Tuesday, September 19, 2017

why your family needs its stories

What is the story of your family?  How does the story line go?  Have you ever thought of life as a story?

If you were a historian, you could probably go through the year and summarize it in a story.  In fact, you probably already do that once a year if you do a {family letter at Christmastime}.

Did you know that our brains are actually wired for storytelling?  Our brains process facts, sure, but what they really love is STORIES.  Our brains want connections, and stories actually create them.

Rachel Gillette wrote an article for {Fast Company called "Why Our Brains Crave Storytelling in Marketing."}  Here's what she said about the difference between data and story:

"When reading straight data, only the language parts of our brains work to decode the meaning. But when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well."  (italics added)

Did you catch that?  We're talking about LITERALLY preserving memories!!  

Recording your story allows you to re-live experiences!  And I know from my own experience that if there's any part of the story you don't particularly want to remember, you won't remember it if you don't record it.  When we go on family vacations, I don't take pictures of meltdowns, so when we look back at the pictures and our story later, it's like it never happened!  ;)

And that "you won't remember it if you don't record it" truth is a double-edged sword.  It works out nicely if you don't want to remember the meltdown, but it should make you think twice if you're not recording your family's story and preserving your photos and memories.

Because, truthfully:  it's gone.

So much of what we take pictures of is part of our family story.  We take pictures of special events like first days of school and family vacations, of the new house or the new car.  This is what makes our story.

Rachel Trotter wrote a great article called {Family Vacations Create Great Family Stories} which emphasizes how many fantastic memories and bonding moments come out of vacations.  She lists 5 ways to make your vacations "storyful," from food to music, which you can find at the link.

I've experienced it, too--family vacations are some of the best sources for family stories.  They make some of the best memories!

Two years ago we went to Mexico as a family.  (Yes, the water really IS that color!)  As it turned out, my mom passed away two weeks before our trip.  When I got on the plane, it didn't feel like the time for a fun getaway, but it didn't take me long to realize that it was the perfect time for it.  Aside from the peace of sitting at the turquoise water's edge, we made lots of amazing memories that are part of our family's narrative.  Hilarious things happened.  Miraculous things happened.  Weird and therefore funny things happened.  Really, really cool things happened.  And we STILL talk about it.  We look back on that shared experience with great fondness.

And that's what a family story is:  a shared experience.

And that's why we need them. 

So when you make the memories and take the pictures, don't forget to record the story!  Your family needs its stories.  And the process of telling them--recording photos and memories--is cathartic!

If you need some helps in telling or recording your family stories, here are three:
Every family needs its stories because it needs the connections and the sense of belonging that come from them.  Family stories have a lot of power.  In a world struggling for connections these days, the solution is much closer than we think.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Heritage Makers Studio 101 - video tutorial for beginners

Heritage Makers digital personal publishing is a powerful tool for memory-keeping, creating high-quality family yearbooks, digital scrapbooking, giving unforgettable gifts, and even creating your own business products!  The program you use is called Studio.  It's similar to other drag-n-drop programs like Photoshop, Canva, or Publisher, only with many more tools and included (free) digital art.

Using Heritage Makers is a lot of fun!  A tour through Studio can be helpful as you create storybooks, scrap pages, cook books, playing cards, calendars, canvases, and all the rest of the products available at Heritage Makers.  I've created the video tutorial below for beginners who would like a tour of the website ("How do I find out when my publishing points expire?" or "How do I change my password?") as well as a guided walk through Studio itself ("How do I upload pictures to my account?" or "How do I rotate a photo?")

Happy Heritage Making!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Be True To Yourself: podcast with Jennifer Wise

I was interviewed recently by Krista Palo of Evolve! for her Podcast series, "Real Life, Real Passion."  The series asks real people how they use their passion in real life.

We talked about the importance of being yourself, having courage to be yourself, and embracing that you are the expert.  We also talked about personalities, overcoming challenges, and how compassion for your own self is an important part of happiness. 

I hope you will enjoy this inspiring podcast!  Put in your earphones and listen as you're vacuuming or walking, and come away feeling better about yourself and life. 


The link to the podcast can also be found at Krista's written summary of the interview {here}.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

interview questions to help write a life story

Did you know Heritage Makers started with a life story?  It's true.  Founder Candy May lived far from her grandfather and was looking for a way for her children to get to know him like she did.  She decided to interview her grandpa and write his life story in the form of a kid's storybook.  And THAT is where the magic happens.

