If you're like me and you're rather an on again, off again type of memory keeper, then you'll LOVE this super EASY method for capturing the present personality and interests of family members or anyone else (say, friends, roommates, etc.)
Here's what you do ...
1. Ask each person to come to the dinner table or a family evening activity with FIVE physical things that they could use to introduce themselves with. These things can be anything really (as you'll see below), but the important thing is that each person is forced to either find FIVE things or limit themselves to FIVE things, which both guarantees a level of detail that makes personal stories fun and interesting AND restricts the gathering of items for those that tend to over prepare—if you know what I mean!
2. Invite each person to talk through their items. Encourage them to share not only what the item is, but WHY they feel it represents them at this time in their life. The last time we did this as a family was about a year ago (September 2014) and I shared this idea and some of what we learned, in my class Inspired Scrapbooking, which I was teaching at the time. It's always amazing to me, how quickly people (especially young people) change, grow and evolve as evidenced by this activity.
my husband, Geoff gathered the following items ...
- Korean language book, which he often studies just before falling asleep.
- A Valentine card with Addie's picture on it, that sits on top of his dresser.
- The remote that controls our Sleep Science bed, although I use this more than he does, ha!
- The key to his Harley Road King motorcycle.
- His ACCU-CHEK blood sugar monitor and lancing device, which he is using while he deals with PMR ( Polymyalgia Rheumatica), which he was diagnosed with in August, 2014 (He is doing really well btw.)
3. Take a photo of each person with their FIVE things, or arrange and photograph the items, like I've done here.
The items I selected a year ago were ...
- The book, Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace (I had just finished reading it)
- My "new" iPhone 6 (we had just switched to a Verizon family plan and I had to select a case at the Verizon store. I didn't like the pink one, but it was better than the other choices!)
- A favorite necklace that my sister-n-law Hillary made for me.
- An Amazon gift-card, designed to represent my alarming quick, "buy-now-with-one-click" shopping skills (yikes!)
- Ear plugs, necessary for sleeping with Geoff, who (was) snoring loudly most nights. Note: Since carefully monitoring his PMR/blood sugar, he has now lost 25 pounds, and no longer snores!
Trey's items were ...
- A SOCCER ball, representing his absolute passion for, fascination with and desire to play soccer, 24/7.
- KEYS & Driver's License -- he was a new driver last September!
- A red, foam clown nose -- just because he is Trey and always doing something silly and or entertaining.
- An Apple iTunes card, to represent his LOVE of music and the fact that he is almost always singing!
Taft's items ...
- His Harry Potter watch and collection of rubber wristbands and bracelets. Taft asked if we could include a photo of his arm—which I love!
- The iPad, because he loved watching The Legend of Korra on it.
- MineCraft calendar, which represents his desire to play MineCraft or watch MineCraft YouTube videos 24/7.
- XBox controller (at least I think that's what that is?)
- His miniature turtle, Kotyum, which we rescued from the Spokane River, earlier last summer.
Addie's items ...
- The iPad with the PBS show, The Wild Kratz playing on it.
- Her Korean workbook, since she attends Korean Language and Culture School with Dad on Saturday afternoons.
- Watercolor paints, which she uses almost daily.
- String, which she plays with and can use to imagine almost any situation.
- A rock from her collection. Enough said.
I take LOTS of photographs (which I obviously love and use) but this exercise tells a different visual story and even one short year later brings back so many everyday memories for me. I hope you'll try it!
Just for fun, I'm including here, the welcome note that I wrote for the October installment of Inspired Scrapbooking. The topic was THINGS and as I mentioned above, this was one of the ideas I shared in my video.
I’m so happy and grateful that you’re here. Autumn is here too (Yay!) and it is a perfect season to approach life with a sense of wonder and discovery. Why not try something new, like a pumpkin against the backdrop of a beach! I love this image, because I tend to drag my feet a bit when October rolls around. It seems the retail world is intent on plunging me into the holiday season, while I’m still trying to savor what’s left of summer. And while I’m first in line to anticipate autumn traditions and fun, family activities, I tend to want to govern the flow of these things. It’s no coincidence that the flow of things and their impermanence is our focus this month.
THINGS might feel like a giant catchall category when it comes to memory keeping, but let’s view it instead as an opportunity to identify both the tangible and intangible THINGS that contribute to the quality and uniqueness of our individual lives. Whether its what you love to eat for breakfast or your philosophy on parenting, it’s a thing that can be considered a part of your story. And, when it comes to things, my best advice is to start taking pictures, now! Photograph what you eat, read, watch, drive, use, wear and do. There is so much that is taken for granted in our world today that simply did not exist a generation (or even a decade) ago, so let’s shift into capture mode and document these things. Watch my little video for some specific and fun ideas as well as an explanation of the worksheet posted below.
Things do change. One of the reasons we choose to scrapbook is to document what is, so that we can remember it and hold onto it, even as it evolves right before our eyes. And, one of the challenges in life is to embrace change, even as we honor the past and learn from it.
So, here’s to THINGS: big and little and constantly changing.