Friday, March 30, 2018

The Power of Journaling

By Guest Barbara J. Scott



I burned my journals. All of them. Too drastic? Not for me. Actually, it was a symbolic and healing experience that my past, with all its pain, regrets, anger, depression, worry, and sins would no longer control me. Plus, I didn’t want to pass on my struggles…or my rants…to the next generations of our family. Journaling is personal.

My actions made me wonder about women of the past. Did they journal? Did they write about riding in covered wagons or walking beside them from Missouri to Oregon while taking care of babies, cooking over an open fire, or losing loved ones to accidents, disease, or enemies? Did they live in fear and numb their feelings, or did they trust God with all their hearts?

Since relatively few pioneering women’s journals survive from that period compared to the number who made that long trek, I wonder if any of them burned their words, or maybe their ancestors threw their journals into the trash after their deaths.

I started to write down my thoughts long before returning to the Lord at the age of thirty-five. Even though I was a successful journalist and editor, I lived a checkered past. For instance, I met my husband Mike when we both worked at the international office of your basic California cult. No one thought our marriage would last, especially our families. Mike proposed to me thirteen days after we met, I said yes, and we’ll celebrate our forty-second anniversary on June 27. It’s been quite a journey.

I wrote down a lot of dreams during that period and analyzed them through a distorted lens. New Agers like me were called “winkies” by residents of Sedona, AZ, which is a mecca for those who believe in psychic abilities, aliens, magic powers, Mother Earth, and Sedona’s supposed power centers of energy. Can we say wacky? More than a decade after I became a Christian, I published my first novel, Sedona Storm, written with co-author Carrie Younce. I chose Sedona as the setting for the battles between angels and demons layered over the human story in which the characters engage in spiritual warfare. If you enjoyed This Present Darkness, you’ll love Sedona Storm.

My journaling took another turn when I submitted to God’s will for my life, but I was full of questions and looking for answers about why some people seem to have such easy lives and others like me seem to slog through the mud of life while carrying the banner of Jesus. Life wasn’t fair. I wrote long prayers. I wrote about my physical, mental, and emotional pain. Why did I suffer? Without the Lord’s love and grace and the love of my husband, I would not have made it this far. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

During that period, I lived in the Psalms, and much of what I wrote resembled David’s laments, praises, and confessions. He wasn’t perfect, and neither was I. But I also wrote about other people, difficult relationships, and financial difficulties—a long litany of grievances. Journaling allowed me to release my emotions so that I could face another day.


For years, I allowed all that baggage to weigh me down. But no more. In some ways, burning my journals allowed me to enjoy my freedom in Christ.

So, what does journaling have to do with being a writer? Writing in a journal has numerous beneficial effects on your life, including your ability to write and speak. Google “benefits of journaling,” and you’ll be amazed at how many articles tout its advantages.

I clicked on the first link that Google returned—a Huffington Post blog entry. I have never read the Huffington Post, nor do I ascribe to the spiritual beliefs of the author, but if you’re considering buying a fresh, new, lined journal that is pleasing to the eye and touch, knowing the benefits of journaling can give you an incentive to write down your thoughts, even if you start with one sentence or a paragraph in the morning or at bedtime. Thai Nguyen is the author. The title of his post is “10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get from Keeping a Journal.” I think they’re worth consideration.


  1. Stretching Your IQ—Who knew journaling could make you smarter?
  2. Evoking Mindfulness—Nguyen believes there is a connection between mindfulness and happiness. Doesn’t Scripture tell us in Philippians 4:8 to think on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…?”
  3. Achieving Goals—If you write down specific, achievable goals for your writing career, you are more likely to attain the desires of your heart.
  4. Emotional Intelligence—Journaling is a way to process your emotions and make sense of why you feel as you do. You can then use those emotions to breathe life into your characters.
  5. Boosting Memory and Comprehension—There is a correlation between your thoughts and your handwritten words. That’s why I decry schools that think it’s no longer necessary to teach cursive writing. Journaling by hand forces you to stretch your cognitive memory to put your thoughts into words. The hand and brain have a special relationship.
  6. Strengthen Your Self-Discipline—As any writer knows, placing your backside into a chair and writing takes discipline. You learn to write even when you don’t feel like writing. If you stick to a schedule, you will develop the habit of putting words on paper (or screen). I have a friend who spends one full day writing on her novel and then puts in at least twenty minutes per day on something related to writing, research for example, or writing a blog post. It’s amazing what she accomplishes in that amount of time! And yes, she has published multiple novels.
  7. Improve Communication Skills—Want to improve your speaking skills? Write. Journal. Nguyen cites a Stanford University report that says, “Writing has critical connections to speaking.”
  8. Healing—Psychiatrists and psychologists recommend writing down your thoughts, especially when you are unable to articulate your feelings. I found journaling to be a release valve for my emotions. Journaling can bring healing emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.
  9. Spark Your Creativity—And what writer doesn’t want to be more creative! Let your thoughts flow for a page or two in a journal before you work on your WIP. Much like starting an engine on a cold morning before you put your car into gear, when you place your fingers on the keyboard, your brain is already warmed up and ready to write.
  10. Self-Confidence—Writing about positive experiences, answers to prayer, or giving God thanks for the small and big things in your life can boost your self-confidence. Doesn’t Scripture tell us to fix our thoughts on Jesus (Hebrews 3:1)?

