3 Ways to Journal Joyfully

Today’s moms are taking tons of pictures with their phones and digital cameras, which is fantastic—as long as we remember what our pictures are about.  Years from now, we don’t want to look at our pictures and think, Where were we? or worse, How old were the kids in this picture? or worst of all, Is that my oldest or my youngest?

And then there are the intangible things we want to remember but can’t really photograph…like the way my oldest used to say “strawbabies” instead of “strawberries,” or how my preschool-aged daughter’s favorite color was brown(!), or how thankful I am for my youngest’s joyful disposition.  We think we’ll always remember those kinds of things—but what if we don’t?

We can enjoy our documented memories without that I’m afraid I’m forgetting clutter in our spirits! 

This is where Joyful Journaling comes in—I want to challenge you to spend just a few minutes writing about your pictures (and the idiosyncrasies of your family).  Journaling doesn’t have to be difficult—or take a lot of your time—to fill up your heart.

Now, if you’re like me, you sigh at journaling articles because they’re all written by people who love to write.  Well, have no fear!  Here are some hints to help you document your memories, even if, like me, you don’t really enjoy writing…


When journaling about photographs

Type up a quick word processing document or use the memo section in your computer’s photo program to journal about each group of photos.  You can use bullet points to jot down thoughts like these:

• The basic who, what, when, where, why, and how

• How did you feel?

• If this is a yearly event, what was different about this year?

• Did anything out of the ordinary or funny happen?

• Is there any part of the experience you want to remember but didn’t get a picture of?

• What was your favorite part?  Your kids’ favorites?  Your hubby?  (Go ahead and ask them—better yet, ask them to take a turn journaling this time!)

• How did God bless you?  What were you thankful for?


Once-a-Year Journaling

I love this kind of journaling because you almost never have to do it—just once a year!  Make a note on your family calendar to spend some time recording the little things in the life of your family:

• Spend time each New Year’s Day journaling about the last year

• Journal about your child, or make a list of current “favorites,” on his or her birthday

• Each June, journal about the past school year—or better yet, have your kids write down a few school memories

• Journal about your hubby on your anniversary

• Journal about your faith during Lent or Advent (Where have you seen God working in your life?  When have you felt especially close to Him?)


Bit-at-a-Time Journaling

This kind of journaling doesn’t even require complete sentences—just running lists and quick jottings about fun and important memories:

• Keep a list of the funny things your kids say or do

• Keep a record of their favorite playthings and pretending phases

• Keep a list of “firsts” for each family member (and “firsts” aren’t just for babies—when was the first time you rode on a plane, or tried Mexican Hot Chocolate?)

• Keep lists of adjectives that describe each of your kids, your hubby, and yourself

• Document family sayings or inside jokes

• On a vacation, write a brief description of what you did each day

• Buy an extra calendar this year and write down one special thing each day

• On an everyday basis, try to write a brief synopsis with a high, a low, and what you thank the Lord for that day

• Keep a list of Bible verses that have really spoken to you with notes about why they’re so special


Did you notice how each of these sections ends with a faith-based suggestion?  Each time you write, don’t forget to include the most important member of your family—Jesus.  Journal about your awareness of His presence in the midst of your family fun and about the blessings He’s given you, today and every day.  The legacy you leave behind will be one of faith, trust, and hope in the Lord.


Giving Thought to Your Ways (a la Proverbs 14:8)

  • Do you take the time to write down the pertinent information about your pictures as you take them?
  • Are there parts of your mommy days you worry you’ll forget about when this phase of your life is over?
  • What can you do today to make journaling a part of your mom routine?


Would you like to learn to live more about living intentionally for Jesus?

Check out the Organizing You books

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