Monday, 24 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - T is for...

Time, the cross of the modern era
Apple, iWatch 2, image, digital watch-face
My digital watch
Have you noticed how obsessed we are with time? We wear watches, put clock apps on our mobile phones, have clocks in our cars, clocks on our walls and desks. Heck, here where I am sitting at my desk, at home, I can see at least 3 clocks: my watch, my fish tank and my computer screen. If I open the cover on my phone, there would be another.
It is as if we cannot live without those numbers that tell us...what? Time?
What is time?
According to Wikipedia[1], “Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.”
Uh, okay?
While that sounds instinctively correct, it doesn't tell us much about what time actually is, does it?
image, fishtank, clock, time, calendar, temperature
My fish tank
Reading a bit more we see that the number (we note as the date or the time on a clock) is calculated as an event or occurrence measured from a reference.
If you know something about mathematics and science, you will know that there is such a thing as an international time standard from which all clocks derive their reference, or 'starting point' if you like. If there wasn't, there would be chaos in the world and we would have constant disputes as to when we should meet, or when something happened in history. But we don't because people started measuring time, a long time ago.
Evidence suggests that people started 'measuring' time about 6000 years ago by observing the lunar cycles.
Why did people need to know the time?
If your history is up to speed, you will remember that people were mostly farmers, or more correctly, depended on the seasons for their survival. They needed to have some kind of indication of when it would be a good time to plant food, when to expect rain, and when to look forward to the harvest.
They also used the lunar cycles for their religious ceremonies. So, we needed to know the time to survive and to give thanks to the gods for the bounty they provided.
Since then the human race's survival has taken a different turn - the concrete jungle and its rat race. So it is still a survival thing, although it is not our lives that depend on it so much anymore.
How do we measure time?
Historical records are filled with the devices that people used to measure time. Sundials, water clocks (which were surprisingly accurate), the hourglass, and mechanical clocks of various designs.
Today we measure time using an atomic clock. It is the reference standard mentioned earlier. A caesium source is used as the time reference. It is radiated with microwaves to observe the vibrations of electrons inside the Cs atom. The reference unit of measuring time is the second.
The Global Positioning System of satellites are used to synchronise clocks worldwide.
Time on a personal scale
While it is fascinating to know that we can measure time with mind-boggling accuracy, and that our ancestors didn't do that badly with their own time measuring devices, time means more than the hours, minutes, and seconds displayed on our watches.
If you watch the grains of sand flowing through an hourglass, you get the feeling that you can 'see' time flowing away. The older we get, the more we hear people say that time is going faster. Time is not going faster, it is our greater awareness of the time we have left in this life that makes us more aware of the flow of time.
We cannot change time's passage, nor can we recover or save time. We can only use time: for things that make us happy, for things that we need to survive, for things that we don't need to do.
Explore your use of time in your journal today. Are you spending your time doing things that make you happy? Useful? Productive? If not, what can you change to make that happen?

You can read many more interesting things about time in the links below.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Live in Balance: On finishing what I started

Last night I scrolled through my unpublished writing projects. And there are many of them. I got disheartened when I saw how many of them are still unfinished first drafts. Some may never be finished. I only let a story go if I don't like it anymore.
I have, however, several first drafts that are finished. They need editing, for sure, but the story is done. So why did I feel so negative when I saw the list of files of projects not yet done? Time seems to be the answer. I explore a little of the history of time in tomorrow's post, in the A to Z Challenge.
Time, yes, the one limited resource over which we have no control. But we can control how we spend it, yes? When I read about an English Premier League soccer player who died last week at the age of 44, I felt sad even though I have never met the man. He was so incredibly young. I am in no position to judge how he lived his life, but it again made me think about the way I am spending my limited resource. Am I using all of it without regret and waste?
We will explore the Value of life (and time) in this last week of the A to Z Challenge. And I have to say that through my research into exploring Happiness through Journal Writing, maybe it is time for a change in direction in my own journey to happiness.
I hope you have enjoyed exploring journal writing on this journey of Happiness with me this month.
Next month I will be back to my usual posting schedule (once or twice a week) and I look forward to your company then.
Until next time!


