Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Write it Down?

Keeping a Journal: What does that mean to you?

For some, it is like a diary, where one keeps his/her deepest secrets, locked behind a turned key..

For some, it's for keeping track of events or facts about one's life.

For me, it's the opportunity for me to write down my most precious memories and put down on paper how God is working in my life. Sometimes I write something down that I don't understand at the moment, but after the passing of time, I look back on my writings and see that God had it all under control and knew what He was doing all along. That's the best reason for me to keep writing in my journal....God has taught me so much. He's shown me that even when I don't feel like He is near me or understands my situation, I realize later on that He does care and is always watching over me.

I starting writing my own personal journal over 26 years ago. At that time, I'm not sure I really knew why I wanted to start a journal, but it was during a time in my life when there were a lot of big and memorable things happening to me. I had a new job, my first full-time professional job, which I loved at the time. I was in a serious relationship with a guy, who later became my husband.

Over the years, I've written about lots of different things, but always from my heart. I would only write when I felt the need to, not just write every day or a certain day of the week. There were times I did write every day(sometimes more often) and there were time I didn't write for several months and even a few times that it was over a year till I returned to my journal. That's the thing about journaling over writing in a diary. I think journaling has no rules or regulations...if you stop writing, you can always return to it later on. I don't usually get all fancy. I write the date, sometimes the time of day, if it helps me remember the event better, then I just write till there's no more I need to write about. Sometimes it's just a short paragraph, sometimes it's several pages long.

More recently, I've expanded my journaling options. I've learned that there are lots of things I journal about and sometimes when I want to look back at what I wrote, it can be difficult to find it. I love the creative and artistic styles of journaling books that are now sold at most bookstores and card stores. I have collected approximately 10-12 different books over the years, and filled them with my writings.

At the beginning of this year, I found a great free on-line journal program called 280 Daily
I like the program because it sends me a reminder by email to write in my journal. I decided it was perfect for me to start a "spiritual" journal for me to write just short daily "God sightings" and that way I could look them up quickly and easily, when I wanted to go back to a certain posting. I also use it to write down a Bible verse I especially like or want to remember. There are some days that I still need to write more than a short post, so I keep my handwritten journal for those times. This online journal also allows you to keep other different kinds of journals, including a photo journal, food diary, to do list, travel journal, and many more.

Most recently I purchased an adorable journal book with birds and flower designs on it. I decided to start a new "gardening" journal book, since I love to garden. This one has been a little more difficult for me to get going on. I'm still kind of figuring out all I want to put in this journal. I've started by writing down a list of my spring flowers that are blooming and when they started to bloom this year. I also hope to use some drawings/photos of some of my favorites, as well as plants I hope to add to my garden this year. There are lots of great ideas for a garden journal that I've collected  on my Pinterest board (go here to see them).

I hadn't really thought of it as a journal, but I am also keeping  my  gratitude list from taking part in the Joy Dare, here on my blog. I keep that list going here, but post my new ones each week.

There are lots of reasons and options for writing a journal. If you don't like to write a lot, but like taking pictures, try a photo journal. Or if you like to draw, try an art journal. Journals are a great way to express yourself, keep records of special events in your life, or a place to remind yourself how God cares and is present  in everything you do or your hopes and dreams.  Some people don't have a lot of time to write down a long journal. Try the 280 Daily program. It's great, since it reminds you to write, but to keep it short.

I highly encourage anyone to at least try to keep a "Spiritual Journal" where you can see how God is working in your life. It has given me strength in difficult times and allowed me to express thoughts in ways I couldn't express in person.

Below are the new additions to my JOY DARE list:
 3 gifts opened up
611. My find my friends in bloggyland!
612. The Word of God...always full of wisdom and encouragement.
613. A packet of my favorite instant Oregon Chai

3 gifts budding/blooming
614. Strawberry patch flowers, soon to be berries.
 615. My Clematis blooms, almost ready to open.
616. My Snowball bush

3 gifts received, after much waiting
617. Accepted offer on a house on a lake!
618. Many pretty flower pictures to put in my new Garden Journal.
619. A painted sign with words I've tried to live.

3 gifts bright
620. A few minutes of sunshine in a mostly cloudy day.
621. My bright pink azaleas in bloom.
 622. Yellow center of my purple Pansies

3 gifts found looking up.
623. Ceiling fans to cool(and warm) each room in my house.
624. Tree branches and rustling leaves, blowing in the strong wind.
625. Canadian geese, honking and flying overhead.

