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Capturing the Journey Different Ways

Deanna Hershiser

After my post last month about journaling and blogging, I thought some further discussion might be helpful. There's nothing like an eventful, thought-provoking few weeks to remind me how different chronicling life can look for myself from season to season, let alone for others.

I recall seeing pictures on a friend's blog of her journals, the pages resplendent with doodles, swatches, poetry. This activity can have so many variations. My one-page entry style is rather bland in comparison to many.

But it works for me. Lately I've found myself, almost all of a sudden, on a journey with Eastern Orthodoxy. My journal, writing notebook, and blog have all been called into service as I process what's happening in my heart.

Being my "published" venue, the blog lags in time compared to reality. In a post I try to put things together, condensing and shaping even though it's still a rough form. For instance, the day I decided I really needed to consider joining the Orthodox church my husband goes to, I notebooked and then journaled many details that will never see the light of blog. Yet after I had gained a little distance, the explanation I gave on my site felt more satisfactory, more ready for a larger audience of family and friends. And the comments I received seemed to confirm that my quick work to edit and polish helped strike a genuine chord.

At some point I may produce an essay about this time in my spiritual life. That effort, however, will require much more real work and the openness to art, to contradiction. I hope I will give my experience the fuller attention it might deserve.

I would love to hear accounts of others' journaling styles. Do you jot on napkins? Use your camera to capture meaningful moments? What form does your activity take as you process your significant turns and twists along life's road?

Deanna Hershiser’s essays have appeared in Runner’s World, BackHome Magazine, Relief, and other places. She lives with her husband in Oregon and blogs at