Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Life Tales Books Personal Publishing ~ 4 Ways to Connect on Facebook

Have you seen my Facebook groups and pages yet?  There's a lot of inspiration, ideas, and things you'll love happening there!  There are FOUR opportunities for us to connect on Facebook--two groups and two pages.  See which ones sound like a good fit for you. 

1.  GROUP:  Jennifer Wise's Heritage MAKERS
If you haven't joined my Facebook group yet, that's the first thing you'll want to do!  This is where I hold quarterly digi-crops where you can set aside time to work on Heritage Makers projects and work with me no matter where you live.  I post upcoming specials here, classes, and other information, but the most fun thing is when we share pictures of completed projects!

Join my Facebook group {by clicking right here}.

2.  PAGE:  LifeTales Books Powered by Heritage Makers (and a bonus!)
Believe it or not, after 13 years as a Heritage Makers consultant, 8 1/2 years with this blog, several years on other social media (scroll down at see the right sidebar for all of them), a Facebook page was the last thing to happen.  Go figure.  On my page, LifeTales Books Powered by Heritage Makers, I don't post a lot of specific things like Heritage Makers sales and such, but you'll find lots of encouragement and helpful articles from many sources--tips and tricks for preserving your photos, photo organization, how to write your story, time management, etc.

Like {my Facebook page by clicking right here}...

...AND AS AN EXTRA BONUS, the first 100 people to "like" the page will be entered in a drawing to win a Heritage Makers-made item from me!  So be one of the first 100, and share with someone you know who would love the tips on memories, photos, and stories.



3.  GROUP:  (local) Heritage Makers Workshop Club
I also have a Facebook group for those in my area (Colorado) who would like to work on Heritage Makers projects in a group!  I announce all the workshops (2-3 each month) in the group.

You can join {Heritage Makers Workshop Club by clicking here}.


4.  PAGE:  Crafts with Heritage Makers (My Heritage Makers Shop)
If you're looking for craft ideas (or gift ideas that look like you were crafty), I bet you'll like my Crafts with Heritage Makers page, too.  This page is different from the other page and the group because here you'll find home decor and gift ideas for sale!

You can "like" {Crafts with Heritage Makers by clicking here}.





 See?!  There are lots of pretty amazing things waiting for you in my Facebook groups and pages!  Come along.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Photos to Conquer? Start With Organization.

Being consistently caught up preserving your photos starts with organization.  If you have a lot of years’ worth of photos to catch up on, organizing them first is key.  How will you know where to start if you don’t know what you have?


I’ve held on to a great piece of advice I got a few years ago, which was that if any activity takes longer than 15 minutes, it should be on your calendar.  Otherwise, you never “find time” because you’re not making time.  So the first must-do when organizing your photos is to set aside time for it.  Then honor yourself by keeping your appointment with yourself.

Second, you may remember from {When Photo Overload Becomes Photo Overwhelm} that you really need to SORT your photos.  If you only have 30 photos of your grandfather, just keep them all.  That’s easy.  But if you have pictures of the ground or someone’s finger, if you have 45 pictures of decorating your Christmas tree, just choose your favorites.  You need to choose a manageable amount of photos to preserve.  (For tips on what to do with the extras, or tips on how to know what to keep, {click here}.)


Third, LABEL!  Everything needs to be labeled as you organize.  Make a note of dates at the very least–when was the picture taken?  Ideally, you should mark who is in the picture as well, but that can be part of actually preserving your pictures, so that’s not critical just yet.  Just keep in mind that a picture isn’t even worth anything if nobody knows who is in the picture.

Let's look first at how to organized printed photos.

You can go one of two ways with photos that are already printed.  1- Put the photos in a scrapbook or album.  2- Digitize (scan the photos) to preserve them in a {digital book} or {digital scrap page}.  Either way, you'll need to get those printed photos organized first.

I suggest organizing physical (printed) photos in physical folders or envelopes.  Be sure you DATE the folders, though!  I suggest a large folder or envelope with the year, then smaller folders inside with months and years.  For example, label a large envelope “1994,” then label smaller envelopes inside “January 1994,” “February 1994,” and so on.  Put your photos in the smaller month envelopes.  Then you’ll know where to find everything since it’s organized chronologically.

