Tag: journal

My Book of Astonishments: Daily Goodness, Grins, and Gratitudes

2 red journals, one large and one small on a blue surface in front of a leopard-print chaise pin cushion, a blue pin cushion, and a piece of amethyst

Book of Astonishments: Daily Goodness, Grins, and Gratitude v1 (small) and the larger v.2

In August 2018, I began keeping a journal I call The Book of Astonishments: Daily Goodness, Grins, and Gratitudes. It was a small blank journal, one that fit nicely inside my small pocketbook so I was never without it. I didn’t write complete sentences and paragraphs, just bullet notes and phrases to remind me. Before the fist month ended, I was filling page after page after page after page after page. In April 2020 my Book of Astonishments: Daily Goodness, Grains, and Gratitudes moved to larger quarters . . . and in less than a week, I was filling page after page after page after page in the new, larger journal.

I have long believed that the more you say Thank you for, the more reasons you have to say Thank you. These journals are my evidence, my proof.

Relishing goodness begets more goodness to relish.
Grinning often begets more opportunities to grin.
Saying Thank you begets more reasons to say Thank you.
Living in joy begets more joyful living.
Welcoming happiness begets more happiness on your door step.
You get the idea. It’s the very best kind of Magic.


drawings of eyes, football, hearts, and words in a child’s journal

words and drawings of a bicycle, a wooly mammoth, a bouncing ball, a riding toy in a child’s daily journal


I got to spend several weeks with my grands recently, and one day I told my grandson about my journal, explained my aforementioned philosophy to him, and asked if he’d like to keep his own journal. He said yes,, so I whipped out a small blank book I’d taken with me for story writing, and we began.

Me to Grandson: What do you want to put in your G3 Journal for today?
The Grandson, without a moment’s hesitation: Doughnuts for breakfast! The awesome, wonderful surprises you give me! Getting hugs from you every day and getting to give you hugs every day. James’ birthday party. Walking around the lake and throwing rocks in it.

I don’t know if his parents will be able to work this addition into the nightly bedtime ritual, but I assure you that it will be part of the nightly ritual when we are together!

Do you keep a Gratitude Journal? A Goodness, Grins, and Gratitude Journal? Does the Magic happen to you, too?

Evidence Explained

Evidence 2017, Day 1

Inspired by my friend Judy Martin’s marking of time and dedication to her art, despite a full family life,
Inspired by my friend Jude Hill’s dedication to daily stitching and reflection, interwoven into her daily life,
Inspired by my new friend Kathleen Warren‘s mindful noticing of her surroundings and honoring of her creative process . . .

Evidence 2014

I revamp my abandoned 2014 attempt and a previous attempt at daily stitching that I can’t even find now into a version that will see me through to the champagne. I just know it will.

Evidence 2017, Day 2

Being an accomplishment-oriented girl, I like to track how I spend my life.

Evidence 2017, Day 3

I first ask myself: how do I want to fill my days, and the answer hasn’t changed significantly in the past 4 years:
moving (as in moving my body through space – walking, yoga, exercise, etc),
mirthing (think: awe, wonder, laughing).
This year I add 2 things:
prospering (in every way a girl can prosper) and
connecting (as in with people, friends, family, strangers)

Evidence 2017, Day 4

Then I assign each a color. (There is a story behind each hue. I’ll tell you later.)

Once that is decided, I make my way to the local thrift shop and purchase clothes in those colors to use as fabrics. Storied cloth, my favorite.

Evidence 2017, Day 5

I track everything in my handwritten journal, and each morning I look back at the day before, free-cut strips of fabric in the appropriate colors, then I turn my Improv Self loose to  stitch them together into a 6.5″ square block.

Evidence 2017, Day 6

The method of stitching the daily blocks will change each month. For January 2017, I’m using wedges – something I’ve long wanted to try my hand at, but never made the time to try. (Wait’ll you see what the daily blocks will look like next month.)

Evidence 2017, Day 7

You might ask (I know I did) Why is there not a color representing The 70273 Project? The answer: Because The 70273 Project touches every part of my life, and every verb I want to have in my every day touches The 70273 Project. Writing? Multiple writing projects each day are for The 70273 Project. (Know anybody who wants a guest blog post?) Stitching? I stitch several blocks each day for The 70273 Project. Moving? I move so I can keep up with The 70273 Project! Connecting? Oh good lord, such marvelous connections are made daily because of The 70273 Project. You get the picture. Right or wrong, there is no separation between The 70273 Project and me . . . something we’ll talk more about later.


Evidence 2017, Week 1

Each week will be stitched together, then each month, and finally . . . the year.

One thing that eludes me right now is how to finish the back. Ideas?



from my journal, dated 12/25/11 (but still true):

maybe it’s because i have a tendency to live, think, walk and breathe in metaphors.

maybe it’s because i’m still too invested in pleasing others.

maybe it’s because i don’t have enough degrees.

maybe it’s because i don’t travel enough, don’t cook enough, don’t . . . don’t . . . don’t. . .

maybe it’s because i have far more questions than answers.

maybe it’s because i’m unwilling or distrustful or too egocentric to just take what you tell me as the gospel truth.

i don’t know why,
i only know that
i have a restless soul
that wants to be
listened to deeply
loved wholeheartedly
seen lightly
touched tenderly.
my spirit
begs space to ask
the questions
and patience
to find the answers
that the answers
might be
more questions
or a painting
or dance
or cloth
or sky
or grass
or weeds
or fire
or rain.

my soul
has an itch
that no amount
of over the counter
or prescription
can soothe.
and the worst part?
the itch moves
and shifts
and enjoys
hide and seek.

More about 365 Altars

3 a day

started my day out the old-fashioned way today, the way i once started every day out: i wrote 3 notes then walked to the mailbox to mail them. just brief little handwritten notes. emails would’ve been quicker and taken less time, but there’s just something about pen meeting paper.

one of the notes made me feel a bit on the uncertain side of things as it’s about the third note i’ve sent this friend. always telling her how i noticed something she did and how marvelous i think it is, whatever she did or said. but after a while i wonder if she’ll think me odd in the worst sort of way.

oh well.

when my chiclets were babies, i’d get up early to pen the 3 notes before they woke up, and during the winter when it was just too much trouble to bundle 2 babies up to go out in the cold, i’d sometimes lose contact with adult types and run out of people to write. when that happened, i’d go to the local newspaper and send a note to somebody i read about there. kinda’ felt like a stalker, but i went right ahead and sent it with the clearest of intentions and hoped it would bubble-up a smile on the recipient.

though i’d sometimes hear that the person on the other end of the mailbox enjoyed and appreciated the surprise note, it’s amazing how much it didn’t matter because it was so satisfying just penning and sending the note. in fact, i’d often forget who i’d sent notes to, and i often wondered if that was good or bad. did it mean that i was able to let go of any expected or desired outcome or did it mean i had early onset alzheimers.

i don’t know/can’t explain it, but starting my days this way makes me feel like i have control over my day.

probably a mere illusion, but it’s nice, nevertheless.

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Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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