Years ago, when I was in school to become a teacher, I learned about interactive science journals in a professional development session. An interactive science journal is a tool used in the classroom to strengthen learning of the content through student participation in their journal. These journals have been found useful with kiddos because they use both the left and right sides of the brain to organize, comprehend, and create with new information they are learning. When we started attending church regularly a few years ago, I would leave each Sunday with the sermon notes. They started to pile up in the car, on my nightstand, and in my Bible bag. I couldn't get rid of them because they had such great notes on them that I wanted to save. I wanted to be able to reference them later when some crisis came up like they always do LOL. While I was swimming in my pile of notes one Sunday, I remembered how I used to use an interactive journal when I taught science. I remembered how it was such a great way for my students to keep all notes and handouts from me organized and easily accessible to use in the classroom or at home for homework. It also provided space for them to process the lesson in their own way so that they could remember it better and so it would have more meaning for them. I decided that I would apply that same process for my sermon notes.
The next day I went to the store and bought a simple composition notebook like this one below. These are super sturdy and I love how well bound the pages are. I like to decorate the first single page with a verse that has been speaking to me at the time. All of the entries will use both the left and right page of the journal so the front page is a good spot to add some flare. I am by no means an artist and have been doodling the same way since middle school/ high school when I used to write notes to my friends and stick them in their lockers (ouch, just dated myself pretty bad LOL).
Each Sunday we get a new handout that includes the Sermon Notes for that week . I like to tear off the outline page of the handout and glue it onto the left side of the journal. Yes, I carry a glue stick in my church bag (I am a teacher after all LOL) where I keep my Bible, journal, snacks, pens, and random things my kiddos make me carry.
After I am all glued in, I like to put the title for the current series on the right hand page. While our pastor is preaching, I follow along and write main points on the provided outline on the left page. Then as he talks, I take notes and put them on the right hand page. I doodle. I jot. I make sure my heart is open and ready to receive God's word and record what I feel like are the most important concepts so I can try to implement them in my life. This side is also where I like to use small images to help me remember what is important.
REASONS WHY I LOVE MY SERMON NOTES JOURNALS:
1. They keep all of my thoughts and notes organized in one place.
2. It allows me to have room to take notes and to draw images which help me process what I am learning.
3. My journals allow me to document my walk and track my personal growth.
4. I can use them as a resource to extend my knowledge of the Word.
5. The blank page allows me to bring the sermon points to life a bit with my doodles.
6. I am a very visual learner and taking notes is one way I learn best.
7. My journals allow me to reflect on where I have been and how God is working in my life.
This is my second journal. My first one took me about 2 years to get to the last page. To others they may be just a notebook. It might be something that a guest may over look when they come into my home as one of our kiddos coloring journals, but to me they are some of the most valuable things I own. My heart was softened on those pages. My faith grew. My pride diminished. To me, my journals are my new heart, I am so proud of them for no other reason than that. Finding an organization system for papers that works best for you can be tricky. I hope you all find this way helpful. I'd love to hear how you have been keeping all of your "heart softening" materials in line. Leave a comment below :)
Growing my gifts according to His grace.
~With love, Danielle Mae