July Journal Challenge

Creative & Collective

July – eek!


*transparency warning: In order to avoid failure, I dodge challenges.


Hey, Y’all!

I have been easing my way into more and more creative endeavors as far as making covers and combining papers but I have also been trying to focus my creativity on my personal journals. Without pressuring myself, I would like to make an insert for a few life categories and make them on a monthly basis. I am beginning to get a feel of what I go to most and which category’s I will actually utilize.

What’s an insert?

This creative journey has led to discovering the perfect system combining journaling, memory keeping, and planning..and you can add many more – sketch paper insert, watercolor insert… Whatever you can think of, you can dedicate an insert to. My preference leans towards using scrap papers from other projects that are cut to size for a smaller sized insert – passport-sized, however, I also enjoy the room that the standard size offers. In search of “planner peace”, I have opted to make my own inserts. This allows me to make both sizes and over time make the decision to switch up sizes dependant on space needed for each category.

Revenge of Eve personal travelers notebooks

Top: made by Recollections Bottom: Prima Marketing Inc.

What system do I speak of? The Midori traveler’s notebook.

Travelers insert size chart - Revenge of Eve

Standard Size Chart for Midori Travelers notebook covers and inserts


Want to learn more about paper? Check out Let’s Talk Paper!


That’s the beauty of it all – everything about it is customizable.

The Challenge?

I am challenging myself to make inserts for the following life aspects:

  • Creative
  • Calendar
  • Writing
  • Memory Keeping

Here’s where the challenge comes in…I have to use them 😂 I want to have used each page in each insert. I will include seven sheets of paper which totals 15 pages. This will be my first time dividing my life up, creatively, but also assigning a set number of days to dedicate towards planning, memory keeping, journaling, and creative endeavors.

Surely I will be successful, right? To keep it interesting I have created 15 prompts to guide me. These will be chosen at random throughout the month. At the end of the month, I will share the results.

{Typing that heightened my anxiety. My fear of commitment is serious folks!!}

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Revenge of Eve-July Journal Challenge

Proper Invitation

If this challenge interests you in any way and you would like to join, I’d personally like to invite you to do so. Use the prompts and make time to dedicate to yourself. There are no guidelines or rules to follow. If you would like to follow the prompts do so in your own creative way. You can use it as a photo guide, art guide, collage, mixed media, poetry… It will be SO interesting to see how others interpret July’s Journal Challenge.

So now that it is official, let me get to making my inserts!!! I’ll keep ya posted on my progress. Have a great weekend y’all!

Revenge of Eve

Please Excuse the Mess

Mental Health & Recovery
Revenge of Eve Logo

As some of you may know, R.O.E. is undergoing some growing pains – most effected by these adjustments is the design. Originally I warned that I would not be investing the time into redesigning because it is likely things will soon change. What I have privately decided is to take it easy on the blogging front over the summer but also, I cannot allow my space to look ugly. Lol…but seriously. There is no way I can click on this site and be proud of any of the content when the photo sizes are customized to suite a premium theme when I have opted for the free site for the time being. I cannot do it. I also will not fret about having everything changed in a set amount of time.

The photo above is my new logo and I love it. I will be making some adjustments to it by trying to remove the glare from the metallic letters but until then, here it is!!


Tell me whatcha think!


I have shifted most of my focus to preserving and enjoying life as it happens. I have been very fortunate in my recovery and I am grateful for that but not long ago I was taken back to a place I never thought I’d revisit. Not because I believed I was cured but because it slammed me against the wall with no mercy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know something was brewing but I did not expect it to be as severe as it were.

In true Candace form, I looked for the lesson in the pain and boy were there a few this time!! One that I took away was: I have become so comfortable with seclusion that I am not living. Don’t get me wrong, I am comfortable because I truly love the things I spend my time doing these days but for my mental wellness, it is not healthy for me to constantly be alone. Granted my thinking has been minimal, I can still do some damage with my thinker if left to my own devices.

On my creative journey, I have noticed that inspiration for projects come when I am enjoying life at the moment instead of sitting at home searching for it. This is where I draw my creativity from and when I do the bare minimum of it, my creative well runs dry.

