Showing posts with label Live in Balance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Live in Balance. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Art Journal 2020: Memento Mori

Welcome to #JournalArt2020! This is a blog series of actual art journal entries that I am doing this year.
Since this is my first time doing art journaling, it may not be as pretty as you see on YouTube, but these entries are personal, that I can assure you. I decided to keep to my theme of Living in Balance, and started the series with Stoicism, as I am a practitioner of the philosophy.

I started with two facing blank pages. Both of which were glued together with gel medium and allowed to dry overnight.
The pages are a dark beige colour, but the colour of the paper does not matter because I was going to paint it.
The first layer was done with white gesso to seal the paper and prepare it for painting.

I left the right-hand page mostly unpainted - the gesso is visible here.
I painted the middle of the spread with grey acrylic (I mixed white and black).
Then I roughly painted about 90% of the left-hand page with black acrylic paint.

The rough textured look was the look I wanted.

I used this drywalling fibre tape as a stencil with textured paste next.

I found the tape in a local Builders Warehouse store. The tape is quite sticky, but I soaked it in water, then dried it so that it won't stick to the page. 
It was still sticky after soaking it, but it worked well because it was damp and I could peel it away.

You can see the dried textured paste on the left-hand page where I used the drywall tape as the stencil.

I added the black and grey washi tape to the bottom of the page on the right-hand side, before adding another stencilled piece.

I used the flower stencil on the right-hand page with the same textured paste and a pallet knife. It went over the washi tape at the bottom. This was intentional.

I then finished the entry with more washi tape, stickers, and painted the flower with acrylic paint. Lastly, I added the text in white on the left-hand page, and black on the right-hand page.

Left-hand page text reads: Memento Mori (top)
Remember we will die (bottom)

Right-hand page text is a quote by Seneca: "It's not at all that we have too short a time to Iive, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it's given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well. But when it's poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it's employed to no good end, we're finally driven to see that it has passed by before we even recognise it passing. And so it is - we don't receive a short life, we make it so."

Memento Mori, art journal entry, #JournalArt2020, graphic art image, Linzé Brandon
Memento Mori: final art journal entry #JournalArt2020


  • white Faber Castell brush pens
  • black Faber Castell Pitt pen
  • white gesso
  • acrylic paint: black, white, yellow, red, green, blue (purple was mixed with red and blue)
  • stickers: butterflies, clock, stars, skulls, bones.
  • washi tape: black/grey/white, flowers, leaves.
  • fold back clips to help hold the pages down while working
  • paint brushes - small round

Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Monday, 28 August 2017

I paused, and took a breath

Source: Medium
The project I am working on (at work) will soon be ending, and I will technically speaking be out of a job. Other projects are starting and some more in the pipeline, but the company has many project managers, and not all of them have a technical background to fall back on. As an engineer I also some experience as a system engineer, so I have more options to consider.
But I decided to take a metaphorical breath. While the project is not yet at an end, it is now a good time for me to reflect on my own future. Do I go back to engineering? Find a position as a systems engineer? Project manager? Or am I ready to do something else?
In 2018 I will be celebrating my fiftieth birthday, and as frightening as that feels sometimes, I have decided that I am not too old for a career change. I have changed careers before, but I had been younger, and the change was not as drastic as the one I am contemplating right now.
Then everything just fell into place. Whether you believe in fate, karma, or God (I am a Christian) when so many things fall into place, you know that the universe is on your side.
It all began with the course I recently completed. If you are a leader or have aspirations to go into management in the future, I can recommend the Values Based Leadership (VBL) Course, presented by the Graduate Business School of the University of Cape Town. The course is available online, and I had classmates from all over the world which added to the perspectives one needs to be exposed to in this environment.
You might readily wonder what the course did to trigger this radical change in my life because I am already in a management position. It wasn't the content of the course, it was the eye-opening it gave me at the lack of leadership and guidance for the younger generation of the workforce. In South Africa, and my industry especially, the concept of a generation gap is very real. In fact, that gap is about twenty years wide and if that doesn't scare the executives of any company, nothing will.
Why is it that bad? Engineering is engineering, isn't it? Unfortunately, when it comes to the military industry is not that simple. The design of a weapon system is not taught at university. How a system needs to be designed around constraints outside of your control (the military environment) is another thing not taught at any academic institution. So the real world is the only learning platform. But with the skilled and knowledgeable labour force about to retire, who is going to fill that gap? How are the executives going to ensure that the company will survive until the next generation is ready to step into those strategic leadership shoes?
Succession planning, knowledge sharing and vocational mentoring are the answers for the technical skills. But the organisational environment is changing almost every year, and the old guard has little interest in the new styles of leadership to encourage and motivate the younger generation. And that was what the VBL course taught me, or rather opened my eyes to the future.
I have had mentorship training at a previous employer, but that is not what I am aiming for in my career change. I want to be a life coach.
I don't know more than other people, nor can I claim to be a better engineer or project manager. But I have been where they are heading to. In fact, I am standing there right now. A four, five, six-way crossing leading away from me into an unknown future. Cross-roads are nothing new in anyone's life: personal, professional, financial, etc. Decisions that affect the future of your life either scare most people into inaction until it is too late, or they make the wrong decisions for themselves and their futures.
Life coaching was a natural choice for me, given my interest in training and mentoring. But it is so much more than that. People know deep inside where they want to go with their lives and sometimes they just need someone to help them find their way.
So I spent weeks thinking, praying, scribbling deep (and often scared) thoughts in my journal only to find yet more signs that the choice is the right one for me. I swallowed my trepidation at the radical choice and enrolled into a life coaching course online.
While the qualification I plan to do is more expensive, I decided to do that as soon as I can. My goals for this year remain in place, but this year is almost over. My current project will soon end.
I needed to look at my future.
I paused and took a deep breath.
I have a new goal. And a plan for my professional future.

