Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘journaling’

Snippets from my Journals

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places” – Ernest Hemingway (This is a quote that I just added to my journal this morning.)

My granddaughter Keri, and my great-grandson, Kaiden, a few years ago. — Photo by Pat Bean

And a Horse Story

I read a lot of nature books, and I often write down some of the more interesting trivia that I learn, often with a personal comment. For example: “If a female beaver slaps the water with her tail, the entire colony will instantly dive. If an adult male issues the warning, only some will dive.” To which I commented … well males do tend to exaggerate a lot.

But then I also noted in this same journal, when camping beside Lake Claiborne at Isaac Creek Campground in Alabama: “Female pine cones are fatter than their male counterparts.” To which I commented … well that accounts for our big hips.

My granddaughter Heidi, a few years back when I was still a full-time RVer. Note Gypsy Lee in the background. — Photo by Pat Bean

Another nature tidbit that fascinated me was learning that some snakes give birth to live babies, while others lay eggs. This had me doing a bit of research, in which I discovered that 70 percent of the planet’s snakes lay eggs, and 30 percent birth their babies. The vipers fall mostly into the latter category.

In one of my journals, when I was working on my book, Travels with Maggie, I noted that Bob Newhart, at 77, had published a book, I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This. When asked why, he responded: “I feel we need to empty our brains and pass along things that we’ve learned along the way,” … To which my personal comment was … Good enough for me. 

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: I’ll give this one, once again, to Horse Trail Adventures http://tinyurl.com/lzeada9 written by my daughter, who is recovering from some serious health problems that left her quite depressed. Getting out on her horse once again is helping her spirit recover. But this Bean Pat comes with a story I recorded in one of my journals. My daughter raised three girls (each of whom has given me a great-grandson) and now, my daughter is raising three boys, currently all teenagers. I hope the gods have pity on her. Anyway …

As a mom, my daughter taught her girls that if they got lost while out riding, they should just give their horses their heads, and they would automatically return home. The two oldest, Heidi and Keri, tried this — and three times found themselves back at the far point in their ride. Eventually they had to find their own way home.

I would never have remembered this story if I hadn’t written it down in my journal.

Read Full Post »

The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write a journal. Take long walks in the woods.” – Robin Sharma

The Mark Twain Lighthouse in Hannibal Missouri, which I wrote about climbing up to see in 2006, when I was traveling the country full time with my canine companion Maggie in a small RV. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Mark Twain Lighthouse in Hannibal Missouri, which I wrote about climbing up to see in 2006, when I was traveling the country full-time with my canine companion Maggie in a small RV. — Photo by Pat Bean

A Half Century of Memories

            I began keeping journals when I was 25, when, like a bolt of lightning on a clear day, I discovered I wanted to be a writer. For the next 15 years, my journals were cheap spiral notebooks that never got completed. I might write for a week, and then the next entry wouldn’t happen for three months, and sometimes the journal got lost in the between times.

I say lost because I never threw one away, and I think I eventually found most of them. A few years ago, I recopied the scant early journaling pages into one volume.

Pages from my journal  written when I was in Hannibal, Missouri, and took a paddleboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

Pages from my journal, written when I was in Hannibal, Missouri, in 2006, and took a paddle boat cruise on the Mississippi River.

My first journals were written when I was a working mother of five with no help, and the journal contents were too often filled with my beating up on myself because I never completed a day’s to-do list. What amazed me in the rereading, however, were all the things I did accomplish, and never gave myself credit for doing. Today, I honestly don’t know how I did all I did back then.

Around the age of 40, I decided to buy decent journals – one of my favorite being a Gibson that has thick enough paper to write on both sides and a spiral binding for ease in writing. I also began journaling more regularly. As time passed, the journals filled more quickly, until the present when I complete about two a year with a record of my days and thoughts. My journals, even the early ones, are also packed with quotes that have meaning to me.

