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JOE’S NOTEBOOK: An Introduction

May 23, 2021

I’ve been carrying notebooks in my back pocket and writing things in them for longer than I’ll admit.

Before that I wrote stuff on napkins. And the back of receipts. And the palm of my left hand. And whatever else was available.

Somewhere in there I experimented a couple of times with trying to always have 3×5 index cards with me. That never lasted long.

What has endured is the habit. It started my sophomore year in high school with a Creative Writing Teacher who insisted we keep a journal. In an 8 and a 1/2 by 11 inch spiral bound notebook.

What has also been a constant are questions from people —

“Watcha doin’ there?” I’m making a quick note to myself about something I don’t want to forget. Might be a quote, or a line from a movie, or a brilliant piece of advertising, or a question, or something to look up later, or….

Yup, you get the idea. Boundless answers from endless sources!

“What are you gonna do with all that?” My nephew Ryan floored me with his version of this one.

We were in the theater after a screening at The Roger Ebert Film Festival in Champaign, IL.

Ryan was a student at the University of Illinois, and asked good questions. Still does.

He’d seen me scribbling things down during the movie, and asked me why.

I explained that some items turned up as sermon illustrations while others were provocative and some were simply fun to review and remember.

Why don’t you get that stuff organized?” I asked myself this while shuffling a stack of my notebooks during a quick tidy-up of my office.

And just like that my nascent humble blog was born. Its initial intent was simply to be a handy repository solely for my personal use. (

Then, as so often happens in the real world where you and I live, one thing leads to another.

Daily devotionals developed and my “fresh-brewed daily” posts emerged. (Still accessible at

I still carry a notebook in my back pocket. Only now I also use my phone in a variety of helpful ways, all of which I think of being part of my Notebook Habit.

“Huh. Can I see?” Yeah. But.

Yeah But Number One. I wasn’t kidding when I said I scribbled in my notebooks. Where we lived when I was in second grade, cursive handwriting was taught in third grade. We moved that summer. Where we lived when I was in third grade, cursive handwriting had been taught in second grade. I spent my first two weeks in school there trying to figure out how make my letter connect like everybody else’s. You might not be able to read what I’ve scribbled.

Yeah But Number Two. Much if not most of what’s in my notebooks you wouldn’t find interesting; even I don’t. It’s kind of like opening a storage container and wondering why anybody’d save some of the contents. Some of it’s messy. Some of it’s noisy. Some of it’s of questionable value.

“So? Can I see?” Thanks for asking! My hope and prayer is that JOE’S NOTEBOOK, to which this a lengthy introduction, will be of some interest and encouragement to you.

It comes with the goal of being as simple as us sitting down together, me finding something in one of my notebooks, and passing it over to you.

It’s me saying, “Here, check this out.” Only this way you don’t have to wrestle with my handwriting.

Hope to see you back here tomorrow, again later in the day, with a slice of JOE’S NOTEBOOK.

And thanks for asking!

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  1. Nancy J Rogers permalink

    Thanks for your daily inspiration!


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