Showing posts with label a good story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a good story. Show all posts

the short story...

Rory gave me this book for Christmas. We saw the movie Sweetland just after we got married at a movie theatre in Duluth. I was then working at the nursing home and was on a mission to record the life stories of my residents. When we saw this movie, I was is the life story of a hardworking farming couple in Minnesota. It basically was the story I had heard over and over at the nursing home, and seeing it in movie form made me sentimental and grateful. I cried so hard during the credits it was socially awkward.

So this Christmas, Rory got me this book, a collection of short stories by Will Weaver, one of which was the original story that the movie, Sweetland, was based upon.

I read this book in a few days. And I feel like I discovered a new friend: the short story! I remember reading short stories in school once in a while, but those stories were assigned, and I never really have appreciated any assigned reading, just because it was assigned. But this book was delightful...each story based on midwestern folk, stories that felt true to life and human nature.

I'd recommend it. The back cover describes the books as "a vivid portrait of swirling, intergenerational changes in the Midwest," and each story carries this theme in someway. (There is one story that doesn't fit in with the others, but I'll let you read it to figure that out!)

So here's my question: Does anyone have any other favorite collections of short stories to share? I feel like I just stumbled upon a new favorite pasttime...sort of like finding a new 30 minute tv show you doesn't take a lot of time, but it does the trick when you need to clear your mind.

Anyway, if you have a favorite book or author that writes good short stories, please, share! I'd love to stay on this short story kick for a while.

Rory's Grandpa...

I just got the best email from my mother in law. She wrote that she was asked to write a funny story about Papa (her dad, our grandpa) to be shared at Family Night at the Care Home where he lives. She wrote out the following and it is all true.

Dad used to like to "ride the rails" or "jump trains" when he was young. He was around 18 yrs. old and very poor at the time. It was just after the depression. If his father could send him $1.00 of spending money for a semester of school that was all he would get. He was attending Bible College, but there was no money for traveling back and forth from home. He solved that problem by traveling on trains for free. He was in college in Springfield, Mo., and home was Cleveland, Ohio.

One time when it was Christmas, the highlight of the year for a Swedish family. He jumped a train, climbed on top and lashed himself onto the boxcar with his belt so he wouldn't fall off when he fell asleep overnight. He arrived safely home, but another man on top of that same boxcar froze to death during the night.

Another time he jumped into a darkened boxcar where he couldn't see into the back corner of that car. After the train started a man came at him from the dark. He was prepared to fight. He had a sock with a bar of soap in the toe of it which he swung at the other man and protected himself.

A third time he jumped into an open doored boxcar at a station. The workers came through the lot and closed all of the train's doors. He found himself locked in a refrigerated car. He says someone working the lot must have seen him go into that car and before the train pulled out he opened the door just a bit otherwise Dad would have frozen to death!!

We KNOW that the Lord had His hand on this man and kept him safe (from himself) many times. I wish you could hear him tell these stories!!

Another Auction Surprise...

I wrote LaVonne (the generous friend who purchased the quilt for me) a thank you today and told her the following story as a part of my thank you. It was fun to write out this memory.

When I was in 5th grade we had a huge family reunion out in Colorado. One of my great uncles built a special building for this family reunion, complete with a stage and sound system, sleeping quarters and a kitchen with three ovens to feed all of us.

As a part of raising funds for the next family reunion, everyone brought collected items of my great grandma Anderson’s to be auctioned off to other family members. My mom had put an old, paper-thin apron of great grandma’s in the auction without my knowledge. I was playing Vanna White and when they handed me the apron to display for the bidders and I was horrified. I didn’t want the apron to be auctioned off. I loved that apron.

So from that stage I was silently lipping to my mom that I wanted the apron. She could see I was sad, but sort of communicated that it was too late and she was sorry. When the bidding started my mom tried to keep up with the bids, but her cousin Chuck kept increasing the bid so that she had to drop out. The apron was sold and cousin Chuck spent A LOT of money on that thing.

I walked the apron to him and when I got there he pushed it back into my hands and told me he bought it for me. And I absolutely fell apart. I actually remember this moment as pretty awkward because I couldn’t even tell him thank you. I was just overwhelmingly humbled and grateful and relieved.

There is something about a free gift that is so hard to comprehend. Our nature wants to earn it, to be sure we've contributed something, to repay them later. But truly accepting a free might just take me an eternity to figure out what this is really all about.

Good perspective for the day

I love reading anything by Donald Miller. Most people know him for his book Blue Like Jazz, a candid testimony that I found startling and refreshing...similar to Anne LaMott's Traveling Mercies. I tend to drop by his blog frequently and he just posted another chapter from his next book. Like any good tease, I cannot wait for this book to come out. The chapter is super short and so worth your time. Bop on over to his blog. You'll be glad you did.

Groves Family Reunion

We spent a glorious week out in Estes Park with the Groves family last week. This year for the reunion we enjoyed our first annual GFR Talent Show. The entire day before the actual talent show Rory spent some good quality time with our nephew Jack as they created the following clips to be shown throughout the talent show. It was hysterical and more fun than the clips was watching Rory and Jack play so hard all day long. I kept catching glimpses of them at various moments laughing hard and talking excitedly about where their next scene should take place. Enjoy!

Honest prayer.

I just got an email from my sister telling me that last night Mara prayed, "thank you God that I am funny."

Staff Training

I work at a Bible camp as an assistant program director. Last week we had 70 summer staff arrive and for the last 11 days we have been in intensive staff training. I love this watch these young people speak with so much enthusiasm about their faith is really, really fulfilling. It just feels good to hear the good news proclaimed through passionate believers.

We're growing like a family, with some rough spots and spats along the way, but I think that just keeps it real. We are humans doing this good work, after all.

My favorite line of the whole week was yesterday when I had just announced that we were going to spend the next two hours napping because everyone looked so overly tired and passy-outy as they laid down on the floor during every 15 minute break we gave. So I insisted that everyone go and get in their sleeping bags and sleep until dinner.

My two sweet staff from Korea came up to me and quietly asked with confusion on their faces, "excuse me, Becca. But what did you say...passy-outy mean?"

I had to explain Beccaisms and how I often change phrases into adjectives and really just not to listen to my english as they continue to learn their own english.

I'm off now for the rest of the night and I am feeling pretty passy-outy myself. Good night!


We went to the Omaha Renaissance Festival today and my favorite moment (though there were many) was in the bathroom. A little girl was being coached by her mom in the stall next to me. The girl could not have been older than three.

The mom asked the girl if she was doing okay. The girl audibly grunted and then was quiet for a while. Finally, taking command of the moment she yelled, "Come out poopie. Just come out!"