Thursday, December 13, 2018

Simple Ways to Connect with Your Kids

It's strange, I think, how "connected" we are these days, while we're actually making fewer and fewer real connections.  We sometimes text more than we hear the voices of the people we're texting.  Most families don't sit down all together even once during the day.  With varying personalities, the din and distraction of social media, and days scheduled to the max, it can be difficult to feel like you're really connecting with your kids.  So today I'm excited to share with you some simple ways to connect.


I'm pleased to bring you three articles I wrote that will help get some ideas flowing about connection.  As you read at each link, look for ways to use the information and inspiration there to better connect with your kids.

In {The Power of Place and Family Traditions}, you'll learn about the strength of home, of "happy places," and of belonging.  If you haven't heard the amazing story of Bobbie the Wonder Dog, you can read about it there and appreciate the pull of home.  There's also an outside-the-box idea of creating a neat family tradition with the photos of your family traditions (holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc.)!

In {Building Bridges between Generations using Photos and Memories} you'll learn about the power of looking to the past to strengthen families now.  "Bridges built between generations are not built by accident."  Photos and memories are an easy way to connect generations, to help children (or you!) know grandparents and great-grandparents better, which fosters a deep sense of belonging and connection.  "Here's why the past is infinitely important to me:  My grandparents lived there.  I learned lessons there.  I fell in love, got married, and had babies there."  Connecting generations with stories and photos is great for you, and but it's an especially fantastic way to connect with your kids, too.

By the way, did you know that kids who know family stories have higher self-esteem, greater resilience, and a better ability to cope with life's problems?  It's true!  (Bruce Feiler's studies on family stories, alluded to in the previous article, are found {here}.)



In {Why Taking Photos is So Important--And What to Do With Them} you'll read some first-hand examples of what photos really mean to our hearts.  Photos are more important than most people realize, but that's really only the case if we SEE our photos.  You'll find nine ways to be able to see--not just store--your digital photos so that they can be a powerful way for connecting family members.  Kids need the validation that comes from telling their stories and preserving their photos.  Gifting that to them creates connections, too.

These are fairly simple ways to connect, using things you already have--photos and stories--but the impact these simple things have on kids and relationships is powerful and long-lasting!

What did you find in these articles that you can use to connect with your kids?  What changes your thinking or gives you a new perspective?  Tell me your thoughts in the comments--I'd love to hear them!

All products shown were made {here}.  Some directions to get started creating a Heritage Home can be {found here}.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Heart & Soul LinkUp #5

Welcome to the Heart & Soul LinkUp, your weekly place for finding great blog posts that are good for the heart and soul from a variety of writers.  Bloggers will leave links to their posts at the end of this post all day long!

Let's get right to the favorites from last week.  As it turns out, no readers voted last week, so we'll skip right to my three favorites.  They're great ones!

MY FAVORITES

from Cary at Cary MacArthur
Cary is a master at growth through stepping outside her comfort zone.  This is a great post about how to use that nervousness (anxiousness) about change and growth to benefit you.  

from Alicia at My Plant Strong Family
Alicia shares a fantastic idea for hosting a social with friends/family while keeping it healthy, plus 4 great healthy recipe ideas!  (I've had her bean-avocado-corn salsa before, and it's DELICIOUS!)

from Flossie at Super Mom Hacks
Flossie gives 10 excellent, real, and down-to-earth suggestions for a smooth Christmas.  When I first read and commented on it, I chose some favorites, but now that I'm looking at it again, I think every single one of her suggestions is my favorite.  Really.  You'll love them.  If you missed her post last week, you can read it at the link above. 

Featured bloggers, share your win on social media with this image.
Thanks for sharing your blog posts with us last week.

Now let's find more favorite blog posts!  It's time for the 5th go-round of the Heart & Soul LinkUp.  (Readers, enjoy!!  Bloggers, find the six rules for participating in the LinkUp at the end of {this post}.)


Friday, December 7, 2018

What to Love About Heritage Makers this #friyay

Happy #friyay!!  We have spent the first Fridays of each month of 2018 with shout-outs about Heritage Makers.  This blog has been shouting out to Heritage Makers for 9 years now, but on #friyays we learn from other users why they chose Heritage Makers and what they love about it.  In some cases, people mention what it's like working with me as their Heritage Makers consultant (OR hiring me to make their Heritage Makers projects for them), but everybody tells you what's great about Heritage Makers.

