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Life Story Writing Samples


Believer Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. WaltersBeliever Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. Walters

This is a book I wrote about a fascinating young poet in Mississippi.

On sale here










Below are some brief sample writings about me and my family. I have also written and collaborated with a number of other clients for life story projects, varying in length from short forms to full length books.  Read  these samples and then contact me to discuss how I can help you "tell your story".


The Pilot Who Soared on Eagles Wings
In Memory of my father, Thomas M. Gilbert, Jr.
written January 20, 2012 by Tom Gilbert III

My dad served 26 years in the United States Air Force. He loved to fly! He often remarked that he couldn't believe his good fortune at being paid to do
it for so many years.
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The Walk

Copyright 2003 by Tom Gilbert, all rights reserved

"Dad, can you wait for me to take your walk?"

My seven year-old son was looking up at me expectantly. His eyebrows were arched over his brown eyes and his close cropped hair was sticking up in three different directions.

"Can ya, Dad? Just fifteen minutes."

I looked away from my e-mail and smiled at Eric. "Sure, but hurry up and get your homework done. You need to do good on your spelling test".

"I know! I will." He shuffled off to his room and I wondered again at how my parents' voice comes out of my mouth.

About twenty minutes later he is finally done writing out those words and I grab my hat and sunglasses and head for the door. He's hurrying behind, but just as I get to the screen door he calls out.

"Wait! I need to bring along my flag!"

I pause and murmur, "ok", and wait on the sidewalk leading from the front door. Eric comes running back holding his checkered raceflag.

As we head across the front lawn and towards the break in the wall that leads to the path around the floodplain I find myself smiling at the colorful New Mexico spring sky. Blue, grey and white spread out in a mixture of thin stratus and billowing thunderheads. The Sandia Mountains tower majestically, as always. We start a brisk walk, bent into the wind that is blowing strong enough to give Eric a challenge in holding onto his waving flag.

"Hey, Dad! Are these staples stronger than regular ones". He's pointing at the staples his Mom recently used to attach, again, the flag to the wooden stick.

I examine them more closely. "Yes, I think so, son."

"Good", he grins. "I wouldn't want it to come off!" With new-found confidence he waves the flag back and forth as we trudge down the dirt path, passing backyard walls and climbing the hill that rises to the top of a gravelly access road. It is really built for foot traffic and bikes, but occasionally a city truck will travel it. Not to mention dogs and horses.

More than once I will steer Eric out of the way of droppings.

We come to a steep incline and slowly climb past the big boulders to the top. We both are breathing harder. At the top of the road we have a quarter mile or so to the other side of the floodplain and the wind is strongest here. I have to steady my hat a couple of times and my son's flag is going great guns. Eric wonders why I walk so fast. I'm wondering why I have to slow down so much. No worries, it is good to be together, father and son time.

The thought, Why don't I spend more time doing this? crosses my mind. Usually my walks are a quiet time for me while still getting a cardiovascular workout.

Yesterday after work I walked and refused to let Eric come along as he wasn't done with chores or homework. He can delay more than any wily Washington Senator on a fullblown filibuster. He cried and wailed that it wasn't fair, but he obviously held onto the promise that he could accompany me today if he did his work first.

Questions come frequently and they are often mixed with his odd comments. "Why are there so many trees down there? That's a baby tree. Who cut down those weeds? Look, that weed is bigger than me! How come nobody cuts that one down?"

My best answers aren't sufficient. Sometimes I just nod, or say I don't know, or comment how that's interesting. Is God like this, too? We ask our silly questions or make our silly human comments, because we don't know better and God just smiles and nods?

The weather is warm and dry and along with blowing dust are moths and other flying insects. Eric waves his flag like a swatter and I have to use my hands to keep them away from my face. Starting to work up a sweat now. My breathing is a bit heavier, yet my heart is full towards bursting at this pleasant time together, marveling at the beauty of Albuquerque. As beads of sweat appear on my forehead a smile creases my lips. As much as I enjoy solitary walks, having my little companion today is special.

Can you look at life through the eyes of a child? Have you tried it lately? Kids are much better at being "in the now". No big concerns about tomorrow, certainly no stress over getting a big work project done for the boss or finding a way to make the mortgage payment. Plenty of time for that later in life.

The gift for us, the one I received on this walk, is that we can set those concerns aside. At least for a little while. Get outside, get some excercise, and be like a child. Some people say once you've lost your innocence you can't get it back. I disagree. It's there, waiting for you to discover it. My son gave it back to me.

"Hey Dad, wanna race to that tree? Come on! It'll be fun!" "Ok, son. Ready...set...go!!"

Laughing, wheezing and grinning like maniacs, we both arrive at the tree at the same time. Well, ok, I let him get there a second or two before me.

"Wow, Eric. You sure run fast". We put our arms around each other and head home.

My son Eric



Houston, No Problem Here

Copyright 2003 by Tom Gilbert, all rights reserved

The sun is blazing down on an August day in Arkansas. It’s one of those hot, humid days where the mosquitoes are more annoying because they buzz around the sweat dripping above my ears. Nevertheless, I’m smiling.

We are rocketeers! Yes, my brother and I are in an open field getting ready to launch our latest Estes model rockets. We’ve been getting them by mail order for the past couple of months. Even our mailman is hooked. He’s come to recognize the packages and will even linger while we open the latest box. He must have the stars in his eyes, too.

