Apologies to all for my rather sparse blog offerings this year... I suppose that Life has been so busy in the 'real' world, my 'virtual' world has suffered a little!
This year, I've had the pleasure of working with some really lovely people, helping to capture their Life Stories. I've also been collaborating with Surrey Age UK, looking at how we can offer a free Life Story Service for those who will benefit most from this fun and rewarding process. Hopefully more news about a pilot project in the New Year...
For now, most of my attention is focussed on all things 'Christmassy' and every year our family traditionally heads to the London theatres. This year was no exception and we all enjoyed the Old Vic production of "A Christmas Carol." Perhaps not all my attention was focussed on Christmas, as it also set me thinking about the 3 ghosts of the Past, Present and Future.
I suppose that in writing a Life Story, it's a little like being visited by the 3 ghosts. Without exception, we have parts of our past we want to celebrate, along with other parts we'd rather forget! However, it is our past that undoubtedly shapes us. Although we tend to focus on the positives in the finished book, just thinking about our past can help give a context to the negatives. This can be tremendously therapeutic and also offers a real sense of achievement that we've 'got through' the negatives and come out the other side.
Thinking about the present is also an incredibly useful exercise. It can help clarify what is truly important in our lives. I always say that I enjoy cooking- but when I stop and think about it, I can't remember when I last cooked for friends or learnt a new recipe? I'll have to add that to my New Year Resolution list...Almost all my clients report back on how unexpectedly enjoyable the process is too. It's a real team effort and producing a beautifully crafted book is a tremendously rewarding project.
Finally we have the ghost of the future- what would we like to see? We can't predict what will happen to us in the future, but a Life Story book guarantees that your treasured memories won't be lost. I firmly believe that spending time writing your Life Story now, is a huge investment in your future. Your book may become your most important tool when meeting new people, so that they can properly understand your story. Or it may simply become the most treasured gift you can give to your family- capturing their history and stories in your words and pictures.
In the final scenes of the play, Scrooge pledges that he will "Honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Perhaps he was thinking about writing his own Life Story book... what a super present that would have made for his Nephew Fred, Bob Cratchit and of course, Tiny Tim!
And so, as Tiny Tim said, "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"
I remember this time last year, hunting for the perfect Mother's Day card. It's always a careful balance between expressing heartfelt thanks and appreciation, versus something too flowery and sentimental (which my Mum certainly wouldn't appreciate!)
One card that particularly caught my eye was a cartoon drawing of a Mum, struggling with a wailing red-faced toddler. The caption was simply - "Thanks for Everything Mum. I get it now."
I found it rather amusing and very relatable! It also made me realise, that I had often taken my Mum for granted. It was only when I'd experienced the 'challenges' of Motherhood, did I fully appreciate just what an amazing job she does.
Similarly when I've been recording Life Stories, it has been lovely to capture the ups (and downs)of Motherhood. It helps bring together the different generations, with shared experiences and understanding.
When we celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday 31 March, if you want to celebrate with more than just a card this year, then give the gift of Life Story Writing- a true celebration Motherhood!
My New Year’s resolutions tend to be rather like my Christmas decorations. Every year, they start off looking rather shiny and lovely, but within a few weeks, they’ve been stuffed back in their box and have been stashed away until next January. I don’t know why some of these resolutions seem so hard to achieve? An annual favourite is going to the gym to lose a bit of weight and improve my fitness. It’s not an intellectually demanding task, and it probably wouldn’t even take up that much time, but I just become overwhelmed with where to begin, and I always find a good excuse for putting it off.
This year however, I've discovered the secret of success when it comes to following through on my New Year's resolutions... team work! I'm therefore tackling this particular challenge with a friend. So far, we've made 3 trips to the gym, and have been able to work together, swapping hints and tips and have managed to keep up the exercise and keep off the chocolate!
Working with somebody else can make all the difference, and it made me think about my business, and how rewarding it was last year to work with so many lovely people. Almost all of my clients admitted that they'd wanted to write their story 'for some time,' but just hadn't known where or how to begin. I was able to provide a comprehensive framework, my writing and design services, and together we were able to produce some amazing books.
So if you have a New Year's resolution to capture your own (or somebody else's!) life story this year, then get in touch and we can succeed together!
My latest project has been all about the joy of giving...the grandparents were bought a Christmas gift voucher last year, and we've enjoyed working together on and off over the last 12 months, completing their project.
This year, it's their turn to give- an amazing 62 page book that I'm sure their children and grandchildren will love reading.
We work closely with Bob Books, which enables us to produce such beautiful coffee table style books. Follow this link to see a recent interview and more information about the services that Bob Books provide:
If you are still looking for that 'special something' for Christmas, check out some of these wonderful offers being promoted by the Well Woman Fitness Foundation...http://eepurl.com/dOC0xb
CHRISTMAS OFFERS & PROMOTIONS FOR LADIES FROM TWFF & LOCAL BUSINESSES 2018
Buy gifts for loved ones, teachers, friends or simply treat yourself!!
Rachel has a wide range of communication expertise, having worked as a researcher for numerous BBC TV and and radio programmes, and also working as a Government press officer. More recently, she published a novel for young people, "War Pigeon, Peace Dove" www.warpigeonpeacedove.com.