TELL ME A STORY…about you!

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The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling. ~ Cecil B. DeMille

When I encourage people to write down their stories the usual replies are:

  • My life is nothing special
  • I haven’t done anything worth writing about
  • No one would be interested, who would read them?

In 1874 a young man kept a day planner. In it he recorded the weather and something he did that day, like picking cotton, going to the cotton gin, or sitting up with a sick friend. He wrote about going to church or eating supper with family. If someone had told him his scribblings would one day be treasured, he would have thought that person was nuts. When 1875 rolled around, he threw his the 1874 planner in the drawer. Over the years the little planner was passed on until it landed in the hands of his great-granddaughter in 2010. She opened it and ran her finger over his writing while reverently reading what he had to say. This was her touching point, her connection, with a long-dead relative. To her, it wasn’t day-to-day ramblings. It was a treasure.

That great-granddaughter is me.

Writer Page Lambert once said, “We cannot change the pain of our past, but we can give health to the future.” We can do this through writing. The difference between what my great-grandfather did and what I do is writing with purpose. Writing to give health to the future. And good news! You don’t have to be a writer to do this. Just tell your stories.

Write about:

  • Mistakes you made, what you learned from them, and how you overcame.
  • Influential people in your life, why they are influential, how they have inspired you
  • Your observations and epiphanies from the historic events that have taken place in your lifetime. Things that have changed or influenced the way we live in the USA, or even the world. Natural disasters, the social media explosion, or modern inventions.
  • Memories made or lessons that can be taken from your hobbies.

You may not think anyone will be interested. But from experience let me say, yes, your stories will be treasured. They are threads in the fabric of humanity.

Your stories matter.

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PLANTING IDEA SEEDS

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In the south, we have a saying we use when we want someone to think about something. We say, “I’m going to put the bee on you and let it start stinging.” However, when we know that we are going to be met with resistance we simply plant a seed. 

Are any of you gardeners? If so, I feel sure you already know where I’m going with this. We take a seed and plant it in the soil. Then we water it and wait patiently. Even though we cannot see things happening, we know a process starts in the darkness of the earth.  A tap root breaks free and pushes down deep in the dirt. Then the baby plant grows within the seed. Soon it breaks free of the shell, and then the earth lifting its first leaves to the sun and air. As it grows it gets stronger and then produces blooms, then fruit. All the while the plant is also making more seeds. Finally, it drops those seeds to start the process again.

Why am I writing this?

Because we do the same with people. Take my husband, Neal, for example. He needed a hobby that was good for his health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I suggested that he start riding a bike. He swatted that bee right off saying, “I don’t have time. I work from sun up to sun down.” Still, I knew he actually did have time. He couldn’t see it because of his high pressure job. So I planted a seed. “I know hon. That job of yours does take a lot of time, but it also takes a toll on you physically and mentally. I just thought this would be a great way for you to relieve some of that pressure.”

Okay, seed planted. Then I patiently waited for him to mention his need for exercise again and I gave that seed a little water, “You know hon, you could ride a bike on the weekends, or over lunch.” A little word of warning, when we plant a seed, if it doesn’t make its appearance as soon as we think it should, there is the temptation to scratch around the soil. This disturbs the root and often kills the plant. To scratch around the idea seed is perceived as nagging.

The tap root of an idea began working deep in Neal’s mind and he started looking at bikes online. Our son helped me nurture this seed idea by suggesting good bikes and asking Neal to ride with him. The next thing I knew that idea seed came to life. Neal purchased a bike and started riding on weekends. Then he actually found time to ride after work. He rides nearly 80 miles a week now. And, the seeds of cycling are scattering all around him. Several of the men who work for him are now cycling with him after work. They’ve formed a little group. Did I say little? That group grows each week.

Now my VP husband not only has better physical health (he’s losing weight, darned him. Now I have to do something) and better mental health, he also has friends (something most men do not think they need).

In all my years of sowing idea seeds, I’ve had a great crop. But I only sow good seed, ideas that not only benefit me but also those I invest in. Seeing others grow and flourish around you is like the Garden of Eden without the snake.

Just remember, plant the seed, water it at the right time, don’t nag, and wait patiently. Different seeds take different times to crack through a hard shell. I’m still waiting for some. I’m beginning to understand the faith of a farmer.