Monday, March 2, 2015

Passing on Your Legacy

Dolores Wiest with the Grandpa's Farm afghan she crocheted.
Dear Friends,

            My friend Dolores recently completed the afghan shown above for a great-grandchild. She has now crocheted three afghans for great-grandchildren, five for grandchildren and five for nieces and nephews. Dolores is leaving quite a legacy. Not just a legacy of special gifts, but a legacy of love as well, as she welcomes these children to her farm and babysits them as needs arise.

            We all leave legacies. A legacy is our gift to the future. It’s how people remember us. And that’s why it’s important to think about the legacy we want to leave while we can.

            May I suggest a few ways you can pass on a legacy:

1.      Complete keepsake books. You’ve seen them in gift shops. Mine are titled “A Grandmother Remembers” and prompts guide me to write about traditions, recipes and other special stories. When they read this book, my grandchildren learn about my life on a farm and the values I learned from my parents. They will read of my favorite activities as a girl and my years as a young wife and mother.

2.      Write your own keepsake book. I wrote Persons, Places and Things: Memories from the 1940s and 1950s that Molded my Life by writing on subject per page. A local printer copied and spiral-bound my 94 pages. On the right-hand bar at, you can read excerpts from this book and you can also print out a tip sheet, “Five Steps to turn Memories into One-Page Memoirs.”

3.      Videotape an interview. Have someone videotape an interview with you (or you might interview someone whose memories you want to preserve). The above tip sheet includes questions to ask.

4.      Create family albums on photo sites. I invited each of the units of my extended family to send me an electronic photo of their family. I uploaded all the photos to a website that creates photo books, arranged them by families and added names under each photo. This made a nice Christmas gift book. And the book serves as a memory prompter for older family members who may be losing track of the young ones.

5.      Mentor someone. Sixteen years ago two young women from my church asked me to mentor them. Kim, Janine and I began reading and discussing Christian books. Our mentoring led to ministry and today we speak 20 times a year as Friends of the Heart. We’ve also coauthored a devotional book.

6.      Champion a cause. I’m currently writing an article about a women originally from our area, Julie Rockey, who organizes an annual Ta-Ta Trot to raise funds for breast cancer. This is the sixth year of the race, and last year they had participants from all 50 states and raised more than $61,000 to be used toward the fight against breast cancer. What a legacy!

7.      Give gifts. Each year I honor each of my grandchildren by contributing in their name to a Christian charity that supplies food, clothing, etc., to third world countries. This helps them become aware of needs around the world. I also subscribe to devotional magazines for my grandchildren and give them books to help them grow spiritually. To me, faith is the most important legacy to leave.

I hope this listing gives you ideas on how you might impact those who follow in your footprints. Remember: Your legacy is your gift to the future. To learn more on this topic, look for books by Rachael Freed. Feel free to comment on this blog about ways you’ve found to leave a legacy or to ask a question.


Upcoming Engagements:

March 7, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Friends of the Heart at Calvary United Methodist, Harrisburg, “If Our Closets Could Talk.”
March 20, 6 to 10 p.m. – Friends of the Heart at Ladies Night Out sponsored by Upper Dauphin Human Services at Wiconisco Fire House.
March 21, 9 to 11:30 a.m. – Friends of the Heart at Aldersgate United Methodist, Mechanicsburg, “What Every Girl Needs: Refuge, Redemption, Restoration and a Few Good Recipes.”

We would love to see you at any of these events. Call 692-2721 for more information.