Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Remembering Neil Armstrong, Alzheimer's and Personal History and Life Story Resources
August 29, 2012
The August Your Life Is Your Story Free Personal History Newsletter
was just sent out to our 1,500 + subscribers. Look for it in your
email-box. In this month's issue we remember the first man to walk on
the moon and helpful life story resources from Soleil Lifestory Network and Legacy Keepers. Plus, there is a new article about helping those with Alzheimer's preserve their personal history.
If you haven't signed up to receive this monthly newsletter full of
resources, tips and encouragement to preserve your personal history,
why not? It's free, and helpful. Go here to get the details.
Park Ranger Helping Capture Oral History at National Park
August 28, 2012
I have lots of fond memories of camping, especially visiting some of
the amazing national parks in the United States. Anyone who has stood
in awe at the edge of the Grand Canyon or stared up at the majestic giant trees in
the Sequoia National Forest knows of what I speak.
Asking visitors to share their experiences of and about national parks
is a pretty neat way to preserve some personal history. Park Ranger
Larry Bean and his staff have been doing that at the Little River Canyon National Preserve in
the Southern Appalachians of Alabama. They even held a history day on
August 25 and encouraged people to bring old photos, articles and
stories to the park. Huck Treadwell's story online at the DeKalb
Times-Journal posted here.
Soleil Lifestory Network - helping people write
personal and family stories
August 23, 2012
I've been at this memoir and personal history business since 2003,
slowly growing it and learning more and more about the work of life
story. My intent has always been to encourage others to preserve their
life story. And I'm doing the same. Much of what I share on this site,
especially here on the blog section, is from my personal journey.
One of the books I've found very helpful is Turning
Memoirs - A
Handbook for Writing Lifestories by Denis Ledoux. The book has lots of great
advice and can walk you through the process of creating your memoir.
Ledoux is not just a writer, he's also a life story teacher who helps
everyday people write their memoirs and also coaches and trains
personal historians. I've learned from him and continue to do so. And
now his life story business is affiliating with other personal
historians to broaden his reach of his resources while giving people
like myself the opportunity to share in the revenue generated by the
sales of his books and resources. Affiliate marketing is a smart way to
reach a wider audience. I only promote other products if I believe in
them, and I can tell you as a new affiliate for the Soleil Lifestory Network
that you will benefit from these products. Visit the Soleil Lifestory Network website
and explore. There are many books, classes and writing services
available to help you move forward with your memoir or life story work.
August 22, 2012
Every journey begins with the first step. You’ve heard it
before. This is not a shocking revelation.
But isn’t it surprising how overwhelmed we can get about
a new venture? It happens to me (even though I know better).
Going to school. Getting married. Running a marathon. Starting a
business. Writing your life story. These are all examples of large
undertakings that take time and effort.
It helps to begin with the end in mind. Visualize what it will be like
when you graduate, say those wedding vows, cross the finish line,
become your own boss or hold in your hand a book containing the story
of your life. Thinking about the end can motivate you to make a start.
Getting out of the starting blocks is often a great challenge. But you
have to take the first step.
I’ve often discovered that once I take that first step I
some willingness, even excitement that gets me to continue. Taking the
action sets things in motion and often inspires and motivates me. Of
course there are also times when the first step is hard, and so is the
next, and the next one…and sometimes you just have to stop,
a break, refocus and begin anew.
The first step in preserving your personal history can be simply
getting more information on how
to start. It could be creating a memory list of some of
the key events in your life. Or it might be picking up the phone and reaching out to a professional
personal historian to learn what is involved.
begins with the first step.
What I’ve discovered is that we have one life journey, but it
made up of many parts. Consider the examples I gave above. Going to
school is part of your life journey, but there are many things that
make up this part of your journey. They aren’t necessarily
same things as planning a wedding, training for a marathon or starting
A lot of people have a strong desire to create some kind of business
they can call their own. Today with the Internet and technology there
are more opportunities than ever before. When I started Your Life Is Your Story
I knew it was essential to have a website. It is important to be
online. But I also soon realized I needed much more than a website. I
needed a business that included connecting with others online. I needed
to harness the web to reach others who have a desire to tell their
My research eventually led to SiteSell.com.
I spent a fair amount of time researching them. Their claims seemed
almost too good to be true. However, they also sounded like a company
that really cared about people with dreams of creating successful
online businesses. Their SBI
(Site Build It)
program is designed to build a business, not just a website. And they
had a large number of success stories – testimonials from
just like me with a dream and the willingness to do the work to create
a business and realize a dream.
