June 10, 2017

Deliberate Ramblings of Gratitude by Sharon Espeseth

Uprooted to Right-sized

If you've read my ramblings before, you may recall that in July 2014 my husband and I sold the lovely home we designed ourselves and had contractors build for us. We loved this house that was perfect for us and for our kids when
they visited, but we could see the house and yard work were getting too much for us to look after.

Sparing you the details, the Norwegian and I ended up moving three times in three years. Even with much help from our adult kids, moving and resettling three times was exhausting. That plus serious health problems for Hank and minor ones for me have kept us busy attending doctor's appointments and medical tests.

A Tale of Three Houses

The first house was too much work.
The Naked Bulb in the Rafters
The second was too small.
The third was just right,
And we are thankful for it all.

InSights from InScribe

InSight #1: Appreciating My New Space

We have room for the kids to stay over and I have a huge office in the semi-finished basement. Recently I Marnie Polman's blog, called "Secret Mission."

"Peering over the writer's shoulder," she begins, "like an annoying supervisor, the naked light bulb dangling from the ceiling gives the impression of light while effectively casting shadows that hide the dust of neglect littered throughout the room."

How does she know what my oversized office looks like and what state it is in? I wondered.

My stash of journals, daybooks, and binders

Since we are renting, we won't be closing in the ceiling or putting in fancy fixtures. I do, however, love my quiet space down here.

The kids have moved back my bookshelves and cupboards I didn't have place for in House #1 or House #2. Just see what I can do in the space I have.

InSight #2: Comparing Journals and Writer's Notebooks

Sandi Somers, I felt reassured to read your title, "On Journals and Writers' Notebooks", because I'm not ready to give up my journals to start something new. I have been journal writing for decades. In the earlier days my journals were coil-ringed notebooks, which included everything from soup recipes to nutty quips.

Then came the acid-free age where pages would be safe into the next millennium. I bought the gel pens and away I wrote, not knowing if anyone besides me would ever care to read them. I wrote for permanence and I wrote more neatly. On the other side of my brain, I tried to figure out who I would trust to "burn them when I was gone."

 InSight #3: The Day Book, a Must for Me

The last decade or so, I have also kept a day book, where I record basically what I/we did that day. This has come in handy for writing plans and respecting deadlines, for medical notes, ideas, shopping, and whatever.

Since these day books can be hard to find, I hunt for my book early in the fall for the next year. This past year new people took over the drug store/Christian book store in our town and I had to special order this one.

Details for the day planners I've been using for several years:

* Executive Planner by christian art gifts®
* about 16 cm by 22.5 cm
* contains charts you may find helpful
* year planner for current year and next year
* monthly budget pages
* monthly spiritual theme with biblical and other quotes
* daily quotes to go with monthly theme
* place for hourly entries, which I ignore
* zipper cased and bookmarked with a ribbon

InSight #4: Purse-Sized Notebook

I am keeping a watch out for a Fat Little Wireless Notebook like the one Shirley Tye mentions in her blog, "Don't Leave Home Without It." The Day Book above doesn't, alas, fit in my purse.

InSight #5: Journal Writing

I have read with interest what other InScribers say about journal writing. For some, it has become ho-hum. For others, it causes angst when they are not able to keep up with it.  I agree with Dayna Mazzuca when she says, "(Daily) journalling  is essential to my soul, my craft and my coherence." She explains that if she goes too long without writing in her journal, she becomes "a mess" and "bereft" and (gasp)" hard to live with.

I don't write in my journal daily, but when I do, I expand on observations, concerns, anecdotes, memories, books I'm reading, prayers . . .

InSight #6: Morning Pages

Hmm! Have I covered my bases with my journals and my day book? Or is there something else. I read  with interest Sandra Somer's resource-rich blog and I am trying a new tactic. Taking to heart what Sandi wrote about The Writer's Way by Julie Cameron, I reached for the book covered in dust mites and standing on one of my bookshelves.

My morning pages await me.

I am studying the introductory part of the book before getting into the weekly exercises. Thanks, Sandi, for reminding me of this resource, which seems to be the gas I need  for my engine right now. I am on Day 4 of my morning pages. Although I had done something similar when I read and wrote with Henrietta Klauser's book, Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, all things old became new for me.

