Thursday, December 11, 2008
Our family were recipients of Secret Santa gifts several times. The first time was when I was alone with two little girls, and the doorbell rang after 9 p.m. I looked out the window and saw no one at the front door. I started to imagine that maybe someone was planning to break into the house and wanted to see if we were home. I decided not to open the door, but went through the house and made sure every door and window was securely locked. I went to sleep rather nervous about why someone would ring the doorbell that late at night and then not be there. The next morning when I went to go out the front door I discovered a package containing two beautiful dolls left for my little girls. I wondered why I could have been so suspicious when someone just wanted to give my little girls a surprise Christmas gift. There were years when boxes of food, clothing, and toys were left on our front porch. One year a friend gave gift certificates to me before Christmas so I could use them for Christmas shopping for gifts for my daughters. Another year a package arrived through UPS. There was no return address on the package. The driver wanted to know who had sent us the package. We didn't know anyone who was sending a package. There was nothing inside the package either to indicate who it came from. No one ever asked if we received the package that they had sent. We never knew who that package of gifts came from. Then there were the gifts that were handmade or specially selected. Some of the best gifts have been the sacrifices of time and money made to be together as a family at Christmas.
Maybe recording some of your memories of Christmas could be the best gift you could give. Why not write your best Christmas memories and share it with your family. If money is tight, why not write your memories and add photos and make a special Christmas book or make a video and post it on YouTube or Flickr viewable by family or friends as a special gift. Sometimes we don't think we have anything to give, but we can always give memories.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
As Christmas approaches many people send out Christmas cards to family and friends. Many of my friends write a newsletter about what has happened in their family during the past year. They include the ages of their children, what grades they are in at school, what talents they have been developing, anything special they have accomplished. They include any significant changes in their lives such as moving to a new home, starting a new job, someone getting married and even illness and death in the family. They include photos of the family. They write about vacations or trips. In other words they create a short family history for the previous year. Such newsletters are great additions to your family's story.
After the rush of the holidays, take time to elaborate on the different events from the previous year. Write down memorable stories. Scrapbook photos from the family vacation or family-get-togethers. Write down what you learned from certain experiences. If you moved, did you find a faster or better way to pack up or unpack. If you were sick, did you learn something new that helped you get better faster. If you started a new job, what did you do to get the new job. Writing down what you learned may help you sometime in the future when you may have forgotten what you learned. It may also help another family member as they deal with a similar challenge.
If a new member was added to your family, write down what was exciting about their joining your family. If new friends or neighbors came into you life, write about them. Include pictures too. If someone left your life, write about them. Death, divorce, moving away, going to school all leave holes in your life that you can record your feelings about. Use this time of year when you reflect on what has happened over the course of the year to remind you of the things you want to write down so you can always remember them.
Damian - Fotolia.com
Monday, November 24, 2008
We benefit from the things those before us did. Each generation has a little more than the previous because of what the previous generation did. We don't have to reinvent what previously has been invented, so instead we can improve on it.
This Thanksgiving take time to write down what you are thankful for in your life and what you are thankful for from your family and your ancestors. Let that feeling of gratitude bless your life.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
As you record stories from you life, remember the perspective of future generations who may read your accounts may be very different from your perspective.
When you record stories of your ancestors, write them as they told them. You may learn something that will change your perspective and you may find their accounts are indeed true.
Monday, November 3, 2008
November reminds me of all the things I am grateful for. I love the beautiful colors of the leaves. I remember as a child particularly liking the golden color of the cottonwood trees against the clear blue sky in the fall. I still love golden leaves, but I also like the red leaves and brown leaves that have interesting patterns. I love driving through canyons and seeing large areas of gold, then red, then brown, orange or green. I've even found the tumbleweeds change color in the autumn--sometimes red or purple as well as brown.
I love harvesting tomatoes, zuchinni, swiss chard, beets, squash, grapes and other produce. The work of preparing soil and planting seeds in the springtime, watering and fighting weeds in the summer is rewarded with delicious food in the fall. Growing up, I helped my mother can many fruits and vegetables so we could eat them during the winter.
