Tag Archives: journaling

A Great Journal Introduction by Jim Elliot

Jim Elliot

I have been writing in some form of journal for the better part of 20-25 years now off and on, sometimes with purpose, sometimes with without any at all. Some things inspire more than others. Lately, thanks to the people over at Bloom with the Day One App, they have inspired my digital journal into the next level.

Whether you call it a blog, a diary, a journal, or a log, if you are writing for a specific reason it is always helpful to have a good strong introduction to the journal to give you some direction, inspiration, and understanding. Later on when you wonder why you started writing, you can go back and read this intro again, hopefully to reconnect with your original purpose.

In my hand written Moleskine journals, on page 1, I always put an introduction, purpose, thesis, mission statement, or some kind of reason for why this journal exists. After sitting on my shelf for over a year I finally picked up this magnificent book, “The Journals of Jim Elliot” and read his introduction paragraph. What an amazing way to start a new journal. I say this in part because I have long had this very notion, and some how connected with every word he wrote, which said:

What is written in these pages I supposed will someday be read by others than myself. For this reason I cannot hope to be absolutely honest in what is herein recorded, for the hypocrisy of this shamming heart will ever he putting on a front and dares not to have written what is actually found in its abysmal depths. Yet, I pray, Lord, that You will make these notations to be as nearly true to fact as is possible so that I may know my own heart and be able to definitely pray regarding my gross, though often unviewed, inconsistencies… these remarks are to be fresh, daily thoughts given from God in meditation on His word.

I love that.

Update on Photo Project 365 From June 2012 :: P365.me

Project 365 June 2012 Update

Project 365 [Day 199] Waiting for the Rain in the Parking Lot

It’s the first part of July and I finally got around to updating my June Project 365 Photos (read about my Project 365 here). I am up to day 215, as of June 30th, which makes me 58.74% of the way through this project. Sometimes it feels like I’m taking the same photo every day, but I keep trying to find a unique image each day, and so far I have 215 unique images over my my Flickr gallery. My favorite shot (that was not published previously on my site) for the month of June is above, probably because it is a little more abstract. This huge storm came up while I was sitting in the Publix parking lot waiting for Deb to come out, and this shot was the result.

I still have mixed feelings about this project. It’s a pain in the neck, it takes time, it’s every single day with no break, and it’s a unbelievably accurate look at your life one photo at a time. Just like all photography, when I look at each individual image, I can remember great details about each day, just because I took one single photo. The mind is an amazing thing, and images create a very strong reminder in the brain, causing us to remember details we would otherwise have long forgotten. I know there is some psychological reasoning behind this, but once that image is taken, it takes certain details and moves them from our short-term RAM memory and places them in the long-term storage. That’s what I love about photography.

Just 151 more days and photos to take, and I can’t wait for November 29th when I can say it is finished. You can see a few previous blog posts on Project 365 here. To see the full gallery over on Flickr just go to http://P365.me.

Update on Photo Project 365 From May 2012 :: P365.me

Project 365 for May 2012

May is over and June is here. Hard to believe. I’m still working on my Project 365 for 2012, and so far, I haven’t missed a single day since November 29th (the day I started because that’s when my year starts). I am constantly amazed by this project. I have wanted to complete it for 15+ years, and I know why I haven’t up to this point, it still remains far more difficult than I had ever anticipated when I started last November. Something I have found quite interesting is my iPhone is the overwhelming king of this project. I have used it for about 75% of the shots instead of my Nikon, which I hadn’t really expected when I started.

In the same way journaling provides an excellent look back at what was accomplished, or just what happened on a particular date, this project is giving me a snap shot of my day, week, month, and year. Sometimes I have very little to take a picture of, sometimes I don’t remember until I’ve been ready for bed, then it’s a test of creativity to take a photo in the dark, of something interesting. Anyway, it has been a great project so far, and above you will see the snapshot for May 2012. My favorite for the month are below. To see the full gallery over on Flickr just go to http://P365.me.

I AM Lenten Reader, Journaling :: Lent Day 4

Day 4 :: Friday, March 11, 2011, Journaling

Journaling has been a practice throughout the history of the church. Prophets, philosophers, theologians wrote down their thoughts as they sought to understand God and grow in their relationship with Him. Throughout scripture, God commanded people to write things down and keep a record of what He had done so that the coming generations would know what He had done.

Psalm 119:15-16 says, I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Journaling is active meditation on the Word of God and what He is doing in your life.

When we make a practice of journaling, it not only allows us to remember what God has done in our life, but also gives us the opportunity to reflect upon what He has done. It reminds us of His faithfulness throughout our life and serves as a tool in the growth of our relationship with Him.

Journaling is a discipline, and it may take some time to get into a good habit. This reader is a tool for you to develop the practice of journaling. There is space throughout this book for you to write your thoughts, prayers, confessions and ideas.

