Because Every Family Has a Story...


you will never

know the value

of something,

until it becomes

a memory.  

~ Dr. Seuss

A little introduction …

I’m a child of the sixties and an inconsistent, life-long journaler whose dream is to recall a lifetime of memories for my kids and their kids, and so on. It’s not a fascinating story, as life histories go; it’s typical and wonderful and overflowing with love. You see, I’m only a small part of humanity, but it’s a life that’s been filled with amazing grace. This grace is truly a sweet, sweet sound to my ears … just like the song. I appreciate this world God made and placed me in, and I’m extremely thankful and astounded by all I’ve been given. Why did I get such wonderful parents? How was I able to escape living in the Middle Ages, the Great Depression or any of the War Years? Why did I get to live during a time when everything is so automated and easy and comfortable? And most of all, how did I fall in love with such a handsome, faithful, funny, fantastic man who I’m head-over-heels in love with almost thirty-five years later? Why did God bless me with four healthy children, who’ve shown us the ups and downs of being parents as they search for their own independence, but have also given us myriad memories that make me cry whenever I see old pictures of the six of us together?

Follow me on Instagram. I love gramming my family...nature...and life as I see it!


I believe …

in family love, generational roots and tradition. I appreciate my heritage. I love to think and learn by asking questions and reading books. I'm a definite bibliotaph (book hoarder). Knowledge helps me understand the world so as to become a better person. Photos are important in telling my story, and therefore, I will use them often. My goal is to become a better photo-historian, because pictures truly do surpass words. They make a story more fun, more alive, and thus, more real. As a participant in this extremely narcissistic society, I know it will be hard to not focus on me. “Me” is the only subject that I know well, and yet I hope to show my family and descendants that every great journey starts with a small step. When this little girl was born to Donna & Jerry Exley in 1959, she didn’t know or perceive which road she’d travel. Therein lies the fascination. She didn’t know that two months earlier, her husband was born in the same hospital (Emanuel), that our moms shared the same doctor (Dr. Neil), and that their birth certificates are only a hundred digits off. She didn’t know that while she was growing up in SE Portland he was doing the same across the river in Lake Grove.

I am a work in progress, and I am enjoying traveling the long and winding road. I believe in God, and that He has been with me since the beginning. I want to pass on His love to my future generations, as hard as it might be sometimes. Life nowadays makes it harder to connect on a personal level with those we love…so many digital contraptions to keep us occupied. Short texts instead of meaningful conversation. But will we miss out on the personal interactions that keep us connected as a family unit? I want to leave a special story for my kids and grandkids, and if this is the only mark I make in their lives, then let it be remarkable, authentic, genuine and true. I’d like them to learn about our ancestry and hear again the stories that make up their own history. Stories about my life and about theirs, but mostly about theirs. Instead of just looking at old family photos from a dilapidated old photo album, I’m hoping they will instead reach back and see deep inside beginning of their journey. The stories I’m about to tell surround these pictures, because every picture does tell a story. Thus the perfect tag line for my blog: Every Family Has a Story. We all have a special heritage, and my dream is that my family will grow to appreciate theirs in the way I now appreciate mine. If only I had started yearning for my ancestral lineage earlier. I would have paid more attention to Grandma Edith and Granny Goode’s stories. I could have written them all down. I didn’t. For now, I’ll have to use our family photos to help facilitate this task by way of my blog. That’s why I’m here...

Photographs are a tangible piece of our memories

Stephen Wilkes, photographer