Journaling June – Are You In?

I have two things for you today. First, a bit of housekeeping, followed by a fun challenge for June.


I try to stay a few articles ahead, with a few in process at all times. Right now, I’ve burned through what I had in reserve. For the next month or so, I will probably be doing shorter-than-normal update articles.

I was fine through the filming, but I managed to catch some ugly crud that has been kicking my butt. No, it’s not Covid, according to four tests, but it’s long and stubbornly hanging on.

Who has time to be sick???

Later in June, I have a planned trip.

Plus, I’m still working. My backlog of emails is daunting and growing.

Then, Sunday happened.

I now have a completely unplanned trip that has not been firmed up quite yet.

It’s a funeral. I lost someone near and dear to my heart, with no warning.

I’m reeling.

I’m struggling between gratitude for having her in my life and grief for all of the things left undone.

I will write about this blow, eventually, but right now, I have to get past the crud and process some of this grief. It’s a beautiful story, truly, but I at least need to get through the funeral first. Being sick has complicated everything, as has distance.

As genealogists, we deal with birth and death every day. But when the Grim Reaper sneaks one in on us like this, it’s entirely different.

One of the hardest things to do is enter that death date in our genealogy software. It’s just so final and always speaks to what might have been – but can no longer be.

If anything, this death has brought home even more succinctly how important it is to make spending time with family members a priority. Just being together and talking.

What stories do they know that you don’t? Or maybe the same stories but from a different perspective, with missing details. Do they have photos that you might not? Or documents? Don’t presume that you have the same memories or perspective about the same event or family member. You’ll be surprised!

What is your favorite thing about that person? Your most cherished memories?

Here’s my absolute favorite memory with Cheryl. I’ll tell you this story soon.

You don’t have to wait until you get that call to write those stories – or tell them.

Journaling June

My friend, Appalachian storyteller Stephen “Doc” Hollen has been writing and publishing a numbered chapter of a “book,” here, every day for more than three years – at about 3:15 every morning. Actually, by now, it’s several books, but I digress.

Ole Doc Hollen is an amazing author, and by now, his loyal readers know all of these characters who live on Limestone Ridge. We can hardly wait for each morning to read the next chapter – and he often leaves us hanging despite our whining and cajoling. Sometimes we forget those “people” aren’t “real,” yet they are in a sense. The Carpenter family and neighbors are a mashup of his ancestors and people in his ancestral neighborhood.

In Doc’s recent chapters, journals of the Carpenter brothers, the original settlers, had been found in a trunk. Aunt Bess was reading and transcribing them, expanding the family genealogy. Then, miraculously, another cousin appears out of no place and…

See, now you’re hooked too.

Journaling June

Let’s just say that Doc Hollen suggested that we all participate in “Journaling June” where everyone journals during the month of June.

That’s not a huge commitment, right!

And you can do it on your own terms, in your own way.

Ironically, I was already working on an article about recording experiences.

Let me give you some ideas.

Journaling Ideas

A journal can be something as easy as a few notes every day, or something in-depth where you share your deepest thoughts. If you can’t write about yourself, write to yourself or to someone else.

Or maybe tell a story from the perspective of someone close to you.

Or focus on a favorite or specific topic.

You can also compare and contrast your life to that of an ancestor. Your upcoming June plus a June in the life of your parent or grandparent.

Or your early life and life now. Expectations versus where life’s path took you.

Here is a list of a few ideas:

  • Food
  • The kitchen
  • Chores
  • Home
  • Work
  • Mealtime
  • Hygiene
  • Utilities
  • Clothes
  • Laundry
  • Education
  • Teachers
  • Weather
  • Transportation
  • Your First Car
  • Performances
  • Passions
  • Passtimes and hobbies
  • Religion
  • Health
  • Challenges
  • Charity
  • Best Traits
  • Legacy
  • Births
  • Family Members
  • Funeral Customs
  • Heartbreak
  • First Love
  • Weddings
  • Pranks
  • Inspiration
  • Pets
  • Turning Points
  • Gratitude
  • Travel
  • Vacations
  • Secrets
  • Advice to others
  • Advice to your younger self
  • DNA
  • Holidays

I’m sure you can think of more topics to add. What would you enjoy?

What do you wish your ancestors had written about and left for you in a journal?

Will you join me in Journaling June?

Find your favorite pen and something you would enjoy writing in for a month. I use either legal pads or, sometimes, on a trip, I journal in a nice little leather portfolio binder with a removable pad. It makes me feel like an explorer!

Of course, you could photo-journal, collage, blog, paint, simply type into a document or just about anything else you can imagine.

You can even start with Memorial Day and share your family customs along with what you’re doing this year. What was the funniest thing that ever happened at a Memorial Day event in your family?

Tell me in the comments about what you’re doing for Journaling June.


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13 thoughts on “Journaling June – Are You In?

  1. My condolences for your loss and prayers for a speedy recovery. Hugs & prayers. Love you Roberta ❤️

  2. I am so sorry you lost a precious friend. Your simple comment about how hard it is to write in a death date on someone’s file squeezed my heart. Over the years I’ve lost several friends and I cannot delete their emails. Thinking of deletion feels so final and even disrespectful to my friends. The death date on a form is equally distressing to think about.

  3. I’m sorry for your unexpected loss Roberta. You will always have the memories to hold dear in your heart.
    I have been feeling guilty in recent years about the fact that I spend so much time searching for “relatives” long gone, that I don’t have the time, or energy, to keep in communication with my living relatives. I’m trying to change that. Thank you for creating such an interesting challange…..I shall commit to something I’ve been “thinking” about doing but haven’t started yet. For my “June Journaling” I will gather the many photos I have taken with these cousins and other family members and share them in photo books and/or on flash drives. Trips taken, reunions attended and special (or everyday) adventures done together.

  4. Roberta,
    My deepest condolences go out to you in losing a very longtime close friend. Your grief is also compounded with your feeling so sick. I pray that you heal soon and continue with all you have planned. Especially being able to attend your most dearest friends funeral. Yes, it is so hard to say goodbye especially when thr passing is unexpected. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Kathy

  5. So sorry for your loss, Roberta. I have been following Amy Johnson Crow for several years and I’ve participated in her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for the past two years. This year, I’m adding stories about my husband and myself. I’m writing for my children and grandchildren and we are their ancestors! I’m working on ideas for the June stories now.

    • I love Any Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestor series. I’ve done it every year and that’s what got me started to actually focus on one ancestor at a time, and one each week. It’s amazing what you can find, isn’t it!

  6. Sorry for the loss of your good friend. I hope you feel better soon. Maybe a bit of a timeout is not a bad idea. Time to heal all around.

    Your journaling challenge did get me thinking.

    The biggest defect in my research is that I just can’t seem to consistently keep research logs. I’ve watch “how-to” videos, read blogs on the same and listened to sage advice on podcasts. Somehow, I can just can’t seem to stick with any one process.

    I like may others have been watching the LegacyTree series of Webinars by Elizabeth Shown Mills. One thing that really caught my attention was that she primarily works directly into a word processor for each research project. I think this includes her citations ( ie, research logs).

    While “not quite” a journal, I think I will challenge myself to record any research I do on any day into a Project Document, similarly capturing a “log”.

    I think one my of problems has been that often my research doesn’t quite fit into the spreadsheet, or database, or other official LOG. The flexibility of just writing into a project document, might work better for me. And the challenge to write or journal daily, may get me started. Thanks for the challenge.

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