Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Looking Back, Looking Forward
December 31, 2017
The end of the year is a time to reminisce. We can recollect our
experiences, ponder our thoughts, reflect on our journeys and sort out
This can be a healthy process. It can also be very time consuming, but
I find it a worthwhile use of my time. You should approach it with the
right frame of mind. If not done in a positive way it can drag you
down, sometimes generating feelings that can result in anger or
resentment. Some people even become depressed.
So you have to be cautious. Consider using a four part process I call: looking back, looking in, looking out, and looking forward.
I expand on this in an article from the December free newsletter. Subscribe here or read it online.
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O Holy Morn
December 25, 2017
For many who observe the Christmas holiday, the eve of Christmas is a
special time, a Holy Night. It can be very festive and beautiful.
For me, however, nothing beats the peace and serenity of early Christmas morning.
When I was a child the anticipation of Christmas, envisioning the
presents under the tree and what Santa had brought, made it nearly
impossible to contain my excitement. My sister and brother were also
anxious to rise. My parents, of course, would like us to stay in bed
with some semblance of quiet until at least six. We were usually awake
But now I am in that second part of life. My kids are grown. My wife
and I are the sole inhabitants of our home. She is not an early riser,
but I like to be up at dawn to enjoy the start of the day with quiet
This Christmas morning in New Mexico was wonderful. I went to an early
morning mass and as I was driving to the church the sunrise was a
spectacular red and gold. Creation was proclaiming the birth of the new
day and all that Christmas signifies. O Holy Morn!
My wish this Christmas is the same as the past few years. In a world
that greatly needs a message of love I am hoping that peace and joy
will spread in our hearts, our families, our communities and our world.
It is not in divisiveness or selfishness that we find this peace,
joy and love. The real message is that we are meant to share our lives.
We are all connected and it is the unity and relational living that we
will ultimately find and express our gifted humanity.
Merry Christmas everyone, and happy celebrations to all and for all in all the ways this festive season brings.
Your Historical Life-Line
December 22, 2017
Landreth has a passion for life stories, including her own, and put
together a very helpful and practical book to guide you through putting
together your story using historical time-line events combined with your
own life markers. She calls it Your Historical “Life-Line” – The Times of Your Life Remembered. It’s available online at lulu.com.
I have been looking through my copy and seeing some great tips. She has
done a lot of research to list some key information from each year,
starting with 1900 and continuing through 2016. And she includes some
future pages that are blank. She encourages you to use the historical
information to create your “Life-Line”. I’ve enjoyed
finding out more about the year I was born (1955) along with the years
my children came into being (1988 and 1993). This book helps make the
sometimes overwhelming process of life writing more fun and manageable.
The Funky Christmas History of Madrid, New Mexico
December 18, 2017
'Tis the season to be jolly and this story gives me a chuckle. There is
a small town on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, on Highway
14, not far from my city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, that has a
quirky history, especially when it comes to Christmas time.
Madrid (pronounced "Mad - rid", not Muh-drid) was once a booming coal
mining town with as many as 2,000 residents. That was some time ago.
After the mining boom ended it became something of a ghost town.
Nowadays this funky old mining town is home to an eclectic group of artists and free spirits (some might even say hippies) - see this link for more.
They started moving there in the 1970's, seeking cheap housing a place
to enjoy their creative spirit. The town was even the site for a
bizzare movie featuring rocker David Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, about an alien who lands on Earth in this "out of the way destination". And not too long ago a comedy, Wild Hogs, featuring Tim Allen and John Travolta, was filmed with the town as the story's backdrop.
Madrid once was a place of historic Christmas celebrating in the
American Southwest. And today the town still celebrates Christmas in
its own unusual way with a colorful parade led by the town yak (that's
right, a yak). There was a feature that aired yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning.
The television piece told about how Madrid used to light up the
Holidays and how it now celebrates the season. It's a fun and funky
Christmas history story.
The Right Way to Pre-Write
December 12, 2017
Before you record a single word with pen, word processor or tablet you
first need to do something very important. It is indeed part of the
writing process and it is known as pre-writing.
Pre-writing is important for a number of reasons. As Denis LeDoux of The Memoir Network lays out in his excellent article, Three Tips for Effective Memoir Pre-Writing,
you can do all sorts of things that prime the pump for your
writing, including making memory lists, reading your journals, letters,
newspaper clippings, and talking to people that are part of your
By the way, a great free coaching offer from Mr. LeDoux and The Memoir Network
takes place on December 20. Take advantage of the offer and see how
working with a memoir coach can help you move your story forward.
No Longer an Unknown Sailor Hero at Pearl Harbor
December 6, 2017
Most people are familiar with the "Day of Infamy" on December 7, 1941
when the Japanese surprise attack on the United States Naval Fleet at
Pearl Harbor in Hawaii caused massive casualties and brought America
into World War II.
It was a Sunday morning and one sailor, Boatswain's Mate Joe George,
had been ordered to stay on his ship, the Vestal, because he'd been
brought back after a night of drinking and some fighting. It was not
unusual for this sailor; he had a history of such behavior. But it was
fortuitous that he was on his ship when the attack came. Because he
helped save the lives of some sailors on the Arizona which had been
heavily hit in the attack and was aflame and about to sink.
Joe George heaved a line from the Vestal to the Arizona and some men
escaped being roasted alive by going hand-over-hand on the line to
safety on the Vestal. Donald Stratton and Lauren Bruner were two men
who made it to safety. But for many years, until this past summer, the
sailor who saved them was unknown.
As a result of a life story book and an oral history interview the
facts eventually came together and Joe George was finally recognized
and awarded a Bronze Star medal of valor. Unfortunately he didn't live
to receive it this year, but his daughter, Joe Ann Taylor was able to
attend a ceremony at the White House where the previously unknown
sailor got his due. He is unknown no more. I encourage you to read and see the moving story about this that aired this past weekend on CBS Sunday Morning. It is a nice way to commemorate this year's 76 anniversary of Pearl Harbor.