One of the Best Traditions to Start the New Year

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next years words await another voice” – T.S. Elliot

 

As 2013 draws to a close, we encourage you to take the time to reflect and write a Legacy Letter. Similar to an ethical will but usually shorter in length, a personal legacy letter is written to share what has been most important in your life with loved ones.

A great idea is to take the time to write a legacy letter on behalf of your children when they are too young to do it for themselves. Annual letters documenting children’s blossoming personalities and emotional growth are a treasure worth saving and sharing. Your kids love stories about themselves, and as time passes, the small details are lost to the quick passing of time. Capture them now while they are still fresh!

Storytelling is the most powerful way to connect with family members and can have huge influence on your children and grandchildren. Writing down the special stories of life’s moments guarantees that  your wisdom and values are truly preserved. Please make sure to print and store them safely (or back them up off your computer).

Andrew Weil, M.D, author of Healthy Aging sums it up very nicely, “Certainly, an ethical will can be a wonderful gift to leave your family at the end of your life, but I think its main importance is what it can give you in the midst of your life.”

So please don’t put it off. Do it before the rush of the New Year begins! You (and your family and friends) will cherish the results.

 

Best of Health, Happiness, Joy and Prosperity for 2014!
Be well, go safely,

Iris and her team at Memoirs Productions

Helpful Tips to Preserve Gratitude & Family Stories this Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the U.S. is almost upon us. It’s one of the few times of the year loved ones make the greatest of efforts to make the pilgrimage home. We gather around our dining tables to enjoy the company of family and friends, as well as a carefully planned and executed feast. It is also a deliberate time for reflection, where we pause to express our gratitude for many things that life has to offer.

Reflecting on what we are grateful for should not be saved for one day a year. Just as being in the company of loved-ones is beneficial for both the heart and soul, starting a gratitude journal and writing in it several times a week has proven to have tangible benefits.

normanrockwell_thanksgivingA study lead by Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California at Davis and world leader in the science of gratitude, has revealed that those who keep a gratitude journal felt better about their lives overall, are more optimistic about the future, and report fewer health problems than the other participants. Interestingly, those who keep such journals reported getting more sleep, spending less time awake before falling asleep and feeling more refreshed in the morning.* The reason this practice works, above and beyond simply taking time out to think about the positive things in our lives, is that translating thoughts into language, spoken or written, makes us more aware of them, deepening their emotional impact.

We are all deeply grateful for are our relationships with our families and loved-ones. Because time passes so quickly, the importance of documenting the stories of our parents and grandparents greatly increases as they age. Thanksgiving, when everyone is together, is a perfect opportunity to capture the stories right from the source. In fact, technology has become so simplified that it is as easy as strategically placing a smartphone on the dinner table and powering on the voice memo feature to record the stories told by family members. Likewise, using a video camera (or smartphone camera!) to record all the details is so easy, even children can help out. And the results become special keepsakes.

After you have your smartphone or video camera ready, here are 5 tips to keep in mind for the day:

  1.  Jump start the conversation: Do you know of a specific story that your Grandfather loves to tell or want to know more about his experience in the war? Ask him about it.

  2. Keep the conversation going: Ask questions about the people involved in the story, what else was going on at that point in time?

  3. Ask elders about their specific memories of those who have already passed away: What did they like to eat, what was the craziest thing they ever did. Get to know family members you never got the opportunity to meet.

  4. Be prepared with a photo or memento and ask for specifics: Where was this taken, what year, why were you there, who else is in the photo? Write it down.

  5. And most importantly, be a good audience. Sit back, listen and enjoy. Also, make sure all batteries are well charged!

Having loving family and friends is definitely at the top of most people’s gratitude lists on Thanksgiving. We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you wonderful times with yours. Happy Thanksgiving. We’re really grateful you stopped by!

