Why You Sometimes DON’T Write in Your Journal

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Journal or Diary. Ever wonder what the difference is between the two?

Basically it’s like comparing the difference between reading a newspaper and reading poetry . . .  sort of.
The difference between a journal and a diary can be explained by saying that a journal is writing ones feelings, emotions, fears, and most intimate thoughts; whereas a diary is like a news report about you.

In a diary you write about your days or experiences. It’s more of a disciplined writing. You pick it up at the end of the day and log the events that happened. -Your assessment, your goals, your achievements, your failures, your targets. It’s about life happening everyday as a routine.

But in a journal you write about how you felt, or about a particular person, or just one thing that happened that affected you emotionally. Okay, maybe more like two or twelve things that affected our emotions. No editing, no thinking, just continuous thoughts pouring out on the paper.

So what was mine then, a diary or journal, when I started writing when I was 12 years old? Let’s see what you think. My last post (1*) showed the very first thing I wrote. Here are a few more that followed.

December 26, 1979
Tonight me, Mom, Kelly, and Susie went to Jack McGoverns Music Hall. It was GREAT. For dinner before we went to Black Angus. David and Dad went to Vancouver, Canada for one night. Me, Mom and Kelly went shopping all day. I got a dress and some sweaters. Bye… until tomorrow.

December 27 1979
Today I spent practically the whole day over at Eyde and Willmas house. (two dear friends down the street back then) I won the Monopoly game we played. (tons more stuff about that day but I’ll spare you and not jot it all down. Your welcome)

I think you can agree that I started it as a diary.
But as days and weeks and years went by the diary transformed into a journal.
Now, don’t laugh.

February 24, 1980
Diary – Today me and Willma went into Burien and bumbed around. the Olympics end tonight. It’s really been nice having them. I don’t want to go to school tomorrow cause it’s so boring and, well, very uninteresting. I was thinking more about Tim and thoughts of him don’t sound so negative anymore but it’s hard not to think of Jeff though. I say to myself that this is love and if it isn’t, what is?

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I said don’t laugh!

 

 

So many ‘him this’ or ‘he that’ or ‘I feel this way’ or ‘I feel that way’ or
‘I think that…’- ‘Why can’t I . . .’ or ‘I hope some day I’ll . . .’ in and out on every page.
So much more of my thoughts that were soaking inside my twelve year old brain.

But what I notice is that some of my most unforgettable events I did not write down.
Why? I think because I was at a loss for words on how to describe how I felt. But I think mainly because no reminders would be needed . . . ever.

Let’s see if you would need to write anything down to remember this.

Sax_625Let’s pretend you played saxophone all through high School. You played in the orchestra band and Jazz band. Of course you never got tired of playing in the marching band as well. (except when it rained during half time while marching all around)

 

Now, pretend it was the end of your senior year. The last High school concert you would ever be in took place, chairs filled to the brim with the student’s, families and friends. All the instrumental and singing groups performed. Now let’s say the last group preforming was the Jazz band. Time for the last song for the night. You felt honored to be the only one playing those last few notes that entire night. You even got the privilege of standing up as all the others sad to hear those last few pieces of perfectly played notes. My, what a privilege! You were a bit nervous of course because those last few notes of that last song you were to ever play you felt had to be perfect.

Time to stand. Time to start those four notes.
I can do it. These slow, easy notes were perfect when ever we practiced them.
1st note played- ‘Good. That was easy. Done.’
2nd note played – ‘Good. Done.’
3rd note played – ‘Oh what a relief – Good. Done. One more. I have to hold it longer, though.’
4th note started – ‘WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED ! One entire note too low! I can’t stop now and correct it! AND I have to play it LONG! HOW- EM.-BAAAAARRASSING !!  My LAST note I’ll EVER play is WRONG !”

