Karen Morris: Memory Keeping Matters to Me

Thanks to our friend Presidential Director Karen Morris for contributing today’s post!

“I will always remember this moment.”

Hasn’t everyone experienced special times that we savor and simply KNOW we’ll never forget? But the truth is, memories fade and those moments are lost. That’s why I am passionate about memory keeping—the complete package of photos accompanied by journaling. They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but not really—photos need your words. Saving memories in photo albums and scrapbooks keeps those “snapshots of time” real and everlasting.

I’ve been a memory keeper for as long as I can remember. In my younger years, I started with diaries, adding photos here and there. In my early adult years, I was caught up in the “magnetic photo page” craze and that is where my creativity blossomed as I cut colored index cards to create journaling spots. (Pretty lame compared to all of the creative options we have now, right?)

Today I love and use three types of memory keeping: traditional 12″ x 12″ handmade scrapbook pages filled with photos, notes, and embellishments; pocket scrapbooking with Picture My Life™ scrapbooking programs, which have helped me catch up on several travel albums; and, last but not least, digital pages from Studio J®. As you browse my albums, you’ll see a mix of all three styles and it works beautifully!

Memory keeping took on a whole NEW meaning for me when I became a grandmother for the first time—of twin girls! Babies change so quickly. I adored the sweet smell of a newborn and simply couldn’t get enough. One of my favorite pages is one I created when the girls were newly born. I titled it “Who Knew,” and added words from my heart: “Who knew I’d love this ‘grandma’ thing so much! I figured there would be joy. I didn’t anticipate this immediate, head-over-heels, unconditional love. I didn’t expect every waking moment to be so consumed with those sweet babies. I remember being amazed at the birth of my own children. But the birth of twin granddaughters seems, well, indescribable…magical, precious, delightful. Life will never be the same again, nor would I want it to be. These baby girls have brought a brilliance to life that I never knew existed.”

Who Knew page by Karen Morris

A few weeks after creating this page, I jotted my feelings in a notebook so that I could capture the day’s emotions for a layout to be created later: “February 12, 2007. This is my first trip away from my granddaughters. Who would have guessed it would be so hard? Those sweet angels have captured my heart and I am going through withdrawals. Okay, so the plane is still on the tarmac and I haven’t officially left town. I’m still missing them—their big observant eyes, the drooling milk mouths, the way they snuggle so closely when I hold them. My sweet angels. Our miracles. I love you and will return in 72 hours and 37 minutes. ~Grandma Karen”

Precious page by Karen Morris

Fast forward several years later to an impromptu lunch with my son, daughter, plus my four-year-old grandson—just the four of us. We went to a favorite sandwich shop and Gavin was in such an animated mood that day that I pulled out my camera phone and began snapping away (mostly unnoticed by anyone). One of the first things I did when returning home was to quickly create this Studio J layout titled, “That’s My Boy.”

That's My Boy layout by Karen Morris

Our family also includes the four-legged variety. Currently we have a cocker spaniel and three shih tzus, each with their own personality. Being that they are part of my life’s experience, I also do pages about them. When we unexpectedly lost a previous family pet, Murray, at a young age, I created this tribute to him.

Murray layout by Karen Morris

Scrapbooks are fun to browse through—my grandchildren love seeing pictures of themselves and family members at much younger ages. We love those walks down memory lane and relive stories together through these books. Our conversations consist of, “Remember when…,” “I loved the time you…,” and, “Look how much they’ve changed since….”

There’s also an even more practical side of memory keeping: these are the best reference books ever! More than once my husband and I have pulled out a scrapbook to find a specific memory. “What was the name of that restaurant we particularly enjoyed in Hawaii so we can return there on our next trip?” (By the way, it was the “Winds of Beam Reach” on Kauai, since closed, but they served the absolute BEST blackened Ono I’ve ever encountered!) Or we check dates of the last cruise and locations visited. (“What was that jewelers name on St. Thomas?!”)

I create memory books and fill them with what matters to me. They’re a chronicle of my life, my experiences, and my heart. What matters to you?

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