The A-to-Z Challenge letters for the coming week are as follows:
Monday: Letter T…for Time
Tuesday: Letter U…for Unique
Wednesday: Letter V…for Value
Thursday: Letter W…for Weapon
Friday: Letter X…for Cross Out
Saturday: Letter Y…for You (art prompt)
Sunday: Letter Z...for Zero

If you missed any of the previous letters, here is a quick recap (just click the letter!)
A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I        K    L    M
N   O    P    Q    R    S

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - S is for...

Share what you learn
Yesterday, Friday, I had a migraine and didn't get to do everything that I wanted to. Since I am on leave, my todo list is flexible, but I also have a few things that I want to do. The migraine put me in bed for a few unplanned hours. While the pain wasn't so bad this time, I usually try not to think too hard. So I let my mind drift in whatever directions it wanted to go without pausing to explore any thought that might occur.
Until I fell asleep, thankfully, I realised that I have been reading a lot of non-fiction books recently. It is not unusual to do that when doing research for a new book or blog series, but somehow my research turned into more - I was reading for me.
quoted text, Negotiating the Maze, author Linzé Brandon, non-fiction, writer's life

Why read non-fiction in the first place
In my book, Negotiating the Maze, there is a section on reading and reviewing books, and how doing that for fiction differs from reading and reviewing non-fiction books.
What struck me in particular, was the way the recent books made me think. After almost every chapter, sometimes even after reading a paragraph, I had to put the book down and think about what I had read.
Often there was a Wow! moment, or even a hmm moment. These books have affected my thinking in some way. Changing one's thoughts could change one's way of life. It might have been the intention of the author, but unless I let it change me in some way, I might as well not have read the book at all.
Of course, this is not the case for all non-fiction books. But it again comes back to the intention of reading the book. Although I think some books are meant to change your life, no matter what your intentions were for reading them in the first place.
Share the surprise
Have you read a book that impacted your life although you did not plan it that way?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - R is for...

Rambling roses
You have a date with your journal, and you really love the time you spent writing down your thoughts, but you have no idea where to start. Happens to all of us. Novice or experienced journal writers.
image, desk sized fish tank
You have a peek at a daily prompt or pick a letter from this blog, but there is nothing that speaks to you. Is there any advice to help? Yes, there is.
Think shallow to dig deep
Sometimes we know what we need to ponder, but it is difficult to get going. So the approach not difficult to manoeuvre, you start by using the simplest writing technique known to man: word association.
Take a dictionary (book works better, but some online dictionaries will give you a random word) open it and use the first word you see. Write it down. If you don't know the word, learn the meaning and make a sentence with it. Write down the next thing that comes to mind. And the next thing. You can write a sentence about the word that pops up, or just jump to something new.
Keep on doing this for a few minutes or until the words you need to write flows out of your pen.
If nothing happens, relax, ramble some more, but don't force yourself. Your mind may need a little time to process the thing you need to ponder, but until then, pick a word.
Ramble on dear friend
When I need to ramble, revive, repress, rhyme or ring, I pick an object on my desk and whine about needing to put it away, or clean it, or replace it. My favourite is the small fish tank that I bought a while back. There are no fish but I love the sound of the water while I am writing or reading. You can also pick from 6 prerecorded sounds of nature, but I just love to hear the sound of the water.
It can be powered by a USB port. This is a feature I like because I can plug it into my backup battery pack, and use the bright 6 LED light when the power is down.
See? Rambling already and about an empty fish tank.

Today's prompt is to get you going when you feel that words fail you. What other tricks do you use to get going on your journal entry?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - Q is for...

