Destination Hope

HOPETonight I had the privilege of sharing with a group of people…. I told my story! Just a little bit of the crazy story; the story of my experiences while loving people who are affected by addiction.  It’s always kind of scary, talking in front of a group and being transparent. Sharing the areas of your life that you want to keep secret from everyone.  I always wonder…..what should I talk about? But then, I remember, my story is, well, my story, so sharing about my experience is easy, and when I begin with “how it was” and continue into “how it is now”, it’s most important to me that someone….anyone, will find some hope.

Hope is a crazy thing…we all want to hope for the best but while in the despair of certain circumstances, any circumstances beyond our control, it’s so hard to see. It doesn’t matter the circumstance, whether it’s illness, financial problems, addiction, or any other problem Hope is like asmall dim light at the edge of darkness that slowly begins to illuminate our situation, and somehow we begin to think there is a chance of something different.  It’s a destination from despair to….. maybe things can be different.

So what did I learn tonight?  If you allow Him to, God will use the crazy, shameful, bad, embarrassing events of your life and turn them into something good.  What do I mean by that? I’ve found that most people believe that they are the ONLY ones going through something painful, maybe even awful. Because their belief is that, no one else could possibly be dealing with “this”,  the tendency is to want to hide, hide from other’s and hide the details. But, if we are brave enough to talk about it, especially if we have made it through the dark times, we just may find that our experience will bring someone else hope.  Someone who is desperately seeking anyone to understand their pain.  I know this because of my experience and of course…because the bible tells me so (yep, that’s a kid’s song), Roman’s 8:28:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Hope is a small word, for such a big feeling.  A small word, just like that small glimmer of light that begins to illuminate and grow into something bigger.  “HOPE CHANGES EVERYTHING!” Share it, don’t hide your glimmer of light from others. They need to hear it….

  • They need to know how you began to do things differently, and your’ life got better.  They need your wisdom
  • They need to know that when you gave your life to Jesus your outlook on life changed….for the better!
  • They need to know that they are not the only one who’s husband, wife, children, mother, father, etc. are dealing with an addiction problem.
  • They need to know that you found peace even when your financial situation was bleak….and you lost your home.
  • They need to know that you once dealt with an addiction and found the power to break that hold on your life.  Whether it is a program like AA or the power of God….or both….they need to know.
  • They need to know that you survived cancer (or some other health issue) and are here today. They need to know what got you through.

Share people!  Don’t hide! You will find “HOPE” and more importantly God will use YOU to help someone else get to that place of hope….

If you’re in need of some glimmer of light, seek hope, ask for help, first from God, then second from someone who’s dealing with what you are dealing with.

Finding Hope….It’s a destination…..and we all need a guide. Will you be someone’s guide?

 

 


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What’s Your Type?

Happy Friday!

I’m really looking forward to spending the weekend with no soccer games! As much as I love watching my daughter’s soccer games, sometimes it’s just a really satisfying thought to know you have the whole weekend’s schedule to fill up with whatever your heart desires.

Continuing with our series on photos, I thought I’d talk about albums a bit. The quality of your albums is important. We’ve all seen those old photo albums with yellowing photos that are falling out or cemented stuck down forever. We want to avoid that, so making sure that your albums are acid free and lignen free (the woody plant substance that turns paper/stickers yellow and then brown) is important. It doesn’t matter the type of album you choose, slide in, digital, or scrapbook, it’s more important to make sure it has some important qualities.

One of the things to look for in an album is a guarantee on the workmanship of the album. There are albums that have a lifetime guarantee on the workmanship of the album. This is important, you don’t want to spend time, effort and money on your photo projects only to have the album be defective. Even when companies have been around for many years, “stuff” happens and you could end up with an album that cannot be replaced. BUT, based on my experience, if there is the lifetime guarantee, usually the quality is good, and most likely you will not have problems, even if the manufacturer does go out of business.

