Friday, August 2, 2013

Journals and remembering

I decided to write a post about journals. I love keeping a journal. At first it was difficult to think what I wanted to write, but as I kept at it, I discovered that keeping a journal helps me remember the past and have hope for the future. It also helps me sort out my thoughts as I'm writing them down. This is the first time I've taken photos specifically to post on this blog, and it was kind of fun. I got out all of the journals I've filled up over the years and started taking pictures. You'll see from the photos that I've used many different journals. Each one is. And they're all quite special to me. 

I've filled up nearly twelve journals, counting scripture study journals. I've included a photobook and a book that friends wrote in during my mission, so there are 14 books in this photo. I've arranged them in chronological order, left to right. I chose to photograph them on my bed because of the afghan, which my Grandma Lemon made for me. The picture below contains thousands of words and a great many memories.


My first journal (that dark blue one on the far left) was a gift from my bishop on the day of my baptism when I was eight years old. I sat down that night and wrote a few lines about my feelings that day. For the next few years, journal writing was something of a chore that had to be done, but with time, I grew to love it. It's a way to collect my thoughts, to remember both the good and bad things that have happened, and to put life in perspective. 
There is an excellent article on remembering by Henry B. Eyring in the August issue of the Ensign. He suggests, "As you start to write, you could ask yourself, 'How did God bless me and those I love today?' If you do that often enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes you will have gifts brought to your mind that you failed to notice during the day but that you will then know were a touch of God's hand in your life."
I am grateful for the oft-repeated counsel to write in a journal. I've found that it has brought many blessings to my life. It really doesn't matter what book you use to keep your journal in; as you can see, I've used a variety of different ones. The most important thing is that it's durable so it will last long enough for you to refer back at it. It's also helpful to put the dates somewhere near the front, like this: "from December 2009 to November 2010". This makes it easier to find specific events later on and to keep your journals in order.

paperblank, journal
This is the front of one of the prettiest books I've used as a journal...
and this is the back.

I love books of all kinds, and choosing just the right book for a journal is really quite fun. You can also decide on just one kind of journal to use, then label the outside to tell them apart. Some of my mission companions would decorate their journals with pictures, which is also fun. 
This was also a gift. I couldn't get the photo to turn out very well, but I wanted to include it anyway. This journal was with me on my mission where I filled it up with memories.
This is a notebook I found in Argentina when the journal above was running out of space. I just really liked the cover. I'm a few pages away from filling it up completely. 
The blue book here is the one I used to collect addresses and messages from the friends I made in Argentina during my mission. It has a spiderweb pattern. I bought it at a store in ParanĂ¡ and it's a notebook most people use for school or just keeping notes.
This isn't exactly a journal: it's a photo book that I put together after I got home from my mission. I think it's important to keep physical copies of photos and this is a good way to do it. I used to scrapbook when I was younger, and I liked it, but the times they are a changing. This is just easier and faster than printing photos then scrapbooking them.