Sharing stories and taking names

I read once that everyone has at least one good book inside them. Maybe a spicy romance novel, a vampire-zombie young adult novel, or a memoir. I hear a lot of people say if they just had the time, they would write a book about _____ (you fill in the blank).

I believe we all have stories to tell. It’s just that some of us write them down, and others don’t. I want to be a part of the write our stories down group. I want to write and share my stories with all my heart. I have wanted this as long as I can remember, I just never thought I had the time, or had anything of particular interest to say.

That doubt is fear. Plain and simple. And yes, I am terrified of writing my stories down. There are so many ways to fail once you write down your brilliant ideas and share them with people who may, in fact, not find them brilliant at all. Because you see, I am not writing fiction. No vampire thrillers or murder mysteries here (I love both by the way). I am writing down my stories. My memories, thoughts, and lessons learned in my near 40 decades on earth. I am writing my Granny, Ms. Beulah’s, greatest sayings (“We are in the short rows now, honey”), my mother’s insights on life and faith, my family legacy – my father’s barbecue sauce recipe, my hopes, my fears, my sorrows and my joy. I have a long row to hoe, as Ms. Beulah would say, but the short rows are coming. I just have to start.

I read two books recently, both women authors, both Christian lifestyle genres, and both talk a lot about the word yes. In For the Love, Jen Hatmaker talks about living with a yes attitude, and saying yes when God asks something of you. Then there is Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist, and not only does she have “Yes” tattooed on her arm, but she talks about saying yes to scary, life changing things, and starting where you are. These women write words that hit my heart and soul. Reading their words I feel like I’m their family, and soon we will all be around the kitchen table cooking, laughing, and learning. They write their own stories, and those stories inspire me to move forward with mine. Their stories ease my fears, restore my hope, squeeze out tears, release laughter, and focus my mind on being the kind of wife, mother, and woman I desire to be. Their stories make God more a part of my everyday in such a relatable way, that I can picture Him being a neighbor who is always invited for dinner parties. Isn’t that awesome? And I do not mean the 1990s awesome, I mean the true sense of the word, awe inspiring, jaw dropping awesome. To write stories so that when I am talking about God, or friends, or family, you can picture them living in your neighborhood, eating your barbecue and drinking sweet tea in your backyard, is my greatest hope – To write with such familiarity of daily life that the extraordinary in your own life is exposed.

So I am saying, yes! Yes, I want to write stories whether they are read by anyone or not. And yes, I want to write about family, food, and faith so personal, that if by chance someone does read them, they will picture sitting at my table, eating by Daddy’s barbecue in my backyard. I have said yes….so now what? I am going to start where I am.

My idea for Farm to Family began incubating in March 2016. Here is what I wrote that day:

It is a fairly nice March Monday in Ketchikan, Alaska. The sun is peaking through the evergreens, the air is crisp and smells like damp moss and rich dark earth. I am five minutes from running out the door to pick up the kids from daycare, I have a giant loaf of homemade bread in the oven to go with lentil soup for supper. I am home today because my husband had a vasectomy exactly three days ago and I am trying to take care of him. And I am starting. Ms. Beulah always told me to “start out like you can hold out”. Let’s see how this holds out, shall we?