Friday, September 29, 2006

Roosters in a Row

Four of our original seven chicks turned out to be roosters. We have had our share of enjoyment listening to their young attempts at crowing. It was weak, pitiful, and hilarious at first, but like everything else, practice makes perfect. They almost have it down now. There is a big problem with the ratio, however, and we can only keep one. Which would you keep?

The votes are in! I am happy to announce that Rooster Exhibit C (the white one) is the winner with 3 votes! He is also my family's personal favorite and will be staying with us. Exhibit A came in second place with 2 votes. Exhibit B is also a winner in a way. He was the first to find a new home with another family, so his life is (temporarily) saved. Thanks for voting!

Rooster Exhibit A

Rooster Exhibit B

Rooster Exhibit C

Rooster Exhibit D

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Journaling (Part Four)

  • How often should I write?

A daily journal is probably the best. This is by no means the only “correct” method, however, and a lot depends on the personality and interests of the writer. Once a week can be more than enough for some people, and a skipped day might be unheard of for others.

I strive to write at least a little each day. This allows for the most detail and captures the reality of everyday life. Your journal can come to life with the consistent telling of events as they happen! Sadly, I am not always consistent – far from it!

Despite the enjoyment I receive from writing in my journal, it is easy to let a day slip by, and my journals are scattered with apologies. Here are a few.

“I am sorry I could not write yesterday. Let me tell you about it.”
Some days are simply too eventful or demanding. You can write about it the next day. Be careful not to fall too far behind!

“I am so sorry that I just said ‘Bye’ yesterday. As soon as I started, Dad came in the room and said, ‘Lights out.’”
Time management is important. Don’t delay until it is too late and you are forced to write later. This is one area that I struggle with, as I tend to write directly before going to bed. Write at a convenient time, and don't wait too long.

“I have not been writing. I am sorry. I do not think I can say I was busy. I just did not write.”
Laziness is something we all struggle with at times. We may not always feel like writing, and the longer you go without writing the harder it will be to pick up the pen again. Snap out of it, pray, and resolve to write at least a few lines. It will probably seem like less of a big deal once you get going.

“I am sorry that I have not written in a while, but I lost my Diary.”
It doesn’t happen often, but I have lost my journal a few times. One time I brought it on a campout trip and did not see it for weeks afterward. I imagined it lying out in an empty field being destroyed by the rain and blazing sun. Fortunately, I eventually found it safely sitting on a shelf in my room. Look for your journal meticulously, and write your entries on another piece of paper or on the computer until the journal is found.

“I have not written in such a long time. I am most terribly sorry.”
It can be difficult to start writing again after a long absence from journaling. The best method is usually to start with the present and reminisce as you have time. Write a quick summary if you like. The important thing to remember is to have fun journaling. You should not feel that journaling is a cruel taskmaster but a tool and valuable habit to be enjoyed.

Journaling Tidbit
Many famous and influential people are known to have kept journals. Included in this list are George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and John Adams. Other people are made famous by their journals. This would include Mary Boykin Chesnut, the wife of a Confederate Brigadier General and aide to President Jefferson Davis. Who else would you add?

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Journaling (Part Three)

Imagine for a moment that you are on a visit to your great grandmother. You have a wonderful time hearing old family stories and getting to know your grandmother better. On the last day of your visit she brings you into an old-fashioned bedroom and directs you to a large cedar chest. “You might find something of interest in there,” she says before sinking onto the elegant quilted bedspread to rest. Kneeling before the chest, you lift the lid to be greeted by a colorful array of crocheted blankets. Pulling these aside you discover several carefully placed books. Gently opening the first book, you are surprised to find beautiful handwritten pages – dated seventy years ago.

  • To whom am I writing my journal?

Me, Myself, and I
My journals are written primarily for an audience of one: me. They will not be of interest to publishers, and I rarely read any part of the journals to my family. They are for my personal enjoyment and growth, and though there is nothing written that I feel ashamed of, it helps me to be more open if I know that no one is going to be reading it in the near future. My ‘Elinor Dashwood tendencies’ make me naturally more private – even about everyday occurrences.

My Heavenly Father
My journals are also written to God. I do not need to show them to Him or read it out loud. He already knows every word I have ever written and every thought that has gone through my mind. I am always accountable to God for the content of my journals.

Some people write their journals as a letter or prayer addressed specifically to God. While I have never done this, everything I write is written in a conversational tone about things that I am praying and/or thinking about, and I do occasionally write an actual prayer.

My Descendants
I love genealogy, so it is natural for me to think multi-generationally. I want to know more about my ancestors than just the names, dates, and places. Were they Christians? What were their interests and concerns? For whom did they vote, and why? This is some of the information that cannot be found on any “vital record” in a courthouse. Only letters, journals, and diaries have this information. Only personal records can help me understand exactly who they were and what they stood for.

