Invasion of the Introspectors

So—what do you really think? Can you identify your three main life values or beliefs? If you had one page to pass on your most important thoughts about your life and how you think about the world what would you say?

This is called a life legacy letter and very well could become your children’s and grandchildren’s most precious possession. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to come from your heart.

Love this life quote:

One life on this earth is all we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.

Frederick Buechner

Want to explore this thought further? Take a look at his essay Only One Life

Looking for some resources to start your letter or even a full length life story? I can help you with a boost in the right direction.

Or, here are 3 books to inspire you in this most important communication:

The Book of Myself, Carl and David Marshall–this is a great, fill-in-the-blank style with excellent prompts to get you thinking about your life story.

Living Legacies, Duane Elgin and Coleen Drew

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Memoir, Victoria Costello–don’t take offense, it’s really an easy to follow guide that covers the nuts and bolts.

Whichever option you choose be encouraged that you can do this. You need to and your family will love you for it!


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New Mexico Spring–a Tale of Kites, Dirt and Snow

New Mexico is many beautiful things. One thing it is never is boring! The past few days—mind you, just before spring officially began–brought an incredible variety of weather. San Augustin Pass, our route over the scenic Organ Mountains, was closed due to wind and hit a 104 mph gust. That is comparable to a Category 2 hurricane people! Then it closed again due to a snowstorm. The plows were dusted off, literally, and sent up the mountain to scoop away the white stuff.

Spring winds here are normal and remind me of the fun my brother and I used to have building kites out of newspaper and bamboo. My dad used to egg us on with stories of the six foot kite he built that really did tug him off the ground. Fired up by the lure of flight, we’d trek to the drainage ditch to cut down long dry bamboo poles. After dragging them home across plowed fields, we’d collect newspaper, glue, rags and string from Mom, then turn the living room floor into a kite factory.

A couple of hours later we’d ease our creations out the door and head to the pasture or the dirt lot behind the house to see if we could achieve flight. Oh, sweet anticipation! We’d yell with the thrill of feeling the wind pull and snap those ragged homemade kites up like sails. Feeling the string yank the tethers on our scrawny wrists, we were sure that with the next gust we would fly.

We never did but we sure got close a few times!

May your spring be joyful and tug at your soul,


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Granny and the Case of the Missing Comma

Let’s eat Grandma! Yikes, I’m sure you smart folks out there caught the oops. This should read “Let’s eat, Grandma!” Yes, indeed, correct grammar saves lives. Lack of confidence in the grammar department is one of the most common reasons I hear from folks about why they are hesitant to write down their stories.

Never fear, dear reader, it’s not a fatal flaw.

There are some reading this who will probably find grammatical errors I’ve made and let me know. Touché! However, for the rest of you–let me encourage you that the grammar police don’t have your address and won’t be looking over your shoulder.

Grammar, spelling, even structure can all be fixed. Most people just want to read a well-told tale. Your only job is to tell the stories! I can help with this, easily guiding you through the story telling, drawing out the memories that are most important to you. I’ll prompt you with intriguing questions and encourage your mind to recall specific people, places and events as well as the emotions and history surrounding them.

The process is fun, I guarantee!

Give me a ring to just talk about your life story and how you’d like to tell it. During this free consult I’ll give you some tips to get started. Know someone else whose story just begs to be told? Share this blog post with them.

I’d love to help!



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Marvelous Manicures by Dad

Just have to share this gorgeous photo of Andrew Wong and his daughter. His daddy tenderness is perfectly summed up with one beautiful photo by Marina Anaya (Captured by Marina Photography). So impressed—I can’t even do my own nails and he has the technique down pat with a toddler. While she may not remember this exact event, this little sweetie will grow up knowing without a doubt that she is loved and adored.

There is no charm equal to

tenderness of heart—

Jane Austen

Do you remember a time when you blessed someone with tenderness like this? Maybe you were the receiver of such a wonderful gift. Half a penny’s worth of nail polish and some time—priceless! Tenderness can profoundly impact the course of a person’s life, be they wee or wrinkled.

Write about one tender memory. Put in all the who, what, where, when and why. But more importantly, put in the feeling. How did this impact you? Inspire you? Why do you treasure this memory?

Ordinary things done with tenderness

are extraordinary.

Thanks to Captured by Marina Photography and Charissa Wong of Life in Tandem Photography for your willingness to share!

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How to Write a Love Letter

love letters

Need some help getting out of the greeting card swamp this Valentine’s Day? No roses, no candy either. Swim up out of the sea of red hearts and all that says “love” in the commercial world. This Valentines’ Day, look around your sphere of family and friends and consider the broader scope of the meaning of love. This is just as important to do with your romantic love too. We all crave being loved for who we are as individuals. Go deeper; get specific about what you love about the fellow human beings in your life.

