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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #056 – The 4 Year Cycle
August 24, 2008

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

August 24, 2008 Issue #056 The 4 Year Cycle

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: The 4 Year Cycle
Featured Article: The Finish Line
Resources You Can Use: Marketing Your Family History Service, Place and Time

Opening Remarks: The 4 Year Cycle

The closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing are being broadcast as I write this. Sure, there have been some criticisms of China, but they’ve effectively used this world stage to showcase their country and the opening and closing ceremonies have certainly been spectacular.

There were many exciting moments in the games, too. Nice to see some of the Gold medal accomplishments for the USA, like in Basketball and the surprise win by the men’s volley ball team. But the greatest achievement had to be the 8 gold medals by Michael Phelps in swimming. It was simply amazing and something to treasure if you watched it.

The 4 year cycle of the Olympic Games makes the training and the competition all the more intense and impressive. It takes dedication and perseverance.

Also every 4 years in the United States we have the presidential election. The campaign is really heating up now with the Democratic convention just getting under way and the Republicans to follow in short order. John McCain and Barack Obama – one of these men will be elected the next president.

I don’t bring up the Olympics and the presidential race to make any statement other than the marking of time. There are different ways for us to reflect on our life stories and a 4 year cycle is one of them. Think about the various four year cycles in your life that coincide with the Olympics and presidential elections. Dividing your life into time increments rather than looking at it as one big whole can often give you a more manageable way to work on your personal history.

Thank you to all who continue to read this monthly newsletter and for those of you who have recently subscribed.

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: The Finish Line

Article by Tom Gilbert (written and © January, 2007)

Note: I am getting ready to run another event, this time a half marathon. I’ve done two half marathons and two full marathons previously. Because significant events in our lives can be important in our life stories I thought I would reprint this article from my first marathon experience in January of 2007.

Running a marathon is a big accomplishment. Less than one percent of the population ever does it. You don’t just get up one day, lace up your shoes and run that far. Twenty-six miles is a long distance and should be respected.

Running a marathon is also a lot like life. You don’t sprint through life; you are in it for the long run and the goal at the finish line is to have lived well.

I recently completed a full marathon. The weather was unusually cold on race day. It was a Sunday morning in Phoenix, Arizona and the thermometer read 29 degrees. According to the city records it was the coldest day in seventeen years. Still, after training for several months I was prepared and I felt ready. Besides, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it had been in Albuquerque the last month.

The P. F. Chang Arizona Rock n’ Roll Marathon is one of the most popular in the world. The number of entries was staggering. Between the half marathon and the full there were over 37,000 runners and walkers. This was my second event with Team in Training, the world’s largest endurance training program. The coaches and volunteers of this organization raise funds for research and improved patient aid for those battling Leukemia, Lymphoma and other blood cancers. Over the years they have raised million dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (more here).

You might wonder what my motivation was to run a full marathon. Part of my drive came from successfully completing a half marathon in San Diego with Team in Training. Participating in that event opened my eyes, and my heart, to how running long distance races can be both a great personal accomplishment as well as supporting worthy causes.

My other reason for running was that I, like many others, know what it is like to lose a loved one to cancer. My brother-in-law, Rob, died from Leukemia in 1989. And my mother succumbed to pancreatic cancer in June of 2006.

I also work in radio broadcasting and our station supports Team in Training and provides airtime to encourage others to participate. It seemed like a good idea to personally accept the challenge of training and running. And it has been both difficult and extremely rewarding.

All along the course in Phoenix there were people cheering us on. Many people were running for charitable causes. It seemed to me that the largest group of supporters was there for the Team in Training participants. It felt really great whenever people would clap, yell and cheer us on. Many held up signs of support. The biggest incentives were the ones that caused the big lumps in my throat. From time to time I’d run by someone holding a sign or wearing a shirt that read, "I’m a cancer survivor".

It is true that you hit what is referred to as "the wall" in the latter miles of a marathon. About mile 21 or 22 I began the debate in my head of whether I could actually finish. What kept me going was a combination of prayer, positive thinking, remembering all the long training runs, thinking about the everyday pain and challenges that cancer patients go through and mostly just chanting "Rob, Mom – Rob, Mom".

My son called me on my cell phone right as I was reaching the 25th mile. It was good to hear his encouragement. I knew that he and my wife were waiting at the finish line. I knew that others were running and reaching the finish line. I knew that there were people at that very moment crossing the finish line of their life. Sadly, every ten minutes a person dies from cancer. Many do it with remarkable courage. It’s important to finish, and if you can, finish strong.

Around the final bend I saw the band of balloons stretched over the finish line and the many people cheering us on as we approached the end of our long, hard run. My legs and feet were aching, but from somewhere deep inside came a sudden drive and my stride began to lengthen and my pace quickened. As I crossed the finish line with arms in the air I knew that this was something much bigger than a personal accomplishment. This was a celebration of life and spirit.

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use

Marketing Your Family History Service

Do you have a family history, personal history, or life story business that offers products and services? It is a growing field and more and more people are looking for good products and services to help them. Often the potential client is unsure just what kind of help they need or is available.

The Your Life is Your Story business I operate requires me to use ongoing networking and marketing techniques. I focus most of my efforts around this website and newsletter. My website generates a lot of daily traffic, plus I research various ways to preserve family history. As a member of the Association of Personal Historians I learn from, network with, and contribute to the community of personal historians. I can help your business or product reach potential customers. Contact me to discuss how.

Place and Time

I was emailed by the people running a new website offering you a way to record significant life events. The site is and it is designed to help people create and preserve their stories with some different twists.

People share their experiences with school, politics, art, travel, sports, celebrity encounters and more. Take a look.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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