Please Excuse the Mess- Revenge of Eve

Having reconnected with my best friend (more on that later) I see a summer spent preparing (my) Kid for her senior year and helping my bestie with her four. This summer marks the second year that we all have not attended a music festival and we are all feeling it!

Being a single parent to four wild children that range in age from 14 – almost 5, I’d say she has her hands full. When a mutual friend reached out to me and insisted I check on her, I made the decision to express the pain I’ve felt from the two years of separation as well as why I had to step away. We cried and as always I devised a plan. One that we will carry out over the summer together.

We have a huge task ahead of us but I know that if we are consistent, it will be successful. I had reached a segment of my recovery where I had to step away from her to continue my journey but in doing so I carried guilt. One that wasn’t allowing me to progress rather contributed to my last breakdown. We have survived this life as one and I refuse to leave her behind to defend for herself and her four rugrats alone. I made it clear to her that I cannot and will not do so but she has to do her part because I can’t do it for her. She agreed. We cried, hugged and now comes time for some serious scheduling and discipline because her children are like ferell children doing as they please and running her home rampid with disrespect and terrible attitudes.

Today (yesterday) is the first day of summer here in NorthWest Louisiana and I am about to put action to a dream plan. I will not be posting verbatim my daily rigamarole but I will keep a notebook and a log. This is to serve as a record keeper for what worked and what didn’t. If you are curious about this project and want to receive progress updates, subscribe to receive theGarden in your inbox!

I am not taking on any projects that go outside of what my focus is. I’ve actually a few things in the works but I’m not going to speak on them because that’s when I place unnecessary pressure on myself and end up failing every single time. Things are looking up and I have no expectations attached. I want to laugh, love and live for crying out loud. That’s it! And those are the three things I am working towards these days, how about you?

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4.19.19

Personal Growth & Goals

I am ready to let go of the attachment

that has caused me to quit giving.

I am a giving person

and do so with thought

But

That’s stopped.

I am ready to rid myself of

the idea

I am not good enough.

I am.

I am ready to initiate change in my life

and

trust the outcome.

I have stopped trying to find

me

And now

Allowing it to be.

I am stepping from behind

what everyone expects,

including me;

Me to be.

Revenge of Eve

The Process of Journaling and Its Benefits

Personal Growth & Goals

The Process of Journaling and its Benefits

“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.” – Robin S. Sharma

Some may easily confuse the concepts of diary writing and journaling.  Diary writing is when you record the events of the day whereas journaling can lend itself as a therapeutic tool that explores the thoughts and feelings surrounding the events in your life.  Like any habit, journaling has to become routine in order to reap the benefits.

It takes patience and practice to establish a rhythm. In order for it to be productive, in striving for mental balance, it must be effective journaling.  What is effective journaling?  It is journaling that helps you meet your goals or improves your quality of life.  Writing down your feelings helps you to connect your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and it acts as a buffer for reducing the symptoms of mental illness.

We will explore the benefits of journaling for mental health, tailoring the process to get the most from journaling, ending with referenced statements from those of authority.

Tailor the process

Keep in mind there is no right or wrong method of journaling.  It is an individual process meant to connect oneself with their emotions.  While some can journal on the go, others may require a quiet, soothing environment.  Journaling is a personal preference experience that you must tailor to fit your needs.  It may take time to discover your journaling style but once you find it, you feel it. The ways of journaling are limitless!

 If you cannot think of what to write about you can scour the internet for prompts, you can use your journal as a creative space to explore your feelings or do a mixture of the two.  It is all up to you on how the process looks but it is important to allow it to be a healthy way of self-expression.

Journaling, for me, is a setting.  In order for me to lose myself in my journal, I must achieve a level of comfort which I find in seclusion.  My surrounding must be relaxing and quiet with no distractions. It is also a mood for me. I find I best describe my experiences with depression.  I do not prefer this to be my mood but it is when writing my feelings becomes most effective in a healing aspect.

The most difficult idea to surpass is the invasion of privacy.  Writing your most intimate thoughts down leaves you vulnerable and the fear of someone discovering our deepest thoughts is paralyzing.  While I cannot guarantee privacy I can guarantee you will benefit from the practice of journaling.

