I always think of you as being so very balanced and sensible, such an excellent woman.
I love that quote because I like to think of myself as balanced and sensible. If you haven’t read the book it comes from, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, then I encourage you to pick it up. It’s quaint, not flashy, but very endearing. I bring it up because I know that I have talked about gratitude journals on my blog before but I’m going to do it again because gratitude is a tool that I use to try and keep myself “balanced and sensible.” I can’t think of a more empowering gift that I could give to someone that is important to me – especially the “excellent women” in my life.
And that’s why we’re going to talk about gratitude journals again as we think about the upcoming gift-giving season. Not only are they a way to share gratitude for those whom are important to us through the gift itself, but it is the kind of gift that only gives back to the recipient – and I love that idea.
The first Gratitude Journal I created was for a BPS workshop and I used the MyBook “Changeable Photo Planner. I just received the 2010 version of this book from my friend Lisa and I encourage you to try one for yourself. It is a planner with “sheet protectors” inserted each month so you can scrap a page or just add some photos to every month of your 2010 life. It comes in two sizes and can be used as a traditional planner but also as a scrapbook like I did with my Gratitude Journal.
Maybe you want to record your family’s sports activities or travels for the year. Perhaps you want to document a change that you are going through or a new baby’s life. Just think of a theme and let that be your focus for one year. Journal about your theme in the daily spaces, add some photos and you have an instant scrapbook that you will probably find is incredibly meaningful because of the daily thoughts that go in it.
Order one from Per Annum (click here) in time for the new year and you are on your way.
A couple of years ago we did a different version of a gratitude journal in our church women’s group – it needed to be less expensive and ultra simple. The amazing thing about it was that even people who weren’t very crafty were able to participate in the project and many people used them as gifts that year for their sisters, friends, mothers, and other “excellent women” in their lives.
This particular version needed to be simple and easy for non-crafters to complete so I started with a small store-bought 5″ x 7″ spiral-bound notebook. I found them for only $1.00 in the school supply section and if you keep an eye out, you’ll be able to find great choices as well.
Because I used a store-bought notebook, I needed to adapt the design to the notebook itself instead of the other way around. I used coordinating papers as monthly tabs and simply divided up the number of pages in the notebook by 12 months and placed a circle tab at each month.
The cover was simple because the pattern on the notebook was already fun and easy to work with. I added a title and one flower as the embellishment then finished it off by tying a few ribbons to the spiral binding.
Tip: In order to get the ribbon through the spiral binding, use a toothpick to push one end through the spiral. The natural bite of the wood will grab the ribbon and help you thread the ribbon quickly and without fraying the ends.
The inside cover of my notebook had a pocket built in and I loved this feature. I placed a quote in the front pocket along with a brief statement from me that explained what the journal was for. I also added an excerpt about the value of gratitude journal writing in the pocket to reinforce my thoughts and feelings about the gift.
That was it. I let the notebook do the work and I simply embellished it and took the concept of the gift to a personal level. The project only cost a few dollars and came together very quickly. Even an inexperienced crafter was able to finish one in about 20 minutes.
Not only did I love the meaningful feature of the project itself but I was given an unexpected gift while helping the women in our group to complete their journals. Whether they were seasoned crafters or gun-shy of anything involving adhesive, they were all successful with this project. I was surprised when non-crafters were helping others with their project – for the first time feeling like they had accomplished something crafty. They were proud of themselves and proud of the opportunity to share this project with those that were important to them.
Gratitude is magical. It is powerful. There is nothing quite like the way we feel when we open our hearts to gratitude – and sharing that principle with those around us creates the same effect. Do I talk about gratitude journals a lot? Yes. But it’s only because I believe in them and I want you to give them a try as well.
UPDATE: click here for templates that I used for my simple gratitude journal. Happy Day!