I’m on hold … thinking about the BIG picture.

I'm trying to buy tickets to Defending the Caveman coming to Spokane March 20 and 21st. I've been on hold for almost 14 minutes. I'm sure they want me to buy tickets online, but I have questions and this is driving me crazy!  Anyway, Geoff and I first saw this one-man play years ago in Chicago (before we had kids) and we LOVED it. We are going to try and get several couples together to go while it's in town. If you haven't seen it and it comes to your area, GO!

Thanks for all your creativity project ideas yesterday. The kids and I ate dinner in the Food Court of the mall and then visited the candy store. Everyone got to buy something (as long as they could spell their name in the letters on the packaging) This really isn't that hard, but it was FUN for my little boys and it did in fact feel playful.

I chose these.

I read something this morning about unlearning (yes, unlearning) and I really liked it. I have often thought that many of the obstacles and frustrations we face in creative pursuits and especially scrapbooking are the result of us attempting to be creative with new tools and possibilities inside an old paradigm. In other words, we need to UNLEARN before we can really be effective and satisfied.

 I think those that have taken Library of Memories in the past would agree that while there is a LOT to learn and adapt, there is also a LOT to unlearn and let go of. Many of us jump into scrapbooking with the idea that we are going to do what our mothers and grandmothers did (document pictures) with 10,000 photos. The truth is we can do so much more than document pictures and scrapbooking to me is so much more than just putting pictures and names and dates and surface facts on a page (Hmmm, maybe I should write some books or start a company that would help people find the bigger picture in scrapbooking?)

In my grandmother's world, photographs were scarce and scarcity generates value. Every photograph grandmother, and in my case, I should really say grandfather took was a priceless visual record of his life and times. Still, if someone living in the early 20th century could afford to take pictures they didn't allow themselves to take very many (generally speaking) It simply would not have crossed their minds to capture the details of location or personality like we do. With the advent of digital photography we now have access to photography like never before and yet, what I find (every time I teach LOM) is that we have oddly become less connected to our surplus pictures. It's crazy! The reality is we have too many pictures and the very sad capital "R" reality behind this reality is this fact that we are less intimate with our pictures than ever before. One of the basic tenants of my system is getting your BEST pictures printed and into viewable storage, so you can LIVE with them and see them on an ongoing basis. When you do just this one thing you open yourself to personal inspiration. I know that we have tons of cool digital tools that allow us to see and share images, but I am absolutely convinced that a virtual connection (while cool) is not the same as having physical access to pictures (memories) and memories are hands-down the most magical form of inspiration I know. The trick and the tie back to unlearning is we have to unlearn the guilt we associate with printing pictures we might not use and, unlearn the notion that it's possible to do something with every photo we print. Pictures aren't scarce, they aren't expensive and they aren't that valuable in and of themselves. The value is in how we appreciate and use SOME of them to engage in the creative process and illustrate stories and gain appreciation for life and the people we love. 

Please try and unlearn that scrapbooking is about the pictures.

Please try and unlearn that more pictures on a page is the goal.

Please try and unlearn that names and dates and documentation is required.

Learn that what is valuable is your ability to more fully immerse yourself in life today because you recognize through photography and scrapbooking the moments that matter as they unfold.

Learn to see yourself as a storyteller with thousands of potential illustrations and the potential to not only leave a unique mark for some future generation, but the absolute potential to make a difference right now in your attitude and outlook and energy and insight for today and for tomorrow–for NOW.

phew … I feel better.

btw: I gave up after 33 minutes on hold. so sad. Guess I won't be blogging about the customer service at Tickets West.


  1. This is absolutely an inspired post today! I am so excited and inspired by what you are saying that I am going to print this one and put it up in my scrapbook room!
    Have you ever thought about training people in the LOM approach (I have not taken the course mind you) so that they could teach it in real time-say like as a rec department course or for a lss?
    Just wondering! Great blog Stacy!

  2. Thanks for your very reasonable perspective, Stacey. Another thing to unlearn is the preciousness of the printed photo in itself, at least any photo you have a digital copy of. When I started scrapbooking, one of the hardest concepts other people seemed to have the most trouble with was the idea that you might cut a photo, and there was a great deal of concern over preserving those photos for 100 years, or a lifetime, or some exptended period. Not only should you not feel bad about printing some photos that you may end up throwing away, but you have to realize that with a digital backup (and also an online backup at someplace like Shutterfly too in many cases), you can be a little easier in your mind about cropping and playing with your pictures in order to emphasize the elements that are important to you. I am not personally big on embellishments, but it’s fine to use them, even – gasp – metal brads and ribbons and shiny sparkly stickes and glitter and chalk and other things that may not be considered 100% “safe” for your photos in the long term. If using them makes scrapbooking more fun for you, you are more likely to scrapbook, right? So go ahead and be a little experimental once in a while, have a good time, and know that you can reprint a photo if you need to.

