Look what I found while trying to find something for another project. These photos are from last year, but perfect for this week and the starting of RootsTech.
One of the first things I noticed is the light in Guelita's eyes has dimmed. She has Alzheimer's, and it's amazing the change I immediately noticed. It's happening so slowly, yet quickly, but in an instant, I saw these photos I could see it. Her short term memory is nearly gone, and it's hard to see her body deteriorate, but she has lived a good life and misses Guelito terribly.
One day while I was visiting with her I bought out her wedding picture, turned on my phone and started recording her talking about the photo and that time in her life. It was unscripted and simple, just Guelita and I at the kitchen table. This is what I love about family history; there are not rules. It can be a simple as a video and photos on your phone to the words on a page. There is no wrong way the beauty lies in the record and sharing the stories with others.
These photos were going to be something I was doing for last year's Easter celebration: Hallelujah. You can still watch the video about how Christ is the reason we will see our loved ones again. Each of the children picked someone they wanted to know better. I remember thinking I am going to focus on each of these people during the next year, but I forgot. I got busy with other things and didn't follow through, but the beauty of family history is that it's never to0 late to start. I can start this week, and we can remember these special ancestors who have shaped our lives.
One story a week. I can do that.
Not a biography, a story. Something simple.
As I think about my RootsTech experience the last two years, I am amazed at all that I've learned about family history in general.
I'm not an expert and might not ever become one. I am constantly asking friends and family members to get me out of binds it's amazing the messes I can get myself into, but with each mixup, I learn more than I would have otherwise, and the most important thing I have learned is nothing is permanent. Everything can be fixed, and the important thing is that I am trying.
Family history is for everyone. There is something that everyone can do, no matter your circumstance and situation in life. Big or small your efforts will be rewarded in ways you never thought possible.
Little things over a long period of time yield big results. I don't have significant periods of time to devote to family history, but a minute here and a minute there create a greater whole. I've learned not to disregard the single minutes.
The story is important, perhaps essential. This is certainly not a new knowledge for me; I am the storyteller in my family. I am the record keeper and talk about it regularly here, there and everywhere. The thing I have seen the last couple of years is how much this knowledge has been reaffirmed over and over again.
Open the books. I have books sitting on my shelf about my ancestors, files on hard drives, and stories on FamilySearch. They don't help me if I don't open them. Great sacrifice was made so that I could have them. I am grateful more and more each day.
Our ancestors don't like to be called dead. Now this might sound crazy, and technically their bodies are dead, but their spirits are very much alive and help in miraculous ways to find their records. I could tell you experience after experience whether personal or from a friend, neighbor or from an email of how the ancestors' presence was felt. It's impossible to put into words, but it's real and powerful. Miraculous.
Your love will grow in ways you never thought possible. I feel like it's a cliche to say, I've heard it so many times for teachers and apostles. Family history was always for someone else, or I'm too young, or whatever excuse I have felt or given. As I result I have missed out one some beautiful relationships that I am making with my ancestors. I am so thankful for their lives in new and beautiful ways.
Everything circles back to love. Love of family. Love of the Savior who made this all possible.