Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"I regret making that storybook," said no one ever.

We all get to choose what we do with our time.  Sometimes we're smart with our time, and sometimes we're dumb with it, but we all get to choose.  Right now my regrets include scrolling too long on Facebook or not exercising when I told myself I would.  Do you have similar regrets? 

One of the most impactful and meaningful uses of time is preserving our photos and stories.  I think it's one of the most {noble ways to use our time}.
When I talk about preserving photos, I don't necessarily mean scrapbooking.  So if you're not a scrapbooker, stay with me here because it doesn't matter.  Preserving your experiences through photos and memories can happen any number of ways.

Here are three amazing ways to preserve your photos and memories in digital pages.  If you like the creativity and flexibility (put anything anywhere on a page) of scrapbooking, you'll love the third option here, like I do.  If you just want to get 'er done without spending much time (or learning a computer program), the first two will be your dream come true.  For a quick book with captions, choose the first option.  For more journaling space, choose the second.

The links to get started are in the comments of the video, or you can get started here.

And I'll tell you what!  Spending time to create a storybook has NO REGRETS!

I really love the family yearbooks--a whole year's worth of photos in one book.  There are lots of templates already designed, so it's really just a matter of putting photos where they already go! 

Creating storybooks or scrap pages is one way to spend your time that really makes a difference!  {Studies have even shown} that memory-keeping increases happiness, raises self-esteem, lowers stress, engenders a sense of belonging and purpose, and even makes kids more resilient!  What you create can make a lasting difference.

Do yourself a favor and start enjoying all those memory-keeping benefits RIGHT NOW.  

If you struggle to find time, visit the "need TIME?" tab at the top of this page, and always remember that you can actually {make memory-keeping into a family activity}, not just something on YOUR to-do list!

Or work with friends!  Check out the "Our Community & Events" tab to see what's coming up next.  There are 5 great options for accomplishing your memory-keeping goals by working with others.

Do it!  Create a photo-storybook!  A Forever photo-storybook is a beautiful, high-quality, meaningful way to preserve your life experiences through photos and stories, and it's a meaningful way to spend your time that you'll never regret.

The steps to get started are laid out {here} for you! 

If you like the yearbook idea, this tutorial shows you how simple it is to create using the Design & Print platform from Forever.  (For full flexibility and creativity with the Artisan program, get a basic overview here and see details hereContact me with questions!  I love answering questions and helping people make memory-keeping doable!)

 #noregrets #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

how to support small business without spending a cent

Chances are you know a small business owner or network marketer.  Chances are you know several.  How do you, as their friend, support them?  Here are some ways you can be one of their strongest supporters and cheerleaders without spending a cent or even stepping out of your house!

And don't forget:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Finding Friends in Your Family

Learning about your family history gives you a glimpse into the history of you, but it also gives you opportunities to find friends in your own family.  Working together and playing together (even if it has to be scheduled in today’s hectic life) give family members opportunities to talk, accomplish something together, or just have fun together.  Family members can be a constant source of friendship throughout life.  But what about the family outside your own house?  How can you find friends in your family outside your walls?

Outside Your Walls:  A Path to Friendship
At a recent Family History Conference in Ogden, Utah, a speaker told of how she and her husband set up a little structure on their ranch as homage to an ancestor.  Inside, they framed the story of this ancestor so family members could read it and get to know him.  Their young grandson read the story and was thrilled with it.  

This is just one example of a “path to friendship,” as Rachel Trotter calls it–a way to develop friendships between generations.  In her article, {“A Family Story is a Path to Friendship,”} Trotter suggests other ways to do this, too.  For example, her daughter was given the name of two great-grandmas.  That daughter, knowing where her special name comes from, and the two special ladies it belonged to, has a strong sense of self and belonging.

And that’s what family stories are intended to do.
A variety of heirloom-quality storybooks that can be completely personalized are found {here}.

What family stories do you already know?  Have you recorded them, or are they still memories living in your head?  This article, {Creating Family Stories}, has some great resources to help you remember and record the family stories you already know, and some questions to ask to find more stories.  Get to know your parents, your grandparents, and your ancestors.  Then create a record so your children can get to know them, too.

I mentioned {last week} how fulfilling it is to me to connect with family members I’ve never met, like my great-grandparents.  Reading their stories, knowing their life experiences, and getting to know them a little makes a big impact on my own heartstrings.  It’s grounding, and it gives me hope.

