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Creating memory or tribute books about a wedding is an
interesting and worthwhile idea. But that finished book
usually comes out after the wedding is over. Ellen Braunstein
of Redlands, California - Courtship-Stories.com
- has come up with a product that celebrates the couple and produces a
stylish booklet in time for the wedding. She puts together
the love story of the newlyweds, professionally written, designed and
published for the wedding guests.
Braunstein came up with the idea for her Courtship Stories Wedding
Books after her own nuptials in 2000. She and her husband met
in a bold, new way in the mid 1990's - on the Internet! She
wanted a way to tell others about that "mouse-to-spouse" experience
that was more meaningful than "we met online".
She has written for magazines and newspapers for about 20 years and she
loves connecting intimately with couples at the happy time of their
engagement/wedding. It's the story of love. And these short (usually
12-16 pages printed on 80-pound card stock) full-color booklets are not
sappy or cliche. Ellen's writing is vivid and engaging and
the sample stories I read on her website
were all interesting.
Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over it is time to head back to
work for many of us. As we move into the final month of the
year time may seem to speed by. We all get quite busy with
our plans for the holidays and so forth.
Many people enjoy cooking this time of year, especially breaking out
the special family recipes. HeritageCookbook.com
is just one of the sites dedicated to preserving those family recipes
together with a bit of family history. Check them out online here.
You can get some more information about this subject at About.com
in their genealogy section - Creating a Family Cookbook.
It's Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I've been up for
a couple of hours now and I've made the stuffing, prepared the turkey
and put it all in the oven. A big meal with family is just hours away.
Now I am in a quiet house (the other family members are still sleeping)
and thinking about the many wonderful blessings of life. Even
those experiences that have been painful often help me stretch and
grow. Gratitude is an awesome spiritual principle.
In the monthly newsletter I send out (latest edition online
here) I wrote
about the country music hit song "Don't Blink" performed by
Kenny Chesney. As you spend time this holiday with family and
friends be present for it all, savor it and treasure it. Life
does indeed go faster than you think.
As the trend towards saving family history and life stories grows it
inevitably becomes more commericialized. This is part of the
process of moving this work into the mainstreem. Because not
everyone can afford the costs of working with a professional personal
historian and doing a lengthy, but completely satisfying, memoir
opportunities arise for big companies to offer more affordable options.
The more affordable way is not always the best, but at least it's a
start. I 'm all for people getting started!
A new option on the marketplace is The Legacy Keeper from Hallmark. Marcia
Cross, an actress from the popular show Desperate
the endorser. Some of the features of The Legacy Keeper are
easy-to-use MP3 recorder/player, booklet of interview questions, a
small photo album that holds twelve 4" x 6" photos, and multiple
compartments that fit things like invitations, brochures or programs, a
CD or DVD of photos, videos or music—and keepsakes such as
jewelry or house keys. More information here.
Certainly products like this backed by big corporations such as
Hallmark will raise the profile of family history preservation.
And that will only lead to more interest in getting help and
direction from those working in the personal history field - a very
The Association of Personal Historians annual conference is over.
It was held this year in Franklin, Tennessee. I
wasn't able to go, but since I am part of the email listserve and group
forum I get to see the rave reviews.
The theme of this year's conference was "Listen". When we
really listen to another we give them a great gift. We give them our
time, attention, recognition, appreciation and compassion.
Heartfelt listening is done with the eyes as well as the
ears. Personal historians have a challenging, but rewarding
job. The task of recording, writing and preserving another's
life experiences is an honor. We must not judge, but we may
often need to nudge. Maybe it is a bit like a midwife - we
help "birth" those reminiscences.
Stefani Twyford, a video and digital personal history specialist (Legacy Multimedia LLC) provides here insight on the conference, her
first, at her blog.
Here's a couple of post-Veteran's day considerations. The Blue Star Mothers
was founded to provide care packages to military members serving
overseas and also provides assistance to families who encounter
hardships as a result of their loved ones serving during times of war.
The chapter in my area is quite active and I've teamed with
them at my radio job for a number of events to help them collect
donations to put together those care packages.
I found out from the monthly AARP Bulletin about the Freedom Team Salute
program and how they provide recognition for Army vets and current
service members, and the Any Soldier program which matches donors with unit
volunteers and their requests, sending letters and packages to our
service members deployed overseas.
It is especially helpful during the holidays to send letters to our
service members. It helps them feel connected and shows our
appreciation. This is especially poignant for me with a good
friend currently into two months of his term at the military hospital
in Balad, just 60 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq.
The Veterans History Project
is not an official
military record archive and is intended only to supplement, not
substitute for, the historical record. This is a statement
posted on the VHP
site from the Library of Congress (see it here). That's an important
The statement points out, "The Veterans History Project (PL 106-380) is
a congressionally mandated, public-participation oral history project
to gather and preserve the personal wartime recollections of veterans.
Its objective is to build a body of personal histories, housed in the
American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, which illuminate
the human element and further enrich our own understanding of Americans
who have served in 20th- and 21st-century conflicts."
More importantly, the stories preserved through interviews with our
veterans give us a personal insight into their service, their wartime
experiences, and this can also be a way to show our respect and
appreciation for what our many veterans went through. If you want to
participate in this worthy project the information on how to
participate is included online, along with the
History Project Field Kit (required forms).
I want to take a moment to thank our veterans for their service on this
Veteran's Day holiday. I especially thank my father, who
waited most of his Air Force career before participating in combat in
Southeast Asia. He doesn't talk much about that (most vets
are private when it comes to those difficult experiences, something
that should be respected and care taken when conducting interviews),
but I know there were some turning points in his life as a result of
flying missions in Vietnam.
Here in New Mexico there is an impressive Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, formely owned
and operated by the David Westphall Veterans Foundation and now
operated by the New Mexico State Parks.
November 8, 2007
Right now the Association
of Personal Historians (APH) is
holding their annual conference in Franklin, Tennessee. I
very much wanted to attend, but could not. However, I know
the gathering will be beneficial for all those attending. The field of
personal historians is growing rapidly and the annual conferences are
an opportunity for learning and sharing. See more about the
APH conference here.
November 5, 2007
It was on this day in 1872 that famed suffragette Susan B. Anthony
defied US law and voted in the presidential election. She was
arrested and fined, but it drew great attention to the women's rights
movement. How many today take for granted their right to vote? At that
time it was illegal for women to vote.
It always takes courage and action to change things that are wrong in
society. And that change is usually opposed. As Albert Einstein once
spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre
November 1, 2007
More press for personal historians, specifically Jack Nelson (APH
member), who interviews people and writes their memoirs and
biographies. One of the things Jack does is add good dialogue and some
"color" to his clients' stories so that it reads like a good novel.
That's an important aspect of bringing to life our stories.
According to the story in the Charlotte
Observer, "Those are the things
people don't think of when they're telling their stories," he says.
Nelson's first project was the personal history of his father, at his
dad's request. It's not uncommon for professional biographers to start
out writing hte memoirs of family members. It has the added
benefit of getting to know those family members like never before.