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Read about quality family history and life story news, views, methods, products, links, services

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August, 2006

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August 31, 2006

For those of you familiar with my site you've probably explored the journal writing ideas (here).  One of the resources I endorse is Doreene Clement's 5 Year Journal.  Doreene is both an excellent writer and a good motivator.  Much of that comes from her very real drive for survival.  She is a cancer survivor, and a survivor the doctors held out very little hope for.

Doreene was diagnosed with two kinds of rare breast cancer and was told she would die without immediate surgery. However, she believed she would die in the surgery. She opted instead for alternative medicine and treatments in Mexico. It was a long journey that she chronicled and shared with her newletter subscribers.

Now, cancer free and a cancer victor, Doreene needs additional treatments to obtain total health.

And She Needs Your Help. And You Can Help For Only ONE Dollar! I don't normally pitch for charitable causes through my website, however I think Doreene's case is well-deserving. Plus, she's only asking for ONE dollar. If enough people help out that will add up. Even more important, Doreene finds a way to give back to her readers and provides great products like the 5 Year Journal. Here's the website address. Take a look and consider sending your dollar.

August 29, 2006

Today is the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  This powerful storm devastated much of the Gulf Coast.  In New Orleans the levees broke and much of the city was underwater.  A year later there are still parts of the city without electricity.  It is a long rebuilding process ahead.  Other towns, like Biloxi, Mississippi, suffered, too.  

However, I find myself drawn to the stories of the survivors. Truly there is evidence that the human spirit is hardy, especially amidst tragedy and when people reach out to help each other and let their faith and spirituality work through them.  There are some very powerful stories recorded for an oral history project for Katrina survivors by Abe Louise Young, an Austin Poet (but native of New Orleans) who felt compelled to give these people the dignity of being heard.  More on After the Flood: Stories of Survival - go here.

August 23, 2006

Kitty Axelson-Berry is the founder of the Association of Personal Historians (APH) that I've frequently written about.  I'm a member of this outstanding not-for-profit association of professionals dedicated to the craft of preserving personal history.

As more people discover the value of writing their memoirs there is the ongoing revelation of how family members get intriguing insights from the authors.  You can be pleasantly, or not so pleasantly, surprised by the content.  This is why it is important for anyone writing their memoir to carefully consider the impact of their story on friends and family.  Axelson-Berry knows this well from her many years with her business, Modern Memoirs.  She and others are mentioned in yet another article about the growing trend of writing and self-publishing memoirs.  You can read Keeping memories - and love - alive in the Republican online here.

August 22, 2006

If you check the dates of my entries you can see some time has passed since my last entry.  Alas, I had a computer crash and could not update my site. However, I now have a nice new Dell computer and I'm back in business.

It has been a bit frustrating to not be able to update you the past couple of weeks on the continuing media coverage I'm seeing for the personal history field.  There's a lot of exciting developments.

If you get a chance be sure to visit the story from the San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday, August 20) that talks about developments in the field of personal history.  You can read the article online here.

August 6, 2006

I live in a desert, a high desert actually, so the climate can be hot in the summer and cold in the winter and quite dry most of the time. The first half of this year in Albuquerque was practically bone dry. We didn't have much snow this past winter so the snowpack in the mountains was much less than we need.

However, the last 2-3 weeks we've been getting an unusual amount of rain. It seems that every afternoon or evening clouds roll in, sometimes majestic thunderheads. Then the thunder, the lightning and sudden downpours. Even now as I type this the television is reporting the possibility of flash floods.

It's odd to realize that even with all our recent rain we are still in a significant drought. The rains may have eased the immediate dryness and fire danger, but we still have a long ways to go to replenish our aquifer.

I do like the change in weather. Despite the uncomfortable higher humidity (although nothing like some places) it is great to smell the rain, watch the lightning and hear the thunder and the sound of rain beating on the roof. I just wish I could get my dog to quite whining. He's a big labrador/chow mix and spends most of the time outdoors. We have a nice covered patio so he's fine when it rains. But because he's been inside during the more intense showers now he thinks he is supposed to be in all the time. So Shadow whines, barks and scratches at the back patio door even when the weather is fine. It's funny how quickly animals can be imprinted and how it affects their behavior.

August 4, 2006

Here's more evidence of the growing popularity of everyday people telling their stories. An article titled "Other Voices" by Kiera Butler in the July/August issue of Columbia Journalism Review profiles the growing radio documentary trend popularized by Ira Glass' "This American Life", David Isay's founding of StoryCorps, and more. It supports my belief that "everyone has a story to tell".

Article online here.

August 1, 2006

One of the greatest autobiographies written comes from the pen of the great American statesman, Benjamin Franklin. He wrote, "If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." Certainly he did many things worth reading about. You can view his autobiography on line here.

In honor of Ben Franklin's 300th birthday the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and One Book, One Philadelphia invited today’s Philadelphians to submit a memoir of their own, using no more than 300 words. At the end of the project – May 17, 2006 – a panel of judges selected twenty autobiographies to appear on bus shelters throughout the city. The contributors vary in age, from young to old, and you can find the stories and learn more about the project by visiting the Autobiography Project website.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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