Monday, 14 August 2017

This is why my 2017 Goals are still on Track (mostly) – Part 1

A badge Linzé earned in a group
where writers hold themselves
accountable for daily writing
I wrote my first word of a first draft way back in 2001. While my odyssey to publication took another eleven years, I didn’t just write this one book. This first book was not my first published book, for that, I had to write some more before publication would be an option.
Why eleven years? There is no magic to this number, it was how long it took for me to figure out that I might actually be good enough.
What I did in those eleven years, established the foundation of why I now describe myself as a writer—I wrote.
In fact, I wrote another eight full-length novels: two are published, and the third is planned for October this year. The rest must wait their turn…it is a series after all.
In the years since that first attempt, writing became a habit. A daily habit that to date produced several more manuscripts, to the effect that this year my total creative word count now stands at over 2,200,000 words.
I started keeping a spreadsheet that I update at the end of every evening’s writing session. It was more curiosity in the beginning, but it has become more than that…it’s my daily ‘personal trainer’ if you like.

Source: Medium
Seeing the number of words I have written thus far is inspirational, but it is the words that have yet to come to life, that truly gets my writing brain into gear. So many stories that still need to be told!
Of course, I did not write as many words back then as I do now. In my own defense, it did take a while for my blonde brain cells to truly get the message: if you want to write, it is exactly what you should do. Write. Every day.
Some people set themselves a daily word target, others a daily time to write. I fall into the latter category. With a full-time job, my writing time is limited, and I want to squeeze every second that I can get out of it.
NaNoWriMo months change the goals a bit, but the words still count. They must. With an annual goal of one full-length novel, plus a few shorter stories to keep the creative juices flowing, I simply cannot help myself anymore—I have to write. When I don’t, I feel as if I am going to work without wearing a bra—something essential is missing.
Fortunately, that is one piece of clothing I have not yet forgotten!
I suppose it becomes a habit like brushing my teeth or putting on said bra. So that means when those words are not written, my creative mind will rot in a manner of speaking. Trust me, the zombie look will not look good on me.

Source: Medium
Whatever the target is you set for yourself, time or words, make it a habit. Habits become entrenched in the definition of who we are.
If you write, you will feel like a writer, you will think like a writer…you will be a writer.

Before you disappear back to reality, please take a moment to share this post with your friends. Thank you! 💜

Linzé Brandon is the author of several books and short stories. She is a project manager, closet artist, sometimes blogger and wife to an engineer who likes to play with a camera. The unicorns and fairies love playing with their German shepherds almost as much as their human pack members.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Me, myself and the war zone in my mouth

Yep, it's been a while, but hey things have been moving fast around here.
First off - I was in and out of a day clinic today. For the mountainous operation to remove my wisdom teeth. Amazingly enough, I don't look that blown up, only wish I could say the same for the inside of my mouth!
So it's soup and water, liquidy and soft foods for me for this week, but I am not complaining. Too much. That is until Francois gets home, pizza box under the arm and I am like - go away!
On the real stuff - my Live in Balance Goals, I am stuck at the same weight for more than a month now. Ha, maybe the liquid diet this week will help to kickstart it once more.
Writing has slowed a little, but editing has gone into high gear. All I can say? Thank you, Camp NaNoWriMo!

