Journal Writing to Seek Honest Words

Journal Writing to Seek Honest Words

I’m on day 42 of a 100-Day Journal Writing experiment with the hope that it would instill in me a consistent daily writing habit. I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I remember my first journal; it was red with a gold lock and key. It was so precious to me and the act of taking the little key to unlock it was significant in helping me to feel that what I wrote was secret and important to me.

Over the years, writing would become sporadic, though I often found it cathartic and powerful. However, more often than I care to admit, it was just a place to vent my frustrations and became routine and pointless.

As I near the half-way mark I’ve become intimately aware that I have been writing of things of the soul, about the soul, seeking the nature of the soul, and in relationship to God. I began to think of my soul as my deepest friend, as my deepest soul friend that encompasses all of me; my body, mind, and will. My soul, created by God, as yours is.

Irish poet, priest, author, and philosopher John O’Donohue said, “It is in the depths of your life that you will discover the invisible necessity that has brought you here. When you begin to decipher this, your gift and giftedness, you come alive. Your heart quickens and the urgency of living rekindles your creativity. If you awaken this sense of destiny, you come into rhythm with your life.”

At day 27 I began to address my journal writing to “My Dear Soul” or “Dearest Soul” – perhaps to enliven the writing, or to go deeper, or to write more honest words. Honest words… my reflections these past two days are inspired by another poem by Antonio Machado… where my eyes, my heart, my attention has landed on “honest words.”

  It’s possible that while sleeping the hand
that sows the seeds of stars
started the ancient music going again
   like a note from a great harp
and the frail wave came to our lips
as one or two honest words.
~ Antonio Machado, Times Alone

For the past two days I’ve been writing to drill down into what the phrase “honest words” means to me. Yesterday I wrote, “It has taken loss, and loss again, and loss again, to strip away the layers of denial, protection, and wounds to see that I am no longer who I was, yet I am ALL of who I was —now seeing and feeling and loving in who I was borne to become.”

I wrote this in response to my eyes landing on a photo of Paul and I taken in 2016, all gussied up for a formal occasion. What I began to see was loveliness, a vastly different version of myself than I would have seen “before”, which would have seen only faults. Loveliness of soul —as seen through the eyes of my Soul.

Loveliness in the face of my affliction, my pain, my disability that makes walking hard and exhausting work. I think of Jacob who wrestled with an angel of the LORD and would not let go until the LORD blessed him, which he did, but Jacob was left with a limp.

I write all this to say; daily journal writing can be healing, especially when we get beyond the mundane and into something deeper, and even more especially when we can begin to free ourselves from our wounds, our stuckness, and the box we’ve put ourselves in, and to see through a new (soul) lense, and to see ourselves as God sees us as: Loveliness.

35 Quotes to Reinvigorate Your Writing Life

35 Quotes to Reinvigorate Your Writing Life

Ahh… writers we have a love of words. They take us on a journey into untold worlds, they fuel our imaginations, they lift us up and make us swoon with desire… that we may be able to write to make others stop everything even if only for a moment. To stop everything and be wholly in the universe of letters we string together… to touch some part of people’s hearts wounded, or aching, or yearning for that moment to be fully present and lost in a dream of what could be all at the same time.

Maybe even just for a chuckle, a smile, a subtle lift at the corners of the mouth and a brief twinkle in the eyes. A sigh, an aha, a respite. A moment when everything shifts into a new perspective. Sweetness. A whisper in the dark. The ground beneath moves. Passion invigorating movement. Stillness.

Writers love to invent, weave, dream, communicate. We write because we need to. It’s something we must do, because not to is death to our soul. But occasionally our muse slips away, and we find our inspiration waning, our mind’s sleepy and lethargic. During times like this a collection of inspirational quotes from other writers who’ve gone before us, who’ve likely experienced the emptiness too could be just the thing we need to get our juices flowing again.

Here are some of my favourite quotes about writing to help put the pen back in your hand, or fingers to the keyboard with renewed passion.


“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

—James Michener


“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

—Anaïs Nin


“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

—William Wordsworth


“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

—Franz Kafka


“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”

—Rainer Maria Rilke


“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Maya Angelou


“If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

—Toni Morrison


“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”

—Catherine Drinker Bowen


“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”

—Agatha Christie


“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

—Anne Frank


“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

—Maya Angelou


“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”

—William Faulkner


“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

—Ray Bradbury


“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

—Stephen King


“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

―Louis L’Amour


“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worse enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

—Sylvia Plath


“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

—Natalie Goldberg


“That’s the thing about books, they let you travel without moving your feet.”

—Jhumpa Lahiri


“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

—Kurt Vonnegut


“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of.”

—Joss Whedon


“If it’s still in your mind it is worth taking the risk.”

—Paulo Coelho


“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”

—Anaïs Nin


“If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.”

—Margaret Atwood


“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

—Cyril Connolley


“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

—William Faulkner


“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.”

—Pearl S. Buck


“You can’t blame a writer for what the characters say.”

—Truman Capote


“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

—Joan Didion


“There is no denying the wild horse in us.”

—Virginia Woolf


“No need to force yourself to do something the “right way” if it’s not your right way. Your job is to honor your process.”

—Andi Cumbo Floyd


“Give me books, fruit, French wine, fine weather and a little music.”

—John Keats


“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

―Beatrix Potter


“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things.”

—Anne Lamott


“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

– Ernest Hermingway


Do you have any favourites you’d like to add? Please comment and share!


