A String of Beans by Gaynor Faulkner

Gaynor’s story, A String of Beans, won first prize in the 2018 Tabor Open Stories of Life competition last year. Her story was about stumbling upon a church and then a church procession when on holiday in Italy.

Fred and Gaynor by Lake Como in Italy

Last year, the online Stories of Life community had a lot of fun with Gaynor’s story in the lead-up to our 2018 Stories of Life book launch. With no clue as to story or context, people tried to guess the missing word from one of Gaynor’s sentences:

People of all ages scurried out of those massive church doors like _______ evacuating a/an_______________.

Some of the suggestions were:

  • ants evacuating a flood
  • kids evacuating the house when chores need to be done
  • men evacuating a chick-flick

You can read Gaynor’s story, and other first prize category winners, here. For more great stories like this, grab a copy of the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three dummies in a dinghy.

Epiphany in Fiji by Wendy Boniface

Wendy’s story, Epiphany in Fiji, was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy, and broadcast on LifeFM in Adelaide, Australia.

For more stories like this, head over to our archives for more Stories of Life, or grab a copy of the book.

2018

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We have writing resources to help you get started.

Register by 6 June for our Editing Workshop or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Miracle by Juni Desireé Hoel

Juni’s story, Miracle, was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. It is a story about a pair of crystal earrings that shone rainbows in the sun, Juni’s grandmother who gave her those earrings and the God who loved her enough to listen.

Juni with her journal

Juni’s backstory

‘Miracle’ began as a journal entry. I love journaling and spending quiet moments reflecting on where I’ve seen God show up in my life. I was then challenged to craft my experience into a story. I enjoy this challenge because I believe in the power of stories to move people (whether that’s through song, dance, art, film, or simply talking with someone face-to-face). My favourite form of storytelling is writing, and through entering Stories of Life three years in a row now, I’m learning more and more how to turn real-life experiences into compelling stories. I find this so exciting and love what Stories of Life is about connecting writing, faith, and real-life stories.

Juni’s artwork

Juni’s writing

I’m currently looking at publishing a book called When Heaven Meets Earth: Thoughts on kingdom living. It’s about everything I’ve learnt about God, mission, heaven, community, identity, etc. from 12 years of serving at beach mission. I’m just in the process of editing and getting final endorsements and permissions. Then next year, the plan is to publish a book with my artwork about how God helped me through depression and anxiety. I’ve attached a couple drawings to do with that project. And, of course, I’ll look forward to entering Stories of Life again next year too – yay!

Beach Mission

Juni blogs at Juni’s Journal. You can also follow her on Facebook at Juni Desireé Writer and on Twitter @junidesiree

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? Sign up for our Editing Workshop or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

A thin, delicate thread by Trevor Hampel.

Trevor Hampel’s poignant story ‘A thin, delicate thread’ was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. It was also broadcast on 1079Life in Adelaide.

We’re pleased to be able to bring you the recording of his story.

For more stories like this, head over to our archives for more Stories of Life, or grab a copy of the book.

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We have writing resources to help you get started. Sign up for our Editing Workshop on 13 June or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

21 days by Liz Donald

Liz’s story, 21 days, was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy Today she shares the backstory to her piece:

The Donald family.

I first heard of the Stories of Life competition when someone shared it on Facebook. Immediately I thought it would be something I would like to try. I wrote stories a lot as a child/teenager and studied English at university, but it had been many years since I had written a story of my own. What drew me to Stories of Life, was the idea of writing a story that showed the way God was at work in my life.

However, as I looked at some of the past stories I began to wonder whether I had any interesting stories to share. I had been a stay-at-home Mum for a number of years and didn’t have any exciting tales of physical danger or recent overseas travel. So…what could I write about? Did I have any stories that anyone would want to read? After a while I decided to come back to the vision of the competition, which was sharing stories of faith from everyday life. I began to think about the things God taught me while my husband was away for work for three weeks and I was left to solo-parent our three, young daughters.

At the time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive, but by God’s grace I did (and so did the girls!). Actually, I didn’t just survive, but instead God used those 21 days to change me, my heart and my attitude to parenting. 21 days is about God’s faithfulness in our everyday struggles and the power of prayer.

Liz at her writing space, with her young writing companion

I wrote the story at my kitchen table in 10min increments, taking any opportunity while the kids were happily entertained to add another paragraph. Although a nice, clean, quiet writing space would have been great – I feel like there is something fitting about writing about life as a Mum of three young children in this way!

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to enter my story in the Stories of Life competition. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on the gifts God has given me and the way he uses difficult circumstances to teach us lessons of patience, humility and love. And for that, I am thankful.