Here’s what I did.  My parents were really good at putting photos in albums and writing a little something next to them.  However, before my mom died, she gave me boxes of mementos that included quite a few photos.  As I prepared to make her {life storybook}, I found photos I’d never seen before and lots of mementos that needed to be scanned so I could make the digital book.  I sat in the middle of the room and started organizing by decade.  Anything that happened in the 1970s went in one pile, the 60s in another, and the 50s in another, and so on.  After I organized by decade, I got 10 folders for each decade.  I put 1970 in one folder and marked it with a sticky note.  I put 1971 in another folder and did the same.  Pretty soon, I had all my mom’s 72 years’ worth organized!  I could find anything.


If you don't want to preserve the hard copy (printed) photos in a scrapbook or album but instead prefer to digitize them so you can preserve them in a {digital book or scrap pages}, you’ll need to first have them scanned.  Digitizing photos is a great way to share them, and digital books or scrap pages are an easy way to get multiple copies without extra work.  Scanning services can be hired out (I recommend {West Coast Scanning}), or you can do it yourself using several methods mentioned at the end of {this post}.  Once they’re scanned, you’re ready to organize your digitized photos.

Now let's look at how to organized digital (or digitized) photos. 

First things first.  If you don’t know how to get your photos from your camera or phone to your computer, I walk you through it in this 5-minute video.  The video is specific to a phone, but it's similar with a camera.  

Once you’ve gotten that far, you’re ready for the organizing part.

Digital photos add a little bit of an extra challenge because they’re files.  As such, they have file names, like IMG_0889.  Your computer will automatically alphabetize your files, which puts them in chronological order.  I actually don’t recommend you go in and change the name of your files.  (Unless you've already mastered a system where you can do that.  Most people struggle with it.) Sure, you could change IMG_0889 to firstdayofcollege.jpg, but the problem with that is that when you go back to find it you may not remember what you called it.  And triptothebeach.jpg might be from 1999 or from 2017.

However, if you get a new camera or have some photos from your phone and some from your camera, your files will not automatically be listed by date since they have different names.
My suggestion is to keep the original name of the file, boring as it is, unless you need to add a little something to keep it in chronological order.  For example, my father-in-law and my sister-in-law and I always share photos after we get together.  My father-in-law’s come to me as DSCN_1234, and my sister-in-law’s come to me as 100_1234.  So in order to use my photos and theirs and keep them all in order, I will rename them all to fall in line, like DSCN_1111, DSCN_1112, etc.  Sometimes I will add a little something on the end if I am running out of numbers, like DSCN_1113a, DSCN1113b, etc.

I created a tutorial video last fall about organizing digital photos.  I show you my actual system, which works like a charm.  And the video allows you to see my computer screen and watch me in action so you’ll get what I’m talking about in a snap.  If you missed it, you can watch here:

After you’ve organized your photos, you’re ready to preserve them–you’re ready to save them in a tactile way that people can see, hold, and love.  This allows the photos to be interacted with, and that’s how memories are preserved and connections are made.  This is the only meaningful way to store a photo.

Just don’t forget that after you’re done patting yourself on the back and jumping up and down now that your photos are organized (which you should do!) you need to keep doing it.  Don’t let the photos you take this month and next month stay on your camera until 2027.

A wide variety of high-quality products straight from the heart can be created and published {here}.
There are a lot of options for preserving your photos in print (publishing them).  I’ll be a broken record again and just say that you MUST use a high-quality way to preserve your photos.  You don’t want your book or album falling apart in 5 years.  And you MUST find a memory-keeping method you actually enjoy doing.  It makes preserving photos and memories so much easier!

One of my favorite methods is a digital yearbook, which you can learn about at {this link}. Because of the way it’s organized, it just comes together very quickly.  I’ve listed other high-quality methods {here, both digital and physical}.  

And if you need a plan for catching up on your photos:

I taught a short online class a couple of weeks ago about how to catch up preserving your photos, and it included a plan called the Two-in-One Plan.  If you missed it, you can find the recording plus a printable of tips, tools, and the Plan {at this link}They’ll give you a way to move forward and be the memory-keeper you’ve been wanting to be–once and for all!

Make this year your year!  Conquer those photos.  Calendar your plans.  Commit to yourself.  It’s a gift of wellness of heart and soul, both to you and your loved ones. 

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on January 26, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found below by clicking the hashtag next to Labels.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

guest post: When Photo Overload Becomes Photo Overwhelm

The 21st century gave us this cute phrase:  "photo overload."  And it's cute until it becomes photo overwhelm.

I talk to so many people who are just overwhelmed with their photos.  They have too many, don't know what to do with them, and really feel like they're being crushed by their photos.


