Friday, December 29, 2006

Year End Review

Now that we've reached the end of the year you may want to take some time to do a year end review entry in your journal. In this entry you can recap significant events from the year and even talk about things you're looking forward to in the next year. It's also a great time to provide a "snapshot" of yourself. What things are important to your life right now. It's amazing how much some things can change from year to year.

Here is a site that has a top 10 list of year end review questions. This should help you get started on your own entry.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Journaling Your Beliefs

Have you ever taken the time to write down your beliefs in your journal? Your beliefs are probably something that you don’t give a lot of thought to, but it is an important part of who you are. I hadn’t really thought about writing down my beliefs until I came across the NPR This I Believe invitation. You can find the invitation here. Reading this invitation will give you an idea of what a good statement of beliefs should contain. Here is a quick summary of some of their points:
1. Use language natural to you
2. Tell what you believe, how you reached your beliefs, how they have grown and what made them grow
3. Write what you live by in the terms of “I”
4. Stick to affirmatives

To view essays that have been submitted to the This I Believe project by others, go to their website.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ten Year Journal

I’ve been thinking about starting a ten year journal at the first of the year. The idea of having a ten years worth of short entries all on one page for any given day just really appeals to me. I’m addicted to my long entries in my daily journal to ever give that up, but I feel that the ten year journal could serve as a sort of index to my regular daily journal. I can also see where a journal like this would appeal to someone who does not like to write a lot and would prefer a short entry for every.

If you’re considering a ten year journal, you could either go buy one, or there is a pdf file available online that you can print out yourself. Click here to get to the online pdf file. It’s free, the link is at the bottom of the page. I’ve been thinking about having the pdf file printed and bound at the local copy shop. It seems like a better alternative then trying to print it at work since that is the only duplexing printer I have access to.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Journaling Music

I absolutely love music so it tends to make appearances in my journal from time to time. The most common way for music to appear in my journals is in the form of lyrics. When a song gets stuck in my head or just really seems to resonate with me, I will write those lyrics in my journal. This tends to turn into me writing my thoughts and ideas on what the lyrics are saying and why they mean something to me.

There are other times when I will simply write down what I am currently listening to and that is it. Certain members of my family have a tendency to twist the lyrics to existing songs to make up their own songs. There have been times when I have written about this and some sample lyrics in my journal.

There is even a small notebook that I carry in my purse where I write down songs or artists that I want to listen to. This helps me to remember new artists and songs. It has worked out well because I am always looking for new music and I was getting frustrated at forgetting most of the leads I was finding on new good music. Now I always have the notebook with me so I can write it down and check it out when I get a chance.

What music has spoken to you? Try writing about it in your journal. You never know where it will lead you.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Online Paper Journaling Community

There is an online community on LiveJournal for paper based journaling, Emodiment. Their goal is to write an entry in your paper journal every day for the year. The community started last year. At the time I didn't join, but I have watched the community throughout the year. It is an interesting community and is worth checking out if you are interested in paper journaling. I did join for 2007 since membership recently opened up again. If you plan on joining, do so soon as membership closes at midnight on December 31, 2006. Click the image below to see the community profile.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Journaling Your Dreams and Desires

I love to take the time to write in my journal about my dreams and desires. It helps me to clarify exactly what it is that I want and why. There have even been a few times where after I wrote about it and worked through the details I realized that I didn’t really want what I thought I did. Some of these things just didn’t fit in with my values and personality. In these cases I’m glad that I realized this before I spent a lot of time and money working towards something that I didn’t really want. On the positive side, there have also been situations where working through my desires has helped to clarify exactly what I want and get me working on actually achieving it. So now, whenever there is something that I think I want, I like to take the time to work through it in my journal.

If time and money were no object, what would you do with your life? Take some time to write about the things you would love to have in your life or do with your life. Why do you want those things? What has stopped you from getting them? What can you do to make this dream a desire in the future? Make a plan and start working towards it. Something that seems impossible at first may not be so bad once you break it down into doable steps.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Unsent Letters

There have been times in my life when I had unresolved issues with someone who was no longer a part of my life. For various reasons, I was unwilling to contact them to resolve the issue. Instead, I took the time to write them a letter detailing all of those unresolved issues and my feelings. It felt good to get all of that junk out there and helped me to move on with my life. Then, instead of sending the letter, I burned it. The things I wrote in that letter were not something that I could have ever said to that person and there were quite a few things in there that I don’t want them or anyone else to know. So the only option for me was to destroy the letter. Even the actual act of burning the letter helped me. If you do burn the letter, just be sure to do it in a safe manner. I have burned mine in a woodstove, but a fireplace would also work. Putting the letter through a shredder would also work.

