A New Rhythm

Hi Friends!

Brrrrr! The Polar Vortex arrived overnight bringing dangerous, record-breaking cold to the Midwest. We woke up to temperatures of -25 F (-31.6 C) with windchill temperatures of -50 F (-45.6 C). The loud sounds of ‘Frost Quakes’ can be heard as our soil reacts to the rapid temperature change. Today we are only four degrees warmer than Antarctica!Β 

Most schools here are closed today, mail delivery has been cancelled, and many people have decided to spend the day at home. We are very grateful for those who brave the Arctic temperatures to provide vital services. Friends and neighbors have been checking in to see if anyone needs help. Each time I peek out the window, I am so grateful for the heavy blanket of snow that is protecting my garden as it sleeps. Wherever you are today, we hope you are safe and warm!

Bright sunshine is streaming through the lace curtains in our dining room as I write. Pumpkin muffins are in the oven and a pot of tea is brewing. Gusty, snowy days are just perfect for writing heartwarming letters to friends. I’m so glad that you stopped to visit today! Pour yourself a cup of tea, cocoa, or coffee. Let’s catch up a bit…

The month of January has flown by very quickly this year. Such a busy time here! My dear, sweet parents are staying with us in the midst of their Big Move from Arizona back home to Illinois. Mom and Dad are very eager to settle into an easier lifestyle in their apartment in a brand new Senior Living community. They can’t wait to unpack all of their boxes as we all work together to create their new home! There have been some very disappointing delays in recent weeks. So, we continue to wait and wait and wait for ‘move-in’ day to be announced.

As we wait, oh, the sweet family times we have been sharing! Reminiscing and sharing childhood stories adds so much warmth and humor to our days. I love hearing so many of these family stories for the first time! πŸ™‚ Mom has filled a big ‘Basket of Sunshine’ with some of her favorite things to brighten her days. Dad has been busy researching his favorite hobbies online and doing a few little repairs around the house. So many treasured memories of all the home restoration projects that Mom and Dad helped me with over thirty years ago, when I became a homeowner, come flooding back. Oh, the stories this little house could tell! (We just shared our 1988 memories of working together with a heat tool to strip paint from the kitchen cabinets, as snowflakes were drifting in through the open window. πŸ™‚ ) Watching the the U.S. and European Figure Skating championships together over the weekend brought back warm memories of all the Figure Skating we watched together in my childhood. Yes, our cozy, little bungalow feels cozier than ever right now. β™₯

There is a new rhythm to my life now. The coming years will be extra busy as I have the honor of helping my parents. My special ‘word’ for the new year found me a few weeks ago. Throughout the year, I will focus on being more intentional about the decisions I make. My time is more limited now, so careful attention to the most important things will help to keep my health, our marriage, our family life, my creative passions, dear friendships, and our little home and garden thriving. This new rhythm feels exhilarating! It invites so many opportunities to learn and grow…

This month, I eagerly began my 2019 Self-Care bullet journal. It was a wonderful feeling to unwrap a brand new Rhodia dot grid journal filled with 160 pages of luscious, ivory, Clairefontaine paper from France. (J’adore anything French! β™₯ I left a piece of my heart there on my very first visit.)

My Self-Care journal is the perfect place to record and track healthy habits. It’s interesting to notice patterns over time in my Sleep Log, Workout Log, and trackers for daily Hydration, Step Counts, Creative Time, and Time in Nature. My monthly Gratitude Log continues to be my most important journal page! Nightly reflection keeps me mindful of my Self-Care.

This year, I will be more intentional about setting personal goals. In January, I created a new monthly page entitled Reasons to Be Proud. It feels like a nice addition as I reflect on my days. My Self-Care journal has become a personal space where I can get to know myself better. I only spend about ten minutes each night with my bullet journal. Yet it always feels like a luxurious a little ‘gift’ to wrap up my days with mindful reflection!

I’ve been savoring a wonderful book, The Bullet Journal Method, by Ryder Carroll, the creator of this style of journaling. It’s so inspiring to explore all of the possibilities of this quiet, analog journaling process that requires only a simple notebook and a pen. Over the past two years, I have personally stayed very motivated by using a few art supplies in my bullet journals. The chance to play with colorful inks, brush lettering, stencils, and a bit of doodling nourishes my creative heart every day when I open my journal. My 2019 BuJo will continue to be a very important Self-Care tool as I grow more intentional and spend more of my time on what truly matters. Doesn’t it sound inviting to actually spend more time on fewer things? It’s a lofty goal for someone whose ‘Renaissance’ (my ‘R’ word for Retirement) is filled with so many interests and plans!

