Memories…

” Memories are timeless treasures of the heart…”

Recently I had the good fortune to reconnect with a cherished friend. As we sat and reminisced and shared our lives for several hours, the 35 years since high school seemed to just melt away. The gray in our hair disappeared and we seemed to pick up our friendship where we had left off. I was struck by how connected we were after so many years. How was this possible? What made the difference? Memories. Shared in the past and shared in the present. Memories. Treasures that transcend far beyond time yet found their place at home in our hearts.

As I thought about the important memories of my life, I realized that sharing and preserving everyday memories has become a valuable part of my life. For Christmas, photo gifts were created from memories that were once recorded on paper. Family pictures were shared via electronic communication with siblings who reside across the United States. Old photos are treasured and proudly displayed in our home. New photos are taken each day and shared on Facebook and other social media. These photos help to maintain (and build) a shared bond between the people we care about. At times, they have even provided memory guidance for elderly loved ones whose lives have been lived fully but are no longer clearly remembered.

Photos are not the only way memories are created and maintained either. The written word can sometimes preserve the exact feelings of the moment. In fact, old hand-written and typed poems written by long-ago friends or taken years ago from Teen magazine are among my most prized possessions. I find myself referring to this collection of words time and time again.

Genealogy searches use the written word (and photos) to help build connections to memories of family from the past. Websites like ancestry.com are invaluable to those who want to discover family history. Ancestry.com utilizes records such as (hand-written) census records to compile family data. These census records offer a glimpse into the lives of the citizens listed and include additional data about the lives of these folks. It is not uncommon to discover the place of birth, occupation and even economic status of family members from these records. In my own genealogical search, these records helped lead me to names, dates, places, people and even a book written about my family. A book that was written with historical data and family connections in mind. A book that has helped to connect me to family members and family memories.

Of course, first-hand experiences are the best way to create lasting memories. Direct connections to loved ones who are currently present is the most timeless treasure of all. Realizing that life will not last forever and cherishing each and every minute. Overlooking human frailties and forgiving mistakes made. Loving others fully without reservation just being grateful to be together. Creating memories to last a lifetime.

“I am a historian of my own history…I believe that when you know who you are, you have the ability to move forward not only with your own strength but with the strength of your entire ancestry.” – Oprah Winfrey

May your new year be filled with special moments, loving hugs and lasting memories. Thanks for sharing my blog and being a part of my journey.

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