Friday, August 29, 2014

Family Reunions: Linking the Past, Present, and Future Part 2



Family reunions are the backbone to a strong family, linking the past, present, and future together with unconditional love.

Great family reunions don’t just happen; they take hard work and commitment. In Family Reunions: Linking the Past, Present, and Future Part 1, I focused on  
  • The Planning Committee
  • The Events 
  • The Connections
  • The Support
  • The Future
Well, we had our family reunion a few weeks ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We
supported family members' talents by having an amazing family art fair. Family members, from age 4 on up, brought their artwork. We displayed the pieces in our hospitality suite and in the hallway in front of the hospitality suite. The pieces were a creative collection of jewelry, photography, and artwork created from fiber, paint, and pencil. The “artists” (although we have three professional artists in our family, each piece was remarkable) had an opportunity to explain their creative expressions, and we learned more about our family members because of the art fair. For example, the 4-year old has his own portfolio. He paints alongside his artist grandmother.

Think about the talent in your family: music, writing, science, engineering, math, and comedy. If you have poetry writers, have a poetry slam. If you have musicians, put on a concert. If you have comedians, have a comedy show.

Making connections is important so you can stay in touch between reunions. I made a connection at our family reunion. My daughter lives in a different part of the state, so I don’t see her as often as I like. We are University of Michigan grads, and we started talking about how students are so busy, they don’t get the opportunity to really enjoy Ann Arbor. We decided to meet each other in Ann Arbor the following weekend to really enjoy Ann Arbor.

My daughter and I ate lunch and dinner at Zingerman’s. This is a “must eat at” restaurant with excellent food and excellent customer service. We were even able to eat on the patio with little Toto (who is recovering from a knee injury) in his stroller.


We visited Matthaei Botanical Gardens. It has beautiful themed gardens including a children’s garden.

We also strolled through Nichols Arboretum. The Arb is a peaceful setting that includes trails, grassy areas for picnics, and views of Lake Huron.

“Generations pass like leaves fall from our family tree. Each season new life blossoms and grows benefiting from the strength and experience of those who went before” ~ Heidi Swapp
Making connections is important for ensuring the future of a family. It is well worth the time and effort to plan and establish family reunions.

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

Connect with me on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/dgwhite78/ to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?

Domonique


Forget-Me-Not Friday, August 29, 2014

Memoir Writing Prompts  

Sharing your memories is important so you are not forgotten. You have thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences, and lessons that are valuable to others. I like to refer to these as your forget-me-nots. It reminds me of the German legend of the forget-me-not flowers (McGrath, n.d.).

This is my version:
Once upon antiquity, in a faraway land, a knight sat at the edge of the Danube River. Dressed in armor from head to toe, he was unbreakable, but his heart was soft for the love of his life. His thoughts were focused on her gentle beauty and sweet kindness. Then the soft blue wildflowers that grew along the Danube caught his attention. He decided to pick a fistful for this maiden for whom he was smitten. The flowers were blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. He eyed a long, limp reed in the shallow of the water, so he stepped in the water to fetch his find. 
 
Suddenly, the heavens drew its shade. That made the wind angry, so it tiptoed behind the knight, grumbling and whispering its intent. As the knight bound the stems of the blue flowers with the reed, the wind grew wild and loud—so wild that it thrust the knight into the deep of the Danube. The knight fought the wind and the water to stay afloat. His metal fists held the bouquet ever so tightly.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his strength could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his courage could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his love for his maiden could not save him.
Just as he took his last breath, he saw his lovely maiden in the midst of the storm. He mustered enough strength to toss the bouquet to her and gasp, “Forget me not.”
From that day forward, these blue flowers--little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star-- have been known as forget-me-nots. People all over the world cherish these little flowers in remembrance of their loved ones whether they are away temporarily or have transitioned from life to death.
A flower is “the blossom of a plant” (Dictionary.com, para. 1), and we have all had blossoms in our lives. These are our forget-me-nots—little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. Because you are unique, extraordinary, and one of a kind, it is worth sharing your forget-me-nots.
How would you like to be remembered? Be inspired by a word below. This is the story in you. Share it.

Wordle.com


Domonique 

References

Dictionary.com. (2014). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/flowers?s=t
McGrath, S. (n.d.). Forget-me-not cakes. Retrieved from http://www.forgetmenotcakes.com/name.html


Sunday, August 17, 2014

How to Make the Most of Your Clothes



Emily Spivak’s Worn Stories takes clothing to another level. The book is a collection of people’s sentimental stories behind the articles of clothing that have special meanings to them. 

You can write your own worn story or collection of worn stories. Think about an article of clothing or an accessory that has a special memory attached to it. What emotions does it stir up? Who were the people involved? What words did you hear spoken? What do you see when you look at the item or visualize it? How does the item feel in your hands? If this item had never come into your life, would things be different?

Now brainstorm: Make a list of your brief thoughts about the questions. You can include your thoughts on all of the questions above, or focus on responding to only one of the questions. When you are finished, look over your list. Then select the ideas that would make a poignant story about your treasured item.

Write from your heart, and allow your passion to envelop your story. When you write from the heart, there is no wrong way to do it. Just remember that writing is communicating. Make sure you communicate your purpose, and when you're finished writing, don’t forget to go back over it and make corrections. The length is up to you. It can be one paragraph or many paragraphs. Don’t be surprised if a book is waiting to be written.