My favourite Quote
Don't you just love words starting with Q? In English there are quite a number, but in Afrikaans, my home language, words starting with Q are rare indeed.
But when it came to the challenge this time, there was no doubt that my Letter Q would be for Quote. So here is my all time favourite quote:
quote, Epictetus

I have it printed in large font and stuck up on the cupboard door in my office facing me. All I have to do is look up and over my computer screen and there it is. My inspiration, if you like. The essence of what I feel I could become: dream plus action equals sixteen words.

What is your all time favourite quote?

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - P is for...

Physical challenges

Do you set physical goals for yourself? If you take part in competitions I am sure you do, but what if you have no interest in competitive sports? Or at least not want to take part at a competitive level, what do you do to keep moving?

quote, Epictetus

To journal or not to journal

It is easy (relatively speaking) to use your journal for issues related to emotional issues and challenges. But setting yourself physical challenges, with your journal, can be a challenge in itself.
So what do we mean by physical challenges? Losing weight? Sure. Doing something creative? Always. But what about a sport-type of activity, such as t'ai chi? Um...yes?
I think you can do anything you want to apply your journal too. Because it is about a journey of life experiences to find your happiness.
You might need a calendar for taking part, or learning a new activity, when you are taking classes or join a club. But your journal can be there too...

It is a journey after all

Not there yet, door tag, inspiration, quote
Why do you want to learn Spanish? Or take up painting? Or master t'ai chi Sun Style? Something drove you to make that choice in the first place. Whether you were bored, or wanted to challenge yourself, you made a choice to step out of your comfort zone.
That choice places you on a new path in your life experiences. And your journal is the companion you need to take with you on that journey.
Your feelings will range from excitement at doing something new, to frustration at not learning fast enough, or self-doubt at choosing something that seems to be beyond your capabilities. But persistence is the key and noting your development in your journal will be the guide to the achievement of the goal.
We live in a world of instant-gratification. We want everything now; it is the same with new skills or challenging goals. But achievers are not people who give up, they are people who persisted until they have mastered the goals they set for themselves.

When you go back to the read the start of your journey, you will see how much you have grown in your happiness experiences and will feel more motivated with your next goal.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Book Feature: Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones

Provocative (White Lies Book One) by Lisa Renee Jones Release Date: April 18th
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book one in the sexy and intense new White Lies duet by Lisa Renee Jones!

There are those moments in life that are provocative in their very existences, that embed in our minds forever, and sometimes our very souls. They change us, mold us, maybe even save us. But some are darker, dangerous. If we allow them to, they control us. Seduce us. Quite possibly even destroy us.

The moment I walked into Sonoma’s Reid Winter Winery and Vineyard and made eye contact with Faith Winter for the first time was one of those moments. Provocative because I know at least one of her secrets, of which, I suspect she has many. Provocative because she believes I was a stranger to her when we met, but I am not. Provocative because I sought her out, with no intention of touching her. But now I have. Now I want her. Now I have to have her. But that changes nothing. It doesn’t change why I came for her.

Hi everyone!
I’m so excited that PROVOCATIVE is available now! Just a few notes: if you order PROVOCATIVE this week only you will get $1 off and it will only be $2.99 - I will be increasing this price at the end of the week! You’ll also receive the FREE novella Rebecca’s Forgotten Journals (these are NEW journal entries) in the back of your copy!

PS - if you missed your chance to receive any of my bonus scenes from Amy & Liam, Chris & Sara, or Ella & Kayden, this is your last chance to get them! Register your order of PROVOCATIVE here - and you’ll receive them early next week!

Check out the Trailer:


Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Book two: SHAMELESS will be out on July 11th!

Prize: $100 Amazon gift card

About the Author:
author. Lisa Renee Jones
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy - a modern girl we all can identify with.
In addition to the success of Lisa's INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin's Press.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women's Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: @LisaReneeJones
Stay in touch with Lisa by joining her mailing list:

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - O is for...

