I live in Canberra, Australia. My dad and mum gave me my first journal as a present when I was about eight years old. I wrote in it for a couple of months; then I gave it up. A few years later when I was 12, I got it back out and read it one day. I decided I’d better start writing again, because by then I had received three other journals as presents!
About this time, a seminary teacher in our branch challenged me to write in my journal every day for 20 days. She said if I did, it would become a habit. I decided to try it.
Writing was hard at first, but it got easier. I found that by writing my feelings and thoughts, spiritual things got included too. I made my record fun by trying to include information I thought my children might be interested in someday, like how much things cost. I figured it would be interesting for them to see what it was like for me when I was a kid.
I found that a journal is a good way to express your feelings. Things you may not want to share with anyone else you can write in your journal. For example, I find it hard to bear my testimony in sacrament meeting (even though I do it sometimes). But I bear it all the time in my journal.
I really like to write on Sundays, when I’m thinking about spiritual things. And I like to go back and read what I wrote before. I can see how much I have changed; I can see that parts of my journal are much more spiritual than others. It helps me analyze my life and see what the Lord does to help me. It relaxes me and gets my mind off the world.
Some of my favorite entries are about my friends. When my brother was on his mission I wrote to him every week. I wrote a lot of the same things in my journal. I’ve written about my own baptism, about Young Women activities, and just recently I’ve written about sharing the gospel with a friend I’ve known for six years, who finally took the missionary discussions and decided to be baptized. If she can’t remember who was there and how we all felt, I have all that recorded so I can share it with her. I’m trying to convince her to keep a journal of her own.
I received my 20-day challenge five years ago. I’m still writing in my journal every night. I get it out before I go to bed. I read my scriptures; then I write in my journal. It’s automatic. I haven’t missed an entry in five years.