so not really writing about the finite’ness of breakfast. I’m actually writing about the finite nature of creativity. I’m discovering in myself and my own life that creativity is in fact not in infinite supply. It seems I was raised with the expectation that creativity was a bottomless well, a super power without limits, something to be tapped, mined and spent with abandon. I believe I’ve experienced just the opposite.

I’m not saying that you may not have a creative super power that goes on and on (although I don’t believe you do, hehehe), but my well can run dry. And I’m not just talking about those times of life that are creatively a bit dryer than other times. I have noticed that when I choose to invest my creativity too heavily in one direction and pursuit, I simply don’t have the juices to move in another direction. It’s really disappointing.

I swam a few laps this morning with Google to see what other bloggers and writers might be saying about the finite nature of creativity and discovered a couple of things that border on the profundity of “life lessons,” and they go like this:
1) creativity is in fact not boundless, but something we need to invest and use wisely, and
2) anyone who says your creativity is infinite is selling you something, a product or a service.

What all this means for me is that I must do some reflection and self-analysis periodically in life to make sure I’m not wasting my creativity. I need my creativity in my work and career. I need my creativity in several career related pursuits in my life. I want to be a creative husband and father. If I’m investing my creativity in pursuits and activities that do not channel into these important areas of my life, then I’m going to come up short when I need it the most.

One of the biggest culprits in my life is video gaming. Video games in their various forms can be amazing creative outlets, at least the ones I’ve chosen to play. From Minecraft to World of Warcraft to Second Life, I am invited to create characters, build worlds and fashion whole realities from pure imagination and creativity. All the games I mentioned offer various kinds of rewards for spending my creativity there, and none of them are bad, evil or inherently wrong.

I know, I know… who wants to read a 43 year old man-child blog about spending too much time playing video games? It’s not just video games. I can do this with movies, Netflix and going on a TV binge. I can do this with hobbies and other pursuits in life that do not help me channel my energies and pursuits in the direction I need to be moving or simply a direction that is producing usable returns for my life. This whole finite creativity thing may also have an impact on my tendency to be a “starter” but not always a “finisher” as I change my spending habits midcourse with projects. Maybe it’s the natural outgrowth of an addictive personality.

Today, I’m making some lists. I’m making some lists of unfinished work projects, current hobby activities, upcoming creative needs and unmet life desires, and I’m going to toss those lists into a mixed salad of opportunities for spending my creative reserve, and prayerfully try to make some wise choices.  Honestly, I’ve been doing this for a few days now, and am committed to continuing the exercise.

Thankfully, as finite as my reserve of creativity may be, it’s also a replenishing resource. My mistakes aren’t my future and the well that ran dry will run again.