If you haven’t read Liz’s story, 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 have writing resources to help you get started. Sign up for our Editing Workshop on 13 June or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Stolen but not robbed by Beth Robertson

Beth Robertson’s story ‘Stolen but not robbed’ was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. Beth also recorded her story at the LifeFM studios and her story was played on the airwaves in Adelaide.

We’re pleased to be able to bring you the recording of her story.

‘Stolen but not robbed’ by Beth Robertson
Beth Robertson recording her story at the LifeFM studios.

If you’ve enjoyed Beth’s story, head over to our archives for more Stories of Life, or grab a copy of the book.

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We have writing resources to help you get started. Sign up for our Editing Workshop on 13 June or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Judge in focus: Kit Densley

Pleased to introduce the 2019 Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life judge, Kit Densley.

It’s so important to be able to tell your story. Stories of Life isn’t just a competition, but also a chance to workshop and hone your skills. Then your story is given the chance to make an impact in someone’s life.

Kit Densley

Kit has been on the airwaves with 1079 Life for over 4 years and has studied short story and creative arts in various forms. She loves stories and people and enjoys spending time helping people share their stories, whether on air, in print or online.

The Year by Tsung Chung

Tsung’s story, The Year, was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy.

Tsung shares the backstory to his piece:

I wrote The Year covering events of the year after the passing of my wife, Betty, in 2016. She was 43 years old and had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma 18 month prior.Throughout this period, I found writing and putting my thoughts and feelings on paper (well, screen) helped me reflect on the situations of my life. So I figured it would fit well as an entry for Stories of Life.

When I was done, I sent out my initial draft to a few close friends and they noticed that I hadn’t mentioned Betty in the story. It was a deliberate choice on my part as I had wanted to try to convey that something was missing in the story – in this case, someone very dear to Shaoey and I.

I still try continue to reflect on events by translating them to written words. I post my Confessions of a Clueless Dad series on my Facebook page – very irregularly I must say – which allows me to use words, and photos, as a mirror to life. These two photos were taken at Mt.Lofty on the day of our arrival in Adelaide in Jan 2018.

Divinity
Tsung and Shaoey

If you haven’t read Tsung’s story, it is well worth buying a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy just to read ‘The Year’ and, as a bonus, you’ll also get another forty-three true stories of faith. You can also 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 have writing resources to help you get started. Sign up for our Editing Workshop on 13 June or check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Breakneck Speed by Ethan Joppich

Ethan recording his prize-winning story at LifeFM Adelaide

Ethan won first prize in the Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life competition in 2018. He also visited the LifeFM studios in Adelaide and recorded his story for broadcast over the 2018/2019 summer. This is his story.

Breakneck Speed by Ethan Joppich

Thank you to the Joppich family for supplying these photos, taken over six years ago.

Ethan with Anthony Dean, a well-known rider who represented Australia at a top level.
BMX race
Ethan and a friend at a race

If you’ve enjoyed Ethan’s story, head over to archive for more Stories of Life, or grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy for the full 2018 collection.

Could your story be published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology? We have writing resources to help you get started. Check out our categories and send us your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Bird Man by Craig Chapman

Craig’s story Birdman was published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy. He also visited the LifeFM studios in Adelaide and recorded his story for broadcast over the 2018/2019 summer.

Bird Man by Craig Chapman

Craig recording his story at LifeFM

Backstory for Bird Man

Over a period of time, I observed a man who regularly frequented the carpark at my local beach. It appeared that he would often park there during breaks in his work routine. What was interesting about him was the way the seagulls gathered on, and even in, his vehicle. He had obviously spent sufficient time with them to ensure they were comfortable in his presence.

I began thinking about the connection this man appeared to have with the gulls. I also speculated in regard to the events of his life and why he was drawn to this spot.

I have not had opportunity to meet Bird Man in person. There is a part of me which prefers it this way, as I can imagine his circumstances without being restricted by facts! He reminds me of the importance of removing myself from distractions and coming to God in stillness.

About Craig Chapman        

Craig has been writing for many years – poetry, fiction, non-fiction. He has contributed several stories to the three Stories of Life anthologies and is also a published novelist. His book, Succession Plan, was published in 2017. It is a biblical fiction story, set at the end of King David’s life and based on events described in the first chapter of 1Kings. His website is craigchapman.org. Craig enjoys outdoor adventure and is a regular blogger on seedtrek.com.

If you’ve enjoyed Craig’s story, head over to archive for more Stories of Life, or grab a copy of Three Dummies in a Dinghy for the full 2018 collection.

Submissions for 2019 now closed. Announcements will be made in October.