Apr 242014
Imperfect Memory

Our brain’s malleability results in imperfect memory.

The fallibility of memory has been getting increased attention in the press lately. Eyewitness identifications, for example, have been found to be erroneous.

No doubt, the legal implications of imperfect memory are far-reaching. But how does our memory’s malleability impact the family storyteller? How does it affect the memories you preserve?

Telling the Stories with Inaccuracies

Family stories will no doubt have small inaccuracies. Over time, details may have been distorted or embellished. Continue reading »

Apr 222014
Feeling like an outsider

Are you a square person in a round-hole world? Are you feeling like an outsider?

Feeling like an outsider?

Most of us have been the odd man out in some community. Accounts of feeling like an outsider are wonderful ways to connect with loved ones. Writing about how you coped, adjusted, or gained acceptance can lend insight for family members that might feel like an outsider themselves.

Past or Present Tense

Your feelings matter. If feeling like an outsider is an issue that you long ago resolved, your insight can help others in similar circumstances.  It it’s an ongoing problem for you, writing about it can help your loved ones understand you better.

Geo-Political Foreigner

It’s a plot that dates back to Biblical times. It’s re-enacted almost every time someone crosses a border. Being a foreigner is practically synonymous with feeling like an outsider.

My husband and I lived in Germany for several years. Because we were on a short-term assignment, we were at peace with being visitors. It was an ideal time in our lives—we were young, healthy, and loved having 30+ vacation days in which to travel. Speaking German helped us fit in to some extent, but there was no question that we were outsiders. We were accepted but we didn’t “belong.”

Some expats have a difficult time trying to assimilate. Did you ever live in another country? Try to fit into another culture? What did you miss the most about your homeland? What did you enjoy the most? (How) Did you find your sense of belonging?

Feeling like a Misfit

Though the majority of us felt this way throughout middle school, for some of us, the “misfit” feeling dallied into adulthood. Recognizing the person that feels like a misfit isn’t intuitive. Sometimes the people we look up to as special look on themselves as odd.

Did you struggle to find a group with which you felt you could truly be yourself? Did you go through a period in which you were constantly censoring yourself trying to fit in with a group? (How) Did you find your way to be yourself and fit in?

Feeling Like an Outsider by Virtue of a Disability

Did you have some sort of disability that kept you from joining in? This could range from a peanut allergy that kept you home from birthday parties to a disability that kept you out of sports.

Was your disability something that others were aware of? How did that affect you? (How) Did you manage to find a way to fit in? Is it something with which you’ve made your peace or is it a continual thorn in your side? What wisdom do you have for loved ones?

Fitting in with FamilyFeeling like an outsider in a family

There wasn’t ever much of a culture clash between my in-laws’ Pennsylvania/Michigan roots and my southern ones. Regardless, it warms my heart every time my father-in-law refers to me as his “Southern Comfort.”

Did you immediately meld minds with your in-laws or did it take a while for you to come to understand and appreciate each other? Did you have to figure out how to fit into family, faith, or cultural dynamics? That’s an important story to tell!

Finding your Sense of Belonging

How you found your sense of belonging can be a transformational story. Was the very thing that caused you to feel like an outsider now the way that you find your identity?  A good example of this is Darcy’s Heart Stirrings On Being Church Misfits. Her story is an on-going story.  Is yours?

Your Turn

If you had a loved one that was feeling like an outsider, what story from your past would you tell them?



Apr 172014
writing about memories or memoir writing

Simply writing about memories–preserving your stories–is easier than writing a memoir.

Memoir writing and writing about memories have a lot in common. Both are introspective, healing projects. Here’s how writing about memories is an easier project.

It’s Easier to Get Started

It’s easier to start writing about your memories. The process of memory collection is much less formal than memoir writing. Though the quality of the memories and stories may be the same, but the framework is looser.

Memoirists look to convey a theme or story about their life. Many struggle with wondering if they story is important enough. Further, memoir writing requires greater technical writing skills. Ideally, your personal story will read like a novel. It will have a beginning that grabs the reader, pacing, climax, and character development. Writing about memories—simply collecting your stories, allows you to share with loved ones without worrying about the NY Times bestseller list. Continue reading »

Apr 142014
Writing through glasses 3D

Wearing and writing through glasses? Your personality can bring a story alive. But, it also functions as a lens.

