Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Power of Story!

Many of you have heard me speak about the "Power of Story", but this year I had the wonderful opportunity to see it in action (yet again). The "Power of Story" is pretty simple if you think about it. It is the ability to connect people, generations, history, families, friends through storytelling. Storytelling has been around for generations and has been a common form of tracking history for ages. It has been a proven form of remembering events and people.

With today's world and the technology that we have, most people have gotten away from sharing stories. I have the HONOR of working with people to capture their stories and preserve them in beautiful books. I think that the best part about what I do is that I do not have to worry about the stories being forgotten. I help people write their story so that they can be remembered the way that they want to be remembered.

I guess that is where this story comes from...

Christmas is an exceptionally busy time of the year for me. People are trying to capture their stories and give them as gifts to their friends and families. This Christmas,I had the HONOR of working with this fantastic young lady. She had decided to write a story about her grandmother. They live very far from each other, but the granddaughter wanted to give a very special gift and she had chosen to give the "gift of story" this year.

I personally know the grandmother and couldn't wait until she got her book. She sometimes feels very lonely and forgotten, but tries to be tough through the process of growing old. She has told me on many occasions that "when you get old, they young kids in your family get too busy to visit you". She has also said that the "kids today are too busy to sit and talk with her." The sadness I feel from those discussions is deep. I think deep down, I am afraid of growing old because I don't want to be forgotten or lonely. Well, I started working with the granddaughter and managed to help her capture a very remarkable and inspiring story about her grandma. She found some fantastic old photos and her original birth certificate (an 84 year old certificate). We wrote about her grandmother's service to the Red Cross during the war as a nurse and many other wonderful accomplishments. It was nice to see the gap between the grandmother and granddaughter grow closer together as this process took place. Through this process the grandmother did not know that there was going to be a book written about her, that part was going to be a surprise. She only felt the desire that her granddaughter had to know more about her life.

On Christmas the grandmother got her book.

I watched her carry her book from house to house showing each new person HER story. She was so proud! She was not going to be forgotten. Someone cared about her enough to take the time to listen to her. Someone paid close enough attention to what she was saying and then put her words with some pictures and captured her story. On one occasion I witnessed her tear up as her great-granddaughter (6 years old) asked her questions about her life and wanted to know more.

The Power of Story! What a concept. I am grateful that I get to share in this process with both the old and the young!

When was the last time that you asked someone about their story?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Little Christmas Magic

As a parent I often give myself the parental all probably know what I am talking about. It is the quiz about am I raising my kids right? Am I giving them all the tools necessary for them to be good people when they grow up?

At this time of year it is really hard to keep kids grounded. Every time they turn on the TV there is another commercial with a new GREAT toy that every kid MUST have. Or maybe you are going to the mall to fight the mad rush of shoppers so that you can get the once a year picture with Santa. While sitting on Santa's lap all of the kids are supposed to give their wish list. Maybe they write their local paper the "Dear Santa" letter asking for all of the things that they want. It really is a little bit overwhelming.

This year my daughter is 6 and she doesn't have a list of stuff that she wants. YES, I am as bad as everyone else. I want to know all of my precious littleone's wants so that I can be sure that she is happy on Christmas morning opening all of her little hearts desires. I have asked her several times what she wants. She always replies that whatever Santa brings her, she will be happy with. She said that she really doesn't want anything except her family. For as amazing as I think that this is, I would like to share her comments to me tonight......

As I was watching one of my all time favorite movies (The of the best movies ever...) my little one came to tell me goodnight. I invited her to curl up next to me and watch the movie for a few minutes. She said yes and sat beside me on the couch. She glanced over to the Christmas tree and said "our tree is so pretty, I really love it. I think it would be pretty with out any decorations on it. What a beautiful tree. Mom, can you imagine that some people don't have a Christmas tree? Imagine this Mom, imagine our house with broken windows and broken boards for the walls. Can you feel the cold wind blowing on us mom? Imagine no blankets. We have pillows but we have to sleep on our dirt floor. " She then said "Imagine Mom that some people don't have food. Imagine that Mom, some people don't even get to have a Christmas dinner."

Then there was a long pause....

"Mom, I bet you know what I want for Christmas." I sat there quietly just looking at her and then she proceeded, "Mom, all I want for Christmas is for all of the people in the world that don't have good homes or food or blankets to have a warm place for their family. I want them all to have a home like ours. They don't have to have a Christmas tree, but if they have a warm home with a good Christmas dinner, that would be good."

I sat there feeling my emotion start to swell. I simply said "I agree honey, that would be nice. I wish for the same thing." She then told me that she was tired and went to bed.

To all of you I hope that you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HOLIDAY!