June 22, 2017

Dear Journal, Thank You For Listening! Alan Anderson

I’m not going to pretend to give the impression I journal daily. I do, however, see tremendous value in writing in a journal. I don’t habitually share my journaling with anyone else. Oops, that sounds a bit selfish! (insert smile here)

Through journaling I prepare myself for life or reflect on my life thus far. It offers me an opportunity to ask myself how I am doing in life. Allow me to give you a peek into my life through journaling. Please be patient with me as I bear my soul a bit to you.

My journal is a safe place for me. It is where I tell myself how at times I want to scream at the craziness of the world. I feel like this when I read newspaper headlines of the most recent terrorist attack somewhere in the world. I scream out of fear, frustration and the folly of people.

My heart cries when I hear of children who have been murdered. Even now tears come to my eyes as I reflect on a recent interchange of a grieving grandfather who chatted with me. There are other grandparents who have confided in me with similar stories. I keep all such stories in my head or in my journal. How my heart aches for these dear people. How my heart aches for these beautiful children.

My journal is a “friend,” so to speak. I have a loving wife and family but I must say I don’t have many close friends. I talk to my journal the way I hope I could talk to a close friend, someone more ready to listen than judge. It would be nice to have a friend or friends I could call or meet anytime.  We would be content in knowing we can share our thoughts with each other.

My journal is a “counselor” who I know listens to me. It is here I can pour out my thoughts and emotions. I have listened to a lot of sad stories of experiences people have suffered in their lives. Some things so horrible I haven’t even told my wife. I have also heard of how people have endured in spite of their suffering. Through journaling I process what I have listened to.

 My journal is a cheerleader, who gives me cause to smile and say, life can be sweet! I love life! In spite of my screams and few times of rage at the world, I love life. For the most part, I love people. I love too that God has blessed me in my life and continues to do so. I don’t say this just to put a positive spin on things. I say this because it is true.

I need a cheerleader now and then. How about you? I also like to cheer for other people. As I say to those who are hurting because of a sad experience in life, we are in this together!

My dear writer family, we are in this life together. How can we show our love one for the other? We can cheer each other on in our journeys through life. We may even be close enough geographically that we can be there to listen.

Father in heaven, you have called us to be writers. Help us to see the beauty of each other’s words. Help us to be real with ourselves as we journal. Help us to cheer each other on and to realize we are in this together! Amen!

Blog: ScarredJoy@wordpress.com

June 21, 2017

My Love Affair With Notebooks ... by Jocelyn Faire

I don't know when it began, or what to do with all of them. The notebooks, the journals of all sizes and shapes—many of them still empty, waiting for the right poem or the new theme, or my most brilliant thoughts. Some of the more unusual journals bought on travels are still waiting. Often I try to have a theme for a journal, so I begin more than one of them, while having an ongoing chronological journal. Meanwhile I use notebooks for a collection of ideas, thoughts and quotes.
Why do I encourage so many people to journal? Is there any benefit in writing down what we go through? A resounding Yes is my answer! I began journalling decades ago, when I was going through what I call the usual ups and downs of life; and even there I always felt the benefit of the process. Writing down thoughts brings clarity to whatever the situation may be. During my grief years, my journals became my lifeline, my prayer line, my place to recharge, my place to question any and everything. Those were the times it was necessary to write in order to make sense of what had gone so terribly wrong (write to right). As I reread my journals I see a woman expressing her longings, her laments while choosing to be grateful for the beauty of life. The historical value of journals is to look back and witness in your own handwriting the evidence of God's hand in it all. Most recently this has been vividly evident as I looked back at my 2016 journal while searching for ideas for this blog. A frequently used verse was from Isaiah 49 in The Message: The walls you're rebuilding are never out of my sight.
On January 1, 2016, my notes say:
A blank page
a new journal opens up before me ... what will be written on these pages?
It's a page turner to be sure
Life is an adventure—a sad one at times, disappointment at end of year brings a weariness to the new year.
I went on to express disappointment that I was not in a better place. A main discouragement was that I had been praying for several years for the possibility of a man in my life. And I was beginning to think that God had answered No, and that I would need to come to terms with it. On the blank page opposite my January first entry, I had later added that my daughter had prayed for me that perhaps this was the year. In June of 2016 I told two very dear friends that I thought I would remain alone for the rest of my life, and that I was actually okay with it. And then on June 10, I wrote “God, I think you're up to something.”
June 19, 2016 there was a profound upbeat tone as I wrote about having lunch with Harold, someone I had known for over 30 years ... someone I had worked with, someone who had also gone through some serious grief. That day I wrote in my journal: Is the something you are up to HB?
I chuckle at times when I see my gift of misinterpretation of scriptures. After this wonderful man and I had been communicating for a while, I had some doubts that were answered in a resounding way. In my journal I quoted Isaiah 43 The Message: Forget about what's happened, don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present, I'm abut to do something brand new. It's bursting out!! Don't you see it? No, I don't often see it, but I love it when verses jump out with what seems a personal message for me.
The gift of the journals is the documented evidence in my own handwriting of how God is working out the bigger plan in my life. And on a separate lovely note, on December 17, 2016 at my wedding to Harold, we used Isaiah's verses about rebuilding walls from chapter 49. The love affair continues :)
Photo by Joel Krahn

