Your Legacy

Your Legacy

YOUR LEGACY IS YOUR LIFE

 

Forty years ago my mom and dad became snowbirds, abiding in Yuma, Arizona for six months of the year in an effort to avoid the cold, snowy Idaho winters. After my dad passed away, I insisted on accompanying my mother on her annual journey as a safety measure – after all a woman shouldn’t be driving that distance by herself.

 

Little did I know that I would come to value those yearly treks as we talked almost the entire distance of nearly 900 miles, enjoying our one-on-one time. I learned so much about her and her early life; yet knowing I would forget some of the stories, I encouraged her to write them down.

 

Six years ago, when my mother passed away, I found a folder filled with life stories she had written … some she had shared with me and others were new. As I read them, some made me laugh, others made me cry and all gave me a better understanding of who she was as a person. I soon realized that these stories were my mother’s legacy.

 

As I shared with friends the treasures I had inherited in these stories, all could relate. Some said they wish their parents or grandparents had written their life stories, some said their parents had and they were so glad they did, while others admitted they really needed to start writing their own memories.

 

Some people have commented, “Who would want to read about my life? It’s so boring.” To them I respond, “That’s just not true. Everyone has a story to tell!”

 

If you don’t think your life is interesting, consider these questions:

 

  • What changes have occurred throughout your lifetime? (technology, travel, cost of goods, education, social behavior)
  • What difficulties have you experienced and what lessons did you learn from them? (Sharing the lessons we learned will help our children and grandchildren better face their own challenges.)
  • Who are some of the people or events that have influenced your life? In what way?
  • What are some of the values and beliefs you cherish and would like to pass on to your posterity? Why?

 

If these questions don’t convince you that your life is of interest to others or that you have an important message to share, then ask yourself, “If I had a chance to talk with a deceased relative about his or her life, would I want to?” I think most of us would. I wish I had asked my grandfather who passed away at the age of 93 about his experiences as a missionary, requiring him to leave behind a wife and three young children. I wish I could talk with my dad about his wartime memories. I wonder what my great-grandmother’s life was like as a polygamist’s wife.

 

Just as you have a thirst to learn more about your ancestors, your posterity will want to know about you and the life you have lived. Legacy writing provides a bond between generations, a rope to guide us through the difficulties that life may deal us, and a thread interwoven into our DNA that helps us to better understand who we are.

 

Start today to capture your memories for your posterity. Remember, “Your legacy is more than the fame or fortune you may have acquired, it is the life you have lived.”


 

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.

 


 

 

Your Story

Your Story

YOUR LEGACY IS YOUR LIFE!

Thirty years ago my mom and dad became snowbirds, abiding in Yuma, Arizona for six months of the year in an effort to avoid the cold, snowy Idaho winters. After my dad passed away, I insisted on accompanying my mother on her annual journey as a safety measure – after all a woman shouldn’t be driving that distance by herself.

Little did I know that I would come to value those yearly treks as we talked almost the entire distance of nearly 900 miles, enjoying our one-on-one time. I learned so much about her and her early life; yet knowing I would forget some of the stories, I encouraged her to write them down.

Six years ago, when my mother passed away, I found a folder filled with life stories she had written … some she had shared with me and others were new. As I read them, some made me laugh, others made me cry and all gave me a better understanding of who she was as a person. I soon realized that these stories were my mother’s legacy.

As I shared with friends the treasures I had inherited in these stories, all could relate. Some said they wish their parents or grandparents had written their life stories, some said their parents had and they were so glad they did, while others admitted they really needed to start writing their own memories.

Some people have commented, “Who would want to read about my life? It’s so boring.” To them I respond, “That’s just not true. Everyone has a story to tell!”

If you don’t think your life is interesting, consider these questions:

  • What changes have occurred throughout your lifetime? (technology, travel, cost of goods, education, social behavior)
  • What difficulties have you experienced and what lessons did you learn from them? (Sharing the lessons we learned will help our children and grandchildren better face their own challenges.)
  • Who are some of the people or events that have influenced your life? In what way?
  • What are some of the values and beliefs you cherish and would like to pass on to your posterity? Why?

If these questions don’t convince you that your life is of interest to others or that you have an important message to share, then ask yourself, “If I had a chance to talk with a deceased relative about his or her life, would I want to?” I think most of us would. I wish I had asked my grandfather who passed away at the age of 93 about his experiences as a missionary, requiring him to leave behind a wife and three young children. I wish I could talk with my dad about his wartime memories. I wonder what my great-grandmother’s life was like as a polygamist’s wife.

Just as you have a thirst to learn more about your ancestors, your posterity will want to know about you and the life you have lived. Legacy writing provides a bond between generations, a rope to guide us through the difficulties that life may deal us, and a thread interwoven into our DNA that helps us to better understand who we are.