If you have unresolved issues with someone or there are things you want to say, but are unable to, try writing an unsent letter. You don’t have to burn it; some people may choose to save theirs. If you save it, just remember that eventually someone is probably going to read it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Organizing Your Journal Supplies

How do you store your journal supplies?

I try to be an organized person. Unfortunately life interferes and it doesn’t always work out that way. Right now I do manage to have my journal supplies next to my favorite writing spot. There are bookshelves next to where I typically write and I have dedicated one of the shelves to my journaling stuff. That shelf contains an assortment of journaling books, magazines and notebooks with my notes in them, but the most important items on that shelf are my journaling supplies. I currently have a small purse that I keep my pens in and a basket that I keep my stickers, post-its, scissors, glue and so forth in. I found this to be the most convenient storage method because it makes it very easy for me to pick up my supplies and take them with me if I decide to write somewhere else.

Do you have a system setup for storing your journal and supplies? If you don’t, you may want to check out this article on Organizing Ideas For Written Journals.

Some things to consider when organizing your journaling supplies:
* Location - I have found it is very convenient to have my supplies near where I typically journal
* Ability to Move - I don't always journal in the same spot so I keep my supplies in a something that is grab and contains all of my supplies
* Appearance - Your space will look better if you have something to contain your supplies. It may be as simple as a cup to hold your pens or a decorated shoe box to hold everything.
* Cost - Your organization system doesn't need to be expensive or even cost you anything. Try using items you already have on hand. Be creative.
* Size - Put all of your journal supplies together before you start organizing. This will help you visualize the size of the containers you need. Having a container that is either too big or too small only leads to frustration and disorganization.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Holiday Journals

For the past few years I have wanted to start a Christmas journal. Every year I manage to take a few notes, but so far I haven’t managed to put together the actual journal. So I have decided that this year will be the year that I get it put together. The problem I am having now is deciding which information I want to include in the journal. There is always so much going on during the holidays and I want to record as much of it as I can. Here are some of the topics I would like to cover in my Christmas journal.

1. Decorations – write about getting out and setting up the decorations, any new or special decorations?
2. Christmas Tree – When did we set it up? Who helped? Any special ornaments this year?
3. Baking – What did I bake this year? Who did I give it to?
4. Music – What holiday songs were popular this year? What did I listen to regularly?
5. Visitors – Did we have any visitors? Did we visit with anyone?
6. Shopping – Write about some of my shopping experiences during the holiday season. Were there any crazy sales?
7. Traditions – What family traditions did we follow? Were there any that we didn’t follow this year?
8. Parties – What parties and get togethers did we attend? Who was there? Any special memories of the parties?
9. Parties Hosted – Include the menu and any special recipes, guest list, any tips for next year?
10. Cards and Letters – Include a copy of your card list with addresses. Who did you receive cards from? Were there any especially memorable cards?
11. Gifts and Gift Lists – Include copies of gift lists from special people in your life. What gifts did you give? What gifts did you receive?
12. Church Services – Did you attend any church services? What was the message from the clergy? How did the church look?
13. Special Events – Did you participate in any special programs or events? What were they and how were they?
14. Post Holiday Interviews – Interview your family members after the holiday to find out their favorite traditions and activities, favorite or special memories, ideas for next year and so forth.

Whenever possible I want to include pictures in my journal. This is obviously going to be a pretty involved undertaking for me. For many of the past years I do not have notes on all of these topics, so I will just have to work with what I have. This year I may not even get to everything because of how busy we all get during the holidays, but I do plan on including as much as I can. At the very least you will want to make sure that you record the traditions and activities that are the most important to your family and make sure that you complete the post holiday interviews with all family members. This will give you valuable information which you can use to plan your holiday season next year.

For some additional inspiration, check out this article on Holiday Helps from Creating Keepsakes magazine.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Family Stories

Every family has their stories, the ones that get told time and time again. Or maybe there are some inside jokes in your family, comments and sayings that only make sense to members of your family. Take some time to write down these family stories and jokes. They show some of what makes you a part of your family. When you’re writing, don’t forget to include your take on the story. If your family is like mine and has a lot of stories, you may want to consider keeping a separate journal or notebook just for your family stories.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Household Notebooks

One type of notebook that I have found it very helpful to keep is a household notebook. This notebook serves as my central location for items that help keep my household running smoothly. For ease of use, I have found it much easier to keep my household notebook in a binder instead of a bound book. Mine is currently in a zipper binder which also has a pocket inside the front cover.

