Quarantine Activities and Lists

I love lists.  I love categorizing things and working my way through a list.  I spend more time planning a trip than going on it.  I spend time adding to my to be read book list, sometimes, before reading the several hundred books that are already on it.  I can’t help it.  It’s who I am.

During this time of social distancing at home, I’ve come up with a few ways to have fun with lists.  The first one has been very popular on my social media.  My daughter and I have been Disneybounding from home every day with clothes in our closets.  I first Disneybounded on our most recent trip to WDW earlier this year.  (There is a blog post on it, if you want to check it out.)  For those outfits, I purchased some clothes and accessories to go along with things I already had in my closet to make the perfect outfits for the park. 

For this challenge, we have just been working with the things we already have.  Working our way through lists of Disney characters has been both a delight and a challenge, as we see what we can come up with.  Once we are done, I’m going to put all of our pictures together in a Shutterfly book to remember all of the fun we had.

A long time ago, way before my daughter was born, I worked my way through watching each of the top 100 movies as listed by the American Film Institute.  We’ve been having family movie nights each day.  Usually, we sit around forever trying to agree on a movie to watch together.  So, I came up with a fun challenge to mix it up.  

I wrote down a list of movie genres on small slips of paper and put them in a bag.  Every few days, we draw a new genre out of the bag.  Then each family member is challenged with coming up with a movie for us to watch that meets that category.  So far, we’ve done sports movies, action/adventure movies, animated movies, classic movies, and we are currently on superhero movies.  Once we are done with the genres in the bag, I’ve got even more ideas up my sleeve to keep it going as long as we want.  It’s fun, and each family member gets a turn to pick the movie, so no arguing about the best choice.

Another list that my daughter and I have been working our way through comes from the Usborne book, Step-By-Step Drawing Animals.  My daughter and I are drawing each animal in the book, following the simple instructions.  Together, we sit down and draw the animal.  Then we decorate the background and add them to our stack.  When we have worked our way through the entire book, I plan to connect our drawings somehow into some kind of book for our memories.  It’s a fun activity to do together, and we can see the different interpretations we each have of the same animal.

The list that I have been working my way through since the very beginning of this quarantine is watching the Cincinnati Zoo’s daily home safaris.  It started as a family activity that we did together.  The three of us would sit down to learn about a new animal at the zoo each day.  My family eventually started to lose interest, so we got behind schedule.  I’ve started watching them again on my own, but I am still catching up for time away.  Learning about all the animals is fascinating to me and makes me wish that I was a zookeeper.

a grainy pic of my TV

What kind of fun, new activities have you been doing during quarantine?  Is anybody else working their way through a list?

Bible Journaling through Art

I have felt less than inspired by the most recent Bible study book that I had been working through. So a few weeks ago, I decided to just go straight to the source and spend more time directly in the Bible, rather than in other’s interpretations of it.

Awhile back, I had done a study of Proverbs and used this coloring book as I worked my way through it. It has both journaling space, the entire text, and pages and designs to color inspired by verses. There is also a Psalms version available.

I thought about buying a journal Bible that was intended to color, but thought it might be a bit much. Too busy and too thin of pages.

If you read my gratitude post a couple of months ago, you may remember that I was trying my hand at art journaling in place of a regular gratitude journal. I decided to do the same for my study of the Bible.

I already had this cute journal with lined pages that I bought a long time ago and never used. I am going to read my way through the Bible and write down the verses that speak to me in that moment in this book.

I have read the Bible cover to cover before, but decided to read a book at a time in a somewhat random order this time. I’m letting the Holy Spirit guide me to which book to read next.

Each day, I read a few chapters from the book that I am currently working on. I pause to copy down any verses that stick out to me in that day’s prayer. Once I have read a few chapters, I switch to the art journal.

The art journal is just a regular sketchbook. It is actually the same one that I was using as my gratitude journal.

I choose one verse or idea from that day’s reading and spend a few minutes drawing a picture to further reflect on it. This is not serious art by any means. It is just a humble little sketch that lets me spend a few more moments focusing on the message.

Here are a few of my entries so far (not all of them). I started with the Gospel of John.

Next, I read the Book of Ruth.

I followed that with the letter to the Romans.

I’m currently making my way through Isaiah.

Sometimes, my drawing is not related to a particular verse, but rather just a message that I am concentrating on after my reading.

You obviously do not need to be an artist to engage in this form of prayer. If you are looking for a new way to connect with the word of God, maybe give art journaling a try!

Gratitude

Practicing gratitude has many benefits, including improving our sleep, happiness, optimism, and connection to others. It decreases anxiety and stress. Practicing gratitude means taking the time to notice and reflect on the good things in life.

Just take a look at the name of this blog, and you will know that gratitude is something I try to cultivate in my life. In the past, I have kept a gratitude journal. I also use the A.C.T.S. format in my prayer life, which stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

A couple months ago, I decided to try a different type of gratitude journal. An art journal! I don’t write in it on a schedule. But when I have a little extra time, I try to draw something that I’m grateful for. I’m going to fill it up with my sketches. I am no artist, but that’s part of why I wanted to do it – to challenge myself. Here are a couple of my better pictures.

This year at school, I have been implementing the Jesse Lewis Choose Love curriculum with my students. The Choose Love curriculum has a four part equation to choosing love: courage + gratitude + forgiveness + compassion in action = choosing love. I’m spending one quarter on each ingredient of the equation. So I have spent the past couple months discussing gratitude with all of my students in grades k-12. I culminated the unit by having each student draw something they are grateful for on a paper square. I then put them together to make a “gratitude quilt” to hang outside my office and remind all of us that we have a lot to be grateful for.

So take a little time today (and hopefully every day) to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This is especially important when things in life are challenging.