So do you think YOU would ever forget that? No.
Do you think you would think ‘oh . . . I better write this down cause I might forget it.’ No.
I’ll tell you. I probably didn’t want to write it down hoping I WOULD forget it and wanted nothing to bring it back to life. Well, that didn’t work. I can still picture it all. Almost too perfectly as you can tell.

I will end my story by saying how that one incident still holds the award for the most embarrassing situation that’s ever happened. I now wish I did write what happened down, wanting to see what my vocabulary would have been like in my writing. But again, maybe it’s best I didn’t.

I’m thankfully laughing right now while typing this, and I think God is giggling right along with me.

What is your most embarrassing experience? Come on. Tell all. I dare ya.

1* – click to read why I think all should keep a journal.

 

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 Why You Sometimes DON’T Write in Your Journal

               – Thank you, Lord For . . . – (cont)

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My next ‘Thank you, Lord’ is a bit different than the ones before. (1*) (2*) It’s not about Gods fatherly care during my unplanned pregnancy. It’s about my brain damaging illness called encephalitis I endured in 1990. I thank God, through all these years, how He planned a particular day to occur. A very tough day, yes, but God knows how thankful I am for the way He started this life changing ordeal in the most caring way.

I’ll now show most of the first post I shared a while back that, Lord willing, will be in that first chapter of my next book. At the end you will understand more why I ‘Thank you, Lord’ fits right in.

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– God’s Timing is Perfect –

My very first journal from years past will begin to explain.
Note – This writing was done years ago after only two of our four children were born.

August 14, 1991
This one day of writing could take up to ninety-nine-million pages but I will try to shorten it. Cassie is now four, and Trina is almost fourteen months old. Hubby is twenty-seven and I am twenty-four. Lord, thank You that we are all still together. This year – oh, this year. The main dealing this last year has been about my physical and mental problem. Herpes Simplex Encephalitis Meningitis, an acute inflammation of the brain. Five or six weeks, total, in two hospitals. About three weeks in each. I thank God how He had me where I needed to be when I had my seizure…

Now let me explain. There was so much snow where our apartment was on that winter day in 1990. I had to take my baby in for her six-month check-up the next day, but being that it was a fifteen- to twenty-minute drive away, I felt it best that my kids and I just spend that night at my parents’ house, since they were only a few minutes from the doctor’s office. A much shorter and safer drive indeed. I don’t recall spending the night there even once after getting married a few years before this day, but that one night was a must.
The following morning, I enjoyed chatting with my mom, as she so easily showed how much she loved being a grandma. My older sister, whom I rarely ever saw, stopped in for a few minutes to get something. it was great gabbing a few minutes with her as well.
“I’ll just change Trina’s diaper right now before the girls and I leave,” I told my sister and mom as I was on my knees, leaning over Trina, putting a new diaper on her.

But something happened. Totally unexpected, out of the blue, I was suddenly hit with a seizure. I was told later that I had began shaking, and collapsed on the floor while biting my tongue. I threw up a bit as well, so I was told. My life-changing event hit me right then and there that snowy afternoon. My mom took over the girls while Janis came over to see what was happening to me. She knew I was having a seizure and that calling 911 was a must. I have no recollection of any of that. The next thing I do remember, though, is feeling totally confused when I woke up.

“What’s going on?” I’m sure I tried to ask while thinking a mile a minute.

Why are these two strange men lifting me up and putting me on this—this board thing? Who are those ladies looking at me? And what about those really little people? Why are these big guys taking me out of this house? Whose house is it anyway? And why are they putting me, lying down, into this big weird car?

I had absolutely no idea what was going on. What I did know was how odd it all felt. To this day I can still picture it all and feel it as if it was last week. (and to this day my eyes still get a bit damp when pondering on what it was like.)

I, again, must have fallen asleep, for the next thing I remember was waking up, lying on my back, with more strangers looking at me but now inside this totally odd building. You’re right, a hospital.

Even more strangers looking at me. What are all these things sticking into me? What in the world is going on?