From my own traumatic experience, I will say this… reading someone else’s personal writings is disrespectful and none of your business.  There is always a debatable reason when it comes to the privacy of your child but this is not the case today. Reading the raw emotions of another without their permission should be prohibited as a common human law.  Doing so crosses boundaries and ruins trust and with me, friendships.  The only time it is ok is when the person is deceased.

How do you tailor it?

You may not know where to begin in your journaling journey and thank goodness I came prepared.  

  • I recommend first purchasing a book that you designate as your journal.  This can be a notebook or a journal book that you buy from the book store.
  • Second I choose a pen or pencil depending on my mood. Ideally, this would be the only tool I use but it never works out that way.
  • Next is the part you must figure out.  Your setting. I recommend trying all different kinds of places.  The library, the park, in the woods, on the bus on your way to work or in your room.  Do you allow yourself to be free with music? If so, play music.

For myself, I carry a travel notebook with an insert dedicated to thoughts.  Throughout the day, if I am needing to get things out of my head, I will jot down words that reference what I am dealing with at the moment and later I use these words to guide a journal entry.

 This works well for me and enables me to remember what I was feeling in the moment otherwise I may forget. It took me a while to figure out what works best for me. I am easily distracted and find it difficult to think in depth when the environment is noisy.  Using the travel notebook allows me to document on the go yet journal at home.

  • Finally, decide the direction you desire and remember you can change it up at any time because it is your space.  I recommend following prompts until you reach a point when you feel you get the gist of choosing a topic.
  • Last, write.  Make sure to take note of how the process makes you feel.

Take note of how the process makes you feel.  If you do not feel confident, that comes with practice but if you do not feel comfortable evaluate your environment.  Change whatever it is that doesn’t suit your needs.

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Journaling Guide

Journaling for mental health benefits looks different from “just journaling”.  The subject of mental health encompasses a wide range of disorders. These disorders are accompanied by symptoms that hinder the way we approach life while some debilitate us.  Journaling to receive benefits works best when following a specific method. Many times your counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist may recommend a particular method of journaling to enhance your results.

Now let’s break it down further to discuss more specific areas that effective journaling can act as a therapeutic tool.  Depression, anxiety, stress management, PTSD, and substance abuse recovery have shown impressive results from writing your thoughts regarding current or past events.  

This is not a substitute for receiving professional help.  It is merely a tool used to help alleviate the symptoms experienced from mental illness often suggested by a professional.  

Below you will find statements in regard to specific mental instabilities and how journaling can be used as an effective tool.  

Depression

  • Expressive writing can reduce symptoms of depression in women who are struggling with the aftermath of intimate partner violence (Koopman, Ismailji, Holmes, Classen, Palesh, & Wales, 2005).
  • Writing in a journal may also be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for reducing symptoms of depression in high-risk adolescents (Stice, Burton, Bearman, & Rohde, 2006).
  • Expressive journaling may not reduce the frequency of intrusive thoughts in depressed individuals, but it moderates their impact on depressive symptoms, leading to a reduction in symptoms (Lepore, 1997).
  • Journaling can help college students who are vulnerable to depression reduce their brooding and rumination, two contributing factors of depressive symptoms (Gortner, Rude, & Pennebaker, 2006).
  • In general, people diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder reported significantly lower depression scores after three days of expressive writing, 20 minutes per day (Krpan, Kross, Berman, Deldin, Askren, & Jonides, 2013).

Anxiety

Writing in a journal can positively impact your anxiety through:

  • Calming and clearing your mind.
  • Releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress.
  • Letting go of negative thoughts.
  • Exploring your experiences with anxiety.
  • Writing about your struggles and your successes.
  • Enhancing your self-awareness and teaching you about your triggers.
  • Track your progress as you undergo treatment (Star, 2018).

Through mechanisms like those listed above, journaling has been shown to:

  • Reduce anxiety in patients with multiple sclerosis (Hasanzadeh, Khoshknab, & Norozi, 2012).
  • Reduce physical symptoms, health problems, and anxiety in women (LaClaire, 2008).
  • Help students manage their stress and anxiety and improve their engagement and enhance meaning found in the classroom (Flinchbaugh, Moore, Chang, & May 2012).

