If I do not record our family legacy, who will?
In 2001, I first picked up a camera as a high school yearbook photographer then (and still now), I knew that recording key moments of a story was worthwhile. There was something about being behind the lens of a camera that opened my eyes to the beauty around me while making my heart flutter with excitement. On Friday evenings during football games, I would run around the stadium capturing the intensity of football players, the joyfulness of the band, and the school rallying around our school. It was exhilarating and my movements flowed effortlessly maneuvering into crazy positions always trying to capture the perfect shot!
Over ten years later I am still trying to capture “the shot”! Though the players and settings have changed the desire to capture the moments has not! The passion has transcended from photo to video since it also flows vs freezes the moment. I enjoy how it gives life and movement to an event and evokes emotion.
Reason No. 1: Capture your story for your LEGACY
For my wedding day, we purchased a budget-friendly handheld camcorder.
WHY? Because there is this deep desire in us to preserve our story, our history so that we may pass it on to others. We used that camcorder to capture our ceremony, dances, and special messages from our guests. It also captured the moment we found out we were expecting our first child!
One day, our children will be able to look back on our younger days to reconnect to our youth to better understand their own unique history.
So now that we have several children, the following passage is constantly tugging at my heartstrings because the old adage is true… “the days are long but the years are short”.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together
in my mother’s womb.”
God knitted together each of my babies in the womb and their story was already written before they arrived. I can’t help but capture each and every delicate moment of their first years with us.
Reason No. 2: Capture your story for CONNECTION
As the years started to roll by and the miles between my family grew I knew that sending photos sporadically wasn’t enough to convey the full sense of our growing family. AND when my 80-year-old grandmother said that she felt like she didn’t know her great-grandchildren it started a fire within me. I created a 15-minute slideshow for each of my three young children just for her and burned them onto DVDs to send through snail mail!
Nowadays, the ever innovating technology field is changing the game on how to share our memories with family. Are you familiar with FaceTime? Google Photos? Facebook? Snapfish? Bound photobooks printed and delivered to your door? Giant canvas prints at reasonable prices?
Do you see it? There is a gap in digital literacy and our children and grandchildren only know screens! Not print. So we need to catch up to stay connected BUT I also feel that there is something too tangible and want to teach people the new techniques on how to get photos back in their hands and on your walls.
Reason No. 3: Capture your story because Life is Short
I am not done yet. This is the most sobering reason and the hardest to discuss.
First, it was my Uncle.
He had a stomach ache and begrudgingly went into the hospital. He came out with a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer. The next two years flew by as cancer did what it is so infamous for…. It slowly took away another loved one from the embrace of a family – a wife and daughter.
During this same time period, my teenage cousin also went to the doctor complaining of a “pain” in his leg. Once again, a loved one walked out with the diagnosis of cancer – Osteosarcoma.
“Nick Widner fought a courageous battle with osteosarcoma.
Cancer didn’t define him. He lived free & easy.
His spirit will live forever in our hearts.”
Things moved so rapidly after these initial diagnoses.
Within a year, I received a call (about my Uncle) that hospice was on the premises. I desperately placed an order for a digital voice recorder for him to record a few conversations for his precious daughter (i.e. words for right before she graduated, first dance, first boyfriend, first breakup, marriage, etc). My heart ached at the realization that he would no longer be here but I clung to the fact that technology could somewhat ease the pain.
If she couldn’t have him there physically then maybe having his voice would bring some solace during those pivotal moments in a young girl’s life. He fought a good fight and went peacefully to the Lord.
Within the year, my 17-year-old cousin lost his battle with Osteosarcoma.
His family continues to fight the battle against childhood cancer through fundraisers for other families still in the fight. His legacy will live on through the heartwork and hard work that his mother does in his honor.
I have learned that cancer does not discriminate; young, old, married, single, rich, or poor it is not prejudiced with its victims nor does it relent. We must be the ones preserving our memories and proactively capturing them to share with others.
But to fully grasp the gravity of this “life is short” I have to share the next story. It also happened during this timeframe and rocked a small town and countless families with aftershocks still being felt today. Here it is from one of the victim’s mother:
“On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, exactly 4 years after Jody and Nick graduated from the police academy, they responded to a domestic disturbance call, and were murdered by a career criminal with a 32-page rap sheet.”
The Jody and Nick from the above statement were my brother’s dearest friends. The day this all happened, our wedding anniversary is still burnt into my memory.
You can read more about both young men and how the community continues to love and support the thin blue line through The Smarr and Smith Foundation.
Life is short.
I don’t want it to pass me by. SO, I pick up my phone, camera, or recorder to capture, document, and treasure each fleeting moment we have here, just in case…
How about you?
Reason No. 4: Capture your story To Glorify the Lord
To Glorify God and love others sacrificially.
The Lord has equipped us all with talents, gifts, and passions.
Mine happens to be creating heartfelt films, photography, constantly exploring user-friendly technology, and teaching. All of these talents allow me to find joy in the number one role of my life which is being a dutiful wife and mom. By no means am I perfect! The dishes and laundry constantly get overlooked plus my organizational style isn’t the best – just being real .
Now how does this serve the Lord and you?
By creating this blog and using my talents, I am pleasing my Lord and Savior with the talents He blessed me with by being fruitful while giving HIM the glory. At no point, now or even later, will I take up the boasting in my own strength. Dear Reader, Let me serve you. I want to share all the tips and tricks I have learned and much much more as I continue to learn myself.
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