I am so grateful for heat and light as the days grow colder and shorter. I count my blessings to have warmth and light. Today I am grateful to turn a dial and have heater turn on. I do remember wonderful warm fires that my husband would build in the fireplace. I remember the coal-burning stove that my grandmother had that felt so good on a cold fall or winter night. I remember one October when the snow came early before the leaves and fallen from the trees. It was wet and heavy and tree branches came down all across the valley. Power lines came down with the branches. The power company worked hard to restore power. Main lines were back up within hours, but other lines especially ones in backyards took up to three days to be restored. I was so grateful to have a wood-burning stove to keep us warm, and I truly appreciated candles. My daughters, who were quite young then, thought it was a great adventure. I appreciated their enthusiasm for the new experience, as it kept me from getting too discouraged. I was truly grateful when the power line to our house was back in place, and heat and light were available again with the flick of a switch.
As you think back about your memories of this time of year, what things are you grateful for. Write down the memories that may help and encourage your family. Some times we forget how much we are blessed with. It is easy to focus on what we lack instead of on what we have. Our lives have a different perspective when we think of what we appreciate. Share your blessings by recording what you are grateful for.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Halloween is fast approaching. What do you remember about the Halloween celebrations in your life?
I remember trick-or-treating in our small town. You would get apples and popcorn balls and assorted candy. At the home of my great aunt and uncle they gave out a gingersnap cookie. We took a clean pillowcase to carry our treats in. We never worried about someone trying to poison us or hurt us. The worst that might happen was being asked to do a trick before we could get a treat. I’m not very good at doing tricks. At our church there would be a party with a spook alley made in the basement. You got a little scared, but it was never gruesome. Costumes were always put together or home-sewn. You could be a witch with a black dress and a purchased black hat and maybe a broom; or you could be a tramp wearing worn out clothes, putting a colorful large handkerchief on the end of a stick and putting cold cream and black soot on your face.
Write down the kinds of treats you remember for Halloween. What kinds of treats have you made for parties? Including the recipes may make it especially nice for your children or grandchildren when some day they want to make the same treat. Write down how you decorated your home and your yard. Describe the jack-o-lanterns you made. Write down the costumes you wore and how you created them. Include pictures.
Did you ever help create a spook alley or a haunted house? What did you do to make it scary? How did people react to it? My daughter and I helped created a haunted house in the building next door to our house. We knew everything that was done to give the scary effects. My daughter dressed up and played the part of a widow telling spooky stories. It didn’t seem that scary when created, but some children ended up crying and needed to be comforted and reassured. My daughter discovered that some of her classmates at school did not recognize her, and they were very surprised to find out that she had played the part of the widow. We took pictures and made a slideshow video.
Write down how different Halloween was for you as a child and how it is for your children and grandchildren. If your parents or grandparents are still alive, ask them what Halloween was like for them and write it down for your children and grandchildren.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Every year the harvest is challenging. There is a lot of extra work to do in a very short period of time. Growing up I remember helping my mother as she canned peaches and apricots and pears. She made jams and butters from the fruit. She canned tomatoes, green beans and squash. She even made green tomato preserves when a frost came too soon for the tomatoes to ripen.
What kinds of things do you remember from the harvest times in your life? Did you enjoy fresh picked fruits and vegetables? Did you help can, dry or freeze fruits or vegetables for the winter? Did snow and cold come suddenly or gradually? Did you welcome the cooler weather or did you hate to see summer go?
Record in your life story the things about harvest time that you remember. Maybe you could even include a recipe for jam or jelly you made that was especially good. Write about the feelings you had during this busy time of year.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
When writing your story, sometimes it helps to have something to trigger your memories. Knowing what happened in the world during certain years can give you perspective on what happened in your family. For instance, my father did not go on to high school. When I look at the time frame, it was in the middle of the Depression. The closest high school was fifteen miles away. He probably would have had to board in the town where the high school was. Money was probably an issue, and so he choose to stay and help out his sister and brother-in-law with their farm instead of going on to high school. Later in his life he wished he had gotten more education, but he accomplished a lot in his life despite the lack of education. He built the home we grew up in, putting in all the electrical and plumbing himself. He repaired his own cars, trucks and farm equipment. He built chicken coops and corrals and a granary.
