There it was on the shelf, practically aglow, so smooth and beautiful I had to pick it up. The cover was a relaxing natural with perfectly spaced gold dots all over. I am a sucker for anything gold. And there, printed in gold (of course) lettering, was the word “NOTEBOOK.” I flipped it over to reveal the $7.99 sticker, and I knew it had to be from God. I mean, am I the only one who thinks notebooks are beautiful?
But seriously, I did feel it was from God. It spoke to me, was perfect for me, and the price was right. But why now? It is always so much pressure to start writing in a brand spanking new notebook. It had better be good if I was going to mess up those pristine pages with my not-so-pristine handwriting. I knew I had to have it, but I was determined that it would be saved for something just right.
In the whirlwind that has been my life over the last 5, or 10, or OK maybe 18 years, I had lost a little bit of myself. Maybe I shouldn’t say I’d lost it. Investment is probably a better term. I took myself, and I poured it into my children, my family, my business partners, and various others the Lord placed in my life, and every last minute of it has been my privilege. But I let the reigns go a little too much, as so often happens when we desire to help others, and that one is on me. The horses were running a little too wildly and the carriage ride got a little bumpy. No big deal, sometimes we just need to slow down, pull back, and regroup, just a little bit. This is exactly where I was last October when I found my prized NOTEBOOK.
So I was anticipatory, if not a little anxious, to find out what the purpose of my newfound comfort would be when I stumbled across it – the Bullet Journal. Now before you go all, “I know what this is going to be about” on me, just allow me a moment to explain myself. I am not artsy. I am not doodly in any way. As I was on my bullet journaling google tear I saw lavish and detailed doodles and drawings and stickers and perfect straight lines – all pipe dreams for me. But what I saw was a way to be intentional about my day. And if I’m being intentional about my day, I’m being intentional about my life.
As a mom who “stays home” (yeah, right) with my children, I often feel as though I’ve run myself ragged. At the end of every day, if I were to try to articulate what I did, I cannot name anything that sounds like an actual thing. I know I didn’t sit down, and I was busy, and I am exhausted, but why?
Enter the Bullet Journal. Along with being a one-stop place to hold everything I’m thinking about (think second brain), this allows me to create a simple, unelaborate grid for my week which includes a To Do column and a Log column. So simple – how many times have I made to do lists? But the log allows me to write down some of the joys, pains, and memories of the day. It is everything from “called Mom” to “DoDad’s funeral” to “made a fire in the fire pit with the kids.” And then, I saw it. What I’m trading my life for. What I’m doing with my time every day. And you know what? It is worth it. And it is valuable. And it is full.
So go get a simple notebook. It can be a brand new and beautiful, or it can be a 99 cent one you have on your shelf. Start writing in it. Track your day. Enjoy writing the words down. Enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor in plain sight. Go on a Google tear or a Pinterest tear about Bullet Journals and explore the ways it might enhance your day to day living.
Here are just two of the benefits of the BJ for me:
Being Intentional. Planning my time. Taking control. By starting my day this way, it shifts the whole focus and perspective of my time. This led to me dropping some time-eating social apps, though it probably won’t be for forever. Those outlets are good at guiding my brain to focus on what’s going on around me and in others. Now I choose to be intentional on focusing on what is in me and what I need/desire to do in my life, and where I feel the Lord is leading me. It’s about purpose.
Slowing Down. Be still. Cease striving. Isn’t that just the opposite of what the world around me is telling me? Hurry up. Do more. But the Psalm implores to do otherwise. Stop your fighting, and know, recognize, understand, that I Am God. Ps. 46:10.
So today I choose to run my day instead of letting my day run me.
Hollie Gilman is a freelance writer who has spent the last 21 years momming, homeschooling her 3 almost-grown-and-flown children, and working with her husband of 24 years. She is a lifelong passionate learner in all things Faith, Health, and Leadership. Right now she is loving her new life in the country (being a pretend farmer) just outside her hometown of Richmond, VA. Her blog is where she spills her guts on the things of the heart we all share: faith, life, love, family, and anything else that tumbles through her mind.