storytelling

Weaving Our Story

January 29, 2014

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A friend of our family recently shared that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Those are words that we always hate hearing, that bring up many memories, fears and prayers. As I sat listening to her husband describe what it was like to share the news to their community of friends and loved ones, he spoke of the many women who approached them to share their own stories. Some told of survival, some of loss, some of just finding out that they too would be walking the same journey, with the same diagnosis. I can only imagine the importance of those stories being shared. The immediate sense of community and care that must have materialized.

As I drove home, and in the weeks since, I have thought about those stories. Perhaps for the first time I realized that the stories that we choose to weave together, and to share, are really the fabric of our relationships, no matter how long we may be in someone’s life, no matter how brief a moment we may share. It is our experiences that bind us and keeps us close, that reminds us that we are not alone, we do not need to be alone, and we are all closer in situation than we may think.

We are all interesting and experienced. We all have a wealth of knowledge that needs to come out, to teach, to mentor, to guide and to illuminate. It is hard to see ourselves as being that valuable, but it is essential that we do. I have been thinking of the stories recently that have touched me, forever changed me, and shaped who I am in this moment. I think of them as a tapestry that blankets me. A weaving board with every story a different fabric, color, and print. Those are remarkable stories, shared by remarkable people, and there are a lot of them. Some of the stories came from people I only met once, and by chance. Some are by the women who came before me, some are by those I have never laid eyes on. Some are in books, some on the phone, some through tears, some through joy. They are mine, they tell my story, and they are sacred.

I also think of the pieces of me that are spread across another’s woven life, how a story I once shared could have possibly shaped another in a small way. I think of what colors those stories might represent, what meaning they may hold. That is the beauty of the human race, and the magic of love. We impact each other, and we leave a mark.

Now it is time for me to encourage my children to begin to tell their stories. To share their loves, their fears, their hopes. I see Jacob telling another about his celiac disease, easing the fears of someone just beginning their journey. I see Elwood share his fear of heights, bonding with another boy at the bottom of a rope swing. I see their openness, and I pray that it holds. I want them to be storytellers and poets, letting their emotions be their guides. I want them to know that even if one person comes along and is changed by their words, that will be enough. I want them to know that their greatest gifts can come from what they are willing to give of themselves, and how they can help another by simply sharing their own experiences. I want them to remember that their story is a beautiful one.

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A Weekend Giveaway

May 18, 2012

As summer is approaching, so many of us begin to look for ways to inspire our children, both inside and out. I love creative ways to do just about anything, and I always look forward to my copy of Alphabet Glue for the boys. As a mother of three, and as a home schooler, I look for projects, books and resources that are truly unique, will be fun for my children (and for me), and that will boost their learning process. Combining crafting and art with storytelling and a love of literature has been a great experience for my family, and we are always excited to see what Annie will come up with next.

Annie’s authentic voice and genuine desire to see families become more comfortable as storytellers makes her publication even more special. While I could continue to go and gush about Alphabet Glue, I thought that you might like to hear a little bit about it from Annie’s own words.

I began Alphabet Glue after seeing the positive response that I was getting from families who were reading and using my Library Monday book reviews and my tutorials on bookmaking with children. As both a teacher and a parent, I felt like I really wanted to create a resource for families and other educators who were looking to help the children in their lives connect to the world of story in a meaningful way. I wanted to encourage more children to read great books, and I wanted to help adults figure out where to find those books. I had also started thinking a lot about the importance of children feeling that their own stories and imagination were as powerful and valuable as they so obviously are. Part of what Alphabet Glue is all about is the idea that a book doesn’t have to be bound in a shiny, hard cover and found on a shelf in a big box store to be “real.” A book is real if you write it and it tells the story that you wanted it to tell, even if it is just crafted of stapled together binder paper and you stick it under your mattress when it’s done! I wanted to demystify reading and writing and creating stories and make it all real and accessible for kids.

In the beginning, I’m pretty sure I thought that I might do one or two issues of Alphabet Glue, and then I’d let the project go and move on to something else. But it’s fun. Really fun. So, I keep doing it. Plus, these days I sometimes get these incredible emails from parents or teachers who are using the projects or the booklists from the magazine with their kids or their students, and I feel so humbled and grateful for the fact that people are including Alphabet Glue into their daily literary lives; I can’t help but keep going.

¬†Annie’e summer edition comes out soon, but there are still many weeks left of spring to enjoy. Today we are offering 4 copies as a weekend giveaway. Simple leave a comment here and we will draw on Sunday night.

In addition, Annie is offering a discount of 15% off through May 31st for any edition. Simply enter the code “Shivaya” at checkout.

Have a blessed weekend filled with much storytelling and good reading.

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