By looking at what was going on in the world, I can understand better why my dad didn't go on to high school. There are many events that affect our lives, so it is helpful to look at what was going on in the world at the time. Using a tool such as Personal Historian Software can make writing a family's story much easier. A free trial is available if you want to try it out.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
What do you remember about going back to school? Were you excited or were you scared? Did your first day go well or did you forget something you needed or did you get lost? Write down what you remember about going back to school. It may be just the thing one of your grandchildren may need to hear.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Does life ever seem that way to you? Some times just stopping to write down what has been happening can help. By writing down what you have done, you can see how much you have accomplished even though you weren't able to do everything you wanted to do. As each birthday passes by we are reminded of how short life really is. Taking time to write down what we have done can give us a realistic perspective on our lives.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
As I raised my children we lived in a city. A parade was held on July Fourth in our neighborhood, so we would go to watch the parade. There were a few carnival rides set up at the park a couple of blocks from us, so we would go to the carnival and then in the evening at the park there would be fireworks set off, so we would go to watch them.
Then we moved to a small town in western Nevada. Here there was a big celebration for Armed Forces Day, but nothing was done on the Fourth of July. If you wanted to celebrate the Fourth of July with a parade or fireworks, you had to travel at least 50 miles or more. The past few years efforts have been made to have something here for an Independence Day celebration. It was found that fireworks could be purchased cheaply if arranged with a company that had set off fireworks in another city or town to do a fireworks display on July 5th on their way back. So now we could travel elsewhere for a celebration on the 4th or we can camp or picnic close to home and then on the 5th we can watch fireworks.
Maybe our way of celebrating the Fourth of July isn't really interesting to you, but the way you celebrate the Fourth of July may be very interesting to your grandchildren and great grandchildren. It can be another important part of you story.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Summer time is often a more relaxed time of the year, especially for kids. School is out and time is less structured. What do you remember most about your summer vacations? What did you do when you didn't have to do anything? Answering questions like these gives a lot of insight into your life. If you liked to lay in the grass and watch the clouds go by, that tells a lot about you. If you liked to run or ride a bike or do something else full of activity that tells something else about you. Did you read a lot? Did you play sports with others? Did you practice a musical instrument? Did you grow a garden? Did you draw pictures? What you spent you time doing shows what was most important and enjoyable to you. The things you did certainly shaped you and help you to become the kind of person you are. Record the things you enjoyed doing and record the things you had to do even if you didn't enjoy doing them. The chores we had to do, the difficult things we had to deal with, the problems we had to solve all helped us to become the way we are. Writing them down will help give insight into your life and into why you are the way you are.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
In our town Armed Forces Day is celebrated in a big way. There is a parade, activities in the park, an art show, business decorating contest, vendors and activities, fireworks and a light show. No other holiday is celebrated with as many events. Since there is a lot to do in our small town on this holiday, it has become a time for family get-togethers.
Celebrations like this give families opportunities to do things together and to create memories. Take photos on occasions like these. Write down what things you did to celebrate the holiday. Many memories will be good ones, but occasionally a memory will be of an unforgetable experience that wasn't fun, such as getting sick or missing one of the events you really wanted to attend. Writing down what was memorable from a celebration adds a lot to your story.
Monday, May 5, 2008
You could make a special Mother's Day card with these memories to give to her. You could probably do this every year and not run out of memories. You could give her a binder to keep the cards in and add to it each year. A simple way to make a binder would be to cut a piece of card stock a little larger than the cards and decorate it. Then one-half inch from the center score down the middle on one side and then score one-half inch from the center down the other side. Now fold each side over at the scored lines. This should make a spine for the binder. Tie narrow ribbons or other fibers tightly around the spine with just enough give that a card could be slipped between the ribbon and the spine. A sturdier binder could be made with chipboard or mat board. Several members of the family could make cards and give with the binder to a mother or a grandmother for a nice completed gift.
