Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Special ways to capture who you are!

As I have been reading Anna's posts on Maidens of Worth, about returning to 'plain journaling', and reading the posts on her old blog about journaling itself, and writing letters to future husbands, I've decided to write my thoughts on it as well. :)


I'm on my 3rd 'real' diary now. I had another one when I was 8, that I wrote in regularly for about a month, about nothing in particular. The rest of the entries go something like: "Wow, I haven't written in over a year! Well, we went to Paris last summer and saw the Eiffel tower! It's really tall! Sheila" Amazing, isn't it? Yeah, so I don't really count that in my list of diaries, however I've filled up two large journals, and I started another at Christmastime! The first one I started when I was 11.
It's been a real joy to write in my Diary, to share things with an unknown someone, and to record my thoughts and feelings as tangible things. If I write of some joyous occasion with joy in my heart, the reader will feel that joy bubbling up through the pages. If I am lonely and sorrowful, the heart of the reader will sink. That is what I wish to convey with my Diaries, even if no one ever reads them. However, let me share a little secret! I won't tell you her name, but I do write to her! She might be my daughter, she might be a friend, she might be my aunt, or a great-grandaughter, who knows! But she is also the sister I never had, and always dreamed of. She is who she is, and all I know is that she either will live, has lived, or does live. Isn't that special?
Now I shall share a few diary excerpts.
Diary one (Purple Diary)
Feb. 4, 2004

Dearest _____, I'm so sorry I skunked you for a few days. I hope you don't mind! Me and my friend have gotten the idea of organizing a stamp collecting club. We've made little cards about it to give to people. If it works it could be alot of fun! Oh, just so you know, you haven't missed much with me not writing! Nothing really fantastic has happened. Well, I better go do school! Sheila
It's amazing really. I just read some further stuff in that diary. Painful! However, you can really see how I've grown. There was a time when I struggled deeply with being me. I didn't have many friends, and being involved in concert band at a Christian School didn't help. I read it and it all sounds so superficial! At the time I also really thought the teacher was the greatest thing, and 3/4 of my entries from half of the purple diary at least mention her once. March 10 '04 I said: "She has long, dark, silky hair, a gentle smile, and sparkly eyes." Ha ha...I was 11! Everyone must have a childhood hero! What really amuses me is how we found out later that she wasn't as nice as she seemed.
Can you see what I'm saying? I can see how I've grown! I can see my horizons broadening! I can look back and find the first time I ever mentioned being serious about music as an occupation. I can see when I began to go 'school-ish', when I began to find myself again, how it happened, what happened along the way, and why. While occasionally embarrasing, it's really worth it.
I can also see what I'm like when I'm confused, and how I've come out of mucky situations:
Diary two (Pink and Green Diary)
May 28, 2006
Grrg. Piano sucks and I dread practicing and I'm not sure why. Mrs. _____ (My piano teacher) is nice, but she has her ways, her little box you have to fit into. I'm confused, and afraid and nervous and, oh... See what I mean?
Soon after that we changed to another, fabulous teacher. Now I'm happy, and love piano! I so enjoy reading my diary and having proof and evidence that I've come a long way in a short time!

My Special Box

Ah yes, the special box! As you see, it's full of odds and ends that mean absolutely nothing to you! Most of it is stuff that wouldn't fit very well in a scrap book, and even if it did, might not be worth putting in a scrap book. I love that box! It began with a tiny little green 'jewelery box' on my dresser, that was about 3-4 inches wide, and an inch and a half tall. I began to put little random things in there from special events or whatever, and sometimes I'd go through it, and be reminded of those special memories. A squished coin from Disneyland, an entry bracelet from a fair, a little tiny doll of mine that was my Mom's when she was little, or a little piece of glue with a happy face sticker on it that I played with a bit! Go figure! The box finally could close no longer, and I transferred the stuff to an old chocolates tin. Of course, everything was stuffed and stuffed, and it just didn't fit very well. So when I got two beautiful boxes for Christmas, I decided the bigger one would become my 'special box'.

