Journaling: A Good Practice – Part 1

journaling.jpgJournals take a myriad of forms these days. For some, their social media posts are their journals. Some prefer handwriting their journal entries, others prefer to type them. I have an elderly friend who can no longer see well enough to write or type, so her grandson set her up to make voice recorded journal entries.

Journaling is a must for those who aspire to be writers—recreationally or professionally.

My dad, a Navy Corpsman attached to the 3rd Marine Division on Iwo Jima and Guam during WWII, kept a journal of names, injuries, scene descriptions, sketches of the islands, and stories that he used as a basis for a book he wrote over 40 years later.

I have kept a journal since my late teens and strongly encourage those I know to journal, particularly when they are in the midst of major changes and/or struggles. We always think we will remember the details, but we don’t. Most of the devotionals and blogs I have written are based on my journal entries.

I was encouraging one of my counselees to journal, she replied, “Journaling isn’t for me! I don’t have the patience, time, or inclination to learn how to do something new!”

I responded,

“Make your own rules! Your unique personality will shine brightly through entries that reflect the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical aspects of your life.”

Writing Prompt: I was at the grocery story and over heard a lady say …

Following are some of the things I shared with my young friend about my current journaling practices.

Recording the following in my journal during my daily morning quiet time:

  • Prayers confessing my sin with notations of Scripture referencing an aspect of God’s character.
  • My feelings: anxiety, fear, sadness, excitement, happiness, depression, ambivalence.
  • At least three things for which I am thankful—these often surface while reading past entries that remind me of God’s mercy, grace, faithfulness, and love that has enabled me to walk through every situation.
  • Scripture I read in my quiet time. Any words or phrases that stand out to me and related passages that come to mind. Ideas for further study, teaching, counseling, and writing.
  • Prayer requests—my own and for others. Leave a little space to record how and when the request is answered.
  • Spiritual, emotional, mental and physical areas in which I need to improve.

Throughout the day as thoughts and ideas come to mind, I may record some of the following:

  • All sorts of things that happen.
  • I try to record related Scriptures. (Writers, these are good fodder for devotionals, articles, and even books!)
  • Ideas for study, teaching, and writing.
  • Add to my “want to read” list.
  • Names of people and ways to encourage them.
  • Decision-making charts.
  • Ministry evaluation.
  • New people I meet and pertinent facts about them.
  • Goals, plans, dreams.
  • Brain download of random thoughts, ideas from the day.

Before I go to bed, I pull all the things I have written, emailed and texted to myself into my journal. And, I usually think of things I need to add!

Don’t get bogged down with how you journal or what you put in your journal—just start journaling!

Don’t miss Pt. 2! Find it here tomorrow morning.

Click to Tweet: Make your own rules! Your unique personality will shine brightly through entries that reflect the spiritual, emotional, mental, and phsycial aspects of your life. –Shirley Crowder on Journaling: A Good Practice (Part 1) #InspiredPrompt #journaling

1st Saturday Extra: Do Writing Prompts Really Work?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Today is our first installment of a new monthly series called 1st Saturday Extra. Each month, we’ll share a testimonial or more personal interview from someone in the writing world. So pull up a chair and enjoy my thoughts on writing prompts.

I believe in writing prompts.

I really do.

The name of our writing blog originally was Writing Prompts, Thoughts, & Ideas…Oh My! Yes, I know it was too long, but at the time I thought it was clever. We’ve shortened it to The Inspired Prompt. Prompts can be pivotal to our writing career.

Prompts may truly be inspired. Why do I feel this way?

In the spring of 2019, my first novel will be released from Firefly Southern Fiction. I am beyond thrilled, ecstatic, and Snoopy dancing. It’s my dream come true.

And it started with a small writer’s group and three simple phrases: Wedding dress designer, dusty baseball cap, faded blue coveralls. From that simple beginning in 2009, a short story was birthed which turned into a novella and finally a novel.

I have two more works-in-progress (WIP) with a few thousand words (if you’re a writer, you’ll understand) and they also had a humble beginning with prompts.

Why do prompts spark creativity? To me, the subconscious is always at work for a writer with feelings and storylines just below the surface waiting to be unleashed. Writing prompts are one way to release them. My novel could have had a different occupation or clothing item if the prompt had been different but I believe the storyline probably would’ve been similar.

Prompts, thoughts, and ideas work best with free writing, where you just let your imagination run and try to keep up with it on a keyboard or with a pen. Now my novel is very different from that original bit of free writing. But the foundation was set that day in 2009 and soon will be in print.

I can’t wait for that day.

So, why don’t you try it out? Every Monday and Friday, we’ll share a post with some type of writing prompt. I’ll be sharing one at the bottom of this post also. Find a quiet place and take the sentence, items, or picture prompt, then write down all that comes to mind.

One day, we might be reading your novel. And you’ll tell people it all started with a prompt.

Click to tweet: Why do writing prompts spark creativity? Read on. @InspiredPrompt #amwriting #writingprompt

Writing Prompt: Use these four items to create a story: deli sandwich, Atlanta, aging horse, and a deserted farmhouse. If you’d like, share a bit with us in the comment section below.

Happy Writing!

deserted farmhouse

Autumn and More Winners


Autumn has arrived in all its colorful splendor. I love the cool evenings, falling leaves, and football. And I know you’ll love the three new winners in September.

Who are they?

Tracey Lyon’s  novel, A Changed Agent, has been won by Lientjie Human. Woo hoo!

Lori Stanley Roeleveld’s book, Jesus and the Beanstalk, goes to Caryl Kane! Congratulations!