June 20, 2017

Journaling Rambles by Joylene M. Bailey

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Wow, the 20th of the month is here again! How did that happen?  Again, I’m stumped for what to write for InScribe Writers Online. Why do I always feel like I have nothing to contribute?

This month's topic is journaling and writer's notebooks. Oh boy. I wish I were a more consistent journaler. I might actually have something to share then. But I’m more of a spurtster, like Glynis.

Hmmm, it looks like a lot of the writers this month have several journals for different things. Me too! Only, so many of my journals had great beginnings and then petered out.  I have a whole drawerful of enticing journals, just waiting to be filled.

I love journals - give me a journal and you’re my friend for life. And I love the idea of journaling everyday, sitting in a fragrant and shady corner of my yard on a sun-dappled day putting down words of beauty, encouragement, wisdom and wit. In reality that’s not what happens at all.

Oh man, do I have anything at all to share on this topic? Let’s see, what do I seem to be writing down these days?

Oh! I have that quote notebook I have been keeping for years. I wonder if that counts. I also started that JOY journal – in fact I think I started two … No, those aren’t even worth mentioning.

I guess I do have my prayer/devotional journal that includes sermon and teaching notes. But then when Sweetie called in the middle of the night to say the twins were born, that was the nearest paper to hand, and I opened to the back page to write down the little boys’ names, weights, times of birth, what the names meant, and even how long she pushed for each one! Then I took that journal to Manitoba when I went to help with the twins, and continued from the back to the front, writing little rhyming verses and songs for 3-year-old Little Man. Now I even have jot notes for blog posts in there and a whole list of Edmonton Sites to See This Summer. Again, back to front. What kind of journal is that?

There must be another legitimate journal that’s worth sharing about …
I have that junk-drawer-journal. Everything but the kitchen sink in that one. Anybody else reading it would be so confused. Email addresses, books I want to read, somebody’s very detailed dream, accounting figures, lists, quotes, passwords, definitions, schedules, flight times … You name it, it’s in there. Nah, this journal would never count.

I did start “Morning Pages”, as suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. I appreciated that exercise, I think I’d like to get back to that. I also love the sound of an Artist’s Daybook that Sandi Somers mentioned in her post. It has a nice ring to it. Yes, “Morning Pages” and my Artist’s Daybook, those will be goals for my summer writing.

But to get back to my journal post … The only valid journal I might be able to share about is my In the Coffee Shop, In the Library one I started in September as an exercise to get me out of the house when I was on doctor’s orders to rest. It was fun to just sit and write down observations in coffee shops and libraries, and a good exercise in coming up with the right words on the spot. But then came surgery, 6 weeks of recovery, and then right away off to look after grandchildren, including the newborns. I haven’t written in that thing for at least 3 months.