Do you journal, and if so, how has the act of writing down your thoughts affected your life?

Leave a comment today to be entered in the drawing to receive a free copy of my novel Dreams of My Heart in either paperback or e-book.

Many blessings!
Barbara J. Scott

Bio:
Barbara J. Scott, an inspirational author and editor, released her historical novel Dreams of My Heart, the first book in the Reluctant Brides series, on March 20, and the e-book will be available April 1. Currently, she is working on Love of My Heart, the second book of the series, published by Mountain Brook Ink, which is set to release in February 2019. Her contemporary novella with Gilead Publishing, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” that appears in Sleigh Bells Ring: Four Contemporary Romance Novellas, also is available on Amazon.com. Best-selling novels Sedona Storm and Secrets of the Gathering Darkness were written with co-author Carrie Younce and published by Thomas Nelson. Barbara and her husband Mike live in the Nashville area, where sweet tea is a food staple, with their two Chihuahuas, Riley and Sissy, both rescued from puppy mills. Reading, writing, and research are her passions.
Social Media:


4 Stars – Romantic Times

  Can A Reluctant Bride and Her New Husband Fall in Love Despite Their Wounded Hearts?

Plucky Irish immigrant Kate O’Brien struggles to hang on to her brother’s homestead after his death in a suspicious cattle stampede. If she’s unable to pay off the loan that paid for her ticket to America, she will be forced to marry the banker’s rogue son, Rafe Hamilton. When Kate is attacked by a drunken gang, salvation comes in the form of a total stranger—Texas cattleman Buck McKean. He drives the men off her ranch and spends the night in her cabin to keep her safe. However, his act of kindness poses a profound threat to her reputation, and the two marry to prevent the impending consequences. Kate makes it clear to her new husband that because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather, she’ll never allow another man to control her life. Left at the altar in Virginia City, Buck has made his own vow never to give his heart to another woman. When Kate asks Buck for the unthinkable, her choice endangers both their lives.

Can God mend their hearts and save their love?


Endorsements

“Take one feisty heroine, add a fine hero, dump them into an impossible situation, add plenty of twists and turns and you have a winner of a novel you can’t wait to share with your friends.”
Lauraine Snelling, best-selling author of the Historical Red River (Blessing) series

“Oh my, an Irish marriage of convenience in the wilds of the West? Be still my heart! Fortunately, the heart never stills while immersed in this tender love story of a shotgun marriage gone a-right. This is a tale that sweeps you from heartbreak to hope with every turn of the page. Without question, Dreams of My Heart is a dream come true for lovers of historical romance.” 
Julie Lessman, award-winning author of Irish family sagas, including The Daughters of Boston, Heart of San Francisco, and Isle of Hope series.

“With her typical humor-laced warmth, Barbara Scott delights readers with a beautiful historical romance that melts the heart and makes one pine for the faith, strength and tenacity of the old West. A true five-star read from beginning to end.”
Ruth Logan Herne, award-winning, bestselling author

93 comments:

  1. Barb, welcome back! First, I was honored to read that delightful book, I loved it! And second...

    I don't journal. Never did. I think there's a personality quirk that either makes journaling work or not work.

    For me, writing things down, especially the negative stuff, gives them too much power. I remember them more sharply and I remember too much as it is!

    So I am happy to let things lie, to move on, and not look back except for life's great lessons.

    But I know so many folks who do journal... so maybe it's me, on the odd step? Nothing unusual there!

    Thank you for being with us today, on God's holy day....

    Bless you!

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    1. Ruthy, I haven't journaled in years. I only did it in the past to go along with a Bible study I was doing. At that time, I found it helped with some specific things I was dealing with. So you never know! I might try it again someday. I've got some really nice journals, gifts I've been given.

