Mountain Trails and Mountain Tops

This year, we are thrilled to have several stories that take place on mountains around the world:

  • Kosciuszko Tough by Hannah Morrison. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia at 2228m.
  • One Blue Arrow at a Time by Naomi Currie about climbing St Mary’s Peak (Ngarri Mudlanha), 1168m, in the Flinders Rangers.
  • My Journey Climbing Mount Kinabalu by Leanne Low. Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia at 4095m.
  • The Golden Detour by Kaitlin Turland on climbing Mount Catherine, Egypt, 2,629m.

As can be imagined, mountain climbing pushes us to the limits of our endurance, and awes us with spectacular reminders of the greatness of God. These stories carry us along in the physical challenge, but also enable us to experience, vicariously, what it is to:

  • lean 20 degrees into wind gusting at 60km/hr in order to help your eight-year-old sister continue climbing (Kosciuszko Tough)
  • feel gear envy when your water bottle is a freebie emblazoned with sponsor’s logos, but others have ‘the lightweight backpack with inbuilt water-cooler and sipping tube’. (One Blue Arrow at a Time)
  • prepare for months as the youngest member of a group comprising five families (My Journey Climbing Mount Kinabalu)
  • give in to hot and tired frustration when your Bedouin guide leads you downhill when the summit is so close that you can see it in your mind’s eye (The Golden Detour)

If your reading chair beckons, but you still want to feel some of that mountain-climbing adrenalin and learn some of those life lessons, pick up a copy of Papa’s Shoes at the book launch or online. Only one week to go.

Hospital wards and graveyards

In life writing, it is the generosity of the writer to open a window into their reality, and it is the privilege of the reader to enter into that reality.

Papa’s Shoes, our 2019 Stories of Life anthology, is filled with stories of people encountering God somehow, somewhere. Some of these encounters take place, as you might expect, in places such as hospital wards and graveyards. Today we introduce you to four of the stories in Papa’s Shoes along the themes of healing and suffering, death and life.

In No place like Home by Gaynor Faulkner, her seven-year-old-self is hospitalised at a time when parents weren’t allowed to stay with their children. Snoring old ladies and stern matrons populate Faulkner’s story. Her hospital experience is a far cry from the Neurology Ward where Emily Maurits’ young sister was an inpatient. In Confessions of a Realist, Maurits prays a daring prayer after ’86 days, 10 operations and plenty of easily manageable prayers’.

Craig Chapman takes the title of his story – One of the Six – from the statistic that ‘Every day, eight Australians take their own lives. Six of those are men.’, while Claire-Louise Watson’s title Arise is taken from the story of Jesus raising a little girl in the bible. Watson’s story, however, centres on what happens after doctors tell her that there is nothing else they can do for her own little girl.

These stories are short, but they are not little. We commend them to you. You can read these stories and many others in our 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes, available at our 7 November book launch and online thereafter.

Bus Stop Book Giveaway

One of our 2019 story contributors, Rosalind Lum, recently wrote to us about her experience at a bus stop. We thought it such a great story that we asked her for permission to share it. ‘Do share it with everyone,’ she replied. So here it is:

2016 Stories of Life anthology

I ordered three of the previous Stories of Life anthologies from Koorong book store recently. Two of the books arrived. I was reading A Chicken can make a Difference. Really good.

I only read three quarters of the book. I did not get to read the rest of the book. This was the reason.

I would wish everyone at the bus stop ‘Good morning!’ if I were taking the bus in the morning. A Chinese girl came past me and I wished her too. She did not stop, but walked down to the next bus stop because we were early for the bus. She came onboard and chose to sit next to me on the bus.

We started talking and she told me she was learning the English language at the Uniting Church. She noticed my book sticking out of my carrier bag, saying she noticed we like reading on the bus.

Without hesitation I took out the book and gave it to her saying she will improve her English language skills by reading more books. She was so grateful and messaged me that night to tell me she has started reading the book.

I will keep in touch with her to see whether she needs help reading.

Rosalind Lum

You can read Rosalind’s story ‘He is Alone’, about her quest to find her biological brother, in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes.

Pick up a copy of Papa’s Shoes at our book launch at Tabor Adelaide on 7 November, or online from 1 November from Amazon and Book Depository.

2019 Stories of Life Book Launch

We’re excited to announce the title of our 2019 Stories of Life: Papa’s Shoes. Congratulate Valmai Redhead from New Zealand on having her story selected as the title story.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes

Book launch and announcement of prize winners

  • Date: Thursday, 7 November
  • Time: 6:30pm for 7pm start
  • Venue: Tabor, 181 Goodwood Road, Millswood, Adelaide.

Copies of the book will be available at $20 each. Here’s one of our editors, Pete Court, showing you around the launch venue and issuing an open invitation to this event.

2019 Stories of Life

Congratulations to the following writers, whose stories have been selected for publication in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology. These stories are also in the running for a prize.

Prize-winners will be announced at the 2019 Stories of Life book launch on Thursday, 7 November at Tabor Adelaide, 6:30pm for 7pm start.

Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life

Baxter Gierus-Heintze – The Happy Memoir

Ivan Yap – God My Confidence

Jemuel Wong – A Good Friend

Jonah Teh Kai Xuan – My Mother’s Death

Joyce Ling – Story of My Life

Kaitlin Turland – The Golden Detour

Leanne Chong – Good Out of the Bad

Leanne Low – My Journey Climbing Mount Kinabalu

Mikaela Tan Shyi Ern – The Answered Prayer

Priscilla Ng – Only God Knows

Yasmin Esther – I Raise a Hallelujah

Eternity Matters Short Story of Life

Alan Blunt – A Lesson for Life

Anusha Atukorala – The Answer

Graham Byrne – Hearing God’s Voice

Jane Owers – The Dress

Joanne Prenzler Smith – In a Manger

Juni Desireé Hoel – Drop Zone

Kylie Gardiner – A Certain Stranger

Megan Higginson – Three Seconds, Bus Stops, and Log Trucks

R.J. Rodda – That Crazy Message from God

Rusty A Lang – A Thousand Dollars

Valmai Redhead – Papa’s Shoes

Tabor Open Stories of Life

al Bikaadi – Son of Man

Angela May – Heart Wide Open

Bronwyn Fisher – She called me mouse

Claire-Louise Watson – Arise

Craig Chapman – One of the Six

Diana Davison – Sprinkler Spontaneity

Emily Maurits – Confessions of a Realist

Gaynor Faulkner – No Place like Home

Hannah Matthews – More than a piece of paper

Hannah Morrison – Kosciuszko Tough

Jane Walker – I like Boys

John Alexander Duthie – An inclusive church

Julie Willersdorf – God fixed the scanner

June Hopkins – God’s garden gloves

Kaye Johnson – Jamie

Kylie Gardiner – Rebirth

Liisa Grace-Baun – The circle of love

Lisa Holbrook – The Unlikely Tractor Pull

Margot Ogilvie – A sheep called Jeffery

Maria Rudolph – A stranger passing through

Naomi Currie – One Blue Arrow at a Time

Olivia Harman – John Jenner

Rebecca Abel-Nour – Vessel

Rosalind Lum – He is alone

Sally Shaw – On my dirty knees

Teri Kempe – Out of My Depth

Image by June Laves from Pixabay

Thank you to all

If your story has not been successful on this occasion, it’s not because your story isn’t valuable. We honour all entrants for their effort and their openness in sharing their story. Thank you for sharing yours with us this year. We hope, as you keep practising the craft of writing, you will be able to send us new stories in the future and that we might be able to publish them.

Always With Me by Yvette Cusack

Yvette’s story, Always With me, was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. It was also broadcast on 1079Life FM over the summer.

‘Always With Me’ by Yvette Cusack, read by Megan Higginson

Our 2018 Stories of Life anthology,
Three Dummies in a Dinghy

Like these stories? Why not grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy or head over to our 2016 and 2017 archives to listen to more Stories of Life.

Could your story be in our 2019 anthology? We hope so. Do send us your true story of faith by this Wednesday, 31 July 2019.

That boy of mine by Molly Bennett

Molly’s story, That Boy of Mine, was published in the 2018 anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy, and broadcast on 1079Life FM in Adelaide over the summer. We’re pleased to bring you a reading of Molly’s story:

That Boy of Mine’ by Molly Bennett, read by Megan Higginson
Bible and toys belonging to Molly’s boy

We asked Molly for the backstory and this is how she replied.

“It’s almost ‘Arrival day’ at our house. The day we celebrate the arrival of our youngest child through foster care, the day our family went from being ‘four’ to being ‘five’. He was only a baby when he arrived, but he’s 8 now. Energetic, full of life, he frequently bowls us over with his personality and also quite literally as he comes charging in for a hug. ‘That boy of mine’ is a story, written with his permission, about one seemingly insignificant event, in a year of confusion, fear and heartbreak and the tenderness of God’s heart towards us in that time.’ 

Molly Bennett
2018 Stories of Life anthology

Like these stories? Why not grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy or head over to our 2016 and 2017 archives to listen to more Stories of Life.

Could your story be in our 2019 anthology? We hope so. Check out our writing resources and do send us your true story of faith and testimony by 31 July 2019.

Uprooted by May-Kuan Lim

Last year, May-Kuan’s story, Uprooted, was published in the 2018 anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy, and read on 1079Life over summer.

Uprooted by May-Kuan Lim

Since December 2017, I’ve enjoyed being part of the Stories of Life team. I am the administrator, which means I have no part in selecting, editing or judging entries, but I get to collate stories and correspond with many fabulous Stories of Life contributors.

I’ve written narrative non-fiction for many years, and try to bear witness to the happenings around me in the best possible way. Someone called this the art of fact. ‘Uprooted‘ describes an incident that happened to me when I was mid-way through writing my book on refugee resettlement. It provided me the impetus to complete the manuscript. Since then, I’ve started publishing my book, Refuge, serially online at my website.

As the administrator of this competition, May-Kuan’s story was not eligible for a prize, but the editing panel felt it was suitable for inclusion into the 2018 anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy.