Until recently, I had never read most of my journals, a task that now finds its way on my daily to-do lists. Unlike many of my journal writing friends, who told me they wrote more when times were bad, I’ve discovered that most of my entries are about the good times. While that means there are big gaps, especially in my earlier journals, and makes for an incomplete recording of my life, I’m discovering a treasure trove of memories that are delightful to relive.

And the thoughts I did record are enough for me to see how I’ve changed over the years – from a goodie-two-shoes who beat up on herself to an imperfect human who makes mistakes and is not usually sorry for them – and into someone who actually likes herself.

And that’s enough for me.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: 10 Forgotten Books http://tinyurl.com/hs5qh7n This dang blog cost me money. As an avid reader of travel books, I had to have The Illustrated Journeys of Celia Fiennes, 1685-c.1712, which was on the list. But thankfully I found one for 97 cents (plus $3.99 shipping) instead of having to buy a new one for the listed price of $59.

Read Full Post »

Looking Back

The Standard-Examine's new building, where I spent the final years as a journalist, reflects the surrounding mountains that I so loved. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Standard-Examiner’s new building, where I spent my final years as a journalist, reflects the surrounding mountains that I so loved. — Photo by Pat Bean

       “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

But Living Forward

Back on July 14, 1979 – a time of upheaval in my life – I wrote down a list of things I wanted to accomplish. On that list were the expected things such as be a better parent, live healthier, remarriage, financial security and advance in my career. Perhaps less expected desires were write a book, live in the mountains, take up an exciting hobby and meet interesting people.

A view of Mount Ogden from Ogden's 25th Street. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A view of Mount Ogden from Ogden’s 25th Street. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across that list this morning, and realized I had achieved many of those goals. I have written a book, and while it’s not published yet, I have had a very successful writing life. And as a journalist for 37 years, meeting interesting people happened almost daily

While I carry around a few more pounds than I should, I’m quite healthy and active for my age, I did briefly remarry but after that didn’t work out, I realized how much I enjoyed being single.

In 1983, I took up white-water rafting, which gave me many adventures for almost 20 years. Financially, I’ve never had much money but it’s always been enough to feed and house me, let me buy books and still have a little leftover for travel.

At the time I wrote the list, I was working for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was a prestigious job, but there wasn’t a mountain in sight. A few months later, I moved to Utah, where the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains became my backyard. It meant that I went from being a tiny fish in a large lake to being a slightly bigger fish in a smaller pond – but I never regretted the decision.

“Dare to be different” was the final item on that 37-year-old-list. When I wrote that wish down, I hadn’t yet learned that this desire was a no-brainer. Everybody is different in their own way. And that is one of the most beautiful things about this world.

Bean Pat: Ralie Travels http://tinyurl.com/zrgtbmo Great armchair travel through Arizona’s Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Having visited here, this brought back great memories.

Read Full Post »

          

The color purple makes my world better, especially when it trims up some white flowers and helps attract a butterfly.  Photo by Pat Bean

Flowers make  my world better, especially when they attract a butterfly.           Photo by Pat Bean

 

  “The salvation of America and of the human race depends on the next election … But so it was last year, and so it was the year before, and our fathers believed the same thing 40 years ago.”    

While these words might have been written just yesterday, they were actually written 168 years ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across the quote when I was reading my 1998 journal, some of which was written at the same time I was reading Emerson’s journals and, at the same time, ranting about talk show hosts like Jerry Springer and narrow-minded windbags who preach of Christian values but seem to have no Christianity in them.

I was a reporter at the time and so couldn’t turn off what was going on in the world, which some days I now do for the sake of my sanity. Instead, back then, I comforted myself with the thoughts of writers like Emerson, who recognized the world has its cruel side, always has and probably always will, but focused more on its positive attributes.

