Sunday, April 22, 2007

Week Sixteen: Your Children

Your Child or Your Children is the topic of this week's prompts. Is there anything more amazing than becoming a parent? The responsibilities, the joys, the trials...probably few things create more significance--for better or worse--in our lives than that of the parent-child relationship, whether it is the one with our own parents or the one with our children.

If you are not a parent, you may wish to choose a person in your life that you may look upon as a surrogate child, whether a step-child, niece, nephew, cousin, or family friend. You may also wish to share about the choice--or lack of choice--involved in not having children and how that affects your life.

*How many children did you want to have? How many do you have?

*Did you have gender preferences (one boy and one girl, or all girls, etc.), and if so, why? What did you get?

*What are the names of your children? Who were they named for and why?

*When and where were each of them born?

*Did you adopt? Write about your adoption experience: how long you had to wait, which country you adopted from, open or closed adoption, etc.

*If you had biological children, was it difficult to conceive? If so, write about that experience.

*Share any stories you remember from the pregnancies of each child.

*Share the story of each child's birth.

*Write about anything significant that you remember from the different stages each child has gone through, such as infancy, toddlerhood, the first day of Kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school, college, marriage, being a parent themselves.

*Describe each child's personality, interests, and talents.

*Describe each child's features and build.

*Describe the relationship of each of your children to each other and to your spouse.

*Write down the wish you have for each child's future.

Add favorite photos of each of your children to your journal.

Our topic next week will be Your Pets.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Week Fifteen: Your Anniversaries

This is Part Three in a three-part marriage-based set of journal prompts. Everyone who has been married at least a year has an anniversary story to share. Even unmarried people in relationships celebrate anniversaries--and why not?! Obviously, some anniversaries are more memorable than others. Hopefully, your anniversaries have been joyful, but occasionally, the memories of one may be sad or even painful. Life has its ups and downs, and anniversaries are often reflective of that. If you've been married more than once, you may wish to do separate journal exercises for anniversaries for each of your marriages. Here are some questions and statements to ponder as you journal this week:

* Your first anniverary is often one of the more memorable. When, where and how did you celebrate yours? Did you share a piece of cake frozen from your wedding the previous year?

* Have you exchanged traditional anniversary gifts over the years? For example, a gift made of paper was the traditional first-year anniversary gift, while the modern one is clocks. A table of both traditional and modern gifts can be viewed here.

* Some people celebrate a delayed honeymoon on an anniversary; have you?

* Have you ever gone somewhere special for an anniversary, like a cruise, a trip to a special destination, or a return to your honeymoon location?

* Have you ever been separated from your spouse on an anniversary due to work, military service, illness, etc.? How did the two of you deal with that?

* Have you or your spouse ever forgotten an anniversary? What was the outcome?

* Do you have any funny anniversary memories to share?

* Which anniversary was the hardest? Why?

* What was the most memorable or favorite anniversary, and why?

* Are your children or extended family members included in anniversary celebrations, or are they private?

* If your 25th, 50th, or another significant anniversary is in the near future, do you have special hopes or plans for it? Or if you've recently celebrated one, write about it.

* Share any special anniversary celebrations your parents or parents-in-law have celebrated. Perhaps you remember your grandparents' special anniversaries. What was your role in those?

Photos and mementos of your anniversary celebrations would make nice accompaniments to your journal. Next week, we will be writing about Your Children. Have fun with your memories this week!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Taking a Break

Happy Easter! I'm spending time with my family today and will be back next weekend with our new prompt. Meanwhile, if you're not busy with your own family, you may wish to catch up in your journaling, subscribe to this blog via e-mail (see right-hand menu), or read my other blogs (access by looking at my profile in right-hand menu).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Week Fourteen: Your Wedding

This is the second part of a topic that began last week with "The Significant Other in Your Life." Not everyone who is following these journal prompts is married, and this is not meant to exclude anyone. So if it doesn't pertain to you, just skip this prompt!

*When were you married? Why did you pick that date?

*Where were you married? Be specific, and include the building (house of worship, courthouse, wedding chapel, etc.), not just the town or city. Explain why you chose that particular location.

*Did you have a wedding planner (a professional, or a friend or relative that helped out)?

*How formal or informal was the wedding?

*Who married you? Was it your family priest, pastor, or rabbi? A justice of the peace? Captain of the ship? ;-)

*When you obtained your marriage license, what were the qualifications (if you remember)? For instance, did you have to take a blood test or get your parents' permission (if underage)? Do you remember what the fee was?

*If there was a wedding rehearsal, where and when did it take place? Was there a rehearsal dinner? Who attended or who was unable to attend? Were there gifts exchanged then?

*Who were the members of the wedding party, and how were they related or connected to you? Who was the maid/matron of honor and the best man?

*Describe the bride's dress. Was it a family heirloom, purchased or made for this wedding, rented or borrowed? Did she/you wear "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue"? What were they?

*Describe the bride's bouquet.

*Describe the bridesmaids' outfits. Was there a color theme?

*Describe the groom and the groomsmen's outfits.

*Was the building decorated? If so, how?

*Where did the parties prepare and dress for the wedding? Who helped with the dressing, hair and makeup, if applicable?

*Were there ushers who weren't part of the regular wedding party? Who were they, and how were they related or connected?

*Was someone in charge of a guestbook and/or receiving gifts? Who were some of the special guests that attended? Who traveled the furthest to attend?

*What music was played and/or sung, and by whom? Why these music choices?

*Was the bride walked down the aisle, and if so, by whom? If not the father of the bride, then whom and why?

*Did you use traditional vows, write your own, or "borrow" some you liked?

*Describe the ceremony: the sequence of events, the prayers, music, exchanging of rings, lighting of candles, communion or drinking of wine, stepping on wine glass, etc.

*Describe the wedding rings: were they family heirlooms, or purchased? Where were they purchased? Were they a matching set?

*Did anything interesting, tragic or funny happen during the ceremony (i.e., at my cousin's wedding, the flowers on the candelabra caught on fire during the prayer!)?

*Who was/were the photographer(s)? Were the photos taken before or after the ceremony? Why?

*Describe the reception: the receiving line, the cake and champagne, toasts, dancing, etc. Where did it take place? Was it directly after the wedding, or at another time and location altogether? Why?

*Did you open the gifts at the reception, or later? Did someone open them and record them for you?

*Describe the bride and groom's going-away clothing. What vehicle was the "getaway" car? Was it decorated traditionally (soaped-up windows, tin cans, streamers, etc.)?

*Did you go away on a honeymoon? When and where (this could probably be a whole other journal entry!)? If you did not go on a honeymoon, explain why.

*Did you enjoy your special day, or was it stressful? What would you change and why? What worked out especially well, and why?

Most brides have a bride's book or wedding book with photos, invitations, programs, engagement announcements, etc. If for some reason you don't have one, you could create your own and put in your writings, along with the photos and ephemera. It would be interesting for a man to write his perspective of his wedding (which, of course, would vary from the woman's). A divorced man may not have access to photos or ephemera from his wedding, as often it's the woman who retains the wedding book after a divorce. It could be a special gift to his children to write about his wedding for them, as sometimes it is not a topic that's brought up with the father by the children.

Some people have been married more than once. Although it would take time, it would be interesting for your descendants to have journal entries about more than one wedding, not just the marriage that produced children. You could compare and contrast the weddings, too; especially the details of each that worked best for you.

Part three on this particular topic (marriage) will be "Your Anniversaries," coming next week.