Journal or not to Journal?

Stashed away out of view sat a stack of 91/2 x 6 spiral bound notebooks.  Those notebooks contain the records of Life according to Karyl.  Sometimes the records are day after day and sometimes days are missing, sometimes a whole month is missing.  One could presume from that a lack of consistency in the writer’s life is apparent.

The earliest journal I found was 1980, however, I know that the first journal actually is somewhere misplaced, and should be 1978.  Nell Collins, a well-known lady speaker in Indiana and surrounding states, hooked me on the idea of recording my feelings and trivia.  The goal is supposed to stimulate a person to go back and look at the changes that have taken place.  Some people use a journal to vent.  

Since God knows what I am thinking, and is a skillful “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. . .” (Hebrews 4:12), there is probably no need to write down my frustrations.  Rather, just quietly take them to God.  As I look back into those notebooks, flipping pages haphazardly, what I see mostly is just me.  Transparent me. In fact, it is a bit frustrating to not see giant strides in faith!

Stuffed between entries in August of 1992 I found a letter that I wrote to one of my daughters but never sent.  That was the year I moved from Indiana to Tennessee.  Because I had to start my new teaching job in mid-August, I moved before the children and Bob moved.  The children were all in college and went directly to campus. She had expressed concern.  This is what I told her:  “So don’t worry about Mom.  Today I am overwhelmed with peace, surprised by joy, strengthened by God’s Word, hold to the Blessed Hope, and embrace the Cross of Christ.”   If she asked me tonight, in 2012, twenty years hence, I could tell her the very same thing.

Steadiness has been a longed for desire of mine.  Maybe I have achieved it more than I realize.  Slow and steady progress. Tortoise speed.

Journaling was, after all, not a waste of time.  It is never too late to start.  You can start today.




  1. Glenda

    I am not surprised that you would not use a journal to vent! You are one of the most upbeat people I have ever known, through all the trials you have faced, and I wish I had your discipline. While I did not know you when you first moved to TN (we were in Chattanooga at the time and did not return to Seymour till 1997), I’m sure that move was a big step for the whole family. I’m glad you have recorded those times so others can follow along and trace their own memories of those times. Keep up the great thoughts for us!! 🙂

  2. Actually, I like to play with words, and I enjoy devotional thinking. Many a seed has germinated from the pages of those homely little spiral notebooks. If I don’t
    record them, whoosh, they are gone. After writing this one post on journals, I am going to do a follow up or two this week. People worry about “how” to when all they need to do is find a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. More to follow.
    Better yet, Glenda, I see that you checked my spot w/o my posting it on FB. You humble me. I’m not that good; wordpress is just a spot for me to share what I’ve been thinking. My mind is just average, but I hope that my heart is in the right place.

    • Glenda

      Karyl, I have signed up to follow your posts, so I get an email notice when one is posted. You inspire me because I know a bit about your struggles through the years and your current one with your eyesight. You have no need to worry—your heart is always in the right place! 🙂

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