Take time now to begin the practice of journaling.

Contemplation Over Day 4

Journaling is something I have tried to do for many years now, but it’s also something that takes effort, time, and discipline. Journaling is quite close to blogging so it’s something I talk about with people all the time and the biggest reason I hear why people don’t do this is (1) I have nothing to say anyone would want to read (or I just have nothing to say), and (2) I don’t have time to just sit and write. Both of those reasons are quite valid but I could probably make a pretty strong argument that neither of those reasons should keep you, or myself, from writing.

The first point is a misconception about journaling or blogging, and really the only difference between journaling and blogging is one is private and one is public. Even the most mundane points or details can and do become very interesting months down the road. One reason to write down your thoughts is to specifically go back after some time has passed and reflect on your own thoughts. You will be amazed at what details you found to be important enough to write down at the time. The only regret I have in my own journaling process (and it is a process to get into the habit of writing) is not writing more, and more often.

Besides the two points listed above, the words of the Lenten Reader today couldn’t be more accurate. For me, gradually over the years, writing down my questions and thoughts about my faith have become a wonderful way to better understand my own faith, and what God’s word has to say directly to me at any given point in time. Jonathan Edwards was a master at this, and I have learned quite a bit from Edwards on how to journal, but you don’t have to be Edwards to write.

Some suggestions I might make for getting started would be:

  • Start off slow, try to write a little each day
  • Write down raw thoughts and questions
  • Use whatever format is easiest and fastest (pen and paper or digital)
  • Don’t worry about grammar or spelling
  • Write for yourself, not filtered for what others might think

Journaling is certainly a slow, long, continuous process that takes effort to develop, but is so well worth the time it takes. I have been working on this habit for years and feel like I have only scratched the surface.

10 Ways to Continue to Create Original Ideas

Well this is start of the first full week of the new year, and actually the first official week in my position here at work.  I want to say I am getting settled in but I think I did that in the month of December.  As I sit here in a borrowed office for today I am thinking about so many new things going on here at Cornerstone that makes it an exciting time here, and a busy time.

This week we started a new series called “Alive”.  We will be going through the book of Colossians for the next month, and at the same time starting a walk through journaling our thoughts and questions as we study through this book.

The creative minds over here decided to do something different and actually engage (not that we don’t try to do that anyway) with everyone on a different level.  We started a website (http://www.thealivejournal.com) that corresponds to a paper journal everyone received on Sunday.

As we walk through the book, the website will be updated with new scriptures and an application each day for the remaining of the series.  A fresh approach and something that will hopefully catch on with others.  I know writing is like many other things in life.  The more you write, the better you get, and the more you write.

How Do We Continue to Create?

How do we continue to create?  It doesn’t matter if you are working for a church, a school, self-employed, or whatever, creativity is important, it keeps our minds “alive”.  Opening up and becoming more creative is something I strive to do each day, but I don’t buy into the notion that there are creative people and people who are not creative.  Everyone is creative, but not everyone allows it to come out, or deems it to be important.

Looking ahead I don’t want this to be the pinnacle of creativity this year.  To me, there are basically three areas of creativity (I know there are many more but follow me here) that pretty much encompass everything else; writing, o-graphy (that would be photo-video), and music.  So, to me, the key is how to grow in each of these areas and find new ways to create in each of these areas.

Anne Jackson wrote a great piece today, The Death of Publishing as We Know It: Who Holds the Smoking Gun? that talks about how the publishing industry has screwed itself into the ground by publishing so many mediocre books.  True, we are not all writers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write.  As a photographer I would say the same thing.  Just because you are not a professional photographer does that mean you are never going to pick up a camera again?  My key for myself is to write more, shoot more, and read more.

So, as some say, here is a “mind dump” in no particular order.

10 Ways to Create Original Ideas

  1. Write more, read more, and learn more about media
  2. Surround yourself with creative minds when you can
  3. Ask someone for help or suggestions
  4. Expand what you normally do and be different
  5. Get out of your routine, go outside your normal elements
  6. Remember your focus – what is it, making money, salvation, discipleship?
  7. Don’t copy —- take, redesign, and create something new
  8. Don’t be afraid of the box – throw the box out and don’t worry about what is “correct”
  9. Think for yourself.  Don’t let others tell you how to think.  Study and think for yourself
  10. Be prepared to fail and try something else

Number 7 is a little vague I know.  What I mean is what we read from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Most “new” is something that was improved upon from something or someone else.  So find something good and make it great.  My problem is always “finding the new”.

This is really my list for myself.  I have never felt like I was a very creative person but most of that is because I refused to let it surface.  It had no real purpose.  Perhaps the older I get the more important it is and the harder I have to work at it to get better.