education

Creating a Victory Journal

One of the things that I find most amusing as I reflect back on my life is that the times that were the hardest, are also the times in which I learned the most about myself. I’m grateful for those lessons, but I don’t like to go through the hard times. No one does.
Yet, they occur in each of our lives, and we are forced to figure out solutions to problems that we never wanted to encounter. Problems or challenges like these push us to new discoveries, and while we’ve heard that a thousand times, we’ve also forgotten it a thousand and one times.
Think about the athletes who’ve done great things that no one thought the human body could do. Or the scientists who made new discoveries out of great human suffering and adversity. Or the average folks who have gone beyond their natural skills and found out that they can do more than they thought. Maybe you’ve experienced this, too.
The question becomes, then, why do we forget these lessons so easily? We can all relate to being in the middle of a challenge and feeling the heaviness of heart, the fatigue, the sadness, or even the depression that comes from not seeing an immediate answer. But rather than remembering our previous successes, we tend to see each new crisis as a new obstacle.
Here’s a suggestion to overcome this habit, because in many respects, that what this is. We have developed a habit of selective forgetfulness. Instead of letting yourself get wiped out, physically, mentally, or spiritually by a new challenge, try creating a victory journal. You can actually call it anything you like, but the idea is to recap each of the major obstacles that you’ve encountered in your life, and how you overcame them.
In a journal or notebook, write down one “challenge” per page. Describe the situation, and if you can remember, how you were feeling at the time that you went through it. Then, detail what you learned through this event or how the situation was resolved. This “victory” portion must be positive. Look for the upside of what happened, and while there may still be some residual discomfort, if you focus on the positives, with particular attention to what you learned about your own resiliency, then you will begin crafting a journal that speaks to your strengths. This journal will be a reminder for the next time you face a challenge. Going into any new challenge with a history of your proven track record makes the challenge far less daunting!
As a Christian, I am reminded often that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) That doesn’t mean that I can do whatever I want, but it means that through Christ, I can do what I need to do when it’s time to do more than I think I can, because He helps me. It’s because of Him that I can do more.
In my victory journal, the evidence to that is clear. I can see God’s hand upon my previous challenges, and therefore I know He is right here with me for any new ones. This becomes my living testimony, my victory (in Christ) journal, and that’s a journal worth remembering.

writing

Expressive Writing Can Reduce Anxiety

“Writing down your feelings helps you stop dwelling on past events, which reduces stress and allows for better sleep,” says James W. Pennebaker, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, in Austin.
Much research has been done to prove that writing is extremely beneficial to your health, mainly because it reduces stress and anxiety. But the key to maximizing this stress reduction is to write about your personal and emotional experiences.
Expressive writing (in a secret diary or personal journal) let’s your thoughts out of your head where they magnify and become exacerbated. Negative memories and thoughts are insidious and unless they are released, will cause more stress and anxiety.
As they mention in the Penzu Health Benefits section, some questions might be able to get you started:
THE PAST:
o Is there something that has been on your mind lately?
o What are some of your greatest memories?
o What are some of your worst memories?
o Is there anything in your past that you still think about?
o Describe a memorable event and how it made you feel
o Does that memory bring you joy or pain?
o If you could rewrite the past, how might you change how that event occurred?
o Did you learn anything from that memorable event?
o If so, how can that learning be applied to your future?
THE FUTURE:
o What are some of your dreams for the future?
o What does your ideal life look like in 5, 10, 15 years?
o Is your future a positive or negative one?
o If negative, what can you do to make it positive?
o How can you change your thinking today to make for a positive future?
o If there are things about your past you want to change, what then can you carry forward?
o Is there anyone you admire and strive to emulate?
o How different is your future self from your current self?
o What do you have to do to become your ideal self?
Hopefully these questions will ignite some inspiration. Try writing on a pad of paper or in an online diary such as Penzu .
Start writing and feel better!

