That was the beginning.
I took time to read through a few of the entries from various years and it was awesome. While some of the things I wrote about were sad, like about relatives dying, breakups with boyfriends, arguments with girl friends and family members (brothers mostly, lol), and pets passing, in the early journals most of what I wrote was happy and about good things happening in my life.
I had goals and plans, I was hopeful about the future, about my future.
Later journals contained more troublesome entries, like issues when trying to conceive a child, the complications of treating infertility, then the long, emotional process of adopting my children. Some entries were happy and good, others were complicated, sad, and even worrisome when re-reading them. I went through some really rough times.
The biggest blessing of keeping a journal has been the outlet for my deepest feelings and thoughts. This is the blessing I want to discuss with you. The reason I think everyone should keep some type of a journal and start it as soon as you can.
Having a private place to pour out all of the thoughts in my head either at the end of the day before I lay down to sleep or at the beginning of the day before I start, is a huge blessing. It allows me to get all those things out of my head, on to paper, and gone.
Once I write them down, I forget them. Before I started keeping a journal, those thoughts would roam around in my head all day or keep me awake at night. Once I released them to the printed page, my mind was clear and sleep was sound.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Either purchase a beautiful, lined page, journal that you love or create one out of a cheap spiral notebook by decorating it with things that inspire you and bring you joy. The more you love the way the journal or notebook looks, the easier it is to want to write. (It's a mind game).
2. Choose (or purchase a new one) pen to dedicate just to writing in your journal. A pen can not be erased and it is somewhat permanent. Pencil will fade, you don't want it to fade. You want it to last at least a few decades anyway. I have two pens that I keep just write in my journals with. Two pens that I love to write with.
3. You don't need to write in it everyday. Some days do not have anything eventful to write about. Some days our minds are clear of anything meaningful. But no matter if it is once a month or once a day, write in your journal. Make notes about things you did that day, how you felt about the day or events in the day, your goals and any progress you made towards them, disagreements you had with someone, how you feel about yourself on that day, anything that bothers you, anything that is on your mind.
4. Don't limit yourself to just words on a page. You can draw pictures in your journal to help tell your story, photographs can be glued (using safe glue) to the pages, quotes from books or people, prayers, anything you want to save from the day, like ribbons, pressed flowers, birthday cards, etc.
5. Find a box to store your completed (filled) journals. I don't go by years, in other words, one of my journals may include Jan thru Dec of one year and the first three months of the following year. I try to fill every single page no matter if its one complete year or multiple years in one journal.
6. Label the first page of your journal with the Month and Year of the First Entry and the Last Entry, so that the person who finds and reads them after your death can easily put them chronological order. Put your name on this page also, so that there is not doubt that this is YOUR journal.
7. You do not have rules for this journal except to use it. If you don't write in it, then you have wasted your time and money. So, use it. Write in it.
RECAP: Make the journal YOUR journal with things you love, like stickers, ribbons, lace, photographs, etc. Use it. Write everything you feel in it and get it out of your head. Keep it in a safe place where no one can find it while you are still living. Keep a box for completed journals so that they are all in one place and kept in good condition. Put your name on the first page and the dates contained in the journal.
There are so many useful gadgets to help you with your journal keeping. Some are very cheap in cost, others are a little pricey. For example, stickers. Stickers can be purchased in lost of craft, discount stores, stationary stores, even grocery stores have them sometimes. Printing photographs can cost a little more.
I use an HP Sprocket mini wireless printer to print 2.3 x 3.4 inch photographs on sticky back paper. This is a great gadget, but it cost around $150.
(See photo below)
If you have trouble sleeping or you have thoughts that stay in your mind all day, you need to consider keeping a journal. It is an excellent way to clear your head and sometimes even solve problems by writing them down where you can see them more clearly. There are so many good
reasons to keep a journal.
Here are a few links to articles about the benefits of journaling:
"Pen, Paper, Power!
The 5 Benefits of Journal Writing"
"Why Keeping a Journal
Can Improve Your Life"
A short video from "Charlotte Today with Colleen Odegaard
on how to start keeping a journal
Start keeping a journal today.
It can help you in so many ways.
It will take practice and dedication for a few weeks to get in the habit, but once you form the habit of writing your daily thoughts down, you wonder why you didn't start keeping a journal sooner!
Do you keep a journal? Do you embellish your journal with photographs, drawings, memorabilia? Have you found that keeping a journal is good for your health? What benefits have you found with keeping a journal?