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May 30, 2016

Obon and Japanese War Flags

On Memorial Day in the United States we remember all the service men and women who died in various wars fighting for our freedom. When we are in the patriotic spirit it can be difficult to view the lives of enemy soldiers with compassion and consideration. After all, they are part of the foreign forces, the opposition intent on "their" side.

In Japan their is a festival called Obon where the spirits of ancestors are honored. This morning I was watching the CBS Sunday Morning program and was taken in by telling of Americans who have decided to return Japanese War flags.

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May 30, 2016

Your-Life-Your-Story - My Life Story Writing Blog

My Life Story blog entries regarding personal history, life story writing and more.

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May 24, 2016

Stepping Up to High School

This time of year many are graduating from college and high school. Those are momentous times and to be treated with the pomp and circumstance they deserve. But there are other times when we go through big transitions in school. One of them is moving from middle school to high school.

My first 5th grade class at the school where I teach graduated today from 8th grade. I've watched some of them develop over the past four years and I have fond memories as I consider how they will now move into an important part of life.

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May 18, 2016

Stories You Didn't Know You Had

Sometimes you have stories about your life, your family members, or friends and acquaintances that you didn't know you had. How do those stories come to light?

Usually it takes a good listener willing to ask good questions. Lori Gillespie, a personal historian, has posted something new to the APH Blog for Personal History Awareness Month. In Everyone Has a Story, Including My Dad, she relates finally getting a story from her Dad.

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May 16, 2016

Personal History Passion

If you wonder what your ancestors were like, what kind of people they were, where they came from and what they did with their lives, you are not alone. More and more people are searching and researching their family history. Your past, including the history of your parents, grandparents and the rest of the “family tree” is a rich source waiting to be discovered. If you don’t already know the stories that make up your family history you are missing out on a vital part of your story.

There is also the story of your life – all your experiences, values, expectations, lessons and more are waiting to be shared with your family. They need to know about your life journey. You need to know about it, too. Critical reflection of your life journey is beneficial on many different levels.

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May 05, 2016

Top Hobbies Are Clues to Life Story Subject Matter

Do you have any hobbies? Just about everybody has favorite ways to spend their time. Over the years I've collected stamps, baseball cards, coins, done lots of reading, listened to a great deal of music, tried my hand at various kinds of writing, and my love of people's history and stories has evolved from a hobby to a vocation for personal history.

I believe your hobbies can be a good source for inspiration when you are writing about your life. Think about the hobbies you've had over the years, from childhood to later in life.

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May 02, 2016

Your-Life-Your-Story - My Life Story Blog Archives, April, 2016

An archive of previous My Life Story blog entries from April, 2016 regarding personal history, life story writing and more.

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Apr 28, 2016

Keeping Memories of Passed Ones Alive

So much death of prominent people this year has me reflecting more on how we preserve our stories and our legacies. For one thing, we all need to consider passing on our values and life lessons regardless of our celebrity status. Every life is important and everyone has a story.

Beyond that, there is the opportunity and responsibility of the surviving family members and friends to keep the memory alive for those who have died. The book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive gives some good tips for this.

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Apr 15, 2016

Remembering Jackie Robinson Through Rachel Robinson

Today is Jackie Robinson Day. Every year Major League Baseball honors this great player who was much, much more. His number, 42, is the only number retired across all teams and on this day all players wear the number. Jackie Robinson is remembered as the player who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. It was long overdue, but the struggles for civil rights have always been overdue and ongoing.

Celebrated documentarian Ken Burns features Jackie Robinson's spouse, Rachel, in a documentary that debuted on PBS this month (Jackie Robinson - A Film by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns & David McMahon).

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Apr 11, 2016

Resonating with a Life Story

What causes a person to resonate with someone's life story? That's an important question for anyone writing a memoir who desires wide readership. In order for people to care about your story there needs to be a compelling story. Yes, it also needs to be well written, but if you don't have a story that people care about it won't matter how beautiful or dynamic your prose is.

So, what causes a reader to care about your story? Take a look at what really matters to you in the story (and stories) you are writing. What makes the subject matter so important to you?

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