My household notebook consists of the following sections:
FlyLady’s Eleven Commandments
Tab 1: Routines – Copies of my standard routines. It seriously helps me to keep a regular schedule. Life happens and there are times when I have to adjust it, but I try to stick to it as much as possible.
Tab 2: Financial – This contains my household budget, copies of current financial goals and my master price sheet.
Tab 3: Goals – This section contains copies of the goals I have set financially, for the household and for myself
Tab 4: Contacts – This section has a sheet with all of my doctors contact information, a sheet of assorted household contacts and then an alphabetical list of all the household’s personal contacts.
Tab 5: Emergency Preparation Tips – a list of all the things I need to do to prepare for an emergency. Click here to see the list.
Tab 6: Household Cleaning – A list of tips for household cleaning and removing stains
Tab 7: Copies of Cards – Copies of our insurance cards, credit cards, drivers licenses, etc. (front and back)
Tab 8: Leave Time Summary – My summary of leave time available and used for work.
• The rest of the tabs contain information related to working on my current goals.
• Working On: Household Inventory

Not everyone will want this much detail in their household notebook and some people may even want more details. This notebook contains a lot of personal information about your household so I would suggest keeping it in a secure place. It is definitely handy to have it all together though.

For ease of updating, most of the information in my notebook has been typed up on the computer. That way I can easily keep my information up to date and in order.

There are two sites that I have found very helpful in setting up my household notebook. In fact, the original idea for this came from one of these sites although I can no longer remember which one. The sites are:
Fly Lady (they call it a control journal)
Organized Home

A similar notebook you may want to consider keeping is a public household notebook. This notebook could contain schedules for all family members, menus for local restaurants your family enjoys, contact information, gift lists for family members, etc. This notebook would be available for all family members to use and could even be useful for a babysitter or housesitter.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Restaurant Journal

Admit it, you love to eat out. I know I do. Now I’ve even been seeing articles claiming that it can be cheaper to eat out then to prepare a meal at home. At the very least it’s a nice break for the person who typically shops for, cooks and cleans up after the meals at home. People are eating out more and more for various reasons.

I have found it interesting to keep a restaurant journal to record these special meals. In this journal I write about our meals out and have even been known to include the receipt. Here are some of the things I find it helpful to record:

• Where did you eat? – name and location
• Any special reason for selecting that restaurant?
• When were you there? – date and time
• Who was with you?
• Why did you go out? – a celebration or just because
• What did everyone have? – it can be helpful to include a copy of the receipt, maybe even draw a diagram of the table and where everyone sat and note what they ate on there, you could even take a picture of your meal and include it here
• How was the service?
• How was the food?
• What was the restaurant like?
• Any interesting stories from the meal?
• Would you eat there again?

Or maybe you just want to write a review like a restaurant critic. Have fun with your writing and do what feels right for you.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Family Recipe Notebook

I started a family recipe journal a little over a year ago. In it I am collecting all of the recipes that our family enjoys. Whenever there is a story related to the recipe I like to add that with the recipe. It helps to make the collection more interesting. One thing I have considered, but haven’t done yet, is adding pictures of some of the food along with the recipe. I started this notebook as a convenience for myself because I got tired of having to hunt for the recipes when I wanted to use them. At first I tried collecting them on the computer. This didn’t work for me because my computer is upstairs so if I wanted to make something I had to go start up the computer, find the recipe and print it. By the time I did all that, I didn’t feel like cooking anymore. So I decided to switch over to a notebook. I selected a notebook which appears to be durable and has a nice plastic cover. Hopefully it will hold up well to the abuse that kitchen use can cause.

Does your family have any special recipes? Why not try creating your own family recipe notebook?

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Journal Prompt #19

What three things in your relationship with your significant other are you most passionate about?

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Journal Prompt #18

When do you tell little white lies?

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Journaling Thanksgiving

There is a good article in the November issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine about Thanksgiving. They talk about scrapbooking Thanksgiving, but there are some great prompts in the article that you can use in your journal. Check it out, I plan on using some of these for my own Thanksgiving entry.

Update: The link to this article is no longer working so I've removed it. You can see my new post of actual Thanksgiving Journal prompts here.

