Chicken Soup for the Scrapbooker's Soul
My thoughts on "Journal the Hurts; Scrapbook the Highs"

Scrapbook Journaling: Journal the Hurts; Scrapbook the Highs

By Joanna Campbell Slan,
First North American Rights for publication in e-mail serial form
First published on Graceful Bee online scrapbooking magazine

Allow me to introduce my new mantra. Many of you have written to ask how do you scrapbook a rough patch in your life. Whether that rough patch is a child's problematic year in school, a spiteful in-law, a soured romance or a lamentable first marriage, the place to explore your feelings is in a journal.

Life's disappointments are like sewage. It has to be processed before it can be non-toxic. That anger you feel toward your mother-in-law may change one day, when you understand how it feels to watch your darling son walk off into the sunset with another woman. The pain of a bad school year pales when your child is linked with a teacher who finds the good in every child and nurtures your child to a peak performance.

Trust me, kiddos. I'm older than I could once imagine. Each week I am forced -- and I do mean forced -- to re-evaluate a tidbit of life that I would have sworn is true. While looking for a blank journal, I pulled down a journal I'd written in sparsely. How different I am. How much I've grown. How thankful I am that those experiences led me to this place.

Will I ever scrapbook any of this? Oh, sure. But I'll scrap them now with hindsight. Now if I do a page on my son's horrible school year, I'll include the song we sang called the CDS Blues. Now I'll think about that jerky boyfriend, and remember he introduced me to lobster and fried clams. That spiteful in-law? Last week he learned he'd held a misconception about me for 17 years. That page will wait. The first marriage? It led me here. Without that misstep I would not have appreciated the man I'm married to now…and forever. I can scrap the old by celebrating the new. Enough said.

But all of that, dear ones, is hindsight. Worked out in a journal. Processed through prayer. And not necessarily what I'd pay homage to on a scrapbook page. Life's too short to waste creative energy on bad times. Instead, I'll devote my pages to the good and the uplifting. Let my journal shelter my growing pains, and let my memory album showcase my best self.

Copyright Joanna Slan, 2001. All Rights Reserved

[Editor's Note: Joanna Campbell Slan is one of the earliest pioneers of scrapbooking journaling -- I would in fact call her the "Mother of Scrapbook Journaling" as we know it.  She has written 6 books for scrapbookers including her original book, Scrapbook Storytelling, which has sold more than 35,000 copies. You can sign up for Joanna's journaling newsletter at]

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SO TRUE... TYFS this tidbit- a very important tidbit!!

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