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Your Life is Your Story, Issue-016 - The Gift of Surprises
January 23, 2005

"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

January 23, 2005 Issue-016 - The Gift of Surprises

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Suit Up and Show Up
Featured Article: The Gift of Surprises
Resources You Can Use: StoryCorps, Journaling, Family Legacy Video™,

Opening Remarks: Suit Up and Show Up

It's hard to believe that less than a month has gone by since Christmas. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season celebrating whatever occasions you observe. It was good with my family, and me, but I confess I became so busy with various things that I had to miss a month of publishing this newsletter.

Of course, everyday it is important to "suit up and show up". Now that the New Year is underway I'm renewing my dedication to sending you a monthly e-zine with some thoughtful ideas, articles and resources to help you find the best way to "tell your story".

Thank you to all who are subscribed and/or reading the Your Life is Your Story newsletter. You are receiving it because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. 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, you can 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.

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

Feature Article: The Gift of Surprises

By Tom Gilbert

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. News of health problems, tragic events, financial challenges or the heartbreaking loss of a loved one may surprise us. 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.

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

Resources You Can Use

Our current Highlight Site

StoryCorps is one of those small dreams that have yielded some great results. These results are not measured so much in dollars and cents as they are in the priceless memories they've preserved for so many.

A booth if Grand Central Station, one of the busiest places in the world and an ideal location for busy commuters and travelers in New York city, allows you to enter and record up to a one hour session for just $10. You leave with a CD recording of the session and you also have the opportunity for your story to be added to the StoryCorps Archives, housed at the Library of Congress.

You can find more information here .

One of the great ways to begin preserving your story is to keep a journal. There are many ways to do this and lots of helpful tools, from hand-written journals to software products.
More info here

Family Legacy Video™
This is a great site full of tips and helpful products to produce your own video biographies. Steve Pender has done commercial video work for many years and also creates family legacy videos. Be sure to check out his Producer's Guide.

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! 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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