It seems I’m not currently journaling at all.

So, it’s finally happened … I have absolutely nothing to contribute this month. Zilch. Zero.
I might as well go find the topic for next month and get a head start on that.


Joylene journals about not journaling from her home in Edmonton where she is resting up after 6 weeks of looking after grandchildren. 
Find more of her writing at Scraps of Joy.

June 19, 2017

Painting a Sentence by Eunice Matchett

Spring is such a lovely season, but along with all its loveliness comes a truckload of work. Each year I do one major project beyond the normal planting and weeding. This year, my major undertaking was painting the fence.

As I evaluated the weathered boards, my mind wandered to my writing projects that were weeks behind schedule. From there, my thoughts zoomed into sentence structure and my unpainted fence morphed into a sentence.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the fence. It served its purpose by offering privacy, keeping the neighbourhood dogs out, and most of the time, my cats in. But it was drab. And boring. Just like a first draft sentence.

I went to work pulling out branches that had grown through the cracks between the boards much the same way I slash goes without saying words in a sentence. The fence appeared taller, but dry leaves and brittle pine needles littered the two-by-fours to which the boards were nailed. As I brushed away the dead foliage it reminded me of how the over use of fluffy words and words ending with ing or ly cluttered a sentence, making it difficult to comprehend.  This done, I checked all the boards to make sure their nails were still holding them fast. It made me think of how necessary conjunctions are to hold a sentence together.

Now, I’m ready for the paint. But what kind of paint? Just as a sentence requires precise words, my fence needs the right paint. The clerk in the local hardware store showed me exactly what I needed. Then, dressed in old tube top and shorts, a can of paint in one hand and a brush in the other, I began my task. Hours later, my arms ached, my skin burned, but I’d finished one side of one side of my fence. I stepped back to admire my handiwork. My throat throbbed. All my loving swishes had left light spots all over the fence.

Just like your sentence crept into my thoughts. Those light spots are weak words you allowed to remain in a sentence rather than taking time to search for stronger ones. I took a deep breath and returned to the spot where I started. Before laziness could overwhelm my thoughts, I dipped my brush into the paint and applied another coat.

In half the time it took to apply the first coat, I’d completed the second. My arms ached twice as much, and I think the sun had removed the top layer of my skin, but I’d finished. Again. I stepped away, gingerly this time. But it wasn’t necessary. A perfect fence section stood in front of me. Not one light spot. Not one knot hole exposing naked wood. No loose boards or painted-over pine needle. My fence sang. Just as well thought out and strategically placed words make a sentence dance, properly applied paint to my weathered fence gave my whole yard a fresh, new life.

June 18, 2017

It's In the Journey - by Gloria Guest

I first started journaling in my Bible College days and when I think back to why that might have been, I think it was because I finally felt like I was in a safe place; a place where I felt safer to explore my feelings and thoughts. However, knowing what I do now, I was woefully out of touch with those feelings and all that would need to come to the surface in the coming years (thank goodness I did not know) but still, looking back I can see that it was my ‘start’ to the journey of healing and coming to know ‘me’ and who I really was.

I continued journaling into my early years as a new wife and mother. Peeking back into those journals is another glimpse into my development as a person; a little more in touch with some things but there was still very much hidden and undisclosed. Of course I can now read between those lines and see very much what was going on in my heart at the time, that I just couldn’t quite put into words. But I’m proud of that young woman  for trying; for searching, for hoping and dreaming even if I wasn’t quite sure what I was hoping for.