If you still have the clothing or accessory, take a picture of it, and include it in your story. If you don’t still have the item, recreate it with descriptive words that focus on the senses (see, hear, smell, touch, and/or taste) and emotions: velvety, ethereal, exquisite, scintillating, disheveled, and exuberant. A thesaurus is a great resource for finding fascinating words.

If you will eventually give this item away, consider giving the gift of your story along with the item. The beholder will appreciate the item and understand why it is special to you.

My most special item of clothing is my wedding dress, which was the catalyst to a new beginning in my life.


My wedding dress story--
Although it is lacey, scintillating, and delicate, when I caress it with my hands, its exquisite work is surprisingly rugged to my touch. The dress reminds me of the letting go and the joining to. I let go of Mama and Daddy’s hands and joined my hands to my husband’s hands. Out of that conciliation, we began our own lives: a journey of mountains and valleys and plateaus . . . a journey of sunrises and sunsets . . . and a journey of us becoming someone's mama and daddy. 
 
My wedding dress has survived 33 years and has lived in 8 different closets within 5 states. When I think about how that has been possible—being married for over 33 years--I think about one of the most beautiful passages that has inspired me along my journey:

1 Corinthians 13--Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

What article of clothing do you treasure? This is the story in you. Share it.



Domonique

Friday, August 15, 2014

Forget-Me-Not Friday, August 15, 2014

Memoir Writing Prompts  

Sharing your memories is important so you are not forgotten. You have thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences, and lessons that are valuable to others. I like to refer to these as your forget-me-nots. It reminds me of the German legend of the forget-me-not flowers (McGrath, n.d.).

This is my version:
Once upon antiquity, in a faraway land, a knight sat at the edge of the Danube River. Dressed in armor from head to toe, he was unbreakable, but his heart was soft for the love of his life. His thoughts were focused on her gentle beauty and sweet kindness. Then the soft blue wildflowers that grew along the Danube caught his attention. He decided to pick a fistful for this maiden for whom he was smitten. The flowers were blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. He eyed a long, limp reed in the shallow of the water, so he stepped in the water to fetch his find. 
 
Suddenly, the heavens drew its shade. That made the wind angry, so it tiptoed behind the knight, grumbling and whispering its intent. As the knight bound the stems of the blue flowers with the reed, the wind grew wild and loud—so wild that it thrust the knight into the deep of the Danube. The knight fought the wind and the water to stay afloat. His metal fists held the bouquet ever so tightly.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his strength could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his courage could not save him.
The knight continued to fight the wind and the water, but his love for his maiden could not save him.
Just as he took his last breath, he saw his lovely maiden in the midst of the storm. He mustered enough strength to toss the bouquet to her and gasp, “Forget me not.”
From that day forward, these blue flowers--little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star-- have been known as forget-me-nots. People all over the world cherish these little flowers in remembrance of their loved ones whether they are away temporarily or have transitioned from life to death.
A flower is “the blossom of a plant” (Dictionary.com, para. 1), and we have all had blossoms in our lives. These are our forget-me-nots—little blue skies, each crowned with an amber star. Because you are unique, extraordinary, and one of a kind, it is worth sharing your forget-me-nots.
How would you like to be remembered? Be inspired by a word below. This is the story in you. Share it.
Wordle.com

Domonique 

References

Dictionary.com. (2014). Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/flowers?s=t
McGrath, S. (n.d.). Forget-me-not cakes. Retrieved from http://www.forgetmenotcakes.com/name.html

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to Grow a Friendship



“Be careful of who you pick as a friend. Most people pretend to listen but are only gathering information to judge you with” ~ Author Unknown
August 3rd was National Friendship Day. I discovered this quote on Facebook a few days after and thought it was appropriate for the celebration of friendships (which should be celebrated every day if you have great friends). True friends listen, but they don’t judge. They accept you for who you are, and they don’t share your shortcomings with others. This reminds me of Noah and his sons. Unfortunately, one day Noah drank so much wine he became drunk. At some point, Noah took off all his clothes. Noah’s son Ham saw him in his nakedness, and he told his two brothers, Shem and Japheth. But Shem and Japheth did what was honorable: They covered their father’s nakedness but did it while their heads were turned. In essence, they did not gather information for which to judge their father (Genesis 9: 21-23).

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate” ~ Rick Warren
Being a true friend doesn’t mean you condone or condemn what friends do. Neither does being a true friend mean you give friends an ultimatum if they don’t agree with you. True friends allow you to have your own convictions, and they don’t fear or hate you because of them.

“Make sure everybody in your ‘boat’ is rowing and not drilling holes when you’re not looking. Know your circle” ~ www.dailyinspirationalquotes.in
True friends are rare, so be careful who you call your friend. Social media has distorted the definition of friends. Some people even take pride in how many friends they have on social media, but most of these friends are mere acquaintances, and some may even be strangers. A familiar proverb points out the importance of a true friend: “. . . there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). True friends are like family. They help you row the boat instead of working behind your back to sink it.

“6+3=9 but so does 5+4. The way you do things is not always the only way to do them. Respect other people’s way of thinking” ~ images.blogspot.com/2014/04/639-but-so-does-54-way-you-do-things.html
Friends respect your differences. They agree to disagree, and they don’t let it affect the friendship. Friends don’t have to get their way all the time. They take turns deciding what movies to go see and in what restaurants to dine.

Some of my closest friends are friends I have had since childhood. We are friends because we don’t judge each other, we don’t have to compromise our convictions to please each other, we help row each other’s boats, and we respect each other’s differences.

How have true friends influenced your life? This is the story in you. Share it.

Domonique White