Doug and I are scampering around trying to catch grasshoppers. This new model has a capsule in the top and we need a payload, preferably alive. What will our astronaut think about rocketing into the summer sky? It matters little to us if grasshoppers think or not. We’re really riding there in our imaginations.

“5-4-3-2…1!” “Alright, who-hoo! Look at it go!”

The missile shoots up until it is a speck in the brilliant blue canopy above. A dull thump is heard as the second charge goes off that jettisons the capsule. The parachute opens and the rocket begins its twirling descent to earth. We chase after it, laughing and ignoring briers and stickers in our path.

Doug gets there first and holds up the capsule. “Looks like he’s still alive” he shouts. I catch up and, bending at the knees, examine the critter inside. His antennae are jutting in two directions and I can’t tell if he’s been shocked by the experience or not, although I imagine he has.

“That a way, John Glenn!” My brother and I are grinning from ear-to-ear, arms around each other’s shoulders.

“Wanna launch it again?”

“Are ya kiddin?!”

We both run back to the launcher. Houston, no problem here!


Lessons From My Daughter 

I wrote and created a tribute book for my daughter when she graduated from High School. Growing Up Kristen has early memories and stories about her from a baby through her teenage years.

Growing Up Kristen
Copyright 2003 by Tom Gilbert, all rights reserved

"Don’t you believe me, Daddy? Huh, don’t you?"My daughter, Kristen - "Don't you believe me, Daddy?"

My daughter bats those beautiful brown eyes as she looks up at me with the look that melts a thousand resolves. She is hugging tight her stuffed Rudolph. Yes, he of the "red-nosed" fame.

All of four years, she is filled with the wonder and awe that only young children seem to possess. Part of me senses that she is developing that trait all fathers eventually discover. The one that makes it so easy to wrap us around their little fingers. At this moment it matters not. At this moment I’d give her the world if she asked.

Fast forward ten years to new occasions of wants, desires and demands from my daughter. Caught between child and womanhood, the curse of teenage hormones morphs her from cutie-pie to defiant rebel in the twinkling of those brown eyes.

What amazing lessons she has taught me!

One of the many things that constantly surprise me as a parent is how little I feel I know about raising children when things are going tough…and how much I think I know when it’s smooth sailing!

I’m virtually a parenting guru when everybody is happy.

When the kids are behind closed doors pouting is often when I’m in the valley of despair.

Despite the highs and lows I’ve discovered that the journey is really rewarding. I’m learning some great things about living.

Some of the lessons I’ve learned from my daughter:

  • I can be right – or I can be serene.
  • This, too, shall pass.
  • There will be fights – and there will be forgiveness.
  • Being a friend means looking out for the best interests of others, even when your friend doesn’t see it.
  • Friends are really important.
  • Never lose your sense of wonder.
  • I’m not that different from my children – and my parents.
  • Everybody struggles with peer pressure, even many years after high school.
  • An Honest Relationship

    What should be evident from the above is that having children and being a parent is very much like learning to live in an honest relationship with God. No wonder that God came to us in the form of His son. On a gut level, deep down where it really matters, we are touched by this. There is no greater love than parent to child. There is no greater pain than that felt by the rejection or abandonment of this sacred union.

    Ultimately we face the same situation that our loving and good Heavenly Father does with each of us. We discover that no love is really meaningful unless it is freely given. I cannot force my daughter to love me. That would not be love at all, either from her or from me.

    Real, true and honest love is freely given and freely received. I readily admit it is bigger than me. I’m incapable of expressing it fully without God’s help; the help that I call grace.

    Bend, Don’t Break

    I’m not sure what the greatest lesson is that I’ve learned from my daughter. Maybe I haven’t been taught it yet. There is one that is very important and carries high ranking, though. It is the lesson that we all need to be "cut a little slack". Being judgmental, intolerant or unforgiving is relationship poison. It may be a high-wire act to balance on the thin line of discipline and trust, but it is worth it.

    There are still days when Kristen will snuggle up next to me on the couch and give me the "don’t you believe me" goo-goo eyes. And I love it!

    Maybe the best lessons are the ones we learn while trying to teach.


    Here's a couple more samples:

    50 Years On - on the occasion of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.

    Clutch - Shift - Redlight - the tale of my first traffic citation.


    I Can Write Your Story

    There are many good biography and life story writers. Who you choose is entirely your decision. Make it wisely.

    It comes down to style, ability, a good relationship, quality, satisfaction...and, yes, price.

    I'm fair and I will write your story with care and dedication. Get more information about the life story services I provide here.


    Jeannette's StoryIn 2005 I completed a "ghost-written" autobiography for a wonderful 85-year young woman (Jeannette's Story - excerpt here).

    I wrote a book about a Mississippi Poet (Believer Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. Walters - excerpt here).Believer Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. Walters

    I have also done some smaller projects such as short professional biographies and spiritual memoirs. I can customize a life story project to meet your needs and budget. 

    Of course, you can also explore other avenues. That's a big part of the purpose of this website. See the Biography Writers page.

    The main thing is that someone tells your life story or family history.

    You've got a great story to tell...let the world know!

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