I have four amazing kids who I love very much. Each of them came to me in a different way and they each have their own miraculous birth story. They are each a part of our family because of an answer to some very specific prayers. I could share with you my tear stained journal pages that are filled with prayers about my desire to be a mom and the arrival of each of my kids.  These stories/trials play a big role in my story because it has shaped me into the person that I am today. I have always told my children their birth stories and the truth that God has a plan and purpose for each of their lives. Their stories are important and make them who they are today. As each of my children were born, I created a birth story scrapbook so that they would know the details of how they were brought into this world and how they became part of our family.

These stories of my children’s lives are vitally important. They make them who they are today and give them a sense of identity. A study published in 2010 at Emory University found that the more children knew about their family history, the higher their self-esteem and the better able they were to deal with the effects of stress. The researchers concluded that “family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world.” This is a beautiful picture of why I do what I do. I am passionate about preserving family stories, bringing them to life and sharing them together.

My eldest son, Caleb, is 16 years old. He has not shown much interest in his birth story and hasn’t wanted to talk about the sacrifices that his beautiful, young birthmother made to give him life. As a child, we talked about his birthmother occasionally, looked at her pictures and we even visited with her a few times. As he has gotten older, it hasn’t been something that he wants to explore or even really think about.

I am, however, elated today because for the first time ever…. he asked me about his birthmother. I have been pondering this all day. I am so happy that he is showing interest and he wants to talk about his story. What better way to do that than through photos? So, here are a few thoughts that I have had as I am preparing for us to sit down together on Saturday to look through photos and talk about his story.

My first thought is…. I am really glad that I have all of his photos and memories in one place. That is a big relief.  All his photos are preserved and organized in his Forever Account. It will be very easy to just log in and look through the photos of the last 16 years and recall special memories together.

My next thought is about the fact that all the photos we will be looking at are going to be on the computer. Sure, he is used to looking at photos on a computer. But, I know how my younger kids are when we pull out our printed family scrapbooks. The stories and memories seem to come alive. They get wrapped up in the memories and the moments that they are reliving page by page. There is something almost magical that happens while lying on the floor and having little hands all over each page of the book.

Caleb was born in year 2000. So, the first two years of his life are recorded in printed photos. And the rest of his life is recorded in digital photos. These digital photos all live on my computer, in my Forever account. I realized that in general, kids in this generation don’t typically have printed photos to touch and feel. They usually just see their photos on a computer or worse yet on mom’s phone. This makes me want to stop in my tracks and print, print, print so these stories can be brought to life and celebrated. I need to celebrate the stories of Caleb’s life on Saturday! And I need to do that through printed memories not just through the computer screen. Clearly, I won’t have a new printed book ready on Saturday. But, I am encouraged to get that book completed soon. And it doesn’t need to be fancy or perfect. Just a simple book to tell many of his stories so he will be able to reap the benefits of remembering his memories and knowing he is loved.

And the last thing that I thought about was the fact that I do this for a living. How could I have missed the fact that I should have a printed book for each of my kids that tells their story?  I make family books, and I made a birth story book, and I do vacation books.  But other than that, my kids don’t have their own book about their own story. This digital age that we live in has a lot of benefits, but I am thinking it is important to get back to printing and having a book to ponder, treasure and appreciate the blessings in our lives.

I am prayerful that Saturday will be a time of reflection for my son Caleb. I pray that he would be encouraged and strengthened by the love that our family shares. I am hopeful that there will be some healing in his heart. And I hope that he will be reminded that God has a beautiful plan and purpose for his life. And that his story is just beginning.








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10 Responses to Blog: What’s Your Story?

  1. debbie says:

    Shelley, I have started to save individual pages of current iBooks to my Firever account as individual jpgs into sn album. When the book is completed I am interested from your perspective whether you would recommend to save them as a PDF file or just keep them all as jpgs? Any pluses or minuses of each in your opinion

    • Shelley Murray says:

      These are some great questions. I personally prefer keeping them saved individually as a high-res JPEGs. When you save as a PDF is is stored as one piece and not as individual pages. It is also a much smaller resolution so if you want to save space in for Forever account, it is a good idea. But, If you want individual high res images, then you may want to keep them as JPEGs. The other benefit of saving as a PDF is that your pages will stay in the correct order, permanently. You should save a book as a PDF and see what you like best. Thank you for your post and questions!

  2. Pat says:

    This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I love your heart and know you must be a huge blessing not only to your family but to all those you touch. You have blessed me. Thank you.

  3. sistersunshine says:

    Shelley, Peace & joy. What a beautiful blog, this is my favorite part of p2P getting to know the lives of the pixies. The thumbnail for your post shows some photos, but none showed up in the post… I’m wondering if there was a glitch… as a visual learner I look forward to the pages that get posted. Looking forward to knowing more about you and your family and encouraging you to get those projects done… I fear I have more books done for my grandies than I do for my 9 kids… need to correct that. *U* Kathleen

    • Shelley Murray says:

      Awesome..9 kids! Wow! I shouldn’t complain about having a lot to do. I think working on these projects for Grandchildren would be more fun, relaxed and even more rewarding. Also,I am pretty sure the thumbnail page was set correctly…I will take a look. It may have been your connection. Thanks for your message. 🙂

  4. Avril Lawson says:

    That was a beautiful blog Shelley. For my own kids I made a book of their life for their 21st birthdays and they just love those books. They pore over them, laugh with friends, and absolutely love them. I wish that they would treasure their own photos as much as I treasure the ones that I have of them. Maybe when I share all my photos on Forever with them they will realize the importance of keeping their own memories as well.

    • Shelley Murray says:

      Thank you Avril. What a great ideas to create a book for your kids at age 21! You make such an interesting point about your kids. I will have to think on that. This next generation is looking at photos so differently and I think you have set a great example for them. Saving the meaningful photos is something that we must teach our kids to do. I am certain that your photo books will put that in prospective for them. And yes! Forever can help with that. Maybe have them get the Forever App on their phones and once a month, text them and ask them to go in and quickly upload their favorite photos from the month.

  5. debbie says:

    What a beautiful blog. Although each of us have different stories, I predict many will think of your words often today. For me, it will give me more focus on putting some of my early traditional scrapbooks into my Forever account and to prioritize the many unfinished projects by the importance of the memories they contain. Thank you

    • Shelley Murray says:

      Thank you for your encouraging post! I am certainly glad that you are inspire to move forth with some of those unfinished projects. I laugh a little because I think my post encouraged me to do the same thing! I have a few very important traditional projects that I must get back to! I think we can all relate to that! Have a beautiful day!

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