celebration snapshot of the soul the everyday moments

Snapshots of the soul (+ a special birthday!)

April 10, 2014
I’ve done this thing since I was in high school where I’ll take what I call, “soul snapshots.” I do it whenever I’m in a moment that’s special and something I want to remember, but don’t have a real camera. It’s when I’m in the very present of something happening and I say to myself, Oh, heart. Remember this. Just exactly how this very moment is. 
Somehow the little moments are usually the ones forgotten. And it’s not because they aren’t important or special, but I think it’s just because they were little happenings, most often times of randomness. (That’s my excuse for forgetting, however I probably just have a poor memory). So I’ve found that if I consciously point it out to myself, those times, and take a snapshot – it seems to stick better. And it’s also, I think, about my heart recognizing a moment to give praise – how much I have to be grateful for. It’s not just about being grateful during the big moments – the really monumental life chapters. It’s often times in the little moments that I feel the most grateful for.
Sometimes it’s just a word spoken, or an expression made. In the times of quiet, where no one is talking but you’re both feeling the same thing. Sometimes it’s the chaotic moments when the whole family is around – it’s so loud you can barely hear yourself think (I have a big extended family 🙂 so I know this all too well) and you just think – this is life. All of these people, all of these conversations going on at the same time- don’t forget this! 
Quite a few of my soul snapshots have been moments with my family, particularly my Grandparents. I feel so blessed to still have all of my Grandparents in my life and to live close enough to see them more than once a year. Last month when I went back home to visit my parents, I also spent some time with my dad’s parents. My time at their house began as it always does when I go over there – both my Grandma and my Granddad asking what I wanted to drink (they wouldn’t take “nothing” for an answer.) 
My Grandma sat down with me to show me her iPhone and naturally we had to take a selfie. 
I also took a few minutes to roam the halls and my Granddad’s office to look at all of the pictures in frames. All faces I knew so well – this was my family. I went to my favorite place for pictures – the stairwell – where there were old pictures of my grandparents on their wedding day, along with my dad and his siblings when they were little. So much love. (And so cute!)
(It’s kind of weird to see your dad as a little boy, you know? ha! My dad is the one on the left.) 
This is my favorite picture of my Grandparents. This was taken on their wedding day, after the wedding and on their way to their honeymoon. 
My Grandma looks so, so classic and beautiful. (She still does.)

I told them how much I loved that picture and that’s when the storytelling began as we sat with them around the dinner table eating pizza. With a family as big as this one, it’s rare to get my grandparents alone so to have this time with them – it was so special.  
An hour went by… and then more time… and my mom had to head back home to feed the dogs, but my dad and I decided to stay for a bit. My Granddad continued to tell more stories – about when he and my Grandma were first married and when they had my dad and the rest of my uncles and my aunt. Funny stories, endearing stories. There we were, just sitting around the card table, drinking cocktails and laughing, nodding, smiling at the memories. And that’s when it hit me – 
I will never have another moment like this with them again, not exactly like this. And that’s when I took a soul snapshot. 
I listened so carefully to each and every story, praying that I’d remember the details years from now. More time went by, it was now dark outside, and I watched my dad finish his drink and figured we’d be heading home. Instead, he grabbed another drink and sat back down at the table. And I smiled, because I knew it meant that he too understood how special this time was. And so, we stayed. 
As my dad and I finally headed home that night, we were quiet for the first few minutes of the drive, until he said to me, “You know, Em. That was really special tonight, with them. That’s something we’ll remember for a really long time.” I smiled with tears in my eyes. He did know and I was pretty sure he’d taken a few snapshots of his own that evening. Those little moments, throughout life, make up all of the love that life holds. That is what life is. 
This month is a special time for my Grandma and Granddad. Today is my Grandma’s birthday and in a few weeks it will be my Granddad’s birthday. I am so, so grateful for both of them. I think they’ve had so much love in their lives and for each other that it’s spilled over to their own children – to my dad and down to me. 

So happy birthday, Grandma! Happy early birthday, Granddad! I’m so grateful that you both take up so much space in my snapshot album 🙂  Sending you lots of love today and always. XO!

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  • Aww, this is so sweet! I know exactly what you mean by soul snapshots, I try to "take" them whenever little moments pop up. Your story reminded me of a Christmas a few years ago, when my Papa opened up and talked a lot about my Nana (who is now passed), their marriage, his childhood, the times, etc. There were so many beautiful moments in that conversation I'll appreciate and remember for my life. Here's to taking soul snapshots and appreciating the good (big and little)!

  • This rings so true. My grandfather is a story teller – like he's so good he should have done this for a living. So every time I am with him I try to soak it all up.

  • This is so beautiful! I love the notion of snapshots of the soul. What a treasure.