Inside the Mind of a Child

Nighttime adventures: Three tyrannosaurus rex heads tower over Nate, here in the foreground by David Niles

I love this idea for a story project! This dad not only listened to his son’s dreams but he took those stories and turned them into amazing photos. What a wonderful way to capture the imagination and personality of his son. The link below goes to the story and lots more amazing photos.

Loving Father Recreates His Son’s Dreams


Pupdate: Banta & Zodiac

We got pictures from both Banta and Zodiac this week. I love getting emails from our pups and photos make it even more exciting.

Banta and Mark

Banta was recently at a family wedding and she got a special outfit for the event. Not sure why a tie, but she looks cute in it all the same.

David and Zodiac

Zodiac is earning a little bit a freedom around the house and mostly using it wisely. He is still young and sure to test the boundaries a bit. But he is learning.

Candy Window Update

Snoopy and his doghouse

Here is a photo of the window as it looked late last week. Bill helped me get the support structure for the tree finished. Yeah! This week, I got some work done on the red star and I got the lights put on the tree. The tree still needs to be painted green. Today I picked up 7 cases of candy from World Foods. I should have most of the candy I need for the window now except the sky which I’ll be order in the next week or so.

I haven’t gotten as much done this week as I’d hope. I’ve been fighting a cold and I finally feel like I’m winning the battle after a week. Hopefully Saturday will be a good day to get lots of candy attached.

A Letter From Fred

A Letter From Fred from Green Shoe Studio on Vimeo.

I came across this story via the Your Story Coach and her monthly newsletter so I had to share it here. What a wonderful example of a meaningful story project and all the people who came together to make it happen.

Here is a link to entire story on


Story Prompts

I’ve been thinking for the last few weeks about coming up with a gift idea for weddings and showers etc. Something that would be meaningful and yet not take tons of time or tons of money to put together. My best idea to date is story prompt jars. I haven’t gotten very far on the idea but I thought I’d share what I have so far.

Using the great questions from, I’m working on laying them out in sheets that I’ll cut into little cards. Hopefully I can add some color and fun to the sheets. Then I’ll put the cards in to jars. Maybe just a simple canning jar or maybe something a bit fancier. I’ll have to experiment and see what works.

I think any family could benefit from asking each other questions at the dinner table or a more formal gathering. This maybe what I give for Christmas this year. I’ll keep you posted with photos etc. as I progress. I’m thinking I will share a pdf of the finished question cards so you could make your own story prompt jars.

Have you used story prompts? I’d love to hear your experiences.


Remembering and Honoring Our Heritage


When telling your families stories how do you handle the less than honorable ones? I came across an interesting article on Family Storytelling by Valerie Elkins with some very wise advice on how to look at the not so good choices that have been made in all families. Here is her article:

The Fork in the Road and the Road Less Traveled

How have you handled the heroes and the scalawags in your family?

Pupdate: Emma

Emma eating her lunch

Emma is 12 weeks old today and she got the next round of vaccinations today too. She weighted 22.8 lbs. That is almost 3 lbs. heavier than Dune was at that age. It isn’t our imagination that Emma weights more than our other girls. She is a cute little chunk of puppy. It is funny because her front paws are much larger than her back paws. She slept through the night after just three nights and most nights she puts herself into her kennel to sleep.

Emma is the easiest puppy we have raised so far. She has an interesting mix if energy, calmness, independence, and malleability. Emma is a super slow eater. I’ve started putting her food down first and then taking Dune out to relieve after she finishes eating. I’m usually back in time hear Emma finishing up her dinner. She still keeps me on my toes and Dune is being a wonderful big sister. Dune still has two more weeks of “house arrest” because she is in season. These two girls add lots of joy and fun to our lives.

Horizon Passenger Lists

image of the Horizon passenger list

I recently created a Facebook page for the Martin Handcart Company, since there wasn’t one and since my great-great-grandmother was part of that company. I’ve started to gather information about the Martin Company and today I discovered that Mormon Migration website not only has a list of the passengers on the Horizon (the ship that the Martin Handcart Company took from Liverpool, England to Boston, Massachusetts) but they have images of the pages from the ship’s book where all the names where originally record. I’m really excited to take some time and find Mary Taylor and her family.

I love the power of the internet to share images of documents like these. Have you found something similar through the internet in your family history?

My Grandfather’s Story: in parts

One of my regular readers, currentdescendent, is doing a great project that I wanted to share with you, a multi-part story about her grandfather. Luanne has been blessed with an interview with her grandfather that was done about five years before he passed away. She has taken this interview and broken it up into short parts and then expanded on the interview with stories, photos and memories of her own. Great job Luanne!


The Family Kalamazoo

In 1994, five and a half years before he passed away, my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg, was interviewed by Connie Jo Bowman, the head of residents at Crossroads Village, a retirement community in Portage, Michigan. Connie was taking a course about the elderly at Western Michigan University and chose Grandpa as her subject.  I’ve written about Grandpa in a post about our left-handed connection.

The entire interview is eight typed pages, so I’ll divide it among a few blog posts.

Connie begins by introducing my grandfather, Adrian Zuidweg.  To read the excerpts of Connie’s report, you can click them for a better view (I hope):

Connie identifies my grandfather here as a “tall, gentle dutchman with a big friendly voice.” That would probably be how Grandpa thought of himself. He identified strongly with his Dutch heritage.  He had a lot of jokes, but one of his favorites was to say, “If…

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Candy Window Update

I’m almost ready to start gluing on the candy. All the structure is shaped and most of it is painted. I still need to paint the inside of the doghouse black. The biggest thing I have left to do on this stage is the tree. While I have the tree shaped, I still need to build the support structure that will go through the roof of the doghouse to the ground. Then I need to put the lights on the tree and finally paint it. The only other pre-candy prep I need to do is to attach the string of big lights the will drape across the roof of the doghouse to some stiff wire so that it will look the way I want it to. I think I’ll use duct tape.

I’ve got the candy pretty much planned out but I’ll go over that in another post. (I’ll put up pictures as soon as I get some more taken.)