Angela D. Meyer’s novel, Where Healing Starts, is gifted to DK Stevens. Yay!


A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.  It’s such a simple way to win. Just leave a comment on a Wednesday or Saturday post and you’re entered to win that specific book or gift card.

And don’t forget that next month we’ll give away more books. See you then...


Grand Prize Winners of Our Once Upon a Christmas Giveaway

Wow. 2016 is here. And nothing is more fun than announcing winners to kick off this new year.

Let’s start with Lori Stanley Roeleveld’s book Red Pen Redemption. The winner is…Phee Paradise. Congrats, Phee!

Once Upon a Christmas Giveaway

We offered three sets of prizes for our grand prize winners.

Readers giveaway – $25 Barnes and Noble card, Books: Tessa and Clara BessWarm Mulled Kisses box set, Crooked Lines, Plum Pudding Bride

Writer’s giveaway – $10 Starbucks card, Books: The First Five Pages, The Time Keeper,  Heart Seekers box set, Tsunami 2004

Shopper’s giveaway – $10 Walmart gift card, bracelet, necklace and earrings, Books: Glimpses of the Savior devotions, First and Goal (football devotional)

Now the moment you are all waiting for:drum roll

We are happy to announce three big winners:

(1)Reader’s giveaway-Caryl Kane.

(2)Writer’s giveaway-Sparks of Ember.

(3)Shopper’s giveaway-Deborah Dunson.

Congratulations to all our winners! We’ll be getting in touch with you soon so we can send those gifts to you!

We’ll also be having another big giveaway to celebrate our blog’s 4-year anniversary. Our Blogaversary!

Make sure to leave comments on our Monday and Friday posts in 2016 to be eligible for more great prizes throughout the year…and don’t forget our weekly 3 Questions Wednesday interviews.

We’d also like to give a big shout out for our top four commenters of 2015:

Hip Hip Hooray to Deanna, Sparks, Amy, and Caryl!

fireworks 2

Greatest Movie Ever

IMG_6676by Holly Michael

Greatest Movie Ever?

GROUNDHOG DAY for sure! A sarcastic, smug TV weatherman (Phil Connors played by Bill Murray) is dispatched to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2nd to cover the story of the groundhog that predicts the arrival of spring—on time or late.


Phil, the main character, has to live Groundhog Day over and over again…until he gets it right.

I lived close to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the year the movie came out. On the February 2nd following the movie’s release, I bundled up my two little ones and we went to the annual celebration.

It was cold! FREEEZING-BONE-NUMBING-NO-SIGN-OF-GROUNDHOG COLD!!! Not exactly the quaint town in the movie, but then again, I was frozen and huddling with my kids (dressed in 37 layers under their snowsuits.)

I was glad I didn’t have to stay in Punxsutawney and live that Groundhog Day over and over again. In fact, I am so glad I escaped that frozen tundra in the Appalachian Mountains…where Spring doesn’t come until the Fourth of July, lasts one day, then Summer slams you for a month until you get that one beautiful fall day in September, then Winter again. And repeat.

That almost looks like a groundhog hugging onto St. Francis!

That almost looks like a groundhog hugging onto St. Francis! – Photo by Holly Michael

In the movie, GROUNDHOG DAY, Phil (realizing he has to live the day over) at first does the “I can get away with anything” stuff—gets drunk, commits crimes, and all sorts of uninhibited acts that land him in jail even. Then he just gets depressed and tries to kill himself. No matter what—even certain death—he can’t get out of the time loop and wakes up every morning to February 2nd with Sonny and Cher singing, “I Got You Babe,” on the clock radio. Too funny!

So Bill Murray (Phil) goes on to endear himself to the entire town by memorizing details of the townsfolk and by just being a really nice guy. His goal is to get the girl—and he goes from cynic to sweet in a redemptive way that makes you come to love him.

Love this movie! Everything about it! Its redemptive message is very inspiring and make you think; what if you had to live the same day over and over until you got it right?

With Christ, we gain redemption, a chance begin a fresh new day despite our mistakes of the past.


photo by morguefile

God gives us a new day, a fresh start, when we wake up, not with Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe, but to forgiveness through Jesus Christ. God is ready, always, to extend a hand and offer new life in Him. Mercy and grace is available anew, each day, even when we are in the midst of the worst day ever.

One of my worst days was when my son Jake was diagnosed with type one diabetes. My heart broke for my sweet fourteen year old and I wished I could take this auto-immune disease upon myself. But God uses all things for the good for those who love Him.

Jake, just after his diagnosis. He'd gone onto the football field and everyone was cheering. See how thin he was.

Jake, just after his diagnosis. He’d gone onto the football field and everyone was cheering. See how thin he was.

Today, at age 25, my son says that diabetes forced him to be more discipled and to push himself even harder. It’s what made him who he is, he says. Jake went on to play in the NFL and today he has a new book out, a devotional, First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. He’s also starting a foundation (Type Won) to help kids with diabetes stay active and healthy.

Jake with his new bride, Emma.

Jake with his new bride, Emma.

So, if we are caught in a never-ending loop of bad circumstances or disappointment and don’t feel like–despite our prayers–we are being delivered out of them, talk to the Lord. Ask God how he can use these situations for the good.

WRITING PROMPT: Consider a day you wish never happened. What if you had to live that day again and again until you got it right? What would you do differently? How would different decisions send you down a new path? What if you couldn’t change the day, but could change your circumstances by changing your attitude? What could you accomplish if you truly embraced that God could use these bad circumstances for something amazing?

Have a great day!