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So, again, the reason I’m sharing this again is to share how thankful I always amI just want to share what that difficult time in this, literally, mind-changing ordeal, showed me. I showed me . . .

Gods timing is perfect

I mean think about it. Being a stay-at-home mom, a majority of the time I did just that; stayed at home. What if there was no doctor’s appointment? Chances are the three of us would have been in the apartment alone.
What if the snow wasn’t there? Most likely we still would have been at home. Or worse yet, in the car driving, or perhaps in a store with strangers all around.
But God had plans, and the timing of His plans couldn’t have been better. He had reasons for me scheduling my baby’s check-up appointment for that snowy day, causing me to then be at my parent’s house.

It is obvious God knew to position me at my parents home at the perfect time. Why do I say this? My sister who I rarely ever saw was – get ready for this – a respiratory therapist at that hospital! And it turns out, my other sister came to the house before I left. And guess what, she too worked at that hospital as a respiratory technician. I have no doubt that my sisters helped ensure that I received quality treatment. My mom, bless her heart, was the perfect one to care for my girls with all this going on as I was taken away.

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God sure knew what He was doing and who to have where and when. God’s timing for it all was down-right perfect. God knew He would put me though one big trial but in the best way possible.

I pray you can see, as obvious as I do, that God, was in charge. God still hears me often think Thank you, Lord, for holding me tight at the perfect time.

1*  – Part 1 

2* – Part 2

 

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming early spring of 2018 memoir, God and Your PillowYou can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 

Thank you, Lord For . . .

                – Why Keep a Journal? –

 

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Many ask ‘Why keep a journal?’ My answer –  Why NOT keep a journal?
After all, our mind is crowded with a million thoughts every day, and not able to really sort through them. Years ago I thought like might go better if I could just throw my thoughts down on paper, making room for those other thoughts still wrestling around in my head. I started keeping a journal in 1979, when I was only twelve years old. Looking back at the joys, trials, frustrations and excitements I went through has been funny, sad, encouraging, and even a bit embarrassing.

Want to see what my very first writing was?

December 25, 1979 (8th grade)
Well diary, today was Christmas and I got lots of neat stuff like clothes, jewelry, a cool lamp, calendar, makeup and this diary! I’m so happy. Tonight our family seemed to be really close. We told jokes, played games and brought back memories. Bye until tomorrow.

Sweet and simple. But now let’s see how that changed as years went by: my two favorites. One is the last time I wrote before God opened up my heart, making me one of His.

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May 14, 1985
Well, sorry. It’s been a while since I last wrote.  A quick update. I graduate from Highline High school in twenty-nine days. I’m Eighteen years old and no, life is not easier at eighteen. I have my own car, a Capri. Attend  Occupational Skills Center course and love being there half of each school day for the Visual Communication class. Work for Doug Fox Travel driving people to and from the airport while also being a ball girl for the Seattle Mariners. I will be going next year to Highline Community College.
Here. Let me stop. All sounds pretty great don’t ya think? Well . . . the next sentences alters that sound just a hair.
But I am now more confused about the love life. — I have spent the last week-end visiting my best friend and her dorm life. Now listen, love is confusing. As the song goes ‘I’m Hooked on a Feeling’ after that one week-end with the guy I met there.  UG! 

 

But now, the most important part. Keep reading.

 

 I’m on my journey to understanding Christianity and what Jesus can do for me. With my two best friends being religious now, it’s all just kinda weird but I’m learning. Is living with love important? Do I depend on finding love too much? God will reward me but when? What’s the Answer? I shall write again. Maybe when my questions are answered.”

I was right because 1 1/2 years later was my next writing, and I’m ever so thankful my questions were answered.

January 2, 1987
How to even begin explaining the past year and a half. The best way to explain is that I got the answer to my last journal-writing’s many questions – I am a new creature and will be rocking for Jesus for all eternity! My two best friends aren’t so ‘religious’ to me anymore. We are all Sisters-In-Christ now! Being Nineteen years old, I now can grab a hold of God and leave the world and my hunt for love behind.

