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.






What's one of the best way to share with your children and grandchildren who you are as a person?

Share you opinion on topics of importance to you. Here's something I wrote to share with my family.



With an election leering around the corner, political opinions are rising to a crescendo. I find it interesting, and maybe a little irritating, to watch as Republican candidates bash Hillary and Democrats smugly think their candidate is a shoo-in. This year, it seems that everyone has picked a side and are adamant that theirs is the RIGHT one! And if you don't agree, you are WRONG! Candidate bashing has gone to a new and unhealthy level, yet it's all a matter of opinion.


Opinions are an interesting thing in of themselves. We're told to avoid topics such as politics and religion because most people will furiously defend their views on these topics, and if you want to keep your friends and not alienate family members then don't talk about these things. However, there are a lot of other topics that people take a stance on that maybe should be avoided.... or not.


For example, grandparents giving parenting advice to their children. A friend recently told me she did this and was told by her daughter, "I'm the parent!" I can remember telling my dad the same thing. Shouldn't years of experience give grandparents the right to express their opinions? As a grandparent, I like to think so. As a young mother .... probably not. Parenting is a tough job, probably the toughest a person will ever do, and no one is an expert. As parents we make our mistakes and we have to live with them.... sometimes until those mistakes are well into their 40s or beyond. As grandparents we have lived and we have learned and, well, we raised them and they turned out okay so maybe that gives us the right to share our opinion.... Right?


As for sharing my opinions with my grandchildren, I'm sure they would rather I didn't... especially on the topic of tattoos. I raised my children to believe it was a sin to write on themselves. If they came home from school with ink on their arms, they were immediately sent to the washroom to scrub, scrub and scrub some more until all traces were removed. I taught them that paper was to draw on... not your body! However, kids now-a-days are having permanent pictures inked all over themselves. In my opinion that is stupid, in their opinion it is art. I question as to whether their taste in art has changed over the years and to consider that someday they may not like the decorations on their bodies. However, they are convinced I'm just old fashioned... maybe I am. But I still believe that someday they will regret it... ummm, that's just my opinion.


When I was a teenager, pierced ears became the style. Parents were totally against us making our ears into permanent earring holders. At church we were warned against it. So instead of having it professionally done, we put ice on our ears and when they were numb enough, jabbed a darning needle through them. In my opinion, my parents were old fashioned. In their opinion, I was stupid.


On a more serious note is the topic of abortion. I think most people have an opinion on this topic. I have friends who have had abortions. Apparently I don't believe in them because I have 7 children. I don't like the thought of a developing fetus being aborted, but then again I don't like the thought of an 11 year-old girl who has been raped being forced to have a child. There are many sides to look at when forming an opinion.


As 4.1 million Syrian refugees flee from a deadly regime, the rest of the world is faced with the decision of letting them into their countries, or not. Turkey and Lebanon have taken in well over 1 million each. To date Canada has welcomed 25,000 refugees and is committed to admitting another 32,000 by the end of 2016 (1), while the United States has pledged to host 10,000 by the end of 2016 (2). As of 2015, the United States had given the largest share of financial aid, $601 million or 33% of the total given ... and a lot of people will have something to say about that.(3)


Now most people have an opinion as to whether any refugees should be allowed to enter our countries... after all aren't we opening the door for terrorists to come in?  Aren't Syrian's the enemy? Yet if we look individually at the families that are fleeing, we see parents who are terrified that they and their children will be killed. As parents, I'm not sure any of us would be any different if our families faced a similar threat. It seems that when we look at things from a satellite perspective, we fail to acknowledge the humanity of each person involved. Of course, that's just my opinion.


On every topic we will find people with opinions different from ours. It's what makes us unique. I think the saddest thing would be to never develop an opinion on anything, and like sheep just go with the herd... or the most boisterous. Sometimes it may be better to keep our opinions to ourselves. However, when sharing our opinions, it's important to listen to and respect the opinions of others. Just remember, it's our opinions that make us US… and that’s just my opinion.


Sharing your opinions and passions with your posterity will help them to better understand who you are and what you believe. Take the time today to share your thoughts.


Riding the Waves of Life

Riding the Waves of Life

Recently my husband's close friend lost his wife in a tragic accident. He had also lost a son about one year prior to this. Our hearts go out to him and his family as we wonder how they can endure their losses. I then read this article written by a friend and business associate, Steve Rizzo, for SUCCESS magazine.
I think it is an excellent piece that can help all of us endure and move on when life delivers it's hard blows. According to the article, we need to give ourselves "permission to smile and be thankful for the things in our lives."

