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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #053 Ė May Days
May 26, 2008

"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

May 26, 2008 Issue #053 Ė May Days

From Tom Gilbert Ė Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Momma Hummingbird
Featured Article: May Days
Resources You Can Use: Military Archives, MemoryGrabber, MemoryPress

Opening Remarks: Momma Hummingbird

Itís the afternoon of this Monday Memorial Day and Iím on my back porch. The sky is blue; the Albuquerque sun is warm, but not too hot. My dog is happy Iím hanging out with him. And our backyard tree is swaying in the wind.

Itís been breezy all day and once in a while we get a good gust. I point this out because Iíve been watching the momma hummingbird sitting in her nest near the end of a branch of this tree. Itís not very sturdy out on the end of the limb, but she dutifully hangs on. The past few days weíve even had some very gusty winds and rain, but nothing is keeping her from her instinctive duty. I donít know how many tiny eggs are in that little nest but she is clearly incubating her soon to hatch babies. I hope I get a chance to see them without disturbing anything. Baby hummingbirds must be quite the sight, as small as insects!

Iíve been thinking today about how hard it can be to relax. I, like many good hard-working Americans, feel the need to always be doing something. Most of the time it is work, but even on a day off Iím often compelled to activity. This isnít always bad. But it is also vital that we have quiet time. So today Iíve been giving that a try. I hope that your holiday has been good. It may have been adventurous or restful, or both. I also salute all the veterans and military families, as well as law enforcement, firefighters and those public servants so deserving of our gratitude for their work. Memorial Day has grown to encompass these people and letís remember them for what theyíve done, especially those whoíve given their lives in service.

Thank you to all who continue to read this monthly newsletter and for those of you who have recently subscribed.

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what youíd like to see more of in this newsletter Ė 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. Ė Tom

Featured Article: May Days

Copyright By Tom Gilbert Ė May 2008

May is a month full of various events, including a couple of important holidays. It is a time to savor warmer weather and things turning green. I find it is one of my favorite months.

May is considered Personal History Month by personal historians. That makes the month even more special. A month that specifically celebrates the lives of each of us and the history of our families reinvigorates me. I truly believe we all have important stories, the stories of our lives, which are worth preserving and passing on to others. It seems that more and more people feel the same way as the business of life story writing, oral histories, and video documentation continues to grow.

This year there were a number of things that have been special for me in the Month of May. I also discovered several May days that are relevant to the pursuit of personal histories.

The month began for me at a retreat with a group of friends. The first weekend of May, and the first weekend of November, several men gather at a remote location in northwestern New Mexico on the Navajo reservation. Itís not a religious event, but it is spiritual. We have good fellowship, workshops, even a sweat lodge, and Iíve experience tremendous growth over the past nine years attending these gatherings.

I discovered that May 8 was the Day of Service from the AARP. This organization caters to the 50 and over age group and now that Iím in that class Iíve discoverfed many things of interest from what I used to consider the ďold folks clubĒ. Funny how aging changes your perspective.

May 10 was Pangea Day. I know, the first time I heard of it I wondered what that could be. It turns out this was a global event with the intent of bringing the world together through film. It is easy to lose sight of how much we all have in common considering our different backgrounds, culture, religions, and ethnicity. But when we can see ourselves in others those stereotypes melt away. Film is a very powerful medium capable of doing that.

Motherís Day was on May 11. My mom passed away two years ago so it was still bittersweet. Nevertheless, I fondly remember her even though I miss her. Itís been said by others that being a mom is the hardest job there is. I donít disagree. My wife has worked hard over the years to give guidance and nurturing to our two children. My mother-in-law is also a great person and has been a good second mom to me.

Two other notable events happened on May 16. First it was the 96th birthday of Pulitzer Prize winner and noted broadcaster, Studs Terkel. Heís been great throughout his life capturing the fascinating stories of so-called everyday people, as preserved in Conversations with America.

The other significant event was Listen! Ė International Day of Sharing Life Stories. It was an opportunity for people around the world to gather to share their stories, or do it via email or in virtual environments. Fantastic!

The arrival of Memorial Day may have surprised some of you, feeling like it came too early in May, but it is always the 4th Monday of the month. This May we just happen to have five weeks. It is interesting to learn about the history of this holiday. This site gives a good overview.

My May days have been full of experiences, learning, growth and remembrance. I hope your Personal History Month has been good. Take time to document those life experiences that make up your personal story.

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

Resources You Can Use

Military Archives

If you want to see what your ancestors did in wartime you can get a free look, until the end of the month (May 31, 2008), at a vast collection of military records online.

The National Archives and have worked out an agreement to speed the transfer of millions more war records to the Web and make an existing collection on some 100-million people free for people to see during a Memorial Day commemoration. After May 31, a paid subscription will be required to see them. Visit for details.


MemoryGrabber is a great downloadable e-book resource to help you put together your life story. Michael Boyter of Family History Products put this valuable resource together and heís updated and revised it to make it even better.

Itís still the same affordable price ($12.95), but heís made it possible to type and save your information right into the PDF e-book. If you are unsure how to get started on your memoir, autobiography, or life story the MemoryGrabber will inspire you and lead you through the practical process of your life history. Find out more here.


MemoryPress Books are a great way to share your life story. You can create beautiful books that commemorate a wedding, anniversary, graduation, career, your life story, funeral book or for any worthwhile reason.

You can start your MemoryPress Book process right away and for just $50. When you purchase your $50 publishing credit, you use MemoryPress FREE. Itís an incredible and user-friendly online way to build your story into a book. Upload pictures, invite others to contribute writing, select a cover and revise, edit and proof your book and then a turnkey process binds and prints it. Your entire $50 will go straight to publishing when you are finished with your memory book!

You can do the whole thing yourself with great customer support and instructions. If you find you need more help, like a writer or editor, I am available for hire to assist you and get that long awaited story to print. You can find out more at here.

Closing Information

Thatís it for this monthís issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and hereís to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know youíve 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 Ďzine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, Ė keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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