Don’t Lose The Story To The Pen

Do you find that when you spend time with your parents, or grandparents, they begin to tell stories of their life? You might be sitting together over a cup of hot coffee and they suddenly remember about the time they met their spouse? Maybe grandma starts telling the story of how grandpa made jokes every time they went out? Or how he was such a gentleman and always opened the car doors – which he still does all these years later. Maybe she tells the story to your kids of what it was like when you were born. Kids love to hear these stories! They eat them up!

You see, almost 12 years ago, my father passed away. At that time, I was given one of those books where you can write these stories down. As my dad was sick, he felt the need to share those stories with us everyday, knowing that they would otherwise be lost forever. I wrote down those stories as fast as I could every day, sitting next to him in his hospice room. I asked him questions, scouring that book to choose the perfect ones!

As I look back on that book today, there are two problems. One, I can barely read my chicken scratch – I don’t have great handwriting to begin with – but trying to write everything down so quickly made it even harder to read! But I also missed so much. I couldn’t possibly write down everything he said so I just tried to capture the big nuggets. The big takeaways. The big ideas. But that’s not enough. I have unfinished sentences, partial stories, and I literally wrote the words “ha ha” to show that he was making a joke since that doesn’t come across in writing. I find myself wishing I would have taken more time to fully write the answers, but if I would have done that… it would have been a trade off for the number of stories I got to hear. How could I possibly make that decision! So what I’m left with is a book full of half sentences, partial stories and wonder about so many parts of his life. I have lost him, to the pen.

Ok, so we’ve got part of the story… that’s a start, right. Here’s the other thing though… our conversations often took a turn. One conversation merged into a new topic, one that was not in front of me on the pages. That’s where the good stuff comes out! The life’s lessons, his big ideas, the times he got in trouble or what he learned. I couldn’t find a place in the book to write those answers down without flipping through and searching… being a distraction to his words. I got to hear him talk about the real stuff is his life, but I did not capture them to share again. They too, were lost to the pen.

At that time, I carried a Blackberry phone. Video was not yet a thing. Recording was not yet popular and the cameras that were in those early phones were poor quality at best! Things are different today. Photos are taken everyday in huge amounts. Have you taken one yet today? I bet you will!

We have the ability – not just the ability – we have the extremely easy ability today to do a better job than I did back then. We all carry around these super high quality cameras and camcorders in our pockets and it is SO easy to record everyday life! I can tell you for myself, so many of my videos are not important. It’s because it’s too easy to just click record – but when the moments matter – that’s when we need to click the record button.

If only I had thought of that when I had the chance.

If only.

Yesterday’s Photos… Today’s Memories

We Are Living History

“History repeats itself” my father always said. As a young kid I never really understood what he was talking about or why it mattered. I shrugged him off and thought nothing of it. Now, I hear those words coming out of my own mouth. Well, there it is, living proof that history repeated itself at least in that case.

What I don’t want, is for the history we are currently witnessing with the Coronavirus, to ever repeat itself. Is it possible that we can share the information about how we handled this situation, so future generations have a resource should something like this ever happen again? Sure, our children will remember being home from school for 10 (or more) days. They will remember that it was a big deal, that the Coronavirus made history. They will recall the stress they felt radiating off their parents who tried so desperately to keep them protected. But they won’t all remember the details over time.

Memories fade, but digital photos DO NOT!

I’m asking you to take photos, videos, save the emails from the school declaring its’ closure. Write down your thoughts, your fears, what you did to keep your family safe. How you showed up at Costco or Target to find the shelves totally empty. Record how toilet paper was a hot commodity and hand sanitizer was nowhere to be found… on the entire PLANET! Encourage your children to record what they think about what’s going on around them and how it makes them feel.

Be sure to save it somewhere in a secure and permanent way and allow future generations to learn from us!

Click HERE to see how I save my photos and videos!

Click HERE to start saving your own photos and videos!