Open to new experiences
quote, Jeff Goins
If you have recently started to keep a journal, you have already opened yourself to a new experience. It is easy to start something, a new hobby, writing a novel, keeping a journal. But few people persist to gain the long term benefits of doing anything new.
Hobbies take time to learn the new skill or technique. Writing a novel is not an overnight exercise (trust me, I know!) and writing the first draft is just the beginning of a fairly lengthy process until it can be published (irrespective of the publishing route you choose).
But journal writing is a different story. With no end goal in place (like a published novel, or a finished model aeroplane) it can be difficult to continue with the practice.
Experience the new
Don't leave out other things or other experiences in your life, when writing in your journal. If you have an unresolved issue, leave writing about it for a while. Do something new - and allow yourself to live in the moment of that experience.
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal, #atozchallenge
Find a new restaurant? Pick a dish you have never had before and take your senses on a new journey during the meal. What did the dish smell like? What new flavours have your tasted?
Volunteer to look after a friend's pet if they go away for a weekend. How did you feel about looking after something that doesn't belong to you? Did you feel more attuned to the animal's needs? Were you scared that something might happen to it?
A change in direction
Often we feel frustrated or unhappy in our jobs and look around for something different. If you have made such a change, how did it make you feel to leave the familiar behind? You will always find difficult colleagues no matter where you work. How are you dealing with your new situation? Has the previous job taught you things that you can better use now with new people?
New is not always nice
Many people resist change and often fear what those changes could bring. Use your journal to help you identify the things that you fear when it comes to change. Allow yourself to be more open to the opportunities that may come your way.
If you are more open to new experiences, you might find that they were not so scary as you thought they were going to be. There is happiness in understanding new things about yourself. Using your journal to record the new journey you will be better prepared for the next new thing that may come along.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - N is for...

plate of sushi
My favourite food 💜
It is one of the more popular journals that many people start off with, a diet journal. You are supposed to note everything that you eat and drink during the day to spot where you are going wrong or to count the calories of your diet.
It can be successful to help you recognise where you are cheating if you are following a specific diet regime.
While this probably worked for many people, it didn't work for me. It was a disappointment when I realised that just making a list of what I consumed, wasn't helping me at all. I needed to figure out what I did wrong, but not just what I ate, but my behaviour and emotions, at the time.
You may already know that diets fail because they are temporary. As soon as you return to your 'normal' way of eating, you often regain the weight lost, and in many cases more than where you started from.
So if a diet journal wasn't the answer, how could keeping a food journal actually be of some benefit?
Food vs Feelings
When we write in our journals we note our feelings and thoughts, so why should those be excluded when we keep a food journal? Is our food behaviour not often linked to our emotional states?
Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal, #atozchallengeDo you eat when you are sad? Or bored? Or lonely? Or depressed? Or happy?
Instead of just writing down a list of all the food and drink you consumed during the day, also note the circumstances when you did. Also, note the way you felt before and after eating or drinking.
Did you eat because you were hungry, or should you rather have had a glass of water? We often confuse thirst with hunger, and then eating something won't help if you are getting dehydrated.
By making these notes I realised that I was getting headaches more often than usual. I drank more water and the headaches went away, until I actually had a real headache, then drinking water alone didn't solve the pain without a painkiller.
I am not going to tell you how I adjusted my lifestyle when it comes to food because it works for me. It addresses my issues in terms of food and my physical and emotional needs.
You need to resolve this for yourself. Keep a food journal for two or three weeks, and note your feelings and other circumstances at the same time.
Fix your own food issues
Only after the allocated time is past, do you go back and analyse what you have written. If you eat when you are depressed, you might need to consult someone who is way smarter than I am about these things. Or a dietician, or perhaps a friend can help.
If you are bored, get a hobby. They are not just fun, but creative activities will also help you in your journey to happiness, and you might lose a few pounds in the process.
Food is closely linked to our emotional state of mind, and we need to make sure that our health is always a primary concern, even if you are satisfied with your body weight.
Whatever you find and decide, make sure it is the best, most healthy solution for you. Keep noting your progress in your journal - living a healthy life is a lifetime journey after all.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Live in Balance: On leave, on veggies, and ongoing stuff

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal
My leave finally got underway before Easter weekend and I have been merrily typing away at both blog posts for the Challenge and a new story I. It is going so well, that I will achieve my word count target for Camp NaNoWriMo at the middle of the month.

