Planning for New Growth – What’s Your “Thing”?

Are you blessed with flower beds and the opportunity to plant things & watch them grow? Spring in the Northeast US is such a beautiful time of year as the cold winter months fade away and the earth comes to life again. The beauty of Spring flowering trees is breath-taking. It is always fun to get out my garden journal and read through last year’s information while planning for new growth this year. I anticipate the welcome change in weather and getting back outside. Perhaps your interests are more along the line of museums, or concerts, or books. These thoughts can translate to most anything you find of great interest that you invest your time in.

Garden and flower bed journal

My garden journal is pretty simple where I keep one year’s information together with a few different categories. First is a list of the plants & herbs & veggies I purchase each Spring. Here in Lancaster County, PA there are some amazing greenhouses, most of which are run by Mennonite or Amish families. That first view of the beauty of the huge variety of plants & flowers after a long cold winter makes me wish I had ten more flower beds to fill – until I come back to reality.

Seasonal activities

And although the greenhouses are great, one of my most favorite things to do in Lancaster, is attend the Landis Valley Herb & Garden Faire each year. There is nothing like walking the grounds of this historic farm and going through all the old buildings. The Friday & Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, the grounds are filled with vendor tents with anything garden-related that you can imagine. From annuals and perennials, to herbs and heirloom tomato plants, birdhouses, hypertufas, potting benches, fresh honey, and on and on. Whatever you want to adorn your flowers beds with will probably be available.

Purchases and schedule

The list of “Purchases” in my garden journal always includes some wonderful goodies from various greenhouses as well as Landis Valley’s Herb & Garden Faire. This list includes the name & color of the plant, price, quantity, and where I purchased them from.

The next category for the year is my record of outside work. I like to keep track of when I weed each bed, spread mulch, etc. It’s a great reminder for me in the dreary days of winter to look at that list and figure out how soon it will be time to be outside again!

Photos and sketches

I make little sketches if I change up a flower bed just so I can look back at the end of the summer and see if any plants didn’t make it. I also like to diagram my raised vegetable garden. Although it’s not large, my plant markers often don’t make it through the summer. I can look at the sketch to see which tomatoes produced better than the others. I usually buy an a variety of tomato plants from the high school 4H club that has a stand at the Garden Faire every year.

Also, it’s fun to include photos of the beds right after I’ve planted & mulched them. And then I take photos again later in the summer when everything has grown and is in full bloom. It’s such a nice pick-me-up in the middle of winter to pull out my journal and thumb through the pages. Those sketches and photos of beautiful colors get me to start thinking about planning for new growth in next year’s flower beds.

Lastly, I have a category for “notes to self” of things to do for the next year. If a certain plant or flower isn’t as exciting as anticipated or if I have an idea of something different to add to a bed. And of course, on those inevitable rainy days of summer, it’s great fun to add beautiful washi tape, gardening sayings & quotes to my journal.

Colorful memories

I started a garden journal in the Spring of 2011 and I enjoy looking back at different things I’ve tried over the years. We’ve lived at our house for 30 years now, and for pretty much the first ten years we added a new flower bed each year. Well, that finally caught up to me in the past ten years or so, with having a retail store. Needless to say, the flower beds have gotten a bit overgrown and out of control. They certainly haven’t received as much attention from me as they did in the early years. In all reality, I should probably tear everything out and start over, but time will tell if that is realistic or not.

For the moment there will be no new sketches in my garden journal, but hopefully that will come in due time. I need to work on each bed a little at a time to gain control again and hopefully appease my neighbors who have been ever so patient. Once the weeds are pulled and the flower beds are a bit happier, then perhaps I will consider purging and renovating each bed one at a time.

So how about you – do you enjoy planning for new growth each Spring in your garden? If so, I hope you will consider keeping a journal of all your flower & garden dreams, purchases, sayings, photos, etc. It will be a wonderful reference for you throughout the years as you add beauty to your corner of the world. Or, perhaps your interest is going to museums, or concerts, or growing a collection of something that’s special to you. If there’s something you enjoy year after year, why not consider keeping the details of each occurrence in one special journal?

The next post that may interest you:

Do You Have a Morning Routine?

So how do you start each day? Are you the kind who jumps out of bed before the alarm rings? Or do you hit the snooze button over and over again? Whichever type you are, once you are up and at it, do you have a morning routine? Not being a morning person myself, the whole idea of a morning routine has been a long-time coming for me. But I see the validity of so much and untold numbers of books expound upon this strategy.


As a building’s foundation is the basis for the whole structure, so your morning routine is to the rest of your day. We’ve all had those mornings where something didn’t go right and it threw us off the remainder of the day. Sometimes it is bound to happen as we can’t control everything, right?

One of those books that has helped me the most is “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. If you need inspiration to develop a morning routine, I highly recommend you buy it and get started right away! One of his comments is:

“When we fail to make time for personal development
we are forced to make time for pain and struggle.”
~ Hal Elrod, “The Miracle Morning”

Hal’s book explains his method of “S-A-V-E-R-S” that he does each morning ahead of starting his day. If you enjoy self-improvement and personal development books, this is a great one to read!