It prompted me to write this post on the Evolve website that I'm a contributor for.  This post has four steps to climb your mountain of photos, introduces the concept of EXTRA, and gives some perspective you may not have thought about before.

I'm so passionate about this!  We are losing our photos.  The most photographed generation in history is quickly becoming the generation without photos.  It's a tragedy.  So I want to help people avoid it!


You can read the post right here:  {"When Photo Overload Becomes Photo Overwhelm."}*

And don't forget to share what inspired you.  There are social media links at the bottom of this post as well as the original post.


Preserve your photos!


#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

*UPDATE:  Of necessity, the post from Evolve was moved to LifeTales Books in 2019. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Six Creative Valentine Ideas

Need some creative Valentine gift ideas for that special someone, friends, or school classmates?  Have you ever come to the right place!!


I've got six creative Valentine ideas for you that are all created online then professionally printed so they are really fun to create (no mess!) and impressive to give.  Below each of the six ideas I'll introduce will be instructions on how to make them.  So let's go!

Note:  All Heritage Makers products shown are templates, but don't forget that all Heritage Makers templates are fully customizable, so if you want more or fewer photos, more or less text, not so many flowers, or a different color scheme, you can just change it!  I'm just showing a few templates--there are lots more to choose from, or you can also create your own from scratch using the Heritage Makers Studio program and lots of available digital art to use. 

SPECIAL SOMEONE
My favorite Valentine gift idea is a little Heritage Makers Flip Book.  It's just 5.75"x3.5", has 20 pages, and is wirebound.
This darling template has space for you to add 10 photos and 10 reasons "I love you."  There's just nothing like this to really tell your Someone Special what he or she means to you.

To make this 10 Reasons I Love You Flip Book:  Go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and login (or open your free account if you don't already have one).  Click "template gallery" then "browse the gallery."  Type 50462 in the search field and click "personalize" to move this project into your personal account.  For a basic guide on how to upload photos into your Heritage Makers account, how to create text boxes, how to use digital art, etc., {click here} or {click here for a more in-depth video tutorial}.  And don't forget about the "contact me" tab in red at the upper left on this page if you have questions!

Another great gift idea for a Special Someone is a simple Greeting Card with your own photo on it and your own heartfelt message in it.  If you're giving something like flowers or concert tickets and need just a little greeting to complete the gift, this is perfect.  Heritage Makers greeting cards are around $2-$3.
Again, this is just one example--there are 5x5 cards, die-cut cards, and many more options in many more styles.

To make this Personal Greeting Card:  Go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and login (or open your free account if you don't already have one).  Click "template gallery" then "browse the gallery."  Type 25355 in the search field and click "personalize" to move this project into your personal account.  For a basic guide on how to upload photos into your Heritage Makers account, how to create text boxes, how to use digital art, etc., {click here} or {click here for a more in-depth video tutorial} or this {video tutorial specific to making cards}.  And don't forget about the "contact me" tab in red at the upper left on this page if you have questions!

Personalized Playing Cards are one of my favorite Heritage Makers gifts to give, and this template has been transformed into Love Coupons! You're only seeing the back of the cards, but the fronts say things like, "candlelight dinner for us at home" and "30-minute foot massage."  There are multiple coupons for each event, so you can print as-is (after changing the photo, of course) or you can come up with your own coupon ideas so you have 52 different coupons!  I love how personal this is with the photo on the back of each playing card.
To make this Love Coupon Playing Card Deck:  Go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and login (or open your free account if you don't already have one).  Click "template gallery" then "browse the gallery."  Type 6114 in the search field and click "personalize" to move this project into your personal account.  For a basic guide on how to upload photos into your Heritage Makers account, how to create text boxes, how to use digital art, etc., {click here} or {click here for a more in-depth video tutorial}.  And don't forget about the "contact me" tab in red at the upper left on this page if you have questions!  PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TEMPLATE IS A PREMIER TEMPLATE.  For information on how to get a Premier account for free {click here}. 

FRIENDS
And speaking of playing card decks, they're one of my favorite gifts because they're always jaw-dropping! Recipients are so impressed.  I love giving them!  They would make a great gift for friends, too.  This one was created for sorority friends--see the back of the card on the left and all the fronts?

Because (as I mentioned) you can add or remove any element when creating something in Heritage Makers, you could remove the Greek letters and add other elements like a "you're the best friend ever" text box or some hearts or flowers from the (included) art collection.

