What about the “Stuff”?

By Michelle Beckman | September 4, 2017

WHAT ABOUT THE STUFF? Hurricane Harvey At the beginning of a crisis like Hurricane Harvey, everyone involved rightfully focuses on the only priority—saving lives. But, when the water recedes, residents and business owners assess the damage and cannot ignore the inevitable. Items that proved useful and necessary for daily living are gone, as are many …

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Stories Remind Us of Our Humanity

By Michelle Beckman | September 4, 2017

STORIES REMIND US OF OUR HUMANITY Humans Helping Humans Stories of humans helping humans have brought me to tears more than once this week. What is it about acts of kindness, courage, or unselfishness that evoke such profound emotion? Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas has brought much of our country back to basics. As we …

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I Haven’t Heard That One Before

By Michelle Beckman | August 10, 2017

I HAVEN’T HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE Deeper Connections Whether you see your parents and grandparents every day or talk to them once a month, I guarantee they have a story you haven’t heard yet. Sometimes, you know the story exists. These stories are often traumatic such as living through the Holocaust, fighting in a war, …

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100+ Ways to Make Fun-in-the-Sun Memories this Summer

By Michelle Beckman | July 5, 2017

100+ WAYS TO MAKE FUN-IN-THE-SUN MEMORIES Life Used to Be Simpler “I’m bored,” Have you heard that one yet? The summer has just started, but I already feel like I am our family’s entertainment director and taxi driver. Life was so much simpler when we were kids, don’t you think? We made our own fun. …

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4 Editing Hacks I Learned from Stephen King

By Michelle Beckman | March 23, 2017

4 EDITING HACKS I LEARNED FROM STEPHEN KING Editing for Your Audience Let’s be honest. The editing process is not as fun as the initial storytelling process. Editing requires that you read your writing with fresh eyes, pull out your red pen machete, and start hacking away at superfluous details, tangents, and parts of speech. …

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A flag reminding people to say thank you and welcome home to our soldiers

Do You Say, “Thank You and Welcome Home” Often Enough?

By Michelle Beckman | November 10, 2016

DO YOU SAY, “THANK YOU AND WELCOME HOME” OFTEN ENOUGH? Thank You for Your Service and Welcome Home A few years ago I attended a presentation by a personal history colleague and mentor Mary O’Brien-Tyrrell. She served in Vietnam as a nurse, and during her talk, she described the mood of the country when she …

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Forget Me Not flowers

4 Tips to Recall It All

By Michelle Beckman | July 7, 2016

4 TIPS TO RECALL IT ALL Don’t Jump to Conclusions Do  you ever find yourself walking into a room only to forget why you made the effort? Do you forget someone’s name, even though you know the person well? Are there days when you fear you’ll forget to pick your child up from an activity? …

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Why Your Mother’s Story is as Ordinary as Sea Glass

By Michelle Beckman | May 8, 2014

YOUR MOTHER’S STORY IS AS ORDINARY AS SEA GLASS A humble gem My cousin collects sea glass—shards of ordinary glass bottles discarded without a thought that eventually wash up on shore.  The waves and glass wrestle in the world’s infinite rock tumbler.  Eventually, the glass submits and a polite dance begins—back and forth, back and …

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What Should I Do with My Life?

By Michelle Beckman | April 27, 2014

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE? Is This All There Is? Last month during the better part of a weekend, I attended a Life Calling Workshop hosted by our church. Scott and Louise Walker from Life/Work Direction, a non-profit organization, created and led the workshop. Although the workshop is faith based, everyone can benefit …

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A photo of an arch representing your family values as your overarching story

5 Steps to Identify and Share Your Family Values

By Michelle Beckman | January 29, 2014

5 STEPS TO IDENTIFY AND SHARE YOUR FAMILY VALUES Shared Values Years ago, I worked for MBNA America, an extraordinary organization.  If you found yourself in an MBNA facility, you knew their values. You knew exactly what was important to MBNA’s leaders.    The overarching value—THINK OF YOURSELF AS A CUSTOMER—was displayed above every single …

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