Monday, October 29, 2012

On Writing in Journals
(And Blogs)

Bria turned 12 a couple weeks ago.

(Giving myself a few seconds for that to actually sink in.)(I really hate it when my kids get older.)(Especially when I vividly remember what it was like to be 12 myself!)

In our church, turning 12 is a kind of a big deal.  It means that you graduate from Primary and go on to either Young Men or Young Women.  So, this means that Bria is a Young Woman now.  Which, of course, I kind of hate, right along with all of the other getting older stuff.

Yesterday, I was helping Bria work on her Personal Progress, which is a program the young women do.  She played her violin in church yesterday, and one of the items was to participate in a public performance and then write in your journal about how it affected your self-confidence and individual worth.

Easy, no?

Well, no.

The performance part was easy enough for her.  She could complete that goal about twice a month probably.  She just couldn't understand why she'd have to write her feelings down in her journal.  How icky!

I explained to her about how much I enjoy going back and reading the literal volumes of journals I have kept over the years.  I remember things about myself that would be totally lost because I wrote them down.  I can see many things that I have learned and how I have grown as a person.  I even read things that make me sad, because in some ways I used to be a better person than I am now.  But I learn from that, too. 

I told her that I wouldn't remember half the things about her own babyhood that I do if it weren't for keeping journals.

And my blog.

The whole reason this blog was started was because Chloe had just turned two and I hadn't written in my journal since her birth.  Two whole years without writing was probably the longest I'd ever gone without keeping a journal since I was seven years old.  And I am not exaggerating.  I really do have volumes and volumes of journals downstairs in a bin somewhere.

My journals from when I was seven years old say things like:

Today I got up and I ate Cheerios for breakfast.  (I was a fascinating child.)

My journals from when I was nine years old say things like:

When I Grow Up I Want to Be Mother Dancer Singer Musican Actor Entertainer (So little has changed!)

This Dr. Seuss journal happens to be sitting on my bookshelf...I always get a kick out of looking through it.

My journals from when I was twelve years old say things like:

David is so annoying!  Today he.... (Dave is my younger brother, and to say we didn't get along well during those years is an understatement.)(Love him to death today.)(Just so you know.)

My journals from when I was sixteen years old should never be read, and I'm still wondering if they should be burned, thus decimating all evidence of my insane boy-craziness and teenage angst.

My journals from college, while still on the boy-crazy side, begin to show more maturity and are actually quite interesting and entertaining to read.  (Not that I'll ever let you read them or anything.)

My journals from my two LDS missions, one as Dancer Singer Musician Actor Entertainer missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois, and the other as a proselyting missionary in Romania begin to show my spiritual side, my emerging testimony, trials of faith, and so much more.  These journals are particularly precious to me because I have forgotten so many of the things that happened while I served as a missionary, simply because so much happened.

My journals from my post-mission days are, thankfully, much less boy-crazy, but they do document meeting and falling in love with The Maestro and all that entailed.  Which is a lot.  And may have reawakened a bit of the old teenage angst, too, thanks to multiple break-ups.  (What were we thinking?)

My journals from after I was married were...different.  About my life.  About Bria, once she was born.

And then, when Chloe was born, my journals stopped abrubtly.

I don't know why.  Maybe it was because we moved to Arizona shortly after.  Maybe it was because I was heavily into scrapbooking during the Arizona years and that is a form of journaling, too.  But, I missed the writing.

So, I started a blog.

And here I am, nearly 8 years later and, until yesterday, I was feeling like I was done with blogging.  Blogging just isn't what it once was.  In Cedar City, it saved my life in a way I will be eternally grateful for.  When I felt that I had absolutely no friends and was in a pretty deep depression, there were these other women who kept blogs, who said fantastic things, and thought I said fantastic things, too.  They kept me afloat.  And many of them are still dear friends's just not about blogging anymore.  Where I used to get 30 comments on every post, I'm lucky now if I get 3.

I'm also lucky if I can find the time to write at all.  I'm working about 30 hours a week, plus trying to keep my household running, and none of my working hours is in the afternoon when the kids are home because I am then running them all over kingdom come to lessons and girl scouts and school functions and orchestra and church functions and then helping them with homework and chores and practicing.  So writing is really low on the totem pole right now, and reading others' blogs is pretty much non-existent.

But, I didn't start a blog because I needed to make friends (though that was a wonderful side effect).  I started a blog because I missed writing in a journal.  And because keeping some sort of a record of my life and my children's lives is important to me.  I absolutely love clicking on random posts from my archives.  I learn a lot from myself and it keeps me centered, just like reading through my journals does (not that I do it all that often).

So, I won't give up my blog, even though I last wrote in it almost 3 weeks ago.  I won't just stop posting The Epic Vacation because each post requires several hours of photo editing and writing to get it up.  I won't even stop Project Walking into a Hug, even though I take really long hiatuses. But, I also won't worry if it does take me three weeks to post something again.  Things are just different right now--more overstuffed than ever--and putting my shoulder to the wheel, doing my many duties, and being present for my children is the most important thing I can be doing.

Writing about it can wait a while--just not too long.

Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. I love your writing! And it is so fun for me to look back at all I have blogged about that maybe I wouldn't have had it not been for my blog!

    I am so happy to hear you found our motivation again!

  2. I'm glad you blog! So many people have fallen off the wagon, including me. I need to get back on. Just looking back at photos reminds me of how much I am forgetting.

  3. You know, I posted a couple of weeks ago about what "one day" is typically like in my life right now. Then, a week later, I was feeling like maybe it came across like I was wanting people to feel sorry for me, or be "amazed" by how busy my life is or, I don't know. I didn't want to sound like I was complaining, you know? Because I chose this life and I love this life and I knew what I was getting into. So I posted again and said all those things. I had someone comment (only one someone, because as you mentioned, comments pretty much don't happen anymore) and it was such a great reminder of WHY I blog in the first place. She basically said that she would love to be able to go back and read what one day of her mother's life was like back when she was raising her ten children. She said she thought my blog post was a wonderful way of capturing that for my kids, and would be really interesting to them in the future.

    I read her comment, and sort of said, "Because that IS why I blog! Because I love having a record of what I think and what we do."

    So, yes. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of this post, and find myself much in the same position as you. I don't blog near as often, but I'm not going to give it up. It means too much to look back over what I've already got, how could I not want to keep it up?!

    (I do wonder though... how did I ever blog several times a week before? Where did all that time go?!)

  4. Looks like I am the third comment. The rest of you may resume your lives.

    I enjoy your blog, because you are one of my favorite people from my boy-crazy college days. I am so glad I can keep up with you and Joel this way. But I do think that facebook has killed blogging to some extent. The instant gratification vs. the joy of writing.

    I've been blogging for 11 years and my blogging has changed as my life has changed. I don't have as much time to do it, but I do feel compelled, as it's pretty much the history of my family, and if I don't do it, no one else will.

  5. Oh! I do love this. I so connect with it. My head is bubbling - too much to think about. Be back soon...