Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Ritual of Journaling

I wrote a little bit the other day about perfectionism and how it holds us back from journaling. 

I think we each have a lot of reasons for not journaling. Perfectionism is a big one for some of us. Another thing that has kep me from journaling for years was feeling like it was a chore. I loved the idea of journaling, but actually sitting down to write felt like home work. No fun.

Over the past few years though I have unintentionally developed little rituals that have made time in my journal feel like a mental retreat rather than an assignment.

While I some times journal on the go, I prefer to journal at home in one of three spots: my dinning room table, my office writing desk, or a giant, leather chair next to the front window.

Before I start journaling I make sure I have any and all supplies I might need. Pens, pencils, journal, embellishments, glue sticks, photos, all in close reach. 

I normally keep a drink close by as well. In the summer that normally means ice water, lemonade, or sweet tea/lemonade. In the winter I lean towards hot tea or coffee. 

Good light, a warm blanket in cooler weather, and some quiet music also help set the mood. 

If it's a morning when I feel particularly scattered or distracted I will also keep a note pad or sticky note close by so I can jot down reminders or to dos as they pop into my mind. 

Because I have three kids and a revolving front door with neighbor kids coming and going I expected to be inturupted. Knowing that and deciding ahead of time that inturuptions are to be expected keeps my irritation at bay. Some times, depending on the day and the child, I will invite them to join me while I journal.

Tonight I would encourage you to find some things to add to your journaling time to make it a ritual you look forward to. 




Monday, October 17, 2016

Blank Journals

I love an empty notebook. There is so much beauty and possibility in an empty page. While I enjoy the occasional guided journal, blank journals are what really make my heart skip a beat.

The best thing about good, old fashioned, journaling is that all you need is any empty notebook and something to write with. 

Over the years I have used everything from $.50 composition books to embossed, leather journals with beautifully thick pages. 

That may be the very best part of using a blank book. There is something for every style, need, and budget.

Later this week I will share some of my favorite ways to use a blank journal, some prompts to get you started, and a few extra things.

Tonight though, I wanted to share with you my two favorite styles of blank notebooks to use.

Hands down my favorite style of journal is a hard back spiral bound notebook. 
The thick cover is ideal for journaling because it doesn't require a desk or table for writing, and I just love the ease of writing using a spiral bound notebook. 
As beautiful as some bound journals are, I find them not as easy to use. 
If you are looking for this style of journal I cannot recommend EcoJot enough. I normally get them at Barnes and Noble and currently have one in use and two on hand for when this one fills up. 

The other style of blank notebook I can't get enough of is Traveler's Notebooks or refillable notebooks. I will most likely do an entire blog post on these later. But for now, the basic idea is a sturdy cover (made from leather or stabilized fabric) with elastic bands to hold inserts. The thing I love about these is the varsatiliy. I like be able to have a different notebook for different subjects, but still have them all in one place. 

Which style of notebook do you like to use? Have a favorite? Share it in the comments! 



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Journaling and Perfectionism

I am half way through this series and I have written/posted every day. That's huge for me and I was super excited. Then I logged on today and saw my stats. Right now my posts are being viewed, on average, 5 times each. That's a record low for me. And I was crushed. So much work and my blog is doing worse than it has in years. Seriously? My first reaction was to walk away from the whole thing. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It easy to give up when things don't go the way we hoped. 

Perfectionism kills creativity. 

It's also the main reason we don't journal.

We miss a day.
We make a mistake in pen.
We can't spell.
We hate our hand writing.
We try something new and it doesn't turn out.
We see beautiful photos on social media and convince ourselves we don't have the "right" talent or skills.

Our fear of imperfection keeps us from recording the moments and memories that make up our stories. 

So, I'm going to keep writing here, and keep journaling, and keep trying new things. Because nothing is ever perfect...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Saturday Set Up

So I wanted to show you what this spread looks like after the pen. 

The beauty of decorating/laying out your journal a week at a time is that it makes it super quick and easy to jot down a couple thoughts. 

I love th simplicity of this and the fact it can be as detailed or as basic as I want. As you can see some days I wrote an entire paragraph, other days just a sentence, and today I simple recorded a list of the things that made me happy. 

