The Gift

Juni Desireé Hoel’s story The Gift was published recently in our 2021 anthology The Labyrinth and other stories of life. It is about the her struggle to make friends when she moved to a new town. Feeling despondent, she sat at the beach when she received an unexpected gift. She shared the photo above with us and wrote:

I love this picture because it captures how God spoke to me through this little boy and his present. He was a complete stranger who answered my prayer. I’d only just written in my journal if I should keep putting myself out there. I wanted to be an encouragement to people but I always felt so socially awkward and had a fear of rejection. Then this little boy sat opposite me and he awkwardly brushed sand off the table and didn’t look at me or say anything when I said hi to him. And yet he reached out in his own way and gave me a seed, ‘a present.’ It showed me that God was saying: ‘Yes, keep putting yourself out there even though it’s awkward and scary. Because it just might give someone something they need.’ Just like this boy gave me what I needed. The encouragement to keep putting myself out there like he did. 

From us at Stories of Life to you: May you daily experience God’s goodness and have a hope-filled new year!

Lord, Help Me be a Mother

I wrote Lord, Help Me be a Mother when I was asked to share my story with a group of ladies during a Fellowship Day fifteen years ago. I prayed for guidance from the Lord to help me show everyone what an awesome God we have. I hoped that by the end of my talk they would see how God had touched and still touches my life in a very special way and how blessed I am because of it!

I have always been encouraged to write my story down so it could reach others facing that unknown direction in their lives. Stories of Life gave me the opportunity to share that one glimpse of God’s beautiful plan for me.

Sherry Thompson

This is Orion, aged around 17 months when we travelled to the US to meet his new aunts, uncles, and cousins who adore him.

Sherrie’s story was published in the 2021 Stories of Life anthology, The Labyrinth and other stories of life

An Unseen Guide

Craig Chapman’s story, An Unseen Guide, was published in The Labyrinth and other stories of life. Thank you Craig for sharing these pictures of your hike, as well as this bit of backstory:

In April 2021, I joined a group of mates in the latest of a series of high country hiking adventures. On this occasion we hiked for six days across a remote part of Kosciuszko National Park known as the Jagungal Wilderness. We explored spectacular terrain including several of the highest peaks in Australia, crossed multiple rivers and enjoyed secluded high country huts and camping spots. The dominant feature in this amazing landscape is Mt Jagungal, a peak of over 2,000m in elevation and accessible only after a difficult approach off the main trail. We had steeled ourselves for many months in order to be prepared for this challenge.

The story describes how we battled difficult conditions and self-doubt to reach our goal. Amid the excitement of getting to the summit, and even more so on reflection, we realised how God had led us and encouraged us in unexpected ways. In particular, it seemed that God had used a wombat to provide some of that inspiration!

Hikers on snow-laden path to summit.
Following the wombat trail.

As expected, our hike proved to be challenging, exhausting and exhilarating, with day 4 (J day!) possibly the standout highlight. We created many treasured memories and experiences and, as always, gained great insight from being immersed in God’s wild and stunning creation.

Craig Chapman

The feature photo is of Craig and his mates at the summit of Mt Jagungal. To read Craig’s story and many more short stories of faith, get a copy of The Labyrinth delivered to you or send it as a present to someone who enjoys good writing and great stories.

Miracle Baby

Maggie’s story, Miracle Baby, has just been published in The Labyrinth and other stories of life. Thank you Maggie sharing this picture of Pedro.

Pedro
The story of my son’s conception and misdiagnosis in-utero was probably the most stressful event of our lives, so far. Pedro (our son) is such a joy to us. We didn’t expect him, but we are so grateful he came to us. 
Taking part in Stories of LIfe has been a positive experience. I love that my son’s story has traveled all the way to Australia! I hope it gives someone in a similar situation some hope. 
Maggie Iribarne
Maggie lives in Syracuse, New York, about five hours northwest of NYC. You can find read more of her work at https://www.maggienerziribarne.com.

Radio Farewell

Stories Of Life has been encouraging and presenting brilliant true stories of faith and testimony for over 6 years now. 300 or so stories have been told, many of them have even become radio stories through our partner 1079Life. The radio folk now find themselves needing to change the way they present their Sunday afternoons on air and so the stories will not be broadcast on radio this year. We at Stories of life really want to thank 1079Life for their support over the years and their help in establishing the competition and the publication. The stories that have been recorded over the first five years can be found here.

Enjoy!

 

Congratulations to our 2021 winners

2021 announcement of prize winners and  launch of The Labyrinth and other stories of life

Open category winners

First place to Jo Wanmer for Mum, meet my mother

Second Place to Jo-Anne Berthelsen for The Rainbow

Third Place to Lynda Wake for My Black Dogs

Short category winners

First Place to Ruth C Hall for My Shadow

Second Place to Colleen Russell for Just in time

Third Place to Dienece Darling for Lessons from Toilet Training

Youth category winners

First Place to Baxter Gierus-Heintze for The Unexpected Calling

Second Place to Shaoey C for Small Things

Third Place to H. S. Jones for Forgiveness is a blossoming flower

Special thanks to Tabor for hosting us, and Omega writers for sponsoring the prizes.

