Documenting Your History

12:31:00 PM Brooke Neal 0 Comments


Wow, life is really getting in the way and it feels like my blog is suffering! Actually, we've been on Easter holiday making new memories and since our return I've been busy planning teacher luncheons, writing the school newsletter and helping populate the school website.  So, I guess the blog has taken a back seat and with good reason.

It is sometimes hard to balance all that is required of us, but lest I complain, I have to say how grateful I am to be the keeper of our family history.   Grateful that our life circumstances allow me the time to document not only our travels, but our growth: physical, emotional and spiritual.

Record keeping has always been a passion of mine.  I remember receiving my first journal when I turned 8, the Kuchinsky family gave it to me as a baptismal gift.  It had multi-colored lined paper and I addressed my entries to an imaginary friend, Mr. P.  Little did the Kuchinksky's know that simple gift would put me on a path of record keeping.

Throughout high school I kept a true scrapbook collecting napkins from restaurants, pressed flowers, and pictures from dances. My husband and I met the summer after our Freshman year of college.  We dated for 2 years before spending two years apart so we could each serve missions for our church.  I kept every letter he wrote to me and he did like wise.  I have two binders full of letters documenting our correspondence.

Then the scrapbook craze of the 2000's hit and I jumped on that band wagon in a big way.  All the while I kept up my own personal journal, but then our second child came along and I just couldn't keep up with journal writing, creating darling scrapbook pages and caring for a new baby.  In 2008 I left the pressure of producing works of art and began blogging. While I sometimes miss the artistic outlet of scrapbooking, blogging has freed up my time to focus on writing.  Recording our comings and goings, our emotions & our joys and sorrows in a way that doesn't require puffy stickers, 4 sheets of color coordinated paper and grommets.

I've found there are a lot of ways to record your history--in some cases you're already doing it and you don't even know it! I honestly believe it is worth your time and if you don't record it, who will?
Here are a few of my favorite ways to document your life.

1. Do you have a Facebook page?  At the end of the year, copy and past all your status updates and print them off. Sometimes Facebook will even do it for you.  These tiny snippets document a wide range of feelings and give a real sense of who you are.

2. Keep a calendar? Jot down short notes about your day in the margin.

3. If you keep a blog, print it off at the end of every year.  There are several sites with this capability, I use www.blurb.com.  The editing process is long, but in the end I have a coffee table book that actually gets read.

4. Do you enjoy having company in your home?  Keep a guest book.  If I had started this when I was first married I would have hundreds of entries of people with whom we've shared friendships. A friend of mine even notates the menu.

5. Include the family.  Whether you keep a blog, a scrapbook, or paper bound journal, let other family members write in it.  Your's isn't the only perspective in the house and how I perceive a situation may be completely different from my children's point of view.  One of my favorite blog entries was my daughter's book review of Jane Eyre!

6. Write a recipe book. A few years ago I collected recipes we grew up eating.  I added some text from each sibling and a few pictures and gave it to my mother for Christmas.  She was over the moon and now I have our family recipes in one spot.

7. Make videos. Everyone seems to have a smart phone with video capability.  The key is taking those snippets off your phone.  I use i-movie to create videos then upload to Youtube to share with family members.

8. Print your instagram photos.

9. Print emails and Facebook messages.  Hardly anyone sends snail mail anymore--More often than not we are communicating via email and Facebook.  These correspondences contain lots of information.  Print them and file them in a binder.

10. Do you have a budding Picasso? Photograph the artwork.  I hang my daughter's artwork on our office door, when it is full I photograph the door with her standing next to it.  Then I feel comfortable tossing the old artwork.  If you have an extra special piece consider framing it.

There are loads of ways to record your history, this list is in no way exhaustive.  How do you document your life?  

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