Random Journal Day #56 with Sylvia Robertson

 

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Welcome to Random Journal Day!

I am sorry this post is a bit late today, but would you believe I was trapped in an elevator? With a vampire? Um…yeah, NO. Would you believe I’m late because the Great Pumpkin  actually showed up? Um…yeah, NO …again. OK, I am sorry I am late. I really don’t have a good reason or excuse. Besides, better late than never, right?

I am not sure how I first found Sylvia Robertson’s Blog, but I fell in love with the loveliness of her shared books and and pages immediately. However, there was one problem…her blog was very vague about the lovely person behind the dashboard. Eventually, I connected with the mysterious writer and invited her to be our Featured Journal Writer,  and enjoy for yourself, her Sylvr Pen. You are in for a real treat, friends!

Without further adieu, please welcome, Sylvia.

 

 

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“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” -E. M. Forster

That quote explains why I journal. From my first locked little diary full of now-lost secrets, till today, journal-keeping has enabled me to sift my thoughts and feelings, “journalize”* my way through dilemmas, discover surprising truths and blessings, and safeguard insights to benefit my future self.

My journals certainly have evolved from their lowly grade-school start.

Through high school I did little diary-keeping, and none during college, when required reading and writing crowded it out. But I did write quirky letters home. These, in a way, formed a sort-of journal, giving running commentary on my life’s happenings. Sometimes I jazzed them up with pictures and cartoons cut from magazines, to give the text punch. Not your usual letter home, more a picto-journal newsletter. (Like a blog post, long before blog posts?)

Decades later, the value of this journal-type writing as a reality check hit me bolt-like. Clearing out the attic after Mom and Dad died, my oldest brother and I happened upon our college letters. Sitting on that splintery floor in the dusty light, reading through them, we kept gaping at each other, repeating, “That’s not how I remembered it!” If we hadn’t clearly recognized our own handwriting, we would have thought someone else had made up all that stuff! Evidently nostalgic memories aren’t too accurate; time and intervening experiences distort how we “remember.” But journals freeze our perceptions just as they were.

Sometime after college I began journaling in earnest, if sporadically. Just when, I’m not sure. I suspect it was when certain problems began to overwhelm me. I felt I had no human I could talk to. But my journal would “listen” as I poured out woes in clear black and white. (Who was it that called her journal “Dear paper psychiatrist”? Well, that’s what this was.)

But, sadly, I think most of my journaling at this point just moaned and complained. I can’t be sure, because I threw it all out—probably because reading it never gave me much wisdom but only depressed me.

Then I found the reality of Christ, and hope.

The journal I have from this time of dawning shows my thoughts taking new direction, lining up with God’s wisdom and promises, recognizing His presence and involvement in my life. Here, one day (following a deep disappointment), I began to counter discouragement by journaling thanks, listing 25 genuine “gratitudes.” In days to follow I added to the list till the Thank-You’s numbered 56. Reading through them now I see a definite upturn in spirit.

Since then I’ve often included five “new” thanksgivings daily—both for things I like and ones I’m not ecstatic about, especially if I detect a negative attitude sprouting. Lately I’ve been naming the top “Gift of the Day” (a fun, revealing thing to do!) All this helps keep me tuned in to blessings and aware of God’s goodness and help. Sometimes I’ve made journals of just “Thanks” lists, like this self-crafted one.
Another practice started then: jotting down words, phrases, whole paragraphs that jumped out and “grabbed” me from scripture or other writings—to ponder in ink and relate to my life. I also left blank pages with “UAQ’s” (unanswered questions) at the top, to add insights from scripture as I happened upon them.

Some journal pages talk to my future self, some to God. Occasionally I turn a journal upside down, to treat last page as first, and list prayer requests, and outcomes.

Lately I’ve been “journey journaling” through an issue that’s been plaguing me, making a sort of personal pilgrimage. And I’m amazed at how marking just one past journal with color-coded flags has clarified truth and finally given me certainty about what direction I should be taking.

Finally, I have to tell how reviewing my journals to write this piece has affected me: Wet eyelids, lump in throat, at seeing so much evidence of God loving and helping and growing me through both the good and “bad,” and of how He’s used journals to do it. And guess what? He’s still doing that!

*”journalizing”- wonderful term someone in community here coined, though I couldn’t locate who.

**If you want to see more lovely journal pics from Sylvia, head over to her place as she has a few more on her post! I like to share the face behind the journal so, pop by thee for more images!

 

Now let’s Link up and share our Journals! I want to thank those who are faithful to be here, sharing comments, journals and friendship.  You mean the world to me! I am so grateful for each one of you. 

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dawnlizjones
    Nov 06, 2015 @ 18:34:52

    GREAT! So great to meet such wonderful people like you and Sylvia!

    Reply

  2. Sylvia R
    Nov 06, 2015 @ 21:38:45

    Glad you made it, Dawn! (I was really believing the elevator excuse, till you got to the vampire!) I knew you were spinning about twenty plates at once. Thank you for asking me, for making room in your busy schedule to host this community, and for your kind introduction. I’m so happy and honored to have been able to do this. Blessings to you!

    Reply

  3. denise
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 07:34:41

    very awesome

    Reply

  4. Carolyn Wiley
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 15:59:55

    I love how your journals ‘listen’–I’ve never put it that way, but the sense of it, the feeling that the words on the page are alive and making something of my tumbled thoughts, I get that. It is listening. so evocative. AND there’s a sense that it also speaks back. I often think my hand and pen moving across the page are independent of what I know, are telling me something I need to hear. It’s a conversation, because it’s a Holy Spirit-inspired one.
    So grateful for your post today.

    Reply

  5. ocjarman1
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 18:25:28

    I like the use of “unanswered question”, I’m going to incorporate that, into my own journalizing, although I don’t ask enough questions of the Lord, nor of myself.

    Reply

  6. lynn__
    Nov 07, 2015 @ 21:18:51

    Yes, a gratitude journal, listing blessings in the dailiness of life, changes my attitude! Glad to read this post, Sylvia, and Dawn 🙂

    Reply

  7. Trackback: Using Journals to Re-Write Inspirational Chocolate
  8. Stacy
    Nov 08, 2015 @ 18:15:19

    Thank you for sharing your experiences,Sylvia. I loved the insight into how our journals capture a moment in time and freeze it as we felt it…not as we remember it now. That is so true!

    My journaling journey these days is working for a smooth combining of my regular journal and my prayer journal. Life and prayer are not separate things in my life…why have I journaled them separately all these years?

    Reply

  9. kelrohlf
    Nov 09, 2015 @ 20:02:45

    So nice to hear your story Sylvia and see your face…I love how Jesus continued to pursue you through journaling in richer ways after you met Him! Wonderful hope!

    Reply

  10. Trackback: Vision Quests & Random Journal Day | Nourishment for the Soul
  11. Trackback: On Journal Keeping – The Sylvr Pen

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