Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book of Memories

My friend, Holly, recently posted a blog entry about memories based on coins she found in her pocket. This past weekend, I had an encounter with some very beautiful, life-affirming memories of my own.

For a while now, I have wanted to scrapbook. I always loved looking through other peoples’ books, allowing them to tell me their stories with pictures. My small group leader at the Focus on the Family Institute had one for each of her four boys, an idea that I loved. What really struck me was the joy the boys got from these books, eager to show anyone who would pay attention and allow them to show off the memories of their lives.

Several years ago, I had purchased some scrapbooking supplies but never really made use of them. But now, with a Creative Memories consultant for a best friend, I have started my first album! I decided that one of the easiest places to start would be my semester at Focus on the Family, the exact reason this blog was started. I figured I would have plenty of pictures to work with and lots of memories to use for the book.

So I poured over the catalog Holly gave me and made a wish list of items I wanted (for more than just one album!) then pared it down to what I would need to do the Focus album. We put the order in and waited patiently for the materials to come. In the meantime, I picked up a tote bag to cart my supplies around in. And then my order came! It was like Christmas opening that box and examining each of the items I had ordered. The beautiful green album, the earth tone pages, the was very exciting!

That was about a month ago and this past weekend, we finally had the chance to sit down so that she could help me get going on my book. I used Snapfish (which I highly recommend) to print off the 300+ photos that I brought with me to work with at Holly’s house. We spread our supplies out on the dining room table, set up a tool station on the island in their kitchen and got to work. Holly coached me a bit to get me started then let me run with it when I was a little more comfortable.

As I flipped through over 300 photos that spanned three-and-a-half months of my life and two reunions, I reminisced about the memories those pictures represented.

The first page in my album has two pictures. The first is of me and my roommates in Dr. Dobson’s office. God blessed me with the opportunity that semester to work with Dr. Dobson’s research assistant, Paul Batura, a wonderful author in his own right. I was absorbed with doing reading and research for Dr. Dobson’s upcoming book, “Bringing Up Girls”. Paul was a wonderful mentor and supervisor and had invited me to bring my roommates up for a tour of the executive wing at Focus on the Family. The photo is from that tour after we had all had our pictures taken sitting at Dr. Dobson’s desk, a fun bonding experience for all of us as roommates and friends.

The second photo looks like a postcard image of the International Building (where the Institute is housed) at Focus on the Family covered in inches of snow. We had just returned from our Summit (end of semester) retreat in the middle of a snowstorm. The snow was beautiful and undefiled. The whole world seemed to breathe a sigh and be at peace in the blanket God had provided. Of course, the arrival of 88 students and their teachers in the parking may have disturbed the silence a bit, but it was a joyous arrival. Thank goodness my roommate, Bethany, was from Michigan! After clearing snow off her car and helping other (warmer climate) students clear theirs off as well, we got ready to head back to the apartment when she looked over at me mischievously and asked if I’d ever done a donut in a car. I can’t say ‘no’ anymore. We proceeded to go to the back of the parking lot and do a few donuts before we left. :) I’m glad I have that memory with my roommate.

I could spend pages going over the photos in my scrapbook and retelling the memories behind each one: the funny faces my roommate Alisha made, what happens when you play with blue icing, Air Force football, exploring Colorado Springs, the surprises we pulled on each other, and many more. The memories contained there are immense and it’s hard to imagine fitting such a watershed time in my life into only a few pages. But I think it’s about more than just the photos and words on the pages I create. It is truly about the entire experience. A large part of it is remembering God’s grace and His work in my life that semester, especially through the girls He had me rooming with. I actually had the opportunity to talk to one of my roommates in the midst of the creative process one night about what I was doing. I have been able to relive some of those memories and recount some of the stories behind those photos as I piece together my album. It is truly more than just photos and paper and ink.

So while I can’t recount all of our adventures and lessons from the semester in this small space, hopefully soon I can show you my scrapbook and let it tell the story. After all, that’s what the scrapbook is for now, isn’t it? ;)

Soli Deo Gloria,


P.S. If you’re interested in checking it out, the Focus Leadership Institute has a new name, new look, and new webpage! You can find them at Don’t forget to tell them I sent you! :)

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