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October 2008
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Celebrating and Creating Heroes

October 6, 2008   

Submitted by Lisa Nelson 

When I heard about the book Candace May had written with her grandfather’s life story, I was so excited about storybooking. I immediately thought of two people who were heroes in my life and who I wanted my first books to be about-my grandmothers.  

Grandma Hatch was faced with many trials, yet kept her faith, sense of humor and love for family and friends.  We created her book using artist illustrations, because lack of money made childhood photos scarce, and partial paralysis in her face from a brain tumor made photos sometimes uncomfortable for her.  I wanted to create a book she would be really proud of-one that her great-grandchildren would love to read and that would make learning about her life really fun. This book became the favorite among her posterity, and when my step-children met their great-grandmother for the first time, because they had already read her life story, they sat with her like they knew her well, and loved her already.

My other grandmother lived a simple life as a teacher and the wife of a farmer, yet she impacted more people in her little community than anyone could, but would never hear a word of praise.  When I began the process for her book, I had to break through the initial barrier of, “You want to write a book about me?  I haven’t done anything special.”  As we sorted through her photos and she responded to the questions I was asking about her life, I knew she knew as I did, that her life was of significance to many people, and the love and service she provided to so many others would be remembered for generations to come. What a better role model for her posterity than the simple story of a woman who worked hard, loved deeply, and served those in need.  Until the day she passed away, her book was displayed proudly in her home and hospital room, and today continues to be in the hands of friends and family.

Stories of heroes like my grandmothers are common in many people’s lives, and helping to write those stories was something I wanted to do.  I knew I couldn’t leave a profession I found as meaningful as teaching elementary school unless I replaced it with something I felt was of equal importance. Our concept of celebrating real-life heroes, and helping children understand and appreciate the values from their heritage, has the potential to create a major impact on future generations.

I fell in love with the storybooking concept because it helped my heroes see they truly are heroes, and I knew the simple and fun books were pieces of heritage that were really going to be read by children and others who would benefit from reading them. Helping children learn from great examples and feel an increased sense of self-esteem as they are in books of their own, was a concept that had potential to make a difference, and I wanted to help make it happen. Heritage Makes is truly a business that celebrates and creates heroes.  

World Card Making Day

October 3, 2008   

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Gather some friends together, browse the all-new Template Gallery for some fun templates, swap ideas, and create some beautiful cards! Get all of the holiday cards done early this year with World Card Making Day.

Saturday, October 4 kicks off the holiday season. There’s no better time than now to get your holiday cards created. Plus, with the all-new Template Gallery, there’s absolutely no excuse not to get holiday cards out this year. Gather your neighbors, call your friends together…don’t forget the chocolate…and start making cards!

A Storybook in Every Home

October 1, 2008   

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Submitted by Candace May

I wrote the first book that started the “storybooking” movement. Chris Crandall, a dear friend of mine, saw a book on the table at my son’s first birthday. It was a storybook I wrote about my grandfather’s life for his 80th birthday. I wonder if she would have picked up a voluminous, 5 pound book and said, “This is amazing, I want to do one about my grandma!”? No, I don’t think so. Let’s think for a second what attracted Chris to that book on the coffee table.

  • It looked like a storybook
  • It was appealing in size and shape
  • It had a title and author listed on the cover
  • It looked like something she could do in a relatively short amount of time
  • It looked like something that would be read and enjoyed

She may have seen the simple dedication:

“This book is dedicated to all the great-grandchildren of Nicholas Wozney.”

Then she would have read about a little boy named Nicholas Wozney who crossed the ocean from Poland with his family. In just a few minutes (and while my one-year-old’s birthday party was exploding around her) she was able to learn more about my grandfather than she probably knew about her own and I bet she thought, “I need to do this.”

As Chris walked home that evening I think she envisioned her little son sitting on her knee reading to him the words she would craft about her grandparents. Chris could not sleep that night because of the ideas swimming through her head and then she had one thought, “EVERYONE needs to do this.” Chris boldly showed up at my door the very next morning and shared her thoughts with me. She said, “Candy, everyone needs to do a book like the one you did for your grandpa and I have been thinking that we should start a company and help people.”

Why do I do this business? Because Chris recognized something extraordinary about my grandpa’s storybook and she and I decided that we needed to help others do books like it.

The happiest ending to this is that Chris Crandall has now written books about her grandparents and her little son has heard them on her knee. Also, Heidi Arave has written books about her grandparents, and Lisa Nelson, and nearly every friend I have told about this concept. I am sure that you, reading this right now, have probably written a story like mine. That is my reason for doing this business.