For our last #friyay of 2018, we'll go out with a bang--with THREE shout-outs.  It's important (and fun!) to find out why people use and love Heritage Makers, and come back again and again.

First we hear from Heidi who has been using Heritage Makers for about 12 years--almost as long as I have!  She has made lots of special things for her family, but one of Heidi's major Heritage Makers projects each year is to compile the photos and memories of the drill team she coaches.  It's almost like a personal yearbook just for the team!  I wish you could see one--it's an AMAZING keepsake!!


Emily has done so many sweet and wonderful things with Heritage Makers.  From baby announcements to books that help her loved ones in the military stay connected to her little ones, Emily has created absolute family treasures using Heritage Makers.


Let's send our last #friyay out with a bang!  Here's a bonus shout-out from Carol.  Carol is a member of my Heritage Makers team, and this gal knows to her core how vitally important memories, photos, connections and keepsakes are to the heart and soul.  You might remember Carol from her guest post here at LifeTales Books:  Memories Connect Us.  If you haven't "met" Carol yet, go back to that post and be inspired by her heart.

Are you passionate about memories, photos, and connections?  If you would like to make memory-keeping your business, you will be interested to know what Carol had to say about my help as her mentor when she started her Heritage Makers business. 


There's absolutely nothing like doing something so important to kids, to families, and to your own heart.  

Get started making something meaningful at the "how to get started" tab at the top of this page.  Or click the "become a consultant" tab if that piques your interest.

Happy Heritage Making!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Heart & Soul LinkUp #4

I can hardly believe it's already December.  Seems like a great time to take a break from the busy-ness and sit down with some blog posts that are good for the heart and soul.  Well, I can help you out with that today.


Bloggers will be leaving links to their great blog posts all day today and into the evening, too!  Scroll down to find these posts today or tomorrow, then let us know what your favorites are by voting tomorrow (Tuesday).

But first let's look at the favorites from last week's linkup, Heart & Soul LinkUp #3.

READERS' FAVORITE

from Flossie at Super Mom Hacks

MY THREE FAVORITES

from Jen at Midday Mornings
I truly think this post is a must-read for every mom!  It's much too common for moms to get caught up in everyone else's lives and neglect the self-care, example, and personal growth and satisfaction that come from personal hobbies, talents, and interests.   If you missed this post last week, read it again here.  (Link above.)

from Cary at CaryMacArthur
This short-n-sweet post gave me a lot to think about.  Looking for things to be grateful for and intentionally having gratitude in EVERYTHING is a challenge.  Cary's suggestions for PRACTICING gratitude are excellent.

from Andrea at The American Moms
I know--what blog doesn't have a list of gift ideas this time of year?  But this one is so different!  Definitely don't miss this one.  From a Thomas Jefferson decoder and Women Who Dared blocks to an absolutely gorgeous family tree print, these are ideas you really won't see anywhere else.  Check them out!

Thank you, bloggers, for sharing your posts!  If you were featured, show it off on social media.

Now let's find some more great blog posts!  Bloggers, be sure you read the rules for participating before you drop your link at Heart & Soul LinkUp #4.  (They're at the end of {this post}.)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

How Do You Treat Your Pictures?

Have you ever thought about that?  I bet you've never asked yourself how you treat your pictures.  Have you ever thought about why you take a picture in the first place?  Go look at the last 5 pictures on your phone or camera.  WHY did you take them?  What would happen if you lost them?  What would happen if you lost all the pictures on your phone?


I thought about this the other day as I was writing a blog post.  This is what came into my head:  "We take pictures because we want to remember.  And then we treat them like we want to forget."  Isn't that the truth?


And isn't it sad?  Think about it.  We take pictures BECAUSE we want to remember an event, a moment, a person, a sunrise.  And then what do we do with the picture?  Usually, nothing.  It stays on the phone or camera, or maybe if it's lucky you back it up on a computer or hard drive.  Usually, photos just live somewhere as a jpeg file, and they're never really seen or looked at again.  Why would we do that?  Why would we treat something we created to remember as if we actually didn't care about it and preferred to forget it?