  3. Great post!! And just wanted you to know how much I LOVE coming to your little corner of the world daily!!!

  4. Great post Stacy! SO INSPIRING!!! I am in your LOM class and I can’t say enough wonderful things about it. Pre-LOM: all of my printed photos were scrambled toghether in a giant tubby and very few digital photos ever got printed. I had visions of scrapbooking, but no workable plan, so NOTHING got scrapbooked. Last week, I finished organizing all my printed photos in storage binders and it feels SO GOOD and is so liberating. And I’m excited because I see so many connections and a fountain of ideas for future pages. Amazing. Your LOM system is so clever and IT WORKS. Totally worth it. THANK YOU SO MUCH STACY!

  5. Amen, scrap sister! LOL! I am facinated by the unlearning concept as it relates to education and I love how you applied it to scrapbooking. Especially this:
    Learn that what is valuable is your ability to more fully immerse yourself in life today because you recognize through photography and scrapbooking the moments that matter as they unfold.
    I LOVE THIS!!! And it’s so important to do!
    And I’m starting to think of a list of things…. there’s a great scrapbook page hidden in there that includes other things in life that would be helpful to unlearn (one that can be a momma’s message to her kids about living fully)!
    Thanks for the inspiration (as always!).
    Sorry you didn’t end up getting tickets to the show. :-( I remember seeing this at some point… not sure if it was live or not (was this ever on TV or VHS??) and I remember it being very funny!

  6. Trena Garrett says:

    I absolutely am going to take my kiddos to the mall and do the candy store thing. We make regular dates to “shop” around and have lunch and that will be fun. Thanks for the idea!
    Loving the LOM class, btw. I haven’t had the time to post anything in the gallery, but I am busily working the system. My kids have loved having all our pictures out and looking through them instead of stuck on a computer. (Of course.) I am so inspired!!!!!

  7. Just come down to Vegas. Your play is here full time at one of the casinos!

  8. This is the kind of post that keeps me coming to your blog. I so wanted to take the LOM class… have wanted to for several years now. I’ve always been held back by an overscheduled life…until this year…in which I was held back by economic uncertainty. However, I decided that I would do my best to implement the LOM methods through your Photo Freedom book, and if it doesn’t work…there’s always next year, hopefully. Thanks for frequent posts offering further clarification and Q & A’s on LOM. I’m determined to figure this out.

  9. As always, thanks for the inspiration! I am going to print out this quote you said about Learning… and even add it to my facebook! Yes, I’m addicted!

  10. Jeannette P says:

    Amen! I posted in the LOM message board that I have been “letting go” and enjoying it. I have let go that my pics have to be in the exact chronological order as they were taken. I can still find what I am looking for if they are in the general vacinity & I don’t need to use my precious time wasting it putting things in ‘perfect’ order. I have been letting go of other notions like printing pics that I might not use is horrible. The thing is, I haven’t been ‘doing’ anything with my pics since they aren’t printed. I find that when I am inspired to do a page & have to search for that pic that I had in mind & sift through thousands & thousands of pics to find it…the inspiration wears off & I end up with NO page to show for it. :( This is NOT going to help me share my memories with anyone.
    I could go on and on and on but I will say…only a few weeks into this class & I am SUPER thrilled my hubby gave it to me as a Christmas present. So worth it & I’m enjoying the WHOLE process. PLUS I’ve actually tossed pics away & I’m feeling Great about it!
    Stacy, you rock! THANKS!!! Hope others get the BIG picture about this whole scrapbooking thing & are able to let go & have fun!

  11. TracyBzz says:

    “photographs were scarce and scarcity generates value”
    There is no value in leaving your kids hundreds of albums with a hundred thousand pictures. Your great-great grandchildren certainly won’t want a hundred albums. Especially if each generation keeps scrapping. Keep scrapping, but enjoy it as a creative outlet, not stressing about which photos, how many or whatever.
    LESS IS MORE. It’s so easy to snap 30, 70, even 100 pictures of something. But it’s so hard to pare down. You don’t need more than a couple photos of anything, especially when the shots are almost identical. (But easier said than done) Think of how much we appreciate the few heritage pictures we have.
    The stories are equally as important. Because a picture without words will mean nothing to your grandchildren.
    I too am printing this out and putting this in my LOM binder.
    Tracy LOM 08

  12. Rhonda Hestir says:

    It’s no surprise you chose “Skittles” and not “Whoppers” at the candy store. Somehow, they’ve lost their appeal.

  13. Stacy! Wonderful comment today about unlearning. I’m working to unlearn lots of things–it’s a struggle! Someday I’ll take your LOM course, I know it’s the class for me!

  14. Sharon F. says:

    Love the layout – simple yet powerful and poignant.
    thanks for sharing

  15. Thanks for this Stacy! I have SLOWLY changed the way I have been scrapping, leaving chronological in the past. I still find myself doing lots of event based pages and not relationship ones. It is so hard to “unlearn” that I don’t need 8 pictures of everything that we do on a lo. Your post today is very validating for me!

