I’m so excited to welcome Allison Byxbe to the blog today! We first connected over a very special internship program with our beloved Ann Voskamp, and while we have never met in person, I sure would love to sit down and have a coffee with her! I always appreciate Allison’s beautiful writing, and her passion to help people express, heal and grow through journalling. She is the founder of Saturday Pages, a journalling community that meets a couple times a month – and she even has a retreat coming up!   

Both a college writing professor and certified journaling instructor, Allison aspires to inspire as many people as possible to experience the powerful, life-giving practice of journaling. She is married to her husband Ben, has three amazing kids, two dogs, and too many chickens. She loves anytime spent on the coast, great conversation, and at least two cups of coffee a day. Connect with her on Instagram @allisonbyxbe

Dive into Allison’s beautiful post below, and read to the end to find out how you can join her community…

Together – Allison Byxbe

In the open palm of his hand, my son displays the rock he’s hammered open. “Look, Mom.” The rock is just the sandstone variety common to the area of SC we live in. Nothing inherently special about this rock, but I oooh and aaah over it with him because I’m his mama. I delight in being witness to this simple joy.

If you ask my mama about me as a child, she’d tell you how I never wanted to do anything alone. The worst punishment she could prescribe was sending me to my room alone.

Basic biology underscores our deep need for human interaction. The earliest lines of the creation story in Genesis echo the ache we all carry. It’s not good to be alone. Of course, time alone can be good, even necessary. Sometimes, in the quiet and aloneness of solitude, we most readily hear God’s gentle whisper. It’s in the stillness of being alone that we rest and recuperate.

We sense the tug, the tension of being human. We need the goodness of being with others. But we also need the spaciousness of time alone.

I feel this tension within my in-between personality: not quite an introvert or fully an extrovert, with a dash of self-consciousness and social anxiety. I deeply crave connecting with others, but sometimes, that connection is difficult to navigate, leaving me exhausted.

It might be why journaling has been my lifelong habit. When I’ve needed a quiet space to trace the lines of grace running through my life and a way to still and quiet my mind, I’ve taken pen to page to sort out the complexities of living blessed and broken. A way to be alone and yet most clearly sense the presence of God with me.

After journaling, I often search out my husband to ask if I can share a line or two of my writing. A particular thought on the page that I yearn to speak out loud. “Look, babe, at what I’ve discovered,” I say, with my journal splayed across my open hands. Because he loves me, the answer is always “Yes, please share.” I delight in his witness to my heart, imparting a sense that I am seen, known, loved, and cared for.

It strikes me this irony of sharing a solitary habit with someone else. Aren’t the words we journal supposed to be only ours? Yes, especially if we want to get deep down, honest-to-God truths on the page, the kind of confessions, admissions, and even celebrations that grow and change us. Yet, in creating online and in-person journaling communities, I’ve found that sharing what we experience and discover through journaling exponentially increases its return.

Perhaps it’s as C.S. Lewis wrote, that pointing to what we delight in “not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”

This sharing is why, almost two years ago, I started something called Saturday Pages, which is 30 minutes of guided journaling with others on Zoom. For most of those 30 minutes, we each write in our journals, responding to a prompt I’ve shared. That in and of itself is so lovely. But then, the icing on the cake? The few minutes we spend together at the end checking in with each other. How did that go for you? What happened to you while you wrote? Did you have any brilliant a-ha moments? We bear witness for one another and delight in one another’s discoveries.

The invitation to share is open to all but required for none. What each needs in that moment—whether it’s to share their delight out loud or to simply listen while others speak—we honor it all. And our joy is amplified in the sharing of time together and words discovered. The need to be still and look within is met as we venture onto the pages of our journals, as is the need to connect, to bear witness for others, and to have that grace returned to each of us, through this community.

The joy resonates in my heart long after the last Zoom square closes because we’ve experienced the delight of naming the unnameable, finding homes for misplaced parts of us, building outposts for our tender places, and stitching patches over threadbare pieces.

It’s my deep joy to invite you to Saturday Pages because who doesn’t need more joy, grace, hope, and healing? We meet on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. EST via Zoom for 30 minutes most weekends of each month. You can check the monthly calendar on my website or my IG profile @allisonbyxbe. This month, you can join Saturday Pages on March 16 and 30th. Snag the Zoom link here, and even if you can’t make Saturday mornings, sign up for my weekly journaling note, which includes the Saturday Pages prompt for you to enjoy on your own time!

Thank you for your beautiful words and encouragement Allison!