Tag Archives: guided journals


I have always been a sporadic journaler, usually picking up my journaling pen when life becomes really tough. For a while I did “morning pages” a la Julia Cameron, and even though I found it to be beneficial, somewhere along the line I put away my journaling pen.
At the end of my very tough 2021, I started to do morning pages again, and I found myself slowly starting to relax into life again.
So when I had the opportunity to review “Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book” by Mari L. McCarthy, I knew I had to seize the opportunity. What a better way to expand my journaling practice.
In chapter 4, the chapter about wanting things, a door cracked open and let a little light back into my life. Sad to say, somewhere in 2021 I had stopped believing that the things I wanted mattered. But, according to McCarthy, “WANTING great things for yourself doesn’t make you selfish. WANTING great things for YOU just means you love yourself.” and “In fact, one of the things you can want is the means to help more people.” Hmmm, I pondered those thoughts for a while, and then I decided to let myself want things again.
After that easing of some of my heartache, I was committed to finishing the book and the journaling exercises. I love McCarthy’s different take on things. For example, one thing that I have always thought, and that McCarthy validates is that “affirmations can be difficult to repeat and keep in the forefront of your mind as you’re bobbing and weaving your way through the day”. Instead she asks you to “transform your life by asking the right questions”. Wow! I love this idea so much that I now have a top-10 question list that I can refer to again and again.
This is a book that can be read over and over to remind yourself to love the journey, pivot to better feeling thoughts, and establish rock-solid boundaries. I highly recommend the book, and I am thankful that I was able to review it.
Good news! You can enter the giveaway over at WOW by March 2, 2022 for a chance to win a copy of your own by clicking here. Don’t forget to visit some of the other blog stops too.
Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2022 Linda Schueler

About the Book

Want the Cure for Culture Chaos?
Grab your pen and pad and prescribe yourself, Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book.
The news, the fear, the media, the texts, the constant bombardment of electronic sludge. It can all tear you down and rip you away from being YOU! 
You can choose to give into this madness and be manipulated into submission. Or you can join the Journaling Power Revolution, reconnect with your higher self, and love yourself without conditions. 
In her third book, award-winning international bestseller author Mari L. McCarthy reveals a journaling power path that leads to an awareness of how vibrant your life will be when you…
Understand why you absolutely have to love yourself first
Tap into your hidden gifts and talents
Declare why others must ALWAYS respect you
Establish rock-solid unbreakable boundaries
Promise to be YOUR own superhero!
Most importantly, Mindset Medicine explains in rich detail why the most empowering and loving relationship you can ever have – is with YOU!
Find out more about Mindset Medicine on Amazon.com.

About the Author:

Mari L. McCarthy, Founder and CEO – Chief Empowerment Officer  of CreateWriteNow.com, teaches curious health-conscious action-takers how to use Journaling For The Health Of It®️ to heal the emotional, creative, physical, and spiritual issues in their tissues. She also shows them how to use this powerful personal transformation tool to know, grow and share their True Self. Mari is the multi award-winning author of Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live, Heal Your Self With Journaling Power and Mindset Medicine: A Journaling Power Self-Love Book. She’s also created 20+ Journaling For The Health Of It® Self-Management 101 Workbooks including Who Am I?, Take Control Of Your Health! and Start Journaling For The Health Of It® Write Now.
Find out more about Mari by visiting her website CreateWriteNow.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.

What to do when you are stuck in writing…or just plain bored

Our trip to Germany has been cancelled. My daughter’s camps have been cancelled. And it’s hot—oh so very hot. It figures that the summer that has been postponed by Covid-19 would also be oppressively hot.

Nothing to do but to regroup and find other things to do besides sitting around all day on our devices. 

Here are some of the things my teen daughter and I have been up to:

  • Writing Games

There are a wide variety we like to use including “The Storymatic” and “The Writer’s Toolbox”.

Susanna Leonard Hill also has some great “What’s the Story?” cards. Click here for more information.

The possibilities are endless. Last time we did a writing exercise, my daughter even decided to combine some of “The Writer’s Toolbox” prompts with some of the “What’s the Story?” cards.

  • “How to Have Creative Ideas: 62 exercises to develop the mind” by Edward de Bono

This book encourages creativity and lateral thinking through exercises built around picking random words.

The latest exercise we did was to find out connections between random pairs of words. For example, I paired bee and publicity. The connection? Both create a buzz.

  • “The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday” by Rob Walker

These exercises are designed to help you see the world anew and find out what matters to you.

One exercise that my daughter and I did recently had us walking around the block and periodically looking up to see the world from a different point of view. It’s amazing how I rediscovered things that were there all along, but that I had stopped noticing a long time ago. 

