“Meanwhile, I am becoming more and more aware that for me writing is a very powerful way of concentrating and of clarifying for myself many thoughts and feelings. Once I put pen on paper and write for an hour or two, a real sense of peace and harmony comes to me . . . After a day without any writing . . . I often have a general feeling of mental constipation and go to bed with a sense that I did not do what I should have done that day.” – Henri Nouwen, The Genesse Diary

I have been journaling for just over three years now. It all began with a journal that I got from Zak’s Mom, the Christmas after we started dating. That journal started a journey into understanding myself. After I spend a while writing I find that I have clarity. If I start my day off journaling, I am in a much better mood and I go about my day with purpose. When I write I realize what is important to me.

The picture above is of the second journal that I got from Zak’s parents. It is a beautiful handmade journal that they brought back from their trip to Italy. I have two journals right now and I save this one for special occasions – it is my travel journal. It is nice and small and durable. I can bring it anywhere with me and not worry about being weighed down. When I take it on a trip, the smell of it is fresh each time. It feels like a treat to be able to write in it. It is an adventure when I sit down to write – being in a new place and understanding myself in relation to that new place.

My most recent trip was to Jasper National Park. I went with a number of friends and we were able to stay in the group camping area which was a beautiful meadow that was surrounded by views of the mountains. Immediately around the meadow was the cottonwood and evergreen forest. I liked to take note that the evergreens were mostly in separate pockets from the cottonwood trees. I found my journaling spot amongst the cottonwoods and sat on the stump that is pictured above.

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