The Gift

Sharing Your Life Lessons with the People
You Love Most

The Richest Inheritance in History-Heritage

Butchers, Bakers and Building the LakersSuddenly, a stuffy old word has sizzle. It’s the new sexy and it’s shaping up to be the next generation’s most prized inheritance. It used to conjure up images of ancestral manors and million-dollar art collections. Increasingly, however, the wealth of wisdom, comfort, historic detail and surprise revelations by forward-thinking memoir writers is catching on.

The history of a place resides with its people. Heritage—both family and community—is a treasure beyond price. We seek out our roots to find a sense of belonging and discover that we, too, occupy a place in history.

The Gift, was released in Collingwood on November 14, 2010, the latest book by local author Christine Cowley, whose experience writing and producing personal and family histories led to this unique two-part publication—a book and a companion workbook—that make legacy-writing easy.

“I am intrigued to think how little most of us talk about ourselves with the people closest to us,” says Cowley. “I finally realized that what people need is a really simple and fun way to do that.”

With busy lives it’s hard to find time to chat or write down family stories, and revelations or deeply felt emotions are often never shared. Some things are just too hard to say. The result is that great stories and sentiments are lost.

"As individuals we are the only ones who can talk about who we are, what we think and why we do or did things a particular way,” says Cowley. “I was always told that my grandmother Eva, who died when my father was a child, had a similar personality to mine. Maybe that was another way for my parents to say, ‘She doesn’t get it from me!’ but given the unconventional life my grandmother chose, I feel proud to have her genes. What I wouldn’t give to have just a few lines she might have written about herself.”

 Slim enough to finish in an hour, The Gift is an easy read.

Click here for a PDF sample of the book with table of contents. Click here to see an online version with turnable pages.

The Gift Companion Workbook makes writing quick and fun, with space to answer questions as you go and extra pages in the back for lengthier sharing, or for adding photos or illustrations.

Media kit and Book orders:
Contact LifeGems Personal Histories (705) 444-0104 or

Softcover: 80 pages including blank pages for notes, 6 x 9, ISBN 978-09784932-2-6

Softcover Workbook: 96 pages including blank lined and unlined pages for notes and illustrations, 8 x 10,  ISBN 978-09784932-3-3

Publication date: October 2010

$29.99 for two-book set

plus shipping. Contact us at

Read the Introduction to the Gift:

The concepts put forward in this book have been with me for so long I can’t remember how, where or when they first began impressing themselves upon me. Even before I began writing personal and family histories, I felt passionate about writing letters—and teaching others to write letters—as an easy and enduring method of sharing significant thoughts, memories and (sometimes awkward) feelings with loved ones. One of the greatest benefits to doing the exercises in The Gift is the opportunity to conduct a life review—an enlightening and encouraging experience of personal rediscovery. Writing down what we learn or relearn about life and ourselves is a treasure for all time, revealing ourselves in ways that only we can express.

The Gift is your time machine, propelling you into the future aboard a vehicle of your own creation: airy musings, lines of poetry or song, or your deepest thoughts, feelings, dreams, longings and regrets—in your own words. There are many more progressive types of media than old-fashioned paper and ink (penned by hand or keyed) but let’s say I’m an old-fashioned sort; and for all of you who share my preferences, here is an uncomplicated paper-and-ink method of recording all the things you want to share, but maybe could not, or did not (yet), with those you love, and with some who will feel a connection with you at a future time.

The overriding instruction in this book is keep it simple! One of my reasons for recommending the paper-and-ink method is its simplicity; it requires no expensive software and no special skills. Think of it as a long letter you have always wanted to write—whether by hand or keyboard, the net effect is the same.

 That’s all The Gift expects to be: a unique communication from you to all those with whom you have shared your life, a home, your genes, your favourite garden tools, or even the planet, if you so choose.

 There is no right way to leave a record of all you want to say. This is intended as a guide for just one way to do it. Some of the exercises in this book may not appeal to you; treat it like a buffet. You don’t have to taste everything, but if you haven’t tried it you may be missing something really special. No matter what you take from this book, use or discard, if it helps in any way to lead you to leaving a personal legacy, then it has done its job.