This is "my book." Or as beloved Ann writes:
"This is the story of a Type-A personality finding serenity in playing about with glossy pictures and glue and paper. Child’s play. Yes, true: it’s a pretty simple story."
I am so, so glad she told that story so that I could begin my own!
It was nearly three years ago I started doing this, found a big stash of lovely magazines in the twenty-five-cent bin at the library, bought a big black sketchbook and started chronicling. Last week I opened volume six. The row of filled coilbound books lined up on my shelf makes me smile. And the current volume has a permanent home lying open on the end of my kitchen counter. I put off the project for a while after I first heard of it, but once I got over my intimidation and jumped in, I couldn't stop.
~it’s a place to play, and yet practical: it’s a place to record the workings of your household
~a place to make beautiful, so when everything else is unraveling (or is that only at our house?) there’s a pretty place on the counter to write down the date and all the lovely little snippets of the day...
~a keepsake day journal for children and grandchildren, a container of simple memories, the best kind
~an aesthetically pleasing place made with your own two hands that invites you to write down when the dentist appointment is today, which phone calls to make, and it makes you smile evey time you look at the page
~ the ordinary tasks of our lives find themselves chronicled for what they truly are: important ceremonies… daily celebrations.
Yes. So here we go: I start with a blank book like this (only it's one of the few things I *don't* buy online; with a 40% off coupon for JoAnn, I never pay full price). Sometimes I decorate the cover with a printed article or quote, some patterned paper and a jar of Mod Podge--
free magazine called Creative Ideas that comes five times a year.) The magazines above tend to have a higher number of things I like, but this will obviously depend on personal taste--and really, you can find fun pictures anywhere you look. I've used pictures from Pier 1 catalogs, Compassion magazine, even Snapfish or Hobby Lobby flyers. I also occasionally glue in my own photographs of neighborhood trees in the fall, or our peony bushes.
I go through the magazines whenever I get them and tear out anything I find pretty or visually interesting, including (but not limited to):
- interior decorating
- significant words/quotes
- random household items (colored bottles, books)
Once I've got pictures glued in, I put the open book in its place on the end of my kitchen counter, and I start scribbling. With a pretty pen in a coordinating ink color (because we know pens are a little important to me). Cello pens won't do for this; for a while I was partial to Sharpie pens but now I'm addicted to these pricey but gorgeous Staedtlers...but keep the caps on! The tips of the Sharpies and the Staedtlers *will* get ruined when dropped on the floor...sadly I have learned this the hard way.
Sorry. Pen digression. Anyway, so I start scribbling, and I keep coming back throughout the day. There's no end to the variety of things that can find a home here:
- daily/weekly to-do lists as well as long-term project lists
- gratitude lists
- funny things Elijah and Jude do and say, their developmental milestones, etc.
- Scripture verses
- quotes from books, blogs, song lyrics
- printed out blog posts or excerpts (if it's more than a few lines I love), most frequently from Ann Voskamp, Christ in the Chaos, Femina or Scotty Smith
- lists of and brief blurbs about books I’m reading
- notes from important phone calls (asbestos abatement contractors, preschools, chickens, etc.)
- gifts received for birthdays/Christmases (people needing thank-you notes)
- hospitality plans
- recipes or meal plans
- parenting inspirations/reminders
Really this can be anything you want it to be. No rules--it serves you. And oh, can it serve you (and your family)! For me, this journal isn't just play, and it isn't a time-suck. It's a visual anchor, a place to refocus. It's a way to chronicle my journey, not in long chunks of set-aside quiet time (though I do love those, and journal differently during those when they come) but in moments. It's a place to preach truth to myself, a reminder to choose gratitude, an opportunity to pause for a moment and really *see* my life, my children, my Savior.
And, I hope, it will become a family heirloom of sorts. Maybe it's just me, but I think if I could get a glimpse of my mother's or grandmother's ordinary daily life this way--what she was thankful for thirty years ago, what Scriptures spoke to her, what books she read and loved, what funny things I said--wouldn't I love that precious keepsake! Even if my boys don't appreciate these books, I know I have loved having and revisiting my own journals over the years, rereading stories of God's work in me and looking back on sweet moments of my life.
So there it is--my often-mentioned visual homemaking journal. Now it's your turn! Grab a sketchbook, a pen, a glue stick and some magazines and have at it.