Posted in My 52 Stories

All Kinds of Delightful Journals (Part 3 of a Journaling Series)

Besides the classic journal, as I call it, where you write about every day life, there are all kinds or types of specialty journals and today we are going to touch on three of my favorites…

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These journals were purchased from Deseret Book, which has a wonderful selection.

The travel journal: This is a journal where you keep track of your vacations and travel adventures. Consider including-

  • the planning stage
  • your travel companions
  • the travel route and mode of transportation
  • the accommodations
  • weather and location of each day
  • tours, attractions, local sights
  • photos (If you have a polaroid camera, that would be a fun size and you could pop it in right away.)
  • ticket stubs and receipts
  • favorite memories from each day
  • nature sketches
  • travel quotes and memes (Create your own!)
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This journal (top left) has kraft pages.

Choose a journal with sturdy pages if you’re adding mementos. Consider blank pages if you want to sketch.

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The study journal: This is a journal that becomes a personal study tool. It’s a place to keep your study notes. What you include will vary depending on the type of study, but consider-

  • vocabulary and definitions
  • favorite verses and quotes
  • timeline of events
  • doctrines and principles
  • memes, pictures, sketches, doodles
  • your thoughts and insights
  • your questions and answers or conclusions
  • lessons to learn from others’ experiences
  • your own experiences and lessons learned
  • your testimony
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This composition book is one of my scripture study journals.

I prefer composition notebooks for this kind of journal. A spiral notebook works great as well. I like to use a variety of colored pens to make it fun and to break up my notes.

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The gratitude journal: This is a journal for the purpose of positivity. 🙂 It’s a place to record your blessings and works best when you write in it daily. Consider including-

  • your favorite part of each day
  • memories which bring a smile to your face
  • acts of kindness and service bestowed upon you
  • acts of kindness and service you give to others
  • things and situations you are grateful for
  • people who bless your life
  • uplifting quotes and verses
  • your doodles and sketches
  • photos of your friends, family, and pets
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This specialty journal features encouraging quotes. It’s pictured in the first photo above and is entitled: Three Moments of Joy.

Select a quality journal with a beautiful cover or custom make your own cover of a spiral or composition notebook (Mod Podge your favorite quotes and memes). A plainer journal can be brightened up with colored pens, stickers, and washi tape.

♥ Stay tuned for a guest post on bullet journaling, which is something I’ve yet to try. Do you keep or have you ever created a travel journal, study journal or gratitude journal? If so, I’d love to hear about it. What would you add to my lists? ♥

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Posted in My 52 Stories

A Journal’s Purpose (Part 2 of a Journaling Series)

What is a journal?

A journal is a book of remembrance, a personal timeline, an autobiography, a family history.

A journal is a collection of your life stories.

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Encourage your children to keep a journal. They will appreciate it when they are adults.

A journal’s purpose is to give you a place to record any and everything that has to do with being YOU.

It’s never too late to start a journal or pick the habit back up again.

Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies.

                             ~Spencer W. Kimball

I have five basic tips for keeping a journal:

  1. Set aside a specific time each day (once a week at the very least) for journaling.
  2. Write from your heart and let your thoughts flow out. Just be yourself.
  3. Give specific details of your most significant memories. Details might include location, time of day, your emotions, people involved, goals set and accomplished.
  4. Date each entry with today’s day, month, and year. If you are writing down a past memory, make sure you also include that date or timeframe as best you can remember.
  5. Write both first and last names of people you mention, even family members and close friends.
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Don’t forget to include the “weeds” of your life- your mistakes, trials, and fears. We learn and grow through opposition.

Sometimes you may feel like your life is too mundane to record, but there is something to be said for the ordinary. Isn’t it comforting to know others have been where you are now?

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Your journal will be one-of-a-kind, just like YOU!

There are many benefits that come from the habit of journaling:

  • Detailing your most significant moments in words will preserve them for all time.
  • The act of journaling has meditative qualities, especially if you choose a quiet setting. You will often feel relaxed, reflective, and at peace as you journal.
  • Journaling is therapeutic. Keeping a journal can be similar to talking to a counselor or a friend who listens attentively and never judges.
  • Journals become a type of legacy for your posterity.
  • Journaling may help you recognize and appreciate your blessings. In a later post we’ll explore the joy of keeping a gratitude journal.
  • When you handwrite your journal, your memory may improve. That’s because the act of taking pen to paper helps us remember important things.
  • Journaling may help you truly discover yourself. You will get to know yourself better as you journal.

