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{This week: Palliative care, sobriety, starting something good, music for your brain, and more.}

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Hi all,

Below are 10 happy links that inspired me this week. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die—this piece took 30 minutes to read, but it was worth my time. NYTs reporter Jon Mooallem profiled B.J. Miller, a doctor and triple amputee. Learning about how Miller’s personal experiences led to the creation of a new palliative care model was fascinating.

Also, Miller reminded me to savor every moment of my life. In a recent talk he said, “Parts of me died early on. And that’s something, one way or another, we can all say. I got to redesign my life around this fact, and I tell you it has been a liberation to realize you can always find a shock of beauty or meaning in what life you have left.”

2. Fun Bobby was wrong: the unexpected lightness of being five years sober—a beautiful personal essay by Sas Petherick.

3. The start of something good—Susannah Conway’s “Love Letters” are one of the few newsletters that I arrive in my inbox. I love her writing and honesty.

4. Brain.fm—music for the brain.

5. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents—This looks like a helpful book.

6. A 98-Year-Old Yoga Celebrity Tells All—Katherine Rosman’s profile of Täo Porchon-Lynch inspired me. Growing older is a gift and I want to see more profiles of older women in the media.

7. The Power of Positivity—This video features Täo Porchon-Lynch and Dr. Terri Kennedy. It’s beautiful!

8. I Don’t Know What’s Best for You—I don’t know what’s best for you, either. As Courtney Carver wisely noted, “Use the information you find on the internet, in books and courses, on this site, and anywhere else as pieces of the puzzle, but not as the end all be all. It’s not. No one knows what’s best for you but you.”

9. The Simple Truth Behind Reading 200 Books a Year—I read over 100 books in 2016 and I want to read even more books during 2017. Chu’s essay offered some fantastic reading ideas and tips.

10. A Simple Year 2017—Join us and simplify your clutter, money, food, relationships, digital, travel and more. Registration for our year-long course closes ‪on Sunday, January 22, 2017—that’s only a week away. Details here.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my weekly happy links roundup and want to support it, share this post with a friend.

With gratitude,

“If you want to write, you need to keep an honest unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you.”
—Madeleine L’Engle

Photo by Tammy Strobel

During 2017, I’ll be using the following notebooks/planners:

1. Pen & Ink 3.5 x 5.5″ Notebook. Originally, I began using the Pen & Ink journal to record gratitude lists, tiny pleasures, and observations about my day. However, I decided to turn this notebook into a bullet journal because it’s the perfect size to slip into my pocket and carry everywhere with me.

2. Generic composition notebook. In September 2016, I read a fascinating essay (see here) about basic composition notebooks. I was so inspired by the article that I purchased a few composition notebooks from the Dollar Store and began using the notebooks to write first drafts of blog posts, courses, and more.

3. Hobonichi 4.1 x 5.9” Techo Planner with a royal blue cover. I learned about the planner on Instagram. It’s described as:

“. . . a Japanese daily planner from the creators of the website Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun, or ‘Hobonichi’—who set out to make the kind of planner they would use. Designed for maximum customizability, it evolves every year based on customer input.”

I’m using the monthly calendar feature to map out business projects, the daily list section as an exercise log, and I’m utilizing the daily pages to record:

  • Something that made me happy
  • Something I’m grateful for
  • Something I learned

Finally, the book is stitch-bound, the Tomoe River paper is luscious, and the paper is sturdy enough to handle fountain pen ink.

4. Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner. During 2016, Logan and I reviewed our income, expenses, and savings goals each month. In 2017, we’re going to have weekly money meetings because we want to stay on track with our savings goals. In addition to Mint, the Mindful Budgeting Planner will be a great tool to track our numbers and reflect on our financial progress.

How I Deal with My Old Notebooks

I keep my old planners for business purposes, and I’ve started to hold onto travel and adventure journals because they bring me joy. I shred my other notebooks every six months. Before I shred my journals, I reread the entries. As I read, I jot down themes that I want to revisit, reflect on, or write about in the public sphere.

