Guest Post: Debbie of Heatbeats ~ Soul Stains, on Making Memories Last

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

American philosopher Elbert Hubbard once said “God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars.”

guest postToday’s guest post is written by someone who has plenty.

Meet Debbie of Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains. Debbie is a regular contributor to the 6 Words series. She’s a “wife, mom, and survivor of obstacles.” One look at her About page will let you know of the adversity life has thrown at her.

She lives on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii, part of a family of seven that has seen its share of dark days – but who always carries a faith stronger than anything set before them.

Debbie links up and gives things away. You can come away from her site with everything from mommy tips to recipes to inspiration to take on life with reminders of gratitude for the beauty we’re all given.

Give Debbie a warm welcome on the CD, and be sure to check out her place, too.

photo credit: minivan1411 via photopin cc
photo credit: minivan1411 via photopin cc

Throughout all my ups and downs and crazier than crazy moments I have lost a tremendous amount. I’ve lost the most precious people in my life. What I haven’t lost, is my memories. My memories are deep-rooted into my soul and although they can bring me pain, most of all they delight my heart.

My children have also lost more than any child should ever lose and what has gotten us through all the hurt and heartache is our immense joy as a family. Yes, the ones we love may have left us in tragic ways but the fabulous times we have shared and the love we have is always present.

As a family that has had to pull things together and rebuild, we cherish the lasting impressions we have and look forward to the new and spectacular twists and turns life has to offer us.

What I’ve learned through my years as a mother of 7 is the importance of keeping our memories alive and making sure they matter and last.

3 Ways to Make Sure Your Family Memories Last

1. Traditions instill family memories-

grandma's helper

Keeping with traditions are so important. They don’t need to be over the top traditions but having things that your family will come to expect and appreciate year after year insures the memories will be carried forward.

I can’t tell you how many around the table dinner talks have been about certain family traditions. Maybe we were joking and making fun of some of them, but hey… who cares we are talking and laughing together. If you think about it, those family dinner talks can be rare in this busy world.

I notice I will keep doing some of the things my grandma always did when I was little. I cherish these memories that I use to call corny and annoying. Now I’m keeping them alive and driving my kids crazy with them. I can’t wait to go to their house one day and see them doing the same kooky things I’ve been doing all these years 🙂

2. A picture is worth a thousand words-

picture time

I know, that’s a no brainer. We know pictures are important. We have those family photos, kids school pictures and sports collages. What I value most are the spontaneous and not planned out pictures.

After my husband’s death, it was pictures that were just kind of random and not taken with the best camera that remind me of his personality the most. The accidental picture can be one that takes you back to that very moment years later, giving you an amazing remembrance of a time and place.

No words are needed; you remember the laughter, the air and the feel of that split second for the rest of your life. Never take for granted those candid bits of time caught in a simple photograph.

3. Keep it simple-

Enjoy the little things

I love the times that were not thought out; the family times that just happened. Building memories that sincerely last aren’t always the planned out huge events.

Letting my hair down out of my messy mom hair bun and allowing life to happen can be some of the most unintended and beautiful memories we’ve ever had. Having days, times, events and weekends that just fell together are etched in our hearts and minds.

Some of our memories that feel the deepest are the simplest yet most genuine family times I can remember. Not over thinking things and letting them flow is a beautiful thing. Keep it simple when you can, you’ll appreciate it later.

Loving and treasuring our family and friends and the memories we hold with them are irreplaceable. When I have felt scared or lonely I have been able to lean on my family traditions and recollections; the ones created as a child and the ones I’ve built as an adult. I love them all, the good and the bad because they are made up of my life and they are mine to keep.

heartbeats quote


  1. Wonderful advice and guest post true. I very much agree with all, especially the photos as it is truly what helps with those I have lost to look at old photos and remember the good times.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think the photos bring back some of the memories you might have lost without them, Janine.

    2. Debbie Tom says:

      Janine, It’s amazing how those photos can bring us right back to those cherished moments. Thank you for stopping by.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think the details become fuzzy when we rely on our memory, but come into focus if we have a little photographic assistance.

  2. ladygourmet says:

    Very wise and very true advice. Memories are all we ever have in the end to get us through and carry us. No one can change what has been stored in our heart and our mind.
    It is so nice to meet you.

    1. Debbie Tom says:

      Hi Catherine, you are so right these memories are forever ours to keep. I look forward to seeing all your amazing recipes!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think I’ll try that mini quiche recipe this weekend.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Photos just help us fill in the details we’ve lost!

