scrap-booking, photo-albums, and guarding family history

Some of the recent Maul family “scrapbooks”

Saturday morning the UPS truck driver bravely ignored Scout’s ferocious barking and delivered the final glossy photo book from our 2012 Middle East trip. The “family photo album” sure has come a long way over the past few years.

One friend, who has literally thousands of unsorted images on her iPhone and computer, said “I’d like to do that if it wasn’t so darned expensive.”

However, compared to the methods of yesteryear, downloading free software, building a book, and publishing it on-line is a bargain at the price.

Remember coming home from vacation with 20 rolls of film, developing it all at one time, paying $200 or more for 500 questionable prints, and then stuffing it all in a shoe-box that hasn’t seen the light of day since?

Well, each hard-cover photo album I create costs $50, more-or-less. That includes around 140 photographs, over 30 pages, flexible design options and accessibility you never get from the shoe-box somewhere in the attic!

There is, however, one catch. And it’s best illustrated in this exchange I had with another friend.

  • “I did what you suggested but my photo-book turned out terrible,” she said. “They do a lousy job and I want my money back!”
  • “Er… you do realize that you have to actually take good photographs to begin with?” I said.
Rebekah’s craft room is a treasure-trove of family history

WORLD’s RECORD: I think our family may actually hold one very amazing world’s record. I first noticed this back when the children were in elementary school and our friends kept pulling out Rebekah’s scrapbooks to check out the latest. Apparently we’re possibly the only people in the history of the world who are up-to-date on the family albums.

Every year, two or three times, spring, summer and fall, Rebekah would select the choice photographs, fix them in that year’s scrapbook, and add a few lines of description for posterity.

Later, when Andrew and Naomi were in high school, their friends would sit on the floor and pour over the images of family vacations, special events and more – the ebb and flow of day-to-day life. “I wish our mom did stuff like this,” they’d exclaim (everyone always blames the mother!).

Rudimentary scrap-book from the early years in Pensacola – the spring of 1988

DIGITAL AGE: Then, just before the epic three-week odyssey to Scotland to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, I purchased my first digital camera, and the “scrapbook” changed shape forever. Rebekah still puts together the occasional work of art for a specific purpose, but we now have 8-years of stunning photo-books to extend the streak.

All I have to do is make a fairly small album for the family cruise and we’ll be up-to-date again.

The result is an unbroken run of photo-documentation that covers (to date) 33-years of The Rebekah & Derek Story. We’ve done a fairly good job of writing notes to go along with the pictures, but we’ve also done our best to follow the essential principle that we want the images to be arranged in such a way that they tell the story themselves.

Just look at the way I can handle a wheelbarrow!

BOTTOM LINE: Your family story is the narrative record of your unique witness to what it means to live this life-charged life. It’s not only “a nice thing to have” for your children and their children, but it is tremendously valuable to you, because the task of understanding our own story helps us to determine not only where we are, but where we are going….

Lots more to talk about on this subject, but that’s more than enough for a Monday morning. Peace, love and blessings – DEREK


  1. You inspire me, and I pray for the discipline to continue doing my own. I put pages into top loaders, and add to 3-ring binders, often w/ pictures. I do a trip log each time we travel, especially to our Tucson daughter & grandchildren, and then this March to our 1st great-grandchild. I haven’t printed enough of my photos — do you print your own or use a “service”. All help in this area is so needed. Thanks MUCH! I probably have 30,000+ pix on the computer, and too many hundreds of polaroids and slides still to scan…. not enough hours in our lives to get it done!


  2. Hi, Carleene – I do most of my albums through
    I’ve tried several but this is the best so far.
    But you’re right about the not enough hours thing. I’ve never understood people who say they are bored or don’t have enough to do….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s