The Grove – Story

At every week’s end, all of us ladies scattered across the globe, we gather here at The Grove to sit for a bit and share a piece of our hearts.  Today, we’re here to share about the prompt “Story.”  Here’s the piece of my heart…

I held him tight and whispered into his ear, “I love you.” 

Before I turned to head to the car, I paused and looked back at him, his bony bowlegs sticking out from beneath his shorts as he hobbled away.  Was this just one of our many good-byes? Or was it something more?  A tear slid down my cheek.  The fear in my gut told me this might be the last time I see him.

Turns out it was.

My grandfather fell just a few weeks before we were to be back in the States again.  Just a few weeks before he would meet my children for the very first time.  I did a frantic flight search, trying to figure out a way to make it back for one last good-bye.  But the timing, the children, the moving, the money, it all just didn’t add up.  There was no way to make it happen.

So I Skyped to his hospital room, all my family, aunts, uncles, cousins gathered round.  I was there with them, but I wasn’t.  I spoke out my goodbye from halfway around the world, hoping my words would make their way past his unconsciousness and into his heart.

I thanked him for his stories. I thanked him for telling us time and time again about the trolls living under the bridge, about Professor Weirdo and Dr. I-Am-Cooky, about the dinosaur bones he’d found in his field.

In my heart, from halfway around the world, I could hear his laugh, the one that Sesame Street’s Ernie copied from my grandpa, I’m sure of it.  That laugh, it always followed his stories, the telling never ceased to delight him.

In that digital goodbye, I also silently thanked my grandpa for the other stories.  The ones he lived but didn’t like to tell.  The story of being a farm boy through the Great Depression. The story of swimming away from his ship as it sunk beneath the Japanese fire of World War II.  And the story being a post-war traveling salesman, feeding a wife and seven kids.

We knew those stories were there…somewhere, but he would hardly ever speak of those times.  We wondered at times, but you know the fear of prying, of finding secret skeletons in closets.  These kept many stories forever unknown.

The stories he liked to tell were full of goofiness and his signature laughter.  And while we may have rolled our eyes at hearing them for the five hundredth time, we adored that he told them and embraced that this is what he offered.  The stories, both told and untold were what made him…him.

In the end, that is what we have.  Stories.  The ones we live and the ones we tell.

Perhaps one day, my grandchildren will gather round my hospital bed to say their goodbyes to me.  I’m hoping I won’t leave them with questions about my stories of hardship and pain.  I hope they’ll know the honest truth, the whole truth, and more importantly that they’ll see the glory of the One who met me in those moments.

And I hope to be like my grandfather, that the sound of my laughter will echo long in their ears.  That whatever life brings, my people will know the sound of my laugh, that I found joy in the story.


What about you?  What stories have left an imprint on you?  Do you have a story that needs to be told?

Share with us!

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    8. Then go share some comment love!  It’s the rule.  We applaud brave hearts!



Word Art by Amy Davis Art Design


  1. Cheryl Wenzlaff December 5, 2013

    After a night of restless sleep I woke up last Thursday morning (Thanksgiving) really tired for my 8am class. After class I went shopping and collected all the ingredients I needed at the local market. I came home and started to work on preparation for Friday. When it was time for my afternoon class I had to pause and give myself an attitude check. Somehow within the few hours between classes my attitude had taken a turn down grumpy street. Part of me was upset I was teaching on Thanksgiving and the other was desperately homesick. Everything in me was screaming to cancel class but of course I knew it wasn’t an option since it was the last class before the exam and I had to review with them. So I sucked it up and stomped off to class.

    I stood in the classroom rather bitter-hearted and waited for the bell. As I walked over to the door to close it, a student was walking in and she handed me a small red carnation and said “Happy Thanksgiving”. Suddenly all that anger dissipated and I found myself holding back the wave of tears that brimmed my eyes. Something so simple, yet so timely. I set it on my desk and throughout the class when I felt my frustration building I would turn and look at that flower. When we finally talked about Thanksgiving at the end of class, a gasp of surprise ran through the class when they realized it was actually the day of the holiday. When I found the sweet face of the student who had given me the flower, we shared a secret knowing smile and my heart filled with thankfulness. Such simple gestures remind me of how detailed the Father is and how kind and good He is to us. I encourage you today to think of some of how you have seen His goodness recently.

    1. Morielle December 5, 2013

      I had such a similar encouragement straight from our Father on thanksgiving! I was recovering from a cold, feeling really weak and tired, and had an 8am class. After work, I just passed out and figured, well, not sure I’ll do anything for thanksgiving. Then a student texted me saying she and her 4 roommates wanted to come over and cook with me. They even helped clean up! What a gift.

    2. Danielle Wheeler December 6, 2013

      Such a beautiful story, Cheryl! I love those moments when you know, down to your toes, that God has sent a little something/someone your way to say, “I know. And I love you.” Thanks for sharing!

    3. Jennifer December 6, 2013

      Thank you for sharing. A very good reminder that we need to keep our eyes open for small “good” things when we are otherwise feeling down. I know it is often the smallest things that encourage me the most and I have also seen it when I have been open to give small insignificant encouragement to others.

    4. Carolyn December 6, 2013

      Such a beautiful story! Isn’t it amazing how God uses such tiny things to speak so directly to our hearts in exactly the way we need, right then in the moment? I am so thankful for His timely showing of His love to you on Thanksgiving, Cheryl!

  2. Kimberly Todd December 5, 2013


    1. Danielle Wheeler December 6, 2013

      Aww, such a great picture! I’m not sure who enjoys story time more, me or my kids! Can they please never outgrow snuggles and story time?