Will You Ride the Waves of Life, or Let Them Pull You Under?
By Steve Rizzo (as appears in SUCCESS Magazine)

A few weeks after Kelly’s mother died, we were together at a business lunch. I’ve known Kelly for years and I like her because she is a warm, energetic and unusually sympathetic person. She was picking at her Caesar salad that day, looking sad. I knew about her mother, so I asked her how she was doing. She looked at me, her eyes immediately filling with tears. She smiled and told me that although it had been emotionally draining to watch her mother’s battle against cancer, the whole experience had made her even more grateful for the good things in her own life.

Bearing witness to a loved one’s death is always a painful experience. I’ve gone through the same with both of my parents. Kelly told me that months before her mom passed, the anxiety over the illness had been affecting her relationships with other family members and distracting her from her usual enthusiasm for her work. The grief made it difficult to enjoy her life.

Kelly knew something had to change or she might slip into a full-blown depression. Studies by Ohio State University and the Houston VA Medical Center have shown that up to 41 percent of caregivers are so emotionally depleted by the time a death occurs that they find themselves tumbling into depression on top of natural their grief response.

Kelly told me she’d had a realization before her mom died that was life-changing. One day, before visiting her mother in the hospital, Kelly noticed she was feeling different than usual. As she pulled into the parking lot, she noticed she felt acceptance about her mother’s condition and was strangely at peace. She thought back over her drive. Everything was as usual: same route, same time of day, same routine.

But something was different. What was it? That’s when Kelly realized that she hadn’t been thinking of her mom’s situation during the drive to the hospital. Instead, something funny her kids had done was commanding her attention. She had been totally absorbed in that joy.

In that moment, Kelly had a sudden understanding that although she was hurting, she could also simultaneously appreciate and enjoy her life. She saw it was unrealistic to deny that she felt a whole range of emotions—from pain over her mother’s condition to the joys of her own experience of motherhood. In that moment, she gave herself permission to freely express her feelings. And she began to cry. It felt like the tears might never stop.

But they did. Because Kelly invited herself to experience joy, gratitude and peace. She vowed to herself that throughout the course of this experience, she would make intentional, conscious choices to also focus on the many wonderful things remaining in her life.

On her next visit to the hospital, she brought along pictures of her family and shared them with her mother, which helped them both to remember the good times they had together. While it brought her mother a smile, it reminded Kelly that even when her mom was gone, there would still be good times with her remaining family.

Then Kelly decided to take the process a step further. On her drives to and from the hospital, she allowed herself to enjoy the view of majestic homes and the ever-changing landscape and colorful scenery that rolled along outside her windows. This acknowledgment of the world around her pleased and calmed her, lifted her spirits and helped her to appreciate how much life had to offer, even when she was hurting.

Kelly also found that when she gave herself permission to smile and be thankful for the things in her life, she was able to recapture the zest she once felt was at risk. And she found relief in the fact that she could still laugh out loud without feeling guilty. These new attitudes and coping strategies gave her the strength she needed to survive this tragic situation. The ability to refocus brought about an instant, overwhelming attitude of gratitude.

This “power shift in focus,” as I like to call it, even if only for a few moments, can have a profound effect on how you cope with any challenge in your own life. You can’t know true peace until you’ve experienced true chaos. You can’t know joy unless you’ve felt pain. And no matter how many tears may fall, a smile will come after if you allow it, and even laughter.

It is your personal choice whether you will ride the waves of life or let them pull you under. ###


Steve Rizzo

Please feel free to share your comments so we can pass them on to Steve!

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.



Legacy Writing: Darn, Life is Tough

Legacy Writing: Darn, Life is Tough

In the last blog, I wrote about the importance of sharing the difficult times as you write your personal stories. That got me to thinking about some of the hard times I have experienced in my life.

As young adults, my husband and I moved to Wyoming .He was an electrician and eventually built and sold solar homes. I loved it! I loved every stage of building a home from developing the plans to laying the footings andputting up the walls and to adding the final finishing touches and decorating. We had built a number of homes, and the last one was on a few acres with a pondin the back yard where deer bedded at night and a creek running in front. It was beautiful.

Unfortunately, some situations occurred that caused our marriage to fall apart. We divorced and, after years of living in the beautiful homes we had built, I moved to a small log cabin with five of my children. My heart ached as I arranged our sparse furnishings in the small, worn rooms. Not only had I lost a person who was very important to my children and me, but I had also lost a lifestyle.

After a lot of tears, I decided I needed to put things into perspective. A house is a house, is a house, but wherever you and your family live is your home. Whether it is a small one-room shack or a palace, the actual dwelling doesn't matter. The family is the heart of the home.

Today, a lot of people have had similar experiences because they were terminated from their jobs, lost retirement savings when the stock market plunged, or were divorced. Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep things in perspective -- a house is a house, but the family is the heart of the home. Thank God every day for the things you do have and it is easier to endure the losses in your life.

What were some of the tough times you endured and learned from?


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