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Your Life Is Your Story, Issue #012 – Surprised by Life
August 29, 2004

"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 29, 2004 Issue-012 – Surprised by Life

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer

Opening Remarks: Ghost Ranch

Summer is almost over, but I hope you have had an enjoyable one. Maybe you even took a vacation. Time away from the “business as usual” routine of life can be so important to our growth – and our stories.

Last week I was at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. It’s an amazing place. The red bluffs tower over the desert mesas. During the day the heat can be strong, but at night it quickly cools off. The stars are so brilliant that you feel you can reach out and grab a hold of them!

I was there for a special retreat and rites of passage. The telling of it is best left to another time and place. I mention it, however, because I hope that you are finding the times to get away and ask some of those “what’s it all about” life questions. Keep growing and keep cultivating your story.

Visit the Your Life is Your Story blog for more on daily life story living.

The Your Life is Your Story newsletter is one year old! The number of people subscribed has steadily grown and I thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart. It is a special thing to share with you life story writing and personal history tips, resources and thoughts. If you like what you read here, pass it along to a friend. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe 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.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Ghost Ranch
Featured Article: Surprised by Life
Resources You Can Use: Family Learning, The Journal, Elemental Press

Feature Article: Surprised by Life

Surprises can come in many new and unexpected ways. The very nature of a surprise can result in sudden realizations that things are not always the way they seem.

Routines are a natural way of living. We need organization and structure to keep us from aimlessly wandering. However, the pitfall is that our routines can become ruts. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "I don't just get in a rut, I move in and furnish it!" The surprises in our lives have a way of jarring us from this false reality and opening us up to new possibilities.

Some surprises are occasions of joy. Think about the times you've received a letter or phone call from a long lost friend. Somehow the time that has passed melts away with the sound of their voice or the thoughts from their pen.

A surprise can also be a shock. It's not always a pleasant experience. We may get surprised by news of health problems, tragic events, financial challenges or the heartbreaking loss of a loved one. These unwelcome surprises may force you to face some personal demons. The knowledge that you are not in control of your life, that death is real and comes to everyone, and that no matter how well you plan things are not going to turn out the way you want it are often bitter pills to swallow.

The good news is that surprises, either pleasant or otherwise, are necessary for our continued growth.

Cultivating surprise in your life can have many positive benefits. Surprise can bring about discovery and a new way of seeing. The new thinking, ideas, vision, goals and plans that come from simply "suiting up and showing up" for daily living have led to many powerful "ah-ha" moments in my life.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of living with an expectation of - even a hope for - surprises is the renewed sense of wonder that comes from being truly open to change. Don't fear surprise. It is a valuable teacher.

Resources You Can Use

Family Learn

Here is a wonderful online resource for creating your family tree and preserving life story of your family. It's easy to do and free. Just go to the Family Learn web site and follow the instructions.

If you decide you want to utilize the advanced features there is a small upgrade fee, but it's well worth it. You can also request that a personal historian work closely with you. Family Learn is a very good way to get multiple members of your family involved in preserving personal history. Their motto is preserving, learning from and sharing the family experience. More here.

The Journal Software

I continue to discover ways that The Journal Software can help my life. I use it to organize my writing and web site projects. It's very affordable and you can even test drive this award winning software free for 45 days. A powerful tool for students as well as writers and personal historians. Get an up close look.

The Elemental Press

Lissa Forbes is a personal historian and writer and I've really been enjoying her email newsletter. You might like it too. Visit her web site, The Elemental Press to see more and sign up for her wonderful free newsletter.

That's it for this month's issue. Thanks for reading 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!

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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