Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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Your Life in Presidents
February 20, 2017
Today is the Presidents Day
holiday in the United States. Many people consider the President of the
United States to be the most powerful leader in the world. That likely
is because the United States is considered by many to be the most
powerful country in the world.
Whether it is true or not that the USA is the most powerful country in
the world, thereis a great responsibility that comes with the power
of being president. The POTUS, as the president is sometimes
referred to, is viewed as an important figure. Although the history of
the United States is not as lengthy as some countries, this great
experiment in democracy has lasted nearly 250 years. Every four years
there is an election held to determine the leader.
I've been thinking about the perspective that comes with living long
enough to note a number of individuals who have held this office. I was
born in 1955, so that means Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford,
Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama and
now Trump. Viewing my life through that particular lens of history
reveals more than the daily drama we are currently experiencing.
There has been a great divisiveness in the "land of the free and home
of the brave" the past few years. But it is not the first time. 150
years ago our country was nearly ripped apart by a civil war. The
president at that time was not as widely respected then as he is now.
His burden was very great and when the war between the states ended he
felt it important to begin a healing process. History has judged
Abraham Lincoln to be one of the greatest presidents.
Presidents come and go and the legacy they leave is there for the
viewing. The best ones, in my opinion, are those who tried to do the
right thing, especially in times of moral dilemma, and who recognized
that as leaders their responsibility was to lead and not to rule.
Perhaps there is a lesson in that for us all.
Day Without Immigrants
February 16, 2017
topic of immigration has been widely discussed over the past year, and
then some. The United States is a nation built by immigrants, yet the
issue of more immigrants coming into the country sparks an often heated
President Donald Trump and his administration want to crack down on
immigrants and refugees coming into the country. There has been a court
battle over his executive order to ban immigrants and refugees from
seven predominantly Muslim countries (link to story). Surely you've followed the news.
What I find fascinating from all this is how from a personal history
perspective the diversity of people from various countries, cultures,
religions and ethnicities makes for a rich story.
Here in New Mexico there are a lot of people who are of immigrant
stock. Many of them live here and are not at this time United States
citizens. Nevertheless, they contributre to the economy and most of
them are hard working and caring people who want the best for their
Today's Day Without Immigrants
protest has put a spotlight on many businesses that are run by
immigrants. A lot of them shut down for the day as part of the protest,
or had workers who took the day off. A CNN story
spotlights some of the stories of these people. It is interesting to
read about how some of them worked hard yesterday to prepare for taking
the day off, such as restaurant workers who did extra prep work so as
not to leave their bosses in the lerch since they would be operating
with a smaller staff today.
Wherever you are on the issue of immigration it is important to
consider the humanity of those who travel to other lands in search of a
better life. Those stories are often rich tales of overcoming
adversity, the kind of personal history that is important as part of
the history of our land.
Adolphus Busch's Immigration Story a Budweiser Super Bowl Hit
February 8, 2017
I saw the excellent Budweiser commercial about Adolphus Busch's journey
to America online when it was released a few days before the Super
Bowl. Budweiser has spent a lot of money over the years advertising
during the Super Bowl and usually the commercials are either comedic or
aimed at sentimental stories about dogs and Clydesdales.
This commercial was different. In a well made and edited minute we get
the story of immigrant Adolphus Busch and his journey to America in
1857. His dream - to brew beer.
He faces hostility and adversity before eventually meeting and having a
drink and handshake with his future business partner, Ebert Anheuser.
The commercial reminds us that it is not easy to leave a homeland for a
new country and opportunity. Today there are people who don't want
anyone coming into our country. But there are also those who welcome
those seeking a better life and following there dream.
Apparently this commercial struck a chord with a lot of viewers during this past Sunday's Super Bowl. You can view it online here.
Calling All Personal Historians
January 30, 2017
There has never been a better time to be a personal historian.