I read a {great blog post} recently where the blogger asserted that pictures in today's society are seen as frivolous and even vain.  But I love the conclusion she came to:  If the moment or the event makes you happy right now, why WOULDN'T you capture it so it can make you happy again later?  The ability to look back on a moment, or see a person again, is {good for the heart and the soul}.

One of the main purposes of this blog is to help our actions toward our pictures be more in line with their real value. My hashtag #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs is a real goal here at LifeTales Books!


There's something more.  Your pictures can be something more!  Rather than files to scroll through, back up, and possibly lose, your pictures can be seen and preserved in a high-quality way that will allow you to add meaning to the photos by writing details.  Let me give you an example.


This is a really special photo.  And you have no idea why.  You don't know who is in this photo, where it was taken, why it was taken, or what makes this photo special.  This is how someone else (maybe your kids, grandkids, spouse, friend) will look at your photos.  Over time, you may even look at your own photos the way you're looking at my photo here.  If you're not careful, your photos will be as useless and meaningless to someone else as this one of mine is to you.  

But at least this is a photo.  Most of our "photos" today aren't even photos--they're just files.  They need to be brought out of file form and into a tactile form that can be held and seen, even if the computer has crashed or the cell phone has been stolen.  (There are some astonishing statistics of the likelihood of these {at this link}.)

This blog has a lot of great resources for doing just that.  Everything you'll find here (especially at the purple tabs across the top of the blog, under the header) are better quality than the vast majority of photo books you find online.  There are lots of perks, too, such as no hidden cost (no buying digital art, for example), private photo storage (shockingly unusual these days), and Heirloom Assurance.  You can {read more here}.

While I always encourage people to {find a memory-keeping method they will love} so that they're more likely to do it, I'll share two of my favorite ideas here, plus one super speedy option.

This is the one I always recommend to people who have so many photos that they don't even know what to do with them or where to start.  This video gives a fantastic solution, but it also goes over some strategies for getting a handle on many, many photos.

This is the method I personally use, and in the video I go over why I love it so much and how this method is responsible for allowing me to be consistently caught up preserving my photos and memories.  This method is sort of the extended version of the method above (yearbook).

And here's a new super speedy option.  While the classic, clean look may appear more "average," the books are printed on much higher quality than an "average" photo book you may see online--many of which are advertised as free.  (You definitely want quality that will last if you're taking the time to preserve your photos and memories, right?)

Although the videos give you pretty much everything you need to know, you can {find additional tutorials here} if you'd like.

What will you do today towards treating your pictures as treasures, treating like them as if you want to see them and remember the moments they have captured for you?

Pin to save and share!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Heart & Soul LinkUp #3

I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving!  As I mentioned at Heart & Soul LinkUp #2 two weeks ago, here at LifeTales Books we believe in #familyfirst and #socialmediafourthorfifth.  ;)  So we took last week off and didn't have our usual LinkUp.  We're back in business this week, though, and you finally get to see the favorites from LinkUp #2 AND find more great blog posts at today's LinkUp #3.


As promised, here are the favorites from our recent Heart & Soul LinkUp.  Here are the readers' favorite and my three favorites.

READERS' FAVORITE

from Lori at Choosing Wisdom

MY FAVORITES

from Jen at Midday Mornings
I have mentioned before that I've been on the receiving end of grief several times in the last few years (here and here), so this post spoke especially to my heart.  It can be so hard to know how to really help someone who is grieving, and these eight suggestions are wonderful.

from Flossie at Super Mom Hacks
These are just some doggone great ideas!  I love how Flossie talks about what didn't work for her and then has some creative ideas that DID.

from Anna at Confessions of Parenting
The thing I love about this post is that it really applies to ALL moms!  My youngest is in high school, and Anna's #4 tip is my favorite--and one I'm still learning (but have gotten WAY better at over the years).

Bloggers, you can copy this "I was featured" image to show off on your own blog or social media.  :)

Let's dive right in to more blog posts that are good for the heart and soul.  Look around and see what inspires you this week.  Remember, blog posts are added all day long on Monday.  You can see all of them on Tuesday and vote for your favorites that day, too.