So, what type of album should you use?? The best answer I can give you is …the one that works for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Are you creative? Are you limited on time? Are you computer savvy? Do you already have boxes of photos? Are most of your photos digital? You gotta think about these things, ya know.

Digital Albums – If your photos are mostly digital you will definitely want to consider a digital type album. Digital albums are quick. They can be creative and “scrapbook-like” or they can be very simple. Everything is digital the decorations, paper and artwork is reusable, saving you money.  There are 2 types of digital albums that I can think of. The slide it album that you insert digital page prints into, or the digital “storybook” album that looks like a book.

Photo album with digital slide in pages

Digital Storybook type album

Storybook type albums come in various sizes

Actually there are even different types of the books, but the general idea is the same; “book-like”).   If you will need multiple copies of your album then digital is most definitely the way to go. Personally the digital “storybook” albums are my favorite, BUT the slide in pages work  too, especially if  you want to mix digital with a more traditional photo album look.

Just a little bit decorative for a slide in album -Excuse the cell phone picture please!

Just a little bit decorative for a slide in album

Slide-in – This album is also a quick solution to getting your pictures into an album with a limited amount of time, money and creativity. If you already have printed photos this type of album is a good option. if you’re not fond of spending time decorating a scrapbook page or you want your album to be quick and simple, then this album is for you. One downside to this type of album is that you are limited to the pocket sizes and the orientation of the inserts. That means, you have to worry if you have too many landscape photos for the album pages. Plus, if your pictures are not that exact size it can be a little challenging to make the album look good.  You can add “matting” to your photo and alleviate this problem.

Even hand writing your headings is ok. It's your album, do what works for you.

Even hand writing your headings is ok. It’s your album, do what works for you.

Are you creative?,  This may be just enough to satisfy your creativity! It’s simple to dedicate one of the page pockets to headings or a decorative journal area. Whether the story is designated to a small area or a full pocket remember it’s important.

Just a simple scrapbook page….they can get pretty elaborate.

 

 

Scrapbook Album –  Do you already have printed photos? You may want to think about a scrapbook album. Usually, this is NOT a quick solution for photo album projects and there is most definitely a learning curve to feeling confident in the traditional decorative scrapbook technique.  I think it is also the least budget friendly of the 3 options. There are many supplies paper, adhesive, pens etc. (just to name a few) that can consume your pocketbook.  And seriously, when I say many…I mean many. You can get really carried away spending money on tools and gadgets and supplies for this type of album.  Although some of the items are 1 time purchases, many are consumable and need to be re-purchased and restocked. However, a scrapbook album is a beautiful, creative option. This album type is much easier to integrate memorabilia into than the other two options.

Because, as I said, a picture is not worth much without a few words. Remember, no matter what your style you’ll want to remember the stories, and so will the people you love. That means you’ll need to write them down. All of the above albums are good options for this. Another important tip…when you are choosing your album, be realistic.  Choose wisely, based on your own personal needs, don’t let anyone make you feel like it has to be perfect or exactly like theirs.  If you don’t have the time or desire to make fancy scrapbook albums….don’t, it’s ok to choose the simpler, quicker route if that’s what works for you. Later we’ll take a look at where you can find each of this type and a couple of pros and cons.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


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Organize, Sort and Store Your Photos

organizing

So maybe you’ve thought about all those photos you have…and maybe that thought scares you a bit…that’s a normal emotion. Really. I’ve worked on my own albums and helped others with their albums for about 18 years now.  With that time, comes experience, and as I shared yesterday, over the years I’ve used different types of albums.  I thought I’d share some tips and ideas and hopefully encourage you, that you to can get those photos into some kind of album.  So here goes…

Organize and Sort Your Pictures

The first and foremost task is to organize your photos. This will prevent confusion but most importantly when finished you will have all of your pictures in a centralized location. You know instead of under the bed, in the closets and drawers, in the garage, on the computer, in your phone, on cd’s, memory cards, social media and back up sites. Sounds crazy right, how in the world would you gather all the pictures from the many different locations in case of an emergency.  Would you even know where to look? So you see getting them in one place is a priority even if it’s just for the sake of an emergency situation.

