Monday, February 4, 2008

Stretch your journaling part 1

Welcome to the first class of STREEEEETCH your scrap! My name is Rebecca, and i'm an absolutely obsessive fanatical scrapper. I'm currently in between design teams and thought i'd do a class on my blog to kill some of that massive amount of free time i have HA! just kidding... I just feel so blessed by the amount of amazing information, and amazing people in this scrap community... i've been given so much and i'd love to give back. I hope this class series is helpful to you, and please post a link to what you make!! each week i'll be sending out a rak to someone one of my kidlets randomly draws from all who participate, so let 'er rip! Anyway on to the meat!

Why do you scrap? If you are like me, you scrap for a lot of reasons. I love the artistic expression. i love playing with paint and pens and stickers and rubons... it makes me feel alive after a day of mundane chores. I scrap as a way to relieve stress. its my sanity time, and after a full morning of meals, homeschooling, chores, and all the other things we do, by the afternoon rest time i'm SO ready for some stress relief! But i'd have to say that the number one reason that i scrap is to pass on a legacy for my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Scrapping is a way of immortalizing everyday life, preserving memories, and introducing yourself and your family to people you may never have the longevity of meeting! That is a POWERFUL thing! So today's topic is focusing on journaling. Now, i'll say right off the bat that journaling doesn't have to always be long and detailed and elaborate. But every once in a while, a page with LOTS of journaling can really tell a story, a detailed one, and convey lots of interesting facts that your children or grandchildren may one day really enjoy. I have NO idea what my mother's life was like when she was pregnant with me. I don't know if she had a natural childbirth or not, if my dad was there or not. etc. But my second son, Nikolas will know these things. That is the page i made for this class, which you will see soon.

Hopefully i've convinced you that the occasional detailed journaled layout can enhance your scrapbooks and is worthy of your time. Now the question is WHAT to write. Personally, i'm a gabber. i could go on and on about just about any subject, so writer's block is not something that afflicts me very often, but here's a few ideas to keep in mind when you are writing your journaling.

~Tell a story. Figure out exactly what you want to tell, Start from the beginning and work your way through to the end. It sounds simple, but if you don't consciously think about what you want to talk about, its easy to get carried away and miss what you intended to write about.

~Decide what literary person you want to use. Do you want to journal like a letter, you personally writing to another person? An example would be "Having not experienced natural childbirth before, I didn't know quite what to expect labor to feel like and ended up calling Nancy thinking i was in labor, when I was really in false labor." That is what i chose to do in the example. I typically write in the third person, describing the scene as an onlooker ie. "Rebecca went into false labor several times before Nancy finally decided to induce her to avoid the inconvenience of middle of the night phone calls." jEither way is fine. I tend to choose first person accounts when its a really personal issue or event, and do the rest in third person, but many people do most of their journaling in first person. Its really a personal choice issue.

~Put your reader IN the time period. Use your senses to describe what's going on around you, what do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste? What descriptions would be helpful to make your journaling more interesting?

~Try to vary your sentence lengths to make it flow easier, some short ones, some long. Utilize your thesaurus to use more interesting words and not use the same repetitive word over and over again.

This sounds like an awful lot of work doesn't it. Are you convinced detailed journaling is a worthwhile endeavor? Let's do an experiment. Pretend you are my great grandchild and you've come across a box of pictures. You see this one, and on the back is written "Rebecca Kvenvolden 1998"

You realize then that this is a picture of your great grandmother. Your eyes carefully pic through the minimal details in the picture for clues to her life. She is dark haired and complected. She looks to be pregnant. She seems happy. The background doesn't offer much in the way of clues. This is probably about all you could extrapolate from this picture. NOW, look at the completed layout. Think about what you learned about this woman and her life at the time of this picture from seeing the picture, in conjuction with the journaling.