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    2. It's not just you, Ruthy. I feel much the same way you do. I guess it's because I've always felt I'm a open book already. Who needs to read that one twice. :P

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    3. Good morning, Ruthy and Seeker Villagers! I slept in this morning. Yawn!!!! I'm still in my jammies and drinking my 2nd cup of coffee. I have a good excuse. Mike and I were painting and rearranging furniture all day to put the house on the market by April 15. Florida and grandkids, here we come!!

      Thanks for reading my book, Ruthy. It was such an honor that you endorsed it.

      Re: journaling...it's a great tool for mental health, but it had been several years since I had done it. I never wanted to reread them, that's for sure. Thus the bonfire. lol

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  2. Wishing you all the holiness and grace of God's great sacrifice... the thought of what Jesus did. What he was willing to do... never ceases to amaze me.

    To God goes the glory.

    I brought coffee and praying for a wonderful Easter weekend for all of you, filled with the poignancy of the cross, the faith of those women who stayed and the joy of the resurrection!

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  3. Hi Barbara, good post and good points. I've kept journals sporadically for 40-some years, but not on a regular basis. I am, alas, no Samuel Pepys. It really helped me to get my feelings out in front of me, to see whether something was worth getting upset about or was I just being petty. Like a shrink only way cheaper. I have them in a moisture-free box in the basement and will probably go over them at least once before I die. One of the benefits, for me anyway, is looking back and seeing how far I've come and that God did indeed bring me through what looked like an impossible situation. My Bible is the same...I've used the same one for 30 years, had it rebound twice, because of the notations, especially in the Psalms. Honestly, I don't know what Psalm 37 meant to me in November 1985, but I know that whatever it was, He got me through it. A set of journals or a notated Bible is like a spiritual retrospective.
    A busy Good Friday. Trying to remember what He did while trying to get things done.
    He has brought me through the crucible this winter. You all heard me complain, vociferously, about the wrecked cars and broken appliances. What I haven't shared is that my dear sister-in-law was diagnosed with brain cancer over the winter, and they're giving her six to 12. I'm still processing this, she was the closest to me of Dave's siblings. She's paralyzed on her left side, on a feeding tube, can only see out of her right eye and only hear out of her left ear. I didn't do much for Lent this year, beyond the obligatory giving up chocolate, but in her broken body, Lent came to me. She is a believer. I know that she will be in Heaven one day, walking and seeing and hearing just fine. Oh, God is so good.
    BTW, I'm dedicating my first Pelican/White Rose book to her.
    Kathy Bailey
    Humbled in New Hampshire

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    1. Kathy, I'm so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. I pray that the next months with her are dear to all of you. What a sweet thing to know you've dedicated your first book to her.

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    2. It's so difficult to watch people you love suffer, Kathy. Praying for your sister-in-law and your whole family for God's love and grace to comfort you.

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    3. I'm so sorry about your sister-in-law, Kathy. I've added you both to my prayer list. Hard and heartbreaking to go through this with her. What would we do without the promise of certain hope that God gives us?

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  4. Barb, thanks so much for this great post! I was telling Ruthy, above, that I haven't journaled in years. But when I did, I found it helpful. One thing it did for me was to bring to mind positive things that happened. I found I was more likely to remember them while writing them down.

    And I really do love gratitude journals!

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    1. Good morning, Missy! I think gratitude journals are a wonderful idea. There are things to be grateful for, even in the midst of darkness.

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  5. Barbara, I love your insight into journaling. I love journals. You know, the pretty leather/faux leather bound variety. I have a slight addiction to them. However, they sit on my, empty, waiting to be given as gifts.

    The only thing I do remotely related to journaling is writing things down when I feel like brain is overflowing, so much so that I can barely tell one thought from the next. So, I write them down-empty my brain, so to speak. Then I can see them and organize/prioritize them. That is always helpful to me when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Then, when I've ticked off all of the things on my list, it goes into the trash. It's simplistic, I know. But it helps keep me sane.

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    1. Mindy, I love that idea. And I'm a list maker already.

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    2. Lists help me prioritize my day too. They definitely keep me sane!

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    3. That's what I use my bullet journal for, Mindy! If I write it down on my list, it doesn't swirl in my head anymore!

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  6. Love your thoughts on journaling. I always say I want to start a journaling habit and have yet to do it. I do believe that writing is therapeutic in a way that nothing else is. Thank you for sharing today with us. I'd love to have a chance to win your book. Have a beautiful Easter weekend!

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    1. Glynis, it really is therapeutic. I agree!

