Haircuts & Oral Histories – Guest Post

Daniel Powell of Liminal Legacy Media shares a fun story from his own history in this guest blog post. Inspired by his grandfather’s audio recordings, in 2019 Daniel founded Liminal Legacy Media using his extensive audio production skills. He is a master storyteller!

Haircuts & Oral Histories
 
“Hey, Grandpop! Shut your eyes!”
I say to my 80-year-old grandfather as I crouch behind the easy chair clutching a pair of kitchen shears.
{*SNIP*}
 
I emerge wearing a big grin.
“Ok, eyes open! Notice anything different?” holding back a giggle as I ask.
“Uh… well… no, Daniel, I don’t see anything different.”
 “Ok, ok. Eyes closed!”
I duck behind the chair once again.
{*SNIP* – *SNIP* – *SNIP*}
 
Me: “Ok, how about now? Now do you notice anything different?”
Grandpop: “Well, nooo… No difference as far as I can see.”
I return to my hideaway, taking another lock of hair between my fingers.
{*SNIP* – *SNIP* – *SNIP* – *SNIP*}
And the fun of a 5-year-old giving himself a haircut continues. But, of course, my grandfather didn’t notice any of the changes I was making to my hair; he was legally blind! A fact I didn’t fully comprehend at the time. Eventually he did catch on though when Grandmother entered the room and filled him in on what had been taking place right before his eyes. He had a good laugh about it. Though my parents were considerably less entertained when they arrived later that day. 
 
Grandpop was a good man, and obviously, a great sport playing creative games made up by his grandson.  
 
I consider myself very lucky. You see, Grandpop took it upon himself to record a detailed account of his life story for his kids and grandkids. In fact, he was the only one of my 4 grandparents to do so before passing. Being a blind man, writing wasn’t accessible to him. So, sitting in that same easy chair I used to hide behind, he took to his cassette tape recorder and immortalized the tales of his past in the sound of his own voice.

Listening back at the age of 34, I’m forever grateful to him for it.

 
He told all about his humble beginning on the family farm in rural Arkansas, leaving home during the Great Depression to work with the CCC, and of his 2 decades of service in the USAF spanning both WWII and Korean wars. He had quite the storied past.
 
Such a wealth of stories and information is communicated through these recordings. But there are moments I find myself shouting at him through my headphones:
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Grandpop! SLOW DOWN! Stop the tape! REWIND! I want to hear more about THAT.”
But paying no heed to my pleas, he’s already told his brief recount and moved on to the next part of his tale.

 
Oh, how I wish I could’ve been there to ask him in-depth questions about his life as he told his tale.
 
We know our own stories very well. But the difficult part comes in discerning what others may want to know about our stories. Well… unless they’re in the room with you asking questions and expressing curiosity.
 
Whatever it takes for you to record your stories, do it!
Whether you write, record audio, or even make a video, just do it!


And I can’t encourage you enough to invite others into the story telling process with you. A curious individual, a good interviewer, or coach can help you tell your story so much more completely and draw out the depth, vibrance, and important details of your lived experiences.
 
There’s something quite miraculous that takes place in this collaborative and interactive way of telling your stories. Questions raised by your counterpart can bring to light connections between pieces of your story that you may have never even realized beforehand.  And when we’re really lucky these questions can even result in new self-realizations. There’s no moment more precious for your memoir than reflecting back on lived experiences and learning something new about yourself in the process!
 
Through my work helping individuals record their Liminal LegacyTM Immersive Audio Memoirs, I’ve found that when left to ourselves, just like my grandfather, we all tend to cut our own stories short {*SNIP*} and {*SNIP SNIP*} cut off many important details that others would find great value in. And oftentimes {*SNIP SNIP SNIP*} we cut out details because we’ve simply forgotten them. Though through some strange alchemy in the process of sitting with a curious person or a good interviewer, many of these details can begin to come back to light again.
 
Just like a grandchild who’s very poorly barbered their own hair, your stories will be beautiful, regardless of how completely they’re told or how much detail they contain. Just sit down and do it whatever way you can! But one thing that remains true of both storytelling and haircuts, when you do it all on your own it can be hard to ensure your not cutting off the best bits.  
***
Thanks for reading, I bet you have a smile on your face and a few ideas for your own story! I know you’ll want to stay in touch with Daniel and his oral history work. Here are a few ways you can find him:
Web Site: www.liminallegacymedia.com
Instagram: @liminallegacymedia
YouTube: Liminal Legacy Media
Facebook: @liminallegacymedia
Daniel prizes the oral tradition and through his company, Liminal Legacy Media, helps you tell your story through Immersive Audio Memoirs. What exactly is an Immersive Audio Memoir? These legacy audio documentaries lie somewhere between ‘radio theater’ and ‘intimate interview’. Your voice tells the story while powerfully designed audio imagery evokes the scene in the mind’s eye of the listener. Daniel currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI with his wife and 2 young daughters.
 
Contact Daniel today for more information or to start recording your Liminal Legacy!

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The Remarkable Rescue of Moby Truck

Stories of unusual circumstances, help received, and miracles witnessed are important parts of your memoir or family history. We love to share our memories of these events and marvel at the outcomes. These tales often begin the discussion, “Do you believe in coincidence?” Entire books have been written devoted to describing events somewhere on the out-of-the-ordinary scale. Here’s one of mine to inspire you to write your own or record those that have been passed down in your own family history.
 

God has come through with amazing goodness in my life

so many times in my five-plus decades on the planet.


And these are just the events I’m aware of! Since my writing and editing sandbox is memoir and family history, I’ll share a personal memory my family still likes to talk about. Come along on the journey with me. 

One beautiful New Mexico fall day my husband and I took our three children, all under six, up to our favorite mountain canyon a few hours away for a day trip picnic. We drove an enormous white aging crew cab truck the kids had nicknamed “The Big White Bumpy Truck”. I called it Moby, in a nod to a literary favorite. Yes, I do laugh at my own jokes! 

Our much-loved routine was to let the kids unbuckle their seatbelts once we turned off onto the slow-going dirt road that led through the scattered junipers dotting the mesa. We drove with the windows down, enjoying the sharp clean smell of the juniper trees. The kids loved standing in the back seat, riding the bumps and swerves with the old truck’s suspension as their dad carefully navigated the last miles. There’s nothing quite like the screeches and giggles of delighted children.
 

Down in the depths of the canyon, at the bottom of

yet another rutted, steep dirt road…


we played in the creek, ran around, chased each other, and had loads of fun for several hours. This is how you wear out young kids, right? When it came time to hop back in Moby and head home late that afternoon, the engine wouldn’t turn over. Hubby tried all the tricks in his book to get it to start. We looked at each other as only privately panicking parents can, while the kids played with the dog and ate the picnic leftovers. 

Moby’s starter had gone out in a big way and we weren’t going anywhere.  Did I mention it gets really cold at night at this elevation in these NM mountains? The nearest town was two hours away. Picnic food reduced to crumbs, only marshmallows and hot chocolate packets left, kids tired and happily grubby, we thought about what to do and prayed.  

Hubby started the long hike down the valley to the rocky road back out of the canyon in hopes of hitching a ride and getting help. Not too far down the single track road, he was met by a father and son out bear hunting. Yes, you heard it right. There are bears in these mountains. And mountain lions. And rattlesnakes. They voluntarily cut short their hunt that day and offered to drive him out to Silver City two hours away. He gratefully accepted.

The kids and I bundled up in our coats as the sun moved lower behind the towering pines, and I determined to make this something of an adventure. My parents had instilled this important concept and life skill in my brother and me during many a long summer road trip full of detours and unexpected challenges when we were kids. It has stood me well and helped to create good memories even in the middle of inevitable travel “adventures”.
 

So, I made more hot chocolate over the fire and we roasted more marshmallows. The rest of the s’more fixings had been gobbled up hours ago.


And I prayed. Boy, did I pray! I learned later that Hubby was praying the whole time too on his parts sourcing mission. Intensely uncomfortable at the necessity of leaving his wife and kids down in the canyon bottom with night closing in, he had no choice but to get a new starter as soon as possible and return to put it in. No tow trucks in that part of the country. No AAA, no phones, nearest house miles away. We’d spent most of our lives camping and backpacking so he held onto that thought.

While cleaning marshmallow residue and dirt off my youngest’s face as the sun dropped behind the ridge I thought, Hmmm, I’m going to try one more time to get this thing started.
 

“Kids, everybody get back in the car.”


“Dear Lord please just let it start…” I turned the key, nothing. Turned it again, afraid of draining the battery. Nothing. Thought about bears. Prayed again and turned the key one more time, splutter, cough, grind…Glory be, it turned over! I was ecstatic! And was amped up with way too much adrenaline to focus on how terrified I am to drive the narrow dirt roads hanging over these mountain valleys. 

I put out the campfire, buckled the kids in and ordered them to sit tight, and began a white-knuckled creep in the one-ton behemoth up the road, straddling ruts, avoiding axle killing large rocks, trying to hug the inside edge of the road. And lovingly commanded,
 

“Don’t talk to Mommy right now.”


All the while praying no one would come driving toward us from the other direction. There’s no room to turn around, barely enough room to pass, and let’s just say that my backing up skills leave much to be desired. When I gunned the gas and topped that last rise to the mesa I was shaking. I reassured the kids, told them I loved them and could talk again, and just eased the truck across the flats toward the setting sun. We sang a few silly songs and reached the county road on the other side, old Moby still chugging along without any hitch in its get-along.

Heading down the backroad highway toward home I parked in front of a tiny pie and coffee café catering to area ranchers. I left the truck running and prayed the kids would sit still while I ran in, letting the old screen door slam, and begged use of the vintage phone hanging on the wall. My parting words to the kids, “Nobody move from your seat! Don’t touch anything. Mommy will be right back.” I couldn’t shut the truck off or it probably wouldn’t start again. Somehow, I reached my husband who had made it home for parts and help (no cell phones in those days). I told him we were fine, were just going to drive home, and I wasn’t going to stop for anything. Thank you, Jesus! 

End of the story, Hubby replaced the worn-out starter that week and we were reminded of the many strings God pulls to take care of us. We ate beans and tortillas for a month to pay for the unexpected expense. I also learned that in spite of fear, I can do more than I think I can by the grace of God. I remain a big chicken when it comes to driving twisty mountain roads but I can do it. Our grown kids still love hearing this story retold and it reminds us of the many adventures we’ve shared.
 

Want another marshmallow anybody?


What’s your story? I’d love to hear about one of your family adventures!
Karen 

#familyhistory #memoirwriting #lifestory #journalprompts #familylife

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In Praise of Small Beginnings

You’ve heard some people say, “Go big or go home”. Many other times I’ve watched the opposite thought arc like a shot across the bow of a project, acting as an impetus to action. There’s a verse in the Bible that says, ““Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin….” (Zech. 4:10a NLT). I love the concept of small beginnings! They’re full of potential, they are the “starter“ if you’re a baker, the seed if you’re a farmer, the empty canvas for an artist, the tiny embryo if you’re longing for a child, the single journal entry if you’re a family historian or that idea jotted down on a napkin for songwriters, scientists, and writers.

Before you can celebrate a milestone you just need to start!

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated

day-in and day-out.” ~Robert Collier

You have everything you need to begin, whether you’re blessed with loads of family mementos and archived photos, or you’re beginning with your own memories.

Start with one small thing, a memory, journal entry, letter, recipe, photograph. What is that that just grabs your imagination by the shoulders and demands, “Tell me more!”? Take a macro look at it, write a thorough, sensory filled description of that object close up. Ask it questions? I know this sounds a little weird, but trust me, it’s just a method for helping your brain to unlock different ways to see that thing with new eyes.