 A gift in a bag, in a box, in a book
626. Bag - Peppermint tea and lemon juice I bought for my sick mother.
627. Box - Fresh strawberries, purchased at the market.
628. Book - My journal, to write and remember.
Linking over at these blog hops:


  1. Hi Ann,

    I love your journal post and your beautiful gifts! I will have to check out the online journal... Anytime you would like to share over at Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith - I am having a Random Journal Day Link Up- I would love for you o link up and share as you feel led! Consider it- come by and check out some of the posts and then join in! We are doing it every week, so I put the new link up every Friday. 12:01 Am eastern time! It stays open all week as well. Beautiful pictures!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dawn! I did check out the new link-up you have and am very interested! What a cool idea! It will be fun to meet other journal-ers that enjoy journaling as much as I do!! :)

  2. writing down your thoughts keeps them from being lost. Your journal is an excellent idea.

    1. I still go back every once in a while (when I'm feeling especially nostalgic) and read posts from years ago. Sometimes it makes me sad that time goes by so fast. But mostly, it makes me so thankful for all God has done in my life! Have a wonderful week!

  3. Ann

    What a great post. I am linking up from A Holy Experience using my blog Blogspot doesn't agree with Wordpress for comments for me so I sign in with Google.

    I have been writing in a journal/diary for about 12 years now. It started just before I gave my heart to Christ. I haven't stopped and have become a writer as well.

    I like all your ideas - my problem is too many ideas - not enough focus - so I will take a peak but must be careful not to grab too many colourful balloons at once.


    1. You are right, Jan. I only kept one kind of journal all these years, up till recently. And my garden journal is still kind of in the works. If it gets to be too much, I'll probably back off that one. You should do only what you feel comfortable doing. It's definitely not supposed to be overwhelming to journal. If you want to try something new, start with one new thing at a time. thanks for sharing you wise thoughts, friend!

    2. Thanks Ann,
      Someday when I have more time and God leads me - I might start special journals. I have attempted a few - a prayer journal - got lost in the shuffle. I even started a blog journal but too hard to find the right book - so now they are all mushed in one journal.
      I think it is important to write - and that's what you and I do. I have some friends I am encouraging to write as well.

  4. 26 years. Wow. I really wish I had begun journal ling early in life. There are so many memories that are lost. The closest thing I have done to journalling is blogging but I only began 1 1/2 years ago. It makes me sad now.
    congratulations for your commitment to it.

    1. Have you ever considered writing a memoir, Shanda? I did that a few years ago, but I need to update it. It basically is the story of your life, made into a storybook and would include your favorite memories, from your childhood, up to the present time. It takes some time to write, but is worth it. I started out by just making a chronological list of all my memories. It's something your children and grandchildren can read for many years to come. Blogging sure is helpful for keeping memories alive, too!!! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Such beautiful blessings, and pictures. I love to journal.

  6. I loved your post. A few years back, God led me to record everything He has been teaching me through a very difficult situation. I started doing this and found it easier to type things rather than write and in a short time, I started blogging. I wondered why God wanted me to record the lessons He had been teaching me but He soon showed me that it is because it helps me to remember or else I may forget. Sure enough, I have returned to many posts at various times and they have been 'spot on' and both reminded and encouraged me again when I needed such. God knows what my memory is like and I'm sure glad I followed His Holy Spirit promptings.

    I also find that blogging helps me in my Bible Study as I meditate upon the Word of God to gain inspiration for my posts.

    1. Isn't it awesome, Wendy, that God knows what we need and if we are obedient, He provides for us, just at the right time? Absolutely, journaling helps me, too, when it comes to knowing what to write about on my blog. Thanks for leaving this encouraging comment!

  7. It's perfect timing that you wrote about journaling and keeping a spiritual journal! That's what I wrote about (in part) this week, too! I have found writing down the blessings and miracles God has done in my life to be a huge encouragement to me during the rough times. It is a constant reminder of His faithfulness and is a huge faith builder for me. Blessings, Ann! Joan

    1. God's timing is so 'right on', isn't it, Joan? I'm learning the full truth of that each new day! I know I can use all the encouragement and faith building from Him I can get! I'm amazed at hearing how many fellow bloggers are also avid spiritual journal-keepers! What a blessing!

  8. WOW! What a thorough and helpful post on journaling. I especially like that you give people ideas for a variety of ways to journal. Sometimes we narrow journaling to a daily written record, but you've shared some ideas I've never heard of before. I hope lots of people read this great post. Thanks for sharing it on Bible Love Notes.


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