Now Matters

One of my favorite phrases from Hal’s book is this:
“Now matters more than any other time,
because it is who you are becoming each day based on
the choices you are making and actions you are taking
that is determining who you are going to be
for the rest of your life.” ~ Hal Elrod, “The Miracle Morning”

I find that so very powerful!

Morning Focus is a journal I write in each morning for the “scribing” portion of the SAVERS process. It’s been tweaked as time goes by, but here’s some information if you want to start a similar journal.

Format Options

There are endless options for how you do your morning routine. When I first started, I had a separate page for each of the SAVERS topics where I wrote out the description of each. I also found a really pretty floral date stamp that I use on each page. Originally, I wrote whatever came to me that morning of the current thoughts and situations in my life. Putting those thoughts out on paper – the good, the bad, and the ugly – was a good start for me. Sometimes it was positive things, or thankfulness for a special event, or sadness over a disappointment.

Then last year, @Amy Hale on InstaGram shared her morning routine. I liked her format so much, that I it’s the one I use currently. For me, it gives a little more consistency in what I write each day. It also gets my thoughts started in a broader sense since there are specific categories to write about. Obviously, you can choose whatever fits your personal needs and preferences.

the morning focus moleskine is mainly writing in a few categories - no decorative stuff in this one


My Morning Focus starts with two short phrases of praise. As a cancer survivor, my first “praise the Lord” is always for another day, because each day is truly a gift. The second is something as simple as rain, or sunshine, etc.


The next block is “Thanks”. This is where I write out specific things from the previous day that I am thankful for. That can be thanks for a person, something I accomplished, an event I went to, or all of those things.


Third is “Confess”. Sometimes this is very personal and other times it’s about things going on in someone else’s life I care about. Basically, anything that is heavy on my heart and I feel the need to express it. That can be very cathartic to write out those details.


The next topic is “Pray”. This is a great reminder to think of others and their needs. Sometimes writing these out can spark a thought of what I can do to help or reach out to someone.


The last item is “Today” where I write out in short summary what my plans are for the day. Obviously, I use my weekly bullet journal for the specific details, so this is simply an overview of the day.

I keep this journal very simple and basic – there’s not even any washi tape – ha! However, I do add color to the flowers on my date stamp and then highlight each of the topic names. Then I go back and read/pray through each item just to allow everything to sink in a bit more.

That’s It

So that’s it! The scribing part of my morning process takes about ten minutes each day. I’ve found it’s such a great start to my day to get me focused on blessings, along with challenges. Taking time to think of others and their needs provides perspective before I start on the tasks of my day.

How about you – do you have a morning routine that gets your day started right? If not, I challenge you to read Hal’s book “The Miracle Morning” and then start your own morning journal. And just a little footnote, after you read that, be sure to get his newest book called “The Miracle Equation”. If you’re anything like me, it will be life-changing and I just finished reading it one week ago!

And speaking of new, be sure to read the next post:

What Interests Call Out To You?

So what are you passionate about in this crazy busy world we live in? What interests call out to you? You may have several areas of life that particularly pique your fascination. If that’s the case for you as it is for me, then perhaps you will want several different journals. The bullet journal planner has worked so well for me to stay on track with what needs to get done. Because of that, I’ve actually expanded my use to include additional traveler notebooks for other specific topics.

Categories for bullet journals

Here are some ideas of other topics you could create a separate traveler notebook for:

artisan covers, known as traveler notebooks, for various topics of interest

1) Financial
~ one journal for cash spent daily
~ one journal for credit card purchases
~ one journal for specific projects or goals to save for

2) Inspiration
~ one journal for current Bible study or devotion
~ one journal for quotes or sayings
~ one journal for gratitude
~ one journal for Miracle Morning

3) Gifts
~ one journal for each grandchild
~ chronological covering birthday, Easter, Christmas for each child.
Someday this will be gifted to them and will be great fun for them to look back on when those gifts of childhood years have been long forgotten.

4) Garden – one journal where I write all plants I purchase in the Spring
then I track each work day in the flower beds
photos of each bed mid-season when in full bloom,
notes of what to do different next year, etc

5) Morning Routine – one journal for daily thoughts, gratitude, reflection, etc

6) Household – one journal for hospitality such as meals, guests, etc one journal to record info on appliances, or cars, or remodel projects, etc

7) Moving – this will be my new addition to my anthology as we start to plan for the next phase of life and all the preparation that will be involved

8) Junk Journal – for the crafty side of you or as a gift

9) Art Journal – for the artsy side of you

10) Christmas Planner – one or more inserts as you prefer for gifts, events, decorations

11) Lists – bucket, movies, songs, books, travel goals, trackers

What about you?

So what about you – what interests call out to you? You may be a museum aficionado who wants to keep track of all these ones you’ve visited and all those still on your list to see. Or are you a traveler and need a place to keep track of all the interesting places you plan to visit. The possibilities are endless – it’s up to you and what you are passionate about. Once you start using a bullet journal, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you end up adding to your collection like I have! For ideas on other journal topics, be sure to read the next post: