To find out about upcoming classes when they are scheduled, call Martha at 812-630-8992.
To Schedule Classes
To schedule Life Stories sessions in your community, call Martha at 812-630-8992 or contact her through this website.
Why Take a Life Stories Class?
I'm glad you asked! Here are 10 reasons why you should take a Life Stories class (or give one as a gift).
1. Participants develop a community with each other. They develop a sense of belonging.
2. Participants gain empathy. Participants are drawn out of themselves as they listen to each other share and as they participate in the discussions themselves.
3. The stories validate participants' life experiences.
4. The participants recognize their shared experiences as well as their unique experiences.
5. Each completed Life Stories book serves as a memory book, a history book and a record book.
6. These stories show changes — in the individuals, in their philosophies and lifestyles, as well as in the environment and the world — over decades.
7. The classes help participants see that each of their Life Stories is unique and has value. Some participants have never realized that before.
8. The lives of succeeding generations are what they are in part because of the history of this ancestor; it is important to know what that history is.
9. Family members and friends know about some parts of a loved one's life, but these stories bring out other parts.
Reading the stories, succeeding generations often recognize family traits and familiar ways of thinking that they didn't recognize before.
10. Some of what is written about — good, bad, happy, sad — has never been written about before, and perhaps has not been spoken about. Having the participants write about it gives other family members the vocabulary to understand and to initiate discussions with the writer as well as with other family members.
Who Should Take a Life Stories Class?
Those who remember their hometowns from bygone days
Those overcoming trauma in their lives
Survivors of serious illness, traumatic events, etc.
Anyone with anything to share with younger generations
More Reasons to Take a Life Stories Class
1. To document stories that otherwise would be lost
2. To relive great moments
3. To relieve stress related to past trauma
4. To share a passion
5. To reflect on a full life
6. To validate your experiences
7. To express gratitude
8. To inspire dreamers
9. To acknowledge your role in history
10. To speak to younger generations
11. To honor a life well lived
What People Are Saying About Life Stories Classes
"Most enjoyable. ... Each of us has a different background/story to generate ideas." — Bob Dilger
"The price is definitely a bargain. You could up the cost." — Rebecca S. Berg
"(You are) doing a wonderful job of opening our minds to writing stories rather than journals." — Wanda Knies
"(I) enjoyed guidance in organizing material, the fellowship, the handouts, the sharing. ... (This was) the best money I have spent in a long time, and I am a cheapskate." — Bev Mendel
"Couldn't wait to come (to class) each week." — Nancy Lottes
"I've most enjoyed that you modeled good writing and gave us ideas for what to write on plus you provided the impetus. I feel I got more than my money's worth. It got me STARTED." — Janet Kluemper
"(I enjoyed) listening to the stories of other participants, sharing conversations, having Martha as a teacher, getting ideas for my own story. (The) fee is very fair and I feel the class was everything I expected and more — definitely my money's worth." — Betty Weinzapfel
"I've enjoyed listening to others' experiences and walking down memory lane, learning ways to tell my story and just delving into it. I found it rewarding and exciting. ... I enjoyed the format and structure you used. I liked the small amount of people; it helped put me at ease. I also am happy that you are still meeting with us to follow up. So really, the class and time you give is worth more than you charge." — Arlene Wuchner
"Sharing the stories of others (has) brought back memories for me that I had forgotten. ... The fee was very reasonable. It seemed high but is well worth it now. Yes, I would now pay more." — Johnnie Heeke
"Martha did a great job, very professional. Martha finally got me started writing about my life and military experience. I needed a push and she provided one." — Dave Vogler
"Write your stories for future generations — grandkids, great-grandkids. Write your story to release anxieties, (for) peace of mind." — Rafe Schaefer
"When you write your life story, you get more energy and you feel good." — Mary Lou Schmitt
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a computer?
No. If you want a printed copy of your handwritten story, I will help make that happen.
Do I need to know how to type?
No. Writing your story by hand preserves your handwriting as well as your story.
What if I don't remember?
I provide lots of prompts, examples and discussion, so you are sure to remember more than you think you will. If there is something you don't remember, however, you just don't write about it or you write around it. Believe me, there will be plenty you DO remember!
What if there are things I don't want to write about?
What you do and don't write about is totally up to you. Studies have shown that writing about tragedy can help one heal, but whether you choose to do that or not is up to you. I often suggest a class participant try to write about a particular thing but not stress out about it if the written words don't come. If they DO come, the writer still has the option of omitting that section from the story that he or she shares with family and friends.
What if I have to miss a class?
No problem. If you have to miss one of the early sessions, I'll likely ask to meet with you individually so I can share the prompts and examples in person. If you have to miss one of the later sessions, you'll know enough about how the process works that getting the list of prompts from that class will be all you need.