A day for everything: #NationalNotebookDay 2016

My 2015-2016 academic calendar, English & Hebrew (for practicing). Can't believe it's coming to an end. Last semester (Summer term) classes begin Tuesday, May 31. Teaching two and research work ongoing concurrently.

My 2015-2016 academic calendar, English & Hebrew (for practicing). Can't believe it's coming to an end. Last semester (Summer term) classes begin Tuesday, May 31. Teaching two and research work ongoing concurrently.

I have confessed on many occasions: I love office supplies - particularly pens and notebooks. So I was surprised to find out it’s National Notebook Day and I didn’t know it. 

Really - it’s a thing. 

At least starting today.

National Notebook Day 2016 celebrates pen on paper -  and thus the corresponding creative thought that goes into each pen or pencil stroke.

My life is organized by notebook and I’ve given some thought to adding journaling to my note taking and planning practices. 

As there’s no time like the present to begin, here’s a short how-to and picture showing you how I got started. I wrote this post to record a memory and help appreciate living with purpose but you could write about your goals, create a to-do list or celebrate counting down to something you’re looking forward to.

1.  Consider a moment that honors your efforts to live every moment with purpose. 

2.  Write about it in your head. 

3.  Spread out your supplies. I have my planner, Bic felt liners and Papermate Inkjoys. 

4.  Write.  

5.  Add pics.

Stack of notebooks and pencil/marker/pen case. Arc notebooks from Staples. Passion Planner for 2016-2017 academic year (YIKES - planning for that already), this year's academic planner from an Israeli stationary shop in Zichron Yaakov and a new blue notebook from a Walmart display I happened upon yesterday.

Stack of notebooks and pencil/marker/pen case. Arc notebooks from Staples. Passion Planner for 2016-2017 academic year (YIKES - planning for that already), this year's academic planner from an Israeli stationary shop in Zichron Yaakov and a new blue notebook from a Walmart display I happened upon yesterday.

Sit back and admire your work.

Consider sharing with a friend or on Instagram (I'm @amyritchart) using the hashtag #nationalnotebookday.

For a list of companies celebrating #nationalnotebookday click this link: . For a look at my favorite planner click this link: .

Amy is grateful for the sun, her friends and a 17-year-old daughter and her bff who think enough of her to invite her on their #feelinlikeferris adventure.

Counting omer makes time count

www.kavanahlife.com

www.kavanahlife.com

Counting Omer — G-d's commandment to count down 49 days between Passover and the joyous celebration of Shavuot, the festival celebrating receipt of Torah — is a mitzvah.

Not a chore.

Not habit.

Not a routine.

A mitzvah.

I only became familiar with counting Omer as an adult and understand Torah as the ultimate gift. Counting my way to the Shavuot celebration therefore seemed obvious practice. (Find Chabad's Omer Calendar here.)

But as I continue to seek more focus in life, I gave the mitzvah of counting the Omer more consideration. Counting Omer helps me focus on slowing down and absorbing the moments that matter.

I see the countdown as a reminder to use time wisely. To be aware of every moment that can be either cherished or let go.

Sometimes that happens in the day-to-day — and sometimes the reminder comes after the sun sets and the day is almost done.

Additionally, just as Shabbat hallows rest and togetherness — and Torah study — so counting omer is a reminder to value togetherness and meditation. I see it as a reminder to make time for what is presently important and be ready for what is to come.

So, I count the Omer — even sometimes via the Omer Counter & Assistant app. While I have been somewhat successful at reducing the pervasiveness of mobile devices in my life, the Chabad-created app is perfect for reminders, daily meditations and ready resources. I do also continue to study passages from my old fashioned, softcover Jewish Study Bible. (I've linked the latest edition, available in hardcover, along with a more portable study Tanakh, below.)

I'd love to hear how you incorporate daily meditation into your life.

A sincere chag sameach (חג שמח),

Amy


Amy Ritchart is a columnist, artist and educator simultaneously trying to drink 72 ounces of water per day while forgoing chametz in observance of Pesach. Please pardon the results of this process.