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    2. Thanks, Glynis! You're in the drawing. :-)

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  7. Good morning, Barbara! Congrats on that upcoming anniversary--no small achievement in this day and age!

    I've kept a daily writing-related journal since a few years before I was published. I'd attended a workshop in Albuquerque led by mystery author Sue Grafton who said when she sat down to write, she started her day by opening up a computer file for five minutes of journaling, especially as it related to her writing.

    I still do that, so have a record of my writing journey (pre & post-pub), how I worked through various story challenges, and the prayers that were prayed and the answers given over time.

    For me, the writing journal is a good place to "think" about challenges in a story--I find that often if I'm "stuck," opening that document to start writing about which way to go in a scene or story--this way or that--that it's usually not long before the answer I needed clarifies. (I'll be doing some of that "think aloud" at the keyboard today as I work on a story.)

    For quite a few years I also kept handwritten journals as God walked beside me while I journeyed my way back from a very serious illness with an unknown future. I'm not doing that kind of journaling these days, but do keep a gratitude book where I record the many things I'm thankful for and where God has been so faithful in so much.

    My family has letters from one of my way-back aunts who homesteaded and taught school in Nebraska in the late 1800s. So interesting. I belatedly found out, after fire in my grandparents storage shed in Texas, that she kept journals during her years "out west" as a single woman and that those journals were destroyed. Broke my heart--as a lover of western women's history I'd have loved to have read her first-hand accounts of what life was like back then.

    Thanks for the insights on the benefits of journaling, Barbara!


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  8. Glynna, I love the idea of journaling about your writing journey. Now that takes discipline, but what a great way to work out plot points and character insights. It might prevent me from falling down the rabbit hole with Alice. lol

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  9. And how sad your ancestor's journals were destroyed!!! I'm not sure anyone would have wanted to read mine though. I did save my latest journal because I used it for Bible study, prayers, thanksgiving, and goal setting. A few months ago, I flipped back to the year before and found a list of writing and personal goals. I'd totally forgotten about it. So you can imagine how surprised I was that I had fulfilled every one of them!! I think it's time to write down my goals for the next year. What a great weekend to do that!

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    1. That's neat, Barbara, that via the journal you could see how you'd reached your goals.

      Over and over again in the Old Testament God's people are commanded to remember where he's led them in the past -- and even at the time of the event to pile up rocks as a reminder of what he's done for them and to tell their children what that physical reminder means.

      I haven't gone back to read all my journals from when I was so ill--although from time to time I dip in to look up something in particular that is foggy in my brain. Maybe on down the road I'll read them straight through because I need reminders of how far God has brought me.

      We so easily forget the details of those things. Times when I was too weak to blow dry my own hair. Couldn't walk any farther than the end of the driveway and back--and that with exhausting effort and stubborn determination. Times when I'd get down to pick something up or out of a bottom drawer and I'd fall over, unable to get back on my feet without crawling over to a bed or chair to pull myself back up. BUT by the end of the next year, I was walking 2-3 miles a day. I don't believe in wallowing in the past, but it's good to be reminded of His faithfulness, and journals do that.

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    2. Praise God He carried you through those times of illness!!! Your life is a gift to us all and a testament to our Great Physician.

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  10. Hi Barb!

    I understand about burning your journals. I journaled extensively when I was in college and for a couple years after. I had been told that it was necessary if you wanted to be a writer. But those journals were too introspective. They focused on everything I thought I should be doing and believing, and all the negative things in my life. They revealed things that I didn't want anyone else to read...especially future children and grandchildren. :-/

    But things have changed. I've changed. I don't journal in that same way anymore. I keep a bullet journal daily, where I plan my day, write down ideas and goals, keep track of my writing progress, etc. It's taken a couple years to develop that journal to be what I need, and it's versatile.

    It's also "analog" instead of digital - I write in it by hand, which is such a different experience than typing on the computer. The thought processes are different.

    I also "journal" in my Bible during the Sunday morning sermon. I underline, color, write notes in the margins... I know some of our friends wonder what I'm doing with my pen and colored pencils, but I've found that I get much more out of the sermon that way. It's like God and I are having a conversation through the scripture passage the pastor is preaching on.

    Good thoughts on journaling, Barb! And I love that there are as many ways to journal as there are people. :-)

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  11. Good morning, Jan! Ah, you understand. I definitely didn't want future generations to read my depressing thoughts. Very introspective.

    Journaling by hand is really painful these days. Too many years of editing with a red pencil and pounding on a manual typewriter. Cursive is almost impossible so I print everything now. Getting older is not for wimps!!