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Journal Prompt #17

List the things you have lost in your life, both material and immaterial.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Benefits to Keeping a Journal

There are many benefits to keeping a journal. Here is a list of some of the bigger ones. For a list of 100 reasons, click here.

1. Stress Reduction
2. Healing
3. Personal Growth
4. Know yourself and your truth
5. Problem solving
6. Enhances intuition and creativity
7. Capture your life story

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"There is no stress in the world, only people thinking stressful thoughts." -- Wayne Dyer

What stressful thoughts have you been thinking? What could you do to limit these thoughts and reduce the stress in your daily life?

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Imposing Limits

"The only limits in one's life are self imposed." --Dr. Denis Waitley

What limits have you been imposing on yourself?

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Bitch Free Friday

Where I work we have what we jokingly call Bitch Free Friday. It's supposed to work that no one is allowed to bitch or complain about anything for the whole day. Try doing something like this yourself today and see how it makes you feel. We all need to complain at times, but we should also be able to make it for 24 hours without any complaints. It feels good to concentrate on the positive for awhile.

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Quote Journals

One type of journal that I’ve been keeping for several years is a quote journal. This is an easy journal to keep. In my quote journal I write down any quotes that I find interesting whenever I come across them. Don’t forget to include the originator of the quote. You can also include your commentary, opinion or evaluation of the quote. Why does it speak to you? What do you think it means?

You can get your quotes from anywhere, birthday cards, the internet, books you’re reading, song lyrics. Here are a few quote web sites to get you started.

Quotations Page
Quote Land
Brainy Quote

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Journal Prompt #16

Describe your ideal home.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Book Journals

The idea behind a book journal is to keep track of the books that you’ve read. Whenever you finish a book, or even stop reading it for some other reason, write about it in your book journal. I would start with the title and author. You may want to include how you came across this book, where you purchased it, how much it cost and so forth. I would also include a review of the book and possibly a synopsis of the plot. However, some people may want to just list the book’s title, author and date completed. You should include as much or as little information as you want. At this point, I just keep a list of the books that I’ve completed in my planner. Sometimes I will mention the book in my daily journal, but not always.

Some people may find it helpful to keep a list of the books that they want too. I keep a small notebook in my purse that contains a list of books that I am interested in. I started this because I was tired of being in the bookstore or library and not being able to remember the name of the book I wanted. It has been very handy for me.

If you’re interested in keep a more detailed book log or journal, here is an article on that provides more detailed information.

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"The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn." --David Russell

Write about some of the bridges in your life. Did you cross some you should have burned or vice versa? Which bridges are you glad you crossed? Are there any you regret burning?

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Journal Prompt #15

How do you show your friends, family and that special someone that you love them?

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed." --Carl Jung

Who are some of the people who have transformed your personality? They could have caused good or bad transformations. Take some time to explore the transformations and what it has meant to your life.

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Mind Clutter

I recently took a day and cleaned out a spare room in my house that was full of junk. A good pile of stuff got donated and another good pile of the junk got thrown away. There are still a few things in there to be gone through, but it felt so good to see how clean that room was at the end of the day.

I have found that my journal is where I can clear out my mental clutter. After a really good session I will get the same feeling of accomplishment that I got after cleaning the physical clutter out of my spare room. Take some time to use your journal to clean out your mental clutter and see how much better you can feel.


Journal Prompt #14

There is a joke that says, if you are what you eat, then I'm cheap, fast and easy. Take some time to complete this sentence for yourself:

If you are what you eat, then I'm ___________.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Journal Prompt #13

Since tomorrow is Halloween, write about what you are going to be this year. Why did you select the costume that you did? If you're not dressing up, why aren't you?


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Journaling Jar

I love the whole idea of the journaling jar. It's a simple jar filled with journal prompts on slips of paper. This would be great for those days when you just can't think of anything to write about in your journal. You could even use it every day if you liked. This would also make a great gift for someone you know who is interested in journaling or who has been thinking about starting to journal.

A journal jar is easy to make. All it requires is a jar, journal prompts typed up on paper, and something to decorate your jar with. For more detailed instructions on making a journal jar, pictures and a list of prompts, click here.


Journal Topics Updated

I've updated my post from October 16th on Journal Topics to include even more topics.

Birthday Journals

We've hit a time of the year where my family has a lot of birthdays. So I thought this would be a good time to write about birthday journals.

