When I was 12, I received my first diary, a Christmas present from Mother and Daddy. If memory serves (and it usually does), I requested it. I was intrigued by the idea of a “place” to record my thoughts (especially my “private” thoughts—at that time, mostly about my new boyfriend, Russell Ford, the cutest and sweetest boy in the world, whom I had recently met at our new church where Daddy had come to pastor).
Oh, yes, I DO still have it (embarrassing though it may be to read the entries!).
I immediately fell in love with writing about my thoughts and feelings. As I said to a friend this morning, when explaining how I liked this whole “blog” thing: “I’ve always enjoyed hearing what I have to say!”
From that time, I have written about my life, not because I think it would ever be interesting to anyone else, but because the fact that I have always liked my life and wanted to have a record in years to come, was reason enough. Through the years, now as a mother and a grandmother, I do like to think that there will be others (family) who might be interested in reading my “record” in years to come. Just perhaps. But if not, that’s okay, because it has been (and continues to be) an enjoyable hobby for me!
I believe I had a diary just about every year from then through high school (1965), but if that is the case, the diaries did not all survive the years. I am left with two others (1964 and 1965), in addition to my first one:
In 1965 I got married and moved from diaries to keeping calendars (all those years and through the present) and writing in wedding memories album and then baby books.
Then I turned around and my husband was a school superintendent, I was a teacher (still keeping those calendars), and my children were in junior high. One day my husband came home telling this big tale about a salesman who had been in his office that day, talking about a personal computer (I had heard of “computers”—they were machines that were huge, hard to use, and were threatening to eliminate the need for teachers—that’s what I had heard, anyway).
This salesman had shown my husband how that the computer (he was obviously trying to sell to the school superintendent) had something called a “word processor.” This fantastical invention would allow someone to type a document through a keyboard, see it on a TV screen, then “save” it (I asked my husband where in the world it could be “saved” and how you could be sure it would not get “lost”) and then, you could “call it up” (that was hilarious to me… “calling up” a document???—“Here document, come…here document…”) Then my husband continued to spin his fictional tale. Beyond that (a “saved” document that you could “call back up”—and it would come?), he said that the salesman showed him how that you could “go back in” to the document (again, hilarious….GO IN to a document?), make changes (corrections, deletions, insertions), and it would scoot the words and make everything turn out right in the end. Then you could re-save it, with those changes. Really? Puh-lease.
By this time, I was rolling. I said to my husband, “You didn’t buy that bill of goods, did you? I mean, you do realize this could not be true. Because if this were true, it would be one of the most amazing things on the planet, and I’m sure I would have heard about it—it would for sure have been on the evening news!” (I’m remembering how many papers I typed in college, using carbon paper, if I wanted a copy for myself, and how that if an error was discovered after the paper was done, I would re-insert the paper and painstakingly try to line it back up so that I could make the correction, desperately hoping the correction didn’t require me to go onto the next page, because I might have to retype the entire paper.) So, this salesman had to be making it up, or, more likely, my husband misunderstood.
Well, the superintendent fell for it, and he bought a computer for the school, and one for me at home. Miracle of miracles. Seriously.
The first major project I wanted to do with this new miracle was to type all my life journals. I mean, really, to be able to “save” my writing, “call it back up,” edit it, oh, and I almost forgot the second part of the miracle—to be able to PRINT it? Are you kidding me? I’ll never forget the awe I felt the first time I sent a “print” command from the computer. I nearly fell over when it actually came out at the printer.
So, that’s what I did during the snow days that winter (there were a lot of them). I gathered together all my calendars, notes, even my old diaries, and began compiling them into my “life story.” Once I got caught up with it, I have continued to keep it up to date. Originally “saved” on 5.25-inch floppy disks, and then transferred to 3.5-inch disks, it is now hundreds of pages and stored (backed up) on three different hard drives. Titled “As I Recall,” maybe some day it will be printed and bound. Someone else might even want to read it. Again, if not, that’s okay. But, obviously, it is still a work in progress. It has become the family history record (what year did so and so graduate? who came to that wedding? etc., etc.).
At this point, my obsession with journaling may not be obvious. Read on. I currently have 7 journals or calendar/journals in process, in addition to “As I Recall.”
This is my “notebook” (first got the inspiration for keeping a notebook from reading a life-changing book, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, many years ago). My notebook contains a daily planner but also personalized sections such as Projects, Church, Quiet Time, etc.
These two are journals that I grab to pour out my thoughts, frustrations, plans to reorganize my life, problems I need to deal with, anything that I want to vent about—some of these pages get ripped out and tossed—these are not journals I want to pass on to posterity, but they do help me categorize my thoughts.
This little journal, with “The joy of the Lord is my strength” verse on the front, is a handy place where I journal all my thoughts about my hobbies/projects. For example, I record all my thoughts and ideas about the Heritage Albums I will do someday (if I can ever stop “planning” them and start “doing” them!) I record ideas I have for my projects.
This is my Prayer Journal, given to me by my son’s family. Once I started journaling my prayers and some devotional thoughts, it has become a habit that I want to continue, even after this little album is full.
This is a sample entry in the Prayer Journal. I write things, and I bring in documents or articles or printed devotional thoughts.
This baby is an experiment. I got this from an online store operated by a Christian lady who specializes in personalized calendars (to see her work, search for Much Ado About You), for those who like to actually write in a calendar, the old-fashioned way (by hand). I do like to do that, although I may be too dependent on Google calendar to make the switch. I understand it is not time-productive to keep more than one calendar, but I’m going to experiment with this handwritten concept for a while, just for fun. Because I can.
This is the new fun thing I LOVE!!—the Smash Journal. This gives me a place to keep “stuff” that wouldn’t make it into my scrapbooks.
This is a sample page from my Smash Journal (not going to be doing a scrapbook layout about “aging gracefully,” but it is something I think about and like to “write” about).
Speaking of scrapbooking, this is the hobby-by-nature for someone who is obsessed with record-keeping for posterity. It is the ultimate process/product, really, for those of us who love pictures as much as journaling. I started scrapbooking in 2004 and currently have about 25-30 albums, most all very full 12x12’s.
Oh, yes, I’m Cuh-RAZY about office supplies (in my life, AKA school supplies). This must be a genetic thing. My brother and I confessed to each other recently that we love to shop in office supply/stationary stores and can never leave without a new…..pen! How many dozen do I already have at home? But when you like to journal a lot by hand, the instrument does matter! This is my current favorite, TUL, Needle Point, Fine.
I have a hobby room where I do all my scrapbooking. But, this is my “journaling” area that is set up where we “watch” TV. I actually “listen” (to the Cardinals, or whatever Russell is watching) while I work on my Smash journal, or my iPad, or in my notebook, or write in one of my journals. So, this is MY “work area” for when we are relaxing in front of the TV.
So, that is the strangeness that all started with the “Dear Diary” of a 12-year-old girl!