Archive for the ‘Journalling’ Category

It’s a Tuesday morning.  School run done and car parked, I hurry up the path to my house.  Key in the door whilst shoving with one foot only to be met by a happy Honey Basset blocking my way in.   Whilst fussing her I’m hit by the lovely smell of fabric softener; clothes drying in the house, too cold outside today for anything to dry on the line.  I walk to the radio left on in the kitchen for the aforementioned Basset, and hit the Off button.  Silence! 

Coat off.  Washing-up away.  Load of washing in and set to wash, all in the space of about five minutes.  I have to be careful not to get engrossed in domestics or, before I know it, they’ve become a procrastination, a means of prevarication, a distraction.  I’ve been doing domestics since 5.45am this morning so everything else can and should wait because I need to pray. 

Matches in hand I head for the lounge to light my prayer candle which sits in my plain but beautiful St Beuno’s candle holder on my altar; I only have to look at it to be instantly transported back to that beautiful place.  I grab this month’s Magnificat and begin.  I stand in front of my altar to pray Morning [Lauds] prayer.  Evening prayer [Vespers] can happen anywhere, in my bedroom, in the car outside school, wherever the opportunity presents itself.  I pray Compline [Night prayer] in bed usually, if I can stay awake.  I am lucky that I have the time to devote to this practice at the moment.  Not working might mean less money but it has the huge benefit of being able to spend more time with God.  After praying I make myself a latte and settle down with this year’s edition of Sacred Space to study today’s gospel.  It’s a time to reflect, to talk to God and just be.  Listening.  Waiting.  [eta Sacred Space for 2019 is out now ~ click the link in the side bar >>>]

Now, in an ideal world every day would be just like today.  However, some days life takes over and prayers are missed or don’t happen at all and that’s just the way it is.  But ideally I like to be able to spend time in prayer every, single day.  Even if it’s just once for a few moments. 

Pray, I hear you ask?  Why would you do that?  It’s not Sunday, you’re not at Mass so why?  And this is a really valid and sensible question and one I’ve asked myself a lot over the last few years.  Why do I feel the need to pray daily?  Have I always done so and does it do any good?

First I feel the need to explain that I am driven to pray every day, it’s a need, a desire, almost a necessity.  If I don’t do it I miss it, something just doesn’t feel right, I feel empty and a bit lost.  As I said before, prayer doesn’t or can’t happen every day, some days I’m just either too busy [not always procrastinating with domestics but running errands etc] or quite simply too lazy.  I don’t give myself a hard time if I don’t get round to it because that’s pretty pointless.  However, I have the intention to pray every day; morning, evening and night with Mass thrown in if I get there.  It’s an act of fidelity.  The definition of fidelity is:- ‘faithfulness to a person, cause or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.’  Prayer is me being faithful to God.  As I said somewhere else, it’s a bit like being married.  You are faithful to your husband or wife because you love them and you [want to] show that love through acts of fidelity which can be anything from a hug, a loving word, a gift, washing the dishes…anything done in love for another.  So, back to the question why do I pray?  Because I can’t not, it’s that simple.

Have I always done so?  No, absolutely not.  Certainly not in those early days but in the last few years it’s become a habit that I can’t break.  It ebbs and flows according to employment and commitments but it never completely stops.  It really is a way of life now and is vital to maintaining my faith and my relationship with God.  As my faith has grown and matured, so has my prayer life.

What isn’t always obvious to those ‘looking in’ is that this relationship is a two-way thing.  I am faithful to God and He is faithful to me.  “For the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt 20:28 NIV  I’m not sure what I feel about Christ serving me [that was actually a question in last Sunday’s gospel study] and I suspect that’s a post for another day, but in any event this is relationship of equals.  I can sense that all of the time.  I show up and God is always there, never late, never awol, constant and reliable.  He comforts, strengthens and guides me.

Does prayer do any good?  Hmm well that’s tricky and I can only answer for myself and from my own experience.  Firstly, it doesn’t do any harm that’s for sure and it can be very cathartic.  I try to keep a journal of personal intentions and people/situations that I pray for and I can honestly say that I often go back and find that 90% of them will have been answered.  I also find that during unstructured prayer or silent contemplation I often receive the answer to a problem or have a sense of peace about an important decision or difficult situation.  It’s nothing tangible but it’s undeniable and it’s happened too many times to be a fluke.

So, who can pray?  Well anyone obviously.  Those of faith or of no faith.  There are no qualifications required.  Anyone can talk to God, anywhere, at anytime about anything.  It really is that simple.  You don’t need all the structure and books that I use.  I use those things to keep me focussed and accountable but I also have unstructured times when it’s just me and God.  Prayer is not a ‘one size fits all’ thing.  It’s unique to each person to pray as they feel.  Sometimes, it’s just a word thrown heavenwards.  An arrow prayer launched towards God in a moment of desperation or difficulty.  It’s quite simply a conversation with God where you get to say what you want or just sit and listen with the ear of your heart.  