After that, my journaling became more sporadic as life began to take on a dizzying pace for me with the accompanying stress. We were a young farm family barely eking out a living. We were living on the same farm yard as my in-laws and I did not have a close bond with my mother-in-law. When my mother died when she was only 48 years old, it seemed to be the catalyst for my submerged childhood emotions and trauma to begin rising more to the surface. I started going through a crisis in just about every area of my life; physically, emotionally, spiritually. I did manage to reach out for a life line and began seeing a counsellor; something that continued for many years. Through those years as I said, I journalled sporadically and when I did I found it therapeutic and calming. But soon after a deep family secret from my childhood emerged; one that sent me reeling and one that eventually led to my younger sister committing suicide. Sometime during those crisis days my journaling ended . I recall reaching for it one day and reading some recent entries that were filled with darkness and bitterness and feeling ill at the thought that someone might one day come across them. Worse yet, reading those words I was sure if I continued that God might strike me down with lightning! Should I burn them? I seriously considered it but it felt like a betrayal of that younger woman who had tried so hard. And so I decided to simply close them, hide them away and never look at them or write in them again.

Where I am now? Thankfully I’ve made much progress coming through those dark times although it never fails to amaze me how many more layers there can be where childhood trauma is concerned. All I know is that God has led me through it all and I haven’t yet been struck down by lightning!

Recently while taking two U of T Creative Writing Classes I was encouraged and in one class, ‘required’ to journal. That was a challenge for me. It helped that it was free-style so we could write on any subject we chose just as long as we wrote steady for ten minutes a day. And so I chose my subjects carefully and wrote. And enjoyed it. And felt a new found freedom coming back into my writing. Since then, I admit I still did not start journaling on my own. But I haven’t forgotten about it. It’s niggled in my mind as something that I might like to do again. And then came this month’s Inscribe blog topic. I’ve read the entries by everyone else with trepidation and interest. Slowly, over the month I’ve become intrigued again with the idea of journaling and so today, on Father’s Day I made a new entry. I’d like to share a bit of it here:

“June 18, 2017. Today is Father’s Day as I sit down to write in this journal six years from the last entry. I haven’t seen him (my father) for almost thirty years now. There are no words to fill in a blank that big – maybe someday I will try – but for today all I want to say is….I’ve noticed an imperceptible change in myself these past weeks. In the past, whenever I’ve felt cornered into explaining his absence in my life I would say things like;
“I choose not to see him.”
“I had to separate myself from him.”
“I haven’t seen him in (fill in the blank) years.”
"I…I….I…" And I always walked away feeling guilty and to blame.

But lately I’ve felt free to say it slightly different.
“My father chose to not be a part of my life.”
So true. That’s what happened. I was willing to reconcile (which takes two people who truly want to face the truth) but he wanted to continue his lies and abuse. It was that simple. So I chose to move on so I could grow. He was the one who let go.
Thank you God that you never did let go – of me – or him.
I write this in a journal with the Footprints poem on the front. So fitting. You’ve carried me through so much when I felt like I couldn’t’ take even one more step. I know you will continue. It’s all in the journey and I’m so thankful that You are on this journey with me.

June 17, 2017

Notebooks for every occasion - by Rohadi

Notebooks for every occasion. Never leave home without one. That and pens. Never leave home without a pen. The last thing you want to do is scrounge up a pencil from your car, or a ballpoint from the bank. 

When it comes to notebook selection some things matter and others don't. I’m more lenient on what qualifies as a “notebook” as I've been in the past, opting to accept the electronic variety in a pinch. 

Here’s a snapshot of of both process and hobby when it comes to selecting my writing tools.
  • Every new book project gets it’s own notebook. Not just any notebook mind you. Utility has to outweigh beauty. Thick pages that can take ink from the fountain pen (usually the quickest pen so long as it doesn't skip) without bleeding through. They can be short, 48 pages maybe, and small, 5x5 perhaps.
  • Meandering thoughts can go in notebooks that have a certain stylish flair. I’m not picky with quality, albeit the pen needs to run well along the pages. 
  • I tend to have different notebooks for different tasks. For example, one devoted to ideas on faith and ministry, another for random reflections. 
  • Then there’s the tiny notepad, the one I can fit in a coat pocket or briefcase. It’s for jotting down random thoughts. You know the ones that find you out of thin air. I got tired of using the napkin or grocery receipt, so I have some little pages at my disposal.
  • If all that fails, I’ll pull out my phone and use the Evernote app (that syncs with my desktop). I’ve tried OneNote but simply didn’t get the hang of it. Evernote has been useful to organize thoughts in broad categories. That makes returning to an idea and following through a little bit easier. 
  • Category use in the app is also why I chose Scrivener to complete writing projects. It's critical to organize ideas, and Word can't match the power and features in Scrivener. 

