Life Before Scrapbooking: Telling Our Stories, Pt. 1

We all have created our first layout.  We’ve all had the day when for the first time, we tried our hand at this cool thing called scrapbooking.  For many of us—myself included—that first page has led to many, many more.  I have hundreds (probably close to 1600 now?) of scrapbook pages, all telling part of my story. I love them.  And yet, there is a huge part of my story missing: all the years before I started scrapbooking.

From time to time I have gone back and done a few pages from the past. However, the majority of my pages are from the time I started scrapbooking and after. My oldest child was two at the time and my second child was one.  Any stories from before that time are noticeably missing.

As my family starts to pack up and return to living in the States for the next year, I know I need to start sorting and purging.  And with all of that comes the realization that I need to actually do something with the big Rubbermaid tub of photos and memorabilia I have. It’s time to stop lugging it around and actually tell some stories.

Over the next few months, I am going to be sharing some of my journey with you. I hope you will come alongside me and start telling some of your old stories, too. We’ll have fun together.

But first, a few good reasons to blow off the cobwebs, find those photos you actually printed, and do something with them:

1. There is a lot of joy to be had in looking through old photos.
As I started sorting through photos, I got lost in a sea of memories. I looked at pictures from my daughter’s birth, my short-lived life as a P.E. teacher (who me?!?), our first few homes, friends from high school, and more.  It was thrilling and a flood of memories came.  There is joy in looking back! Check out the post from Steph that asks, “Can Scrapbooking Really Make You Happy?” This picture? Our first family meal, February 2003.

2.  All of the moments of our life before scrapbooking are just as important as the ones afterward.
One of the reasons I scrapbook is so that my kids will really know me.  I want them to know the real heart and mind behind the person they call “mom.”  Part of that is making sure that I tell them all of my story.  My life didn’t begin the moment they were born or the first time I put scissors and glue to my photos.  Who I am is a product of many years previous and I want them to know the whole of me.  This picture? Self-timer photos on the campus of the University of Michigan on the day I missed my flight for my semester abroad in Israel.  Newly in love, I was thrilled to have an extra 24 hours together!

3. People grow and change!
I love seeing how much the people I love have changed over time.  When we are in the moment, we think the terrible-two’s will last forever or that our home will never sell. But times has a habit of marching on and it is fun to see life “then and now.” This picture? This sweet girl, Hannah, was in 8th or 9th grade at the time. She is holding my now nine-year-old daughter. And Hannah now has a little girl of her own who is about this size!

4. Looking back gives us a new perspective on the present.
When we look back into our past, we are struck with how much life has changed.  Kids become adults, crises become golden opportunities, and new things become the clutter we are trying to get rid of.  Looking back gives us perspective.  It helps us realize  that the present will be tomorrow’s past and we can’t live our lives as if today is the only thing that matters. This picture?  This is 16-year-old me, pretty sure that life was over.  I was sad, lonely, hurt, and convinced that my only hope in life was hanging onto a thread-bear relationship.  Needless to say, life wasn’t over when our relationship was and now I am blessed with an amazing husband and five incredible kids. And that boyfriend I was trying to hang on to is also happily married.

5. History repeats itself.
I clearly remember all of the moments when my dad was trying to get all four of us kids looking at the camera and smiling.  “Chin UP, Janet!” There were lots of frustrated words and a few tears.  And now, as I beg my kids for just ONE photo when someone isn’t staring off into dreamland or holding themselves like they need to use the bathroom, I realize that history repeats itself and sometimes, that’s just fine. This picture? On the left, me and my three siblings (I’m in back.) Easter, probably around 1984.  On the right, my sweet crew, February 2012.

6.  Sometimes, it’s just good to laugh at yourself.
Hair spray, curling irons,  shoulder pads, Sun-In, and knitted sweater designs. Need I say more? Circa 1995.


So are YOU ready to find the joy in looking cialis best price back?  Then join me in this journey!