You can keep a birthday journal for yourself or for someone else, such as a child, close friend or family member. On the birthday of the person you are keeping the journal for you will write your entry. You can recap the previous year and the changes it has brought, write your hopes and dreams for the future or just reflect on your relationship with that person or your life in general. Write whatever feels right to you. If you're writing this journal for someone else it helps to write the entry as if you are talking to them.

This would be a wonderful journal to keep for a child and give them when they get older. It could easily become one of their treasured keepsakes.

One alternative to this is the birthday letter. Instead of writing in a journal, each year your would write a letter. You can either seal it in an envelope with the birthday person's name and date on it, or you can mail it to them. If you mail it, even the envelope could serve as a keepsake because it would show where they were living at the time and what the stamps and postage rates were. If you do mail the letter, make sure that you keep a copy of the letter in case the post office loses or damages the original.

If you are keeping the birthday letters or journal for a child or anyone else, you may want to plan on giving them as a special birthday day gift in the future. Just don't forget to continue this custom even after that. It will be something for them to look forward to on their birthday every year.

Yet another twist to this idea is to have your friends and family members write you a letter for your birthday. They can write about their feelings for you, tell a funny story about you, write about how you met, or whatever feels right to them. Collect all of the letters in a notebook for a special birthday keepsake. This would be great for a milestone birthday and you could even coordinate it for someone else's birthday.

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Journal Prompt #12

Write about an experience you've had in a hot tub. If you haven't had one yet, write about one you would like to have.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Journal Prompt #11

What are your favorite things about the autumn season?


Thursday, October 26, 2006


Rolling Stone recently did a cover story on Jack Nicholson. In it he was quoted as saying, "I thing monogamy's impossible for me, but I haven't given up hope."

Take some time to write about your views on monogamy. How do you feel about someone who is always running around with different partners? How do you feel about someone who is able to be monogamous in a long term relationship? The views on this issue seem to be changing and monogamy seems to be becoming rarer. What does this say about the future of our society?

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Journal Prompt #10

Write about your housekeeping skills.

Is your house so neat that dust wouldn't dare settle in it? Or is it so messy that you no longer have any idea what color your carpet is? Who did you get your housekeeping skills (or lack of) from?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Journaling Your Mood

I will admit that I can be a moody person. There are times when I will get angry and I’m not even sure why. When that happens it helps for me to write in my journal and clear out my head. It gives me a chance to figure out why I am upset and what is bothering me. Once you figure out the problem it’s much easier to come up with a solution.

Journaling isn’t just for bad moods either. When you are in a great mood you’ll also want to take some time to write about why you are so happy. It helps to continue that good mood. Plus, when you look back on your old entries it is nice to be reminded of the good times too.

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Journal Prompt #9

For those of you that are dressing up for Halloween this year, what does your costume say about you?

Here is an article about what your costume says about you that I found on MSN.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Journaling Family Stories

Every family has stories. How many times have we listened to stories our parents or grandparents told us. I personally find it fascinating to listen to these stories of what life was like way before I was born. Sadly, most of these stories get lost to time because no one takes the time to write them down. Why not spend some time with the older members of your family and get those stories written down. You could get them to write out the stories or even have them record the stories so that you can write them down later. Future generations will be grateful for your efforts.

Click here for an article that gives you some tips on writing family stories.

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Burning Libraries

"When a person dies, a library is burned." --Edmund White

Don't let your library burn. Start recording your life and history today. Think of all the information and stories we have lost when we're lost our ancestors. I love the idea that a future generation of my family will be able to read my journals and learn about my life. It would be so interesting to read the journals of some of my ancestors. Unfortunately, I don't know of any that left journals.

Tips For Selecting A Journal

Selecting the right journal for you is very important. I have found that if the journal you're using does not work for you, you are much less likely to write in it. So here are some tips for selecting a journal that works:

1. Pay careful attention to the size of your journal. You should be able to comfortably carry your journal with you. If you carry a bag regularly you will want it to fit in the bag. Otherwise you will want it to fit in your pocket.

2. Consider your options with paper. You can get blank paper, lined paper and quad ruled paper. There are even other options, but these are the most common. If you plan on doing a lot of drawing you will probably want blank paper. For those of us who prefer lined paper, pay attention to the line spacing. I like lines that are closer to college ruled. Wide ruled pages just do not work for me. I also love quad ruled pages for some of my notebooks.

3. Paper quality is another item you want to consider. If the pages are too thin, your ink will most likely bleed through the page. Since I write on both sides of the page I prefer a slightly thicker page. If you only write on the fronts, bleed through may not bother you. Also, if you want your journals to stand the test of time and be passed along long after you are gone, you will want to get a journal with archival or acid free pages.