Below are three prompts for beautiful Valentine’s Day letters that say “I love you”:

1– Tell two things you love about them and why. This works for everyone: grandparents, parents, children and friends. Key-get specific.

2– Tell why they are your friend and what you love doing together. Write a couple sentences about a memorable time together. What is your most treasured memory with them?

3– Talk about something you would like to do with them in the future, dream a little. It could be realistic, something you can actually make happen, or it could be an “I wish…” dream.

Hint—if you want some inspiration watch the movie “Up” again to see some of the best expressions of true love on the big screen.

One caveat for this little assignment.

No texting!

These are the types of letters that are read, re-read and saved for a lifetime.

Pen and ink make the link.

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Need Help and Direction?

coaching, writing, memoir, editing

Facing overwhelm and gridlock with your writing project? Unsure which direction you should go or how to get “un-stuck”? If so, working with a coach might be the best positive step you can take. Seeking the help of a professional is an investment in yourself and your goals that can help you reap tremendous progress.

I personally coach authors, memoir writers and families to help them get from where they are—often stuck, with too much information and not enough time, or no idea how to edit their work—and help them get where they want to go.

Together we can line out your goals, set up a realistic and confidence building plan and make great progress. I’ll be your accountability partner, director and cheerleader.

You CAN reach your goals!

If you’re ready to change your story from “If only” and “I wish” to “Look what I did!” “That’s inspiring” and “Wow!” then contact me for a free coaching focus call to help you find clarity. Let’s talk about how working together can take you from “stuck” to “success” this year.

There are a limited number of openings, don’t hesitate to take that step and make a difference. I’ve never heard anyone say they wish they’d waited longer to share their story. Contact me at:

or 575-323-1048

Here’s some inspiration:

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong

and think of what could go right.

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Did you make a resolution to be kinder this year? The many elderly in your sphere of interaction are a great place to start. They’ve seen more than you can imagine and are often eager to share their stories. Next time you’re “stuck” behind someone creeping along with their walker, repeating the same story you’ve heard 50 times, or needing help with basic life skills, the following article will give you pause for thought. This story has been making the rounds and the original author is unknown, but as writer, producer and broadcaster Adrian Vance said when I contacted him for permission to print,

“a great story deserves a life.”

(Vance edited and shared this piece contributed by John Dusek on his blog June 27, 2017. I received it courtesy of a memoir client and veteran dealing with the health impacts of Agent Orange. Note–the woman on the right in the photo is my own Great Aunt Caroline on the eve of D Day)


Born in the 1930s and early 40s, we exist as a very special age cohort. We are the Silent Generation. 

We are the smallest number of children born since the early 1900s. We are the “last ones.” 

We are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years. 

We are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves. 

We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans. 

We saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available. 

We can remember milk being delivered to our house early in the morning and placed in the milk box on the porch. 

We are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of our grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War. 

We saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses. 

We are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, we imagined what we heard on the radio. 

As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood “playing outside”. 

We did play outside, and we did play on our own. 

There was no little league. 

There was no city playground for kids. 

The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like. 

On Saturday afternoons, the movies, gave us newsreels of the war sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons. 

Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party Lines) and hung on the wall.

Computers were called calculators, they only added and were hand cranked; typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon. 

The internet and GOOGLE were words that did not exist. 

Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on our table radio in the evening by Gabriel Heatter. 

We are the last group who had to find out for ourselves. 

As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth. 

The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow. 

VA loans fanned a housing boom. 

Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work. 

New highways would bring jobs and mobility. 

The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics. 

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands of stations 

Our parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined. 

We weren’t neglected, but we weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus. 

They were glad we played by ourselves until the street lights came on. 

They were busy discovering the post war world. 

We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where we were welcomed. 

We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future. 

Depression poverty was deep rooted. 

Polio was still a crippler. 

The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for Air-Raid training. 

Russia built the Iron Curtain and China became Red China .. 

Eisenhower sent the first ‘advisers’ to Vietnam. 

Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power. 

We are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland. 

We came of age in the 40s and 50s. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, global warming, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease. 

Only our generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty We have lived through both. 

We grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better. not worse. 

We are the Silent Generation 

“The Last Ones” 
More than 99% of us are either retired or deceased, and we feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times”!

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Contact Me

Please contact me for more information or to to schedule a free consultation. I look forward to visiting with you.

Karen Ray Photo

Karen Ray

Address: 2877 Willow Creek Lane, Las Cruces, NM, 88007

Phone: 575-323-1048