Hydroponics Project

Like many of you I love fresh vegetables. I have a vegetable garden, or rather had one, but have not been planting anything for a few years purely because of the time needed to look after a garden like that.
So to ease some of the burden of weeding (and the strain on my back) I have been researching the practicalities of setting up a hydroponics system for growing our own veggies again. I have now reached the point where I am busy buying the pipes and fittings, the planting pots and the water reservoir to get things going.
I have drafted Francois to help with the stands that support the system since my welding skills are way too rusty to attempt to do it myself. We went out shopping this weekend so I can order what I need and have it delivered while I am at home this coming week.
The only thing that I need to research some more is the pump I need. I have a submersible pump, but I think it is too small for the size of my project. While out shopping I saw quite a number of pumps, but I need to know what size I need before I let myself be talked into buying the wrong thing.

My Goals for 2017 are ongoing

A colleague of mine mentioned that she too was going on a diet. After about a week she had lost weight and mentioned that it wasn't easy. I agreed with her because I am on that same journey.
You will of course, understand my trepidation about getting on the scale yesterday morning, if I tell you that I went on a chocolate binge this past Thursday. Putting it off wasn't going to change the outcome, so eventually I got on and nearly fell off - nothing. I gained nothing. This could only mean that I lost some weight during the week, but clearly regained it on Thursday. Really stupid of me, I know. I could have had a chocolate, and still lost some weight if it hadn't been for the bingeing idiocy.
What did bother me more was the stress I put on my pancreas as a result of all that sugar. As someone that has to look after her blood sugar levels, I acted incredibly irresponsibly. While I hope the damage wasn't bad, I am suffering the aftereffects of all that sugar - my sleeping patterns have changed. It will take a few days and a good healthy diet, to get back to normal. And normal is what I need to work on the creative projects I want to do while on leave from work.
Balance is the key, not depriving myself of a sweet. I am losing weight, I shouldn't compromise my health by being stupid.

Reading and moving

About two weeks ago I volunteered to be an advanced reader for a book being released on Tuesday this coming week. I read the book and wrote my review and now it is back to my research books for the blog challenge.
In recent times I often find myself unable to sit still. Sure my back complains if I remain in one position for too long, but this is something else. Then it hit me: Tai Chi. I have been lax in my daily practice, so that too is priority for the week ahead. I love learning the 40 forms, but will have to go back a lesson or so, so refresh my memory before carrying on with the next lesson.
Lots of things to do, but looking forward to the days of relaxing with my art and writing projects.
Until next week!

The A-to-Z Challenge letters for the coming week are as follows:
Monday: Letter N…for Nutrition
Tuesday: Letter O…for Open (prompt)
Wednesday: Letter P…for Physical
Thursday: Letter Q…for Quote (prompt)
Friday: Letter R…for Ramble
Saturday: Letter S…for Share
If you missed any of the previous letters, here is a quick recap (just click the letter!)
A   B   C   D   E   F   G  H  I  J  K  L  M

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - M is for...

M is for...Music

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal, #atozchallenge
While doing research about happiness and the journey towards that state, I read about the need for silence. You can read more about that in the post on the letter E (click here).
What I did learn though was that many people, mostly the younger generation, wants to drown out the noise around them by playing their music loud. And I mean LOUD!
If you are a parent of a tween or teenager, you are probably nodding your head in exasperation right now. What is frightening though is the high levels of sound pressure these young people are injecting into their ear canals with their iPods and earphones. Be prepared, they will be deaf or hard of hearing, long before you, their parents.
Apparently telling them that, has the exact opposite effect - they just turn the music volume up higher.