4. I have found that it's much easier to write if your journal lays flat when it's open. There are some standard bindings that will allow for that and you also have spiral bound. Open them up in the store and see how they lay. If it doesn't look like you will be able to comfortably write in it, pass it by.

5. Don't feel like you are limited to a traditional journal from a book store. You could also use a sketch book, a notebook or a binder. It's simply a matter of what works with your life. Look around until you find the journal that calls to you. There are plenty of options available at bookstores, gift shops, craft stores, and plenty of other stores.

6. Durability is also important. If the journal is of a lower quality, it may not hold up to it's travels. Try to find something that looks like it will be able to stand the test of time.

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Journal Prompt #8

Write about a journey you've taken.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dine With Your Dog Day

Saturday was Dine With Your Dog Day. As part of this event, there were some people eating dog food with their dogs. To me, this was just too much. My dogs can have a burger or something if they're dining with me, I'm not eating Mighty Dog.

How do you feel about eating pet food? What crazy things have you done out of love for your pet?

Random Acts of Kindness

On my way in to work I drive past a crossing guard who always smiles and waves at the cars as they go by. It doesn't matter what the weather is, you can count on her being there smiling and waving. I believe that it helps to cheer people up when they see her. If you watch that intersection for even a short time, you can see people in cars going by smiling and waving back at her. I'm always amazed that even on cold rainy mornings she will be out there smiling and waving. It seems like nothing gets her down. I'm sure that she has problems just like the rest of us and yet nothing seems to get her down.

When was the last time you did something to cheer up a stranger with no benefit to yourself? What can you do to be a happier person? Take some time to write in journal about happiness and what it really means to you.

Journal Prompt #7

For those of you that are or have been engaged to be married, write about your marriage proposal.

For those of you who have not yet gotten engaged, write about your dream proposal.

What does this proposal say about you and your relationship?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Journaling Family

The November issue of Redbook Magazine has an article about the changing American family. I could not find the article online so you will have to find a copy of the magazine to read it. They talk about how the American family has changed so that now the once normal family unit of a mother, father and children is in the minority. They profile several different types of families including the traditional family, couples without children, blended families, separated families, single parents, and more. My husband and I both come from traditional families so it was interesting for me to read about the various other types of families out there.

Take some time to write about what "family" means to you. What type of family do you have? Are you happy with the type of family you are in? What type of family were you raised in? What do you see happening to the family unit in the next twenty years? Fifty? One Hundred?

Always Carry a Notebook

You should always carry a notebook with you. If possible, you should carry your journal. Since that isn't always possible, it helps to have a small notebook that will fit into your pocket or a purse. And don't forget the pen. You never know when inspiration will strike or when you'll have time to reflect, write lists or plan ahead for the next few days. It's also helpful for jotting down things you need to remember, even if they won't be going into your journal later. My notebook has a collection of blog ideas, shopping lists, to do lists, directions and other assorted notes. Try carrying one for awhile and you will see just how helpful it can be.

Regular Writing Times

Having a regular writing time established helps to keep you journaling regularly. I get up an hour before my husband so that I can relax and write while the house is peaceful and still. Other people may prefer to write before bed or during their lunch hour. The key is to find the time that works for you and stick to it.

Once you have a time established, your family or roommates should know not to interrupt you during this time. There will still be occasional days where something will happen and you won't get to write at your regular time. Don't beat yourself up over it. If you can, write at another time of the day, but make sure that you get back to your schedule as soon as you can. As the schedule begins to really work for you, you will probably find yourself journaling at other times of the day too.

Don't feel like you'll be stuck with the time that you pick forever. Your life and your schedule are bound to change eventually and what worked for you before may not work anymore. If this happens, try to find a new time that will work for you. Just make sure that you keep writing. If journaling is really important to you, you will find the time for it.

Traveling Journals

One thing that I have been wanting to participate in and haven't gotten around to yet is traveling journals. There are several variations of this idea, but basically a journal travels around to several different people. They make their entry and pass it on to the next person. This could be done among friends, family or strangers.

A current project based on this idea is 1001 Journals. For this project you can start your own traveling journal or sign up to participate in an existing traveling journal. There are also several location journals. If you want to participate in one of these you have to go to the designated location. The journal stays at that location for whoever to participate in. Finally, you can submit images of your own personal journals to share. It looks like an interesting project to check out.

