When my story The Ring was chosen to be published in The Swimmer anthology and also won third place in the open section of the Stories of Life competition, I was delighted not only for myself but also for my friend Ruth Allan. Ruth and I have been good friends for over thirty years and even travelled overseas together in 2000 to Europe. I have forgotten when Ruth first told me about losing her ring as a young girl, but I was so taken with the story at the time that I carefully checked the details with her and recorded them on my laptop to be explored at a later date.
Finally, that date came this year. I had just completed my current novel and was checking what other writing projects I had that I could explore further when I saw the ad for the Stories of Life competition. I decided to polish up Ruth’s story, make sure I had all the facts right as best Ruth could remember, and send it in. Ruth has gone through some very difficult experiences in her life, yet she has held onto her faith in God through it all. And this event I have shared in her story The Ring had a key role to play in helping her do just that.
I hope this story honours God for enabling Ruth to keep going but that it also honours Ruth herself for holding onto God. And both Ruth and I hope that, as others read what happened that day down at the beach, they will draw that little bit closer to God and know for sure that God loves and cares for them too.
Feature photo of Jo-Anne and Ruth supplied by Jo-Anne (left)
Although I prayed that the bad things would stop, I mostly just talked to God about those bad things because my parents were preoccupied with their own problems, my sister too young to understand, and the topic of family troubles taboo in school…
Karen Curran’s story, An Imperfect Mum, was published in The Swimmer and other stories of life. She gave a copy to her friend Michelle…
‘This book has been a blessing to me,’ said my friend, Michelle. ‘The stories are just the right length for this time in my life.’ Michelle’s husband died on 21 November of COVID-19. As she grieves and deals with the necessary work related to memorial services, finances, and administration of her husband’s estate, she is overwhelmed and often unable to focus long on any specific task or story. The short takes on life and faith in The Swimmer and other stories of life have been a soothing balm to her broken soul.
Order today for delivery to someone you would like to bless.
That Wonderful Peace written and read by Jeanette Grant-Thomson.
Music composed and produced by Jason Shaw https://audionautix.com/ Feature picture above: Jeanette’s sister, Wendy, and Wendy’s husband, with their baby.
Backstory to That Wonderful Peace
This incident stands out in my memory because of the amazing quality of the peace that enveloped me. I was, at that stage, a fairly timid person. Not ‘strong and calm’ at all, except when God was doing something special, so it was a huge blessing. I’d love to be like that all the time.
The whole thing was such a coincidence or God-incidence – I’d been teaching and doing missionary work all year on New Ireland (where I met Peter of My Friend PeterSOL 2018). Nearby in a local village were two missionaries – my sister Arlene (Wendy is her second name) and Michael (John was his second name). We spent a lot of time with them, talking and praying for one another in this interesting native culture. At the end of a busy but wonderful year, I flew over to Rabaul to have a holiday with Robyn, a Christian who worked there. I waved goodbye to my healthy sister, who had just had a baby. So you can imagine my shock when the events of the story happened.
Another interesting thing is – Rabaul is on New Britain, another large island in PNG. In those days it was established inside the rim of a huge volcano thought to be extinct, and was incredibly beautiful. To my alarm, it was often shaken by small earthquakes which rattled all the bits and pieces in the house. In 1994 the volcano erupted and send a cloud of ash thousands of metres into the air, smothering the town of Rabaul, burying much of it. Many people were killed. So the Rabaul of my story no longer exists.
The rest is in my story, I think.
If you loved this story, get a copy of The Swimmer, and tune in to 1079 Life where selected stories from the anthology will be played on-air over summer.
Second place – Snakes, Ladders and Green Carpets by Anusha Atukorala
Third place – The Ring by Jo-Anne Berthelsen
Special Mention – On the Way to Somewhere by Margot Ogilvie
Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life
First place – A Timeless Symphony by Stephanie Taylor
Second place – Andy by Craig Chapman
Third place – Twenty Square Centimetres of Power by Margot Ogilvie
Immortalise Young Stories of Life
First place – Suicide is not a book in the Fiction Section by Isabel Barton
Second place – Selective Listening by Anan Mclean
Third place – Suitcases by Elizabeth Turland
Thank you to our sponsors – Tabor College, Eternity Matters and Immortalise – for enabling us to celebrate excellence in writing, and to our judges – Nola Passmore, David Rawlings, and Corrin Townsend – for giving their time and expertise to select the 2020 Stories of Life winners. Warmest congratulations to all!