As we tie the ribbons on January, I’m celebrating two wonderful Artist Dates that I intentionally made time for on my busy calendar. I spent an entire day with my crafty, creative ‘tribe’ at a papercrafting Crop Day. It felt so good to play with stamps and watercolors as I worked on a few Valentine projects. We all chatted about important things, like ink and paper, as we worked together on our own creations. πŸ™‚ Last weekend, I attended a fun Watercolor workshop, where we sketched and painted a Cozy Winter Cottage nestled in the woods. I tucked my artwork into a rustic wooden frame to display in my little Paper Garden studio. It’s a sweet reminder to be intentional about the choices I make as I discover this new rhythm in life! β™₯

What new things have you been doing in January?

Do you make resolutions or choose a ‘word’ for the New Year?

How is the weather in your little corner of the world?

Hope you’ll share with us…


Warmest hugs!

β™‘ Dawn







24 thoughts on “A New Rhythm

  1. Love your Cozy Winter Cottage! Beautiful! Please tell me the measurements of the Rhodia journal, and do all contain that particular type of paper? What is the significance of the dots? Thanks! Kathy

    • Thank you for your very kind words, Kathy! There are different styles of Rhodia journals. Mine is a soft cover notebook, 5.8×8.3 inches. It has 90 gsm ivory brushed vellum paper made in Γ‰tival-Clairefontaine, France. It has a ribbon bookmark and an expandable inner pocket. I ordered it from Amazon where you will find several color choices.

      The dot grid is my favorite choice. It’s so helpful and versatile for drawing trackers, calendars, text frames for hand lettered quotations and titles. It makes it easy to design my pages in both portrait and landscape orientations. Some bullet journalists use blank pages, lined pages, or graph paper pages. For me, Dot grid is the best choice! Are you also beginning a new journal for the new year? I’d love to hear all about it. Warmest wishes, Kathy!πŸ’—

  2. I love your painting, Dawn! I’ve only ever been in minus 10 degrees so can’t imagine minus 50! I would think it would be hard to breathe. This was the first year I’ve had a “word.” It came to me late in the year and has proven to be just the right word for me. I wrote about it on Morning Musings and Another Perfect Day. I love your word. I will have to think about it for next year–especially if I get my life in balance this year! The best to you and your beautiful parents as they transition into their new life.

    • Oh, thank you, Cathy! The workshop instructor guided us step-by-step as we sketched and worked to create the Northern Lights in the night sky. I’m so happy that a special ‘word’ found you this year! I must come visit to read all about it. I think this is already my seventh ‘word’ and all of them continue to guide me.
      I truly appreciate your kind wishes for my family, Cathy! You are so sweet. We are really in the deep freeze here… and it will be even colder tonight! We are trying extra hard to keep my parents (and our water pipes) from freezing! Believe it or not, Monday will be unseasonably warm with 52Β° temperatures. What a wild weather ride! πŸ’—

  3. Dearest Dawn, it’s so nice to hear from you this evening. It sounds like you and your parents are sharing glorious times as they wait for their new home to be complete. You paint a lovely picture of times spent together reminiscing and making new memories.
    You have been on my mind with this extreme cold. I’m so glad you are all snuggled in your sweet home with time to create and enjoy. Your bullet journal is always inspiring to me along with my daughter’s journal that I have one that I call my Healthy Journal. It’s not as lovely or creative as your’s, but it’s fun to track all the things that keep me healthy. Longer walks every day add to my steps. I track what I eat, my blood pressure, and my blood sugar that is back to normal –I’m so proud of that!!! I also include my weight, water and any other issues that concern my healthy goals. I started off with different colored pens, but now I just use black. It’s not pretty, but my doctor loved seeing my progress.
    I love your new word –Intentional–A good one for all of us to adhere! Take care and stay warm, my dear friend. β™₯

    • Martha Ellen, you have been on my mind so often. I promise a letter very soon! I’m so happy that you are following NoΓ«l’s journaling inspiration. 😊 It’s such a valuable way to monitor our healthy habits. I have also shared my Self-Care journal with my doctor. You should be so very proud of your wonderful progress, dear friend!

      Our Arctic weather is really unbelievable!! The sun shines brightly on my snow covered garden. Yesterday it looked like I was shoveling glitter in the frigid air. It’s definitely a ‘Marshmallow World’ outside our window. The moment it melts I’m sure ‘garden fever’ will strike! Stay well, be happy, and enjoy your walks together! So proud of you!!πŸ’—

  4. That’s a sweet little watercolor of the cottage, Dawn. I suspect we’re not too distant geographically, less than 50 miles, so the weather here is pretty much the same. Bitterly cold. I’ve been working on my spouse’s genealogy (fascinating and lots of ancestors all the way back to Henry II of England and Charlemagne with at least 3 Mayflower ancestors and several who served in the Revolutionary War) and my own (far more ordinary and no where near as extensive) as well as a bit of kniting from time to time. The hill we live on is kind of steep and the street quite busy, the alley is presently impossible to drive on with the deep snow and ice. Stay warm. I’m off to make a nice pot of Lapsang Souchong tea.