  • “Journal Sparks: Fire Up Your Creativity With Spontaneous Art, Wild Writing, and Inventive Thinking” by Emily K. Neuberger

This book has been a recent favourite. Yesterday I drew with a non dominant hand, and this morning I illustrated a map of yesterday’s activities.

  • Magnetic Poetry

Here’s one my daughter did.

All of these exercises are appropriate to break out of a creativity rut or to entertain your teen (and older children).

Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

February 2020 Bookish Resolutions Challenge Wrap up

Yay! I completed all my bookish resolutions for February. Here are some of the highlights.

Click here for the books that I read for the Mount TBR challenge.

These are the memoirs I read this month:

“Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End” by Liz Levine

Levine writes about the death of her childhood love from cancer, as well as her younger sister by suicide.

The format is uniquely made in the form of the alphabet, and according to Levine, “My Alphabet isn’t a history of death. It’s a collection of things that make up death.” These things include topics such as condolences, death-iversary, goodbye, music, and nightmares.

“Year of No Clutter” by Eve O. Schaub 

Schaub attempts to declutter her “Hell Room”, the one that she hides from people, over the course of a year. The lessons she learns are: trust herself, keep less and use more, and be imperfect. In the end she realizes that what has changed, more so than the room, is herself.

I am also going to include the following two memoirs, although they technically don’t qualify according to the standards I set, as they are both more than five years old, but both are excellent and worth a mention. Both were recommended by friends.

“What the Psychic told the Pilgrim” by Jane Christmas

Christmas decides to walk the Camino for her 50th birthday along with a group of women, most of whom she barely knows. A psychic predicts the happenings in advance, including losing the other women and meeting a fair haired man.

“A Kiss Before You Go” by Danny Gregory

Gregory writes and illustrates in graphic novel form a touching account about the loss of his wife for about a year after her death.

I wrote 250 words five days a week.

I limited my time on social media.

I read more than five creative nonfiction essays a week. Here are my favourite creative nonfiction essays this month:

Depression, Part 2” by Allie Brosh of “Hyperbole and a Half” fame

An older blog post, but worthwhile reading as Brosh tries to explain what it is like to be depressed to people who have never experienced depression.

The Truth About Wanting to Die” by Anna Mehler Papeny

This is an excerpt from Mehler Papeny’s book “Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me”. 

The Year I Lost my Voice” by Anne Fenn

Fenn loses her voice and discovers it is because her vocal cords are too tense. She discovers that she has lost her voice physically, because she has lost her voice metaphorically.

Fighting Symmetry” by Laurie Gogh

Gogh writes about how after his grandfather’s death, her son starts certain rituals, as he is trying to bring back his grandfather, and she realizes that he has OCD. This is an excerpt from the book “Stolen Child”.

I read far more than two picture books a week. Here are some of my favourite picture books:

“The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

This poem written to Alexander’s second daughter celebrating black lives won the 2019 Caledcott Medal, as well as a Newbery Honor and other awards.

“The Pencil” by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula, illustrated by Charlene Chua

When Anaana goes away, Ataata lets them do something that is not normally allowed: use Anaana’s pencil. The pencil brings so much joy, but also the lesson of using things wisely.

“Story Boat” by Kyo Maclear, pictures by Rashin Kheiriyeh

A family is fleeing their home, but the little girl and her brother use their imagination to help them get through their trip.

“Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.” by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

This is a non fiction book about the Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village, which was when the LGBTQ+ movement changed.

“The Worst Book Ever” by Elise Gravel 

This book is not only fun for the kids, but also a good warning book for writers. Gravel shows mistakes that are commonly made in writing, e.g., dialogue not moving the story forward and using big words to appear smart.

I attended two writer’s events:

1. WriteOnCon webinar about Writer Self-Care, which I blogged about here.

2. Vocamus Press’ workshop “Building Poems From What’s Already Written” in which poet and academic Karen Houle showed us how she builds her poems using an object exercise. Vocamus Press hosts a series of free workshops at the Guelph Library every February. 

This was my favourite guided journal this month:

I kept up my blogging this month.

I wrote about 10 objects for my “Cabinet of Curiosities” object diary.

I also decided to start studying again. Did you know that you can get some free “Great Courses” on Kanopy, which is often accessible through your library? The course that I have started working on is called “Becoming a Great Essayist”.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler 

January 2020 Wrapup

So how are you doing with your resolutions? I am proud that I have been able to keep up with mine.

Click here to read the results of my January 2020 Mount TBR Challenge.


Hey, hey, I read three memoirs this month, so I am already 1/4 of the way to the total number I wanted to read this year. I recommend all three, which are:

“The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me” by Cathie Borrie

Borrie intersperses stories of her growing up with her (then) current day of taking care of her mother with Alzheimer’s.

“Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA” by Amaryllis Fox

Fox writes about her life from her childhood through her life in the CIA through her resignation and her life after. I wouldn’t normally read a memoir like this, but I am glad that I did. It gave me a peek into a life that I could never imagine living.

“The Unwinding of the Miracle: a Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything that Comes After” by Julie Yip-Williams

Yip-Williams had stage 4 colon cancer when she started writing this book. She writes about living and dying with cancer, as well as her childhood in Vietnam where she was born blind. Especially touching is her letter to her children in chapter 2.

Writing 250 words five days a week

I far surpassed my word count, even on the week that I had tendonitis in my left arm, although that meant that I had to type one handed on some days. I got one story idea out of my writing, which I need to flesh out.

Five days a week I will limit my social media: 15 minutes maximum for Facebook and 15 minutes maximum for Twitter.

I achieved this goal, and I found it to be very beneficial, although at times hard, because on the days that I was really tired, I found myself at first wanting to distract myself with social media. I have managed to break the habit, and now instead I look for something that really needs to be done, such as organizing my photo albums.

According to this article, you need down time to be creative anyway.

Read 5 creative nonfiction essays per week.

I found this to be particularly eye opening. You really need to think about the creative part of your nonfiction essay, as magazines and editors are always looking for new ways a subject is tackled. 

I particularly enjoyed the first three winning pieces in WOW’s 2020 Q1 Contest. Click here to access the following essays:

“Bugs: When I knew it was time to leave him” by Meghan Beaudry 

Beaudry describes her marriage before and after her illness, and how being able to get rid of a bug meant independence.

“The Hole” by Kelley Allen 

The twist at the end shocked me.

“Zucchini Bread Keeps Away the Dead” by Julide J Kroeker

Kroeker describes various ways she could kill herself and then ultimately why she would not.

Read 2 picture books per week.

I read more than 2 picture books per week. These are my favourites:

“Ping” by Ani Castillo

This is a very philosophical book in which a ping represents you and a pong the other.

“Nine Months Before a Baby is Born” by Miranda Paul and Jason Chin

I especially recommend this to parents who are expecting a second child.

“It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way” by Kyo Maclear

How a Japanese girl who felt invisible in America introduced diversity in children’s books. “Babies”, published in 1963, became one of the first children’s books to introduce multiracial characters.

Attend 12 writer’s events, whether these are workshops or writing circles or talks.

WriteOnCon currently has free Showcase webinars, and I watched the one on critiques, which was presented by Olivia Hinebaugh.

Spend one hour a week working on one of my many guided journals.

This was one of the most difficult goals to achieve, and I usually left it until the end of the week, but I did do it. My favourite journal was:

Blog one time a week except if I am on holidays.

Feel free to read my previous entries to confirm this.

Write about 10 objects for my “Cabinet of Curiosities” object diary per month.

This also was a challenge, and I left it until later in the month.

One fascinating thing I learned about while doing my research was the former East German company Expertic, which I have some pieces from.

How did you do? If you are having troubles meeting your goals, it may be because you are having difficulty changing your habits, and this article explains why.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler 

2020 Bookish Resolutions Challenge

I normally don’t make New Year’s resolutions—I just make them any time of the year—but I am hoping that by participating in the “Bookish Resolutions Challenge”, it will help me with achieving some of my goals. I will schedule my time based on these resolutions/goals.

According to the post, “Bookish Resolutions Challenge is about setting New Year’s Resolutions for Reading, book blogging or Writing”. Also, “Sign Up is between now to February 28th, the challenge starts January 1st and ends December 31st 2020”. You can read more about it by clicking here.

This fits in with my guiding word, which is “focus”. I didn’t realize how scattered I was until recently. 

These are my resolutions:

-Besides participating in the Mount TBR challenge, where I plan to read 24 books from my TBR pile (2 per month), I am planning on reading 12 memoirs, (1 per month.) These memoirs will come from the library and will be new in 2020 or written in the last 5 years.

-I will write 250 words five days a week.

-Five days a week I will limit my social media: 15 minutes maximum for Facebook and 15 minutes maximum for Twitter.

-Read 5 creative nonfiction essays per week.

-Read 5 picture books per week.

-Attend 12 writer’s events, whether these are workshops or writing circles or talks.

-Spend one hour a week working on one of my many guided journals.

A selection of my guided journals

-Blog one time a week except if I am on holidays.

-Write about 10 objects for my “Cabinet of Curiosities” object diary per month.

These resolutions are the minimum that I hope to achieve this year. Check back periodically to see how I am doing.

How about you? Have you made any resolutions? Do you have a guiding word?

January 2020 Wrapup



It seems that I have been rather amiss in posting my progress for this challenge. But I am proud that I completed all 10 of my challenges! Click here to read all about it.