To make this Greek Life Playing Card Deck:  Go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and login (or open your free account if you don't already have one).  Click "template gallery" then "browse the gallery."  Type 63165 in the search field and click "personalize" to move this project into your personal account.  For a basic guide on how to upload photos into your Heritage Makers account, how to create text boxes, how to use digital art, etc., {click here} or {click here for a more in-depth video tutorial}.  And don't forget about the "contact me" tab in red at the upper left on this page if you have questions!  PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TEMPLATE IS A PREMIER TEMPLATE.  For information on how to get a Premier account for free {click here}.  

You can also make very simple playing card deck, if you prefer--just one photo on the back and traditional Ace of Spades, King of Spades (etc.) designs on the front.  In fact, I made a tutorial video recently that shows step-by-step how to create personalized playing cards that are very simple!  You can watch it and follow along to make your own cards!

If you're looking for a more hands-on approach to a very simple Valentine greeting for friends, this Valentine Make & Shake Card Kit is perfect!  You get to be crafty, creative, and impressive while keeping the big secret that this whole thing is a KIT so you hardly had to do anything!  ;)



This Kit is from Heritage Makers' sister company, Anthology DIY by Lisa Bearnson.  This Kit makes 20 darling shaker cards (with envelopes) and comes cut and ready for you to put together (with instructions, too).  The Kit is $49 (or $2.45 per card) and can be ordered at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products" at the upper right then "Anthology DIY."  From there, scroll down through the Kits section until you find Valentine Make & Shake Card Kit.

CLASSMATES
There are SO MANY creative Valentines you can create for a child's class.  I love the ones created from Business Cards.  Heritage Makers Business Cards come in a set of 50 for around $4, and you can personalize them any way you want, from a personal message to a little picture of your child!  So fun.

With this one (template 131035), you punch holes and include a sucker.

 Or for a treat-free option, give this one (template 131036) with a glow stick.



 To make Personalized Classroom Valentines with Business Cards:  Go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and login (or open your free account if you don't already have one).  Click "template gallery" then "browse the gallery."  Type either template number shown above in the search field and click "personalize" to move this project into your personal account.  For a basic guide on how to upload photos into your Heritage Makers account, how to create text boxes, how to use digital art, etc., {click here} or {click here for a more in-depth video tutorial}.  And don't forget about the "contact me" tab in red at the upper left on this page if you have questions!

There are lots of creative things you can do with Address Labels and Large Address Labels, too.

 The Large Address Labels can be cut in half and wrapped on top of Tic Tacs or other candies as you see above.  Or this Large Address Label folds over a small bag of crayons:

Large Address Labels come in a set of 12 for about $4.

To make Personalized Color Your Heart Out Large Address Labels:  Go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and login (or open your free account if you don't already have one).  Click "template gallery" then "browse the gallery."  Type 143363 in the search field and click "personalize" to move this project into your personal account.  For a basic guide on how to upload photos into your Heritage Makers account, how to create text boxes, how to use digital art, etc., {click here} or {click here for a more in-depth video tutorial}.  And don't forget about the "contact me" tab in red at the upper left on this page if you have questions!

You can find many more creative, unique, truly personal Valentine gift ideas at the "template gallery" link at the upper right of my website:  www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise

Happy Valentine's Gift-Giving!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Beating the Winter Blues with Hygge

I hate snow.  I hate being cold.  And until this year, I hated January.  After the festivities, spirit, lights, food, and celebrations of December, January feels like you’ve just been dumped when you thought the relationship was going pretty well.  All the happy, cozy feelings and good times get abruptly replaced by cold, snow, and dark.  So what changed my mind and my experience this year?  Hygge!


Hygge is a popular trend right now that I actually learned about through Pinterest!  As I’ve learned about hygge in recent weeks, I’ve found that the most consistent definition of hygge is that it can’t really be defined.  Here, though, is what I learned:

Hygge is pronounced “hue-guh” and is a feeling or concept.  It comes from a Danish word meaning “well-being.”  It {may also come from} an Old Norse term, hygga, which means “to comfort” and from an older word, hugr, meaning “mood.”  These words, too, may be related to “hug.”  Even as the logophile I am, I find it best to not try to define hygge, but to feel it.

The mood or feeling of hygge is a Danish and generally Scandinavian tradition of coziness of the soul, signified by comfort, warmth, togetherness, softness, simplicity, and contentment.  It is manifest in lights, candles, warm drinks, delightful food (and comfort food), good books, fireplaces, enjoying family and friends, and bringing nature inside.