And it has been a real ride too. It is the 10th of July today, and in these 10 days, I have edited more chapters in my next novel, than the 10 weeks before July. If all goes well, there are only 3 more chapters (maybe four, since I have to make a big change at the end) to go and then voilá.

Oh, and in two days' there will be a cover reveal here - again. How exciting is that? Pop over and have a look.

Until next time!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Live in Balance: What do you think?

The last time I blinked it was my brother and sister-in-law's birthday (they were born on the same date), and that was the 21st of May and like yesterday, wasn't it? The next thing there is an email to remind me to register for Camp NaNoWriMo.
My idea for Camp in July
Seriously? But that's in July and a long time to go yet! And yet, the month of July is only another 26 days away.

Winter has arrived in full force in my part of the country. The days are short (just over ten hours of sunlight) and the nights are cold.  While some parts of South Africa have warm days, we are praying for the rains to come in the Western Cape. The province is caught in a severe drought and receives the majority of its rainfall in the short winter months. Their rainy season is really cold and often accompanied by dangerously high winds. Let's hope the weather forecasters have their predictions in a row and the rain will arrive this coming week.
Where summer is a time for action and partaking in the enjoyments of life, winter seems to be a time for reflection and quiet. At least, that is how to experience this time of year. With the email from Camp NaNoWriMo, I was reminded that my Live in Balance goals for the year needs to be reassessed and perhaps adjusted.
Tempted as I am to simply delete one or two from my list, I decided to take a step back and have a good look at myself. These goals are mine. They are choices I made; commitments I made to myself. If I delete just one, what does that say about me and my commitment to myself to live the life I want? To Live in Balance and be a better, healthier version of myself. Should I just delete those goals where my performance was less than stellar, or worse where I have not performed at all?
I don't have an answer yet, but I will need to spend some time to reconsider my list of Live in Balance goals for this year. What you can be sure of is that I won't just give up. This is not a competition with anyone else. This list is about me, and my goals. Giving up because something turned out to be more challenging than I thought, is damn sure not an excuse in my book.
Have I given up on things in the past? Of course, I have as I am sure you have as well. Trying to milk the proverbial dead cow, is a waste of time. Life is way too short to worry about things where I cannot change the outcome, no matter how much effort I put in. Was it a complete waste? I considered it a learning experience that fortunately, did not cost me a lot of time, nor much money.
As we approach the halfway point of this year, I will spend some time to assess my progress towards my goals, and at the same time consider my goals for next year. Call it my first draft of 2018 if you like.
As with all first drafts, it will require time to sit before the editing/updating process gets underway. This is not a book; it is the next year my life we are talking about after all.
Maybe that is the reason so many people fail at their resolutions. They make impulsive choices that are not properly thought through.
What do you think? Do I stand a better chance of success because I spend the time to think about and plan my goals for the next year?

Sunday, 30 April 2017

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

Zero is not just a number...

Have you ever wished for a few minutes of silence? Or an hour or two of solitude? Few people actually want these things and the reasons vary from one person to the next. But why would you never want to be alone?

When zero is not the hero

Many people feel happy, in fact, they are at their happiest, when they are surrounded by people. People are noisy, to I guess the silence and the solitude go together in most cases. Is it even possible to be with other people 24/7? In our modern era of social media, it is. Different time zones, different times of the day. It doesn't matter where you are, the internet never sleeps. Then again...

Solitude will be inevitable at some point

What do you do when the power is down and with it all means to be online? Everything connected to our way of life is driven by technology and technology requires electricity. No power, no social media. It is a bad time to visit other people, now what? Do you freak out? Panic? Or do you shrug and go finish that painting you started last week? Or grab that book you have been threatening to read? Or search for a candle and catch up on your meditation or mindfulness practice?
The problem comes in when you are alone, even if the power is not the problem. Many people face that situation after a divorce, or children leaving home, or relocation to a new home. We can never completely avoid it.