It's so lovely to go through it every few months, and see what things have been added, how things tie together from years before to things from a week ago, and again, to see how far I've come. It's a great reminder of experiences I might otherwise forget completely about. Perhaps you might see a card from someone I have never met, and perhaps in a year or two, you'll see an airplane ticket inside the same box, with a the same destination as was designated on the return address of the card's envelope. "I remember that card!" "Do you remember when we made that little sachet with rose petals?" "Here's the backing from those earrings that so-and-so got for me all those years ago!" Are frequent comments when I sort through my special box. I also keep past diaries in that box. In time, they may not fit, but they do now, and it's a good, special spot where I can't lose them. I encourage you to find a pretty box, or decorate an un-pretty one, and start your own 'special box' . Perhaps you have many little odds and ends of memories that need a permanent home. This is it!

Letters to 'Him

'The ever contraversial issue of 'letters to him'! Personally, I think it's a fabulous idea. I first got the idea of writing letters to my future husband from the 'When God Writes Your Love Story' book (By Eric and Leslie Ludy, a must-read for those trying to let God run their love-lives!), in which Eric told the reader that he had written many letters in a journal for his future wife, and given it to Leslie on their honeymoon. I think, however, as I've discovered with my diary, that if I had all the letters in a book, I would be very tempted at times to pull out a letter, and throw it in the garbage. So I write the letters on various lovely stationary, sign it, and seal it within a dated envelope for 'one day'.

Now let me clarify what I write in these letters. I do not write mushy love letters. Carefully thinking through my words before writing them, I often think things such as "If I were to get this letter from my future husband, him having written it as a 14 year old, would I like it?" Receiving a letter saying such things as "Oh, my dearest, how you are a blossom of early spring whose petals draw a song from my lips and a tear from my eye. Your ever-present love fills me with such passion, my dearest!" would not be appealing. Those words are intended for couples who have met. It would be just wierd to ge that letter! I do say such things as: "I do indeed look forward to meeting you. You are and will be cherished in my heart each day as I pray for you and your life to come. May God bless you richly on your journeys!" Why not? I know I will love him, and I cherish him now! Perhaps I'll share a beautiful scene of God's nature, or my happiness and glee in some forthcoming event. I'm sure when I read them with 'him' one day, I may laugh, or even be a little embarressed at the letters I wrote as a a 13-year-old, but they are from the depths of my heart, and I know he will know that. In fact, after a discussion about this very topic on the forum, I got this private message from a young man in response to the following quote:

Yes, thankyou so much for your responses! It is very encouraging to hear your sensitive thoughts and excitement! Oh, how I look forward to presenting my precious box to 'him', if only he will appreciate it. Thanks so much, Sheila

....if he is the one God has for you, he will appreciate it. :D

That was very encouraging, because some of the people who were discussing this thought that receiving any letters from a spouse which had been written in the past would be too strange, and that they wouldn't like it. I feel that God wants me to do this, and so I know that it must meant that these letters will be important and cherished by my future husband.

One day, after I am wed, maybe on my honeymoon, maybe not for years into marriage, I don't know, whatever seems right, but on that special day, I shall present my beautiful box to the man I have married, and he will read them. One each day? All in one evening? One every year? I don't know. Will he laugh, or cry, or simply be moved by my young, in-experienced words? The understanding of this is beyond me, but one day, maybe near, or maybe distant, I will know. I love the adventure in it! There are so many unknowns: what the letters themselves contain,--because though I write them, I don't try to remember their contents--who will read them, when it will be, what he will think, and even--a thought I try to suppress--if they will ever be read! Consider them messages of love, given before you can give them. I've written only a few since the first special letter written December 18, 2005--around 5 or 6--but I've written them with all love and compassion, that I could only give now, not in the past, nor the future. In this way, my Husband will be able to touch a part of my life that he cannot ever be a part of.

So, consider these words, and take heart if you have not started any of these three things yet! If you are 45 and married, consider writing letter for your Grandchildren to read after you have passed on to be with Jesus. If you are 30, and miss the 'tangible memories' that would be present in your 'special box' now, think of how many memories are still to be made, and look through your box in 5 years! Scrounge the house for odds and ends: a wood shaving from a deceased rodent's cage, a scribbled paper from your kindergarten years stashed away in the back of a drawer, a tiny doll, or a piece of Chrismas paper from a gift from Grandma with your name written on it with her beautiful scrawl. Are your journals many and your entries sparce? Now is the time to begin journaling in earnest! Maybe you should pull the entries from the various diaries and paste them into a binder, or even another diary! Even if you only write every few months, think what I blessing it could be to your children or grandchildren to have 'inside information' on your life and thoughts and feelings!

Your life could be a blessing to others in a way you could never have imagined!

Blessings in Christ,

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