6×8 album inspiration by jen lake
Not many people reading this will have had brain surgery like customer Jen Lake… but we all experience our own challenges, hurdles, and journeys. So in essence, we all relate to Jen in a way. Today we’ve invited our 20-something friend to share how she has documented her unique journey using the Project Life® 6×8 system. The rest of this post is in her own words, her own photographs, her 6×8 album. Thank you Jen for inspiring us!
When I found out I would be having brain surgery, I knew it would be a journey to remember and a journey I wanted to document. While I had been documenting 2014 – including a trip to Denver for a specialist visit and my frustrations at being sick – in a 12×12 album, I wanted my surgery and recovery to stand alone in a mini album. (If I’m being honest, I had been looking for an excuse to try the 6×8 format.) My initial plans included driving across the country with Project Life supplies in tow, but at the last minute, I booked a flight and was able to take a single bag for my month away. While I thought this was a problem at first, it gave me the chance to shop for scrapbooking supplies with my mom (who is now doing her own Project Life after giving up scrapbooking years ago) and the challenge of working with fewer resources than usual. Working on my album was not only a way to document the things I said and did while away, it helped pass time and keep my spirits up while healing. Many people would choose to forget being sick and undergoing ten hours of brain and spine surgery, but this experience left me feeling blessed, loved, and cared for and that was worth remembering.
Before my surgery, I put out a request on Instagram for friends to send a single Project Life card to add to my album as my followers had been so supportive and needed to be included. These two cards were more special than anything I could have expected and made a great introduction to my album. Before leaving the hospital, my surgeon gave me a “souvenir” – a copy of the intraoperative CT scan used to check the placement of my spinal screws. I chose to include it and my hospital band in my album. During my time in the hospital, I used Instagram to journal. I then printed the images and copied the captions here. This is perhaps my favorite spread of my album. I’m not sure if it’s all the black and white, the brush script, or that it documented going home to my parents after surgery. I live 1,854 miles from my childhood home, my parents, and my brothers. I was extremely thankful to be able to spend nearly a month at home and documented that throughout my album. I also live equally far from four of my best friends. This spread captured girls night out and the chance to meet Cynthia – a sweet, new friend who had undergone the same surgery as I did (with the same surgeon!) just weeks before. My recovery also included four days at the beach. While the trip got a full 12×12 spread (and three inserts) in my main album, I chose to include a photo of me in my neck brace and a list of my favorite things about the trip here. As silly as it sounds, this spread is the hardest one to look at in my album as it documents my last lunch with my mom before flying home. The photo on the right was one that my mom took to commemorate the t-shirt I designed to fundraise for the surgery; on the back, a photo of my incision scar. As I said, I put out a request for Project Life cards from my Instagram followers, but I was blessed to receive so much more – packages, cards, envelopes full of glitter. I saved every single one in the back of my album. Three months after my surgery, this album means so much to me. I flip through it and smile at the Instagram screen caps and selfies from friends. I look over the pages from the hospital and feel thankful that I recorded days which are fuzzy to me now. I read the cards and notes from both strangers and friends all over the world. I can only imagine how special it will be to me three, five, or even ten years from now.