I like to imagine that this feels like a great idea to me because of my Danish (and Swedish) heritage, but I’m confident it’s more simple than that.  As a pretty solid introvert, my first reaction to this was, “Oh, I can totally hygge–all winter long.”  It’s more than just cozying up with a good book under a fuzzy blanket with a cup of hot chocolate, though.  Hygge includes togetherness.  It’s that feeling I get when I’ve got cousins and aunts and uncles filling my house with conversation and laughter.  So as much as hygge invites cozy time for yourself, it also means relaxing with family and friends, enjoying and appreciating the warmth of connections and relationships.

My Experience with Seasonal Depression
From the age of 4, I grew up in Utah.  I essentially left the state after college.  That was enough to know I knew I hated snow and being cold.  After college, though, I stopped having “traditional” cold, snow-filled winters.  I lived in San Diego for almost a year as a {missionary} for my church, with a summer in Indiana and Florida for the same purpose.  After I got married, we lived in the Bay Area (CA) for almost a year while my husband attended graduate school at Stanford.  We then moved to a lovely town in Southwest Washington with very mild winters.  Snow every other year for 24 hours was just right for me!

I’ve always been a fan of holidays and celebrations.  I put up {seasonal decorations} around my house every month, many of which I make myself.  Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Independence Day, it puts me in a festive and celebratory mood.  I really enjoy it.   Back when I lived in no-snow areas, January became a snowman theme.  I decorated with snowmen, snowflakes, and such.  Snow was fun because it was rare.


And then I moved to western New York.  I had no idea what I was getting into.  Winters there are not for the faint of heart.  I began to call it Narnia, and for good reason.  The months and months on end of cloud cover, endless dumpings of deep snow, monochrome days, and humid cold that no amount of layers could relieve began to crush me.  It was the first time I really understood what depression was and how it could truly be caused by simply what’s outside.

Our Natural Rhythm
Now that I live in one of the sunniest cities in the country (though it still snows and gets cold here sometimes), I can see with clearer eyes how many of us are tied to our environments.  There are people, of course, who aren’t as sensitive to such things.  My husband, for example, could live in a cave or on a tropical beach and pretty much feel the same day to day.  But there is something very real about the seasons and our natural state of being at different times of the year.


{Dina Tibbs} says that most things our society generally does in January is unnatural.  Winter is naturally a time of peaceful solitude.  The world is resting, asleep.  She suggests that the sudden changes of New Year’s Resolutions go against our natures which are still quiet because of the season.  She actually waits until spring to make resolutions, choose a word for the year, and set goals and intentions.  January to her is a peaceful time to be still.  It’s her time to fill her own cup.

This idea really speaks to me.  I’ve always hated New Year’s resolutions because it really does seem unnatural to me to all of a sudden make drastic changes during a time when I really just want to sleep more, wear fuzzy socks, and always have something warm to drink.  No wonder!


Going into January this year, I decided to throw out my old seasonal home decor as well as my focus.  (Why would I decorate with snowmen?!  I hate snow.)  I noticed this past December how much I love lights and candles.  They make me feel different.  They make me feel cozy and warm and comfortable.  I think that means they make me feel hygge.

I’ll tell you about the changes I made this month so you can get some ideas for what you might like for beating the winter blues.  Although not explicit, from what I can tell, hygge also seems to be a focus on self-care.  Isn’t that what well-being is?
  • I bought some scented candles from my favorite company because they smell delicious and cozy.  My favorite scents this time of year are pomegranate and cranberry orange.
  • I have spread greenery around my house.  I really love seeing something GREEN and LIVING every day, and that’s especially true in winter.  I have a brown thumb, but many stores sell forced bulbs like hyacinths or potted ones like tulips this time of year.  Many tropical plants like majesty palms make great house plants.
  • I found some flameless candles on a timer!  I have spread these around my house as well.  When the sun goes down, the warm flicker comes on and gives a cozy, warm feel to my home.
  • I pulled out cozy slippers and socks, have fuzzy blankets around, and soft throw rugs as well.  While these items can be used practically for warmth and comfort, the look and style of them speak “cozy,” too.
  • I do not feel guilty for enjoying hot chocolate every day.  It’s hygge, and it makes me happy.
  • I focus on simplicity by not making major changes right now and just being still.  I do have a word for the year, but it’s something I can keep in mind constantly, applying as needed.  My focus instead is on well-being and enjoying life.  I have blocked out a couple of full days in January marked simply “hygge.”  Maybe they’ll be reading, maybe they’ll be napping, maybe they’ll be preparing dinner for a casual gathering in my home.  Whatever they are will be about contentment and warmth.
  • I think one of the coziest and most comfortable and happy ways to hygge is to {hygge with pictures}.  You can read more about how photos and memories are the essence of hygge and how to incorporate them into your hygge traditions right there at that link.
I think one of my favorite things about hygge is that there isn’t a recipe, there aren’t rules. Whatever speaks to me about hygge is probably what I need most.  Your hygge may look different than my hygge.  What would hygge look like to you?  Tell me in the comments below!

