January has ended somehow! It seems like most people felt like it lasted forever and they might just be right. But I’ve been here in my burrow, plodding along with these little projects, and seeing daily progress in my life. January has been good to me! I’m here today to share some of my highlights from the month, from my favorite books of the month to little peeks into my notebooks.
Please forgive my videos. I’m using a tripod for the first time and have struggled with angles. And shadows. And children. But done is better than perfect and my life is so pleasantly unperfect.
Favorite Books of January 2020
Olive Kitteridge was a big surprise for me! I tried to read this when it was first published and put it aside, but tried again as my first book of 2020 and was so pleasantly surprised. I loved these short stories and found Olive to be grumpy and oh, so human.
This Tender Land was beautiful. After finishing and gushing about this novel, I read that its story perfectly mirrors The Odyssey. I wouldn’t have picked up on that because I’ve never read it (and probably never will?), but that’s a fun spin for you literature majors out there. I loved the characters of This Tender Land and their quests to find lives to call their own.
Joy at Work was just the nudge I needed to get to work on some digital clutter that I have in my life. I’ve cleaned up my computer desktop and the apps on my phone (I only have 1/2 screen of apps, which is down from 4! So far, I don’t miss anything!). Next I’m going to tackle all of the images I have saved for my blog — they are uploaded to WordPress so I no longer need them saved anywhere else!
This was my first month with my phenology chart! As you can see, about halfway through I decided that I needed more room to write (of course), so I shortened the weather boxes to lengthen the narrative space. This was so much fun. Even on the coldest days when I didn’t want to think about what was happening outside, I found myself thinking about how I was going to describe the day in my phenology chart. It gave me a connection to the outside world that I would have normally ignored, which is exactly what I need when the winter feels endless.
I’m using the blank pages in the back of my Hobonichi Weeks for this chart. I’m using Micron 01 pens to draw the lines and fill in dates, sunrise/sunset times, and high/low temperatures. To draw the weather and write the narratives, I’m using Pilot G-Tec-C .25 pens. To color, I’m using Crayola Twistables.
My Morning Pages
I had my best month ever with morning pages. I only missed one day, which was the morning after I had the stomach bug so I’ll forgive myself. I only write one page a day now which takes about 20 minutes. I never, ever go back to reread what I’ve written and I’m sure it makes no sense at all – these are usually written around 3:30 in the morning when not much makes sense anyway!
I use a basic lined A5 notebook for my morning pages and love how simple it is.
This is a flip through of my main Hobonichi Weeks. I use it to track chores and habits on the right side of the spread. On the dated side I write a little paragraph at the end of each day, either a quick summary or just something that I want to remember about the day. This daily ritual is something that I look forward to each evening and sometimes catch myself thinking, “that’s going in the book!”
Here’s a peek into my little Bible journal, which is also a Hobonichi Weeks. I’ve been very open about how religion is difficult for me and I find much of the Bible to be unbelievable. But I read it daily (often twice a day) because I like trying to understand the history and because I believe it was written by people who were seeking wisdom and meaning in their lives. I also believe in setting intentions each day and find it easier to state those in the form of a prayer.
The first set of pages you’ll see are my morning readings and daily intentions (or prayers). The second set that you’ll see me flip to are my nightly readings and reflections on my intention of the day. Despite all of my reservations, I’m loving this practice!
It was so much fun to compile this post. I love notebook flip throughs – I love seeing rows and rows of written words, which add up to pages, which adds up to full notebooks, which adds up to beautiful stacks of journals and planners. With steady dedication, progress is possible! I remind myself each time I stumble out of bed in the morning – every day counts. What I choose to do with every moment is what I choose to do with my life.
How was January for you? What was the best book you read this month? What is something that you’re glad you did? What’s something you’re glad you didn’t do? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful journaling rituals and tools. I am not all that conversant with the Hobonichi Weeks planner so your videos helped a lot…I applaud you for doing Morning Pages at 3:30 am! Periodically, I resume the practice, tho’ not at 3:30 am…it’s a good break from my usual routine and probably lasts about a week.
Have a great weekend! And your camera play was fine!
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Thank you for reading all of my rambling! I love the Hobonichi products and spend the entire year trying to decide what I’m going to order for the next year. To be honest, around September my morning pages are mostly full of notebook angst – what do I really NEED the next year? (of course, I don’t need crazy expensive notebooks, I just want them). Ha!
I am envious of the habits you’ve made to regularly write in your journals and notebooks. My journal used to be such an important part of my life, and I’ve gotten so out of the habit that I’ve only managed to write in my new one once this year!
I think my favorite read of January was a tie between The Murmur of Bees and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell. I’m toward the beginning of Olive Kitteridge now and enjoying it, but I need to find some free time during the day to read a chunk because the 10 minutes or so before bed isn’t getting me very far.
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Ugh – I’m sorry you’re struggling with finding the time to do the things that you love. It’s so hard to find a rhythm that works! I hope you’re able to find pockets of time to do things that rejuvenate you!
Sorry – I forgot to say that the Murmur of Bees is on my TBR and I really want to read it! I’m so glad to hear about another person who loved it 🙂 And thanks for mentioning The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell – I hadn’t heard of it!
I am in awe of your diligence at 3:30AM!! Wow! I also love your consistency and your creativity! My favorite read for January is Conversations with RBG and the book of poetry, Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Oceans Vuong – both have stayed with me with lots to think about!
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I haven’t read anything by Ocean Vuong, but have been tempted. I’m worried that he will be way too over my head!
It’s either diligence or pure stubbornness to get up at 3:30am. I’m known for both :p
I like seeing your pages! I’m glad This Tender Land got a good review–I’m just over halfway thru it and am loving it. A friend is also reading it and it didn’t send her, but I can see why (her way of looking at things) so I’m not too worried.
Katie, hi! Thanks for sharing Joy at Work … looks like I need to go there!
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It was lovely! A lot of the same material from her first two books, but sometimes it’s helpful to revisit 🙂