40 Stories of Family and Faith

For those who have been reading my stories for a long time, you know there’s been a shift in my writing life. I walked away from Two Writing Teachers in order to find the space to tell a story that’s been knocking around inside of me. For the past few months I’ve been learning to give brain space to some new writing territories. It’s time I begin writing to find my voice in the topics of adoption and family and marriage and faith.

I’ve decided to dedicate the season of Lent to writing 40 stories. Lent is a season of preparation leading up to the Easter celebration. It is designed to be 40 days of preparation, with a day of rest each week.

I’m learning rest is crucial to my writing life. I like the idea of a big challenge with built in rest. This season, I’m giving 40 stories of family and faith. I’m not “allowed” to rattle off a story about teaching or writing. These are natural and easy for me to write. I’ve had lots of practice, beginning to blog in those territories in 2005. This challenge is about training my brain to find and compose stories in these new writing territories. (I’m learning I craft a lot of my writing in my head. In order to write like I want about family and faith, I have to retrain my brain to think in new territories.)

I’ve shared this plan with two friends who both laughed when I told them the rules. Neither were surprised that I’d have rules. I, however, was a little surprised that they expected me to have rules. I don’t consider myself a rules sort of person. I do, I suppose, like to know the exact goal and then go after it with all I’m worth. This is both comforting and a hassle.

In addition to offering 40 stories, I’m also giving up comments on them. I’m finding I’m determining the worth of a story based on the comments. I don’t want to write a story because I think it’ll get comments. (This is not to devalue comments. They are often the fuel for my writing life. It is simply that I want to depend on my heart to know the value of these 40 stories.)

I want to write 40 stories to find my voice, to learn how to handle tough back stories with dignity and respect, and to be fueled by a writing challenge.

Without a doubt, CELEBRATE This Week will continue on Saturdays (with comments!) during the six weeks of Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 5, I’ll offer a story six days each week until Easter Sunday, April 20. I hope my stories will inspire you to shine and love and and celebrate and collect some of your own stories too.

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  1. I attended the Justice conference the last two days and my mind and heart are spinning with what to do next. Lent is the perfect time to dig deep and write stories that cause me to think and pray and perhaps even be uncomfortable. I look forward to visiting you and reading your stories this season.

  2. Can't wait to read your stories, Ruth, even if we don't get to comment. Think many of my stories would be similar. Wondering how you handle publishing stories, especially those that might be more difficult, about your family and honoring their privacy…That's always a hard balance for me to figure out with my boys. Our family has so many stories I would like to tell, but I'm not sure whether it would be respectful to my boys.

  3. Oh, it sounds wonderful! Can't wait to read what God leads you to write!

    And I love your plan to have it comment-less! God will be the One to whisper His enJOYment and understanding!

  4. I love…the audience will still be there, without comments. I for one, savor your words and insight always. I hope you will share with us what you learn about giving up and giving out in this Lenten writing experience. xo nanc

  5. Your stories will be told from the heart filled with encouragement and truth. I am anxious to read them, knowing I will laugh and cry. Thank you for sharing your voice.

  6. Considering what you have done and been thinking about your writing, this project is right on track for you, Ruth. I felt your growing pains. I'm glad rest is now in the recipe, too. I will be reading your 40 Stories of Family and Faith. It will be a fine daily devotional read for me. Glad for you coming into your own.

  7. You are wise, brave, and driven. I am looking forward to the gift you will be giving yourself and the world this season. Just because you are giving up comments here doesn't mean I won't find a way to connect. (That's not cheating, is it?)

  8. What a wonderful way to dig deeper. I am sure your will see God's faithfulness in a new light. I look forward to reading your family and faith stories.

  9. I can't wait to read your stories. What a journey you've undertaken and how fortunate we are to share your journey into new territories through these stories.

  10. And now you know why I love the March SOL challenge – it is my Lenten practice – as I choose to take something “on” rather than give up.
    You are doing what I feel should be most essential as a writer, connecting to one's core. I hear the power of your faith and love loud and clear. (And I totally get what you are saying about comments. I would forgo them as well but my friends and family might take offense!) Thank you for your writing – more than your writing – you.

  11. Ruth, I totally get that you are giving up comments. And yet I read your story about wanting a baby and so wanted to “talk” to you. I have been there, waiting forever for a husband that doesn't come, trying to learn to love the single life, praying for God to take the desire for a husband away, hating that dull ache that is always, always there. Thank you for that beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for your honest. Hugs and prayers. Carol