LifeJournal™ Newsletter – August 2001

I hope you enjoyed your summer and that your transition into the upcoming season or next phase of your life is smooth. For those of you attending or working in a school, or who have children who are going to school, the next few weeks may present some challenges. Writing in your journal is a healthy outlet to express your feelings, problem solve, and record meaningful events that might otherwise be forgotten.

My daughter is starting college next week; there’s plenty of change on our family’s horizon. I’m sure I’ll be doing some journal writing on that subject in the upcoming months. And, of course, I’ll suggest that she pack a copy of LifeJournal before she starts this new chapter of her life.

Here at Chronicles Software Company we’re in a new chapter of LifeJournal’s life as we begin work on a handheld component. We would love some quick feedback from you. Please copy the questions below and send them with your answers to me at rfolit@lifejournal:

  1. A. Do you use a handheld computer, also known as a PDA (personal digital assistant)?

    B. Which operating system does it use: PalmOS or a Windows CE operating system?

  2. Would you purchase the handheld component of LifeJournal (for about $25) to use on your desktop or laptop computer?

As always, we greatly value your input. Thanks in advance for your response.


Ruth Folit
Chronicles Software Company

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  • Basics and Beyond: Prompts
  • Importing and Exporting Prompts: Share Your Prompts with Friends and Family
  • Prompts specifically for College Students
  • Tips: Keep a Gratitude Log to Maintain a Positive Attitude.
  • Mailbag: My files are now too big to back up onto a floppy (1.44 MB) so what can I do?
  • End quoteby Natalie Goldberg
  • To purchase LifeJournal

Basics and Beyond: Prompts

To continue the thread of last month’s newsletter ( where the quotes feature was discussed, this month we’ll look at its sister feature, prompts. If you need a little inspiration to encourage you to write, turn to the prompts feature. Prompts are questions or statements designed to spark your thinking about a subject in a new way. They often set you off on a new path of discovery–about a value that has not been articulated, a piece of your personality that may not have been acknowledged, or a memory that has faded.

LifeJournal comes with 320 prompts in the following nine categories: family, feelings, finances, friends, health, home, self-discovery, spirituality, and work. By clicking on the fifth circular button (the light bulb icon) in the LifeJournal program or by choosingFeatures menu>Prompts>Display, a prompt dialog box appears. You can select a category for the prompt, or you can leave the default “random category.” After clickingOK the prompt will appear. If you want to work with it in a journal entry, click Insertand the prompt will appear in the active entry. If there is not an active entry, a new daily journal entry will open. You can begin writing using the prompt as a springboard.

If the first prompt does not inspire you, simply click the New button to view another. If you would like to switch the category of prompts you are viewing, click the Categorydrop down box and select a different one. Use the arrow keys to cycle through the prompts that you have already viewed.

You may want to customize the prompts, deleting some and adding new ones. If you want to delete a prompt, simply click the Delete button when it is displayed. To add your own prompts, go to the Features menu>Prompts>Customize. The dialog box provides a text box to type your new prompt, and a drop down menu to select the category. Click Add Prompt to Selected Category button, and the prompt is included in that category. If you have a typo or want to edit the prompt, select the Edit existing prompt radio button, select the category that the prompt you want to edit is in, and the list of all the prompts in that category appears in the scroll box at the bottom of the Customize Prompt dialog box. Click the prompt that you want to edit and it appears in the large text at the top of the dialog box. Make your corrections and click Save Changes.

You may also add or delete a category. You can do that from the Customize Prompt dialog box by clicking the Customize Categories button, or from the menu (Featuresmenu> PromptsCustomize Categories). Using either pathway to add a new category, type in the name of the new category and click Add New.

To rename a category, select it from the list and type the new name in the text box. Click Rename. (You may merge two categories into one by renaming a category to the same name as a different category.) .

Importing and Exporting Prompts: Share Your Prompts

You may want to develop a set of prompts in a specific content area and share them with friends, family, co-workers, classmates, or students. You may want to send the prompts files as an attachment to e-mail or post them on your website. Make sure you include the following directions:

To download the prompts and import them into your LifeJournal program*:

  1. Click the link to the prompts file (e.g. Click here to download prompts from…) or open the attachment to the e-mail.
  2. Select save to disk.
  3. Choose (and remember) the directory where you save the file. The default directory that the file will be saved to is C:\Program Files\LifeJournal, the default LifeJournal directory.
  4. Import the prompts by going to the File menu>Import Custom Prompts and Quotes from within the LifeJournal (1.3) program. Browse to the prompt file that you downloaded and click on it: it will have an .ljpq extension.
  5. Within the LifeJournal program, click on the prompt icon and select the category that you downloaded and the new prompts will appear one at a time.

*You can download prompts and quotes only to into LifeJournal version 1.3. If you have versions 1.0, 1.1, or 1.2, you may upgrade. Find out more about the upgrade on

We’ve been honored that several experts have offered to share a set of prompts they have developed. Visit our prompts page ( to download prompts about finances, work, or health, healing and wholeness. Our recent addition is prompts for college students.