What glasses do you wear?

We’re all writing through glasses of some sort. Our world-view, personality, and life experiences affect our writing.[1] Intentionally or not, we provide readers with a filter or lens.

This means that when you write about your memories, your writing is the filter through which your loved ones will come to understand the episodes of your past.

Perhaps the question makes more sense now. What type of glasses do you wear? What type of filter to do you lend to your readers? Continue reading »

Apr 102014
Slave Info sheds light

Slave information from your family tree could enlighten other researchers.

I’m excited to introduce Valerie Hughes, today’s guest poster. Valerie, a professional genealogist, recently gained insight about what to do with slave information you encounter during your family tree research.

Will You Take The Challenge?  Share Slave History from your Family Tree.

About two months ago, I joined a Black Ancestry Group on Facebook. You may think this is an odd thing to do considering I am not black. However, I did it for a specific reason, to ask a question that had been plaguing me for a long time.  The following is the question that I finally asked. Continue reading »

Apr 072014
childhood Memories include main drag

Hometown memories might include cruising the main drag. Photo credit Library of Congress PPOC.

We usually define “home” as a building. It’s our childhood home, or grandma’s house, or another place where we felt safe to grow. However, our hometown memories also play an important role in our stories. Even if you moved frequently, chances are that the towns and cities of your past still have a special place in your heart.

As you look back, write about your hometown memories. The following are some ideas on how to capture the essence of the setting of your childhood stories.

What you used to think

Remember, you’re not so much telling the story of you hometown as telling your story of growing up in it. Your feelings about your hometown memories are an integral and important part of your story. Continue reading »

Apr 012014

Craft Squad Blog Hop Welcome to The Craft Squad’s Monthly Blog Hop!  This month our theme is “Hoppity Hop Hop”! What does that make you think of? Easter? Spring? Kids bouncing off the walls? Family Moments?

See how “Hoppity Hop Hop” inspired our Craft Squad members. This month I’m the first stop on the blog hop. My blog is about preserving memories; scrapbooking and paper crafting can play a huge role in sharing precious memories. Continue reading »

Mar 312014
Adopted genealogy an individual journey

Adopted Genealogy: Every adoptee has a different story and every adoption has its own set of circumstances.

Today I’m excited to have blogger Yvette Porter Moore share her insight about family history research from an adoptee’s standpoint.

Being adopted sometimes intensifies the age-old adage “Who am I?” and “Where do I come from?” Adopted genealogy adds an extra layer of bricks and mortar to break-through. Most adoption records are sealed and not open to the forever “child,” who is now an adult.

My Story

Having reunited with my birth family about twenty-three years ago, I can still remember the process, and the feelings I experienced. Continue reading »

Mar 272014
Preserving family history info and roots

Preserving family history information will help loved ones know who you are

“Let your roots show” isn’t something likely to go over well over drinks on a girls’ night out. However, the same comment might be warmly received by a group of family history buffs. They’d wonder how they could do that, short of getting their pedigree chart screen-printed on a sweatshirt.

Whether you’re a certified genealogist or just writing down a few stories, you need to let your roots show. Preserving family history information will be a true gift for loved ones. Knowing where you’ve come from will help loved ones understand who you are. Even if you haven’t been tracing your roots, there’s a lot you can do. Continue reading »

Mar 252014
Sharing your personality through writing

Sharing your personality through your stories might involve loosening the heart strings a little.

Make sure you’re sharing your personality along with your memories and stories. Telling your stories isn’t only about the past. It’s also about connecting with loved ones now—and into the future. Make sure you’re infusing accounts of long ago with your  feelings, character and individuality.

Sharing your Personality by Including your Feelings

It’s our feelings about our past that makes it so important to tell our stories.

Memoirist Marilyn Abildskov  notes, “There are many reasons to write, but one of the most time-honored is this: we have some strong feeling we want to convey. We miss the small red house of our childhood, the smell of our grandmother’s soap, the slant of our father’s handwriting, the perfect meal we had with someone in a seaside town many years ago. We write out of longing, out of memory, out of happiness, out of regret.”[1] Continue reading »

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