Sunday, April 27, 2008

Preachin' the Message

I was a Creative Memories consultant for almost 9 years. I taught people how to organize their photos and put them into beautiful scrapbooks. But for me, scrapbooking is so much more than that. And if you will allow me this indulgence, I am going to get up on my soap box and preach. Perhaps I am preaching to the choir…but it never hurts to hear the message again.

Where are your pictures? Maybe a bigger question to ask is where are your mother’s pictures? Are they in a shoebox? Perhaps thrown into a jumble in a shopping bag along with various sorts of memorabilia? Or if you are fully entrenched in the 21st century, your pictures might be in the new version of a shoebox – your computer’s hard drive.

Now some of you might actually have your photos in albums. And then there will be those of you that put your photos in decorative scrapbook albums. But, are the stories that go along with those pictures written down? What about the basics – the names, dates, places and simple details that you thought you would never forget?

Now, what is a sermon without some quotes from the scriptures? In Psalms 78:2-4 it says: “I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell the coming generation…” Also, in Proverbs 3:3 – “do not forget my teaching…write it down on the tablet of your heart.”

By journaling your photos, you will leave footprints for your family…influencing the future by passing down values, convictions, and heritage. By journaling your photos you will save and savor fragile, fleeting memories for yourself and “the now,” AND preserve it for future generations. By journaling your photos, you will pass down a rich heritage…preserving your voice and life message. By journaling your photos, you will record a passing era and lifestyle and will leave an entertaining document for those you love.

Some people say that they do not scrapbook because they don’t have time. Or that it’s too expensive. Or they aren’t into crafts. Well, let me be the first to say that scrapbooking doesn’t have to be time consuming, expensive or crafty (because I don’t do crafts. At all). I make works of heart, not works of art. I don’t do fancy pages…but I work to capture forever the memories…the stories…the things my children said that made me laugh till I cried. For me, scrapbooks don’t have to be elaborate…but they do need to be meaningful. Let me show you a few pages:

(the above is probably the "fanciest" type of page that I do. Most of my pages look like this: Nothing but words and pictures)
And here is one that is a work in progress - no words yet - it is incomplete in so many ways (and I do NOT mean that it needs any decoration!):

Written personal expression offers depth, poignancy and humor missed in visual images. Placing your precious memories in albums, complete with journaling, offers you a way to appreciate your past NOW and experience joy by sharing your legacy TOMORROW. Memory is such a fragile and unreliable thing…and our minds tend to be cluttered and temperamental. Making an album to celebrate your life, your heritage, or your family is one of the most meaningful and lasting things that you can do.

Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote “in any man who dies, there dies with him his first snow…his first kiss…his first fight.” And Alex Haley wrote: “when an old person dies, it is like a library burning.” Write down your stories and leave a legacy that will last lifetimes. (amen)

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Rhea said...

What a wonderful post, Kat, and I agree with you whole-heartedly!! I have most of my pictures in photo albums, or I make photo books through Shutterfly, but then every now and then I get behind.

I think scrapbooking is awesome, because, like you said, you write the story and share the memories in writing too.

My mom set a great example for me, always p utting our family photos in albums over the years. NO photos in bozes or piles, which prompted me to try to be as diligent about it as she was. I always enjoyed going through her albums as a child and I STILL do.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, has no photo albums..just millions of photos in boxes, and I've never been able to see pictures of my hubby as a baby and a child. It's a shame.

What a wonderful gift for your daughters and their children and future generation to come!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Rhea - thanks so much for such a nice comment. I had a feeling I would be preaching to the choir :-). My mom always made albums - those awful magnetic ones - but they were there in order - without stories. When I was a consultant, I got her hooked and she is busy chronicling my childhood. And like you, my mother-in-law doesn't keep albums at all. I asked for pictures of Michael as a baby once...and she found some paper lunch bags that had some photos in them. Lunch bags?! But she is so uninterested in doing anything with them.

Firefly Mom said...

OK, is this a mother-in-law thing? MINE does the same thing!! We begged her to label all their old photos, which she's refused to do unless I sit down and do it with her. Mind you, I'm in Oregon and she's in Missouri.

It gets worse, though. For years I begged her for hubbys childhood pix, which she refused to give me - because they were *hers*. Mind you, she resided in a different state as the photos, who were in my SIL possession. It took a decade before she finally agreed that I could have them, but by that time SIL had lost them. All of the other old family photos had been tossed in the barn and were scattered amongst the hay.

This may explain why I'm such a stickler for recording our experiences together. I even have scrapbook pages with no photos, just journaling (I'm forever forgetting my camera ;)

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

FM -- I wonder if it is a mother-in-law thing? lol That is so cool that you have pages of just journaling. I think that blogging is almost like a public scrapbook. And I blog about so many things that I wouldn't take pictures of. I am planning to move to digital scrapbooks with my 08 family album - and for a lot - it will come straight from the blog. I think what is interesting about family histories is the mundane - the "other" stuff - not just birthdays and holidays - but things like doing school, field trips, cooking...

But your husbands pictures in the barn? How awful!

DebMc said...