Zero can be the hero

woman writing in a notebook
The best way to learn to deal with being alone is to control your time, your activities and your mind when you are. You can learn how to do that by choosing to be alone even for a short time. Find something to keep you occupied. An activity that you like, that could make you happy even though there is no one else around.
If you don't know what that is, take the time to find it. Explore new things. Take a moment to remember what you liked as a child, and translate that to the adult version.
Remember to record your journey and experiences in your journal. It is your time to be alone, isn't it?
--- * -- * -- * ---
This is the last post of this series of Finding your Happiness through Journal Writing in the A to Z Challenge. This is, however, not the last word on this subject and I encourage you to read more books and explore online articles on the subjects of journal writing and personal happiness. You will be doing it for yourself after all.
Until next time!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

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

You in all your glory
Today we are doing a little art once more, and it couldn't be easier. You did this a lot when you were a child. Now we are just going to do the grown up version with a twist.
Who are you?
We as individuals have many roles in our daily lives. Some because we have to, and some because we choose to. So today we are going to use a very simple drawing to say who we are.
The steps are as follows:
pencil drawing, left hand, handmade paper
  1. Use your journal directly, or a piece of art paper suitable for watercolour paint or watercolour pencils. Make sure it is trimmed so it will fit the page of your journal (if necessary).
  2. Use a pencil to draw the outline of your non-dominant hand - just as you did when you were young. I kept my fingers slightly bent to make sure they fit on my paper.
  3. Use a permanent marker or pen, to redraw the pencil lines, and add a few details if you like. I added the wrinkles over my knuckles and the half-moons in my nails where I have them. Lastly, I added my wedding ring, since I was wearing it when I did the outline.
    watercolour paint, paint brush, pencil drawing of hand on white paper
  4. Activate the paint by spraying it with a little water. Then using a soft flat brush, paint in any random way, with random colours all over your sketch. If the colours flow together, that is perfect too.
    watercolour painted hand, multicolour drawing, two pens
  5. Let it dry otherwise, it will stain the pages of your journal.
  6. I used a silver gel marker to redraw my ring, but the details were then obscured. The ink of this pen is not conducive to drawing over it again, so I left it as is.
  7. Use a permanent pen and write down all your roles as you see them. You can make a list like I did, or you can write them all over, at angles, upside-down, whatever way you feel like.
  8. Sign and date your drawing, and glue it into your journal when you're done.
    watercolour painted drawing of a hand, handwritten text over image

Our roles change with time and also as we grow older. You can easily do this again at any time you feel like it. I do this hand drawing once a year, and it is always interesting to see what has changed, and what has remained the same.

This is our last art entry for the A to Z Challenge in 2017. I hope you enjoyed doing something a little different for your journal entries this month.

Friday, 28 April 2017

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

Crossing out...high five!
small tick mark and cross in purple square
Do you ever go back to the todo lists you make to cross out the items that you have completed? (check out if you need a system to help manage those pesky to-do lists)
I am guilty too for not doing that. Sure the job is done, so why bother? We should bother. Internal validation of achievement is just as important as external recognition. Of course, no one is going to give you an award for completing the ironing today (well, in my book you deserve a medal!) but tasks completed give us some a sense of happiness too. Even the mundane tasks like ironing.
Checking back; moving forward
Todo lists in our journals are seldom simple tasks or goals that we set for ourselves. Often we beat ourselves up, because it is taking longer, or it is more difficult than what we expected. But if you look back to six months or just two months' entries ago, you will see progress to now. And so what if it is taking longer? You are growing. You are moving forward. The journey you are on is not an overnight kind of success journey. It is a life long journey with yourself.
Cross out?
In journal writing, we don't delete what was written in the past. Nor so we cross out the words of history. Compare yourself today with the person you have been, and see the changes. Rejoice in the happiness that you have achieved.
Note the path that you have travelled, and keep moving forward.
Only read entries that are weeks or months old to see the changes in yourself. Long lasting changes are subtle and take more time, but they are there and you will see that in you.
If you started your journal on 1 April 2017, then delay this entry for a while. Make a note of it, and come back to it at the end of June. Keep writing and work on finding your happiness, it is a journey after all.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

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

Weapons and Words

hand holding sword blade, fake blood on palm
When you think about the saying 'the pen is mightier than the sword', you understand what it means. Words can hurt, and the wrong words spoken at the wrong time can cause a lot of damage to relationships. But you can also hurt yourself, even if you don't mean to.

