My Memory Journal from Spring 2020

A few times a year, I pull out a manila folder of the last few months of memories, print off pictures from my camera and phone and journal in thoughts into a very loose, messy sort of art journal / memory collage I like to call my Joyful Journals.

I thought it might be fun to give you an inside peek at the Joyful Journal came out from the second quarter of the year. Keeping these joyful journals  changed the way I look back on life since I started creating them a few years ago.

I write about it a bit more in this post, but, to sum it up, I woke up one day after Christmas a few years ago in a really bad, frustrating mood. Most likely I was on a sugar cookie, way-too-much-caffeine, crash-after-all-the-holiday-stuff-is-over mood. My mind kept swirling around the thoughts, “What have I done this year? What happened to the year? What did I do? Did I do anything?????”

It was like PMS on steroids times ten.

In other words, pretty bad.

Now, after a good cry, I grabbed my calendar to see if indeed, it was true. Maybe I hadn’t done a single thing all year long and my life was circling the drain of wasted uselessness.

Of course, I knew logically that wasn’t true. But I couldn’t come up with what I’d done or who I’d seen or the simple gifts of life I knew I’d experienced.

Thankfully, the print calendar I used told a different story.

As I flipped through pages I saw all the things, not necessarily what I’d done, but all the people activities I’d been blessed to be a part of, the celebrations of milestones with friends, families and colleagues, the volunteer work, the get togethers, and yes, the goals achieved.

I realized part of my frustration was a result of not documenting what had happened from the year. As a result of not documenting, the memories were forgotten. I was getting to the end of the year depleted instead of grateful.

Something needed to change. And the joyful journal was born. It’s a blend of scrapbooking, albeit a very, very, very loose method of scrapbooking, photo-journaling and art journaling. It’s a way of chronicling what the most meaningful parts of the year has been with words, images, photos and pretty paper and embellishments has been without being concerned about perfectly cut and coordinated layouts.

I shared some of the basics on this post: how I collect items to share in a big envelope for about three months, what kinds of books to use and so forth. My goal is to create a journal quarterly, although that doesn’t always happen. Some years end up with two or three journals instead of four and collect as many meaningful moments as possible.

The beautiful thing about collecting and documenting meaningful moments is I see how precious life is. It may be that a lot of plans fell through this past season, but what also shines through is what Clarence tells George Bailey in one of my favorite movies, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

So, even though the majority of this past quarter – April, May and June – involved a pandemic, shelter-in-place orders, economic upheaval, social upheaval and a lot of fear and anxiety, there remained many things to be grateful for. And so very many precious friends and family.

You probably have everything you need to create your own journal.

Use a larger coffee-table style book. I like Julia Cameron’s hardback books like The Artists Way or Finding Water for their size and the quotes that work well. I include more of the practical tips of making your own at the end of this blog post.

The Cover

The cover I kept fairly basic this time round. In the past, I create images with gesso, acrylic, quote art to create a collage-style cover. But I decided to keep it simple this time with a few phrases and a quote that meant a lot. Remembering that all we need is to know the next right step to take is needed council in a world like ours. I appreciate Anne’s Lamott’s quote found in a magazine.

Even though things were falling apart all around us, there was really beautiful things happening too:

Spring came in all of its glorious fresh growth and splendor. After encouragement from my friend Michele, I launched out into the world of stationery, introducing The Vibrant Collection to the world. There were happy milestones achieved in my friend and family circles. The reminder that beauty is everywhere has been especially heartfelt.

The Interior First Page

The cover, interior first page and the very last page is where thoughts, words phrases are collected. More of a state-of-the union on what is pressing on my heart and mind.

My word of the year for 2020 is “celebrate.”

Interesting word to say the least. I’m focusing on who I can celebrate, what I can celebrate and how I can bring celebration in a very intentional way into my life. The word typically gets put in the front cover to remind myself.

There wasn’t too many thoughts on my interior page this time. I played with some things, but overall there was a sense of being quiet, focusing on a few things and seeking to hold myself upright with all the tension in the world.

The Memory Pages – Lots of Love even with All the Chaos

This quarter, the pages focused on the following major themes:

  • Celebration of so many letters being written as get togethers slowed down due to COVID
  • A post shelter-in-place small, summer going away gathering for a friend moving to Texas
  • Learning to bbq
  • So many walks on the nature trails
  • Discovering all sorts of new things with my youngest sister, my quarantine buddy. We don’t live together, but we chose to be the intentional ‘only other’ person we saw. We discovered things like: whipped coffee, a new board game (Catan), new recipes, new baking adventures, a book club, re-doing rooms and furniture
  • Mother’s Day
  • The launch of the stationery line, The Vibrant Collection, and stickers too!

Since it was spring, I included the happy and nurturing pink and green colors for many of the pages background. Other pages I let the quotes and words of the book show. I used the book, Finding Water, by Julia Cameron. It had many inspiring quotes.

If you want to create your own joyful journal, I highly recommend the experience. We’ve just started the third quarter of the year. Another way to do it is think of it as seasons. This makes it especially easy to pick a color theme that goes with the season (though if you look through my books, the color themes correlate more with what I’m loving and feeling  resonates with that season than the actual weather season).

Practical Notes:

I used glue sticks and cement glue to lay out the pictures. The thicker paper was applied with glue guns. I went through several magazines to pull out quotes that I added in.

Usually I save the prettiest envelopes sent to me and glue them in to collect a myriad of letters, note cards and other things I want preserved without tape or glue!

There are a few digital downloads of patterns on my Etsy shop page if you’d like to check them out. I do get many of my paper pieces from my local craft store when they have sale. I cut out quotes from magazines like Bella Grace, Victoria, Where Women Create, In Her Studio, Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living.

I hope you enjoyed this visual walk through of the Joyful Journal Quarter 2 “open house.”

Things remain grim, but I’m excited about the opportunities that will come in the second half of the year. Life is so much about what we make of it. I’m working on reminding myself of that these days, along with one of my other favorite quotes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Here’s to all of us turning our lemons into lemonade in 2020 and beyond!