    • Thanks so much, Aquila! We are both finding ways to cope with this incredible deep freeze. Your genealogy research sounds fascinating! My husband is our family genealogist and enjoys digging through several different archives for clues. It’s a perfect Winter hobby! You have discovered the perfect combination of hobbies ~ one to stimulate your thoughts and one to keep your hands busy! We still have another day or two to stay inside before it’s safe to venture outside. Enjoy your tea this evening, Aquila! Stay safe, warm, and cozy inside! πŸ’—

  5. That is COLD! What a jolt for your parents! From Arizona to Antarctica. The minute I hear of weather like you are having, I think how hard it would be taking care of horses in that weather. I made many trips in my day, trudging down to the barn carrying buckets of hot water to break up the ice in the water buckets!! And making hot bran mash to feed them and keep them hydrated! It seems like a lifetime ago.
    I love your new word for the year! I had a really hard time finding my word this year. It finally came and I settled on grateful. I have struggled with having my life on hold as I become a 24/7 care giver. So each day I list my blessings. It has helped. I really do have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes it gets lost in the hum drum of the day’s routine and the appointments. But I have started crafting again. I finished one Valentine project and started a second. So I am keeping busy and spending the afternoons reading for an hour or so if Jim naps. I am able to at least carve out some time for me.
    Memories are so important. It is what binds us together. I am so glad you have been able to spend this time with your parents sharing all those wonderful times and creating new memories.
    Stay warm! Spring will be making an appearance when it is darn good and ready!!

    • So very grateful for your kind, encouraging words this morning, Chris! We have another day of very challenging Arctic weather today. We are trying so hard to keep my parents warm and healthy. This is their first time back in Winter after 24 years of desert living. During the first month, we would bundle up and go out for nice, little adventures together. Now we are staying inside. It’s just too dangerous (and slippery) for my parents to be outside. So, we are focusing on how nice it will be once they are settled in their new apartment. The Senior Living community has nice places to walk indoors, a fitness center, library, movie theater, and several beautiful gathering spaces with cozy fireplaces to bring neighbors together. It will feel spacious even on the coldest winter days!
      Chris, I’m keeping you close to my heart as you adjust to your new lifestyle. I’m so relieved to know that you are making a bit of time for yourself. A bit of creative time always refreshes my soul. It’s so powerful and so healthy! Your word this year is perfect, my friend! Just knowing that I will write my blessings on the Gratitude page in my journal reminds me to look for the blessings all day long! Keep counting your blessings out loud!! Consider listing your Reasons to Be Proud, too. It has been very uplifting as I embrace more of a caregiving role.
      Are you a scrapbooker, Chris? I’m planning to start scrapbooking again after many years. My first project will be a scrapbook for my parents called The Big Move. Over the past year, I documented this entire life-changing chapter. I have so many wonderful photos (and video clips) that will be so helpful in the future to help them remember both of these special chapters in their lives. I have lots of photos with their Arizona friends and am taking photos as they are making new friends here. Each time we scroll through the the photos, we are truly amazed at all that we have done together over the past year! I think a scrapbook will be a very valuable, heartfelt, tangible gift as we move forward. I can’t wait to get started!! I’m wondering if you might like to be part of my scrapbooking ‘tribe’ working on our projects together… across the miles. We could use technology to make that work, my friend!
      As I gaze at my snow-covered garden, I can tell that ‘garden fever’ will strike very soon. You will be able to enjoy your new herb garden. I will be planning to ‘right-size’ my perennial beds even more so that they will align with the new rhythm in life. Hope your day will be filled with the small moments that make life sweet!πŸ’—

      • I am an old scrapbooker from way back! It is how I came to know Susan Branch! At work we sold scrapbook paper and stickers and all sorts of supplies during the heyday. We held classes and crop parties! We had a blast. I have a closet in one of the guest rooms jammed packed with scrapbook supplies. Knowing that one day I would retire I just kept buying supplies and stashed them away. My problem now is that I just don’t have a good place to work, where I can leave everything out and come back to it later. I may mulled that over for awhile and see what I can come up with! ❀️