journal

Conscious Parenting – Children and Gratitude

Gratitude is an amazing thing. It does something inside of us, that very few things can do. Many times, parents wish their children would be more grateful.
Ask yourself: Is it about not giving your children everything? Is it about making them work for what they want? What about making sure they see what others do not have? Or, teaching them to share? These are some of the strategies I have seen parents use in order to teach gratitude.
As I was giving this some thought, the answer, in my opinion, became quite simple: the experience of feeling grateful is what creates gratitude.
Gratitude is about having a true and authentic experience of being grateful.
Here are three ideas that you can use with your children to nurture gratitude:
#1: In the morning, start your day with sharing what you are grateful for. It could be a good night sleep, sunshine, rain, friends we get to see, a favorite cartoon, our favorite teacher, the home we live in, food to eat, health, family, a pet, a game, a book, the weekend, sleeping in, etc. Each person can share 1-3 things to start creating the habit of looking for things to feel grateful for.
#2: At dinner, have everyone share what their gratitudes or appreciations are for the day. We do that every night in our home, and it is a great way to see what is important to your children, as well as to nurture gratitude in their hearts. They also get to see what happens in your day, and what is important to you as well. Again, it is about getting into the habit of looking for, and expressing, gratitude. What we focus on expands.
#3: At bedtime, invite your children to share three things they were grateful for today. You share too. If your children enjoy writing, offer for them to keep a gratitude journal. Writing things down (especially what you are grateful for) is very powerful.
Pick one of these activities and just make it fun. You also want to make it informal. Do not press your children for gratitudes; it defeats the whole purpose. And, feel free to give them ideas if they are struggling to think of something. New habits take practice. The habit of gratitude, when nurtured daily, grows pretty quickly. You are planting seeds and fertilizing the soil with consistency and love.
Enjoy creating a grateful family.

education

Printable Food Diary

Diet affects every aspect of health, from your energy level to how quickly you recover from illness (or sometimes even whether or not you get sick). If you’re desperate to lose weight, diet is crucial. The right diet choices ensure that you maintain muscle while losing fat and that you don’t increase your risk of preventable diseases. So what does this have to do with using a printable food diary?
Despite the importance of daily food choices, very few people can answer questions about calories, grams of fat, fiber, carbs and other important information about their diet and meal choices. The biggest reason for this is probably that they just don’t know where to find the information in the first place or how to keep track of it in an easy way.
One excellent choice is to use a printable food diary. While there are food diaries online, it’s important to have one that you can print out since you may not eat every meal where you have easy access to the Internet. It’s also easy to transfer information from your printable food diary to one online.
Trends that you want to look for include total calorie consumption, intake of different types of fats and the various nutrients that you get from each meal. As you see the trends start to emerge, keep two things in mind. First you want to limit your intake of the unhealthy stuff, like saturated fat and cholesterol. Second, you want to make sure you’re getting plenty of the good stuff, like iron, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, etc.
Tracking your diet with a printable food diary is only the first step. Don’t forget that good diet choices should be combined with regular exercise. Give your body and your heart something to do with all that metabolized food. The combination good diet and regular exercise will be sure to boost your energy level and stave off the diseases that have been shown to follow poor diet choices.
The biggest challenge to getting benefit from a printable food diary is probably just printing one out and getting started. Here’s the easiest way to get started. Create a new document and at the top of the page put the following headings
Date
Meal (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, S=snack)
Food description
Calories
Fat (grams)
Carbs
Fiber (grams)
Then add blank lines below for each entry in your daily food diary. Remember, the key is simplicity, not complexity. The easier it is to do, the more likely you are to do it. Not to mention that just tracking those details about each meal gives you a ton of information to use when making changes to your diet. Print it out and start tracking with your next meal.