I’ve always admired how SiteSell and SBI emphasize the sure
steady way to success. This is not a “get rich
approach. Their philosophy is to build solid content which in turn
leads to good traffic. Use that traffic – your targeted
– to PRE-sell
them on your services. Then you can monetize. It’s a
practical and effective formula: C
It all started with
a first step.
I’ve never regretted taking it. In fact, I am continually
at all the resources, tools and helpful information that SBI
gives me. I get good targeted traffic to my site, even without
investing as much time in it as I should. I’m continually
discovering how SBI
and its improvements and innovations can help me be more successful.
Right now SiteSell is running a contest around the first step. Think
about your dreams. What is the first step towards realizing them? Maybe
you want a new car, a new home or a way to turn your passion into a
real livelihood. SBI could be your first step.
Here’s how to find out more – and enter to win some
prizes, including some free months or even a whole year of SBI! Visit the official contest page
with details on how to participate on Twitter (be sure to include
@SiteSell and the official contest hashtag, #WINSBI). You also should
check out the vibrant SiteSell community on Facebook
(200,000 likes and growing). The current contest runs through Friday,
August 24, but there will also be some big additional specials
following in the next couple of weeks. It is an exciting time to learn
more about SBI!
Remember, your life is your story. And it is your journey, one that
begins with that very first step.
The Four Year Cycle
August 16, 2012
I’ve been pondering how much our lives can change over a four
Some four year cycles can influence us in important ways. Every four
years in the United States we hold a presidential election. Our
education system for High School and College revolves around four year
The calendar changes every four years with the addition of an extra day
in February. We call it a leap year.
Economists and investors often look at the performance of stocks over a
four year period.
Some people even teach the span of history in a four year cycle:
Ancients 6000 BC – AD 400, Medieval/Early Renaissance
Late Renaissance/Early Modern 1600-1850 and Modern 1850-present.
For life story purposes I thought it might be interesting to consider
our life events over four year cycles. I’m not saying there
something magical or especially significant for our personal histories
by looking at four year periods. But enough can happen over such a span
that it can be helpful for your life reminiscing.
| continue reading
Pesky Life Lessons
August 15, 2012
the past couple of days the Red Sox Nation has been mourning the loss
of their greatest ambassador. Johnny Pesky was a great player for the
Boston Red Sox in the 1940's and 50's. The irrepressible
was part of the fantastic double-play tandem with second baseman Bobby
Doerr. His teammates included Dom Dimaggio (Joe's brother) and the
great Ted Williams.
Beyond his memorable playing days Johnny Pesky was known for working
with players, fans and the Boston Red Sox organization for 70 years,
practically until his death this week at age 92. When you read the
tributes and memories (here and here)
from the team owners to managers, players, fans and others it becomes
clear that Johnny Pesky was much more than a fine ball player. By all
accounts he was a great person.
The "Pesky" life lessons we can learn include having a good attitude
through the ups and downs of life, being dedicated to your family and
life partner (all agreed the only thing he loved more than the Red Sox
was his wife, Ruthie, to whom he was married for over 60 years),
spreading cheer and enthusiasm and having a big heart.
When you think of the word pesky, what typically comes to mind is
annoying or troublesome. Johnn Pesky, however, was anything but that.
He was, however, persistent in his positive attitude. We can look at
his life and take away som great lessons. Thanks, Johnny. We'll miss ya.
We Might Be Missing With All Our Connected Gadgets
August 13, 2012
I love technology. New gadgets can enhance our lives and help us do
more, reach more people, stay connected and find information quicker.
Much of what I admired in science fiction as a young lad has become
commonplace in our society.
But what price are we paying for all these devices? At what point does
our technical tethering dis-connect
us from real
Sherry Turkle does an excellent job pointing out some of the issues in
her February, 2012
Connected, but alone? She
articulates the problems with all our texting, social media online
activity and thinking we are connecting when we may just have our heads
down and miss what's going on around us (anybody been in a car with
teenagers who are all texting, sometimes to the person sitting next to
We are getting very selective in what we pay attention to. And we are
losing our social graces. Common etiquette is no longer common. People
want too much control over their social interaction and doing it
through computers, smartphones, twitter and Facebook allows them this
illusory control. But what happens to the real conversation? What is
happening around you that might just change your life if you only would
Rolland Love (writer and creator of imastory.com) sent me a great
little essay about hummingbirds and texting. With his permission I
share it here.
By Rolland Love
Hummingbirds fly 500 miles non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico each year
on their way to Panama. They hatch their young and leave them after 6
weeks when they fly back North. After their babies gain enough strength
they make the trip themselves and somehow find their mom and dad. These
tiny birds have hearts beating 1200 times per minute and they have the
largest brain of all birds. I just saw one outside my window and was
glad I’m not addicted to texting like many young folks. Their
primary remembrance when they are as old as me will be the site of a
keypad and the characters on the tiny message screen of their cell
phone. Sadly, they may never see a humming bird.