      • Rabbit! Rabbit! We are kindred spirits to be sure, Chris! There are some Susan Branch patterned papers in my scrapbooking supplies, too. 😊 I’d love to hear more about the special place you worked! It must have been such fun to create and learn with other creative people each day. It was a sad day when our Archiver’s closed. Now there is only one very small, local scrapbooking store in our area. I make it a walking destination in warm weather. πŸ˜‰ Hope February is off to a nice start for you. Warm hugs! I’ll stay in touch… πŸ’—

  6. Intentional – a good word that is full of purpose, grace, and hopefulness, I think. I don’t use/do a word, but, purposeful keeps popping in my musings, prayers, lists.
    I’m actually in the process of writing a blogpost about our weather! It feels downright balmy at 15 degrees at the moment – a good 35 degree difference from yesterday – and still cold. I imagine it to be quite a jolt for your parents right now, as they slowly acclimate to the midwest again. What a positive, intentional outlook you have, Dawn.
    Stay warm and safe – it’s still winter out there.

    • What a perfect description of ‘intentional,’ Penny! I hope it will guide me well as I make choices in the coming years. Purposeful is another very thoughtful, encouraging word. Isn’t it wonderful that certain words seem to speak to our hearts ~ if we take the time to listen?
      I will look forward to your post (and hot tea)! This morning, I bundled up for Round One of shoveling. The new fallen snow was so sparkly, it felt like I was shoveling glitter!😊 After a warming break, I’m ready to head back out for Round Two now.

      I’m thinking that it would be so pretty to take my parents for a Winter drive through the Arboretum. It would be fun to see the Trolls in the snow! We have been trying soooooo hard to keep my parents (and our water pipes) from freezing! They are being brave about this Winter weather, but really miss being outside. We will plan some nice outings as soon as the weather warms up!
      Thanks for being here, my friend. You always say the sweetest things! February blessings! πŸ’—

    • Warmest Welcome, Sheryl! We are trying our very best to stay cozy! A few days have passed and the snow has begun to melt now. We have lots of memories of sweet family times to keep our hearts warm in the coming weeks. There is a stitched quote hanging on our wall that reminds us, β€œIf winter comes, can spring be far behind?” So true!
      Thank you so much for visiting today and for your very kind words, Sheryl.
      Wishing you a lovely week!πŸ’—

  7. Polar Vortex seems so brutal. Hope you and your family stays warm. Just like reading your blogs warms my heart. I visit very less nowadays to my site as well as yours . Hope you dont mind. The last blog I wrote from the WordPress app as I could find time to do the designs on my laptop as I did for my previous blogs. Wish you a warm, cozy February Dawn. Take care πŸ’•

    • We are having such a wild Winter here, Ricky! We are so grateful for our family, friends, and neighbors who helped us when we needed extra help. Shoveling snow has been good workouts! I’ve been scrolling through my garden photos from last summer to warm my heart and soul. 😊
      Ricky, if you scroll back through a few posts, you can peek into my Self-Care bullet journal. Perhaps you will find some inspiration! Sending you courage, strength, and healing hugs, dear Ricky! I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today! πŸ’—

  8. Hello Dawn,
    You’ve been on my mind over the last few months. What an adventure you’ve had with your parents. I love that you’ve taken lots of photos to create memory books for them. Photos are so powerful. I hope they’re adjusting to your winter weather up north – I know how warm Phoenix can be. I’m wishing them a happy and easy transition to their new home – perhaps you’re out of your Arctic type weather now, perhaps things are moving along with their actual move into their new home . It takes time to make that adjustment for sure, and having some of their meaningful memories and precious items around them will certainly help.

    In Aotearoa NZ we’ve been sweltering in unseasonably hot weather this summer, and big forest fires in the last few weeks too. Definitely need to be planning our gardens to fireproof our homes as time goes by. Meanwhile I’m in my bus on my land and discovering a love of gardening – especially vegetable gardening. I seem to have an excess of everything and a fig tree I planted about 18 months ago when it was about a foot high, is now over 9 foot with lots of figs on it. Figs, passionfruit, many cucumbers, lemons, feijoas, and all the greens – so much coming on where there was nothing on this land less than 2 years ago. Certainly blessed with a wonderful growing climate. I’m using you and your gardening as an inspiration, and also a friend in London who has over the last 20 years grown an urban food forest in his back yard. My dream is to plant veggies rather than having grass that needs mowing. I look at how this land has changed in less than 2 years and I’m heartened. Especially as I know very little about veggie growing. And being a vegetarian I’m also in awe of how I can eat from my garden, buy very little food, and have enough to share around my neighbours.