Stress Management

Keeping a journal can help you fully explore your emotions, release tension, and fully integrate your experiences into your mind (Scott, 2018). Further, it can help you work on reducing specific sources of stress or aid you in reaching an important goal (perhaps reducing your overall stress?).

  • Decreasing symptoms of various health conditions
  • Improving your cognitive functioning.
  • Strengthening your immune system.
  • Examining your thoughts and shifting your perspective.
  • Reducing rumination and promoting action.
  • Planning out your options and considering multiple outcomes of a situation (Scott, 2018).

PTSD

It’s hypothesized that writing works to enhance our mental health through guiding us towards confronting previously inhibited emotions (reducing the stress from inhibition), helping us process difficult events and compose a coherent narrative about our experiences, and possibly even through repeated exposure to the negative emotions associated with traumatic memories (i.e., “extinction” of these negative emotions; Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

In order for it to have a positive effect on our mental health, we must journal with purpose.  Baikie & Wilhelm suggest the following:

  1. Write in a private and personalized space that is free from distractions.
  2. Write at least three or four times, and aim for writing consecutively (i.e., at least once each day).
  3. Give yourself some time to reflect and balance yourself after writing.
  4. If you’re writing to overcome trauma, don’t feel obligated to write about a specific traumatic event—journal about what feels right in the moment.
  5. Structure the writing, however, feels right to you.
  6. Keep your journal private; it’s for your eyes only—not your spouse, not your family, not your friends, not even your therapist (although you can discuss your experience with your therapist, of course!).
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Kate Spade – mental health awareness

Another good set of guidelines on effective journaling can be found on the Center for Journal Therapy website. When you journal, remember the simple acronym: WRITE!

  • W – What do you want to write about? Think about what is going on in your life, your current thoughts and feelings, what you’re striving towards or trying to avoid right now. Give it a name and put it all on paper.
  • R – Review or reflect on it. Take a few moments to be still, calm your breath, and focus. A little mindfulness or meditation could help in this step. Try to start sentences with “I” statements like “I feel…”, “I want…”, and “I think…” Also, try to keep them in the present tense, with sentence stems like “Today…”, “Right now…”, or “In this moment…”
  • I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings through your writing. Just keep going! If you feel you have run out of things to write or your mind starts to wander, take a moment to refocus (another opportunity for mindfulness meditation!), read over what you have just written, and continue on.
  • T – Time yourself to ensure that you write for at least 5 minutes (or whatever your current goal is). Write down your start time and the projected end time based on your goal at the top of your page. Set a timer or alarm to go off when the time period you have set it up.
  • E – Exit strategically and with introspection. Read what you have written and take a moment to reflect on it. Sum up your takeaway in one or two sentences, starting with statements like “As I read this, I notice…”, “I’m aware of…”, or “I feel…” If you have any action items or steps you would like to take next, write them down now (Adams, n.d.).

The above is a great way to guide yourself through the act of journaling.  It eliminates any doubts you may have about the process.

“Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind.” – Natalie Goldberg

Recovery

Last but not least, what effects does journaling have on recovery?

If you are suffering in the aftermath of a traumatic event, journaling can help you find the good in life. It can even help you see the positive side of experiencing the trauma, which helps reduce the severe symptoms that can accompany trauma (Ullrich & Lutgendorf, 2002).

If you are grappling with an eating disorder, journal writing can be a huge source of relief and healing. Keeping a journal can help you stop distancing yourself from your issues, encourage you to confront your problems head-on, and reduce the obsessive component of your disorder (Rabinor, 1991).

If you are struggling with a debilitating psychiatric condition, journaling can help you get your thoughts down on paper and stop ruminating and worrying over them. This can free up your mind to manage your emotions and cope with stress that could trigger a relapse (Provencher, Gregg, Mead, & Mueser, 2002).

