Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
...and whatever else catches our fancy
Digital Photos and the Holiday
December 26, 2012
Christmas yesterday must have seen countless picture taken, but
consider how many of them were "snapped" by a phone with a built-in
camera. That's the nature of our digital age. It is easy to take
pictures and the digital format is now the norm.
find I am doing it. But the trap that we might be falling into is not
preserving, and more importantly, viewing these photos like we used to.
When I was growing up you had to develop the pictures and as a result
we were more selective. There was more posing and the conversations we
had around family photo albums always made for good times. They are
good memories still.
We should certainly take advantage of today's technology. But I hope
that we are doing more with our photos than just posting them to social
media and texting them to each other. I love the convenience and
immediacy of that. But we should still take advantage of printing
photos and saving them in a format that can be reviewed, shared and
discussed. One of the best gifts my wife and I got this Christmas were
photos of our grandchildren that were blown up to 12 x 12
and mounted on a hardstock so that we can display them on stands. It
wasn't extravagant, but it is wonderful to behold.
Enjoy the pictures and the memories, particularly at this time of year.
I encourage you to read more about this subject with the fine blog post
by Association of
Personal Historians member Vickie Churpurdia - Do Real Photos Generate More Family Stories?
Eve and the Story of Your Life
December 24, 2012
many of us Christmas is a magical time. It brings up visions of
childhood dreams, innocence, joy, peace, family and love. As the years
go on we grow older and perhaps a little wiser. But the magic of
Christmas time can still be real and held deeply in your heart, even if
you don't celebrate the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ.
A message from the baby born in Bethlehem still can resonate in today's
often confusing and frightening world. Don't let go of the hope that
love conquers fear and hate.
In the past decade I've watched and aided as more and more people have
made the decision to preserve their life story in writing. Now more
than ever the means to do so are expanding. This story, Senior authors embrace self-publishing,
posted in the Sun
is just one of many I've seen pointing to the desire and ways of
self-publishing autobiography, memoir and life story. Even the big
publishers are taking notice and action.
In this Holiday Season may you find the joy of a life well lived and
also documented. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.
End of the World
December 20, 2012
The Mayan calendar has one of its cycles ending tomorrow (December 21,
2012) and over the years it has prompted a lot of doomsday prophecies
and predictions (see timeanddate.com). Will the end of
the world strike tomorrow? Well, we've heard these apocolyptic
predictions before and we are still here.
Tomorrow is my son's 19th birthday. When the Mayan Calendar predictions
started making the rounds of media (and social media) a few years back
he would exclaim, "Unfair! Come on! On my birthday?" Now he's pretty
much laughing it off and we're hoping it is another missed call on the
end of the world since we have a nice dinner out planned for Saturday.
It would be wonderful if the end of certain things in our world came
about. Like the end of poverty, hunger, violence, over-consumerism,
prejudice, terminal illness, disease and selfishness. I'd go for that.
The end of procrastination might also be a good thing. So many of us
(myself included) put off worthwhile projects. Sooner or later you run
out of time. When it comes to preserving life stories it is the
ultimate shame to miss out because we kept putting it off.
As we wind down the year 2012 maybe you will make saving some family
history a priority for the coming year. It takes a bit of time and
effort, but at least making a start is better than doing nothing. You
can check out the many suggested
resources I have for you and go to the get started page for a
bit more information.
As for tomorrow, since it is the first day of the Christmas break at
the school where I teach, I plan on sleeping in for a change. So if the
end comes early in the morning I might just snooze right through it.
But, if as I suspect life goes on, then I'll no doubt do some
journaling and probably another blog post.
I'll end this post with a line from Semisonic's song Closing Time: Every new beginning comes from
some other beginning's end.
Life + Love = Legacy
December 17, 2012
Think about how you want to be remembered. What do you want to be known
for? What is your legacy?
The life we live should be lived fully. Every moment counts. That
concept has once again been brought home to us with stark certainty
following the horrible event at Sandy Hook Elementary School this past
Friday. The town of Newton, Connecticut is grieving. So, too, is anyone
who appreciates life, and most especially, young children. As an
elementary school teacher the news of the shootings and deaths is felt
Our world is not always a pretty place. Sad and tragic things happen.
