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All week I have been thinking about our topic of the month (inspiration) – I even wrote a blog post on my own blog about a layout that inspired me to do one of my own on my puppy, Sydney.  But one thing has been nagging me… and I finally put my finger on it tonight.  Before we can be inspired, before we can scrap, we have to know where our pictures are so that we can scrap them.  And, we have to give up on the notion that we’re ever going to scrap all of them or ever be caught up (unless we stop taking pictures entirely, that is).

Stacy Julian says it best in her book, Photo Freedom, “It’s important to realize that even if you never snap another picture for the rest of your life, you already have more photos than you can ever expect to showcase in your scrapbooks.”  She goes on to say, ” Somewhere between giving up entirely and pushing ahead in a mad frenzy to catch up there is a (very) happy medium.”  Reading this book really changed my foundational principles about scrapbooking.  Before, I was focused on chronological scrapbooks, capturing holidays, birthdays, the big life events.  I might, every once in a while, branch out and do a page that was really just about a picture I loved, but not an event.  But that was rare. And even then, I felt compelled to put it in chronological order in my scrapbooks.

After reading Photo Freedom, I started to re-think my scrapbooking.  I’m still doing my chronological albums – I’m not sure I am ready to give those up entirely yet – but I am starting to do more and more pages about things that just speak to me in the moment.  Like this page here, about my husband.  There was no “big event” to capture, but I really like the page as it turned out; and it’s capturing something that is very, very special to me – part of the essence of my husband.

What reading this book has done is make me think about my pictures differently and think more about what story I want the picture to tell. Am I just capturing the big events of my life?  Will these really, truly, be meaningful to my kids or grandkids (or great-grandkids) one day?  Or, am I capturing the real essence of what our life is like right now?

I want to be able to look back on these years of our life and remember the silly things my girls did – the funny phrases they used, the games they played, their favorite clothes and favorite colors.  I want to remember what it was like to be me at this stage in my life.  I want my girls to know, one day, what it was like to be me. (so they will understand the things I do and maybe help them to be better moms themselves one day)

So, when you’re going through your week this week, keep your camera handy.  Snap some pictures of your kid doing homework or your sweetheart doing yardwork.  Then, while the thoughts are fresh in your mind, write a few things down about the pictures you took.  How they make you feel, what the day was like, what you want to remember about this moment. Just jot it in a notebook or a piece of cardstock and file it away with the pictures until you have time to scrap them.  I’m finding that when I do this, journal while the emotions are fresh, that I have more passion in my writing… and that I am usually inspired to go ahead and scrap the pictures as quickly as I can.

Oh, and one more thing.  It’s not always all about the pictures.  It’s REALLY all about the stories.  Do a page without them. (the pictures, that is) I dare you to try it…