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© Tom Gilbert

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                     ...and whatever else catches our fancy of personal historian  

April, 2021

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Describing Friends

April 27, 2021

describing friendsHow would you describe a best friend? This was a question and a quick write assignment for my students today.

Actually, I asked them to write about a best friend and describe them without saying who they are. As usual, I modeled this. And I found myself reflecting on good friends. What is it about them that comes to mind?

Best friends are true friends. They will stick with you through thick and thin.

Best friends will also call you on your stuff. We all need that, even when it hurts a bit. True friends won't give up on you, support you and will be there when you need them. But best friends are also people who can be honest enough with us to let us know if we are doing wrong. The best of those best can do that with some tact. I know from exprerience that you can get easily upset at your good friends, but the best will have good intentions and even be considerate. You might not like what they say at the time, but maybe it sinks in later and you discover the truth.

That can make the bonds of your friendship grow stronger.

Another quality of a best friend is how you can hang out and be together without a lot of talking. Sometimes just being there is what we need from a friend. Or for a friend.

When you are writing about your life and those experiences that matter keep in mind those good friends. Whether you name them or not, acknowledging their importance in your life and describing their qualities and place in your story is part of being a friend.

Big Exhale

April 21, 2021

George Floyd murderA big exhale. That's how I've heard it described and that's how I personally feel. America has been holding our collective breath in anticipation of the jury's verdict in the Derek Chauvin case. When it was announced yesterday that the former Minnesota police officer was found guilty on all three counts you could almost actually hear people exhale.

"I can't breathe" were some of George Floyd's final words on May 25, 2020. A police officer had Floyd handcuffed on the ground and was kneeling on his neck for an agonizing nine minutes and 29 seconds. It was captured on video by one of the bystanders and it went viral. It sparked protests far and wide.

Police officers have been on trial before in cases involving too much force, often leading to death, and all too frequently African-Americans the victims. And unfortunately the track record of convictions for police officers in such cases has been extremely rare.

There is no doubt that the job of police person is difficult. But there is also a great responsibility that comes with the position. The big question now is what needed reforms will take place.

We are witnessing history and we are part of history. I think most people want a peaceful and safe society and that does require some law and order. We also need safety and protection for all people. I have thought several times since the verdict was announced about the great quote from Martin Luther King Jr., "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice."

Hobbies Help Happiness

April 16, 2021

Friday is here and most of us enjoy what the weekend brings. Maybe you will spend some time engaging in a hobby. Hobbies help our happiness. They give us purpose, meaning, a creative outlet, and they can even relieve stress.

One of my blog entries, from May of 2016, tells us how hobbies can help us identify some of our passions and that in turn can give us interesting content to include in a life story or memoir.

Certainly things like playing cards or other games, especially at family gatherings, can lead to some reminiscing. Or what about a day on the lake or the golf course?

You can get geography and history lessons from collecting stamps or coins from around the world.

One of the things I enjoy is playing guitar. It's a hobby - I am not nearly good enough for public performances. But I enjoy playing and singing as a way to relax. Get me around a few friends, family members, or even a classroom full of students and I might break into a song. I was doing that today with my 5th graders.

If you want to start a new hobby or even search for new ideas then check out A Full Guide On How To Start A New Hobby. It's posted on the website. Some of the takeaways for me from the article included how hobbies can introduce us to new people, widen our knowledge and skills, and improve our confidence and self-esteem. Win, win and win.

Ike the Intersection Dog

April 12, 2021

Ike, the Intersection DogI am sure you have seen people on street corners holding signs and asking for help and handouts. But you probably haven't seen dogs panhandling before. But in Ironton, Missouri, along Highway 21 at a three-way intersection it is a common sight.

Ike, the panhandling hound, has been sitting in the middle of the intersection every day. He's not homeless and he's also not in any great need for a meal. But he will take one! He sits calmly in the middle of traffic and there is a sign nearby asking drivers to watch for him and to understand he's loved, but just likes sitting there and getting handouts.

The town has discovered it's pointless to try to stop Ike from his panhandling and also found a way to generate some income from his growing fame. They printed t-shirts with Ike's likeness and the revenue from the sales goes to Backpack Impact, a local organization providing meals for kids on the weekend who might not  eat otherwise. It's a well-known fact that lots of kids rely on school meals for some of their regular eating. Weekends could be a hunger stretch without others helping out, so what a great way to channel Ike's fame to a good cause.

Meanwhile, if you are ever in the area keep an eye out for Ike because he likes to lay right in the middle of the intersection, ready for food offerings from passerbys. Just don't give him hot dogs. Apparently he won't eat them.
| see news story from KMOV TV for more |

Your Memorable Story

April 7, 2021

Your Memorable Story /  Write Your First Memoir DraftWhether you know it or not, somewhere inside of you is a story, your memorable story, which needs to come out and announce itself. In some form or fashion that story should be preserved.

I know - you've heard this before. Perhaps you have even taken some steps to preserve this story. However, I understand how good ideas and plans often get laid aside. We all have busy lives and sometimes it is hard to keep the progress going. Even when it is something as valuable as your memoir or life story that people need to hear or read.

What to do? Find help. Although I work at this, promoting the idea that Your Life Is Your Story and finding ways to help others, I, too, am a busy guy. I work with some clients, but I also am teaching school.

Nevertheless, the need to write that memoir, at least a first draft, is real. I suggest you might turn to someone I've worked with in the past. I've used some of the programs offered by The Memoir Network. I have also promoted them.

Check out what Denis Ledoux and his team have with the Memorable Story / Write Your First Memoir Draft program. If you visit the site and read what is offered I think you might be blown away with all that is offered. I great value and more importantly a way for you to get that life story written!

March Newsletter Online

April 1, 2021

No, this is not an April Fools' Prank. The newest Your Life Is Your Story newsletter is online and it is the March edition.

How does that work? Well, I typically put out each month's newsletter at the end of a month. So it is kind of a look back at the month. Like the famous quote by Soren Kierkegaard that "life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward", I find it works better for me doing it this way.

And maybe it also plays to my procrastination. 

Whether or not it is a thing, I have been writing and posting my newsletter for almost 18 years now and it works for me to write and post it at the end of a month. For you it can arrive free of charge in your email inbox, or you can read it online. If you want to find out more and check out the latest issue (Right Size), or many past issues go here.

Everybody has a story to tell!
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