Story and Why
"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Giving Peace Talks Radio a Chance
November 30, 2021
Today is "Giving Tuesday" and every good cause and non-profit around is
asking for help. It is good that there are so many organizations doing
things to help our society and our world.
Of course we can't give to all who ask. At least I know I have to be
selective. But I do believe in a radio program series that is entering
its 20th year. Peace Talks Radio is
the radio and online series on peacemaking and nonviolent conflict
resolution. Paul Ingles and his crew are constantly producing great
programs that delve into ways to promote peace in our world and to find
better ways to deal with conflict. I am sure it is a labor of love. But
they do need financial support to produce their programs.
some past shows and you can also donate if you believe in what they do.
When we think about what matters and how our life stories can be part
of promoting a better and more peaceful society it can, and should,
inspire us to be part of giving peace a chance. Giving Peace Talks Radio a chance to continue their mission is worthwhile.
Life Loaves and Loafing
November 24, 2021
I baked my first loaf of bread yesterday afternoon. That's right, at
the age of 65 I actually mixed the ingredients, kneaded the flour,
folded the loaves (there were two small ones), let it sit while the
yeast did its thing, and then put it in the oven. When it was finished
there was the wonderful aroma and the great taste that only freshly
baked bread can deliver. Delicious!
Look, I know that's not really a huge accomplishment. Many people can
bake bread. It's been happening for thousands of years! But don't judge
me. I love bread, but I typically get it from the store or the bakery.
Or when fortunate enough, from someone else's home baked creation.
The thing is, I had all the ingredients provided to me by our KIDS COOK
teacher at the elementary school where I teach. Ms. Valerie is great
and the kids love our monthly cooking sessions. We learn about food,
nutrition, and we get the hands on experience of creating a meal. It's a great life skill, not just for children, but for anyone.
Life can be a bit like baking bread. We have our ingredients and they
mix together and with the yeast of living we rise to the ocassion to
meet our many challenges and learn from the experiences.
The loafing pun in this post's title comes from the need to sometimes
take our rest and maybe even do nothing. So often people are go, go,
go. Today I have a day off from teaching and it has given me an
opportunity to take it easy, even just sit still a bit. Perhaps it is a
good preparation before joining with family tomorrow for our
Thanksgiving family meal. That will be a time of joyful celebration and
it might get a bit noisy and busy. Actually it will get very noisy and
busy. We all chip in. I'm cooking the turkey (yes, I've done that
before several times).
For the noisy busy times I give thanks. And for those loafing times I
also have gratitude. Now maybe I'll go have a piece of that baked bread.
NPR Tips for an Oral Family History
November 19, 2021
I've championed people preserving their family and personal history for
nearly twenty years. While my specialty is helping people write a
memoir or life story, there are other wonderful ways to keep your life
According to an NPR (National Public Radio) story
there are some great practical tips to prepare before you record a
family member's story. First of all, you don't have to use expensive
audio or video equipment, although some people do prefer to create a
high quality documentary. The recording app on your smartphone can work
Before you begin an interview spend some time brainstorming what you
want to accomplish. Is there a particular person, time period, event or
story you want to capture? Who is the best storyteller to interview?
And one of the best pieces of advice is to remember the interview is
not an interrogation. It's a conversation. It is good to warm up the
conversation with some basic fact gathering like a favorite childhood
memory. I think creating a memory list is always a good idea and from that list you can decide what you want to cover in your interview/conversation.
Another important consideration is to let the person you are recording
know ahead of time some of the topics you'd like to discuss. This is
especially important when it might be sensitive. If they don't want to
talk about it then don't press it. If they do, then be sure to listen
carefully including during the pauses. Some people need some time
before responding to the really important questions, particularly when
they are recalling something difficult or sensitive.
The holidays are often a good time to plan to preserve some family
stories. Your family history is the stories that we carry with us about
our life experiences. Now as we approach another Thanksgiving holiday,
this could be a great time to have a conversation.
The Lands of Native American Heritage
November 14, 2021
November is Native American Heritage Month.
Given the history of the United States and the treatment of the
indigenous people here long before European colonists, this month can
be an opportunity to be honest about how we treat both the land and the
The U.S. Department of the Interior
has a mission to protect America's natural resources and
heritage, and to honor our cultures and tribal communities. It seems
only right that we now have a Secretary of the Interior who is a Native
American. Deb Haaland is a 35th generation New Mexican, hails from the
Laguna Pueblo, and is part of a family who has dedicated themselves to
public service. There is a fascinating profile of her in the Fall issue of GRAND Magazine.
One of the things it seems is difficult for many peope is to learn from
other cultures with an open mind and willingness to see what they have
to offer that can help us all live better lives. I have no Native
American blood in my family line that I am aware of. But I certainly am
in favor of ideas of living with a respect for our land, natural
resources and way of life that promotes peace, harmony and
I live in New Mexico, a state rich in cultural diversity and with a
large number of native peoples and tribes. I try to learn from them and
as an elementary school teacher share that with my students. Of course,
they often teach me, especially those with personal connections to the
lands of Native American Heritage.