Have a lot of empty journals around your house that were gifts from friends and family? What to do with those?
I was on Pinterest and a title of a blog crossed my feed: "Empty Journals Cluttering Your House--Fill Them Up with These 30 Ideas." It was from the "Learning to Be Free" blog, and I'll include the link at the end of my blog. It's a good one for ideas. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who has a TON of journals, and over the years, I've found a use for every one of them.
First the list that I culled from the previously mentioned blog and other blogs on the internet:
"Things I Learned Today" journal~
What is it that meme that's going around says? Something like....you're never too old to dream a new dream or make a new plan. I would add, it's never too late to learn something new. I like this idea for a journal. At the end of the day, one could write at least one new thing you learned. My husband and I recently retired our CD player and got a Sonos. Needless to say, we had a lot to learn about that. But it's good for us--gets our brain cells clicking. And just like starting a gratitude journal, when you have such a journal, it makes you consider all the things that made you happy on any given day. I would think the same thing would be true of a "What I Learned Today" journal. It makes you stop and think about something you learned that day.
"Travel Plans" journal~
This is a little different from a travel journal wherein you record your experiences when traveling. This is actually all the plans--where you want to go, list of hotels, airline ticket costs, what to pack, weather forecasts, etc. I read once that even just PLANNING a trip tickles the happiness part of your brain--even if you never get to go. Just the planning can be worlds of fun. We should all try this.
I'm not the gardener in my family. I don't keep such a journal. But my husband is a gardener and keeps a gardening journal and a record of everything he plants, where he planted it in any given year, and when to plant. I'm sure all you gardeners out there keep such a journal.
More ideas for journals.
I'll share my list of journals I keep. I do this because there might be some things in my list you haven't thought about. I used to keep a notebook by my computer to jot down anything I wanted to remember, such as a recipe or prayer request. I told a friend that I sincerely wanted to say a prayer for any friends who requested such, but that the request would get lost in my notebook and I would forget. She told me that she kept a journal specifically for prayer requests. That way she could always find the request. So that's what I do now. And for that reason I share my list of journals--perhaps it will give you an idea for a journal just as Beth's suggestion helped me. Live and learn and pass it on, I always say. :)
Random thoughts on my journals~
Memory journal? I actually don't keep a memory journal. I simply have a section of my date book called, "I want to remember..." It's just a list, and I might add something I want to remember such as something one of my grandkids said or did, a lunch date, a celebration, a news item. You know the drill and I'm sure it's happened to you. You'll relate something that your kid or grandkid said, and someone invariably says, "You should write that down." In a memory journal, you can!
Bird journal? I have a backyard bird feeder and I like watching the birds who visit. My friend gave me a journal one year, and apologized, saying something like....I'm afraid I always give you journals. A pretty goldfinch visited my feeder, and I thought.....that's it! I'll use the journal Kathy just sent me to record observances and pictures of my birds.
Favorite quotes journal? I use it to share favorite quotes with friends, either in correspondence or birthday cards.
Gratitude journal? Once again, I don't actually keep such a journal. It is a section of my datebook that I've written the phrase, "I am thankful for." It's just in list form and I can turn to that section and jot down something I'm grateful for on any given day.
A Book of Suggestions? I didn't mention this in my list of journals, and I really don't keep such a journal, although lately I'm feeling a need to do so. Right now it's a section of my daily journal, and in that section I can record books friends have recommended or movies, TV shows, and music.
Books, journals, diaries, lists--they put order in your life. As I always say, this is a blog for grandparents. We've all come to that time in our life where we are very reflective on our lives, A journal is a great place to record those thoughts. We've also come to a time where our short-term memory is not what it was. Keeping lists in an organized fashion and where you can find them is a good idea.
I hope this blog this week gives you some ideas or inspires you to keep a journal.
Until next week, happy grandparenting!
Blogs with ideas for journals:
Blogs I've written about journaling:
Telling Those Stories of Old
Last week's blog was about telling your family's stories, recording them in a mini-book format, and then putting all those little books in a box. A box of family history if you will. Another way to go is simply a scrapbook. The books are readily available in stores or online, and there are tons of clipart and stickers to jazz up those books as well.
