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30 Meaningful Things to Do If You’re Self-Quarantined

Well, those are words I never expected to type, but here we are.

I’m not in a panic over the Coronavirus, but it’s true that some, perhaps many of us, may end up self-quarantined or otherwise homebound. But here’s the thing:

 

Every opportunity holds the potential to become meaningful.

 

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise — making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15,16

 

Below are thirty ideas to consider if staying inside for a while. I pray they’ll become the catalyst for spreading hope, encouragement, and truth, to others (germ-free!):

 

  • Set aside fifteen minutes to scroll through Facebook to collect prayer requests. Jot them down and set aside time to pray specifically for each person. Well-meaning “likes” don’t always result in prayer, but they can today! If the Lord brings to mind a certain scripture verse while praying, share it with the person. Our extra minute can encourage them for days.
  • Turn on praise music and sing to the Lord or better yet, sing acapella.
  • Create your own music list. Fill it with songs of hope and peace.
  • Start a new Bible study. If you don’t have one on hand, try an online study from Proverbs 31, LifeWay studies, and free studies from Jen Wilkin.
  • Complete the last study you didn’t finish.
  • Hibernate in prayer.
  • Turn everything off. Listen to the birds. Watch them. Study them. Let these tiny creatures serve as a reminder of God’s intimate care for you. (Luke 12:24)
  • Cook a vegetable meal. Before you pick up the fork, read Proverbs 15:17 aloud: “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” Invite conversation: How does this apply to our family? How can we “put feet” to this verse in helping others?
  • Take a James 1:17 stroll. “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” As you walk outside, intentionally search for God’s good gifts surrounding you⏤an unfurling blossom, a flower’s scent, the sun breaking through clouds, etc. Embrace the goodness of God and let it carry you heavenward throughout the day.
  • Take tea for two, you and God.
  • Finish the current book you’re reading. Then, go the extra mile and leave a review on Amazon. Bonus points if you do the same on Goodreads, and don’t forget to add it to your reading list while you’re there.
  • Start a new book. If you know the author, message her along the way sharing what encourages you or a phrase that stood out to you. If a quote stands out, consider posting it on Facebook and Instagram to encourage others (and the author).
  • Call a different person each day. Many of us prefer to text but let’s delight someone by laying aside our preferences and call instead.
  • Text two people each day with one purpose in mind: to encourage.
  • Pray for your children/grandchildren. Jon Bloom’s 7 Things to Pray for Your Children is a favorite.
  • Pray for your adult children.
  • Pray for the lost. Tim Challies’ 18 Prayers to Pray for the Lost is a great place to start.
  • Draw a line down the center of a page.
  • Plan for the future. Sometimes our immobility is simply a rest area on the highway of life. It gives us unexpected time to pray, think, and mull over ideas.
  • Create mini-love notes and place them in sock drawers, on mirrors, cereal boxes, or inside his/her Bible.
  • Is it raining? Engage those God-given senses!
  • If you’re up for it, work or play in your yard. Plant flowers, pull weeds, plunge seeds into the ground.
  • Create simply for the joy of creating.
  • Create a vision board. Go through magazines, clip inspiring quotes and pictures OR create an online version via Canva (free). (Watch for an upcoming post on this subject!)
  • Write morning pages. Not sure how? Click here for one of the best breakdowns I’ve read (other than Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.)
  • Start a gratitude journal. Is there a better time to focus on our blessings?
  • Do a prayer walk through your home.
  • Set up a prayer journal.
  • Read scripture verses on peace. Write them down. Memorize at least one and lean on God’s promises with the same warmth and confidence a child bends toward her mother.
  • If you’re a Creative Pauses subscriber (you are awesome!), enjoy your free resources (Scripture-Based Coloring Pages, Praying Throughout Your Home, 10 Ways to Show Up for Others This Summer, etc.). If not, then pull up a chair and join in the fun! Simply type your email in the top right-hand sidebar >>>> and start enjoying your free resources immediately.

* Click here for a downloadable PDF print of the list above.

 

The Coronavirus situation gives us, the hopers and believers of the world, opportunities to share Christ in ways we’ve never had before. Becoming more intentional in how we care for others — emotionally, physically, and spiritually — during a time when many are focused on themselves, might just make an eternal difference.

 

Yes, we plan and use our resources wisely, but above all, we love selflessly.

 

Is there one particular idea above that stands out to you, or do you have one to add to the list?

