We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why the Pharmacist Made Me Cry

If you know me well, you understand that I lean toward the side of alternative medicine, i.e. natural ways to stay healthy. We use essential oils, herbs, and home remedies, not to mention preventative measures like healthy food choices and habits.

But sometimes we find our backs against the wall.

This past week has been one of those times. An ER visit for my husband left us in need of some OTC meds and prescriptions, which sent me to the pharmacy multiple times. And as you have probably surmised, I'm a little leery about the drug store scene.

So, I asked a few questions.

The pharmacist not only answered them, but offered practical, useful information. In the midst of the flurry of her busy afternoon, she took her time, looked me in the eye, and encouraged me to call if I had any more questions. She treated me like an important part of her day. It meant the world to me, by that time a little frazzled and more than  exhausted.

I can hold up under duress for a long time but let someone express kindness, and I might find myself in tears. Like when I drove out of the parking lot that day. 

When in a quandary about whether we should even go to the ER, I called a nurse friend whose words soothed my worries and offered a logical plan of action. I blinked back the tears then, too.

Kindness. It made all the difference in my day.

What stories can you tell of kindnesses, large and small, that turned your day around?

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Making of a Story

Remembering a story is a little like taking a box of photos off the shelf, lifting the lid, and spreading the pictures out on the table. Each, a moment frozen in time. One by one, we pick them up, study them, compare them. Often the subjects overlap or the same scene has been captured from another perspective. We discover we can't always place the pictures--or the story--in a linear sequence. Rather, they represent multiple layers of experience. They illustrate the observations and perceptions of both participants and bystanders in the story. As we sift through the photos, we recall each occasion. Emotions come rushing back. And as time passes, we try to comprehend how each picture, each story, fits with the others in our lives.

So, how does one go about writing a story?  What is the process of recording memories, thoughts, and passions? I like to think of a story as a snapshot. One moment frozen in time. What led up this picture? Who are the people? What are they doing? Why? What are they thinking? Feeling? Hearing? Seeing? Tasting? Smelling? What are the implications of what is represented? What will happen next? Who or what is missing? How does the image affect you today? What could or should have happened? How does the snapshot affect the future?

One picture. One story.

Your snapshot may be an actual photo or an image indelibly fixed in your mind. A longer story strings any number of pictures together like an old-fashioned filmstrip, one scene at a time.

Perhaps you've always wanted to do a little writing. Or, maybe this is a new thought for you. Here's an opportunity:

Got wisdom? Why not share it through your writing?

Join Sherry Boykin, founder of But-Kickers: Growing Your Faith Bigger Than Your "But," for a fun writing workshop on how to identify your story, how to address a specific audience, and how to write memorable material.
Free and open to all.
Friday, April 17 at the Scranton, PA Steamtown Mall, Library Express,
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Click here for more information and to register.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Because He Lives

Easter morning brings back the memory of a story, a story that turned apprehension into hope.
"Pregnant! The word jolted me as I listened to the nurse's voice on the other end of the line. I was thirty-eight with an eleven and fourteen-year-old, and God wanted me to raise another child?

I decided to keep the news quiet as long as possible. I felt embarrassment mixed with panic and needed time to get used to the idea. At the same time, I felt guilty when I thought of the many who longed for a child and found themselves grieving with empty arms.
A few weeks later, Easter Sunday found us visiting my parents' church. I felt as green as the dress I wore. God must have smiled as the service began. He had a special message just for me, one I would carry with me for a long time. It came in the from of a song, one written by Bill and Gloria Gaither when they, too, were expecting a child.
This child can face uncertain days because He lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow . . . I know He holds the future . . .*
Tears sprang to my eyes as I squeezed my husband's hand. The resurrection of Jesus . . . Of course! Because He lives, I could trust Him with our future and the future of our tiny secret, fearfully and wonderfully growing deep inside me.
November 1997
We named our baby Elisabeth Grace in remembrance of God's promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9. "My grace is sufficient for you . . ." Now a junior in high school, Elisabeth brings her humor, conversation, and friends to the dinner table. How could I have ever doubted God's wisdom? That Easter morning holds a hallowed place in my heart. God's faithfulness during that time has given me courage to face other challenges, far more daunting.
I'll always remember the day when Elisabeth, then in elementary school, said to me, "I'm glad my middle name is Grace."

I couldn't trust my voice to answer, but gave her a wobbly smile. Me, too, Elisabeth. Me, too.
*Copyright by William J. Gaither, 1971.