When this company was very very young and I remember sitting in a planning meeting with my mom (Sharon Murdoch, PhD), who was then the CEO. I remember she said, “We need a vision if this is going to work. What shall be our mission statement?” It was a simple answer that I have never forgotten some 7 years later: “A storybook in every home.”

A storybook in every home is a big goal, but a worthy one. It may not be easy to create a storybook about your heritage, it is not cutting and gluing or just putting photos in an album. It requires the written word. Sharon Murdoch has stated, “Photos without story are memories lost.” It is our goal to make “storybooking” memories easier, to help and guide you as consultants or clients to write the stories in your family heritage.

Candy’s TIPS: If you are wanting to write a storybook about a Grandparent:

  • Decide on a date you will complete the book by. (For me it was my grandpa’s 80th birthday party).
  • Schedule a time you plan to interview this person on the phone or in person.
  • Schedule 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Plan the questions you will ask.

Here are some questions to help you with the grandparent book:

Don’t let the interviewing process go on and on. It is important to remember that you are creating a 21 page book with text that is fun to read.

  • Keep the interview focused on stories relevant to the audience and don’t worry if it is not perfect–mine isn’t but it is DONE and enjoyed by many. 
  • Collect photos to go with the stories. Do not worry if the photos do not match up perfectly.
  • Once you have your interview and 15-25 images (or more), you are ready to create your storybook in Heritage Makers Online Studio!
  • As you search the wonderful Template Gallery try to pick a design that will be “timeless.” This is a storybook that will be read for generations!

Happy Storybooking!

It All Began With a Story

October 1, 2008   

Submitted by Chris Crandall 

My “Why” began over 15 years ago – as a teacher in elementary school classrooms. As kids searched for heroes in comic books and fictional stories – they shouted, “I am Superman!” or “I am a fairy princess.” Then, when the book closed or the cape came off, the dream was gone.Then, one evening a friend of mine (Candace May) invited us to her son’s First birthday party. As the kids crawled among the cake crumbs and squeezed the frosting in their fingers, I noticed a book with a man holding two young boys, drawn on the cover. Above them it read, “My Great Grandpa.” With blue tape holding the side together, a worn cover and pages that slipped out while I read it, I soon discovered that even though the book itself was simple, the story inside was priceless.

It shared the wonderful life story of Candy’s grandfather, from his childhood to recent years. And it was written in a way that was like a young grandchild asking questions and her grandfather answered. And the last page asked, “Grandpa, what advice do you have for someone like me?”

Then, her grandpa answers:

“The advice I have for all my great-grandchildren is to always love your family, respect those older than yourself, give money to those who have less, always pay your bills, and give money to your church.

Do not lie or steal. I have found that you will have better luck if you live this way.”

Even though I had never met Candy’s grandfather, in a few short minutes after reading this book, I knew him. I knew who he was and what he stood for. I knew his life story and the legacy that he wanted to leave his posterity.

I also knew that someday, when Candy’s one-year-old son and her other children grew up, they too would read this book and know this wonderful man, who he was and what he stood for – and in turn, they would know who they were and where they came from – and they would know not in their young adult lives when many of us search of who we are – but they would know from the time they could hear his story and read it themselves – and remember it forever.

Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep that night.

Two, three, maybe four…no it was at least five – things kept me awake that night. The ideas just kept on coming and swirling and I KNEW that Candy’s storybook was something that children and families EVERYWHERE needed the opportunity to do. To discover their own family’s heroes and preserve their lives and their stories in STORYBOOKS!

I wanted my son to know who his great grandparents were. I wanted the children I taught in the classrooms to know who the “real-life” heroes were in their lives.

With these incredible Storybooks, I knew that children would no longer need to look to comic books and fairy tales for their heroes and who they wanted to be. With these Storybooks, they would be able to read about people in their own family – perhaps even sharing the same last name – who were brave, faithful, strong, kind, good, creative or wise and then, when the book closed, the dream didn’t end because the hero they just read about was a part of who they were! That person was inside of them – he or she was THEIR heritage – even better than a Superman or fairy princess!

I saw fairy tales being replaced by family tales.

That is the story of how my “Why” began. My “Why” in Heritage Makers is that children – ages 1 to 100 – discover their important place in history, through their own heritage and by discovering and empowering who they truly are.

That is the power of Storybooking and that is the power that we each have, as Heritage Makers consultants, to open those doors of opportunity and share it with others.