Discover more ways to preserve memories, share stories and pass on family history.
The story of your life is your story. It is also a story not unlike all other stories.
Authenticity in Memoir
Telling your truth in your life story is critical to an authentic memoir. What does it mean to be authentic? Authenticity means genuine, honest, real, raw, unfiltered, fearless, valid and truthful.
Changing With the Seasons
Each season brings about change. Change in the weather, change in the number of daylight hours, even change in the food we eat. The changing of seasons brings about changes in me.
Thankful for Hard Things
During the season of gratitude most of us naturally turn our thoughts to the things we are grateful for. Have you ever been thankful for a hard thing?
The Pilot Who Flew on Eagle's Wings
Soaring on eagle's wings; the rank insignia for a full Colonel is an Eagle. How appropriate for a pilot who loved to fly. This written about my father when he passed away.
Many people consider the President of the United States to be the most powerful leader in the world. I've been thinking about the perspective that comes with living long enough to note a number of individuals who have held this office.
The holidays is the season of spending and giving. Is there a difference between spending and giving?
We call it nostalgia when we look back, especially with a bit of longing for those days. What is it about the power of the past and nostalgia?
When I walk I go to another place. Literally, of course, as in the places my feet take me. But I am speaking also of another place, a meditative and contemplative space, where I can think, reflect, dream and just be.
Storytelling is an ancient and very important craft. Some people are gifted storytellers. But you don't have to be a great storyteller to tell your story. All of us learn from stories. It starts when we are very young and continues throughout our lifetimes. We find ourselves in our stories.
2020 vision is the term for visual acuity, the clarity or sharpness of vision measured at 20 feet.This year we really need to see clearly.
Many of today's grandparents are living longer and they have more time to contribute to their grandchildren's lives.
Life lessons can be learned from the passing of elders as shown in Paul Ingles' loving tribute to his father with the film, "A Soldier's Passage".
Most of us work. We labor at a job and we hope our paycheck will cover our expenses. But I've found that it really is important to work to live, rather than the other way around - live to work. Let's consider what meaningful work entails. I like using the 5 W's as a guide. That's right, the who, what, where, when and why.
I find it more and more important that we have what I would call life vigilance. We must consider the importance of recognizing how each day we have is special - perhaps even our last day.
If you have pondered the purpose and meaning of life, both your own and others, then you are a good candidate for preserving your life in narrative form. We all have a story, the story that we are living each day. Reminiscing requires patience. Reflection done in a conscious way helps us to ponder the significance of life. And for those things that don’t make sense it is even more important to find time to pause, think, question and discuss.
All productive writers tell us that regular writing sessions are essential. I best practice this by writing in my journal. If you are working on a memoir, keeping a journal allows you to read about your thoughts, emotions and life happenings from various times in your life.
Fear can be an obstacle to your life story writing. But it need not be. Whenever you are afraid it is always helpful to identify just what those fears are and see how much they are based in reality and how many of them turn out to be just your imagination running away with you. I find it beneficial to remember the acronym F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real.
A writing technique used in schools can be very beneficial when approaching your life story. Using a compare and contrast technique will provide an interesting perspective.
Your story might be a personal or family history. Or you might be creating a memoir of a certain time in life or type of vocation or vacation. Regardless, any story has multiple parts and the resulting parts (stories) can be put into some kind of order. The order of your stories in your memoir is important.
Writing about your work, the personal history of your career or careers, can be fertile material for a memoir. Many of us spend a huge amount of our lifetime at work, doing various jobs and building a career.
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.
A growing number of people have decided to write a life story, autobiography, memoir or personal history. And more are thinking about it. But writing my life story was not a decision I arrived at overnight. Tips on writing your autobiography or memoir.
When you make a decision to preserve a story or personal history you begin a journey. Like all journeys there is some necessary preparation. Let me offer a few basic life story preparation steps.
When you make the decision to tell your life story you are faced with a big task, because ultimately you need to get to the heart of your story. Here’s what I recommend first. Get to know yourself. I mean, find out who you really are.
Consider the right questions. Personal history is indeed a process. As the information is uncovered that makes up your story you will be constantly reflecting on it. Who am I? Where am I from? What matters most?
