This is why you should keep a Journal…

{FYI: My kids names have been blotted out.}

There are many ways you can journal.  Honestly, I didn’t realize HOW many ways I journal until doing a little research for this post.  As a matter of fact, I think I will only share 2 ways today as to not make you feel overwhelmed.  The idea is to motivate and inspire journaling rather than the opposite.  Basically, I like to change it up a bit, it makes it more fun.  I also tend to journal better when I have things compartmentalized rather than just a blank open page.  You’ll see what I mean.

Two Ways:

1.) Notebook Style Journal

2.) Family Values Journal

The scanned journal page seen above was such a treasure to read on Sunday.  I accidentally grabbed the journal and stashed it in my Sunday church bag.  I pulled it out during our worship service trying to find something to keep my daughter quiet.  I flipped through it and found this entry.  In this particular notebook style journal this is the only entry from 2005.  Two entries for the year of 2006 are recorded and only one entry for the year of 2008.

As a Mom, there are what I like to refer to as joy moments.  Fairly seldom do Mom’s feel continuous joy throughout a whole entire day.  A Mother’s work can be draining and monotonous.  I have found as I go back through my journals, I like to record these joy moments.  This entry clearly describes the joy I felt seeing and hearing my girls playing with one another.  I can picture in my mind the girls talking and giggling.  Our girls are much older now and yes, they don’t play together.  My oldest just turned 16.  Most 16 year olds are past the stage of wanting to play tea party or Barbie dolls.  Reading this did bring a few tears to my eyes.  However, I was extremely grateful I took the time to record that joy moment, in a way, relive it.

Another way I like to journal {besides the obvious, blogging} is by focusing on a particular topic.  I have a journal titled “Our Family Values.”  At the beginning of the journal I listed what our family values were.  For example: Responsibility, Love, Courage, Perseverance, Honesty, Patience, Compassion, Dependability…the list contained 33 values total.  The pages are filled with journal entries that celebrate someone in our family living one of the values.  The following is a typed version of my very first family value entry:

Monday, November 5, 2007

“Today was a special day.  I want to honor A.  She took out a game and was playing with it.  Right before Family Home Evening I witnessed a miracle.  She put the game pieces back in the box and placed the game back to the cabinet where it belonged.  She did all of this without me asking her to do it!!  I was so excited I picked her up and twirled her around and told her how happy it made me.  J wanted me to do the same for him so he began to put magazines away in their basket.  It was pretty funny.  This action showed great responsibility on A’s part.  This is a value we hold dear in our family!”

Now, this journal I openly share with my family.  I usually read the entry to the family the day I write it; doing this reinforces how important the value is.  It is a way of expressing our gratitude to our children for living what we believe.  The Family Values journal reminds me to reward good behavior.  Sometimes as parents we don’t focus on the good behavior enough.

So even though in the first notebook style journal I skipped the year 2007 entirely, I didn’t go the whole year without journaling. 😉 I just used a different format.

Start Looking

Last Minute Tips:

  • Don’t pressure yourself into writing every single day.  If you can, great!  A few days a month or year is better than none.
  • Don’t think you have to fill the entire page with writing.
  • Write about your joy moments.
  • Remember, this is your story and legacy to your posterity.  What do you want them to know about you?  What is the legacy you want to leave behind?

Write in a journal today {in a few years, you’ll thank me},

Supporting Awesomeness


I am so excited to share a wonderful product

for you and your family today.

Katie is on the far right

I met Katie at Blissdom {Blog Conference} back in January.  She is very sweet and down to earth.  Katie, not only has a cute blog {}, but she also has a company where she makes & sells journals {}.  They are made with recycled paper and are the cutest little things ever!  I am so impressed with her website and journals.  She even received a green business award at a special ceremony held at the capital!


After Blissdom Katie offered our family one of her journals to share on her website.  I was very grateful to be of assistance.  I always love something free, but even better, I love when it is something we can use as a family.  It is a total bonus to have it be something as timeless as a journal which records our life together.  I am passionate about recording our family history. 😉 {like you didn’t know that already, huh?}

This is what I did.  I put this very portable sized journal in my purse.  Whenever we went out to eat {at least once a week} I would pull it out while we were waiting for our food and pass it around to everyone in our family.  Each member, including my husband {thank you dear 😉 }, would write something in the journal.  Sometimes I would give it to my youngest during church service to keep her occupied as well.  I decided I wanted to ‘jazz’ it up a bit, being the scrapbooker/crafty type person that I am; so before mailing it back to Katie I pulled out a package of word stickers, chalk pencils, crayons, a few stamps and had fun filling in the “blank” spots.  It was so much fun!

Katie scanned our journal and mailed it back to us.  She contacted me this week to tell me it was ‘live’ on her website and she is offering Family Brings Joy readers a 10% discount beginning today through Monday, June 20, 2011.  Use OKLAHOMALOVE as the discount code at checkout to receive your 10% OFF.  Katie’s company is named Gadanke {she used to live in Germany} and her website is:

I plan on purchasing one of each of her journals {she has many to choose from} for myself, but I’m also going to order several for giftsThey will make perfect gifts for those people you know who have everything and for every occasion.



It is my pleasure and honor to feature Gadanke today.  Thank you Katie for the opportunity!


Support awesomeness,

Your Family NEEDS This APP!

Cozi Home Screen on my Iphone

Cozi’s motto is Family Life. Simplified.

