Idea Journal

Happy Day for Scott Wangen! You win the “Picking Dandelions” book! I’ll get that out to you ASAP!Β 


Last week in church, during the sermon, I realized something about one of my characters. Something huge. Something that will change the entire novel. Something that I didn’t want to forget.

A few months ago, while looking at a woman’s hands, I understood that another character was all wrong. She needed to be older. I didn’t want to forget about that, either.

Last year, while grocery shopping (or…really…while getting my Starbucks before shopping…bless grocery stores with built in coffee), I saw a woman that I didn’t want to forget.


I wrote all of those ideas in my journal.

I love my journal. I really do. This is the 3rd journal of its kind that has become full up of story ideas, characters, sassy lines for someone to say, dumb thoughts, ideas that won’t work, ideas that change the whole landscape of my story…

…I would be lost without my journal.

And, let me tell you something…and this is serious…someone else would be lost without that journal, too.

What does that mean?

My journal was crafted thousands of miles away from my house. In India. By a woman who doesn’t have to resort to the sex trade for a means of feeding her children. Not that she’d willingly and joyfully choose the life of a brothel. But, in this broken world, sometimes the other option is starvation.

My journal has a cover of recycled sari (traditional Indian garb). It has been glued onto a book made of handmade paper. Paper that has been in the very hands of a woman who has a good life.

I purchased this journal from Better Way Imports, a West Michigan business that strives to improve the lives of woman in all different parts of the world. They do this by selling what the women make here in the United States and Canada. Bags. Jewelry. Cards. Pj pants. Tshirts. Housewares. All made by women who don’t have to be slaves any longer. Women who never had to enter that trade at all.

My journal is more than fabric and paper and trails of ink. It is the story…God’s story…of redemption and mercy and the beauty that comes from the darkest of places and into the light.

That’s the story I want to write always, always, always.

And I want that to be your story, too.

Today, I’m collecting names to give away one of these gorgeous journals. All you need to do is comment below to enter. And, if you order something from Better Way Imports (yes…something new…today…December 5, 2012), I’ll enter your name 5 times (just leave a comment telling me what you purchased…extra points for extra items…and no lying…pretty please).

Better Way Imports also does home parties…a celebration of freedom that you can be involved in. Let me know if you’re interested. I can hook you up with someone who can help you host this.


By the way, BWI isn’t paying me for this plug. I just love their purpose so much. And I love mercy. So, get your Christmas shopping in, my friends. Buy a gift that will make a difference!



20 Comments on “Idea Journal

  1. BTW Just wondering if you (or your husband) are related to the Finkbeiners from Caledonia. We used to have a Doc Finkbeiner for a veterinarian years ago. He made house calls for our horses, etc. He founded the Southkent Veterinary Hospital in Caledonia where we still take our dog. Judy


    • Hi, Judy! You know, we are related to Doc Finkbeiner. Two brothers long ago immigrated from Germany to Canada to West Michigan. We haven’t met him (there are a surprising amount of Finkbeiners in this part of the mitten), but maybe one of these days. πŸ™‚

      Since we’re on the topic…you wouldn’t happen to be related to Brian VanderArk from the band “Verve Pipe”?


  2. Susie, thanks for the book. I really enjoying reading about what’s going on with you. Kind of that old school connection since I’ve left Michigan so long ago. Good luck with Paint Chips!


    • Scott, I thought of the old gang on Sunday. We sang a little, funny song to the tune of “Modern Major General”. Made me miss those old operetta days. πŸ™‚


  3. I have wanted one of these journals for so long! I JUST ordered some new bags last month (which I love), so the journal didn’t make the cut. And I always have ideas that I forget.


    • Oh, let me tell you, these journals are fantastic. And they are gorgeous on the shelf when I’m done filling them up. πŸ™‚

      I’m glad I’m not the only one to forget things…


  4. I miss you and can’t wait for coffee soon!! I thought instead of you entering me, I’d just post what I’m using my journal for… I’m recording my walking miles in mine right now as I “Walk to India” to visit the women who made it. I can’t believe I’m going!!!!


  5. Susie,
    Thanks for pointing us to another awesome company doing good in the world. I try to buy fair-trade gifts for Christmas presents, so I’m excited about this. I just bought 2 of the pocket journals, a sari journal, and one of the Freeset bags to give away during the holidays. SO EXCITED. I don’t know how many ‘votes’ that counts for, but I don’t really care. I would have bought them anyway. πŸ™‚ If I win yours, though, I plan to keep it for myself.

    Journals are definitely a weakness of mine. Maybe it’s the writerly instinct. I, too, keep some sort of journal with me to write down ideas as inspiration strikes.


  6. I love, love, love these journals. I think I’ve filled two and am due for another! Pick me, pick me! Or don’t pick me and just remember my birthday. Bwahahaha. πŸ™‚


  7. Thanks for the recommendation on journals. I will have to get some. I will also be passing on the name to some friends who are always looking for ways to support people in need.


  8. What a lovely journal. I don’t write in my journal every day, but I’ve been journaling for many years. It’s free therapy for me! I will take a look at that website. It sounds delightful.


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