Memories and Music

Memories and Music

Music Evokes Memories

Do you associate a certain song with a memory? Often music captures our emotions and for years to come we're reminded of a certain person or a special event. Of course, some songs may conjure up memories of a loss you suffered or difficulties faced.

For example, in 1968 Marky Hopkin's song, Those Were the Days came out. For me this was a time of new experiences. I had just gotten married and was ready to start a family. Leaving my parents home to start my new life gave me a feeling of freedom. In 1985 Stevie Wonder's hit, I Just Called to Say I Love You, was popular. At that time I was having marital problems and since then every time I hear that song it gives me a melancholy feeling.


Writing With Emotion

Music enters through our ears, penetrates our hearts and exits through our emotions. Music evokes memories. When writing your story about a certain period of your life -- adolescence, young adulthood, mid-life -- make a list of songs you listened to during that time and write about the memories associated with them.

Another way to capture memories is to play music from a certain era. If you are a Pandora user, you can just enter singer, song or year and it will create a station from that period. When listening to the music,  you will  find that memories start to surface. Write them down and include the emotion you felt at that time.

Enjoy your journey into music past.




Finding Time to Find the Time

Finding Time to Find the Time

If I were to tell you to sit down and write your autobiography, most of you would run for the door. Who has time to do that? While a few of you may have the ability and time to write your “complete” story, for most it is an overwhelming task. Instead, I encourage you to write story “vignettes.” The dictionary describes a vignette as 1) short, usually descriptive literary sketch, and 2) a short scene or incident, as from a movie.  This makes it sound much easier, doesn’t it... to share “short scenes” from your life?



Of course, the next problem we all face is finding the time to write our memories. While our lives are filled with a lot of "have to dos," upon further inspection we find there are some "quiet times" in our day. For early risers, this may be when you first get up and no one else is yet awake. For night owls, it may be after the family has gone to bed. And, of course, there's that space of time when we are eating lunch or taking a break. I suggest you find the time that is right for you and make that your MEMORY TIME.


Some researchers say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, others say 66 days... whichever it may be, that is our goal. Make MEMORY WRITING a habit. Make it an important part of your day that you accomplish without any more thought than you do to brushing your teeth... it's just automatic.



Once you've determined the "when," you need to determine the "where." Find a location where you are comfortable and can mentally reminisce about your life events. Remember that we are trying to make this a habit, so all your stories don't have to be 5-6 pages long, instead you just need to write something -- a page or two, or a paragraph or two. The main thing, WRITE SOMETHING!




Now that figured out the "when" and "where" to write, you need to determine the "how." Do you like to handwrite your stories in a tablet? Or do you prefer typing them on your computer or typewriter? I prefer typing as my handwriting isn't all that great... sometimes I can't even read it. And best of all, I like to write mine on my personal Legacy Writer's Platform where I can safely store them (cloud-based storage) and easily share them via email with family members. You can learn more about the Writer's Platform by going to The Platform is also included when you purchase the Your Legacy, Your Life book package. Check it out at


Once you start writing your memories, you'll find you have created a gift that will be enjoyed for years to come. Enjoy the process and be assured that the end results will well be worth the effort.


What is Hanukkah?

What is Hanukkah?

Yesterday (Sunday, December 6th) was the first day of Hanukkah. Throughout my life I've heard references to this Jewish celebration, but I never really know what it was all about. This year I've decided it's time to find out. Here are some facts I've learned about Hanukkah:

1. Hanukkah is celebrated for when the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. After being liberated, people entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Judah and his followers built a new altar, which he dedicated on the 25th of the month of Kislev, in the year 3622.

Since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light only for one day. By a miracle of God, it continued to burn for eight days, until new oil was made available. That miracle proved that God had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, the sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.

2. The Menorah is a candelabra that is a symbol representing Jewish faith. A version of it, the Hanukiah, is a nine candle candelabra and is used for celebrating Hanukkah. The middle candle is used for lighting the others. It's called the Shamash. Each candle represents the miracle of the oil burning for eight days instead of one (see #1 for story).

3. Two Blessings are chanted or recited each night of Hanukka by a family member or members as the candles are lit The first blesses the candles and the second expresses thanks for the miracle of deliverance. The lighting occurs at sundown and the Hanukiah is placed in a window so it can be seen from outside.

4. Latkes (potato pancakes) and Sugfaniyot (jelly donuts) are cooked in oil and traditionally eaten during Hanukkah. They serve as a symbol of the legend of the jar of oil that lasted for eight days.

5. The Dreidel is a gambling toy that is often used to play a game in Jewish homes all over the world during Hanukkah. It is inscribed on each of it's four sides with a word - Nun (nothing), Gimmel (everything), Hey (half) and Shin (put in). Click here to learn how to play it.

6. Gelts are gold coins that were initally given to the children during Hanukkah and in turn were given to teachers in appreciation of the education they provided. However, the precise origin of the gelt is unclear. The most popular explanation is that coins became a symbol of the holiday because the ancient Jews’ ability to make their own coins was a symbol of the independence they gained in the battles that the festival of lights commemorates. Today these coins are often chocolate pieces wrapped in gold foil to represent gelts.