While I am doing a box of family stories, I am also doing a scrapbook of my life. It's just about me, and my life experiences. So I thought taking a peek inside my scrapbook might inspire you to do a scrapbook about yourself or about all those rich family stories from the past. Sometimes when you see what someone else has done, you realize that you can do that too! And rest assured, I know most of your books will be ever so much better than mine. I'm just not that creative. But let's proceed!
Before I continue by showing you examples, I would just like to appeal to you again to tell your stories. Doesn't matter how much you know, just seeing their family portrait or their wedding photo makes those ancestors come alive for your kids and grandkids. Online I saw a scrapbook of old family photos, and the creator had simply put 'before' and 'after' pictures on that page. Perhaps you have a old photo of your grandmother as a baby. On the same page, you can post a current picture of her. Title the photos, "Then and Now." It's all about making those old photos and people in a box come alive! So here we go!
Don't forget to include artifacts or documents if you've got them. My husband has a ton of documents and printed memorabilia in his scrapbook on his family. He has deeds, receipts, loan applications, old schoolbooks and church songbooks. He even has the menu from the ship that his parents sailed on from England to America! If you've got such things, put them in your scrapbook.
And ESSAYS! Don't forget to include a short essay or bio on any family member you place in your book. Future generations will want to read about them. Include anything and everything to make that person come alive!
And that's it! In a former blog, I posted a photo of a friend and her daughters and granddaughters poring over their grandmother's box of memorabilia. You could sense their great interest even from the photograph. I'm sure you've had this experience when looking at old-time family photos. You'll hear people say things like, "Look how handsome he was." Or, "Wow! She looks just like Aunt Martha!" Simply looking at the photos with their names and relationships makes those people come alive to the generations.
And creating a scrapbook is such a great hobby! If you're looking for a new hobby, this is a great one. Until next week, stay cool and collected!
Recounting Family History
I visit lots of ancestry sites, and when I visited "Teach Me Genealogy" to get ideas for recording our family's stories, I saw this wonderful opening statement. I have to share the poem, and I will share the web address at the end of this blog--it's a good one.
Yes, I'm at it again--creating little mini-books on our family's ancestors and putting them in a box. This oppressive Texas heat has me staying inside and returning to my crafts and writing. Most of my readers (I'm guessing since it's a "grandmothers' blog") are my age, and we're at a stage in our lives wherein we want to tell OUR stories and those of our parents and grandparents. Our children and grandchildren should know these stories. The way I've chosen to do it, is with little mini-books, but there are endless ways to record those stories. I plan to cover all the ways to do it in future blogs. Stay tuned.
But I have to show you the old photo my husband found that so intrigued me. Take a look at this guy, my husband's Great-uncle Charlie. How can you not want to include him in a box or scrapbook of ancestor stories? Here he is:
I'll admit, we didn't know much about him. But as we researched, two important facts came to light. He was able to purchase a car in 1917, and he died in the Great Pandemic of 1918. Now while that might not seem important to you, I realized I wanted my grandkids to read about that. They study the invention of the automobile in school, as well as the terrible world-wide pandemic of 1918. By recording Uncle Charlie's story, those wouldn't be just myriad facts in a history book. They actually had ancestors who died in that pandemic or lost loved ones. And buying a car in the early days of the automobile industry was no small feat. Uncle Charlie, who farmed in Oklahoma and Texas, was able to afford one.
By telling these stories, I want my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to know that their forebears quite often suffered through hardships and difficult times. And they made it! Children need to know they come from strong stock, and no matter their own difficulties, they can survive those things too.
Lastly, my mini-books--the format I've chosen to record my stories and my ancestor stories. It works for me as quite often, I don't have a lot to tell about some of these people. I taught with a woman who would often include the item "Fun," in her rubric for an assigned project or piece of writing. I liked that. She tried to convey to her students that they should make it fun, make it eye-catching, include something to entice their readers to want to pick it up and read it. As I said, I liked that. I liked the idea of my grand kids going through my story box--such a fun concept. And choosing a mini-book that caught their eye! I've done a blog about these mini-books before, but here are some photos to recap. I've also included a youtube video with instructions on how to make these little books. If you're a grandmother looking for a new craft, these are quite fun!
And those websites as promised:
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!