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Birthday Journaling, the Pisces Way

Birthday Journaling, the Pisces Way

For some great birthday journaling prompts and ideas, check out my article, the Gift of Birthday Journaling.

I celebrated my birthday in Miami this year. Being a Pisces, the sand and surf was a gift itself. And of course, getting a tour of the Miami Seaquarium was perfect for this fish. Painting artwork with a dolphin named Onyx, getting kissed by a seal (sardine breath, gah!), watching the epic manatees bob at the surface like two ton potatoes. The sushi was a no-brainer. I also enjoyed some birthday journaling barefoot on the beach. Which is how I’d prefer to do all my writing.

Toward the end of dinner that night, the waiter came out with a slice of cake held aloft, an unlit candle atop. I smiled in appreciation, ready to accept this thoughtful delivery orchestrated by my partner. But alas – the server was delivering it to the woman seated next to me. Because it was her birthday, too! She’d driven two hours to have dinner at this place. A birthday miracle! Or a fun coincidence, at least.

Why I like journaling on birthdays

I know it’s a mixed bag when it comes to loving birthdays or hating them. I’ve always loved my birthday and leverage it to get attention and free stuff, an approach I don’t normally pursue the rest of the year. I enjoy having the date all to myself, unlike regular holidays.

Plus my birthday falls in that bleak slush between winter and spring when there’s little to look forward to, so the celebratory break is a treat.

I enjoy organic rituals as an opportunity to review progress and set goals for the coming year. Although I enjoy the energy of the New Year, the standard annual calendar turnover doesn’t really speak to me as much, maybe because it’s kind of impersonal. I tend to favor the first new day of each season, especially June 21st, one of my favorite days of the year. And as a lifelong student, September has always felt like the real new year starting to me.

I spend extra time journaling around these dates and use them as a level setting point to check in on my goals, where I’m at and what kind of progress I’m making. Also to think ahead to the next milestone and what I want life to look like at that point.
Birthdays are a natural fit to this type of journaling.

It’s also just fun to compare one year to the next, and while you can pick an arbitrary date and compare and contrast, doing it around birthday time feels more special.

Ocean front journaling, where this Pisces thrives.

Visiting birthdays past

Because I have 35 years’ worth of journals, I like to pull out several and revisit the entries from those birthdays. Sometimes I choose them randomly, but I also like to seek out a few I know have meaty entries or show stunning progress that I can enjoy. A little back-patting never hurt.

Even if I didn’t do a formal birthday round-up, it’s fun to see what kind of birthday I had 10 years ago. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Ten years ago on my birthday, I wrote this:

I was thinking about Pisces nature this week in light of my birthday and how it’s two fish swimming in opposite directions. And how that nature can keep one either eternally conflicted, eternally balanced (if we rely on the laws of physics rather than astrology), or constantly flopping back and forth – not unlike a fish caught in a net.

I believe my path in this life is learning balance – perhaps borrowing Virgo’s scales. To honor both fishes, and at times favor one or the other, but in general return to center. Black and white thinking – or more accurately, “on and off” behavior, has fueled my crazy for a looong time. It doesn’t work and I just end up swimming in circles.

Still checks out.

What does your birth story say about you?

This is a fun prompt I included in the Birthday Journaling article, because I’m fascinated by origin stories. My mom was in labor for days and when I finally emerged, I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. Born blue, but came out swinging. I think that set the stage for the rest of my life. You just can’t keep me down.

What birthday gift has meant a lot to you?

One of the prompts I enjoy working with on my birthday is what gifts I’ve received that meant the most to me. Some material gifts, others experiences or intangibles. A few gifts were something I really wanted, others were super thoughtful and showed that the giver truly knew me. This year’s present from my partner took the cake.

I’ve always wanted to learn archery. It seems like a fabulous skill for the zombie apocalypse – you can make your own ammunition, it’s silent and sustainable. And I could both protect and provide for my family. Plus I’d get to be a badass like Katniss or Neytiri. There’s a place in town and every time I drive by, I say, “One day I’m going to learn archery. It’s on my bucket list.”

This year on my birthday I unwrapped a strangely shaped gift from my fiancé to discover a breathtaking carved wood bow and a set of feathered arrows, along with a package of archery lessons. I have to be careful what I say around him because he makes things happen. But this was next level. Bucket list, here I come!

Meet me at my place for the Zombie Apocalypse. I got your back.

New project: dedicated birthday journal

I’ve been active on Reddit lately (I’m at u/journalingsaves – come say hi!) and one thing that’s become clear is that many journalers like to keep multiple notebooks for specific uses. I recently started the same with a wellness journal and a business journal.

But while writing the article on Birthday Journaling, I realized how fun it would be to keep a separate birthday journal. So when it came time to do my birthday journaling, I wouldn’t have to dig through a couple hundred notebooks to find the relevant February entries to work with. I could have one journal with all my annual birthday narratives. Then I could be more mindful and focused about it.

I have so many gorgeous blank journals I could use for this – although I do love an excuse to procure even more. “But it’s my birthday!” usually keeps me out of trouble.