These are only highlights about Hanukkah and the traditions enjoyed during the celebration. The complete story of Hanukkah (Chanukah) can be found here.

I encourage each of you to research further. Only by learning more about different cultures can we learn to appreciate and respect the differences in each others beliefs.

Happy Hanukkah!

P.S. It's a great time to write about your family traditions and what they mean to you.


Legacy Writing: Filling in the Spaces

Legacy Writing: Filling in the Spaces

(Logan, UT- October 17, 2013) Yesterday I had the privilege of traveling 200 miles, round trip, to attend Linda Weaver Clarke's Family Legacy Writing Workshop at the Salt Lake City library. A previous librarian herself, Linda is known for writing what she calls soft romances, or clean novels. She became involved with legacy writing when she decided to write her parent's early history.

Starting with some great stories about her parents' youths, she wrote about their lives up to their marriage. Of course, along the way there were some gaps in their lives that needed to be filled and details added to make the story come alive to readers. Linda said she accomplished a lot of this by researching the time period she was writing about.

Linda's research covered the area or place where the story takes place, a description of the character, and the time period of the incident. She learned about the trends and fashions of the day, the political climate of the era, product and service pricing and more. By incorporating some of this information into the book, she was able to help the reader better understand some of the stories that were told and to add the detail needed to make the story seem real.

She reminded us that knowing things as simple as the games the children played, rhymes they said, and songs they sang can add additional detail to a story.

One of the attendees asked about adding dialogue (in quotes) to the manuscript, even though she didn't know what the person actually said. Linda said that if the story had been told to them first-hand by the person, and they felt comfortable doing so, they should feel free to add it.

However, I want to add that another way this can be handled is to write a sentence, prior to the quoted sections, something like this... I imagine a dialogue similar to this took place .... or I can visualize a conversation ensued that was something like this... This let’s the ready know that you did not have first-hand knowledge of the conversation, yet still adds a nice conversational tone to the story.

Legacy Writing: “I’m Not a Writer”

Legacy Writing: “I’m Not a Writer”

In the last blog I challenged you to start writing your memories and stories. However, I know a lot of you are probably thinking, "Wait, I'm not a writer!"

That's okay. You don't have to be technically correct when you're writing your stories. Don't worry about the sentence structure, periods and commas right now. Instead, let your personality shine through in your writing.

For example, if your grandfather were writing his memories and he included slang words he used on a regular basis, wouldn't that help you better know him... the real him. It would be terrible if he wrote his stories and then had a professional editor correct his writing, losing the "flavor" of the story.

When we see a natural style, we are astonished and delighted; for we expected to see an author, and we find a man. -- Blaise Pascal, philosopher, mathematician (1623-1662)

So, just let the words flow as you tell your story.

Some of you still may be hesitant about writing your memories. In this case you might try recording them. Your audio recorder will work just fine. However, you might also try After setting up a free account, you can call in and record your conversation. When you're done, the recording can be downloaded.

If you don't like talking to yourself, invite a family member or friend to join you (just provide them with a call-in number and password to join the call). It's a good idea to determine beforehand thetime of your life you want to talk about; i.e. childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, or senior years. This will make it easier to keep your recordings organized when you are done.

Additional resources are listed in our Resource Section -

If you've already started collecting your memories, let us know what has worked best for you?


Legacy Writing: “Everything is Just Wonderful!”

Legacy Writing: “Everything is Just Wonderful!”

Have you ever been around someone whose life is perfect? Their children have never caused them a second of concern, and their spouse is wonderful and attentive. Friends and neighbors love them and they’re so popular that everyone wants to spend time with them. They have all the money they need and only buy the best of everything.

Do you know what I say to that? It’s a bunch of BS (excuse my acronym J). I don’t believe there is any person who has a perfect life. I don’t know of any parent who hasn’t had sleepless nights because of kids or a fight with his or her spouse. Life, no matter how rosy colored your glasses are, is not perfect.  So why do some people have such a hard time admitting that?

Perhaps they think others will think less of them if they know the truth? Or just maybe they can’t even admit the truth to themselves.  However, the way I feel is that hard times help you to grow. There is a lesson to be learned from every difficult situation we experience. And, those hard times help us appreciate the good times when they come.

Children need to grow up knowing it is okay to make mistakes. As I told my children… “There are two types of mistakes, those you do over and over again and those you learn a lesson from and try never to do again.  Learn from your mistakes… make them good ones.”

The next time your child makes a mistake, instead of being upset, sit them down and ask, “What is the lesson you have learned from doing this?” and “Why shouldn’t you do it again?” Help them to learn from their mistakes.

It’s also okay for others to know you are not perfect. It’s much easier to be around someone who isn’t perfect. That being said, make sure when you write your personal stories that you don’t just write about the happy times, but share some of the difficulties you have experienced in life and how you have overcome them. Being honest about your mistakes can help someone else avoid making the same mistake.

In Your Legacy, Your Life, I have included a special section called “No Fear” Writing. I encourage you to take the time to read it… then write about some of challenges you have faced in your life, and share them with others.




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