If the recovery you seek is for the death of a loved one, one of the most traumatic and heartbreaking events of all, journaling can help with that as well. Writing can give you a chance to process your enormous loss and reduce the most severe symptoms of grief. This has been proven to be especially effective for children dealing with bereavement (Kalantari, Yule, Dyregrov, Neshat Doost, & Ahmadi, 2012).

However, the recovery that journaling can have the biggest impact on is recovery from addiction. If you’re struggling to overcome an addiction, journaling can help you record your struggles and your accomplishments, hold yourself accountable and allow you an opportunity to work through difficult thoughts and emotions in a healthy manner (Milios, 2015).

Writing our thoughts, feelings, and actions down in a journal allows us to craft and maintain our sense of self and solidifies our identity. It helps us reflect on our experiences and discover our authentic self. Keeping a journal can give you a chance to create and consider the narrative of your life, with all of the choices you have made and the memories that make you who you are today. In a word, the benefits of journaling on recovery is “cathartic” (New Roads Treatment, 2017).  


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I found Positive Psychology Program a great resource for all things motivational to living a well -balanced life.  I garnered a lot of useful information from this one source and highly recommend this site to anyone who is in search of practical tools to implement in their daily lives.

What the future has in store for us is unknown but what we can do is choose healthy coping mechanisms to deal with current and past events.  Doing so increases our chances of having carved our own path towards a better future. We cannot change our past from bad decisions or involuntary acts but we do have some control over how our future looks.

Journaling is a process that familiarizes us with who we are.  When we know who we are we can successfully share our wisdom with younger generations.  The benefits of journaling far outweigh the possibility of failure. Self-awareness holds you responsible and accountable and gaining this through journaling will improve your decision-making skills, overall mental wellness and assist in your recovery.  


So? What are you waiting for?? Grab a journal today!!

Do you journal? How has it impacted your mental health?

Voting is Open!!

R.O.E. Need To Know

I’m not one to toot my own horn but someone took the time out of their schedule to nominate me and so I shall inform you…

If you would like to vote for the little space I love, to receive a blogging award, please do so below.


Place your vote!


Thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and most of all, love.

Revenge of Eve

Revenge of Eve

letter143-Revenge of Eve

3.27.19

Mental Health & Recovery

Unnecessary Pressure

I am making the decision to free myself of the unnecessary pressure I place on myself. Too much, if not all, that I deal with is not necessary.


Revenge of Eve

I do not advance in life.

I do not become a better person.

Nothing is accomplished because of.

The results are not quicker.

The process doesn’t become easier.

I surely do not benefit.

There are no magical fairies.

From this moment forward, I vow to myself to keep it simple.

Everything!

Simple.

I will not overthink.

I will not look into my thoughts.

I will not pry.

I will simply mind my own business, think positively, and live a life of simplicity.

Are You Interested?

Planning & Organization

I am not asking that you be a professional in the business planning arena. If you have a basic understanding of how it works and you would like to volunteer a little guidance or trade services, please contact me.


Revenge of Eve

This will not require a lot of your time. If you can offer an example of what a business plan for homemakers looks like, that would be all I need. I need direction, blank spaces to fill, and good juju.

Got any of those??

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2019: 52 Week Challenge Week One

Personal Growth & Goals
2019-Challenge-Revenge-of-Eve

`Week One

Hey you awesome peeps! This is the first of our 52 weeks of lists for happiness challenge. This should be an exciting adventure and I believe it has the possibility of opening our eyes.

Remember you can do this from the comfort of your own home. Share if you’d like or keep it to yourself. The ultimate goal is to work towards a place of what makes you happy.

2019 Challenge-Revenge of Eve

List One

List what makes you happy right now.

“Take Action:  How often do you actually get to experience these things?  Just like learning to read, gaining the wisdom and experience of happiness takes practice.  Let’s start now!  Take one item on your list and see how you can turn it into a daily practice of happiness.” 

