The older I get, the more I find myself craving conversation. Beyond water-cooler chatter or pleasantries exchanged in passing, I want to discuss in-depth ideas with family and friends.
Yes, ideas. Not events and especially not people. I’m not claiming to be above gossip (except maybe literally because my office is on the 2nd floor at my work). I’m just not one of those people who enjoy talking about others.
As if reading my mind, Laura Tremaine launched her 10 Things to Tell You podcast. Each week she introduces a topic, then encourages listeners to share their thoughts. That may take the form of a social media post, a phone call with a friend, or an entry into a personal journal.
I love the concept and even shared my thoughts the weeks she discussed reading (because obvs.) and loneliness. This past week, she talked about journaling, giving her listeners 10 different options to the craft.
Given my participation with #The100DayProject and my love of all things journal, I wanted to join in. I have 4 active journals at the moment.
1,000+ Gifts List
I’ve tried many different types of calendars and planners, never finding a layout that suited me. July of 2017 purchased a blank dot lined journal and created my first layout. Depending on the season, space I need for planning and tracking varies.
I love knowing that during busier months, I can fill my pages with to-do lists and calendar items, rather than writing down my daily activities. During our #CampFraddHallmarkChristmas vacation this past December, I used the monthly layout as a way of recording which cities we visited (and for how long). I didn’t have the time and energy for much more than the basics. I hope to go back and fill in details for each city and can use the journal to jog my memory of the trip’s festivities.
1,000+ Gifts List
Years ago, after reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, I decided to participate in the exercise myself. I’m not a naturally grateful person, so the idea of daily writing about my blessings seemed like a challenge. Reaching the tally of 1,000 seemed impossible, but I got started anyway.
I’ve already surpassed 13,000 items recorded to date, over three journals. During a particularly rough season a few months ago, I became more purposeful with my daily thanks. I set a reminder to go off every hour during my day, prompting me to stop, take a deep breath, and remember there is always something for which to be grateful.
The name of the journal is fairly straight forward, but I record several different things in this particular notebook. Sunday sermon notes coexist with my daily Bible study notes and prayers. From week to week, the format of the notes and prayers vary. I’ll answer the study questions if I’m working through a study guide. If I’m reading a book of the Bible with no other supplemental reading, I’ll record my thoughts. Sometimes this is just a one-sentence summary after completing a chapter, help me reflect on the core idea of the passage.
When I most struggle to pray, I find writing out my prayers helpful. Years ago I created a guide on what to pray for, divided out by day of the week. I haven’t used it consistently this past year, but breakdown looked something like this:
From a prayer as short as “God, please!” To paragraph after paragraph pouring my heart out, I find myself getting less distracted in prayer when my eyes are focused on the page and my energy is directed towards the pen and the page.
From my first diary, complete with lock and key, to the journals I keep today, I’ve kept an accounting of my life for 30 years. (EEK – Can I really be that old?) While I never intend on allowing anyone to read them, I love being able to look back myself and see how far I’ve come.
One day, my family may want to read about my life and inner thoughts. But hopefully, that’s long after I’m gone. (I’m looking at you Jay. No, the fact that I wrote the words on paper does not mean I wanted you to snoop and read all about my thoughts of our first date unfiltered by hindsight and love.)
Do you keep a journal? If so, do you have a set format or structure, or do you prefer free-form writing? I’d love to continue this conversation in the comments or via email. Or, if you decide to write a post to share with the world, please share where we can find it.