When I began this album, this layout was fairly early in the process and I skipped it altogether. I think I was waiting for product to arrive, and now I cannot remember what product I was planning to use! Ha! So I just chose another product and went with it.
Do you guys ever have photos that you put off scrapping? And you know you put them off because you felt all kinds of different feelings about them, some of them hard feelings? This is that layout for me. I think this happens to all of us sometimes, and the reasons might be as varied and unique as each of us is. For us, being in a blended family creates all sorts of feelings and emotions that take time to process and work through. I have had to process some feelings with this layout too, and I am actually excited to share it with you.
You see, this girl here, Emberlynn, celebrating her seventh birthday. Today she is a very poised, growing, smart girl and she has had to work really hard to get there. I don’t share openly about Emberlynn often, because I want to show her grace and love. She has some serious learning challenges as a result of a traumatic birth experience and from losing her mother at a very young age. Trauma does serious damage to our brains and to our development when we are so young, and this girl has bravely been working through her challenges!
I decided to use the brand new Dear Lizzy Stargazer collection for this layout. I pulled the navy in the collection as the unifying thread that runs across the layout!
When I see these photos, I see such a wild child! She was really struggling at this time, and completely unable to tell anyone how she was struggling. Blending our families was especially hard on her: she had no idea what to do with all the complex emotions that came with having new family members, and so she just acted out.
Today I have the joy of saying that all of this has a happy beginning. She is doing so well and she has the help she needs. At that time I did not know how this was all going to go, or if she was ever going to be able to embrace her new family. I know there will always be a part of her that will absolutely despise what happened to her, and that she had to have a new family at all, and I truly cannot blame her. So today I share this layout and instead of seeing a wild child who was quite a handful (!!!) I can see progress. I can see how far she has come, and how far we have all come!
So truly, this layout is a celebration. I know not all hard layouts become a celebration. Not all of our stories have a happy beginning, but this one does. So let me encourage you, when the photos are hard and when they bring up really difficult emotions, set them aside for a while and then pick them back up. Look for the good.
Sometimes it might literally take five years to find the good. Sometimes it might take ten. It’s ok. It is also worth it to pick those photos back up and just work with them. Grab some papers that you love, find some happy products and just start. If at the end of the layout you still aren’t sure you can see the good, write about it. Continue processing. Continue working through.
In the end, all of our lives are a complex mixture of joy and sadness. Sometimes even the same event brings about joy and sadness, even though we might feel like we *should* only feel a certain way. This girl Emberlynn has been all about teaching us the complexity of life and how mixed emotions can really trip us up every day! We literally have to train ourselves to embrace this complexity, and that complexity absolutely is reflected in our photos and our layouts.
So here is really what I want you to take away from all of this: our lives are so complicated and that means our layouts can also be a combination of joyful and tragic, in ways we might not even be able to communicate. But promise me you will try. Promise me you will do it anyway. Even if it makes you cry. Even if it makes you so enormously happy you can’t stand it! Even if you’re afraid to tackle it, or are afraid to talk about it. Sometimes I am afraid to talk about the struggles with being a blended family – they are raw and hard but they are also so precious and so grace-filled. And it is my hope that pieces of my life will be inspiring to you as well.
Let’s look at the last process video!