I started a sermon journal in January 2013-my first attempt to intentionally jot down my thoughts and notes in a journal as part of sermon preparation. I took the journal with me to the ecumenical pastor lectionary (Bible readings for the upcoming Sunday) on Tuesday mornings and faithfully recorded the collective comments/thoughts of the participating pastors. It proved to be an exceptional art and theological reflection discipline as well as excellent preparation for preaching and teaching. This became ingrained in my life as a spiritual practice on several levels:
(1) Mindlessly painting the pages with watercolors and/or acrylic glazes in whatever (strange) assortment of color combinations I felt like at the time. It was a reason to experiment with different color combinations, white & black gesso, brushes, sponge painting and stenciling. I usually painted the backgrounds a batch at a time on evenings when I wanted to do art but didn't really have time for more than 15-30 minutes.
(3) The journal became a record of my preaching. I don't write out my sermons; rather I jot down bits of notes on post-it notes on the pages in the Bible around the Sunday reading. Those get thrown away Monday morning when I begin the next week's preparation, so I have not had a written record of anything I've preached. Until the sermon journal. It's not the sermon-but guts behind it!
(5) It has inspired me for general note-taking. Instead of the bland blank white page, I realize that I am more creative in general when I'm jotting down notes on a pretty page that has been swirled with colors. It also has been fun to have a simple place to experiment with different types of writing utensils: colored pencils, glitter pens, colored markers, and colored pencil on black gesso.