Could your story be in the 2019 anthology? We hope so. Only 11 days left to submit your true story of faith and testimony. On our website you’ll find resources to help you, categories and prizes and if you have any trouble with submissions, please email storiesoflifecompetition@gmail.com and we will do our best to assist you.

Under the Frangipani Tree by Ester de Boer

Reflecting on the 2018 Stories of Life year, we have a lot to thank Ester for. She contributed three things to our anthology:

  • the title story, Three Dummies in a Dinghy (Tabor Stories of Life category). The Stories of Life team chose this as the title for its uniqueness and potential visual appeal.
  • artwork for our cover. (Surprise, surprise, we couldn’t find anything that depicted three dummies in a dinghy – thank goodness Ester is also an artist.)
  • story that won first prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life category: Under the Frangipani Tree
Under the Frangipani Tree by Ester de Boer
2018 anthology

Note: Everyone can submit a maximum one story per category . We have three categories: Tabor Open Stories of Life (between 1000 and 1500 words), Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life (max 500 words), Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life (between 500 and 1000 words). The Young Stories of Life is for writers aged 17 years and below as of 31 July 2019.

Anyway, back to Ester. We wrote to her last year to ask for photos she might like to share, or a backstory. This is how she replied:

Three Dummies in a Dinghy

The two stories I entered into Stories of Life this year really are as different as chalk and cheese. You’d think they were penned by two different people, although of course the subject matter of each required a different style and pace of writing.

Without realising it, I had kind of given my testimony- a before and after snapshot of myself. I am vague about dates during that period of my life because, frankly, I lived a bit of a crazy existence! I do know, however, that Three Dummies took place about a year before I came to the Lord. It was one incident in a chain of events that got me exactly where God wanted me- like an unwitting piece in a really cleverly-played chess game.

I have photos from this stay, but none that I really care to show! (me wearing skimpy clothes with a gun on my hip is not a good look for someone who is now a primary school teacher)

On that Rockhampton road trip (that turned into an extended stay due to the flood), I had a few hard reality checks that told me that it was time to get my act together- God was pulling on my heart.

While trapped by the flood, I stumbled upon an article for a fashion design course in Brisbane for $99 over just three weeks, so I planned to get to Brisbane to do it. Through a series of equally crazy experiences involving hitchhiking and even a yacht (!!!) I finally got down to Brisbane only to discover that it was a misprint. The course was actually $990 and went for nine weeks! Plus by then I had only five dollars left. Thankfully, someone handed me the number of a lovely Christian woman who took in street kids and she took me in. I also got my first job in Fortitude Valley, and almost all my work mates decided to start going to church as well (since when does that happen?) So, I was the victim of a setup- God’s a great strategist!

Under the Frangipani Tree

I came to the Lord a very messed up, hurting girl. The moment I was saved, though, I (a little naively) thought “oh great! Everything’s going to be fine now!” I started going to a youth group with a lot of other young people my age but really feeling like I was from another planet- our experiences of life were so different and I felt like I was so much older than them in experience but so much younger in readiness to face life. Two by two they paired up into smug, neat little Christian couples, while I felt like the one every boy’s mother had warned them about! I jumped into the first possibility of a Christian boyfriend I found and predictably found myself in an abusive relationship that confirmed my sense of worthlessness. That was the backdrop for this story. Where I worked, which park it was in, are irrelevant really- It was just a moment that God reached out to me to show me that HE treasured me. It wasn’t a moment of instant change. Healing took years. It’s something I have never shared until now, frankly because it risks sounding pitiful and a little too imaginative. But it’s mine.

Ester de Boer

It so happens that Ester and is collaborating on an exciting book project with another Stories of Life alumni, Megan Higginson. They’re about to release Raymund the Fear Monster. We wish you well, Ester and Megan. We can’t wait to meet Raymund, not so sure about the Fear Monster.

Like these stories? Why not grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy or head over to our 2016 and 2017 archives to listen to more Stories of Life.

Could your story be in our 2019 anthology? We hope so. Check out our writing resources and do send us your true story of faith and testimony by 31 July 2019.

The Great Physician by Adah Doebele

Adah’s story, The Great Physician was read on 1079Life and published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy.

Adah is a Kenyan, who lives in a village in Kenya, 500 km west of Nairobi at the border with Uganda. Adah has written four books, which are available on her website.

When I learned about the Stories of Life competition, I had a very strong urge to enter. It took me a few minutes to write my story and send it.
Australia is a country, a continent that I like very much and have always desired to visit.

When the Stories of Life long list was released with my name on it, I was overjoyed! Learning that my story would be published in the anthology was truly humbling for me. I am very happy and thankful that even though I have not visited Australia yet, my story has preceded me which is a great honour because my hope is for my life testimony to be read and heard as far and wide as possible, to encourage others that God really Is ABLE!  “For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Adah Doebele

If you enjoyed Adah’s story, why not grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy or head over to our archives to listen to past Stories of Life?

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We hope so. Check out our writing resources or categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you. Accepting submissions until 31 July 2019.

Copies of the 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa's Shoes, now available in Koorong and online.