Peek a Boo, I See You: Inspire Someone

Only minutes ago I settled myself on a comfy chaise lounge on my back deck overlooking the beautiful valley where I live.

Connie Ward girl with a past journal genealogy Nordic Valley Utah Eden sunset

I was excited to begin reading “Strange Fits of Passion” by one of my favorite authors, Anita Shreve.

Anita Shreve Strange Fits of Passion novel

I was only a couple of paragraphs into the story when I was again reminded of how very important the written word is.

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I have wanted to do more posts on journal writing and Anita Shreve’s first few pages made me jump right up and come in the house to start constructing a blog post.  This will be short, mainly just an introduction to what will be coming in this series about journal writing.

Why is it important to write in a journal?  Or is it?  I will give a few examples from my life, beginning with my daughter, Kimi, who left home right after high school and moved to Southern California to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up.  And if you are interested in what she became, just click here and be pleasantly surprised (and no, she is not into genealogy!).

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history Kimi Encarnacion HoneyofCalifornia

But, back to my post.

At one point in Kimi’s journey, she went through a patch of time where not everything was easy or fun and she had questions.  If you are a parent, you are familiar with those times when your kids have to find out for themselves and make their own decisions.  There wasn’t much I could do, being 10 hours and 700+ miles away, but for some reason I decided to remind her of the good/funny/crazy times of her childhood.  I thought it might ground her and put her mind on something light for a change.

Luckily I had kept a pretty regular journal from the time Kimi was about 8 or 9 years old, so I started reading through those journals and pulling tidbits that involved her.  It was actually pretty fun and served to remind me of those fun times when my girls were in elementary school.

journal

I continued to email her these quotes from my journal, and although she remarked on some of them, I didn’t know if they were helping until a few months later when I received an email thanking me and telling me that being reminded of who and what she was at that age really helped her to come to grips with who and what she was as an adult.  Sadly, her reply didn’t find its way into my journal at the time, but I still remember what she said.

So, there ya go – my first reason for writing in a journal – you never know who may need the words you have written!  And now – back to “Strange Fits of Passion!”

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history photo display magazine file organization sheet music ancestor pictures vintage frames

 

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Peek-A-Boo, I See You: get a life

I heard a quote that within 50 years after a person dies, there is no more record of them.  I have thought about that a lot.  What will my great-grandkids know about me, if anything?  What will my grandkids remember about me?  What do I wish I knew about my great-grandmothers?  If everyone had left a record of their life, I wouldn’t have so many unanswered questions, right?

So assuming most of you are commoners like me, I am going to do some posts related to things we can do so we will be remembered, starting with journals.

Modern journals can be purchased for as little as $3

Modern journals can be purchased for as little as $3

When he was called to be President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1973, Spencer W. Kimball had 33 black binders on a shelf that contained his journals.  He promised that if we kept journals and records, they would be “a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations.”

I took his advice to heart and in 1976 started writing in a journal.  My journals have contained different things at different times in my life.  Sometimes they are a way for me to work out problems.  At other times they are spiritual records.  And sometimes they are just normal or unusual events of my everyday life.

I write my journal on the computer, then put the pages in binders

I write my journal on the computer, then put the pages in binders

I have had occasion to refer back to them to give someone inspiration, to settle an argument, or to recall a tender moment.  President Kimball said your journal is your biography.  “What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?”

And what do you write in your journal?  According to President Kimball, you should record “your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies.”

I keep my journals in binders of course!

I keep my journals in binders of course!

Can you even imagine if you had the journals of your grandfather who was born in 1757 in England, came here to fight in the Revolutionary War, and lived until 1839?  Or what if you could read the journal of your grandmother who lost her husband in 1883 and raised her eight children alone in the western wilderness?  Yes, some of those amazing stories do remain, but most are long lost, or have been retold so often that most of the facts are twisted.

Some old journals that I have inherited.

Some old journals that I have inherited.

So, genealogists especially should know better than to leave this earth without leaving a record.  And if you haven’t done it yet, it is never too late to start!  Now that you have had your pep talk, the next post will give you some ideas of what might go inside a journal.