On my sound...

Once I read about how our ears function, and the risks we are exposed to, I downloaded an app for my smartphone to measure the sound levels in my own environment. I am happy to report that they were lower than I thought. This also made me aware of the volume of my own music. Yes, I am not that young anymore, but I prefer to have my hearing still intact for years to come, so I toned down the volume of the sounds I can control, including listening to the music that I enjoy.
In my work environment, I sometimes get exposed to the firing of weapons, and on that I have to say we are diligent in wearing our hearing protection. And that is definitely a good thing since I have suffered almost no hearing loss as a result (our medical check-ups include hearing tests) of that.
You might think I don't care for the kind of music with a loud beat when in fact, I am a fan of hard rock, heavy metal, rock, pop, blues, jazz, contemporary and classical music. So yeah, I did need to lower the volume on my enjoyment of music in both my car and my iPod.
Enjoy your music, but think ahead a few years to when you still might want to hear the harmonies of your favourite songs float into your ears.

Two of my favourite songs right now (YouTube links): Second-hand heart and Sound of silence.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - L is for...

L is for...Life

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, tree, drawing, #atozchallenge
Close up: Tree of life drawing on handmade paper
Today's journal entry has an art element again. Please have a look at the pictures below for you to create your own - no video clips this time, I promise.
Why life? Why not something mundane like lists or leopards or logs? Hey, this is a journal series about the journey to happiness, and life plays a big part in that, don't you agree?

Tree of life

I chose to do a drawing of a tree because they are some, if not the, longest living entities on our planet. The African baobab tree, for example, can grow to be hundreds of years old.
There are tales about trees (see the story here about the spirit of the Knob Thorn Tree) and even more tales, I think, that trees could tell about us. About the things they have observed and been exposed to.
Perhaps it is lucky then, that our communication with these living giants is limited to the appreciation of their beauty. Mainly since I think that their tales would be sad and filled with tragedy and destruction of all they had observed of the human race.

Life of your the moment

But our objective is to find happiness, instead of focusing on the negative. For today your challenge is to find the happiness in your life and the life of your happiness.
  • Note the date and time of your entry.
  • Note the place where you are and the state of your health.
  • Then take a few moments to observe your surroundings.
  • What in your immediate environment makes you happy to be there? Note your feelings on your observations and your life as it is in this moment.
Our lives are not nearly as long as that of some trees, so we need to make the most of every moment that we have.

My drawing with ink and Lyra Brush pens on handmade paper. You are welcome to copy my design if you like, or do your own. Size is about 8.5 cm in diameter because it was the size of the container's cap I used to draw the circle.
I tore the paper (using the edge of an old CD since it was a little larger) instead of cutting it out with a pair of scissors. I wanted to keep the rugged edge feel of the handmade paper. Then I glued it into my journal with acid-free glue before writing the words for the entry.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - K is for...

K is for...Knobs, knuckles, and knitting
Linzé Brandon, coloured pens
Journal writing doesn't always have to be about a serious or painful topic, it can also be about something that makes you happy.
What makes you happy?
In my research for this blog series, I came across many topics, but one that definitely made me smile is all the crafts and hobbies that people indulge in. Indulgence it is, isn't it? Hours of playing with paper, or clay, or wood, or fabrics. They say that giving is supposed to make you happier than receiving. Well, I am not always so sure about that, with one exception: giving something you made yourself for someone specific.
I love that. The making of the gift, the wrapping and then the joy on the person's face when they get something for them alone. Something unique, made by someone who cares enough to understand their personality or desires. A friend, or family member, or even a colleague.
I have noticed that people cherished those gifts more than anything else. I am sure you have received such a gift and no matter how long ago that was, you can still recall the occasion and the person who gave it you with significant detail.
Isn't that a happy memory?
Linzé Brandon, cross-stitch, craft, #atozchallenge
Cross-stitch project by Linzé
Indulge today in the pleasure you receive from the hours you spend with your hobby. Even if it's not the kind of hobby that lends itself to gift giving, you still derive a great amount of happiness from it.
Spend a few minutes with your journal to note your hobby (or pastime) and how you feel while doing what you love. Do you want to spend more time doing it? Where can you pinch a few minutes every day, or an extra hour every week to indulge in creating a few hours of happiness for yourself?
Our topic is about happiness after all. Writing about it will also help you understand the pleasure you derive from a hobby, but also the happiness you feel when a project is complete.
Enjoy your hobby, you might be surprised to learn that it is also good for you!
Some of the articles I found that you might like to read too.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Live in Balance: A to Z Challenge - J is for...