They say that life is made up of moments, and this is my way of capturing those and jotting them down to remember on a rainy day.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Q&A Journals

I could probably do an entire 31 days on guided journals, but I have a feeling that would get very boring, so I won't. I do want to share one last style with you before we move on, however.

I haven't used these myself, but friends and family have and they love them. If you are a new Journaler just getting started this is so perfect. 

There is one page for every day of the year.
At the top of the page is a question and bellow is space to answer that question 3-5 years in a row. 

There's only room for a few sentences which makes is an easy commitment. It's also fun to see how you answers to the same question change from year to year. 

The are a wide variety of ranging from general questions, to mom questions, to journals for kids, teens, and college students. 

Come back tomorrow for another Follow Friday! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Capturing Stories: Workshop Wednesday



I'm so excited for this workshop Wednesday! If I could I would invite you all over and we would do this one together. In fact as often as I can I DO have people over to do this excercise with with me. 

My friend and I are constantly reminding each other that things are more likely to be used if they are pretty. From cleaning supplies to water bottles to journals we are way more likely to use things if we find them attractive. 

Some times though, it can be really hard to find the time to journal, much less make things pretty. 

When friends ask me where to start, or when I need to go back to the basics, I always go back to the basics.

Finding time to journal a page daily can feel daunting. But taking ten to fifteen minutes once a week is reasonable (and even advisable) for most of us! 

At the top of the post I shared two #beforethepen lay outs. Typically this hashtag is used for planners but I love predecorating journals as well! 
Use whatever tools and tecniques appeal to you. I am a big fan of washi and stickers for their spread. However I have also used water colors and stamps. The best part is that you only make a mess once and then your journal is ready to write in for the week and you will be that much more excited to use it because you know something pretty is waiting for you! 

So this week's excercise is to brew a cup of tea or coffee, put on your favorite song or sitcom, pull out those craft supplies you have been to busy to use, and play for ten-fifteen minutes. 

Of you are brand new and don't have supplies, washi and stickers can be bought at most dollar stores or the dollar section of Target. If nothing else a set of colored pencils can add a splash of color to a page and encourage you to stretch your doodling muscles. 

Trying out this week's challenge? Tag me on Instagram @joyleanne or on my Facebook page. I would love to see what you come up with! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Guided Journals: Doodling Journals

So, it may seem a little unorthodox but I love a good doodle journal. For me journaling is a creative outlet and some times I don't have the time or desire to write a lot but just want some silly expression. I love the idea of art journaling but it can be a little overwhelming so the doodle books are a great way for me to express myself with out having to use a ton of supplies. 

So, with out further ado some of my favorite doodle journals for you to try out.

Love both of these books because they offer space to Doodle and regular prompts. There's a lot of room to write as well if you like to combine the two.

I haven't tried this one but I love this illustrator so I feel confident recommending it.
Draw Every Day Every Way
This is on my list of ones to try!! 

So there are some fun Doodle journals? If so tag me on Instagram! I would love to see them!  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Guided Journals: Holiday Journals

Continuing our conversation about guided journals I thought I would share another guided journal style that I have enjoyed over the years. 

As my Dad said, some day you will want to remember what year your daughter sang "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" every day for two months or what year you caved and bought your kids a puppy. 
Enter Holiday or Season Journals.

I have used this one and love it. It captures 25 years of memories and it so special. 

I've also used this book. It holds 5 years of memories and it's one of my favorites. It's so fun and whimsical. 

Thanksgiving Memory Book 
I've never used this one but it looks super fun.

Vacation: The Traveler's Journal 
This is another favorite of mine. It's not a holiday journal exactly but still seems to fit in here.

One of my favorite wedding gifts is to get a Vacation, a Christmas, and a Thanksgiving journal for the married couple so they can start recording those special moments from their first year together. 

Do you journal about your Holiday's? What kinda of things do you always make sure you record?  



Sunday, October 9, 2016

Guided Journals: List Journals

It's nearly 8:00 pm and I haven't written for today yet. (This is getting to be a bad ritual.) Tonight I had no idea what to write about. I was seriously looking for ways to get out of writing, but my husband wouldn't hear of that. 
So I sat here looking at a blank screen me thinking about how much I that. Some times blank pages and screens are an invitation, other times they are overwhelming. 
That is the beauty of guided journals. You have something to jump start the ideas. 
I knew I wanted to spend a couple of days exploring different kids of guided journals so I decided to start a day early.