I love (which means I probably need) the focus on comfort and peace and warmth and coziness.  I think I may have just beat the winter blues once and for all!
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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on January 17, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Conquer Your Photos: catch up with the Two-in-One Plan (recorded class and free printable)

"Do something with my pictures" is on many to-do lists.  It's a common New Year's resolution, too.  The sheer volume of digital photos we take, however, can make preserving them a daunting task.  Sure, photo storage seems to be all the rage these days, but what about actually preserving a photo in print?  Printed photos allow you to preserve your photos with their stories--your memories.  The details or story behind a photo is a full HALF the value of a photo!

That's why I'm so passionate about sharing as many helps and solutions as I possibly can.  This blog is full of them, of course, but I also taught a 40-minute online class last week with some very specific tools, tips, and solutions, including my Two-in-One Plan for CATCHING UP preserving your photos and their stories in a meaningful way.  In this class, we look at both digital photos and photos that have already been printed.  I walk you through the steps you need to take before preserving your photos (such as making time* and organization) as well as offer real, do-able solutions for catching up preserving your photos.


IF YOU MISSED THE CLASS, be sure you watch the recording here.  It will be the best 40 minutes you can spend on one of the most valuable things you have to gift yourself and the world with--your own memories, photos, and stories.


And, as promised, here's the free printable with tips and the Two-in-One Plan!   Click here to print:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QYWr-9y8FkSLk6_nNNySBF0yVbG_Whn_



For specific time-management helps, you can find suggestions {here} and {here} and some out-of-the-box ideas {here}.

Now that you've been armed, go conquer!

#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Friday, January 12, 2018

Making a Plan to Catch Up On Your Photos

Like many things, catching up on your photos is just a worthy goal until you have an actual plan to do it.  If you have photos on phones, cameras, hard drives, and clouds, making time and making a plan to preserve them in a tangible form can be a little overwhelming.  Once you have a plan, though, you can move forward.  Even big tasks can be accomplished when you know how you’re going to do it.  So let’s get you on that road.


First, let me explain what I mean by "catching up on your photos."

As I like to say, “Don’t let your babies grow up to be JPEGs.”  Digital photo storage is still just storage.  Photos need to be seen in order to be known.
"The sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them.  In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”  ~Linda Henkel, psychological scientist
So if you’ve been amassing some photos, getting them out of digital form into something tangible is the only way they will be interacted with and loved.  It’s how memories stick with us.  It’s quite {literally preserving memories}.

When I say “catch up on your photos,” I mean be current.  If you have photos on your phone/camera/computer from 2012 that haven’t been preserved in a tangible way, I’d like to help you catch up.  Memories are best preserved when they’re fresh.  My goal in this month’s #familyhistoryfriday posts is to get you there.

Setting aside time is key!

In the {Tips on Bringing Photos to Life} I posted several months ago, I said that an hour a week makes a difference.  Have you ever thought about what kind of progress you could make if you worked on preserving your photos for 52 hours this year?

heirloom-quality 5x5 softbound book made {here}
I think one of the most critical parts of setting aside time to catch up on your photos is to recognize what would give you the most success.  What works for someone else might not work for you.  Do you work best with other people or by yourself?  Do you work best in smaller spurts or bigger chunks?

Consider which of these ideas for setting aside time for photos would work best for you, then pull out your calendar RIGHT NOW and mark it with pen!
  • 1-2 hours on a regular basis (like every Friday night or Sunday morning)
  • 3-5 hours one day a month
  • involving family members in organizing, sorting, writing down memories
  • attending a regular memory-keeping event (I host online "get togethers" through {my Facebook group} so everyone--local or not--can attend.)
  • create your own tribe; invite a group of friends to get together for memory-keeping on a regular basis (it's fun, too!)
Keep in mind, too, that not all memory-keeping methods take a lot of time.  {This one}, for example, is a quick one that's still high-quality.

