The Journals


On the back page of the September 2019 issue of Men’s Journal, Lester Holt, of NBC Nightly News, was asked the following question:

“What advice would you give your younger self?”

“Keep a journal.”




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“That is one of the benefits of keeping a journal. It helps us see what we look at. When we journal, it’s like taking a Polaroid of some moment during the day that has caught our attention. Only we do it with words instead of with film. But like that film, what we have looked at often develops right before our very eyes as we’re writing, revealing things we hadn’t seen before.” (Ken Gire, The Reflective Life)

“As you feel the stinging thorns of pain today, what do you write? Nothing? Healing stands with folded arms waiting to read your words. Small wonder you’re still bleeding.(Chuck Swindoll, Come Before Winter and Share My Hope)



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“Battling illness and pain with pen and paper may be unorthodox, but it may spell relief.” Dorothy Foltz-Gray


“We see a lot of things we haven’t seen in people when we’re given a peek into their journal. There we see them with their make-up off and their mat of morning hair.” (Ken Gire, The Reflective Life)


“In pain, grief, affliction, and loss, it often helps to write our feelings…not just feel them. Putting words on paper seems to free our feelings from the lonely prison of our souls.” (Chuck Swindoll, Come Before Winter and Share my Hope)


“The most important reason for keeping a journal is that every now and then God shows up. Reading the moments of our day helps us to see Him when He does. Reflecting on those moments helps us to hear what He is saying.” (Ken Gire, The Reflective Live)



“People who write for twenty minutes a day about traumatic events reduce their doctor visits, improve their immune systems, and, among arthritis sufferers, use less medication and have greater mobility.” Dr. James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D.



“Suppressing negative emotions can weaken the immune system and arouse your fight-or-flight system, churning up blood pressure and heart rate. Release those emotions, and your body stops preparing for battle.” Dorothy Foltz-Gray


“When I look back on my own journals, especially the ones I kept during my formative years as a writer, I always see something I haven’t seen before. All of those daily entries form a composite of who I once was and who I was in the process of becoming. It looks to me less like an author’s photo on the book jacket and more like a wanted poster in the post office. The picture is full of insecurities, anxieties, introspections, shortsightedness, and pendulum swings of optimism and pessimism.” (Ken Gire, The Reflective Life)


“We, the people with chronic soul-amnesia, are called to be the re-membering people. The people who remember-and have their brokenness re-membered.” (Ann Voskamp, The Way of Abundance)


“I always think writing, especially cursive, is a form of creativity because you’re shaping something that is uniquely yours. Where in the world can you actually express your deepest thoughts? Your greatest fears? First off, who really cares? If you give yourself the freedom to actually write it: “When I got so mad at so and so, really what I was feeling was guilt over X, Y, Z. Will I ever learn?” I’m telling you, if you will write and keep writing, not for somebody else to read, but for yourself, I don’t know that there is a more immediate way for God to speak to us. All of a sudden you’re writing something that feels so different than the line that you were on. The line that you were on was emotional self-mutilation, and then suddenly you write “I am free. I am free to change.” We want to connect with the Divine. We want to be led by the Spirit, but you go, “We’ve got to find some communication thread here.” I believe so strongly that when you’re writing, you’re already engaged and something can come through you and find its way on the page.” (Amy Grant, interviewed by Sister John Dominic Rasmussen)

“Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually.” (Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets)


pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”













2 thoughts on “The Journals

  1. I agree with every word of this . through the journals, you could could see the Depth of the soul ! Nelson, after reading this and then going back through it the second time, it brought my memories back to so MANY different individuals I have known in my lifetime. So many times of pain, hurt, and joys ! So Thankful that God is in control !!

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