All Heritage Makers consultants know the story:  Grandpa Wozniak didn't think his story was anything special.  He was a little reticent when Candy approached him about writing his story.  All the same, he let Candy interview him.  The resulting story (written in storybook style for her kids) became their favorite story.  They could quote from it, and they developed a relationship with and love for their great grandpa who lived 1,000 miles away.

Because here's the truth:  Grandpa Wozney's story WAS something special.  It was and continues to be special to every single person who loves him.

And for the rest of us, the moral of the story is this:  EVERY story matters.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone has a story worth telling.

Whether writing your own life story or the life story of a parent, grandparent, or other family member, the project can be somewhat daunting if you don't know where to start.  Having a list of questions to follow or just use as a jumping off point can be very helpful. 

Three Resources with Questions to Help You Write a Life Story

Here are some very helpful resources as you begin writing a life story, whether it's yours or someone else's.  These will get your thoughts rolling. 
  1.   {60 Questions} from OneFam
  2.   {Creating Family Stories} from Evolve 
  3.   {#52stories} from FamilySearch

You can use these exactly or see what thoughts come into your mind while you read them.  You'll probably get other thoughts and ideas during the process.  Listen to your intuition and inspiration.  While these questions are a great place to start, you may think of questions that are more specific to the person, questions that shouldn't be missed.  Get started and your heart will give you additional questions and points to document.

When You Should Write YOUR Life Story

If you're wondering when you should write YOUR life story, {this post} outlines the benefits of life stories--to the writer and to the reader--as well as an easy option for creating it right in the publishing program so you don't have to write it twice.

Who do you need to get to know a little better?  Whose legacy shouldn't be forgotten?  Who needs to get to know you a little better?  A life story is the key.

It's a treasured gift now and for years and generations to come.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

DIY notepads as handouts for business

Something really exciting happened for me this year--I began speaking for groups!  My keynote is called:  The Generation Without Photos (or, The Guide to Self-Care and Wellness through Photos, Memories, and Stories).

As I prepared to give my first talk, I knew I wanted to have some sort of handout.  I wanted attendees to take notes, let me know what else I could help them with in the future, and have the {first five steps} for getting out from under their mountain of photos.

And I thought, "Hey!  These would be perfect {notepads}!"

Notepads come in two sizes.  I knew I would definitely needed the bigger 5.5x8.5 size.  They were just right.

When you order 1 set of notepads, you get 4 separate pads.  I made two and two of the same.  Each pad has about 35 sheets.  Now, when I speak, I can easily take the notepads and tear off as many as I need for the attendees.  They look so sharp and impressive!  I love how these simple handouts give me such a professional look.

And I love that you can even put photos on notepads!!  It's that fantastic?!  I could have put my business logo on the pads, too.  ...Next time!

If notepads would work well for your business or everyday planning, {create your own} like I did!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Ways to Scrapbook Faster with 3 Digital Ideas

We've got an abundance (or over-abundance?) of photos these days, but preserving them can still be a struggle.  Sure, there are quick-fix solutions that pop up here and there, but many of them are lacking in quality or flexibility (the ability to go outside a proscribed template).   

So how do you get your photos preserved quickly before the memories fade without sacrificing quality or flexibility?

Three Ways to Scrapbook Faster

Today I want to share three ways to scrapbook faster, including three ideas for digitally preserving your photos.  The beauty of this is that you don't have to be a scrapbooker!  You just have to have pictures and memories --which you do, because you're reading this post!

My tips for scrapbooking faster plus the three digital ideas can be found {right here at this link}.  I hope after reading it, you take away something important that will truly help you in your goals to preserve your photos and their stories.  At the very least, always remember this:

Happy Heritage-Making!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Snap2Finish: simple photo publishing

Have you heard of Snap2Finish?  It's a brand-new line of photo and memory-keeping products with simple designs and a variety of both fun and meaningful products.

It's so new I've only used Snap2Finish to simply print some photos (prints) that I wanted to frame.  It was easy, and I loved the quality and service. 

I've got my eye on the photo puzzles next!

Snap2Finish is a great option for simple memory-keeping, too.  From push-of-a-button Instagram books to clean and simple lay-flat ones, Snap2Finish has you covered!

A Snap2Finish account is easy to open.  Just visit https://www.snap2finish.com/ and click "register."  When you're asked for the referring distributor ID at the bottom, they're just asking who I am.  :)  Enter 101124153.  

Your photos and projects are saved in your Snap2Finish account indefinitely as long as you place an order every 12 months.

There are even mousepads, pillows, and towels!  And metal prints, pillowcases, and tumblers.  These are fun photo gift ideas as well as a great way to showcase your favorite photos around your house.

Why leave your best photos on your SD card when you could do something like this?!