Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products,
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Behind Bars, In Front with Their Life Stories
October 30, 2012
InsideOUTWriters is a
program that has helped transform incarcerated youth in Los Angeles.
They do this by helping these young people write the next chapter of
their life story with an emphasis on change and hope. This is real
mentoring and a powerful way to show how writing about your life can be
an instrument of change - both for the writer and the reader.
The program was inspired by and started through the impetus of a nun,
Sister Janet Harris, who served as a chaplain a juvenile hall in Los
Angeles in 1996 and discovered the young men serving time there were
often hopeless and frustrated. She thought a writing experience would
help them and was instrumental in getting writers to come and teach
classes, starting with Los Angeles Times journalist Duane Noriyuki who had written about one of her students.
Read more of this inspiring story at The Good Men Project.
Transparency - Seeing Through You to the Real You
October 24, 2012
I like to think I am open and honest with other people. I try to be
transparent when it comes to sharing my thoughts, ideas, tips and
experiences on this blog. So, when you read about life story work here
you often will discover that I share much of my own journey. When you
are honest and open - transparent - people get to know who you really
are. They see through you to the real you.
Right now things have been so hectic that I've been a bit frustrated
when it comes to keeping my blog current. I love to write here and I am
passionate about personal history work. But life also has a way of
putting in front of us things that take priority.
In the past few weeks I have taken a new teaching job. I have shared
here and in the newsletter about going back to school and becoming
certified to teach. This happened after a lengthy career in radio
broadcasting. I've also put my time in at other jobs, such as working
at a local hospital. All the while I have continued to work on family
and personal history projects, both those involving my family as well
as clients who hire me to help with their stories. This often becomes
an interesting and challenging juggling act.
Teaching is a tough, but rewarding occupation. I love young minds and
the class I am now teaching are fifth graders. Part of what I share
with them is the importance of knowing about their families and so I
get to teach them how to interview family members and find out more
about the stories of their parents, grandparents and relatives. I hope
it also teaches them the value of living meaningful lives and writing
about their own journeys, even at their young age.
In addition to my new teaching job we also have a new addition to our
family. My daughter had her daughter and Sophia Autumn is a most
precious and beautiful baby girl. In this past week my daughter also
has been dealing with complications from the birth and been in the
hospital. Everything will be well in time, but you can imagine the
stress this adds to an already full schedule.
I share this because I know that many of you are also dealing with busy
lives. And my message is to do the next right thing. Know what is most
important. Prioritize and be with those who need you the most. It's all
part of the journey, and when time allows I will spend more time
writing here and writing in my journal as part of my life experiences.
Life is sweet. Life is short. Surprises happen. Go with the flow. Live for the day. Be kind and be happy.
Life Story Conferences: St. Louis Site of Personal Historian Conference
and New Mexico for Men's Wellness Conference on Story Telling
October 18, 2012
Two important events revolving around the stories of our lives and how
we draw meaning from them are underway, October 18-21. In St. Louis it
is the annual APH Conference.
Members from around the world gather to share techiniques, ideas,
stories and advance the cause of personal history. I would love to be
attending this year, but my daughter has been expecting her second
child and indeed just gave birth. A grandpa wants to be around for that
Meanwhile, in New Mexico at the site of the awesome Ghost Ranch (onetime home of artist Georgia O'Keefe) the New Mexico Men's Wellness Fall Conference
is taking place. Their theme is "What makes us Men - The Stories of our
Lives". They will explore in this amazing location the stories that
define who they are and the meaning they hold. I think that's a
fascinating topic and I look forward to hearing about my
brother-in-law's experience there.
Two different events, but both connected to the stories of our lives. Good stuff for this October, the month dedicated to family history.
Family Tree Magazine has October Family History Month Tips
October 10, 2012
Family Tree Magazine is
one of those publications with lots of interesting information for
genealogists and family history buffs. They have some ideas for how to
begin gathering family history information, from learning about and
preparing a favorite family recipe to encouraging children to ask older
relatives about their family history. I also like the idea of visiting
an ancestor's burial site and doing a tombstone rubbing (make sure it's
Go here to read.
Retirees Sharing Personal Legacies, Life Stories and Values
October 6, 2012
It was nice to see an article that showed up in the Boston Globe
and some other news services about the growing trend of retirees
sharing their values, life lessons and personal legacies. I am
continually watching this trend grow and this story emphasizes yet
again many people's desire to pass on to the next generation more than
money and possessions.
As Baby Boomers move into their 60's they are looking back at their
lives and also reflecting on their elders (parents and other aging
family members). The post World War II generation has seen amazing
things in their lifetime. They want to know more about their family
history and they desire to share with their offspring what life has
meant to them. I fit in this category and certainly believe it is
crucial for us to write down the important life lessons and messages
we'd like to hand on. Ethical wills, video biographies, journals,
interviews and memoirs can all capture the important information.
October is Family History Month
so right now is a good time to begin a project. Throughout this month
I'll pass on some ideas and tips, but you can start by checking out the
many Life Story Resources on our website.