May 062015
 
Emotional furniture of your memories of your first home

As you write about memories of your first home (or any other place), include some emotional furniture.

When I first heard the prompt “Write about your memories of your first home,” my first reaction was, “Oh yeah, write about the place I can’t remember.” I wasn’t alone. The woman next to me offered aloud, “My first home after I got married?” She grew up as a military brat. She couldn’t even remember the number of home she had lived in, much less any details about the first one.

Of course, she was right. There’s several ways to adapt this prompt into something that will resonate with you and your readers. The point is to get your memories to paper and to connect with others through your stories. For instance, in addition to writing about your actual first home, Continue reading »

Apr 102015
 
Write about average and it comes alive

When you write about average, others look at the details and see something a lot more compelling than simply “average”.

Average gets a bad rap. Well, not so much a bad rap as not enough rap. We seldom hear about him or her.

For instance, you never see Average’s mom post about his achievements on Facebook. “Congratulations to my son Average who achieved something that most kids achieve.” Instead, we see the parents of Average’s friends posting about their kids achieving all the things Average tried to achieve, but fell just a tad short. “Congratulations to my child Superior who achieved something momentous. My kid is wonderful beyond belief and worked so hard. #mykidisintheroomwithme #Imjustanattentionwhore.”

Okay, the hashtags are imagined, put in my head by a hilarious teenager. (I’m withholding her name to protect the snarky.) But the post isn’t imagined. Its equivalent passes through our news feeds on a regular basis. Continue reading »

Mar 232015
 
Cross my heart stories

Because we didn’t say them lightly, the promises we made make great stories

Remember (if you’re approximately my age) how we used to cross our hearts and “hope to die”? We’d earnestly pledge ourselves to some action or affection, pantomiming the heart crossing as if we (in my case, good Southern Baptist girls) were genuflecting.

Today, kids pinky swear. To me, pinky swearing doesn’t carry the same weight as our covenants made on the pain of a-needle-in our-eye injury. But what do I know? As much as I assuredly meant all those promises (unless, of course, I somehow managed to cross my fingers behind my back as I gesticulated the heart crossing on my front), I can’t remember many of my hope-to-dies. The one I do remember was to remain lifelong friends with Sally Moore. I lost touch with Sally a few years after she moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, which for my 12-year-old perspective. might as well have been Peru. Continue reading »

Dec 082014
 
Writing about the past

Writing about the past can help you release the negativity while keeping the memory.

When to let go

Connections to the past matter. A lot. But sometimes sadness, hurt, and anger about the past becomes baggage. Carrying those suitcases around make traveling forward more cumbersome and emotionally expensive. Sometimes we have to emotionally let go of past events to keep a healthy relationship with the present and future. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, writing about the past is a great strategy to keep our What-Could–Have-Been from overshadowing our What-Can-Still-Be.

Just so you know which body part I’m speaking from, I’ll confess up front. I’m not good at letting go.

Writing about the past doesn’t just prevent you from bottling up your feelings. Writing can help process the past, enabling us to embrace the present and future. That’s especially true when we combine writing about the past with solid advice from professionals. Although I’m normally all about sharing, these techniques are also helpful when you keep your writing private. Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 
Conversations that matter

Family gatherings aren’t just great opportunities for bonding. It’s also a great time to have conversations that matter.

Family gatherings are the perfect time to start conversations that matter —and to collect stories. After the bird or ham has been carved and the casserole dishes scraped empty, we loosen our belts. And, often, we loosen our tongues.

This holiday, as Aunt Ida and Grandpa start to exchange familiar stories, make the most of the time with your loved ones. Jump (calmly and unobtrusively) into action.

Draw out New Information

Instead of simply laughing, nodding, and adding stories of your own, draw out new information by asking questions and listening carefully. Continue reading »

Oct 062014
 
Things you didn't know

It bears thinking about– things you didn’t know versus what you know now.

Telling your stories means sharing your journey. Every time you write about a memory of something you learned you’re sharing your wisdom. Writing about things you didn’t know lets you address the whole process of becoming older and hopefully wiser. Whether you write a list, essay, journal entry, or even a letter to your younger self, this introspective topic makes great reading.

Imparting Wisdom

You can share the lessons you’ve learned at the school of hard knocks. Juxtapose things you didn’t know against things you now understand:

  • Things you wish you could have relaxed about.
  • Things you wish you had been more careful about
  • Things you wish you had understood more fully
  • Your advice to younger friends and family members

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 »

Sep 202013
 

Make a Wish blog hop icon Today’s post is part of the  Make a Wish Blog Hop.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your hop so far and I’m glad you’re here.
If you’re coming from Connie Umstead’s blog, you are in the right place! (If you want to start at the beginning, go to http://www.craftyneighbor.blogspot.com/2013/09/september-blog-hop.html.

Making a Wish on a Birthday

Birthday cakes are a big deal at our house. Of course, part of our ritual is the obligatory photograph before the candles are blown out.  I always wonder briefly what my kids wish for. I’m sure they much more immediate (like for gifts they’ll unwrap), than the wishes I have for them. Continue reading »

Jun 242013
 
Letter writing reveals relationships

Letters from our “Treasure Chest” not yet preserved correctly.

Letter writing, particularly letters written in cursive, stamped, and mailed, is a dying art. When we look through storage boxes, some of most precious jewels we’ll find are letters. (See An actual Treasure Chest of Memories.)  These letters from the past reveal a lot more than penmanship. They give a glimpse of personality, the formality of the personal relationship, and historical perspective. Continue reading »

Jun 212013
 

Scrapbook little traditions When we think about traditions, we think about the big ones, like holidays and family reunions.  Listening to 8 Years Lost,” Paperclipping.com’s Round Table interview with Jackie Wood, I was struck by her yearning to remember the everyday routines and the little traditions. (Read Jackie’s Guest Post Eight Years of Memories Lost. ) Continue reading »