This is the time of year that everyone is creating their top 10 best list – best movies, best books, best this or that. Here’s my top 10 list for the year – my favorite personal events. These are the experiences that make life so special, what Mary and I call moments “to live for”.

These aren’t in any particular order. I hope you enjoy reading about them. I know I enjoyed living them.

Birthday Cruise T-shirts

My family accompanied me on a cruise to the Bahamas for my 60th birthday over Thanksgiving week. There were 13 of us, grown kids, grandkids and whatnot. There were several in the group who had never been on a cruise before. There were many experiences on this trip where I was so overjoyed that all I could do was sit back and silently soak up the moment. However, the absolute best moment occurred one night when we were all going to meet to play bingo. Mary and I showed up but no one else was there. We went ahead and got our cards and got ready to play. All of a sudden, the rest of our party surrounded us. They were all wearing white T-shirts that said “be yourself” on the front (the title of my book) while the back held the graphic of a tree made up of words. The words were the names of everyone in the group as well as positive phrases. On the bottom it said “celebrating 60 years of Mark”. There were shirts for Mary and I which we quickly put on.

Holding a Copy of My Book

Several years ago I decided to write a book. The website Conscious Bridge was born from that idea. Writing blog articles gave me the encouragement to get started on the book. The first pieces of the book were composed almost 2 years ago. Three times I thought the book was finished – it was version 3 that I printed. People gave me guidance at crucial steps. Many times I wondered whether I would ever complete it. Personal self-doubt creeped in a few times along the way. Something in me pushed it to completion though. The moment I opened the box containing two proof copies and held one in my hand made me realize that the dream had come true. It was quite a moment.

Arrival in Venice

Mary and I took a three-week trip to Italy this summer. It was filled with many special moments – so many I could’ve populated my top 10 with nothing but Italian experiences. Instead, I limited myself to only three. The first one I will mention is when we got off the plane and were met by an Italian travel agent who took us to a water taxi. The contrast from our life in Colorado followed by the long tiring airplane ride leading to this explosion of sights and sounds was simply magical. The spray of water woke us up as the boat made its way from the airport on the mainland out to the island of Venice. It then cut its engines back to navigate slowly through the canals of the town. The buildings – bright new colors on some, others exposing their antiquity, all being lapped by the waves of the water – held me in childlike wonder. As we turned down the great canal in the midst all the other water traffic, I couldn’t help but feel that I was on a main street in any big city – except we are all in boats! Our taxi turned down one narrow canal and then another as it navigated as close as it could to our hotel. As it was, we still had to disembark walking across someone else’s boat. Wow!

Dad’s 90th Birthday

My dad turned 90 in early July. My brother and I put together a celebration and family from across the country converged in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The weekend was filled with family events and good Southern cooking. We visited the unique Rattlesnake Café built into the side of a cave out in rural northwestern Alabama. The culmination of the time together was a party attended by some folks I had not seen in years. I emceed a short ceremony where attendees rose and spoke about what dad meant to them. Seeing how happy he was at this party was truly special.

Christmas in Vail

We just got back from a couple of nights in Vail. There were 14 of us – family and friends – staying in this wonderful four level house on top of a mountain overlooking Vail Valley. We played games, ate way too much food and exchanged gifts. Watching the grandkids open their gifts filled my heart. On one day, many skied. Mary and I took the dogs on a hike on a snow-covered trail where we ended up in a little valley away from the noise. All we could hear was the sound of a stream running under the ice. As we all stood there in silence, snow began to fall. It was a perfect moment.

The rest of my top 10 personal favorite moments will continue in part two.

The real question is – what were your best moments of this past year? I encourage you to think about them. I would love to hear about any you wish to share!

Mark

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!