Creating The Gift of A Lifetime
By Dr. Claudia Rose



When I was 7 years old, I wrote my first book. It was illustrated in crayon and bound with staples. The book was a gift for my mother, who has kept it for 44 years. And it is the only gift from me that my mother has kept for decades. I think of all the perfume, scarves, and trinkets I have given over time. To my mother, that 3” x 4” book is a treasure more precious than any costly gift.

I recently read an obituary about a hard-working immigrant who was a fabulous cook. Her children asked: “When are you going to write down your recipes for us?”

 “One day, one day,” said the woman.

But one day never came and the recipes passed with the woman. The adult children wanted the secret to preparing their family favorites. And they probably wanted something more, for those recipes passed from mother to daughter through the generations were a family’s precious legacy.

In the near future, someone will call you “Ancestor”. Even if you don’t recognize your importance today, you belong to a community and a family that tell you — YOU ARE SOMEBODY! What you feel and think and remember count. Your life has meaning and purpose.

Making the “New York Times” bestseller list is not the only reason to write a book. That’s just one goal, but may not be the goal of your heart. Your children and their children care more about you than anyone.

Create a legacy with your gift this holiday season. Write a book for family, for community, and for the generations that will live because you gave them life! Your memories will pass with you unless you tell your story today.

Do you have a book in you? I’m sure you do. If you’ve lived a few decades, learned from your mistakes, loved, dreamed, and hoped, you have a book to write!

Tilly, a student of mine, is writing a book for her young granddaughter. Tilly wants to make certain that the child knows how much love and joy she has given her grandmother. Other students are discovering the stories of their family and ancestry. Jo’el took a class from me through the Learning Annex. She sat in my class and told me, “I don’t have a book in me.” She was wrong. She sent me a letter telling me about her experience as she started to honor her ancestors, research documents, and make phone calls. She found dozens of family members that her now deceased mother never told her about. She’s decided to turn the whole journey into a book to honor those ancestors.

Here are some titles to inspire your project:
On the Way Home 
What I Learned from Grandma
Prayers for the Earth 
Words to Live By
My Father’s World 
Memories of Our Garden
Kitchen Wisdom 
Letters to My Grandson
The Best Day of My Life
What Makes Life Amazing
A Walk Through My Town
On My Own
A Dream for My Children
The Song of My Life
The World I Want to Live In
The Day God Found Me

Like all worthwhile activities, writing a book extends beyond your own life. By exploring your personal journey, you can touch countless lives, or one special person. You can help re-unite family members, create a legacy for generations to come, and bolster a child’s self-esteem.

Who knows what book lives in you? Remember, as Natalie Goldberg, author of “Writing Down the Bones,” says, keep the hand moving! Allow your mind and heart to have their say without the pen of a censor cutting them off. There’s plenty of time to edit your work when the entire chapter or book have been written. Stay open to the book’s format. You might produce a handcrafted book or reproduce the book at your local copy shop. Your book may be an intimate story of interest to members of your family, or just one member, as in Tilly’s case. Be open to the book that wants you as its author. Welcome all the inspiration and insight that comes.

Make room for quiet time today. Look at your life. Think about your successes and challenges. In your book, what can you share with loved ones that will expand the possibilities in their lives? Make a commitment to honor your life and personal journey by sharing the wisdom and knowledge you’ve gained along the way.

You have a book in you. And it’s time to share it with those who matter most. Create a legacy with your gift this holiday season. It just might keep giving beyond the holidays and reach into the future to the women and men who will call you ancestor!

©Copyright 2002 Dr. Claudia Rose

Dr. Claudia Rose holds a doctorate in psychology and is a Certified Holistic Counselor and Ordained Minister. She is the author of three books, and a publishing consultant who teaches classes and assists new authors with writing their book proposal. For information about her books, upcoming classes, or private consultations call (888) 522-4628; you may also e-mail:  And please visit her website at .  

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