writing

Heal the Soul With a Personal Writing Journal

Keeping a personal writing journal has a powerful way of healing the soul. When writing about what troubles you and all your immediate thoughts on the subject it creates space for solutions to enter your life. When you write down things that excite you it creates an opportunity to reflect back to that feeling and experience with happiness and bliss. Your greatest teacher will become your personal writing journal as you write down your inner thoughts, special events, future plans, successes, difficult challenges, dark thoughts, bright thoughts, major frustrations and life’s loves in your journal. You will discover more and more about who you are in the world and why your life is the way that it is.
Your personal journal can be the hidden key to self-discovery and personal growth. This is your own story told in your own words. Find some personal space and write down anything and everything that is going on in your head and your heart and let it flow on paper. Personally for me as I battled deep depression and felt I could never talk to anyone about this darkness I found solace in my journal. I chose a beautiful leather bound journal.
This is not to say that everything you write will be remarkable, but occasionally you will surprise yourself. Personally for me, as I began to attempt to unravel my mind, answers slowly came to me. More importantly it gave me a sense of peace and was a great release of negative energy. My journal was the destination where I got to unburden myself of my troubles by writing them down. It is never good or healthy to “bottle” up your emotions especially if they are serious and negative. These feelings and the energy that surrounds them has to be released. If you feel you cannot talk to anyone about these feelings, write them down. You will surprise yourself! This unlocks doors to solutions and healing.
Writing and keeping a personal journal can put you in control of your life and destiny as it gives you the clearest insight into where you are going and where you have come from, and gives you the opportunity to change the path you are on if you don’t like what you see. What you have at this moment will not be what you will ever have for eternity. You can discover what is truly important and rid what is poisonous and useless in your life and put you on that path to happiness and bliss. The three most important words I ever heard.. “Follow Your Bliss”

journal

Motivation to Write in Your Journal Everyday

Where do you find the motivation to write a daily journal entry? Good question. Life is busy enough so why sit down and write in your journal? Read these three motivators to maintain daily journaling success.
Perhaps you know some of the benefits of journaling but haven’t been motivated to make it a daily habit. Journaling is the most important action you can take today to increase your success rate, stay focused and maintain a positive mental attitude. If those aren’t reasons enough, then keep on reading.
1. Getting and Staying Organized
Well, journaling is the best time and place to combine some very important daily habits: getting organized in your mind and your daily action plans, visualizing a better life and to reconnect with your inner-self and what is really important to you. Taking time each morning to mentally prepare how you want your day to unfold will set the wheels of focused energy in motion. It will be easier for you to recall your to-do list and top priorities when you’re in the midst of a hectic day if you actually took pen to paper (or typed it on in a word processing document).
2. Mindful Meditating
Daily journaling is a form of mindful meditations. You learn to relax and let go of stressful thoughts when you learn to journal. Whether you write about your diet habits, your feelings toward your annoying boss or how you’d like to build your own on-line business, journaling daily will help you focus on what you really want and discard the thoughts that keep you from attaining those desires.
3. Treasured Personal Time
When you journal daily, you’ll start to reconnect with your inner voice. This quiet voice tends to get overlooked in the harried lifestyles we live. Being disconnected from it will leave you with a sense of unfulfillment. As kids and young adults, we had more time and those quiet times lead to listening to this inner voice. Regain that insight by sitting down daily with pen, paper, you and your thoughts. You’ll come to cherish these moments alone.
Start motivating yourself today to write daily in your journal. Get up and journal in the morning with your morning cup of coffee or tea and discover that this quiet time will be your most treasured. You’ll find your day flowing more smoothly with these daily mindful visualizations, a deeper sense of purpose and organization. What more motivation could you need?