Prompts specifically for College Students:

A devoted LifeJournal customer, Michael Ham, developed a set of prompts that we have included below specifically for college students. If you have any friends or family members who are starting or returning to college, feel free to send them a copy of these prompts. We just ask that you reference that it appeared in our monthly newsletter ( and include a citation of our website, You can also download them from our website at

  1. The college. Explain how you made the first major decision of selecting the college. Did you visit the campus? What were your impressions? What appealed to you about the college? Did you meet any students? Describe them. Why this college, instead of College A, or University B? What made you decide, and how clear was the decision? What are your expectations from this college-what do you expect it to give to you? What do you expect to give to it?
  2. Your hopes. Record your aspirations for your college years: what do you hope to achieve in terms of your own development and growth as a person as well as academically? Who do you hope to be when you leave college?
  3. Your aims. What specific goals have you set for these years, and how and when will you know whether you have achieved them?
  4. Taking aim again. Revisit and review the page of your hopes and goals as you go through college and write a similar page at the start of each year or perhaps each semester. What do you want to accomplish? What hopes do you have for the semester? How do you evaluate your previous semester or year? How have your goals changed?
  5. Key people. Describe the key people you meet from the moment you meet them, and add to the descriptions as you learn more about them: your professors, your new friends, your room mates, class mates and team mates, people you’re drawn to, and people you’re wary of.
  6. Key decisions. How do you see each important decision at the time you make it? What information and discussions are leading you to make that decision? What alternatives do you see (at the time the decision is being made) that makes your decision the best choice for you? What outcomes do you expect? When will you evaluate the decision?
  7. The typical day this month. It’s hard to believe at the time, but the small daily pleasures and exchanges that you enjoy so much now will blur and fade in the fog of the past as your life moves forward. The intensity of feelings that you experience now will sink into a vague general impression with few specific details you can recall. Make a snapshot of your college day and include descriptive details of the conversations, the triumphs, and the daily routines-and you’ll be able to relive these times later, and perhaps better understand how they helped shape you.
  8. The best of…important thoughts/books/conversations/weekend/courses you’ve ever had. College is a time of breaking new ground, finding and creating new ideas, new visions, and trying out versions of what your life can be. Remember these best times by recording and what you learned from them so you’ll remember them in later years.
  9. The worst of…courses/evening/person/professor/weekend.. These difficult times, too, are a part of your experience, and those also can fade with time unless you capture these moments to look back on later. Remember, what is hard to endure is sweet to recall. What can you learn from these experiences?
  10. Big questions. During college you will undoubtedly review and discuss certain perennial questions: the extent of free will, the nature of altruism, the nature of God, to what you may be connected beyond yourself, the soul/mind/body connections and separations, how families affect society and society affects families, the duties and responsibilities you have in your various roles (citizen, family member, friend, etc.), and more. Record your thoughts and discussions on these issues, and how your thoughts evolve.
  11. Fear the person who has never failed. We learn so much from our failures that those who have yet to fail are missing a part of their education. Reflect on the stories of your own failures and what they taught you.
  12. Defining goals. What are you goals for the coming year? What new experiences and courses will help you reach those goals? How well will these advance your goals for your life? And how will you know whether you’ve met your goal when the time comes to review it?

Michael Ham, now a marketing manager for a software firm in Silicon Valley, recalls his college years through the intermittent journals he kept-and wishes he had been more systematic. During his tenure as admissions director for liberal arts college St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, he talked with many students about their hopes and goals for their college years. Michael believes that a journal will help achieve those goals, along with providing a meaningful record of those life-shaping years. 

Tips: Keep a Gratitude Log to Maintain a Positive Attitude.

“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” -Joni Mitchell

Most of us have plenty to be grateful for, but take our good fortune for granted. Often, only when we face such losses as illness, breakup of relationships, difficult financial times, death, unemployment, etc. do we notice what abundance we have enjoyed. Wouldn’t it make more sense as well as feel more satisfying to appreciate the richness of life while we have it?

How does one create and maintain a positive perspective of the positive things that are happening? A Gratitude Log is one way to savor the sweetness of one’s life.

A Gratitude Log is a compilation of events, anecdotes, interactions, comforts, etc.-both significant as well as seemingly trivial-that you feel thankful for. Write at least a sentence or two every day somewhere in your daily journal entry about something that you are grateful for. It may be something as seemingly simple and ordinary as enjoying the company of a good friend, or as profound as a spouse making progress during a difficult illness.

Here’s how to do it: Select (click and drag your mouse cursor over) the text that you want to include in your gratitude log. In the default topics list, there is a folder named Log, with a topic in it named Gratitude. Click on the Gratitude topic and you will have just highlighted that passage, that is, you will have assigned that topic to the selected passage.

Later, when you may be feeling complacent about your life, or bitter and angry, you may want to remind yourself of all that you are thankful for – by opening your Gratitude Log. Here’s how:

  1. Click the topic Gratitude in the Log folder. (Click the plus sign, (“+” ) to the left of the Log folder, then click on the Gratitude topic.)
  2. Click the Search button.
  3. Open the Search dialog box by clicking on the sixth circular button (the eye icon).
  4. A document will appear with all that you have written that you have been grateful for.

Getting into the habit of keeping a Gratitude Log accomplishes several things for you. It may help change your thinking patterns about your life, perhaps breaking a corrosive inner habit of focusing on what’s lacking in your life. It also lets you go back and see example after example of what you have to feel grateful for and that you have written in your own words. Hopefully you will feel more fulfilled and satisfied with your current life. .

Mail Bag: My files are now too big to back up onto a floppy (1.44 MB) so what can I do?

You can save your backup files (YourName.ljd and users.ljd) onto a zip or jaz drive or onto a CD-R or CD-RW. If you don’t have any of these removable media, you can get a software program, like WinZip or ZipMagic that lets you span files onto more than one floppy disk.

End Quote:
From writer, poet, and teacher, Natalie Goldberg (author of Writing Down the Bones): “The positive thing about writing is that you connect with yourself in the deepest way, and that’s heaven. You get a chance to know who you are, to know what you think. You begin to have a relationship with your mind.”

To purchase LifeJournal:

  • Order online at
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  • Order by postal mail and pay with a check or money order payable to:

    Chronicles Software Company
    PO Box 220
    Sarasota, FL 34230

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©Chronicles Software Company, 2001. All rights reserved.