Thursday, May 27, 2010

Journaling for Healing

Keeping a journal is one of the most effective things you can do to gain insight into current problems, and to grow emotionally and spiritually. Writing down thoughts and feelings is therapeutic. You don’t need to share your writing with anyone. You will gain new perspectives through writing, as though you had shared your thoughts with an actual person.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D., in his book, Opening Up, The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion, describes a study of unemployed men. The men who wrote about losing their jobs found new jobs much more quickly than the two control groups. Writing helped them vent anger, hurt and pain about their job loss. It enabled them to let go of painful experiences, and this in turn, helped them be effective in finding employment.

Writing will help with any type of crisis or problem. If you’re dealing with anger or resentment, write a letter to the person you’re angry with, but don’t send the letter. Sending an angry letter makes things worse. The point is to get your anger, hurt or pain out on paper. Include specific details when you write. This helps you understand what happened, and helps you let go of anger and hurt.

Writing about painful feelings isn’t easy. You may have to make yourself do this. When an issue troubles you, write for twenty to thirty minutes without censoring what you write. Let your feelings out without trying to be rational. Repeat this three to five days in a row. Save what you write and reread it a week later.

Journeling scripture is also life changing. Jounaling the promises and the commands in the Bible will grow your faith.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

Blessings, Dottie

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Journaling For Change

In my last post I told about keeping a list of family events. You can make lists about most anything. Here are a few ideas: Pet Peeves, Things I Don’t Understand, Things I Worry About, My Fears, My Goals. Lists are helpful if you lead a busy life and don’t have time to journal. When you have time, you can write more about each item listed. Journaling will heal and change you.

There are many ways to journal.
1. Write in the form of letters, to yourself, to someone you’ve hurt or to someone who has hurt you. Say whatever comes to your mind. Say all the things you want to say but never dared. Saying things in an unsent letter doesn’t hurt anyone and it can help you.

2. Write about each stage in life. Write about childhood, teen years, college, early marriage, children, teenagers, the empty nest, work, job changes, losses, and faith.

3. Write a vision of your life in the future. Write in positive terms, as though it has already happened. Keep this vision in your mind each day. Visualizing the way we want things to be helps us fulfill our dreams.

4. Keep a gratitude journal. List five things each day that you’re grateful for. This can change your perception and your life. It’s therapeutic to write about anger and hurt, but we need to also focus on the positive things in life.

5. Write prayers. Open your heart to God and put it in writing. God specializes in changing people and situations.

 I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meet My Journal

A friend wondered about the picture on your right. Meet one of my favorite journals. It’s covered with roses with an ordinary pen laying on it. I used this picture because my blog is a written blog (as opposed to an art blog, or a photo blog). I’m conveying this in a visual way with my journal and pen picture.

I’m a writer. I have been journaling – or writing a diary – or writing things down much of my life. It pays off in many ways. For instance, the list in my last blog, Pet Tales, was jotted down when I had three very active children and little free time. I wish I’d written more back then. Little children grow so fast and our memories are fleeting. Unless we write down the surprising things they say, the significant events, and our inspired or mundane thoughts, they’re lost. Mothers of young children, take note.

There are many ways to journal and anyone can do it. It’s best to write in a notebook or journal so you can refer back to it. It’s best to write at least once a week. I do this now, but there have been years when I wrote for a few days or weeks and then no more. Don’t worry about the rules; do what works for you.

An easy way to get started with journaling is to make lists. This works well if you’re always on the run. One of the most useful lists I have is a list of all our vacations, family reunions and major events such as job changes and family funerals. All I record is the date, the event, who attended it and where it was. With a computer it’s easy to keep a running list. It can be updated at the end of the year before you throw out last year’s calendar. It’s been helpful in remembering what year things happened. I call my list "Days of Our Lives." (Is this still the name of a soap opera?) I’ll write more about journaling next time.

The front of my roses covered journal says, Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14  I wish I could. That’s a goal we can work toward.

Blessings, Dottie

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pet Tales

When writing my last post about various critters, I ran across this account on mice, gerbils and a turtle. It makes me laugh every time I read it. This happened a long time ago.

April 16  Purchased two white mice & cage for son, 9.   
Purchased gerbil cage for son, age 7. Purchased turtle and turtle bowl for daughter, age 5. One mouse loose in store.

April 20 Turtle needs bigger bowl and won't eat boxed food. Purchased bowl. Every child in the neighborhood is catching flies and bugs for the turtle.

May 3 Nine year old son builds fort for mice from blocks. They love it. He leaves them in it and both are loose in basement.

May 4 One mouse can go through bars of cage. Nine year old getting better at catching them. Put cage on TV tray.

May 5-11 Hunt for mice every morning.

May 11 Mother's Day! Bought screen for mouse cage; fastened it on the outside of the cage, half way up.

May 12 Hunt for mice. Put screen all the way up.

May 13 Hunt for mice. Put screen on top also.
May 14 Mouse out through seam at top. Hunt for mouse.

May 15 Fix screen on inside of cage.

May 16 Turtle bowl cracked. Purchased new one.

May 17 Water dispenser for mice broken. Purchased new one.

May 21 Seven year old’s baby gerbils old enough to join us. Bought food, litter, and water bottle.

May 22 Seeds all over floor of seven year old’s bedroom.

May 23 Cleaned up seeds; switched to sunflower seeds.

May 26 Litter all over floor. They scratch. Put cardboard around edges of cage.

May 27 Gerbil water bottle leaks.

May 28 Bought new plug for bottle.       

May 29 Turtle bowl leaks.

June 1 No turtle bowls available.

June 2 No turtle bowls available.

June 3 7 A.M. One gerbil missing, one mouse missing. Everyone searched. Found mouse before school.   Couldn't find gerbil. Fixed gerbil cage with screen half way up. No turtle bowls available. Bought plastic sweater box and more gravel for the turtle. 7 P.M. Kids found gerbil in basement.

June 4 Midnight. Mouse out.

June 5 Sewed screen to cage with nylon fishing line!

From my current perspective what’s the lesson? The minor trials raising children and pets are cause for laughter and delight today, remembering.

May the Lord richly bless both you and your children. Psalm 115:14 NLT
Blessings, Dottie