I don't know about you but I can't resist buying journals.

Blank pages.

Pretty covers.

So much more than a diary- the teenage bearing of secrets and angst that we  immediately associate with journals.

I have about a half dozen  journals sitting on my shelf right now.  Eight years' worth of archives recording the good, the bad, the ugly.


My "mommy journal" that has morphed into a type of day to day reflection of important things that happen to our lives. The original intent being a place to record not only milestones of my growing tribe, but my own feelings and experiences as a Mother.  My mommy journals are to serve as reading/training for my girls, and not to be even peeked at till they are pregnant for their first born.  This practice of journaling has been a refuge in times of troubled waters.  An outlet, cheaper than  online shopping therapy, more productive than watching chick flicks, and less destructive than getting drunk.

I also have a journal which records long term dreams, ideas or aspirations.

The front cover reads: When My Girls Are Older. 

This is an interesting one to flip back through.

Interesting to see how I as a person have changed, reflected in the things once upon a time I envisioned myself doing.  Many things have stayed the same. The exhausting yo-yo-ing of emotions I go through as my children swing and collide into me on the highs of absolutely charming and fun, bringing forth tears at their raw beauty, to the lows of the appallingly destructive and annoying; bringing forth tears of raw stress.  My relationship with Mr MS- oh the highs and lows.  The mountaintops of good times, the plains of perseverance, and valleys of "this is not what I signed up for".

  Looking back at what I have recorded gives amazing perspective.  The struggles of four pregnancies that put my body in a constant state of sickness and fatigue for nine months are past.  So are nights of sick crying babies. Pregnancy woes and the tension of constant little demanding mouths made for a bevvy of raw emotions and a marriage in need of constant maintenance.  Tiredness makes for cranky spouses.  Not that four daughters, ages three to ten, is just one big magical experience of good times.  Ten years of God's merciful patience with this broken vessel as He molds me, gives me wisdom, and opens my eyes to see everything I ever wanted is in this room right now, make for a happier, more sane Mama… most days. Not to mention popping a Lexipro every other day, and a glass or two of wine every night… (just keeping it real, folks).

Questions.  Constant questions.   That is what I see when I flip back on eight years worth of scribbling.  Sometimes with joy, sometimes with tears.  On weary nights, on angry days.  Always trying and pushing for the best.  Wanting to know all the right answers. Right now.

I still do.

But I am a lot more relaxed in my pursuits.


I still do my "Mommy Journal".

But my journaling pursuits now expand to my creative pursuits.

I started my "While I Was Reading" journal this Summer.

I love the cover- a present from my Mother in law.

Once I decided what I would journal in these lovely brown kraft lined-papers I made customized title pages:



Drinking in words, aptly stated, beautifully expressed is a great renewing pleasure.  So many times I have wanted to recall a line I loved, that perfectly expressed something true.

Now I have a place to record them:



Samples of copied lines I came across "while I was reading".

And on my creative horizons?:

A photo journal.

Having this digital slew of pictures is lovely to have stored in the hidden murky archives of our Dell's hard drive to then share with all of you.

But it would be nice to have a collection of my favorites, to have in my hand, to look upon, perhaps textured and layered with lovely affects, a doodled or embroidered quote scripted alongside.

Patricia, my mother in law, at not sitting it out and Esther at E makes art  have wonderful artful journals.  While their own raw artistic talents outshine my own they have inspired me to start my own art journal none the less.  Done the Many Slices way.

Lastly, on two separate occasions friends on facebook have sent me links to Ann Voskamp, the author of 1000 Gifts, and her personal blog A Holy Experience.  It is one of the most wonderful and moving blogs I have ever read.  I dare you to read her words, coupled with stunning shots and set to beautiful piano music, and not get choked up.  Speaking of dares:  Her book is based on something called "The Joy Dare".  A gratitude challenge to list 1000 things you are grateful for in one year.  Three things per day. Her book has been a best seller for over a year.  Much more than just a generic challenge to "be more grateful".  Each month is a challenge list of sorts, of things to be thankful for; joys to seek out.  A mindful practice to recall what matters. Also on her blog is a link to  pages of moving personal stories; testifying how this simple practice has indeed given Joy, even in the midst of terrible heartache.

Twenty-four days behind, but not too late, the year is still young.

Here is this week's list of Joy Dares to challenge your spirit, to seek, and be grateful for; posted in her Holy Experience Blog and in her book: 1000 Gifts:


22nd ~ one grace wrinkled, one grace smoothed, one grace unfolded

23rd~  3 gifts found in Christ

24th~ 3 things blue

25th~ one grace borrowed, one grace found, one grace inherited

26th~  a gift before 9am, a gift before noon, a gift after dark

27th~ 3 gifts that might never have been

28th~ 3 graces found in your friends


Pretty exceptional.

See how it makes you work your brain to dwell on all the gifts we have, that come from God, as a gift to us.

I have a Barnes and Noble coupon coming my way and with it I am getting Anna's book, and a new journal too. (they are marked down to 75% right now).

Here's to remembering.



6 thoughts on “Journaling

  1. Journaling is so important!! and I love how many different outlets for it, you keep. It will be valuable and like gold to your daughters…and you again and again.


  2. Leah, I just got Ann’s book from Amazon for $10.19 and free shipping….but depending on how cheap B&N sells it for, your 75% off will probably be better 🙂


  3. Wow, thanks for the shout out, Leah! I’m honored! I’m so happy to have helped to inspire you to start an art journal. That’s what it’s all about is to inspire one another as we ourselves are inspired. Although I don’t agree that our talents outshine yours!
    I’m amazed at how many journals you’ve kept over the years. How precious for your girls! I also love the idea of a reading journal, but I can’t even keep a regular one to write in, lol! Thanks for sharing about Ann Voskamp and the Joy Dares, I’m very interested in checking it out! It sounds wonderful.


  4. Lovely post Leah. I loved reading about all of your different journals and realized that if we sat face to face talking about this, I would be as giddy as girl with a new puppy. I love journaling, I get excited about new journals and buy them quicker than I can fill them up. Writing is such an amazing thing and I can say in all honesty that it has saved my life on more than one occasion. Journaling has been there through it all and though I can’t say I want to go back and read all that I’ve written, I can’t seem to throw them away either.
    Currently I have a polaroid journal, an ideas journal, an art journal that I doodle and collect treasures in, and a heart to heart journal that carries my deep thoughts. I love your “while I was reading” journal and may have to borrow that one! I already ordered a different kind of gratitude journal that I am anxiously waiting for, but the Joy Dare sounds lovely.
    Thanks for sharing this part of you!! I enjoyed reading it immensely!


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