“Pink and White Pages,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 59
Keeping a journal! I thought. What an agonizing struggle! I was a mother with five small children. My husband was busy with his Church calling, and we were trying to start a business. I wanted to follow the counsel of a prophet of the Lord to keep a journal, but when I wrote, it was so unfulfilling. I wrote about what my children had done to test my patience and how tired and frustrated I was. I didn’t have much spirituality in my life or my journal, and I wanted to change.
After praying about my situation, I read the prophet Nephi’s words in 1 Nephi 9:3–5 [1 Ne. 9:3–5]. Part of verse 4 really caught my attention: “Wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people.”
I realized that Nephi was keeping a separate record of the spiritual progress of his people! I decided that I should follow this direction in my journal writing.
I have always written my journal on loose pages in a folder. To have two journals I decided to keep my spiritual account on pink pages and my everyday events on white pages. My goal was to eventually have more written on pink pages than white. I thought that if this happened it would mean that I was becoming more spiritual.
After two weeks I was still struggling to fill one pink page. And, in fact, I had begun in my frustration to write even more on the white pages. What had gone wrong with my plan? After praying again I realized my problem was not in what was happening, but in my attitude toward the everyday events of my life. I wasn’t appreciating my blessings or approaching my activities in a spiritual way. I pondered how I could possibly turn everyday happenings into entries on my pink pages.
I started by observing my children’s activities more closely and quietly with the hope of enjoying them more. I then wrote on my pink pages short, positive comments about them, what they did, and how they each made me feel. Instead of recording my frustrations on the white pages, I began to write my feelings of gratitude. After one month my pink pages outnumbered the white! Even seemingly negative experiences began to take an important place on my pink pages as I learned to express my feelings in a more constructive way. I also re-corded how I felt before and after my prayers. This helped me learn to listen and recognize answers from God.
The prophet Nephi wrote: “Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not” (1 Ne. 9:5). When I started writing on the pink pages of my journal, I thought it was a great idea. It wasn’t until I focused on the “hidden” spiritual elements of my life that I truly began to realize His “wise purpose” for me.
By negatively dwelling on the mundane or the crises in our lives, we may miss the spiritual promptings that can come. We can strive to appreciate our blessings and record in our journals how we have been enabled to conquer our afflictions with the Lord’s help.
After a while I stopped keeping different colors of pages. My attitude toward life has become more positive, and my journal keeping has become a spiritual habit. To this day, before I write in my journal, I stop and ask myself, How many “pink” experiences have I had? It has helped me stay spiritually “in the pink.”