Family, Photos

The Blessing of Photography

August 19th is World Photography Day. When I first heard about World Photography Day, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate by taking photographs. But I already take too many.

I thought I should make a special effort to open my albums and look at my photographs. But I regularly peruse my albums.

I decided to do what I am still learning to do—especially since one uncle’s funeral. Be grateful for photographs.

Be grateful for the memories I have recorded.

Never go camping without your teddy bear .(May 1990)

Be grateful to my ancestors for taking photographs at a time when photography was not common but rather a luxury.

My father, left, and his brothers in the mid-1930s. I love their poses because they stood this way as adults. Children don’t change. See here.
The family garden

The photos may be blurry and dark, but they tell me things my father and uncles never did, and they remind me of what they did tell.

Thank you, Photographer, whoever you were.

God bless the photographers and those who cherish those photographs.

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Picture of the Day

Are you considering new habits for the New Year? Along the way, I learned that regular habits sometimes—well, usually—disintegrated into irregular ones. I also learned that irregular habits can still be valuable.

When my middle son went to college, his younger brother urged him to take a Picture of the Day, POTD, and email it to the family. I thought POTD was our family’s acronym, not commonly used for Poll of the Day and, more accurately, Photo of the Day.

My middle son daily emailed a POTD the first two weeks, and then sporadically the rest of his college years.  

A Junior Year POTD

My youngest took POTD seriously his freshman year. POTDs dropped off during his sophomore year. Junior year was more accurately Picture of the Week—although still labeled POTD.  Senior year became Picture of the Month.

A Freshman Year POTD

Fifteen years later, my husband and I still have the thrill of receiving emails and texts with POTD in the subject line. The frequency and regularity have decreased, but the habit continues, keeping our family connected—and sometimes amused—over hundreds of miles.

Has an irregular habit benefited you? Perhaps, kept you connected?

Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting, Photos

Clutter? Photos Help

An experienced mom had learned how to fight the clutter battle, and I took her “take a photo” advice to heart.

My boys built Usborne Cut-Out models of a Viking town, Roman villa, Roman amphitheater, multiple castles, knights’ masks and more. They enjoyed their results.

However, you can’t keep that stuff around. When the models had served their purpose and then hung around a bit longer, I took a photo and we moved on.

Crusader Castle 2001

The advice prevented arguments and showed respect for the boy’s efforts. Not only did I have years of clean surface areas, nineteen years later, I have reminders of projects that would have crumbled and been tossed by now.

This system works today. My sentimental family members are more likely to toss something if they take a photo before parting.

Do you have a method for making it easier to part with sentimental items?

Parenting, Photos

Photos Add Perspective Part 2

In Photos Add Perspective Part 1 (See Here), I related the story of an adult who felt she had never received attention after her younger sister was born. Her facts were discredited by multiple family photographs.

However, her feelings were also supported by the family photographs. The most poignant is the older sister sitting beside the infant sibling, who is held by their father. While he gazes into the eyes of his baby daughter, the older sister stares blankly into the camera. There is no smile. The joy my boys expressed when holding or snuggling with the newest baby is absent.

Now that I have heard her perspective, her expression—especially her eyes—take on new meaning.

A yearbook editor once told me that people first consider how they look in a group photograph before looking at anyone else. Afterwards, I noticed that I also scrutinized my face and outfit first. Along the way, I learned to expand my vision and look more carefully at others.

Do you have photographs that need a second or third look?

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Photos Add Perspective Part 1

We can be crippled by the stories we tell ourselves. Many of these stories are driven by deep emotions and fragile memories. How can we gain a better perspective? Our photographs can help.

I was recently told, “I never received attention after my younger sister was born.” This dear person proceeded to cite evidence based on a photo I had seen. I remembered the image but not specific details.

I flipped through an old album and found several pictures of two preschoolers sitting on the steps of their back porch. I scrutinized the image for the details cited as proof. They did not exist. The photo unequivocally showed the opposite.

I turned the album’s page and viewed picnic photos. The older sister was embraced by her attentive father while her younger sister played close by.

The enemy of our soul wants us to believe lies: that we are unloved, unwanted, and unimportant. Our children are especially vulnerable. Photos give us ammunition to strike back and protect truth.

Do you have stories that need another perspective?