Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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Hi Mom, I Just Wanted to Say
May 9, 2021
is Mother's Day 2021. I am thinking of Mom and of other women and their
great gifts of motherhood. The ultimate gift is giving birth and
nurturing the new life.
Mom, I do miss you. I wish I could have a chat. What would I say?
Of course I would say that I love you very much. Also, I would tell you
that I have flashes of memories, seeing you in the kitchen, sitting
across from me at the chapel of the Center for Action and Contemplation,
having a heart-to-heart talk at your house in KC, thinking of the times
you got mad when you caught me smoking cigarettes or doing something I
shouldn't have. You were a fierce lioness when the situation called for
it. But mostly you were calm and loving and in your quiet presence I
felt safe. Those final days in June of 2006, sitting at your bedside as
you slowly passed from the cancer, were transforming.
You pulled us all closer that week. Family and friends gathered, shared memories, tears and laughter, and mostly love (see Opening Death's Door).
Thanks, Mom. I just wanted to say hi and I wish I had called you more
often. I should have written more, too, but the cards and letters over
the years from you were like manna from Heaven.
The Order of Your Stories in a Memoir Matters
May 7, 2021
Our lives are lived out in moments and experiences.
Over time they help to shape our beliefs, values, habits and much more.
When we spend time reminiscing and attempt to make sense of our
lives we often want to share that. This is done by telling the story of
our life and our various experiences. You need to spend time figuring
out what your story is and why you want to preserve this story. Once
you have done this the next step is to determine how
you will do it.
Part of the how is taking the many experiences you
write about and putting them into some kind of order. There is not one
way to organize your experiences. But I think it can be helpful to try
some different approaches.
| read more |
April 27, 2021
How 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
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
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.
April 21, 2021
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
"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
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
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 SewingIsAwesome.com
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
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
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 |
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