    I too create a bullet journal each year, and using the same Rhodia notebook you use. I love it. I create a calendar for each month and then for each week for my to-dos. The calendar keeps track of where I am each day as I tend to move about a bit in my bus, and other things I want to keep track of. I love it and love having a way of keeping track of books I want to read, my master shopping list, money and more. It so well suits my love of order!

    Still working on starting a blog – need to come up with a new name as the name I chose turns out to be a little non-pc. Perhaps that’s why it hasn’t come to anything yet. But I have joined a wee writing group in my community for when I’m in town and lots of good is coming from that.

    Sending you lots of peace and energy as you savour this time with your parents. It’s so precious. I was just in Wellington helping my Dad celebrate his 90th birthday. He chose to go out to an Italian restaurant for lunch. His 94 year old brother came too, and my brother. It was lovely and he was very happy – having that to look forward to for a few months, the actual day, and now looking back on it. I managed to get a lovely photo of him too – don’t have that many recent ones.

    Love to you, and I hope it’s warming up a lot!

    • Oh, Vicky! So good to hear from you, sweet faraway friend! Thank you so much for all of your good wishes. This has been such a HUGE transition for my parents. They are being very brave, but our frigid weather and lack of sunshine are a real challenge after 24 years of desert living! After many lengthy delays (due to new construction and staffing), Part Two of the Big Move is finally just around the corner! We are all filled with anticipation for this new chapter in their sweet love story! We will all be with my parents every step of the way…

      Summer in New Zealand has been very challenging this year, too. So glad to know that you are Home Sweet Home and enjoying time in your garden. “Home is Where You Park It”… and it sounds like you are busy creating a lovely bit of paradise, Vicky! πŸ™‚ I love that you are growing figs. We buy our figs from Greece, as the growing season is too short here. Growing fruits and veggies is a labor of love and good health! You should feel so proud of all of the ways that YOU have grown, too!!

      It warms my heart to know that we are both using Rhodia journals! Kindred spirits! Have you read The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll yet? It’s a wealth of information and inspiration. I can only imagine what valuable tools your journals must be, Vicky. What fun it will be to look back and remember all of your experiences! They become a part of your memoir as you document your life this way. Will you have a separate Garden Journal? Or are you documenting everything in one bullet journal?

      I’m really looking forward to the debut of your blog, Vicky! πŸ™‚ I would love to be your first follower. Your stories and photographs will be a truly lovely addition to the blogging world. We can chat about your ideas any time, if you like.

      So grateful for your gifts of peace and energy! It is a very precious time for our family. Many blessings to your dad! What special memories you all made at his birthday celebration. Your photo will be a treasure always!
      I cherish our friendship across the miles, Vicky. Know that I think of you so often! Heartfelt thanks for being here! β™‘

      • Lovely to hear from you Dawn. I love the connection we have across the miles.
        You WILL be my first subscriber for sure – I’ll keep you posted.
        I’d love to chat – have some ideas now for my blog – I was waiting for a focus!
        I haven’t read Ryder Carroll’s book yet – and haven’t quite figured out a way to record my gardening progress – perhaps need to make space in my existing bullet journal – seems too much to have another notebook.
        Sending you and your parents love as you all navigate these changes. Sounds like you’re all handling the journey well. xox

      • Let’s definitely chat, Vicky! Having a focus and a purpose makes blogging a joy. The people you connect with through your blog will become added blessings in your life.
        I know that you will find the perfect way to document your garden and all that it teaches you! An easy way is to take weekly photos throughout the growing season. You can study your photos later on when you are not busy in the garden… as you plan for the next growing season. How long does your growing season last, Vicky?
        This morning, as snow flurries dance down upon my garden beds, I am counting the days until Springtime! Warmest hugs!πŸ’—

      • Good idea about the photos – I tend to forget that in the midst of everything.
        Not entirely sure about the length of our growing season -I planted veggies in September, which was considered very early – October is more usual, and still plenty of things growing now in March. Just planted some more veggies. We have a pretty good growing climate and don’t get snow as you do. I’m hoping to plant more things over winter this year – just learning….. your garden will be starting to wake up very soon. Probably lots going on beneath the surface as your soil starts to get excited with you. Spring is such a lovely season, especially when you have snow as you do. Big warm hugs to you – looking forward to chatting xox

      • Your garden sounds just wonderful, Vicky! Will you plant herbs as companions for your veggies? Just the thought of gardening excites me! This week I will begin daily walks through my garden looking for the tiniest signs of Spring! It’s still much too early to do anything in our gardens here. Our safe planting day is May 15th. Until then, we can definitely dream our garden dreams!! It will be such fun to hear your voice (and all of your exciting plans) this week, my friend!
        Sending huge hugs and our love to New Zealand!πŸ’—

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.