Inside Your Walls:  Connections
Connections to people within the walls of our homes are important, too.  We talk about being so {“connected” these days–but are we}?  (There’s a short video at that link about a woman who strengthened a strained family relationship, too.)   

I’ve recently been trying to connect with someone who isn’t all that interested in connecting (mainly because he’s, well, a teenager).  So I have to be a little sneaky sometimes.  He’s quick to list ways we can’t connect:  “I’m not interested in __[something you’re interested in]___,” “I don’t want to__[do this thing you like doing]_____”.  This person is more like me than he wants to admit (mainly because he’s, well, a teenager), but the easy, go-to things we could do together aren’t that interesting to him.  I dropped a bombshell on him the other day.  I told him that we could actually find things we have in common and then do THAT together.

So often we think we can’t connect if there aren’t a few glaringly obvious things we have in common.  It’s so important to stop looking at things we don’t have in common and focus on what we do have in common.  This is when conversations and questions come in.  Just finding out what people think, what they like, what they don’t like, what they value, etc., helps you realize what you have in common.  Start with that, then build on it.

When we moved across the country (the second time), our kids were 17, 13, and 10.  Not an easy age to move and make new friends.  It really struck me that first night in our new but completely empty house:  we all have each other.  My kids left their friends, they haven’t had any time at all yet to meet a single person here, but they have each other.

Bring it Home
Finding friends in your family is worth the effort because we need each other.  I know how fantastic friends are, of course, but sometimes people move away or grow apart when things in common stop being in common.  Family is always there, so it’s important to make friends in your family.

Sometimes family friendships develop easily, sometimes they take some time and need some nudging.  I think the simplest way to foster friendships between family members and between family generations is to fill your home with reminders and stories and photos.  Fill your house with connections waiting to happen.  You could:
Try these ideas or do some brainstorming of your own.  Several of the #familyhistoryfriday posts from last month (November 2017) have great ideas for connecting, too.

Friendships within families, whether within the walls of your home or between generations, can be lasting and rewarding.  And this rich source of friendship can sometimes be the last place we think to look.

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This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on December 15, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Why Knowing Family Stories is a Necessity (and the astounding effects)

When I was growing up, 2017 sounded like it would involve flying cars.  Really, though, things aren’t that different from 1985.  Are they?  Houses are houses and cars are cars.  We go to school and work.  And yet, things ARE different.  With so many available activities and distractions now, family connections are harder to come by than they used to be.  

While it used to be nice to know family stories and family history, today it’s a necessity.  Here’s why.

We know a little more about the effect of family history today than we did in 1985.  It’s been {researched}, and the effects of knowing family stories on both kids and adults has been documented in recent years.  In Rachel Coleman’s article, {Why We Need Family History Now More than Ever}, she states:
"[Family history] can be a powerful antidote against adverse life experiences that we face today, giving us a stronger understanding of who we are and motivating us to deepen our roots for generations to come." 
Among other things, Coleman points to family history as a major factor to connection, identity, selflessness, and resilience.  Compassion and self-worth also come from knowing family stories.  These are all things we want!  Everyone can benefit from a little more compassion or a little more resilience.

Resilience is another by-product of knowing family stories because we can see how other people in our own clan overcame hardship.  We see them stand up again, try something new, or start over.  It gives us hope.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a story about an ancestor and thought, “Oh, good grief.  I don’t actually have any problems!”  They provide great perspective.

And now for the big guns.

Coleman referred in her article to a popular and thought-provoking Ted Talk called {Everything You Know About Addiction is Wrong}.  In it, Johann Hari states that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety.  It’s connection.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  (Better yet, watch his talk.)  I’ve even heard connection defined as the opposite of depression.  How many other common problems today could be helped, managed, improved, or solved by simple connection?

Connection among family members can be elusive these days, even among those who sit at the same dinner table.  But connections make a difference!  Connecting with your roots, who you belong to and where you came from, whether you even met those family members or not, provides a sense of belonging and purpose.  Research backs it up.