 

 

 

 

Not A Morning Person? Evening Notes Are For You!

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron has been my constant companion over the past few months. It’s a perfect fit for my purse while waiting for friends or appointments. Practically every page is dog-eared, underlined, or asterisked. Several weeks ago, I shared this post on Morning Pages as a result.

Today, I’m sharing a tool called Evening Notes. After all, not every one is a morning person, right? 

It goes something like this: Ten minutes before you fall asleep, jot down a few simple sentences about your day. Julia uses this as her example: 

“Today was productive but uphill. I seemed to be fighting a depression but I took good actions anyhow. I’m really stewing over my friendship with Michael. I wonder what better can be done on the project at work…”

From these sentences, extract a single question to consider before falling asleep. Julia chose What can I do about the project at work? 


Simply pose the question and don’t worry about the answer. Thanks to our brilliantly and divinely designed minds (thank You, God) many of our answers begin to emerge at some point.

I’ve experienced similar circumstances when doing something “mindless” like walking, taking a shower, or taking my dog out for a potty break. Ideas and answers to questions long forgotten find their way to the surface when least expected. No doubt, a different part of the brain is at work here and it’s awe-inspiring when it happens.  

Julia Cameron encourages those who try this tool to be alert, to notice and tabulate small, positive changes or answers.

Practicing both Morning Pages and Evening Notes is optimal but on those mornings when even a third cup of liquid caffeine refuses to rally a creative bone, it’s nice to know we have an evening option. 

How about you? Are you a morning person? Do you tend to write more in the mornings or evenings? 

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1).

Is “Morning Pages” for You?

 
OK, I just caught the typo in the above graphic and it sent shivers down my spine but then I realized it’s hopefully probably intentional to get the point across that there’s no room for perfectionism when doing Morning Pages.  
In this post a couple weeks back, I issued a challenge of sorts to see who might be interested in giving Morning Pages a try—and then I realized my end date fell on a holiday week. Lesson learned but I still received some great feedback:
I noticed several themes when writing my pages. I’ve had to address some issues and pray about others. I realized I felt overwhelmed at times. Some needs as well as dreams surfaced as I put pen to paper. I enjoy writing my pages and plan to continue. Thank you for sharing this exercise with me.
It’s been very freeing. The mornings I’ve done this, it’s cleared my mind and I’ve been able to focus easier. I tried it a couple of evenings as well and found it helped quiet my mind for sleep. Thanks again for the challenge!

Tammie Fickas:
I
found it just as hard to make time for the morning pages as I do for
any journaling. That’s just me, though. Journaling has always been hard
for me. However, I found that when I did get the Morning Pages done it
really helped with getting my thoughts out of my head. Began to see
things more clearly in some things that I’ve ben struggling with for a
while.

Lori Roeleveld:
One
way Morning Pages helps me is that it’s like a mind-purge. It’s like a
mental defragmenter that dissolves the thought clogs that keep me from a
free flow of ideas. It’s also a free form of therapy as it reflects
back to me my own thinking in a way that confronts me with my daily
truth. When I see myself write something over and over, it forces me to
either face it or do something about it.
Like Lori, Morning Pages highlighted for me the need for a mind-purge. Debris from days past floated in my head much like orbital objects with no place to land. But once the nonsensical thoughts descended on the page, they disintegrated, readying my mind for the day ahead. I plan to do Morning Pages two mornings a week, at least for now.
Thanks to everyone for participating and especially for sharing your feedback. Lori Roeleveld is the winner of the Starbucks gift card. (Thanks Random Name Picker) A cup of coffee (or tea!) is on its way for you to enjoy while writing away.
Several requested we do this again in a few months so stay tuned! 
Happy 4th, my friends.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

The Morning Pages Challenge!

I first learned of Morning Pages from the book The Creative Call, by Janice Elsheimer. (Janice credits Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way for this idea.) Initially, I wondered what could be written on pages that I wouldn’t pen in my prayer journal, but I soon learned each has their own place.

When journaling prayers, I write directly to my heavenly Father. The simple act of putting pen to paper helps me stay focused on Him, not the blaring buzz of the dryer. Some days my words skim the surface like a skier on slick water. Other times, they wear wetsuits, delving deeply into corners of my life. Regardless, thought is required, as is true for any prayer time.

Morning Pages, at least for me, is the opposite as it provides an outlet for something that doesn’t come easy for me—free writing. No checking grammar, thinking it through or searching for “just the right word” with these pages. It’s simply putting pen to paper and writing whatever comes to mind.