Preach on, sister!

Sigh....I was a professional photographer for twenty years. Every photo that left my studio was in an album,folder, or frame. Without exception.

But our personal photos.....there is a stack of boxes as high as I am waiting on me.

Big boxes.

Packed full.

I'd love to tell the stories, but some of them are painful and it hurts to get out the photos.

I'm cheating my boys of a legacy. My advice is to DO IT NOW so you won't have the emotional baggage to wade through later.

LOL...modern shoebox...the hard drive.

Yep. But at least I do more with them now.

Perhaps I'll set organizing my photos as a summer goal. Keep preaching to don't hire out, do you? Grin.

The Joye of Teaching said...

wow- this is so cool. i always shy away when ppl talk about scrapbooking bc it reminds me of pages stuffed full of cut up pics and stickers- CRAFTS! aaaawwwww so i too may set a summer goal of starting this. where do you suggest starting? with mom's stuff so i can get her stories? yeah, i am feeling motivated! thanks kat! keep preaching! :)

Rhea said...

Lunch bags? Barns? Wow, this is some scary stuff! We need a "Save the Photos" campaign. lol

Thanks for reminding me to get crackin' on my picture piles though. I'm a little behind.

Keys to the Magic Travel said... guys are making my evening!

Deb--it's so nice to see you comment on a day other than Wordless Wednesday :-) I'll keep preaching - as you can see it's a subject I am quite passionate about! When I was a consultant, I had lots of people offer to pay me to do albums for them. But...the hard part - the organizing and labeling - that is not something I could do for you. The rest is easy.

Joye (and Deb) - my advice for starting - is to start current...and try to stay current (and by current...I mean within a year). When you are current, then work backwards. Or...with your mom's photos...try to get her to write...or tell you stories that you could record. I know you are thinking about trying to have a baby...and if you go to a baby store, they have these "grandma" books - where it's like a fill in the blank for Grandma's history. That might be a good place to start, too.

When I first heard about scrapbooking it was from my friend Cindy. And she was telling me about cutting up her photos and putting stickers on the pages. All I could think was "yuck" and "how 5th grade!" It's so much more than that. There is no right or wrong way to do an album. Some people *need* it to be artsy. Unfortunately, some people (you!) think that is the way you *have* to do it. You don't!!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Rhea-- Save the the spotted the pictures. Works for me! And I am a little behind myself - I am working on finishing up 06! It is SO hard to journal when it's that long ago! I am working on our Disney trip from Sept 06 now...and I am so thankful that I kept a diary/log while we were there. But the rest of the year - the "regular" photos...I'm going to have to improvise!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Crud. The power of words. And incomplete thoughts.

When I first heard about scrapbooking from first thought were based on what I heard...not on what I saw. When I actually saw her albums...I *knew* it was something I *had* to do.

At the time Creative Memories didn't even have a website. I called their 800 number and had to wait for a consultant to get back to me! I was quite impatient...but going to Michael's was so overwhelming...I'm glad I managed to find the patience to wait for that call.

I have Cindy Sue to thank for leading me down this path. And lots of others that we won't get into here :-)

Firefly Mom said...

I agree with you Kat, about starting with current photos. It's sooo much easier to remember!

For older photos, I started grouping "event" photos together in plastic sleeved albums. By event I just mean any photos taken at the same time - park day, birthday, baking cookies, etc. I then slip in a piece of paper with all of the info that I can remember (which is often scant). Occasionally I'll flip through the photos, and typically a story will come to mind for at least one set of photos. If there were other people involved, I'll ask them what they remember about a specific location or event. You'd be surprised at how many "forgotten" memories have been recaptured this way!

Debbie said...

Dr. Princess Kat, I am going to let you off the hook for the no cleaning, no ironing, no grocery shopping because you homeschool and you are making wonderful memories for your girls. This was a truly inspired post as you have truly inspired me to start ASAP. Ms. Sniz is another great scrapbooker who has inspired me as well...I have started printing my stuff (sitting on the hard drive) and now I need to do the putting into albums and journalling part. So I hear ya. I needed ANOTHER nudge!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Debbie--I do hope that you are inspired. Any nudges that I can give, I'm happy to give. It's something that I feel very strongly about...and it just breaks my heart to hear people say that they can't do it...

Skeller said...

I dunno, Kat. This all looks suspiciously crafty to me.

fwiw, I'm using up my pile of colored 12x12 paper, and then I'm moving on to digital books. no more snipping, measuring, taping, and messing with lay-outs. Drag 'n drop, bay-bee!!

Keys to the Magic Travel said...

Susan--I cannot wait to get to the digital scrapbook phase. I have photos printed for 06 and 07 that I need to finish...and then I'm all about the drop and drag! I cannot wait to have the "crafty" - ie,messy part done. Nothing to get out or clean up...

Nissa said...

Okay, Kat, you just may convince me to go ahead & get to doing my scrapbooking like I keep saying I'm going to 'eventually'. :)

Rhea said...

Preach away, girlfriend!

I'm laughing at all the old avatar or profile pictures I used to use. I'm glad I finally settled on one.