J is for Journal

"Get a notebook . . . a journal that will last through 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. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events."

-Spencer W. Kimball

My first journal was written by my mother. She wrote down her thoughts and observations of me as a baby. As I grew, she recorded some of the things I did and said, in addition to her writings of love and encouragement. She would sometimes ask me questions or just listen to my explanations of things and write them down.
One of those instances has turned into one of my all-time favorite journal entries. I'll share with you the first part:
"This is going to be my life--
First when I go to BYU, I'm gonna find my man and I'm gonna pray and see if its the right boy I'm sposed to have. Then I'll get married in the temple--and I'll have a ring--and you and Daddy and J and B will be there--and my husband will be there. And then I'm going out to eat at Wendy's and I'll get a frosty and give it to my husband -and I'll pay for it if I have enough money-. I'll say to my husband 'Thank you for marrying me' and I'll give him a kiss. "
While we didn't go to Wendy's on our wedding day, many of those early plans did actually pan out for me (oh how I wish I'd read this entry when I was wedding planning! Wouldn't that have just been perfect--and I would have bought Mr. H that frosty!). It's fascinating to imagine my six-year-old self dreaming into the future, I just love it! And I love my mother even more for taking the time to write it down.
My journal quickly became my drawing board--Mom would write down events and I would draw pictures. My collection includes drawings of fancy dresses, my baptism day, and visiting my Granddaddy in the hospital.
Soon enough I was writing my own entries, and I've been writing in one way or another ever since. My early scriblings, teenage dramas, and college writings are so entertaining to read through on a rainy day. I am so grateful to have them and for that seed planted by my mother: J is for Journal.
These days I do most of my writing on my little laptop--my journal is woven into this blog, our family blog, and my official "Journal" in word document form. I appreciate the ease and speed of typing away my thoughts and ideas, but I still love a good sit down with a pen and paper.
I recently spent some time encouraging a group of young people to keep a journal--any kind of writing of the events, people, places, and feelings that make up their world. Some of them were unconvinced. I even heard someone ask "Who's that?" when I brought up the journal writings of Anne Frank. I'm still getting over that one.
I hope I can instill a love for writing in my children--an in particular in journal writing. There are so many reasons to record our lives: for ourselves (I seriously LOVE reading my old journals & I find myself focusing more on the good things in my life when I am consistently recording), for our families (wouldn't you love to peak into your mother's mind as she went about her busy day with small children?), for our posterity (I know so much more about my grandparents who kept journals/family histories than those who didn't), and for our personal collection of experiences along our journey.
"You will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of those meaningful and significant things. Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experiences. "
~Gordon B. Hinckley
After all, J is for Journal.


Linda said...

I loved recording your thoughts, usually sitting together in the lazyboy, one of you on the arm of the chair. I, too, wish you had remembered this and T both needed a Frosty that day! In fact, we all should have driven through Wendy's that day! We did have milkshakes with Ben in Bountiful right before his wedding.

Amy Leigh said...

I don't keep a journal but this makes me feel better about blogging! Thanks for the inspiration.

Heather said...

What a neet way to have family stories. You have inspired me to start writing in my blog more and to get a journal and start writing, I think I might also try it on the computer as well. Thank you for an inspiration.