In view of efforts in South Australia to defeat this virus by imposing a strict 6-day lockdown, we have decided to do our bit by staying at home, even though the restrictions don’t apply until mid-night.
We will therefore be making the announcement about prize winners and officially launching The Swimmer and other stories of life next Thursday 26 November at 6:30pm, Adelaide time. If the situation permits, we will hold the launch at Tabor Adelaide, but if not, we will have it online. If the launch is at Tabor Adelaide, the event will be live-streamed on Facebook.
Books have been available for sale in Tabor Adelaide since 9am this morning, and continue to be available for sale whenever Tabor is open.
Thank you for your patience. There are many very wonderful stories in this year’s anthology. We will get them to you as soon as possible.
the stories of life team
Pete Court on what you can expect from the book launch on Thursday 26/11.
On Tuesday, Jenine Altmann recorded her story, A Small Giveaway, at the 1079 Life studios in Adelaide. Her story begins:
It caught my eye. It stood on a narrow wall bench partially hidden behind the photo of a man dressed in military uniform. It was not an object I had expected to see in this particular situation. Maybe that was why it was partially hidden. I wasn’t sure that I should bring attention to it. I decided to …
Curious to know what Jenine saw? Where she was? What she decided?
Read Jenine’s full story in our 2020 anthology, The Swimmer and other stories of life. There are over 50 true short stories of faith to dip into. Pick up a copy at our book launch cum next Wednesday, 18 November at Tabor Adelaide, or order your copy online now.
When God created the heavens and the earth, his Spirit moved over the waters bringing order to chaos. The living Word was there from the beginning – and not one thing was made without Him. God said, Let there be light and there was light. He spoke and so it was.
Even now, day after day pours forth speech – the voice of the living Word who has lived among us. The One who spoke healing to the lame and sight to the blind. Who rebuked the elements, saying: Be still! Who cried out, Lazarus, come forth! causing a dead man to stir to life and stagger from the tomb.
God speaks and in so doing “makes it so” – a creative power that belongs to him alone but which we find reflected in our human creativity. Oh yes, creatures of the Word are we!
While we may struggle to comprehend or express such a mystery, the point remains that language is a gift from God – evidence of a divine spark that differentiates and dignifies each and every one of us as creatures made in His own image.
Tabor’s Creative Writing program has always been about nurturing the gift of language, and the imaginative and creative capacities language makes possible. That’s why Tabor is proud to sponsor Stories of Life, an initiative that aims to equip and encourage everyone to share stories that resound God’s grace and goodness in the world.
It’s always wonderful to see the wide range of people who are moved to share their stories each year – young, old, men, women and children. Many of our students have contributed to Stories of Life over the years, too, while some contributors have been led to develop their storytelling skills by studying with us. Further, Tabor has played a key role in developing the writing resources available through the Stories of Life website, as well as hosting the annual book launch event.
More than ever, our world needs people who can think and feel deeply, people skilled at creatively bearing witness to the great Theo-drama into which we’ve been written. That’s what creative writing and communication is all about at Tabor, and that’s why we’re keen to be on board with Stories of Life. It’s been a fruitful partnership these past five years, and one we pray will continue.
That prayer was answered recently with the accreditation of our new Master of Creative Writing & Communication (with nested Grad Cert and Grad Dip awards), to begin at Tabor from 2021. If you have a creative itch and a story to tell, then our courses are designed with you in mind. We’re also working on a new Diploma we hope will be perfect for people who haven’t previously done a degree and are looking for a shorter accredited course.
To find out more, jump on the Tabor website, send us an email or give us a call – we’d love to talk. You can also keep up to date with what’s happening, including the latest publishing achievements among our students, by following us on social media. Follow the links provided for details.
Submissions closed. Stories to be published announced in October.