Before smart phones, hardly anyone lugged around a camera. The only ones who seemingly did were the tourist type who stood out to the locals like a sore thumb. Since phones with cameras became popular, everywhere you look is a person taking pictures or recording videos now. Some capture and share, while others like me store them away for another day.
There are some people on social media who are irritated with the sight of your posted pics. Many will not care what you ate, especially if they are eating a plain bologna and cheese sandwich while you chomp down on delicious cuisine. If you are on vacation, doing something amazing while the rest of us work, what do you think runs through our heads? If you are a cubicle warrior like me, you undoubtedly wish you could escape the mouse life, with cheese in hand, and run off into the sunset to enjoy your reward.
In spite of your children meaning the world to you, others may not see them the way you do. But who cares? Capture memories when they happen and safely share them with whomever you choose. Regardless which choice you make, one important thing to remember is to not just spend all the precious moments behind a camera. Once in a while, put the camera away and live in the moment. Most scenes are not nearly as breathtaking on photo as they are when viewed in person.
First, take some pictures and videos, and then fully experience that once in a lifetime moment. Memories are meant to be enjoyed now and forever, so go experience them!
When I hear the word memory, I often jump quickly to a good memory. Of course, I have my share of bad ones too, but I choose not to dwell on them. Some memories were created or heavily influenced by others while the rest were born out of my decisions. We seldom think about it but when it comes to the latter, it’s important to remember that today’s decisions become tomorrow’s memories. A good question to ask ourselves before deciding is whether we will enjoy it later as a memory.
I consider myself better than most at making bad decisions. It comes totally natural for me, like a gift! We were given two things that tend to fight with each other, our head, and our heart. The clash takes place when our head knows better, but our decisions follow our heart. It’s commonly said to follow your heart, which might be good, unless of course your heart has been corrupted. There are times when our head can rescue our heart and also our heart can influence our head.
The heart is deeply affected by our feelings. When experiencing negative emotions, it is easy to become engulfed to the point that we ignore all rational thought. This is bad! Mainly because what follows afterward is a poor decision. Tragically this leads to even further despair. Sometimes we even get stuck in cycles, repeatedly making one wrong decision after another. It gets to the point that it can be hard to break free. It is not impossible though; it just takes a change of both mind and heart.
Before acting on a negative emotion, ask whether you will enjoy the memory of what could take place next. If you are not sure what could go wrong, tread carefully. This is where experience is the best teacher, although we suffer due to the painful consequences it brings.
Decide wisely. It is easy to become trapped by a memory.
The switch! When hearing those words, some immediately think of changing from one thing to the next. Others may think of light switches. For me, I think about a thin branch that smacked my childhood rear end. If us boys ever got out of line, our great-grandmother would smack our rear ends with a switch. At first glance, she was not an intimidating woman. Nor was she very tall but she definitely had the presence of someone with a strong spirit. Whenever I got into trouble, most of the time, “the stare” was all that was needed to alter my behavior. When my older brother got into trouble though, it required something he could feel a little stronger.
On the corner of the house, there was a huge bush with branches that spanned four to six feet in every direction. Its branches were reddish in color and their most interesting feature was extreme flexibility, more than any I’ve seen, even in the years since. Apparently, they were a great instrument to whip misbehaving children. I am in no way an advocate of child abuse, but I never considered her even close to being abusive because I knew she loved me. She never lost control. When I got punished in this way, there was a reason for it.
I know the thought is shunned nowadays but I must admit it was rather effective on me. As for my brother, that was a different story. One time, we both got into trouble. She called out to us, “Go grab one of those switches off the tree and bring it back here, now!” I don’t remember what we did, but usually when a switch was involved, it was more severe. So, my brother and I marched over to the bush. The thing about these branches was that they would not easily break. I bent a piece back and forth, repeatedly, until after a minute or so it broke off. The same thing happened for him too.
We walked back to get our whupping, with our heads hung low. Then my brother did the unexpected. He handed the switch to her and all of a sudden took off running. He hopped on his bicycle and headed down the street. She hollered out to him loudly, but he kept on going, like a bat out of… Well, after that happened, things didn’t go so well for me. I stuck around for the punishment and may have gotten a little extra to top it off. Sure, it hurt and even left a mark at times. One thing was for sure, it couldn’t have hurt too bad or else we wouldn’t have repeated our mischievous ways so many times. Boys will be boys!
