Blogging : To Strengthen Your Life Now & In the Future through Journaling & Family History

March 2nd, 2012 in About Me

This was the presentation my mother and I gave to the LDS stake down in Provo. We divided the post ideas into three categories: Your Life Now, Family History and Using Your Blog to Strengthen Your Family. Let me try to give our presentation to you in written form:

 Introduction: Blogging Disclaimer

  • In the last General Conference there seemed to be a talk on how great social media can be and then another on how we need to be careful and how it can be not so great. “There is much that is good with our easy access to communication and information. I have found it helpful to access research articles, conference talks, and ancestral records, and to receive e-mails, Facebook reminders, tweets, and texts. As good as these things are, we cannot allow them to push to one side those things of greatest importance. How sad it would be if the phone and computer, with all their sophistication, drowned out the simplicity of sincere prayer to a loving Father in Heaven.” -From the talk “A Time to Prepare,” by Ian S. Ardern. I believe this also applies to blogging — how sad would it be if you are too busy blogging to play with your children, spend time with your husband at night, fulfill your church callings, read your scriptures, etc.
  • If your blog is a hobby, give it hobby time and priority in your life. For me, it is 1-2 hours per week and it is not at the top of my list in what I have to do during the week.
  • You can keep it positive while keeping it real. Don’t let the nasty comparisons/jealousies/one-upping each another bug you or get into your blog!
  • Set yourself up for success with doable goals. I can blog “set number of times per month,” and I can write these types of posts this month. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start out with doable goals.
Then my mom and I gave ideas on what to blog about and, like I said, we divided it into three different categories. We also had a slide show where we had screen shots of different bloggers who had done posts like this to show them as examples. I will link to them after the different points below:

Your Life Now

“The Savior emphasized the importance of keeping records. And one of the most valuable records is the one you keep of your own life.” -Spencer W. Kimball

  • Storytell: Instead of just documenting past or current events, try to sometimes take more of a “storytelling” approach so people can feel the emotion, picture it in their minds, etc. You can also storytell through more detailed pictures, a video or audio of you talking! Example here
  • Write to your loved ones (children, husband, etc.): Write a letter to them on their birthday summing up their year, tell them how you appreciate them, etc. Or a post of facts — some silly and some more factual. You could even have a blog set up for each child and write to them throughout the year, have them write journal entries, take pictures of the artwork and post it, etc. Examples here, here and I also used my cousin’s private blog as an example. 
  • Document special events: Post about vacations, events, birthdays, accomplishments, traditions, etc. These are the fun things in life — the memories and events you will always want to remember. Example here
  • Write about & post pictures of everyday moments. Every week I do a “Things I Loved Post” where they are almost always just small everyday moments that I loved that week. Example here and here.
  • Share great ideas: Blogging is a great way to share.  There is no limit!  Recipes, crafts, organizational tips, VT message, lesson plans, FHE ideas, Cub Scouts, service projects, favorite books, or a thought.

 Family History

“When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves.” Russell M. Nelson

  • Spotlight an ancestor or someone alive in your family now. This is a great way for you and your family to get to know their family – a grandmother, aunt, uncle, and any ancestor or family member who has passed on to home.  Don’t forget to include pictures, video or recording of their voice. Post on the day of their birthday or after a funeral, anniversary of a special day, etc. Example here and here.
  • Family Recipes: document with pictures. Grandpa’s Famous Fudge, Grandma’s Favorite Pie, Mom’s Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Food brings back good memories. What food in your family tree is special to you? Make the recipe even more special with pictures and video. Example here and here
  • Memories from the past: recreate with your children, interview family members about an experience, write a memory in storytelling form and scan old pictures. Another fun tip is to handwrite the post and scan in the paper so your posterity can see what your handwriting looked like. Example in published magazine.
  • Start/Create “Your Own Family History.” Wrap it up!  Take some time and create a short history of your family – yearly, 6 months, monthly, etc. Simply type up a summary of the past month, year, or a few months. Example here or just publish your yearly Christmas letter!

Using Your Blog to Strengthen Your FAMILY

  • Choose a theme, word, scripture or quote for the year. This can be personal or for your family. Example here and here
  • Work on a goal together as a family. I asked my three daughters to join me and “Return to Virtue” by completing the YW goals for Virtue. Example here
  • Blog your testimony and blog through trials. You can uplift people now, as well as your posterity, by being real, honest and sharing those important things. Example here, here and here.  
  • Be thankful and grateful on your blog. Remember what you write and share will be part of you that stays forever and ever!
Closing: I listed some good sources for blogs that keep up a real, honest, inspiring family blog. My mother used some of these quotes in the closing as well:

“With the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.” DIETER F. UCHTDORF

“The growing visibility and reputation of the Church presents a remarkable opportunity to us as its members.  We can help to “disabuse the public mind, ” and correct misinformation when we are portrayed as something we are not.  More importantly, though, we can share who we are.”  L. Tom Perry

Q&A Time

I…I…I…kind of don’t want to blog about this part of our class, ha! Trying to stay positive. One person did bring up the GREAT question of what you should put online, how to stay safe, etc. It really is an important question and I wish I had covered more than just a short sentence in our presentation. Here is my take on it: Pray about if it is right for you to start a blog, decide with your husband, pray and discuss what “rules” you should have on your blog regarding privacy (if you should post your children’s names, what pictures you should use, etc.), be aware of everything you write before you hit POST. Realize that if it’s online, even if it’s a private blog, it’s online and someone somewhere can access it. Adhere to common sense rules like: not blogging your address, where your kids go to school, important banking numbers, answers to security questions, etc. Respect others’ privacy on your blog. Personally, I won’t put FACES (sometimes I will do pictures where you can’t see their face) of anyone that hasn’t said it’s ok to be on your blog. For my nieces and nephews, I get permission from their parents first and I ask them if I should ever say their name on my blog. If for some reason you really don’t feel good about having a blog for your family or anything online, it COULD be your “Mommy Voice” warning you. Listen to yourself; you know what is best. But lastly, no matter what decision you come to for your blog and family, what you decide is not for the next person down the road and… don’t act all self-righteous/know-it-ally to others about your decision.

Here are our handouts:

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