Tag Archives: Project Life

Military Monday – Mom Remembers WWII

As I have mentioned here before, my Mother is fighting Alzheimer’s. I try not to say too much on here about it because I want to respect her privacy. But, this is so hard. Everything you have heard about Alzheimer’s is all that and more. I wish there was a way I could make this easier for my Mom, and my Dad but there is no magical pill or a cure and boy does that scare me. Will I be next?  Will it skip me, but hit my children? Grandchildren? We need a cure people!!  I don’t want a single other person to have to go through this.  My family, currently has three people fighting Alzheimer’s.  Can you believe that?  Please pray for all of them!

I usually cook supper every night for them as she can no longer cook. My brother helps by cooking sometimes, but we all eat together every night at my house and while I get frustrated and tired of doing the dishes, I also know that time is slipping away and so are my mother’s memories, so when she is having a good day and she starts telling stories, like what I am about to share with you, I know the dishes won’t matter in a few years. In fact, when I think about it, they don’t even matter now.  I’m very glad to have this time with my Momma and thankful for a steadfast husband that supports me in taking care of them. I wouldn’t trade this time in my life for anything.  Well, except a cure.

One night after dinner Mom, when Mom was having one of her good days, she started talking about the war and I asked her to stop and let me get my recorder and record her, and this is what I got. I put a few photos with it, and some music and I hope you will enjoy listening to her talk about her memories of life during WWII.

After I put the video together, I decided I would make another Project Life page for my Family History scrapbook. This seemed like the perfect thing to do a page about. I was also thinking about this wonderful video, and how could I possibly incorporate it into my scrapbook.  I didn’t want this wonderful video lost in the depths of my computer!

Then it hit me! A QR Code! If you don’t know about QR Codes, you might consider hitting up Google and learning a little bit.  They are on everything these days.   I have a FREE app on my phone called QRReader, and you can go to this website, Unitag and generate a code for FREE!  It cost me nothing to add this to my scrapbook page, and now anytime someone looks through the book, they can scan the QR code, and watch the video on their phone or tablet.  In fact, if you have a QR reader on your phone already you can actually put it up to the computer screen, scan the bar code in the photo below and it will take you right to the video.

So, here is my page.

Mom Remembers WWII

Mom Remembers WWII Project Life Page

I won’t completely depend on the QR Code to work forever though.  I will always include a flash drive in every album with the photos and videos on it, so if anyone wants a copy of anything in it, no digging around in the depths of my computer, all I have to do is get the flash drive from the album and copy them on whatever they want.

I may at some point make a transcript of the conversation to put in the scrapbook, just in case future technology doesn’t recognize our current technology anymore. I wouldn’t want that wonderful story lost forever if the video can no longer be played.

I also made a DVD of the video above for Mom and Dad, and brother John.  I hope they will enjoy it as much as I did making it.

What a great treasure from Momma, in just a whim of a five minute conversation.  Which is the reason my goofy dog Ringo was barking throughout the video, I really didn’t have plans to do much with the video which is why I didn’t shush him, but it turned out great anyway and I’m thankful to have this history to pass down to future generations.

Thanks, Momma!

Ohlife.com – my new form of Journaling

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Last year I hand wrote in a journal.  I didn’t write every day, but close enough that I knew that this year I didn’t want to do all that writing.  I have found I will write a lot more if I am typing it up.  I’m doing the “Project Life” scrapbook that Elise turned me on to, but I really don’t want to incorporate my private entries into a collection of photos that I will be sharing with family or friends.

I started out this year by typing my journal entries up in Evernote which was cool because I can do it no matter where I am, at home or out of town, because Evernote will sync with my computer.  However, that also means that anyone that uses my computer could have access to my journal.  It’s not that I mind really, I know someone will read it someday, and I hope they do.  It’s just I would like to have private thoughts for now, that are mine alone.  One downfall of typing them up is that since the journal isn’t beside my bed to remind me to write in it, I forget.  What can I say, I’m busy.  For me, out of sight means out of mind.

So I’ve been looking around for ideas and trying to think of the best way to do the journal, to make it easier for me.

I found that way today.

Ohlife.com.  So simple I can’t believe I haven’t seen something like this before.  Here is the shot of the home screen:



Did I mention simple??  You can set up how often to receive an email, they send you an email and ask you “How was  your day?”  You reply to the email, and your email becomes an entry into your journal.  You can attach one picture if you like.   You can log on at any time and see your entries.  Oh, and it’s completely private.  No one will see your entries but you, and they won’t be published anywhere.

