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!

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18 Responses to Treasure Your Treasures

  1. p222page222 says:

    Jan this info is very true, my home was broken into a couple times, the first time my video camera was stolen and the 2nd my large camera. Of course they took other things, but my camera were more important to me.This is why I use a small one now so when I go out it goes with me.

    Thanks to all the pixies, for the endless list of things to take photos of.

  2. Maureen says:

    Check! Added to my list of photos to take and book to make! Thanks for the inspiration Jan! I think I’ll do that at my parent’s home, too! The stories will be precious some day!

  3. cininden says:

    Jan, so funny I saw this today when just a couple of days ago, I responded to Ada’s page about her treasures and said that had given me the idea to create just the type of book you’re talking about. I guess having it come twice in a row like that means it’s really time to do it and not just have it be on my list of things that would be “nice to do some day.”

  4. Ada says:

    OK, Jan, I get the picture! MM…MM…MM!

    Did you see the page I posted from my new album “Treasures of my Childhood”?

    Mom and Dad are already gone, but I am the oldest and I am trying to rack my memory for every little detail I can remember, before I am too old to remember!

    • Jan says:

      Treasures of My Childhood is an awesome idea! My sister and I should collaborate on one of those. We recently discussed the things we thought of when we thought of Christmas as kids. In addition to the things you might imagine, some of our shared memories are the huge boxes of Washington State apples that someone sent our dad every year, the smell of spray paint (my mom sprayed EVERYTHING gold or silver when she decorated at Christmas, and there were decorations in every room!), the wreaths made of dried cones, pods, and other stuff we gathered on a cross country trip in the station wagon, and the nasty fruit cakes that we hated and Daddy loved! Kind of funny, huh?

  5. cmsher says:

    Jan – My grandmother did the same with all the pieces in her house. When she died, the safe deposit box had a whole pile of photos of her things with stuff written on the back – this was way before the day of internet access even. Your idea is quite valid – I will add that to my list of albums to make which seems to grow much faster than it is checked off… but in the time being, it’d be a great part of a d2d album to feature a belonging once a week!

  6. Jenny says:

    Jan, what a fabulous reminder. I started a traditional album several years ago and never did finish it. Now I have digital there`s no reason to not do it. I could take photos and scrap them straight away. Treasure your mum Jan, I lost mine way too early and wish I had her around to ask the stories behind some of the bits & pieces I have kept of hers. Thank you.

  7. jr5086 says:

    Jan I am so glad you have that record. My mom had the same dreaded ailment but so many of the things that I wish I knew went with her. Starting the process of recording stories is too late for me but I hope others take this to heart and gather all the information they can and record all that someone else in the family can fill in. I found a box of photos that I did not know my mom had until after her memory had faded considerably and I was never able to put names to many of those photos. It makes me sad to know that these photos are of family members and their stories will never be told.

  8. Judyenger says:

    So sorry about your Mother Jan. My husband’s father suffered with the disease. Thank you so much for your blog, think it is so important. I made a book about 12 years ago. Fortunately I knew some of the stories and was able to write them down in the book, wish I had more. I did the same thing with Christmas ornaments inheritated from my husband and my parents, grandparents. I put up a heritage tree every Christmas and use it as a tool to teach the children about Christmases when I was a child. The memory book of “THINGS” is now in my daughter’s possession.

  9. lizpropst says:

    Oh Jan…thanks so much for sharing. This is important stuff! I’m on my way to our beach home…built the year my husband was born by his parents AND you better believe that I’m gonna take photos for an album of this special place. Thank you!! And my husband is now wanting dinner but I just told him….it’s p2P Cropathon time!!

    • Jan says:

      Enjoy your time at the beach, Liz! I know how much I enjoy being at Anne’s family place at the beach – they just don’t build places like that any more. It definitely deserves a book! Keep cropping!

  10. sandyn6151 says:

    What an amazing and valuable piece of advice!! My mom has vascular dementia and is losing more of her memories every day. Doing a book like this for her has always been on my project list but now is the best time to put it together. The longer I take to get it done, the less time she has it in her hands.

    • Jan says:

      Sandy, I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom! By all means, get the book done while you can. Kathleen Eichler shared with me how she did posters for her mom with family photos on them for her room – another wonderful idea, because as time goes by, they forget they have books to look at. Hugs to you and your mom!

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