If you missed the Two-in-One Plan and my free online class, Conquer Your Photos, last week, you can {find them both here}.

I am also excited to share with you some resources I have to help you find the time for this important endeavor.  “I don’t have time” is a common phrase these days.  More is coming at us in a given day than it was in a whole month 20 years ago.  Over the years as I’ve coached people with their memory-keeping, I’ve learned and then written a lot about time, time management, how the average American spends time, and {the false idea behind the phrase “finding time.”}


In fact, I wrote just this week about what I learned about time from the work of two women, Success Coach Lanette Pottle and Productivity Expert Julie Miller Davis.  If you struggle to find time, feel overwhelmed, feel like your calendar controls you instead of the other way around, {READ THIS POST, "Time flies, but you're the pilot."}!  Thank me later.  Pottle has some great things to say about our mindset about time and how shifting it gives us more time.  Davis has three tools to use when you consider ANY activity on your calendar, and she also drops a truth bomb on multitasking that blew me away.

For some additional perspective on time, both this article, {“Selective is the New Smart,”} and the great article it was based on, {“Busy is the New Stupid,”} give some really helpful food for thought on how we look at busy.

The truth is:
"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."  ~Henry David Thoreau
Multiple trips to the grocery store each week, hours spent scrolling social media, TV watching, laundry, child care– they all take time.  Some things are worth more of our time than others.  As Thoreau said, we determine how valuable something is based on the amount of life–or time–we exchange for it.


Memory-keeping is worth the time it requires.  Recorded memories and stories {have been shown} to increase self-esteem, lower stress, increase resilience, and create a sense of belonging and purpose.  It’s good for the heart and soul.  That’s worth everything.

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on January 12, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  You can read more #familyhistoryfriday posts about photos, memories, stories, connections, and family by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Time flies, but you're the pilot."

One of the main things many people need to accomplish before they can be successful in preserving their photos and memories is making time for it.

As you may have read a few months ago here at LifeTalesBooks, {you don't find time.  You make it.} Time doesn't just appear on your doorstep on a random Tuesday.  You make time for things.  Marie Leslie put it perfectly in {"Time Doesn't Need Managing"} where she wrote, "Time Management should really be called Priority Management."  Glenn Santos even writes that {if you schedule your free time, you will have more of it}!  Isn't that an enlightening concept?  

I read something recently that really struck me.  It's not so different from the idea of making time for things.  Lanette Pottle calls it time creation.


Yes, time flies, but you're the pilot!

According to Pottle, time management is not the solution to finding more time--time creation is.  I love what she says at the introduction to her {Time Creation Course}:

"The problem isn’t that we need to find space to cram more appointments and tasks into our day, it’s that our decisions cause us to fill our days with monotonous obligations, unfulfilling activities, and other people’s priorities.  It starts innocently enough. We are ambitious and driven. There is a lot to accomplish to leave our mark on the world and we take pride in doing whatever it takes to make it happen.  Sacrifice becomes a badge of honor (especially for those among us that have people-pleasing tendencies). Deferring our own pleasure becomes common place. We buy into the belief that if we stay focused and committed, there will be time for that later.  The problem is that all too often later never comes… or if it does, it’s on the other side of burnout.  The REAL solution is to shift from managing our time to managing our decisions… and in the process, we become world-class time creators."  ~Lanette Pottle

{Productivity Manager Julie Davis} teaches the same thing to her clients.  I am an organized person, but I fall into the same traps many people do when it comes to feeling a little swamped.  One thing I've learned from Julie is that everything on your to-do list falls into one of these categories:
  • Do it.
  • Delegate it.
  • Dump it.
Sometimes you need to just DO things.  (You're the only person who can exercise for you.  You have things in your job that you need to do.)  Sometimes your time is better spent by DELEGATING something.  (Can your kids fold laundry, even if it's not perfect?  Is there a high schooler in the neighborhood you could hire to do that thing?)  Sometimes you need to DUMP things.  Julie says if you've moved something off your to-do list three times, consider if you need to just dump it.  (Evaluate if it's worth your time or if you can let it go.)