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  12. Barbara, I've been a journaler since my teen years. And, I confess, i still have every journal I've written in. :) I've heard about a couple of people getting rid of their journals after years, and it makes sense. I haven't decided if I will follow that path or not. ;)

    I've always found journaling to be an effective way to get the pent up stuff inside me out, so I could process it. You're so right, the hand and brain do have a special relationship. Thoughts and emotions fly onto the page in a way they could never be expressed verbally.

    I loved learning a little more about your story. Thank you for sharing here!

    Great post! I hope you have a beautiful Easter!

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    1. Jeanne, I kept a diary in my teen years, but I pre-edited my thoughts first. I never knew if my mom or dad or little brother would read it.

      After I left home, I could express my thoughts in a way I couldn't before. My husband bought me my first beautiful leather journal.

      I hope you have a wonderful Easter as well!

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  13. Love your article. I had many journals through high school and college. I burned them as well. :-)
    Happy Easter!
    Becky

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    1. Happy Easter, Becky!! I love it that you burned yours as well. Maybe writing such personal thoughts helped us become better writers.

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    2. In the journal I wrote years ago, I wrote a note in the front that says something like: Private. Please do read.

      But maybe I should burn it instead! :)

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  14. Great post! I find it difficult to journal.

    Happy Resurrection weekend!

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    1. Caryl, buy a pretty journal and write one thing a day you're grateful for, even if its just for life and breath. You may open the floodgates of feelings and observations. Have a blessed Easter!

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  15. Lovely post, Barbara. I've always kept a journal. It's a wonderful way to see how I've grown and also to remember those who are no longer with me. My journals have never been a place to gripe or complain, only to express what's on my mind and in my heart. I actually have two journals. One is a five year one sentence a day happy journal that I've used every day for four years. With each entry, I'm able to see what made me happy on that particular day in years past. I love it and look forward to the end of the day to make my entry. My other journal is more personal and for the past several years, documents my mother's progression with Alzheimer's. Thank you for this post, Barbara. Wishing you and yours a beautiful Easter.

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    1. All of us journal for different reasons. I think it's a wonderful idea to keep two journals! I've tried that before, but I could never keep them separate. My writing journals contained story ideas and whole scenes, but then I'd find myself writing about the experience that sparked the idea. May you have a joy-filled Easter, Jill!

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    2. Jill, I think that's a wonderful idea.

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  16. Barbara, I used to be very faithful about journaling, but I've let it slide a bit. I loved your thoughts.

    An interesting thing about #8 - the "healing" aspect of journaling. Years ago, when our oldest child was desperately ill and we lived in and out of hospitals, I could barely consider journaling, writing, or anything even remotely coherent. I did, however, jot down thoughts...and some story snippets...on the paper napkins that arrived on our son's hospital trays. I called them my "napkin notes."

    Years later, those "napkin notes" grew into a story. That story grew into an ACFW Genesis final. That Genesis final grew into the novel that became my "first sale" and the book that will be published in July 2019. Journaling - even on those paper napkins - developed my mettle and increased my faith. I couldn't imagine...but God did.

    Congratulations to you and much, much success with Dreams of My Heart!

    AND what an incredible love story you and your husband have had. For those who haven't read Part One and Two over at Shannon Vannater's blog, I wholeheartedly recommend you visit. It blessed me so much!

    Easter Blessings, SEEKERVILLE friends ~

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    1. Congratulations on that first sale, Cynthia!!!

      Can you tell us a bit about the storyline that was inspired by those napkin notes?

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    2. Glynna, while my novel has nothing to do with our medical journey, it does weave perseverance and resilience into the storyline. It's a fish-out-of-water story with a heroine who completely upends in her life in pursuit of a dream, however crazy it might seem to others. I shared a little more on today's blog. Thanks so much for asking! :-)

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    3. Cynthia, you are such a terrific cheerleader for me and other writers as well. Thank you!

      I'm sorry you had to go through what you did with your son's medical problems. But it sounds like God used that experience to write your novel. Napkin Notes sounds like the title of a gift book...short devotions to encourage others in difficult situations.

      Like you, I've spent countless hours in hospital rooms with my parents, family, and friends. I would always bring my laptop but was never able to use it. I think God knows we need to be present with the afflicted in those times.

      Happy Easter!

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    4. Cynthia, that's amazing how that story started on napkins! Thanks for sharing that.

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    5. Missy, you're so welcome... That was my time in the dessert. It's surreal, in a way. Almost like an outsider looking in now.