This object is your starting block, it will propel you, just like a relay racer, down the track to the next prompt, the next memory, the next clue. Before you know it you’ll be gathering the pieces and noting how they fit together to drive your story.

I have a news alert set to anything family history or memoir related. It is astounding to see the variety of ways this topic can be addressed and the common interest worldwide in understanding ourselves and our families, remembering and sharing what makes us tick with the future. Connecting with the generations that came before and those that will come after is a human drive, it’s how we learn.

In case you missed seeing this free offer on our FaceBook page, let me give you the link here. I’ve been hard at work creatively bringing a few of my best tools and helps together in one place.  This amazing package will give you the resources you need to share your life legacy with those you love. Just click this link to get your FREE gifts today: 

https://offer.rememberingthetime.net

Remembering the Time is all about helping you and your family save the unique stories and memories that make you who you are.  Reach out and take that small step of starting your story, you have nothing to lose and great things to gain by this small beginning.

Karen

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5 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Inspire You

1—Everyone loves a celebration. What better event to celebrate than the basic fact of being alive? Whether you’ve had 70 years on the planet or want to celebrate the life of your 5-year-old, it’s a great time to break out the cake and surprise your loved one with a story all their own. Celebrate the events and people that have made your life experience uniquely your own. Looking back over your life will help remind you of the victories, the accomplishments, the overcoming, the kindnesses great and small that have come together in your unique heart and soul to knit together your life. Your story matters and you are important!

2—Experience personal growth and insight. You may have had years to contemplate the why’s and wherefores’ of your life story. Now is the perfect time to consider what you’ve learned, process it, maybe even re-frame your responses in memory to help you heal and move forward in a healthy way.

Where have you struggled? How did you overcome? What would you want your children and grandchildren to know from your hard-won experience? You have a responsibility to pass it on.

The Rev. Berndt of the Good Samaritan Society says: 

“It is an incredible gift to be the recipient of someone’s legacy. It can be life transforming. However, I have also learned that the opportunity to leave a legacy isn’t something that only other people do. As I grow older, I am more and more convinced of the importance of asking myself, “What legacy from the wisdom of lifelong experience am I …sharing with others?” You see, this is the two-way blessing of legacies. Our lives can be shaped by the legacies that others share with us, but in turn, we have a responsibility and a challenge to share the wisdom …“and experience we have gathered over the years.”

Perhaps other forces shaped your life? Do you have an immigrant story or a war-time experience, poverty or wealth, a disability or just making something precious out of the ordinary?

Science has shown that the health benefits of journaling and sharing your story are enormous

In her blog  ”Heart and Craft of Lifewriting” writer Sharon Lippincott comments on a memoir entitled Growing Old, by Swiss psychoanalyst Danielle Quinodoz:  “The book focuses on the enormous value elderly people derive from reviewing their memories and attaining an integrated overview of their lives, …People who are able to view their lives in this meaningful way experience more joy in living…They tend to approach aging more actively, retaining curiosity and involvement with life and the people around them….”

3—Pass along a lifetime of learned wisdom and life skills. Whether it’s your approach to living on a budget, handling life events, recovering from tragedy, the importance of your faith or simply your best tips for leading the good life, your family needs to know this. Think of the many articles (share link) where elders have been interviewed about what they’ve learned over their life, those in your circle of influence crave this same information.

Think of the inspiration others have poured into your life and how you’ve been able to pay it forward to future generations. Connect the past and the present and be inspired to do good!

4—Share your family’s origin story. Where did you come from? How did you get to where you are now? What traditions, customs, food and wisdom were Handed down by your ancestors? Mentoring, life skills, carpentry, music, jewelry making, craftsmanship, farming and ranching, your life experience and family history is uniquely your own.

5—We are inspired by photographs of people place and events. Dig out those boxes of family pics and put provenance with them. Just the process of asking questions from family members about events and people depicted will unearth a great number of stories you probably haven’t even heard yet. Or will add details to those long familiar events.

