Friday, August 5, 2011

Preserving Our Memories

I find it amazing how something small and otherwise trivial can bring about a flood of memories. Listen to a song from your high school years and see where your mind wanders. Catch a whiff of a certain cologne and your memories take over!

There are so many ways to preserve our special memories. Here are just a few ideas to try:

What better way to preserve your thoughts than to keep a journal. Some people cringe at the idea of journal writing: they think of "Dear Diary, today I woke up, I brushed my teeth..." However journals can be so much more than that!
• Create a special journal for things you think about your husband. When you fill it up, you can give it to him as a gift (or keep it for yourself to remember all that honeymoon bliss or little petty arguments that seemed so big at the time!)
• Create a special journal for your hopes and dreams. Only write in it when you get an idea of "what you want to be when you grow up." Go back through it years from now and laugh at all of your ideas and applaud the good ones!
• Create a journal for your children. Start it when you first find out that they are coming and write in it intermittently throughout their life. Give it to them as a special one-of-a-kind gift on their graduation or wedding day.
• Create a prayer journal. Write down your thoughts and prayers to God. Go back through it periodically and check off prayers that have been answered. See how God is working in your life!
Whatever kind of journal you decide to make, don't feel you have to write in it everyday if you don't want to. Use it as a creative outlet, a place to store your best (and worst) memories and a place to let out your emotions. Years from now, it will be a treasured gift for you or whomever you share it with.

Have you ever wanted to find out more about your family history? With the advent of the world wide web, this has never been easier. Preserve your heritage by creating a family tree. Trace your ancestors back to the Mayflower or beyond! Find your family crest and proudly display it in your home. Researching your family history can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family. There are many websites available to help you find information and help you get in touch with long-lost relatives..

So you have piles, drawers and boxes full of old photographs? Join the club! There are so many ways to preserve photographs today! You can scan photos and save them on disk. You can also go to a professional studio where they can take photos, videos and even old movie reels and transfer them to DVD (you can find a list of local studios at the end of this article). There are many different photo storage solutions out there. Photo boxes that are acid-free are best. Store your photos in a cool, dry, dark place (garages, basements and attics are not good choices!). If you decide to put your photos in albums, make sure the albums are made with acid-free materials. Avoid using photo albums with the sticky pages -- over time the glue will permanently bond to your photos, making it impossible to remove them. If you are a creative person, you can preserve your photographs and other memorabilia in a scrapbook (or two, or five!). Scrapbooking is very big these days and there is a plethora of stickers, papers, borders and other paraphernalia to make your scrapbooks sparkle.

For me, music brings about a lot of memories. I can listen to a song and be instantly transported to my junior prom, my college apartment or a special moment in my marriage. I will never forget the song that was playing as I delivered my daughter (It was "Deliver Me" by Sarah Brightman, believe it or not!). Go through your collection of tapes, records, CDs and even 8-Tracks (does anyone have those anymore?). Make a mixed tape or CD of the songs that mean something to you or help you remember a certain time in your life. Listening to them will allow you to take a step back into history -- and you will have a lot of fun putting them together too!

Did you have a favorite dress as a child or teen? Or now, as a mother, does the sight of your daughter's first Easter dress send you down memory lane? Consider making a quilt out of these old clothes. A small scrap of each fabric is enough for a square and with a little effort, you will have a family heirloom full of memories.

How I wish I still had the scent that my grandmother used to wear! Whenever I catch a whiff of that scent, I know everything will be ok. I wish I knew what it was so I could always have it around for reassurance. You can keep your favorite smells nearby in a number of ways. Candle companies make scented candles in hundreds of scents, including Christmas Cookies (for us baking-illiterate folks), Seaside, with the smell of the ocean breeze and many others. These candles are usually reasonably priced and will fill your whole house with a lovely scent that can bring back lots of memories of good times. If it is a perfume you want to save, here is an easy sachet you can make:

Cotton Ball Sachet
Ingredients Needed:
6 inch square of fine lace material
18 inch piece of narrow ribbon
6 cotton balls
1. Lay 6 cotton balls together in center of lace material.
2. Spray cotton balls with perfume.
3. Bring ends of lace together, over cotton balls, and tie firmly with ribbon.
4. Tie ribbon in a bow.
(Cotton Ball Sachet From: "You Can Make It! You Can Do It!" by Ann Peaslee, Jullien Kille & Dave Ball)

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