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    6. Cynthia -- I checked out your blog and that sounds like a book I'll enjoy reading!!

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  17. Hi. I used to journal. Well, it was more like a quiet time where I wrote my thoughts, prayers, and struggles down after reading a bit of scripture. All that was before my husband and I started having kids. I would get up early for my quiet time. Actually, I forced myself to get up. I'm not really a morning person. So, when I had our first baby, I tried to keep it up but eventually stopped. Maybe one day I'll get back to it. My oldest is a Senior in high school and my youngest is a sophomore. Maybe the empty nest with push me to start again. I kept all those journals because I thought maybe it would make for an interesting Memoir one day. Probably not.

    Even though I hope to be an author one day, can I still be put in the drawing? "Dreams of My Heart" sound delightful!

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    1. Of course, you're in the drawing! We're all one big happy family in Seekerville.

      A journal is what you want it to be. I consider thoughts, prayers, and struggles the very core of a journal. We all have seasons in our lives when things go by the wayside. If you don't mind people reading your journals, by all means keep them! Have a blessed Easter!

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    2. I know this is crazy, but sometimes I think about the rapture and what I would leave behind. My house, which is payed for, would be left completely empty. Would someone just move in or would a bank take ownership and sale it? Honestly, I wouldn't care. I'd be walking on streets of gold. Someone would have to go through the house and clean it out, though. My prayer is that they wouldn't just toss out the notebooks, but find it an interesting read. If my walk in Christ, both the good and the bad, could help lead someone else to the Living Savior who would soon be back, then Praise God. Crazy right? It'll probably never happen. Happy Easter to you, too!

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  18. I recently came across my journal from when I was twelve. I was very verbose and poured my heart out to such an extent that I'd used the year's worth of paper up in three months! lol Yes, it was angsty and preteenish and over-the-top but some of the core issues I struggled with as a kid are still the same things I struggle with today. That was a real eye-opener.

    I don't journal any more -- was never any good at keeping it up and taming the angst. Now I do a kind of church journal. I take notes during the sermon and transcribe them into a lovely bound journal and I often include little personal side-notes to points that really speak to me. It's a way to personalize the sermon and challenge me without risk of burying it all in verbosity. lol

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    1. How fun to find a journal from when you were twelve! I have no idea what happened to my diary from those days. Aren't all teens full of angst? lol I certainly was. But you're right, the things I struggled with then are emotions that strike me now, but I've learned to overcome them through Scripture. My Bible is full of notes in the margins. I'm quite impressed you transcribe the sermon notes and add your thoughts. I would call that "journaling"!

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    2. Kav, I used to write poems when I was an angsty pre-teen and early teen. Man, I wish I could find those now! :)

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  19. I journaled for 10-15 years but with numerous job changes and often a lot of time on the road commuting to jobs, I got out of the habit. I'm not sure whether my journaling turned into more of a diary or a true journal. I feel it was beneficial but somehow got away from it and haven't returned to it.

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    1. That's the beauty of a journal...you can start and stop whenever life changes. I don't think there is a "true" journal. Journaling is writing from the heart, at least it is for me. Thanks for stopping by, Ed! Happy Easter!!!

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    2. Welcome, Edward! We're glad you stopped by.

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    3. Edward, glad to see you here in SEEKERVILLE ~ WELCOME!

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  20. I've kept a journal off and on through the years. What I am wanting to do is to transfer them into a book I am wanting to write of my life. Because I am single and for 25 years I was a missionary and not near family. There were so many awesome experiences that my family never knew about. I am planning to destroy the journals once I copy out the things I want in this story of my life. It is like a legacy to leave for my nieces and nephews.

    I read a book several years ago that was written in journal form. I enjoyed it and decided that would be a neat way to write a novel. So for my first ever draft of a novel I wrote it in journal form. I finished after 117,000 words and 18 months time. I set it aside and had a feeling it would never be published. Then I picked it up again and I am rewriting it. This time in 3rd person and it has a new name. One advantage is that by writing in journal form I really got into the main character's head so that has helped tremendously in rewriting.

    I want to wish everyone a glorious Easter. We serve a risen Savior.

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    1. Wilani, I didn't know you were a missionary! What a treasure of experiences for your nieces and nephews! A wonderful legacy of faith to leave them.

      It sounds like you have a novel that only needs some tender, loving care. Keep shaping that book!

      I wish you a glorious Easter as well!

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    2. Happy Easter to you, too, Wilani!