      1. Debbie Tom says:

        Yes! They really do

  3. Lyn says:

    You are so, so right Debbie, photos are very important. Take as many as you can of everyone you know and love. I have lots of my kids and grandchildren, but only three photos of my Dad, who died when I was fourteen. I have 4-5 of my Mum, who died thirty years ago. There is one photo of my Dad, Mum and myself together with my half-brother and his family. There are none in existence of my grandparents or my aunts and uncles. I admire your courage with all you have done through. The flame of faith may grow dim at times, but always remember, no matter how deep a pit you seem to be in, God is even deeper, holding you in the palm of His hand. He promises He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
    P/S My oldest daughter’s name is Debbie 🙂

    1. Debbie Tom says:

      Lyn, I have so very few photos of my family but I am determined to have tons of my children. In this digital age we can just keep taking pictures. I’ve always disliked taking pictures but after losing some family members and realizing we had so very few pictures with all of us together I make sure I take a lot of pics with my kids now. That way they won’t be left without pictures of us together. Your words are so beautiful and touched my heart. When times are tough I will remember that He is holding me. Thank you. Your daughter has a very sweet mother 🙂 Have a wonderful Christmas.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Those of us in the pictures have to remember to get the photo taker in a few, too.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Photos are the way to capture a time before illness or strife or age or loss. In that instant, everything can be as it should.

  4. Debbie, I commend you for your strong faith. I was blessed reading this.

    1. Debbie Tom says:

      Thank you so much for reading and for seeing strength in my life.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Debbie, I think you’d like Tony’s blog, too. And Tony, you’ll find good reading at Debbie’s.

        You’re welcome.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      I felt like you might like this one, Tony.

    3. Debbie Tom says:

      It’s amazing how things fall in your lap… I was always told “it’s a God thing”….. I went over to take a peek at your blog and was captured reading why you write and going through all your comments. I can’t wait to be inspired and moved by combing through what you write. I feel so motivated!

      1. I am so happy you’ve found my writing meaningful and inspiring. I appreciate your thoughtful words.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Tony’s one of my dudes. I know how to pick ’em.

  5. ProteanMom says:

    Great post… Especially for this time of year. There’s always time for one more hug, right?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If there isn’t time – we’re doing it wrong.

    2. Debbie Tom says:

      Often times we get too busy during this time of year and that is such a shame. Busyness can be good and bad…

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think busy is fine, if we’re in the moment. That’s the hard part.

  6. Kim says:

    So good to see Debbie over here!!! Great tips on making memories – I’m currently working on the last one. I need to just let go of some things so that I can capture all the great memories around me right now!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yep – we don’t get a second chance, do we Kim?

      1. Debbie Tom says:

        Totally don’t Eli, and I really must say I appreciate sharing over here and not for the normal exposure/guest post reasons… It has reminded me of why I started my blog…. I must say thank you.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I knew the moment I read your post that it would resonate. So glad you shared your words here.

    2. Debbie Tom says:

      Hi KIm! I saw your post the other day saying you just want to be with your boys and take a break. I think it’s a greater sign of self awareness when we take that much needed break. Staying true to ourselves and our family must come first. I often forget this.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Kim’s boys are so lucky. So are we, the ones who know her in the blogosphere.

  7. tamaralikecamera says:

    I’m headed to your blog next.
    I lost my father when I was very young, so my mother was a pretty big proponent of traditions and photos. We are so grateful for every photo we did have with him. Heck, I grew up to be a professional photographer and I can’t help but think it’s related.
    I know what it’s like to lose, so I also like to capture.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I also couldn’t wait for you to weigh in on this, TamTam. I saw some parallels, for sure.

      1. Debbie Tom says:

        Thank you Eli! You have a keen way of knowing perfect fits 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s more than knowing which cheeses melt best, too.

    2. Debbie Tom says:

      I think you grew up to appreciate the little things and it takes quite an open heart to be a photographer- and a lot of patience.
      I love how you put it: You know what it;s like to lose so you also like to capture. Absolutely beautifully put.
      Thank you so much for reading.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’ll love her blog, Debbie. Big.

  8. mrsmariposa2014 says:

    Absolutely beautiful and true.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked it!

  9. jonesbabie says:

    What a lovely post Debbie. My family fell into a tradition by accident, influenced by grandmothers who loved to tell my husband and me stories when we were children. When our family is together, whether for a formal occasion or just a casual get together, we often spend time sharing stories about family members. Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, it brings us all closer as we share common memories. We also have thousands of photos taken by me over the years that weave these threads together into the fabric that is our family.

    I am glad I found this post. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      My girls ask for stories when I was a kid – mostly as a stall tactic at bedtime, but they’ll have the stories to tell their kids if they choose.

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