Do you know a blogger whose posts you'd like to see here?  Invite her to share them!

Bloggers:  Before posting your links, know the rules for sharing your blog posts at Heart & Soul LinkUp.  They are at the end of this post.

And now here's Heart & Soul LinkUp #3!


An InLinkz Link-up

See you next week for more inspiring posts!

Sharing is caring--help others find blog posts that are good for the heart and soul by
pinning this image to Pinterest or by tweeting or sharing this post on Facebook.
RULES FOR BLOGGER PARTICIPATION (Rules for adding your blog post to today's linkup above.)  Participating bloggers MUST:
  1. FOLLOW THE THEME:  The theme of the Heart & Soul LinkUp is "what's good for the heart and soul."  Therefore, all blog posts added to the Heart & Soul LinkUp must be about something that's good for the heart and soul.  This can include posts related to the home and family such as recipes, DIY,  home decor, parenting, marriage, etc., or inspirational posts about hope, learning, growth, connections, etc.  Fashion bloggers, for example, would not be a good fit here.  ALL POSTS MUST BE FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND UPLIFTING.
  2. POST (when & how):  The LinkUp will open at 7:00am Mountain Time every Monday and close 24 hours later, 7:00am Tuesday.  Voting for favorites will open at 7:00am Tuesday and close at 7:00am Wednesday.  To add your blog post to the LinkUp, click the blue "add my link" button.  Remember to add a direct link to the specific post you want to share, not your blog's home page.
  3. OBSERVE THE LIMITS:  Let's save room for everybody--submissions are limited to 2 blog posts per person on each weekly LinkUp.  (This may change moving forward, but for now the limit is 2.)
  4. SHARE THE LOVE:  Read and comment on at least 3 other blog posts each week you submit your own post to the LinkUp.  This isn't a place to dump your links and run--we're here to help each other out and even make new friends.  When you comment, please use the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup at the end of your comment.  Voting on a favorite isn't required but is appreciated.
  5. INVITE OTHERS:  We need everyone's help in inviting others to see this LinkUp, so each participating blogger must do two things:  #1 Put a link to this LinkUp on your own blog so that others can find us--sidebar works best, but a tab works, too.  Something visible is ideal.  If you prefer, you can save the image at the top of this post and use it at the end of your own blog post saying, "Find me at the Heart and Soul LinkUp" with an included link.  #2 After posting your link in the LinkUp, the InLinkz program will let you share the blog post you just added on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+.  You must share on at least one of those platforms.
  6. LET ME SHARE:  By participating in this LinkUp, you are giving me the right to share your blog posts on social media.  When you are chosen as a reader favorite or as one of my own favorite posts of the week, you allow me to share a link back to your blog post plus an image from your post here on my blog (which gives you additional visibility). 
Thanks, blogging friends, for sharing your fantastic blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Best of LifeTales Books - blog post collection (Happy Thanksgiving!)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you have had an enjoyable day in the ways that make you happiest, and I hope you've taken time to count your blessings.


If you're ready for some inspiring, fun, and interesting reading, you've come to the right place.  You'll find the Best of LifeTales Books today--the top five blog posts of all time.  And since this blog is nine years old, that's actually saying a lot.  Here are the most-read blog posts at LifeTales Books:

#5 Special Family Days: DIY birthday and anniversary board
I gave this as a gift and it is well-loved!  I love seeing it when I visit.  :)  Read this blog post here:  https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2014/02/special-family-days-diy-birthday.html

#4 12 (Days of) Christmas Gift Ideas - part 1
These are some of the funnest gift ideas, and they can be combined for 12 Days of Christmas or you can just choose your favorites to give to neighbors/teachers/friends.  Read this blog post here:  https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2017/11/12-days-of-christmas-gift-ideas-part-1.html

#3 Two Impressive Ideas for Swag Bags
I wrote this post with small business owners in mind, but these ideas can be used for anything from birthday party bags to open houses or anything!  If you love this idea (shown), wait until you see the next one.  I think it's my very favorite.  Read this blog post here:  https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2017/06/two-impressive-ideas-for-swag-bags.html

#2 Clever Christmas Card/Letter Idea!
I'm not surprised that my readers are Christmas fans just like I am!  This clever Christmas card/letter idea is so much fun, and it's the second most popular blog post EVER at LifeTales Books!  There's even a video tutorial to show you how to get some fancy and impressive Christmas greetings that will really stand out but not break the bank.  Read this blog post here:  https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2013/10/clever-christmas-cardletter-idea.html

And now for the #1 most popular post at LifeTales Books over the last 9 years...

