by Sherry Stocking Kline
published in the Wichita Eagle – August 2007
For Christmas of 1984, J. P. Buellesfeld ‘s great-great uncle gave him a black, leather-bound journal.
Buellesfeld was so impressed with the gift and the fact that his great-great uncle, head of the history department at Washburn University, had been keeping a journal for 45 years that a few months later he began keeping his own journal.
Every Single Day…
Twenty-four years later, he’s still doing it. Every. Single. Day.
In fact, the journal has become so important to him that he keeps notes throughout the day in a notebook at his investment office, then takes the notebook home, and uses it to write in his journal.
For Buellesfeld, it is a matter of documenting the happenings in his life, his family’s lives, and those of his close friends. As someone who has taught and is fascinated by history, it’s also his way of documenting world happenings.
Writing in a journal can be fun, informative, and according to Buellesfeld, help settle future arguments.
Journaling Can Promote Good Health …
It can also promote good health. According to research conducted at Southern Methodist University writing in a journal for a few minutes each day about what has happened and how we feel about it can help promote emotional well-being, lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.
There’s never been a better time to start your own journal. It’s easy to find how-to-do-it books, and when you type “journaling” into Google there are 3 million plus “hits” to help you get started.
Every bookstore has a selection of journals, hard-backed, paper-backed, and beautiful leather-bound versions; some have themes, such as nature or inspirational, and many include questions and inspirational quotes to get you started.
To personalize your journal, Lori Ritchie, www.writersdigest.com, suggests that you add your favorite prayers or verses, the lyrics to your favorite songs, share your family history and family tree information, and record important events. Ritchie also suggested you add a table of contents to your journal and devote a page telling how it was acquired.
What Should You Journal About?
You can journal about everything you do or only one area of your life.
Going on a trip? Take along a traveler’s journal.
Are you a New Grandma? (Or Grandpa?) Fill out a journal about your life and your hopes and dreams for the new grandbaby.
Want to grow in your faith? There are journals with daily Bible verses and questions to stimulate thought and spiritual growth.
Grieving a loss? A grief journal can help you through your journey of recovery.
Just Remember That it’s Your Journal…
It can be anything that you want it to be, a place to document daily happenings, the story of your family’s life, or a secret place to write down your emotions, share your goals and dreams, and unload your daily cares.
Journals don’t have to be leather bound, and they don’t have to be fancy, a simple spiral notebook or a word document on your computer or laptop will do.
Use whatever works for you, and whatever allows you the freedom to express yourself.
What Goes into Buellesfeld’s Journal?
“Everything. I put everything in there,” Buellesfeld said, adding that “Once you do it everyday for 24 years it becomes an obsession.”
Buellesfeld said that his journal is absolutely more about his personal life than his business. While he hasn’t decided what provision he will make for his journals after his death, he said that many make provisions to keep their journals private for a number of years.
“Every night, and I mean every night, no matter how tired I am, I write in that journal.”