How I gather my scattered thoughts (helping my Mom-Brain)

I'm a bit scatterbrained. There, I said it. It's probably a Creatives thing, or maybe it's a too busy thing, or even an "I'm not organized enough" thing...but there it is, a bit of honesty.

Are you scattered, too? Even a little?

I'm a dreamer and doer. I listen to podcasts and books on cd. I read early in the morning and late at night. I have ideas upon ideas, but they typically happen when I'm in the shower or driving. Or perhaps when I'm slicing vegetables for dinner...and rarely when I'm at my desk ready to type out ideas and wisdom given me from the Lord.

I'll be pushing one of the kids on the swings and they'll say something and I'll think, "I need to remember that forever!" The same happens many nights as they recite sweet, too-wise-for-their-age prayers.

"I never want to forget that," I'll think. But then I do.

I've been re-reading Ann Lamott's book, Bird By Bird and within one of it's pages, I had a revelation when she said:

I have index cards and pens all over the house—by the bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, by the phones, and I have them in the glove compartment of my car.

I carry one with me in my back pocket when I take my dog for a walk. In fact, I carry it folded lengthwise, if you need to know, so that, God forbid, I won’t look bulky.

You may want to consider doing the same. I don’t even know you, but I bet you have enough on your mind without having to worry about whether or not you look bulky...
So whenever I am leaving the house without my purse—in which there are actual notepads, let alone index cards—I fold an index card lengthwise in half, stick it in my back pocket along with a pen, and head out, knowing that if I have an idea, or see something lovely or strange or for any reason worth remembering, I will be able to jot down a couple of words to remind me of it.

Sometimes, if I overhear or think of an exact line of dialogue or a transition, I write it down verbatim. I stick the card back in my pocket. I might be walking along the salt marsh, or out at Phoenix Lake, or in the express line at Safeway, and suddenly I hear something wonderful that makes me want to smile or snap my fingers—as if it has just come back to me—and I take out my index card and scribble it down.

This has become such an incredible concept for me!

I've used cute little notebooks forever, but they've never really worked for me. I'm rarely able to find what I'm looking for in them. Plus, half the time I put them in my bag, they end up destroyed because a sippy-cup leaked all over it and my precious ideas or notes become nothing but pretty blotches of pink and blue upon waterlogged and warped pages.

I've always been horrible at keeping a Baby Book for our kids, and by horrible...I mean I didn't do it. It seemed like too much pressure! I was in survival mode for so many years that the thought of a Baby Book put me over the edge.

But somehow an index card seems seems doable.

Now I'll listen to a devotional cd in my car and pull off the side of the road to write down someting God was impressing upon my heart. Or I'll walk the dogs and remember a conversation that would be perfect to add to my book or an idea for a blogpost.

I bought the cutest recipe box I could find and organize my thoughts and notes inside: Ideas for my book and blog. Bible study notes, Bible verses, quotes I love, notes from the seminary class I'm taking, memories, prayers I'm praying and ones the our kids pray. It's all in there. So I don't forget.

I use a soap dish to hold some in the kitchen, a plastic case for the one in my bag. I have a pen and stacks throughout the house...set out or in a drawer so I can easily take a note and move on with what I'm doing.

Though this is just a silly little thing, it's so helpful to find an simple and realistic way to purge my thoughts.

I have so much swirling through my mind at all moments of the day and night, it's allowed me to focus more...rather than actively trying to contain it all inside my tired 'ol brain. haha. Perhaps it'll work for you, too!

Take Joy,