 

*Source: http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org/library/counting-your-blessings-how-gratitude-improves-your-health

Lest We Forget … Reflections on Veterans (Remembrance) Day

Harry Knobovitch 1923-1944

Harry Knobovitch
1923-1944

Every veteran who remembers serving in a 20th century war, whether it is with pride for defending freedom and honor or with horror for the atrocities seen, deals with their experiences and memories differently. Although some choose to willingly share their stories, others internalize and live their memories in silence. As the number of WWII veterans diminishes every year, it is becoming increasingly important to record these accounts. “Lest we forget” is not merely a Veterans Day slogan, it is a call to action: to remember the sacrifices made by individuals and to honor their efforts with the respect they so deeply deserve.

Memoirs Productions has had the privilege of capturing many veterans’ experiences on camera. Initially some were reticent to reflect on their wartime experiences and memories. Most of them had never even shared these memories with their wives or their children – they had chosen to keep that whole section of their lives private from their families. Although the exercise can be very emotional, even painful for some, once they started telling their story, they usually told it all and typically they remembered every vivid detail.

 

Harry's telegramAs Veterans Day (or Remembrance Day in Canada) approaches, we encourage you to start the conversation with any veterans in your life – to find out their experiences, stories, memories and write or record the details before it is too late. Ask them to pull out old photographs and treasures they may have kept locked away all this time. Ask them to identify anyone you might not know in the photos and make sure to record that information.

The legacy veterans left should be heard and recorded. Learning about their heroic roles is invaluable for your family’s history. It may be difficult, but worth every moment. And perhaps you’ll even be thanked for it!

P.S. My Dad is a Royal Canadian Air Force vet and he regales us with stories every chance he gets. Now that we filmed him they certainly are cherished by our family!


In memory of my uncle Harry Knobovitch (whom I never met) as he died way too young in 1944 flying for the RCAF in Europe.

YES Client of the Month

Iris Wagner has been chosen as client of the month in the October 2013 edition of YES Montreal’s newsletter. Providing English language support services for Quebec businesses, YES Montreal has inspired and provided strategic support to Memoirs’ growth.

“I often attend YES Entrepreneurship Conferences and am always inspired by the great keynote speakers they have each year,” she continues. “At their Tune In To YES Benefit Concert I landed a great gig on CJAD’s Morning Show from a silent auction prize I won. These are truly great events for entrepreneurs looking to network.”

To read the full feature, kindly click here.

P.S.: Iris will be attending the 7th edition of Tune In To YES on Thursday October 24th. If you’re looking for a great opportunity to network and support a great Montreal business organization, this is it! Click here for event details. header_home_07

JGH & AGI Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s Screening

On Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 Iris will be introducing a private screening of Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s at the Jewish General Hospital. Proceeds to benefit The Memory Clinic at the JGH and Alzheimer Group Inc. If you would like to attend the screening, details are as follows:

The Jewish General Hospital | The Auxiliary, in conjunction with the Alzeimer Group Inc, in proud to present

Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s

It’s the most mythic of all American emporiums – and the scene of many an ultimate fashion fantasy. Now you will have the opportunity to peek behind the backroom doors and into the reality of the fascinating inner workings and fabulous untold stories from Bergdorf Goodman’s iconic history.  The legend, the parties, the fashion idols, the windows, the women, the buyers and shoppers — and most of all, the quintessentially American dreams of New York’s high-fashion hot-spot – all come to life in an ode to a realm where creativity and commerce reign equally supreme. With a light touch, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s explores not just the glamour but the passion behind the daily creation of this luxury mecca in a film as dynamic, lush and intimate as the store itself.

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Petit Souper 6:00 PM Café Atrium Film 7:00 PM  Block Amphitheatre

Introduction by Iris Wagner,  Executive Producer

$55.00

Complimentary Parking – Pavilion H,  5790 Cote des Neiges

Reservations

The Auxiliary (514) 340-8216             Alzheimer Group Inc. (514) 485-7233

Proceeds to benefit The Memory Clinic at the JGH and Alzheimer Group Inc.

Rendezvous 2013

Iris E. Wagner will be presenting Preserving Legacies with Digital Technology at Purposeful Planning Collaboration in Broomfield, Colorado on August 1- 4, 2013.

 

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DVD Release

If you missed it or would like to see it again, we’re pleased to announce that Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s is now available for Video On Demand, via iTunes, or your On Demand channel. Released on DVD August 27th, you may order your copy at Amazon.com.

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