Reflections by the Lake

Journaling Life's Journey

Janice Gray Kolb

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ISBN: 978-1-57733-245-9, 248 pp., 28 photos, 6x9, paperback, $17.95

Also by Jan Kolb:
Compassion for All Creatures
Journal of Love
The Enchantment of Writing
Higher Ground
Beneath the Stars & Trees ... there is a place
Beside the Still Waters
In Corridors of Eternal Time
Solace of Solitude
A Pilgrim on Life's Road
Silent Keepers
The Adventures of Luki Tawdry
Reverence for All Life
Whispered Notes

In Reflections by the Lake, the author has replicated some of the jottings from five of the many dozens of journals she has written over a lifetime. No effort was made to correct grammar or sentence structure, or even to put her thoughts in a more readable form. They appear in this book exactly as she wrote them, except for some deletions made because of their personal nature. Because her life has been built around an active meditation and prayer life, she has interspersed the journal entries with chapters on various aspects of meditation. These meditations contain poems, quotations, and real helps for allowing you to find peace and contentment.

To expose one's self by revealing things from those secret places in the mind can present a real challenge. Jan has accepted that challenge in an attempt to help others as she has helped herself. She has contributed much to her own happiness by simply recording events and reactions, then later reading and reviewing them. As a result of reading, meditation, and reviewing her own journal entries, she is better qualified to face life's every day assaults.

Jan has kept journals not only to record events, experiences, and issues currently active in her life, but also to analyze them. Journaling explores thought processes and provides a reference point for future thoughts. A journal also involves study and analysis of the writer's life and the direction that life is taking. It provides reflections and observations to which the writer can return to examine and interpret experiences and observations in order to better understand them. The journal becomes a check-list for life’s goals and enables those goals to be fulfilled to a greater degree. In reviewing what was previously written, the author may develop a much clearer view of the events that were recorded. She may then be in a better position to analyze what her real goal was, what really happened, if her response was correct, and how she could have responded better. She may also be in a better position to determine the significance of the recorded event and reflect on what she learned, what new insights were gained and how she now feels about that situation.

By reading this book it is the author's wish that some of the truths that she has discovered will be imparted to you, and that you will find thoughts that you will appropriate to enhance and fulfill your own life.

adapted from "A Word In Preparation" by Robert A. Kolb Jr.


"Kolb’s latest gift to her readers is a brave and provocative look into her soul and how, through journaling, she (and now we) can see her evolvement both as a spiritual person and a writer through poetry and prose. With her spiritual companion (Rochester) always by her side, she challenges us to pick up our pens and follow her in the art of journaling." Jeanne Quinn, author/photojournalist/book reviewer—Pocono Record

"Reflections by the Lake touched my soul in a very deep place, causing me to reflect on my own life and on my relationship with God. Janice Kolb’s courageous transparency can’t help but have a lasting impact that is sure to inspire the reader to write." Nancy Richards, author of Heal and Forgive: Forgiveness in the Face of Abuse

"Janice Kolb understands the healing power of the written word. Telling a story forces us to question, to wonder, to evaluate, and ultimately, to decide, and through this process we come to better understand and cope with the world around us. The prose, poems, and songs she shares in her books are more than one woman's comment on the human experience; they are a prescription for surmounting the sorrows, and celebrating the joys, that come with this crazy thing we call life." Michael Burnham, author of Jig of the Union Loller

"This is vintage Jan Kolb. Wow! You will find many treasures - quotes and poems - along the way. In her honesty she reveals both weaknesses and strengths, and that in turn encourages struggling journal-writers like me." Rev. Don Richards, retired United Methodist pastor (and sometime poet), Levittown, PA.

