Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Give the Gift of Your Family Story

Giving gifts can be challenging when money is tight.  You want to make sure you give a gift that will be useful and appreciated.  Giving a gift that isn't needed and won't be used is no fun for the giver or the receiver.  Of course, just the fact that someone wanted to give a gift to you is a gift.  We should always appreciate gifts that are given to us even if they aren't useful.

Giving a gift of your family's story can be a way to give a useful gift.  The gift might not be as appreciated at the present time as you may like, but it has a way of increasing in value.  After my sister's death, I valued anything she had written such as entries on a calendar of what she had done.  Many of her belongings became valuable to me and I have hung on to them for all these years.  I have so many questions I would ask my parents if they were still alive.  I would love to ask my grandparents and my great grandparents questions about their lives.  When I learn more about their lives, I learn more about my own.  I begin to see answers to why I am the way I am from things I learn about them.  I hope sharing family stories with my daughters will help them understand themselves more as well as learn about their ancestors.

You probably wouldn't have time to give a completed biography of every one of your ancestors (unless you've been working on it for a long time already) as a gift to each of your family members this year, but you can give a little bit of your family story.  You can give photos.  You can create an album or a scrapbook.  You can create a video with photos.  You can do a video interview of an older family member.  You can copy audio or video recordings with family members who have passed away.  You can write down some stories from your family and add related photos to the stories.  You can share a favorite recipe from a family member.  Some of these things would cost very little to share.  Others would take more of an investment mostly of time, but each could be a unique gift that may be treasured for years.

Consider sharing your family story as a special Christmas gift this year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Parable about Life

When I saw this video, I thought how true it is of life.  When you are writing your life story maybe it will help to remember this parable.  Life is not easy and we all have challenges, but there is a purpose to life.  Hopefully as you write your story you will see the purpose in your life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another question for your story:

How did you heat your home?

Heat in the winter time is a pretty important thing.  Different sources of heat are used.  When you were young what kind of heat did you have in your home?  What kind of heat do you have now in your home?  Did you have to work at having heat such as gathering wood and building a fire?  Or did you just turn up the thermostat to have heat?
When I was young we had a coal burning furnace.  It had a hopper which when filled completely would keep a fire burning for hours.  One of our chores as kids was to fill the hopper with coal.  The coal was in small round chunks that we shoveled into a bucket in the coal bin and then dumped into the hopper.  The coal would burn down into clinkers which had to be removed from the furnace firebox.  You didn't want to forget to fill the hopper if it was your turn.  If you forgot, the house would fill with smoke when the furnace ran out of coal.  Then everyone in the family would have to sit outside and wait for the smoke to clear out of the house.
I also learned the hard way to remember that the poker for removed the clinkers would get hot.  I accidentally let the poker touch the top of my foot.  That taught me to be much more cautious when working around the furnace.
I did enjoy the warm heat from the furnace.  It had a blower and the heat was blown through ducts into each room.  I liked to stick my feet over the side of my bed where the vent was and let them get really warmed up.  If you had wet clothes, they could dry quickly when hung over the vent.  If the power went out, the furnace still produced heat.  It just couldn't be blown throughout the house.  You had to stay close to the furnace to stay warm.  
Unfortunately burning coal leaves a fine layer of soot on the walls and ceilings, so every spring we got to wash down the walls and ceilings.  
Today I live in an all electric house.  Each room has radiant heaters in the ceilings.  I just turn on the thermostat and the heaters start to work.  I have a wood burning fireplace which gives very nice heat, but it is a lot of work to build and keep a fire going.
Write down what you did for heat throughout your life.  Write down what you liked about your source of heat and what you didn't like.  Write down what you did when your source of heat wasn't working.  Write down what source of heat your grandparents had.  Even the every day things like heat add to your story.