I have never come upon a discovery like the one at the beginning of this post, but I wish I had. Such finds are incredibly rare. Even if your ancestor wrote a journal, you most likely know nothing about it. Your 1861 soldier’s diary could be in your unknown fourth cousin’s closet!

Luke 6:31 says, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

The Bible teaches that I am to do to others as I would have them do to me. This can carry over to journal writing as well. I wish that my ancestor’s journals were available to me, so I want to do everything possible to ensure that my journals make it into the hands of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. As a result I try to answer the questions that I would have liked to ask my deceased great-grandparents.

Here are some good questions. What did you do as a child? What are your hobbies? Why do you live where you do? What are your dreams for the future? What do you struggle with? Who are your friends? The list could go on and on.

I am currently typing my handwritten journals and storing them on computer CDs. This will ensure that there will always be enough copies to go around. It will probably take a long time to complete this task, but think about the reward! I anticipate giving a copy to each of my own descendants as well as my brother and sister’s children. Technology has made family documents more accessible. Take advantage of it!

Typing my edited journal has been a way to create meaningful gifts for my mother. So far I have given her copies of my first four journals. She enjoys reading what I wrote and thinks they are funny (they weren’t supposed to be). She also uses them to remember events that she is putting in the family albums.

So why am I writing my journals? I write them for my benefit and enjoyment in the presence of God with the far reaching benefit of blessing my family.

Journaling Tidbit
Many people think that journaling is primarily a feminine activity. This is false. There are actually more men who keep journals than women. It is my personal opinion, however, that girls usually start at a younger age.

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wherever You Go

Our local newspaper printed a birthday greeting this week that I found fascinating. In an era when women are almost expected to have careers, here is one shining example of a young lady who chose family over show business and reaped a reward that will last much longer than the short 36 years of Marilyn Monroe's life. This 80th birthday commemoration displays the deep respect and love that Sally Jacobs Northcutt's children have for this very special wife and mother. Don’t you think she made the right choice?

Marilyn Monroe got the role
after you said no
You took the role of wife and said
Wherever you go
Sixty years later you're still
celebrating with Paul
Eighty years beautiful you've laughed through it all
You dance through life and give
everyone a song
I bet Marilyn wishes she had lasted this long

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Journaling (Part Two)

  • Caution! Emotion Alert!

It is true that some feelings are too deep to be shared immediately. There are times when emotion can weigh down on me so completely that I can only pray and pour my heart out to God. A journal is a good place to put my thoughts in order. Writing something makes it less intimidating and puts it in a form that is easier to deal with than the raw emotions I'm feeling at the moment. It also allows me to review my past troubles and evaluate how my feelings have changed.

Caution must be used, however. Even while there is less chaos with the written word, it also makes everything feel more real. Do not record every passing feeling or thought, and always ask, “Is this something God would want in the personal record of one of His children?”

Journalists should prayerfully consider the content of what they write. It can be a good thing to record your feelings and thought processes, but your journal should not act as your private outlet to sin.

Write with purity and discretion. You won’t regret it.

Grumbling and Complaining
You all know that it is wrong to complain to your parents and friends, but is it not equally wrong to write down your complaints in a journal? God judged the Israelites for grumbling and complaining against His law, and He is just as displeased when we fail to trust Him. Use your journal to praise your Heavenly Father.

If you have a predicament that you are working through, by all means, write it out. Only do it courteously, and acknowledge that God loves you, has a plan for you, and will always care for you. He is our source, and grumbling has no place in a Christian journal!

Venting Anger
Journal entries should never be written in anger. Anger passes, but you are writing a record that will last. You do not want a reminder of how wrongly you were treated (or thought you were treated) after reconciliation has been reached.

This is something that I have learned slowly and painfully. My first journal was full of arguments with my brother and sister, and I wasn’t always respectful of my parents. The pinnacle of my disrespect came one night in a way I will never forget.

I thought my father was being unfair, and although a lasting record of that night does not survive, he was in the right to reprimand me. I did not see it like that then, however, and after going to my room to wallow in self-pity a feeling of power overtook me. Justice could be done! I would write the truth in my diary, and for hundreds of years everyone who read it would know that Elizabeth had been wronged!

Bad idea. I wrote the hateful words and reread them to myself over and over again. Triumph was building up in me, and it had to be shared. With boldness not to be understood I marched up to my father and showed him the page from my journal.

You can only imagine what followed. Dad told me to mark it out, tear it out, or otherwise destroy the disrespectful page. I cried and begged. My beautiful book was to be marred! It would be ruined for life! With tears streaming down my face I scribbled over the ugly words until nothing could be deciphered through the mess. The revolting black blob of a page exists to this day as a reminder to always write carefully, prayerfully, and with honor.