♥ If you keep a journal, what tips and benefits would you add? Stay tuned for more posts in this series. Thanks for visiting my blog. ♥

Posted in My 52 Stories

Living Inside Stories (a Journaling Series)


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Your life is a story of adventure, mystery, comedy, tragedy, and romance. Your life is a story full of sorrow, despair, trials, second-chances, growth, discoveries, miracles, faith, hope, and tender mercies. Your life is a story with villains, heroes, foils, and all characters in between. Right now you are living inside a story! Not only are you living inside your own unfolding story, you are living inside many stories. You are touching lives. You are even a part of ripples, meaning you have set off or continued a chain-reaction of events.

Your life is a treasure trove of stories! So you should document them! Welcome to part one of a journaling series. Over the next few weeks, let’s explore the art of journaling.

I have been keeping journals- off and on- since I was eight years old. My very first journal has a cloth cover with a strawberry pattern on it, and it was given to me by my maternal grandparents as a baptism gift. Each of them wrote an inscription to me on the inside front cover. I wrote in that journal with erasable pen. I thought erasable pens were the neatest invention at the time! Before erasable pens, I had the compulsive habit of starting my school notes completely over whenever I made even the tiniest mistake in pen. Now that I think of it, I’m sure rewriting my notes several times over helped me memorize for tests! Still, I’m happy to note that in keeping a journal, I learned to relax to the point of simply crossing out my mistake and moving on. Plus, it’s not easy, nor is it attractive to tear out a page from a bound book.

Confession: I have torn out pages of my journals for one reason or another, even from bound journals. I don’t recommend doing that if it can be helped, however. 😛

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It’s fun for my kids to read through my goofy childhood journal entries, and it’s fun for me to see how my handwriting has changed over the years. I used to write very precise, slanted cursive. My cursive was so precise, and so slanted that my teachers would use me as a class example. That was both embarrassing and a little ego boost. I do not write this way today. Honestly, that was exhausting! I do have very neat print, however. You can tell when I’m tired because my writing will get sloppy, haha.

♥ Stay tuned for more posts in this series. We will explore different kinds of journals, my favorite journaling supplies, the benefits of journaling, and I will share some of my journaling experiences along the way. Do you keep a journal? Have you ever torn pages out of your journal? How neat is your writing in your journal? I’d love to hear about it! ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 30 (Our Christmas Traditions)

First off, I want to thank my readers for supporting me through a month of daily posting (although I technically cheated for 5 of those days so I could enjoy Thanksgiving with my family). I may never post every day for a month again, haha, but it did help me catch up on my 52 Stories which was my goal.

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Last Christmas. I need to hang these bulbs up again and we’re still waiting for snow. Looks like a late winter here this year.

I thought I’d make my last November Blessing post about my family’s Christmas traditions. I didn’t have any to carry over from my childhood, that I liked anyway. I just didn’t have one of those kind of childhoods. But, that just meant I had a blank slate to start my own traditions with my husband and my children. So, without further ado…

  • Every night leading up to Christmas Eve, we read a Christmas story. We have a binder which includes each story typed out, plus a scripture verse and carol, but last year I wrapped up all the Christmas story books we’ve collected over the years and we unwrapped one to read each night.
  • We have quite the collection of Christmas movies in our home library and that is pretty much all we watch all December long. My all-time favorite is White Christmas.
  • Every year my kids each get a new ornament for our family tree. They each have their own ornament box to keep their collection in.
  • We send out family photo cards to friends and extended family. Some years, this has been an e-card instead and some years we’ve written up a newsletter.
  • We bake batches of cookies, and sometimes candy and make up plates for our neighbors.
  • We see one play, ballet or concert as a family. Sometimes it’s The Nutcracker. Sometimes it’s A Christmas Carol. This year it’s the Mannheim Steamroller concert.
  • For several years now, the boys have given to the girls and the girls to the boys. So, my two daughters team up and give a gift to their two brothers, and the boys do the same for their sisters.
  • I fully decorate our house inside and out. I have close to 20 Christmas containers full of decorations and such. I have several Peruvian nativities.
  • In the past few years my daughters and I have hosted a little girl Christmas craft party. We have little neighbor girls over to make ornaments and decorate sugar cookies.
  • We play Secret Santa to one family in need. We love selecting special gifts, wrapping them, and figuring out how to deliver them anonymously.

