I admit it–I’m a little bit obsessed with anything that belongs on a desk. Notebooks, pens, journals, even paperclips and staplers make me grin. When I walk into an office supply store, it takes great restraint to look only for what I need and not every pretty shade of ink, fun notebook, or shiny new desk accessory. And journals in particular I find so tempting.

All those pretty blank pages. A beautiful cover. Sometimes even a ribbon marker! YES, PLEASE!

Do I have “too many” journals sitting on my desk as I type this? Some would say so. But they gave me the idea for today’s post, so let’s just call them inspiration. 😉

Journal comes from the Latin diurnalis, which means “daily.” If you’re like me, you may be looking at that jou and the diu and be scratching your head at the different sounds, but we have the French to thank/blame for that change. 😉 Keeping in mind that j in French makes a kind of soft d sound, it becomes easier to understand. Apparently this shift happens especially when the d is followed by an iu combo. So the French became jurnal, used for a book of daily accounts of work or travel.

Interestingly, when the word jumped from French to English in the 1300s, it was used solely as “a book of church services,” no doubt to track daily mass. By the late 1400s, it began to be used for any “book used to track daily accounts.” By about 1600, it took on the “personal diary” meaning. And finally, by 1728, it could be used for “a daily publication.”

I use mine for keeping track of prayer requests; organizing before and after trips; occasionally writing prayerful or faith musings; writing down dreams and goals; and most frequently for keeping track of my running to-do lists, so very much in that “daily accounts” sense. Are you a journal lover? What do you use yours for most often?

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