I used to think an annual family newsletter was a bit impersonal. Turns out I was just a Christmas card snob. I would make, write and send cards as if my life depended on it. One year I made, embossed and then wrote seventy cards! Sheeskabob!
This year for one reason and another I have only sent two Christmas cards. Saving the trees but not sharing the love. The solution? A Christmas newsletter that can be emailed in a trice!
I wrote the newsletter, and then only sent it to two people! Thats four families total. Not a lot of love it would seem. I decided it would be more efficient to share it with my blog, so everyone everywhere in the world can read it. My thousands of followers –– I think I have five actually.
Let me share some photos and introduce our newest addition: Lewis Von Streudelburger.
He has heart melting puppy dog eyes. Our other puppy, Holly, (miniature poodle), does a lot more running around, which was the plan. These two puppies have taken over our lives and our house is now strewn with chewed twigs and puppy toys.
Why a mini poodle and a mini dachshund? Well, we’re past the big dog stage of life and Glyn has always wanted a poodle and I have always wanted a dachshund (and an Irish wolfhound, but have you seen the size of those things?) This has been a hard year for the world and the puppies have helped us keep smiling.
Glyn has worked from home since March 2020 and business has been busier than ever. Without all the interstate travel, and driving in Melbourne traffic, he’s had energy to burn on the weekends. The garden is showing the benefit of a little TLC.
I started working with Horses for Humanity which closed after the first week when lockdown happened. Not the best timing for kickstarting a new business. We opened for clients again when restrictions eased and it has been wonderful seeing the horses work their magic on the people who came. I get to work alongside my best friend and play with horses. It doesn’t get much better than that.
This year we are running a leadership development programme with over forty year 9/10 students. I am looking forward to seeing the impact the horses have on them. It has been an especially tough year for these students, some of them experienced losing a class mate to suicide. We hope to always offer the programme to people free of charge, relying on donations and funding. We are thrilled that ECHO Youth and Family Services, an organisation where I worked for many years, is sponsoring this group of students. You can check out our programme here: horsesforhumanity.com.au
Like everyone, we missed family last year. Grand children grow so fast, it’s hard not to be part of their lives. FaceTime just doesn’t cut it and kids don’t always feel like video calls after doing school or kinder on zoom. I think we all have a little zoom/online fatigue, or is it just me?
We celebrated forty-one years of marriage in December and we’re feeling very thankful we went on our UK/European holiday in 2019, to celebrate our fortieth with a second honeymoon! One day I plan to compile all the photos and hilarious events into a story/photo book. Just not today.
This year we had a quiet holiday at home. We’ve hung out with our horses, watched the puppies play and pottered around getting all those jobs done that never get done because we’re too busy. My heart is breaking for anyone back in lockdown, like our UK family. Dealing with the roller coaster of emotions and the low level fear, permeating the world at the moment, is exhausting and demoralising. I pray daily for an end to this pandemic.
Early in December, I discovered something called Bullet Journalling. I’m always looking for new and innovative way to engage my brain, like ‘SketchNotes.’ Oh my goodness, I love sketch notes, but that’s another story. I spent hours online looking at all the different versions of sketch notes. They help with memory retention. Bullet Journalling (Bujo) has been around since 2013. Designer, Ryder Carrol, shared his idea with the world. His design is simple, I won’t bore you with the details, (googleable) it may change your life.
Side note: I am a digital device freak, I use my iPhone/iPad for pretty much everything, but some stuff needs to be old school, analog, to connect with the brain in a better way. Every morning I write three pages of long hand ‘stream of consciousness.’ Kind of a brain dump. Julia Cameron (the Artist’s Way) calls them ‘Morning Pages.’ (another life changer) There’s something that happens, when you put pen to paper, that is missing when we use digital technology. The brain engages at a visceral level. The flow of the ink on the page, the feel of the paper, even the colour of the ink and the feel of the pen is important to getting ideas flowing.
Back to Bullet Journalling. Some people do very fancy shmansy arty farty journals filled with crazy art work, calligraphy, themes, mood trackers etc etc. Not necessary. Even if I do love all things stationary.
For me, the light went on when I read the word ‘Index.’
I am a person who writes copious notes, journals, morning pages, scrap paper ideas, to do lists etc. The trouble is, when I want to find the brilliant idea, I have to flip through all the folders and notebooks with all the highlights, sticky notes and the floating pieces of scribbled on paper to find said brilliant idea.
The concept that I could title a page, give it a page number and add it to an Index for reference is not rocket science, but it blew my mind!
Oh my goodness. An index!
It has revolutionised my thinking around notes, note pads, work books, brainstorming sessions etc. Not to mention Ryder’s use of symbols and his incredible migration idea –– don’t get me started.
I have kept the design simple and straight forward with only a few little flourishes for fun. I have set up the Index (YAY INDEX!) and the year at a glance. Now I’m getting used to the idea that I can write stuff anywhere and not save special pages for stuff. I’m still learning, but it seems like it might be my jam. I may switch permanently to dot pages –– just sayin.
If you haven’t heard of Bullet Journalling and you have scattered thoughts or lots of ideas and want to pin them down before they flutter off into the stratosphere, AND you want to find them again later –– or you want to set out your goals or dreams or hopes, or to do lists and get to use them –– then this is for you too. Get yourself an blank A5 ‘dot paged’ notebook and have a go.
At the very least we will be able to keep track of what happens in this amazing year we’ve been given. I’m off to write in my bujo.