Sunday, April 20, 2014

Capturing the Spirit of the Holidays

Holidays are special times when family and friends gather together to celebrate and make connections. Create a scrapbook for these cherished memories—one for each holiday you celebrate. Include following:
  • Family recipes that have been handed down over the years--Embrace the stories behind the recipes by writing them out from the perspectives of multiple family members. Describe how the recipes may have been modified for gluten free and vegetarian diets
  • Photographs with descriptions of the event or thoughts and feelings about the event--Describe who, what, where, when, why, and how of the story behind the photos.
  • Voice recordings of loved ones--Purchase an inexpensive recording module used for stuffed animals or greeting cards. The modules allow you to record for approximately 10-20 seconds, which is long enough to capture the essence of a loved one’s laughter, riddle, or advice.
  • Mementos--A dried flower, leaf, food or beverage label, or a decorative napkin can serve as memory triggers in a holiday scrapbook.
  • Newspaper articles--Separate the scrapbook into years. To capture the behind-the-scenes stories, include a newspaper clipping of a major event that took place in the city on that day.

How have your family traditions shaped your life? This is the story in you. Share it.

The Memory Keepers’ Daughter,


#scrapbooking   #holidays   #traditions   #photographs   #RecordingModules   #recipes   #FamilyRecipes   #mementos  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Heaven is for Real: An Inspirational Story

Heaven is for Real is a thought-provoking movie about a young child who has a spiritual encounter when he becomes gravely ill. When Colton Burpo is stricken with appendicitis, the doctor is not hopeful about recovery, so his mother enlists friends to pray for him. While Colton is in surgery, he meets Jesus and goes to heaven. What makes Colton’s narrative of his experience believable is that he is able to tell his parents about people they knew but he didn’t.

Not only is Heaven is for Real based on a true story, but it is also linked to another child's spiritual experience. When Akiane Kramarik was a young child, she began having visions and dreams of God. Soon she started expressing many of her visions and dreams in drawings, paintings, and poetry. Her painting of Jesus was the same likeness of Jesus that Colton had seen. What's even more intriguing is that Akiane's parents were athiests, so Akiane had no biblical foundatin for the visions and dreams she described. One of the extraordinary features in Akiane's paintings is the eyes of the people from her dreams and visions. She tries to capture their lives in their eyes. 

Heaven is for Real gives us something to ponder. If Heaven is real, should we live our lives differently? Akiane lives her life differently. She works with a charity that focuses on the well-being of children.

Have you had a supernatural experience? This is the story in you. Share it.

The Memory Keepers’ Daughter,


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love is a Verb: More than a Moment of Silence for the Boston Marathon Victims and Survivors

As the moment of silence for last year’s victims of the Boston Marathon has come and gone, we are still haunted by the horror of this tragedy one year ago. Although I was hundreds of miles away, the television coverage of the event opened a window’s view of the tragedy, and I was able to peek into that window as the stories unfolded over many days. I remember anxiously awaiting the culmination of the capture of the suspects. Later, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan were identified as the terrorists who had planted the bombs.

Their act of terrorism--that premeditated, violent attack on innocent people--was rooted in a philosophy of hate. Now it has left the injured victims and grieving loved ones picking up the pieces as they try to move forward with their lives.

Love is a verb--an action word. Beyond the moment of silence, we must encourage the injured victims and loved ones to take action.

In the Sunday edition of the Detroit Free Press, women were invited to respond to why they love their bodies. The responses were interesting: from a woman expressing love for her scars to a woman expressing love for her smile (Kovanis, 2014).

So, to the injured survivors of the Boston Marathon, I encourage you to share your stories of struggle and courage.
As Jennifer McQuillan professed, “My face is my favorite body part because each and every line, crevice, scar, freckle, and mark speaks volumes of the story of my life” (Kovanis, 2014, para. 1).
Share the volumes of your stories to leave your mark on this earth and to inspire others.

To the wounded at heart, I encourage you to share the arc of the smile you endeavor to sculpt on your face.
As Marian Lloyd-Caldwell asserted, “My body has gone through many changes but my lips always have a Mona Lisa smile that makes people around me smile and feel welcome into my sunshine. I have survived cancer twice but my face and smile are still there” (Kovanis, 2014, para. 1).
Let people know you are a survivor but that your smile lives on.

To the dismayed, I encourage you to embrace the stretch marks that have stretched you beyond what you thought you could handle.  
Omesha Pettway-Jones proclaimed, “The part of my body that I love would have to be my stretch marks on my stomach . . . largely due to the fact that I was told several years before having my son that I was unable to have children due to a surgery that went wrong. My stretch marks remind me of the beautiful bouncy baby boy I carried to full term and delivered without complications. . . . My stretch marks testify of the goodness of God. … When the doctors said no, my God did it just for me . . . . ” (Kovanis, 2014, para. 1).
Look for the pearl that will come from the irritation of the grain of sand.

Love is a verb—an action word. Take action by sharing your stories, your smiles, and your pearls.

How has tragedy affected you? This is the story in you. Share it.

Kovanis, G. (2014). Just the way we are: Why we love our bodies. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved from

Slack, M. (2014). A moment of silence to mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. The White House Blog. Retrieved from

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