It does just that.  I have waited a while to share this post in hopes to affiliate with the Cozi Company.  Unfortunately, they don’t offer affiliation marketing.  Once again, I will be writing for free.  In other words, this post is purely considered ‘word of mouth.’  I’m sharing it to help my readership.  {I am sure it is only a matter of time, with my luck it will be right after I publish this post.}  I just know how much Cozi has changed our family’s life for the better. I can’t wait anymore to share it!  Cozi is a Family Manager’s Dream come true! If you don’t have a smart phone you can still take advantage of this phenomenal program on your desktop computerI love this!

Cozi integrates your family’s schedules, shopping lists, to do lists & includes a family journal.

My favorite part of the program is the calendar. My husband & I have this app on our phones.  The free version contains ads.  {I edited family names & ads from my screen shots.}  You can purchase the ad free version Cozi Family Organizer Premium for $5.99.  The ads don’t bother us, so we use the free version.

This is the deal…whenever a family member adds an appointment to the calendar it automatically synchronizes to everyone’s calendar.  My oldest daughter received an iPod touch for Christmas and my Son uses my husband’s old iPhone as an iPod touch.  They downloaded the Cozi app onto their iPods as well.  We all still use the desktop computer in our command central area as well.  Guess what my family hears me say the most now?

“Can you please add that to Cozi.”

My children will come to me and say, I need to go _____________ on Friday and it is their responsibility to add it to Cozi.  I remind them, “please add all the specifics into Cozi.”  Can I tell you what a load this has taken off my shoulders?  As I get older my brain just can’t remember everything.  Besides, I have tried every single planner, calendar, scheduling system known to man.  Nothing has come even close to helping as Cozi has.  It is a way of teaching my children responsibility.  If it doesn’t get put into Cozi, then my family knows it’s not going to happen.  At first my kids thought it was cool.  They were happy to type stuff into the app.  Now they don’t like it as much…too bad!  They tend to get bored and lazy that way. {just keeping it real}  However, they have learned the hard way, if it’s not in there, Mom will not remember.  It doesn’t happen.  Sometimes they will give me papers from school with all the information for an activity and I will enter the information.  Most of the time I ask them to do it.  If they don’t have their iPod’s handy or like for my youngest, they can go to the Cozi application on the desktop computer.

Features I love about Cozi’s Calendar:

  • You can color code each member of your family!  Genius, huh?!
  • Program Cozi to send you reminder texts to all the family members involved in the particular activity.  This is excellent for all MOMS!
  • Reminder texts can be sent one hour before the appointment or up to days before.
  • Program each family member’s phone numbers and email addresses for reminders.
  • Every Sunday Cozi will e-mail every member in your family the next week’s calendar so you can see the week at a glance.
  • You can schedule repeat appointments.  For example, every Monday is Ballet at 4pm, etc.  I have even added their bedtimes & what night they cook dinner.
  • Anything that is not a repeat appointment is highlighted in BOLD.
  • You can Schedule all day appointments.
  • Important enough to mention again, teaches my children responsibility!
  • Before Cozi, my husband would say, “I’m going to that meeting tonight?”  Me, “What meeting?”  Him, “You know the one I told you about last week.”  None of this happens anymore unless he forgets to add the appointment.  Cozi has prevented many arguments in our marriage…BONUS! 🙂

My next favorite feature of Cozi is the Shopping List Category.

Do you ever hear this from your kids, “Mom, next time you go to the store can you get _________, ______________, __________ & _________?”  You go to the store and you forget all the items your kids requested.  This has happened to me too many times to count.  Guess what?!  Cozi prevents this from happening as well!  If I ever hear them begin the above sentence, guess what they hear from me?

” Sure, add it to the Cozi shopping list.”

Every Sunday after family prayer and scripture study we go over the next week’s schedule.  This is also when I remind everyone to add all the ingredients for their dinner night {click here to read more about this} to the Cozi shopping list.  It is a tremendous life saver!  I LOVE IT!  Again, teaching my children to be accountable and responsible!

Shopping List Features:

  • You can have more than one shopping list!  I have 4 {at this time, you can add more anytime or delete} & categorize them as: Groceries, Toiletries, Need ASAP, and Other
  • When I go to the grocery store all I have to do is open up Cozi, click on shopping, click on the grocery list and there it is.  The above screen shot shows the list I used yesterday.  When you get something on your list, you click on the box and it checks it for you. {That is why everything is checked and a line crossing it off my list.}
  • At the end of the list {It’s not showing this on the photo} there is a place to “clean up/reorder.”  Clean up will delete all the items checked.
  • You can also email your shopping list to someone.  I haven’t ever had to use this, but could be handy for sure!

Example of one of my Cozi journal entries


Journal Category

Honestly I need to use this feature MORE often!  This is perfect for scrapbookers!  You can jot down a few things you want to remember and it has the date there for you.  It is shared on everyone’s application just like all the features are.  The above photo was taken at a restaurant.

To Do List

I have mentioned this before on my blog, I’m not a to do list maker. {which is why I didn’t take a screen shot of it}  To do lists give me anxiety.  However, every once in a while I will add something to my categories of lists.  I have the following categories: Shared To Do, Shan To Do, Husband To Do {I need to use this list more often!!} and each of my children have their own to do list.  I am sure there are many of you who LOVE making to do lists and checking things off.  You will adore this feature. 🙂

Have I sold you on this fantastic app yet?
Cozi is a FREE online family calendar, shopping list, family journal & photo collage screensaver. Simplify family life with Cozi.

Nothing But Country

i heart Cozi,