Friday, March 31, 2017

What Does My Everyday Life Have to Do with Family History?


The terms "Genealogy" and "Family History" are used interchangeably these days, and those words often make us think about photos like these, and people we never met who lived 100 years ago.  Sure, these people influenced our family dynamic, but that's all in the past, right?

Yes and no.

As you know from earlier #familyhistoryfriday posts this month, knowing family stories and family history increases self-esteem and resilience and provides a sense of purpose and belonging.  That definitely happens from knowing the way-far-back past, but it also happens from knowing the last-year past.


Did you know that studies show that recalling happy memories actually increases happiness in the present?  It's true!

So if you don't have a lot of family stories from grandparents or great-grandparents, that's okay!  You can still create a sense of belonging and a source for increased happiness in your family right now by preserving current memories.

Telling today's family stories is often called "memory-keeping" (or "scrapbooking" in some circles).  It entails getting your photos out of digital form and putting them in print so they can be seen, held, and enjoyed.  It's where my motto, "Don't let your babies grow up to be jpegs" comes from!

The flash drives and external hard drives and clouds that seem so all-important these days do have some merits, of course, but the most meaningful way to preserve your photos is in PRINT.  That's how you tell, share, and enjoy your family stories, your "family history" in the making.  A CD just doesn't do the same thing.

We're doing some home improvements in our house right now.  My husband is working room by room.  A couple of weeks ago, he came out of my son's room and I asked how things were going.  He said things were great, he was almost done, etc., but that it had taken him longer than expected.  Before he moved a bookcase, he took all the books off the shelves, including scrapbooks (or memory books).  He decided to open one of the scrapbooks and got completely caught up in memories and said he loved it because it made him really happy.

And there you have it. Enjoying your family stories right now is the whole purpose of memory-keeping.  It's a simple key to happiness that we just need to pull out of our pockets and use.

I'm pretty sure my husband's experience would not have been the same if he had come across a flash drive in a drawer.

We'll explore a lot more about memory-keeping and preserving current family stories in upcoming #familyhistoryfriday posts.   And, you know, if preserving family stories or memory-keeping isn't something you really know how to do or isn't something you really enjoy right now, no biggieI gotcha.  Ideas, inspiration, time management tips, shortcuts, possibilities, solutions, the whole shebang.  #icanhelp  See you next week!

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This post was first published on March 31, 2017, at www.livegrowgive.org by Jennifer Wise.Save
Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking on the hashtag in Labels.

catch up on your photos: step 9

Step Nine of the Ten-Step Escape Plan:


CALENDAR your time and keep your commitments to yourself.  Memory-keeping is one of the best ways to spend your time because it benefits YOU (increase in happiness & decrease in stress) as well as YOUR FAMILY (self-esteem & heirlooms).  It's worth it!

(Did you miss the last Escape Plan Step?  Click the "how to catch up on your photos" tab in red along the top.)

Monday, March 27, 2017

What if I hate scrapbooking?

Good news, then, my friend.  Good news!

You absolutely don't have to "scrapbook" in order to preserve your photos and memories!  

It's true.  Memory-keeping requires memories.  That's it.  Find a do-able, high-quality method to preserve them, and you're done.  No "scrapbooking" involved.


Think about this.  Photography is 200 years old.  It can obviously exist without being scrapbooked.

  

There are so many obstacles to this scrapbooking thing that started 20-ish years ago.  Time.  Space to lay everything out and work.  Space to store everything.  Cost.  Interest.  

So I'm gonna preach it until I'm blue in the face:  You don't have to be a scrapbooker to preserve your photos.  You just have to have photos.

What I call "unscrapbooking" was first referred to as "storybooking" by the fabulous people who started Heritage Makers in 2004.  Whatever you call it, it's a way to preserve your photos with the stories or memories that belong to them in a meaningful, high-quality way. 

It doesn't take nearly as much time as traditional scrapbooking, and there's literally no space required for storage or for work except the space already occupied on your desk by your computer.  Everything is online in your private account, and that's all you need.  The cost is competitive and there are many additional benefits {which you can check out here}. 

