Journaling and Minimalism…Is There a Connection?

Welcome Yesterday I shared that I am working my way through a minimalism challenge this month.  I expected to spend time tossing out things I no longer use or want.  I expected to have days when I went “device free” or logged off social media.  I did not expect a task requiring journaling.  So is there a connection between journaling and minimalism?  Here’s what I discovered on day eight.  Thanks for joining me today.

Food For Thought  If you are a frequent follower of faith-family-food, you know I am a big fan of journaling.  At any given moment I can have about four different journals going, each with a different type of journaling purpose.  Writing in a journal is helpful to me for many reasons, so completing day 8’s task was not a challenge.  What I struggled with was understanding how writing in a journal for the designated twenty minutes had anything to do with the minimalist mindset.  As I spent time writing in my journal I came up with two connections that there may be between the idea of minimalism and the act of writing.

First, if I’m journaling, most likely I’m looking inwardly instead of outwardly at “stuff” and material possessions.  I’m not writing about wanting a new car or a bigger house or that next shopping trip.  When I’m writing in my journals, it’s strictly for my own benefit, not for the approval of others.  So, in keeping with the theory of minimalism, I’m taking my focus off of possessions, approval, or other things that the rest of the world may want to emphasize.  I’m keeping the focus on myself and where I am right now.  That’s not to say I don’t write out my goals in dreams, but it has nothing to do with what other people feel should source my happiness.

journals and pens
#neverstopcreating #journaling #penaddict

The second idea I had was about writing my stress, anger, and frustration away, which I’ve been doing for quite awhile now.  When I choose to journal my emotions, I’m not using outward sources to sooth my moods, such as food, shopping, or destructive behaviors.  When I talked about the definition of minimalism yesterday, I found the key word to be “simple.”  Journaling has to be the simplest way to work through emotions.  Going for a walk is the only other simple solution that works for me, but going for a walk is just not possible at every given moment that I may deal with emotional overload.  Just how simple is journaling?  Any notebook or paper will do the job.  You can use a pencil or ball point pen or you can use any number of fancy pens or markers.  You can script it, print it, or draw it out.  Your paper can be designer, from the dollar store, or recycled from your kids old school notebooks.  You can collect loose leaf papers in a binder or folder or use a traditional composition notebook. You can use a journal designed for certain types of writing.  You can use pre-made prompts or follow whatever direction your mind takes you.  Journaling can happen at the dining room table, curled up on the couch, sitting on the deck, or beside a mountain trail.  Write in the morning, afternoon, or at bedtime.  Your writing time can take you through pages and pages or it may be one or two lines.  It is not necessary to purchase or acquire more stuff to begin journaling, unless you simply want to.  Like many things in life, journaling can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it.

Did writing in my journal for twenty minutes make me a minimalist?  Hardly, did you notice how many journals and pens I own?  And that’s not even all of them!  But journaling does allow me to embrace both the good times and the bad in a very simple way.  I may not be able to leave a legacy of fortune, but I will leave a legacy of thoughts and ideas through my words.

Today’s Scripture  In Proverbs chapter 7, Solomon is giving warnings to his son regarding temptation from adulterous women.  Wise words to share, for certain, but I am most taken by the words of verse 3, “Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”  Things that are important, items that need to be remembered, should be written down.  The wisdom Solomon is sharing has so much importance that he uses writing terminology to impress upon his son that the words need to be written on the tablet of the heart.  I find the word choice interesting.  We aren’t just writing this advice on the tablet of our brain or mind and not just bound to fingers, but written on the heart.  This makes me think that we are not just remembering the words, spouting them off as recall, but committing them to our hearts to make them part of our life.  This advice becomes who we are.  When you feel the Lord is bringing you wisdom from scripture, don’t just memorize the words, but write them on the tablet of your heart, so the commands become part of your whole soul.

Today’s Recipe  Life is crazy and busy and sometimes we’re just plain ol’ tired.  These are the times when we are begging for a minimalist dinner!  That means minimal ingredients and minimal cooking time.  These Sausage and Pepper Subs fit that description perfectly!

Sausage and Pepper Subs
Minimal ingredients and Minimal cooking time…a minimalist dinner saves the day!

Sausage and Pepper Subs (makes 6 subs)

  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pkg. Grill Mates or Johnsonville precooked sausages (6)
  • 1 pkg. Johnsonville or other sausage-style sub rolls (6)
  • 1 small jar marinara sauce
  • 1 pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Slice pepper and onion in thin strips.  Add to hot pan and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  Add sausages to skillet, cooking until heated through.  Heat marinara sauce in small sauce pan over medium-low heat.  To serve, place some of the peppers and onions on the bun, top with a sausage, some marinara, and cheese.  If desired, place under broiler for a minute to melt cheese.  Dinner ready in about 20 minutes!

Note-A great thing about this recipe is it can meet different needs with one dinner.  I can’t have tomato products, so I just leave the marinara off my sandwich, but my husband rarely gets to eat tomato sauce, so it’s a treat for him.  Our daughter doesn’t like peppers and onions, so we let her skip them for this dinner.  You can add hot peppers or mushrooms to the skillet also, if you like them. I served these subs with some celery and carrot sticks, but if you don’t have time for an extra vegetable, you don’t have to feel guilty because onions, peppers, and tomato sauce all have nutritional value.