#1 Teacher Appreciation Gifts that will Knock Their Socks Off
I love these creative, stand-out teacher appreciation gifts.  They're so clever and so personal.  There's also a video tutorial at this link about how to make your own notepads (they're professionally published) for this fun gift of thanks.  Read this blog post here:  https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2018/04/teacher-appreciation-gifts-that-will.html

Happy reading!  Since several of these posts are time-specific, remember you can Pin each post to Pinterest so you can find it again next spring (for teachers) or at Christmastime or whenever you're looking for gift ideas or swag bag fun.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

What is Memory-Keeping? (and why does it matter?)

{For centuries now, people have kept scrapbooks}--books with scraps and mementos in their pages.  In fact, the first scrapbooks were usually the family Bible.  It was where people kept important documents, recorded marriages and births and deaths, and even stored keepsakes like locks of hair and eventually photographs.


In the 1980s, a paper-crafting method of preserving photos and memories came on the scene, known as scrapbooking.  ScrapbookING differed from traditional scrapbooks because it was more of an art form or a craft than just jotting a few notes and making sure important things were kept in one place.

Storybooks from Heritage Makers come in 7 sizes and hundreds of styles
(or design your own!)  Digital books can be stories or photo books.  Find all
the perks of using Heritage Makers {here}.
Today, preserving photos and memories can come in many forms.  From {digital scrapbooking} to {simple photo books} to {scrapbooking kits} and {pocket scrapbooking}, memory-keeping has come a long way.  Quality is better, convenience has improved, and availability is common.

Memory-keeping is nothing more than holding on to what's important.  It's making sure photos of graduation don't just sit on a phone or computer until the files are unreadable.  It's writing down some details and memories next to the photo in a book or page so you can be reminded when your memory dims.  Because it will.

Scrapbooking Layout Kits, already designed and quick to assemble.
Available {here} by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY."
Memory-keeping is how we make connections.  As we learned so beautifully from {Carol Stewart} this past May, "Memories connect us and help us understand who we are."  Memory-keeping is how we re-live the best times in life.  It's how we better remember what we want to remember.  I passionately believe that we can't afford to pass up {the benefits} of preserving photos and their stories--benefits like increased happiness, stress reduction, increased self-esteem (especially in children), a sense of belonging, and other therapeutic benefits like healing and coping.

High-quality digital scrapbook pages come in three sizes and are protected
by {Heirloom Assurance} from {Heritage Makers}.  
Storing photos digitally is good, but the only meaningful way to store photos is in print.  A printed photo can be seen, interacted with, and loved.  A printed photo has a place to record memories.  That's the whole purpose behind and value of a photograph!  Remember that digital photo storage is still just storage.  And storage, as we all know, is putting something away that you won't see or use.  Sticking a digital photo in storage...  well, why even have it?

Pocket Scrapbooking, with pocket pages to slide pictures, cards with text, or decorative papers into.
Available {here} by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY."
Photos stored in print can last upwards of 200 years!  Digital photos may or may not last until the next change in technology.  Files can be corrupted and become unreadable.  Computers crash.  One big advantage of printed photos is that their stories can be told.  With digital photo files, there isn't a place to record memories and details.  When you print a photo and put it in a book or page, you have space next to it to record what makes the photo important and why you love it.

A photo without a story is only worth half as much.


There is great power in photos and their stories (your memories), which most people leave largely untapped.  We are drawing further and further away from connections these days because technology, video games, and phones are so overused.  Conversations, reminiscing, and connections are becoming old-fashioned.

If you're looking for deeper connections, a greater sense of purpose, and something you can sit down with for 10 minutes for {instant happiness}, it's time for you to make time for memory-keeping.  Get started {right here}.  Find time management tips {here} if you need them.  #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs