Wednesday, January 23, 2013


a picture I will be putting in my scrapbook!
This weekend I am going on a scrapbooking retreat with some of my most favorite women. We've been doing this for about 18 years now (thank you, Creative Memories for getting us started!), gathering at least once a year to focus on organizing our memories. And it's got me thinking: Why?

I could say, because it's fun! It IS fun. It suits the artsy-crafty me, the gal who loves to arrange and quilt and collage and write captions. Even though now I have switched to all-digital scrapbooking. And wow, do I. Love. It. In just one weekend I will likely complete my 2012 Family Album. (Check, check. I love getting things done!)

But you know, scrapbooking changes your life. You start thinking about events in photographs. You pay more attention to angles and setup, you're more careful about photographing everyone who attends an event. You use your camera to record road signs and letters. You hone in on the tiniest details, like a picture of someone's socks that made you laugh or the spread of food on the picnic table or the overturned juice box that within half an hour attracted a wave of ants.

Once I was showing to friends a scrapbook I'd created from a trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and one of them said in a mocking kind of way, "I bet it took you longer to make this scrapbook than how long you were on the trip."

Yes. Yes, it did. And that's a GOOD thing. Because it puts a person right in touch with one of the two very best things in life, in my opinion: SAVORING. (The other, I would say, is ANTICIPATION, which is just another brand of savoring, and why I have never understood parents who "surprise" their kids with a trip to Disney World. I mean, so much of the joy is in the anticipation, the talk, the excitement! Likewise, afterwards, the savoring. Which is why, yes, we have a few Disney scrapbooks lying around, even though it's been years since we went.)

So, yes, one of the reasons I love to scrapbook because it's an excuse to savor. And that's not all: it's not just a record of events, of things that happened. It's a record of ME. Because I make all the choices. Just like in writing a book or creating a quilt, these scrapbooks look the way they look and include the details they include because they are a picture of me, of what's important to me, my sense of humor in the captions, the photos, the journaling.

Maybe that's not all that important to anyone right now. Maybe it never will be. But I know myself better for it. And dear sons of mine: it's all there should it ever become important to you. When that day comes (as it will) when you want to ask a question, but I'm not there to ask it -- maybe you will find the answer in these scrapbooks. And maybe you won't. But you WILL find me, and you, in all your younger versions.

And then there are the weekends. The communion of women who love to savor. All of us creating separately, yet together. Admiring and sharing and remembering together. What's not to love?


  1. The weekend sounds delightful, Irene, but the scrapbooking too. I have many years of books, but sadly stopped when I returned to teaching. I just didn't find the time. so now a huge box (at least organized by year) awaits for me to gather some of those times especially for the children, as you say there at the end. It is fun to re-look & remember. I agree about the anticipation; much of the wonder of trips is the planning. Have a terrific weekend!

  2. That does sound delightful. I would probably still be scrapbooking if I hadn't moved from NZ. We used to wheel our carts to each other's houses once a week and have a blast! Have fun!

  3. You are an excellent spokesperson for scrapbooking. Hmmm, maybe this summer when school is out, I’ll dig out my boxes of photos.

  4. I don't have the patience to scrapbook but once a year I make photobooks for the grandparents and I love sorting through the year in photographs and revisiting everything we did.

  5. That's great that you've kept up scrapbooking and your time with your friends. I did it while my girls were young, and did enjoy it very much. Like you say, it does make you better about taking photographs. This Christmas we actually had to 'stage' a photo of opening presents because all our pictures were too poor to put on our Snapfish calendar.

  6. Wow, you are an excellent spokesperson! I never thought about scrapbooking and you make me want to do it! I barely take pictures any more -- guess I'd better start with that :-)


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