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Stories have great power. People have been passing down stories since the beginning of time. Whether the stories have been preserved through writing or word of mouth, they have been told. Stories can be the most defining part of a person’s character, for good or ill.

It’s hard to say when my obsession with stories really began. I love to read. Now that reading is a luxury I can’t afford easily at this point in my life, I love movies. Fairy tales have always been my favorite stories. I have several different fairy tale books, both fractured and traditional, as well as fairy tale movies. I often wonder how these stories began and why they are still such a major part of a child’s upbringing.

My story obsession has turned toward my own personal family history. Over the years I have hoarded memories. I can’t seem to throw away anything written because it’s a piece of history and I don’t want to forget. My scrapbooks and my blog books are definitely my most prized possessions. If I were to lose those I would be nothing. My life is written in those books.

Lately this need to preserve stories has expanded to extended family stories. Maybe it’s an age thing and realizing that life is short. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me something. I want to record everything. No, I need to have these family stories. They define me. Family stories define all of us.

Heath and I had the wonderful privilege of recording my grandparents telling stories. We worked long and hard to edit those stories into a family movie in time for Christmas.

Yesterday we met Heath’s aunt, uncle, and cousin in Modesto for lunch. His aunt and uncle were so excited about the idea of getting recordings of family stories. We meant to get video of Dawn and Barry while they were here but it didn’t work out. There was too much sickness going around for that to work out well this time. Our plan is to visit Washington this summer and get video of Heath’s grandma.

I would love it if all five kids could be there to execute on the plans we talked about yesterday. Dan and Dana both thought the idea of getting different perspectives on the same story was brilliant. Dan asked us to please videotape Barry telling Grandpa’s war stories. I had no idea that he told stories to his son in law, Barry, that he never told his own children.

Recently I read in a blog post that there are companies that develop estate plans centered around family stories. The stories are valued as much as or more than the balance sheet. This post pointed me to an article that talked about studies that have been done on family stories. The studies show that children are more successful and have higher self esteem that know facts about their families.

The most effective family story is the one that says: We have had our ups and downs but through it all we have stuck together.

This is how I try to write my story. Some days are good and some are bad but these experiences make up who I am. How I handle life’s ups and downs with my husband and children is our story. These lessons define us. They bring us closer together. I am amazed at the strength I gain from rereading old blog posts. It’s a family tradition that I love. Now to add in video of grandparents telling stories I feel truly blessed.

Through the years people have told me they think I’m amazing for blogging. The sentiment seems to always be that their lives aren’t interesting enough to post online. I think it depends on how you tell the story.

Each year begins as a blank slate. What will happen this year? What lessons will I learn? What joys will I find? What disappointments will I encounter? How will my faith be strengthened? I write as the events unfold and by the end I have my answers.

A friend and I were texting our well wishes for each other in 2014. May this year be a good one for all of us. May your story take you to new heights in 2014. Personally, I can’t wait to see where mine takes me.

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