19 November


A Personal Challenge: Leave Yourself Behind

By Stephanie Pitcher Fishman diary, heritage crafts, scrapbooking, writing 4 Comments

Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski

“Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Memories. Humor. Advice. Quotes fill all of these spaces in our daily lives. If you think on it, I bet you’ve come across at least one powerful quote today. I love twitter, and I see quotes float through the twittersphere daily. But, do we remember these quotes?


“You live as long as you are remembered.”
Russian Proverb


As family historians, we spend large amounts of time searching for the tidbits of our ancestors’ lives. We dream of finding diaries and journals. A simple glimpse into who they were as a person can bring so much charm and character to the statistics we see in indexes and on documents. It is what we call putting flesh to the bones. Personally, because I’m drawn to words I find that a quote that has been chosen and handwritten tells me so much about a person’s heart and soul.


As you search for ways to discover your ancestors’ personalities, have you considered what kind of legacy you are leaving future generations about your very own life? What will they be able to decipher about your heart and soul from the ephemera that you leave behind?


“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t,
you’re right.”
Henry Ford


This holiday season, I’m using a simple challenge to each of you. Find a way to leave YOU behind for your descendants. Grab a pen and paper, and record your own story. You don’t have to keep a daily diary with every nitty-gritty detail of your daily life if this is outside your comfort zone. Some stories are ok to leave in the shadows. (Admit it though… you’d love to find some 19th century gossip on a few of your ancestors!) The point of this exercise is simply to leave a mark of your personality for future generations to find. Show them your humor. Pour out your heart. Write your dreams and aspirations in purple glitter pen. Record your voice through an iPad app. Don’t get hung up in the details. It isn’t the “how” that is important – it’s what you do with it.


Me? I’m starting a quote journal. It will include quotes like those above as well as scriptures that are important to me. Because I like to doodle, I’m sure it will include a little bit of that as well. All of these things will give later generations a glimpse into my personality.


Are you looking for ways to journal your memories? Look here for inspiration: Journal Your Life for Your Descendants

© 2012 – 2013, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman. All rights reserved.


  • Devon Lee

    20 November 2012 Reply

    Great post. One thing I’ve learned is that “I” am in the blog I have for my family and our home schooling journey. “I” am also in many Facebook postings. There are great programs that can take these online sources and create books. Blog2Book and Blub are two examples. I’ve struggled to keep ‘something extra’. I love how these two programs help me to use what I’m already writing, rather than do something extra. Hopefully that helps others who are like me. Good luck with your quote journal.

    • Stephanie Pitcher Fishman

      20 November 2012 Reply

      Very true. It’s a blessing if you do allow yourself in. I’ve seen so many write and blog without including themselves. It isn’t that it is wrong or even undesirable. Each writer has to find their own groove. But, like you, I toss myself into everything I write. It’s more fun that way, too! Thanks for the reminder that this is really leaving a piece of me for others!

  • Smadar Belkind Gerson

    20 February 2013 Reply

    Great Post! When I found my great-grandmother’s memoir, I really capture for the first time, what a gift it was she left us. It has inspired me to write my story and to motivate others two write theirs. I admit that it’s not high on my priority list to write my own story. I often get side tracked by my ancestors stories, but I do try to set aside time for my story.
    Smadar Belkind Gerson recently posted..What To Do with Conflicting Data? Part IIMy Profile

    • Stephanie Pitcher Fishman

      21 February 2013 Reply

      It is so hard to give ourselves time for our own story. With everything on our schedule, it’s “one more thing.” But, it’s so important! Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you liked it. :)



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