One of these blank books would probably work for birthday journaling, but then I wouldn’t have an excuse to go journal shopping…

Thanks for celebrating with me! Check out my article on Birthday Journaling for more ideas to try around your birthday time, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Welcome to Journaling Saves 2.0!

Welcome to Journaling Saves 2.0!

Hi friends!

It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me but I’m very excited to be back with a freshly launched Journaling Saves 2.0.

I launched in 2010 and the site blossomed over the next few years, including a large library of journaling resources, original articles, eBooks, a mailing list and even a podcast for awhile. Funny to think I was podcasting in 2010 before it was a “thing.” I plan to bring the Journaling Saves Podcast back online very soon.

Speaking of eBooks and mailing lists, if you’d like to join my email list and receive a weekly journaling prompt delivered right to your inbox, I’ll send you my eBook 30 Days to a Journaling Life for free. Just use the form below and you can start journaling minutes from now.

If you were a part of my previous email list, you’ll need to subscribe again because I changed email providers. It only takes two clicks! Sign up here! (You’ll snag my ebook for FREE when you do.)

Emerging from the Ashes

Journaling Saves was an active part of my life for several years and then other projects became a priority, including starting my own web design business. As much as it pains me to say it, I’ve recently learned that I can’t in fact do it all. I tried, trust me!

So as I focused on other projects, the Journaling Saves website remained as a live resource for folks to get inspired by the 150+ articles. I pressed pause on updates, podcasts and social media.

And then a horrible thing happened. In 2018 my web server had a meltdown and I lost everything, including my redundant cloud storage. The website was finished.
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7 Things you taught me in 1 year

7 Things you taught me in 1 year

Happy Birthday to Journaling Saves! Early January of last year, I hit “publish” on the very first post.

I’ve learned A LOT in the past year through creating this website. Here are my Top 7 epiphanies of the first year.

Before I start, I have to warn you, this is a total Sapfest 2011. Be prepared for ridiculous amounts of emoting, gushing, and shameless gratitude. If Emo is not your cup of tea, I’ll be sure to write a super-snarky post for next time. 😉
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10 Things I Learned Reading My Teenage Diary on Stage

10 Things I Learned Reading My Teenage Diary on Stage

What would posess someone to get up on stage and read the most embarrasing passages from her teenage diary to a theater full of strangers?

I’m still trying to figure that out, even after my regular participation in the Salon of Shame.

I’ve been attending the Salon of Shame as a spectator for several years. The premise is simple: half a dozen people, mostly in their 30’s, get up on stage and read passages from their teenage diaries. Any subject matter is fair game. Explanations and post-scripts are discouraged – shame is best delivered straight-up. You’ve got five minutes at the microphone.

Meanwhile, sign-language interpreters translate your words into grand gestures for the hearing-impaired portion of the audience. The ASL interpreters are often the highlight of the show.

I decided this summer it was time to participate, since I have over 100 notebooks filled to the brim with laughable material. Oh, and I run a website about journaling. Right.

Reading at the Salon of Shame has been an eye-opening experience. Here’s what I learned.
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In Memory of Stephanie

In Memory of Stephanie

I received an email this week that one of our fellow journalers passed away on Saturday. Her name was Stephanie and I want to tell you a little bit about her because she had a big impact on me.

Stephanie was one of the earliest and most active readers of this web site. She often sent me encouraging emails telling me how much she appreciated me and the work I was doing. She told me she’d started writing again because of me. There is no greater gift in the world than for me to hear those words.

We bonded over our love of Blueline notebooks, which she ordered after I recommended them. Her frequent love notes often brought tears to my eyes.

The most incredible part is that during this time of selfless support, Stephanie was very ill. She had had a difficult couple of years as one affliction after another ravaged her body.

I had no idea she was sick until her husband notified me of her passing. That’s the type of person Stephanie was – she would offer love and support without drawing attention to herself or what she was going through.
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Art Journaling at Daniel Smith

Art Journaling at Daniel Smith

I went to the free art journaling demo at Daniel Smith Art in Seattle on Saturday and it was a total blast. Liesel Lund lead the demo and she showed us how to make our own journal. Then she talked about some of her favorite products and showed us a few techniques for art journaling. She even shared some of her art journals — all of which were amazing. My favorite was an underwater-themed art journal with cut-away pages that reminded me of books I had when I was a kid. The kind with holes in the middle that slowly reveal more of the picture. Very cool.

I’m definitely signing up for the hands-on workshop in August that she’s teaching there – Intro to Art Journaling. It seems right up my alley since I’m pretty new to the format as an actual genre (though I’ve been collaging for a hundred years). Liesel also hosts workshops at her home in Phinney Ridge and several of them looks fabulous. Can’t wait to dig in.

So I was going to take photos of the event to share, but there was a big “NO PHOTOGRAPHY” sign at the front of the room when we arrived. Not sure why, but I didn’t want to get kicked out so I obeyed. (For the most part.) But the set-up reminded me of a cooking class, with Liesel at the front working at a big counter, with an enormous mirror overhead so we could watch her work.
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Hey, friend!

I’m Kristin. Welcome to Journaling Saves. If you’re new to the site, start here for the grand tour. Thanks for coming!