    2. Amy Young December 6, 2013

      I absolutely love the look on your son’s face 🙂 …. and the choice of book you’ve made!

    3. Carolyn December 6, 2013


      Does anyone have suggestions for good chapter book read-alouds for boys? All the ones I grew up with are pretty girly!

      1. Kimberly Todd December 6, 2013

        Carolyn, our go-to source when we need a new novel is Jim Trelease’s “Read-Aloud Handbook” (look for the new 7th edition). He includes a rich treasury of read-alouds. When I asked my son (5) what his favorites have been, he said “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl and “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” series by Beverly Cleary (3 books). Consider, though, not parsing literature by gender. Good stories are good stories and I don’t want my littles to miss out on stories that shaped me as a young girl just because they’re male. And from the adult on the other side, one of my husband’s favorite juvenile fiction characters has always been Ramona Quimby.

  3. Morielle December 5, 2013

    I recently heard somone describe the story of one’s coming to faith as the “supernatural work of God bringing someone spiritually dead to life!” I tell parts of my story to people, but how could I possibly tell the whole saga of how God brought me through years and years of doubt and fear to knowing that faith is not a blind leap, but rather an ASSURANCE of things hoped for; that it is a CONVICTION of things not seen? It’s almost as if every episode from my life has deepened that assurance and conviction. But as I type here and look back, I realize that hearing stories (from novels to sermon illustrations, and from the stories of the Bible to stories I see lived into my life) was one of the primary ways God challenged and encouraged me to trust Him. Oh, how thankful I am for all of the stories God has used and is using to draw us to Him. And also the assurance I have that He’s using my story too! Sometimes I look around myself and ask God, “How can you make anything out of this mess?” and He replies, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 6, 2013

      Stories are so often the means that God uses to grow me. It’s so much more powerful than someone telling me directly how I should live. No, tell me your story. Show me how God has moved in your story, and that will move me in mine.

      1. Emily March December 6, 2013

        Exactly that.

      2. Carolyn December 6, 2013

        Yes, Danielle, exactly this.

  4. Emily March December 6, 2013

    Stories of pain. Those are so important to tell. Not only do they free you, the story teller; they also free your audience through God’s grace and mercy. Someone very near and dear to me and I are living a story of pain this week…together. One of broken trust, broken hearts, and a deep pain that reaches back to years ago. But also one of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and amazing compassion. It’s often through stories like these where God gains Glory and Honor and Praise. Oh, how my world has been turned upside down this week, and yet my life has been shaped and changed so much more for the better! I have never been one to have a very high level of compassion – and now I am finding myself full of more compassion for people and things I never would have dreamed of! I have neglected the amazing Power and full Presence of the Holy Spirit, and now I know He is here, speaking to me and through me with such intensity. He is teaching me how to pay attention, and so many people are benefiting from HIM! God, in his magnificent love, is not only healing me and my loved one, but is also showing both of us how He is shaping us to actually be Godly! We are being made Holy, and God is using such a thing as a story of pain.
    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
    Tell your story. Bring Glory to God!

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 6, 2013

      Wow, Emily! Sounds like it’s been quite a week for you! So thrilled God is using your story. That joy can blossom from pain – what a glory.

    2. Shelly Page December 12, 2013

      Yes. Stories of pain powerfully showcase God’s tenderness, grace, mercy, love…So messy, but oh, so life-giving if we receive the storyline and fellow characters from the Author, trust Him with each turn in the plot and the timing for each new chapter.

  5. Story | Rainey Days in Asia December 6, 2013

    […] linking up to Velvet Ashes.  Want to take 5 minutes to share something on your heart or read what’s on someone […]

  6. Amy Young December 6, 2013

    We’ve unpacked our Christmas books — by “our” I mean my mom’s collection. And what a collection it is! I think between two and three hundred books. My youngest niece (age 6), however, wants to read one book over and over and over again. “Wombat Divine.” I love the story … but fear I may grow to hate it! 🙂

    1. Jennifer December 6, 2013

      Amy, I can understand her enjoyment of that particular story… It is such a great Australian children’s story. Australia being my home. It is great to see that the same stories truly are being enjoyed all around the world. I think I would also love the book collection. That is one thing I miss at times living here in China… the ready access to lots of English books. Enjoy them and know that one day she will begin to enjoy another book… even if she enjoys this one for longer than you would prefer.

    2. Nicholas Todd December 6, 2013

      Amy – our boys are regularly not themselves at the breakfast table: kittens, cats, rhinos, and wombats. =) Because of a post you wrote last year about children’s Christmas books we bought “Wombat Divine” for the coming holiday. It is waiting for us stateside. Can’t wait to read it.

  7. Polly December 6, 2013

    A haiku about story telling:

    “Tell me a story.”
    “Let me teach you to wield words;
    then you can tell yours.”

  8. Holly Dove December 6, 2013

    In direct contrast to previous promptings, when I first saw the prompt, I knew exactly what story I wanted to share. And it is definitely not a sad story. There is a bit of storytelling in our family, so pardon the long windedness. 🙂

    1. Morielle December 7, 2013

      What a wonderful story, Holly! And I also really REALLY love the way you told it. Fairytale style is the best style. 😀

  9. M'Lynn December 7, 2013

    I’ve been wanting to write the birth story of my newest baby for almost a month now. When the house is quiet, I’m too sleepy. When the house is noisy, I’m distracted, refereeing a sword fight or managing the kitchen table which is often covered in art supplies and discarded creations. And, the decaf coffee is just not doing the trick! I’m sure y’all can relate…

    1. Danielle Wheeler December 7, 2013

      Yes, yes I can. I’d write something encouraging for you, but my too tired brain is off to bed. So, I guess just know you’re not alone… 🙂

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