Davis also suggests that there's no such thing as multitasking.  I've always considered myself a good multitasker (and I bet a lot of moms do), but Julie says that productivity actually takes a nosedive when we try to multitask--even if we think we're good at it.  #foodforthought

One last tip from Julie Davis:  If something is on your to-do list for days and days and you keep putting it off, and you know you can't Delegate it or Dump it, do procrastinated projects in chunks of time.  Take 20 minutes, set a timer, and work on your procrastinated project for just 20 minutes.  You usually find out it's not so bad, and you can do it.

So many things take second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) place when we aren't in control of our time, aren't managing it, or aren't creating it.  Doing something with your precious photos is often one of them.

I bet you have a photo like this--a moment in time stopped, a great memory you've had the blessing of capturing.


This photo, like yours, shouldn't just sit somewhere as a JPEG file.  Files aren't usually looked at.  Photos are.

Here are several {tips for bringing your photos to life here}, including:
  • set aside (i.e. CREATE) time, maybe an hour or two a week
  • think about {making it a family tradition}, like every Sunday night
  • organize your photos so you know what you have and what you're dealing with  (You can find some pointers and actually watch me in my process of photo organization {in this video}.)
  • choose your favorites (If you have 1,000 pictures to deal with, you may make more progress if you narrow down the number you want to preserve by just choosing your favorites.)
  • keep your appointments with yourself!
Time does fly!  The older I get, the faster it seems to go.  But I'm the pilot on that flight.  I get to choose how I spend my time.  I hope you'll think about Marie Leslie's perspective of Priority Management--what you fill your days with and what you are (maybe inadvertently?) prioritizing.  I know that makes a big difference in my own time management and creation.

There's so much to be gained, {so much that's GOOD FOR YOU}, when you make time to preserve your memories and your life's story.  Start now, because there's no time like the present!



Friday, January 5, 2018

It's #friyay!

Welcome to #friyay at LifeTales Books!  On the first Friday of every month, we will find out what people are saying about Heritage Makers (and me, in some cases).  We'll start our first #friyay with a message from the very first Heritage Makers consultant, Wendy, who is a dear friend.  We've known each other since elementary school and became good friends in high school.  Wendy was one of the first people to introduce me to Heritage Makers, way back in early 2005.  Here's what Wendy has to say on this #friyay:




How to be Successful on Your Goal to Catch Up Preserving Your Photos

Catching up on preserving photos is a common New Year’s Resolution.  Even outside of January, it’s a common goal.  I quite often hear people talk about their need to catch up doing something with their photos.  This month on #familyhistoryfriday, we will focus on solutions for your goals or resolutions.  We will learn the first steps you need to take to be successful, options for both digital and already-printed photos, and the Two-in-One plan.

Sounds pretty good, right?


Because you’re reading an article about how to be successful on your goal to catch up preserving your photos, you already know why it’s important.  Or maybe you have seen articles like this one on {Creating Family Stories}, or this one on {How Knowing Family Stories Helps Kids Cope} or {Preserving Photos and Stories: Why You Should Care}. Maybe you read my own feelings {Why I Stay Caught Up Preserving My Photos and Memories}.  Or maybe you have simply seen the look on a child’s face when she pulls out a book all about her or when she looks at the pictures from last year’s special vacation.

You already know why preserving your photos and the memories that go with them is important.  Let me help you do it.


Whether you have a lot of digital photos on your technology (phone, computer, camera) or you have boxes of printed photos, all you need to conquer them is a few tools.  I know it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, but that’s exactly the hurdle I want to help you jump over.
So let’s talk about it.  Let’s explore some simple but effective tools and solutions so we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  THIS IS YOUR YEAR.  Get some tools and tips to actually catch up on the photos you need to preserve and then stay caught up

I've recorded a 40-minute class for you with tools and strategies that can help.  This class includes my Two-in-One plan, too, which can make an enormous difference in your ability to catch up.


Knowing about the powerful and lasting benefits of memory-keeping is all well and good, but unless we actually put that knowledge into practice, it doesn’t even matter.  Let’s start off this year with a real plan, a real way to finally be able to catch up preserving your photos and memories.  And stay there.
“Well done is better than well said.”  -Benjamin Franklin
I'm also including a free printable!  It's a summary of the class (more or less) with the Two-in-One plan right on it.  You can print it right here:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QYWr-9y8FkSLk6_nNNySBF0yVbG_Whn_

If you need additional help getting ahead, I also offer {Digital Scrapbooking For Hire} services, which you can learn about at that link.

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on January 5, 2018, by Jennifer Wise.  More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found at the hashtag below next to Labels.