On Christmas Eve we spend most of the day celebrating Marcus’ birthday. Sometimes we go see a movie he wants us to see. We have birthday cake and birthday presents, wrapped in birthday paper. Then, we eat a delicious prime rib dinner my husband cooks for us. After dinner, we each open one gift, a new pair of pajamas. After we’ve changed into our pajamas, we read the Christmas Story out of the scriptures (we actually have a special binder for this) and sing carols in between parts. My kids tell me this is their favorite tradition of all.

♥ I’d love to hear one or two of your Christmas traditions. ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 29 (Next Year Will Be An Adventure)

I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my husband’s truck. It’s just after 7pm and we are in the middle of “moderate” Salt Lake traffic on the freeway. We (my husband, Marcus and I) are on our way home from visiting my mother-in-law for three days. We are planning to move close to her next year so this was to get that ball rolling on her end. We saw 2 builders and drove around looking at potential land to build on. 0332496D-6CFB-4276-8C6C-78ADD92E717C
We have never ever built a home before so this will be a new experience for us. It feels both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.  The second builder we met with gave us some advice. He told us to send him photos of details we like that we want to incorporate. He also sent us to a website of home plans we could choose from and he can modify them. Or we could have our own draw up. Any advice from those who have “been there, done that” would be appreciated.

♥ So that is a little of what is going on with us. How about you? Who is excited for Christmas? Marcus goes on a campout this weekend to cut down Christmas trees for neighbors who have ordered one. He’s going to choose our tree as well. 🎄

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 28 (Missionary Mom Moment)

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I’m so excited to be a missionary mom again! Marissa leaves for Lima, Peru in early January, where she will report to the MTC (missionary training center) there. After she completes her training, she will serve in Cusco, Peru. Her father served his mission in Santiago, Chile. Her brother, Zach, served his mission in Calgary, Canada.

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Marissa in her baptism dress

It was special that she was called to serve in Peru because we have lived there as a family, twice. The first time we lived in Arequipa, Peru, for nearly 2 years. Marissa was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while we lived in Arequipa.

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Touring the Maras salt mines just outside of Cusco

The second time we lived in Lima, Peru, for nearly 2 years (10 years after we lived in Arequipa). For our last Christmas there, we spent a week touring Cusco and Machu Picchu as a family. That was an awesome trip.

♥ I’m so proud of my soon-to-be-missionary daughter. She’s going to give her whole self to serving the Lord for 18 months. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Blessings Corner, My 52 Stories

November Blessings- Day 19 (The Spirit of Thanksgiving)

It’s the Thanksgiving season, a time that shines on our blessings because we tend to live more in the spirit of thanksgiving. Tonight my heart is full of gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven who has blessed me in so many ways. He has given me a family of my own to love and cherish. I am so grateful to be a wife and mother here on earth. I am thankful for a husband who adores me and is blind to my faults for some strange reason. I am grateful for my four children who bring me incredible joy. They are really good kids, too. I also feel incredibly blessed to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such a wonderful church! Having the gospel in my life means everything to me. It gives me purpose and direction. I know who I am, a daughter of God. I know my savior is Jesus Christ. Having a savior is a HUGE blessing; someone to be grateful for every. single. day.meme-alma-thanksgiving-daily-1833093-galleryMy husband and I were asked by our bishopric to give the talks in Sacrament meeting next Sunday (Sacrament meeting is the family meeting at our church, when we partake of the sacrament). The topic we were assigned was, of course, gratitude. That will give me a lot to ponder and study throughout this Thanksgiving week as I prepare my talk.

♥ I think gratitude and joy are connected. What do you think? Maybe you can help me with my talk! If you have any thoughts about gratitude you’d like to share with me, please leave a comment. ♥