God bless. . .

Sharon xx

You might also like this previous post = “What is prayer?”

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Prayer Journal [ARC]

Hi everyone xx

I’ve just had a week off for half-term.  Yes, I know that’s early but my new job is in an academy so they get to set their own holidays/terms.  This week is chosen so that families can take advantage of cheap holiday deals out of season, and also hopefully enjoy an Indian summer [has been quite a nice week here in the UK].

During my week off I’ve been doing all the things I really love ~ journaling, hair cut, meals out with friends, loving my animals without time constraint and welcoming a new kitten into the house [that’s another post I think 😉 ].  And yes, for those who are counting that makes SIX cats, we’re done at six I promise.  Also a few things that I’m not so keen on such as a dental check-up and trying desperately to overcome a terrible, persistent earache that I had for over two weeks in the end.  An uber course of antibiotics has hopefully seen the back of it, especially as I took the last one this morning.  Here’s hoping!

So, one of the lovely things I’ve done this week is make a ‘Prayer Journal’.  I got the idea from a lovely lady called Gina Garland who made THIS YOUTUBE video about how she made it, and also offers a free booklet of very detailed guidelines too.  There is an email address under the video where you can request the booklet, and Gina will send it to you by return as an attachment.  I got mine in less that 24 hours, impressive given the time difference [USA].

So here are rather a lot of photos of my ‘Prayer Journal’.  I’ve literally only just finished it today.  I used an ARC planner, A5 size in the poly cover.  Here is A LINK to one exactly the same price and size as mine, just a slightly different cover design.  I was going to buy an A5 binder as Gina suggests in the video, but Staples have no inserts, dividers or A5 sized anything to go in one, plenty of binders but pretty useless without the basic accessories.  As I already have all the ARC things from making my daily planner/diary it made sense just to buy the poly one.  Okay, I’ve waffled enough……photo’s…..

Prayer Journal September 2014

The cover of my new Prayer Journal

Prayer Journal September 2014 (2)

Title page

Prayer Journal September 2014 (3)

Next . . .

Prayer Journal September 2014 (4)

Prayer Journal September 2014 (6)

I made all the page dividers myself using THIS Autmn paper [more like card imo as 230gsm] collection from Hobbycraft. As it’s double sided I used a piece in reverse to make the subject tabs that you can just make out top right of each divider.

Prayer Journal September 2014 (7)

Each tab indicates what or who you are praying for.

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The reverse side of the divider above.

Prayer Journal September 2014 (9)

Praying for our marriage

Prayer Journal September 2014 (10)

Praying for my children

Prayer Journal September 2014 (11)

‘Parents and Family’ ~ such pretty papers [card], friends are prayed for in the Weekly section

Prayer Journal September 2014 (12)

Reverse side of the above divider just to show you how lovely they are

Prayer Journal September 2014 (13)

Once a week prayers

Prayer Journal September 2014 (16)

I made my own little tabs/page flags for the days of the week [Mon-Fri] in the ‘Once a Week Prayers’ section using washi tape and coloured paper clips

Prayer Journal September 2014 (15)

Here are all five of them peeping out of the pages ~ I will probably decorate the blank pages themselves with washi tape, stickers etc. as I go…

Prayer Journal September 2014 (14)

…continuing on…

Prayer Journal September 2014 (19)

I decided to put a ‘Scripture Journal’ in mine

I hope you’ve enjoyed this ‘walk’ through my Prayer Journal. If anyone has any questions or if any of the links don’t work then don’t hesitate to message me. Many thanks go to the lovely Gina for sharing her idea and help booklet so freely.

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I haven’t posted for a while.  I’ve been caught up in the lovely busyness of being at home full-time for these couple of months between jobs.  To say that I’m having a blast is an understatement, I’m totally loving it!  So much cooking, crochet, reading!! 

I’ve also bought/made myself a new journal that is totally my own design using the ARC system from Staples.  It’s great to make a journal/planner/organiser [call it what you will] that is absolutely suited to your own needs and desires.  It also means you can pimp it up with all manner of lovely papers, stickers and ephemera.  For those, like me, with a bit of a stationery fetish it’s all rather addictive and is growing far bigger than I first thought.  Might even have to split it in the end into a Journaling/Inspiration ARC and a more practical Diary/To-Do-List/Addresses/Contacts type ARC.  The planner will hold up to 200 sheets depending on the size of disc you put in, so it’s expandable. 

I didn’t realise when I started making this planner that it’s actually got quite a cult following.  Filofax, ARC, Smash Journaling ~  they’ve all gone a bit viral, and if you look on YouTube or search the blog world then they’re absolutely everywhere.  I did have a very brief look at a Filofax but the price quickly convinced me that it’s just not worth it.  Ridiculously expensive!