And if you weren't interested in scrapbooking, you'll love the differences in UNscrapbooking (storybooking).  Your finished product can have a creative, scrapbooked look without any work, OR it can be a basic, clean, simple look.

Either way, you've found a do-able, high-quality way to preserve photos and memories to enjoy today and in the future.  #makesomethingmeaningful

To get started, go to the "how to get started" tab in red along the top and start enjoying all the benefits of memory-keeping WITHOUT scrapbooking!

And if you're in need of more tips and inspiration, sign up for my newsletter in the right sidebar.  It's only once a month and will keep you updated on sales, events, and helpful ideas.  And for those who need it, it serves as a reminder to get moving on your memory-keeping.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Four Creative Ideas for Sharing Family Stories

Have you started preserving your family stories yet?  Have you decided how you want to SHARE your family stories?  Having them is great, but having them accessible to as many family members as possible is ideal.  Today I bring you four creative ideas for sharing your family's stories.

If you missed {what's so important about family stories}, be sure you check it out at that link!


1.  STORYBOOKS

Storybooks, of course, are an excellent way to tell an individual's story. From adoption stories to life stories, storybooks are a beautiful way to preserve and share a family story.


What about telling Grandpa's life story as if he were the hero in a story?

What about telling your love story as a fairy tale?



Storybooks are also an excellent way to tell a family's story.  We often call that a family history.  Include pedigree charts so you know who is connected to whom.  Include photos of the old homestead or the motherland or early photos of family members.

What about creating a family motto and writing about "what it means to be a Jones"?

What about telling the stories of your legacy of faith or hard work?

Storybooks are a tactile way to bring information into the heart.

2.  PLAYING CARDS

Another fun way to really connect family members is by creating playing cards.  Yes, you read that right--playing cards.  


This set at the right has pictures of family members with some brief family facts.  You could use a family-themed playing card deck as a regular playing card deck (King, Queen, Ace, etc.), but you could also create a family matching game like this set.

  
You're just seeing the back of the cards here, so be sure you {click here} to see all the cards and how they match.  This is so great for little kids!  How amazing would they think this is?  Or check out {this cute set called Family Fun Facts}.

You can be really creative here and use your imagination.  What you're seeing here are templates, but they're fully editable, so you can change ANY element from the background and style to the way you want the cards to read.


I love this game called Family Trivia.  You can see {the whole deck here}.  This deck comes with instructions for the trivia game, too, and I love that there are options for younger players as well.  What a fun way to learn family stories in an interactive way!

3.  COOKBOOKS
How about another option for preserving and sharing family stories?

My mom was a cook.  Her mom was a cook.  And HER mom was a cook.  Preserving our family's history was really important to my mom, and one way she did it was by preserving the history of FOOD in our family.  True story.

But think about it:  A history of a family told through food and recipes can give an accurate description of everyday life for that family, the personalities of the family, and the times in which they lived.


My grandmother, for example, was a child during the Great Depression.  She was a naturally ingenious and resourceful woman, to boot.  She learned to bottle (or "can") things and would bottle everything you can think of, including chicken and fish.  She had a green thumb and a thriving garden every year, so their garage was full of food she had bottled.

Her mother, my great-grandmother, lived during a World War and the Flu Epidemic before living through the Great Depression.  Her gift was to bring joy, and she would invite neighbors over for games and cake--and she would bake a prize (like a penny or a thimble) into the cake!

Their recipes reflect their personalities and their local harvest as much as the times.  Recipes and original handwriting and stories and details really bring our family history to life.


Since my mom's original history of our family through food, I've made some family cookbooks myself using the little 6x9 wirebound books at {Heritage Makers}, and I love adding current photos of each family member.  Family favorites are a fun way to focus on getting to know family members.  And you know what to cook when they come over, too!

