Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Book of Me - Journal Joy

I love my journals.  I love being able to look back through the years and read about events, challenges, thoughts, inspiration, and, over time, progress (or lack thereof).  Rereading my journals takes me to a previous time, a different place, and gives me a perspective of past events that I may not have understood at the time I wrote the entries.  Sometimes I am surprised at my emotions, recorded at the time I was feeling them; at the poignancy with which I wrote some entries about tender events; and the details of some important event in my life.  Truly, my journals bring me joy.

I have kept journals off and on since I was a young teen.  Most of the early ones, kept in notebooks or binders, are gone.  For a few years I made and used large wall calendars to record daily events, usually without reflections or thoughts.  Finally I transitioned to typing journal entries.  I found it so much easier and faster than hand writing.  I wrote my thoughts with more accuracy and detail when I typed and it was easy to erase when the word didn't exactly mean what I wanted to say.  On days when I wasn't able to type, I wrote entries by hand but they were shorter and less neat.

Most pages are only words but I also like to embellish journal pages.  I'm not really much of an artist so when I find a picture that I like or that is meaningful, I may cut it out and save it to paste onto a journal page when it fits the entry.  

I also include quotes, added in a larger font size, which are usually reminders or words of encouragement.

After I type a journal entry I save it with the date as the name.  I may print it that day or I may wait and print a week's or month's worth at a time.  I'm not a perfect typist so I try to proofread what I've typed before I print it but sometimes I miss mistakes.  I go back and correct them with pen unless there are several on a page or entry, in which case I correct the mistakes on the computer and reprint as necessary.

By the end of the year I have a sheaf of loose papers.  I store them in a folder until I'm able to bind them.  I have bound some of my journals by hand.  At right you can see two book blocks awaiting endpapers, boards, and covers.  I think I love the hand bound journals best.  I can choose the paper and/or fabric for the covers and the endpapers to go with them.  If I've done a good job with the binding they look beautiful.  It is a time-consuming process and, unfortunately, I have about seven or eight that are either completely unbound or in the process of being bound.  (I'm sorry I don't have photos to share.)

For a few years I used  9" x 12" wire-bound artists' sketch books.  I liked the paper, the fact that the pages laid flat, and that there was a binding method.  I disliked that I had to undo the wire comb, remove the pages, and fold the sides near the holes so the pages would fit into the printer.  Not only that, the pages were so wide that I found I needed to print in two columns or use very large type.  Needless to say, four years was enough for that method.  I guess I haven't found the perfect physical method for binding typewritten journals.

The pages above detail part of my daughter's and my experience while driving from Ohio to Rexburg, Idaho.  Her car died going down a hill at 80 mph on the interstate in Wyoming.  I'm so grateful to have written the details of that horrific 3-day-experience of being left "destitute" in the middle of nowhere.  We can laugh now but not so at the time of the events.  You may be able to read it by clicking on the image, then clicking the enlarged image again.  (Let me know if you want to know/read the whole story.)

For the last about two years I haven't written a journal.  I don't know why I stopped but I've been feeling the urge to begin writing again -- and will, soon.  There have been so many events in the last two years that I will probably not be able to remember most of them, let alone write detailed accounts.  My sad loss.

I love these quotes about journals and ancestors.

From Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Ensign, May, 1999
A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory.  What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family.  Knowledge of our ancestors shapes us and instills within us values that give direction and meaning to our lives.

From Spencer W. Kimball, New Era, October, 1975
Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully.  You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life.  There may be a flash of illumination here and a story of faithfulness there.…  Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available.…  What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?  Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.…  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....  This is what the Lord has commanded and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.
I have no journals of any of my ancestors.  My mom kept a journal, written in inexpensive, spiral-bound school notebooks.  When we cleaned my parents home they were there.  I wanted to take them home the weekend we found them but the car was full.  When I returned the following week they were gone.  I can't guess that my mom wrote more than the barest detail but I would have liked to at least read them.  I don't know how many years she wrote or whether she wrote them for herself or for us.  I'll never know now.

Do you keep a journal?

This is another post in The Book of Me series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.


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