My Life-in-a-Box

My parents brought me a bin full of my old stuff. I didn’t know it even existed.  I took off the lid and found a pile of pictures, journals, day planners, and letters. It was like a time capsule of my growing-up years.

I made my first journal entry when I was 6 years old.

Tues, Jan 1, 1987
“Today is New Years day. I got a diary from Brian. BRIAN IF YOU EVER READ THIS YOU ARE DEAD!!!!! Love, Julie”

The records of my life-in-a-box continue another 11 years, until I’m 17.

As I read I remembered. I have a good longterm memory anyway but it was fun to get the smaller details that are often overlooked, thought of as unimportant or not meaningful.

I also got such a full picture of who I was and how I grew over the years. It’s very clear how I always was who I am. My personality’s the same. I had the same strengths and weaknesses. Sure, I’ve grown, but I haven’t actually changed much.

Some other observations:

  • My first day planner started when I began 7th grade. I was always organized!
  • I kept myself busy with friends and school and a lot of church activities such as dances, service projects, plays, piano performances, volleyball and basketball, and youth camps.
  • I have ALWAYS struggled with my guilt complex. Practically every journal begins with “I’m so very sorry I didn’t write yesterday! I’ll do better!”
  • My family and friends were always at the core of what I wrote.
  • Family birthdays were a big deal to me. I wrote whose birthday is coming up or had just past and then I listed all of the gifts received. With 6 siblings and a handful of nieces and nephews, that’s a lot of birthdays!
  • I can see (read) myself as a sweet child turning into a moody teenager.
  • I didn’t realize I was so boy crazy!
  • I was always a pretty serious soul and it shows through in my writing.

A lot of the stuff was unimportant and uninspiring so it went in the trash. But I did find some true treasures. Enjoy some embarrassment on my behalf!! 
(6 yrs old)


Jan 6, 1987
“Yesterday I felt That life was to hard for me to retern to my Hevenly Father.”

(7 yrs old)


Feb 19, 1988
“I’m comfused. I feel grown up like doing my nails and growing them long. And I feel popalor. I’m scared! alot.”

(8 yrs old looking just like Little Bo Peep)


(9 yrs old. WOW)


(10 yrs old)


Oct 15, 1991
“Today, for dinner, we had ministroni! the worst soup I have ever tasted!”

Oct 25, 1991 
“whoever reads this when I die, I am sorry I didn’t right that much. I LOVE YOU.”
Mar 15, 1992
“I’m scared. I have a very strong feeling for beau. Not just like oh he is so cute, but like I don’t know maybe love. but I know I am still along ways till I’m old enogh. I am sooo very scard. Hevenly Father please help me choose the right.” 
(11 yrs old)


June 27, 1993
“Brian got fired from hometown buffet for talking to much and fooling around. Too bad. They had good ribs! Dad is 49! Can you believe it. I can’t. He is getting to be real old. Mom is 40. She doesn’t look that old though. Right now mom is sleeping. (Beauty Rest.)”

(12 yrs old)


Aug 9, 1993
“I also met someone named Stephanie. I liked her at first, and I think she like me first. but when she found out I couldn’t say my r’s, she seemed to back away. But I am going to keep trying to make friends.”

(13 yrs old)


Dec 31, 1994
“I am so tired, my dad was watching tv in my room so I couldn’t go to sleep. Some of the things he watches are really stupid. He’s kind of weird sometimes, but he’s nice. Well, I hate Saturdays, there’s nothing on tv and it’s so boring. I’m watching woodwork.”

Jan 1, 1995
“Well, my mom thinks I’m still a little kid. I was doing my hair this morning. She’s always bugging me about my hair. To cut it, grow it, curl it under, curl it up, how to do it, and today, I was fixing it and I was having a hard time. She asked me if I wanted her to do it!!! I’m thirteen, I wouldn’t be caught dead having my mom do my hair, I just looked at her funny and she said, “Well I was just asking so shoot me.” I felt kind of bad but still. Well, now that I have that off my chest, I really do love her and she’s a great mom.”
Jan 6, 1995 
“You know what? David Yost is kinda cute. It’s kind of strange, he’s the Blue Power Ranger. I don’t like him for the Power Ranger part, but as a person.”
Jan 9, 1995 
“I saw him today! David! I love his smile. He has a silver and black Ford Windstar.”
(14 yrs old and looking drugged)


Sept 16, 1995
“I sure like my friend ********. She’s nice, smart, funny, talented, and pretty. Last night she was over and Karen was talking to her and I was right there. And Karen said, “Your prettier than Julie.” I mean, I knew she was, and I knew other people thought so, but when someone actually says it, well, anyway. I would also like to dance like her and be as popular.”

(15 yrs old)


Nov 24, 1996
“Last week I went to seminary with my zipper undone! Hopefully nobody saw. It was also hard to zip it up without making a noise or having someone see me. I also tripped over Sam’s box of dougnuts on the floor twice!”

Dec 15, 1996 (Telling myself to get up the nerve to say something to him)
“SAM!!!!!! you can do it!!! Don’t worry, it’ll go great!”
(16 yrs old)


Feb 17, 1998
“I’ve been in 3 accidents, pulled over once, locked my keys in my car once, ran out of gas once, and had to get a jump start twice. Oh, I forgot, I got my car impounded once. All in 6 months!!”

(17 yrs old)


1999 (If you knew me at this time, this entry is not about who you might think it is about.)
“Dear Diary,

It’s been so long since I’ve written it’s as if I fell into a deep, tranquilizing sleep and have just awoken. I’m writing for myself; for my sanity. I will explode into a million pieces if I don’t sort out my thoughts on **********. I don’t think you realize how hard this is for me. So hard, I’m about to give up and keep silent forever. But I can’t. I need to keep going; keep striving for reality and complete unified thoughts on this man.”
“People ask if I like him. Boy, do I like him. More than anyone could have thought. I literally think about him all of the time. When I wake up, driving, during class, while I’m talking to other people, and at night while lying in my bed. I’ve dreamt of a wonderful but realistic life with him. Everyone always comments on how perfect we’d be together, and I silently agree. The only person who has a clue of how deep I feel is myself, and I’m getting lonely talking to myself about him. Lot’s of people suspect I have feelings for him, and that he might have feelings for me, but no one really, truly knows for sure.”
“*********** and I are good friends. My favorite times in life are with him wrestling on the floor. I have so much fun that I never want to stop. But I have to.”
Unfortunately, when I got engaged to Rob, I tore out all my journal pages and threw away every memento of my ex-boyfriend (NOT the boy from the letter above) so there is a year when I was 18-19 yrs old that is undocumented. Although I’m sure it would be horrifying to read what I wrote during that time of us together and then breaking up, I’m sad that I don’t have any record of it. 
And thus ends my life-in-a-box. Two more thoughts after sitting on my floor and reading through all of it: 
1) Maybe I will sympathize with and understand my daughters a little more as they head into the next decade of their life.
2) I’m curious to know what my 55-60 yr old self will think of my blog…

Some time I’ll have to go through my journals from where these left off until our blog began in 2005. Should be fun!

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