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  21. I’ve destroyed journals in the past that were from hard times that wouldn’t have been edifying if family found them. But I’ve also enjoyed doing gratitude journals as well as doing shorter writing journals to focus on what I do every day for my writing journey. I also journal in my Bible daily and during sermons and I love to re-read sermon notes. For “morning pages” where I want to clear my mind before writing I just use a cheap notebook and when it’s filled I toss it in the blue bin. I’ve never found a “journal” that fits everything I need it to do so have a couple on the go at once. I do love a beautiful leather or decorative journal! And I wish everyone a blessed Easter weekend!

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    1. Laurie, I feel like all the Bible study workbooks I did in our ladies Bible study group are almost like journals. I save them and should look back over them someday.

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  22. Hi, Barbara! Thank you for giving us a glimpse of your "checkered past" and sharing the journey that brought you to God and to where you are today.

    I've been a sporadic journal keeper. Recently Project Guy decided on a new project--cleaning out closets! Lo and behold, we came upon a box of my journals beginning in our early years of marriage (which was a LOOONG time ago since we're coming up on 46 years this spring). Browsing through them was a trip--literally!!!

    For several years I also used to do those "morning pages" recommended by Julia Cameron of The Artist's Way, but at some point I got so tired of my own drivel that I stopped. These days I write a very short journal entry (paragraph or so) as part of my morning devotions. A scripture verse gives me something to focus on and ponder as it relates to my daily life, so it's partly a personal meditation and partly a prayer.

    Congratulations on your new book! I preordered and am looking forward to the official release!

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    1. A lot of my journals sounded like King David's laments, and I was in a state of depression when I wrote many of those words. Ugh.

      We all have so many different ways of journaling. A journal is a personal journey that allows you to write in a cheap notebook or an expensive "journal." It doesn't really matter, does it?

      Have a blessed Easter!

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    2. Myra, the comment above was for Laurie. I'm persona non grata at the moment.

      How fun to find your treasure trove of journals!!! I didn't become a Christian until I was 35, so my journals weren't terribly edifying.

      Thanks for preordering my book! I hope you enjoy it!!

      Barb

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    3. Myra, that would be so fun to read journals from (I'm assuming) your 20's! I hope you kept them. :)

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    4. LOL--Project Guy tried to talk me out of keeping them (among other keepsakes that have moved with us over 40+years)--not very hard, I admit, since he knew he never had a chance!

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    5. How funny, Myra. Sounds like my practical husband. :)

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  23. Argh! Google has signed me out, and I'm now Anonymous!!!! I've tried everything, even changing my password, but it won't let me sign back into blogger as Barbara. Sigh.

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    1. I'm sorry, Barb! Blogger/Google drives me crazy sometimes. I had that trouble on my phone for a while. Lately, it messes me up when I'm signed into the Seeker email addy. So make sure you're signed in the correct addy on Gmail!

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    2. Yay! I finally was able to change my settings and log back in. Of course, my email is totally messed up, but I'll deal with that later. :-)

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  24. I don't journal. I can't. I've tried on many occasions to journal, but I can only go so long before I end up giving up. I also don't take pictures. I really just live in the moment.

    I've tried journaling when I'm upset and all I end up with are a few pages of really unpleasant stuff. So *shrugs* I just don't really journal.

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    1. Nicki, that's interesting that you don't take photos. You know, I sometimes feel as if I miss moments because I'm trying so hard to get a photo of them. So you're probably smart to live that way! :)

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    2. I agree, Missy. I rarely take photos, and I can go all day without checking my phone. I want to be present with other people and enjoy the moment.

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  25. Hi Barbara. As a young girl I had a diary that I wrote in every day. I wish that I had kept that habit and recorded my life events. I do journal occasionally but not like I should!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, do you still have that diary? I wrote in one as a child and would love to have it today. I don't know what happened to it.

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  26. I remember my first diary had a lock and key, but I think you could jimmy the lock with a bobbypen. lol

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    1. Barb, mine did, too! And I had that thing until I was in college. I used to pull it out and look at it for fun. But after I moved away, it disappeared. Maybe when my parents moved.

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  27. I always used to journal, but I haven't journaled in years. When growing up, I had a diary and a dream journal and a poetry journal. But once I went to college, I had pretty much grown out of it, probably just because I didn't have much extra time for journaling. ;) Though I always found extra time for reading. Maybe it's a priority thing. I also found scrapbooking in college, and ever since, I have "journaled" in my scrapbooks, though it's not the deep discovery you're talking about. I now only write down a dream that I think may possibly be used in a story someday; I don't write poetry anymore; and I write so much in my blog (once a week) and my novel (30,000 words+ for one month a year), that I don't really need to journal any more than that. I still love to buy journals, though; I just use them for story ideas or webinar notes. ;)

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    1. Lila, I think in some ways, blogs have become our journals. Just not as private. :)

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  28. I used to journal at bedtime, but I'm writing or editing all day. So now I read at bedtime to relax.

