The Gratitude Journal

A friend started a gratitude journal last week to help refocus on all the things that bring thankfulness. It is changing their attitude already.

I have been writing in a journal for over 20 years. My style and purpose have changed & transpired, it ebbs and flows as to its purpose.

I inherited  the legacy of writing a journal from one of my grandmothers.

She would journal about 2 – 3 lines each day. It included facts I would never mention, and didn’t understand its purpose for many years. She would mention the weather ~ every day. She would mention what my dad had to say (he visited her almost every day of her life). She even had notes on her personal calendar about a schedule for trimming her toenails!

This journal began to weave a story over time, however. My dad was a freshman in college when WWII broke out. He was drafted after his first year, served his country magnificently, and returned back to college later. He later was drafted again for the Korean War. Details we have because of her notes.

I began to journal when I was a newlywed, and realized how her stories impacted my appreciation for how her life had progressed. I realized it was a story of both daily life and rising above the situations that transpired throughout her life. So many stories I could tell of the things  she saw in  her lifetime. She was born in 1900. Can you imagine the changes she saw? Neither can I.

I wrote in my journals initially about my daily life. I have never been a faithful writer like her, and do not write every day. When I do, it is a book. I have notes of people I am praying for, and will write later how the details were miraculously worked out when things looked impossible or unexplainable at the time. I have at times written solely about what God is doing in my life. The only consistent thing is that I have continued to write.

I learned today about a family member who had a sudden illness come along  just this past Wednesday. She went from a small infection on her back to being careflighted and emergency surgery to save her life in a matter of days. At this time, I do not know if she will survive or not. But I will journal about it.

I wrote about how life-changing the last few weeks have been with regards to the Joplin tornado. It is both a historical and personal event. I hope that my journal is a source of strength for my family someday as they follow the highs and lows of my life, and see the source of my strength through every trial.

My greatest concern when the life of emails, Facebook, twitter, etc came along was that we would lose that sense of permanently engraving life’s small moments that transpire into the story of our lives ~ and everyone has a story.

I write this at an extremely reflective time in my life, but I hope it will encourage some to start the process of a life journal. If you have one and haven’t written in years, start writing. Stop reading this blog and start writing.

I found several sources that provide great tips for anyone, and wanted to share some of the things I have found. I like writing in my regular journal for my gratitude journal. I own a Journible for the book of Philippians, which is a way to write out a book of the Bible. I hope some of the ideas below inspire you to get started.

I know many people who keep a journal for each of their children, that they will give to them at a later date. Others keep an art journal of drawings. Some have poetry journals or photo journals via scrapbooking, etc. I have included links for various suggestions on journal ideas. You might find that you prefer to write about a particular topic, not just to write out the story of your life. It is still  a great way to tell a story about what things are at the center of your heart. Be yourself, without the restraints of how anyone else journals.

I reflect on this past year alone, and I’m so thankful to have a journal. Every single person has a story to tell. What do you journal about? Who do you want to share your journal with? How can your journal make a long-lasting impact? You may be the next Anne Frank. What are the stories of your life? What suggestions do you have for keeping a journal? For keeping a written record of your blog, if that is how you journal? A journal will not only change your life. It will impact the lives of others who read your stories.

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10 thoughts on “The Gratitude Journal

  1. Dianna June 6, 2011 at 8:03 am Reply

    What an interesting post!
    I, too, have “journaled” since I was a teenager. But my journaling has simply been jotting down what happened that day – and it’s very simple.
    But a few years ago, I discovered a computer program called idailydiary, which allows me to type my journal entries. (I KNOW THAT I SHOULD STILL BE WRITING THEM OUT IN A BOOK!) But the computer version is nice because it has a search feature. Now when hubby asks when we did something, I can type it in, and it will bring up that entry.

    You may have inspired me, though, to begin actually writing a JOURNAL. If I can fit that in with blogging, making cards, etc……
    Thanks for this post! I loved it.


  2. Overwhelmed By Joy June 6, 2011 at 8:22 am Reply

    Thank you very much. I always felt like I had to journal by hand also. I had a situation this past year where I was not able to do so, and it inspired me to use an online journal. I discovered that I could have it or my blog printed. I do like journaling by hand most of all, though. The handwriting, the pauses, the fact that I can’t go back & edit so easily ~ it shows more of the real me.

    Thank you for the suggestion called idailydiary! I will add their link!


  3. therealsharon June 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm Reply

    I love your blog, so inspirational!
    Which is why I have passed 3 blog awards on to you!
    The Irresistibly Sweet, Stylish and Versatile awards! 🙂


    • Overwhelmed By Joy July 22, 2011 at 12:42 am Reply

      Thank you! I have taken a break from writing for several unexpected events that occurred this summer, but hope to get back to blogging shortly!


  4. The Orchestra Director's Wife August 1, 2012 at 8:39 am Reply

    Thank you or this post. I am going to look at all the links you provided. I have attempted to keep a journal in times past (including a gratitude journal) but I always end up stopping. I think I overwhelm myself with feeling like I have to include every little detail. The story of your grandmother has encouraged me that even a sentence or two can be important. I’m reminded how my Mom use to write events that were meaningful to her on her calendar, and those things are so meaningful to us now. Thank you for your encouragement. 🙂


    • Overwhelmed By Joy August 1, 2012 at 10:43 am Reply

      I’m so glad it encouraged you! Isn’t it amazing how we are documenting history by writing about the moments in our lives? I like the idea of writing in your planner or calendar also.


  5. The Orchestra Director's Wife August 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm Reply

    It’s hard for me to wrap my head around that. My thoughts and daily activities seem so mundane, but you never know what someone else might think is important.

    I read a diary of a girl who lived through the great depression, and sometimes the entries were just a sentence or two. I thought it was very interesting. She lived in the dust bowl, and talked about days where she had to knead the dough for bread inside a drawer to protect it from ‘gusts of dirt’ that seemed to blow all through the house, even with doors and windows shut.


    • Overwhelmed By Joy August 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm Reply

      Exactly. Life can seem mundane, but even our ordinary comments can reveal relevant history in years to come. Even how we are communicating with each other at this time would be unheard of just a generation ago.


  6. […] like the online journal that I use. It sends a daily email reminder, which helps me stay on track. I always encourage people to journal, and I hope this encourages more of you to journal as […]


  7. Waywardspirit September 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm Reply

    Oh hell yeah. You are Totally on. Jounaling my way throuh life has been better than counceling. Now, I quite enjoy meeting my younger selves. Its like past lives. Thx for the links. You are very conciderate. What a wonderful grandmother of yours.


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