Anyway, here are a few photo’s of some parts of my ARC.  Obviously the cover is bought from Staples and some of the inserts, but I quickly realised that I could add my own things.  I’ve made some of my own dividers and decorated the plain ones I bought.  I’ve also bought an ARC hole punch so that I can add my own things without having to just use the rather plain ones that Staples sell.  These are also sold in the States and, typically, they have a huge and colourful variety of accessories for their ARC range over there.  The UK has a way to go to catch up as our range is rather conservative in comparison.  Hence it’s better to use your own imagination and turn it into a craft project.

PHOTO’S. . . [finally 😉 ]

ARC beginnings (1)

Hot pink A5 leather cover, with the 200 sheet expansion discs. All decoration I’ve added myself.

Inside the front cover, Gratitude Journal tucked in the left flap.  Favourite bible quote as a fly leaf.

Inside the front cover ~ pretty, flowery ‘Gratitude Journal’ tucked in the left flap. Favourite bible quote as a fly-leaf which I made.

ARC beginnings (4)

Post-it’s which I also added, bought them from Paperchase.

ARC beginnings (5)

Post-it’s page. Owl sticky post book mark at the top with my shopping lists also poking out. List pages [task pages they’re actually called] courtesy of ARC/Staples. Owl sticky book marks from Paperchase.

ARC beginnings (6)

Monthly major events so I can see what’s coming up each month at a glance. Also made these, just cut and punched some coloured index cards.  I’ve also added some adhesive ribbon to the blue poly divider to add some prettiness.  These poly dividers are from Staples.

Next comes my ‘Diary’ section, and then my ‘To Do’ lists which are a bit private so no photo’s of those.  The pages for these are bought from Staples, they do generic diary pages which you date yourself and special ‘To Do’ pages.  Each pack contains 60 sheets of each and are between £2.20 and £2.60 depending on the type of pack so pricewise they knock Filofax into a cocked hat.

Blank journalling pages.  Pages taken from an old A5 journal and decorated myself.

Blank journaling pages all ready for my thoughts. Sheets taken from an old A5 journal and decorated myself with journaling cards, washi tape and vintage stickers.

Some of the journaling cards I bought from Hobbycraft and some I downloaded and printed myself. There is a plethora of free material out there if you have a look.  Here is a great blog site that offers some lovely free printables…  Miss Tina, Digital Art

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‘Prayer and Scripture’ section… showing ‘The Mass’..

ARC beginnings (12)

Favourite piece of scripture…

Craft Projects section.  Here I write down what I've used to make a particular project and also any ideas or inspirations for new projects.

‘Craft Projects’ section. Here I write down what I’ve used to make a particular project and also any ideas or inspirations for new projects.

ARC beginnings (15)

Home-made dividers made from card and decorated with washi tape.

ARC beginnings (18)

And again, but this time decorated with adhesive ribbon.

ARC beginnings (16)

Next is the ‘Inspiration’ section. Just quotes and images that inspire me or that I simply enjoy. Quotes written on journaling cards and punched with the ARC punch.  Pink sheets taken from an old journal and decorated with washi tape and vintage stickers.

ARC beginnings (17)

Art that inspires me!!

Books and Films section.  A list of books I want to read and films I'd like to see.  Also some reviews of what I'm reading or have read.

‘Books and Films’ section. A list of books I want to read and films I’d like to see. Also some reviews of what I’m reading or have read.

The next three sections are ‘Food & Recipes’,  ‘Useful Stuff’ and ‘Contacts’.  There’s not much in the ‘Food’ section and the last two are too private to photograph but you get the idea.

Finally. . .

A little pocket I bought from Hobby craft in a pack of three different envelope/pockets.  There are some little things Ethan has given me over the years and special cards and things that I hold dear.  I've stuck this inside the back cover.

A little pocket I bought from Hobbycraft in a pack of three different envelopes/pockets. There are some little things in there that Ethan has given me over the years and special cards that I hold dear. I’ve stuck this inside the back cover with double-sided tape.

So, that’s quite a long post for me with more than my usual quota of photo’s. I’ve really enjoyed making this journal and it’s a constant work in progress as I keep thinking up new ideas for how to make it better or add new sections. You can see why it’s going to outgrow itself quite soon, and become two journals ~ one practical, one inspirational. I won’t buy another leather cover as I’m pretty sure I can make a very pretty one myself out of card and decorative paper. I’ll share if and when I do that.

Hope you’re all inspired to do something similar.  You can even do something with just a normal note book or journal by covering it, decorating the pages, adding tabs, sticking in photo’s, pictures, stickers etc.  It doesn’t take much imagination and it’s really great fun.  

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