4. EVERYDAY REMINDERS
Let's look at one more creative way of sharing family history.  This one is very simple.

Is there something you remember your grandma always saying?  Or your dad?  That's a part of your family history.  Those little gems often get passed down from generation to generation, but they often remain an oral tradition and don't usually get put in print.  Don't run the risk of those pearls getting lost over time.  Record them.

They could be part of a storybook or longer personal history or family story, of course, but what about putting that phrase into something you and your family could see every day?!


Like this sweet quote from Grandma Whipple (who, by the way, is not my grandma--I found this lovely 8x12 canvas in the {Heritage Makers} template gallery.  I kinda want to have this printed up and pretend she WAS my grandma, though!)

Think about putting a family quote on {a canvas or metal print or wood print--or even a bag}. These sweet little reminders are part of your family history, and an easy way to bring family history into your life every day.

These are just a few of the creative ways to share family history in simple, fun, and meaningful ways.  Writing a whole story is a fantastic, thorough way to communicate family history, but remember there are lots of ways to pass on family culture and experiences and history.  Find something that works for YOU.

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This post was first published on March 24, 2017, at www.livegrowgive.org by Jennifer Wise.
More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found by clicking the label (#familyhistoryfriday) below or by searching it in the Blog Archive in the sidebar (scroll down).

catch up on your photos: step 8

Step Eight of the Ten-Step Escape Plan:


Start small and easy.  It really helps!  Start small and KEEP GOING!

(Did you miss the last Escape Plan Step?  Click the "how to catch up on your photos" tab in red along the top.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

DIY name tags (that rock!)

You can get pretty clever with Heritage Makers products because they're completely customizable.  I've shown you a few before--like address labels becoming chocolate wraps for celebrations and events {here} as well as {here}, and home decor blocks from scrapbook pages {here} and {here} and even DIY wine glass tags from a scrapbook page (which I used for home decor) right {here}.

I recently decided to make name tags for my monthly {Memory-Keeping Group}.  There are some new folks, so I decided it would be nice to have something special as people meet each other.


There's a UV coating option on scrap pages, which I got so I could use a dry-erase marker on it.  HOW COOL IS THAT?!

About this same time, a friend of mine from a nationwide women's networking group* asked me if she could hire me to make name tags for their chapter so they'd really stand out!  (Of course!!)  Orange and pink are the group's colors, and I got permission to use a couple of logos.  I LOVE how special this makes their chapter!


HOW-TO: 
  1. I first recommend buying the plastic name tag holders at an office supply store so you know what size name tags you'll be creating.
  2. If you don't already have a Heritage Makers account, open one (they're free) by following the steps in the red "how to get started" tab at the top of this blog.  
  3. Once you have your Heritage Makers account, all you do is click "start a project."  Select a scrapbook page size or 11x14 print.  I needed to make the name tags 3x4 so they'd fit into the plastic holders.  I decided to use an 11x14 print instead of a scrap page since I could fit more of this size on there.  They're a tad cheaper for the size, too.
  4. Using the drag-n-drop system (called Studio), create the name tags in the sizes of your name tag holders.  If you have questions about using Studio, ask me using the "contact me" tab or refer to the tutorials in the "how to get started' tab.  Digital art is included with all Heritage Makers products!
  5. I made one tag and then copied and pasted to make a sheet full of nine.  Being able to copy and paste will save you a lot of time when creating these.  You can even copy whole projects!
  6. When you're ready, submit your project for publishing on Heritage Makers' giant printing press, select the UV coating option (free for Club HM members), and wait 7-10 days for it to arrive at your door.  
  7. Cut out the name tags from the Heritage Makers print and put them in the plastic holders.
It really makes a nicer, more professional and impressive look.  I love how these turned out.  They're great for business, of course, and can be re-used when used with a dry-erase marker.

Thanks to the wonderful Elda of {Compassionate Truth} for taking pictures of these orange ones for me!  (photos used with permission)  I love being hired to make something fabulous for people, but the only thing I don't love about it is that I don't often get to see the finished product (since it's shipped to the person I'm making it for)--so I was happy to see how GREAT these turned out!

