Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week Thirty-Two: Honoring Our Leaders

Here in the United States, we commemorate Presidents Day on the third Monday of February. Most government offices are closed, as well as many schools, businesses, and private organizations. This holiday originated because two of our most famous and beloved presidents were born in the month of February. George Washington, the Father of Our Country, "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," was born on what was then February 11, 1732 in Westmoreland County, in what was then the Colony of Virginia, British America. During his lifetime, the calendar was corrected when it was discovered that it was eleven days off. His corrected birth date became February 22. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, known for his poor roots as well as holding the nation together during the American Civil War, was born February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. While he was beloved by many in the Northern States and will be forever honored by the African-American community for his Emancipation Proclamation, he was reviled (and in many places, still scorned) by those in the South.

The following prompts are listed to help you remember how you celebrated the presidents' birthdays in the past, and what you believe about honoring our leaders. If you live in another country, you may choose to answer these prompts from a perspective of honoring your own national leaders and/or celebrating your king or queen's birthday.

*As a child, do you remember celebrating either Lincoln or Washington's birthdays? How did you celebrate them? What do you remember learning about either of these men?

*Did you get a day off of school, have an assembly, or was there a play performed?

*Do you ever remember reading any books or watching any movies about these two leaders?

*In your opinion, who was the greatest leader of our country, and why?

*In your current career, do you get Presidents Day off? Why or why not?

*In many communities, Presidents Day weekend is well-known for sales and special deals. How do you feel about this? Do you like to go shopping on this weekend? Or do you feel this emphasis on commercialism is disrespectful?

*Presidents Day is also a day when veterans and Purple Heart recipients are honored. Are or were there any Purple Heart recipients in your family or ancestry? Have you written about what they did to earn this great award?

Journaling Responses to "Week Thirty-One: St. Valentine's Day"

These genea-bloggers have posted their responses to "Week Thirty-One: St. Valentine's Day" on their blogs, and can be found at the following links:
If you or any other blogger you know responded to these prompts, please leave a comment below, and I'll be sure to add the post to my list.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Week Thirty-One: St. Valentine's Day

I apologize for getting this out so late. I try to post these on Sunday, or at least have them written up to post first thing Monday morning; but I was working on some deadlines for both home and work most of the weekend.

Love it, tolerate it, or hate it, the Holiday of Love is nearly upon us. Here are some prompts to get you started writing about Valentine's Day holidays past and present:

*What is the first Valentine's Day that you remember? How old were you or what grade were you in?

*Did you have celebrations at school? What were they like? Were there games and refreshments?

*Did you make some sort of individualized Valentine "mailboxes" to hold the greetings you received? Or did the classroom have one big box? How were they (or it) created and decorated?

*Did you buy or make Valentine cards? Did you include goodies such as lollipops, candy message hearts, or Hershey kisses?

*Do you remember the first boy or girl you had a crush on in school? Did you have the nerve to send him or her a Valentine? If so, what was their reaction/response?

*Did your crush send you a Valentine?

*How did you feel about Valentine's Day as a child? Was it fun and exciting, or disappointing and sad? Or were you simply bored with it all?

*As you got older, did you attend any Valentine's Day dances? Tell about your experiences!

*What is the nicest card or gift you have ever received for Valentine's Day? Who sent it to you?

*How do you celebrate Valentine's Day now?

*Do you remember hearing how your parents or grandparents celebrated Valentine's Day?

If you have a written journal, you could decorate it with favorite cards you've received. If you have a blog or computer journal, you could decorate it with scanned copies of your favorite cards.

Journaling Responses to Week Thirty: Crafts and Hobbies

Thomas from Destination: Austin Family tells me he's addicted to these journal prompts! He's no slouch at creating prompts, either, as his Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories prove! Thomas responded to last week's prompts about Crafts and Hobbies in his post by the same name, here.

If you or another blogger you know has responded, please leave a comment below, and I'll add a link to your post.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Week Thirty: Crafts and Hobbies

This past week, we've experienced a lot of snow in my hometown, keeping many families, including ours, homebound. While I love being on the computer, reading, blogging, and researching, I've been feeling the need for a little creativity, lately. I picked up some fabric to make a new throw pillow and matching lamp shade to brighten up the living room, and yesterday, discovered a new cross stitch book at the library. As you've probably guessed by now, some of my hobbies include needlework. Over the past twenty years, I've taught myself to sew, crochet, knit, cross stitch, and do plastic canvas work. I don't do nearly as much needlework as I used to, but it's something I turn to several times a year when I feel I need a creative outlet. Another fun skill I picked up was learning how to create things out of wood in the Industrial Arts class where I assist our special needs students as part of my career with the local school district's special education program. I especially like using the skill saws to cut out intricate shapes in the shelves the students build. Working with wood--with its fresh-cut smell--and shaping it into something the mind's eye sees first, is a love I'm sure I've inherited from generations of carpenters on both my father's and mother's sides of the family. With these things in mind, I encourage you to write about the crafts and hobbies of your life, and share them with your descendants:

*What kinds of hobbies or crafts have you enjoyed over the years? Are they activities that you've created (visual art, needlework, metalwork, etc.) or items you've collected (model railroads, dolls, spoons, postage stamps, etc.)?

*How did you become interested in them? Were you taught them by a parent, grandparent, or other relative? Did you take a class, or teach yourself? Did you inherit a collection that you decided to build upon?

*Do you have a hobby or craft room where you can work or display your collection or store your supplies? If not, what would your dream hobby or craft room look like?

*What is it that your hobby or craft does for you? For instance, I know someone who took up crocheting to keep her hands busy while she was quitting smoking. Another relative knits items to donate to others as a way to give to the community. As for myself, I like the relaxing feeling of a hook and yarn between my fingers.

*Have you ever created your own patterns? Have you ever done a pattern enough that you've memorized it and create the object without reading the instructions? What one item have you made many times?

*Have you ever shown or displayed your hobby or craft at a collector's show or fair? Have you ever marketed your hobby or crafts either in a physical store, crafters' fair or online?

*Where do you purchase your supplies or items for your collection?

*Name your one--or several--favorite things you've created or collected? Why are they a favorite?

*What hobbies or crafts do you remember your parents, grandparents, or other relatives doing? Or what have you learned, if you've researched your family history, about the types of hobbies and crafts your ancestors did?

Don't forget to include some photos of your collections or the items you've made, prizes you've won, or photos of you engaged in your hobby or craft!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Journaling Responses to Week Twenty-Nine: Family Time

The following genea-bloggers have posted their journal responses to "Week Twenty-Nine: Family Time" on their blogs, and can be found at the following links:

I always appreciate hearing from anyone who's been following these prompts. If you are journaling your responses, please let me know by using the comments feature. Remember, you don't have to have a blog to write the stories of your childhood for your descendants!