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The "Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives

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

                     ...and whatever else catches our fancy

January, 2007

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January 28, 2007

I read a really great essay yesterday by Michael Gartner, 1997's Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing He wrote about growing up in the 1940's and how his family never owned a car until his older brother turned 16. His dad quit driving in 1927 (you'll find out why when you read the essay). His mother didn't learn to drive until she was 43.  This short essay had great wit and wisdom in it.  His father revealed his secret of a long life (he lived to be 102) one day to his son and it included never taking left turns!  You can read the essay online at the USA Today site here.

January 24, 2007

You've heard me sing the praises of the Association of Personal Historians many times. APH (web site here) is a fascinating group.  The field of personal history is expanding.  Many people are writers, others work in video or audio. Some are ex-media, or continue to work in the field like I do with radio. And still more come from a broad range of occupations and backgrounds.

What I think we have in common is a passion for people's stories and the drive to do something about that.  Some are better than others at making a living at this.  It can be a real business for those who will put in the work for it.  Some do it more as a hobby or labor of love.  Then there are those doing it part time and testing the waters.

I'm convinced that more and more people will want to find ways to professionally preserve their life stories.  The media is reporting on the trend more and more and the public is becoming increasingly aware of the possibilities.

The good news is that with the growth there are more emerging technologies, products and services.  My intention with Your Life is Your Story is to both build a business and educate and inform others about personal history.

I just renewed my annual dues with APH.  I will continue to journey this path and from time to time tell you about other providers of personal history services.  Like Hawley Roddick.  She is an APH member and an accomplished author and writer.  She is one of the few to have published novels and non-fiction with major publication houses.  She also wrote a monthly column for Cosmopolitan for seven years.  Check out her services at her website

January 18, 2007

The art of letter writing seems to be lost.  Most people communicate by phone, text or often vapid casual emails.  There is something about putting words down on paper, however, that can tap deep and honest emotional feelings.

There is a way to write without trying to impress, publish or be judged. Keeping a personal journal can open your mind and eyes to the world around you and in you.  If you choose to share parts of your journal it may also open up others to do the same.  And it can help people grow, which is the theme of the troubled kids in the new movie Freedom Writers.

The Newsweek article by Anna Quindlen, Write for Your life, delves into this subject and the importance of personal writing and the freedom it brings.  You can read it online here.

January 16, 2007

Yesterday was the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday.  He was a great human being who not only believed in the dignity of ALL people, but he tried to make a difference.  We, too, can make a difference in life with friends, family and even strangers.  We all have a dream and it's not bad to share in King's great dream.

A dream of mine was fulfilled this past Sunday when I ran a marathon. I've been training for months to accomplish this and running with others who are part of the Team in Training program.  All of us supported and fundraised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (dedicated to finding a cure for blood cancers).  I previously promised a report, so here it is.  On a very cold (for Phoenix, anyway) morning thousands of us lined up to run the 26. 2 miles in the P. F. Chang Arizona Rock n' Roll Marathon.  Bands every mile or so and many people to cheer us on.  Despite the 29 degrees at the start of the race we warmed up with the running.  It was a sunny day and a special time.  I'm here to tell you it was very difficult the last 3 to 4 miles, but I kept thinking about the cause and all the time training leading up to this race.  I finished in just over 5 hours.  You can verify that here. Put in my race number - 11127.

If you think you could never do something like this - think again.  Team in Training is famous for taking everyday people like you and I and motivating, training and helping us achieve what seems like the impossible.  I'm currently writing a book about my experience and I hope to share some of that with you when it is done.  Thanks to the many people who encouraged me and supported me in this dream.  My family and I had a great time in Phoenix and it was another one of those life-changing experiences.

January 8, 2007

This is the time of year when people consider how to improve their lives. Realistically, we should strive to be better each and everyday of the, but New Year's resolutions have a long standing tradition.

Do you want to be the best you can be in 2007?  There is evidence to support improving your life by reminiscing about your life and investigating family history.  The process can help us grow.  Several good tips about being the best this year, including digging deeper into your family history, are included in the article, Be your best self in 2007 online here at the Des Moines Register online.

January 3, 2007

The past few days we've watched the funeral services and tributes to Gerald Ford, former United States President who passed away just after Christmas. The way former presidents are viewed, especially after they've died, reveals a lot about their leadership style, their reputation and also how revered we hold this political office.

It must have been difficult for Ford to assume the presidency.  He was appointed vice president in 1973 by then President Nixon to fill the vacancy when Spiro Agnew resigned.  That scandal was followed by Nixon's own resignation.  Many were outraged at the time when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, but I think he was sincere in trying to heal the country and help the government move on.

I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a few years, the home of Gerald and Betty Ford.  I never met the man, but my observations and gut instinct tell me he was a fair and even humble man, a rare combination in politics.  You also have to admire his wife.  Betty Ford faced her alcoholism after a family intervention, but she went further by establishing the renowned treatment center, the Betty Ford Center.  She has certainly helped many people.

On a side note, one of the strangest images from the news the past couple of days is seeing Grand Rapids at this time of year without any snow on the ground.  That's unusual, as much so as the fifteen inches of snow we had here in Albuquerque December 29 and 30.

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