Category Archives: A 2020 Story of Life reading

Papa’s Shoes by Valmai Redhead

Last year, Valmai Redhead’s story, Papa’s Shoes, was chosen as the title story for the 2019 Stories of Life anthology. Her story was not only published, but also read out on 1079 Life in South Australia:

Papa’s Shoes by Valmai Redhead

Valmai shared with us the backstory to story that has touched many, and the anthology a keepsake for the family.

My husband Laurence and I were about to step into retirement, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. After just a few short weeks, he stepped into eternity in July 2016. Losing my soul mate after forty-two years of marriage was the most difficult thing I have had to face. But the words of Psalm 30:5 are indeed true: Although weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.

A few years earlier, when my dear mother-in-law, Alice Redhead first gave me Laurence’s baby shoes, I was touched to have such a beautiful childhood keepsake. Knowing that one day some creative inspiration would come, I put them away with no idea of how that would happen, or of the events that would unfold.

After the sadness, the joy did come. On 21 November 2016 Archie Laurence was born. About the same time I remembered the baby shoes and I knew what I needed to do. Although Laurence (Papa to his grandchildren) had never met Archie, he did know that his second name would be Laurence.

On the day of Archie’s dedication, what a joy it was to present the gift that meant so much. And what a privilege to see Laurence’s mother, aged 97 years, holding her great grandson. It was such a glorious picture of a legacy of faith through the generations.

Memories of that day created the perfect image for birthing ‘Papa’s Shoes.’ The story almost wrote itself. As soon as I began, more than 700 words poured out on to the page. The challenge of editing, crafting and honing it into just 500 words took much longer. Finally it was finished and I knew that whatever the result of the competition, the journey had been worth it. Laurence and his mum would have both been proud of me, and in knowing that I am content.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will your story of life be in the 2020 anthology? Submissions accepted till the end of July.

Three Seconds, Bus Stops and Log Trucks by Megan Higginson

‘I gripped the steering wheel as another log truck rushed by on its way to the paper mill. My car rocked from side to side.’

So begins Megan Higginson’s story, ‘Three Seconds, Bus Stops and Log Trucks’, a poignant and powerful story that we published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. Over summer, 1079 Life broadcast the story, read by none other than Megan herself and we bring you the recording today.

Megan Higginson (centre) and her now adult children

Enjoyed this story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies. Will your story be in our 2020 anthology? We hope so.

2016 – 2019 Stories of Life anthologies

Useful links:

Feedback Month – 11 days left to get feedback on your story draft

How to Enter

Categories and Prizes

Feature image of Logging Truck by Chapman on Flikr. 

 

The Dress by Jane Owers

‘You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. Looking at me when I was 24 it was easy to see I was a struggling single mum who hated being cold. The only new clothes I bought were Kmart shoes and underwear…’

This is how Jane’s story, The Dress, begins. Her story was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and broadcast on 1079 Life in Adelaide over summer:

Enjoyed The Dress? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology?

We hope so. From now until 30 June, you can send us your story draft and one of our editors will give you feedback. This is a free service we are offering to help people of faith tell their faith stories well. For draft submissions click here.

That crazy message from God by R.J. Rodda

‘That crazy message from God’ involves a battered blue Mazda, a red light, and a very tired young driver.

R. J. Rodda’s story won third prize in the 2019 Eternity Matters Stories of Life and  was published in Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.

Peter Evans (left) from Eternity Matters presenting the prize to R.J. Rodda’s father.

‘That crazy message from God’ was also broadcast on 1079 Life over summer and we’re pleased to bring you a reading of her story today.

If you enjoyed that story, you may like to check out our archives and anthologies.

4 books in 4 years – will your story be in the 2020 Stories of Life anthology? We hope so.

In June, Feedback Month, we are offering feedback to anyone who would like their story draft read by one of our editors. Upload your story drafts here if you would like to take advantage of this free service offered by our editors. We are also accepting submissions to the competition proper until 31 July.

There are three categories:

  • Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life (up to 500 words)
  • Immortalise Young Stories of Life (500 – 1000 words, for writers aged 17 and under)
  • Tabor Stories of Life (1000 – 1500 words)

A person can submit a maximum of one story per category. This means that if you are under aged 17 and under, you could submit up to three stories, and if you are 18 and over, you could submit up to two stories.

Stories are already starting to come in, and we are excited at the quality of those stories and anticipating a great 2020 anthology.

 

 

One of the Six by Craig Chapman

Craig’s story, One of the Six, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. The title of Craig’s story was taken from this statistic recorded in his first paragraph: ‘Every day, eight Australians take their own live. Six of those are men.’

Craig recorded his story at the 1079 Life studios in Adelaide and his story was broadcast in South Australia over the past summer.

Craig at his writing desk

A bit about Craig

Craig enjoys outdoor adventure, including hiking. He is a regular blogger on seedstrek.com and has been writing for many years. Craig has had several stories published in past Stories of Life anthologies. His novel, 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. You can find read more of his work at craigchapman.org.