Table of Contents

A Word in Preparation

Meditation 1: The Importance and Holiness of Journal Keeping
Jan’s Journal: All Things Are Possible
Meditation 2: The Keeping and Care of Journals—now and forever
Meditation 3: Talking to Paper
Jan’s Journal: Green and Violet Journal
Meditation 4: Journaling Through Grief and All Seasons of the Soul
Jan’s Journal: Spiral Notebook Journal
Meditation 5: A Journal Entry by Clayton
Jan’s Journal: Journal of Love
Meditation 6: Necessities and Accessories
Jan’s Journal: Colorful Garden
Meditation 7 The Journals of Cecily Mary Barker
Meditation 8: Jameson Up North
Meditation 9: My Musical Pictorial Journal
Jan’s Journal: Woodland Colors
Meditation 10: Friday Miracles—Gifts from Mary and Rochester
Meditation 11: Dreams

A Remembrance
Hymn: Sweet Release


You create your journal. It is conceived in your spirit and born as a living extension of yourself emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. My book Higher Ground was written from a journal that I kept when I came to our cottage in the woods in 1986 and made a retreat for a week with only my kitten Rochester as my companion. I had never stayed in the woods before without Bob and my children. I have tried since I was a child to daily write in a diary (or journal) and at times succeeded. And some had locks and keys. But more often great lapses would occur in my journals. To one who writes in this form it can be very upsetting at times—other times it can be handled well and one just continues. But basically always that particular lapse where one may not have written for several days or weeks or months is plaguing the writer until he moves on and keeps writing and convinces himself it is impossible to remember all the segments of time in detail he let lapse, and continuing rather proves himself to himself,—and says, “See, you are not so bad after all.” I am speaking for myself in that last sentence for I carry guilt continually within me, so an empty page or more may hit me harder than it does most, but I suspect the majority of serious journal keepers are much like myself. Forgive me if that is not so. I just have my suspicions from published journals of others that I have read or from authors writing abut journal keeping but that have not published their own.

I do not want to give the impression that keeping a journal is unpleasant and filled with rules. It is not! It is quite the opposite! It is wonderful! There are no rules! That is the beauty of it all. I would not have been writing in journals for all of these years if it were not so.

For the past thirty years or more it has been my custom to actually make the sign of the cross with my pen on the top of each piece of paper I write on in a letter, in a journal, brief notes, or on anything I write. It is making a blessing on my words and on the recipient if it is a letter, and is a reminder of God’s presence. It is just a practice I was led by the spirit to do. There are crosses in pencil on every sheet of loose leaf paper I have filled as I write this present manuscript now. I feel that Jesus was showing me that our writing is Holy and should be respected. A cross is at the top of every handwritten page of every manuscript I have ever written. My journals, from sometime in the seventies on, all have crosses on every page. You may wish to pray and be open to a similar way to remind yourself that your writing is spiritual and Holy, for it is. Then you will respect it as a Holy discipline and practice.

Some years after I began doing this I read in a journal of Thomas Merton’s, a well known Monk who had lived in the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky, that he too inscribed a cross at the top of all his written pages. He too kept journals and wrote books and is known far and wide by people of all faiths and especially by his journal Sign of Jonas. He was a kindred spirit whom I came to know through his many books. His writings caused a deep desire to keep writing in my journals and to enter the Catholic Church. He too had been a convert, a Protestant as I was and will always be in my heart, along with being a Catholic. I was already Monk-like in my prayer life and need for solitude. His journals fed my soul.

Above all, I made the sign of the cross on Rochester’s forehead every single night of his life with me before we went to sleep and I still do in spirit.

If we come into a new awareness and realize that this is the only moment we have like this or ever shall have, then we are more apt to capture some of those moments in writing. I have said elsewhere in this book that I live in the present moment. Time is no longer as it once was to me before 2002. When a person writes there is an extraordinary relationship between mind and heart, and in the hand as it writes. What happens to us while writing is far more important than what is written. Some hidden capacity seems to emerge and we sense subtle changes in us and things seem to be growing within and we feel the need to keep writing. It is if a veil lifts. Writing does that!

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2010

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