Stories are the most important thing we have. Without stories there
would be no world.
Bio Can Get You Started
August 12, 20012
Many people have a desire to create a biography of their life. This
life story undertaking can be intimidating once you discover the amount
of work it requires.
you can get it done. You'll need organization of your material and
honest reflection about your life experiences. One of the primary
reasons that the number of personal historians is growing is the
recognition of the amount of work and expertiser necessary for a
quality life story project. You can do it yourself, but it sure is
helpful to have a pro assist you.
If you can't "eat the whole enchilada" just yet, start smaller. A short
biography could get down some essentials about your life. It can be a
building block to a larger more comprehensive life story later on. And
you can easily adapt or edit it to use if you are profiled in an
article or need a bio for other needs, such as for an employer or a
For years I've offered a short
service and I've written numerous 1-2 page bios for people from all
kinds of backgrounds and professions. I've discounted my services
significantly to make it affordable to people - just $79.95. This
special will soon be coming to an end as I find it necessary to raise
the fee to $109.95. Check it out now if you are interested before the
special expires at the end of this week (after August 17). And if you
find a professional biography is not what you are looking for, but
you'd like to have a bio of similar length and scope created as a
foundation for your life story then contact
and we can work something out for a similar affordable price. Please
put "short biography" in the subject of your email and I'll respond
promptly with more information. Creating this bio can introduce you to
the life story process and it's a smart way to get started.
Slick City Travelin'
August 9, 2012
My family and I recently enjoyed a vacation to New York City. Although
we were there for just a few days it was great to go to this major
metropolitan city and take in the sights and sounds. I wrote about our
experiences for the most recent newsletter and posted the article here.
If you've traveled to any of the world's great cities you probably have
a story to share about it. What was it like? How did it impact your
life? You can share it with the readers of Your Life Is Your Story.
Ideally we'd like to read about life enhancing experiences (not a bunch
of griping, please). But let it be real - full of all that life offers
(which can mean the good and/or the bad). There is a form at the end of
the Joy of Travel
article where you can submit your story and even pictures. I'll review
them and share the *good* ones.
Golden Olympians from 1948
August 6, 2012
The last time London hosted the Olympic Games was in 1948. The world
was recovering from the devastation of World War II. The games hadn't
been held for 12 years. London had endured extensive bombing during the
war as you can see from the accompanying photograph (part of an amazing
display of photos found posted online at theatlantic.com).
As the Olympic Games continue I thought it interesting to share a link to a New
piece, complete with audio and pictures, of some "Golden" Olympic U.S.
competitors from those 1948 games. Seeing these pictures and hearing
their stories reminds me of how fascinating people's stories can be.
For instance, Alice Coachman was the only female athlete to win gold in
track and field at the 1948 games and the first black woman to win an
Olympic gold medal (in the high jump competition). This despite her
training challenges. Her family was poor and she battled segregation
and racial prejudice. Imagine running barefoot in fields and on dirt
roads to practice. Even her parents tried to talk her into something
more ladylike. But she persevered, was awarded a scholarship to
Tuskegee Preparatory School and broke collegiate and National high jump
records at the 1939 Women's National Championships - and yes, she was
There are some other great stories from those Olympic Games. See Their Golden Years.
August 2, 2012
"When a person tells their own story, they challenge their discomfort
and open themselves up to their vulnerability. To tell your story,
first you have to reflect, and we don't always do that." That's a quote
from Adam Hostetter in an article I read online from tusconweekly.com
(What's Your Story?).
Hostetter is involved in with a group that encourages people to tell a
personal story in a live environment in front of other people gathered
to hear and share their stories. This is not a competitive story slam
or an open mic night for comedians or poets. It's regular people
speaking their truth.
the group that puts together these monthly evenings of personal story
telling. Each person gets ten minutes to share their story related to
the monthly theme. August's theme is Happy Campers: The Great Outdoors.
Past themes have included The
Customer Is Always Right and Sliced and Diced: The Surgery
Amazing revelations are coming from the shared stories. People are
talking about themselves in a deeper and more meaningful way than the
often banal postings on social media. It reminds me both of The Moth
in New York City (True
Stories Told Live) and the growing Cowbird
online community where many of the posted written stories are also
To speak your truth
is a higher
calling. We all go through our days spending time in idle conversation,
in work and social encounters, and so much of what gets shared is
surface. That's okay to a point. We can't spend all our time being
intimate. But there is a great need for our truths to be told. Who we
are, what we've done and why it matters are eternal questions that
strike at the heart of living.