How to Create an Electronic Journal

My journal causes me to examine my life, rejoice over its beauty, and to adjust my heart so that I live a life with no regrets.

My lovely daughters and I on a Girl's Day Outing

I started journaling late in life in 2010.  I had spent years writing in notebooks that were stashed in various desks, cupboards and filing cabinets until a mentor (one who shares insights, best practices, and their talent) taught me the brilliance of storing all my wandering fancies in one place.  Each morning presents a new adventure to explore this wonderful world and its people, and I love to capture the fleeting “now” in an ongoing chronicle of life neatly contained in a computer file simply titled 2015 Journal.  I sit first thing in the morning before a computer screen drinking my morning coffee, as I read the day’s scripture reading, and write as I am inspired. As the year draws to its close, I anticipate printing the year’s memoir and taking it to the local FedEx Kinkos or UPS Store to be spiral bound.

My journal causes me to examine my life, rejoice over its beauty, and to adjust my heart so that I live a life with no regrets. Spiritually, my writing stimulates me to develop a listening attitude and communication with the Lord. Rereading entries encourages gratitude and faith as I revisit the blessings, testimonies and God incidents throughout the pages. My journals are color coded and red is the color of answered prayers.  For instance, my brother Pete  called one afternoon with a Praise Report!!! Screenings had detected that he had 50% blockages in both of is carotid arteries. He had gone for more tests. The results stated that there were no blockages and very little narrowing of his arteries. Praise, God, that prayer thing works. Hopefully my journals will provide a written legacy of faith for future generations.

I also record the dreams that I feel are God-directed in my journal.  I have a notebook by my bed that I use to write down dreams given in the middle of the night. Dream sequences are colored purple which causes them to stand out for future re-reading. Dreams are important instructions and insights from that Lord that I do not want to overlook. Psalm 16:7 instructs on the importance of dreams when David writes, ” I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.” Journaling has led me into learning more about dream interpretation and listening to the Lord as He speaks to me through the words and pictures of dreams.

Mentally, my journal provides education on subjects and interests I am pursuing.  My mentor when I started journaling was Joseph Peck, the Journal Guy, He offers a free 30 day guide with a daily email to inspire personal journals and freely shares tips and insights about journaling.  Presently I’m investigating topics like blogging, marketing, and publishing online.  I insert tips, techniques and good ideas for future use into my journal pages.  My journal has also become an exercise book for writing prose and poetry, my creative outlet about life.

The journal is organized chronologically and gives a daily record of activities.  Quarterly, I list the goals that I have for the next three months.  A study of Harvard graduates found that after two years, the 3 percent who had written goals achieved more financially than the other 97 percent combined!” Extrapolating from this, only 3 percent of people set written goals and those who do earn on average more than 30x as much as those who don’t.

And throughout the year it becomes my weight diary.  Each quarter I determine to lose 10 pounds.  This quarter I’ve only got 15 to go.

One of my goals has always been to be a better letter writer. The journal makes it easy to cut and paste a letter diary that my mother loves to read.  Since she is affected by short-term memory loss, a printed letter can be re-read while a phone conversation is forgotten in minutes.  It’s easy to attach the journal letter with snapshots included to an email and let it wing through the ether to friends and family far away.

An unexpected outcome of journaling was a book that was compiled from a challenge I accepted to study the words of Jesus for 150 days.  After the first month I decided to share my study in book format and so published The Jesus Quest: Meditations on the Words of Jesus which is available on

You never know where you might end up on your journal adventure.  Let me encourage you to begin.  It will be a breakthrough to many avenues in your life.

Dr. Mary Ellen Schoonover

Author: Dr. Mary Ellen Schoonover

Well loved! I have been blessed all my life to be surrounded by family and friends that nurtured, supported and loved me into the person that I have become. That love has sustained me throughout whatever circumstance I have found in life. It is the greatest gift that one can give and the essential ingredient to living life with no regrets. I reached this conclusion while lying in a hospital bed on life support for 70 days. Under those circumstances I dealt with the essential ingredients of my life. What was important? Why was I alive? What did my life mean?

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