The Silent Sermon

Dear Fellow Journalers,

In the chaos of today, there is silence.

~Sallie

FW: The Quiet Sermon





The Quiet Sermon

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The Pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.”

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

Journaling and writing during COVID-19

Dear Fellow Journalers,

During the Civil War, some soldiers were issued journals and asked to document their war-time experiences. The soldiers were from Wisconsin. Some of the journals survived and can be viewed at the Wisconsin Historical Society which was founded in 1846.

The Society has been chronicling crisis situations beginning in 1830 with the outbreak of malaria at Fort Crawford, the Spanish Flu in 1918 and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.

One of those who wrote of his experiences was a Col. Rufas Dawes of Mauson WI. He used his journals to not only document his emotions but also to recount battles. He kept a tally of the dead and wounded. One such heart-breaking account reads :”Corporal James Kelly of Company B shot through the heart and mortally wounded.He asked me to tell his parents he died a soldier.”

Based on these letters, the society launched the COVID -19 Journal Project designed so that future generations would better understand the virus effects on every day life.

While COVID -19 is not as violent as the Civil War, it is deadly and has turned  our lives upside down. So many things are different now. So many restrictions.

Write your Story for your future self or your grandchildren. Let them know how you coped. Open your journal now!

 

~Sallie

 

 

The 5 W’s

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Remember when you were in school and  you had  to write  a composition? I remember the teacher, who happened to be a nun, telling us that if we wanted our stories to be unique we had to answer 5 questions within the first paragraphs. Who, what, when, where, and why we’re the guidelines we should follow.

I mention this because I sometimes feel as though I repeat myself in my journaling. If I’m bored or tired I just write the same old stuff. Being one who is creative by nature and wanting to be true to herself, I find this behavior self-defeating. If I find myself writing such things as “nothing much happened today”often I have to verbally stop myself.

So how do we overcome doldrums? I don’t think it matters what type of journal you’re writing – the problem is still the same. What to write about and should I write when I’m bored?

Peach Tree Farms by Charles Wysocki

Above my roll-top writing desk is a framed print called “A Peach of a Day”. The original was painted by  a well-known artist by the name of Charles Wysocki. The picture always makes me happy. I try to surround myself with things like that -a scented candle, a lighthouse themed quilt, a mason jar mug of the beverage of the day. But still, sometimes I have problems writing.

Experts have different techniques that help with this issue. I have, on occasion followed some:

  • Go for a walk.Sometimes nature can sooth our souls. If impossible, due to weather, watch a nature or travel show on TV.
  • Knowing the best time for you to write in your journal is a good thing. Try experimenting say write in the early morning or at lunch for a different spin.
  • Listen to an audio book.
  • Pick up your favorite book and read one chapter. More than that and you’ll finish the book!
  • Create some art. When was the last time you added any “bling” to your journal cover?
  • Watch a TED talk.
  • Make a self-care kit for when you have a bad day.
  • Do you often go by a certain restaurant or store and never stop to browse? Now’s your excuse.
  • Try writing in your journal at a coffee shop or outside.
  • Color a page in a coloring book.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Do a random act of kindness for someone.
  • Visit the library and bring home some awesome books.
  • Write about your present moment.
  • Maintain a success log.(Your accomplishments no matter how big or small) For instance, I drove in the pouring rain at 2am to the hospital. (I don’t like driving at night and especially don’t like driving when I don’t know how to get where I’m supposed to be).
  • Write in the third person. For instance, “Kelly woke up at 8 am” not “I woke up at 8 am”.
  • Write in a different pen color.
  • Make a list of things to buy or do.
  • Try writing in your non-dominate hand.

Finally, JUST WRITE!

~Sallie

  • .

Wednesday words to live by

 

Pursuit of Happiness- Being Grateful (2)

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Gratitude comes in many forms. When we were kids, our parents, wanting us to be grateful for everything they sacrificed for us, focused on the “stuff”. But as we reflect on this we learned that gratitude is not “stuff”, gratitude is an emotion. When we remember the happy memories of when we received the new bike, book, car etc., then we experienced gratitude.

My mother always insisted that when I received a gift I must write a thank you note. I can remember thinking that a verbal ‘thank you’ was enough, but as I grew older and I received written ‘thank you’ notes, I realized that gratitude expressed verbally or written was a source of happiness for me.

So, how do we pursue gratitude? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Take a Gratitude Break. Some people do this when they first wake up or one of the last things before sleep. One way to articulate gratitude is at the dinner table with  your family.
  2. Be present in your moments. A friend of ours wrote us a brief note of thanks recently. We had invited him and his girlfriend to a Museum event that we enjoyed and he wrote: “Thank you for sharing your present moments with us.”
  3. Scale back. While social media is great, you can totally loose hours while “just checking email and Facebook. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”  Before you know it, time has slipped away and your dinner is cold and that TV show is over!
  4. Start a Gratitude Journal.  How to do it? Here are some tips:
  •  Write 3 or more things daily in your journal. Avoid repeating the same things. As you challenge yourself to discover new things to be grateful for, you’ll start watching and listening for new gratitude experiences.
  •  It’s easy to list the material things – your home, your car, your phone, but what is hard is why you are grateful for these things. How do you feel about your home? Write about your feelings of security and comfort.
  • In addition to material things, there’s your talents and those things in your life that help you create your world. Start with the basics – your ability to write, see, watch, listen and being a good friend.
  • Write about the people in your life and how they make you feel. It’s easy to write about friends, family but how about that difficult co-worker?
  • Write about situations and events happy times and sad times.

As you write about your Gratitude Moments, you will quickly find that as you continue writing in your journal, your expectations and emotions will become positive and you will certainly be happier.

GrandparentsFamily

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

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