Lovely Things


I’ve journaled faithfully since I was about 8 years old. Writing has always been my most effective way to process things. I’m a big believer in staying positive, so over the past few years, I’ve stayed sunny on the outside. However, I’ve used my journal as an outlet to vent about my homemaking woes. Virtually every entry spewed frustration over all the things I wasn’t getting done, how my house wasn’t as clean or orderly as it needed to be, how weary I was, how upset I felt that my meals weren’t up to my standard (or probably anyone else’s) and on and on. It helped, I thought. At least I wasn’t taking out these frustrations on everyone else.

Finally I realized that my journal was no longer a healthy outlet that helped me process my frustrations, but rather a tool that kept me stuck in them. Rather than being therapeutic, it had become toxic. For awhile I contemplated giving up journaling altogether, but after so many years of writing, that made me feel really lost. So I decided to try a different approach. A few months ago I began a new journal, based on Jewels’ beautiful inspiration journal, and I have just one rule: It must stay positive. I don’t want my kids to find these books one day and have a lopsided view of me as a strung-out, upset, frustrated, tired mama who is overwhelmed by my life. Although I feel that way at times, that’s only a tiny fraction of my whole existence. Most of my life is amazing. I’m happy most of the time, and more blessed than most people I know.

On the first page, I wrote this verse as a reminder:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

Guess what? Journaling is once again a joy. And since I am not allowing myself to write negative thoughts—in my life, the most powerful confirmation of feeling—I no longer feel so frustrated. Dissatisfied with my shortcomings as a homemaker, yes, but I think I am moving in a better direction, slowly but surely. A life focused on the best things is so much sweeter!


5 Responses to “Lovely Things”

  1. Sabina Says:

    How wonderful!!


  2. Gina Says:

    You are so right. I just had this conversation with my kids about journaling or writing in a diary. I did for a short time when I was a teen, and found that it was easier and easier to be more and more horrible on the page, and it made my whole attitude bad in “real life”. I ended up burning my diary, and had the experience to tell my kids about being positive even when you are going through all the angsty teen feelings.

  3. Marie Says:

    I am not trying to argue with you, but I saw things from a different perspective when I looked over some old journals of mine. Everything was quite candy and sweet, and I said to myself, did I never have a problem? Was I never frustrated? Did nothing ever bother me?

    It seemed phony. I was conscious when I was writing that my kids might read it some day, and I think I stumbled into Pollyanna land.

    It is good and write to avoid unnecessarily negative or critical thinking. I do think there is room for honesty, though. Life is sometimes cruel, and not everything gets tied up in a bow. If we think of our journals as a legacy of some kind, we may help others a little better if they see us as vulnerable to some extent.

  4. Marie Says:

    Good and RIGHT, silly homonym slip, there.

  5. Stephanie Says:

    Marie, I was thinking the same thing just today…To have a balance of honesty with thanksgiving, I guess. And Gina, I am about to burn some of my old journals too. I thought if I waited till I was old enough, I’d eventually think they are cute, but the fact is that I was such a mess that that’s all they are. A testimony of my brokenness. On the other hand, there are times when my journal was my *only* outlet, and I needed that too. So, as with all things…Balance!

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