You say you’ve taken a deep dive into fountain pens and ink. What are your favorites?
Kaweco Sport pens are small and lightweight, post well, and are safe in your pocket. The plastic ones are just fine and are inexpensive at $30 each, although you can spend more money if you want aluminum, stainless steel, or brass. I’ve bought the light plastic ones in multiple colors, which I have then put color-coordinated ink into. I mostly prefer the bold nibs (or sometimes calligraphy nibs), because I really want to see the colors of the ink when I’m using them. You have to buy separate converters for them if you aren’t going to use cartridges, which is what I have done.
Another good starter pen is by Ellington pens (shown bottom in the photo above). You’ll need to get a converter for this too, if you want to use bottled ink.
I also have three fancier, but tiny, Lilliput pens, also by Kaweco (a German company), which I have in stainless steel, brass, and black. (The black one I bought while we were in Switzerland.) All three have varying nib sizes and I use black cartridges in those.
Here are the links to the two boutique ink companies that our daughter and I like the best:
I also have some Rotring Art Pens and some old Sheaffer calligraphy pens, left from decades ago, which are still going strong with new, respective converters. Our daughter has gotten a bunch of the old Sheaffer pens off ebay, and is delighted with them. For Christmas, we mostly gave her ink for them!
I am well aware that you can spend 1,000’s of dollars on fancy pens. My obstetrician, back in the day, had a sheaf of five, fancy, $5,000/each, gold-nibbed pens, which he whisked out for me to choose from, when it was time to sign our kid’s birth certificates. That was three decades ago, so you can imagine what they’d cost new now. Regardless of that, be assured that there are plenty of affordable fountain pen options that provide a beautiful writing experience.
Where do I use them? Writing daily in my journals, taking notes, a bit of drawing, making lists fun, rarely a letter. In my daily morning journal I use a different color each day in rotation, in my Bible Lesson Journal I use my pens with black and gray ink, etc.
What balances all your involvements and practices?
My base line is a good sleep, eating clean, unadulterated food, getting out for a walk in nature, doing something creative each day, and a especially meaningful spiritual connection.
Church is important too. In this poem of mine, which is one of my favorites, you can read how it keeps me from being a floppy mess.
My tracking apps as discussed here, keep me affirming good, while being aware of what I’m getting done and also not doing. Lately, I’ve been doing analog tracking too.
And lastly, I’d say gratitude. My husband and I share with each other at least three things we are grateful for every night, right before we go to sleep. I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude the whole day long. This is also reflected in my periodic “Grace Notes” posts on this blog.
Do you have a set time scheduled for sketching, praying, painting? How do you fit it all in?
Absolutely not. I have some habits and routines, but my days are very unscheduled. I have two meals (and a blog post) each day and two church services a week scheduled. That’s it.
Work clients sometimes make appointments, but more often they just call. The same is true for our kids. I used to call my schedule “interruption based.” I’ve since realized that God is in control of my day, and now I think of it more as “unfoldment based.” You can’t force a flower to unfold on a schedule. When it’s right, it does. With God at the helm of my thought, my day will unfold as it should too.
I have “possibility lists” of things I’d like to do. Each day, there are a couple things that must happen (taking back library books, sending out invoices, mailing presents, applying to an art show, using up something that is close to going bad in the fridge, etc, etc), but if they don’t happen because I needed to do some unexpected thing, I don’t give myself grief.
It’s all good, whether I’m painting, talking on the phone, reading a book, cooking, or walking. But overtime, I see these things tend to fall into usual–but not fixed– times. In the winter, I usually walk at some point between 10am and 2pm when it is warmer; while in the summer I’m up and out and walk early before its hot. I listen to audiobooks in the car, and sometimes while I’m chopping food or walking, read difficult non-fiction during my morning quiet time, while I tend to read novels in the evenings before bed. I’ve also been known to take work calls while I’m walking or cooking, so overlaps do occur.
Is my morning quiet time always first? It is often, usually even, but sometimes it gets pushed a little later in the day if I get a call or a blog is longer and taking more time (like this one), or something comes up like I have to drive the car in to get fixed. The point is I hold it all loosely, never berating myself. Sometimes I paint daily, sometimes I let a week go by without painting. Sometimes I paint and don’t sketch, sometimes I work in my art journals and don’t paint, the point is I’m led.
I keep asking the still small voice within me what I should be doing at any moment. Yes, I keep a check off list of what I do, but I’m too much of a rebel and a mystic to create a tight schedule and make myself stick to it. That would feel to me like willfulness, which I believe is to be avoided at all costs. Things go into the calendar that I honor, but I say no to plenty of those kinds of things (other than travel and workshops!) so I can keep my schedule as loose as it is. Now you know why I need that tomato cage so much (see poem referred to above) to keep me from being a floppy mess.
What positions do you hold at church?
Other than my professional job as a spiritual healer (which is paid for by individual clients and not the church), my church roles vary over time. Our church is a democratically run lay church, so it is up to all of us to make it happen.
Right now, I am President of the Board, part time First Reader, on the lecture committee, and the care committee; I bring the flowers, am a substitute usher, and a substitute Sunday School teacher. This is the first time we’ve split up the First Reader position among six of us; I and a fellow blog reader of yours are leading the Sunday services on alternate Sundays, and the other four have a monthly rotation of leading the Wednesday service. We are spreading the blessing around, which I think is good for all of us.