I've have used all kids of guided journals over the years. A have a couple styles that I come back to over and over. List style books are probably my very favorite. Not only do they give me a place to start, but often times it triggers an idea I want to come back and explore more later. 

So, here are some fun list journals to check out.

There are actually a whole lot in this series from relationship lists, to book lists, movie lists. So much fun. 

Which list books sounds the most fun? I would love to hear. 


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Room to Remember

Today is my in-laws 39th wedding anniversary.
It is also my uncle's funeral.
It's a bit poetic.
As my mother would say, "Grief is the price we out for love." 
We cannot love with out risking grief.
When we journal there is room to document, embrace, and remember both. 
This week has been so much of that for me. Sitting with the sorrow and celebrating the joy of this season I am in. I have been so very blessed by people who have been willing to do both with me. 
I sat down today to journal and I wrote about both bitter and the sweet. 
Finding the balance can be a challenge. 
We live in an Instagram world where it's tempting to share just the high points. 
If we are not careful it can be easy for that mentally to transfers itself into our journaling.
The opposite is also true. Because it is a safe place for reflection, if we are not careful, a journal can become a dumping ground for negativity. A place to unburden the pain and then lock it away in the back of a drawer.
When journaling is most helpful to me is when I allow it to be a space to explore and reflect on the good and the bad. 

What are you tendencies when you journal? 
Do you find yourself recording only the high lights?
Or do struggle with being negative? 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Capturing Stories: Follow Friday

Today is day 7 of writing and posting and I am frankly shocked that I have stuck with it this long! Between my uncle passing and the due date anniversary or our miscaried baby this week combined with a lap top that doesn't work to work at all (I'm writing and posting on my phone!) and being in the middle of prep for a local art and craft show, there were so many reasons to quit. But I haven't yet and I am so very glad! 

The main reason I am doing this series is because I am passionate about it and because I want to inspire others. In that vein, I wanted to do at least one "Follow Friday" post and share with you some of the accounts I find inspiring. Hopefully you will find some one new to follow.


Do you follow any journal ackcounts? Which are your favorites? Share bellow! 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Current Journal Set Up

One of the questions I get most when people see my stacks of journals/planners is,
"But what do you DO with all of them?!"

Since we can all use a little extra inspiration (and because some times it's fun to be a little nosey), I thought it would be fun to show you all my current journal/planner set up.

Currently I am using:
Spiral Bound Journal
Traveler's Notebook
Carpe Diem Ring Planner
Kate Spade Spiral Bound Planner
Illustrated Faith Planner

Spiral Journal
This is my standard "journal". I write in it most mornings and it's where I brain dump, record events and feelings, write out prayers, doodle, and take sermon notes.

Midori Travler's Notebook
My traveler's notebook holds three inserts. 
A cut down Moleskin Cahier with current lists, notes for this series, some simple bullet journaling, and anything that needs to be written down while out and about.
My Reset Girl insert is used for list journaling.
And finally my CocoaDaisy insert is used for gratitude journaling.

Ring Bound Planner
This is used like one would normally think of a planner. I use it for appointments, schedules, school stuff, and our monthly budget/check book balancing. 

Kate Spade Planner
This may be one of my favorites. The small spaces are perfect for recording a thought or quote or something special that happened that day. Some people use ring planners for this, but I like a bound planner so that it's all self contained at the end of the year. 

Illustrated Faith Planner
This is my newest edition and I am really enjoying it. I've been using it for scripture writing challenges, quiet time notes, and daily prayer focus. 

Some of my set up changes season to season but this will most likely be the set up I use till the end of the year. 

What's your journaling set up? Do you use multiple notebooks or are you a one book kind of gal? Join the conversation bellow or over on Instagram. I would love to hear your thoughts. 



