Creative Memories

 I told you things were gonna change around here.

This magnetic board holds our 5 precious grandchildren.  Their stories (albums) will follow.

But for now, I've arranged the "old" Creative Memories books in chronological order and attacked the stack of boxes.

These books were completed pre-2006.  They represent the early years.  I laid aside scrapbooking in 2006.

But I'm baaaaaaaaack.

For approximately the past week, I've been in another world. Oh, always hovering slightly over the present, but mainly reliving 61 or so years in my minds eye. My loyal comrade, assistant, and memory jogger has been the brilliant and more often than not, not so brilliant photograph(s).

I started with 36 photo boxes and 4 or so tubs of memorabilia. I am down to 12 chronologially sorted photo boxes. I have a give-a-way tub with 4 sibling and 3 children envelopes. (They'll get their albums and mine when I'm gone). There is one tub left of memorabilia ... organized by project ... weddings, plays, musicals, camps, paris, young americans, grand canyon, etc. etc. etc.

I even started an album for our grandchildren, after all, our first "grandparent day" will be here before you know it.

I'm pretty much patting myself on the back because I'm all the way up to 2006, when everything in our world went digital. Thank goodness for the digital age, because I have 6 paper grocery bags out by the garbage, filled to overflowing with blurry duplicates and even some unrecognizable faces and places.

Shutterfly, a trusty slide-to-jpg converter, and I will tackle 2006-2016 at another time.

What goes around comes around ... I am once again a consultant with Creative Memories.

Click on my CM sidebar link to get started on your stash of photographs.

Coming up next:

3 Steps to Sanity with your Stash

Creative Memories
Before Creative Memories
Creative Memories
After Creative Memories


Fixer Up-her

Change is gonna come.

In more ways than one.

I've been working a lot lately.
Hours and hours of physical work. The kind of work that makes you anticipate a refreshing shower but you're almost too tired to take it.

It's a good kind of work.

And sometimes we even have fun while we're working!

Since early summer we've been working like it was our job.  And I thought we were retired!

We actually are caretakers for 5 properties. Count 'em, 5. We've been reclaiming our little Cape Cod in Muskegon. We are the primary caretakers for the two houses in Remington and two trailers in Bradenton.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm way beyond blessed, but houses take a ton of work and attention. 
The stuff we put into our houses robs us of time, money, and energy. 
The families that travel in and out of the houses we care for need tender loving care and clean sheets. The marriages  represented by our multi-state gallvanting need attention help, and a little advice thrown in, when we/they ask.
The generation traveling ahead of us is dependent on us to keep the internet up and political talks in balance.
The next generation that romps and roams among us need hugs and kisses.

So yeah, we've been sorta busy.  In a good way.

Change is gonna come.

I'm a strong believer in plain and simple.  All the above seems like too much clutter to me. Not the hugs but the houses!

I fell in love with the TV show "Fixer Upper" a while back. I binge watched all three seasons.  After the first couple of shows I felt like Chip and Joanna, did and said the same things over and over again.

"We'll tear out this carpet and refinish these lovely wood floors."
"We'll open up this kitchen and tear out all the walls that do not hold the house up."
"We'll put in a nice new mantel and, of course, some ship lap."

But as I watched them do their magic, I realized why I could watch show after show and not get tired of the repetition; it was because even tho they killed it every time, they never overkilled it.

Everything had a place and everything was in it's place.  You never saw a cluttered wall full of tchotchkes.
It was all so plain and simple. And plain and simple never bores me.  A cluttered life is/will slowly choke you.

Change is gonna come...

Don't know in what form it will come.  
An auction. 
For sale or rent sign. 
Senior Living. 
A move. 
A new motto. 
Not sure all the decisions will be the right ones, but trust me on this. 
You can't change by standing still so I will keep moving because...

Change is gonna come.



So I was searching this blog for some anniversary posts and realized the videos were quite outdated. Here then, on this July 30, 2016 ... is how we roll.

Happy 39th anniversary to us.

39 from STORIES Photography on Vimeo.



It's time.

This coming Saturday will be STORIES Photography's last wedding.  I'm handing the wedding photography business over to Jennifer Grace Photography ... she's much better at it than me.

I'll keep my facebook page (until we figure out how to merge it with JGP's fb page) my website (making it more of a lifestyle blog), and I'll always have a camera around my neck, but it's time to retire.

Seems like eons ago, since I woke up in the Lafayette Surgical Clinic minus a body part.

We rented out our house in Muskegon which involved packing up and downsizing a lifetime.

We started snowbirding in Florida.

We added Spencer, Moses, Calvin, and Lucy to the family roster.

We reevaluated.

We floundered.

We pulled back and we drew close.

We navigated.

We babysat.

We laughed.

We cried.

We lived and loved and hardly ever at the lake.

As the cicadas start their 2016 summer song, life finds us traveling back and forth on the Michigan road ... reworking, repainting, refinishing floors, restocking, and rethinking the little house on Henry Street. It's a labor of love and a fixer upper, for sure. More on the logistics of farmhouse vs lakehouse, later.