Journal Prompt #6

What is your signature dish?

This is the dish that your family and friends always requests you to make. If you don't have one, what is your favorite dish to make or what are some of the signature dishes of your friends and family?

Friday, October 20, 2006

How Easy Are You To Love?

The lyrics to Save Me From Myself By Christina Aguilera got stuck in my head this morning. It got me to thinking about how I'm not always the easiest person to love and gave me plenty to write about in my journal. Sometimes it really helps me to journal about my relationships. My writing helps to remind me of some of the things I tend to take for granted in my relationships. So how easy are you to love? Take some time today to write about your relationships.

Here are the lyrics to help inspire you:

It's not so easy loving me
It gets so complicated
All the things you've gotta be
Everything's changin
But you're the truth
I'm amazed by all your patience
Everything I put you through

When I'm about to fall
Somehow you're always waitin
with your open arms to catch me
You're gonna save me from myself
from myself, yes
You're gonna save me from myself

My love is tainted by your touch
Cuz some guys have shown me aces
But you've got that royal flush
I know it's crazy everyday
Well tomorrow may be shaky
But you never turn away

Don't ask me why I'm cryin
Cuz when I start to crumble
You know how to keep me smilin
You always save me from myself
from myself, myself
You're gonna save me from myself

I know it's hard, it's hard
But you've broken all my walls
You've been my strength, so strong

And don't ask me why I love you
It's obvious your tenderness
Is what I need to make me
a better woman to myself
to myself, myself
You're gonna save me from myself

Journal Prompt #5

If your life was a television show, what would your theme song be?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keeping a Food Journal

I carry a small notebook with me that I use as a food journal. I am not always great about keeping up with it and sometimes go for days without writing in it. Yet I have found that I do much better with my eating habits when I'm using my food journal. It has helped me in the past so I am renewing my determination to keep up with it.

If you do a search, you can find several articles that tell you how to keep a food journal. I found one here that gives pretty good detail. For myself, I keep it fairly simple. I just record the time I ate, what I ate and how much. Just knowing that I have to write it down and be accountable for it helps keep me from eating too much. So I don't stress myself out about the calorie counts and so forth. So don't feel like you have to do things exactly as the article says. Figure out what works for you and helps you achieve your goals. If you make it difficult and try to track too much, then you are less likely to stick with it.

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Journaling the Election

As we’re getting closer to Election Day you may find it helpful to journal about the election. Are there any heated races in your district? What kinds of election craziness have you seen? What do you think of the scandal over electronic voting? Do you plan on voting? Why or why not?

If you’re still undecided on who to vote for you may find it helpful to journal about it. Take some time to write about the candidates and your feelings on them. By the time you’re done writing there’s a good chance you’ll have made up your mind who you’re going to vote for.

Journal Prompt #4

What are some of the crazy things you've done for love?

This need not be for a lover. It could be for the love of a friend or family member too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Journal Prompt #3

What items do you carry with you every day? These items can either be on your person or in a bag you carry. Why do you feel the need to have these items with you and what do you think they say about you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Journals made from poop!

I was very surprised to see that there is a site where you can buy journals made out of elephant poop. They refine the poop and make paper from it so it isn't supposed to smell, but the whole idea is a little gross to me. Yet this journal might be good for someone who is afraid of messing up a "good" notebook. After all, this notebook is already made of poop, how could your writing or drawing be any worse then that?

Click here to go to the site that is selling these journals. They also sell paper if you don't want a complete journal.

Questionnaires as Journal Entries

As you can probably tell from my previous post, I have no problem using questionnaires as journaling tools. If I come across an interesting one I will often include my answers in my journal. For an extra bit of fun, you could email the questionnaire to your friends and family and include some of their responses in your journal. It's an interesting way to learn something new about them. You can also use some of the replies to jump start some of your own writing in your journal.

Click here for a list of over 2000 questionnaires that you can use.

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Journal Prompt #2

Eight Fours

#1 List four jobs you have had in your life.
#2 List four movies you would watch over and over.
#3 List four places you have lived.
#4 List four TV shows you love to watch.
#5 List four places you have been on vacation.
#6 List four web sites you visit daily.
#7 List four of your favorite foods.
#8 List four places you would rather be right now.

These questions came from a questionnaire email I received a few months ago. I have no idea where the email originated.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Journal Topic Ideas

Here is a list of some things you could write about in your journal, or you could even dedicate a whole journal to just one of these topics. I plan on covering some of these topics in more detail in future entries.

