The death of a journal.

on October 2, 2007 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 11 comments by

Journals are more than just bound paper. They sort of have a personality of their own. When I come within 20 pages of the end of the one I am in currently, I go on a mission. Because even though 20 pages could last 20 days …. cough cough 40 days cough ….. it’s not something I’m willing to risk not having. And I’m very picky. It has to be the right size- not big like a notebook, but bigger than an address book. Spiral bound, none of this “real binding” business. Lines or not? That is the question. And it depends on my mood. Don’t be shocked about that.

So this spring, when I was only about 1/2 way through my post-Ghana journal (seen here), I went to Barnes & Noble. Just cause I do. I love that place in a deep way. That’s a whole nuther blog. (And if you don’t know the word “nuther”, we probably don’t live in the same region of the United States.)

Anyways, the journals were on sale. THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MY FIRST SIGN. I saw one that I loved for Ashley Ward (who comes home tomorrow from India!!) and then I saw one that I loved for Marie Claire. You can see it here. I’ve never been a big fan of red (unless paired with black), and that thought did cross my mind, but I dismissed it. I loved that one page was lined and the next was not. So I grabbed one for Marie ….. and one for myself. Sue me.

Well, I finally got to start writing in it after returning from Scotland. I was eager, yet at the back of my mind was this nagging feeling that this journal was a bad one. Two entries in I knew it was a dud. I didn’t like the handwriting I was using, I didn’t particularly like the “season” I was in, so that led me to write things that made me mad. I wasn’t drawn to writing in it. I couldn’t see myself referring back to it down the road for encouragement or wisdom or good scripture. I felt guilty every time I looked over at it, realizing I should probably be writing more. A guilty journal is a bad journal, people. And you can take that to the bank.

Alas, last night, after 60 days of the journal and only four entries, I let it go. I started to write in it, hoping to resurrect what my heart knew was already dead. Three paragraphs in, I knew. It’s a goner.

I don’t totally blame you, B&N journal. I never did. To be honest, it wasn’t you. It was me.

But, losing a journal mid-entry like that, when I’m feeling motivated to return to it, can be unfortunate. What am I to write in? And then I saw it. Sitting across the room, waiting patiently. A journal I received as a gift from the bride whose wedding I was in back in July. I knew it was right. It was just right.

For a transition.
For a growth spurt.
For a change.
For a turning of the tide.
For a reconnect.
For a blessing.
For a chance.
For a reminder……

Psalm 34:1-10

I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.

My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.


  1. Camille
    posted on Oct 02, 2007 at 11:17 PM  |  reply

    I totally get this. I am the same way about journals though I never could have articulated it as well as you did. Well done.
    Looking forward to the Chicken Express

  2. molly
    posted on Oct 03, 2007 at 2:44 AM  |  reply

    No spiral? Wow. Well done, Downs.

  3. nysewanders
    posted on Oct 03, 2007 at 3:22 AM  |  reply


  4. seantk
    posted on Oct 03, 2007 at 4:15 AM  |  reply

    I don’t have much to add on this post. I’m currently trying to journal (haven’t done it yet! yeeps!) for the Authentic Manhood study I’m @ R-Stone….. anyway, I just liked the word for word verification:

    pugai !

    It’s like something from a kung-fu movie.

    PUGAI !!!

  5. Jennie B
    posted on Oct 03, 2007 at 3:14 PM  |  reply

    I am with you on the journals, but the PAPER inside has to be the right consistency. None of this cheap stuff (dare I say “recycled”?) My thoughts and feelings are worthy of so much more, I am thinking.

    I find Barnes & Noble to be the Journal Headquarters. My favorite one there is about a 5×7 brown leather beauty. It has smooth inside pages which are lined (a must for me). It actually looks a lot like a Bible. It’s a very understated and beautiful item. I have bought 2 as gifts and one day will purchase one for my own self.

    It looks a lot like the green one you’ve pictured there. I would buy that one too.

    (I’m pretty sure my verification word is Russian: qpmcvxw

  6. Katie
    posted on Oct 03, 2007 at 7:50 PM  |  reply

    I made the decision (mistake?) to start a journal to write Mary Evelyne when we found out I was pregnant. So, of course, I had to do it for the others too. Every time I look over at that pile of 3 journals I feel the guilt. Maybe I should merge them at this point…

    geez, what did I do to deserve this word verification….xaqxrsvq

  7. nysewanders
    posted on Oct 03, 2007 at 11:57 PM  |  reply

    I miss words like Nuther, (don’t hear them much in Minneapolis). My boss at David Weekley gave me a journal for Christmas last year that he actually made for a bunch of his employees, and lets just say he is not artsy enough to make journals. I mean I loved the idea that he made it for me, etc, but it was just like a bunch of paper put together in a leather cover, with a leather strap around it. I have felt guilty about not writing in it, and let it go, empty, before the move up here. Now I know why I didn’t even start in it. Thanks for bringing it into words for me. I think Im going to go journal now.

  8. seantk
    posted on Oct 05, 2007 at 3:01 AM  |  reply

    Dang! That’s the bomb that you listen to the Relevant podcast. I always tell people about it – it is hilarious to the nth. Adam is quite the wit and he makes me laugh out loud in my car as I drive.

    I liked the story about the mini-Alligator grab hand. I cried/laughed. Hysterics!


  9. Kels
    posted on Oct 07, 2007 at 4:12 AM  |  reply

    Thank you, Annie, I totally feel like that about my current journal, but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ve never had one die before, but now I know what is happening! Ha!c

  10. Marie-Claire
    posted on Oct 07, 2007 at 5:58 PM  |  reply

    SUE ME

  11. AmyFritch
    posted on Oct 11, 2007 at 1:13 AM  |  reply

    Annie! I totally memorized this Psalm during my infertility season!

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