education

Gardening Journal, Tips for What To Include In It

Now is the time to start a gardening journal; as you start planning your garden, start making notes in it. It can be a 3-ring binder with pocket folders, a calendar with pockets, or an online gardening journal. Keep everything pertaining to the garden in it.
Keep your garden designs in it. Every year when you do a new graph for a layout for your garden or one of the garden beds, place it in the gardening journal so you have it for the next season. This will help with plant rotation.
I also make a lot of notes during the season that become a wealth of information for the following years on what to do, or how to change it, or what not to do.
You’ll want to write down the last frost date, how severe the winter was, and anything unusual about the winter. Write down when you were first able to work the soil, as well as when the perennials started coming back to life and the seeds that self-sowed start popping up, germinating. Keep track of bloom and harvest dates, fertilizing dates, and what kind of fertilizer.
The more notes, receipts, seed packets, and pictures you add to your gardening journal the more helpful it will be for the following growing seasons. If you tested your soil’s PH, write down what you used to test it, when you tested it, what the PH was, and any amendments you may have added to it. Note any insect pest damage or critter damage. Take and keep photos of the actual insects, damage they’ve caused, and the course of action to rectify the situation. Pictures of your seed beds, seedlings, plants, blossoms, diseases and anything else you want to photo will be a great help in your future gardening endeavors.
Remember to keep your gardening journal up to date with:
all dates

what you have planted

what you have tried

what has worked well

what needs improvement

unusual changes to the weather

new insects, birds, butterflies

soil amendments

compost

changes, additions, or deletions that you may have made, etc.
Keep track of the nurseries you purchased seeds or plants from. Also any handouts you’ve acquired. Check with your local county extension office for handouts and garden journals.
After all these years I still get excited with each phase of the gardening season and the possibilities it brings. I’m still experimenting and learning something new everyday with all of the new techniques and theories that continually come out.
If some of your plants didn’t make it this year, that’s okay. It happens to all gardeners including me. For reasons we may never know a certain percentage of our plants (flowers, fruit, herbs, vegetables), just don’t seem to make it sometimes. Other times we know why – due to an extremely rainy summer or we didn’t provide for enough drainage, or we had a drought, or a hungry little rabbit that has decided to have it for lunch. Perhaps the bee population had decreased.
Sometimes these things just happen – we can’t predict it, we’re just left wondering what happened. Keeping track of everything in your gardening journal, may provide some clues as to what really did happen and help you prevent it the next season.
Extra Items To Include In Your Gardening Journal:
How you prepared your soil, exactly what you did

Seeds started indoors, when and exactly how you did it

Transplanting dates

Hardening off dates

To do list

Individual Plant Profiles

Fertilizing Schedule

Disease Control

Harvest, dates as well as plants that did well and those that didn’t

Yield Amounts, did you grow enough, do you need to grow more next season

Records of Preserving Your Harvest: drying, canning, freezing, jellys, vinegars

Recipes for Canning, Freezing, etc

Tool maintenance unless you have a tool maintenance journal
Enjoy growing and using your herbs and do take time to sit out in your garden and enjoy the colors, aromatic scents, as well as the birds and butterflies that have taken up residence. While you’re sitting there, make notes in your Gardening Journal. Take care, and take care of your garden!