A Modern History Lesson

As most of us did, I attended public school where I had all the typical history classes, year after year. And I hated, Every. Single. Class. Anyone with me on that? It was so tedious and boring to try and memorize all those facts! I could not relate to the dry material in my history books, the pictures were lame, small, and not engaging. My father always told me it was important to learn about history so it didn’t repeat itself, but my 15 year-old self heard blah blah blah. I figured I wasn’t going to have enough impact in the world for this to really matter. So, I just did what I needed to, in order to get by with good-enough grades in those classes.

But now, as an adult with three children, and a few decades of understanding how the real world works, I can appreciate the importance of learning history. The COVID-19 catastrophe, or the Corona-tastrophe, as we are referring to it in my house, has many lessons to teach us. We are actively living in a moment that will go down in history. One that absolutely needs to be avoided again in the future, if at all possible. What we do in this situation, will impact how things are in future generations.

Now don’t get excited, I didn’t have a crazy change of heart and become a history teacher. I am also not a nurse, or a doctor, or a scientist. I cannot develop in the cure or immunization, and I do not have the skillset to help those who do. But, what I can do to give back, is teach future generations about what it was like during this time, for those of us who lived it. I can use graphs to show how quickly the disease spread, I can share news headlines declaring the state of the country. I can offer photos of what it was like for our family and how we survived. I am not a teacher, but I can teach.

So, I have decided to build a time capsule. The definition of a time capsule, as per Wikipedia, is as follows: A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a deliberate method of communication with future people, and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians.

Now, I know you know what a time capsule is, but the key words there are “a deliberate method of communication with FUTURE people”. We now live in a time where we can deliberately save, store, and share digital media for future generations. This is so exciting! What do you think your ancestors would say, if they could have told you first-hand about the Great Depression? The Civil War? Or any other historical event? Wouldn’t history be so much more relatable, relevant and more easily understood if it were told in a more modern form of a personal story, or news headline?

I encourage you to join me in creating a time capsule to tell your story, in your own words, to your own family. Sure, some of your family will live through this with you, but there are generations to come who aren’t even born yet, who don’t know what things were like before COVID-19 appeared, what it was like during its’ most aggressive time period, and how it changed the world afterwards. The truth is, at this point, we still don’t know what the world will look like when this is all over, but we can begin preserving history now, by documenting our experience.

So how will I get that digital time capsule to future generations? I thought you’d never ask. I use a platform called to store my photos. I like this site because it is uniquely designed to pass on digital information, of my choosing, from one generation to the next. Not only does it have secure digital storage, it is guaranteed for one lifetime plus 100 years, which, if you do the math, is more than just the next generation. I want my great, great-grandchildren to learn about this time, first-hand. COVID-19 is unlike anything else because it has affected so many parts of the world, in very similar, yet vastly different ways.

Work with me, to share this story, so we can teach future generations how to potentially avoid situations like this, survive them if they arise again, and see that with great change, comes great opportunity.
Scan the QR code below or click here to learn more!You can also check out my virtual time capsule here!

They Are Learning

I am not a teacher. I give all the credit in the WORLD to teachers. They are amazing, devoted and committed to their students in a way I could never replicate.

I did, at one point consider being a teacher… I shadowed my sister in law for a day while she taught her second grade class, to see if I had possibly found my calling. The only “calling” I heard was the one in the back of my mind urging me to get out the classroom as quickly as I had gone in! I realized almost immediately that teaching was not for me. I have a great respect for the people who dedicate their lives to teaching. Not only their time, but also their own hard-earned money and most importantly, their heart. I can see it the faces of nearly all the teachers I know. A HUGE shout out to you for your hard work, and big hearts.

I have realized these last few days, while stuck in this house, that even though I’m not teaching them per se, they are still learning. I have seen growth in my children in way that both warms my heart and breaks it all at once. I see them flourish before my eyes. I see them truly understanding that family matters most, above everything else. That siblings are a gift. That there are ways to make the best of a crummy situation. That being kind to one another is not that hard. That being stuck within the same 4 walls for several weeks at a time, sucks. That COVID-19 sucks. That Mama and Dad work a lot. That we go through a lot of food. Like A LOT of food. That doing school work at home takes barely any time at all (compared to 8 hours at school)! That playing with your siblings can actually be tons of fun. That sleeping in a tent, in the house is almost as much fun as sleeping outside. That you can learn science while making cookies, rock candy and dinner. That if you become part of the “clean plate club” at lunchtime, you get candy. That if you help out Mama around the house, you get extra screen time. That using your imagination is actually fun. That getting outside can feel like recess… They learn at school, of course, in a way that I cannot replicate at home. But what I can offer is real life lessons, snuggles, cookies and my love. I’ve watched them learn, in this short time, that life is precious and at any moment, things can be drastically changed before we even realize it has happened. They have learned to take things for granted a little less and to be a little more kind, and in this moment, I’ll take that as a win.

