Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Journal with Your Heart by Jeanean Brown


One day, seven years ago I was collecting the mail and found a large manilla envelope addressed to me. Inside that envelope was a journal. My grandmother had picked up several blank journals at a local book store and for each of her granddaughters she hand wrote her personal life story. I have a history of her life, from childhood, from when she met my grandfather and their courtship, of their engagement and wedding, of their children, their homes, their travels. She recorded it all in her own hand. I can’t begin to describe what this gift has meant to me. I spent 2 days reading and re-reading, just devouring this journal. I am so touched by her thoughtfulness, love, and selflessness that it still brings tears to my eyes.
    I not only learned about her history, but I got to read about how she FELT about the events in her life. She included family stories that I had heard many times, and traditions that have been passed down- now I have them recorded and documented. She included lots of information about what everyday life was like for her growing up- I learned a lot that I had never known before- which is one of my favorite parts to read about.
    Receiving this gift of a documented personal family history is something that has fundamentally changed the way that I scrapbook. I understand and appreciate the value and the power of journaling. Sharing the story behind the photos, sharing your every day life, journaling about how you feel about the subjects of your layouts, documenting your family history as you make it.... leaving your legacy.


A few tips or ideas to jump start MEANINGFUL JOURNALING.

If you are not comfortable journaling your emotions, or need a way to start making your journaling more meaningful... try this

Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How.

These are interrogative words that journalists use. Answer some or all of these as they relate to your photos, or the story you want to share in your journaling. I encourage you to delve deeper then what we see in your photos. For example- let’s say you are working on a layout with photos of your family picnics at a local park. If your journaling is something like “We had a fun picnic at the park” you aren’t telling us the story. You are just stating what we can already see in the photos.

Using the interrogative words to help you- your journaling might read more like this:

“In the summer of 2012 we spent almost every Sunday afternoon at the park with a picnic dinner of summer fruits, tomatoes from our garden, Grandma May’s potato salad, and either sandwiches or fried chicken. Jamie liked to find a tree to sit under and read a book, the twins invented a game of chase that I am pretty sure they called: ‘NO!- YOU ARE IT’ and Dave and I sat back and soaked up the sun. I loved the lazy afternoons, and walking home afterwards as a family.”

Adding a few details, particularly things that maybe aren't represented in the photos creates a much more meaningful story that we would have missed otherwise.

A really EASY way to create meaningful journaling, is LIST MAKING. 


Instead of writing a statement or story about the subject(s) of your layout- make lists. For example- in this layout ‘Top 10’s’ I have created several lists of my daughters favorite things at ages 15-16. Her favorite activities, gadgets, movies, music, etc. There is no other journaling, yet this is powerful. A year from now she will look at this layout and may have totally different favorites and it will be fun for her to see how she changed. 5 years from now she will look at it and might think it’s pretty cool that I took the time to document (and notice) what her favorites were. 15 years from now she will look at this and know that she wants to do the same for her own kids.

Think about how special and loved you would feel if someone knew what your favorites were and took the time to document them?

I now love using Project Life for journaling methods!

List Ideas:

•    Things in your handbag right now/or what’s in your kids backpack?
•    Your Grocery List (and/or receipt)
•    Your weekly menu/ or favorite recipes)
•    Greatest Comforts
•    What are you grateful for?
•    Your Daily or weekly schedule/ or kids schedules and after school activities
•    Places you want to go
•    your bucket list
•    the ways (the person you are scrapbooking) touches your heart
•    House Rules (what are the rules you live by at your house?)
•    Goals (personal, academic, spiritual, career)

Get the family involved!

Hand over some journaling cards (got to love Becky Higgins Project Life cards for this!) to your family members and have them jot down their own memories for the event you are scrapbooking. (how great to have their point of view in their handwriting!)
or- give them a topic (and you can participate too!) Young ones can draw a picture!





Family journaling topic ideas:

•    The best part of your day
•    Your favorite part of (the event you are documenting)
•    Favorite dinner/meal
•    what should our family motto be?
•    favorite thing to do as a family
•    the chore you hate the most
•    the most important rule of the house


Including Everyday Ephemera, and meaningful inspirations.

Save and then include items like
•    ticket stubs
•    receipts
•    price tags from clothing
•    schedules
•    lyrics to a meaningful song
•    favorite quotes
•    favorite poems
•    awards, or other documents
•    give the kids some journaling cards and have them draw a picture, or sign their name.

Ready to try journaling something that will REALLY leave a lasting impression? 



Find your all time favorite photo of someone you love.
Create a layout with it, and then- journal about what YOU THINK ABOUT, AND WHAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS PHOTO. Be Honest. Be real. Be YOU. Just write it like how you would say it. You can even do it in a letter format if that is easier.
Remember- this one is NOT about what we can see in the photo - but rather what YOU FEEL when you look at this photo.

        When I read my Grandma’s journal, I am not thinking about how she did, or that it’s in a store bought journal, or that she didn't use fancy scrapbook supplies. I am only feeling loved, I am only thinking how wonderful she is for doing this for me, I am only appreciating THAT she did it.

Please, however you can, in whatever way you can, include journaling in your scrapbooks. You are the history keeper for your family. Document your everyday life. I started meaningful journaling and documenting in 2005 after I received Grandmas journal, and it’s been such a beautiful journey. I can tell you that the more you do it, the better you get it at, and I can tell you that you will become more aware of your blessings and more grateful for your loved ones. Journaling like this will enhance your own life experience as well as leave a legacy.



 Believe me when I say with all my heart- your family and friends will love you all the more for it.

- Jeanean Brown; Craft Warehouse In House Designer

1 comment:

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