People who love stories and love hearing the life experiences of other
people are in greater demand than ever before. We need personal
historians, the people who want to preserve history by saving life
I've been working at this since 2003 and I am getting more interest in
how to write a life story than ever before. I've put a lot of effort
into helping people find ways to preserve their personal history.
One of the best things I ever did was to join a professional
organization - the only one truly dedicated to personal historians and
the work they do. This group is International, with members from
many different countries. The members have varied backgrounds, such as
marketing, education, journalist, film-making, social work and so on.
The group is the Association of Personal Historians. Now is the best time to join APH. An unprecedented discount on the normal $225 membership fee is being offered. Join APH before February 26 and get a full year membership for just $150.
I truly value my membership and the people and resources available to
help me in my life story work. It is a great investment in yourself. If
you have been thinking about doing this kind of important work then I
invite you to join now. By the way, a benefit of membership is when
someone joins because a member introduced them to the APH,
that current member gets an additional free month added to their
membership. I would really be grateful if you decide to join that you
mention me, Tom Gilbert of Your Life Is Your Story, on your
Check out the offer and see the Top Ten reasons to join APH here.
January 23, 2017
How important is it to have closure with someone before they die?
Very important. One of the greatest gifts to happen in any life. If you
can be with a loved one in their final days and hours you are witness
to a blessed, even sacred time. Sure, it can be painful. It is sad. It
is also a time when you can thank your loved one for their life. And
the person who is dying gets dignity and received your love.
I was able to do this with my mother when she passed in 2006 (Opening Death's Door)
and again with my dad in 2012. Personal Historian Bruce Summers wrote a
moving piece about the closure time with his mom who passed away around
Christmas. He posted it to the APH Blog (Association of Personal Historians). I think you should read How Much Time Do You Have, Mom? and reflect on the opportunities that may come along for you.
Who knows if you will be able to attend the final time with a loved
one. Be ready for it and be present to it. The closure time is so
special and the memories will be part of that person's legacy.
January 20, 2017
Today Donald Trump was sworn in as the next President of the United
States. The inauguration of a president is always historic and
generates a lot of news coverage. Social media and Internet use are
bigger than ever and that adds even more news, commentary and
discussion. Anyone can have a voice in this age of global electronic
I always look at big events like this through the lens of life history.
It is important for each of us to consider our lives both from the
deeply personal and also with consideration of what is going on in the
world. In fact, I wrote an article a while back about that very subject
- Your Memoir and the Larger World.
In the article I make the point that when we set our experiences within
the context of important historical events connects us to history in a
more personal way.
I encourage you to journal about historic events like a Presidential
Inauguration. I know it helps me process my thoughts and feelings. Good
citizens are informed and good living includes reflection and
contemplation about our lives and our experiences.
January 17 2017
A true statement that I hope you have discovered on your life journey is that service work is key to a fulfilled life.
What I mean by service work is doing things that are helping others. You have probably heard terms like servant leadership and in service.
The best leaders, movers, shakers and difference makers in our world
are those who step out of their personal desires and self agenda and
find ways to do things that enrich other people's lives.
Yesterday was the holiday recognizing the life and legacy - and service
- of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a man who epitomized
being of service to others. He lived his life in service to those
fighting racial injustice. He was a big proponent of all people doing
something to help others. The very nature of the MLK holiday is to to
promote service. Each year on this holiday people step out of their
comfort zone and get busy volunteering and helping various causes.
It's called the Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service
What does that have to do with people preserving their life story? A
lot, I believe. You see, your life must have purpose and most people
discover that truly valuable purpose is in doing things for others. In
short, service work.
It's a great topic to include in your life story. The things you've
been involved in that helped improve people's lives, whether it was
time in the military or Peace Corp or helping in your child's
classroom, are great material for you to reflect about and write about.
Your service work gets you "out of your self" and it also is rewarding in many ways.
It's part of a true life legacy. If you haven't done any service work
start looking around and then getting involved. Find things you care
about. Share your passion and your compassion.
The world needs it. And so do you.
has a story to tell!
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