Telling Family Stories with Keepsakes

There’s a story inside every family keepsake.  If you’re searching for a good way to find family stories to tell your kids to provide them a sense of belonging, heirlooms and keepsakes are a great and easy place to start.  From knitting needles to china to hammers, objects from your family’s past are windows into them.  Family artifacts not only shed light on previous eras, hobbies, and traditions, but they give us a tactile connection to those who came before.

Lori’s Go-To Flank Steak Grilling Sauce

Our recipe today comes from Miss Lori Jackson. Lori is one of Evolve’s contributors, and was this week’s guest for the Real Life, Real Passion podcast. We talked about embracing life’s detours, finding the joy, and choosing to be happy.

Apparently, anyone that knows Lori well knows that she’s not a huge fan of cooking or baking. She jokes that she can’t make bread to save her life. However, her family does have a family favorite recipe for flank steak that is frequently requested.

Real Life, Real Passion Episode 14: Find the Joy, Interview with Lori Jackson

Welcome to episode fourteen of the Real Life, Real Passion podcast. Today our guest is one of Evolve’s contributors Miss Lori Jackson! I hope you enjoy getting to know her better.

Lori is also a blogger. She is the creator of Choosing Wisdom. I am thrilled to have Lori as one of our contributors, she is a fabulous writer, and shares messages that are helpful, inspiring, and full of wisdom. See all of Lori’s articles on Evolve here.

Our interview for today’s podcast is full of great insights. We talk about how life doesn’t always go as planned, and why it’s important to embrace the detours. We also talk about great books! My two favorite pieces of advice Lori shares is to “Choose to be Happy” and to “Find the Joy.”

Click the link above to listen to the podcast.

Building Self-Esteem through Family Stories and Personal Messages

Family stories in general have an amazing effect on self-esteem.  They provide a sense of belonging and purpose.  In addition, stories and messages given specifically to one person can be a sweet boost of confidence and a dose of self-assurance and worth.  This is especially true for children and teenagers who are still developing a sense of self, but it’s equally true for adults, too.

Jennifer’s Hour And A Half Bread

This week’s guest for the Real Life, Real Passion podcast is one of our fabulous contributors, Miss Jennifer Wise. We talked about her passion for memory keeping how it can help tell stories and make connections throughout the generations.

A few years ago, Jennifer’s family had moved to Upstate New York, and a family from their church invited them over to dinner one night. Jennifer has a family of five and she is not a last minute kind of a person, so she was completely surprised to see homemade bread served on the table. The bread was delicious and she asked for the recipe. Jennifer has used it ever since.

Real Life, Real Passion Episode 13: Be True to Yourself, Interview with Jennifer Wise

Welcome to episode thirteen of the Real Life, Real Passion podcast. Today our guest is one of Evolve’s contributors Miss Jennifer Wise! I hope you enjoy getting to know her better.

Miss Jennifer has been a contributor for Evolve since the very beginning! I just love her.

She has been a consultant with Heritage Makers for over twelve years and she is our resident memory keeping expert with her #FamilyHistoryFriday series. In addition to her vast knowledge of preserving and sharing family memories she also has a fun life story and some beautiful perspectives about her purpose in life and why being true to your true self is so important. My favorite piece of advice she shares is to remember that, “You are the expert.”

Click the link above to listen to the podcast.

Are Talents Born, or Are They Created?

Why does it seem that some people are really talented and other people maybe not so much? Is it natural born talent? Is it that they just have opportunities others don’t? How did they get to be so amazing?

It can seem unfair when we compare ourselves to others. I have asked myself unproductive questions like: Why can’t I be the [insert adjective here] one, with the amazing [insert talent here], and the [insert personality type here]? We don’t get to pick the hand of cards we are dealt. We can, however, choose how we use them and what we do with them.

In his new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, Jeff Goins addresses this question. He believes that a “starving artist believes you must be born an artist. The thriving artist knows you become one.”

I love this concept because we are all born with our own unique set of talents and abilities. Just because we are born with a talent doesn’t mean we will develop it or use it. And on the other hand, if we aren’t born with a particular talent, it doesn’t mean that we can’t work hard to make it one.

Preserving Celebrations with Family Stories

We celebrate lots of little and big things in life:  birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, vacations, reunions, new babies, new jobs, and old friends.  Celebrations are often milestones, and they are as much a part of your family story as they are part of your own personal story.  By nature, celebrations are special occasions, happy times you might look back on five years from now and still remember fondly.  So celebrations are worth preserving!

Guest Post at Choosing Wisdom: Learning and Teaching is One of the Greatest Services We Can Give

Today’s post was written for Lori Jackson’s blog Choosing Wisdom.

Learning and Teaching is One of the Greatest Services We Can Give

There are few things more impactful than a teacher. And not just any teacher, a great teacher.

Great teachers connect with their students on a deep level, they care about them, and they know what they are talking about. Great teachers inspire a lifetime of learning and encourage us to think deeply and actually apply what we’ve learned.

Teachers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are in your family, and some are not. Some are soft-spoken, and some are not. And while no two teachers may look or act the same, they all have a love of learning and provide us a service by teaching.

Click here to read the full article.

Choosing Wisdom


  1. Choosing Wisdom. (2017). Retrieved from

Three Refreshing Ways to Use Peaches This Summer

This week’s guest for Real Life, Real Passion is the talented Michelle Zollinger Tams. Michelle was our guest on episode 12 of the Real Life, Real Passion podcast. We talked about her passion for creating and about giving yourself permission to make life an adventure.

Today, she shares five simple ingredients that can be used three different ways. Whether you make popsicles, smoothies, or party punch, these bright flavors are sure to refresh everyone on a hot summer day.