History takes place every day. Significant events in our lives are happening. Considering them in the context of historical events adds depth to our stories. It gives others an opportunity to relate their lives, experiences and feelings through the perspective you offer in your memoir.
Making a list of the top things you are grateful for is always beneficial. I believe we should never lose sight of those things in life that mean the most, that we cherish, that are the true treasures by which we measure our wealth.
It is a common practice to create a social event around a birthday, anniversary or reunion.
When you reflect on your life you will find there are different periods that bring up varied memories and associated emotions. Sometimes those emotions cloud your recollections. You’ll be thinking about one thing that reminds you of another time and soon you are off-track and derailing your train of thought.
Getting people to talk about their lives requires consideration, tact and some good questions. Having some good starter questions can help you get the “gold” of a good life story.
What do you want out of life? How have the years and experiences shaped you? Have you started writing any of it down? Get "under the hood" of your life experiences. A good personal historian can be like an excellent mechanic.
Doing life review and preserving your personal history can be beneficial on many levels, including your health. But many mistakenly believe that those with dementia or early stage Alzheimer’s are incapable of contributing to the preservation of their life story. For those afflicted the process of life reminiscing does become more challenging. There is, however, help to preserve personal history for those suffering from early Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The month of May is set aside by personal historians as the month to generate awareness about the importance of personal history. Personal Historians recognize this month and encourage people to do something to preserve their personal and/or family history.
Today we live in a world where the technology gives us instant access to record and share our experiences. This is good and bad. Not everything is "share worthy". But how fantastic that we can quickly preserve and share when we want to and think it is worthwhile.
Having a passion for something – art, music or baseball – can be a good thing. My love of the great American pastime has never waned. I often think about life events as they are framed by summer and baseball. It’s a lens through which I see life and I’m often comforted by contemplating life while watching a game.
There are so many people who recall great stories related to sports and athletics. The personal experiences you had in school sports are important memories and worth recalling. Some families have been fortunate to have a prominent member achieve a certain level of fame, perhaps as an Olympic or professional athlete. All these sports stories form your legacy of athletics.
We all have Christmas memories. As a youngster one of my first recollections of tinsel, lights and presents was in Florida. If we treasure those memories and record them to share with others on the Christmases yet to come we will discover that the Christmas past, present and future all exist together.
“Don’t Blink”, a song sung by country music superstar Kenny Chesney, tells the story of a man who has just turned 102 and is interviewed about the secret to life. There's a valuable lesson in this song.
The importance of keeping a journal for personal and spiritual growth. Journaling is truly a great tool. In our journey through life we need to spend time reflecting on our days and considering the implications of the events in our lives.
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Something has happened in your life that is shaping everything you are and do. It could be marriage, birth of your child, death of a loved one, a career change or an epiphany brought on by unusual circumstances.
When a close family member or friend dies we grieve, but we also honor their memory. This is about being with my mother when she passed away.
You have experienced this many times in your life. A song comes on the radio or stereo and you are instantly transported back in time. For some people the memories resurrected from a well-loved song are so powerful that your senses participate.
May is springtime and when nature is showing her colors and plants are coming back to life it's a great time to be outdoors and to enjoy life. It's also a grand time to start new projects (there's a reason "spring cleaning" is a popular expression), so why not celebrate your desire to preserve personal history?
The things that are most important to us in our life journey shape and influence us everyday. The need to be in touch with these values and communicate them to others has spawned a growing trend of writing Ethical Wills.
Surprises can come in many new and unexpected ways. The very nature of a surprise can result in sudden realizations that things are not always the way they seem. The good news is that surprises, either pleasant or otherwise, are necessary for our continued growth.
Ray Bradbury, whether you know it or not, you are part of my story and I thank you for your gift which you've shared with so many others. Your imagination was fired and you helped us climb into your worlds with the memories you shared
The values leaders demonstrate - courage, decisiveness and humility among them - contribute greatly to a families' legacy.
Just about everyone makes lists. Lists can be great building blocks for crafting your life story.
There is time for work and play and finding the right balance is key to having a fulfilling life. You must make time for play.
Running a marathon is also a lot like life. You don’t sprint through life; you are in it for the long run and the goal at the finish line is to have lived well.