What I haven’t yet mastered is what to do with all the ideas. Most of them turn into nothing, ideas jotted down that I never revisit. I wonder if some “spring cleaning” would de-clutter the list and increase creative use? 

Finally, how do I approach the regular rhythm of journalling? I don't. In fact, I’ve never consistently journaled. I do it, but merely as a way to reduce the noise in my head by transferring it to paper. I rarely go back into my journals, mostly because I write too fast while journalling. Which is fine because that’s not the point. Journalling is a necessary outlet to keep the writing mind, and the soul, healthy. Rarely do thoughts escape into projects, or new ideas emerge. It's merely a release, a dump of letters to complete the day or season.


P.S. I would love to reply to comments but I've been unable due to login issues (that I don't know how to remedy).....so thanks for all of your thoughts! 

June 16, 2017

My Various Writing Journals by Nina Faye Morey

This month’s blog addresses the value of keeping a writer’s journal or notebook. Since childhood, I’ve made several attempts to keep a Daily Diary. However, most of these entries turned out to be tedious recordings of trivial everyday experiences, so I soon became bored and abandoned them. But over the years, I’ve managed to amass a number of writing notebooks or journals. They vary in size and purpose: small ones I keep in my purse to record random thoughts and observances that may make their way into my writing; medium-sized ones I use to jot down ideas, goals, and notes pertaining to my writing, and large ones for writing rough drafts.

My Journals Vary in Size & Purpose

My Common Place Book started as an assignment for a university English class I took in the 90’s. It’s a place where I collect some of my writing, other people’s writing that’s moved me, quotes and sayings I especially like, and my observations and thoughts about events that occur in the world around me.

I also keep a Spiritual Journal filled with scripture verses and spiritual sayings that have been especially meaningful for me. It contains my personal reflections on them, along with other enlightening revelations that occur to me from time to time. I also fill them with spiritual symbols and imagery that often show up in my articles, stories and poems. For instance, the iconic imagery in a Ukrainian Orthodox church that I visited during one of my seminary classes made a lasting impression on me. I’ve also long been fascinated by Ukrainian Easter Eggs, or Pysanky, and I’ve learned the meaning of their various colours and designs. I’ve used this knowledge to “colour” some of my Christian writing.

In addition, I keep several Writing Notebooks/Journals. These are filled with all kinds of notes related to my writing. I’ve jotted down ideas for novels, stories, articles, and poems. Some of these notes have already been converted into pieces that have been published in various periodicals over the years. Others still await their turn in the limelight. Another notebook is filled with notes I’ve collected from a number of writing conferences I’ve attended. Still others are notes I’ve taken while reading other authors’ works or resource books for writers. Several are filled with rough outlines or first drafts of short stories, articles, and poems. The first draft of my romance novel was written in longhand and fills three of the larger journals. I’m now in the middle of typing and revising the second draft on my laptop.

Journals are Great Writing Resources

Lastly, I have a Writing Portfolio where I keep copies of all of my work that’s been published in various periodicals and anthologies, along with some contest award-winners.

The practice of writing in these various writing notebooks and journals helps me to develop and clarify my thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics and gives me inspiration and fodder for my writing projects. Keeping my Spiritual Journal has helped me process Scripture verses that I’ve read and delve deeper into their meaning so that I can grow spiritually and apply what I’ve discovered to my Christian writing. The verses, sayings, and quotes that I jot down in this journal also serve to build up my faith and devotion to God.