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  29. Hi Barbara:

    So glad you've come back to Seekerville! I hope I'am not too late! I've read your book and I've been jealous with envy ever since because of the rich experiences you must have enjoyed while researching "Hemigway and Lorca".

    Why not me?

    Of course, I have a few burning questions to ask the maestro:

    Do you use the power duende in writing your romances?

    Do you feel that duende, as a power, is a force along the lines of the weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force, electro magnetic force, and gravitational force? As such do you think 'duende' is a necessary component of a 'unified theory of everything'?

    Have you considered if it would be profitable to combine the theories of 'black sounds' and 'white noise' to get at the mystery something (the sine qua non) that made Hemingway and Lorca so truly original and insightful?

    And in this light I ask: "Must one face a bull in the ring with death just a breath away to instantiate duende? Would not a windmill and a mirror gorge as deeply as a horn?

    Oh, I think Lorca has me waxing poetic!

    As a special treat for you and Herminway and Lorca fans, check out these two videos on YouTube:

    Dramatic visual reading of the poem.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXtRUS4-1M8

    and

    A wondrous operetta based on the poem:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hozVoBAFqA


    I think most writers would enjoy reading "Hemingway and Lorca" for the insights gained from being 'outside the box' and approaches to creating lasting literature that drove these two great artists.

    Thanks for your post today!

    Vince

    P.S> Is the date '1950' on page 15, third paragraph, really supposed to be '1930'? It's got me thinking. :)

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    1. Hi Vince!! No, you're not late at all. I never imagined anyone I know would read my book about Hemingway and Lorca and the concept of the mysterious duende. The book is actually my master's thesis for my M.A. in English. After all my hours of research and writing, it seemed a shame to stick it on a shelf to gather dust. So I rewrote it and self-published it.

      I was a fan of Hemingway's writing in high school, but it wasn't until I read Lorca's poetry and studied his life history that I realized it was probable the Spanish poet and Hemingway moved in some of the same circles in Spain. That's when I discovered the concept of duende.

      Even though I'm still not sure I fully understand the "theology" of this creativity that its proponents believed existed on the edge between life and death.

      I prefer the wind of the Holy Spirit as my source of creativity. When I let go and allow Him to guide my thoughts and words, I feel His pleasure.

      Lorca and Hemingway were brilliant authors, but their creativity led them down some dark roads and to tragic deaths.

      Fascinating concept, though, isn't it? Have a fabulous Easter, Vince!!

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    2. Thanks for the links, Vince! I look forward to checking them out. :)

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  30. Barbara -- I rewarded myself after a productive day of writing by preordering your book! Looking forward to reading it! :)

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  31. I hope you enjoy reading it, Glynna!!

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  32. Great blog, Barbara. An what an interesting thought that maybe a lot of women might have destroyed their journals.

    I've never journaled... not even the little diaries that young girls tend to keep. Ruthy's comment (the very first one) echoed my own thoughts that some personalities lend themselves to journaling, while others don't. I'm not sure what makes one do it, and another not.

    And... your sounds great. Congratulations!!! :)

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  33. Barbara, I'm late to the blog...and late reading your delightful post! Interesting points about the positive effects of journal writing. I don't keep a daily journal, but I do have a prayer journal. Friday is my special day with the Lord and I usually recap the week in that prayer journal and then listen to what I hear him whisper back to me. If you've read the intro to JESUS CALLING, you'll understand what I mean. Although my input is weekly, the journal documents the highs and lows of my life, which is a nice record to have.

    Your latest book looks and sounds wonderful! A marriage of convenience...or necessity...is always an interesting story line.

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    1. Debby, I love how you use your prayer journal. I think that's a wonderful idea.

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  34. I have been journaling for decades and have found it helps when I a having a rough day. Funny how when you read them years later how thinks were not as bad as they seemed.

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  35. My first journal was when we went out of the country to visit friends who live in Canada. I've been doing it ever since.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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  36. I started keeping a journal in high school and didn't stop until after I had been married several years. There have been times I have worried about others finding those adolescent thoughts and angsts, but I am not quite ready to burn them yet. I have discovered blogging sometimes works the same way, but I don't write nearly as much personal stuff in my blog as I used to in my journals.

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