J is for...Journal

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, online journal, #atozchallenge
Like most things, journals and the reasons they were kept, have evolved over time. According to Wikipedia1, the word diary comes from the Latin word diarium, meaning “daily allowance” and journal originated from the same root diurnus, meaning “of the day”.
For the sake of this post, I will use the word 'journal', since most adults refer to their appointment books as diaries and their electronic diaries as calendars. A diary also implies a daily entry, whereas a journal entry does not have to be a daily occurrence.
Semantics you might say, but for clarity, I will stick to using the word, journal.
Unless you are an accountant or bookkeeper, then the Journal is something you use to fix other people's mistakes. I am just saying.

At the beginning...

Journal writing actually began way back in the second century AD. People used their journals to record transactions, events or visions. These entries depended on who you were and the significance of these events in your life.
Only later on, about the 11th century, did people's journals start to reflect the styles we associate with our modern times. Personal reflection, inward events or experiences that we perceive as important enough to note.
From the Renaissance onwards, people started to record more than the events of the day. It was also these personal records that researchers found to be valuable about life and times in that era.
Publication of these personal journals was never an option to people in those days, making their observations of particular importance to historians today. Their words were not intended for an audience although they might have ended up that way.

The modern journal

“Frank Smythson made history in 1908 when he created the world's first practical, portable diary. From its stitched spine and supple leather binding to the clean, crisp leaves of Featherweight paper and glint of gold, Frank's original design remains virtually unchanged to this day.”2
If you look at the Smythson website, you will agree that not much has changed since then, with the exception of the advent of the online journal.
Who could then resist recording the events and thoughts of your own? All that was required was the ability to read and write, or maybe draw a picture if the journal was kept by an artist.
While it might not be your or my cup of tea, it became almost fashionable to publish the journals of people of note from the nineteenth century. The most famous of these are the journals of Anne Frank, about her experiences hiding during the German occupation of Amsterdam during the Second World War.
There are many other examples, if you are interested please follow the links on the Wikipedia page for more information.

The digital journal

Online journaling is more what we would be used to or expect to use these days. The first recorded online journal was published in 1994. Since then the recording of personal thoughts and commentaries have become more prevalent on blogs.

Linzé Brandon, Live in Balance, Goals 2017, journal, #atozchallenge
Personal journals, for recording of private reflections and thoughts, are typically not for public consumption. The writer could use encryption to guarantee continued privacy.
The online journal has become portable with many of them providing a smartphone app to allow the user anytime access to their online journal.
As with handwritten journals, these online journals could be bequeathed to an heir upon the death of the writer. Check with your online journal supplier if this is something you could do for your children or grandchildren.

Why keep a journal?

Why do people keep a journal? The answer to that can be as varied as the reasons why people write.
History taught us that journals were kept to record financial and other transactions. People noted the events of the day in their environments. World travelers recorded their comments on the places they visited and recommendations on the best food, or route to follow.
Nowadays, journals have expanded their usefulness towards the recording of sleep patterns, diets, life experiences, notes on achievements, personal thoughts and goals. If you can think of a reason to record any and all observations, either internal, external or of any significant value, there will be a person (or ten) out there that does it.
Have you thought about the value you have gained from keeping a journal? Take a minute and note your thoughts in your next entry.