Whether I’m noting the good or the bad as I write in my various journals and notebooks, it usually works its way into my writing. If I’m working through some personal struggles, I know others out there are in similar situations. Because of my journalling, I’m able to write about these situations so my readers know they’re not the only ones experiencing them.

Photo Credits: © 2016, Nina Faye Morey

June 15, 2017

Diaries, Notebooks, Journals - Oh My! Tracy Krauss

I must admit that I have been thoroughly enjoying this month's contributions since I am a die-hard journaler from way back. Writing things down is such an integral part of my life that I'm not sure I could make sense of it otherwise.

I always take notes during sermons, workshops, or other teaching sessions. I don't always go back and read what I've written, but somehow taking notes helps me to listen and hopefully internalize what is being presented.

I keep a little notebook in my purse so that I can jot down random thoughts, snips of conversations, impressions, make lists, or even just doodle. Don't leave home without it!

I've found a daily log book or diary a wonderful way to keep track of what I do during a holiday. It's very useful when settling disputes that arise after the fact, and helps to make sense of all the pictures my husband takes. (He's the photographer. I'm too busy taking it in to bother with taking photographs.)

Pouring my heart out onto a page helps me process the difficult times, and brings my hopes and dreams into focus. This is my primary journalling activity and I've filled countless books of all shapes and sizes. I decided to gather them all up into a banker's box, but I had to start box number two earlier this year since I couldn't squeeze even one more in. I enjoy flipping through these journals. I can see how I've grown and changed, as well as see the patterns that have emerged over time.

Finally, one of my favourite journalling activities is to write out my prayers. I'm currently using a little monthly prayer journal that I developed last summer called 'Thirty Days of Targeted Prayer'. In it I pray about something specific each day. But even without that little tool, my journals tend to be a mixture of prayers, musings, and a record of events. I don't try to keep everything separate (except for the one prayer journal) but just let it all flow together.

I realized how much I rely on my journalling habits recently when I underwent open heart surgery. Obviously, I didn't write anything for a couple of days and even after that I found I didn't have the strength to write more than a few sentences for several days afterwards. However, the desire to record my thoughts was strong and I tried using the 'record' option on my phone. It wasn't quite the same, but I can see where this would be a useful tool for chronic journalers who can't physically write for whatever reason.

I've wondered if anyone will ever read what I've written. I've caught myself censoring my thoughts a time or two with that in mind, but most of the time I just pour out my soul, come what may. For me it is less about leaving a legacy and more about processing life.

Tracy Krauss journals (among other things) from her home in northern BC. Visit her website: http://tracykrauss.com   -fiction on the edge without crossing the line- 