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Yep – My hunt for love had ended because God showed me that the most important love I could ever find would be from Him. And even then, I didn’t have to hunt for that. He gave it to me. He chose me to finally feel what sin and love truly was.

Man, did it feel heavy all of  a sudden, realizing my sin that had built up those eighteen years. I pleaded for forgiveness.

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He then had me feel that, hard to describe, feeling of forgiveness. The weight felt lifted off. Man, did that feel good, feeling that I was then one of His adopted children. Many of those questions before totally made sense!

 

Ezekiel 36:26  — I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (NKJV)

I plan to write a bit how that all happened but for now I just want to share how good it can be to have, on paper, how God carries you through life. I bet He’d grin ear-to-ear looking back with you as you read all about the small, medium, and large blessings He had done for you in the past. What’s also valuable is noticing how you felt about Him years ago vs. how you feel about Him now.

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If you have a journal going already, keep it going. So glad I’ve kept mine going now almost 40 years. But what if you haven’t? Well, it’s never too late.

 

Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

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Why Keep a Journal?

           – The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 3) –

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Did you ever predict you would learn something but didn’t know what the lesson might be? That was me a few years back. After a few tougher-than-normal trials had taken place, and a few years went by, I grasped the fact that I would learn something from them, but just wasn’t sure what. Here, let me explain.

As my last two posts shared, (1*2*) two somewhat life-changing ordeals had my thoughts of thankfulness all folded up and tossed in the back pocket of my jeans. (Pictorially speaking, of course.) But God guided me to understand that He was writing the story and had bigger plans I couldn’t yet see.

As years went by, I took a few verses to heart:

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

So, I waited . . . and waited . . . and yes, waited, as our family of four turned into a family of six. I had shared my unplanned pregnancy and illness story with many by this time. As each year passed, comments of “You should let others know about what God did for you” kept popping up. Slowly but surely, the question of why I’m thankful for these trials was beginning to get answered.

First, my pregnancy. An older post shares how different comments and requests to share my pregnancy were God’s way to get that story in writing; thus my book, God and My Pillow. (3*) Helping others going through that same ordeal is now a must, knowing God’s been encouraging me from the start.

Second, my illness. In another older post (4*) I shared about connecting with that encephalitic support website, meeting others who had gone through the same type of illness. I wound up encouraging others who were recently hit with similar brain damage. They needed to hear from one who had experienced what they were, at the time, dealing with. A book is now in the making to cover that, in hopes of encouraging those, showing how God held me and how He can hold them as well.

Hearing others tell me how helpful these efforts have been has caused me, in a way, to be almost thankful for these two events. I appreciate so much more now, knowing that if you never experienced pain, sorrow, and hurt, you would never recognize good health, the simple joys in life, and just how precious having Christ by your side can be.  

Most people have had their share of hard times and I’m certain they are far from over. But instead of being sad, frustrated, and/or angry about them, I hope my stories help others pull that little piece of paper with the word ‘thankful’ on it out of their own back pocket. 

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Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 3)

             – The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded up (Part 2) –

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In my last post, (1*) I wrote about the word ‘thankful’ and how that word didn’t fit too well inside my heart as I underwent my two extremely tough afflictions. (2* & 3*) No one found me relaxed on a recliner, smiling ear to ear while thinking, “I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so thankful God is having me go through this incredibly tough time.” Nope. Thankfulness was tightly folded up and hiding in the back pocket of my jeans.

After each ordeal took place, however, my mind knew God was in charge. I began realizing more and more that as things were getting better, I was actually thinking of pulling that Thankful sign out of my jeans and putting it on the table, but of course still folded up. As more positive things began to appear through each ordeal, I actually unfolded that paper. Sensing God’s help via family, friends, doctors, and the like, I finally decided to unfold the paper and read it each time I walked by. More thankful thoughts were growing in size and frequency. I finally got a magnet and —drumroll, please— stuck that Thankful sign up on my refrigerator!