Keeping a large archive of old journals isn’t that important to me. The act of writing daily is what brings value and joy to my life.

Plus, my daily writing habit helps me:

  • Stick with creative rituals like photography and blogging
  • Simplify my life
  • Reexamine my relationship with money
  • Write books
  • Unplug from the Internet
  • Remember what I’m learning
  • Practice gratitude

What about you?

What types of journals and/or planners are you using in 2017?

Extra Reading:

How I Use My Desire Map Day Planner—The Desire Map Day Planner was my main planner in 2014, 2015, and for a portion of 2016. I decided to change my planner in 2017 because I wanted to try a new system.

My Analog Tools—a list of my 2015 journaling tools and a few tips for you.

How I Use My Journals—the 2014 edition.

On Grief and Notebooks—an essay about how I used journaling to cope with grief and why I shredded my journals in 2014.

With gratitude,

Before You Go …

If you’ve been thinking about joining A Simple Year: 12 Months of Guided Simplicity, but need more information to make your decision, join founder Courtney Carver for an hour of Q&A and discussion about the year-long program.

The webinar is on Thursday, January 12th at 6:30 p.m. EST. Register here. If you can’t make the live session, please register and we’ll send you a recording.

a simple year

{This week: 52 key learnings, wellness trends, Hello Sunday Morning, and more.}

Photo by Tammy Strobel; My Hobonichi Techo Planner.

Hi all,

Here’s a list of 10 happy links that inspired me this week:

1. 52 key learnings in 52 weeks of 2016—Tré Wee’s thoughts on the process of reflection, recall, human memory, and his year-long learning experiment inspired me. I’m going to incorporate Wee’s tips into my journaling practice.

2. 11 Wellness Trends To Watch In 2017—it was intriguing to learn that minimalist fashion is on the rise (#2) and that the sobriety movement is growing (#3).

3. Hello Sunday Morning: Reflections on 12 months off alcohol—a powerful essay about sobriety and Australia’s drinking culture.

4. A Year of Slow Living Experiments—Cait’s new project is really cool!

5. The Vanilla Beanie—I’m overly excited about adding a second hat to my minimalist wardrobe.

6. Meal Prep Monday—a helpful and fun essay about meal planning. I’m excited to try some of Heather’s tips and recipes.

7. How to Become a ‘Superager’—a fascinating piece on aging. The article reminded me that engaging in uncomfortable activities like—CrossFit and writing—is good for my brain.

8. Shifter Variance—I read Tina Gower’s new novel in two days! I love the characters and the story line.

9. Side Hustle School—Chris Guillebeau’s new daily podcast. The project is “for everyone who wants to create a new source of income without quitting their day job.”

10. A Simple Year 2017—The course is the brainchild of my friend Courtney Carver—founder of bemorewithless.com and Project 333—and I’m thrilled to be part of A Simple Year 2017. I hope you’ll join the class!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my weekly happy links roundup and want to support it, share this post with a friend.

With gratitude,

Subscribe for a Prize

Every week, I share new essays, photos, and a roundup of happy links on RowdyKitens.com. When you subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive a free PDF copy of my latest book—My Morning View: An iPhone Photography Project about Gratitude, Grief, and Good Coffee.

If you’d like to receive emails from me, please sign up here.

Thank you!

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Happy New Year!

Last week, I shared my favorite photographs from 2016 with you. This week, I’m sharing favorite essays from 2016.

Reader favorites on RowdyKittens included:

1. Our Tiny House—Once again, our tiny house page and accompanying links received a lot of traffic.

2. Photography—I’m happy my photography portfolio was one of the top hits for reader views.

3. Living with 72 Things—In October 2009, I wrote a post titled Living with 72 Things. This short essay received a lot of traction in 2016. Honestly, it surprised me because the essay is old, and I no longer count my belongings.

