Inspire Me (34)
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do."
- Helen Keller
Remember putting together a puzzle? Spending hours finding the corners, the straight edges, and then finally filling in the middle? Sometimes, we get to the end of the puzzle only to realize that one, or even a few of the pieces are missing. Instead of seeing all the pieces that ARE there, our eye is immediately drawn to the piece that is missing. Whenever we hear someone say they don't think their story is important, or that they don't think they have a story - we think of those missing puzzle pieces - we are all needed, we all have our place, we all have a story!
"One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something." - Henry David Thoreau
Individually they had decided to turn from their despair to focus their lives on sharing with others the promise of God’s hope. When they did, they found each other, joined hearts, made a home together, then dared to dream there could be more.
Stop the Madness - A Rallying Cry
You know the classic tale. A child becomes the voice of reason in the face of the numbly blind crowd.
“But, he isn’t wearing any clothes at all!”
His own father dismisses the child’s common sense as childish prattle, but the words he spoke start to be passed up and down through the crowd. Eventually, the people of the kingdom take up the cry of the boy,
“He isn’t wearing any clothes at all!”
Haters are gonna hate, and there I was, unbeknownst to me, smack dab in the middle of “them.”
When I took the single seat a few rows back from the rope and just to the right of the camera/sound booth, I had no idea who I was sitting with. The day's opening session was about to begin, the theme: “The Natural Family.” I was looking forward to hearing the latest legal issues, research, social science and commentary on an incredibly important topic.
“You look like her.”
The words stunned me. I looked like her? How could she possibly know that? We were talking about our Great, Great Grandma after all. In all of my days I had never seen a picture of her, never even considered that one existed. Yet, obviously this distant cousin knew something I didn’t.
It seems fitting that if we have a celebration called Mother's Day, and one called Father's Day that we would have a special day for the ones who really started it all – Grandparent's Day.
This September 13th, to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa, how about finding out some of their stories.
Recently, my daughter was asked to do some public speaking. She wanted to share some thoughts of her grandma. It's interesting how answering a simple question like, “describe how grandma dressed,” brought up a host of other memories for her. She did a great job with her talk, but just as important, as a result, she took time to write and share her memories. Here's some of the story she shared:
“Picture with me my grandma’s closet. It was not like a normal closet, it was more like a room. Because it was in the top of the house, the ceiling slanted with the pitch of the roof and there were pockets and cubbies you could hide in as a little seven year old girl. However, this day it wasn’t the cubbies that attracted my cousin Chelsea and I. It was that this closet was full of my grandma’s beautiful things - she was feminine and beautiful; the kind of woman that wore pearls with jeans. In the back of the closet was a jewelry chest that was about as tall as our seven and nine year old selves. It had little drawers and in one of the drawers was tiny, differently shaped bottles of colored liquids, perfume samples. We were looking at them, touching them, trying to be so careful when we heard our grandma walk in. We placed them back in the drawer, not because we were so much scared that she was going to see us, because she never seemed to get mad at us, but more because we were embarrassed we’d been caught.
She smiled when she saw us and walked into the closet. She knelt down and took out two little perfumes, she told me “Oh Brookie, you have olive skin and a wise personality, this perfume will smell perfect on you”, and “Chelsea, you have a kind heart, and beautiful eyes, this smell will fit you.” She taught us to dab two spots on our wrist, and one on our neck and rub it together. I felt beautiful, like my grandma. Fast forward with me two years, I was now nine, and my grandma, only 58, had fought a hard and valiant fight with cancer. Her thick full blonde hair was gone, her beautiful feminine figure now frail and thin. It was time for all of us cousins to come into her hospital room and say goodbye. We sang to her Families Can Be Together Forever. I had been taught the words in primary and I knew them to be true. I had been taught by my parents how the Spirit felt, and I knew it was there. That moment, and my love for my grandma, has stayed with me and will linger forever - just like the sweet smell of her perfume.”
Anyone that story is shared with, friends, cousins, siblings, future children and grandchildren, will be able to know, just a little bit more, about Brooke's grandma because she told this story.
A name, photo, piece of memorabilia, or any heirloom item - will always be more meaningful when a story accompanies it. The best way to preserve memories of your grandparents - tell it to those you love.
Here's a few prompts to help get some of your own memories and stories started this Grandparent's Day:
1. Describe your grandparents home and memories of visiting/traveling to it.
2. Describe how your grandparents looked, what they wore, smells you remember, how they moved. Did they talk fast/loud, or quiet/slow?
3. What names of endearment did your grandparents use with you, each other, your parents?
4. Did you ever learn an important lesson with/from your grandma/grandpa? Tell about the circumstances.
Tamu Smith, from Sistas In Zion is used to taking a humorous approach to most things - she even tackles the very serious side of Genealogy in my interview with her.
At RootsTech 2015, FamilySearch's CEO, Dennis Brimhall and I had a chance to visit about family storytelling. Here's my interview with him.
So thrilled to visit with Al Fox, her amazing husband Ben Carraway and even sweet Gracie.
I was there! RootsTech 2015 was one for the record books - over 28,000 people attended a family history conference like no other. Proving, if you don't think Family History is FUN - chance are, you haven't done Family History, or you haven't had FUN!
The New Year has started, and many of us have, by now, given up on our resolutions. Maybe it's time to look at our goals in a different way. Guest author, Stepper McCrery shares how doing family history can be compared to sticking to a diet.
At this time of year, most of us love the idea of traditions. But sometimes, its hard to see the things you do as anything really special that will endure as a tradition with your own family. If you've ever worried about that - we have a simple solution.
You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing
Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don't you like you?
Cause I like you
(Colbie Caillat Try Lyrics)
A few books have been said to change people’s lives. There are always classics on the list, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Giver, Pride and Prejudice, The Diary of a Young Girl are just a few. Harry Potter became a sensation to readers and writers alike, changing the audience of many books. A few of my other favorites on the list are The Help, The Book Thief, The Fault in our Stars, The Hiding Place and Unbroken. One book from 2013 has joined the list: Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
“Tell me, you are not throwing that out.” I should just record myself saying that and play it as I go through my friends' and sisters' homes. Or at this point, I probably don't even need to say it out loud anymore. I'm pretty sure they know my love for old wood, formerly-loved boxes and tins and all buttons and broken jewelry.
It took me many, many years to realize that my mother was more than just a "mom." For most of my childhood I took for granted that she was a MOM, with all that word entails. She was my class's room mother, she made treats for me to take to school on my birthday, and she planned all our summer vacations. It never occured to me that there was more to her than that!