Nicky Hajal refers to this process as “Slicing the Brain Loops” in his top-notch post, 5 Reasons Why You Should Write Morning Pages – Right Now!:

“Have you noticed that when something is on
your mind you seem to go over it again and again and again? You think
through the same dreaded scenario over and over and just can’t shake it
off. On the contrary, each go around reinforces the pattern.

I call these brain loops and they’re devastating to actually
accomplishing important tasks. They’re energy being spent, taking you no
where – like revving a car while it’s still in park.

I can’t explain it but the moment you take a thought and type it out,
it simply feels wrong to loop through that thought process again. Your
brain moves onto other things, either probing further into whatever that
loop was about or considering more important subjects.”

Morning Pages isn’t just for writers or creative thinkers. “Dumping” thoughts on a few pages each day is helpful in clearing the mind for a productive day.

Oddly enough, I plan to shift my Morning Pages to Evening Pages for a while. I think a clear mind is a restful one, and I need all the rest I can get these days.

You can use a journal, notebook, or loose-leaf paper. There’s an advantage in writing longhand but if for whatever reason you’re unable to do so, type away! I made a special trip to Target, visited my favorite department (office supplies), and chose an inspiring 1-1/2″ binder by Pink Chandelier. How could I not be inspired by a name like that?

So, here’s the challenge! Beginning Monday, June 16th, would you be willing to give Morning Pages a try for two weeks? Simply leave a comment on this post letting me know you’re in! Then, jump in with both feet next Monday, jotting down any positive things you learn about Morning Pages along the way. Email those to me on June 30th and I’ll feature them in my July 3rd post.

I’ll also enter the names of those who email their insights on June 30th into a drawing for something you’re sure to enjoy on your Morning Pages journey.

Who’s in?

 

Today is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

 

– image courtesy of edwinsoriano.com 

5 Friday Favorite Links You Don’t Want to Miss!

by Cathy Baker


5 Reasons Why You Should Start Writing Morning Pages – Right Now! 
by Nicky Hajal

“For years I’ve wanted to write daily but been unable to. The proof is 5 or 6 journals filled with just a single entry. Then, I came across Morning pages in The Artists’ Way, by Julia Cameron.  The idea is to wake up and immediately write three pages about anything, simply transcribing your thoughts.Their purpose is not to be shared with
others or even reread by yourself but simply to create awareness and to
free your mind of all the chatter. They work incredibly well and have had a huge impact on me since I started consistently writing in December. I know you have a ton of things to accomplish and I want you to accomplish them. That’s why I want you to write morning pages. But before I go into the how of getting into morning pages (next post) I want to go more deeply into the why.” To read the article in its entirety, click here.

(Cathy: I recommend Janice Elsheimer’s book, The Creative Call: An Artist’s Response to the Way of the Spirit. It’s similar to The Artists’ Way but from a Christian perspective.) 



Honey Soy Pork Tenderloin, by Robyn Stone @ Add A Pinch
This has become a go-to favorite for these empty nesters! The aroma alone should require Weight Watcher points. It’s very simple and anything in a crock pot grabs my attention. Add the crock pot liner and you’ll also have an easy clean up. Add Jasmine Rice and a veggie. Voila! I’d love to know what you think when you give it a try.

This recipe is a favorite, but so is Robyn’s site, Add A Pinch. It’s filled with great recipes, travel tips, homeschooling ideas and much more. Enjoy!

100 Days of Real Food – Meal Ideas and Resources
Ready to cut down on processed food? Lisa Leake does a terrific job in offering delicious recipes, along with FREE meal plans! 

How to Create a Cleaning Schedule that Works for You Living Well Spending Less 
This has been a favorite site of mine for awhile but this article in particular has proven to be especially helpful. You’ll want to visit this site often as Ruth serves up helpful tips on saving money, easy DIY’s, and much more.  

Do you spend time trying to earn approval from others? From God? Jennifer Dukes Lee Love Idol was recently released and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. You know if Susan Stilwell promotes it, the book is slam full of truth with little fluff. My kind of book! I’m considering trying an online study group for Love Idol this summer via Google Hangout. If you might be interested, leave a comment on the blog and stay tuned!

Studying God’s Word, eating healthy, spending time/money wisely and spiffing up our skills all enhance the fragrance we have to offer each other and the world. Don’t you agree?

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  
Psalm 90:12

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