*By the way, if you're a woman business owner and you're looking for a positive, fun, supportive way to network with other women and make friends, definitely check out {Polka Dot Powerhouse}.  There are chapters all over the country, and even online connects for those who don't have a chapter nearby.  You can visit a Polka Dot Powerhouse meeting as a guest once without being a member, so click the "find meetings" link there at the website to see what's near you.  If you visit, you'll need to have been invited by someone, so just put "Jennifer Wise" as the person who invited you, and go enjoy meeting some wonderful women! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Creating Family Stories

A family history is really a family's stories.  My story is what makes me ME, so it follows that a family story (or family history) is what makes a family THEM.


There's actually a lot of power in family stories, too.  Bruce Feiler's {article, "The Stories That Bind Us"} refers to some significant findings on how knowing a family narrative has a unifying effect on a family and on how family stories specifically help children.  Here's what the studies showed:  Children who knew a lot about their families and their heritage had a stronger sense of control over their lives, did better when faced with challenges, were more resilient, and had higher self-esteem.


Family narratives don't have to look a certain way.  They could be about overcoming difficulty, doing the right thing even when it's hard, or times when family members helped someone else.  Family stories reinforce the idea that we are capable and that there is hope.


Feiler also wrote a New York Times bestseller called "The Secrets of Happy Families."  In the book, he states, "Knowing more about family history is the single biggest predictor of a child's emotional well-being."

That's nothing to sneeze at.  Family stories are serious business, and telling them gets results!
How, then, do we tell family stories?
  1. First, start with what you know, as far back as you know it.  Write down whatever family history you know.  Where did your family come from?  What makes your family tick?  What makes your family interesting or unique?  What family stories do you already know?
  2. If you have living grandparents (or living great-grandparents, if you're lucky!), talk to them.  A recording that you can later transcribe (or even just refer to) is a good way to make a record of your talk with them, so think about setting up a video camera or just doing a voice recording.   Once they start talking, they'll probably think of stories they want to tell that you haven't thought to ask about. And don't forget to ask them to tell you about THEIR parents, too.
  3. If you have living parents, talk to them.  My advice here is to LISTEN.  You might think you know your parents, but you'll most likely be surprised.  Seeing them as people, individuals, is pretty enlightening.
  4. Write your own story.  Don't worry if you're "not a writer."  Pish-posh.  You have a story to tell.  However it comes out of your pen or keyboard is YOUR STORY, your way.  It's you.  Being natural and real will help family members get to know you.

If you're not sure where to start, ask questions.


Ask parents or grandparents (or yourself) where they were born, what their earliest memories are, what school was like, what their favorite hobbies were.  Ask:
  • about their favorite memories as a kid
  • their favorite and least favorite subjects in school
  • why they chose their career
  • a hard thing they overcame
  • the funniest thing they can remember happening to them
  • how they met their spouse
  • what memories they have of their wedding
  • what college or military service or trade school was like
  • about being a young parent
  • about church or civic responsibilities or volunteer opportunities
  • what they believe in
  • what their greatest goals in life have been
  • what makes them laugh and what makes them happy
  • what defining moments they had in life
  • what they always want people to remember about them.
Try to make these questions a conversation, not an interview.  Be interested, and make sure they know it.  Ask other questions that come to mind instead of just going down a list.  Ask them what THEY want you to know.


In my experience, most people don't think their lives or their stories are anything special.  But every single one is.  Especially when we're talking about family stories and family history.

And please don't worry if your family stories aren't very extensive.  I have family members of my own who would talk until their voices quit and family members who MIGHT give you three sentences about their lives if bribery was involved.  It's YOUR family, and within that family are a variety of people.  (As you well know, right?!)  Your family story should reflect your family.  Fill in the blanks if you can, but don't worry if you don't have a lot to go on.  Start with what you have.

Preserve and share your family stories.

Once you've gathered your family stories (which can and should be an ongoing process), it's very important to preserve them and then SHARE them.  I will literally get down on my knees and beg you not to type up your family stories and leave them in a word document on your computer.  The digital world is a fickle place.  A {Google study I read recently} states that if you keep your computer for five years, your chances of having a computer crash are ONE IN THREE.  At a minimum.



