Capturing Life in All It’s Glorious Stages

“Rachel, the house was broken into. A lot was taken from your room.”

I still remember getting the call from my mom. So many things were lost: a few of my yearbooks; some awards I’d won in high school; a favorite book I’d won in a writing contest signed by an author I looked up to. I was scared what I wouldn’t find when we started going through what was left; I was petrified that many of the photos of my family’s journey would be tossed aside somewhere when the people who broke into my childhood home discovered that they were “worthless.”

Thankfully, many of the photos lay undisturbed as we looked through the boxes packed up with my childhood.

I realized two things that day:

1) I kept waaaayyyy too much stuff from my childhood – I mean seriously, who needs the “Who’s Who Among American High School” 2000 edition where my name and photo literally appeared once in over 200 pages?

2) I needed to be more diligent about making sure to capture my own life.

Right now.

Exactly as it is.

This fateful even back in 2014 also started a slow but subtle shift in the way I looked at photography. The photos that I cherished from that time weren’t the posed school portraits with the cheesy grins and bad sweaters.

They were the snapshots.

The photos of my brother dressed as Woody Woodpecker (I think?) as I sat on the table with a traditionally carved pumpkin while grandma held me…and smiled for the camera.

The photo of my mom holding me only days after I was born, allowing me to witness the beautiful look of pure exhaustion coupled with unquenchable love.

The image of my brother in a grocery shopping cart, surrounded by Saltine’s and Cup O’Noodles in all their glorious 1980s packaging.


At so many phases of our life, it’s easy to wait “until” to get out photos taken.

  • I’ll wait until I’ve lost those last 10 pounds.
  • I’ll wait until the kids are a little older.
  • I’ll wait until she gets her braces off.
  • I’ll wait until I have the time…

I can completely relate to this; I’ve waited “until” in so many areas of my life. And I’ve realized along the way that one thing never stops – our growth and our change.

And moving forward, I want to capture all of it.

  • The baby weight that will remind me of the amazing journey I went through.
  • All the stages of our kids when we are blessed to have them.
  • The braces that defined that year (or three) of her life.
  • The busy times, the slower times, and everything in between…

Sure, I might not be able to always do something with the photos when life is in it’s inevitable stages of insanity. But I will make the photos. And I will hire someone to take those photos at least once a year to ensure I know what my life looked like without me being behind the camera. Because I want to freeze those moments in time.

Not only for us, but for our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to come across someday in the future. I want them to see that toothy grin, the bond between mother and baby for generations, and the random life happenings at the grocery store.

Now over to you: What images have you run across from your family that make you grin? What did they remind you of and why did you love them? Let us know in the comments!

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