Book launch – save the date

Congrats to Tracey Price whose story gives our 2021 anthology its title, The Labyrinth & other stories of life. Less than a month away to our book launch and announcement of prize winners! Books will be available for AUD 20 per copy at the launch and also online.

Date: Thursday 4 November

Time: 6:00pm for 6:30pm start

Venue: Tabor Adelaide, 181 Goodwood Road, Millswood, SA.

Livestreamed on Facebook.

Announcing our 2021 contributors

Stories of Life is in its sixth year, and we were delighted to receive more entries than ever before, many of them incredible, heart-felt stories of faith.

It made our job of selecting entries for publication very difficult. We sincerely thank everyone who submitted a story of life, and offer our warmest congratulations the following people, whose stories will be published in the 2021 Stories of Life anthology.

Open Category

God sent his angels by Aileen Huf

The courage to go by Anne-Marie Doecke

Birthday catalyst by Boo Hooi Jimmy Khoo

A very perfect day by Charles Yuen

I wrote a poem about it by Claire Bell

The gift of a rabbit by Diana Davison

Saved by a rat by Emily J. Maurits

My guardian Yoda by Ester de Boer

We carry on by Esther Cremona

Planes, cars and God’s intervention by Ivan Francis

The turnaround by Jacqueline Waters

The vow by Jane Schope

Life is precious by Janelle Francis

An old car and a hiccough by Jenny Glazebrook

A mended heart by Jenny Woolsey

The rainbow by Jo-Anne Berthelsen

Mum, meet my mother by Jo Wanmer

Green Velvet by Joy Leabrooke

My protector by Karen Curran

Proude by name, house-proud by nature by Ling Ai Mee

My black dogs by Lynda Wake

The sound of children playing by May-Kuan Lim

Grace by Nadia Konik

Twenty by Robert Riggs

Finding God on the streets by Ruth C. Hall

Am I going to heaven by Sarah Brown

Lord, help me be a mother by Sherry Thompson

Rescued by Susan Brown

The wise old owl by Val Russell

 

Short Category

Café La Renaissance by Bernice Shen

Immanuel: not just a Christmas story by Claire Bell

Just in time by Colleen Russell

An unseen guide by Craig Chapman

Lessons from toilet training by Dienece Darling

The sergeant’s boots by Elaine Rendell

Don’t flush the toilet by Gaynor Faulkner

I dined in style by Helena Stretton

My first sprout of faith by Janice D. Green

Who would you choose? by Jenine Altmann

Tears for a baby by Jo Wanmer

Incident at Peats Ridge by Jonathan Mowen

The view from a sardine by June Hopkins

The gift by Juni Desireé Hoel

Set free from darkness by Ket Pang

Held in my heart by Kylie Gardiner

I had been seen by Lisa Birch

Miracle baby by Maggie Nerz Iribarne

Fishing for faith by R. J. Rodda

My Shadow by Ruth C. Hall

Mt Morgan Prayer Meeting by Tony Koch

Labyrinth Life by Tracey Price

Pinball by Tsung Chung

 

Youth

The unexpected calling by Baxter Gierus-Heintze

Forgiveness is a blossoming flower by H. S. Jones

Small things by Shaoey C.

More information to follow on the title of the 2021 anthology and date of the book launch when prize winners will be announced. We thank our sponsors Omega Writers and our supporters Tabor College and Immortalise for making this competition possible.

 

Communications Career Kickstart

Pleased to let you know that Tabor College, one of our supporters, will be holding this workshop in Perth.

Register now to go into the draw to win ‘The Master’s Book Case’, a collection of books from the Masters program including key texts and creative publications by those who have emerged from the course.

Program

Session 1: Surviving Creativity. Creativity: what it is, what it isn’t.

Session 2: Where do ideas come from?

Session 3: Editing and effective creativity.

Lunch provided

Session 4: Storytelling for communication and making a living.

Session 5 Commercial communications.

Closing session.

An Angel in Heaven

Hazel Barker’s story An Angel in Heaven about losing her baby was published in the 2020 Stories of Life anthology. This is what she told us:

I wrote this story in the hope that anyone who grieved would turn to God for strength and support. My husband and my religious beliefs were a comfort to me when I grieved. We supported each other, and the Lord gave us the strength to bear our cross.

My story, An Angel in Heaven is especially for women who have lost their babies to know that they are not alone in their grief. Experiencing something like the death of a child can only be fully understood for those who have suffered the same loss.

Hazel Barker

Do you have a story of faith to tell? We’d love to hear it. Entry guidelines here. Feature photograph of Hazel Barker supplied.

Our 2021 anthology now available: The labyrinth and other stories of life