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Prioritize Documenting

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

When I was 14 years old and in the eighth grade, my dad took a new job that required us to move about 45 minutes north of where I grew up. At the time, I was in student government, dance, had a great friend group, and felt like my life was going exactly according to plan. Funny, how right at the moment you think you’ve got everything figured out, life seems to take a turn in the opposite direction.

Fast forward about four years and once again, my naive young mind feels like it’s got life figured out. I found another great friend group, I was enjoying my extracurriculars, and life seemed to be going pretty easily. That is until my mom is diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.

Skip ahead once again about four years, and while you think at this point I’d I know better than to assume I’ve got this whole life thing figured out, life takes another unexpected turn. In one of my darkest moments, I met a guy by the name of Bridger Salazar, who changed everything for the better.

In each of these instances, the story of my life was going one way, but things changed quickly. Right when you think you’ve got it figured out, roadblocks, speed, bumps, and sharp left turns, seem to approach at every corner.

Other similarities between all these instances? Though they are some of the biggest moments in my life, I didn’t document my feelings and emotions hardly at all. When I ask myself why I didn’t, there’s a whole slew of reasons. In my mind, I didn’t want to write down my negative emotions. The people pleaser inside me never wanted to come off as weak, ungrateful, overly negative, or like my life was out of order. Writing in a journal, or taking lots of photos/videos just didn’t seem like a high-priority item. I figured since each experience was such a big event, I would remember all the minor details. (Hint. I definitely did not) On the other hand, many of those moments felt like such basic day-to-day things that I figured I wouldn't care to look back on them. For example, the one date where the guy asked me if I liked cookies and ice cream? Definitley wish I had more to look back on seeing as that date obviously turned out pretty good.

I’m grateful messages like those have stayed in my phone through the years because those texts are pretty much the only documentation of how I was feeling at the time.

Let’s take a sharp turn and talk about one of the clients I recently had the amazing opportunity to work with.

It had been a few weeks since I’d first launched “Planted” and was feeling slightly discouraged after not seeing a lot of immediate bookings. I had just finished posting something to Facebook when I saw the message notification. Quickly going to my inbox I realized the message had come quite a while earlier. Panicked at the thought of being unprofessional in my late response, I quickly emailed Josh, the man who was inquiring about a specific/special project.

The project he proposed was one he explained as something he’d been thinking about for a while. After finding Planted, he felt I could help him out. He was hoping to record a series of audios and attach them to QR codes that his children could scan in the future years and listen back to. After a couple of emails that went back and forth, Josh and I scheduled an appointment and brainstormed ways to make this project exactly what he was looking for.

When the day to record came, I remember having a little chuckle as the very first thing I noticed about the home was the BYU sign planted in the front yard. Just a few weeks prior, my dad had accepted a new job position as the defensive coordinator for BYU Football. In a way, the BYU football sign felt like a good omen, little did I know…

Josh was incredibly kind and very prepared. The interview went smoothly as we made sure to record individual messages to each of his children, as well as his wife. Messages his family could have to remember him, his voice, and his experiences. To be frank, I was pretty naive and simply assumed this guy was really on top of his family history. It wasn’t until after we had finished the recordings that I connected the dots.

Josh started explaining how he’d already got some other things written down, and other videos recorded. I think he could see my confusion because it was then that he said, “I should give you some background. I’m currently battling stage four colon cancer.”

I’m not going to lie, I think my heart stopped for a second and my eyes got a little misty. He proceeded to tell me a bit about his story, and how his diagnosis showed him the importance of documenting things. Though he was unsure of how the future looked, he made it a priority to get things preserved.

The key phrase there? He cared enough to make it a priority.

Clearly, I had plenty of excuses as to why I didn’t make documenting a priority during some of those major moments in my life. However, looking back, I wish I had something to help me remember all the little details of those times.

I should have made documenting a priority.

Now you see where we’re going with this?

Allow me to share one more story before wrapping up.

As most people know, this company is named after my maternal grandma Connie Plant Kern. When I was around five years old, my grandma was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which defined by the Mayo Clinic is “A disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves. In MS, resulting nerve damage disrupts communication between the brain and the body.” Like most kids, I adored my grandma. Despite being in a hospital bed majority of my life, she always had a way to make you feel special and make simple moments feel magical.

After a 15-year fight, she passed away in October 2020.

Growing up I remember hearing my parents, aunts, uncles, and even members from the other side of the family rave about how wonderful my grandma was. When they recalled memories with her they often talked about her wit, her athleticism, her goofiness, and more. While I certainly experienced a lot of these attributes, there were just some things hard to fully understand as my memories with her were at such a different stage in her life. That was until my grandpa gifted each family some home videos he had digitized for Christmas.

For the first time (outside of my hazy memories between ages 1-5) I was able to see my grandma before her diagnosis. I watched her as she taught her class of kindergarteners, I watched her play piano, I watched her walk.

I’m grateful my grandpa had recorded these videos so I can now show my husband, and one day my children.

I’m grateful he made documenting a priority.

If there's anything I hope you get out of these stories, I hope it’s that documenting history (whether it be yours or a loved one's) should be a priority. My call to action to you is to not wait another second. Take photos, take videos, write things down, book a Planted Media video (😉)

I get asked a lot about what the ideal age is for a video.

The answer? Any age.

Document your children in their early childhood so you don’t forget their sweet voices. Document your college years so your future kids know you at one point expirienced similar emotions/experiences. Document your older years so you can leave your stories and wisdom with your posterity.

The French author, Georges Duhamel, once said, “Do not trust your memory; it is a net full of holes; the most beautiful prizes slip through it.”

When it comes to life, I promise ALL the moments (both big and small) are important. Every memory you make becomes one of those beautiful prizes that should be handled with care to assure they are never forgotten.

The moment I got in my car following Josh’s interview, I instantly called my mom. Filled to the brim with gratitude, I told her “If starting planted was so I could help even just this one family help preserve the memory of their loved one, it’s 100% worth it.”

Luckily, opportunities to help tell people’s stories continue to come and I really just couldn’t be more grateful. It's truly a dream to help preserve those precious treasures of memories and look forward to continuing to do this for a long, long time.

To everyone who has booked, sent me messages of kindness/love, encouraged me, and really just supported this business of mine in any way, thank you. I wouldn’t be here without all of you. Today and always I’m feeling incredibly grateful and very excited for the future.

Here’s to sharing the stories that root us🥂

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