Several years ago, when my brother passed away, I joined a grief recovery group. One of the members was a counselor – she wasn’t there in her professional capacity – just another member of the group.

I remember very clearly her advice to me to take up journaling as a way to process my emotions. I mentioned that I am a scrapbooker, and that I might consider making a page or two about my brother. Her reaction was less than enthusiastic, and she seemed to dismiss the idea in favor of “real journaling.”

Now, she wasn’t one of those scrapbook haters you hear about. She meant well, and I respect her thoughts and opinions. She just didn’t understand the cathartic power of truly meaningful scrapbooking.

And she’s not alone in her views. I think a lot of people think of our hobby as a “cute little phase,” like grandma’s macrame plant hangers phase, orĀ  sister’s jewelry making phase. But I’ve known scrapbookers who have been going strong for decades, and they aren’t showing any signs of ending this “phase” any time soon.

Now I know scrapbooking means different things to different people. For some, it’s a way to make really pretty photo frames for their pictures. And I honor that. I love pretty photo frames!


Not a lot of story here – just pretty pictures and pretty papers

For some, it’s a way to document the past and record family history for future generations. I honor that as well.


And for some, it’s a way to process the really tough stuff. The really hard things that you just can’t seem to fully express without photos, words, and supplies that help you piece together the fragmented parts of your heart and get them all out onto a page – or two, or ten. That is honorable as well, and can be just as healing – maybe more so – as “real journaling.”

Ronnie 6

Layout coming soon that deals with a really sweet story my mom told me shortly after Ronnie’s passing

I think, for most of us, it’s a mixture of these, and more. But I’d love to hear what you think. Has scrapbooking ever served as a healing or therapeutic tool for you? And what are your experiences dealing with those who doubt or don’t “get” this hobby? Leave a comment below, and let’s talk.


P.S. For more on scrapping the tough times, check out this episode of the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast.

P.P.S. And just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I have mad respect for people who dig “real journaling” – it’s just not my thing.

2 Thoughts on “What is the Meaning of This?

  1. Geri on July 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm said:

    Great post! I did hear that episode of PRT and enjoyed it (as I do all of Izzy and Noel’s podcast) No schmoe! LOL I have scrapped some emotional pages that were heavy on the heart and difficult to journal. For a couple, the journal was just a sentence or two. I have one that the journaling is almost the entire 12×12 page.
    I have never been comfortable with my own journaling because my grammar is uhhhh, well, not all that hot, but boy oh boy was it ‘real’!
    As for the lady’s comment on journaling, sometimes people think ‘their way’ is THE way. I recently had a lady tell me that I wasn’t really a scrapbooker because I was using pocket pages. What? I have NINETEEN 12×12 books and a basket full of mini books. Yea, I think I qualify. Of those pages, only about a dozen have pockets incorporated.
    Do your own thing girl and love your style of journaling because it suits what you want!!!

    • Oh brother. Not a real scrapbooker? I don’t think I’ve heard that one before! SMH Thanks for your thoughtful comment, and right back atcha – do your own thing! <3

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