10 May 2013

Writing My Personal History

I'm spending some wonderful vacation time in
West Palm Beach. Is there anything more inspiring
than a sunrise over the ocean? 
I woke up yesterday morning with an idea. My writing energy these days is going towards writing my own personal history. I joined a writing group. I took a class on writing narrative history with a deadline assignment of 40 pages. My history is progressing, but I have neglected this blog. So what if I put some personal history writing here? Why? Why do I want to publish? I believe the desire is within each of us to be understood, to be heard, to be listened to. And when I read other people's history it sparks thoughts for me. I hope the same is true for you.
(PS "Gentle" feedback is helpful.)

Coping with Abundance
My life story is about the abundance of gifts that I have been given. At so many times in my life, I have cried out, “Too much! I can’t handle all this.” Whether the “too much” consists of apples or grapes from my yard, children in my house, laundry that floods my laundry room and kitchen floor, ideas for a family reunion, heartache, death, pets, ephemera from the past, or bananas, my problem is always about how to handle it.

Solutions for me seem to come in three categories:
  1. Live one day at a time.
  2. Let go and trust God.
  3. Focus on gratitude
.As I ponder how to make a record of my abundant life, I’m faced with the same old problem. There has been too much of it. I’m always reluctant to throw anything away or to ignore any part of something. It may have value. The truth is that it all does have value, but I can cope with it more easily by taking one piece at a time, by trusting that God is guiding me and can make up my deficiencies, and by focusing on my gratitude for everything I have experienced.

The first part of my life—those growing-up years, my teen years and first years of marriage—I survived by taking just one hour or one day at a time. Those years involved my determination to persevere in following my dreams, to keep believing that things would turn out well. I was determined to make my life work by trying as hard as I could. And I could try really hard. And work really hard. And I did. I was given an abundance of personal gifts and an abundance of personal trials. Determination and setting high goals carried the day.  This part of my life began in 1947 with my birth. I married twenty years later, in 1967. Our early married life still carried this theme. A convenient cut-off date for this first section is 1975 when we moved from one Orem house to the other. Thus the first twenty-seven year period of my life I will call Part 1 (to be titled when inspiration hits).

The middle part of my life is the years from 1975 to 2000. We lived at 448 East 100 South in Orem during these years. They were busy years of raising a family, still being involved with my family of origin and working in my Church. Because we called the house we lived in during that time, “The Stubbs Family Residence,” that is my title for this section for now. During those years, the abundance of blessings I received included much adversity. The trials of those years also brought back some of the things I had ignored during Part 1, childhood trauma, living with an imperfect marriage partner and dealing with my son Andy’s life and death, as well as the death of my mother. I could no longer escape or ignore the reality of death, addiction and the overwhelming nature of my chosen vocation of mother and homemaker. I had to learn to let go of my need to be in control. I had to learn to trust God.

The third part of my life is where I am today, from the year 2000 to the present. My abundant life has continued to be abundant in both blessings and trials. I experienced the death of another daughter. I have come to terms with my eating addiction. The lessons continue. Today I see that my focus must be gratitude. My experiences have taught me that I can endure anything one day at a time, that I can trust God to take care of the myriad things that I have no control over, and that I am grateful for my life and my life lessons. Education has been a major thread running through each part of my life and today I can see that my best educational opportunities are those afforded me by the life I have lived and am living today. One day at a time, I’m learning to trust God and be grateful.

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