Monday, August 25, 2014

This Mom's Journals

This Mom’s Journals

Do you journal?  If not, do you want to start?

I am a word and idea lover, so of course I do! I have actually used journals on and off for over 35 years, ever since Aunt Kathy gave me one for Christmas when I was 15. There were years when I didn't write much at all, and years where I blitzed through several out of desperation. No matter how consistently (or not) I have kept them, my journals have been a vital part of my well-being.

Here are several kinds of journals I have kept…

Daily Life Journals: I write about what is going on in my life and what I think about it. I have done this both in bound books actually designed as journals, as well as in loose leaf notebooks. Using a bound journal is generally more pleasant for me because it feels more real and journal-ly. However, the advantage of a notebook is that you can insert other items, such as articles printed off the Internet, pictures, memorabilia, letters received, handouts from  workshops, etc. I have even used plastic page protectors for certain items that I didn't want to hole punch. With a notebook, you can also easily remove pages when you mess up or decide later that some information is too private to be there.

Daily Journal App: This past spring, I downloaded an inexpensive app called Ordinary Days to jot down a brief recollection of each day on my iPod Touch. This could be a full paragraph with my feelings, a single sentence summing up the main event of the day, a simple caption for a photo (easily imported from my camera roll), or a list of what I did that day (which gives me a sense of accomplishment). Believe it or not, I have an entry for every single day for nearly six months, making this my most consistent journal ever. Sometimes I have to go back and fill in a few days, but I at least have something!

Bible Study & Prayer Journals: I usually read through a book of the Bible, copy key verses, and jot down my own reflections. I might also write out prayers or make a list of things to pray about regularly.  I usually do not use Bible study workbooks as they are not my style at all, but I do have a Psalms reflection journal with room for writing, which I talked about here: Sanctuary.

Sermon Note Journal: This is the one I take to church each Sunday. It is small enough to fit in my purse. I do not include sermon notes in my other journals because I don’t want to risk leaving personal information behind where someone else can find them. So sermon notes are separate.

Book Note Journals: When I am reading a book that I want to fully absorb, I take notes on it. I have one leather journal (a gift from my daughter) where I am currently working through How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. The book has a lot of question to answer, so this is a good replace to record my responses. Breath for the Bones - Art, Imagination and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith by Luci Shaw is another book that called me into written reflection. I usually keep my book journal in a tote bag with whatever book I am reading. I can easily grab it and go when I know I am going to have to wait somewhere for a while.

Life Goals / Therapy Journals: This my most private journal, and I don't leave it around. I use it for counseling appointment notes, goals and plans for the future, angst venting, and trying to figure out answers to the more thorny issues I am facing.

Blogs: You might not think of blogging as journaling, but for me it is. This is how I keep track of my life in pictures, prose, and poetry. So I blog about life events, our road trips, things I've learned, my reaction to what’s going on in the world, and more. Writing for others helps me clarify what is in my own mind. What is most memorable? Important? Inspirational?

More questions about my journaling?

When? I don’t have a strict regimen of journaling. I just pull out the appropriate one whenever I feel like it. I may go weeks between writing in my daily life journal, whereas during various seasons of life, I was writing a few times a day just to make it through. Though I read or think about the Bible every day, I don’t sit down for a formal written study every day. Another when to consider is “later” – because I can always come back days, weeks, months, years, decades later and read what I have written. That has been a huge blessing to me, to see where I was, where I have come, and what I have become, good or bad.

Where?  I almost always sit in the easy chair in my bedroom to write in my life and devotional journals. This is where my soul is most comfortable and at rest. It is also the most private place in the house. I store some of my journals on my desk, and others out of sight. J

Who? Me, of course!  My journals are mine, mine, all mine. They are not meant to be read by others, though I will occasionally include an excerpt on my blog.

How? I write whatever comes to mind on my chosen topic, and give myself permission to branch out onto bunny trails whenever I want. There are no rules, except that I always date my entries and try to write neatly. I do like to use a nice pen when I am journaling, and try to keep a private stash of them where my kids can’t walk away with them.

So that's the scoop on how I journal. Interested in more information on my journals, as well as some excerpts? Here are links to my other posts:

Process of Journaling and Blogging:

Life & Therapeutic Journaling:
Bible & Sermon Journals:

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