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Your Life Is Your Story, Issue #001 -- Here's the Premiere Issue
September 21, 2003

“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

September 20, 2003 Issue-001

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer

Here it is, the premiere issue of the “Your Life is Your Story” newsletter. I’m excited about what this e-zine will mean for you and me. The Your Life, Your Story website is truly a labor of love. It is so important that we all find ways to tell the stories of our lives. In this newsletter I’ll strive to bring you great resources, tips, and ideas to motivate you to tell your story.

So, welcome to each of you. I’m grateful that you’ve signed up for this free e-zine. If you like what you read here, do a friend and me a big favor and “pay it forward.” If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting our signup page .

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: My Great Grandpa
In the Works: Your Favorite Year and Your Life Changing Event
The Highlight Site: A Research Goldmine
Resources you can use: Grab those memories

Opening remarks: My Great Grandpa

I’ve been reading some of the various online tributes to Johnny Cash, the American music icon who passed away the morning of September 12, 2003. I’m a lifelong music fan and I found myself contemplating the music and life of Cash quite a bit that day. There’s a message in that: your life story matters! Most of us will never achieve the fame of someone like Johnny Cash, but our lives are still important. This is especially true to our family and friends.

As I read the story at (a popular country music website) I couldn’t help but notice that “The Man in Black’s” story started simply. His dream became reality as a result of hard work, perseverance, his faith and many friends along the way. By the time of his death he was one of the most respected figures around, not just for his considerable contribution to Country music, but for his writing, acting, involvement in important causes and for facing and recovering from numerous personal challenges.

Your life has a beginning, middle, and eventually an end. If you don’t tell your story who will? Already there are many stories fading away because the details have not been preserved. I hope that this newsletter and my website will encourage and motivate you to tell your story, or the stories of your family members.

I made a decision recently to write the biography of my great grandfather. I never knew him; in fact, he died just before my father was born. Growing up I knew just a little of this man, but I’m learning his story is remarkable. Not unlike Johnny Cash, he had a simple and humble beginning. As a young boy and man he was an avid hunter and a natural sure-shot. In Spirit Lake, Iowa the townsfolk would rely on him to shoot crows and game. The crows were thought to be both bad luck and to carry disease. The game birds were just good eatin’.

It seemed Fred Gilbert almost never missed. A notable professional shooter and hunter discovered him and brought him to his first professional match where he bested the field. He went on to win many tournaments, set records and was a part of the famed DuPont World Championship Trap Shooter team that toured Europe in the early 1900’s. He’s a member of the inaugural inductees in the Trap Shooter Hall of Fame. Clearly, he was an important member of my family with an historic legacy. His good friend and mentor, Tom Marshall, provided years of support and encouragement and is my namesake. Actually, I’m Thomas Marshall Gilbert III, so the name has traveled three generations.

What will come of a biography of Fred Gilbert? I’m not sure, but I recognize the importance of writing it for a number of reasons. First of all, it preserves and passes on valuable history. It also creates greater bonds in my family. I’ve even discovered a cousin I never knew existed who is the great grand daughter of Fred Gilbert!

The very existence of is to get more people involved in preserving and passing on stories — legacies that matter. They are important to you, part of who you are. They are an extension, too, of the human family. Won’t you join me on this journey?

In the Works: Your Favorite Year

An email my father sent me a little while back got me thinking about an interesting idea. He was reminiscing about the year he was in fighter pilot training before heading over to Southeast Asia and the Viet Nam conflict.

It was 1971 and Dad was already in his early forties, but the rigorous physical training (it’s basically the same the NASA astronauts go through) combined with recovering from what “might” have been a mild heart attack and pneumonia made for a strenuous time. Still, Dad got into the best physical condition of his life. And he loved to fly! Screaming through the air in F-4 jets was his lifelong dream. He was a career Air Force pilot and had been flying bombers up to this point. He’d never been sent to combat and he’d been trained for it for many years. You can imagine the anticipation.

It was a tough time when he went over there and the usual horrors of war surely affected Dad like they did anybody. Put yourself in his place, though. Before he headed over there he spent a year training his mind, his body and his spirit. He was at peak performance. In his email he told me the time in the high desert of southern California was the best year of his life.

Many people can be intimidated with the idea of telling their entire life story.

Why not take on a more manageable project? Think about the years gone by. Is there a particular one that was more special than the rest? Maybe when you graduated college, or got married, started your own business, or had your first child. Each and every one of us has had significant milestones in our lives.

You could easily write a chapter that tells a pretty good story about the favorite year in your life.

Your Life Changing Event

Much like a favorite year there is probably an event in your life that has been the most significant. So many people have discovered this; finding a soul mate, achieving a life long dream or overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds (disease, financial upheaval, loss of a loved one) can be a real life-changing event.

It was only a few days ago that we remembered all those who died or lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. Those terrorist attacks are forever etched on our consciousness. It was certainly a life-changing event for untold numbers of people.

These are times that should be preserved in print. Event the painful memories can serve a useful purpose. We all grow and learn from each other. You should give serious consideration to having your life-changing event recorded. Even if you don’t share it with others it can be a powerful story for you to keep.

Give both of these ideas some thought. They don’t have to be lengthy writing projects and could also serve as springboards to your autobiography. In the days ahead I will be working on offering affordable services to do this for you.

The Highlight Site: A Research Goldmine

When you start doing research for a family history project you need to have some good tools. The Internet today makes many of those “tools” readily available from the convenience of your computer. is one of these tools. They have a rich database of records to mine. You can use them to research your family tree, do simple or sophisticated genealogy research and to find facts about family members to flesh out biographies and life stories.

You can use a number of their resources free or you can opt for the greater depth that comes by being a subscriber. Give the subscriber option a try with a 14-day free trial.

See more about and their affiliated family of online services by visiting our current “Highlight Site” page.

Resources you can use: Grab those memories

When you start doing a life story project, such as an autobiography, you might think you’ll never be able to organize all the facts or sufficiently tap into your memories. I’ve discovered that the MemoryGrabber solves this for you.

Create a self-portrait through life story MemoryGrabber was created by Michael Boyter of and will help you start your life story project with so many wonderful tips. It’s truly helpful to know how to create lists that will spark those dormant memories, how to organize your project and much more. He’s priced it so that it’s practically a steal and offers a no-question/risk free satisfaction. If it doesn’t live up to expectations you get your money back, but as far as I know this almost never happens. The e-book is just too good!

Find out more about MemoryGrabber. Click Here! The History of the World is not Complete, until your Life Story is Told!

That’s it for our first issue. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Certainly you should let me know what you think. You can send your comments, ideas and feedback – be honest because improvements will only make this newsletter better for all of us. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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