As I have been working on a book for Mitchell’s Journey, I have been scrubbing over 1 million photos that I have taken of my family since we started having children. About a month ago I almost lost a little over 800,000 photos, but miraculously that data was saved with very little corruption. A catastrophe averted; another tender mercy. 

With all that has happened I am grateful that I have always been liberal in taking photos; because seemingly ordinary moments way back when are priceless today. 

Without apology or a moment’s thought I captured everything: the boredom, the laughter, the tears, the drama and on few occasions extreme hardships. So, as I have been working through this sacred vault of family photos the saying “sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” has been playing over and over in my mind. And with each photo-set I poured over that saying was reinforced. 

I never delete the blurry or over/under-exposed photos, either. I've noticed, as time passes, that I begin to see magic where I once saw mistakes. 

I seem to recall another saying “the only bad photo is the one you never took.” So, my advice to everyone and anyone I know is to take photos. Take them like a paparazzi. In sickness and in heath, in happiness or sorrow … photographs fuel memory … and memory fuels the heart and soul. 

I have never regretted taking a photo. In fact, I worry that I didn't [and don't] take enough.

For the last few weeks I have spent my evenings looking through some of Mitchell’s more recent adventures and my heart has swelled with gladness as I was reminded this little boy had a great life. And a great life isn't purchased with money or things – but given through an abundance of love, time and attention. And that is what we tried to give him, and our other children, every day in our own way.

For many of Mitchell’s life experiences I have my sweet wife to credit. Natalie, ever the conscientious mother, was never content with allowing our kids to consume endless television or video games. She regularly set aside her own convenience to ensure they were active and trying new things. I continue to honor and learn from her every day.

As I look at this thin slice of Mitchell’s life, only 25 photos, I can’t help but know the truth of those words: “sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” 

From holding Mitchell’s hand in the car, to sticking his head through my sunroof to feel the air on his face, to the twinkle in his eye on a swing set … there are no ordinary moments. Not one.

I am so grateful for happy memories. And because we have photos of these moments … lots of them … our joys and memories are all the richer. 

My cup, while cracked and tattered by adversity, is running over.