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. ♥

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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 2 (Discoveries From My Baby Book)

From the time I was born, until I was 12-years old, my mother kept a journal of my growth and milestones, as well as certain events in our lives. She assembled mementos and photos for me in a keepsake book. My baby book gives me an idea of what my early childhood years were like, as well as my personality back then. Here are some examples: I know that I visited my Great Grandma Gray (my father’s mother’s mother), in a rest home, until she passed away. I was a kitten for my first Halloween trick or treating. My dad was a high school janitor for a time, and I helped him clean with a little broom he made for me. A cat jumped on me in the middle of the night and scared me into “hysterics.” I was bossy to my brother, nearly a year younger than me, but we became “buddies” once I was in first grade and he was in Kindergarten. I spent a lot of time by myself drawing, coloring, reading and making things. I was always holding something in my hands. I liked to sing. I have memories of playing records and singing along to the Camelot soundtrack. My mother is a talented pianist, so it’s interesting to me that she mentions a time when I did not enjoy her playing the piano in our home. I wonder why?

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This photo was taken a couple months after I turned 3-years old. I still have the scar on my chin. I’m not sure how I got it. It looks like I might have hit my mouth and chin on something.

I know I was hospitalized when I was not yet 3-years old, for a few days, because my right knee was causing me so much pain that I could not walk or put pressure on that leg. I was also feverish, and though my knee was x-rayed, and a blood test was taken, the cause could not be discovered. I did not like the splinter a doctor made for me, and in the end, my mother was upset by the way the hospital and staff handled the whole situation, so she brought me home and tended to me by letting me “tell her what felt best for [my] knee”. A few days later, I seemed to have healed. In the end, it was thought I might have Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis, but I’ve never had an issue with that knee since.

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My mother even mentioned the time in 2nd grade when I won a class coloring contest and was awarded a Charlie Brown puzzle. What she did not write was what my teacher said as she gave me my prize. I had been chosen by vote of my classmates. When my teacher presented the puzzle to me, she said something like this: “Camie won the vote, but Susie’s coloring was the best.” After that, I purposely colored poorly so I would not win again.

The last thing that stands out to me was my mother writing that I loved to “write notes and letters and lists of anything,” and she complimented my handwriting. I was a perfectionist with my writing, especially my cursive. Thankfully, I’ve outgrown that as I was obsessive to the point of rewriting my class notes multiple times! However, to this day, I am a list maker. My husband teases me about all the lists I write.

♥ Today I feel blessed to have some of my childhood memories preserved through journals and photos. I also kept my own journals when I was a teenager and my kids love to read some of my zany entries. ♥ Do you have a keepsake book from your childhood? Have you made interesting discoveries about yourself from when you were little? I’d love to hear about it. ♥

Posted in Joy

Keeping a Journal and 52 Stories

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I’ll be writing in my journal about how much snow we got today and how the boys went outside to sled and play in it. This was just a couple hours after snow-blowing our driveway and sweeping off my son’s truck.

I was a very good girl last year and kept a detailed journal from February through December. In the past, my journaling has been rather inconsistent, but I’m confident my sporadic efforts will add up nicely to give a sweet picture of my life for my future great-great grandchildren, especially if I keep the habit up and add childhood memories as I go.

There are many benefits to keeping a journal. For me, writing in a journal is therapeutic. It’s like a friend who is always available to only listen and never judge! I’ve also found that writing down special moments or occasions soon after they happen keeps those memories fresh and accurate. When my kids have read my childhood journal entries, they’ve realized that even with our generation gaps, we have a lot in common (such as peer pressure). But most of all, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate many of my blessings, big and small.

  • A journal can be as simple as a spiral notebook or you can find pretty or themed journals at bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.
  • Always date each entry.
  • Write from your heart and be honest. Share your ups and your downs of life.
  • You never know. Your trials and mistakes and the way you handle them or learned from them might inspire or help someone years from now.
  • Get detailed! Saying you had a fun day won’t mean anything unless you list the specific events that made it fun.
  • Write both first and last names of people you mention, and add their relationship to you.
  • Don’t worry about spelling or perfect penmanship. If you make a mistake, just cross it out instead of ripping out the page and starting over. Cross outs and doodles give your journal personality! I’ve even glued paper items into my journal, such as a turtle drawing my niece made for me or a ticket stub.
  • Think outside the box if you want. I created a type of journal by printing out personal email conversations I had years ago with my sister and my closest friends, while I lived in Peru. I put each printout in protective sleeves and compiled them in a binder. Bloggers who journal in their posts can turn their blog into books with services such as blog2print.com (I’ve never used this so I can’t vouch for it.) 

Today I came across this article on familysearch.org that has a challenge, called, the 52 Stories project, which I’m going to do this year. I’m hoping some of my readers will join me. The idea is to record (in any form) one life story each week of this year. The best way to do this is by random memory. If you don’t know where to start, try asking yourself one of these questions.

Here is a snippet from the article that stood out to me:

“On nearly every headstone, no matter how plain or ornate, is carved one universal symbol. It’s a simple horizontal line—a dash—separating two significant dates. The first marks the day one precious soul entered this mortal life. The second marks his or her inevitable journey onward.

A well-known poem by Linda Ellis, “The Dash,” speaks of this symbol:

“For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.”

We are each, right now, standing somewhere in the middle of our own individual dashes.”

♥ Do you keep a journal? If you decide to participate in the 52 Stories challenge, let me know! ♥