Karla's Korner: Take a Picture

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, I probably have several hundred thousand words stored on my computer. When my children were first born, I had the camera nearby all of the time. As they got older, it seemed that the camera stayed put more often and only came out on special occasions. As they neared adolescence I was not quite sure where the camera was. Now that they are practically grown, I find myself trying to capture their picture more often, something which they find totally annoying.

Recently I attended my 25th high school reunion (actually I’ve been out of high school 26 years because I skipped a grade and graduated early, but the class I left behind invited me anyway, something I am so thankful for.) We were asked to e-mail a picture of ourselves from our childhood to the coordinator of the reunion. Thankfully, I have a photo album that my mother put together for me from birth until my marriage that I could pull a picture from. Of course, I chose what I thought was the best; it was on my third birthday. I know this because I am sitting at the kitchen table with a birthday cake with three candles on it. I do not remember this occasion at all, but apparently I had a good time because I was smiling. The coolest part about the whole reunion/picture deal was that everyone said it looked just like me now, which at almost 44 I find that a huge compliment. Whether it is true or not, I appreciated the compliment.

While thumbing through a box of old pictures at my church last week I realized that something was missing. The box, filled with pictures from the past 20 or so years is full of un-labeled pictures. Having been a member of my church for just seven years, there are many faces in these pictures that I cannot recognize. There were some familiar faces; some who have passed away and brought back sweet memories and a few tears. However, the majority of the pictures in that box are just that…pictures; nameless, unidentifiable pictures.

Why do we take pictures in the first place? For me, I take pictures to preserve a special time, event, milestone, etc. Pictures are a source of unwritten memories. We take pictures to remember a moment in time that we want others to know about. But what happens if we just throw all of our pictures into a box without taking the time to label them? The memory is still preserved, but cannot be recalled by anyone looking at it. Time tends to pass by too quickly and those boxes of pictures tend to sit on a shelf until someone stumbles across them and discovers that those memories cannot be identified.

In today’s world so many of our pictures are stored digitally, which means we do not even have paper copies to write on. When I was a little girl my Grandma and Pap had a Polaroid camera. You pushed the button, the picture slid out of the camera and within a few minutes it would “develop” right before your very eyes. Then we got some new fancy cameras that used 33 mm film. We would send the film off and a week or two later, the mailman would deliver an envelope with our pictures. Flash forward to the digital age where you can take a picture, send it via e-mail and within seconds share it with all of your friends and family. While the opportunity to have paper copies printed still exists, we find ourselves not going to the trouble of having it done. What happens if we have a technical difficulty and we lose our digital images? What happens to the memories? The memories will remain in our minds and hearts, but we will not be able to share them with future generations.

My challenge for you this week (and in the weeks to come) is to return to a time where paper pictures are treasured. If you have a box of unidentified pictures, dig them out and label them. If you do not have a box full of pictures, get clicking and fill one up. As I sat staring at the image of three year old me, I realized that there are so many things from my childhood that I simply do not remember. Why? Because as we grow older we tend to forget the little things from our past, however, pictures are a way to either remind us of that special time or help us take a peek back in time and see what we were like. My children are pretty much grown and lately I have found myself staring at their photo albums remembering them as my little ones. My son, who at 13 is just a tad bit taller than me stares back at me from the pages of his album and it is like I have been transported back in time. My daughter , now 18, stares at me from the photos of her life wearing her daddy’s sneakers and sheepish little grin. Oh the memories, oh the joy that these photos bring to me. Fill your life with pictures. We have but one life to live, so why not capture that life in pictures to carry your memories on forever.

For me, I will continue to snap away whether my teenage children want me to or not. I am sure I will capture quite a few shots of the back of their heads or their hands in front of the lens while trying to escape, but once in a while I will capture a memory and place it in their photo journal in hopes that one day down their life road they, like me, will pull it out and recall a special moment in time and all the love that their daddy and I have for them then and now.

I share with you my picture of three year old me….enjoy.


Karla Robey