Life Before Scrapbooking: Telling Our Stories, Pt. 3

If you want to see the previous posts in this series, take a peek at Part One and Part Two

I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed going back and telling my “before scrapbooking” stories. I knew I would enjoy it, but I don’t think I knew quite how much. It has been amazing to look back on things that happened many years ago. I have seen patterns and themes emerge as well as seeing things in a new light. With the benefit of hindsight, everything looks different.

As I look through my photos, I am struck with how many stories there are to tell! I have only been scrapbooking for seven years. I have 28 other years to account for! Needless to say, I can’t scrap everything (nor do I want to). However, I have to figure out a way to know what stories are worth pursuing now and what stories can be left until later.

It isn’t easy. My heart and soul are close to these photos and in some ways, all of them are important. And yet, as I remind myself once again that I don’t have time to scrap everything, I know I have to prioritize. The simplest way I have found to know where to start is to ask myself one question:

If I were to die next week and the stories that I have scrapped would be all that my children would ever know, which ones would I take the time to tell?

Do you know how much easier this task became when I looked at it like that? I know it might sound morbid, and of course I don’t plan on dying, but the reality is, I don’t know when I will go. My purpose in scrapbooking is to be a memory keeper. There are certain memories that I definitely know I want my kids to hear and understand. There are other memories, that although nice, aren’t really a part of our bigger story. Photos like us going to the zoo or getting ice cream are fun to look at and if I ever have time, I might scrap them. But they aren’t the essence of who we are as a family. So, those get set aside in favor of other, more important stories.

Here are the three categories I am sorting my stories into, as well as a few examples for each:

NOW stories (stories I desperately want my children to know):

  • Birth stories
  • Engagement and wedding stories
  • Big moves—when, where, and why
  • Homes we have lived in—our lives revolve around home and it is important to who we are
  • Glimpses into my childhood—Who I am as a mother is affected by who I was as a child
  • Rational for decisions we have made as a family
  • Toys and special comfort items
  • Stories with photos of us all TOGETHER

SOON stories (important stories, and worth telling once my NOW stories are done):

  • Birthdays
  • Christmas and other holidays
  • Funny stories/quirky personality traits
  • Vacations
  • Major milestone events (first day of school, praying to receive Christ, first artwork/writing, walking)

MAYBE SOMEDAY stories (they are fun and memorable, but not crucial in knowing who we are as people):

  • Outings such as the zoo, beach, picnics
  • Random photos (bath, eating, playing, crawling, etc)
  • Toys the kids love(d)
  • Minor milestone events (learning to ride a bike, first sleepover, first foods, first dentist visit, etc.)

I would encourage you to create your own NOW, SOON, and MAYBE SOMEDAY categories. As you look through your photos, jot down stories in the appropriate category. Work to scrap your NOW stories first and if/when you finish those, move on to the SOON stories. With each layout, you will feel more and more excited about the memories you are keeping for your family!

And if you want to share, I’d love to hear what your NOW stories are. I am sure I have some that need to be added to my list!

P.S. Katie has a great post HERE on how she created her list of stories she wanted to tell!