(here's the journaling in case its too small to read)
It was March of 1998 when I discovered I was pregnant with you. Dad and I were SO excited! We’d decided we very much wanted another blessing in our family. It was a pleasant surprise as we didn’t realize you’d come so quickly! I went to the military hospital, got the official test, and confirmed I was pregnant. We then called all our family to announce the good news! Alex was almost 3 years old and seemed excited to be getting a new brother. It was a tumultuous time for us. Dad was getting out of the army, and was under a lot of pressure to reenlist but we knew it was not best for our family. Despite having a child and pregnant wife, dad knew the best thing to do would be to get out of the Army and find a new job. So that’s exactly what he did. It was 4 months until God sent Fedex our way. In the meantime, money was tight but we had lots of time to do lots of fun things together. The summer you lived in my belly was one of the hottest on record! we enjoyed taking trips down to the Capitol building, playing in the cool sparkling water at the outdoor water shooter in Olympia, and making trips to Seattle Center. We even drove all the way to Minnesota to visit the grandpas and grandma! When I was 7 months pregnant with you, I worked at the local fair for 3 weeks to earn money for our family. I worked at the ring toss. Dad and Alex got to go to the fair a whole lot. Alex thought it was hilarious seeing me behind the booth! You were due December 18th, which came and went with no sign of your arrival. Several times right around Christmas I had false labor. Not having had a natural childbirth with Alex, I didn’t know what real labor actually felt like. Nancy the midwife was getting annoyed with me constantly going into false labor, so on the 26th, when I came in, she asked me if I wanted to be induced. I was 8 days overdue and certainly tired of being pregnant and when she offered me a “new drug” with “no side effects” I was excited to get the ball rolling. She gave me a half tablet of Cytotec orally, and sent us off to go get dinner. Halfway through dinner, I knew something was going on… I was getting HUGE contractions and told Dad we needed to go back to the birth center ASAP! Of course out in the country, dad got lost, and I experienced WAY more bumpy road than I would have liked. But we did indeed make it there! It was 6pm when we got back to the birth center and I called the doulas and got comfortable in the Jacuzzi. Comfortable was really a relative description as the contractions were HARD and FAST. Dad helped make me comfortable by pouring water over my belly. I focused intensely on the cool water cascading off my enormous belly, into the tub, the remainders of drops beading up on my skin and slowly rolling off. The smell of Lavendar wafted into my nose as the midwives blotted my forehead with a cool washcloth scented with lavender. I marveled at the miracle occurring in my body, the transformation of one person to two. The amazing little life, getting ready to emerge and unfold, like a butterfly from a chrysalis. When you were born later that evening, at 9:08 pm, you were the cutest chubbiest little guy I’d ever seen. You didn’t cry or groan. You looked up at me curiously and as I kissed each part of your face deliberately. You immediately knew I was mommy and nuzzled up to me and nursed. From birth you were MY baby… you always had to be near mommy, nursed till you were 4, and even now at age 9, you are my sweetheart. Nikolas, I hope you know that I love you as much as you love me and more. I’ll be your mommy forever!

Now, what can you tell me about this woman. What can you tell me about your grandfather, Nikolas? Is that not amazingly powerful? Do you want to live forever? because if you journal with depth and purpose, you WILL live on as long as your scrapbooks survive! Isn't that cool? I am a writer at heart and love to journal but i know a lot of others don't. This is why i made this the first class, to hopefully open your eyes to the potential of long and detailed journaling as a means of passing on a legacy. I sure hope this has been useful to you, and if you are inspired to create, please post a link here! i'm so excited to see what you all make!! Thanks for reading! I wish you all many blessings. PLease stop by next Tuesday when i'll be writing about nontraditional ways of journaling.


here are some GREAT resources to explore regarding journaling. The first one in particular is absolutely AMAZING!


Deana Marie Closson said...

Thank you for your first class. I linked in to your blog through Personal Scrapper. I found the information very useful. I am someone who does not consider myself a writer, I wish I did. I needed to hear what you wrote, it's been taken to heart.

Suzanne said...

Amazing layout and journaling! Thanks for your insight, I totally agree! I will give this a try, although I'm more of a "bullet" journaler. :-D

StaceyM said...

Oh wow Rebecca, this is awesome. Your journaling has me right there with you. Now this is something that I really need to do. Thanks for the instructions and a little how to..........well a whole lot of how to!!! LOL

Lisa Turley said...

Fantastic job Rebecca. I totally agree with you on the importance of telling the stories behind our photos.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the lesson. I really need to do more journalling too.