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Capturing Stories: Workshop Wednesday

When I decided I wanted to do this series I knew that I wanted it to be more than just me me writing about my favorite hobby. I wanted to provide any readers with practical tips, tricks, and prompts they could apply to their own journaling journey. 
Hopefully Workshop Wednesdays will do just that. 
Today's prompt is super simple.
When in doubt, I always find lists are a great place to start. Even after journaling for more then two decades I still find myself going back to listing as a way ton organize my thoughts or to kick start a journaling session. 

For the New Journaler: 
What are your goals with journaling
What do you want to get out of it?
What style of journals apeal to you?

For the Seasoned Journaler:
Why did you start journaling?
What do you love about journaling?
What style or journaling would you like to try or explore?

I would love to know if you tried out one of these prompts. Comment below, tag me on Instagram (JoyLeanne), or use the series hashtag #31daysofstoriescaptured.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Capturing Stories: Basic Tools of the Trade

While the basic tools of journaling are obvious (pen and paper), I still thought it could be fun to share a little bit about notebook/journal types and share a few of my favorite pens and pencils with you in hopes of encouraging you all to get pad the first initial hurtle of journaling. 

There are three basic journal types. Each type had variations you can explore for your exact needs, but nearly any journal can be lumped into one (or more) of these three groups.

Guided/Prompt Journals
Yearly/Dated Journals
Blank Journals

Guided/Prompt Journals
I love a good guided journal. They are great if you don't know where to start or don't always have a lot of time. 
I keep one or two of these on hand at all times for when I want to journal but don't have a lot of time. 

My Three Current Favorites are:
Extraordinary Objects 

Yearly/Date Journals
Year of the Doodle cross from prompts to dated. (It could also be considered art journaling, but we will get into that later.)
Five Year journals are a popular style of dated journals. There is a page for every day of the year and each page has space for five entries. Some of these are guided other are not. 
Planners would also fall in this category and can be used similarly to a blank journal of the idea of a completely empty full page is intimidating. 

Blank Journal

Blank journals offer the most variety in both style and function. Because of this it's hard to summurize them in one simple paragraph. The beauty, however, is that any piece of paper will do. In fact I have been known to jot things down on random pieces of paper and tape or glue them into my "proper" journal. I will spend a lot of time talking about types and uses for blank notebooks so for now I will leave you with a couple things to consider when picking out the perfect notes.

How will you be using this journal?
Do you want lined or unlined paper.
How thick do you want the paper to be?
What type of spine do you prefer?
How durable do you need it to be? 

If you don't know how to answer these questions, have no fear, we will be touching on these things and so much more in the coming weeks. 

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for our first "Workshop Wednesday" when I'll share some hands on tips and inspiration. 




Monday, October 3, 2016

On Gratitude, Grief, and Getting Started

This isn't the post I was going to write today.
I was going to do a post on the basic tools needed to journal. 
And then came then came the text that my Uncle had indeed passes away in the night.
After yesterday's news it wasn't a surprise. But grief is grief no matter how expected.
Recording the hard times can be difficult, but it's worth it. My sister-in-law reminded  me of this today. 

"Remember while writing about the hard there is also room to recognize the good. The support, the love, the helpers. How God used us." 

We talk about seasons of life, but rarely is any season only one thing. Grief and gratitude, bitter and sweet, they go hand in hand. You can always find something to be thankful for. Even if it's simply the smile of your child, the beauty of a sunset, the helpers in the middle of the tragedy.

I'm looking forward to this series on journaling and sharing with your my journey. But the fact is, all you really need to journal is paper, pen or pencil, and something to write about. 

So tonight, if you don't know where to begin, start with gratitude. 


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why I Journal

I almost didn't post today.
I almost called the whole thing off.
There's a lot of reasons.

Time was a big factor. I am in the middle of a crazy busy season. I am prepping for my bi-annual sale which means I have 5 weeks to finish making 200 dolls and accessories. I just started watching a neighbor girl in the morning before school. My friends needs help with her daughter this week. Time always feels in short supply.

And then came the call. The kind of call that makes you look at things and question what really matters in life. The kind of call that makes you want to scrap everything and spend the day in bed with your kids holding them close. The kind that makes you call your mom and dad just to say I love you for the million and tenth time.

And I can use it all as an excuse not to write. There are always excuses if you go looking for them. Or I can use it as a reminder. I reminder of WHY I write, and more specifically why I journal....

