When I was in college, someone wrote on the dorm blackboard, "Work is love made visible," a quote from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.

I loved that quote. I've often had it over my computer and I once designed a t-shirt with it.

Now I have to borrow the last part of that sentence and say, "Scrapbooking is love made visible."

I think this is why scrapbooking has become so popular.


Sure, we are expressing love in just going about our daily lives -- to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the day! But when we sit down to create a scrapbook page, we are focusing on love and beauty.

As we choose which photos to use and which to set aside, as we relive memories, as we play with page layout, as we write a journal entry for the page, we are creating not just with paper, color, texture, photos and words -- we are creating with the very stuff of our lives.

I don't mean to imply that a scrapbook has to be "nicey-nice." If a relationship with someone has had difficult elements, I don't mean we have to ignore that in making the pages. But I find, and I can hardly be alone in this, that the very act of creating a page can take me to a deeper level. My compassion for the other person may increase — and so may my compassion for myself at the time shown in the page. Forgiveness may spontaneously occur. The finished pages may or may not refer to the difficulties, but the wisdom of the current perspective generally shines through.

Of course, many scrapbook pages don't deal with such complex emotions. The soccer team, a treasured vacation, family recipes, our goofy puppy, and many other topics can be pure fun... So how many people do you know who have too much fun in their lives? I'm not sure it's possible! Combining the fun of playing with shape and texture with the fun of happy memories sounds like a recipe for a great time, one that refreshes and renews us.

Work is love made visible. And so too: scrapbooking is love made visible.