52 Lists for Happiness


  1. First and foremost credit the author of the book: Moorea Seal because legally, you have to and morally because you don’t wanna be a shitty person. Her work is copyright
  2. Link to the beautiful post I publish each week 😉 Don’t know how? Ask and I will explain. Invite your friends. Let’s have happy feeds in 2019. Can you imagine the mental health community…happy? It would be a beautiful thing. Why? because we fuck’n deserve it.
  3. Use the hashtag #52HappyLists and #achallengeforhappiness, please
  4. And last but not least…. enjoy this challenge. Integrate it into your life. Allow it to make small changes in your day, welcome it. We are worth it ya’ll and that is what I have come to know in my heart. Every one of us is worthy, including me.

Stay tuned for next Monday as I will post week 2 and review my list from week 1.  Thanks y’all.  Don’t forget to share with me 🙂 Here in the comments or via email.

Bundle up!! It’s ’bout to get cold!! Love from Louisiana

Candace Lynne - Revenge of Eve

Can It Really Be Considered Progress?

Life & Relationships

Relationships

The only thing I can honestly say about relationships is that I have had my fair share of toxic, broken, manipulative ones. Looking at my situation from my point of view I am impressed that I survived. I am also impressed by my growth.


I put emphasis on growth because when it comes down to it, I am only attracted to the bad boys with a record and prison tatts. My interpersonal relationships have blossomed and produced fruits of love, laughter, and compassion…compromise. Yadayada.

But, is being single actual growth? Especially when I am not one to have intimate relationships in the first place and the ones I do have extend for years and years and years (they seem to drag out). My relationship record can be described using one word; painful. I do not have the best track record. Jealousy, greed, alcohol, lust….all the bad stuff, have ruled my idea of love.

The true progress can be seen in my interpersonal relationships with close friends and family. The most recent example of this would be the separation from my lifelong best friend. It was for me. Throughout the 30+ years of our relationship, I was the giver never to receive. Her selfishness became extreme and her sickness has grown. What sickness? Her mental state is deteriorating and she refuses to seek professional advice. It feels like abandonment but for the first time in my life I committed to sticking to my boundaries and did so.

What I find difficult is trusting myself with getting into a relationship. I don’t think I am ready but do we ever know when we are? I am perfectly content being alone single. The only thing that is lacking is the obvious, sex. The abundance of sexually transmitted diseases makes it challenging to sleep with random guys. I was lucky and had a “friend” but he moved away and now there is one I have been talking to for a year, off and on, that I finally met up with. I know he is no good for me. I’ll say that.

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At this moment I find myself more interested in giving dating chance but how does someone who has never “dated” date? Times are different from when I was growing up. I do not get out of the house enough to randomly meet someone and I don’t dare enter the shark infested waters of online dating. I am limited in my options. Honestly, when I think of having to care how someone else feels, I am turned off by the idea. It is exhausting to maintain a relationship (see paragraph one). If given a semi-decent man I am afraid I would ruin him with my lack of trust in the man species as a whole.

I don’t have faith there are good ones out there. I’ll be truthful and say even if there are, I wouldn’t be attracted to them (see paragraph two). Compromise seems like a great suggestion but for what? Compromise sex for the title? I couldn’t. Maybe if they were a reformed bad boy… At 40 years old I’m not too sure I have hope in the arena of intimate relationships.

I have always gravitated towards younger guys. But I don’t want to be older than my “other half”, anymore. I am ok with my age but I do not want to constantly be reminded of it. Realistically I am not yet whole and just began my journey towards self-love and it is possible I was the problem all along. I take credit for my role in the toxicity of my failed relationships but is that all it takes to move on? Acknowledging your role? I have a long road that awaits and the idea of a partner to join me both sounds tempting and repulsive.

Throughout my life, I have been more productive in being alone. Being in a relationship has been more of a distraction than anything. When I am in one I tend to lose myself, albeit I’ve not found who that self is. Perhaps the pressure I feel from deciding to discover who I am has subliminally planted the desire for a relationship and I am not falling for it!! I refuse to enter into a partnership with the mindset I’ve always had. It consumes me in an unhealthy way that leads to paranoia, jealousy, and often rage. It’s time I put all that effort into myself and not experience those dramatic emotions once and for all.

That fact I am now able to recognize all of this is where progress can be seen. I am pleased with that. It is enough. I am enough.

Candace Lynne - Revenge of Eve