The only drawback I see is that to print out your entries, you export them to your computer as a text file.  All in one big whack.  Every entry and there is no way to specify what dates I’d like.  If I do this beyond this year, that could be a problem because I’d like to be able print out just this years entries in a somewhat formatted manner to put in a binder or something to keep.  But, maybe by then they will be partnered up with some printing company and that would be cool!  hint hint ohlife.com!

I spent about 20 minutes copying my Evernote entries in to ohlife.com so I would have this whole year in there.  I like the fact that they will email me random entries so I can get reminders of how the year has gone.

Anyone else up for trying ohlife.com??  I would love to hear if anyone else is using it and if you like it.


Project Life – From the Past to the Present

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Last year my Dad’s cousin Debbie let me borrow three journals that her mother, Mittie Lou, my father’s maternal Aunt had written.  They were from 1943, 1945, and 1946.  She had written in several more, but she had a fire in her home that had started in the room where the journals were, and only these three were spared by the fire.  My father grew up on a family farm that his paternal family had lived on for generations; in fact they had a 99 year lease on the land.  There were 19 houses on this land during various times.  Many of my grandmother’s family lived there on the farm after my grandparents married.  Mittie Lou was one of them, and she wrote in these journals faithfully.  I was able to catch glimpses of my father’s life through Mittie Lou’s eyes from when my father was 9, 11, and 12 years old.  What a treasure!!  I learned so much about my grandparents, the cousins, aunts and uncles, how farm life was and about rationing during the war, and so on, and so on.   Here’s a picture of Mittie Lou, with my Aunt Jane, and my father Rufus:

Lou Jane Higginbotham Starks, Mittie Lou Harris Brock, Rufus Earl Higginbotham, Jr.

Here is a page from Mittie Lou’s journal.  We were able to use this page to locate the date information for my 2nd great grandmother, Alice Herring Harris.  Until I read this, we were only able to locate her death year from her headstone.

Diary of Mittie Lou Harris, 1945

A couple months prior to getting Mittie Lou’s diaries, my Aunt Jane gave me a huge tub of old photos and other memorabilia that I have mentioned on here before.  One of the things in the tub was an old diary that belonged to my grandfather, Earl Higginbotham.  The diary didn’t give me any obvious clues like Mittie Lou’s had, but what a treasure to see how he lived in 1920.  I was able to find out little things, like he called his father “Papa”, and his mother “Mama”, and how hard he worked on the farm.  I also learned that he played the guitar, and the fiddle.  Here’s a page of his diary:

Earl Higginbotham, Diary 1920.

Their journals inspired me to start keeping a journal for my children to have one day.  I didn’t write in it faithfully like Mittie Lou, but I did manage to do it quite a bit.  Three to Five times a week on average and I even printed out little wallet size pictures and taped them in there when I had a picture to go with what I was writing.  I even wrote letters to my children that they will find some day when I’m gone.  Here’s an example of my diary, I picked a page where there wasn’t journaling.


My journal from 2011

A few months ago, I became aware of Project Life from following Elise’s blog.  If you don’t know what project life is, you can get the details here.  Elise’s pages were amazing, and I started thinking I could sure spice up my journal this year.  This year I am also doing the 52 weeks of personal genealogy, which you can find out about here.  Instead of posting them on the blog, I have been doing them privately, but this got me to thinking (I know, it doesn’t happen often people) and I have decided to incorporate the 52 weeks of personal genealogy into a family history project life book.  I mean let’s face it, every day I am digging up my family history, which makes it a part of my present.  So I made this project life page as an example of how you can combine your present, with your past and make a beautiful treasure to pass down to future generations.

Family History Project Life - Earl and Edna Higginbotham

Here’s a digital version of this page, maybe you can see it better:

Project Life Digital Page - Earl and Edna Higginbotham

I have also gotten into the habit of printing out my blog posts and keeping them in a binder so that I have a record of the happenings on my blog.  Since I am always posting things about my family, I want to make sure and not lose those memories either.  I will also incorporate those posts into my family history project life.

Here’s a gander at my personal project life page:

Reynolds Family Project Life - 2012

I’m by no means a scrapbooker, and prior to this I have only used photoshop to restore old family photos.  I’m here to tell you, scrapbooking in photoshop is a whole other ball game.  It has taken me all day to do this one page.  I’m sure I will get faster as I build skills.  Part of my problem has been working around ancient printing equipment that is not really meant for this, but I managed to get by.

I want to give a big thank you to Elise for turning me on to project life.  She’s given me a great way to preserve my family history, and made me realize I can make it interesting for future generations, and hopefully my kids will hang on to this stuff after I am gone, instead of burying it with me, or throwing it into the nearest dumpster.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank my Great Aunt Mittie Lou, and my grandfather Earl for inspiring me, even though they have been gone for years, their “Project Life” journals continue to impact our lives.

Stayed tuned for more family history Project life pages!



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