There are dozens of records kept, intentionally and unintentionally, throughout our lives.  Daily planners, financial records, report cards, time capsules, project proposals, blogs and even FB posts.

I think something inside of us compels us to keep records – a witness to our lives.

“If a man keeps no diary, the path crumbles away behind him as his feet leave it; and days gone by are but little more than a blank, broken by a few distorted shadows.  His life is all confined within the limits of today.” (Frazier’s Magazine for Town and Country, 1859)

I am a journal keeper.  I always have been.

The children are journal keepers.  I hope they always will be.

Some of my favourite entries:

I like Mom.  She givs me snagols all the time.  She even lets me sleep with her.  I love Mom enneyway.  I love Dad.  He lets me play the gam I like on satrday niyts and he lets me go swiming with him.  I love Dad ennyway. 

If I wer on the tracks wen a tran was coming, I would just lie don and look at the blue blue sky.



#10  School Work Journal.  Yep.  These large three-ring-binder journals hold only school work.  And when all the clear sleeves are full, and the child has killed another tree at school, we only allow them to proudly display their new piece of work in their school work journal once they’ve emptied out one of the sleeves themselves, to make room.


#9  Specific Time Frame Journal.  I kept a Missionary Journal, from my time as a missionary in South Africa.  The children each keep summer journals.  And Bry keeps a fiscal year journal, aka Quicken.  (This man “plays” Quicken the way other men “play” video games.)

#8  Others’ Words Journal.  I think it is a journal we keep when we carefully file away those letters and notes, even emails, written to us – significant to us at the time we received their words.

#7  Smartphone Journal.  My MIL uses an on-line gratitude journal,  Day One.  “You can do it anywhere.  It isn’t as complete as a written journal, but it’s better than what I was doing – skipping it!  Now I seldom skip.  Even if it’s only one line.  I do it.”

#6  Travel Journals.  Mine can be found in e-mail form.  My children’s are much more charming!  These are not your typical blank notebooks, rather these are journals I have prepared in advance with leading questions, activities, maps, and places to glue in ticket stubs and postcards.


#5  Quote Journal. You know, like from that flick, “A Walk to Remember”?  On her (almost) dying bed, the heroine quotes Dolly Parton from her own mother’s quote-journal.

Yes.  We keep one of those.

And what a treasure this little jewel is!  Any quote.  In any order.  I add to mine at least weekly, and I read through it almost as often as I add to it!

We can’t go over it.  We can’t go under it.  Oh no!  We’ve got to go through it.  Swishy Swashy! Swishy Swashy!  Swishy Swashy!  WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT, Oxenbury and Rosen

I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.’
‘That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.’  THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, Baum

#4  Scrapbooks.  These are absolutely journals!  And the better I’ve label each picture, the better I consider it journaled.  My mantle and dresser are lined with 6X6 albums, where they can be easily found by my three little subjects.

#3  ‘DearChild’ Journal.  I keep one for each of my children, started the day I first learned that they would be joining the family.  These four journals are graced by my pen only a couple times a year – on big occasions, random small occasions, or when Gramma or Auntie is in town, and wants to add to the entries.  Though not as frequented, these journals hold the words of my heart.

#2  Geneology.  We started off with our own stories.


And then, once at the computer, the children could easily fill in their family history “fan chart” on

#1  Personal Journals.  “Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal. It should be an enlightening one…Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your impressions and your testimonies” (Spencer W Kimball).  At times, my personal journal takes the form of a gratitude journal.  Sometimes a personal-developement journal.  More frequently, a spiritual journal.

Seldom do I write what dark thoughts haunt my nights.  I find recording these things only materializes what I would rather have forgotten.  Personal preference.


In Sunday School we studied Genesis 28:12-18.  The Old Testament prophet, Jacob, had a vision from the Lord, in the night.  And, when he awoke, he built an altar, there on the spot.  Why did Old Testament prophets and peoples build altars to the Lord?  To make a covenant with the Lord.  To show their gratitude to the Lord.  To remind themselves of spiritual experiences had, or maybe goals met.  They built altars because, at times, it was a commandment from the Lord.

Our Sunday School teacher then posed this question:  What “altars” do we build to the Lord in our lives?

Although I did not have an answer for her at the time, I’ve thought about it over the years.  What altars do I build to the Lord.  I propose that one of the greatest physical altars, we individually build unto the Lord is a personal journal.  It too records covenants we’ve made.  It reminds us of experiences had and goals met.  And it “communicates to the Lord how you treasure (what’s He’s given you).  That practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light.” (Richard G Scott)

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  1. March 2, 2015

    Oh, how I needed this message to start my day! Just the little prompting I needed to turn my attitude ever so slightly and see the shiny, happy side again. To be grateful and uplifted. Thank you, my dear friend! I love the journals you, and your family, keep. Your thoughts and words inspire and uplift — especially the ones you share here in this space. Love it!

  2. Marilee
    March 2, 2015

    you are an inspiration to me. I wish I could go back in time and do some of these thing with and for my children. But as that is not possible I will start today to be better at journaling. I am going to share these ideas with my children especially Marissa so she can do this with Karilee. Thanks Rachel!!!

  3. Marina
    March 4, 2015

    Rachel, now I know why your so great at writing. I wish I could articulate into words what’s in my Brain. Unfortunately I was never any good at it. But I think I will start the kids on journaling. Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. […] This is about storytelling – having a story you can share any any given time. Yes. But Homework For Life is also about journaling. […]

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