So if you have a digital version of your family stories, that's fine, but they need to be in people's hands.  This is me begging you to create a hard copy version of your family stories.  At the very least, just print out the document and tie it in a bow to give to people for their birthdays.

As I mentioned last week, storybooks are an easily-accessible, beautiful way to preserve and then share family stories.  {Heritage Makers} is my go-to source for storybooks because of the {quality and flexibility and quite a few other perks, to boot}.

But there are other ways to preserve family stories, too.

Cookbooks, quote books, and even playing card decks are great options.  Remember the "family love stories" book I showed you in my first #familyhistoryfriday post a couple weeks ago?  There are lots of directions you can go for telling family stories.  We'll look at some more ideas next week.
Whatever you do, keep in mind what a great gift it is to know family stories.  In fact, it's the "single biggest predictor of a child's emotional well-being."Save

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This post was first published on March 17, 2017 at www.livegrowgive.org by Jennifer Wise.
Find other Family History Friday posts in this series by searching the Blog Archive in the sidebar (towards the bottom) or clicking the #familyhistoryfriday hashtag label below.

catch up on your photos: step 7

Step Seven of the Ten-Step Escape Plan:


Do what works for YOU!  It's so important.  Don't worry about what anyone (or everyone) else is doing.  Do YOUR thing!

(Did you miss the last Escape Plan Step?  Click the "how to catch up on your photos" tab in red along the top.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

the best way to store your digital photos

There are so many suggestions out there, so much advice, on the best way to store your digital photos.  How about we just simplify it?!

The current expertise is to store your digital photos twice digitally (two different ways) and once in print.

In fact, did you know if you Google "how to store photos," the one commonality in any article you read is this:  be sure you have a hard copy.

Did you know that you can store your photos all three ways right in your Heritage Makers account?!  It's true.  And it's SO simple!

DIGITAL STORAGE METHOD #1:  The moment you upload your photos to your Heritage Makers account, they are stored in the cloud at full resolution.  That means you can download them back at any time!  (For free--I know that's not always the case with other companies.)  If your computer crashes, your photos are still in your Heritage Makers account.  And better still, all photos that you've published in a Heritage Makers project are stored FOR FREE, indefinitely!

DIGITAL STORAGE METHOD #2:  Heritage Makers works with Millenniata using MDisc to offer photo storage on CDs that have a rock-like layer that withstands light, temperature, humidity, and so many other things that degrade regular CDs.  In fact, regular CDs have a life span of less than 5 years.  (Yikes!)  The MDisc can last 1,000 years!  And you can save your pictures to it right from your Heritage Makers account with the click of a button.
I just ordered an MDisc recently, right from my Heritage Makers account.  It was simple!!  That screen shot above is my order.  You can see that I saved an entire year's worth of photos on one disc.  I can pay cash or use Publishing Points I've already purchased through Club HM!  This could not be simpler, and I like having the longevity of the MDisc.

As great as storing your photos digitally is, you don't take photos in order to store them.  You take photos in order to SEE them.

PRINT STORAGE METHOD:  Although you can choose any of the wonderful methods I've listed in the "Memory-Keeping Options" tab in red at the top of this blog, I personally prefer and recommend preserving your photos with their memories using Heritage Makers digital publishing.  It's simple, beautiful, high-quality, and a hundred other things, but one of the best things about it is that a digital copy of your completed project is stored in your account indefinitely.  Your Heritage Makers projects are protected by Heirloom Assurance, a "just in case" program Heritage Makers offers that allows you to replace any damaged or destroyed project at half price.

What that really means is this.  I took a lot of photos on this special trip in 2015, the last family trip we took before my mom passed away.
If a toddler dumps juice on this book, or if my house burns down, I STILL HAVE THIS BOOK.

That's a huge deal to me.  That's an enormous deal to me.