Whatever you choose to give your mother for Mother's Day adding your written down memories will make it an even more special gift.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Several years ago a mother might have spent an ordinary day caring for her children, walking them to school, preparing the family meals, cleaning the home, sewing clothing, growing a garden, harvesting and preserving the produce from the garden, mending clothing, and playing games with her children or reading books to them and singing songs before bedtime.
Today a mother may pour bowls of cereal for a quick breakfast then drive the children to a care provider or school while she goes to work at a job for eight hours. After work she picks up her children, takes them to dance lessons, or music lessons, or sports practice, then she grabs fast food for supper since she is too tired to cook. She supervises the children's homework, turns on the television afterwards to unwind, checks her email then plays her favorite music CD before drifting off to sleep.
We spend our time today doing things that weren't even imagined 100 years ago, but it can be just as hard for someone living now to imagine what life was like 100 years ago. Recording the ordinary things from each day can help. So as you write your story, remember the ordinary things.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Next go through family records and find what information you can there. Birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, deeds and other documents will have some information that may help you learn more about your ancestors. Letters and cards may also give information. Even a calendar may have events and appointments written on.
Next check family photos. Some one may have written information on the back of photos. Names are commonly written on photos, and dates and locations may also be written. You may also get information like how many children there were in a family by counting the number of children in a family group photo. You may also see what a home was like or where the family traveled to in the photos.
Next search online. A good website for researching your ancestors is www.familysearch.org. Here you can put in a family name and you may find a lot of research has already been done on some members of your family. You may also choose to subscribe to a website where you can access more records to search for your ancestors. You can put the name of a person in and search the web for that name. I found a website on one of my ancestors that way.
After finding information on your family members, you may want to make a pedigree chart or a family group sheet to preserve that information and display it in your home or in a scrapbook.Ron Tate Signature Collection - Series I Heritage
Friday, March 28, 2008
There are other sayings I really like. I could use those throughout a scrapbook to show what quotes have influenced my life. Think of those quotes that mean a lot to you and how they could enhance your life story.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
These two YouTube videos were made by my second daughter. I enjoy looking at what she has done. The talents in your family make life interesting. Include some of the things your family has done that shows the talents of family members. Some talents may not be easy to show as a video is, but you can write about the talent, take a photo of the person doing what they are talented at or show the results of the talent such as a picture of a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Most people have several talents, so keep on adding when you think of additional talents.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I would like to know more of how the Depression affected my parents who were in their teens and early twenties during that time, but since they have passed away I can only surmise how it affected them. I think my father only finished 8th grade partly because of the Depression. He chose to work on his sister's and brother-in-law's farm instead of traveling 15 miles to attend high school every day or possibly having to board in the town where the high school was. My mother did finish high school, but she lived in the town where her high school was.
Today, in the city three of my daughters live in, a young women who has been missing for about a month was found murdered. Police are searching for a serial rapist. My daughters have changed some of their routines to protect themselves.
When we hear of disasters like hurricanes, floods, and other disasters that may cause people to evacuate their homes, we plan to prepare items to take with us quickly in case we need to evacuate. Recording what we did to prepare for disaster and how we may have coped with a disaster adds a lot to our stories. Several years from now our grandchildren or great grandchildren may be interested to know how did we cope with the events going on around us.
Remember to consider what is happening in the world around you and how it has affected you as you write your story.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
We always had a dog and some cats while I was growing up. Being on a farm, cats were a blessing as they kept the mice population under control. At one time we had 13 cats all black with little white spots under their chins. They lived in the woodpile behind our home. An illness swept through the cats killing all but one. She survived, but had a croaky voice from then on so Croaky became her name.
These are just a couple of stories about pets that I remember from my life. What stories do you remember about your pets? Writing them down will add a new dimension to your life story. What do your children remember about their pets? What did your parents think about the pets you had? How did you get your pets? Were they rescued from the pound or from an abusive home? Were they born to other pets you owned? Were they gifts? Did they show up as strays and you let them stay? Record the funny stories of things they did. Record the heart-warming stories of the love they showed to you and others. Add photos of the different aspects of their lives. When you have finished you will have a wonderful addition to your story.
Following is a link to a slideshow my daughter made about the pets in her life. It's an added dimension to our family's story.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Saturday, January 5, 2008