List Journaling

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I thought the new year would be a perfect time to post about habits. Not changing them, but embracing them. I’ve always been a list maker. It feels REALLY good to cross things off. Right?! I love a good piece of paper and pencil, and the vertical motion of writing short ideas. My lists are purely functional, but when I saw Moorea Seal’s book, The 52 Lists Project, I started to think of lists as a type of mediation and record of who we are at that specific point in time.

Then the ‘POD’ arrived. I don’t know if I’ve blogged about the POD before. A little history: My Grandma passed away over 10 years ago, and more recently my Grandpa passed away. Their house was like a time capsule. A 1950s ranch in the perfect shade of 60s avocado green located in suburban Wisconsin. My Grandma’s belongings were saved and mostly untouched until my Aunt had to sell the house after my Grandpa’s death. My Aunt called me up and mentioned there were a lot of family heirlooms and some furniture that had been in the family for generations. I told her to send it to me! Why not, right? We have a big house and I think items should stay in the family. On a spring day a huge truck pulled into Stony Ford and unloaded a moving POD that my aunt had packed. I knew of a few things that were in it, but I didn’t really know what I was in for. Low and behold we unpacked the better part of my Grandma’s saved collections. You know, those little life reminders you hang on to. Rocks, stamps, match books, eye glasses (she saved a lot of those), pictures, etc. Located in the boxed labeled ‘junk drawer’ there was a stack of about 10 notebooks. Remember those small note pads you made quick lists of aspirational homework plans in middle school? The idea of buying two of those for the school year when stocking up on back to school supplies brought me such joy.



Back to my Grandma’s 10 small notebooks. Which were filled with lists of numbers. We couldn’t figure out what the heck these were. It did cross our minds for a hot second wondering if she was a bookie. We these betting numbers?! After reviewing all the notebooks carefully, we saw in the margin, written very small, ‘snow’.  Yes, my Grandma tracked the weather for about 10 years, everyday, multiple times a day. I was amazed by the dedication and thoroughness of her lists. Through these lists and the other contents of her belongings, I was able to have a look into my Grandma’s life, and learn more about who she was.

When I read Moorea’s book, The 52 Lists Project, it was really is lovely. You make a list every week of the year. Some deeper than others. What a wonderful exploration of who you are at that moment in time when you are making the list, and how that accumulates over the year. My favorite lists are list 4: the soundtrack of your life. How much fun will that be to look at in 20 years? Or list 48: the things you want to add to your life. That’s a tough list, and a bigger question, will you accomplish that?


The culture of list making intrigues me. The simple act of recording items or thoughts. I hope you’re inspired and 2016 is off to a wonderful start. While we are all busy making new resolutions, next year, I’m planning on looking back at my 52 lists so I can see how far I’ve come, what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. If you’re interested in participating in the community, Moorea has an Instagram account you can follow. If you’re like me and get distracted by beautiful things like jewelry, Moorea also has an amazing shop that’s one of my favorite online destinations.

List Journaling

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  1. God bless her heart, what a wonderful treasure trove to leave behind. I LOVE that she listed the weather. Being a lister from way back…I totally get it. Thanks for the intro on the book. New to me. I am not sure how I stumbled onto your blog today but so glad I did. I am sure it involved a list somewhere… 😉

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