You are Important and So Is Your Family History
June 30, 2004
The more I use David Michael's excellent Journal Software
the more impressed I am with it. I love that it allows for creating
multiple categories - I've got several going now. It's been especially
helpful for organizing my different writing and web site projects.
He sends out a monthly newsletter and there always some good writing
prompts included. I found these contributed by Susan Michael to be very
pertinent for those working on their memoirs.
1. Write about an employment that you had which you
either learned a great deal from, or which you dreaded. Write in a
2. Write thoughts prompted by your high school
yearbook. (This is particularly timely for me as my class is having our
30-year reunion in July. It would be fun to go but too far to travel
for me, so I'll travel down memory lane with the yearbook.)
Good tips from Ms. Michael who currently facilitates the Tulsa
Writers Cafe for the Arts & Humanities Council in Tulsa,
Ms. Michael has also led writing & creativity workshops for
children, teenagers, and adults.
More about the Journal here.
June 27, 2004
One of the considerations when you decide to
preserve a life story is doing it before the subject's life is over.
It's not unusual to find motivation when the end of life is near. While
a heartfelt story can be told and preserved at death's door it is so
much better to plan ahead and get started as soon as you can.
How much time do we have? In our often hectic lives
as we look at all the things to do that involve work, family and
responsibilities we wonder where we will find the time. Sometimes,
particularly as we age, we ask that question about our lifespan.
The truth is all we have is today. Twenty-four
hours. You can divide it into minutes or seconds if you'd like. But,
living your life in days instead of weeks, months or years, is a much
better way to live life. It keeps you in the present, which is all we
have anyway. Time is merely a linear way of measuring our life.
Each day do something that really matters.
Appreciate the time you have and share it with others. Your life is
your story and you are adding to that story each and every day.
June 22, 2004
You've no doubt heard, by now, that former President Bill Clinton's
memoir, My Life,
has gone on sale. Mr. Clinton describes the 957 page (whew!) book this
way: "I tried to elevate the importance of politics. ... I hope when
people read this, they'll have more of an appreciation for it."
There's a lot of hoopla around this, as there would be with anyone as
famous (or infamous - take your pick) as this. I know what you're
thinking. Yeah, nobody would be terribly excited about my
memoirs. Oh, you might be surprised. Nearly everyday I get
emails from people who have what they consider to be amazing stories to
tell. Even if you don't have a "humdinger" your life story matters to
your family and friends...and it should matter to you.
Have you been to my What
Story and Why Page?
June 20, 2004
Happy Father's Day to all the Dads! Being a parent
is a special thing in life and we certainly should have special days to
recognize what a great responsibility and privilege it is. It's also
rewarding. Today my wife and kids brought me breakfast in bed and I
enjoyed that we all snuggled in the bed as much as the breakfast
Your life journey includes the connection with your family members.
Fathers should pass along their experience, encouragement and life
lessons to their children. In turn, children should discover the value
of this in their own lives and pass it on to the next generation.
In my family I am the third with the same name. My grandfather was
Thomas Marshall Gilbert. Dad is junior and I'm the III. How our first
and middle name came about is directly linked to my great-grandfather,
Fred Gilbert, a world champion trap shooter. I wrote a bit about him
and my Dad in the first-ever issue of the Your Life is Your
Story newsletter. You can read it here.
I believe that one of the most important gifts fathers can give their
sons and daughters is the message that they are loved and accepted no
matter what. When we start from this point then we can encourage our
children to become confident and healthy individuals.
June 15, 2004
Any experience can be transformed into something of
- Vash Young
June 14, 2004
Yes, it's Flag Day in the USA, but more importantly for me it is my
parents' anniversary. 53 years ago today they tied the knot, right
after my Dad was officially inducted into the Air Force. Mom always
said she knew her place - right behind the USAF (ha ha).
That's an impressive number of years to stay married. They've done it
with all the hard work involved in any relationship. I'm grateful for
that and for all they've taught me. Three years ago we celebrated the
"Golden Anniversary" with a family gathering at beautiful Lake George
in upstate New York. My aunt and uncle have a wonderful beach house
there and put us up for a week. Good memories. I wrote something back
then and I share it with you here.
Here's a good quote: "The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
— Muriel Rukeyser, 1913-1980
That comes from Ancestry.com, a wonderful resource for doing family
history/genealogy research. Discover more of what they offer here.
June 10, 2004
Ray Charles has passed away. A true music
icon. He was a multiple Grammy winner whose wide range of musical
stylings - from blues, Gospel, country, jazz and R&B - allowed
him to reinvent songs in a style that centered around one of the most
expressive soulful voices I ever heard. Songs like Georgia on
My Mind, What'd I Say, and Hit
the Road Jack are true classics. But just about anything Ray
lent his voice too was special - he could make other people's songs his
own. One of my favorite Christmas songs is his version of Rudolph,
the Red-nosed Reindeer.
Blind by the age of 7 and an orphan at 15, Ray Charles also lived
through the harsh bigotry of the segregated South and many years of
heroin addiction. A colorful character, to be sure, with the way he'd
bounce his legs and swing his head side-to-side. I did get to see him
once in concert and it was awesome!
Here's a good retrospective and remembrance of Ray Charles at this USA Today link
June 7, 2004
Today most of the media coverage was dominated by
rememberances of former President Ronald Reagan who died on Saturday at
the age of 93.
Mr. Reagan served two terms as President of the United States, from
1981-1989. Like most past presidents, he wrote his memoirs, but he even
penned an autobiography in 1965 ("Where's the rest of
me?" ). A couple of interesting notes about him: he
was the oldest man ever elected president and only two other presidents
lived to 90 - John Adams and Herbert Hoover.
You can learn some helpful things for planning a biography or life
story from the coverage of Mr. Reagan on the CNN
web site. In particular, read the biography they posted. It gives
an insight into his life - divided into different stages.
While few of us are in the historical spotlight the way Ronald Reagan
was, each of us do have lives filled with memories and events. It's
important to preserve them and it's a lot easier to do it as you go
along - and before it's too late.
An additional note: Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's. This is an
affliction many of our elders deal with and it affects memory. Mr.
Reagan and his wife Nancy established the Ronald and Nancy
Reagan Research Institute with the Alzheimer's Association.
Be sensitive to anyone whose life story you are preserving who may be
so affected. You can find a great deal of helpful information regarding
this illness at the Alzheimer's Association
A D E A R - Alzheimer's Disease Education & Referral Center.
June 6, 2004
Today is the 60th anniversary of the D-Day
invasion, a momentous historical occasion when the Allied
forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. It was a turning
point in WWII.
See Bill Moyers special section at the PBS website on veterans of D-Day. Three men featured have written
their war memoirs and excerpts are posted.
June 3, 2004
Well, things are certainly heating up here in the desert southwest.
But, it's a "dry heat" :-)
There are so many digital methods to tell one's story and technology
keeps advancing. DVD's, video, e-books, websites — These can
be good tools for your life story. Just how to best utilize those tools
to get the end result of a personal history can be challenging.
Fortunately, there is help from a network of creative storytellers.
West of New Mexico (where I reside) in the wonderfully scenic and
magical village of Sedona, Arizona the Digital Storytelling
Festival will soon get underway. The main part of the
gathering is June 10-12, but there's some bootcamp workshops earlier in
the week. You can learn all about it at the official website.