“My life is a May game. I will live as I like. I defy your strait-laced, weary, social ways and modes. Blue is the sky, green the fields and groves, fresh the springs, glad the rivers, and hospitable the splendor of sun and star. I will play by game out,” he wrote, as well as: “If Milton, if Burns, if Bryant, is in the world, we have more tolerance, and more love for the changing sky, the mist, the rain, the bleak overcast day, the sun is raining light.”

            For me, it’s been writers like Maya Angelou, who believed God put rainbows in the sky to give us hope, and Charles Kuralt, who saw the everyday kindness of the back roads as making up for the acts of greed in the headlines, who have made my world better.

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals,” wrote Kuralt.

If, as my grandmother would say, it looks like the world is going to hell in a hand basket – and I can’t disagree in these troubling times – there is good out there, too. Neighbors helping neighbors when hard times fall, kindness and thoughtfulness as part of everyday, ordinary lives, and friendships and partnerships that last a lifetime.

Yes. Nothing ever seems to change.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: CindyKnoke http://tinyurl.com/jsbmjdl I’ve always wanted to live for six months on a houseboat on the Mississippi River. It’s on my bucket list. But this houseboat in Amsterdam looks pretty cool, too. What do you think?

Read Full Post »

“Then I beheld the river … journeying out of the grey past into the green future.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Then I beheld the river … journeying out of the grey past into the green future.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson — Photo by Pat Bean

“Come, let us not be an appendage to Alexander, Charles V., or any of history’s heroes. Dead men all! For me, the earth is new today, and the sun is raining light.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Thoughts from the Past

            I have 50 years of journals stashed away in bins, most of which, once finished, have never been opened again. The early years of my journaling were a haphazard kind of thing, cheap steno pads, sometimes with only a few pages filled and more dates missing than captured.

Sometime in the 1980s, I switched to fancy journals, and filled them more faithfully. By the 1990s, journaling had become almost a daily routine. Recently I decided I should try reading my past thoughts, and so I randomly chose a journal in which to begin.

Me and Peaches on one of many hikes. She loved hiking as much as she loved tennis balls. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

Me and Peaches on one of many hikes. She loved hiking as much as she loved tennis balls. — Photo by Kim Perrin

The journal I picked chronicled the end of 1998 and the beginning of 1999. It was a time when my canine companion was a golden cocker spaniel named Peaches, who was addicted to tennis balls.

Dec. 19, 1998. It’s snowing outside, steady, tiny flakes that stuck to Peaches fur.… I feel as if I would like to sit here all day, curled up in the comfy, warm quilt Cindi (my daughter-in-law) gave me, and simply watch the snow fall. No such luck. Instead, I’ll read a few pages of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Journal, throw a few tennis balls for Peaches, then go to work.”

In various forms, the above was pretty much the gist of what I wrote again and again for the next few days, always mentioning the tennis ball routine with Peaches, and the snowy weather in Northern Utah.

I also recorded numerous RWE quotes into my journal from his journal. Here are a few:

If Milton, if Burns, if Bryant, is in the world, we have more tolerance, and more love for the changing sky, the mist, the rain, the bleak, overcast day, the indescribable sunrise and the immortal stars. If we believed no poet survived on the planet, nature would be tedious.”

            “There is creative reading as well as creative writing.”

            “My life is a May game. I will live as I like. I defy your strait-laced, weary, social ways and modes. Blue is the sky, green the fields and groves, fresh the springs, glad the rivers, hospitable the splendor of sun and star. I will play my game out.”

            “Some books leave us free and some books make us free.”

            “The gates of thought – how slow and late they discover themselves. Yet when they appear, we see that they were always there, always open.”

I was amazed, reading Emerson, how alike were so many of my own thoughts, especially the one that would find its way onto my resolution list for 1999: “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”

And through all this journaling, Peaches was there with me, sometimes sharing my chair, but mostly standing before me with a tennis ball in her mouth that she wanted me to throw for her to fetch. I am so blessed to have had her in my life, and for Ralph Waldo Emerson, too.