What I really wanted to talk about here is I-65 and sunsets.  I think I've mentioned this before but I love sunsets.  I love sunsets at the beach, I love sunsets over the street.  I love sunsets here and there, I love sunsets everywhere.  If I ever built a house it would have a wrap around porch so I could watch the sunrise and sunset from every angle.

My view from this old farmhouse has only one good west window to watch from and it's our bedroom.  All the traveling, floundering, navigating, fixing and problem solving,  has taken it's toll on my bedtime and so if I get horizontal as the sun begins to dip, I'll be the first to admit, I've fallen asleep before it sets.

So the other day I planted myself outside in full view of train town skyline and the Interstate that slices thru the Indiana fields, driving the world past us at breakneck speeds. As I sat and watched (mainly trucks, since the cars are covered as the corn grows) every truck started to shine as the sun reached a certain spot in the sky.  It was a brilliant reflection on each and every tractor trailer.  They couldn't help it and they didn't even know it, but for a certain moment in time and only for a brief second, the semi's bounced the sun from their billboard sized trailers ... reminding me of how I'm to live my life. As a reflection. Of the Son.

My walk, my words, my attitude, my work, my play, my floundering, my living and loving, whether it's at the lake, the farm, along the interstate, or in a tiny trailer in Florida, should be a reflection of the Light. So thank you, I-65 and the trucks traveling along the corridor. Thank you my Heavenly Father for 3 added years of health and life. And to you, the reader here, thank you for following along and I hope you notice a reflection of Him, bouncing off me.

This little light of mine.


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I thought I'd get done transfering 2003 thru 2011 from iWeb to blogger while snow birding this winter ... I also thought we'd have time to change all our home movies into digital files. 
And silly me, I even believed I'd get all our slides made into jpegs.
This is what my home page looked like in the winter of 2011.
Some things never change.

The problem is, you think you have all the time in the world.

Facebook reminded me yesterday that I posted what follows these screen shots on May 4, 2011; the day "we got" Osama Bin Laden.  Five years later, I stand by the above writings and what follows ~

May 4, 2011
Good & Evil

Dear Max & Lilly,
This one is going to be extremely hard for me to explain.  
When God created the first male and female ~ Adam and Eve ~ he gave them a beautiful garden to call their home.  Can you imagine that?  Your parents work really really hard to care and provide for you and it doesn’t leave much time for lollygagging around in the cool evening shade.  Yet that is all Adam and Eve had to do.  Well that, and name ALL the animals, procreate (ask your parents what that means) and not play God.
But alas, they couldn’t keep their pride in check and now we have good guys and bad guys.
Us Americans are a prideful people, and pride is a sin.  We are supposed to humble ourselves before God and others, NOT puff ourselves up.  Jesus said this, in the book of Matthew:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.' But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don't know God are nice to their friends. So you must be good, just as your Father in heaven is good.”
If we would only study the Bible and realize that pride comes before a fall, I’m not too sure we would be celebrating what’s gone down the last couple of days.
Every since 9.11.01 (and even as far back as the civil war) the United States has always been pretty full of themselves.  Men fighting against other men, pursuing man-made ideologies and ignoring God’s ways, all in the name of USA, USA, USA.
So late Sunday night, I was upstairs in the home where we raised your parents.  Since we live at Great Grandpa & Grandma’s farm most of the time, we’ve cut the cable cord and can only get 3 TV stations.  Max, you and your parents were downstairs ... you had long since been asleep when your mom came upstairs to tell me that the United States had captured and killed Osama Bin Laden (the bad guy - don’t worry, by the time you read this you’ll have studied this in history class).
The blogs, facebook, and nearly everyone who calls USA home, erupted in chants and celebrations.  About half the country wants to make our president the king. The other half wants to claim their president did all the groundwork and therefore he should get some of the accolades. (you’ll get to learn all about the way politics run this country in civics class, too. Lucky you.)
What would Jesus do?
I’ll tell you what he would NOT do.  He would NOT celebrate a human being, whom he created, slipping from this world into the next without accepting his gift of salvation.  He wants ALL to come to the Father.  He created us ALL, even the bad guys.  We make choices.  He did not demand that Adam and Eve love him. He gave Adam and Eve free will so they could WANT to love him.  That’s how much he loves us.  
And so I can’t bring myself to cheer and promote either agenda. I am so so sad for all the people and their families who lost loved ones in the tumbling towers.  The guys that stormed the cockpit on Flight 11 will always be heros in my eyes ... in my heart, I pray they were believers.  
And in a strange awkward kind of way I feel a strong sadness for the 22 men that lost their lives in Sunday nights Middle East gun battle.
Your Aunt Melissa’s boyfriend (Spencer post coming soon) said what I wanted to say on his facebook wall ~ I love justice but I won't celebrate killing people. ever. I love life and life to the full. God bless America.
And I might add to that ... God has already blessed America.  Now it is our turn to bless the world with the message of the Gospel, and that includes the bad guys.

Thanks for stopping by today ... if you need me I'll be here transferring archives, taking a couple more laps around the trailer park, and fixin' to eat Mother's Day brunch somewhere along the Gulf of Mexico.  Northbound within the week.