Slow down, love your babies, snuggle more. Learn some lessons.

Little Moments Matter

“It goes so fast” they say. “Time flies when they’re little” they say. “Don’t blink, you’ll miss it” they say.

Ugh and every time they say it, I CRINGE inside.

A little part of me wants to melt right into the floor, just like my kids do when I tell them it’s time for bed. Oh yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I can’t stand those sayings, and I never could. I get it, they want to warn you about how fast time moves when your kids are little. You’re busy, working, cooking, cleaning, parenting, blogging (oh, ok so maybe that didn’t happen much back in the day) but you get the point.

I agree that time can sneak past and you don’t even notice, but come on! Stop with the one-liners already!Maybe when I’m old(er) and wrinkly(er) I will say things like that to young Mamas too. Instead, I’m hoping to slow down now, take photos of the important moments and try to relish in those times.

If they are momentous enough to stop, rummage around for the phone in the bottom of your purse, find the camera app and snap a photo, then it is important enough to stop and smell the roses. Or swing with your child. Or throw a ball with your son… or whatever it is! Little moments matter not just to us, but to our kids too!

I don’t want to look back and wish I had slowed time down, but rather I want to feel time slow down by stopping to enjoy the moment. I’ll admit, this is not something I do enough, but it is something that I work on and hope to improve upon every day. Every time I take a photo of my kids, I remind myself to enjoy that moment with them, not just for them.

Rose and Thorn

Dinner time is the worst.  Ok, maybe bedtime trumps dinner time, but it’s a close second.  In our house, dinner time always has some sort of stressor.  The craziness has changed over the years, and I expect it will continue to.  At first it was having a little one in a high chair constantly throwing food to the floor.  Then it was the toddler who refused to stay in her chair while the older brothers fought or picked on each other.  Eventually it morphed into terrible table manners and poor eating resulting in me yelling pretty much the whole way through dinner.  Each night at least one child got sent to their room during dinner, only to return not having changed their behavior. 


Some days, were a nightmare.   🤦‍♀️

I decided it had to change.  I wanted to put a positive spin on the meal and allow the kids an outlet to talk about whatever it is that is making them so wild and wound up.  

I came across the idea of a daily Rose and Thorn where the “rose” is the best part of the day and the “thorn” is the worst.  It works by going around the table, starting with someone new each night, and allowing each family member to talk about what made them happy, glad, excited, or proud and what made them frustrated, unhappy, scared, sad or whatever else they have on their mind. I couldn’t believe it, but it was an extremely easy, and effective way of creating positive, engaging conversation around the dinner table.  The kids loved it! They wanted to hear what each other had to say, and us as parents were learning a TON about what made our kids happy – and maybe more importantly, what made them stressed.  

It has been several years at this point since we started this routine, and not a dinner meal has gone by where we have skipped it.  It is as much of a part of the meal as the food is! The best part is, that because they are engaged in the conversation, they just eat.  Gone are the days where I have to constantly ask them to take bites and finish their meals… they just EAT!

Recently, my middle son put a spin on it and started added a “coo-coo” which is the funniest thing that happened in their world.  His sense of humor makes us laugh every day, making dinner time more tolerable, and even enjoyable. 

Of course, table manners are still a work in progress, and my toddler occasionally tosses something over her shoulder if she doesn’t want to eat it, but we are no longer arguing or sending anyone away from the table.  I had no idea that this would create such a difference but our family has become more grateful, happier, and more aware of each others feelings.  It has truly been a game changer.  🙏

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