Childhood Memories
Family Stories
Financial Topics
Home Improvements
Restaurant Meals
Unsent Letters
TV Shows

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Notes For Later

There are times when you see or think of something that you want to write about in your journal, but you just can't do it right that instant. For those times I carry a small notebook and a digital camera in my purse. My notebook is full of all kinds of notes that would not make any sense to anyone except me. The digital camera has been very handy for catching some of those crazy sights you see from time to time when you're out and about. The notes and pictures help me recall things when I do finally have time to sit down and write that I would otherwise have forgotten. I feel that everyone could benefit from carrying at least a small notebook with them.

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Scrapbooking Inspiration

I have found that there are a lot of similarities between journaling and scrapbooking. Both activities are a way to preserve memories of your life. Obviously a scrapbook is more public, but you can get some great ideas for your journals from scrapbooking web sites. Looking at other people's scrapbook layouts may also give you inspiration for your journal. If you're at the store you might even try flipping through a scrapbooking magazine. Sometimes it is even helpful to check out their product reviews. Since I want my journals to last I like to use archival quality materials like you would use in scrapbooking.

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Journal Prompt #1

In the spirit of the autumn season and the leaves changing their colors.

Write about a time when you changed your colors.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Engagement Calendars as Journals

For those who aren't into extensive journaling you may want to consider using an engagement or planner calendar as a type of journal. My calendar is full of all kinds of information. On a daily basis I record any appointments, bills due, gas prices is I purchased gas, what perfume I wear, any anything else that I consider noteworthy from the day. On the note pages in the back of the planner I have a list of all the books I've read that year and another list of all the movies my husband I have watched that year. It's not as introspective as a normal journal, but it is packed with some interesting information.

My planner, like my journal, travels with me to most locations so I take time every year to hunt for the right planner. This year I'm using a purple leather planner. For next year I've purchased the Anne Taintor Engagement Calendar. No matter what I purchase it has to have plenty of notes pages in the back and a good sized space for each day.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Recalling Old Memories

Here are some tips for recalling old memories:

1. Go through old letters, photos, programs, yearbooks, etc. Use anything you have from the time period you are trying to remember.

2. Return to the place you lived, went to school, worked or hung out at during that time. Just being there will bring a surprising number of memories back.

3. Talk to friends and family members. This will give you another perspective on the event and they may even remember some details that you've forgotten.

4. Check out events from that time frame. Do an internet search on "what happened in" for the year you are looking into. Some of those events, movies and music may just trigger your memory.

Hopefully these tips will help you recall some of your lost memories.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Journals As Works of Art

I love looking at some of the artistic journals out there. They are so beautiful that they make me want to do something similar. I've tried making artistic entries and as a general rule, I've found that they just don't work for me. I am the type person who needs to write. So my entries are line after line of text. To help spice them up a little bit I do use different color inks. There are even days when I paste in articles, stickers and other assorted items that I come across. This is what I have found works best for me. It's still fun to check out the artistic entries when I come across them because you never know when inspiration will strike and you will come across something that will work well for your own journal.

Shared Journals

When I was in high school, my best friend and I had a notebook that we wrote notes and such to each other in and passed back and forth. It was fun for us to share things this way. Now, my husband and I have what I call our anniversary journal. I used a new blank journal as a guest book at our wedding and pasted a copy of our wedding invitation in front. There were still plenty of blank pages in there, so every year on our anniversary we each write a letter to the other in the book. It a nice way to share our feelings for each other and do a recap of the last year. If there is someone special in your life, you may want to try keeping a shared journal. It may get passed back and forth a couple times a day or just once a year. Just do what works for you and have fun.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Blank Page

There are a lot of people who are intimidated by the blank page. In particular, the first clean blank page of a new journal. I always start a new journal by adding my name, the journal number and the starting date to the first page of the journal. You could also try gluing or taping in something you wrote or typed elsewhere, answer a journal prompt, doodle, use stamps or stickers. You are only limited by your imagination. Once you have that first mark on the page it gets easier to write.

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My Inspiration

Most of the journal related sites I have come across have been geared more towards artists and writers. While I consider myself a fairly creative person, I don't really feel that I fit that category. So I wanted a place where I can gather information on journaling for everyone else.

I also love journaling and want to share that love with others who may be interested. It has been a part of my life for almost ten years now and I can no longer manage not keeping a journal.

If anyone has any topics they would like to see addressed, leave me a comment and I will do my best to post a reply.

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