  • Printed Photos – Begin by getting a storage box. There are a few important things to look for and why I think they are important.  It needs to be photo safe.  It’s possible that your photos are going to be in there for some time so you want to make sure that it will not damage your photos.  There are many cardboard storage boxes on the market and although they are inexpensive they are not something that you want to store your pictures in. Having 1 larger box may be more feasible than having several smaller boxes; figure out what will work for you.
    Power sort box1

    Sample of what I use

    Get boxes that are compartmentalized. That means that there are several smaller boxes within 1 larger one.  BUT, it’s important  that the compartments are able to be removed and/or rearranged, as you sort you can just move the smaller box around to attain order in your box. You will not want the smaller compartments to be closed or have lids, having open access to them enables quick sorting of pictures without having to remove the small box open it and put your pictures in.  That would seriously deter adding pictures and totally defeat the purpose of making it easy to get organized. And lastly, there should be dividers and they should be able to be written on, erased, and re-written. (in the case of changing minds)

  • Digital photos – The first task…. will help you get them all in one place. But first things first, determine where and how you will organize digitally. Where? One your computer, online, on external hard drive etc.  I have a program that I swear by, I’ve had it for years and always, always, recommend it! The bad news is it’s a Creative Memories program and since they’re out of business it’s no longer available….the good news. The company that developed it for them has a program that is pretty much identical.  I will recommend it always! It’s called Historian by Panstoria . You can choose what works for you but here is what I’ve found to be important, (and of course, Historian can accommodate) When you add photos it automatically knows when you took the pictures and places them in order by date.  (if, of course, the date on your camera is correct). You can tag pictures based on the people in them, and sort them based on name, date or picture rating. However if you tag two different people, and save the picture, it only “saves” 1 photo on the computer.  Great to make sure you’re not overloading your computer. It has a search feature so you can find pictures based on events and tags. (not by looking through all your photos) You can edit your pictures quickly right in the program and it keeps record of the original photo if you ever need it.  And best of all…it will automatically back up your photos to another location, that’s VERY, VERY important.

    Historian

    I have over 20,000 pictures saved in the vaults of my Historian!

Once you’ve decided on your digital storage program, begin to transfer all of your digital photos to your computer. All digital photos from your phone, old cd’s (I know they’re old because no one saves pictures on cd’s anymore) memory cards, social media sites, and online back up sites.  AGAIN, begin my getting them all in one place! You can delete pictures that you know you won’t want now but it will be quicker if you just get them in one place and in date order and then quickly go through and hit the delete button on the photos you don’t need.

For one moment, I want to touch on the old cd’s for a moment, you have to acknowledge that not many people save pictures on cd’s any longer. With that in mind, think of when they first came out, do you remember how cool they were? How you thought, they held so many photos? Now, keep that in mind when I say to you that those memory cards, computers and even hard drives are going to be obsolete, something new IS going to come out. Not to mention that ANY digital storage is fragile and very unreliable! So finding an efficient way to back up your photos is so important and backing up often is important. DON’T LEARN THE HARD WAY! I can’t even tell you how many people have full intentions, procrastinate, and then loose pictures.  Let me say it again…THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT…..BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS SOMEWHERE OFF OF YOUR COMPUTER! I’m telling you, I know how it feels to lose thousands of pictures, devastating. Yes I have done exactly what I’m telling you not to do, so please learn from my mistakes.

I think that’s enough on the two subjects. Hope to see you soon!


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A Picture Is NOT Worth Much….Without A Few Words

Just in case you’ve been wondering….life has been full around here. I’ve thought about writing; more than once…but I was caught up in the demands of here and now and the blog was the last on the list, usually when I was way too tired to make any thoughts sound sensible.   We had a great Easter, church in the morning and then spent the rest of the day with family and missed the family that lives out of state.