Connecting with the people around the dinner table is important, but so is connecting with those who came before you.  If you're unsure about how connecting with people you never met can really help you, think of the connections you have made already with people you never met.  I’m in a couple of blog-sharing Facebook groups and Instagram share groups, and, you know, it actually IS possible to make connections without having met a person.  As I learn a little more about these people, I am connecting with them.  A few years ago I read a biography of one of the most remarkable American women in history, Susan B. Anthony.  After reading it, I sincerely and truly felt like if I had lived when she did, we would have been friends.  (If you haven’t {read it, you should}!  It will change what you think you know.)
"There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story."  ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley
How much better, then, to connect with and love someone in your own family.

A few years ago, I read the story of my great- great-grandparents.  I had known their names before, yes, but I didn’t really know (or appreciate) their stories.  I did some digging in some typed-up family stories my parents had given me.  I took those stories and {put them in a book} for my children.  

I was amazed at what happened to me.  I actually got to know my great- great-grandparents.  And I LOVED them.  They became friends to me.  I connected with them because I saw things we have in common, they did things I admired, and they were my people.  They were regular folk.  But they were MY folk.  I honestly still feel that connection to them to this day, 4 years after putting their stories in books for my kids.

In a family tree, everyone has a place.  You might be a root, you might be a branch, or you might be both.  Roots and branches are equally vital to the health of a tree.  A tree needs both.  So wherever you find yourself in your family tree, know that you are important.

photo credit: {Roots Gifts} (Family Fan Chart quilts and fleece blankets)

In addition to filling a place no one else can fill, you are a connection between those who came before you and those who come after.  Tell your story.  Share it.  And make your story what you want it to be.  Get started here.

We all need connection!  Save and share this article using the social media buttons.

This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on December 8, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  Find more #familyhistoryfriday posts by clicking the hashtag below next to Labels.

Hooray!  This post was a featured favorite here:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

family-themed gift ideas

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  I've got some great family-themed gift ideas for you this year!  I spent a lot of time searching high and low to find some fantastic gift ideas for you that will encourage family connections and foster engagement. 

Many are interactive, but all are meant to strengthen relationships and family ties.

You'll have quite a few different ideas to choose from at each of these links:
And Happy Christmas to all.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Your Family History in a Recipe

Did you know you can find your family history in a recipe?  It’s true.  Since a family history is just a family’s story, recipes, meals, traditions, and celebrations are part of that story.  From simple comfort food to fancy holiday dishes, you can find family history in a recipe.  Cookbooks and recipes are one fun, {creative way to share and enjoy your family’s story}.

My mother collected recipes from her mother and grandmother.  She compiled them several years ago, and it’s interesting to be able to go back now and see our family's history that way.  There are interesting “medicinal” recipes from the early 20th century. My great-grandmother had a recipe for ginger tea to calm an upset stomach.  My grandmother had a recipe for sugarless teething biscuits.  There are things I’ve never heard of like brown sugar seafoam candy and sauerkraut cake.  It helps me understand and appreciate what cooking (and what life) was like back then, and it also takes me home. {Nostalgia is nothing more than a way back home.}

A few years ago, I put together a family recipe book and asked each person in the family for their three favorite recipes.  The result is a great book that we can use for delicious recipes, of course, but it’s also both fun and useful to know what other people like to eat when they come to visit!  It's our CURRENT family history through recipes!  We all love it!

My grandma had a great, classic fudge recipe that I still use.  I love it because it’s not only delicious but it makes a lot so it’s perfect for giving away.  As my grandma’s niece said about this recipe, “If you’re going to make fudge, make fudge.”  And this does it!  So as a bonus for you today, here is Grandma's recipe:

Grandma Stott's Five Pounds of Fudge
enough fudge to sample yourself and give away, too

4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
cup milk
16 oz chocolate bar, broken in pieces
12 oz chocolate chips
1 pint marshmallow creme
tsp vanilla
1-2 cups chopped nuts optional

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sugar, butter, and milk.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate and marshmallow creme. Stir until combined, then stir in vanilla. Add nuts if desired. Stir well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan for thick pieces of fudge or a jelly roll pan for thinner pieces of fudge. Let stand until cool.  Cut into squares.  Store covered.

What comfort food from your childhood do you enjoy?  What is a traditional food your family loves this time of year?  Have you recorded your traditions and favorites somewhere so they can be known and enjoyed for another generation?  Record your family's history through recipes, and you've got a timeless piece of your own story.
Pin to save and share. 

This post was originally published at www.livegrowgive.org on December 1, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  More #familyhistoryfriday posts can be found below by clicking the hashtag next to Labels.