A fond memory of my childhood was watching wrestling. Every week it when it came on, we would gather around the television and watch our favorite wrestlers get in the ring to fight it out. At my friend’s house was where the most excitement occurred. Weeks would pass that led up to some pay-per-view that his grandfather ordered. If you have ever seen wrestling, it’s almost like watching a male soap opera. It’s much more than just fighting! It is filled with drama, clashes of character, and loads of hype. The excitement builds each week, with everything leading up to the main event.
Other family and friends would join in and crowd his entire living room with an audience of viewers, hanging on to every scene acted out. Underdogs were cheered for. Our heroes, the good guys, would hang in the balance by a narrow thread. At times it didn’t look good. They got pummeled and were down on one knee. The live audience cheered them on, and their knee got to moving and soon the whole leg shook. The excitement in the audience was like a spark that ignited strength from deep inside the wrestler and they would make a comeback. First, an elbow to their opponent’s side, and then they rose to their feet and grabbed on to the ropes. They were struck again in an attempt to beat them down once more, but it no longer worked. Each blow seemed to have a trivial effect as they shook the rope with a crazy look in their eyes. They stared the other person down and reached out. Whap!!! An enormous slap crossed the chest of their foe, which turned the skin bright red. Soon they issued their finishing move and the referee slid across the mat and counted. One! Two! Three! The audience roared with excitement as the winner was given the Title Belt and held it proudly for all to see.
Of course, after getting a glimpse of this world, my brother, friends, and I had to try it out for ourselves. There was no resisting it. We didn’t have a wrestling ring, so we had to make one up. It didn’t take long to realize that padding was a necessity if we were going to continue in this endeavor. Unfortunately, being the smallest, I think I was among the first to discover this after a few hard falls. We added several more blankets to pad our falls. However, I still felt pain after they tried some of the wrestling moves on me.
Being the puny one of our group was never fun. The fact that I got thrown around so easily made me mad. One time, my older brother suplexed me. I remember being so mad that I refused to stay down. Through eyes filled with so many tears that I couldn’t see through them, I got back up. He kept pushing me and told me to stay down. But I refused and kept coming at him. I don’t remember what he finally did to put me down for the remainder of the night but after it, I no longer got back up. My body racked with pain. While lying there, defeated, I couldn’t help but think how I saw my heroes lose fights too. The important thing was, they always kept at it and got back in the fight. Of course, it wasn’t long before I got back in the fight too. Whether the fights were real or not, I felt the effects as though they were. After all, they inspired me to get up after I got knocked down. There is nothing fake about that!
An experience hit me hard when I helped my family downsize and move into a smaller home. A collection of belongings from three generations of family members had to be dealt with. There were all kinds of items, ones of value to just plain junk.
The process was a slow, tedious one that consisted of trials and warfare. Each person had their own distinct preferences when it came to things they kept. I did the math and calculated a 0.01% return on investment for 30 year supply of empty butter dishes, so I convinced them to let go.
It took four months but we finally managed to get rid of everything that we needed to. After the amount of time spent on this, the auctioneers fees and commission that we “saved” was questionable in the end. About a year later, another family member did use an auctioneer to sell their stuff. I was somewhat intrigued by the process and would definitely consider it seriously if I were to do something like this again.
But what hit me hardest was thinking about how much money was spent. Every item sold, donated, or thrown away all had a price tag in the beginning. Every dollar spent was time exchanged by working to earn that dollar. We work tirelessly to buy things which rarely keep their value. They satisfy us for only a short time before we are off to buy the next thing. Matthew 6 warns us about storing up treasures. Dust, bugs, and pesky vermin don’t care how precious your belongings are. They leave their filthy mess all over the place. Let me tell you, nothing adds value to your stuff like mice poop!
To this day it is still an internal struggle; what to keep and what to get rid of. Renting storage space to hold more stuff, all the while wondering what the point of all this stuff really is. But interestingly enough, I never go back and question all the experiences I’ve had. The places I went, the photographs taken, the laughs shared – all tremendous blessings that I’ve found immense value in. I do enjoy buying nice things, but I’ve come to appreciate the importance of creating memories far more. Memories last a lifetime while most things we buy quickly fade away.