I then set my sights on preparing for a scrapbooking mountain retreat that I have hosted twice a year for many years. It was wonderful to get away with girlfriends, relax, laugh watch movies and of course, spend some time doing something I find rewarding.  Through the years my memory keeping has evolved from traditional scrapbooking, to decorative slide in options, to digital albums and back again to scrapbooking.  Each type of memory keeping has served it’s purpose…to get my pictures out of my camera/computer and into an album for my family to enjoy, but lately this ongoing project has gotten out of hand.  I’m unorganized and therefore it’s hard to continue.  I needed to change this, so I made a commitment to organize a group of pictures (one of my daughter’s) and get focused!

Before leaving, a friend had asked if I would be willing to put her heritage family photos into an album.  She had tried to get organized and do it herself but realized that she’d rather pay me for my time, then figure it out for herself.  I had planned on working on this album while on the retreat, so she stopped by to go bring the pictures and go over some ideas/details. Between her mother (who has passed) and her, they had names of people, dates of birth, stories, newspaper articles and notes for this album. There were photos dated back to the 1800′s.  I was impressed! It was important to her that it was all organized and written down while there was still someone who knew the details and could pass them along to future generations.  It was during our meeting that she nonchalantly said….”As I sorted through the pictures, I just threw the ones away that I didn’t have information or names for”  I totally knew why she said this; why would you want pictures of unknown people. It’s kind of like keeping the photos that come in your picture frame when you purchase it in the frame and hanging them in your home.  They’re nice pictures but there is no reason to have them hanging around.

I did spend some of my weekend organizing her pictures for the album but mostly I worked on my own album.  You see…that statement haunted me. I really didn’t EVER want that to happen to my photos. My commitment to this project was renewed. This last Saturday was National Scrapbook Day (yes there is such a thing) so I worked on her album for a couple of hours. I got about 10 pages completed.  Loved them; simple, clean and beautiful because the decorations don’t take away from the pictures.

In this day of digital we take so many pictures, between our phones, cameras, tablets etc. yet hardly any of these pictures are printed.  I have said this often (I may sound like a broken record)…the digital age is going to result in whole generations not having photos of themselves. So how do you solve this…make a decision…to print some of your pictures.  Just some will serve a purpose.  Over the next couple of posts I’m going to explore some of the options available to help you with preventing someone from tossing your photos, or a fate just as bad…losing them to social media sites, or computer problems.

Stay tuned and figure out which is easiest for you…because no matter how safe you think the digital age is….you could be wrong…probably are wrong…and you, your kids and your family’s heritage stories are at stake.  See you soon, I hope.

 

 

 


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100 Days of Happy

I need this! I’m sure I can do it.

Recently the middle daughter said she was going to take this challenge, well, let me tell you I was a little excited. I anticipated happy Facebook posts and happy smiles from her.  I was looking forward to it. But I never saw any posts or evidence so of course, I asked her about it…her answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear. She had changed her mind.  Sadness sunk in…and then I realized.

I should take this challenge myself.  I have struggled recently trying to keep a positive attitude especially amidst the chaos at work.  It really is daily chaos, which sometimes makes me feel invigorated (I know…crazy, I’m telling you, sometimes I belong there) but most of the time I feel stressed and over my head in tasks. It’s important that I leave work at work so I can be happy when I get home to my wonderful family but I am struggling with that too! They deserve a happy mom and wife and being that I can set the tone for the whole family when I’m crabby they’re crabby.

I have a couple of ladies that I mentor and I’m always telling them to make a gratitude list and read it. This is right up that alley and so I knew the benefit of paying attention to the good in my day instead of the difficult.

Today I started, I’m choosing 100 days of happiness, finding something everyday shouldn’t be hard and maybe I’ll be doing the happy jump like this girl when the 100 days is over.

So wish me luck and, ps…you should try it too!

Today’s happy moment…getting my pictures and scrap paper ready for the mountain retreat I have in a week and a half. I feel accomplished and a little less stressed about that.

God bless!


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