Monday, May 29, 2017

From My Journal: Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It started when women of the South decorated the graves of fallen confederate soldiers. After the war, the North also decorated the graves of their fallen. Each region had their own date in late spring when they decorated. It was seen as more of a reconciliation than of harboring old wounds.

It became a time to remember our fallen heroes of each war by decorating their graves. To let them know we will never forget their sacrifice.

As a child, I remember my mother called it Decoration Day. She'd cut fresh flowers from all over our yard. She filled buckets of water to hold all of her clippings. We'd put them in the back of our car, hoping they wouldn't tip over. I liked going to the cemetery with my mom in the morning. If we went early it was quiet and peaceful. Later on, it would get busy. I learned respect for the dead as we cleaned around the headstones and decorated all of our family graves along with the military graves. I learned proper flag etiquette. I learned respect and gratitude for all who passed before me. They all sacrificed to make life better for me.

I loved Decoration Day. To a kid, it meant school was nearly over, and all my cousins would get together in the afternoon for a barbecue and volleyball. My chore was cleaning off the patio with the hose--my favorite chore because I could get wet.

I don't think I truly appreciated the sacrifices of those lost and fallen until I became an adult. A few years ago I had the opportunity of visiting the Washington Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Viet Nam memorial, and the WWII Memorial. I felt the sacredness of the area. I knew it was hallowed ground and that the Lord respected their sacrifices. This is where I truly gained reverence and awe for all the sacrifices made in my behalf.

May you enjoy the day with family, but also please take time to remember the cost and those who paid it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

8+ Ways Journaling Can Improve Your Life

Why keep a journal?
"To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest to you that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous education effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many--now and in the years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings."

~Gordon B. Hinckley~

I always knew I should keep a journal. For most of my life, though, I thought of it as a have-to-do, the one-more-thing-on-my-list-to-do.

When I became interested in writing, keeping a journal was recommended as an exercise to improve my writing skills. Here are 8 things journaling does for me:

  • Journaling forces me to focus my feelings into words. Solutions often present themselves by the time I finish my entry.
  • It provides details of family events and helps me recover memories.
  • It helps me feel gratitude when I identify ways the Lord has blessed me and my family.
  • It creates my own form of personal scripture when I include testimony of my Savior, moments of inspiration, and tender mercies shown me.
  • Journaling about my kids and grandkids show them how important they are to me.
  • It helps me focus thoughts into goals.
  • It helps me track those goals.
  • Journaling is Magic. It's not just about recording events of the past. It's also a way of making goals happen. It allows me to focus my energy on the positive outcome I desire and has helped bring to pass the desires of my heart. They don't always come as soon as I write them, but they do come.
A neighbor of mine, who suffers from anxiety, mentioned that her journal opened the door for her new husband to understand what she goes through and how to help her. 

More than a blessing--my journal has become a dear, and trusted friend. When I can't burden family or friends I take my problems to my journal.

If you have little time to spend on yourself, journal writing is  one of the best things (aside from sleep, personal hygiene, exercise, and chocolate) you can do for yourself. It's all about you.

What are some benefits you have found?

Happy Journaling!