Friday, May 7, 2010

Personal History

*I wrote this post for my personal family blog, but I thought I'd share it here as well since my passion for personal history really manifests itself a lot in my scrapbooking. I'll warn you though, it's a bit long!*

(i.e., my rambling late night thoughts on the subject)

I've been thinking a lot about personal history lately. So at 2:30 am, when I couldn't fall back asleep after changing Miles sheets from an accident, I just laid there with my thoughts. And basically wrote this post in my head (does anyone else write blog posts in their head when trying to fall asleep? Most never make it here though). Anyway, here it is.

I think personal history is important. I think all the little simple things (what most might call boring and uneventful) in life should be celebrated as equally - and maybe even more - than the big moments. I've heard people complain when it comes to journal writing and personal history that their life is so mundane and boring, they don't have anything worth sharing. But I think not. I think we all have something worthwhile, and the best person to tell your story is YOU.

Two of my own "personal history heroes" are Ali Edwards and Louise Plummer. I'll share a little about each and what they have taught me:

Ali Edwards. Ali is a scrapbooker. I have been following her blog for a few years now, and it is always very inspiring. Her philosophy is very much about using photos + words to tell a story, and keeping things simple. One of my very favorite things she does is her Week in the Life project. She picks one week every year and tries to capture everything in her life - by taking photos and writing down everything going on, then compiling it all into one album. She actually just wrapped up this project for this year. I didn't play along this time, but if you've read my blog for a while you might remember I played along and did the project back in the fall of 2008. It is my most favorite scrapbook album I have ever made. A slice of our everyday lives, recorded in detail. She's also shared some really great quotes on her blog that apply to this subject. I recently added this one to my blog header:

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." - Mary Jean Iron

This is another one of my favorites - I love it because it speaks perfectly to the stage of life I am in right now:

"..but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." - Anna Quindlen

You can find more inspiring quotes Ali has collected here.

Louise Plummer: Louise blogs every Thursday at The Apron Stage. I love her posts! She's funny, and has a very direct and simple style to her writing. I find reading her thoughts on such mundane subjects as Easter attire and gift giving and fortune cookies highly entertaining. I loved her piece "Motherhood Stats" she recently wrote Provo Orem Word. She is also a fiction writer, and although I have yet to read any of it, I did recently check out her book titled "Thoughts From a Grasshopper: Essays and Oddities" from the library. I highly recommend it. One particular essay focuses on her thoughts and ideas for journal keeping. She shares different things she had written over the years... and even lists of things she finds when cleaning under her bed. This might sound like the MOST boring and mundane thing ever... but she points out she would love to know little details like these about her grandmothers, whom she never knew very well. I totally agree. I often think of my grandma Wilma who died in 1950-something, or my Grandma Shaw who I knew only as a child before she had Alzheimer's and later died when I was 13. I would love to know the quirky little details of their lives... what they thought about, ate, read - what they found when cleaning under their beds, so to speak. I'll probably never be as gifted a writer as Louise, but I'd like to think my kids and grand kids might like to know some of this stuff about me.

This is why I love to scrapbook. This is why I like to keep up on my blog (although I haven't been very good at documenting the everyday moments lately). This is why I follow others' blogs - I love to peek at everyday lives that, because they celebrate and embrace the ordinary, are actually extraordinary. This is why I keep a journal. I haven't always been great at doing this, but I recently started using - it's online and secure and free to use. Every week or so I write. Nothing spectacular, just simple things about how I love to crack my knuckles and how I love my down comforter and how KC likes to fall asleep watching nature shows. Just the little things that are part of my story. Because everyone has a story worth telling.

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