Preserve your family’s memories of important family stories. Each photo can be used to prompt the story behind it, what was going on in the world, the people’s lives in the picture. What happened before and after? The stories behind the faces in the photos are precious. It might even illuminate world events, think of collections of pioneer letters that let us know what life was like on a wagon train or collections of WWII letters. Take a look at this example, Dear Sis…WWII Letters:

“…letters were written by ordinary young men who answered the call to duty and honor to protect their country and their families. Compiled into a narrative, the letters give a snapshot of life and events both on the war front and at home.” 

Your life story is a gift from you to the future, from your generation to the next one. It may be one of the most important things you share with those who come after you. Leave a legacy, a life legacy.

Remember, not only is your story a gift, each day of life is also, unwrap daily!

Let me know if you need help sharing your story, I’d love to visit with you!

Karen

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Quick Start a Memoir

So—it’s summer, it’s hot and… it’s the perfect time to take action — do something different and good for your soul! A little bit of life history will reap dividends in mental and emotional health as well as pay what you’ve learned forward to the future.

I found this quote from Peter Drucker a few days ago. He’s a business management consultant but his words are applicable to many things in life.

 “There is the risk you cannot afford to take,

and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take”

What about finally saving the stories of someone you love? Or your own? I’ve made it easy for you by creating a Quick Start a Memoir class. And—you can even take it for free using this link that will take you to the class on Skillshare and a free 2 month membership:

https://skl.sh/2YUDbkf

Here’s the class description:

Do you have a parent, grandparent or other relative who has been telling great family stories for decades, but is overwhelmed by the thought of writing them down? Maybe you have been longing to tell your own story. It’s time! Creating a life legacy memoir is a meaningful way to celebrate life. You don’t have to be a “writer” to share your story in a meaningful way. This class will give you a quick start to clarify the 5 W’s of your story, the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY. You’ll create a fun, actionable mind map project that will inspire you to start, give you the framework you need and keep you on track. Start today– let’s begin saving those important family memories and connecting the generations with your story.

Five fabulous reasons why it’s important to share your story:

* Celebrate your life and share your experiences with others

* Preserve important family stories and memories

* Put names and stories with family photos

* Share your wisdom and the life lessons you’ve learned

* Bear witness to the history you’ve lived

The wise Dr. Seuss has this to say:

“Sometimes you will never know the value

of a moment until it becomes a memory”

Have lots of  ideas and memories  but don’t know how to start? Try the class for an instant boost. Or give me a call/fire off an email for a free consult. I’d be delighted to point you in the right direction and give you a couple resources.

Karen

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Want to be like Leonardo da Vinci?

Wow, here’s an eye-opening question I read online today:

“What was Leonardo da Vinci doing at your age?” (Courtesy of CNN interactive)

Well, I’m 54 (we don’t count the halves anymore :)) and this is the illuminating response I received:


“At the age of 54, Leonardo had been working for two years on his most famous painting, the “Mona Lisa,” although he would not complete it for another decade. It depicts Italian noblewoman Lisa del Giocondo, which is why the work is also known as “La Gioconda” in Italian and “La Joconde” in French.”

At first I thought ‘Hmm, that’s discouraging and disconcerting!’ Now after those two sobering Debbie Downer thoughts, comparing myself to this remarkable genius, I realized,

Wait a minute, it doesn’t matter that I can’t

paint myself out of a box…I’m not called to be a Genius Artist/Inventor.

And that, my friends, is encouraging!

In my own corner of the world, with those I interact with on a regular basis, I am, I hope, bringing love, inspiration, truth, encouragement and grace into their lives.

Whether you’re teaching five year olds, digging ditches, inventing amazing things or engineering the best way to get your toddler into a car seat, you’ve been given the opportunity to have a profound impact in your little corner of the universe.

I want to look into your face and say ‘Don’t take your life and times for granted! You matter and you make a difference right where you’re at.’ Now, go live this incredible gift of a life you’ve been given, do it well and share it with others.

Yours Truly,

Karen

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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!

Karen

575-323-1048

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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


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