Start today to capture your memories for your posterity. Remember, “Your legacy is more than the fame or fortune you may have acquired, it is the life you have lived.”

Family History

Family History

TELL ME A STORY

When your children or grandchildren ask you to tell them a story, do you reach for the nearest children's book or tell them a fairy tale you're familiar with? If so, you may be doing them a disservice by not digging into your memory bag of family stories.

It's been proven that children who know more about their family and its history, are better adjusted and more able to cope with stressful situations.

One of the first professionals to identify the relationship between knowledge of family and a child's coping ability was Dr. Sara Duke, a psychologist, who noticed that her disabled students were better able to face challenges if they knew more about their families.

Her husband, Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush were intrigued by her findings and decided to  test the hypothesis at the Emory Center for the Study of Myth and Ritual in American Life. They started by asking nearly 50 children questions such as: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know the story of your birth?

When they compared the results of their findings to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, an overwhelming conclusion was reached that the more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.(1)

The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

Two months later when 9/11 occurred, they again assessed the children and found those who knew more about their families were better able to cope with the stress of that dreadful day.

Family stories help connect children to a "larger sense of self," or a belonging to somethings bigger. The stories you tell shouldn't be limited to just the good times. Often,  stories about the difficult times you or the others experienced, how they were dealt with them, and the successful outcome will help children to realize that perseverance pays off.

Take opportunities to squeeze in stories when you're traveling, hiking or tucking them in at night. You'll soon find they are clamoring for more.

Of course, we all realize we won't be here forever and that's why it is so important to write these stories down or to record them. These stories are an important part of your family's legacy -- a legacy that will be cherished for generations to come.


 

(1) The Stories that Bind Us; Bruce Feiler; The New York Times, 3/15/2013; http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?_r=0


 

Costa Rica Vacation

Costa Rica Vacation

VACATIONS BUILD MEMORIES

For the past two weeks I've been vacationing in Costa Rica with 10 members of my family (4 daughters, son, three son-in-laws and my ex-husband -- my husband couldn't go because he's recuperating from back surgery). We've been planning this vacation for almost a year. Why Costa Rica? Four of us (my husband included) came to CR three years ago and loved it. As we recounted our experiences with other family members, they all wanted to go. So we decided we would plan ahead so everyone could save for it.

 

Our vacation was filled with wonderful sites -- rain forests with monkeys, a snake (eyelash viper), lots of birds (800 varieties are found in CR) and sloths, terrific beaches both on the Pacific and Caribbean sides and volcanos. It's natural beauty is astounding and the people are super friendly.

 

Of course, traveling with a large group has it challenges. The cost of car rental tripled with all the extra fees added. This limited us to 2 cars, 5 traveling in each car. Needless to say, it was crowded. Someone had to sit in the middle back seat on the hump, which was not a comfortable position.  The next challenge was the sleeping accommodations. Who was to get what rooms and which beds? Sometimes conflicts would arise, but I'm happy to say that hard feelings were quickly pushed aside, no grudges held. It was interesting to see how these difficulties were handled by the group.

 

We stayed at some beautiful places by Costa Rican standards. On the Caribbean side four of us slept in a beautiful, two-level tree house. That was an experience to remember. The others slept nearby in the cabana. While the treehouse was beautiful and fun to experience, it was a  little spooky having so many open areas that spiders and other insect could come in to visit during the night. Not many did, but it did make me a little nervous at night.

 

In the morning as the sun came up, the howler monkeys would start howling and birds would start chirping. It was a lively wake-up call at 5 a.m. in the morning. Evenings on the Caribbean side was fun as locals came out to enjoy the cooler temperatures. Bob Marley music played and all the bars and restaurants are open aired adding to the free feeling. It's so different from what our every day life in the States is. On the Pacific side, the sunsets were gorgeous as each night we watched the sun sink into the ocean.

 

Unfortunately one daughter was sick during most of the trip, and some of the others had short bouts of illness. I think eating foods they weren't accustomed to was the cause for some of it. In spite of the difficulties, it was wonderful to see everyone playing in the ocean or swimming in the pools together, hiking and laughing and just enjoying each other's company.

 

Costa Rica was an experience none of us will forget. All the experiences we've shared will last a lifetime and provide countless hours of reminiscing.

 

What has been your favorite vacation? Who did you travel with and what did you do? What made it memorable?


 

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?

 

WHEN?

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.

 

WHERE?

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!

 

 

HOW?

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 http://ylylshop.com/?product_cat=books-writers-platform. The Platform is also included when you purchase the Your Legacy, Your Life book package. Check it out at http://ylylshop.com/?product_cat=book-packages.

 

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.


 

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