What does journaling look like?
I think many people believe that a journal is like a diary- a place where you spill out the days events and emotions, but in reality, a journal can be whatever a person wants it to be. I actually have many journals since I like to divide them out by subject (one reason why I have so many blogs, ha!). We have a journal where we write our story time limericks and such, and I have many journals where I have written my devotions (devotions= my personal bible study stuff, not usually tied to a specific book other than the bible itself). The children each have a few journals, mainly because at any given time, they can't find one and need a back-up.
Merikalyn's journal mainly features colorful drawings of family life, lots of princesses and mermaids alongside the occasional robot or monster, abstract art, a few pages of triple-digit-addition, stickers, lists of things (names, to-do lists, grocery lists, packing lists for sleepovers or visits to the grandparents'), notes for me ("Happy Mother's Day!"), praises to God ("God is umasing! God is Love Grace and Kindniss! Love the Lord for Evr!")
Nolyn's journal contains all sorts of things. It truly is a scrapbook of what interests him most at that point. He has pages crammed with multiplication problems, sheets with robots and dragons doodled on them, blueprints for buildings and inventions, drawings picturing events from movies he's recently seen or books he has been reading (He's currently into the Hardy Boys books along with anything about snakes, gators, and sharks), along with bible verses he likes and scenes from his daily life.
Keagan's journal has various drawings and scribbles, a few random alphabet letters (mainly the letter "K" for obvious reasons), and a sticker or two. He mainly enjoys coloring in coloring books, or having me write out or draw something for him to copy/color in his journal.
Evangeline's journal is filled with colorful scribbles. She prefers markers and pens over crayons and pencils (of course... anything that's more permanent is what she'd rather use!). She covers her pages with stickers and scribbles, like you'd imagine most almost-two-year-olds would. She likes for her sister, dad, or me to doodle in her notebook with her.
|Evie and Daddy journal together... and she decorates his face a little too.|
|Putting stickers in her journal this morning.|
|Evangeline snacks on an apple while journaling. She's hollaring, "MAMA! MOOOM! MAMA! WOOK!"|
Like I said, my journals are mostly bible verses, quotes, and thoughts from my own heart on what struggles I'm currently facing and working through, or things the Lord is showing me and bringing me through. I also jot down my poems and songs. My journals are usually creatively formed as it helps me to remember things better when I use a lot of color, pictures, and creative text in my work. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I can remember verses and thoughts I jot down, my mind takes a mental snapshot of the page, if it's colorful or artistic.
Many have said they like to reflect on scripture and journal, but just cannot find the quiet time. I rarely get to study my bible or journal in solitude. Here's a snapshot of today's bible study/journaling:
|Sprouted toast and Coffee as I read my bible amidst legos, knex, and airsoft guns.|
|A scene from another morning- sandwich fixing scatter on the table.|
|Evangeline sits in my lap while I journal late one night. I guess we were both having trouble sleeping!|
Worshipful music is so powerful in transforming our mornings. I love hearing the kids singing along. In fact, as I write this post, Nolyn is singing one of my favorite songs (Dry Bones) by Gungor. Since it's on his mind, I asked if he would like me to play it on my iPhone, so now we are listening to it while he plays with Knex.
The kids usually finish breakfast before I'm done reading/journaling. They clean up the kitchen, and then normally gather around me, either reading over my shoulder (Merikalyn is laying on my shoulder right now, reading everything I'm typing), journaling, or doing an activity nearby.
My children usually like to be wherever I am, which, I confess, at times can be frustrating when I want some peace and quiet, but they know nothing of this separated family that so many families live in. (A post for another time!)
As you may have gathered, our journals are not private. The children let me flip through their journals whenever I want, which is probably because I allow them to flip through mine if they want. I usually take whatever journal I'm currently writing in with me to our Jesus meetings and women's bible studies, and welcome anyone who wants to peek into it to do so. Some people do not want to because they feel it's an invasion of my privacy (even though I have given permission), but others love to see what I've been studying (especially since some of us have been going through some of the same struggles recently).
At some time, my children may want more privacy in their journals just as I did when I was a teenager. I'm sure my mom probably read them at some point and wanted to scream or cry or hug me or smack me upside the head. (For the record, it would have bothered me at that time in my life if I had known she read them, but now, looking back, I kind of hope she did read them because there was a lot she needed to know about me that I would have never been able to voice to her.)
Hopefully my children will always feel comfortable sharing their hearts with me, either verbally or through their journals. I know it starts with me- if I'm not willing to be open with what's going on in my heart (my thoughts, emotions, etc) and my life, then they will learn to be shut off as well.