Henry named them.
He asked me what I was working on and I said “my art journals” and he said “can I see your heart journals?” (no ‘r’s pronounced, of course), and I said “of course you can” ……and never wanted to call them anything else ever again.
And they are heART journals. They are my whole heart.
They hold, inside them, the stories of my life.
My ticket stubs from a Brooks n Dunn concert.
My current ‘to read’ list.
They are where I schmear paint around without overthinking. And then paint over it again if my mood changes…
….Where I doodle garden plans…
They have pages of pressed flowers that have been handed to me in sunny meadows and leaves that have been picked up on muddy trails.
There are pockets with love letters tucked inside….
My Grandma’s pie crust recipe.
The smudgy black footprints of my newborn babes.
They have pages stained with tears, postcards from around the world, birthday cards from when I was 6…… the painted lyrics of a Ben Howard song.
They have maps of places I have been….. brochures of places I want to go.
They are where I keep Tate’s first family portrait and where he taped in a feather from his beloved chicken.
They are where I record Finnegan’s first words and his baby fist scribbles.
I have always had a deep love of stories….
I always wanted to hear them, always wanted to read them, always wanted to write them, always wanted to share them.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I wanted a place to do all of that. I bought a blank journal and on the first page I wrote a letter to my unborn child (plot twist: this ended up being a letter to TWO babies #twinlife)…..
I wanted to to introduce myself. To catch them up on all that has happened so far. Who I was on that day.
What I wanted for them.
What I wanted for me.
What I wanted for our family.
I wanted them to know about my childhood… how I met their Dad, the kind of man he is, the places we had been together………
It all started with that one letter…. and just kept going.
It started out for them…. but ended up being for all of us.
For the last 8 years I have been pouring my thoughts, gluing our photos, and recording our lives in between these pages.
They have become my most valuable treasure.
When I started showing them to friends and family, it became clear to me that they were more than just journals. They captivated people.
Over and over again I would hear them say “I wish my mom had done this…”
“I wish I had done this.”
“I wish I could do this.”
That’s when I realized that they belong in every house.
A version of them.
Your stories. Your pictures. Your dreams. Your words.
We all want something tangible for us to hold on to that tells our story. Something to remind us of moments we might someday forget. Something that tells tales of our adventures long after we are gone. Something that reminds us of where we come from and of the people who came before us.
I realized this is something I am good at… I can teach this… I can show people how simple and rewarding and magical it can be.
How every day, even the hard ones (especially the hard ones), has a moment of beauty and something you want to remember in it.
How to think of your life as the legacy that it is… how to tell your story that wants to be told.