My 2017 Synthesis Book

I cannot remember the last time I set and fulfilled a resolution for the new year. I'm not sure if I'm too lazy, too apathetic, too bleh, too busy or whatever. All I know is that whatever it takes to resolve something in a year, well, I ain't it. 

Ironically, I did set a goal to read 12 books this year, which I will share more about tomorrow for my first ever #3things blog! Woohoo! I invite you to come back and find out more about that goal.

But there is an ongoing project that I decided to somewhat whimsically undertake this year and a couple of thoughts are at the forefront of my mind when I think about this new project:

  • First, I love it.
  • Second, in a roundabout way, I am completing goals through this project without hardcore setting goals. So yeah, I am a mastermind.
  • Third, all the crafty urges can be released through this project without going too in depth on days when you can't go all in.

Basically, I've fashioned the most flexible, hardworking, lazy, crafty, simple notebook of all mankind. Ha!

Let me introduce you to my 2017 Synthesis Book.

In the most simple of ways, it's a journal, sure. But it is also much more than a journal. I'll describe it using the essential questions: what, where, when, how, why, who?

WHAT - a blank-paged sketchbook that houses topics such as, but not limited to:

a. what today looked like (at times including scraps of material from items from that day, such as notes, receipts or paper evidence, pictures, etc.)

b. goals

c. random ideas/dreams/visions for the future

d. sermon notes

e. Bible study reflection

f. gratitude lists and prayers

g. favorite song lyrics or quotes that I want to capture

This is why I chose to call the journal a synthesis book, as it encapsulates all sorts of things and gathers my 2017 year together in a delightful way.

WHERE - usually done at home, but at times taken to other places such as:

a. church

b. parks

c. coffee shops

d. trips

WHEN - this is the part I love the most! Well, almost. Read description below.

In the past, I've audaciously set goals to journal every day, or every week, about life. I've tried taking sermon notes over every single message I've heard. I've tried dissecting Bible passages every week or writing songs with deadlines. While all of these things or ideas are good, they are not prone to my dispositions. Life's ebbs and flows keep me from finishing goals such as these, whose only audience and accountability is myself. Before I've even written a few pages, I end up feeling underwhelmed, defeated, uninspired or all of them together. So this year I took a step back and decided on a whim to make this journal easy.

I never set a goal with this journal, only that it simply captures 2017. So somedays I journal multiple times. Some days I craft hardcore (see the HOW later). Some days I put nothing on the pages because I'm spent and I need to realign my focus elsewhere. There are no guidelines, only to simply to capture 2017. And the incredible thing is that as I've given myself that freedom, I've journaled substantially more than I have in the past. The freedom I've allowed myself to be creative and capture memories whenever the time seems right has re-gifted me the love of journaling.


HOW - Each page looks different, not only based on topic, but also on material. Items that surface the notebook include:

a. pens, sharpies, felt-tipped writing gods, etc.

b. fabric tape

c. material evidence from the day's activities

d. shapes, designs, borders

e. variety of layouts (vertical, drawings, horizontal, sections, etc.)

WHY - Because I want to capture 2017, and I want to love doing it, whether going simple or going deep.

WHO - This year, it's for me. Perhaps in years to come, if well-preserved, it will be memories for family, for kids, for grandkids, for historical artifacts, or for me to simply look back and see growth, struggles, joys, and enjoy how life has taught me over the course of 2017.

Have you ever tried anything like this? What are your thoughts? Share below and share with friends!