Scrapbooks: I started scrapbooking my life when I was a freshman in high school. I made a different scrapbook each year of high school, although, they look pretty amateur by today's scrapbooking standards. After my accident my sister Sharon helped me make a scrapbook about my accident and the first year of my "new life" post-accident. I’ve kept scrapbooking ever since and I’m on my fourth scrapbook since that time.
Photo albums/photo books: I like to keep a current photo album because although I scrapbook a lot of my major activities, there is no way that I can include every picture. (I've since started making photo books via Shutterfly each year instead of keeping a photo album.)
Journals: I kept a personal journal on and off in high school, but I never wrote very religiously. In January 2007 I made a New Year’s resolution to start keeping a personal journal on a Word document. Although I got my laptop in 2005, I didn’t make an effort to keep a journal until 2007 because any time I think about journals, I think about a book written by hand. Since I could no longer write by hand, I was reluctant to start journaling via the computer because it didn't seem like a true "journal." However, I am so glad that I made the resolution to start keeping a journal and that I've kept up with it ever since. I usually write about one to one and a half singlespaced pages a week. I just write about what I’m up to, what my family‘s up to, my thoughts and feelings about things and stuff like that.
Personal history: In 2007 I wrote my personal history, or my life story. I started out the history by using a journal that my mom kept for me when I was a baby. It detailed my first few years of life, my milestones, etc., and then I continued on by writing about each year of my life through 2007 when I wrote my personal history. Each January I write an update to add to my personal history. The updates aren’t that long, and are just a few pages, which describe what has happened in my life and my family’s lives throughout the past year.
Photo books: A couple of years ago I discovered Shutterfly. It’s a great website where you can upload your photos and then make different projects. I love the photo books because it’s a great way to group photos together and have a finished product that beautifully shows what happened during a certain event or in a certain time period. I’ve made several photo books on Shutterfly in the past couple of years including one of my ancestors, one of my immediate family from the 1970's to the present and one of my life. They are so fun to work on and they always turn out so well.
Making these things and keeping these records does take some time, commitment and money, but I think the time and the expense are well worth it. These projects are my prized possessions, and I treasure them above all of my other worldly possessions.
I love the phrase "to know me is to love me." It’s been my experience that when you really know someone and learn about their life you come to love them. I also think the opposite ("to love me is to know me") is true, too. When I love someone, whether it’s a friend or a family member, I want to know everything about them. I think everyone has an interesting life story, even if their life has been "ordinary." I love asking people questions about their lives and their experiences so that I can know them better and develop a love for them. I'm so glad that I have the opportunity and desire to document my life.