An Invitation into the Sweetness of God’s Presence

An Invitation into the Sweetness of God’s Presence

I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.

~ Jeremiah 24:7

This. Right. There. If we but cut out the noise in the world, and tuned in to this whisper. It changes everything.

I felt it as a child. Moments of the touch of grace. In the spaces… in the pauses… in the empty. The promise of something… but what I couldn’t hear.

What I knew with certainty was that it was different than everything else. How could I live it, I couldn’t know.

But, it was there, always there… softly… quietly… like a flutter… a touch… of another living voice.

It felt like both something inside me, and somehow also in the spaces around me.

I felt it in the longing to know it, to understand it, to feel it… in the wanting for it to live me.

You, God, are my God,

    earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

    my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

    where there is no water.

~ Psalm 63:1

When the new age philosophies captured my attention, I thought God was there. I fell for the promises, the lure of transformation and transcendence. But, nothing was real or sustaining. The promises were just that… promises that kept being broken… always in the tomorrow… that never comes.

I grew tired of the false promises… of the never-ending cycles of the sun, the moon, the stars, which I gave my power to… in the name of ascension.

I longed for something real… something sustaining… something that would fill me up day after day.

After so many years, two decades of these empty promises, when Jesus began to call for me it was confusing. Head shaking confusing. Yet, I felt His urgency. He wanted me. He wouldn’t give up. He wouldn’t leave me in the empty another day.

When I finally arrived… when I finally landed in His Church, in His Body I wanted to fall to my knees. His presence so filling… so over-filling it wracked me with sobs.

The beauty so immense. It stirred memories of moments of this grace… what my whole life longing amounted to… that space inside me that wanted to be lived.

The longing that lacked a name.

Lacked comprehension.

Blocked by the every dayness of living… and not listening.

The Holy.

Many months later, studying scripture, miraculous blessings upon blessings through the power of prayer and grace, baptism… the living waters… singing worship songs still threaten to overflow in a fountain of tears.

My beautiful sister-in-law and sister-in-Christ standing beside me, takes my hand tightly and whispers, “I can feel God’s Presence… here… with… us.”

The child in me remembers. YES.

That’s IT. The sudden realization. It’s God’s Presence… that I feel in those moments.

His ever loving… ever faithful… Presence.

I vow to remember. Always remember. Forever and ever.

“O beloved, why has not Love sufficiently overwhelmed you and engulfed you in her abyss? Alas! when Love is so sweet, why do you not fall deep into her? And why do you not touch God deeply enough in the abyss of his Nature, which is so unfathomable? Sweet love, give yourself for Love’s sake fully to God in love.” ~ Hadewijch, 13th-century Belgian Beguine poet and mystic

Not my strength. But His.

Not my will. But His.

Ever deeper into this Love.

Nothing less.


A letter to my younger self

A letter to my younger self

Dear little one,

The world is going to try to tell you so many things about yourself, so many things it doesn’t know anything about. It’s going to try to mold you, to think certain things are important, and it’s going to make you feel like you must conform to belong.

I want for you to know who you are, who you really are. That something that you feel inside you… it’s God’s presence and he will never fail you if you listen to him.

He knew everything about you before you were even born, because you were first a thought in his great almighty mind and then he created you with a plan to live a life in his name, as a reflection of his glory. He knew what he had in mind when he knitted you together in the dark womb of your mother.

You know those times when you feel your precious little heart pulsing for something you can’t see, so much so, that you almost ache in the wanting to know it, in the feelings that grow so big that you think you’re going to cry in the longing beauty of it? Those… right there will tell you more about yourself and who you are and how to live in the world than anyone else can.

Because it’s such a big part of who you are, it’s going to make you feel so different from other people. But, it’s how God made you, it’s this that you must listen to. Know yourself, know your heart and your mind.

Write about it. You were born to write about it… and to share the fruits of what God communicates through your feelings and thoughts when you write. The aching yearning beauty of what you feel and what you hear when you listen. There are so many people who are suffering in the world and they too ache to be uplifted, to feel the presence of God reaching out to them… to be encouraged to find their own truth. This is a gift God has given to you, so enjoy it fully… share it fully… with all your heart… and do it boldly.

Write because you want to… write because you need to… because it’s such a big part of what makes you come alive…  because writing is how you explore your thoughts and ideas in a way that gets to the real you, and don’t give up even if you experience disappointment… even if it seems like you are failing at it… or even if no one reads it… keep at it. Write, write, write because gifts need to be refined, they need practice to be developed and to get better and better with time.

Do this and you will please God and you will please yourself. The most important things that you can do are those that are pleasing to God; be the truth that he created in you, be love, be kindness, be forgiveness, be faithful and be these things with your whole heart and soul and mind, in the way that is unique to you… your own special way.

If you listen to the ways of others over what you know to be true to yourself, you’ll never feel good enough, you’ll never know who you really are and all that God had in mind for you. You’ll be pulled in different directions and you’ll lose sight of what it is to be loved. Without God as your source of strength you’ll never feel right in yourself or in the world.

But you know what, precious? Even if you falter, even if you forget… or even if you lose your way, God is always with you and he will find a way to bring you back into his loving arms. Know that you are his… know that you are loved by him… always and forever.

With abiding love,


Ah… there’s probably so many pieces of advice we could give ourselves, this is one little bit that’s been encouraging me to revive my love of writing for a couple of years now. I’m so guilty of having given it up because I felt disappointed that life didn’t hand me all that I hoped for in my first years of writing. What about you? What would you write to your younger self or your kids?

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