writing

Travel Journals – Today’s Diary Is Tomorrow’s History

What if you used a trip diary to record a different kind of travel – a journey into the milestones of your life or the lives of loved ones? Did you ever think that your everyday life is an adventure worth preserving?
We travel for lots of reasons, such as to enrich our lives, to relax, or to visit friends and family. Travel journals are the perfect tool to capture our travel experiences, so we can preserve them and relive them.
Historians use diaries to gain information about the past. A good example is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. Her father’s restlessness caused the Ingalls family to move across the Unites States, which became the basis of these famous books. A more tragic story comes from one of the most famous journals, The Diary of Anne Frank. The author described a journey that forever left a mark on history.
What do Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder have in common? Neither knew they were making history when they started their journals. Both of these girls lived extraordinary lives but started out writing about ordinary circumstances. When Anne Frank made her first diary entry, she wrote about her birthday. She did not know that her diary would become a book and historical document.
The words ‘journey’ and ‘journal’ come from the same root, from the French word meaning “a day.” Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder captured the journey of a day. All those days added up to a legacy.
What if you were to start your journal as travel of a day? Can you imagine what you would have if you wrote one sentence and took a photo of something, every day for one year? Perhaps you start out recording the ordinary, but if something extraordinary happened, it would be easy to write about it since you have already begun your daily journal.
You could concentrate on special events, such as social and family gatherings, trips, family traditions, holidays, or historical moments. Perhaps you could write about tiny trips, such as going to a movie or out to dinner. These may not seem important now, but can you imagine your grandchildren reading what you wrote?
What if you made this a family project? Imagine what you would have if every night before bedtime, your children wrote something about their day? In these days of economic uncertainty, a keepsake like this would be priceless.
If you want to, you may add photos to your journey journal. You can keep them on a CD or DVD and store them in a pocket in your diary. If your journal doesn’t have a pocket page, you can attach a CD sleeve to the inside back cover.
You can start your armchair travel anytime. Your birthday, the New Year, or today. Remember, you are capturing history, and history does not make an appointment. So why not start now? You never know what will happen tomorrow.
Oscar Wilde wrote, said, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Perhaps your journal will not make for sensational reading now, but later, when the memories are cold and forgotten, you will have created a legacy.

journal

Benefits of Blogging

Blogging has been around for years now and a good percentage of netizens have already tried their hand at blogging. Others have grown out of it, while others have invested time and energy that their blogs have become a source of income. If you have never tried blogging, you might want to consider the benefits of the sport of online literature that is blogging.
Blogging is typically used for publishing an online diary. Composing a journal entry and publishing it online for everyone to see can be rewarding especially when you know that there is someone out there who is interested in your life, and is going through something similar in their life. It is also a form of networking with other bloggers, and if you join a blogosphere (blogging community), you will receive comments from people who enjoy blogging or reading blogs. It is a great way to make new friends online.
Although journal writing is what most people do with blogs online, its purpose is certainly not limited to that only. Over the years, companies have added a blog section to their websites where they can update their customers with the latest news from their end. This is very useful and informative, as customers are able to be informed at their own will. Companies don’t have to spam their clients with newsletters, as blogs are equally useful but less invasive.
Blogs are used by scholars who enjoy publishing the latest information about their chosen specialty. Blogs are generally set up in a way that they can be socially bookmarked if the particular post is a recommended read. Visitors can also comment on every post. Blog layouts are also very simple to browse, so it is not limited to the computer literate population.
A fun way to blog is to fill up a site with collaborative content. Friends can all have user accounts, and everyone can blog whenever they want to. The contents are made public to each author’s circle of friends, and everyone can contribute either a post or a comment.
Although many blog for fun alone, a handful of bloggers out there provide content to the public to earn an income. They earn an income through advertising on the blog space. They have to provide a good number of posts every week and have to keep the content fresh for regular visitors. It takes a lot of time and thought to post such entries but it can truly be worth it in the end.

education

What Are Journal Articles?

Any ideas what journal articles are? Have you tried to write one before?
Scientists and engineers who want to present original work often do so by publishing them as journal articles in peer-reviewed publications. These types of writing tend to be similar to formal reports in content, although they tend to differ in length and format.
Because of the limited space that most journals can accommodate, submissions will usually need to be abridged from their original report versions, making some rewriting as well as a good software proofreader necessary.
Summaries will need to be either descriptive or informational with descriptive elements. Other summary formats usually won’t serve the need to learn about the topic while taking up little space.
There is little to no room for appendices, so you might need to get rid of them.
Forget about tailoring the material for multiple audiences. The limited room makes having that unlikely. As such, try writing for as general an audience as you can handle, keeping in mind that the majority of people perusing it will likely be your peers in the industry, students and members of the academic community.
Basically, journal articles are usually picked through recommendations from professors and other influential individuals in the field, so look towards those people when hoping to get your work published in one. Different types of journal articles can be seen in these types of publications, including letters, research notes, full articles that range from five to twenty pages, supplemental articles and reviews.