Words in journals

Keeping a journal is a good thing. It is a place to explore your own private thoughts and dreams. But it can also be a place where you can put yourself down with negative thoughts and scathing words.

Be kind to yourself

We do have negative thoughts and feelings sometimes, but you have to be aware of these and the impact they could have if you continuously indulge in them.
Positive words and good thoughts will limit the impact. Make sure that when you feel down or depressed, that you watch the words you write in your journal. If there are many entries of that kind, it might be time to seek help to address these.
Journal writing can be therapeutic, but it cannot solve problems on behalf of a therapist or psychiatrist.

Put down the sword

fine line markers on black fabric, yellow, purple, pink, green
Make sure your entry today is focused on the positive things in your life. Consider a Gratitude or Happiness entry. If you cannot, perhaps it is time to seek the help of a professional.
Just remember that words can have a lot of power, and we need to make sure our inner dialogue is also helping us grow at all times.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

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

Value of invaluables
picture of a tape measure
You know as well as I that some things have no monetary value, purely because you cannot buy them. Things like friendship, love, empathy and a good steak. Okay, food is something you can buy, but the experience of enjoying a good meal is beyond the price you pay for it.
Value beyond money
We live in an increasingly materialistic world where people are more likely to judge your value based on what you own. House, car, jewellery, technology, to name but the items at the start of a long list.
But some things we own are of value to us, and not because of what they may be worth in an insurance claim. We own items that are special because they represent a tangible memory of a special person or event in our lives.
Of course, the item could be valuable like a wedding ring, but for most of us, it is the memories attached to the item that makes it irreplaceable.
Explore the value in your drawers or cupboards
image journal with pen, #atozchallenge text on side of the journal
Use your journal today to take a step or two back down memory lane. Name the item, and explore the memory attached to it. You can also stick a picture or drawing of it in your journal instead.
Why is this particular item the one that triggers your memory? What do you feel about the event or person at the time of the memory? How do you feel about them now?

Purely relying on our emotions for happiness results in a fleeting experience, but if we incorporate them into our journey, they become part of it. Build on the memories, good and bad, and take the best forward with you on your journey of happiness. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

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

A to Z Challenge Badge 2017

Unique, are you?

Have you noticed how hard people are trying to either fit in or disappear into the wallpaper? Where are the things that make people stand out from the crowds? We're not talking genetics or things that you had no say in. Nor are celebrities good examples. There are exceptions, but they are few.
No, we are talking about us, normal people—who went to school, then to study something or the other, then working, getting married, raising a family...and then the cycle starts all over again.
And it's not about saving the world either. It is about being you, the person that experiences life, not only living it.

Make your experiences unique

Since I mentioned school (I include all levels of education here), let's start there. Have you studied anything new since writing that last exam paper? Not because your boss told you to, but because you wanted to. Not because there was something to achieve, like a certificate or promotion, but because you were interested in the subject. No? Why not? Aren't you curious about the world around us? It's history or scientific advancements. It's beauty expressed in all kinds of art and music. The people and our interaction with our environment. The list is endless.
Another thing is our relationships. When was the last time you truly connected with your spouse/partner? And not only physically, but emotionally and intellectually too. How about discussing that play you saw together, or maybe want to see together? Maybe it will help to get a babysitter for a few hours so that you can spend some time together to find that connection again.
Instead of the mindless hours spent in front of the TV, take control of your life and experience it.

Experience the uniqueness of you

We all feel at some point that life is passing us by. One day you twenty-five, at the cusp of your life, and the next moment you are sixty-five, and wondering what the hell happened?
Epictetus quote
Don't wait, or delay. There will never be a good time or the right opportunity, you have to make it happen.
If you're not sure what it is you need to experience, use your journal to let your thoughts guide you. Learn something new, and think about the experience, the knowledge and the change in you. Do something new and explore the experience.
Don't delay. Start your unique journey of experiencing life and happiness by taking control of your choices today.

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.

BOOK RELEASE: SOLANGE an ebook by Linzé

Will she get the future she wants? M/F/M Erotic vampire romance (18+ only)   Solange knows that she is not like the average woman who...