4. Letting Go of Sentimental Items—Back in 2011, Joshua Millburn of The Minimalists wrote a guest post about letting go of sentimental items for you. For the last few years, it’s been one of the most popular essays on RowdyKittens. And speaking of The Minimalists, be sure to watch their film—Minimalism—on Netflix

5. How I Use My Journals—I wrote this piece a few years ago. Most of the content is accurate; the only thing that’s changed is the type of journals I write in daily. In 2017, I’ll be using a Hobonichi Techo Planner, Cait’s Mindful Budgeting Planner, and a composition notebook from the Dollar Store.

Outside analytics, here’s a list of my favorite essays from 2016:

1. Why I’m Grateful for Good Health—I wrote a lot of essays in 2016, and this piece is my absolute favorite. Being able to swim, attend CrossFit classes, and walk without pain is a gift.

2. Why I’m Scaling Back on Social Media—Not spending so much time on social media is one of the best habit changes I made in 2016. In 2017, I’ll share more essays about my new social media routines.

3. On Catching a Ride to San Francisco—Visiting San Francisco was one of the highlights of my year. San Francisco is a walker’s dream. It was easy to navigate the city by foot, and I felt safe.

4. On Public Speaking, Real Life Connections & Traveling Lightly—In addition to my San Francisco adventure, speaking at York College in Pennsylvania was a huge 2016 achievement and highlight. Sharing my story in front of a large group was scary and totally worth it.

5. Swimming in the Weeds—I swim with the Rogue Valley Masters team in Ashland, OR. I’m taking a break from early morning swim practices because of winter road conditions. Once the weather warms up, I’ll be back in the pool. Until then, I’ll be dreaming about swimming while I’m CrossFitting.

6. Real Talk Radio—I was going to share a year-end review with you. However, I realized that my conversation with Nicole Antoinette on Real Talk Radio is a great summary of my year—the highs, lows, and everything in-between. Tune-in here.

This year was difficult, but I’m grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for the encouraging words, the likes, comments, and all the love. Cheers to producing creative work in the New Year. I can’t wait to share my 2017 project plans with you.

With gratitude,

Before you go …

1. This piece was inspired by Paul Jarvis’ top posts of 2016.

2. Subscribe for a prize.

3. A Simple Year 2017 is open for registration. The course is the brainchild of my friend Courtney Carver—founder of bemorewithless.com and Project 333—and I’m thrilled to be part of A Simple Year 2017. I hope you’ll join the class!

a simple year

{This week: censorship, reconciliation, social media, and more.}

Photo by Tammy Strobel

Hi all,

Below are 10 happy links that inspired me this week. I hope you enjoy them, too!

1. I loved Alexandra Franzen’s recent essay—On hiding, censorship, and the impossible task of trying to please everybody.

2. Reconciliation—a segment produced by TED Radio Hour—is a powerful podcast. TED speakers talk about how to look past anger, fear, and how to reconcile our differences. Please listen to the show.

3. Another fantastic piece Alexandra Franzen: Why I do not use social media anymore.

4. In 2017, I’ll be using a Hobonichi Techo Planner and Cait’s Mindful Budgeting Planner.

5. Beautiful & sweet: If your star is crooked.

6. Truth: “You don’t need to drink to celebrate.”

7. Cal Newport wrote a thoughtful essay about digital minimalism.

8. An important article about loneliness: How Social Isolation Is Killing Us.

9. Marc Rosenthal wrote an intriguing essay about hygge—Move Over, Marie Kondo: Make Room for the Hygge Hordes. Also, I shared a few essays about the topic last month (see #8).

10. A Simple Year 2017 is open for registration. The course is the brainchild of my friend Courtney Carver—founder of bemorewithless.com and Project 333—and I’m thrilled to be part of A Simple Year 2017. I hope you’ll join the class!

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my weekly happy links roundup and want to support it, share this post with a friend.

With gratitude,

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