I value making memories, especially with my family. I also firmly believe that documenting and preserving these memories are equally important. Life is pretty much like the waves on a beach, ebbing and flowing. Some moments are akin to a single wave, coming once, never to return again. Thus, it is essential that we capture these “moments in time”.
Many say that memories last forever and we can keep coming back to them as they’re printed in our hearts. However, I grew up with a grandmother that developed dementia (Alzheimer’s). It came to a point where she could not remember anything at all. She thought her only son was her husband, and she became jealous of his wife (her daughter-in-law). It was heartbreaking and painful to watch. Seeing the vivacious person I love and grew up with become a mere shadow of her former self is brutal.
That’s why, now, I advocate preserving memories in tangible forms like old letters, photographs, scrapbooks, and other mementos. Thankfully, both my parents passed on their love of scrapbooking and journaling to me; so even if my mom and grandma are now in heaven, I still have a huge memory bank to pore over to make me smile and help me remember our happy times.
Some life events are milestones, like births, weddings, or baptisms which can easily be recalled. Sadly, day-to-day life is taken for granted and often lost in the hectic buzz. When I think about it, I can barely remember what I ate the other week, much less what happened to my family a few months ago.
Luckily, we all now have our handy cam-phones that pretty much document everything in our daily lives, which allow us to “freeze” our favorites. We can share pictures instantly on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Viber, or Twitter. FB even has an “On This Day” feature, which reminds us what has happened on the same day a year or many more years ago.
Moreover, with fancy technology, our camera phones take photos just as good as a DSLR, with great storage to boot. There are also many editing apps that ensure we get fantastic photos with the perfect balance of brightness, contrast, saturation, and the like.
Now, the problem is an overabundance of pictures that only make their way out of our gadgets’ storage because of our social media accounts. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can actually find a way to both organize and print these thousands of photos? I’ve lost a databank of digital photos and it really hurts because I know I can never get them back!
Thankfully, my fellow scrapbook loving friend, Mia, introduced me to a movement called Project Life by Becky Higgins. Since we’re busy moms, we’ve lost the time to work on elaborate scrapping projects. This method is a simplified scrapbooking process that makes the craft faster and easier. Check www.beckyhiggins.com for inspiring ideas.
I just follow Project Life’s style and use ordinary albums with 4R-size pockets that I buy in any bookstore. I fill the pages with printed pictures in various sizes, fancy paper, and stickers. I also write notes on the side to keep a documentary of what has happened. I am thankful to the website for giving me ideas to capture not just special occasions, but also regular daily moments.
Photobook Philippines is also another lifesaver in chronicling life’s golden moments. I downloaded their free software that helps me design our own family books. When I am done with a project, I upload it to their database, and they print the final book.
My youngest can’t read yet, but he definitely enjoys the albums. Most daily events that happen will pass and be forgotten, but these can be easily remembered and relived in the stylized books that permit us to go back in time.
There are different sizes of photobooks, which are printed in Malaysia on fine quality paper and are brought to my doorstep via DHL. They also come in various finishes: softbound, hard cover leather, and hardcover imagewrap. My favorite size is the 8×8 square hardcover, while my favorite projects are the ‘Yearly Reviews’ of our family, which documents the monthly highlights of our year.
I really can’t rave enough about Photobook Philippines (this is not a paid post, but an honest review from a loyal customer). They have super fast shipping and great customer service. One time, they were delayed in delivering because of the Christmas rush. They immediately apologized and gave me a few vouchers to rectify their mistake. I keep coming back to use their affordable services because my children and I take pictures daily.
Just remember, each day is a possibility to capture snippets of the people we love. We are not guaranteed our tomorrows, so it is imperative to make those memories today. There are no rules on what to snap: happy, crying, bored, laughing, etc. These are the pictures that will be treasured and cherished so we can look at them again and again. As the Barbra Streisand song goes: “Mem’ries light the corners of my mind/ Misty water-colored mem’ries of the way we were/ Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind/ Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.”
Yes, it will always be nice to remember the way we were. Perhaps, the only regret most of us will have is not taking more photographs. I still wish I have more photos with my mom and grandma! Take many photos and preserve those memories before they’re lost and gone forever.