Friday Speak Out!: Make a Journal of Joys

Friday, May 16, 2014
by Carolyn Boyette Lewis

Recently I’ve sorted through boxes I haven’t seen inside of for years. The rummage sale gave an opportunity to donate items we no longer need. In the sorting, I came across a spiral notebook with daily recaps of our 30th anniversary cruise. I put the notebook aside until we finished that day’s sorting; then, I sat and read the recaps.

It was a joy to relive our cruise experiences. I “saw” our beautifully-appointed suite and the balcony. I “saw” the houses on the tour in Port-of-Spain. I “saw” the open air markets near the pier where I bought that blue-green print skirt and top. I “saw” the beautiful azure waters of Caribbean ports. I “saw” the shop in St. John’s where I purchased lovely table linens we’ve used for years. What pleasure this hidden treasure gave to me all these years later! Such joy I received for investing five minutes a day to record highlights of the days.

Do you write recaps of your vacation days and your special times with family and friends? I encourage you to do so. Such recaps give much joy as you relive experiences in coming years. Your children will find joy in reading them too. You’ll find these recaps helpful when you write a simple biography for your family in years to come.

Here’s an exercise to get you started on your “journal of joys.”
  1. Think of a recent experience you had with a family member or friend. Remember the details. What gave you joy in that event?
  2. Write a paragraph or two about the event and the joy it gave you. (Don’t worry so much about editing--it is for your use and not for an editor.)
  3. Put your recap into an envelope and write one or two words, like “Sam’s birthday,” to identify the experience. Tuck the envelope into a drawer, file, or bookshelf.
  4. Write yourself a note on your calendar for 3-6 months in the future reminding you to open that envelope to reread the contents.

This exercise will give you a taste of the pleasure a journal of joys can give.

I encourage you to get a book for your “journal of joys.” It may be as simple as a spiral notebook like you used in high school or, if you like, you can buy a bound journal with blank pages to fill. The kind of book you choose is not as important as remembering to take five minutes or so to jot notes about special times so you can relive them through your journal in years to come. Keep your “journal of joys” in a place where it is easily accessible for writing your recaps—and remember to tuck it into your luggage for travels.

It’s never too late to record your joys in a journal and it’s never too soon to relive joys of the past.

* * *
Carolyn Boyette Lewis is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired teacher whose love of writing bloomed in high school and continues today. She lives in a small town in southwestern New Mexico. Currently, she is working on a collection of poems.

Connect with Carolyn at;; and Sclew's Views.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Margo Dill said...

Great advice, Carolyn. I kind of do this in my scrapbook (digital and hand-made). I am hoping my children really appreciate having these when they are older, and I know I LOVE looking back and what I've written about. This is really great advice. I love the name too JOURNAL OF JOYS!

Marcia Peterson said...

This is a lovely idea. We think we'll remember the details later on, but they vanish if not recorded at the time. Thanks for sharing something positive.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Oh, this is lovely! I keep a Gratitude journal, but I think a Journal of Joys might be added soon!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Carolyn--Focusing on what gives us happiness and makes our lives more positive will inevitably lead to MORE joy.

Thanks for the post.

Renee Roberson said...


I really enjoyed reading this post. I wish I had done it on previous special vacations and trips, especially when I don't get to take as many photos as i'd like. I'm now looking at our upcoming summer vacation in a whole new light.

D.E. Malone said...

I've always journaled on our family vacations. I like to recap each day - where we visited, what we ate, miles driven (because car travel is our way to go). It's funny to look back at these journals from 10-15 years ago. Most of my entries revolve around one or more of the kids 'acting up', or things gone wrong. It's usually the lowlights of the trip that are the most entertaining and the most memorable!

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