I have bookmarked your blog, Sandi, for further reference

InSight #7: The Writer's Notebook

I can't do all of these activities every day, but I plan to experiment with a writer's notebook. I chair our Women Word Weavers meeting tomorrow. For this, I found an inexpensive sketch book for each of our members, which we'll crack open tomorrow.

I am not the expert on this, but we have one member who has used a writer's notebook for years. We have another writer who has filled several art/writer's notebooks, which are beautiful books to "read."
My survey shows that our writing buddies are willing to give this a go.

We can begin by listing writing ideas and activities for the summer. We can review, or write, personal mission statements--thanks Ruth Snyder for reminding me of this necessity in one of your recent FB posts. In the fall, when I'm chairperson again and have had time to try this more, we can take our writer's notebooks to the next level.

I'd like my notebook to be visual "art", of which my specialty would be collage. This will be my attempt at "playing with the art of writing." Please wish me luck or pray that this leads us further in using our gifts to glorify God.

InSight #8: Gratitude

I am thankful for for the members of InScribe and our satellite group for being with me on this writing journey. In a recent e-mail to me, Connie Inglis, InScribe Spiritual Advisor, mentioned Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: 1:21-31.

To see this scripture with new eyes,

I read this passage in several translations, including The Message. Eugene Peterson closes the chapter with,

"If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God." 

I write with gratitude to God for InScribe, for writing companions on the journey and for the gift of writing which is mine to develop and use for his glory.

Thanks be to God for creating us as creative beings!


  1. All the best with your attempt at "playing with the art of writing." I hope it goes well for you. Enjoy your quiet writing space! It seems that you have your writing organized to suit your lifestyle - that's so wonderful.

  2. Thank you for your specific and thoughtful comments on so many of this month's posts. This month's topic has been very meaningful for me as well and many of the things shared by others have really resonated with me.

  3. Sharon,
    Thanks for this post that shows us how you not only read and write regularly, but you are also very reflective and an encourager. May God show you the mission statement He has for you as this point in your life and writing journey.

  4. Thanks, Vickie, Tracy and Ruth, for your comments on my "rambling." Like each of you, I found much to think about in the posts offered so far this month. It's been an inspirational topic and there is much that motivates my spirit. you, good health and good writing to you ladies.

  5. Good stuff, Sharon. I don't journal enough. I journal my prayers often, but not anything else. When do you find is the best time to journal? Morning or evening? I should get back in the habit again.
    Pam M.

    1. I don't know if I have a best time or place. I write when I'm on the road, when I don't fall asleep, and almost any time of day when the moods strikes. In the evening, I grab my day book and jot down the basics of what I, or the hubby and I, have been doing that day. Lately I've started morning pages a la "The Artist's Way" by Julie Cameron. My journalling may shift to the present notebook and be transformed into being my journal.

      Sorry, I don't have a simple, definitive answer to your question, but I think the morning pages could add a new dimension to my thinking and writing.

  6. maureen fiebich10:01 am GMT-7

    Sharon. Your comment about "burning your writing when you are gone" struck a chord. We found a box of old letters written to my Mom from her sister in the early '40's. Mom was a student nurse, her sister attending Normal School. Some letters ended "burn this soon!" They were precious to read, an awesome glimpse of a girl's life in Saskatchewan during WW11. Makes me wonder what I am leaving behind as my journal has more gaps than it should. And with most notes and letters now on line we just might have little recorded to share in the future.

  7. I agree with you, Maureen, about how precious these writings, of our loved ones now gone, can be. My mom didn't journal, but I would love to have some of the letters exchanged between Mom and her sisters, especially Alice, who, I think, was the most prolific of Mom's siblings at writing letters.

    Mom did have a journal-type book. The red and white polka-dot fabric of the cover is holding its own. On lined pages inside, Mom left quotations and favourite poems, clippings about the anniversary of friends or family, and so, but it's the words written in her own hand and an original thought here and there that I loved. I wish there were more.

    Who knows, when I'm gone, if anyone will dote on my words or even make sense of them, but I don't plan to "burn the when I'm gone." That will be for someone else to decide.

    Thanks for your comment, Maureen.

  8. Thank so much for your resource-rich blog, Sharon, and your full details of your journal/notebook experiences over the years. You had so many good tip, and you also ended by giving glory to God for the ability to write.

  9. Please note, Sandi, that many of my tips came from you, my InScribe colleagues and friends. Thank you.

  10. Great article Sharon. Enjoyed it


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