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology?

We hope so. From now until 30 June, you can send us your story draft and one of our editors will give you feedback. This is a free service we are offering to help people of faith tell their faith stories well. For draft submissions click here.

Hearing God’s Voice by Graham Byrne

Graham Byrne’s story, Hearing God’s Voice, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and broadcast on 1079 Life in South Australia.

Enjoyed Graham’s story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.

Drop Zone by Juni Desireé Hoel

Juni Desireé Hoel

Juni’s story, Drop Zone, won second prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life last year and was published in our anthology Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. We’re pleased to bring you a reading of Juni’s story today.

 

We asked Juni to share with us a bit about her story and her writing journey. This is what she sent us:

Backstory to Drop Zone

I wrote Drop Zone because I wanted to share a short encouraging story that is also a reminder to self. This story encourages me personally on two levels.

First, it reminds me that I am enough. I am only one person but God loves me as much as he loves any other person. And he will do whatever he can to get my attention and show me who he is. He shows me he wants to be in my life every day and we can talk to each other all the time.

Second, it reminds me that when we serve God and share God with others through words or actions, it is never in vain. We may think it has no impact and that it’s a waste of time and effort because we don’t see anything happen on the outside. But who knows what seed is being planted or watered or is growing in someone’s heart?

Having been on both sides of one being served and one serving, I can appreciate both sides and see how they work together. As a youth leader, I could become discouraged thinking that working with teens each week wasn’t making a difference. But Gabby’s words encouraged me that it mattered. It mattered in my life when Gabby ran Drop Zone every week, so, I would keep going because it might matter in someone else’s life.

In terms of how I wrote the story, I wanted to capture these two sides, so, that’s why the story is split into two episodes. I also wanted to focus on dialogue because it was a conversation with Gabby that gave me this insight about the one being worth it. I then chose a conversation with Gabby from the earlier episode where her words also gave me an insight that God is real and personal. I wanted to highlight that what she did matters. It wasn’t big, flashy, weird, or wacky, but it was simple, casual, normal, and relatable. It made a difference.

What writing means to me

For a long time, my dream has been to be a writer/author. I’ve doubted this dream many times but writing is something I can’t shake. Throughout my life, I’ve had other hobbies and passions that have come and gone, but I’ve always gone back to writing. God has spoken to me about it on numerous occasions telling me I was made to write. The most recent time I doubted this was last year. I asked God to show me if I should keep the writing dream alive or if I should give it up. Not long after, I found out that one of my stories I entered in the Stories of Life competition had won a monetary prize. I felt God speak to me through this. He told me not to neglect writing and that he had still called me to be a writer.

The reason I doubted writing was because I felt guilty that my dream wasn’t to do something ‘better’ with my life. Teaching, nursing, feeding the poor…something that you could see was making a difference in the world and making people’s lives better. Through studying creative writing at Tabor (a course I heard about through the Stories of Life competition), I finally learnt the value of writing. I mean, I always knew it, from being a lifelong book-reader and seeing how writing made a difference in my life, but hearing it from a Christian perspective showed me that writing is one of many ways we can show God to the world and glorify him. And writing can make people’s lives better by offering encouragement, inspiration, comfort, wisdom, and so much more.

I hope the words I write bring God’s light and love to people and that they bring glory to God. 

‘Clothed in Beauty’ by Juni Desireé Hoel

You can find more of Juni’s work here:

YouTube: Juni Desireé

Facebook: Juni Desireé Writer

Instagram: Willowbound Journals

Etsy: Willowbound Journals

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies. Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.

A Thousand Dollars by Rusty A Lang

Rusty A Lang’s story, A Thousand Dollars, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and broadcast on 1079 Life in South Australia.

Enjoyed Rusty’s story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.

Feature image by James St John.

A Lesson for Life by Alan Blunt

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Alan Blunt’s story, A Lesson for Life, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and broadcast on 1079 Life in South Australia.

It’s a powerful story about fistfights in the far corner of the playground under the gum trees. Alan reads his own story for us, making it all the more poignant, bringing us back in time to when he was a young boy, when he and his sister were marked out as being different.

 

Enjoyed Alan’s story? For more stories like these, head over to our archives or grab a copy of our past anthologies.

Will your story be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. Accepting submissions till 31 July.

In a Manger by Joanne Prenzler Smith

Joanne Prenzler Smith

Last November, Joanne Prenzler Smith recorded her story, In a Manger, at the 1079 LifeFM studios in Adelaide. Her story about a real baby, her baby, used in a nativity play won first prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life category.

In a Manger by Joanne Prenzler Smith

 

Joanne’s story was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life, and also won first prize in the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life category.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

 

Will your story win a prize? Or will it be published in our 2020 anthology? We hope so. We’re accepting submissions till 31 July.