  16. pictures may not be very expensive but if you’re on a tight budget is kinda is a waste to print more pics than you use. And it’s not so great for the environment, which is ok if you use them but not if you don’t. But is easy to solve that by putting the pics you eventually don’t use for scrapping in ‘normal’ albums or hand them out to family and friends, so they’re not wasted like in being tossed out… that free’s me in this I guess, I would feel oblidged to scrap everything if I would have to toss it somehow.
    And your LO from your post on March 5 proves that eventually old pics might get used…
    Also I only print part of the photo’s we take but do save everything on dvd’s, so I can select without mercy without having to be afraid to get a change of heart because I can always go back to the dvd and print a pic after all if I regret nog printing it. For me it’s like having a cushion to fall on so I don’t have to be afraid to fly.
    Tracy says in the comments: “Because a picture without words will mean nothing to your grandchildren.” I agree, often I don’t know who is on those old pics, often one of my parents can tell me and I’m busy picking the brains of my remaining grandparents on the subject but what I love about the pics my great grandmother left is how her handwriting and imperfect spelling (she only went to school for a few years) are on the back telling about what’s to be seen on the photo. Not to mention the little marks on the front of group photo’s to indicate which person is my grandfather ;-)

  17. As always, I love reading your perspective on things. You are so REAL. Your philosphy has totalling changed my outlook on scrapping and life in general. I’ve got both your books and hope to take LOM next year (finances permitting). I’ve found that reading about your approach has made me see and appreciate things I would otherwise have missed. You are truly a gift to my life Stacy and I thank you!!!

  18. You are great Stacy! THank you for reminding us how fun and meaningful life and scrapbooking can be. I love your intentionality with creativity and life. Why do we get bogged down in the things that don’t matter? Keep up the good work, Sister!

  19. Kary in Colorado says:

    Beautifully put, Stacy–as usual. You have a gift for putting complex concepts into very understandable prose. Thanks for taking the time to do so and for sharing it with us.

  20. I found this post very inspiring and I give you a big YES!
    Thanks for sharing your great thoughts.

  21. Deb Jones says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I am learning to be Simple in more than my scrapbooking. I’m learning to take pictures with priorities in mind. It all started with LOM. Thank you!

  22. very cool thought provoking post< Stacy. thank you for the brain food. :-)

  23. Amen, sister! I am FINALLY starting to get it (or un-get it as the case may be!) I first took LOM in 2007, life got in the way and I didn’t get past making a few storage binders. Even those storage binders held more photos than necessary, many photos that I actually wouldn’t scrapbook but I just couldn’t let go of them. And now, two years later, I am getting it! Yes, yes, yes! Thank you, Stacy. You have no idea (or do you?) what you have done for so many people. Some of us are slower than others so your frequent reminders and inspired blog posts are always appreciated!

  24. Sharon Worley says:

    OMIGOSH!!! Those thoughts came straight out of my head!! Truly, I’ve been in my scrap room this morning organizing photos (I’m a new convert to your system, Stacy!) And, as I sat here I kept thinking over and over again that there were stories and memories just waiting to find there way out of the mess! I feel SO inspired to get them told and I feel SO appreciative of the process that got us to this point in our lives. The best part is that at the moment I have extra time on my hands and I feel like now I have a purpose for it!! Thanks, Stacy!

  25. Thanks for the inspirational post, Stacy! You are so right when you say that we don’t value our pictures as much now that we have 1000′s of them to choose from. I have some old pics from my grandparents, and even just a few from my parents growing up, and they are so precious to me! This post has been a good reminder to me to get on with printing some photos – they have been sitting on my computer for way too long and my boys (I have 4, also!)would love to look at them in albums, as would my husband. Have a good day!

  26. Tammy B says:

    Love that page! I haven’t scrapbooked in months – been mostly making cards. But I’m still trying to convert with LOM and start thinking outside the box. Pages like yours make me think that I can do that and that I should do it soon. Thanks Stacy! I love your inspiration.

  27. Interesting post. I’ve been thinking that the thing I want to do every day right now is to journal–to write down the stories that I want to share with my kids. Then when I sit down to scrap I will have more direction.
    There is a reason I am drawn to paper with journaling lines, and it has nothing to do with getting my title straight.
    I love your “Don’t blink” lo. When my daughter is anticipating a big event, I always tell her, “It will be here so soon–you’ll just blink your eyes and it will be here.” So she’ll blink just to prove to me it doesn’t work. Just an illustration of how perspective changes in a few short decades. :)

  28. Love the ideas and thoughts behind your Don’t Blink layout.
    The Trace Adkins song “You’re Gonna Miss This” expresses the same idea. Time is so fleeting, especially where kids are involved.
    Stacy, what square punch are you using? What size is it?
    Thanks for sharing your inspirations with us.

  29. jennnifer reynard says:

    Wow, I think everyone else has just about covered how powerful your blog message was!
    Great philisophy to help everyone stay on track!
    Thanks for taking the time to write it down for us!
    Jennifer, calgary, alberta, canada

Speak Your Mind


What's New at BPC
Big Picture Classes
Big Picture Classes
Big Picture Classes
Big Picture Classes