June 14, 2017

To Journal, or Not to Journal, that is the Question - Ruth L. Snyder

Journaling is a helpful habit for writers for many reasons including recording inspiring ideas, clarifying thoughts, and planning for the future.
Writing in a journal is something I enjoy. However, my busy schedule does not give me the leisure of sitting down every day with a journal. I also have several different journals on the go - each for a different reason. Here are nine different reasons I journal:
  1. To record inspiring ideas - I used to carry a journal with me and record short descriptions of settings, characters, plot ideas, and anything else I ran across. I found this very helpful when I was writing short stories and fiction. I have never had the problem of writer's block; my problem is that I have more ideas than time.
  2. To capture my dreams - Sometimes I use a pen and paper, and sometimes I use digital tools like Pinterest or Notes (on my phone). When I get an idea, I try to write it down. When I don't write it down, I've discovered that I don't remember when I want to use an idea.
  3. To clarify my thoughts - Often my thoughts ramble. Anyone who has written a first draft understands that it takes a few sentences or paragraphs to dig down to the good ideas. Writing in a journal helps by getting all the fluff out of the way. It also helps because when I see something in writing, I'm able to understand what needs to be reworked.
  4. To think through issues - When I need to work through an issue, I find writing helps. I often make a list of pros and cons. Sometimes I just doodle. I can't explain how it works, but I know it does.
  5. To track progress - I find it helpful to write goals and review them on a regular basis. Sometimes when I go back to my goals I realize the goals were unrealistic, so I adjust them. Other times I am delighted and encouraged to see the progress I've made.
  6. To plan for the future - Sometimes I journal to capture items for a bucket list. I may not be able to tackle those items now, but it frees my mind if I can write them down. Sometimes I am also able to start taking steps towards goals that are several years down the road.
  7. To record personal thoughts and reflections - I currently have a devotional journal I write in every day. I write down verses that are meaningful to me each day, and also some prayer requests or thoughts about how the verses relate to me. In the past I also recorded events from the day and responses to those events.
  8. To remind to me be grateful - Most of us are aware of Ann Voskamp's 1,000 Gifts. It seems that us humans focus more on the negative than the positive. Writing down a few things every day that I am thankful for has been very helpful to me.
  9. To hone my writing skills - One way to get better at something is to practice. Writing in a journal allows me to see how words go together and think about how I can communicate ideas more effectively.
Writing in a journal is beneficial to all people, not just writers. According to Lori White's post,
writing can:
  • Reduce the symptoms of illnesses like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Help people work through trauma
  • Aid students in attaining higher grades
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Increase the odds of being hired for a job
  • Improve creativity
Obviously, I would say to journal is the right choice. What about you?

 Ruth L. Snyder is passionate about creativity. She is on a mission to help other creative people achieve their goals. Find out more at RLS Creativity.

June 12, 2017

Harnessing My Wandering Mind - Guest Post by Bobbi Junior

I can read a whole chapter in the Bible, word for word, and spend the entire time thinking about some totally random, unrelated situation.  How does the brain do that? You’d think reading would take concentration, but my brain seems to split, words skimming the surface of my grey matter while my thoughts muck around, filling those places I want scripture to occupy.
It doesn’t happen when I’m writing, though. When I’m typing a sentence, following a thought on its trail to who knows where, my mind is fully engaged.
I have another weak spot in my prayer life, and that’s finding words of praise. I stumble and mumble, using archaic terms that feel phony coming out of my mouth. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing, considering I call myself a writer. 
But then it occurred to me; I am a writer. Not a speaker. Hmmm…
Online I found a list of the attributes of God. What better focus for prayers of praise?
I copied the list to a word doc and put my plan into practice. It may not be focused praise, but it’s definitely drawing me deeper into my exploration of the character of God.
What does it look like? Here’s today’s effort.
The description I found online:
Omnipresent: This theological term means “always present.” Since God is infinite, His being knows no boundaries. So, clearly He is everywhere. This truth is taught throughout the Bible as the phrase “I am with you always” is repeated 22 times in both the Old and New Testaments. These were even Jesus’ words of assurance just after giving the challenge to His disciples to take His message to the entire world. This is certainly a comforting truth for all who follow Jesus.
My rambling, semi-edited exploration:
If I say to you, “Cleanse my heart, oh Lord,” you will take that prayer, and in your position as omnipresent ruler of all creation, you will address my small, infinitesimal self; me - just one of the billions of souls who have lived, are living and will live. You will invest yourself into my situation. That you would care that much, that you would take the time…  But no. You are not bound by time. You are infinite. After a boring meeting my friend often says, “That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back.” But you, Lord, are not losing anything when you listen to my prayer, hear my petition, and intervene in my situation to teach me, grow me, refine me. It’s not a loss for you. We humans have to prioritize our choices according to time, energy, resources, and demands of others. But you, Lord, have no need to prioritize my prayer according to the prayers of others. You are omnipresent.  Always available for each of us, any time we call on you. Because you are infinite, because you are sovereign, you watch us and watch over us, fully present. No wonder Paul said we should pray all the time!
Yup. Journalling my thoughts about God takes me to unexpected understanding, something I can’t do when my fingers aren’t engaged. Works for me! What about you?