Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blog Beginings


Welcome to my blog!

I originally started a blog for my daughter, Sister Maria C Dodge, to help keep all her friends, and the family posted on what is happening with her while she serves a Mission in Raleigh, North Carolina. I was new to blogging, and felt like a baby, since I know blogging has been 'the' thing to do for a long time. At first it felt like a chore. But then...the more I learned, the better I liked it.

You can visit her blog at: .

Many people have said to me, "I didn't know the Church provides Missionaries with Blogs now." -or- "When does she find time to work on her blog?" -or- "Wow, Kristi sure does a good job with her blog!" It makes me laugh. I never intended for her blog to be a deception. I posted in the begining that I would be doing a blog for her. I take the letters and emails she sends us and I go through and cherry-pick what I think she would like to share and I write her blog. Sometimes from very cryptic rushed letters, and emails.

No...Kristi does not write her blog, or have the time. She is a VERY busy and anxiously engaged (in the work) Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I, do the best I can. Anyway, I hope you enjoy her blog too.
For years I have been the family scribe. I have been encouraged, told, asked, conjured, and arm twisted to write a book. I am a closet writer. I currently have a personal journal that is 618 pages...(yes- I just checked.) I lost about 500 pages a few years ago to a horrible computer crash. I cried for days. But as is my M.O. I picked myself up and brushed myself off and began again. So actually 618 pages is pretty impressive. :)

Before you get too freaked out about the time it would take to write over 1,118 pages let me share a few journaling secrets.

1) Keep your journal handy. My journal is on my computer. It's a simple word document. I keep it on my desktop for easy access. You don't have to have a fancy leather bound journal with your name engraved in gold on the front. You don't even have to have a Monte Blanc pen. Just open a word document and print 'Journal' at the top and begin.

2) Use technology. For example: When I receive or write a letter, email, or FB Status I like, or has meaning to me, I copy and paste it into my journal. My Jr. High School was torn down and I saw a picture of it on a news website so I copied and pasted it in my journal. If you need help, call me and I'll walk you through.

3) Use a Time-Line: I learned in a genealogy class several years ago to use a 'time-line' as a way of organizing entries. That is ALWAYS the first thing I write in my journal entry. Example: 16 Oct, 2010 (Sat): I use the genealogical way of dating ie. day/month/year. Sometimes when I remember I add the day of the week but it's not critical.

4) Date EVERYTHING!  Dating is THE way to journal. That way, if I run across an old letter, email, or when I remember a story from my childhood that I want to write, I know exactly where to insert it into my journal because my time-line is in place. Voile.

5) Add a heading. Immediately after the date, I explain my entry (be consise). Example: 16 Oct, 2010 (Sat)- Email I received today from my Dad: (Then later I may just need to add)- My response:

6) Journal when you can. I wish I could say that I write in my journal daily. What I can say, is that I do write something, or someone daily. When I get behind on my journal. I simply go back to my emails (usually Sunday evening), and spend a few minutes copying, and pasting those things I want to keep into my journal.

7) Only post things with meaning to YOU. I don't keep important business emails, letters from teachers, jokes (unless they're mine), email pass-alongs, falderall -or- fiddle-dee-dee. You get the picture. That way you have a beefy journal that is the heart of who you are.

8) Have more than one. You may want to have a personal journal, one for your kids, a study journal, a reading list (wish, finished, or in progress), or, you may want to have a journal of just your relationship with one person. Example: If your husband travels and you get some sweet emails from him and yours to him, you may want to keep those in a seperate sweet-heart journal, or one between you and your Mom, etc.

9) Complete Signatures. If I receive a letter or an email from someone and they sign it 'Love, Sarah', I simply add her last name to my Journal. If I get a particularly wonderful Christmas letter that I want to keep (only the exceptional) and it's signed, 'Love Eric & Misti, and kids', I would then go ahead and add their kids names and maybe even their ages. You'll be surprised years from now when you are reading that entry how much it helps to know those little details. But don't bog yourself down with too many details or it becomes work.

10) Write your FEELINGS. As a mother I wish I had a nickle for everytime I told one of my children to 'use your words' to describe what they were feeling, or explain what was happening. One of my most cherished entries is the one I wrote soon after I found out my sweet mother had cancer. It was entitled simply 'Cancer SUCKS!' and I went OFF about how I felt about it. I don't visit it often but I find comfort in knowing it's there. Because sometimes when I need to...I visit it.

11) Get started. How many journals have you got lying around your house with the first three pages written in? The cool thing about having a journal on a computer is that it's so easy to access. Remember the Doogie Houser show? At the end of each episode he wrote one sentence, or one paragraph about his day. Don't underestimate the power of one sentence, they accumulate.

12) Baby steps. A few years ago Oprah Winfrey started a gratitude journal. In it she simply wrote down 3 things she was grateful for during the day. She said it was amazing what happened to her. She soon found that after she'd done it for a while she started recognizing and taking a mental note of cool things that happened to her during her day. The things she was grateful for became more and more clear to her. Example: black cherries, shade, and Sonic ice. However, if you have time and feel like you want to elaberate...DO! You can call it what-ever you like, a gratitude journal, or a blessing journal (because thats what it is). It makes it easier to hit your knees at night and talk over with your Heavenly Father what you were really grateful for during the day. You'll begin to notice not just that cool things happen to you every day, but you'll actually see the hand of the Lord in your life and the lives of your children. Then you have something special. You'll actually have a journal that begins to become precious, and the essence of you. Cool.

Alrighty then....time to get busy!


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