On Reflecting and Memory-Keeping

Today, for the very first time, Zach opened a door by himself. He did it again, and again, and again. He’s finally reached that height, and it was amazing to see his face when he finally got it.

This little event seemed so momentous, and, as with any new task he’s learned in the past year, I started to think about the things that he has learned, the ways he’s grown, and really, the ways in which my entire family has grown. We’ve been through a lot in the past year, like my grandfather’s illness and passing, my mother’s very scary illness over the summer (which she is still going through, but not to the degree she was over the summer), my sister visiting, our exchange students, my blog hitting over 100,000 views, purchasing my domain, my Duncan Hines trip, and so many other things.

Part of why I started blogging was to record these memories. However, there are still things that I just don’t share with my readers. I have a personal life, absolutely, and I like to sometimes keep that separate from the blog. Even though I’ve shared some pretty intimate details about myself publicly here, like my struggle with PMDD, or my heart failure during pregnancy, there are still things that are best kept private.

I feel like I’m missing so much, though. I always say I’m going to make a photo album, and to some degree, I definitely scrapbook. However, I’m really bad about dating the pages, and sometimes by the time I get around to the picture, I’ve started to forget the details of the story.

That’s why, when a friend told me about a website, I decided to give it a try. I swear I’m not advertising or anything– I am truly passionate about this website, and I feel like it’s something that my readers can benefit from. Also, it’s free.

I’ve bought a billion journals. I’ve written in the first page. I’ve forgotten or lost them. I’ve moved on. I’ve tried starting a private blog online, too, but then I forget to log in and update, and it just goes completely unwritten still.

But this, well, it’s revolutionary.

Let me ask you something. When you’re online, what’s something that you do every single day?

The one thing I think we all can agree we definitely do online each day is check our email. Right? This website, OhLife, sends an email to you every night (around 8pm), asking you how your day was.

You don’t have to go to their website to journal about your day. All you have to do is hit reply and type. You can type a little bit, or you can type a ton. It’s all up to you.

I’m seriously in love with OhLife, though. It’s the longest I’ve used a journal without fail. I love it because it doesn’t feel like journaling. I just start typing. And, the beauty, I think, of OhLife is that it’s private. There are no share buttons, no pin buttons, no tweet it buttons… nothing. It’s just your words, your thoughts, and it’s private.

I love sharing, don’t get me wrong. But some things, like I said, are just for you and your family.

I want to tell Zach’s story, and remember the skills he learns each day. I want to tell my story. I want to reflect on my emotions. On the occasions that I do scrapbook, I would like to have some journaling to pull from. And if I’m working on that journaling each and every day, it’s going to be fresh in my memory when I reply to that email at night.

I love the idea of journal-by-email. Oh, and there’s an export function, so you can eventually export your stuff if you ever need to. The website has been around since 2010, so it’s not likely to be going away anytime soon.

Did I mention enough that it’s FREE?!

Go sign up. Like now. http://www.ohlife.com. You’ll get a nightly email. Reply. Write your life story before you forget it.

If there’s one thing I’m going to resolve to do in 2013, it’s going to be to capture my memories better. OhLife is perfect for that. I hope you’ll join me on that adventure and work on preserving your memories, too.



Do you keep a journal or do you skip that altogether? Tell me about it in the comments below!



    1. I think you’d be surprised at how many people would love to read or hear those stories!

      On a personal note, sometimes I have days where I literally do nothing at all– I’ll even write “Nothing really happened today.” I’ll write if Zach and I watched any movies together, what his favorite book of the moment is, or something like that, but I sometimes have to stretch to even get a few sentences out.

      Lately, when I have a very slim amount to share about my day, I’ll take that moment to spend a couple of paragraphs typing out a story from when I was younger. I’ll spend that few minutes writing out a memory, saying “When I was 5,” or “When I was younger, around this time ______” and share the memory. That way, even if I did nothing on a given day, at least I’m preserving some sort of memory as a note that I want to try to get that memory captured later.

      I’ve also found it fun to occasionally write down just the bullet points, such as:

      Today I:
      ate- (insert meals here)
      read- (insert book/magazine here)
      went to- (insert anywhere I went here)
      said- (insert any funny conversations or meaningful conversations that occurred that day)
      listened to- (insert any music I was stuck on for that day)
      worked on- (insert anything I did, whether it was laundry or cleaning the bathroom or editing photos).

      Then, I’ll usually repeat that with Zach. Even if I do that once a week, it gives a cool over-arching snapshot into the things I’m interested in, and where I’m putting my time.

      I recommend keeping a journal, even if you think someone would be bored. The best part is you’re not doing it for anyone else– you’re just doing it for you!

  1. I would love to keep a journal but right now I just don’t see where there is time. I am impressed by you time and time again. Being a single mom and keeping up this great blog I don’t know how you do it. I don’t have any children, but I never seem to have the time. Everyone always tells me that if it is something that I really want to do than I would make time for it, but at this point I am not really sure what I would stop doing in order to make time. 😦

    1. I definitely never felt like I had the time before, ever. It was so difficult sometimes to even find a spare minute to pull out my journal and write. The nice thing about this website, though, is that you just reply to the email, whenever you get a spare minute. You can write as little or as much as you want, and you don’t even have to reply at all– they’ve noted that their average user replies just about every other day, rather than every day, but that some reply multiple times in a day, and others do it just weekly or monthly. Plus, I’m a much faster typer than I am a writer, so it only takes a couple of minutes to jot out a paragraph about the highlights of our day.

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