Welcome to “Preserve Your Journey”

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Grab a seat and a soda (or “pop”, lemonade, coffee, iced tea, wine…. or whatever suits you best) and put your feet up for some time to focus on your own personal journey as I share my own. This blog is born from a love of family and a desire to preserve what is possible for generations to come. That includes the stories, images, beliefs, goals and mementos of our treasured friends and family members.

My love of genealogy (the investigation into our family history) and photography, coupled with a family that loved to tell stories, has sent me in pursuit of ways to preserve MY journey.

My journey started many moons ago when I opened a Christmas gift that contained my first instamatic camera. It was a Kodak film camera that could take 12 or 24 pictures before you needed to remove the cartridge and send it to the processor to be developed and printed. And then I would start on my next roll of film. Back in those days we needed to wait a week or more before we could see what we had taken. And the number of pictures that a 10 year old could take that were “amazing” was slim pickings. I was lucky to have pictures that were focused and didn’t cut heads off.

Thus, began my journey into photography. My dad was a hobby photographer and would set my brother and I up with a white sheet as a background and take family portrait pictures. He had what I considered to be a phenomenal camera… a Konica 35mm… and would use a handheld light meter to get his shots just right. I then used that same camera when I was in high school and got great shots, too. I know it was the camera! It was AMAZING! The next step in photography was a class in college where we learned how to take, develop and print our own black & white photos. IMAGINE THAT!!!! Our own black and white photos! Incredible! This was, however, the beginning to my more detailed understanding of photography.

The next step along the way was buying my very own enlarger (along with all the other accessories and odds and ends necessary in a darkroom) where I could develop and print my own pictures at home. Again, it was black and white even though color photos had been around for a couple decades… right around the time I was in grade school. I had my own 35mm camera by then and took many color pictures but enjoyed black and white because I could print them myself. I loved the creativity that was involved in what I could do.

Enter the digital camera…. My husband and I took the plunge to buy our first digital camera in 2002. We saved our tax refund and spent $1000 on a Canon digital camera. That was an amount of money that we were not accustomed to spending on such a frivolous thing. Those purchases were definitely always reserved for tax refund days. On the day we made that purchase and came home feeling good about it, my husband remarked on how ridiculous it was that he had had to pay out $10 for a haircut. A haircut! Funny how our perspective colors things. But we were off and running now with a digital camera that gave us the opportunity to take unlimited photos and the ability to know immediately if we needed to try for another shot. Glorious days!

Backtrack 10 years and I see the beginning of my second “hobby”… Genealogy. A time when my mom was very interested in tracking down her family roots and I, too, thought it sounded like fun. We were not of the generation that had family trees assigned in the 8th grade for us to have a head start. That would have been great! But, no, it was not our lot in life to begin our research with several generations already done. So, with a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old in tow (my daughters), my mother and I started our journey into genealogy, tracking down our long lost ancestors.

We made a lot of progress in those first few years and my girls were wonders at quiet play in libraries and loved hunting down tombstones in cemeteries. That sounds a little weird, but we had a lot of fun on our research trips no matter where it took us. They grew up learning wonderful research skills and on more than one occasion, they were the ones to find that elusive document that would prove or identify another family member. It was a great detective game to track down individuals that, in some cases, seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth. (In all honesty, we still have many that have proven very adept at hide and seek.) But the game is still on to know more and more. It’s addicting to those who love it and misery to those who don’t. Definitely a Love-it or Hate-it kind of activity. But I LOVE it!

Of course, in all of this, there is an underlying theme… FAMILY! And fleshing out all the photos and genealogy research are the stories of my family that make them all larger than life! And herein is where my two favorite pastimes collide! They were made for each other and together they lay the groundwork for my scrapbooking hobby. This one, however, is the one that is most often placed on the backburner.

I started scrapbooking in high school using pocketed and magnetic photo albums and large scrapbooks (before anyone knew about archival quality products). I journaled in all three during a time when most just stuck pictures in albums and called it good. I had the ideas and the desire to preserve the stories along with the pictures before scrapbooking stores and products became popular. If only I had known… I could have made a fortune by opening the first scrapbooking store. LOL

Today, however, I am turning to blogging about my hobby passions in the hopes that I can track my efforts to preserve my own story and hopefully motivate others to preserve their own.

Join me as I “journal” my “journey” … looking at all sorts of things that are worthy of preservation, both tangible and memorable. Gather together your memories and mementos as we look at different ways to preserve the treasured ingredients of our own journeys.

Our journeys… past, present, and future… await our discovery. Let us begin!