Heirloom Assurance makes a world of difference!

To see more photo perks of storing your photos in Heritage Makers, both digitally and in print, click the red "photo information" tab at the top of this page. 

Keeping your photos safe and protected both digitally and in print is so easily accomplished at just one website!  The price is excellent and the quality is unbeatable.  

If you need help preserving your photos and stories with Heritage Makers, #icanhelp

Friday, March 10, 2017

Preserving and Sharing Family Stories through Storybooks

Preserving and sharing family stories is a big deal.  That's because family stories give us a sense of purpose and belonging.  Children (including teenagers) develop a stronger sense of identity and overall have higher self-esteem when they know family stories.  In fact, hearing family stories actually helps children tell richer narratives themselves!  Preserving family stories inspires the person doing the preserving, of course, but it also benefits anybody who hears the story.


Storytelling affects our brains in a different way than just facts.  In {this article}, author Rachel Gillette wrote that when we read a story, the language parts of our brains light up, but so do any other parts of the brain that we would be using if we were actually experiencing what we're reading about!  (Talk about literally preserving memories!) 


We love a good story.  And we love it even more when it's OUR story.  Do you know how your grandma and grandpa met?  Do you know what hard times your mom experienced and how she overcame them?  Where did your ancestors come from?  What brought them here?  Are there stories of perseverance or faith or humor in your family?  Do your kids know what you were like as a 10-year-old?   What would these stories mean to you and to your family?

One way to preserve and share family stories is through storybooks.  I'm not talking about "photobooks."  Those are different.  Most of those have a place where you can throw in a caption here and there.  No, I'm talking about a storybook, a place where you can actually tell Grandma and Grandpa's love story or and adoption story or the survival story of your family member with an illness, a place where you can preserve all the photos from one year in one book and tell the stories of the photos at the same time.  This is family history--YOUR family's history--happening a century ago and happening last year.



We're not preserving our stories for some unknown future date.  Children and grandchildren will certainly benefit from them in the future.  But our stories are for NOW.  They connect us now.  They bring people together now.  They foster understanding and appreciation now.  They increase happiness now by giving us opportunities to reflect on good times and put bad times into perspective.

I remember reading my great-grandmother's story quite a few years ago.  She had a rough first marriage, saved up money over a period of months so she could run away with her three little boys (like "three-under-the-age-of-4" little) to a place she'd never been before, where she didn't know anyone. When she made it there, she got really sick and was hospitalized.  Alone.  I remember reading her story and thinking, "Oh my gosh.  I have no problems at all." Family stories truly do give appreciation and perspective.  They make a difference.  And she was quite a lady.  I was glad to get to know her better even though she'd already passed on.

One thing I'm serious about is preserving family stories in an accessible and high-quality way.  That's where those hardbound books I showed you earlier come in.  Something tangible that people can physically touch and hold means so much more than a PDF file, and is so much more accessible.  And when you put something in a hardbound book, you want it to last and be passed down to another generation.  Those books have a library binding with metal stitching in the binding (not glue).  They're intended to be heirlooms.  Like family stories should be.  




Let me show a couple of neat examples of storybooks.  I love this first one:  "Family Love Stories."  Rather than focusing one one love story (which is still entirely amazing, I have to say), this book focuses on all the love stories in a family, from Grandpa loving Grandma, to Grandpa loving Baby Joey, cousins love, and love of the pets in the family too.  You can see all the pages of this darling book {by clicking right here}.

Here's another sweet idea, the life story of an ancestor, {which you can see right here} page by page.  This highlights one person's life and, like the "Family Love Stories" example, includes photos and stories which really make a person you never knew into someone real whose life can make a difference in yours.
  

In fact, I recently created a storybook template that can be used to tell someone's life stories if you don't have access to many pictures of that person.  All the prompts are in the book itself, so you don't have to come up with the HOW of telling the story.  I also created this video that walks you through how to create that basic storybook!


So the next time you think about "family history" as being walking around graves looking for names and dates, remember that family history really means the story of your family.  Yes, that can be found on headstones with names and dates, but it's really found when you write and collect and preserve someone's STORY.

