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March, 2005

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March 31, 2005

We seem to be a celebrity obsessed society. So many people are fascinated with the lives of famous people. Maybe it is that we don't think our own lives are interesting enough. Of course, I don't believe that's true. But famous people will continue to capture the attention of many.

It's not necessarily a bad thing if we look at the lives of prominent people and learn something from them. That's the whole point of personal histories and the value they can hold for our friends, loved ones and even casual acquaintances or complete strangers.

The memoir market continues to churn out the "million stories in the naked city". Not of all them are worth a read, but certainly some are. A recent NY Times article (free registration required) looks at the plethora of memoir releases and the article's author has a sarcasm-laced pen. Still, it shows that writing memoirs is more than a passing fad. And I'm glad for that as I'm currently getting a great deal of enjoyiment from reading Bob Dylan's "Chronicles".

If you have a story worth telling I think you should pursue it. Not everyone is interested in publishing for mass consumption. Your life has value and your story matters, even if it is meant for no wider readership than your immediate family.

March 23, 2005

Do you know what you believe in? I mean the really core values and beliefs that guide your life. Most of us think we know what we believe in, but until you spend time with that question, including some writing, it might be vague and ill defined.

I know for me that what I believe in has evolved and changed over the years. The more time I have in my life journey the more I realize how important it is to stay open-minded and willing to consider various viewpoints. It's like the Bob Dylan song, "My Back Pages", with the great line, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

Back in 1951 esteemed journalist Edward R. Murrow created a radio series called This I Believe. He asked Americans from all walks of life — including former U.S. presidents, captains of industry, taxi drivers, actors and homemakers — to write brief essays about their most fundamental and closely held beliefs. Now NPR (National Public Radio) is resurrecting this concept and will begin to air essays from people about their beliefs on April 4th.

I think it is a great idea and a worthy project for each of us to write about. So, whether you are interested in submitting your essay to NPR (here) or just getting down on paper what you believe I want to encourage you to do it.

March 22, 2005

There continues to be more press coverage on the growing interest in ethical wills. I wrote about this previously (here), but you might also have seen an article that has been picked up by the Associated Press and printed in numerous papers. Lisa Cornwell captures in a consise article some of the many powerful reasons for writing your ethical will and you can read it here.

If you find you are interested in developing your own ethical will I highly encourage you. I am expanding my services to include interviewing and writing others' ethical wills. If you are interested feel free to contact me.

March 14, 2005

This past weekend we were delighting in warm sunshine. It was over 70 degrees on Saturday and it seemed that Spring hard surely sprung! It's not unusual for beautiful New Mexico to have those kinds of days, but it was the first of its kind for this year and we loved it.

But "Mother Nature" likes to show us that the weather can change unexpectedly. Today we had the most snow in Albuquerque all winter. Wet snow fell throughout the afternoon and it looks like a winter wonderland.

Getting strange twists in the weather can make for memorable days and these add to our stories. No doubt when I look back on March, 2005 I will remember how Winter turned to Spring and back to Winter in the blink of an eye.

March 13, 2005

It's amazing when you consider how advanced video recording has come in just a generation or two. Remember the old 16 millimeter recordings? Do you or your parents have any of those old reels around? We were impressed back then, but what a hassle to mess with the threading and playback!

Nowadays digital video is all the rage. It's great stuff and makes editing a much less complicated process. But, if you don't know some of the "ins" and "outs" of digital recording and editing then the process is intimidating.

Thank goodness there are people like Steve Pender around. His Family Legacy Video product and services are easy-to-follow and very professional. Naturally - he's been doing professional video work for years. He's also an able instructor and lover of family history. See more about Family Legacy Video at our "Highlight Site" page.

And here's a nice quote: "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."
Woodrow Wilson

March 6, 2005

What is it about people's stories that makes them compelling? When we hear of the experiences, the trials and tribulations, the triumphs and the tragedies of others we recognize that we all have many things in common.

It is especially powerful when the stories of family members teach us about life. We learn that the path we travel is our own but still shared. We see the links to our past and we can share a vision for the future. We transcend our preoccupation with self and recognize the need for transformation.

Tell your story. Tell it for the value it brings to family. Tell it for the lessons you learn, and continue to learn. Tell it with the language of the heart.

March 3, 2005

There is a growing interest in children, teenagers and young people telling their story. I think this is great! Get started at a young age and an interest in personal history will help throughout your life.

An email I received recently from one of the members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH), Amy J. Oaks Long of Old Willow Personal History, claims she has done a lot of work with children and teens writing their personal stories. See more here.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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