God worked on my heart, and I have since resolved to never write anything that would dishonor my mother and father. I speak of my sister and brother with respect, and whenever possible fill the pages of my journal with their praise.

"Honor your father and mother" Ephesians 6:2

My journal is going to be the record of my childhood, my parents, and my family. I want it to reflect just how much I love them.

How do you write about your family?

Journaling Tidbit
Most journals written at a young age do not survive. Why? Their authors became embarrassed by what was written and destroyed all evidence! Even if you are not pleased by your past diaries, do not be quick to toss them out. Edit out the objectionable parts, and type out a God honoring copy of your journal!

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.

Kristin's Journaling

In response to my recent A Reason to Journal (Part One) Kristin from Beauty from the Heart has posted a few thoughts on journaling. I loved reading it! Check it out while waiting for Part Two!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago

This is the journal entry I wrote five years ago today on September 11, 2001.

Today a terrible thing has happened. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are gone. But that is an understatement. There were terrorist attacks today. Imagine that, in the U.S.A. Four planes were hijacked this morning. Two of them came from the Boston airport. I am not sure where the other two came from. The terrorists took over the planes using knives. Some people were stabbed.

One of the planes was flown right into one of the towers. A few minutes later the second plane crashed into the other one. Almost an hour later both towers went straight down.

These buildings were the 5th and 6th tallest buildings in the world. They had 150 [110] stories each. There is no exact number of the dead. Later, the third plane crashed into the Pentagon. Uncle Pat works in and around the building. He was across the street working. It took hours to get home. I feel for Aunt Cindy and the cousins. They did not know where he was. Thank God he is safe. The fourth plane crashed 80 miles outside Pittsburgh. Its destination is still unknown.

Today thousands of people died needlessly. Everyone on the planes died, even the hijackers. This is a sinful world.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Reason to Journal (Part One)

My journal (or diary as I called it then) began at midnight on January 1, 1999 by the light of the miniature Christmas tree in my room. The first line was formal and styled as if I were meeting a new friend – someone who, as yet, knew nothing about me.

“Dear Diary,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Elizabeth Ellen Moore.”
Our family had moved from Massachusetts to Oklahoma only three months before. I missed my friends, and it was challenging for me to meet new people. As a result I grew closer to my sister and brother, got a cat, and…started a diary.

  • Why should I keep a personal journal?

Records special events and improves memory
People keep journals for a wide variety of reasons. One of the most basic motives, however, is to keep a record of things we do not wish to forget. The human memory is faulty, and our brains blank out large amounts of information fairly quickly.

It always astonishes me to rediscover events, activities, and little details of family life that I had forgotten but were saved in the pages of my journal. Your memories will be retained forever as you relive them every time you read a past entry. I believe that rereading old journals could help fight Alzheimer’s and other mental loss.

A journal is a good place to reminisce about past events or deceased loved ones, record important family milestones, and talk about what is important to you and your family. It acts as a record when you read a book, meet a new friend, or take a special trip.

Records your walk with God
Journals illustrate what is important to the writer. Is your record full of the latest film you watched, or have you written about lessons the Lord is teaching you? Do you record His blessings or complain about how everything seems to go wrong?

Our minds are constantly being renewed into the image of Christ. We change over time. Priorities shift. A journal can capture this spiritual journey and show us where we still need to grow to become more like Jesus.

Your journal is a great place to write a specific prayer that is close to your heart. Remember to come back and show how God answered your prayer! It will increase your faith as you see recorded examples of His faithfulness in your life.

Also, resolutions are best placed in a journal. It makes them accessible for review, and you can later record how well or poorly you followed through on your resolve. It is certainly an eye opener!

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Journaling Tidbit
Journaling is commonly thought of as an adolescent activity. This is a myth. Most diaries and journals are actually written by adults.

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Coming Up Next

It is with much excitement that I announce the topic of Study.Quiet's next series: Journaling! Keeping a daily journal/diary is very important, but it is often difficult to be consistent or write about everything that deserves a place in the record of my life.

This Journaling series will hopefully remind me of the benefits of journaling and improve the style and content of my own record. I would also like to encourage you all in one of two ways: to (1) give you the initiative to begin your own personal journal or (2) encourage you to continue journaling as you improve the way you write your record.

In this series you will be given the opportunity to ask these questions.

  1. Why should I keep a personal journal?
  2. Who am I writing the journal to?
  3. How often should I write?
  4. What should I write?
  5. What are the differences between blogging and journaling?

Check out the journaling poll on the sidebar and vote!