Storybooks are an important and meaningful way to preserve a family story, but there are some other ways, too, so we'll look at some more ideas this month on #familyhistoryfriday.

Storybooks created at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise.  All digital art is included with the purchase, and the software is, too.  {Get started here.}
Pin and save!

This post first appeared on March 10, 2017, at
www.livegrowgive.org by Jennifer Wise.
Find the other posts of this weekly series by clicking on the #familyhistoryfriday hashtag at the bottom of each post.

catch up on your photos: step 6

Step Six of the Ten-Step Escape Plan:


Working with other people is helpful to some people and even crucial to others.  Have you seen my work events in the "need TIME?" tab in red above?

(Did you miss the last Escape Plan Step?  Click the "how to catch up on your photos" tab in red along the top.)

Monday, March 6, 2017

free online class: Gift Ideas for Mothers Day & Fathers Day

If you want to give a Mom or Dad something they'll LOVE, but you need some help in the IDEA department, come get some great ideas at this 40-minute Heritage Makers class I'm teaching on the 15th.


I suggest watching the Video Introduction to Heritage Makers (link at the bottom, which is {right here}) ahead of time if you're interested in knowing HOW Heritage Makers works and what creating in the Heritage Makers Studio is like.

Be sure Zoom is downloaded to your computer ahead of time, too, so you're ready to join the class right at 7:00 on Wed. Mar. 15, 2017.

You will definitely come away with some impressive, heartfelt, and perfect gift ideas!  See you then. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Welcome to Family History Friday!

NOTE:  My #familyhistoryfriday series originally ran each Friday from March 3, 2017 through July 27, 2018, then biweekly on Fridays through October 26, 2018.  Fellow blogger Krista Palo invited me to write blog posts for her blog, Evolve, focusing on connections, family, stories, memories, and photos.  The original Evolve website is now gone, so my Family History Friday posts will be reposted here at my own blog, LifeTales Books, backdated to their original posting dates.  So enjoy these inspiring and idea-filled posts by finding them posted on Fridays between March 3, 2017 and October 26, 2018.  Scroll down through the right sidebar to find the Blog Archive and you'll be able to find them all, or click on the #familyhistoryfriday hashtag at the bottom of each post to see others.



What do you know about family history?  What does that even mean?  What does it entail?  And what difference does it make?

Well, you might be surprised.

One aspect of family history, of course, is in the past.  Not surprising due to the word "history," right?  But did you know that another aspect of family history is the present?  We are living history right now.  Events that make up our life story are our history.  Life changes are our history, and those happen all the time.  Right now.  So family history involves looking to both the past and the present to capture and preserve what will be meaningful in the future.  Family history is essentially the story of your family.



Each Friday we'll be looking at one aspect of family history, and we'll do that through inspiration, ideas, motivation, solutions, and some really fun stuff, too.

For example, did you know that one way to make ancestors really come alive is to create a playing card deck with their names, faces, dates, and interesting facts?


I told you!  Really fun stuff.

There are lots of ways to make connections within your family, and I really love thinking outside the box and finding special and unique ways to bring people together and help them make connections.  And there are some awesome benefits of knowing family history, too.  In fact, many of them have been proven in scientific studies!
  • Children who are familiar with family stories have more robust identities and a sense of belonging.  
  • Teenagers have higher self-esteem and lower incidents of depression and anxiety.  
  • Connecting to your family story and legacy, both from the past and in the present, increases gratitude and gives a sense of perspective and purpose.  
  • Knowing what other members of our family have experienced and overcome gives us hope and strength.
So let's explore LOTS of ways to bring the story of your family (family history) into everyday life.  It makes an enormous difference, and it can be a whole lot of fun at the same time!  This month, we'll look at different ways to preserve and share family stories.  See you next week.

Family History Playing Card Deck created at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise 



SaveThis post first appeared on March 3, 2017 at www.livegrowgive.org by Jennifer Wise.