Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Guest Article: Why Journal? by Deborah Perdue

I am excited to introduce a special guest today, Deborah Perdue, to talk about a favorite topic of mine -- journaling.  Please give her a warm welcome, and share your thoughts with her below in the comment section!


Why Journal?! 
Guest Post by Deborah Perdue 
Author of Grace of Gratitude Journal

Most of my life I have journaled. I started out with secret diaries that locked when a young girl, so very personal and private and exciting to me. And I've always loved sharing what is going on with me, so a diary was perfect. I recall that my first diaries were focused on boys boys boys, being a typical American boy-crazy young girl.

My mother kept journals most of her life too. So emulating her, I continued to keep writing in journals after I graduated from locked diaries. As the years went by, I honesty got bored with my entries though! There were certain themes that reoccurred over and over, ad nausea, such as feeling too fat and wanting to lose weight. My love life was also a reoccurring theme and I also noticed that I usually wrote in my journal only when I was down-hearted so they could be depressing when I re-read them. I was a bit of a drama queen when younger too, and so my journals sometimes read like a soap opera. Mostly, I noticed too much repetition, even if cathartic, and so I quit keeping a journal for a time.

Then, I happened upon Julia Cameron's wonderful book, The Artist's Way. There she encouraged her readers to write “Morning Pages,” upon awakening each morning, before our thoughts get distracted with day-to-day living. I did this powerful practice for about year. Faithfully, right when I woke up, with my cup of coffee, I would use the stream of consciousness method she recommended, and pour my heart out for 20 minutes or so. Reading through these entries now, I see that it was a breakthrough in my journal writing, and helped me become a better writer too, There are precious gems of insight within my Morning Pages.

But the very best journal writing I have found is keeping a Gratitude Journal! I was introduced to this practice about 7 years ago at a spiritual center I attended. There, the minister gave out blank journals, during November, the traditional month of Thanksgiving, and encouraged us all to write 5 things we are grateful for in our journal each day for 40 days. (40 days of consistently doing something new creates a new habit in our lives.) Ever the good student, I began recording my thoughts of thankfulness for those first 40 days, and I continue to this day with this powerful, transformative practice.

In fact, I created and published the Grace of Gratitude Journal specifically because I wanted to invite readers to try daily gratefulness in their own lives. So the Journal is a mixture of inspiring short passages from my own gratitude journals; mixed with Tara Thelen's gorgeous watercolors for more inspiration, and then blank pages are provided to the reader to try the practice of being more aware of what they are grateful for.

From my own experience, I know that journaling personal feelings is healing, and journaling thoughts of gratitude is transformational, helping one to focus on what is good and right about his or her life, rather than what is missing. I now use both types of journals, and find the balance very fulfilling and rich. My personal journals are no longer the same old thing every day, and keeping a Gratitude Journal has helped me eventually reach out to the world, to make a positive difference in the world.

Gratitude is a passion for me, and I facilitate classes, retreats and workshops on the subject. I write blogs such as this one, and send out Daily Gratitude Thoughts to an email group. Being grateful has enhanced my life, with more joy and passion and exponential expansion that I ever imagined possible!

The images that adorn this article are from The Grace of Gratitude Journal, each is hand painted by internationally acclaimed artist Tara Thelen.


Deborah Perdue, RScP, is the author of Grace of Gratitude Journal, www.graceofgratitude.com. She teaches workshops, classes and facilitates retreats on the topics of gratitude, and how to bring joy and peace more fully into our lives. She has been a licensed practitioner at the Centers for Spiritual Living since 2007, serving the Grants Pass CSL. She offers spiritual counseling by phone or by skype. Ms. Perdue is also an accomplished book designer, www.illuminationgraphics.com and a nature photographer. She lives in the country of Southern Oregon with her husband and dogs.

Tara Thelen is an American artist living near Amsterdam. She is the illustrator for the Grace of Gratitude Journal. The inspiration for her work is emotion in all its various forms. As an artist, Tara’s drive is to create art that elicits strong, positive emotions – art that leaves an impression and truly touches those who view it. She teaches art lessons to children and teens at Museum Kranenburgh in the beautiful village of Bergen, near the North Sea, where she lives with her husband Paul and their two teenage boys. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries throughout the US, Europe, and the Pacific.


  1. I have tried journaling SO many times. I even managed to keep a gratitude/evening thoughts journal for a few months. But I can never keep it up. I can't even keep up an art journal on a regular basis. I totally lack discipline is my thinking.

    1. Becca Lostinbooks ... I definitely do not journal on a regular basis either, though I would like to do it more regularly than I currently do. But really, isn't some better than none. Maybe you need it more during the times that you do actually do it?!?


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