Because Stories Matter

I said this in yesterday's post and I will probably say it again before the month is over. I come from a family of story tellers. My dad is a fourth generation pastor so you could say it's in my blood. Put us all together for longer than 30 minutes and some one will start telling a story, you can count it. I firmly believe that stories matter. I believe stories are what give our life context and meaning. Stories connect us. They remind us of our shared roots and experiences. They help point us toward share goals. For me, journaling is a way of recording stories. It's the main reason why I have not just a personal journal but a memory journal, something my kids can look at some day and perhaps see that they aren't alone in their life experiences.  It's a big reason why I journal but it's not the only one...

Because I Need an Ebenezer

noun: a commemoration of divine assistance.

I journal to remember. In the most basic way I want to remember when my kids took their first steps, funny things they said, and what year my mom gave one of them a creepy, laughing baby doll for Christmas.
On a deeper level I journal to remember what God has done. I am like Israel and easily forget the goodness of my Savior.
My journals act as a reminder of where I have been and what God has done.
In dark seasons my journals remind me of God's goodness and love.

Because I am an Extrovert

I find it interesting this current trend of associating journaling with introverts. As if they have the corner on reflection and the written word. I hate that stereotype. I am an extrovert and proud of it. I also cannot function with out journaling. Out of my family of eight I am one of two extroverts (my mother being the other one). Out of six good friends in high school in only three of us were extroverts. As an extrovert surrounded by introverts journaling gas been a life line. I process life by talking. Journaling has always been my way of "talking things out" when all my lovely introverts are maxed out on my extreme energy.

Because I am Created to Create

I was once told "Find what it is that you CANNOT NOT do, and do that."
Words and stories are what drive and feed me. My passions, my interest, my spiritual gifts, my ministries can all boil down two those to things. I cannot not write. Blog posts, journals, letters, instragram captions. I was created  to create with words. In a boarded sense, creativity feeds my soul and journaling allows me to combine words with pretty things and make something that truly makes my heart happy.

A Note On Perfectionism

I never thought of myself as a perfectionist until I met my husband. He was one of the first people to point out my annoying habit of not doing things unless I believed I could do them "perfectly." Journaling forces me to get past that. For some one who loves writing, I have horrible spelling. My grammar is far to weak for some one who spent four years studying journalism. It is easy to be discouraged when I look at beautiful journal spreads on pinterest or instgram. But I move past those things because of the value I have found. I strive to let go of my perfectionism because I believe that stories matter, because I want to remember, because it's how I processes life, and because I was created to write and create.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Capturing Stories: 31 Days of Journaling

Journaling has been part of my life as long as I can remember. Somewhere in the back of my parent's basement you will find a box filled with composition books, Lisa Frank lock and key diaries, journals filled with black pages and messy hand writing in "moon beam" gel pens.

There is at least one shelf in my home full of leather bound prayers and confessions and spiral bound heavy weight paper full of rambling thoughts of everything from motherhood to politics. 

I'm not sure what sparked my original interest in journaling, but I do remember a conversation I had with my dad early in my marriage.

My mom and I were discussing something when my dad chimed in...

"Write it down," he said.
"Some day you will want to remember, or your children will ask you when certain things happened. Write is down or you won't remember."

And so I do.
In lists and prayers and run on sentences I write it down.
Some times pretty, some times hardly legible.
But always recorded somehow, somewhere.

I firmly believe that stories matter. They provide context, meaning, and insight for our lives. They remind us where we have been and help us discover where we want to go.

When I first hatched the idea to blog about journaling for 31 days I had my doubts. 
My blog is not a "crafty/creative/DIY" blog. 
My blog IS about stories.
This is the place I record stories to share with you, my readers.
My journals are where I record stories for personal reflection, or to share with my husband and children.
Maybe it's not as random as it seems.
The world (and how we communicate) has grown, and I have found myself sharing my journaling and process on social media. I often get responses from friends and strangers expressing their regret that they don't journal more or wishing they knew where to start. 

I am no expert on journaling, though I can certainly point you toward some.
I am however extremely passionate about stories.
I hope this series will inspire, motivate, and encourage you to capture the stories of your life in a way that is uniquely and beautifully you.