Celebrate Agriculture! Whatever language you say it in, shout it loud this fall. I’ve been crazy busy this week getting ready to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of an irrigation district in southern New Mexico. It’s fun to be part of telling the story. I’ve been immersed in great photos old and new of hardworking people building, farming, irrigating and otherwise engaged in the age old struggle to produce food, clothing and shelter. It’s humbling and awe inspiring.
So this harvest season my thanks and appreciation to all who make this happen. Remember your agricultural roots next time you sit down to some enchiladas and pecan pie.
We need to be reminded of the power of ordinary conversations and their ability to encourage. This morning I interviewed a colleague at a local business where I do some public information writing. She is professional, friendly and extremely competent. Before today we had only visited on a surface level for a few minutes at a time. But today was different. We sat and just talked. Yes, I was interviewing her for the company newsletter, but I was also just listening to her story. She spoke about resilience, about choosing joy in difficult circumstances, about loving your children and valuing your work and friendships.
Her face lit up when she shared about some of the amazing adventures she’s had that bring a sense of fun and a zest for life that inspires her. She is generous hearted and inspires her adult kids by scuba diving, learning to fly a drone for work, challenging herself with weightlifting training and rescuing abandoned furry friends, giving them a new home.
She spoke of the power of unexpected surprises as God watches out for you. Of all the people who have “got your back” that you weren’t even aware of. Her delight in choosing to live a full and interesting life is contagious. I left our visit inspired to live life more fully, reminded to choose joy and kindness when life is hard.
Over the next few days, choose to go a little deeper in the conversations you have with those in your life circle. Make the connection, human to human, you’ll both be the richer for it.
Helping someone share their story changes lives. The process of speaking and hearing memories and experiences will transform you both. We have a craving to be heard. This is one of the best gifts I can give people I work with. Yes, it is wonderful to hold your book in your hands and share this tangible expression with those you care about. But the entire process of creating it is validating and honoring.
Think of the stories that have stayed with you over the years. I bet one or two came to mind that have worked themselves down deep into your soul. It may have been an event or a person/relationship that was so transformative that you mark time in your life by referencing it or them. This can be a powerful force for good. Even simple life lessons shared with others have a way of resonating in our minds and hearts long after the conversation or event. Use this to gain momentum in getting started with your memoir. Or use it as a gift you give to someone you cherish—invite them to share their story and really listen.
Short and Sweet Memoir Exercise:
Give yourself 5 minutes:
- Think about some person or event that was a trail marker in your life.
- Write or talk out the basic story — no second guessing about whether it’s important or not. Write or speak everything you can get down in just 5 minutes, then stop.
- Now, spend 10 more minutes, go back and fill in details, just scribble them in the margins.
- Next, set it aside for a day or two.
- Finally, go back and read it again and fill in anything else that you’ve recalled while your story was bubbling away on the back burner of your mind.
My free gift to you— just because October is my birthday month!
Want the above mini-memoir exercise professionally edited? I will be choosing one story (max 3 pages) and up to 3 photos sent in to Karen@rememberingthetime.net and will work with you to edit, polish and make it the best it can be. Whether you do this for yourself or a family member or friend, now’s your chance to craft a beautiful little life story (yes, they can be this short, just a snapshot). My goal is to bring you joy with your story. Do the exercise, send it in to me and I’ll contact you if you’re the winner.
Happy Story Telling!
A Celtic phrase meaning “the essence of true friendship.” Here’s a few that might sound familiar:
David and Jonathan—Bible (Samuel I and II )
Anne and Diane—Anne of Green Gables
Pooh and Piglet—Well, you know
According to Wikipedia (and other more scholarly sources):
Anam Cara or anamchara is an old Gaelic term for “soul friend”; anam meaning “soul” and cara meaning “friend”. The term was popularized by Irish author John O’Donohue….
(Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)
Our friendships profoundly impact us. True ones that go deep are treasured, uncommon and can be as strong as or stronger than family ties. These are the souls we choose to share our lives with. While writing this I accidentally typed “livers” instead of “lives”. Yes, sometimes folks even share an organ with a friend in need. There’s more than one way to share life.
Give a gratitude shout-out to a dear friend! Just type their 1st name if you’re reading this on social media. Now, call, text, write and let them know one thing you love about them.
If you’re writing your memoir on or interviewing someone else, make sure to ask about their best friend growing up. You can dedicate an entire chapter to exploring this answer. In fact, while working on this section you’ll probably run the gamut from laughter to tears. I’ve done this exercise with young kids and adults, age doesn’t matter. The smiles, chuckles, eye twinkles and sighs show how much these memories shape our hearts and souls. Treasure them.
One of my favorite humor writers is Patrick McManus. His stories of adventures with his childhood best friend will delight you with a hefty dose of belly laughs. Try this one, The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw (my favorite) for a great read and some “good medicine!”
A merry heart does good, like medicine…
(Thank you, Abigail Eiceman, for the great discussion on Anam Cara)
Ok, time to get a little goofy here. I heard a thoughtful question the other day. What detours have led you to your destiny? We often think life’s roadblocks and detours have slowed us down in our mad mad flight to reach what we believe is our “destiny”. I can’t help but giggle whenever I hear this word though as I remember that classic 80s movie Back to the Future—“You are my density!” I still get a kick out of it– Bwwhaaa! Sorry, entirely too amused at simple things.
All kidding aside—here’s the assignment:
Interview your relatives and friends and ask them two questions:
1-“What detour or roadblock did you experience in your life that took you down a different road?”
2- “What did you learn from this?”
Be forewarned, they will usually want to know YOUR answers to the same questions. You will learn so much about those you care about by doing this mini-interview and really listening to the answers.
The legendary Paul Harvey thrilled listeners for years with his radio show The Rest of the Story. The theme of these stories was the often strange turns of events and destinies that led people from one path to another.
The whole course of a life can be changed by a fork in the road.
What detour led to your “Rest of the Story?”