I wasn’t becoming thankful I was pregnant, or for my month-long stay at a hospital. Not yet anyway. Thankfulness was there for feeling Christ was supporting me, caring for me, and letting me know He wasn’t just King, but my Father.

I was growing in the understanding that God is the One who puts us through what comes our way, good or bad. I was on the road that was planned by Him, whether smooth and serene, or unpaved, or one filled with countless sinkholes. I still felt a bit shattered and broken, not able to do what I had planned in life. But what sure helped was finally understanding that God’s plans are perfect, and that He was going to use me somehow, some way. 

Peace was growing inside as each year went by, and a few verses began to stand out.

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Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. 

This song shows what I began to slowly feel as time went by, using words such as…

– With my very next step – be on the road that was planned by you

– Lord, wherever you’re leading me – that’s where I want to be

Even though I did not know which direction that path was going, thankfulness, tied with peace, permanently got pinned to my heart and I was eager to see how He might use what He put me through to serve Him.

Finally, doors were opening and I began to see what His plans were. 

To be continued.

 

Have you also found the word ‘Thankful’ come out of your back pocket during a tough time? I’d love to hear about it.

 

Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also the author of a forthcoming early spring of 2018 memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 2)

         – The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded Up (Part 1) –

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Time to do something: think. Think of an extra-tough time you’ve gone through. Okay, maybe not the most joy-filled request.

Now, look at the definition of thankful: 

1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful – grateful and appreciative

2. of, relating to, or expressing thanks – a thankful feeling – thankful words

Curious why I’m asking you to think of an extra-tough time, as well as defining what thankful means? It’s to help you understand what got me—as years went by—to be closer to being thankful for these two, somewhat life-changing hardships I’d gone through.  (*1) (*2)

Thankfulness. Do I want you to think that from day one I was filled with thankfulness when my teenage pregnancy soap opera started? Or, do I want you to think I was overflowing with thanks a few years later when my brain-damaging encephalitis hit, that had me unable to even understand who God was TO thank? Am I saying that that one question, ‘Why, God?’ was nowhere to be found during both of those times? Of course not. As a matter of fact, if it could have been visible, “Why, God?” would have been bubbled over my head more hours of the day than not. I bet all of you reading this have had that bubble at least once, and that it seemed, at the time, impossible to pop.

God, having saved me when I was eighteen years old, was who I gave most of my thanks to, as most things went by pretty smoothly that first year. This verse fit perfectly:

Ephesians 5:2 – Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,            

 But about a year later . .   download   . . things changed.

I was so young when I was hit with the first of these two trials. Young in age, at nineteen, yes, but I’m mainly talking about young in my Christian life. There had only been one year of God’s word and guidance before that larger-than-life trial unplanned pregnancy occurred, followed by the brain illness only a few years later.

Thankfulness was difficult to detect. It was hard to even find a little drip-drip-drip of thankfulness. Yes, I did sense God’s Fatherly care, but thankfulness as to why I needed that care sure wasn’t standing out. That word ‘thankful’ was folded up at least ten times, put in the back pocket of my jeans in that closet I never wore.

Hearing those common words, ‘God has reasons,’ caused me to think ‘But what are they?’ That question was glued in my thoughts as every day, week, and month I was pregnant went by, and especially after every day, week, and months, even years, after my illness went by.

As time did go by, however, I—how shall I say it—started wearing those jeans tucked in the drawer, sensing something was going on in that back pocket. Something was unfolding.

James 1:12 slowly began making sense.

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To be continued.

1* First trial

2* Second trial

Marianne Petersen is a former volunteer at a local pregnancy help organization and is actively involved in her local pro-life community. She is also the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

The Word ‘Thankful’ All Folded UP (Part 1)