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

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March, 2004

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March 31, 2004

Ok, if you've been reading here more than a couple of times you know I like to toss out reasons for preserving your personal history. Most (all?) of these reasons didn't bubble up from my own consciousness. That's right - I find the quotes and reasons by reading what others have to say! Of course, I agree with them which is why I share them here.

Daniel Webster, one of America's early statesman, had this to say:

"To be faithful to ourselves, we must keep our ancestors and posterity within
reach and grasp of our thoughts and affections, living in the memory and
retrospect of the past, and hoping with affection and care for those who are
to come after us."

What was good advice in the 1800's is still valid today.

March 29, 2004

Another wonderful, funny and talented human being has left the planet. Peter Ustinov - actor and entertainer - has died at the age of 82. Reading the report at revealed his many talents, his penchant for helping others and his delight in making people laugh.

He wrote an autobiography with a terrific title: "Dear Me".

March 26, 2004

It’s always important to strive for living a day at a time; to be here in the present moment. This doesn’t preclude us from looking back at our lives and events in our world – we just don’t dwell there. We must look at the past as a way to learn from it and to share how we deal with adversity with those who might now be going through something similar.

The Highlight Site has been updated. Be sure to check out a wonderful video biography service.

March 20, 2004

Spring is officially here and nature is showing off in my neck of the woods! Sunshine, 80 degrees, birds are singing, trees are budding...and the yardwork is waiting for me to get with the program.

How to find the time between work, family and weeding? Well, just got to do it. Maybe when I retire I'll have more free time...ha ha. Speaking of a long career and ready to move to the next phase in life, Bill Moyers (journalist extraordinaire) has done a lot in his life and I enjoy watching his commentaries on PBS. Mr. Moyer is about to become a septuagenarian. I came across something he wrote about turning seventy and his upcoming retirement.

"All the septuagenarians I've interviewed through the years have taught me something. They lived long enough to turn their experience into wisdom, and to share it, which is the reason I wanted to talk to them in the first place; listening to the wisdom of the elders can be like tasting vintage wine."

The story is Farewell to the Sixties and you can read the full story here (from the site)

March 16, 2004

Here in the good 'ole USA it's natural to think about all the many immigrants who've come to our shores over the years (and continue to do so) - especially the many generations of Irish immigrants - yes, St. Patrick's day got me thinking about this. I'm not Irish myself, but there's no denying the impact on our history of those who've traveled from the Emerald Isle to America.

I admit I rarely think much about the multitudes who've migrated to other countries. But, today I discovered a fascinating web site that has preserved and gathered a great deal of information from the past 200 years of migration to England. You can see for yourself at the Moving Here site.

March 14, 2004

I was listening to the radio and heard once again the new song, "Sacred Love" from Sting (musician/songwriter/one-time lead vocalist for the group, the Police). The lyrics speak of spiritual searching as well as relationships and love and sensuality. Sting's a thoughtful guy.

Anyway, it reminded me of the quote I'd read from Sting's interview with Katie Couric on the Today Show a little while back. Seems he decided to do his autobiography and afterwards discovered benefits he hadn't expected.

Here's the quote: "I never thought I would write a book, frankly I was honor-bound really to dig deep and bring memories perhaps that had been suppressed for a long time that I would have preferred perhaps to have remained in the sediment of my life.

But having done that, going through this process, I now feel so much better. I've really forgiven people in my life and I've forgiven myself I feel much lighter because of it so the process has been wonderful.

I'm advising everyone I meet, all my friends, people on the street 'Write your own book, whether you publish it or not, it feels really good'."

It's nice to see Sting saying, in so many words, what we emphasize throughout this web site.

March 10, 2004

Are you familiar with the concept of an ethical will? It's a way to put in writing the values, life lessons, hopes, dreams and forgiveness with others, especially your family. The concept is not new - in fact it dates back to early biblical times.

Barry Baines does lots of work in this area and has a site dedicated to ethical wills at (great domain name!). He also tipped me to an article in the St. Paul, Minnesota "Pioneer Press" on spiritual-ethical wills. You can read the article here.

March 7,

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating
— George Bernard Shaw

"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a
better tomorrow."
— Doug Firebaugh

"He's no failure. He's not dead yet."
— William Lloyd George

Those three quotes should give you pause, inspiration and maybe a chuckle. The most important thing each of us should do each day is give thanks for another day and participate in life. Sometimes it's some solitude. At other times it's a party!

Writing/recording life stories requires work. You have to think about the past and assemble many memories as a way to contribute your story for future generations. Throughout this web site we discuss different methods to tell your story (written, audio, video, digital/online) and steer you towards services from quality personal historians.

Many people are surprised at the cost of a thorough life story project. I think it helps to look at what's involved. If you are interviewed, say, 10 hours, there is the time and effort of the interview (typically $30-50 an hour), the time to transcribe the interview (this can take easily 5 hours per hour of interview at another $25-45/hour), the writing, editing, scanning of pictures, binding and printing. If you were to do all of it yourself you would spend a significant amount of time and expense.

Hiring a professional gives you quality. It also helps by having someone who is not emotionally involved the way a family member is. Professional personal historians also have the experience and the expertise that many "do-it-yourselfers" don't. I bring all this up not to discourage anyone. But, please recognize the value of a high-quality life story. It's a treasure - an heirloom to live long after you are gone - and a way to pass on your gratitude, values and life lessons to those you care about it. It's hard to put a price on that.

Your Life is Your Story will continue to search out various life story methods and services and help match you up with the best provider for your special story.

March 4, 2004

We've been enjoying some wet weather here in our normally dry desert region of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Just today it's been an interesting mix of rain, sleet, hail and even a bit of snow. This is really important for us as we are in a long term drought.

If you are feeling a bit "dry" about your life story process, remember that doing better than nothing! That's why at the very least exploring the various options and information on a site like this one is a good start. Don't sweat it. Little steps still make progress.

I can't emphasize enough how beneficial keeping a journal can be. If you haven't checked out The Journal software that is featured currently on the Highlight Site section of this web site, please go there now. It's an awesome product and very affordable.

 Everybody has a story to tell!
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