Bean Pat: Express yourself http://tinyurl.com/q93e2pn I like this blog because it encourages me to express myself more with my words. I hope it encourages you to be more expressive in your own way, too.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday's use of paper included adding a kestrel painting to my sketchbook, writing down dates to remember in my diary calendar, which is full of paintings and quotes, and writing in my to-do journal, which includes a hodgepodge of notes and ideas to myself. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Yesterday’s use of paper included adding a kestrel painting to my sketchbook, writing down dates to remember in my diary calendar, which is full of paintings and quotes, and writing in my to-do journal, which includes a hodgepodge of notes and ideas to myself. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with meaning.” – Maya Angelou

I’m So Sorry My Beloved Trees

            I love paper, crisp new pages in a book, cold pressed and textured artist sheets, fanciful stationary, designer pages for my scrapbooking and even the thick block of white for my printer.

But I especially love the blank pages that fill new journals, even more so when their artistic creators have filled bits and pieces of the pages with fairies, flowers, dragons or animal images, and even more when they have left words behind to tickle my little gray cells.

Like these words, which I came across yesterday:  “Let’s talk about mountains. You start climbing one, you toil, you sweat, you finally reach the top, and what do you get? Well, along with a sense of accomplishment, of peace, of a job well done, along with the satisfaction of doing what you set out to do … you get a great view of the next mountain. Looming, Challenging, Calling your name.”  These words were left me behind to ponder from the journal creators, Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers —  And ponder I did.

I wonder if the spirits of trees like this beauty in Brazos Bend State Park in Texas are infused into the paper I touch and use daily.

I wonder if the spirits of trees, like this beauty in Brazos Bend State Park in Texas, are infused into the paper I touch and use daily.

These days, I usually have several journals going at once, the most used being a daily journal in which I write to-do lists (Things I want to keep from this journal get rewritten into my computer journal, which I began several years ago to preserve my writing fingers from cramping),  and  a  journal that I keep beside me when I read, and use to write down quotes and a mishmash of thoughts and ideas.

Even though I love computer journaling, which these days includes this blog, I can’t imagine a day without putting my hands on real paper. It’s an oxymoron for me, because I also love trees. Sometimes I wonder about the origin of the paper I write on, and almost feel the trees talking to me. I hope they forgive me.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Blood-Red Pencil http://tinyurl.com/lm2k2pg This is for all the writers who have procrastinated until the deadline monster is close enough to bite off our noses.

Read Full Post »

“I can imagine in years to come that my papers and memorabilia, my journals and letters, will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do.”  — Alice Walker

A recent page from one of my art journals. As I sketched the osprey, I thought about all the times I had seen one, and good memories flooded my little gray cells. Illustration by Pat Bean

A recent page from one of my art journals. As I sketched the osprey, I thought about all the times I had seen one, and good memories flooded my little gray cells. Illustration by Pat Bean

What I’m Reading

            Ditto to what Alice Walker said. I can’t help but wonder where all my bins of journals will end up after I’m gone. Hopefully not in the trash, but that’s always a possibility.

An Illustrated Journal, the book I'm currently reading.

An Illustrated Journey, the book I’m currently reading.

It would be nice if some of what I’ve lived through as a woman fighting for equal rights and equal pay found their way into a women’s center at some university. And it would be nice to think that some of my progeny, the greats, might want to know who know who I was.

Regardless, keeping my journals is simply something I have to do. It’s part of me and for me.  It’s as if I must write it down for things to become real.

Meanwhile, I love reading other people’s journals. And since I’m beginning to add drawings to my own journals, I’m particularly enjoying “An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration from the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers,” put together by Danny Gregory.

It’s a delightful book, with lots of tips on keeping an illustrated journal. And since each artist does it his or her way, I have lots of choices.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: About Elephants http://tinyurl.com/m2l2r4z  Our Journeys are all the Same.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »