Are you having fun with our 2012 in 2012 Cropathon over on our Facebook page? I was having so much fun last night that I forgot to post my blog, which was written in advance, for a change! We hope you’ll join us and help us reach our goal of completing 2012 pages in ten days. And today marks the end of the first week of 2012, so we hope you’ll be posting your first Day2Day page on our Day2Day/Hope in Action 365 Project Facebook page. We are so excited to be partnering with Creative Memories to showcase the digital Project 365 pages that are completed this year!
Last month we gave you ideas of the ways we use StoryBook Creator and Memory Manager to prepare for the holidays. Today I want to share with you an extension of what I shared last month when I shared how I use Memory Manager to help me decorate my house. I actually use it for much, much more than that! At the risk of being a ‘downer’, I invite you to consider the times that our photos are about more than smiling faces and posed family vignettes.
Sometimes when bad things happen, good things come from them. We have had the misfortune of having our house broken into not once, but three times. The first time, the intruders stole my sterling silver flatware, my grandmother’s silver tea service, and a camcorder (and the videos inside it and the bag it was in). While we weren’t able to recover those items, our insurance company replaced the sterling because I was able to prove, through my photographs, what we had. During our second break in, a flat screen TV and a broken camera were among the items taken. Because of our first break in, I had taken photographs of our ‘treasures’ and listed them along with serial numbers, purchase prices, acquisition dates, etc. so getting insurance money was easy and our losses were quickly replaced. The third time, after we moved away (we still own the house – anybody looking for one?) someone crawled in through a foundation vent (!) and cut out all of the copper pipe under the house. With the water running….. Just as well I have no photo record of this fiasco!
If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that my mother has Alzheimer’s disease. Before we knew what was happening to her, I had started taking pictures of my mom’s treasures every time I went home to visit her in Kentucky. I would load them into Memory Manager, then I’d hook up my laptop to the television and get Mom to tell me about her things. Oh, the memories she had! She could tell us who gave her a piece, even if it was a wedding present (now) 60 years ago. If she had bought it, she could tell us where and when she bought it and what she paid for it. If it was a family piece, she could tell us the story behind it. I recorded all of that information in Memory Manager, right with the appropriate photograph, in the “Tell the Story” section.
When the days came that we needed to help Mom downsize from the house we grew up in to a smaller duplex, and later, when my sister and I dismantled Mom’s duplex completely, we had some difficult decisions to make. Memory Manager to the rescue, again! Mom was no longer able to tell us what we should keep and what we should NOT part with, so we used the information we had and did the best that we could. For those of you who are children of the Depression, or children or grandchildren of those who grew up as children of the Depression, you probably know what I’m talking about when I tell you how impossible it was for my mom to part with ANYTHING. Everything had a value and a purpose, and everything was used or saved because it COULD be used. Very different from today’s disposable society, isn’t it?
With apologies for bringing up sad things, my suggestion for you today is the idea of making a treasure book for yourself and your family. We have fans who have survived hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires, and have been left with little. We have fans who have survived divorces, moves, evictions, and homelessness. We have fans who have been robbed and whose family members have been robbed of their memories. Sometimes all we have left are our photographs! And now, sometimes all we have are virtual images! You’ve heard us say many times that it’s not IF your computer will crash, it’s WHEN that will happen. So how about putting a treasure book on the top of your New Year’s Resolution list?
I suggest you take advantage of Creative Memories 8.5 x 11″ softcover books, and use sort of a yearbook-style layout to record photos of your images along with pertinent details. If you have a large family, make multiple copies of the book – did you know that if you order 10 or more of any book, you get a 10% discount? And StoryBooks are on sale in North America most of this month! Purchase a StoryBook pen so that you can make notations in the book if something is given away, broken, sold, stolen, or whatever. These books will be invaluable at tax time, estate time, moving days, in case of disasters, and who knows when.
One of the things I do now when I visit my mom is take my iPad and scroll through photo after photo of familiar things. I prefer using my iPad for this so that she can see the items in context – on the tables where she had them in her house, instead of in a book where she might see that they aren’t hers any more. Even if they are no longer part of our household, they are there for Mom to remember. I hope that you never need to use your Treasure Book because something bad or sad has happened. I hope it will be something that will remind you of what you have and why it’s important to you. It may even help you realize that it’s not all about the THINGS that we have and value – it’s the memories they hold for us that are really important. It’s about the relationships! As you pack away your holiday decorations this year, take an extra hour or few, or even a day, to photograph and document the things you hold dear. Get the stories down in print – it may end up being one of the best gifts you ever give yourself and your family!
Now, get back to your cropping and page making – we hope you’ll stick with us for the next nine days of our Cropathon – and get your wonderful holiday memories and your first week of Day2Day pictures preserved. Pull out your camera and have fun with your quest to take a photo every day. Take photos of your meals, the things in your house, your seasonal decorations through the year, your church, your yard, your neighborhood, your town, your family, and your friends. What are your family traditions? Have you made recipe cards or books of your family’s favorite dishes? Are there any StoryBooks or calendars you can complete and order this month? We can’t wait to see how you celebrate your life!
PS Don’t forget to get your badges and post them with pride!