But beauty also happens. Love is strong. Light is better than the
darkness. Good can prevail. Live your life each day with the
gratitude for the gift it is. Love completely and unconditionally. Do
that and your legacy will be life + love.
The Once in a Century
December 11, 2012
Tomorrow the calendar makes one of those unusual numerical lineups as
December 12 of this year yields a 12-12-12
What is the significance of such a date? Like other same number month,
day and year lineups (remember 7-7-7 a few years ago) people want to
attach some significance to it. And that alone can help make the date
memorable. People get married. People document. People call for help.
This year the One Day on Earth
organization again is urging people to do something special in a 24
hour period and video record it to submit for documentation. This year
saw the release of their very well made One Day on Earth
film. I received my DVD copy in the past month and it is excellent,
edited down from an incredible amount of video submitted from the
10-10-10 day two years ago. Last year they encouraged people to do it
again on November 11 (11-11-11) and, yes, things are well
underway for another historic day tomorrow (December 12, 2012). More
about this on their website.
Additionally, 12-12-12 is a rallying cry with a benefit concert to help
victims of Hurricane Sandy that caused so much damage and hardship to
east coast citizens of the United States. The concert will be streamed
globally and viewed on television with an expected audience of 2
billion. Performing are major music icons such as the Rolling Stones,
Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel,
Alicia Keys, The Who and others. The hope is that a significant amount
of funds will be raised to help the hurricane victims through the Robin
Hood Relief Fund. Information available at www.121212concert.org.
Keepers Gift Certificates
December 3, 2012
The Holiday Season is in full swing and many people are shopping for
the right gift. What could be better than the gift of a life story
preserved as a professionally bound book or recorded on video or audio?
The legacy of our elders is priceless in value and the various packages
offered by Legacy Keepers
makes it more affordable than you might think.
Preserving a life story is a process. It takes some interview time and
consultation. But it is becoming easier to do a professional job that
saves the incredibly valuable legacy of your family members. Technology
now gives you the opportunity to have the subject tell their life story
easily over the phone, or if you prefer, in person. Highly professional
and trained personal historians around the country are working with Legacy
to meet with people and interview them. The digitally recorded files
are used to transcribe the interview and then the story is crafted into
a well-written and interesting narrative that is preserved in a book
with pictures and other desired images. Or you can choose a video
package, or even a combination that gives you a book, audio and video!
Maybe you have someone in mind for this preservation of their life. You
can give them a gift certificate to be used for the Legacy Keepers
services (details here - tell them Tom
Gilbert of Your Life Is
Your Story sent you).
December 1, 2012
At my school many of the teachers are participating in some Secret Santa
fun. We drew names of teachers and each of us will secretly shop and
give a gift for five days. What makes it fun is that our gifts are
small in price, but big in caring. The first gift is in the dollar
range, and the next three days increase by a dollar or so. On Friday,
December 14, we'll have a little Christmas party after school and give
the final gift ($10-15 range) and reveal the secret Santas.
In order to help with the shopping each of us filled out a survey of
our likes and dislikes. The whole idea gives me a personal history
idea. Wouldn't it be fun to chronicle your Secret Santa story? Each day
write a short entry about what you shopped for and describe the gift
and why you chose it. In the end you'd have a neat little story to
preserve and share (if you choose) with your gift recipient.
I know I've been having fun shopping for the teacher whose name I drew
out of our "selection bowl". It's my first year at this school and I'm
still getting to know the teachers, but this gives me a chance to know
them better and enjoy some holiday gift fun. I plan to journal about it
and in the end perhaps I'll share it with my teacher friend.
It's not too late for you to write and preserve a holiday memory this
year, but keep in mind that your end result will be limited in scope
and production because there's only a month left in 2012. But it could
be the start of a bigger project. Spend some time thinking ahead to
next year and what family or personal life stories you want to
preserve. You might even consider giving a gift certificate as a
promise to fulfill that life story project by next year.