Abeles, Daniel, Davies/Davis, Mary Davis Skeen, Newsletter, Pitten, Niederösterreich, Austria, Plain City, Utah, Skeen

2019 Meeting of the Board

Looking back at Stories from the Past in 2018, I have learned that monthly newsletters are my greatest success. Although I am still writing them more for my own benefit than that of others, they truly are a guideline for what to expect for the month. More importantly, my newsletters give me the opportunity to identify what went well and illuminate my trouble areas. Making them public invites my readers to cheer me on and/or provide helpful suggestions and constructive criticisms.

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My newsletters have become my boardroom. Welcome to the board!

The Race is not Necessarily Won by the Swiftest

2019 certainly has not begun as I envisioned for Stories From the Past. I have encountered a few obstacles, and rather than let them keep me down, I am choosing to accept the stumble, and even the fall. As long as I am willing to pick myself up, dust myself off, and apply band-aids where necessary, I can make it to the finish line.

The transition between 2018 and 2019 reminds me of Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise won the race by continually moving forward while the hare napped. I moved much slower than I wanted to last year. Sometimes I was more like the hare, and I am not at all happy about that. What I am happy about is that I finally started moving again as the year came to its close and that I am still moving.

Facing Obstacles

An unexpected, but very welcome, obstacle means that I’ll be postponing my official launch for a few months. I am planning a trip to Austria where I can meet my story-telling face-to-face. I have been invited to the opening ceremony of a museum exhibit featuring the people that once thrived in the Bucklige Welt-Wechselland Region of Austria before Hitler’s reign of terror and the Shoah. Not only will I be able to learn more about my own family’s stories, but I will hopefully gather the stories of their friends and neighbors as well.

I have a lot to do to prepare for the trip. This week alone, I’ll be applying for a new passport (I haven’t been out of the country for more than 17 years!), beginning a new course in German from Rosetta Stone, and creating a Go-Fund-Me account to help with basic expenses for the trip. Of course, I’ll also need to forward my acceptance to the invitation, arrange for lodging and travel while I am there, etc. The only other time I’ve been to Europe was when I was doing study abroad, and most of the arrangements were done for me. There’s much more to trip planning than I remembered.

I also need to go back through my records in an attempt to trace the funds donated through Facebook last year. At this point, I am not recommending that anyone donate to Facebook’s charitable causes. I’ll be happy to let you know if my opinion changes.

What Happened to the Second Wife’s Story?

December was a huge struggle for me. With barely a nod to Hanukkah, I found myself mired in four stories originally intended to be just one. Although I am glad that I decided to tell the stories separately, the final story came after Christmas when I was supposed to be wrapping up the second Chapter of Mary Davis Skeen’s biography.

As December drew to a close, I found myself mired in research for Mary Eynon Davies, mother of Mary Davis Skeen. I was supposed to have had Mary Eynon’s profile page up by the end of the month, along with a first and second chapter of the story. Instead, nothing was posted in regards to The Second Wife’s Story.

I am behind on my writing, but that doesn’t mean I am behind on my goal to publish the Second Wife’s Story by the end of 2019. It just means that I need to find a better way to accomplish that goal. I CAN STILL do this.

I need a better way to accomplish that goal. Like most of my profile pages, Mary Eynon’s will be incomplete when I post it tomorrow. A new post will appear when new profiles appear and when changes are made to existing profiles. I may also have to post chapters in parts (Why not? I did it with my Christmas Tree stories.), and they may even appear out of order, but at least my progress will be evident on Chapter One, and maybe even Chapter 2 by the end of January. Everything will be linked in order on The Second Wife Story’s book page.

My new focus is to be on The Second Wife’s Story first, ancestral stories second, and stories found along the way third. Each month will have a social-historical focus, and for each monthly focus, I will provide a short summary or review along with link/s to the original story/ies.

Since January’s focus is black history month, I’ll be looking at a story from North American Slave Narratives: a collection of books, articles, and journals telling the stories of Black America’s quest for freedom and equality, beginning with my home state: Kentucky.

Reassessment

Once again, I am reminded of James Clear’s prescription, “if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days.”

I have learned that the early morning writing routine does not work for me because I am usually picking my daughter up from work at midnight. By the time I wake up around eight or nine, everyone else is getting up too. My best time to focus without interruptions is during the middle of the day when my granddaughter is at school and my husband is at work. This is not my morning job; it is my day job.

 “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.”

– Ellen DeGeneres

I’ll be making a few minor changes as well:

  • Monthly Headers (a cosmetic change–you’ll know it when you see it)
  • Story Teasers (I’m already using these, but I need to update past posts)
  • Newsletters will be posted on the last Monday of the previous month when the first day of the month falls on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

December Review

Objectives met are crossed out.

  • Navajo Greetings and exploration of the name (Navajo vs. Diné)
  • Hanukkah for non-Jews (with a nod to rembembering the Shoah)
  • A Slovenian Christmas Eve (Recipe and Tradition)
  • (n)O Christimas Tree (Stories from Olean, New York, and Lark, Utah)
  • Mary Eynon ancestor profile page (not a post)
  • The Second Wife’s Story, Chapter 1, Wales
  • The Second Wife’s Story, Chapter 2, Aboard the Clara Wheeler: from Liverpool to New Orleans

January Preview

  • Mary Eynon ancestor profile page (not a post)
  • The Second Wife’s Story, Chapter 1, Wales
  • The Second Wife’s Story, Chapter 2, Aboard the Clara Wheeler: from Liverpool to New Orleans
  • North American Slave Narrative: the story of Thomas W. Burton
  • Tante Rosa and Tante Rosa’s stories
  • February’s Newsletter

Tentative stories for the upcoming months:

7 thoughts on “2019 Meeting of the Board”

  1. You are the one setting your goals, and you can change them to avoid stress, or for any reason, at any time. We are the audience. We await your pleasure. =) Have a wonderful trip.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. As I stated in the post, the newsletter is mostly for me. Making it public gives me accountability that I otherwise would not have. As I get my habits and routines set, the newsletter will take a less personal stance and focus only on active research and requests for stories directly related to the family histories of my readers and myself.

        Like

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