I Am What I Write Down

I went to college at Miami University in Ohio, and I was a zoology major.  {Just give that a minute to settle in.}   I loved Miami, not sure why I chose zoology.   Maybe it’s because I liked my high school science classes?  Maybe it’s because I aspired to go on to earn a higher education degree in the medical field?  Maybe I just thought that a general science degree would be a good step toward a variety of things?  No matter, it was not a good choice.  The realization came about halfway though my second semester of organic chemistry, and at that point I couldn’t stomach adding more years to my tenure to , so I just stuck it out with zoology and graduated.  Whew.

The science classes I took were hard.  Genetics, all kinds of chemistries, microbiology, zoology, botany, anatomy.  You name it, I took it.  I struggled to stay above a 3.0 all semesters except for the one I spent in Luxembourg and took political science, art history, and french.   My mom found a letter just last week from the Dean of Miami saying that I’d earned a spot on his list that semester.  Figures.

I endured the science classes and managed average grades thanks to one thing.  Writing things down.  I took feverish notes {I’m an organizer}.  And instead of studying for exams, I spent my “study” time recopying my notes.  I copied in colors and shapes.  I underlined and circled.  I even copied upside-down and backwards.  The goal:  get the information into my brain.  I learned that if I wrote something down enough times in enough ways, it seeped into my brain and I remembered it for a test.  Bingo.  I counted on that strategy and it paid off.

After college, the habit stuck around.  I wrote in journal after journal, often daily.  I used colored pens and just let my mind flow out into the pages.  I have at least twenty stacked up in the garage right now.   I lost steam around the time we moved to Austria, though, and until about two months ago, never gave it a second thought.  Our old family blog, Frankly Speaking, took off when we moved overseas, which took the place of paper and pens for me.  A more public way to journal about life and connect with friends and family.

And I’m still blogging here.  Writing.

But, at the start of 2014, I made a choice that reminded me of my Miami days.  I bought a fun pink and gold notebook and colorful pens at Target, and I decided that since I hoped the year would be about practicing instead of being perfect, I was going to open the notebook and take some practice notes.   Notes from anything.  A sermon, a book I’m reading, a list of things to remember, thoughts while on a run.  A verse or two from the Bible, a quote from one of the boys, blog topics, or even a grocery list.  I’m happy to say that I’ve found it so refreshing.  I counted 15 different entries, beginning January 1.   The notebook is always around, and when I see it I feel happy.  No shoulds.

I’ve also realized that, like in college, I am what I write down.  In college, my mind was full of science facts and I used those to earn a degree.  Now, as I practice in my notebook,  I can go back to January 31 and remember that song I heard on Pandora by Ellie Holcomb and the words that so gently lifted me that day.  I can go back to February 6, a day I was thinking about peace and how I can have it from God no matter what my circumstances are.   I don’t always think deeply and I don’t always write things down.  But, when I do, I see what I am becoming, how I’m changing and growing.  I see what I care about and who I care about on the pages of my practice.   And I’m motivated to keep going.



One thought on “I Am What I Write Down

  1. I love this! I’ve been keeping my journal around. I love to write fave quotes from what I’m reading. My FAVORITE thing to do is go to the coffee shop with a journal, pen, and book. It recharges me so much!

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